Converting ‘Any questions?’ into social media collateral

by Joanna Hare
Duke Kunshan University Library

Previously on this blog I have written about my love of Poll Everywhere. It is a fantastic tool for capturing student attention and sustaining engagement throughout a library workshop. For this post, I will share how we used Poll Everywhere at our recent Duke Kunshan University Library orientation sessions to capture student questions and convert these questions into social media collateral.

August 2018 was a very exciting time for Duke Kunshan University (DKU) – it was the month in which we welcomed the inaugural class of undergraduate students onto the campus and in to classrooms. During the intensive university-wide orientation program, the Library had a one hour session with students – just one hour, with over 250 students, on the second-last day of a two week orientation program for the very first undergraduate students at this start-up university – a daunting task! It was clear we needed to make the Library session easy to follow and engaging.

We quickly decided to use Poll Everywhere to make the session interactive and capture each student’s attention. Rather than use Poll Everywhere as a way of testing their knowledge, we decided to use it as a means to ‘surprise’ students with information about the library. For example, instead of simply telling them how many books we have, we asked students to guess the number, and they were – dare I say – amazed at the size of our collection. Similarly, rather than just listing what types of online resources we have access to, we gave specific examples of a variety of resource types, and asked students to guess which resources they could access via the Library, as shown in the following screenshot:

Usually at the end of any session we would allow time for questions. However, in this context where we wanted to maximise our time with the students, we elected to ask students to submit their questions via Poll Everywhere. In the last section students were asked to ‘Please share any comments or questions you have about DKU Library’. We would then collect and review the questions and ask students to follow us on WeChat where we would be sharing the answers to their questions over the coming days.

We received 99 responses to the question. We did a quick and dirty analysis to identify some common themes and came up with the following general categories of questions/comments:
1. Using eBooks
2. Borrowing policies
3. Borrowing DVDs
4. Updating the collection
5. Study space and availability
6. Getting access to things students can’t find/we don’t have

We could certainly do a much more detailed analysis of the data we collected, but the goal was not to conduct “serious research”, just to get a general picture of what students wanted to know about and use this information to create timely and useful WeChat posts, such as this one:

WeChat is particularly well-suited to creating groups of articles for this purpose, but this could also be replicated using a blog or perhaps LibGuides.

One challenge we encountered was that we were surprised at the number of questions we received, meaning we had our work cut out for us to quickly create the WeChat posts. This will be easier in future as we will be able to reuse some of the content from this semester, anticipate what will be asked in future sessions, and also adjust our teaching to make sure we don’t overlook information that may seem unimportant to us but is of interest to our students.

Overall this was a simple but effective way of combining our goals of gathering student questions and feedback and creating social media content that was immediately relevant to their needs. We were pleasantly surprised at the number of questions we received – far more than we could have answered at the end of the orientation session. We will continue to use this method in future sessions.

This article gives the views of the author and not necessarily the views the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice or the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.

All a-Twitter: #librarian #discovery

by Tasha Maddison
Saskatchewan Polytechnic

I recently started as a #copyrightlibrarian @saskpolytechlib. With a new job comes change; from organizational culture to strategic direction to the educational mandate. What I had not anticipated was that the methods used to communicate with colleagues would be so dramatically different nor how I would learn about my new field and the ever evolving world of copyright.

In my past life, I lived and breathed by email. You might say it bordered on addiction as I was constantly checking my email; sick days, evenings, weekends, vacations, whenever. My experience @saskpolytechlib is that my colleagues don’t rely on email in the same manner. The communication options vary, perhaps because the campuses are distributed across the province. We use email, phone (seriously, people call one another), Microsoft Lync and Twitter. Lync was new to me, but so was the fact that others use Twitter to post their whereabouts, note meetings and conferences they are attending.

I have been on Twitter since participating in @CPD23 (the ’23 Things’ program). I was originally a reflective tweeter, completely defeating the purpose by tweeting several days after an event. At times, I just didn’t see the point. Too concise, too cryptic; anyone can follow you and you can follow anyone – that all seemed wrong, #notfacebook.

My experience with Twitter changed upon arriving @saskpolytech. I discovered individuals like @mgeist, @relkatz, @copyrightlaws, @howardknopf, among others who tweeted almost daily about important copyright issues like #TPP, @googlebooks #fairdealing, #happybirthday, #beatlemania, to name but a few.

My information seeking behaviour has also changed in regards to conferences, including those that I am not even attending. The University of Toronto recently hosted a one day conference on copyright. I followed the conference with great interest, #CopyCon2015. I then started following pretty much everyone who shared their thoughts throughout the day. Later in October, I attended #ceblip2015 and totally broke out of my shell. I always take comprehensive notes during conference presentations, #keener. Since attending my first library conference as a librarian, I have shared those notes on my blog, #lessonslearned. I occasionally tweeted about a conference but it was either reflective (see above) or it was to note my general excitement about an upcoming event. At #ceblip2015, I took notes on my iPad and tweeted about each presentation on my iPhone simultaneously. This enabled me to file away information for future review. I found like-minded librarians in the audience who I didn’t necessarily speak with in person, but started following on Twitter. I expanded my knowledge and my #social network.

