Out of office avalanche!

I just sent out a bulk email on behalf of an ELISA colleague… and was immediately hit by an avalanche of automated responses! Help me!!!

It’s the biggest out of office attack I’ve ever experience. Over 40 so far! Is nobody in Edinburgh at work today?

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ELISA’s Winter Warmer social – an illustrated report

My report (with photos) of ELISA’s winter social last month. It’s taken me four weeks to get round to writing it, and some hours to fit all the photos in, but it was a lovely event and a fantastic exhibition. It’s on for another few months still. You should go!

Edinburgh Library and Information Services Agency

Fiona scrutinising a display Fiona scrutinising a particularly interesting display of Jacobite documents

Apologies for the delay in posting this report – I did mean to do it far sooner. Better late than never though, eh?

Group 1 enjoying after tour refreshments Group 1 enjoy after tour refreshments

ELISA’s Winter Warmer social 2015 took place on the evening of Monday the 9th of February.

Around fifteen ELISA members turned up to the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge for a special tour of the Game of Crowns: the 1715 Jacobite rising exhibition, led by Rare Books Curator Robert Betteridge.

ELISA 013ELISA 012

I arrived at NLS a little after 5pm to find the first group had already set off on their tour round the exhibit.

I chatted with those left behind and enjoyed the very tasty snacks that were on offer – many thanks to Fiona for organising those…

Once Group 1 returned, me and the rest of Group 2 had our chance to view the exhibition.

ELISA 015

Robert kindly gave…

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A Very Fine Library vs the Grammar Nazis!

I posted the above pic on Facebook earlier today because I felt a bit disheartened. I’ve spent a chunk of this week posting, editing and generally primping a three-part series of pieces by Edinburgh’s Makar for the ELISA website. I admit I feel pretty proud of those posts. I contacted the current Makar and asked her to write something for ELISA and she obliged, pics and all! It feels like a bit of a coup.

The first part went live on Wednesday but, so far, the only feedback I’ve received was a notification that there’s a “Wee Typing Error in the Post”. I don’t know what or where. I made a joking response but the nitpicking stung me somewhat. It’s a longish post, full of interesting information, images and poetry – but all someone thought to say was “Typo!”

Disheartening.

Incidentally, I joke about this sort of thing but I increasingly experience it as a kind of online bullying. Though my grammar is good, I’ve never been a great speller – thank the gods for spellchecker! Even so, I always feel compelled to check and double-check everything I post because I know the tiniest error will be picked up and pointed out by some ‘helpful’ soul. It’s nerve-wracking.

I honestly don’t understand why they do it. As Angry Puffin up there says, as long as your point gets across, what does it matter? People can be as precise (and anal) with their own writing as they wish – but what makes them think they have the right to correct others?

Angry Puffin says “pretentious and idiotic”. I say “bullying and oppressive”.

It’s different if someone asks to be corrected of course. A learner or someone trying to improve their language skills. I have an Italian friend who sometimes seeks advise on english-grammarly things. Also, I’m learning gaelic so welcome input on word order and suchlike in that language.

As far as english goes though, I’m not asking. While I’m writing I relish the flow and play of words. The odd typo, here and there, won’t cause the sky to fall. I endlessly footle with my posts in any case so I’m likely to pick up errors in time. And if not, so what?

Grammar Nazis and Spelling Fascists – D’you think these terms came about by accident? You may actually think you’re being helpful but folk wouldn’t call you nazis if they enjoyed what you’re doing. A lot of folk probably just find you irritating but I’m sure there are others, like me, who find your criticisms upsetting or oppressive.

Please think before you correct. Thank you.

Storifying #elisaForum 2014

I wanted to try Storify for a while but never had the opportunity. – it seems odd (in a bad way) to just Storify your own life.

ELISA’s Open Forum 2014 offered the perfect opportunity to give it a go, especially since we were encouraging folk to live tweet the event. Twitter is such a transitory medium, tweets are so quickly washed away by the twitter-tide. Storify helps solidify and store this digital ephemera.

I posted my first draft on #elisaForum day itself but I’ve just done a bit of editing and re-ordering and I’ve added some newer content to beef it up a little.

