Ran 5 miles to Musselburgh, and took the following photos on the way. They show the debris left by yesterday’s high tide along the front. Tomorrow’s high tide will be very high, as well.
It’s been too rainy to run today, so I went to Portobello Baths instead and did 60 lengths. Outside, along the prom, is wasn’t half wild. Contrast the following photos with the ones I took two days ago.
What the following photos don’t indicate is how very windy it was at the top of Carnethy Hill, in the Pentlands, yesterday. Some people who were walking into the wind were finding it difficult to descend. The various fell runners were running with the wind at their backs.
Taken during my run on Friday, the following two photos show the tractor at work cleaning up Portobello beach. It does this every day, and the result is a lovely clean beach.
It’s not so long since the Seafield roundabout at Portobello was replaced at a cost of over £3 million. So – what happens next? They start to dig the road up again! Unbelievable! The roads in Edinburgh are dug up far too often. Better planning is called for.
Shaun (2nd from left) and pals (Elliot, Allan and Mike), about to get a lift to Edinburgh airport, on their way to Amsterdam.
To celebrate Lindsey’s birthday on Saturday we had lunch in the Il Castello restaurant. Lovely meal:
Then we walked round Edinburgh Castle:
Yesterday I ran in the Alloa Half Marathon. That’s the first one for twenty years. I think I previously ran in the Alloa Half Marathon in 1980 or thereabouts. My time was about 20 minutes slower than I used to run in my thirties, but it was a surprisingly easy run yesterday.
A wonderful thing about running in such races is the number of people who line the road and provide encouragement. The people who organise the water stations also do a fantastic job.
According to the results:
404 RODERICK MACLEOD 804 02:02:36 795 02:01:03 596 M 29 M55 UNATTACHED
My chip time was 2:01:03. You wear a chip round your ankle and this gives you an accurate time from start to finish. My time was 795th out of over 1,000 starters, and I was 29th in my category (male, over 55). The winner was TSEGEZAB WOLDEMICHAEL 01:04:51 *course record.
The week before last I wrote a post (Many university library websites suck!) about the dreadful state of several university library websites that I’d examined more-or-less at random. At the end of the post, I invited readers to contact me if they wanted me to run a critical eye over their UK university library website, and I promised to say what really thought, in public, on this blog.
I didn’t really expect anyone to get back to me, but Michael Dunne, who is responsible for the library website at Lancaster University, did, saying that he’d been looking at his website for too long to be objective any more. He was honest enough to say that he was aware that “it does suck on some levels”. Brave chap!
OK, Michael – here goes.
I’ll be looking especially for inconsistencies, for typos (which really shouldn’t happen on a university library website), for jargon, to see whether there’s information that might confuse the average student, for broken links, and to try to assess whether the website is written from the user’s perspective. I’ll be looking for basic, easy to use search tools, and anything else which may crop up.
This is because librarians should be ‘acting as intermediaries’, and helping their users find the information they really want, though library websites.
But first, what about the Lancaster University homepage, and can you find the Library’s web pages easily from it? Unless I’m missing something, there isn’t a prominent link from the University homepage to the Library, which is disappointing. There’s a search box on the University homepage, and the first result for ‘library’ takes you to the Library homepage, (which, believe it or not, does not always happen at other university websites). The second result takes you to the Ruskin Library, and the fourth result takes you to Ruskin Library Welcome Introduction, which has a completely different design to that second result (Ruskin Library). This is a bit confusing, for the outsider, at least. I see that there’s a Catalogue for this Ruskin Library, which is different (and with different headings) to the main Lancaster University Library Catalogue, which is also a bit confusing. The Ruskin Library website has been designed by a different person to the main Lancaster University Library website, but perhaps there might have been more synergy between the two.
You can also get to the main Lancaster University Library website from the A-Z at the University homepage.
Hmm – this is nothing to do with Michael Dunne and Lancaster University Library, but what do you think of the Resources for schools and colleges page on the Lancaster University website?
Look at the fourth heading:
‘s list of Further Education Colleges
Elsewhere on this page there’s a link to HERO, which closed a long time ago, there’s a link to CVCP which is now Universities UK, there’s a link to SHEFC which is now Scottish Funding Council, there’s a broken link to DFEE, and another broken link to AUA. I don’t know how I got to the Resources for schools and colleges page, but I wish I hadn’t! Elsewhere on the Lancaster University website I found a very dated Finding Things on the Web page. Gosh – there’s all sorts of dated information, such as Web Indices, with many broken links. Here’s a WebTeach page from 1996! All of this stuff is linked to from the main Lancaster University Help pages! Instead of these dated pages, they should link to the University Library website. Strewth – Here’s a How To Find Things page dated 1996, with links to BIDS and other things which haven’t existed for a long time.
I think that someone needs to have a word with the university website manager. I thought about completing the feedback form, but it only allows for “up to 3 features of our site that you found unhelpful”.
I’m sure that the Library website won’t suck as much as some of the main University website pages do. That would be very difficult.
