Thursday, November 29, 2012

End of rollercoaster ride or Thing 23: What next?

So the end is here. I face the final curtain... Dum dum dum dum!

Some posts were written faster than others, some series of posts were written faster than others but by and large all posts were thought about equally. 

I have a lot to do and a lot more to learn and try out (that's right I'm looking at you screencasting and podcasting) and I'm looking forward to integrating it with work in the library in general and in special collections.

6 word story: Work starts with you. Go now!

Thank you all for following the programme and well done for getting to Thing 23.  A short evaluation of the programme is coming soon, but if you're up for a challenge maybe you could come up with a "6 word story" to sum up how you feel about the programme.

I last did a PDP about 5 years ago and I've reached all my then goals. I've talked to my new boss about it and he's going to help me put together a plan. I'm lucky as well that my library has someone in charge of staff training and development so courses that are upcoming are on project management and group facilitation which will be useful for when I go to do chartership. There's no rest for the wicked! 

Once I've put the plan together I'll put it up on the blog.

Big thankyous to the CPD23 team. I've learned so much and I look forward to next year's programme!

Thing 22: Volunteering to gain experience

This is something I feel oddly about. I haven't volunteered. I know I should but where to do it? So much about work is unionised and where do other people in unions stand on someone else volunteering? I know if people come to the library I'm in for work experience then they can do six weeks maximum and then only if they're applying for a library course and need the minimum for entry. Otherwise... I'm not sure. 

I'd love to get any experience doing cataloguing but short of redoing the entries on my ebook collection or tagging on the National Tagging Project well...

As someone I know says: It's problematic.

Thing 21: Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

Shout out to Ned Potter! You are a star!! I found your post so useful and hey you know but it worked! I got the job! I guess I shouldn't give away the ending at the start but yeah I went for a job and I got it and you do the system and it works. Go figure!

Did I identify my strengths? Yes! Go read Susan Cain's Quiet. Very useful and very interesting. I am an introvert but this can be used wisely.

Apply for job? Only two months before I applied for the job a different post came up so I reorganised my CV for the first time since 2006... Shudder! It took quite the while adding on the sections I'd worked in, the committees I'd served on, the qualifications and modules I'd completed. You know the score! But finally it was done and the next day there was a follow-up email to say only certain grades, I was not the requisite grade, should apply. But I thought no matter it's done now and I can update as necessary and it'll never be that hard again. So when I went to apply for this job well it was all there for me and I just had to fit it for the job.

I was lucky in that I met most of the criteria and I was in the process of working on the rest. And always state that you know you have more to do. When do we ever stop? You stop learning when you're dead. My granny taught me that.

Ned has a fantastic list of 20 things that you need to answer before you go in and they pretty much all came up in one form or another so go Ned Potter!

Thing 20: The Library Routes Project

This is the joys of an internet cafe and not having a tablet. Note to self buy tablet NOW!!

So the post for Library Routes is all ready to go but naturally it won't upload for me so it's just one more thing to do once I get home along with fixing a few other links on previous posts!

I started working in a library, actually the library I'm in at present in 2001. I started as a student assistant and apparently I was capable enough because I and another student assistant who also now works in the library (do we ever leave?) were given tasks to do that were beyond the remit of student assistants in that library. Ordinarily we would shelve and collect material to be reshelved but instead we were working with serials, working on the books collection, re-organising the shelving and doing inventory tasks in general.

Ironically once I'd done this for 18 months I was asked did I want to be a librarian and I said I wasn't sure as the stereotypical image of a librarian remained in my head and so I didn't do the library course at this point. My library career duly stalled until the summer of 2006.

In the summer of 2006 I was hired in the library as a library assistant. My erstwhile colleague was working in the library before me so he gave me all sorts of useful tips such as: It's not all about books! Naturally I was asked at the interview: Is it all about books?

Over the course of the next six years I would work in Customer Services on a part-time, full-time, part-time and full-time basis, in Special Collections on a part-time basis, in a health sciences branch library on a part-time basis, and finally in Inter Library Loans on a full-time and part-time basis. In one six month period I was in four different sections but fortunately no more than three on any given day! While it has been quite the juggling act especially from January 2010 to September 2012 I was always working in two places on the given day, I have gained so much experience and met much more people than most people. You really see the library as a whole and how each section interconnects. Libraries do not have stand alone sections but each section is vitally connected to the others and it so in order that we may give the best possible service to any individual at any given time.

Hmm! That seems quite 'O Band of Brothers' for me but I feel strongly about it.

Stopping 2/3s through the slide or Thing 19: Catch up week on integrating 'things'

This blog has been rather stop/start but I am pleased with my progess so far. As you may recall at the start I worried whether I would be able to finish it or not and while it's come close, it's going to get there. Since I've started doing the blog I've really become proactive on Twitter (unprotecting my tweets, interacting with more Twitter users) though that is bar the last week. The last week has been a leetle crazy!

