Thursday, 7 July 2011

Thing 4 - Current awareness: Twitter, RSS and Pushnote

For me, current awareness is one of the most important attributes to have as an information professional, particularly as the profession and the issues surrounding it are constantly evolving.

I must admit that current awareness isn’t one of my strong points, and I mean in life, not just in librarianship. I never used to read the news or have any idea what was happening in the world on a day-to-day basis. Though I’ve improved in the last few years, I do have to make a real effort to engage with current events – for example I made the BBC website my homepage in the hope that this would encourage me to click on at least a couple of headlines. If I let myself, I could easily coast along in my own little world (which consists chiefly of nineteenth-century novels).

Since embarking upon my career in librarianship I’ve tried to keep up with the goings on through reading CILIP Update and the weekly email bulletin, but sometimes I can lose track, forget and get caught up with other things. I think current awareness tools can be really handy as they can make keeping up with recent happenings so much easier.


Picture courtesy of Dot D on Flickr

For me, Twitter is easily the best social media tool and it’s made a big difference to my level of engagement with library and information issues. I do tend to ‘lurk’ more than I tweet but I find that getting involved is very easy and I feel much more part of a group and connected to fellow professionals than I did previously. One of the best things about Twitter is that it makes the sharing of useful links and important articles incredibly easy. For example, I receive CILIP’s Weekly Information World bulletin, and in the past I always found it difficult to read everything on it. Now, when I get the email I often find I’ve already come across all or most of the links posted because somebody has put them on Twitter. I also find Twitter directs me to interesting blog posts or other information, as well as offering an insight into the day to day lives of the librarians I follow.

I do worry sometimes that I rely too much on Twitter because it’s so easy and I think I need to make more of an effort to discover information from different sources. I am trying to make an effort to seek out other cpd23 participants’ blogs without focusing too much on those blog posts which are tweeted.


I have a Google Reader account that I usually access via my iGoogle page and I do find it useful. In order to keep it manageable I use it only for library and information related blogs and websites and only subscribe to a very limited number, otherwise I'd spend all my spare time reading through the unread items. Generally if I find that I am repeatedly visiting a particular blog or website several times and continually find it interesting, informative and useful then I will add it to my reader. As with Twitter, I worry that I rely too much on this and am losing out on the opportunity to view new sites and blogs, but at least it means I am guaranteed to read, mark and inwardly digest those I do subscribe to.

I have subscribed to the whole bundle of cpd23 blogs and am trying to resist the urge to sit in front of my computer all day reading each and every post, as this would simply be impossible! Instead I try to randomly click on a few posts each day to read.


I had never heard of Pushnote before reading the Thing 4 blog post but signed up to try it out. I was impressed by how quick and easy it was to sign up, and also that I was able to link my Twitter account, but less impressed that it didn’t seem to recognise and connect me with several of the people I follow on Twitter. I was slightly put off by the fact that I had to download a browser add-on. I prefer not to use these as I find they clutter up the browser. I normally use Chrome at home but decided to download the add-on for Firefox just in order to test Pushnote out. In fairness it was easy to download and use.

Though I have Firefox at work, I am not permitted to download browser add-ons so I won’t be able to use Pushnote here. This is a bit of an issue as I do most of my library-related reading at lunchtime and in order to use Pushnote I’ll have to be using my laptop at home. I feel this may really restrict my use of this tool.

I had a bit of a play around, looked at some comments and added a couple of my own. I’m not sure if this tool is something I’ll use regularly. I did come across some interesting pages but these weren’t library related – the shared pages concerning LIS issues seemed to be ones that I’d already seen.

I haven’t fallen in love with Pushnote, but will stick with it for a while and see if I can get any use out of it. Personally I don’t see it replacing the bookmarking tools Diigo and Delicious, both of which I use religiously (particularly Diigo), but I won’t write it off just yet.

1 comment:

Louise said...

Like you I subscribed to a whole host of cpd23 blogs, so I randomly clicked on yours in my Google Reader. Love the choice of Twitter icon; am going to use in some promotional activities with students at work

Louise (@louiselib)