Next technical training session, 21 January

A reminder that the next digital training session is in the Archives at King’s next Tuesday 21 January, 10-1. Rory will be about in the afternoon for some clinic sessions if required.

The training will focus on the use of maps and timelines.

Can each of you think about your topics with these two presentation methods in mind and have available on your laptops some relevant data that you can deploy using Rory’s super widgets.

Rory has sent some more detailed instructions – essentially prepare and bring your data and we will be all set. Anyone who needs wireless access, please let me know as soon as possible (those without King’s or eduroam) .

Also coming up are visits to the Wellcome and Courtauld and a date (finally) for the final presentation session. I hope to fit in a session on new visualisation engines for data.


Social Media for Research: Making Twitter Work for You.



As promised, another date for your diaries – exploring the potential of Twitter with Dr Ernesto Priego, Lecturer in Library Science and Acting Course Director, MSc/MA Electronic Publishing, City University London, and a Twitter expert.

This will take place on 6 February, 12-2 in Room 305 in the Strand campus, also styled the Liddell Hart Seminar Room. This classroom is to the rear of the Archives, but you need to approach it by walking straight ahead out of the lifts past the toilets, turning right and walking to the end of the corridor and turning right. If you are unsure how to get there, please visit the Archives and someone can help direct you.

The workshop is a hands-on, practical, introduction to Twitter. It is aimed at researchers who are relatively new to Twitter, both complete beginners and occasional uses.

This workshop will cover:

  • Twitter terminology
  • Updating your Twitter Profile & Settings
  • Posting updates (tweets) and the different types of tweets (Replies, mentions, retweets, direct messages)
  • Finding & following other twitter users
  • Searching Twitter
  • Using Hashtags
  • Tweeting links, photos & videos
  • Live-tweeting
  • Twitter Lists
  • The API, widgets and applications
  • Optional Twitter tools
  • Best practice

Please bring your laptops for a hands-on session. If you do not have a Twitter account, now is the time to sign up!

As per usual, those of you without King’s wireless logins, please raise your hands and I will get guest logins ready for the meeting. The session is a working lunch – I will take your orders once you arrive and organise some refreshments. Please let me know if you cannot make the session.

I hope you can make the class, which looks fascinating!


Creating A Social Media Plan

On 19th November, I ran a session on creating and using a social media plan. Although social media is, by it’s very nature, ephemeral and casual in tone, if it is approached in a too casual way, it can generate confusion, chaos and anxiety. A planned approach, on the other hand,  can help to organise thoughts and direct efforts.

The benefits of planning can help with –

  • Raising your personal-professional profile
  • Promoting a specific event
  • Promoting a specific piece of work

The plan itself is built using –

  1. A blog as the foundation and using blog posts for the most comprehensive, detailed and thoughtful writeups of events (more on events, below).
  2. Promoting blog posts via different communication channels which are appropriate for our intended audience, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and remembering not to neglect more traditional channels such as email lists if they are used within your community.
  3. Enriching blog posts linking to or embedding additional media such as slides, videos, full-text articles, research data and podcasts.

What is an event?

For the purposes of promotion, you can work up pretty much anything that is happening, has happened or is going to happen into an event. Opening your fridge can be an event. Although you might want to tie a fridge-opening into your work in some way.

Events can be –

  • Publishing a paper in a journal
  • Presenting a paper at a conference or workshop
  • Attending a conference or workshop
  • Discovering some interesting things in your research
  • Summarising a conversation that helped with your work
  • Reading a good book or article and writing up our thoughts as an informal review/think piece
  • Capturing a conversation on Twitter about your research area

A plan can help you to communicate your highlights – from a published paper to a breakthrough research finding, sharing your ideas will –

  • Keep you visible
  • Help to build up an audience
  • Keep you in the conversation with other people who share your interests
  • Inspire you by sharing your work with others and, in return, seeing what they are working on
  • Improve your communication skills and get you into conversations about your research area

Social Media Planning in 7 Steps…

Step 1 – pre-event preparation

No matter how small the event, pre-event planning is worth doing. I helps you to find a focus and work out not only what you are going to use, but when you are going to use it. Even a short, informal book review can benefit from pre-event planning. Start by alerting people that you have a book you are excited about reading, and let them know ahead of time that you will be blogging your thoughts on that book.

