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ALIA National 2014 – Day 1 – Take Charge of your LIS career

First day of the ALIA National conference and it’s really interesting.  This morning Brad King was talking about what you can do to get a job whether it’s your first job or your next career move.  Libraries and librarians need to learn to sell themselves to IT and get them onside as well as selling themselves and the benefits of their services  to stakeholders.  Question that can be asked is “How do you put numerical worth of the service?”  Workshop looked at what the situation for jobs is in libraries.  There are some things that libraries can do better as well as some things that the libraries do well.  One of the things that libraries can do better is marketing themselves.

Brad made the point that Information Technology practitioners were very good at marketing themselves to the organisation while Information Management practitioners were not.  We tended to just put our heads down and get on with the job.  We need to change this and show how what we do benefits the organisation.   Brad also spoke about his role advocating for appropriate salaries for library workers.  There are many more career opportunities other than “Librarian” or “Library Technician”.  Brad also spoke about what makes a good resume and points out that you don’t just have a generic resume but good idea to tailor it to the job you are going for.  There is no set length to the resume but ensure that it lists achievements rather than just the tasks you have done in positions held.

It is important to keep management abreast of what you are doing otherwise you get undervalued. Brad’s top 5 tips were: try new things; network; professional development; sell yourself and be persistent.  Brad made the point that resumes don’t get you the job they get you the interview.  Interviews get you the job. Remember to tell your referees the job  you are going for and what the role is otherwise they may unwittingly sabotage your chances of getting the job.  Dress for the job you want not the job you have.  So you don’t sabotage your own chances research the company you have an interview with and arrive 1/2 hour early for the interview.  That doesn’t mean walking in early just be close and get yourself settled before getting to the interview.

Judy Brooker then spoke about ALIAs PD scheme and why you should be a part of it.  They have recently introduced specialisations within the PD scheme.  You need to be an ALIA member to access but its worth doing as it provides professional development in various ways.  There are lots of different things you can do that fall under the PD scheme, from reading journal articles, attending course, attending conferences, attending seminars and many more.  Go to to investigate further.  Learning is a lot about reflective reading and the PD scheme requiresa you to reflect on your reading as a way of keeping track of your activities.  Hugh Rundle then showed us how you can find lots of training and professional development opportunities without going to courses.  Think about the social media networks you  are a part of and how they form part of your professional development.  Don’t just look for ‘library’ for PD opportunities.  Don’t be a blog snob reading a blog about libraries or other relevant topics is still part of professional development.  Kirsty Butler spoke to us about PLNs.  PLN is a Professional Learning Network.  She doesn’t like the term PLN but uses friends and allies.  Think about who you have in your network, this can be anything from blog you read, newspaper/journal article, colleagues, friends and so on.  Most people don’t realise who they have in their network.  Try mapping it out.

Julia Garnett and Kim Tairi spoke about online presence and creating it.  Julia spoke about building your professional brand.  What is your LIS CRED?

C – Connect & Create

R – Read & Reflect

E – Expression & Engagement

D –  Development & Direction


Creating your own online presence could be easy – you could already have one.  You need to be the curator of your own presence don’t let others control it. One recurring theme is about reflecting about what you read and learn.  Express yourself, have an online presence and be persistent was another suggestion by Julia.  Don’t be afraid to express your opinion of what you have read/watched.  Develop your online voice and think about your professional development and where you want to go.

Following on from Julia we had Kim Tairi talking about reinventing yourself.  Kim pointed out that we spend too much time focusing on our image and not enough time is spent focusing on professional integrity; passion; engagement; experience and knowledge.  You need to work out where you want to be at in your career and what you need to get there.  It is important to define your own professional story and revise it when it’s necessary.

The day has definitely left me with a lot to think about.  Great workshop and I’m glad I was part of it.


Professional Development

Talking about professional development with a colleague got me thinking about motivating staff to actually go to training courses or participate in training opportunities.  I can understand when you have to pay for the training yourself, but when the organisation pays for the training or it’s offered free for those in the profession then I’m left perplexed by the refusal to go.  Especially when that same person then goes and complains that they never get an opportunity to upgrade their skill!  Chances are if you say no to training often enough the employer will not bother offering you the opportunity to go to again.

I’m always looking at ways to improve my skills, and by no means am I perfect or even particularly good at everything but I try and learn at least something about the various aspects of librarianship.  My biggest struggle at the moment is motivating others to try and learn a new skill. This is especially true if the skill involves technology, whether a new device or new software/medium. Have to agree with Mary Kelly who on her blog Library Lost & Found said

Chances are that a perfect blend of scheduling, training budgets, and managerial support will not exist.   Often, the reality is that there is nothing to support you and your career.  You – and you alone – will be the only one to care about your career.

