Monday 25 July 2011

Keeping organised

I have used the Google calendar that I set up for Cam23 off and on for the last year or so. I can see its appeal but I still tend to write things down in my paper diary more than I do online. Of course, this then usually means that I have a diary at both of my desks at work and one at home which gets a little time consuming to add things to. This is usually the point at which I go on to Google calendar and try again. I then get fed up of having to be at a computer to add things and go back to a paper diary and so the vicious circle starts again!

I see the advantages from a library point of view for using Google calendar - I am all for anything which gets readers to return their books on time! I also think that it's a great way to publicise events, especially for our more tech literate users. I do really like the idea of users being able to add these events from the library calendar to their own. I have done this in the past and it saves a lot of time and effort. I don't think that it will replace traditional methods of advertising quite yet but it has definite potential.

Evernote is something I have heard of but never tried. I thought that it was a referencing software but I think I must be getting confused with Endnote. Again, I can see the potential here but I'm not sure it's really for me. I can't take notes on the computer in the same way as I can with a paper and pen, I'm an old fashioned sort of girl! I have been having a little play about and it does seem quite simple so this might be one to look into in the future. I do especially like the way that you can add content from a web page in one click, which is useful for me as I tend to find things during browsing sessions and them promptly forget where they are. It may be time to put down the paper and pen and embrace the modern technology...

Image credit: tanakawho

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Staying connected

I recently revised my opinion of LinkedIn (see earlier blog posts). When I did Cam23 last year I couldn't really see the relevance of it for me personally but I have had a rethink in the last twelve months. My 'motto' for this year has been to get more professionally involved and start treating my job as a career. Consequently, I've participated in more activities that I think are worthy of mention on a profile such as LinkedIn.

Something that really struck me at Umbrella was a presentation by Phil Bradley in which he said that if we don't take the conversations to where our users are, then we may as well be invisible. I think the same is true of professional networks - if you don't have some sort of online presence in these communities then you're as good as invisible. I've set up a basic profile but I'm still working on the finer points (doesn't help that my CV looks like a tennis match with me hoping from one department to another and back again - long story!).

I read Sharlyn Lauby's ideas with interest and will be sure to take them on board when updating my profile. The first thing I need to do is find a photo that I'm happy with as otherwise, my profile will fail before it's even begun! I am a little worried about my lack of connections but as I say, I'm new to this so hopefully they will build over time (hint hint). I definitely like the idea that this network can be a completely separate work network, so that it doesn't get mixed up with my personal networks. I have connected it to my blog, since that's a professional thing rather than a personal thing and I want to encourage people to look at it.

I'm slightly daunted at the prospect of having yet another place to build myself up, sometimes I feel like I have enough trouble with this in the real world and having to do it online as well makes me want to crawl under a rock somewhere. But its something which I am rapidly coming to realise HAS to be done in the world that we live in now. There's no point in hiding from it. It's slightly scary to realise that potential employers etc. are searching for your profiles on these sites but that will give me the motivation that I need to keep it up-to-date!

Thing 6 has given me plenty of things to try out, which I hope to do in the next few weeks when real life isn't so hectic! Having said all of the above, I can appreciate that doing all this networking online has definite benefits - especially to the naturally shy like me. This was part of my motivation for agreeing to present a poster at Umbrella - I wanted to put myself out there a bit more and make myself talk to other people. Thankfully this worked and I hardly had a voice by the time I came back from Hatfield! I can sympathise though with people who find this sort of thing very difficult.

I would recommend that anyone in a similar position try contributing something to the blog of a network that they've joined. It's a really easy way to get started and poke your head out from behind the tree. And since most people reading this are participating in cpd23 then all of you are expert bloggers already!

I'm a student member of CILIP and I personally I have gotten a lot out of it in the last year or so. Being able to be a member of a special interest group has really helped me to connect with other people who are on my wavelength work wise. I think that being a member of a professional organisation has also really helped at work since it has given me opportunities that I didn't have before to get myself out there, for example at Umbrella and by guest blogging on a couple of sites.

My advice for anyone new to this is to persevere. I didn't want to know about any of this this time last year but now I'm really starting to see the benefits, and I even have a shiny trophy on my desk to prove it!