I've completely seen the benefits of personal branding and I hope that wherever I have a social media presence that it all looks the same and uses the right language and register. Since I started my new job I'm aware that further professional development in the realm of Special Collections will be essential. Once I become slightly more familiar with the role of Special Collections librarian I look forward to advocating more for both the profession as a whole and how Special Collections librarians use emerging technologies. 

I've found that meditating and reflecting on the various posts over the 23 weeks has been great. While the posts haven't been written on schedule, the cpd23 posts were read on a weekly basis which allowed my mind to ponder the questions before I actually wrote anything down. Sometimes I need to meditate a little more but that's ok too. To anyone who likes to reflect a bit more I would recommend Susan Cain's book Quiet.

The Shape of things to come or Thing 18: Jing / Screencapture /Podcasts

My experience with jing, screencapture or podcasts is limited to podcasts alone and that is merely listing to the Battlestar Galactica podcasts which incidentally were very good.

I can very much see the possibilities of Jing. The annotation feature reminds me of Skitch in Evernote. So funny how all the newer tools repeat themselves. I think that screen capture tools would be very useful for Special Collections for using the databases or for showing how to use a particular collection within the reading room. Students are becoming more familiar with databases but it's the physical collections now that stump them. I remember wading through the stacks to find what I want but stacks? Special Collections? Be careful how you wade as with compact shelving you may do damage to someone! But seriously, if the physical collection necessitates a student going back and forth between a book and the index to the microfilm collection then it can be tricky and I'd like to see what could be done to alleviate this.

As for podcasting in an essay for my library course for the collection management module I did describe how podcasting is used and why it's used. It can be very handy for students who are non-native English speakers as it allows them to access a guide to the material which they can start/stop as required and pay repeatedly as needed. The essay described its use for nursing students but equally this could be used for any cohort of students.

Unfortunately I have yet to try screencasting or podcasts but this could well be the shape of things to come and I look forward to trying them out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thing 17: The Medium is the Message - Prezi & Slideshare

I'm already on slideshare but as yet I've loaded no slides. I use it a lot to view other people's slides: Brian Mathews, Lorcan Dempsey, Stephen Abrams aka the library giants. Do I add something before I've revamped the site to conform to my personal brand?

The presentations I see seem to conform to bullets and a lot of texts. For any presentations I do I try not to have bullets or text but pictures. After all a picture is worth a thousand words. However if other people are used to bullets then the absence of bullets freaks them out.

Which leads me to Prezi. Prezi is amazing. Is it bad to say I'd never heard of Prezi. And once you hear about it, well it's everywhere. Funny thing, on the seminar on effective presentations the presenter used powerpoint but another academic talked about Prezi. My library people aren't using Prezi so are we doing the community a disservice by not being aware of Prezi or other similar tools? What do we do as a library?

A Tree falls in a forest or Thing 16: Advocacy, Speaking Up for the Profession & Getting Published

Library Advocacy is present. Every time I read the Guardian there are more articles about writers, poets, artists speaking up to save libraries. Where are all the librarians? What do we do?

I try tweeting, some days more succesfully than others. I write this blog. I don't know who reads it though.

So what to do? Should I email all my contacts and say write to your TD or MP? Should I tweet to famous people and hope they respond?

Am I a tree falling in a forest? Do I make a sound even if no one is there to hear me?

Thing 15: Attending, Presenting At & Organising Seminars, Conferences & Other Events

I've attended a number of conferences in Ireland. Unfortunately INULS has now bit the dust. Thank you recession! For conferences in general I tend not to think of approaching bodies for funding or bursaries. Of course if no one did this would the funding opportunities still be made available?

Seminars are still going strong. Mostly because they're loss costly for the various institutions, be it hosting or sending someone, and accommodation is rarely needed. I've found them a good way to get an overview a particular area or if the focus is particularly sharp to get an in-depth instruction in a particular section.

For Special Collections most of the courses I attend are held in the British Library which does necessitate travel. Of course it's nearly as easy to travel to London as it is to Dublin.

As part of my work I've assisted curation of exhibitions on Dineen who compiled the first Irish-English dictionary and on Ulysses which left copyright earlier this year.

For all of these it's been useful to meet new people, new ways of doing things, knowing what resources are in the locale or further afield, reconnecting with people I knew already but have lost touch with for one reason and another. It can be hard to connect with people and so often it's over alcohol which is fine in small amounts but not otherwise. Now the recession has us all drinking tea, has to be Barrys and never Lyons. I guess as part of my new job I'll be getting business cards. I already have the business card holder, forward thinking on my part, especially when I may not have anywhere to go!

