Thing 8 – Curation Tools

Pinterest, Flipboard and Storify – I’ve used all three. Pinterest and Flipboard on a personal level. A Pinterest board for my friend’s wedding was so much fun. However, for work purposes I love Storify. Any organisation with a Twitter account should consider how they can use Storify to collate and curate tweets of interest to them. I’ve used Storify to create stories about conferences or events, and when I was part of an LAI group we used it to exhibit a twitter chat we had so that people who couldn’t participate at the time could still feel part of the conversation.

Unfortunately I missed the Rudai twitter chat (very disappointing) but I can’t wait to see how they use the Storify tool to put it all together!

We also use Storify in work. I think it’s a great idea for projects – create a hashtag and then collate all the tweets. It’s a quick win as it is very easy to set up but is visually appealing and accessible for stakeholders to see not only the work that is being done but also the interest the audience has in the work you are doing as it shows RTs and favourites.

If you’re using Twitter then I definitely recommend giving Storify a go!

I also love the idea of using Flipboard to create a magazine for young adults or children, I’m certainly willing to spend more time thinking how it could be useful in my domain.

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Thing 4 – Google

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my Google account. It wished me a happy birthday this year with a special Google doodle! But, just like when it does other nice and helpful things like remind me ‘it’s time to leave for the airport’ or create a slideshow of my photos there’s a slight sense of discomfort that my Google account knows more about, and takes more interest in, the daily occurrences in my life than some of my best friends.

Despite my slight discomfort I like the fact that Google adds things from my email to my calendar and makes life easy for me where it can. I’ve used a lot of different Google tools, especially Gmail and Drive. Drive has been invaluable for some of the collaborative work I’ve been involved in.

I joined Google+ a few years ago because it is used by members of my family to share pictures in a more secure way than Facebook. (Although there are now more options on Facebook that allow you to do this.) I don’t really make much use of it and it kinda just sits there until there’s a conversation going or something being shared that I’m interested in.

The same goes for Google Hangouts – I’ve used it in a personal capacity rather than for work but I enjoy how it lets you group call and find that for more than two people it can be a better option than Skype. It also has some really fun features if you’re chatting to little people. Hangouts-on-air sounds amazing, even if its just to troubleshoot IT problems for my parents now that I am that bit farther away.

I think the main thing with all the available online tools out there is that there is no harm in giving them a go. In my experience the organisations I have worked for have certain ways of doing things and specific tools but the more experience you have with using different ones, the more likely you’ll be better equipped to troubleshoot if (or more likely when) there are technical issues.

Since moving I have realised that online access to my friends, family and networks is very important to me and so my Google account as well as other tools used to keep an online presence mean I don’t feel isolated in any way. Although I don’t really have the need to use these things for work at the moment, the fact is that someday I might and the more I know how to do, the easier it is to learn something similar or the next big thing.

 

Thing 3 – My Professional Brand

While I enjoy social media in a personal/social capacity I am slightly less comfortable with professionally ‘branding’ myself. I guess this is because as I am early in my career I’m still not really sure what my brand is. I guess for something like LinkedIn I’m happy to showcase my work both in college and as a information professional since graduating but I always find the Summary section a bit more difficult. How do I summarize myself in a short and concise paragraph?

I think I could make a lot more use of my LinkedIn profile and use it more effectively by sharing posts I write or articles and links I find interesting. Perhaps this would give people that I am connected with a bit more insight into who I am as a person and as a professional. Right now I think my LinkedIn is the CV without the cover letter – a list of my education and practical experience and very little else – it lacks any personality.

I hadn’t really thought much about this until I had to really think about why I even have a LinkedIn page for this course. I think when it comes to online presence it is a really good idea to think about why you have certain profiles and what the benefits are. For me Facebook and Instagram are for friends and family, Twitter is mainly for networking with other information professionals and LinkedIn was an extra I rarely checked or thought about. I also had an About.me page at one point but felt that it wasn’t necessary and so deleted it. I have also deleted other social networking profiles – I want to make sure that profiles I do have are useful and used so that my online presence is manageable and is a true reflection of who I am and what I’m about.

