Top blog posts from 2020

What is the “New Normal”?: Vable’s Top Blog Posts from 2020

December 30, 2020
Clare Brown

Who can believe 2020 is nearly over? Normally we approach the close of the year with optimism and anticipation of spending time at home with friends and family. We are still hopeful of having the best time possible, but perhaps our celebrations will be more low key than usual. 

Google’s Year in Search 2020 offers us an honest insight into what we have been searching for this year. Were you there for the Dalgona coffee craze? Did you know that bread is the wholesome glu(ten) that holds us all together? This Google search review makes for some curious reading; bread related recipes (pizza, banana, beer bread etc) were piping hot. And we all wanted to know what day it was - and learn how to cut our own hair!

As I was putting this together I realised that our top posts coincided with Google’s trends - read on and enjoy!

19 free multimedia tools to inspire people

Google says: The world searched “how to help” more than ever. Top trending “how to help” searches include: how to help australia fires, how to help Black Lives Matter, how to help during coronavirus, how to help beirut.

Team Vable is here to help and support you. Creating engaging and powerful multimedia communications can be a real challenge for the library and information community.  Effective marketing relies on us making a real impact on social media and other communication channels. Happily there are many easy-to-use tools to help us be more visible. 

This year’s social distancing challenges meant our end-users were looking for help online - and everyone was producing great content. Our sophisticated and visually attuned audience wants to be entertained, inspired, educated, and informed - in new and interesting ways. Why not give these a go!

Law libraries and technology: “The Times They Are a-Changin'”

Google says: How to learn coding was the top trending thing people searched to learn. Python was the top searched programming language. 

Did anyone learn anything new this year (apart from everything!)? During the first lockdown everyone said they were open to learning new things, with one poll conducted during the lockdown saying that 81% of attendees reported that they have engaged in more professional development since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of that involved the new technology we needed to do our jobs. 

As a result, this blogpost was inspired by various tech-related discussions which took place within the legal information community; lis-law, BIALL and various blog posts. As part of the learning process, I also created case studies using information teams’ experiences of transferring from manual to automated news aggregation and current awareness.

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Essential guidance for reopening your library and information service

Google says: Searches for “mask emoji” surpassed searches for “hug emoji”. Because hugs are great, but hey… wear a mask.

Readers love our guest posts and I am happy to report that this piece from Caroline Rowlands was very popular. Caroline wondered what the future of law firm libraries would look like with the easing of lockdown restrictions and information professionals looking to return to the office. 

We now know that a library and information service does not have to be a physical space. Librarians have been just as busy during lockdown because we have been opening up access and promoting the online resources that many lawyers have spent years resisting. But as restrictions remain in place, go easy on the social proximity, and keep wearing your masks!

COVID-19: Why librarians are amazing in times of crisis?

Google says: Health care workers' bravery inspired us all. The top searched thing people wanted to become during a pandemic year was a nurse.

Healthcare workers have shown incredible resilience. Everyday I am inspired by their stories, many of whom have sacrificed their lives while caring for the sick. I'm equally inspired by public librarians who are running risks to keep information circulating around communities, and maintaining access to essential services. Vulnerable people need access to information more than ever before.

We remain in the midst of unexplored territory and life as we knew it shows no sign of reverting to ‘normal’. There have been few global events which have kept everyone glued to the news like COVID-19, and we are constantly making behavioural adjustments in response. On a personal level, our communities depend on us to follow advice and stay at home, unless absolutely necessary.

Technology and COVID-19: What if this had happened 30 years ago?

Google says: Kids made “productive” use of their time at home this year, as pranks on parents reached an all-time high…

Roberto Rivero spent time writing guest blog posts for us this year. One of my favourite ones was when he asked, what it would have been like if it had happened 30 years ago? He wanted to inject some lightness into his COVID-19 reading - entertainment, talking to friends, and keeping up-to-date with news! 

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COVID-19: What are people buying during the pandemic?

Google says: In 2020, worldwide searches for "support small business" doubled compared to the previous year. 

Another post by Roberto proved popular. As an entrepreneur he wanted to know what people were buying during the pandemic. He was reading the business press, his current awareness alerts, and using Google to see what products and services were doing well during these strange times.

Is it possible to turn reluctant end-users into technology superstars?

Google says: Why shelter in place when you can shelter with a pet? Global search interest for "foster a dog" reached an all-time high in 2020 

I attended the recent webinar, "Legal Tech: Turn Your Reluctant Users into Power Users". The host, Brian Jones, discussed various findings from the recent ILTA 2020 Technology Survey and then outlined some practical approaches to get reluctant end-users to adopt and embrace the change. 

One enjoyable part of encouraging end-users to become tech superstars is getting comfortable with new working conditions. Our living spaces are filled with noise, spouses and children, parents and relatives, and pets. One of the best new ice breakers prior to training sessions is talking about pets!

COVID-19: “We should put down all devices and just walk”

Google says: Search interest in sunset near me reached an all-time high in 2020. A moment to be serene amidst the routine. 

And finally I want to stress how important the outdoors has become to people in 2020. We have embraced a new appreciation of the freedom and enjoyed exploring our backyards. When you are walking in familiar territory, but in unfamiliar times, everything takes on a new significance. You are more likely to notice and appreciate minute changes. 

As if to prove this point, the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors were recently awarded dark-sky status; when light pollution is minimised, we can enjoy looking at worlds beyond our own. Perfect escapism. I hope everyone enjoyed the recent Great Conjunction of 2020 when Jupiter and Saturn put on a show that hadn't been seen in roughly 800 years. 

Have a great holiday and see you in the New Year for more current awareness insights.

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