My year with ELISA – a 1st Anniversary review

During my report to the AGM in June, I mentioned my very first ELISA meeting had been the AGM of 2014. Afterwards Fiona Laing suggested I write a post reflecting on being part of ELISA for the last year and how things have moved forward in that time. A lovely idea but I’m afraid it took me a while to get around to doing it.

WP_20150625_005So, being much too late for a reasonable tie-in with the AGM, I will instead use this post to mark the 1st Anniversary of this site itself!!!

The very first post was uploaded on 24 September 2014. With fitting symmetry it was a re-blog of my own report from the 2014 AGM at the Botanics. Looking back over my year (and a bit) as part of ELISA is a pleasant experience. Right from the start, at the 2014 AGM, I felt totally welcomed by this group of very lovely library people.

Blogging is my hobby so, when told there was need of assistance in that area, I immediately volunteered. Since I derive huge pleasure from fiddling around online, I quickly moved from ‘helping out with the website’ to leading the Web & e-Content Group – which seemed to be a pretty sweet deal for everyone involved!

The old website

The TACIT newsletter had just been retired and I wanted ELISA’s website to take its place as an information resource for Edinburgh’s Library and Information Services community. I had a lot of ideas but was limited by lack of access to the website. It was at that time hosted on Edinburgh University’s server and, for security reasons, I could not have full administrative access to it there. It had previously been well maintained by Greg Christie but, though he was exceedingly helpful, he had his own job to do and my intended revamp of the site would have taken months to achieve without direct access.

So, at a Business Committee meeting (probably in August 2014) I questioned how wedded ELISA was to the website as it was. I suggested that shifting to a free site hosted on would give us more freedom and versatility, allowing any and all ELISA members to post if they so wished… Long story short, after a whirlwind few weeks, almost before I knew what was happening, the old site had been archived, and I was sole admin of this shiny new website:

Web Group members

For a little while the Web & e-Content ‘Group’ was just me but I was soon joined by Lauren Thow of Portobello High School and Jose Lopez (formerly of the Advocates Library). When Jose left Edinburgh the group was down to 2 members – until Claire Donlan from Heriot-Watt was persuaded to join us too.


My main focus is the design and up-keep of the website. I built the layout and pages, adding various widgets like the Twitter feed and a link to ELISA’s Eventbrite account. I work to create an online following (here and on Twitter) and try to chase up interesting content – to the extent that I suspect many ELISA folk are scared to talk to me these days since I’m always demanding new posts for the site. I’m also part of the Business Committee.

Lauren is our Photoshop diva. As well as being the new chair of the Access Working Group (congrats Lauren!) she is designing the beautiful new Libraries Passport and related documentation.

Claire is our link to the excellent work of the Training & Development Group. She initially set-up our Twitter account – @elisaEDINBURGH – and is great at live Tweeting ELISA events. Claire also takes beautiful photos.

Online stats

ELISA currently has 328 online followers.

  • 160 directly through this website
  • 168 via Twitter – there is likely to be some duplication here but I have no way to quantify that.

In the first year the website had:

  • 7,606 views of 102 posts – by 8 authors (and several more contributors) – but only 24 comments
  • hits from 79 different countries staggeringly! Though the majority of our 2678 visitors have probably been more local.
  • its best day ever on 22 October 2014 with 212 views!

The Twitter account was created on 7 November 2014 and since then we’ve tweeted 264 Tweets to 168 Followers.

Guest posts

Gifted: The fascinating tale of ten mysterious book sculptures gifted to the city of words and ideas

As noted above, I’m always trying to find people willing to contribute something for publication on the site. In the last year we’ve had posts submitted by:

I was very pleased when Christine De Luca agreed to write a piece for the website last year. Her illustrated submission was ‘serialised’ in 3 parts during January 2014. It was very successful in drawing subscribers to the site and raising its profile. I’m very keen to showcase other guest writers in the future. This is an ongoing scheme so please, please send me your submissions or suggest names of people I could invite to contribute in the future.

The year ahead

I feel (I hope!) that the Web & e-Content Group, with our various links and interests, provide a kind of unifying force within ELISA. We gather information about the BC and Working Groups’ meetings, projects and events and disseminate them to the wider ELISA community. We also supply a conduit for that community to send out its own info too. I want our website to become central to ELISA’s work and to Edinburgh’s library, museum, archive, records management and information community.

I’ve very much enjoyed my first year with ELISA, I’ve loved meeting and working with so many lovely library professionals and I look forward to the years ahead. Please, as always, contact me with any questions, suggestions or feedback you have.

Thanks for a lovely year ELISA!

Jane A Condie
Advocates Library, and ELISA Web & e-Content Group leader


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