Thing 18 – Jing

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This is another tool I have been using at work.  We have recently taken over the hosting of a website of a global community.  Our website is slightly more modern than the previous website as it is a build portal with discussion forums and digests.  Some users have found the change quite challenging and have therefore made complaints.  We decided a good way to show people the way the site works would be to show videos and training guides.  Through Googling ‘screen capture’ I came across Jing (the first free tool I found!).

I decided not to record a narrative but instead would add notes at the bottom of the screen to support what was happening in the video.    I found that I needed to write a script as a step by step guide, as it were, before recording the video to avoid making errors or have the mouse fly around the screen.  It was interesting to actually have to think about what I was doing instead of automatically looking around and using a website.

I found that I need to download Camtasia to edit my video, this was also free but only for a certain time period.  At the editing stage I also realised that I had recorded the video at natural speed and in order to make it more understandable and add text it needed to be a much slower pace.  Camtasia has such tools to allow you to slow frames down (which saved me having to record it all over again!).  You can also zoom into to frames if you need to get a close up of anything on the screen.   The editing process was quite fiddly – making sure the arrows appeared and disappeared at natural moments- but once I got into it, I quite enjoyed the challenge!

We have yet to disseminate the videos to the community but (and not to blow my own trumpet!) I really do think they will help. I think they make good additions to any user/ training guide.  The best thing about Jing is that it’s free, so it’s really worth a try!

Podcasts

I never done any podcasting, the need has not arisen yet.  I’m not comfortable with the sound of my own voice so I’m not sure how well I’d do at making my own, but it might be another useful aid to user and training guide as well as another way to promote services.

HLG2012

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As printed in September’s edition of HLG newsletter …….

I work as an Information Officer at National Heart Forum whilst also studying distance learning Information and Library studies postgraduate at Aberystwyth University.  I have previously worked in a healthcare library but never before been to a conference as specific as health libraries so I was looking forward to HLG2012, getting the opportunity to meet other people in the sector and learn more about the future and developments of healthcare librarians, and I wasn’t disappointed!

I learnt so much, I am not sure where to start…

Coming from the third sector, the content of the HLG conference was quite NHS heavy, I realise this is due to the majority of healthcare librarians being in the NHS, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t things I could take and apply to my current role and studies.  One thing I learnt was the variety of information roles in healthcare.  The talk with Kevin Rooney and Michelle Kirkwood was particularly interesting, showing evidence that the involvement of clinical librarians at the point of case improved patient care by 20% – so yes, us information professionals really are valuable!

Sue Hill, of Sue Hill recruitment, gave a session on networking and getting a LIS job.  This I’m sure was particularly useful for information professionals currently looking for work or thinking they might have to in the future.  Sue’s main take away tips were thinking about your next job, what skills might you need for it, is your message clear, is your CV and oral description of what you’ve done, where you are, where you want to be clear?  Always be prepared to explain further.  She finished on expressing the importance of networking and how social media has strengthened this – I completely agree, because of Twitter I instantly knew at least 2 people who were going to be a HLG and we agreed to meet before the conference began.  Tweeting at and about HLG also allowed networking with others, following more LIS professionals and gaining more in return, you never know what these connections might lead to in the future.  if /when come to next job perhaps it is worth looking at job descriptions now, how I can get some of the skills there after and looking at whether my CV reflects all the skills I am picking up throughout my work and studies.

Presentation of BMA report ‘evaluation of information consumerism and impact on the role of the librarian’ focussed on the evolution of Web 2.0 and how it has shaped the librarians role and how we can move forward, how we need to understand our user’s needs and adapt to the evolution of their questions for example, how to use an i-pad.  They pointed to Ned Potter’s ‘Library marketing toolkit’ as an extremely useful guide for this.

Prof. Peter Reid’s talk on Generation of the librarian was thought-provoking – at one point I did get a bit worried when the question of, ‘Is library school relevant anymore?’ came up, but it was quickly agreed that yes it can still be of value as long as it is adapted to fit the future form of librarians – phew!

Information professionals have highly transferable skills, it’s not just about reading books, it’s a people profession requiring good communication skills, team-working, networking and research – continuous professional development. 

A session on report writing was definitely of use to me (even for this!).  The most useful tips I took away from this session were: how to set out what it is I am writing about, knowing what my point is, making sure I am aiming at the right publication and looking at their recommendations as a guideline for my paper and thinking about what the readers will be able to usefully apply to their practice?  These tips will be in the back of my mind throughout the rest of my postgraduate course as well as applied to my workplace. 