I enjoyed reading Devora Zack's book on Networking. Thank you Jo Alcock for recommending it!

I don't mind speaking in front of crowd as I trained as a teacher. I always find that it's easier to speak to people who don't want you to fail, not that school students do but all the same. I was at a seminar recently on effective presentations and in pair work the other said something I knew already: "You move your hands too much." Note to self find something to do with hands. Having a lectern is easy but then it can add a barrier between you and whoever the audience is.

In relation to presentations I read Ned Potter's posts thoroughly on being prepared. I practiced everywhere so I knew how and what I wanted to say but until I gave an actual run-through of the presentation to an actual audience I found that the words came out wrong: pyrotechnic against fibre-optic (bit of a difference!) and the time ran over hugely. It's not enough to practice segments while shelving, you have to practise it all. Eventually the time limit came down but that took practice too. Still it's as I was taught as a young un: if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well or do it right the first time!

Bye bye card catalogue or Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / CiteULike

I've tried Endnote as the library I'm in runs classes on it. Citeulike was then mentioned in conjunction with these classes. These classes are run for all students but are particularly for post-grads. It's funny but apart from library staff I've never seen any other staff members at it. The meeting point for the class is opposite the desk where I used to work so you see what happens.

It's odd but as a library we don't do any classes on how to reference or how to cite, plagarism or copyright. Undergrads have one class which combines all of these but it's only been introduced this year. Is it a library's place to do classes on citation, on one type but not another? Is Endnote seen as a database or electronic resource?

I've been testing Mendeley for the last while but it's been a little stop start with one thing and another.

I can see the value of using a citation system such as Endnote or Mendeley but I think I need to re-wire my brain. I wrote a previous dissertation by hand and kept note of the various citations by hand as well. That was feasible as it was over a short space of time and the dissertation was 15,000 words only. I say only but by and large it's reasonably small. However I've never returned to that topic and so I don't need to keep the various citations. Now as libraries are what I do I should really keep a better system. It's just a matter of doing it.

It is as if I were changing from a card catalogue to an OPAC.

Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

When did Google Docs become Google Drive? Hmm, mustn't have used it in a while? Is the name change doffing a hat to the USB drives? I think people use USB drives more than Google Drive. I own about 10 in varying sizes.

However if I'm going somewhere and I don't want to bring my USB key the I use Dropbox and I find it really handy. There are security issues with Dropbox but for information that's going on the web anyway I don't see why it can't be accessed by others on Dropbox. Perhaps others wouldn't need the ability to change the document but it depends on the document. Is it a living document constantly in a state of beta or not? I use Dropbox to transfer large files between my computer at home and my work computer and it can be handy if two people (or more!) are sharing a project.

I like Wikipedia. I know it's got a lot of bad press but the editing procedures and standards have changed hugely since its inception.

Recently I've been thinking about how best to use wikis in relation to Special Collections. Do I set up a wiki? Use a pre-existing site and customise as much as possible? Well my coding isn't that great so I don't know how possible that could be. I do think they would be useful and more so than a list of pdf or word documents. It's just one more thing to think about!

Let me take you on a journey...

Again the blog goes quiet and this time because I've started a new job. I was working as a Library Assistant in my library, yes it's my library and I've been there for just over six years. Recently I started a new job as Special Collections Librarian and although I've been in the university for over ten years between one post and another the amount of extra information to absorb is quite something. I can't imagine what it would be like if I was a newcomer to both the university and the library.

It's a small thing but at the moment I'm getting used to the sheer volume of emails. I've been added to quite a few distribution lists. I always knew that this would happen but until it does you just don't realise how many emails there are.

So let me take you on a journey, welcome to the world of special collections!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thing 12: Putting the Social Into Social Media or Becoming a Juggler

Recently I've stepped away from blogging and given twitter a proper go. Being an information professional really is a juggling act. On Fridays I used to read my blogs and work on the Things. Of late I've taken to reading my blogs and posting what I'm interested on Twitter (@walkerabroad). Unfortunately it's meant the Things were given a temporary heave-ho! Yes professionals are turning more and more towards social media as a way of advancing their professional knowledge and networks but how do you juggle all the networks??

There are how many people doing cpd23? Last time I checked it was 800 and yet I'm the only person in my library doing it. Is it about the juggling or lack of knowledge? This always strikes me as interesting considering the profession I'm in. I've shared my blogs with others and it's not that scary.

On Facebook I'm part of the ALA Librarians group but there I'm definitely a lurker. On Twitter I took the crazy step of unprotecting my tweets and you know what? The spammers didn't come calling nearly as much as they used to. Now my tweets are flying to various parts of America and the UK. I don't tweet to nearly as many people as I should but I am trying. How much time do people spend on twitter anyway? Are they permanently shackled to it?

