Monday, 25 July 2011

professional organisations

Not much to say on this one. I joined CILIP when I started work as a librarian in 2006 and am currently in the process of applying for chartership. Cosequently I've joined various sub-groups including Career Development Group, Information Literacy Group, Academic Research Group and of course my local Sussex group. Membership of Cilip does help to further your career and get opportunities to network with a wide variety of information specialists. The portfolio bulding courses have been very useful. My biggest gripe though is that most of their CPD events are far too expensive to attend. My department has cut right back on allowances for attending events and as an individual there's no way I could afford it. Librarians in general are dedicated but not well paid so membership of organisations that charge high rates has to be limited. Thus CILIP is the only one I've joined so far.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Thing 6 Don't you just hate technology sometimes!

Grrrr... Just spent ages updating the blog on Thing 6 Online Networking only to find it crashed and didn't save any of it!!! So here goes again.

Facebook - been using it for long time now but keep it for social contacts rather than work ones. Really useful for keeping up to date with friends and family ( and a sneaky peak at what wayward teenager daughter is up to! - yes, she foolishly invited me to be a friend). Prefer to keep work and family/social life separate and this isn't easy to do on Facebook. There's the whole debate too as to whether students want lecturers and librarians intruding on their Facebook space. So far we haven't gone down that route in our library.

LinkedIn - have signed up to this as a way of raising my online profile professionally and finding links to people and groups that would be useful. First time I came across it was in a Google search for an old school friend and it worked! Tracked down my friend via her sister who was on LinkedIn. Not sure how useful it'll be for me yet. but this seems to be more suited to professional use than Facebook. Interesting to see that the more things I've signed up to the more overlaps there are between groups and people - keep seeing a lot of the same people.

LAT network didn't realise I'd already signed up to this last year! I think the reason I'd not kept track of it was that there didn't seem to be much activity on it but hopefully more people will sign up as a result of cpd23 and we'll get a fresh wave of interest.

Looking forward to seeing Google+ when I can get an invite. Looks like this may be better than Facebook for networking with work colleagues as there's more control over groups and privacy.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Time for reflection

After a very wet break in Amsterdam is time to get back to work and catch up on everything.

Task 5 - Reflection - is well timed as I'm looking at what I've done so far for my Chartership portfolio. I've realised that  I've attended several conferences, meetings, presentations that have been really interesting, but after the initial buzz and enthusiasm to put new ideas into practice a lot of it has fizzled out. Time now to look back and reflect on what was useful and what use I can make of it. I like the "What - So What - Now What" Borton model of reflection as it's simple and reminds you that its not enough just to attend something without evaluating it and thinking about how it could help you either in your workplace or in your personal career development. Blogs are a great way of both reflecting on an event and also sharing it with others.

The most recent thing I attended was a TeachMeet organised by CoFHE and ILG at Kingston College. This was the first of these kind of events I'd been to and I was a bit concerned that I would be the only one not working in an FE/HE college. As it turned out there was a great variety of people there including some from universities like myself. The day started with talks by Jane Secker, Sarah Pavey and Lisa Jeskins on IL within their organisations and for me Jane's presentation was really interesting as she talked about an IL module developed at LSE which had been successfully embedded into the curriculum.  As I'm involved in a group developing an IL module this was an excellent opportunity to chat with Jane and to contact her after the event for more info. Networking can be really useful!

There were chances to discuss ideas in groups and a great  "find someone who" type Bingo icebreaker during lunch which got everyone chatting and getting to know each other. A lot of the discussion focussed on the importance of getting IL embedded in the curriculum at an early stage so that students will already have good IL skills by the time they reach HE.

After lunch we all had an opportunity to give a quick 5 min presentation on something.
As I'd never done any presentations outside my workplace before I decided this was a good opportunity to "have a go". I decided to give a demo on Polleverywhere (an online voting/comments application using mobiles that we've started using with students) It could have worked brilliantly but as ever with anything online the technology let me down and I could only talk about it without audience participation. I think I managed to keep my cool! Luckily I'm used to this kind of thing and am quite good at winging it! Of course after my presentation it worked perfectly so I was able to put it up on screen and got some people to text comments.
What would I have done differently on reflection? Checked and double checked it would work, brought along some visuals and examples of feedback comments and surveys I'd already done as an alternative.Lots of people did ask me for more info about it afterwards.
Interestingly not everyone who presented had any visual aids but I found the ones that did caught my attention more - something to bear in mind for future presentations. One novel idea someone used was to pass round a coke can and get people to think of words to describe it as a way of demonstrating how to come up with keywords for searches. Another idea I liked was a guide to using the library by Goldsmiths College that used a film noir theme.