I’m sure most of you by now will of heard about the ‘entertainment’ at the conference dinner (in the beautiful Old Fruitmarket) so I won’t go into that, but all I will say is that I love a ceilidh and this one was no exception!

In summary, I learnt a lot at HLG, more than I can write here, some things building on what I already knew, other concepts completely new that I can apply to work, studies and the future.  My notes are covered in ‘?’ meaning, ‘look this up’ which should keep me busy for a while.  Finally, I’d just like to say thank you again to HLG for awarding me with one of the bursaries. 

 

Thing 17 – Prezi

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Well this Thing has come along just in time.    One project for me at work is to make a guide for online resources.  I had been stuck on a good way to present it, but I think Prezi might just be the answer.

I have previously been impressed presentations I have seen at conferences that use Prezi, it certainly makes a change from the comparatively flat MSO power point.

So I have stated converting my online resources guide into Prezi.  At first I didn’t find it very intuitive and didn’t quite understand how all the tools worked so the links suggested in this thing have been really useful, particularly Ned Potter’s guide and Meg Westbury’s Prezi inspired me to use a background image.

I’ve shown my friends what I’ve done so far and they seemed very impressed – having not seen Prezi in use before.  I’ve done my best to not make it too ‘sea-sicky’ but I’m hoping that the fact it’s going to be more of a guide to read rather than a presentation will prevent this.

When I’ve completed it I’ll add a link here.

Thing 16- Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published

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Thing 16 – Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published

Consider why it is important to advocate for the section of library and information sector that you work for.

Working in the third sector we rely heavily on funding from government and other sources.  Therefore it is important that we market our services to increase awareness and get more people using them.  This is important as it shows our value and therefore increases our chances of continuous funding.

Have a think about what advocacy you’ve been involved in

Although I don’t really think I have been involved too much in advocacy, aside from marketing information services at my work, I do try to play my part in things such as National Library day, so instance, taking out as many books as I can out of the library and encouraging my friends to do the same. 

Although not anything to do with libraries I have done a couple of things with Oxfam that might be considered advocacy.  I steward for Oxfam at festivals and last year organised an Oxjam event.  Although these are more about raising money, it is also spreading the message of the work that Oxfam do and who the money is helping and why they need to donations. 

If you haven’t been involved, reflect on what your skills are (or want to develop) what you’re most passionate about ad what you might be able to do

I’m passionate about equal opportunities and therefore the importance of information literacy and access to books, computers and the internet here and in developing countries.  This is why I think public libraries are invaluable, they are key to education and free for all, what could be more important than that? 

Re: getting published; I would like to get published more and I have to confess I have never considered just writing my opinion on topics and submitting them for publishing in newspapers etc.  I have normally just focused on research articles and therefore this ‘thing’ has given me something else to consider doing.

I’ll add it to my ever growing list….

Thing 12 Putting the social into social media

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To start with, I can update from Thing 5!  I am FINALLY on Linkedin.  I have joined a couple of groups, but yet to get involved in any discussions, though I will try to soon.

I have also fiddled around with my Twitter profile and have finally changed the frankly ridiculous dreamcatcher background to a *slightly* less ridiculous one, and I like it, though one day I’d like to have matching backgrounds for twitter and wordpress accounts.

In this time I have also been trying to socialise more online, as well as at several events I have been to recently.  Twitter still remains my main networking space for other LIS professionals, mainly through getting involved with #uklibchat and tweeting at conferences, seminars and courses.  I like to get involved in conversations where possible, as well as reading through tweets of people attending events I wish I could be at – being a bit of a lurker now and again is never a bad thing!

Thing 15 Attending, presenting and organising events

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Attending:

I enjoy attending conference, seminar, one day courses etc.  I find I always come away feeling re-motivated and re-inspired having learnt something new and having had the opportunity to network with others in my sector. I have been able to take away something from most events I have attended.  I have only had to pay money for  one day course I went to (well, my job paid for it actually, and it was under £100) but normally, as I currently work for a charity and am by no means rich, I will only attend events that are free or I have won a bursary for.

Every time I go to an event my first and only worry is that I wont know anyone there and I wont make any friends and will spend all my time alone!  In all the events I have attended this has NEVER happened, yet I still worry about it.  Of course, most other people are at these conferences/courses/seminars alone too and talking to each comes as part of the natural course of the events, obviously discussing your opinions on the event you are at is a natural starting point.  And, use people you know on social media, is anyone on their going, perhaps you could meet them ”real life’ at the event, it has worked for me before and made me feel more relaxed about going to events.