Since starting in the library I've worked in four distinct areas and I'm aiming to up that count. I like to see different areas of the library, this is back to Star Trek from a few posts ago, and see the library as an organism on the whole rather than each area being separate. I should really just apply this philosophy to tweeting and the ALAers. It's just another way of getting to know people.

Thing 10: Graduate Traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation or the Bend in the Road

Hmm! How did I post Thing 11 before Thing 10! This is the worst of doing draft posts. You write them up and then post in the wrong order. But life doesn't happen in a precise order, sometimes there's a bend in the road or a little turn and so Thing 11 happens before Thing 10.

On to Thing 10! Graduate Traineeships. I wish that these had been around a little earlier or maybe I only started noticing them once I was in a library. Either way I don't know if you can go back and do a graduate traineeship once you've been in a library for a while.

In Ireland:experience is needed before going to library school.  I was lucky in that I'd worked as a student assistant for 18 months before I returned to work in a library and then I'd a year of working as a library assistant before I applied for the MSc in ILS. I'm doing the course with Aberystwyth as I can work away while I'm studying. Sometimes I wonder if I'd taken a year off or done the course earlier in my career where I'd be now but then how many great people would I have not met if it had gone that way instead. Oh those little bends in the road!

Once the MSc is done then Chartership is the next step. I've done portfolios from when I did teaching courses: secondary school and TEFL and they're a great tool to lay out what has been achieved and for setting goals. I've recently read Jo Alcock's portfolio and well done to her! Mighty work! I don't know how many people where I work know about Certification of if they're interested in it but it could be something worth pursuing.

I have two teaching qualifications; I especially find the TEFL one useful as there are increasingly large numbers of international students in the library at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. It makes me aware of the various issues that they have. There is more and more teaching and instruction involved in librarianship so I think these qualifications are quite useful.

I did my undergraduate in English & French and later topped it up with Irish to degree level. In Irish universities and in Irish public libraries being able to speak in Irish is very useful. I also have a Masters in English. Many librarians are now required to have a subject specific postgrad qualification so it's good to know that mine isn't wasted!

I know I need to keep topping up my qualifications as the library world isn't static. On the to-do list are: learn Latin, learn an old language i.e. Old Irish or Old English or one of the Old Scandinavian ones sound cool (maybe it's too much The Killing, tak!), do a module on historical bibliography for special collections, do the PRINCE project management qualification, do Chartership, have better computer skills, restart learning to code (I think this would be go #3). Hmm! Quite a list! Better hurry up and finish the MSc really fast!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thing 11: Mentoring: Modern Family Meets Star Trek
I've had mentors but mostly unofficial ones. One in particular has been extremely helpful over the last 6 years always pushing me, but in a nice way, to try new things and explore different projects. It's a bit like Star Trek. Unfortunately for me she's recently moved to a different section at work so I don't get to talk to her as much and she's now doing user education sessions also so we don't coincide either at break time. I think it's going to end up as a 'play date.'  Is she going to be the new Jasper from Modern Family?

The library I'm in did a pilot scheme for mentoring a few years ago. I was a pilot mentee and I used the opportunity to find out more about different kinds of approaches for acquiring data for my disseration (which is going swimmingly, thank you for asking!).  So I did find out about qualitative and quantitative methodologies which proved handy for when I actually did need to know about them. The pilot scheme never expanded into something more permanent which is a pity.

I know mentoring is a key part of CILIP Chartership so as that is one of my next projects (along with learning Latin, learning how to code or at least the basics, learning... oh it's an endless list!) I figure I'll experience it in a new and different way and I'm back to Star Trek again! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

CPD In Your Later Career

Hmm! Does early 30s qualify me as an older thing? Certainly not in the library I work at. The average age there is early 50s.

Maybe it's a mindset? Act your shoe size not your age. That works out better.

What if you've switched careers a few times so you're still a young thing for this career. When I was training to be a teacher my tutor said that over the course of our lifetime we'd have about 7 different kinds of job. So far I'm on job #4. How do you train for that? Take it one job one skill at a time? What kind of attitude do you need? Yep I think it's back to mindset.

Stromness Library on Mainland Orkney
It is as Gandhi says "Be the change you want to see in the world." I want to exude adaptability in the hopes that I will have adaptability returned to me.

National Library in Tibet
So far I'm interested in things that I can related to my work: reading (duh!), travel (apparently broadens the horizon and allows me to view other libraries and ways of doing things) and book arts (a lot of effort goes into making a hand-bound book so why do we grab it by the top of the spine?).