So, with respect to the Library website: there’s a page about the design of the Lancaster University Library website, which states that the aim has been to keep the layout simple and clutter free. I think that’s true – the website does look uncluttered. It looks as if it’s had to abide by elements of a university-wide template, but I’ve seen plenty worse ones.
Results from the Search this Site customised Google search could have been returned within the Library template, instead of like this. The Library blog could be branded a bit more. The Quick Links menu bar on the left side of all pages (except the home page, which has more ‘Selected Links’) could highlight which page you’re actually looking at. There’s what seems to be an abundance of ‘Quick’ things (the aforementioned ‘Quick Links’, Catalogue Quick Search, Quick Reference, and MetaLib Quick Search, etc). Personally, I don’t get all this ‘quick’ stuff which seems to be popular at so many library websites. Does Google do ‘quick’? On the plus side, they don’t give their Catalogue a daft name, like so many other university libraries do.
There’s a standard MetaLib search facility. When you mouseover the MetaLib link in the Selected Links or Quick Links menus, it reveals ‘Search for journal articles’. It might be more user friendly to have it the other way round, however I think that this MetaLib also searches for book titles in the Lancaster University Library Catalogue, plus COPAC and the British Library Integrated Catalogue, so maybe it should not say ‘Search for journal articles’. The heading ‘Electronic Library’ on the homepage also leads to MetaLib (but that’s not made clear before you search), and under the ‘Electronic Library’ heading is the explanation ‘search for articles’ – so, there’s a little inconsistency of terminology.
There’s a link to e-Books on the homepage, which takes you here, where it’s explaned that you can find many electronic books within the Library catalogue. However, on this page there’s also links to EEBO and ECCO, etc, which are not really explained. All it needs is a heading saying WTTEO ‘Other sources of e-Books’
I think that there’s inconsistency between ‘electronic journals’ and ‘online journals’ on this page.
For some reason, there are actual web links to dates in the future on the Recent additions page, which don’t work.
The explanation for Using electronic resources from off campus is as clear as it can be, given that there are several methods for doing so. It’s a shame that at so many universities access to resources from off campus can sometimes be complex, but hopefully this situation will get simpler in the future. It’s something that causes many students problems at many universities.
I found pages such as Citing References mercifully clear and simple, which is not the case at some university library websites. There’s a small typo on that page, though: “Whichever style you use, it is very important to be consistent The use of EndNote bibliographic/reference software available in PC labs and Library PCs or over the internet as EndNote web will help you to create consistent citations and bibliographies.” If you want to be really pernickety, there are two missing spaces in: “NEVILLE, C.(2007).The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. Maidenhead: Open University Press.” which should not happen in an example of a reference.
There’s a LINKS guide to finding information. I really like the two computers playing ping-pong at the bottom of this section :-). There seems to be some inconsistencies in fonts used in LINKS, and in the LINKS section many followed links change colour, which sometimes but not always happens on the other Library pages. There’s also a LINKS section on Citing Sources, which links back to the Citing References page mentioned above, but not vice versa.
Lancaster University Library use slideshare, they also have a Flickr photostream, they tweet and you can find them on Facebook. So they are pretty active in trying to be in the same places as many of their students. There’s a great deal of information on their library website, set out in an uncomplicated way, and whilst not all of it is perfect, I wouldn’t say that their website sucks, and certainly not as much as parts of their University website.
Instant is a free magazine which can be found in numerous cafes, tea houses and various other outlets in Edinburgh. It’s a particularly good read, and I always enjoy looking at it when waiting for someone in a cafe, and I often pick up a copy to take home as well.
On the Instant website there’s a directory of cafes, tea houses, Internet cafes, juice bars, cafe bars and more, giving locations and where applicable, websites. Very useful for arranging meetings, etc.
It’s sister publication is artmag.
Another mag based in Scotland for new and known artists, musicians and writers is I Am One Magazine
Not a very busy week, apart from running and painting some of the many doors in this house. I’d hoped we could attend the launch of Ghillie-Dhu, a new Edinburgh venue, but despite registering and sending an RSVP in response to their email, they failed to send an invitation. They should sort out their system.
On Saturday there was a very pleasant, double birthday party at Ali and Nick’s, where I met someone who explained why many racing bike riders don’t have mudguards – it’s because mudguards are against the rules in bike races. This is because the spokes that hold them in place can be dangerous in the event of a crash. So – there we have it. Also spoke to someone who’d been to the rugby international at Murrayfield. There were many penalties in this match, but if you’re at the ground and don’t have the benefit of a commentary and TV replays, most of the time you’ve no idea why the penalty was awarded. Seems a bit unsatisfactory.
Mac has decided that he’s too frail to run in next week’s half marathon. Well, I suppose that he is a lot older than me, and on our training run the other day he was really slow running round Arthur’s Seat. In fact, he’s barely in the frame below.
It was a lovely day, though, with some great views to enjoy whilst waiting for Mac to catch up.