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Archive for June, 2012

CPD23: Week 3, Thing 4

I am a little behind on CPD23 due to coursework and job interviews, but here is my experience with thing 4.

Twitter

I am already a Twitter user, and I now find it absolutely crucial for maintaining current awareness of what is happening in the wider library world, and for finding out about events. Apart from reading the monthly CILIP magazine and occasional emails from my LinkedIn library groups, Twitter is my only way of maintaining current awareness, and it is the most informative and up to date source I use and I would really recommend it to anyone. I also find it useful for asking questions – for example, when considering dissertation topics I asked my Twitter audience what they thought ‘library 2.0’ or ‘librarian 2.0’ actually  meant. The responses were numerous and helpful, and I actually could have used them in my dissertation as evidence if I had gone with that topic (which in the end I sadly didn’t).

Reflecting on my use of Twitter, I realise I don’t follow many corporate librarians, which is strange as I will be embarking as an Information Officer at a law firm very soon, and I think this is due to Twitter not being as widely used by corporate librarians as public and academic librarians, as social media does not play as important a role in corporate libraries. However, I am going to make my mission to find some corporate librarians to follow!

RSS Feeds

I already use Google Reader to collate my RSS feeds together. I found this extremely useful when job hunting as it saved me so much time in checking for new jobs posted on numerous and various websites all in one place on Google Reader. I now use it primarily for following blogs and reading new posts as another way of keeping up to date.

Storify

This is a tool I have never used before, and at first I wasn’t quite sure how to use it, but here is my first storify attempt on collecting my social media posts over the Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend: http://storify.com/mariegcannon/diamond-jubilee-weekend

Now, I am aware I could also use others people’s’ posts in addition to my own, but I just wanted to keep it simple and to produce a summary of my personal celebration of the Jubilee.

I could see this being useful particularly when reporting from events such as conferences – compiling different people’s reflections into one story, and I am planning on using it to report on my own experience of the SLA annual conference in Chicago in July. It is obvious that social media is now such a central part of so many people’s daily lives, and many, many libraries use social media to form a digital identity and use it as a way of communicating with users; and to be able to collate user-generated content on social media through Storify can be an extremely useful tool for libraries and librarians.

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This was one of the closing presentations that was attended by all,  and was provided by Bethan Ruddock. The original presentation can be accessed here: http://www.cilip.org.uk/npid2012/pages/presentations.aspx, but here is a very brief summary of what I found useful:

What is in your toolkit?

  • A network
  • A mentor
  • Resources
  • A plan
  • A voice
  • Unique combinations of tools in your kit

How can a network be useful as a tool?

  • For bench marking and reflecting
  • Problem solving and brainstorming
  • Offers support and advice
  • Provides opportunities and different perspectives
  • Sharing knowledge, resources, ideas, best practice and enthusiasm

Mentors dont have to be Yoda:

  • They can be official or informal
  • Can range from meetings in person to providing supportive texts
  • Mentors can help you reflect, provide guidance, and prompt you to take a step back and gain perspective

  Plan:

  • Perform a skills audit on yourself
  • Where do you want to go in 1, 5, 10, 20 years?
  • Look further ahead – what skills do you need to get there?

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This was a workshop that I didn’t originally sign up for and I had no idea what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised, as I enjoyed myself and learnt a great deal about careers libraries that it had never occurred to me to think about before!

It was hosted by Megan Wiley, and took the form of a presentation rather than a workshop, and the original presentation can be found here: http://www.cilip.org.uk/npid2012/pages/presentations.aspx

Most students go to a careers library wishing to see a careers adviser rather than a careers information professional, which is obviously very different from the majority of libraries where users go to libraries to see librarians.  There is also a rather unique and very close relationship between the information team, the careers advisers and the employer services which were all expanded upon.

So what do the careers information team do?

  • Man the Enquiry Desk, where any kind of question could be asked, and students expect to be immediately enlightened by the information provided
  • Information management – developing stock, acquisitions, weeding (print resources in this area become out of date within 2 years)
  • Provide user training, including information literacy
  • Cross-team activity and current awareness services – letting users and other departments know what the careers library does
  • Classifying employers and providing brief descriptions of them

Challenges for careers librarians include:

  • Dealing with student cases of ‘listitus’ – where students believe there is a list in a secret drawer that holds the 3 perfect careers especially for them
  • Providing information while carefully avoiding giving students advice (which is what careers advisers are for!)

What makes a careers library different from others?

  • The specific user group and their perceptions
  • Amount of front line enquiry work (Megan said she spends 40% of her time on the desk)
  • Cross-team working
  • Dealing with employers and companies
  • Tends to be small teams with autonomy and responsibility early on in career

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Way back in the beginning of May I attended the CILIP New Professionals Day 2012, which involved talks, workshops, and networking with other new professionals during the very many tea breaks!

It was a little while ago so I may not be as thorough with my summary of the day as I would like, however I hope the following blog posts may be useful to those who could not attend. The presentations given, including for the session below, can be found here: http://www.cilip.org.uk/npid2012/pages/presentations.aspx

Game on: Cataloguing and Classification in the 21st century

This workshop was hosted by Deborah Lee and Jennie-Claire Perry. As a student of UCL, which is infamous for its Cat & Class modules, I was curious to see what the workshop offered and whether cataloguing would be viewed as dying out (which sadly seems to be the typical view), or as a role that still needs to be filled by librarians.