For pre-planning, look at –

  • What do people need to know?
  • Do you need to make your audience aware of time, date, venue?
  • How about maps, pre-event reading links, or any other information in advance?
  • Take time to get the details right here and save them so you can re-use them when needed.

Step 2 – pre-event channels

  1. Identify your media channels – think about where your audience will look for information.
  2. Blog (everything should start with a blog post even if it is a short one as this will provide the link you will send out so people can see what’s going to happen in more detail).
  3. Select the channels you will use to alert people about what is going to happen, such as  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email discussion lists
  4. Make sure any additional resources, such as an abstract of a paper or research data, are available online so you can link and/or embed them into your blog post.


Step 3 – At the event preparation

Plan in advance which channels will be available during the event itself, and if it is sensible to do any sharing live, during the event. Be wary of taking on too much if you are actually speaking or chairing anything at a conference, for example.

  • Preparing for the event – what do you want to share and how?
  • Live tweeting?
  • Live blogging?
  • Live video streaming?
  • Who will do what during the event?
  • No matter what the scale of the event is, it’s worth considering the options.

Also consider if it’s better to miss out this stage and just do pre-event and post-event publicity. This is a sensible option if you will be otherwise engaged at the event itself – for example if you are giving a presentation or running a workshop, or indeed if the ‘live’ event isn’t suitable (actually reading a book isn’t a sharing event, maybe).


Step 4 – At the event additional preparation for ‘official’ events

  • Check what equipment and internet access you will have available during the event.
  • If this is in a controlled area (something happening in your own space or a space you ar familiar with),  you know will be aware of the advantages and shortcomings.
  • If you are going to be in a space that is new and you don’t control, such as a conference or workshop, be sure to speak to both the organisers and the venue about what is available and what is allowed.
  • If the event is public, check if it is OK to take photos, record sound and shoot videos, and if you will need any official agreements with other participants. Remember to respect the rules of the event and the requests of others with regard to their own privacy, even if it means abandoning your initial plans.

If your event is something organised and involving other people (such as a conference, workshop etc), check out what the organisers have planned already. They may, for example, have a photographer or someone making videos, or live tweeting. This could create free enrichment for you! Just remember to include links or embed outputs into your blog, tweets, updates when you write them.

Step 5 – During the event

  • Having planned in the previous stage what you will be doing, this stage should be simple.
  • But it IS live, so be prepared for unexpected things to happen, for last minute changes and to get stuff wrong!
  • Live tweeting and blogging is a skill, and it improves with practice.
  • Remember to any official tags where available, or agree your own where none are available.

**A word of warning** – if you are speaking or chairing a session, try and get someone else to take over any live social media, or even miss out the ‘live’ part completely. It’s better to do a pre and post event coverage well than try and spread yourself too thinly, get stressed and be unable to focus on the main event.

Step 6 – After the event

  • This is all about consolidating the event information.
  • Write a summary blog post, even if you did live coverage of the event. The summary should contain links and/or embedded content created around the event by yourself and others.
  • Share a link to your blog post via Twitter, Facebook – use every channel that  you used when you promoted your pre-event blog post. Handily, you can check on your plan to make sure you don’t miss anything!
  • If you don’t have all the things available online that you want to link to, or you discover additional material later on, you can always add it in. The most important thing is to get your summary post out quickly. You can always edit to include new stuff later, or write an additional post that covers extra content.


Step 7 – Tidying up

  • Make sure all your outputs are available online, and can be linked to easily.
  • Put publications in a repository where possible – always aim to link to your work. Full text is better, but an abstract will do if that is all that is available.
  • Put any presentations in Slideshare or something similar.
  • Upload photos, podcasts and videos (Flickr and YouTube are popular, but other sites are available).
  • If there were other people covering the event as well, check where they have shared content –  link to blog posts, and link up on other social media channels where you can.
  • Join in the general discussion and buzz around an event if others experienced it too.

Throughout it all, remember this is a conversation – you are not broadcasting, you are sharing. So answer tweets at you, respond to comments, reply to emails on lists. You may adapt your own thoughts and techniques and learn new skills – which is, of course, another event you can blog about and share….

Useful Links

On the day, we discussed using TweetDeck for managing Twitter as it gives you separate columns for following hashtags, seeing tweets @ you and handling multiple Twitter accounts. Other options similar to TweetDeck are –

We also discussed general advice on blogging, so the following resources might be useful for more information on blogging in an academic/research context –

We talked briefly about Creative Commons and how CC licenses can help you manage the rights of your content online. More here –

I also mentioned the lists of top academic tweeters by subject, created by the LSE. The lists can be found here –

I’ve tried to cover not only the planning itself but the other things I mentioned both in the presentation and to people I spoke to individually on the day. If there is something you are interested in that I haven’t included here, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add information and links.