At the moment in Ireland there aren't that many jobs going in libraries; therefore I'm moving around within my library (yes it's MY library) to get the most varied experience that I can. So far I've been to Customer Services, Inter-Library Loan, Special Collections and a Health Sciences library. The Health Sciences library has been really handy as it's also a branch library so I get to see what happens when staff are security, customer services, information services, basic IT troubleshooters etc.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thing 9: Evernote

Prior to reading the post I had heard about Evernote. One of the guys at work swears by it. So I installed it on my netbook and wow wow wow. Why didn't I use it sooner. I work in two different areas and so I've the web clipper installed on Firefox. The one down side is that it's great to be able to add pages on and have them saved without emailing a whole pile of links to myself but I still have to go back and read the pages afterwards. Now if only I could find a program that would read the information for me as well!

While looking at Evernote's T&C it asks if I am over 13 years old. Why 13?

I've looked at integrating Evernote with Twitter but for the time being I'll leave it. I wish to become more familiar with Evernote and not rush into all the new bright & shiny! Oh the irony!!

Thing 8: Google Calendar

I can't say that I use Google Calendar much. I've a new head at work and she has reorganised the shared calendars adding tasks and rotas and adding them to our individual personal calendars. However this is through Microsoft's Outlook.

Certainly it makes sense to use Google Calendar if I'm working with someone who doesn't have access to the institutional calendar or if a group doesn't wish to add a tab to their existing calendars. Most people already have a Google account for something: mail, reader etc so a calendar function would just be another add-on.

Hmm! Short post...

Thing 7: Real-Life Networks

Recently I was at a number of events in the British Library and in both cases I was the only person from Ireland there. I got the impression that some of the others met each other on a regular basis or at least if some were based in London then it was good to know someone at another institution who was more accessible than someone who was in a different country.

I've become a member of CILIP as I received their email newsletter for some time but became increasingly frustrated that I couldn't access more than the headline as I'm not a member. I hope that membership will allow me to connect with more people so that if I travel to other events I may already know more people.

I'm currently finishing a MSc in ILS but once that's done I intend to do CILIP Chartership. I had wondered about how you find a CILIP mentor but recently I read an article where the mentor and mentee corresponded on Facebook as they lived some hundred miles apart in England. Good to see that Facebook is being put to use beyond photos!

I did the Myers-Brigg test and I'm an INTJ which wasn't that big a surprise. I like that you need time
 to recharge. Thing is (no pun intended!) one person's version of time sufficient is not the next. Maybe this is why I like the silent carriage on the trains where I can do all my reflective thinking!

Thing 6: Online Networks

Orkney Library & Archives at Kirkwall
I've been on Facebook since 2007 and I remember suddenly being able to reconnect so very easily with people I'd gone to school with and that had just been a few years earlier. Next all the embarassing school photos showed up. Scanners can be evil! .I've moved most of my library world updates to twitter but I still follow a number of libraries on facebook over twitter such as Manchester Libraries or Waterford County Library Service. Plus I'm a member of the ALA Think Tank Group. Too much trouble to move it. Funny Orkney Library and Archives is mentioned. While I don't 'like' their page I was on Orkey last year and so I have pictures of the building. No one but a library afficionado would take photos and maybe not even then!
I joined Linkedin later and bit by bit my profile took shape on it. Recently my cousin requested a connection. Each time I log in now I see all her updates. Apparently people spend about 8 minutes on Linkedin compared to 30 mins on Facebook. That would be true for me. People just don't put up photos on Linkedin though! From reading Sharlyn's article I should be using a photo of me and not my favoured landscape shot. How many connections is just right? Currently I have 25 connections so that puts in her Sharlyn's slot of checking once a week which is about right!

I've tried to separate out my selves so that Facebook has my personal life and Linkedin has my professional life. On Linkedin I'm part of the following groups: 23 Things, ACRL, ALA Emerging Leaders, ALA, CILIP, EDucause, LIBereurope: Heritage Collections and Preservation, IFLA, Library Research Methods, British Libary, LIberEurope: YEP!, Special Libraries Assoc. Whereas on Facebook I'm part of ALA Think Tank alone. It's interesting to see the group work on Facebook though, I think the interaction level is better.

I joined LISPN. I like Ned Potter's work as it's very straight forward and practical. I'm down as walkerabroad which is my username from as much as I can use it for. Jasper Fforde's new book The Woman Who Died A Lot has a good paragraph about librarians and the book itself is dedicated to librarians so I've included a quote from it on my profile: "Libraries were a treasured institution and so central to everyday life that government or commerce rarely did anything that might upset them. Some say they were more powerful than the military or, if not, then certainly quieter." (Fforde, Jasper. The Woman Who Died A Lot: A Thursday Next Novel 189).

I also joined the LAT Network. Before I came to library work I had been in teaching and I miss the interaction with people at that level.

