Sunday, 24 June 2012

This Things I Believe

Crumbs! I kind of used Things 5 and 6 as a good excuse for a holiday there. Not that I don't appreciate the value of reflective practice (I own many mirrors...) but I don't think I really had much worth posting about it. Yes I am aware that hasn't stopped me posting before now but anyway.

Regarding Thing 7, I am joining some real life networks, namely CILIP and the LAI. I can join as a student right now and I know from talking to others that there may be opportunities to attend further CPD events through such organisations. It's tough building networks without being employed in the sector but I am attending another conference tomorrow so that will give me an opportunity to impress with my vast knowledge and stores of wit... hmmmm. Well I'm going to go anyway and if someone talks to me I'll talk back. We'll see how that goes.

I already use Google Calendar. It sits there reminding me of the deadlines I have set for my dissertation. Actually this is an excellent way of keeping you on your toes if you have a deadline for anything. I break any project into stages and decide what date each stage has to be completed by. So every week I have to have the project advanced to the next stage or I will fall behind. I am pretty good for sticking to deadlines which I set for myself and Google Calendar allows me to check from anywhere how I am doing. I think if you break any task down into manageable stages and focus on the next stage the whole task seems so much less daunting. 

I haven't yet done Thing 9 but will do so soon. In the meantime I'm enjoying reading the blogs I'm currently following and can recommend them to anyone who reads my own. I think there's a list on the right there. Go try them and nod sagely at their advice, laugh politely at their jokes, and comment often on their posts :D Now I should go looking for more to follow.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Thing 4 - He's gone all social on me

Hey everyone, I've just completed setting up a Twitter account which if I'm doing this correct is @DamienLibrarian. I can't imagine me having anything worthwhile to say in just 140 characters as I'm very long winded. But it should be useful for current awareness. I think I will search around a bit more and be able to find some useful resources through it. I had always resisted Twitter and have constantly slagged my mates for telling me stories (admittedly funny) about the exploits of Joey Barton the professional footballing clown so I am going to avoid letting any of my fellow tough, footballing, beer-drinking pals in on my having this account :D otherwise I think it will be really useful to me and my new career.

Storify was new to me and though it seems pleasant I am wondering about its usefulness in the library world. If anyone has any good examples of the application of this tool I would really appreciate a link because at the moment I can only envisage using it for my own amusement and not in a professional setting. Having little library experience I may be way off on this but I will investigate some of the blogs I am following to see if there are any  examples in them. Oh and I should start following more people now to keep myself in the loop.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Thing 3: The Thing That Should Not Be

Bit of a misleading title that but it just popped into my head :)

I read the thoughts of some others on their online presence after I Googled myself and left a couple of comments. Honestly, some of you are hilarious (I have found loads of comedy material to steal through this!). Unusually (or so I thought) most of the blogs I read had their owners in a similar position to myself.

Many of the blogs I read today belonged to people with odd names, like me. It's not the Damien part, that's fine. And my full name's not Damien Clatterback or anything (I actually came across this name through work earlier today. I'll be honest, I think it's awesome and sort of wish it was my name) but I am the only person I've ever heard of with my name so when I searched for me, I found only me.

I was not unhappy with the results at first. Top result was to my DeviantArt page (which I'm sure no one I know knows about), second was about playing for my local football team (good stuff), third was a dusty facebook page, and then mostly repetition. I don't mind this information being out there but I was kind of disappointed to see only one result about me professionally (and that's not even library related) but it's a fair reflection of my career to date. Having only finished in library school I know I have a lot of work ahead of me (should I ever get a job in a library) but I'm confident I will change this.

I guess Thing 3 has only hammered this home to me so thank you Thing 3. I'm off now to figure out how to subscribe to some of those witty blogs...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Thing 2: Head on the Chopping Block

I've been investigating and posting comments on other blogs belonging to bloggers in a similar position to myself (new and wary about placing the head on the chopping block) but it was actually fine. As I read in the blog of my (as yet) sole commentator, as a profession librarians are just really nice and supportive people so there really is nothing to be worried about. People appreciate knowing someone is reading their blog and there is loads of interesting information and material out there.

I already ahem, acquired some BlogRoll links from another blog when I noticed how useful these resources were. I will continue to read through other blogs to see if there are any other useful resources people have left lying around for me to, acquire... Oh and seeing as I still have my head I'm going to keep on commenting on other blogs (even if I don't have anything particularly useful to say).

Thanks for reading and best of luck with your own Things.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Publishing Practice and Research

Well I've started on thing 2 (though I still feel weird commenting on stranger's posts) but today I actually got to do some real Librarian stuff which I can write about.

I attended a seminar entitled Developing Your Professional Portfolio: Publishing Your Practice and Research which Helen had organised. The seminar was aimed at librarians who are writing or wish to write for publication and library staff who wanted to hear about their peer's library research and practice.

It was really interesting and I could write all day about it but I think my last post was maybe a bit too long (long winded as I am) so I'm going to try and give some general details.

10 speakers gave a total of 9 half hour talks each discussing various aspects of librarians publishing their research and cpd generally. Some points which may be of use to people new to blogging and writing for their peers in general were:

  • Start writing! Get something down even if it is only to brainstorm ideas. Several speakers mentioned carrying around notepads to write ideas as they pop into your head. The idea of 'snack writing' was memorable and involved quick 10-20 minute writing sessions during the day because realistically none of us will have the opportunity to sit and write for hours as we need it
  • Stop waiting for the perfect time to write because it will never arrive. Just start
  • Blogging, even if it is informal, gets you writing and that is an important starting point
  • Be confident that you do have something worthwhile to contribute. This is something I am definitely feeling with cpd23 (that I may not have anything valuable to contribute) but the seminar speakers and attendees all felt the same at some point. Recognise that you are capable of making a contribution to the profession
The seminar was really excellent and inspiring and even I feel that writing something to publish is an achievable goal. I could write more but I think I'm already breaking my shorter post promise. Instead I will finish with my favourite piece of advice from the seminar which Helen and others put forward. 

Give yourself permission to write badly (because you can and will edit).

So it seems I'm already on track (with the whole writing badly part at least).

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Reluctant Blogger

Hi all,

My name is Damien and I've just this month finished in library school for my MSc LIS. I'm about to start focusing on my dissertation but before I really give myself up to that I am completing work experience with an academic library here in Ireland. As part of this my mentor, Helen has asked me to participate in and evaluate the cpd23 course on blogging over the summer. I try to avoid criticism in these types of evaluation and tend to focus more on what the various courses I'm participating in have to offer and who is most likely to benefit from them.

With that said my first impression of the cpd23 course is that I am likely to be the target audience. I've heard of blogging (in the same way I hear about Twitter, from my mates who seem clued in on such things) but had never accessed a blog before reading Helen's on academic writing for librarians. Now I can see the value. Blogs are great places to get advice from experienced professionals or access to useful resources.

I should say that I am not exactly used to interacting in any major way with social media (I have a facebook page but it rarely sees me) but I will try to post some useful information here even if it is only to let others know that someone else is in the same position of inexperience.

I currently don't work in a library though there are some elements of records management in my current public service role. That ties in with what I'm most looking forward to in the cpd23 course. Things on promoting myself and gaining experience through volunteering are of a necessary interest to me right now. But I'm also interested to see how Library 2.0 technology improves the librarians work (as I am still a bit skeptical but willing to be convinced).

So I guess that's it for my first ever blog post. I'm sure it won't be my last...

(Is signing off normal? I just don't know!)