Doctoral open days at BL

‘Just to let you know that the British Library is running our Doctoral Open Days series for this academic year and booking is now open for events taking place in 2014. These events introduce new PhD students to the British Library and provide orientation regarding broader information environment for their subject.

As well as days for students in History, English and Media, Cultural Studies and Journalism, this year we have added an event for students in Environmental Science, and one for students across all subjects who want to know more about Digital Research.’

Maja Maricevic, Head of Higher Education

The British Library is a hub for research, with vast and varied collections, expert staff and a wide range of events. Our Doctoral Open Days are a chance for new PhD students to discover the Library’s unique research materials. Students will learn about our collections, find out how to access them, and meet our expert staff and other researchers in their field. These events are aimed at PhD students who are new to the Library. The following events are now open to book:


13 January – Environmental Science

17 January – Digital Research

20 January – History 1

31 January – History 2

3 February – English 1

14 February – English 2

24 February – Media, Cultural Studies and Journalism

All events take place in the British Library Conference Centre, London and cost £5. Lunch and refreshments are provided. We recommend that to make the most of the day attendees get a free Reader Pass before the event. A small number of £20 travel bursaries are available for each event to students coming from outside Greater London.

Further information and booking at:

Focus group training, 3 December

The next training session will be held at King’s Archives on 3 December 10-2, provided by Ken Norman of New Tricks.

The main focus will be on delivery skills and controlling the facilitation of focus group events.

10:00 – 10:40 Preparing for the focus Group

10:40 – 11:00 Introducing your Focus Group including delivery skills

11:00 – 11:45 Practical work (Introductions)

11:45 – 12:30 Facilitating discussion

12:30 – 13:00 lunch

13:00 – 13:30 Practical work in small groups

13:30 – 14:00 Post Focus group analysis, finings and conclusions

Blog housekeeping

After giving you ideas about how to use social media and such to improve access to your work, it would be nice to have a simple way to include some features that might help you publicise and monitor your blogs, right?

To that end I draw your attention to the “Jetpack” plugin. You will find it near the top of your left hand dashboard menus. This is a package of really useful plugins that wordpress themselves have published.

To use Jetpack you need to “connect to“. This involves following the big blue button from the Jetpack page that says “Connect to“. Then either logging in or creating a account.

You will notice that I have drawn attention to the .com in the previous paragraph, this is because we are talking about the wordpress publicly hosted blog platform – – not the blog software – WordPress – that we (LanguageOfAccess) and they ( use to run our blogs.

Confused? Don’t worry, just don’t expect the username and password you use for your LOA blog to work when connecting to If you don’t already have a account then you can easily create one as part of the process. Once that is done you will be taken back to your Jetpack page, from where you can activate or configure the new features.

Features of note include:

Blog statistics, Publicize (which I will use to tweet in a mo), Subscriptions, Likes and so on.




Reading list

The lecturers from the first session recommended a number of articles, books and blogs.

Andrea Tanner on London hospitals

Brian Abel-Smith: The Hospitals 1800-1948, a Study in Social Administration in England and Wales (London, 1964)

Roger Cooter, (ed.) In the Name of the Child, Health and Welfare 1880-1948, ( London: Routledge, 1992 )

Peter Cowan, ‘Some Observations concerning the Increase of Hospital Provision in London Between 1850 and 1960”, Medical History no. 14 (1970), pp. 42-52, pp. 42-43

L. Granshaw, ‘Fame and Fortune by means of Bricks and Mortar’: the Medical Profession and Specialist Hospitals in Britain, 1800-1948’, in L. Granshaw and R. Porter (eds), The Hospital in History (London, 1999), pp. 199-200

C.E. Handler: Guy’s Hospital – 250 Years (1976)

F. Hart: The Roots of Service: a History of Charing Cross Hospital 1818-1874 (1985)

Ruth Hodgkinson: The Origins of the National health Service: The Medical Service (Wellcome Institute, 1967)

Elizabeth Lomax, Small and Special: The Development of Hospitals for Children in Victorian Britain (Medical History Supplement no. 16, London, 1996)

Peter Mandler: (ed): The Uses of Charity: The Poor on Relief in the Nineteenth Century Metropolis (Pennsylvania, 1990).