I find it hard to keep up with all the various networks. I have a Google+ account but don't use but mostly because no one else I know is on it. How many networks are needed? And how many can be sustained?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thing 5: Reflective Practice

Am I becoming more aware of the means and methods of current awareness? Is this almost too meta a query? Certainly because I follow so many blogs I know about more information than say the person sitting next to me which depending on where I'm sitting could be one person or another. That said, that person will most definitely know more about other things than I would so knowledge about current awareness technologies might not be useful if you want to go tango dancing or if you want to fix a motorbike. Sure I could look it up or I could just ask someone. Sometimes old school methods work!

How do I become a reflective practitioner? Without a doubt one of the main difficulties is time, not just time to write about things but time to think about things. The other big difficulty is 'how to switch off.' Am I too connected? This is why when I go on holidays I like to not check in on the off chance that I'm missing something. Sure I'll check email and facebook but not as often as when I'm not on holidays. I need to find myself in the right place for thinking and fortunately holidays lend themselves very well to this: the train. On a plane there are noisy children and noisier adults but on the train if you're lucky you can get the silent carriage and all the peace in the world to let your mind drift and ponder. Sadly I just don't get the opportunity to go on trains that often. Recently I heard about a travel writer who instead of stressing about getting to the airport 90 minutes before a flight gets there now three hours before the flight and concentrates on getting the work done without being distracted by other things.

So note to self: To reflect more you must travel more but only by train and planes!

Thing 4: Current Awareness with Twitter, RSS and Storify

I have a twitter account: #walkerabroad. I don't use it very much. Well that used to be true. While I was on holidays I made a decision I would use twitter more. Now being that my starting point was zero, more could constitute checking in once a day. So a month later it stands at twice a day!! Oh it's non-stop go like the sales after Christmas!! 

I have found twitter etiquette useful. I wouldn't have used hashtags before and even now I don't use them every post, mostly because I forget! I am getting better though. I try not to retweet too much but when you follow Lorcan Dempsey it's pretty inevitable that you do! My three favourite tweeters for finding out about library world are Lorcan Dempsey (@lorcanD), Hack Library School  (@hacklibschool) and Deirdre Beecher (@biondairlandese). My three favourite tweeters for everything else: Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) and Centre for Book Arts (@center4bookarts). I do use twitter mostly for library related items but some things are seasonal such as in January I follow some  Sherlock related twitter accounts and in September I follow Downton Abbey related sites.

I like the saved search facility. I read a lot and I mean a lot of blogs. Ironically perhaps this is why I haven't kept up a much with my own blog...too busy reading all the others! Anyway from the blogs I learn of events that will occur and so save the search so I'll remember to rerun it later. The days of remembering to do things without having them written down are sadly long gone. Sidebar: I remember being able to remember everbody's email address in my head. I didn't even use the contacts facility in my email! This was back in the late 90s when everyone had only one email. Now I have to check four that I use on a regular basis!! 

As mentioned already I read a lot of blogs. I've used Google Reader for the last four years or so and I subscribe to a variety of blogs covering all the areas of interest I have professionally and personally. These range from food: Bibliocook or Eating With Grace; design: Design Sponge or Designing Better Libraries, fiction: Earth and Other Unlikely Worlds or Scandinavian Crime Fiction, and information: The Centered Librarian and Stephen's Lighthouse. Last count I subscribed to over 130 blogs. I could cut back but then not everyone posts as often as Stephen Abram so mostly do ok!

Storify is a new one on me. I joined storify via Twitter as I'm trying to consolidate my professional profile with one email address. Naturally just as I started to do work on Storify I found Scoop It! I could join both but realistically keeping one more going would be a challenge. So bye bye Storify. I've started using Scoop It! for personal interests so at the present it hosts science fiction related material.

While I've Been Away...

I've been away for some time from the blog. It's hard to get back into it once you're off doing other things but with so much else in life you have to get back to it. You just can't put everything on the backburner for all time.

At least I know that I've been doing some useful things and I had fun too (very important!).

A friend got married and her hen party and the wedding were in the same week!!! So that was a busy time! She's now moved to Texas so it was great to get the opportunity to spend some time with her.

I went on holidays to England and visited London and Bath. Bath is such a pretty city and has gorgeous architecture. I went on a day trip to Avebury. I don't know but there's something about stone circles. I'd visited Stonehenge as a child and I was on Orkney last year and visited the Ring of Brodgar but a village that's inside a stone circle??? How is that not cool! And yet I must have been one of the few people under 40 and unaccompanied by a small child.

