Hiatus

I know there hasn’t been much activity here to get excited about lately but I just wanted to confirm that my blog is taking a hiatus. From August 24th I’ll no longer be working for the University of Sheffield Library or able to keep up with my New Professionals Support Officer role with the CILIP CDG (yes, I know my name is spelt incorrectly)… but it’s not all bad news. I’m actually off to pursue other interests for a while and discover more about the other side of the world. I’m not going ‘offline’ don’t worry, you can still keep up with me on Twitter or maybe we could be old-fashioned and exchange emails once in a while.

So until we meet again… did you know the heaviest cetacean weighs 3,000 times more than the lightest?

USTLG – New Website

After what feels like forever I think we’re finally getting there with the new website for the University Science and Technology Librarians Group (USTLG). The redesign of the website was something I volunteered for almost a year ago now but unfortunately I was unable to attend the meeting we launched the site at, and therefore have been unable to gather any real feedback.

Leeds University hosted the old site for a long time but with the move to a new server they’ve been unable to continue the work. Sara Thornes did a fantastic job keeping it up-to-date but with the decision to create a new website came the opportunity to design a new brand. I’d had an idea about the kind of look I wanted – something clean and simple that was respresentative of the diverse range of subjects science and technology librarians cover. As you can see I’m an incredibly talented user of Paint. I use it to sketch out all my ideas!

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Induction

Each year I guess you try and learn from theĀ  mistakes you made the year before… you want one less person to nod off, one less person glazing over and one less person “Facebooking” (is this a verb yet?) for half an hour. I’m always really interested in how other subject librarians conduct inductions but there never seems to be much discussion about it. So, I thought I’d dump all my materials here and maybe someone might want to say something about them?

Here’s the presentation I’ve been using this year (best viewed full screen, as always):

It includes a video I made… yep, I’m a YouTube sensation:

Oh and I unashamedly ripped off a Ned Potter original and created an infograph as a “final word” type thing (click to enlarge):

Whale Shark Conservation in Tofo

Isn’t it amazing how easily we fall back into our old routines! I’ve been back from Mozambique a week and it honestly feels like I never even went. I’m looking at my pictures and thinking is that actually me there, doing that? The time flew and with only four weeks til Intro Week I’m trying to gear myself up for new student inductions and working through training materials for our new ‘resource discovery layer’… where have all the Whale Sharks gone? Why am I not on the beach, picking up plastic and watching the Humpbacks breach?

Tofo is a place I guess you instantly fall in love with. It’s sprawling coastline, it’s soft sands, it’s laid back attitude, it’s warm waters. It’s like paradise, or as close to paradise as I can imagine, even in winter. I challenge you to sit on the sand dunes, look out to sea and not feel at peace with the world. It’s a place where life really could be a beach!

However, my reason for enduring the terrifying 30 seater mini-plane ride from Johannesburg to Inhambane wasn’t to lounge around the sands, it was to go find some Whale Sharks and have a poke around the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna. For the last couple of years I’ve been considering various options to go see what’s out there – as a solo holiday maker, as part of an organised dive trip or as a member of a group tour of South Africa more generally. Finally I stumbled upon the All Out Africa route and managed to tick all the requirement boxes… and then some!

By volunteering with All Out Africa I got to use my time in the sun contributing to something way more worthwhile than satisfying my need to dive with Manta Rays (although that happened too!) The Whale Shark Conservation Project gives volunteers the opportunity to participate in data collection processes through monitoring populations, recording encounters and cleaning up environments (i.e. helping out with more long-term assessments of species). They call it ‘Citizen Science’, I call it ‘Freakin’ Awesome’. Generally what this meant was heading out on ocean safaris to find Whale Sharks, capture ID shots and survey behaviours. Once spotted we’d slip into the water, wait for the shark/s to appear (which is far less scary than it sounds) and attempt to photograph their spot patterns. At the same time we needed to record their location, whether they carried any scarring and how it responded to the people around it (if at all). (more…)

Salad vs. SALAD

Whenever I go anywhere (I’m talking about conferences or training events in particular) I always dread lunch! Yes, I DREAD lunch. Wanna know why? Well it’s because I usually get a crappy salad. Bizarrely most caterers are useless at providing me with something that doesn’t resemble rabbit food.

If you know me (even just a little bit) this unleashes a giant ball of rage… it bursts out from my insides before I can do anything about it. The most annoying thing about it is that I’m usually having a great time, then lunch comes around and my day becomes a total write off (that may or may not be an exaggeration but I’m really fed up with it).

So, in order to rectify this I thought I’d share with you some of the salads I like! You’ll be surprised to hear that I do in real life eat a lot of salad.

What I don’t like

Crap Salad Number One:

Now this had potential! They realised vegans eat rice (shocker) and they even chucked on a little pot of hummus as a sweetener. Problem is, how uninspiring is dry salad? Seriously! Especially when it was prepared a few hours ago and left out on the side to dry out even more! There’s very little protein and no slow-releasing energy carbs or good fats in there. White rice I’m afraid doesn’t cut it!

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