R.J. Munney: Two Pillars of Charing Cross: the Story of a Famous Hospital (1967)

F.N.L. Poynter (ed) The Evolution of Hospitals in Britain (London, 1964)

Frank Prochaska, Women and Philanthropy in Nineteenth Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980)

R. Sinclair: The London Hospital, Portrait of a Hospital in Its Third Century (1956)

D. Jenkins & A.T. Stanway: The Story of King’s College Hospital (1968)

Keir Waddington, Charity and the London Hospitals, 1850-1898 (London, The Royal Historical Society and the Boydell Press, 2000).

Ken Norman’s recommendations relating to public speaking & presentation

Lend Me Your Ears by Professor Max Atkinson

How To Deliver A TED Talk Jeremy Donovan

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds

Clear Speech: Practical Speech Correction and Voice Improvement by Malcolm Morrison

Melissa Terras on blogging

Everything on the LSE Impact Blog:

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research Activities, by Brian Kelly

The LOA Blogs

In a shameless attempt to get our language of access participants to update their blogs (at least the title). I have included a list of links to the individual blogs on this the main language of access blog. Now I am blogging about the fact that I have added a list of links. In a minute I’m going to tweet about this blog post.

I have also added a custom search that will only search the language of access blogs. It will be interesting to see who will end up with the top results for certain search terms after we have some content in there…

First training session: a review

Dr Andrea Tanner addressing students on the Language of access course, 29 October 2013, King's College London Archives

Dr Andrea Tanner addressing students on the Language of access course, 29 October 2013, King’s College London Archives

The first full day training session took place on 29th October in King’s College Archives. Andrea Tanner delivered the first, morning, session on the changes which have taken place in framing medical vocabularies and terminology since the nineteenth century. She focused on her experience in helping to develop the Historic Hospital Admission Records Project (HHARP), which in the first instance drew on admission registers belonging to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

Andrea explained how HHARP,  which began in 2001, was an early example of crowdsourcing using volunteers managed by a central team – in this case one based in the University of Kingston. She described how the team harnessed the enthusiasm and diverse expertise of family historians and a constituency of mainly retired professionals. The digitisation and transcription of original source material posed challenges, not least relating to handwriting: doctors’ notes from mid-Victorian physicians and surgeons are often as indecipherable as current records. Data Protection legislation also makes the release of personal medical records an important consideration – and only records over 100 years are published.

The main focus of her talk was the classification of diseases and mapping to current standards, such as the World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases ( ICD10). The sheer variety of disease description, which might include a multiplicity of spellings for each disease, had to be reflected in the database and its search parameters. The HHARP team work closely with a team of experts including doctors and historians of medicine to devise a classification for disease based on where on the human body it presented.  Andrea then tested our knowledge of antique disease-names with a practical exercise in which the students divided into teams to locate diseases on a full sized drawing of the human body. Much fun ensued!

The serious point was that students should think carefully about how to construct a clear information architecture at the start of a project. In the case of HHARP, this required mapping or translating terminology to reflect how our understanding of disease and its causes has changed over time. It also requires the careful consideration of potential audiences and how they will potentially re-use data in unforeseen ways that are outside the scope of the original project to support interdisciplinarity or new trends in scholarship. Both the database and online interface must ideally be able to accommodate this variety.

The second session from Ken Norman of New Tricks aimed to provide students with an introduction to the basic principles of good communication and public speaking. Ken focused on the role of good planning, researching an audience, time management, using PowerPoint effectively, and structuring a talk for maximum impact. Lively engagement with an audience, the power of storytelling and techniques for dealing with difficult questions were also covered in this session. Interesting questions from students included the potential cultural differences of papers, talks and symposia around the world.

The third session from Melissa Terras of University College London was a fascinating insight into the power of blogging to promote research. Melissa provided startling statistical,analytical and anecdotal evidence drawn from her her own experience of blogging to show the reach of social media and its potential to make different audiences aware of new research, projects and publications, when compared with traditional methods of dissemination. She stressed the role of the blog in complementing the publication cycle by providing a quick ‘taster’ introduction to work-in-progress and findings that can be published much more quickly than in print. The role of blogging in promoting an individual’s personal research profile and status within their discipline and institution was also emphasised.