Wisdom of the East
Popup Map
Over the  last year I've become really interested in bookcrafts. At Christmas I got a book (The Repurposed Library) about how to take books apart and what to do once you've accomplished that! So far I've done one project but I've done it a few times and in different ways. I've made biographical bracelets by using sheets from a a Wisdom of the East phrase-a-day calendar and from a popup map of Seattle. You start by cutting strips from your chosen paper. These are made long enough to wrap around the bracelet. They're glued on and more glue is placed over the strips. Then a light coat of acrylic paint is put on so that the text can still be seen. I used a light yellow for the Wisdom of the East and a light blue for the popup map. The next step was individual word strips. These are words that are in keeping with the text strips which are cut out and individually glued to the outside rim of the bracelet. This worked fine for the Wisdom of the East bracelet; however the popup map bracelet had no outside edge to speak of but instead had a flat top and bottom so the individual words were stuck on there for that one. Lastly a final coating of glue is placed on the outside or top and bottom of the braclets.

Also during my holidays I attended an introductory bookbinding course in London. This was run in Shepherd Falkiners. They run a number of different courses such as boxmaking or linocutting. I've tried to find similar courses in Cork but to no avail. This course was run over two days and we covered sewing a single section notebook, sewing a multi signature book, learning about different covering techniques for traditional binding and how to create a box structure to protect and present books. I found this last very useful as we made a phase box and I use them at work. The longer the course went on the more the room filled with tension. For the multi signature book if something were glued the wrong way, well it's an awful lot of work to mess up. Fortunately our teacher told us that he'd accidentally glued in a textblock upside down once and if we had any mistakes then we could just say that it was 'handmade.' That took the pressure off alright!
Single Section Notebook

We learned how to cut, how to fold paper and cut it, about grain direction and glueing technqiues for the single section notebook. The paper on the single section notebook is French marbled paper. It's quarter bound in a blue buckram. Buckram is the most traditional of book cloths, used in library and utility bindings. It is an acrylic filled material meaning that it is tough, waterproof and very easy to use. 

Headband on Multi Signature Book
Then for the multi signature book we did everything to the spine that we could do to a spine. So the headbands which would not necessarily be on every book were placed on the top and the bottom of this notebook. I was lucky in that my pattern could go either way on the vertical but some of the others in the class had to be careful not to place their paper upside down. The paper that's used on the multi signature book is chiyogami which is a Japanese decorative paper. Chiyogami is beautiful hand screen printed paper from Japan. The designs were originally based on the bright kimono textiles which the papermakers from the countryside saw on the fashionable wealthier ladies in the larger cities. To create a single completed sheet of Chiyogami, each base sheet is silkscreened with as many colours as there are in that particular pattern - in most cases, four or five colours. 

Phase Box with Multi Signature Book
The phase box is cut precisely for this book and the colour was chosen to match the pattern on the front of the book. The paper used is part of the Colourplan range. Phasebox paper and indeed chiyogami and marbled paper are usually heavier than the paper used in the text block. The folds on the phase box are created by first placing a metal ruler next to the pencil drawn line and then scoring the drawn line either with the tip of a bone folder or a ballpoint pen which is used up. The advantage to using the pen is nearly everyone has a pen which no longer works. If the bone folder is used then you need to practice so that the line scored is actually the pencil line and not 2mm to the right. Once the scoring is done the paper is bent back over a metal ruler and then the metal ruler is removed and a teflon folder used to press the paper down. A teflon folder is used over a bone folder for pressing as if a bone folder is used then it burnishes the paper, whereas the teflon folder simply presses it down.

I'm pretty happy with my handmade products and now that I've stocked up on supplies I'll be busy, that is when I'm not doing Things: Bright & Shiny!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thing 3: Personal Brand

When it came to finding a name for this blog, the name came readily enough but it was putting the title together in such a way that it was available was the kicker. Originally I wanted 'Bright & Shiny Things' but naturally that was taken. I tried Blogger and Wordpress but as I prefer Blogger I went with 'Things: Bright & Shiny' in the end.

For all my professional activity I used to use two different emails but I have now consolidated twitter, linkedin, this blog, my rss feeds under one email. Google may get a lot of flack but it's very handy to have everything going to the same silo. The harder part was finding a photo that I liked. I have chosen an image rather than a photo of me or a logo. While I realise that it's probably better to use a photo of me rather than a landscape shot I actually prefer the landscape shot. Finding a photo of oneself that where I look normal is reasonably difficult; the chances that my eyes are closed or my hair is blowing in the wind are high, whereas I know my landscape shots and I think the photo I've chosen fits in well with the title of this blog.

As I was updating the email address and the photo I also chose to update the username that I have, or at least to update it for professional use. Previously I had used one that I'd created in the wake of a holiday, however it didn't showcase my interests or the area I'm in. I messed around with various words trying to create a suitable username but if it worked on one tool (blog) it didn't on the next (twitter). Finally I chose 'walkerabroad.' Incidentally this was the name of my first blog so when I googled the username the blog was what turned up in the search results. So I deactivated the blog. The username I think reflects who I am in that I'm walking in all areas: technology, libraries, a variety of specialities within the library world and of course what I'm interested in when I don't have my library hat on: walking, crime and sf books, my kindle!!!