We need to take responsibility for our own professional development and look at the courses being offered and seeing if it would enhance our skills even in a small way.  I’m not saying to go to everything but don’t say no to something just because you don’t know anything about the subject.  The other benefit of going to training seminar/workshops and other professional development opportunities is the opportunity for professional networking.  Sometimes that becomes a valuable opportunity because it gives you the opportunity to find out how others do things and gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else.

AGLIN Forum 2011 new technologies: values and practices in libraries

Some notes from an AGLIN seminar I went to in 2011 as a way of keeping track of PD events I go to. Accuracy not guaranteed

The first talk of the day was by Peter Alexander and Tim Dale on Gov 2.0 and how the government is using web 2.0 technology.  The aim is to use web 2.0 as a whole of government.  There is always pressure to do things better for less money.  Twitter and other social media are just another channel to the job.  Better service deliver is the aim; Give people what they want, when they want and how they want it.  Internet is the preferred method for people to contact government.  The preference for internet communication with government has grown over time.  The main reason is convenience but sometimes regulations mean people must present to shopfront.

Govt 2.0 drivers : leadership, engagement & open access

  • Declaration of open govt: informing, engaging, participating
  • important part of move to govt 2.0 is the people and their innovation
  • innovation is engaging with risk
  • Engagement: govt official website interacting with web 2.0 technologies,
    twitter, fb, media release. two way communication
  • If you going to engage you must engage with the media
  • if you going to use web 2.0 must have a policy, who you respond to &
    possibly sub policies
  • Speechbubble – eg from Human Services
  • Govspace – platform provided by Finance for depts. to have blogs
  • open data – no restrictions to info
  • principles – need to find the data, then play with it & share after
  • agenices need to discover data to publish, the process – any restrictions
    or open needs to be determined
  • then licence phase – choose how to publish then publish phase decide
    appropriate format/look then refinement stage where edited
  • need to give people the tools to interpret the data
  • – help people discover the data sets
  • shown
  • showing uses of data sets in web 2.0  – US police showing where crime committed, giving name, address & rap sheet
  • how do you see libraries using this space
  • use govt material. libraries need to be progressive
  • libraries need to be innovative, drive some of the change, demonstrate
    value, use the tools
  • web 2.0 assist in community engagement

Brian Farnhill & Suzette Bailey on Effective info management
strategies with sharepoint 2010

  • features of sharepont 2010 – managed metadata across all Office 2010
  • difference between – taxonomy vs folksonomy. folksonomy user defined
    metadata, promote popular terms
  • document sets – documents grouped together for a specific purpose; apply
    metadata and info mgtment policies to all docs in group
  • can also manage docs as if single area
  • info mgtment policy is a set of rules that govern the availability &
    behaviour of a certain type of important content
  • web 2.0 assist in community engagement

John Cooksey from Zenith talking about Technology & talent

  • move towards part-time & temporary jobs
  • workforce strategy – more questions then answers
  • should companies ‘make’ or ‘buy’ labour
  • what roles critical, one size fit all does it work, valid & reliable
    people measures in place

thinking for a living – Tom Davenport states knowledge works have high
degrees of expertise, education or experience

3/4 job growth come from – IT, health & Training/Library

influence of web 2.0 – traditional less relevant, need for broader info
mgtment skills including: info/bus needs, info design

vision 4 workforce – can they do the job, will they. short term fixes not
an option

upgrade staff skills

Laurie Atkinson on Victorian Government Library Service

comprised of all govt depts & agencies

part of Victorian Govt agenda to share services

stakeholder engagement critical to success

use staff wiki to help drive change within organisation

wiki used as a survival guide to coping with the whole change

creation of virtual teams created to help with change

staff had to put hand up for one of the 5 teams

changes in structure have not translated to budget

VGLS setting measurable outcomes to changes

VGLS: put your problem on the market and let them fix
it! The power of crowd sourcing!