As far as who I am professionally – I hope I come across as a friendly and nice person as well as an enthusiastic and engaged early career professional who has good experience in various aspects of librarianship. I am aware that I don’t know it all but my attitude is all about learning more and putting what I have been learning into practice. social media

Social Media: A blessing or curse for librarians and libraries?

Last week I tweeted a link to an infographic which looked at the role of social media in the recruitment process, particularly employer’s use of social media to screen potential candidates.

The tweet got a fairly big response with various attitudes towards the subject matter expressed.

Some felt that social media would take over from CVs, others felt that social media should be outside the realm of the professional and that it was intrusive of employers to ‘google’ employees. However, despite the infographic claiming that 43% of employer’s used social media as a reason NOT to hire versus 19% using as a reason to hire, the majority felt that social media offered opportunities rather than problems as long as people take the right approach.

I suppose the biggest issue in terms of social media is that you might say something inappropriate or offensive or post pictures of yourself that aren’t seen as being professional. Social media is something which has huge potential in terms of showing different sides of yourself to the rest of the world. I think the biggest piece of advice I could give is to decide the audience for each of your social platforms and then consider the implications.

The reasons employers gave for not hiring candidates were:

Inappropriate content posted online

Information about the candidate drinking or doing drugs

Bad mouthing a previous employer

Poor communication skills

Discriminatory comments

Lied about qualifications

Although you might hope that people would be aware enough not to post this kind of content (or lie in the first place) I understand there could be slip-ups when you might say something about a bad day at the office that might FBbe taken the wrong way.  Or, take for example, you are of the opinion that your Facebook is social and for friends and family only, you post pictures and make jokes that taken out of context could be off-putting to a potential employer. Or, perhaps your friends have a tendency to write silly comments or tag you in images. Employers realise people have a life outside of work but if they are looking for reasons NOT to hire then it is probably best that you keep you private life just that, private. There is an easy solution to ensure this does not happen and that is to make your Facebook private. There are plenty of how to guides on doing just that and there is even a feature that lets you see how your Facebook looks to the general public.

Twitter is a tfacebook.twitter button (1)rickier one as people may want to use it as a way to bring their opinions to a bigger audience using hashtags etc. Some keep their Twitter private but change settings in order to get involved in chats and for conferences etc. However, a good rule for Twitter if you don’t want to use privacy settings all the time would be this – if you wouldn’t shout it out in a crowded room filled with a mix of friends, family, employers and strangers, then don’t shout it out on Twitter. Essentially without privacy on Twitter you are talking to the approximately 241 million monthly active users. Any one of those users could be your boss, your colleague, the person you are about to meet at interview. Be smart!

There is the option of using a more anonymous handle and avatar but this means that all the great things you say won’t be attributed to you.

Facebook and Twitter are just two examples I have used because they are the most well known. These and other social media platforms have amazing potential to showcase why you are the perfect candidate. You can highlight your ability and your interest by the things you share and the discussions you are involved in. Being involved on social media also means you know how social media works; more and more libraries and other organisations are using social media for public engagement and engagement with their users, being able to use it well means that you have another skill employers will be able to utilise. On a personal note I have found social media to be extremely beneficial in terms of getting to know other librarians and in keeping up to date with hot topics and trends. I know many solo librarians who feel that it has really enhanced their job by allowing them to be a solo librarian but still have a sense of community and a network to engage with and pose questions to.

Libraries, including my current place of work, have been able to market their services to a wider audience and communicate in a quicker and easier way since they have started using social media. Yes, there has to be policies in place and procedures about how to use the platforms but as far as I can tell the benefits far outweigh any negatives.

Personally I think that libraries have a great opportunity to engage with users about social media. A lot of librarians use social media to network and keep on top of trends and have good knowledge about the area. Libraries could assist researchers in finding and sharing information through social media, perhaps look at the copyright issues that are becoming more of an issue because there is such ease in sharing information, help soon-to-be graduates to make the best of their social media profiles in order to impress potential employers and generally help students to be a little bit smarter when it comes to the big wide world of social media. There has been study after study in recent years about how digital natives aren’t necessarily as digitally savvy as you might think and you just have to have a quick look online to figure that out.

Some libraries have already gotten in on the action:

University of Leicester has information on keeping up to date using social media

University of York has a section on how to become a networked researcher

The LAI HSLG group have a link to a great guide to using Twitter for academics on their website. Created by the LSE Public Policy group but definitely adaptable for libraries.