Am I a salesman? It's not part of my temperament so I very much need to work that little bit harder at making my presence known. Of course it would help if I didn't try something and then stopped. This is what happened for the original 23 Things. I started a blog and then stopped on Thing 5. I've never returned to complete that blog but even though some of those things may no longer be relevant or may be prevalent now in 2012 I should be able to say that this is done.

Should I get business cards? If I do I could place my chosen photo on the card. If I do would I use my institutional email address or my gmail one?

I'm trying to compartmentalise my professional and personal life. Previously I'd used facebook for everything. Now I'm trying to add my professional groups and networks to linkedin. I'll leave the current groups and networks that I have on facebook for the moment but I won't add any more on. 

To Google myself or not to Google myself?  This may sound a little crazy but I actually Google myself on a regular basis. I'm not saying I do it once a week or that I'm paranoid (should I even by typing this out??) but I think it's good to know on which networks I'm visible and if they're still relevant. About 6 months ago I did this exercise and I found results relating to myspace and other social networks which died a social death quite some time ago. I never realised that I'm on so many platforms.

My name isn't hugely common so it's possible to get relevant results for name alone. When I Google "my name" as a phrase the first results that related to me were for However I was 13th on this list. the next result was and I was first on that. The results also show my old twitter username which was changed yesterday. I wonder how long it will stay in Google results and when my new twitter username will show up. Recently I'd a discussion on facebook with other students on my library course about the benefits of linkedin or In the wake of the discussion I created yet another profile which I now realise has to be updated to create a consistent image of me. Oddly enough the contact details for my institution don't show up at all.

If I Google the following: "my name" + library again the results show first the linkedin results, the profile and the old twitter account. The only work related one is from an old library news bulletin from when I first started in the library. My institution contact details are on page 2 of the results. Is this because there is no picture attached to the contact details, whereas all the other results do.

If I Google the following: "my name + my location I get different results. There is a listing of the library staff who speak various languages and where they are based. This is for the benefit of international students. I am also listed on another person's page. Lastly a result shows my participation in a conference based in the university from 2005.

I was surprised that my contact details for my institution didn't ramk higher but Google changes its page ranking system so frequently. Still...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thing 1: Blogs & Blogging Part 2

Once I'd read the first post I went onto Ned Potter's Workshop Booklet on Blogging. I worked my way through the booklet. I was a little annoyed that so much was designed for wordpress as opposed to any other blogging platform. I've used both but for ease of use Blogger is very straight-forward.

I added a number of widgets on to the blog so I can track how many views etc I've received and so I can redirect my many many readers to my twitter account.

I've already been following a number of library bloggers such as Stephen Abram. How much must he read and where does he get his information from?

Thing 2: Investigating Blogs

From the delicious bookmarks I can see the range of people who've signed up to do cpd 23 things and what a variety of areas they work in. Quite a few people are just as apprehensive as I am about maintaining the level of commitment over the weeks. This I know is also true for writing a dissertation in that you don't want to take your foot off the pedal, though it is inevitable.

I posted on deeslibraryramblings' space. Like me, she started a bit late but I find you get into the swing of it quite easily.

Adventures in the library: Emily is a library assistant like me and she's also interested in murder mysteries. It's funny really how many people who work in libraries are into murder mysteries. There's an unofficial book club at work and we pass around books and tips on Nordic crime fiction in particular.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thing 1: Blogs & Blogging

This is my first post for Things: Bright & Shiny. I've started doing this blog for 23 Things for Professional Development.

At the present I'm working on a dissertation as part of an MSc in ILs so with luck this will aid that. The area I'm writing on is emerging technologies (hence the bright and shiny things), how and when they're implemented and what the implications thereof are.

Prior to working in a library I was teaching in secondary schools and doing TEFL. The increasing presence of instruction in a librarian's workload attracted me to library work. I've worked in an academic library now for nearly 6 years. Four years ago I started doing the MSc through distance learning with Aberystwyth and it's taken longer than expected to get this far. Life has a nasty habit of getting in the way.

I've worked in Customer Services full-time and part-time. Just over two years ago I started working part-time in Special Collections and part-time in Customer Services. Then I had one week in Inter-Library Loans and currently I work part-time in Customer Services and part-time in the Health Sciences branch library.

It's frustrating at the present that there aren't as many posts at professional level and there's an embargo on recruitment in the public sector in Ireland.  I'm hoping that by expanding my skillset and doing external projects such as What's the Score with the Bodleian that I'll be more future ready than I am now.