(Photo credit: unloveable Steve)

Wednesday 13 July 2011

A huge thank you!

Back from Umbrella 2011 and just want to say thank you to all the lovely people who stopped by the poster. Everyone was really enthusiastic and even helped in spreading the word by bringing people back to view the poster.

The very exciting news is that the poster won not one but TWO awards. It received the Judges prize for best poster and was runner up in the Delegates Choice. Thanks to everyone who voted for the support and well done to the hugely talented Katie Birkwood for designing the poster.

People were really keen on the programme and I hope that I managed to answer any questions people had. It was really encouraging to see so much interest.

Monday 11 July 2011

Reflecting on reflection

I think that to some extent everyone uses reflective practice in their everyday lives, they just don't call it that. I am one of natures worriers and I know that I spend ages analysing what went wrong if I had a bad day, in the hopes of avoiding a repeat.

The main way that I use reflective practice in a work capacity is with job interviews. Over the last few years I have been to a lot of interviews and I think that even when I haven't got the job I have managed to take away something from the experience. This gives me something to work on or repeat and is a good way of honing my skills. I also use it when I get the marks back from a previous assignment by thinking about the things I may have done differently in light of the comments that I received.

Undertaking reflective practice can be very rewarding but I definitely agree with the point about it being a hard thing to make time for. There are some days when the last thing I want to do is think about my work day when I get home. I think that reflective practice works best when you are in the mood for it - it's best not to do it when you are feeling frazzled as you will never get a clear picture.

I am going to Umbrella 2011 tomorrow and I have a feeling that this will be a good chance to practice being reflective. Hopefully I will learn a lot and meet lots of new people which will give me much to think about. I'll be writing an article about my experiences so this will be a good chance to reflect on my experiences.

Blogging is a great outlet for reflective practice. It provides a way to condense your thoughts and share them with other people who can also give you feedback. This is one of the best uses of blogs and I find that a lot of the librarian blogs that I follow use it to some extent. I hope that in the future I can use this blog a lot more for professional reflection.

(Image credit: Dead Habits)

Monday 4 July 2011

Umbrella 2011

I'm going to be presenting a poster for cpd23 at Umbrella 2011 this week. Am slightly nervous (but still excited) since I have never been to Umbrella before, let alone presented anything! Please do come and say hello if you're there, it will be nice to meet some participants in the real world.

(Image credit: lakewentworth)

Unaware of awareness

I have tried and failed many times to get 'into' Twitter - I just feel as though I am missing the point. I'm only following sixteen people and I find it exhausting to try and keep up with everything. Maybe I just follow sixteen very energetic people but everything seems to move so fast that you spend most of your time catching up with what has been said rather than participating. I am not one of those people who can spend all day hooked up to the site constantly monitoring everything that's happening (you know who you are!)

It's a shame really because I know that many discussions happen on Twitter and I do feel like I miss out by not being an active participant. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day! I do follow conferences on Twitter which I find a really useful substitute for actually being there. I had no idea that there were real time chats so this might be something to investigate in the future. I have been following the cpd23 tweets on and off for the past couple of weeks so maybe I am getting better. Don't think that it will ever really be for me though.

In contrast RSS feeds are something that I use a lot to keep up with the latest happenings. I think they're an excellent idea and so much easier than having to remember to trawl different websites daily. This is obviously me impatient side coming out again! Plus, I know that I would forget to check multiple websites so RSS feeds just make something that could be a pain that much easier and I'm all for anything that makes my life easier at the moment.

Pushnote is something that I'm unfamiliar with. It seems like a really good idea but I wonder how much time I would personally spend rating websites? I know what I like and I like what I know but maybe that isn't such a good thing. Hopefully using Pushnote will encourage me to read things that I might not have found on my own and broaden my horizons a bit. I do tend to be an impatient browser though so I will have to seriously train myself to make proper use of it. This is one to keep my eye on I think but I don't think I can really comment until I have had a decent play about with it.

Overall I think that my current awareness is sadly lacking and this is something that I am hoping to change with this program. If I can take one thing away from cpd23I hope that it's an increased knowledge of my professional world. Here's hoping that I have enough discipline with myself to actually do it...

(Image credit: MadEmoiselle Sugar)