Then I skipped across to the British Library with just enough time to catch the Magnificent Maps exhibition. Its pretty impressive stuff, and explains a lot about the politics of maps and how they have been used to influence thinking.
At 12.30 it was time to head next door to the BL Conference Centre for lunch courtesy of ALISS, who had chosen my article "In Your Facebook, Not In Your Face" as their ALISS Quarterly best article of the year, and invited me to their event to collect my award as part of the AGM. (I was pretty chuffed!). The AGM was good and as part of it they gave an overview of some of the events ALISS had run in the previous year, it was a pretty impressive set of stuff.
Following the AGM there were 3 presentations:
- John Kaye from the British Library spoke about the BL datasets project which aims to link actual research data to published articles so that people can see the data itself, not just what was written about it. Check out the Datacite web site for details of the wider initiative.
- Jennie Grimshaw from the British Library spoke about the 2010 General Election web archiving project, which aimed to produce a record of online information from a range of political parties, candidates, news stories and pressure groups. Information on the BL web archiving project can be found on the UK Web Archive site.
- Mark Salmon was due to speak next but was unfortunately unavailable. I didn't catch the name of the lady who stood in for him, but she did a very good job of presenting on the NHS Evidence site which currently allows users to search 150 key health web sites at the same time.
And for the whole day I was tweeting from my mobile, which was a new experience for me, but one I thought it was about time I tried! The mobile internet version of Twitter took so long to load that I gave up on it and used text messages instead, which wasn't ideal.
Having read a couple of recent blog posts about tweeting from events I decided I'd check with the ALISS committee that they had no objections before I did tweeted from their event and they were quite happy for me to go ahead, so I sat at the back (just in case it really does distract people sitting behind you) and twittered away. There were a couple of problems I discovered during the course of the day:
- I had somehow, unintentionally set up my phone to receive text alerts for all tweets posted by @vanessa_hill who was getting ready to go on holiday that day. To stop myself having to check all of Vanessas tweets as they came in I attempted to block her as a temporary measure but this didn't seem to work (fortunately Vanessa just thought it was funny, and wasn't offended!)
- Although my phone was alerting me to direct messages I was receiving by Twitter it wasn't alerting me to @ messages so I missed lots of lovely congratulatory comments on my award, and a couple of questions about the ALISS presentations. As I wasn't getting any alerts I began to think no one was interested in my tweets and wondered at a couple of points in the day if I should stop tweeting.Of course when I got home and logged in to "proper" Twitter I discovered this hadn't been the case, and I was much relieved.
- My mobile phone is far from reliable and I expect it to crash and switch itself off at the best of times, so OBVIOUSLY it had to let me down during the ALISS event and I had to restart it at least 4 times, which was not only annoying but also quite distracting (for me, hopefully not for anyone else!)
But overall I quite enjoyed tweeting for the day, and I think I will do it again once I have got to grips with the settings and perhaps when I have obtained a more trustworthy phone (thank God my contract is up for renewal next month).
So then what?
Well, after a great day I went to a near by pub with a mate of mine who lives in London and we had a few drinks while we waited for the rain to stop. Then she took a couple of pictures of me outside the BL proudly holding my award from ALISS. Then off for dinner before I had to catch a train home. Perfick!