We were asked to organise the lego bricks in as many different ways as possible, such as by colour, shape, function as well as rarity, and this of course was to demonstrate Ranganathan’s faceted classification.
We were then given the new grey bricks, and asked how would we deal with this group when it didn’t fit into our current classification system, which of course can be a very tricky problem for real world cataloguers. Solutions suggested were:

  • Create a new group or separate category – but someone pointed out that this could lead to very long complicated classmarks in some classification systems, such as Dewey
  • Attach to a subcategory, in this case attach to the black or white groups
  •  If the item doesn’t fit in to the class system, then maybe it is not in the collection development plan and remit of the library service

Distributes relatives was also taught by drawing our attention to the scattering of other classifiable qualities, such as the bricks with 4 x 2 dots, or functional qualities such as decorative or building bricks, which of course were distributed relatives scattered throughout the various colours.

The ‘game on’ in the title became apparent with a few lego building games (see victory spoils in photo above), and a cataloguing-themed game of human Snakes and Ladders to finish off with.

This session was aimed at those new to classification and cataloguing, and with UCL being the only library school in the country to offer Cat & Class as a core module, the majority of new professional attendees probably were novices. What was great for me was to see this session so well-attended; demonstrating that classification and cataloguing is still deemed to be very important skills to learn by new professionals.

See Annie Johnson’s storify account of this talk here: http://intothehobbithole.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/cilipnpd12-high-visibility-cataloguers.html

 

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Last night, I had the pleasure of attending my 2nd London Information Knowledge Exchange session, otherwise known as LIKE 36, which included not only a delicious pub meal of sausages and mash (reason enough to attend!) but also a talk by Martin de Saulles on ‘Information 2.0’.

Now phrases with ‘2.0’ tagged on the end seem to have become the hot, new phrase of the library world, and I am not sure how much I agree with using it regarding the term ‘information’ (a potential blog post in itself), but here is a summary of what Martin spoke about with a few of my own thoughts:

We live in a society transformed by a revolution in technology and information, and not simply an evolution; the last 30 years of waiting and predictions is finally coming to a head in the current time. We have finally reached a point where there is enough widespread technology that it is cheap enough to be thoroughly pervasive in society, and this will create big changes with the economy and how we work.

Martin proceeded to say that only a fool would write any predictions in times like these… but I am going to write the predictions he said anyway 🙂

In 5 years time…

1. There will be only 1 or 2 printed daily newspapers in the UK

Print newspapers are partially in decline due to a loss in revenue of advertising. From personal advertisements for selling a bike to job advertisements; the majority of these are now online and can target particular users, as well as being cheaper as advertisers only have to pay per click or view, in comparison to the cost of mass print distribution.

In support of this prediction, the Financial Times has recently predicted that they will have more paying digital subscribers than print subscribers by the end of 2012.

2. There will be no chains of bookshops, only individual, niche bookshops

Amazon currently sells more ebooks than hardbacks or paperbacks, although it is worth noting that they do control about 90% of the ebook market and therefore are pushing ebook sales in particular.

There has also been the recent revelation that Waterstones have agreed to sell Kindles and allow customers to browse ebook samples in store – have they signed their own death warrant? I think so. Although I do appreciate that they are trying to offer customers who prefer ebooks the same enjoyable bookshop experience that only print customers currently have.

The revelation of what would happen if a huge publisher, such as Penguin, decided to only publish in the ebook format was also discussed, and caused me personally much initial horror – this would give consumers no choice other than to purchase and read ebooks over print, and bookshops would presumably be forced to close, unless they specialised in selling dated, second hand books.

3.    University libraries will be buying only e-materials

In the near future, publishing will be experiencing what the music industry has already gone through, such as the majority of music being downloaded rather than bought on a CD or record. Users will be consuming information through new, digital channels, and there will be commoditisation of all types of information.

4.    More than 90% of the population will have smartphones

Currently ¾ of the world’s population, including developing countries, have mobile phones. In 5 years time, it is not unreasonable to think that in the UK, a developed country, that 90% will have smartphones, and not just mobile phones.

5.    Tablet devices such as the Kindle will be given away for free

These devices are already fairly cheap, at £100 or less, and companies will make their money through the content they push through these channels of tablet devices, rather than the devices themselves. Although I could see this happening with the Kindle and its specific content of e-books, I can’t imagine it happening with tablets that do much more than offer e-books. For example, the latest iPad 3 by Apple allows the user to browse the internet, check email, take photos, play music and videos, as well as countless other functions offered by free apps, and I greatly doubt that multi-functional tablets that do not push a particular piece of payable content will ever be given away for free.

New production and consumption models of information

Now here is where I agree with the term ‘Information 2.0’ – blogging platforms and content management systems have evolved into publishing platforms. For example, the US Huffington Post has 3000 contributing bloggers (most of whom are unpaid), with approximately 3 million comments a month, with stories typically receiving over 5000 comments in only a few days. This is Web 2.0 in all its glory – where users are not only sharing information but are also creating and contributing content on a massive scale. This is a new and powerful way of publishing with a vast audience so that, such as in this particular case, $60 million annual revenue can be generated through advertisements.

There are also new models of consumption where we are moving away from ownership of materials to renting. With regards to libraries, academic books would be rented annually, rather than purchased, weeded, and purchased again when a new edition was published.

Overall a very enjoyable night with a lot of food for thought, and as with all LIKE events it is always great to meet with other information professionals from different sectors and see how their experiences differ from yours. For example, I had the opportunity to have dinner with a Reference Librarian from the British Library, an Information Officer from the Red Cross and an Information Scientist who confessed to being a ‘non-librarian’, and I probably learnt as much from the dinner talk as I did about Information 2.0!

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