As a presenter, I have always felt apprehensive at the thought of real-time comments via Twitter. I was always slightly scared to later check the audience’s reaction (or lack of) to my presentation. Recently, I have used Twitter to see what resonates with listeners. I am curious and delighted to see what the audience believes are my key takeaways. Twitter is useful at conferences to start a dialogue with presenters or audience members as they share their experiences. You can clarify points, share thoughts and impressions, as well as seek further information.

Three months into the job I don’t check my email as often outside of work hours. I do however frequent Twitter. I retweet quite a bit. I follow with great interest the evolving trends in scholarly communications, open access and the wonderful world of copyright.

This article gives the views of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice or the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.

What I’ve Favourited on Twitter Lately, pt. 2

by Virginia Wilson, Director
Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP)
University of Saskatchewan

I first did a post of my Twitter faves back in on August 12, 2014. It was summer. There was no snow, no cold…there were birds and insects and warm soft breezes. Perhaps I just want to recapture those feelings here in frigid November but I figured I’d dip into my Twitter faves and see what I need to catch up on.

• August 28 saw the retirement of Carleton University Librarian, Margaret Haines. @CU_Discovery tweeted an awesome photo of Margaret living her final wish: to drive the library tunnel cart!
• @ALA_ACRL tweeted a press release for their new updated version of the ACRL Scholarly Communication toolkit. You can find the toolkit here:
• @slwalter123 tweeted a link to a book review that looked at two books related to academic freedom. The first book is by Stanley Fish. In Versions of Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to Revolution (University of Chicago Press) Fish claims that faculty have been perpetuating “academic freedom creep” over the past decades and outlines his four academic freedoms. You can check out the review here
• One of my favourite blogs, The Impact Blog from the London School of Economics and Political Science blogged about how faculty learning communities are a positive way for libraries to engage academic staff in scholarly communication.
• @JMBurns99 tweeted a link entitled What is Critical Research? It goes to an interesting and informative page from the University of Strathclyde, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Here are a few of my favourite tweets that don’t include links. They’re helpful (and sometimes funny) all by themselves!
• @LitAtLeddy: At a great #UWindsor writing retreat where many of our best researchers model the secret to productivity: sit in your chair and do some work
• @GreatestQuotes: Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. ~ Aristotle
• @NeinQuarterly: Mid-life Crisis: The sudden realization that you’ve been dying all along. #TheNihilisticDictionary
• October 15 saw the first annual C-EBLIP Fall Symposium: Librarians as Researchers. @tmmaddison tweeted: #ceblip2014 Throughout the day, I found it hard not to run out of the room and immediately start researching. So many interesting topics!

I continue to find Twitter useful for CPD, as well as interesting, informative, and fun! If you haven’t made a foray into the Twitterverse yet, try it! I tweet as @VirginiaPrimary and I also tweet for the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice @CEBLIP.

This article gives the views of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice or the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.

What I’ve Favourited on Twitter Lately

by Virginia Wilson
Director, Centre of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

I click on a lot of stars on Twitter. Clicking on the star marks a tweet as a favourite and the idea is that I will go back to these favourites and read whatever it is that first interested me in more depth. Most often, these faves include a link to a blog post or an article that I don’t want to lose track of. What I’ve found is that while well-intentioned, I rarely go back to these stars and explore further. To that end, I’m going to dig through my Twitter favourites and include some of them here. This will serve as double duty: I can get a look at these fascinating links that sparked something in me when I first saw them and I can share them out to hopefully spark you as well. Here we go!

• @Write4Research posted a link to the LSE Impact Blog with the following tweet: “Focus and credibility will help academic blogs thrive but negative perceptions must be challenged.” Turns out this tweet is the title of the blog post and I find it very interesting especially as C-EBLIP has just embarked on this academic blog. I believe there are many good reasons to blog from our own professional perspectives and the author of this post, Achilleas Kostoulas, a Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Manchester, lists quite a few of them plus lots more interesting tidbits. Here’s the link to the LSE post:

• @EBLIP8 posted the call for conference submissions. I’m particularly excited about this as the 8th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice conference is going to be held July 6-8, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia and I’m going! I’m hoping to have something to present and I’d better get at is because the call for proposals closes on October 13, 2014.

• @dededawson, a colleague of mine at the University Library, U of S, posted this tweet: More evidence of the OA citation effect. OA articles viewed & cited more than subscription articles. Here’s the link: DeDe writes an Open Access blog and you can access that here:

• A list of all Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) on Twitter. Twitter allows for the creation of lists and Kitt McGoveran (@kittmcg) created a list of CARL libraries that post on twitter. Here’s the url:

• @LibrarySherpa posted “How to be a social media team of one: 7 tips.” These are 7 powerful tips!

Here are a few of my favourite tweets that don’t include links. It’s amazing how helpful a 140-character (or less) post can be!

• @MariaJGrant: Writing Tip: The *perfect* word/sentence isnt essential to communicate ideas but words/sentences are. Write them down & start communicating!
• @bfister: I think librarians can and should be awesome themselves, not just invisible team members.
• @LibSkrat: I’ll say this as often as I need to: judging a person’s career by the JIF of the journals they publish in is unethical and stupid.
• @ChristineWalde: What’s one of the best things about #librarians doing #research in #LIS? We get to lead the conversation about libraries
• @melioravit: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” ― Christopher Hitchens

I find Twitter to be an excellent way to keep up professionally. I created my account in 2009 (@VirginiaPrimary) but it took me a few years of only tweeting at conferences to really jump on board and make it part of my daily routine.

This article gives the views of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice or the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.