Queen’s Library, New York have put together a Slideshare for those using social media as part of their job hunt – very relevant to students nearing graduation.

There is huge potential for libraries to get involved. Libraries have already taken the step of using social media to communicate and market so there is every reason they can get involved and help users use social media to its full potential both socially and professionally.

social media

I know a great deal more could be said about social media and its effects on our lives but I hope my thoughts are in some way useful and show how librarians can use social media effectively and without fear that the social will get mixed up with the professional parts of life.

LAI Career Development Group Open Day

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@LAICDGroup #cdg2013

Yesterday I attended the much anticipated LAI Career Development Group Open Day in Pearse Street Public Library. The Group is a relatively new group to the LAI, made up of enthusiastic volunteers that are keen to help librarians find work and uncover perhaps unknown career paths. This was their first event and I have to say I thought it was very successful and that comes down to the enthusiasm and hard-work of the volunteers and Giada who spent time and effort to organise the venue and the talks. It is great to see such pro-active people working together to help and inform others of what is available, what skills they might need to obtain and even information about part-time/contract-work and social welfare schemes etc to keep them working and, in the interim, having some kind of income. I have to say that I spent the morning before the event with my friend who was flying back to Australia after a quick two week holiday at home. I had to drop her to the airport and it was horrible because she does not want to be so far away. She is a nurse and her partner, an engineer, and they hope they will only have to be away another year. I am mentioning this because, although I have no problem in moving to another country to work, I know that there are people to whom Ireland is the only place they can call home. I think it is amazing to see people be positive and pro-active and working together in the way the Career Development Group do, to enable people to find work and feel a bit more positively about their situations and career choices.

After a cup of tea and (plenty) of biscuits we entered the room for the first talk of the day by Edel Kelly from the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed. Edel has 11 years experience in her field and she gave a very informative talk about Job-seeker’s Benefit and Job-seeker’s Allowance and other schemes and entitlements. She also gave very good advice in relation to obtaining your entitlements:

1)      Double-check your information; there are plenty of people who are well-informed but some civil servants may be put on the desk covering a sick-day etc. and may not have all the info (through no fault of their own!)

2)      Keep paper and electronic copies of your efforts to find work.

3)      Job-Seeker’s Benefit has been reduced by 3 months as of April this year, be aware of this change as many schemes require you to be in receipt of a social welfare payment for a year. You will need to apply for JA immediately after your time on JB.

4)      If you want to start your own business make sure you know exactly what finances are available to you and for how long, you need to understand there are huge risks involved and that you may need to think longer term.

Check out the website for more information or email them at welfare@inou.ie

During the Q&A session, members of the audience also informed people that they may be entitled to Technical Assistance and Training if they are benefitting from Short-Term Enterprise Allowance or Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. Most importantly for the students that are reading the blog, we were informed that you may be able to claim Job-Seeker’s from the end of April when we are finished the full-time portion of the course. At this stage we will only have the Capstone Projects to work on and will be available for full-time work and therefore eligible. This is a great piece of information because by the time we are finished Capstone in August we may have been receiving a payment for three months and therefore entitled to apply for Job-bridge schemes. For those that are not aware, there are many library jobs advertised on Job-bridge lately and it seems (especially for those without actual library experience) that these would have been the entry-level positions before the recession and they might be a good way to build up your C.V.

After another short break, Tina Byrne from Arcline took to the podium. Arcline is a private archives and records management company established in 1996. Arcline gains a lot of project work from the public sector and creates teams to fill the positions needed for each project. More and more recently they have projects in which just librarians are needed for the team. This is usually working with older, historical books and using traditional library skills such as cataloguing. She provided the before and after pictures of a project they had worked on and they were very impressive. She stressed that this is a good way of showing the client the work that has been achieved. She also stressed that they believe in hands-on management and have great time and respect for those that work for them, which is very nice to see in a private company in this day and age. I think the fact that they try to match the person to the project is fantastic, again especially for students or those without certain skills, you may be partnered or teamed with more experienced people allowing you to gain from their insights and skill-set.

