Tag Archives: cpd23

Ta da – thing 23!

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Firstly, I am pleased I have actually completed 23 things this year.  Much more successful than last year’s attempt where I signed up and then never found the time to actually complete any of the things.

I have found the whole cpd23 experience a good practice opportunity to practice reflective writing, which I think will be doubly good experience if I ever decided to do a chartership in the future.

The things/ tools I have taken on board from this are Endnote and Dropbox, (both of which I now use on a daily basis) and Prezi.  I had already been using Prezi for a project at work; I am still working on the project and I noticed this week that Prezi has recently updated making it slightly more straightforward to use.  I need to find some time to get back to the other tools such as Mendeley and Linkedin to use them properly.

23 things has also been really good for reading other people’s blogs.  There is such a variety of LIS jobs out there, so it has been really interesting to read other people’s take on things from the perspective of their job roles.  Therefore I also found contributing to the Library Routes project extremely insightful  (perhaps I’m just nosey).  People have had so many different routes into the profession; though many, like myself, seemed to unexpectedly find themselves working in a library but everyone one had different causes and it’s so great that all of us felt that it was a path we wanted to continue down for the foreseeable future.  Writing my library route also made me realise that I have already worked in several different LIS jobs, all of them good in their differing ways and I’ve actually been in the LIS sector longer than it feels like – time flies when you’re having fun and all that! 

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Thing 14

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I have to confess, I have still never used any sort of citation manager when doing academic work -which is absolutely ridiculous given I have been doing my masters for over a year now and therefore it would be highly beneficial for me to do so as the alternative is painstaking and prone to errors!

At work we use Reference Manager for our library content.  I mainly use it for adding content and searching for information rather than citation management in research work.  I know some people in the office use it in this way but have experienced some problems with it and therefore I have been hesitant to use it in this way.

For the purpose of this thing I decided to download Mendeley and have a go with that.

The layout looks quite similar to Endnote, which is a tool I already enjoy.  The ease of moving documents from several places onto Mendeley was really good and I particularly like that it takes all the citation information out itself.

I have downloaded it onto my work computer and for some reason it would not allow me to install the plug in on Word so I will have to try it on my home laptop.  From watching the demo videos on the website it looks pretty easy to use once it’s been installed.

I guess the true usefulness of Mendeley will not become apparent until I am using it in my work but it looks like it could save me a great deal of time and trouble.  Now all I need to do is start my next essay…great!

Thing 22 – Volunteering to gain experience

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I haven’t volunteered in the library sector but I have volunteered at festivals and I volunteered at a local Oxford museum for about a year.   I volunteered at the museum on Saturdays whilst working at 9-5 Monday – Friday.  I had tow reasons for doing this.  One being that I wanted to understand more about the workings of museums and gain some experience there.  I have previously considered working in museums, but and noticed that all job descriptions required experience and I thought in that case the only way to get experience is to volunteer!  I also just felt I should be doing something with my spare time and it was a museum I had always enjoyed visiting.

Whist volunteering at the museum I got to work with some really interesting people and did get to learn a lot about the ‘behind the scene  of the museum.   I was already in paid, full-time employment, but a lot of the volunteers there were otherwise unemployed or giving up their free time in retirement and I know the museum sent volunteers on courses etc where they could to build up their CVs and gain more skills.  I think this was really good for both volunteers and the museum.

I know a couple of people who have volunteered or done intern ships at the places and eventually been offered a job there, so I think it does go some way to opening up opportunities to people and is certainly something I would consider doing again.

Thing 21 – Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

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I always find it difficult identifying what I like doing….when it comes to job applications I mean.  This is mainly because I always think that what I really like doing isn’t necessarily related to the job.  I really like socialising with friends and other people, watching tv series such as the Wire, Lost and Breaking Bad and knitting.  I struggle to think of how some of these pleasures can extend to work!  However, one thing I do like doing that is completely relevant to the LIS world is helping people.   This was first properly made clear to me in my first library job – working in a health library assisting with training Drs and other health professionals how to search databases and the internet for information and seeing how impressed they were really made me feel like I had found a job that was worth while.

Outside of the LIS world I enjoy helping people by raising money for charity, I have previously done sponsored runs, steward at festivals and organised a music event.  The music event was hard because I knew I was setting myself a bit of a challenge outside of my comfort zone but by the night of the gig the hard work had paid off and I raised money for a good charity!  One day I’d like to think that I can combine my library and information skills and working with charities focussing on the developing world – for some reason I feel it’s something I would like to do one day.

I dislike having jobs with repetitive tasks day in and out, there is nothing more boring for me than doing exactly the same thing everyday (apart from a job where you have nothing to do – which I have also done and can feel like a complete waste of time for everyone!).

I haven’t had to do any job applications for over a year now (which has been very refreshing let me tell you!).   In that time I’ve just been in the one job but I’ve picked up so many new skills, attended conferences and started my masters than my CV really needs an update.

As the author of Thing 21 says, you really should tailor your CV and covering letters to each different job you are applying more.  Give evidence of the skills you have that match the job descriptions and person spec, obviously the more you have the better and the more you mention in the job application the more likely you are to get an interview.

Once you have been lucky enough to be offered an interview my key tips would be to research as much about the organisation as possible.  One job interview that I was unsuccessful in told me that one reason I didn’t get the job was because I didn’t appear to know much about the organization and the work they did.  Speaking of feedback, always ask for it. Though it’s never nice to hear criticism, it can be useful and prepares you better for next interview.