I’m not totally blown away by the Storify concept (or the site’s functionality) but for the purposes of documenting events like this one, it does the job:

elisa-open-forum-2014 – Storify

New ELISA website

I launched the new, updated and re-vamped ELISA website the other day. The new logo was agreed, slightly edited, and uploaded. The structure has been altered, the content checked and up-dated and a big old invitation email has been sent out encouraging folk to sign up. Now comes the hard part – getting folk to post – and other folk to read those posts. Building a blog is easy. Keeping it alive is tough.

I’ve already posted a before picture of ELISA’s site. Here’s what it looks like now:

elisa new site

I’m pretty pleased with this one. I love the colours! Fingers crossed the intended audience will like it too!

At least my ‘clients’ are happy with the work. I’ve had some nice feedback already. And this seems like a fairly active group. I’m hopeful (as always) that they will engage with the site.

Something new – although I’m the chief admin, I actually have some volunteer help this time. Nice as this is, it’s been a challenge to my blog-territoriality – and my techno-control freakery – to share one of my babies with someone else. Luckily, I can ease into it since my helpers are new to the ways of the blog. They are happy for me to be the boss of them… so far. We’ll see how it goes once I’ve got them trained up and brimming with confidence and ideas…   🙂

New project!

As I mentioned before, I recently got involved with the Edinburgh Library And Information Services Agency (ELISA). They happen to have lost their ‘online person’ so I offered my services. I may not be the most tech-savvy but I have some skills and I’m super keen to learn – what better way to do that than via a practical project?

So, over the next few months I’ll be re-vamping the website:

ELISA's site today

ELISA’s site today

It was created using WordPress.org – the sister site to this one – so, although I’ll know my way around, I understand that site requires use of html.  That is the main attraction of this project for me.  I wanted to learn to code and this can be my starting point.

However before I get to that, they want to use this opportunity to rebrand so my first job is to design a new logo.  Here are my first attempts (they’re all variations on the barcode theme the group was using before):

ELISA logo1    ELISA logo5    ELISA logo6

I haven’t quite been able to reproduce the image I had in my head – I don’t have the software – but I like these. So, I’ve circulated them and now I’m waiting for feedback…

ELISA summer gathering – June 2014

Today I attended the ELISA Summer Gathering and AGM at the Royal Botanic Garden’s Library, Edinburgh. RBG’s librarian told us a bit about the history of the garden and the work of the library, gave us a wee tour and showed us a few items from their collections.

The Library at the Botanics

The RBG Library
It was great to be in the RBG Library again.  I hadn’t visited since I did work experience there years (and years) ago.
 It’s a lot bigger than I remembered! 

I was only there for a few weeks but it was a truly wonderful experience. The library staff were so welcoming, the work was interesting and fun – and the gardens! The view from the library windows is just stunning.

I loved hanging round with botanists in the staff room or chatting to horticulture folk in the glass houses. I’d see interesting plants at lunchtime then come back to the library where the staff would help me track them down in the books. Good times!

The collections
The librarian gave us an overview of the RBG collections. I believe she said 30-40 thousand items, made up of: journals, textbooks, floras and herbals (the last two are the beautiful, illustrated works detailing and describing various plant species).

They also hold a collection of original artworks recording specimens from RBG’s own herbarium and ‘living collections’.

The library is part of the Science Department at RBG. The librarian reports to the Head of Science who in turn reports to the Regis Keeper. The library works with staff from all departments of the Gardens – including the shop.

Journals
RBG produces two scholarly works: Edinburgh Journal of Botany and Sibbaldia Horticultural Journal. When I was there on work experience I learned that the library used these journals in an international exchange program. RBG would send out their journals to various institutions and, in return, get other journals back. I was pleased to hear that they still use this method today. They do subscribe to some journals but the exchange scheme is still in effect as well.

AGM
After the tour we had a (very) short AGM. There were reports from the treasurer and the heads of two of the working groups: ‘Access’ and ‘Education’. There was no report from the ‘ICT’ group. The members of the business committee all wanted to stay on for another year. This was accepted unanimously.

This was my first Edinburgh Library and Information Services Agency (ELISA) meeting. There were a few familiar faces (the Edinburgh library world is fairly small) but everyone was friendly. It seems like a jolly group – I think I’ll go again   🙂