Tina then told us the kind of skills that would be required by people they hire:

  • Familiarity with AACR2, MARC21, Library of Congress Subject Headings etc.
  • Use or familiarity with Library Management Software
  • Language skills (esp. Irish, students check out the Irish lunches Info-Soc will be running, info on the Facebook page.)
  • Team spirit. (The group work has been worth it. :))
  • Interest in rare books, historical collections and, especially for students, if you are willing to do some of the assistant work and perhaps blend library and archival work.

Tina also stressed that digitisation, e-learning and technology are inevitably the way of the future so try to develop as many skills in these areas as you can! See yourselves as content managers and don’t get bogged down by terms like “librarian” which can be problematic. I have seen myself that although we may see ourselves as “librarians” there are jobs and career paths for people with our skill set that don’t associate with the title. Be willing to think and look outside the box.

You can find out information on the website, or follow on Twitter @ArclineInfo  They are more than willing to accept CVs from recent graduates and they get the majority of the work in the public sector in the months before Christmas. However, if you do send a CV, please let them know if you find work and are no longer available for projects. And for those willing to work outside of Dublin, let them know!

Finally, the last talk of the day was by Brian Donovan, CEO of Eneclann. Another private company founded in 1998. Eneclann are involved in publications, archival and genealogical work and research among other things. Their mission statement involves making information and records held in archives and libraries available to the general public.

One of the things I found very interesting about the talk was the subject of genealogy. Obviously, genealogy and family history is something that has garnered huge interest in recent years, programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are have had massive public appeal and it is most definitely a growth area. However, do not think that it will be a cash cow for a librarian. As Brian says, many people want to research for themselves and for those that don’t there have been huge numbers of people offering services in this area over the last few years. The work Eneclann does is slightly different, they are making the records available to people; although, they do offer research services to those who require them, including private individuals looking for information on families etc. They are involved with the publication of CD-ROMs and online content and with the website FindMyPast.ie. These types of resources provide people access to the information they are seeking. They also try to improve documents from the past, to correct mistakes and make them more accessible to people.

Brian stressed the importance of being able to work with IT people and provide the specifications required without having to become an expert in the technology yourself. The role of the librarian, archivist or researcher is not the role of web-site developer. For the librarian the classification is important, but also, experience with the digitisation process. Brian stressed that this is hugely important in their work. He, like Tina, emphasised that digitisation is the way forward and that it is essential to build up your skills in the area if given the opportunity.

Brian was a very interesting speaker and the documents that they are making available are fascinating. As he said himself, they provide families looking for their past with stories alongside the facts and figures, although I must warn you, many can be more than slightly unpleasant given Ireland’s rich history. He showed us a document detailing a court case from Templemore in County Tipperary (being from Tipperary I was intrigued by this) which involved a brother calling his sister a witch and the sister subsequently calling her brother a lunatic. You may think that these kind of accusations would be surprising to me but Tipperary was the county in which the (supposed) last witch-burning in Europe happened in 1895, the case of Bridget Cleary. I find history and the stories behind the people incredibly engaging so I can only imagine how intrigued you would be to find these stories hidden in your past.

Find the website here or follow on Twitter @Eneclann

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As we left the library, my friends and I spoke about the positive experience the Open Day had been. We met some lovely new people who had already gone through the course and they gave us lots of helpful tips. They were really interested to hear about our experiences and Capstones and it really helped us to feel part of a wider community. There was also a huge amount of tweeting during the day. Get on Twitter and get involved!

Here’s a post from New Professional’s Day with the same advice! NPD – Get Tweeting….

The library community is inclusive and friendly and I have found them to be willing and able to help you feel involved and welcome. The LAI membership forms are available online and if you join you can get involved with groups like the CDG, which I hope to do. Also, the New Professionals Day Event will be coming soon, get on Twitter (@NPDIreland), follow on Facebook and watch this space. There is also the LAI’s Annual Seminar and talk about a Libcamp here in Ireland. Plenty of exciting events and it makes me think that it’s a great time to be entering the Library world. It may seem that libraries are facing an up-hill struggle but we know libraries are essential and I think the fact that there are so many people willing to get up and be passionate about the profession gives me hope that people will eventually understand this. Before we know it we’ll have an army of Tweeters and #LibrariesAreAwesome should be trending worldwide! 🙂