I think 99% of my interviewees have asked if I have any questions at the end of the interview.   Always have at least three questions prepared, for example “Do you socialise together outside of the office” (I like to think it shows your social side) “How will my progress be monitored/feedback be provided”  .  Ask as if you already have the job, it just seems to go down better.

I wouldn’t say I am a very confident person, but having been through quite a few interviews now I feel more prepared than I used to. Though always nervous, I have learnt that the only way is to sell yourself, don’t worry about sounding cocky – you’ve got to be in it to win it after all!

 

Thing 19 – Integrating

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Some things of cpd23 I had already been using, such as Prezi, Jing etc.  Other tools I haven’t even got round to testing yet, such as Zetro and podcasting.  However, some of the tools I have already fully integrated into my life.  Those being Dropbox, Evernote and Linkedin.

Dropbox:

After having a Dropbox account set up for me at work I have been using it ALL THE TIME!  It is so useful from the point of view that having Dropbox on my work machine and my laptop means that I can work on essays in the office and save them knowing that the latest version will be on my laptop when I get home without having to save it to a USB or email it to myself as I was doing before.  It has also been good for sharing photos and working on shared documents at work.  Really glad that this tool was brought to my attention as it has made life that tiny bit easier!

Evernote:

I find Evernote very useful in much the same way as I do Dropbox.  I mainly use it to ‘clip’ pages with useful articles on, recipes or attaching pdfs of journal articles or reports that I want to read at a later date.  This again means that these items will be available for me to retrieve later from either my work machine or personal laptop.  I haven’t used any of the sharing facilities yet, I’m not sure I will as I generally am using it for things of my own personal interest.

Linkedin:

I have started to use Linkedin more than I was previously.  However, I still haven’t fully got involved with it – I’ve made a few connections now, but only with colleagues at work, I need to be more proactive in seeking other peers.  But I can see its potential and will keep remembering to check in on it and build a better profile.

Thing 20 -My unexpected path into the information profession

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I came out of university in 2008 with a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology and really didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself.   I knew my degree wasn’t leading down a specific path, I didn’t want to pursue a career in psychology and philosophy is…well, it’s philosophy!

I had a part time job in retail and hated it, I was offered a full time job but knew I just couldn’t take it, I knew I had to leave.  I decided that I should do some temporary work until something that looked like it could be interesting came up.  It seems so long ago now that I can’t even remember what I thought might have been interesting!

So began what was to be long time of temping.  My first job was as receptionist for an outpatient clinic for an eye hospital.  Fairly quickly I knew this was not the kind of job I wanted to do, but it was money and I was picking up some ‘transferable’ skills.   That finished after a few months and my agent called me to tell me there was a temporary position at the hospital library, she informed me it would probably be “quite dull, stamping books etc”, despite that motivational comment, I took the job anyway.  I always went to libraries as a child, throughout school and university and have always enjoyed the environment, but like many of us, had never really considered it as a career move.  A friend of mine who I was living with at the time had just got a job as a graduate trainee in an Oxford University library and she was enjoying so I didn’t think it could be too bad.

Anyway, it soon became apparent that there was much more to librarian than I had previously thought.  And so my thirst to pursue librarianship as a career began.

Once I had declared my interest my manager was very encouraging and let me go to one day courses about librarianship and arranged visits to other libraries.  Unfortunately that job ended after a few months, but then began many, many, job applications for graduate trainee and library assistant jobs.

I lost count of how many I applied for but it took a whole year and several other miserable temp jobs before I landed my next job a part time library assistant at Oxford Brookes.  Though I generally didn’t enjoy my temp jobs, they did have advantages;

1. It was something better than nothing, financially at least

2. I picked up lots of admin skills that are useful for most jobs

3. I got less scared about starting new jobs

4. I learnt how to pick up new skills and learn how to use different computer programmes very quickly!

This was another good job, and an opportunity to work in an academic library rather than healthcare.  Whilst I got some good experience there, it was part time and term time only, so it wasn’t ideal from an income perspective.  I got a second part time job at a law firm and continued to look for other library work.

I also began my application for a masters courses.  I selected Aberystwyth distance learning course mainly because I knew I couldn’t afford to do a full time course and though my job was part time, it wouldn’t have allowed the time needed for a part time job.

I got onto the course at Aberystwyth to start September 2011.  Shortly after this I got an interview for a graduate trainee role that would go on to become my current job.  As it was a graduate trainee role I wasn’t confident I’d get the job as I had nearly two years experience already and would be starting my masters already.  However, I was wrong, I got the job and it has been great.  Work has been very supportive of my course and I have found it useful to apply to my work and vice versa. It has been yet again another eye opener to the variety of information jobs.  This information services department is online, with an e-library.  These is no customer service as our e-library is more of a gateway to public health information and freely available from our website.  We also do a lot of research which I have found really interesting and it is a continuously evolving environment compared to other places I have worked which is good.   I have also had the opportunity to do lots of other things, such as attend conference and become part of a taxonomy group in London.   My graduate trainee role came to an end and got extended for a further six months, so I am now an Information Officer.

The future…

I don’t know the future holds and to be honest I’m still not sure exactly what path I want to follow.  I know that I enjoy working in a health –based environment so would ideally like to stick to that.  I’m enjoying my job now, but know it could end shortly so soon I need to be considering what I might want to do next.  In the next year I should be finishing my masters, which I hope will open up more job application options should I find myself without a job.

As I said at the beginning, but beginning the library and information world were purely by chance.  Never before have I worked in a sector where there is so much networking and friendliness – it’s brilliant and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.

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.

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 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.