Paul Hagon from NLA on Web 3.0

web 1.0 = 1993 hyperlinks, static, consumption

web 2.0 = 2004 2 way, interactive, producing, social

web 1.0 info pushed out to you, web 2.0 info you can interact with

web 3.0 ~2010 semantic, machine driven

linkages of search terms and meaning

microformats, rdf, html markup used in web 3.0

values places in code to tell computer of meaning of certain search

eg., html code to tell engine that information it’s looking at is related
to copyright info

search engines starting to put more relevance to the extra code

resource descriptive framework attributes (RDFA) – Xml code

semantic web all about linkages

Dublin Core = specific rules regarding metadata

owl = web ontology language, used to start build semantic rules in strict

sparql = sql for link data

libraries can use markup html using rdfa in their records

dbpedia – like wikipedia for web data

Alison Dellit talking about Trove

using Prezi

what they learnt from Trove experience

Content: if you don’t have the content then you won’t get anywhere

wide variety of use of the content. digital, rare, undiscovered

Convenience: means to the end for some people

simple choices, plain language, complexity for those who want it, user

Libraries Australian & Australian Libraries Gateway important to Trove

Iterative, user-driven collaborative

Scott Lewis talking about The Semantic web

what is the goal of the semantic web? It’s about efficiency

everything that you can get out of the info

How? meaning of info is derived from the document itself, and not the
source context

meaning is structured

meaning is contained/communicated

Increasing total use : less info, not more, increases use: contextual,
taregted, layered

display: using meaning to inform display: priritise, condense, visually

active info: make the information “usable”: share-able,

outsource enrichment: engage users, save engagement: meta-info – comments,
clicks, shared items; tags; additional content

Interface engagement: interfaces have the purpose of making info us as
easy as possible

challenges: relate to your clients, not the info; attitude &
aesthetics are half the battle; learn new ways to say yes

Tool: RDF/RDFs/OWL; social web; AI classification system

web 2.0: originated in thoughts about commodification; web 2.0 “use
of databases which are derived from social interactions;

web 3.0: everything is a database

mass aggregagtors – moreover, muse

Gaik Khong on Automated selection & subject indexing of newspaper

part of ParlInfo

LAST Library Authoring System & Thesaurus : autmoated ingestion,
automated selection, automated subject indexing

collates, selects & indexes the media monitors newspaper clippings by
7.30am each morning

Anne Slaney talking about pay per view pilot for end users

trust in users not to do the wrong in regards to inappropriate material or
over use

Online training

As more training gets done online these days I’m finding myself evaluating things that I like and don’t like about it and what bits are helpful.  I know we all do this but I’m finding that there are times where I wonder why I’m doing the training.  I’ve recently had to do some systems training and as the LMS provider is in the US the training has been done online.  Now I know there are technical difficulties that arise and there are time zones and other issues but I really struggle to follow a training session where all I’m doing is sitting at a desk watching my computer monitor and listening in while the trainer is showing me different links and areas of the system.  While I do find it interesting it becomes a bit of a battle trying to remember everything – while taking notes – and not to fall asleep during the session as it becomes a bit of a one way session.

I’m not talking about a session that is only 1 hour – this is a 6 hour training session that can become monotonous when all you have is one person talking and all you need to do is remember to move your mouse occasionally so that the screensaver doesn’t come on.   It gets worse if there are no training manuals provided – or are provided 5 minutes before the session starts and you haven’t had time to print them out.    I know there are limitations to what you can do but I’m not sure that anyone learns a lot in that situation.  I know that I’m usually left scratching my head and wondering what was it that I’ve just learnt.

Impatience or the dangers of being impatient

All I seem to be lately is impatient – impatient for the Information Online Conference to start, impatient for my material from CSU to turn up so I can see what I’ll need to do for my studies, impatient for Uni to start even.  I know it’s not long until the Online Conference but I’m excited to be going for a number of reasons chief of which is that there are a lot of sessions that sound very interesting.  I’m also participating in the mentor/mentee program which should be interesting.  There are also a lot of exciting things happening with ALIA Sydney.

I’m really going to have to curb my impatience and just wait but I just can’t help it – I want things now!  I will definitely try to blog and tweet from the conference – something that I said I was going to be doing more of but haven’t had a chance to with new job.  Study is going to be an interesting prospect in more ways than one – me to actually discipline myself in actually doing it on time (and not playing Cityville, Enchanted Island etc) and the kids being used to Mum studying.

Busy times ahead

Finding it hard to keep up my blog as I’m being pulled in a number of different directions.  I’m about to start studing again which means being even busier.  Going to be doing Master of Information Technology so I’ll see how things go.  Finding it interesting how different workplaces have different attitudes to training/professional development for staff.  Previous place I really had to fight to even get time off to go to training (without taking annual leave) that I’ve paid for let alone them paying while where I’m currently has no problem with sending me to a conference and paying for a pre-conference workshop (and I’ve only been there a month).  Still trying to find my way in the new job but am definitely enjoying myself.

Professional Development Opportunity

Need to take more professional development opportunities for me otherwise I will start to loose some of the skills that I’ve gained.  Speaking of this I’m looking forward to my trip to Canberra for the Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 at the National Library of Australia.  This is one opportunity I have taken up.

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