What did I take away from this - some ideas and software that I'm going to try out and websites to visit:
  •  Xerte - an online interactive tool for creating exercises
  • University of East London website of Info Skills (open access repurposable resources)
  • University of West London - Learner Journey project using Glomaker - creates a signposted map of the journey withvideos, podcasts text and interactive quizzes
  • Prezi for more dramatic presentations
All in all a very lively, interesting and useful event. It's great to meet others from different types of institutions and in different roles and to share and pick up ideas. Can't wait to go to another of these.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

To tweet or not to tweet

I've finally got round to working on Task 3 having made a feeble attempt at branding myself in Task 2. Decided I really don't know how I want people to see me and think I prefer to keep my personal and professional profiles separate although that might change. For now I've just made some minor changes to  my blog page and added some tantalising "snippets" about me. No photo/image yet as I'm undecided. Perhaps that's what sums me up!

Anyway back to Task 3 where I looked at Twitter and RSS feeds:
I'd already set up a Twitter account some time ago to see what it was all about and had never bothered to tweet as I guess I just didn't get why I'd want to. Having revisited it I thought again about it's usefulness and can see that professionally it's a good way to quickly pass on bits of useful info and links without subjecting anyone to long ramblings. I know a lot of libraries are already using it to keep users up to date on new additions, services etc and it could be a good way for users to ask quick questions. I've added a few Tweets to follow and have had a look at ones that might be interesting but what I've found most of all from this is that the more things like this I'm subscribing to the more overloaded I'm becoming.

RSS feeds are something I've been using for some time and I use Google Reader by choice as I use iGoogle as my homepage. I mainly use them for news feeds and for information literacy/library related ones but also set up temporary feeds to illustrate use of feeds to research students and staff. As part of our training for researchers we show them how to set up RSS feeds to keep up to date with research in their area or journal articles alerts.

Pushnote is one that I decided not to pursue as I couldn't really see any great need for it and mostly use Internet Explorer anyway.

To sum up:   I'd say that RSS feeds are very useful for keeping up to date on news, developments, fresh ideas etc but you need to keep it maneagable as it's all to easy to end up with so many feeds that you have no time to read them. Google Reader is handy cos you can add it to your home page and see at a glance what's new without logging in. To tweet or not to tweet? Well I still can't see me using it much to tweet myself just yet but I'll keep an open mind. The biggest problem for me is keeping up to date with everything. I try and add as much as I can to my home page but having to log in to so many different sites, especially when I use several different computers is a chore rather than a time-saver. So if anyone has any tips on "keeping it altogether" I'd be grateful before I drown under the tidal wave of information overload!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Branding - Who am I?

Just started looking at how I brand myself and followed the suggestion to Google myself.  How depressing to find that I only exist out there as an entry on an electoral roll and as the author of a momentary rant in a local newspaper some years ago. I know I like my privacy but professionally that can't be a good thing can it?
Task for this week then to decide what I want people to know about me and how they see me and to get some profiles out there.

Thing 2

Now that I've got started with blogging I've realised some of the benefits as well as the drawbacks. Have spent some time sneaking a peak at other people's blogs and found some people I know but also a lot of other very interesting  people out there. I feel quite humbled by the very professional looking blogs and informative and engaging comments, so I almost don't dare to post anything. However one of the benefits I can see straight away is that it will encourage me to be more reflective, which can't be bad as I'm currently working towards Chartership.At the moment I think I'm more of a passive blogger but I hope to be able to contribute more and share some of my experiences and ideas. The main drawback for me is finding the time to go through other blogs to find things of interest. I started browsing the blogs but had to give up after a while as a lot of the blogs took me off on very interesting but lengthy tangents that put me in danger of burning the dinner! Keep feeling I'm missing out on something, which is a common feeling with information overload.
Did find a fellow bellydancing librarian though and some very interesting musings from a deep thinker.
Have had some comments on my blog and have added some comments to others so not a bad start.