July 16, 2012

CPD Thing 8: Google calendar

This seems like a useful tool and I can see how it would be great for libraries that have a lot of public engagement. At present I have no need to use this for work purposes as the calendar tools provided by my employee has proved sufficient. I read the articles on how other libraries are using Google calendar and thought the email alerts were an interesting way for setting up reminders. I also still like to use a hard copy of a personal organiser.

June 28, 2012

What is information or how the hippies gave raise to the Internet?

I went a talk last night about ‘What is information’ and the speaker presented their current research on the impact of computing and how it has shaped the concept of information. The ideas were pretty far reaching me as I do not have knowledge of computer science and I couldn’t get my head round the technical points. However when the talk started to lead into LSD, the CIA, and hippies this definitely threw up some questions.

How much is our understanding of information integral to a physical object i.e. a book or computer?

Is the message important?

Is the Internet like a psychedelic drug?

 

June 27, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 7: real-life networks

My experiences of professional organisations have been akin to dipping my toe in water to jumping in the deep end. I’ve been a member of CILIP for a few years and found it has been a useful of finding out about the profession. I’ve attended a range of workshops and conferences and more recently embarked on the CDG International Study Tour.

When I joined the profession my knowledge of librarianship was limited with my main encounters being with public and academic libraries. Being a member of CILIP has enabled me to meet a variety of people and discover the scope of the profession and the roles that exist. It has also helped me develop my professional interests.

June 18, 2012

23 Things – Thing 6 Online Networks – privacy concerns

This Thing is one that I’ve had to really have a good think about. Although I recognise the potential of using online tools to engage with networks, at present I’ve had to decide not to participate. The major concern I have is the matter of privacy. I realise that you have the choice with how much information you can input about yourself on these tools however it seems to me that there is a need to put up a fair amount of personal details and there is niggling feeling in the back of mind that does not feel comfortable with this. Everytime I think to try it out I’ll read something like this: http://www.wired.com/business/2012/06/opinion-google-is-evil/ and the feeling returns. I shall need to give this some consideration.

June 6, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 5 – Reflection: Our relationship with information

Since starting this CPD 23 Things course I have become more relaxed about using social media tools. My main concern was being overwhelmed. I am glad to find that many of the concerns I hold are shared by other participants.

In turn it has made me think of points of interests I’ve had for sometime namely our relationship with information. In particular I am intrigued by the concept of information overload and the part the social media tools play.

To me it is about information overconsumption rather than overload. These tools and use of them are a reflection of our relationship with information, how it is produced and consumed.

A book I have on my reading list is Clay Johnson’s “The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption” having read a fascinating review on the following blog: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/01/19/the-information-diet-clay-johnson/. Clay Johnson draws attention to the idea of information being like food and that we should consider the consumption of it in the same way. He raises the point about it being a health issue. I brought this topic up at the LibCamp@Brunel and wondered at the role of information professional in supporting an information diet. I’ve recently read the post and discussion “If Information is Food, What Does It Mean to Say, ‘You Are What You Eat’?” on Agnostic, Maybe:  http://agnosticmaybe.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/if-information-is-food-what-does-it-mean-to-say-you-are-what-you-eat/. It was good see that this idea of information as food brings about an interesting debate. I’m still undecided about the role of information professional however I feel it depends on the ‘consumer’. Clearly a researcher will have different needs to someone with leisure interests, therefore in the former cases it is essential that the informational professional acts more like a nutritionist.  

It also reminded me of an article I read David Bawden and Lyn Robinson “The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies” Journal of Information Science Volume 35 Issue 2, April 2009. Bawden and Robinson point out that information overload is a more a perceived problem than an actual problem. Also the notion of information overload is not new and there similar accounts taking place during the period of increased publication in 19th century. The problem may be more associated with information behaviour.

Finally I rather like Margaret Atwood’s take on Twitter: “Let’s just say it’s communication, and communication is something human beings like to do.” http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/mar/29/atwood-in-the-twittersphere/. To me this sums up most of the social media tools available and I look forward to exploring.

May 25, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 4 – Current awareness: Trying to keep up to date without losing my mind

Twitter

I started out my venture into the social media sphere with Twitter and have spent much of my time trying to get to grips with it without getting overwhelmed. My purpose has been to use it for professional reasons and to find out about things not readily advertised anywhere else. I have found out about interesting events like LibCamp. It has also fed my curiosity which seems to be ideal use of Twitter and I have found many enlightening writings and films some of which seem to come just when I need it.

 

RSS

This is one of those tools I have always had lingering in the background but have yet to make regular use of it. Professional reasons should be good incentive. Starting out on this course I have found lots of really interesting blogs and sites therefore this tool should serve a useful purpose for following these.

 

Storify

This looks like an interesting tool will need to explore further along with other tools that were mentioned at the recent London LibTeach Meet. The examples given were “Jog the Web”, “Symbaloo”, “Scoop it”, “Diigo”, and “Netvibes”.

May 22, 2012

CPD23 Thing 3 – Personal Brand = Awareness

I’ll confess like some people the idea of thinking about my ‘brand’ left me feeling slightly apprehensive. This concept conjured up thoughts of major corporations working tirelessly to create an image and an idea about a product. Than I read a few of suggested readings and came to realise that in this sense branding could also mean awareness.

Branding as self awareness

To me this means maintaining a sense of who I am. I think it is very apt that many others on the CPD 23 programme are asking questions along that. I believe having this understanding means you can think about how you might be perceived by others.