 

Speaking:

Presenting to people is something I fear, but I also know it is something I need to face.  I know some employers request at presentation at interviews so it would be useful to feel a bit more confident with my presenting skills should I ever be asked to do one in the future.  For this reason I have offered to do a presentation for a CHILL social media meeting, though date hasn’t been arranged yet, just signing myself up was the first step….I can’t really back out now!  We might also be presenting a paper at work in the near future, so this should be practice again.   I’m sure experience of presenting will also look good on a CV and also, as mentioned, make people aware of you, which could be beneficial for future employments.

Organising:

Though I haven’t organised a LIS event, I did organise an event for Oxjam last year.  Though in the run up to the event it was quite stressful with getting an event space, organising bands, technicians etc once it came to event I could look back and see the hard work was worth it and everyone had a great time. I have also learnt that I probably needed to be even more organised than I thought  I was  being at the time and try to think about every single thing that could happen or that I might need.  Luckily I have a great group of friends who were all willing to help me out when required!

I’m definitely up for organising an event again, but perhaps with life being quite busy at the moment, I would prefer to work as a team on something.  Although having said, it would be nice  to meet up with people from LISNPN again, so perhaps that should be top of my list of things to do!

Thing 13 – Google docs, Wikis and Dropbox

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All these things are resources I have been aware of but had little interaction with…until today when our IT department created Dropbox accounts for us all…a lucky coincidence!

However, I must confess, I did attempt to create a Dropbox account just under a year ago – I organised an Oxjam music event and the photographer sent me photos via Dropbox, I got as far as registering but for reasons that escape me now I never completed downloading and installing, which is silly as I’m sure the photos are great.

Anyway, now that I have been given a new account and had a chance to play with it today I thought I should write about it whilst it’s fresh on my mind!  And….I can now confirm that it is a very useful thing…but now have two accounts, does anyone know how I can merge the two, is it possible?  We have been given them at work as a quick way to  share files whilst people are working from home, particularly during the Olympic period where some people are expecting difficultly getting to the office.  We already have a share drive at work, but Dropbox is quicker and can be accessed any way with little problems installing.  Currently we have only shared photos from our recent work day out, but I’m sure it’ll prove very useful very soon.

I had a brief experience with Google drive (then Google docs) last year two out of four of us were moving out of my house at the time and had to look for new house mates.  We used google docs to set up a timetable of who was coming when.  It was useful as, like Jennifer says, you don’t need to keep updated and re-sending around the same file.

 

Thing 11 – Mentors

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Although I’ve never had a formal mentor I believe I’ve worked with a couple of people who have acted as informal mentors for me (whether they knew it or not).   My first job in a library was a temp one, but once I realised that this was a career of interest to me that I wished to pursue my manager was very encouraging and let me be involved in as much as possible, arranging for me to visit other libraries and attend relevant events.  She helped me apply for jobs and gave me a brilliant introduction to the information profession.

There have been a couple of people in other work places since then that have also been more than willing to provide me with advice and support when needed and I think this is essential when you are still in the early stages of a career.

LIS research resources briefing #rilies

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Today I attended Research into Practice: LIS research resources briefing.  This was a free session talking about the LIS Research group projects RiLIEs1 and 2.  I chose to attend this event as we do some research at work and I thought it might be useful for my masters, particularly my ever closer thesis!  Although I was aware of LIS Research, DReAM etc (and had a little peak at the website prior to the session), I was interested to learn a bit more about the projects.

We started off with the basics of LIS Research; understanding the importance of a strong impact statement when applying for funding and the most effective ways to disseminate your research was interesting, something I had never thought about before was writing your academic paper but also produce another version of it that is suitable for a magazine, such as CILIP Update or one that is aimed at your target audience, as a way to get noticed.

In a group session, as way of an ice breaker, each table had to label ourselves (categorised and colour coded, of course!) according to where we were in the research field. Options included red for interest in LIS research but not participating, green for currently carrying out research and yellow being a consultant etc.  We decided I fell into the green category as we are about to carry out a user needs assessment at work and also due to my studying (not strictly research yet, but I’m all up for balancing out the colours on our table!).  It was interesting to hear what other people were  currently researching, or interested in researching at their place of work – coincidentally my table was all healthcare librarians!

The second part of the session focussed on RiLIES2, a project that is researching the best way to share LIS research and what makes people, particularly practitioners of whom this research maybe useful to, aware of it.

