Monday, 16 August 2010

Week 13: e-books a go-go

E-books are here and they're getting bigger!
There have been e-books around for a few years now, and in Cambridge  the e-books project began in 2005. Already in America, e-book sales from Amazon have overtaken paper sales (that acutally happened in December 2009), and so we can guess the direction this is going to continue on.

While you may not feel inclinded yet to read War & Peace on your PC screen, the rise in e-book readers makes recreational reading much more convenient - there are plenty to chose from each with their own strengths and weaknesses - the most popular include:
(sony e-book reader, kindle, increasingly the iPad)

You can even read e-books on mobile phones and iPods (and iPod Touch! let me know if you'd like to borrow the library iPod Touch to try it out!)

How might students find e-books useful? They can only borrow 5 books at any one time from the Medical Library, but there may be chapters they can dip into when they're on placement (or on elective abroad).

There are three sets of e-books that constitute the Things for this week.

Thing 18 - Universtiy e-books


  • find a couple of e-books using Newton - try searching for "abc and electronic and books" in the boolean search. click to view the book and try the search functionality

  • look at all the different providers of e-books that the University of Cambridge uses at the e-book page - instead of browsing each provider, try using the search box on this page to search for a health related topic.
Thing 19 - NHS e-books

The NHS provide e-books in the same way as they do e-journals - use you NHS ATHENS password to browse the content. How might an NHS professional working in the community find e-books useful?

Thing 20 - Free e-books

While a lot of e-books are behind logins, or you have to buy them to download onto your e-book reader, there are plenty of e-books available for free.
There's a list of free e-book providers available on the ebook pages of the UL website.

  • Project Guttenberg is perhaps the best known  - browser the bookshelf, and open a couple of books
  • how do they differ in presentation from the e-books availble via the University or the NHS?

Optional Extra
  • borrow the iPodTouch and try reading the e-books which are loaded on it already, and /or try going online to access the Oxford Textbook of Medicine (

  • What do you like about e-books?

  • Can you ever imagine yourself reading an e-book? Why?

  • How might the users of the Medical Library make use of e-books?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

follow that cake...

Ewe 2 is very kindly contributing cake to this week's winner (as ever, the picture may actually bear no resemblance to delivered confectionary!)

The winner this week for their thoughts on the Follow that Journal of last week is.....

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Week 12: Follow that... Journal!

We're following a journal this week - from selection, the Journal Co-ordination Scheme, ordering, distribution patterns and eventually getting them on the shelf - and everything in between.

You guessed it - your TASK for this week is to BLOG about the journey of a journal!

cake (but a healthy one...)

Winner of the week 11 / thing 17 cake is ..... (drum roll....) ... this one!!

Well done! though on reading the post I rather think that I should perhaps make something more healthy than my previous offerings.... all this talk of sedentary lifestyles and cardiac health......

Monday, 26 July 2010

Week 11 - Podcasts

Thing 17 – Podcasts

What is a podcast?
Podcast is a former word of the month in the Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary.
"a recording of something like a radio programme that you can download from the Internet and play back on your computer or on an MP3 player "

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minute commentaries to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and since most podcasts have an RSS feed attached, you can subscribe to podcasts in the same way you subscribe to the RSS feeds way back in week 3.
The best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod (iPods are just one example of MP3 players) or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker, although if you want to listen to the podcast when you're away from your PC, then of course, you'll need headphones and an MP3 player.

To learn a bit more, try listening to the item below:

Increasingly university lectures are being recorded to be made available as podcasts (our own clinical students have loads of podcasts available to them on ERweb/MedPortal.

Cambridge University, just as it has a YouTube channel, makes podcasts available to the world at large and has its own channel of iTunesU.

This requires that you have iTunes downloaded on your computer in order to listen to the podcasts. If you' unfamiliar with iTunes please come and have a play on my computer (I'll cover your desk while you do so)

  • go to BBC podcasts  or BMJ podcasts and  listen to a podcast you find interesting 
  • set up an RSS feed from either the BBC series of BMJ podcast of your choice
Add a link to a podcast you find interesting.
How might health professionals make use of this technology?

double cake awards

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important cake... or 2 in fact.
The sharp-eyed and slightly peckish amongst you will have noticed that I missed the cake award last week - my apologies.
This means that there are two cake awards this week for my pick of the bloggers from week 9 and week 10.
So, I'm going to have a second attempt at a coffee cake (remember my first attempt? fear not, I'll be using a different recipe, I promise!) and a mystery cake (ie I've not decided yet!) tonight:

But who are the lucky winners? Well...... for Week 9 it's N Page  
And for Week 10, it's Hoarder1.

well done both.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Week 10 – Maps

Thing 16 - Online Maps

Maps are great - (as a geography graduate, perhaps I would say that, eh, ewe2?) Ordnance Survey  have made all their maps available online - you can even order a map to be printed to your specifications!

And by putting maps online and making them interactive, they just got even better.

and this is just a small selection of what's out there.

you can get satellite view, road maps, hybrid view and also street view (via Google Maps).

You can enter your starting position, and where you want to get to and the map will generate directions, even giving you distance and time.

- use any of the mapping tools and try getting directions from your house (perhaps using the postcode) to the Medical Library (CB2 0SP) - exactly how far is it? - post the distance (not your address!!!) on your BLOG.

It's not without it's critics -

Go to using Google Maps, search for your house and play with Street View.
Why not go to Paris, or Berlin or New York, and enjoy the Street View.
BLOG about what you thought of it

Watch the video below - Tim Berners Lee is showing what can be done with maps when they are combined with other data. As more and more data is made available by government (both local and national) it's possible to present information in a variety of more meaningful ways.
OpenStreetMap is also presented - a wiki-map (remembering that a wiki is an opportunity for lots of people contribute to the same document).
Then compare the quality of OpenStreetMap (you can read about OpenStreetMap),with Google Maps - look at an area of Cambridge (or anywhere!) that you're familiar with, and see which is the most up to date. If you cycle a lot does OpenCycleMap give you routes you didn't know about?
Write a BLOG post about the difference.

Create your own google map (such as this one - click on the blue pins to read the comments about each library):

View 5 libraries in cambridge in a larger map)

- go to google maps, and login with your google/blogger login
- click on "my maps" and "create a map"
- give your map a title, and a description if you like
- look for the blue pin, click it and drop it wherever you want on your map
- give your pin a title (and description if you like), and click OK
- and then keep on adding more pins, or drawing lines, with more details, according to what you want to identify.

- Once you're done, get the code for your map and embed it in your blog (click on the link option in the top right-hand corner of the map, copy the text in the box headed "paste HTML to embed in webpage" - and do as you did to embed the YouTube video!)