Branding as awareness of others

Thinking about others and how they present themselves and how we perceive them allows for a greater sense of awareness. This makes me think of the John Donne quote “No man is an island”, which remains me of how we part of communities.

Branding as awareness of environment

To participate in something there needs to be awareness of where this is taking place, be it a physical environment or a virtual one. In turn I think about how I may fit into these environments.

With these points in mind I have thought about how I am able to represent myself in the social media spheres as well as in other professional spheres. Reading Andromeda Yelton’s piece on “Personal Branding for New Librarians” draw to my attention that this is an organic process and is not static. Therefore I hope to learn from this process and develop.

The exercise produced surprising results as I actually managed to find something considering I’ve not be very active. I did have to add ‘library’ because I knew my name alone would return results for the US speed skater.

May 21, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 2 – Exploring other blogs

 I’ve been having a look around the other library and information professional blogs. I’m pleased to find a good mix of well established bloggers and those just starting out. 

It feels like there is good community out there for professionals to engage with each other and share ideas.

May 17, 2012

London LibTeach Meet 2012

I attended my first LibTeach Meet on Monday 14th May as an “Enthusiastic Audience Member” and was glad to find there were plenty of others as well as a good selection of presenters and cake. I went along because I am interested in the library professional roles that involve aspects of teaching and this seemed an ideal opportunity to learn about these.

 The Event

Overall the event had a very positive vibe and this is always encouraging as I am just starting out in this profession. This is also the first event I’ve been to with lots of short presentations and I was intrigued about how these could be done. There was healthy mix of presentations, visual aids and activities. I learnt about the interesting and varied ways library professionals deliver information literacy and literacy skills.  

The Talks

Here are my highlights of the presentations. At the time of writing this further information about the talks is due to be added to the London LibTeach Meet website: http://www.ldnlibtm.info/.

Curating with students and teachers

Sue Merrick

Sue’s made me aware of the web resources available to curate the web and share content. The examples given were “Jog the Web”, “Symbaloo”, “Scoop it”, “Diigo”, and “Netvibes”. These are tools I would be interested in exploring.

 

How can public librarians engage with homeless people through outreach activity?

Ka-Ming Pang (presenting on behalf of Carly Miller)

Ka-Ming brought to my attention the efforts being made in public libraries to provide support for homeless people and the issues they face. The key points made about what public libraries can provide included free computers, bibliotherapy, literacy training and study spaces, marking out the overall importance of public libraries within society. Understandably there are issues about how public libraries provide access to these services however a working model was highlighted in the form of the Quaker Mobile Library.

 

A game to teach less confident speakers about resources

Adam Edwards

Adam involved the audience in a game that was a good example of how to improve information literacy skills. We had to sort out different coloured cards that described types of resources such as a book, journal or the web. The descriptions were written in such a way that really did make you think about each resource and how someone could make sense of them.

 

Teaching technical skills to non-technical types

Kate Lomax

Kate drew my attention to the types of self-taught technical training courses library professionals are doing and how the “cpd23 Things” offers a good model for these online courses.

Engaging diverse learners through audio technologies

Anne Pietsch

Anne brought to my attention the types of audio technologies being used by students such as voice recognition and Text-to-Speech to help with reading and that awareness needs to be raised about these technologies.

 

Start at the beginning: Differentiated uses of covers and starts

Barbara Band

Barbara presented an interesting example of how to improve literacy of younger students in schools. Barbara showed examples of cards with book covers on them which were less intimidating than a whole book. Activities included working out the genres, and reading different ‘starts’ in order to decide which the best one is. I particularly liked the idea of the one where students had to read a ‘start’ of a book and then do some creative writing based on it.

Cultural Awareness

Suzanne Rushe

Suzanne presented an interesting way of trying to overcome the issues between the front line library staff and their interaction with international students at university. She gave an example of an activity where members of the audience were issued with a card that told them they were from a particular planet and had a certain greeting. They then had to find another person from their planet by greeting the other selected members of the audience. Straight away it was clear how awkward it was to greet someone because of the extreme differences such as someone trying to shake hands with someone who couldn’t touch people. Once the task was completed members of each group were asked how they felt and some pointed out how isolating it was and it was a relief when they found someone who was similar to them. Suzanne also gave another example of activities that got staff to think about their own cultural backgrounds and share this with other members of staff.

 

Skills Days

Alison Chojna

Alison presented an interesting example of an all day drop-in sessions of university students. The flexibility of the sessions sounded good as students could turn up at a time that suited them and they were given training material to work through at their own pace.

 

Search Preparation: Reaching mixed users

Julia Abell

Julia provided a comprehensive overview of the skills and knowledge required by library professionals in order to support a variety of users when they are conducting research.

May 16, 2012

The Netherlands Library Study Tour

Now that I have started with this blogging I really feel I ought to share some of my professional development activities that I’ve enjoyed. I joined a tour organised by the CILIP’s Career Development Group of libraries in theNetherlandswhich took place in April and was definitely enlightening. The programme devised was enticing, which included:

  • the medical library of Academisch Medisch Centrum, Universiteit van Amsterdam;
  • AmsterdamCentral Public Library;
  • Library and information service of Koninklijk Instituit voor de Tropen (KIT) (Royal Tropical Institute);
  • PeacePalaceLibrary: The international law library;
  • and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The National Library of theNetherlands).

All proved to be rewarding in their offerings, and inspiring. I am writing a comprehensive article about the tour which will include highlights, a few of which include a library I wanted to pack up and bring back home with me; excellent examples of digital libraries; and a very special collection which required extra special supervision. I will write a post on this blog about each library visit giving a bit more insight.