From research already performed by RiLIES, JISC mailing lists came out as the most important main source of knowledge.  I would agree with this, for one it is the way that I heard about this event.  Blogs and twitter also came up and although I agree they are good for hearing about events and issues in the LIS world I would not say it’s necessarily the best for hearing about research.

From these findings RiLIES concluded that there was an apparent need for a single directory of LIS research.  It should be low-cost and community maintained, something that people would be aware of and would use frequently as their main go for resources to impact on their work.

Wikis, social bookmarking, google drive, blogs and ALISS were all mentioned of examples of how to create this directory.  Whilst I’m sure most of us had heard of and use most of these already, I had not heard of ALISS.  ALISS engine is a platform based in Scotland for community support of chronic diseases, improving access to support and self-management of chronic diseases.  It sounds fairly similar to a website we host at my work for the tobacco control and prevention community; people can upload items to the repository and interact in the discussion forums.

We were asked to think about each of these ways to share information and think about the positives and negatives of each.  My instant reaction is to go for a platform like ALISS.  It is more sustainable than the others, if you are using other people’s platforms, for example, delicious, you run the risk of that platform being sold commercially or being closed down.  However I realise it comes with its problems, it would require building, most importantly the money and people to build it, and may be harder to initially take off as it’s not on an already well used site.  It also requires people willing to monitor and maintain the site- though we as information professionals might be good at uploading information from the front end, we may not all have the technical ability to fix something that breaks on a website.  Thinking about the website we host (as mentioned earlier), although the idea of people uploading and searching for the information themselves and taking part in the discussions is great, it seems to be a problem actually encouraging and getting people to do so, but interaction has slowly increased with time.  I know some people at the session today expressed concern that not knowing how the site works would be a barrier and therefore off-putting, though I can understand this, I think it is the same case with most new websites, but once you’ve got used to it you forget you were ever confused!

At the end of the session it appeared that Wikis and a community-driven approach were most popular, but I haven’t used wikis that much for LIS research so I don’t feel I can comment on that.  It would be interesting to read a summary of people’s thoughts and see where the project ends.

All in all it was a very interesting morning and thanks again to Hazel, Peter and Christine for offering this great session for free.  I shall be keeping a keen eye on the developments of the project now and using their links to LIS resources!

Thing 10

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I have been simultaneously on a graduate trainee ship and masters programme, it has worked well for me despite going against the norm.

Originally, after having applied for many many traineeships with no luck, I thought I should apply to do a Masters anyway although I was already working as a library assistant, doing a traineeship appealed to me as I thought it would be good professional development where you are guaranteed to a proper introduction to librarianship by attending courses etc.

When I got called for an interview at NHF I already knew I had a place with Aber course and thought this might be a reason for not getting the role as it is the norm to do the traineeship prior to the masters, however NHF seemed to like it and I got the job! I think my point is don’t think you wont get something because you have too much experience, you never know!

When I previously worked at an NHS library in Oxford I got the opportunity to visit other libraries in Oxford and therefore got to meet some of their graduate trainees at the time.  They seem to have a nice programme to meet up once and week and get introduced to new things within the library world.

I am the first trainee at my current job and unlike in Oxford it is not part of a group so I was lone, as I am sure a lot of trainees are, but I did have an opportunity to meet a view through a LISNPN meet up.  However, the NHF have been very generous during my period as a trainee and beyond.  I am able, money providing, to attend any courses/training/ conference etc that look useful to my current job as well as to my masters.  Anything I’ve wanted to learn more about my boss has been great in teaching me herself.

As you might imagine, this has also been brilliant for my masters, anything coming up on my course my boss will give me help and advice or provide me with projects that will help me with my studies!

Beyond the masters…

Although my traineeship is over I still have a way to go on the masters therefore Chartership isn’t real on the horizon at the moment but I think it might be something to commit to one day.  I like the idea of profiling and recording your professional development, but from hearing about people’s experiences with it, it seems like quite a long task – I guess I’ll see how I feel once my masters is out of the way but it will be interesting to read about other people’s experiences with the Chartership.

Anything else….

For my current job I think an IT qualification would be extremely valuable.  A lot of my role, and even more so for my colleagues, involves web building and editing, which is something I knew nothing about prior to working here.  Although I can work the basics I have never known the technical details when it comes to IT.  Having not got the opportunity at school to do an IT GCSE at school, last year I completed an ECDL course, but again this only really covered the basics MSO things.  I also think doing a course in internet building, design and editing would be good for the general future of the profession (although as you can tell I don’t even know the name of an appropriate course so it may be a long time before I get round to that!).