CPD23 Thing 23 (!): Time for reflection

Child looking out to see on Cornish beach

Looking to the year ahead

CPD23 Thing 23 post

I can’t believe I’ve finished CPD23! Well beyond the deadline, and not quite by my self-imposed end-of-year deadline either, but I made it anyway. I’m not always great at seeing things through, so I’m proud to have got this far. What am I going to blog about now?!

I’ve written a PDP for Chartership, so I’ve drawn on that as well as CPD23 for this exercise.

What have I learned?

CPD23 has been hugely helpful. I’ve said it before, but in a shrinking department with limited budget there aren’t many opportunities for career development or discussions. The programme has introduced me to a new network of career-minded info pros, as well as tools and techniques I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

Gaps in my knowledge

  • Digital skills (I have the basics but don’t always know the best way to harness them, or the best tools for the job).
  • Promoting the department (internally and externally – must do more).
  • Getting involved in the profession more fully (through face-to-face groups and events, and online).

Goals

My main goal for this year is to charter. I’m in the process of compiling my portfolio, so there’s a lot of work ahead but I’m hopeful!

Beyond that, I want to get involved in the profession and address some of the other gaps identified above. 2012 is going to be a year for career development!

CPD23 Thing 19: Bit of a breather

Workman takes a break

Source: National Library of Ireland (NLI Ref.: P_WP_2946)

Jo’s Thing 19 post

I’ve been ploughing through CPD23, and the end is in sight, so it’s nice to have a break to reflect, sit down with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit and really think about what I’ve learned and how I can use it.

Things I’ve integrated already

Networks – I’m not as involved as I’d like to be but I’ve been going to more events since Thing 7 (face-to-face networks) and trying to be more involved online (Thing 6).

Google Docs, Google Calendar – I already use these at work but it was useful to consider their wider application; I’ll be using them when I get further on with Chartership.

Wikis, screen capture – I’ve been playing around with the software and once I’ve discussed it with colleagues I’ll hopefully incorporate them into the way we work.

Getting involved in events – I gave my first talk in, like, forever a few weeks ago, and while my technique definitely needs work I’m pleased to have done it.

Things I need to work on

Reflective practice – This is my main area to work on, it’s vital for Chartership but also just good practice generally. If I don’t reflect and apply what I’ve learned how will I ever progress? (That sounds a bit sinister but you know what I mean.)

Reading, reading, reading – I have the modern affliction of relying too heavily on Twitter for my professional knowledge, and applying a Twitter-like attention span to anything new. I signed up to Google Reader fully intending to check it every morning and read every new post. And then I forgot about it. As it happens Google Reader may not have been the best choice of RSS software, but I am determined to incorporate more reading time into my day (and I don’t just mean the Mail Online gossip feed – I know, I know! I hate myself but it’s horribly addictive).

Looking back over the course so far, the Things that really stand out aren’t the nifty bits of software and sites I didn’t know existed, but the ones that made me examine why I got into librarianship and where my path could go from here.

It’s reminded me why I’m passionate about my profession, and given me a new drive that was lost somewhere beneath piles of dirty nappies and the daily grind (not literally, that would be gross). So thank you CPD23ers!

CPD23 Thing 5: Reflections on reflecting

River in Bellingham

I originally set this blog up for reflective writing towards my Chartership portfolio, but I let it slide quite quickly. I tend to get so bogged down in day to day tasks and library events, and writing about them, that I don’t get round to reflecting, or applying any lessons I could learn.

I found reflective theory a tad confusing when I first looked into it! There are so many methods, some more philosophical than others, that I wasn’t sure I’d really grasped it. I have a tendency to waffle, too, which isn’t always useful!

So it was reassuring to read this week’s Thing! Beneath the theorising it really comes down to assessing what you’ve done, working out how you can learn from it and then acting on it. I like the Borton example on the CPD23 post, which keeps it simple – What? So what? Now what?

I was also reassured that I don’t need to reflect on absolutely everything I do. I think I’ve failed in the past because I’ve not been selective enough, so from now on I’m going to pick and choose the events that could really influence how I work.

So, how can I reflect on CPD23 so far? Applying the Borton model and Emma’s evaluation process to Thing 3 – personal branding:

  • What?

- CPD23 module on branding

  • So what?

What did you learn? – personal brand can be a powerful professional tool if done properly; it’s important to have the same identity across different online platforms; the tone you take online can depend on the role you do and the field you work in (working in media, I can get away with a ‘profersonal’ approach); I need to unify my online brand – I have a split personality!

What worked well? – the Google check showed that my brand is strong; a profersonal approach is suited to my role

What, if anything, went wrong? – this blog didn’t rank highly on Google – my professional brand is linked closely to my job; my photo and name differ across platforms; my blog doesn’t reflect the professional me at all

What would you change? – redesign my blog to reflect its purpose; make my photo consistent across professional platforms (Twitter, blog); think about my brand before I tweet/blog – think about professional audience

What (potential) impact could this have in your workplace? – not really directly applicable to work – my employers control my external profile, branding – but could help to establish a professional profile outside of work; get more involved/recognised in professional sphere

  • Now what?

- select a photograph to use on Twitter and blog that a) looks like me and b) is professional

- redesign this blog to better represent its purpose – a) relevant header photo and b) nicer layout and background, that can be extended to other platforms as and when (don’t have business cards yet!)

- think about the potential audience before I tweet/blog – I’ve a tendency to post off the cuff, but I need to a) make sure the tone is suitably professional and b) be more selective about what I tweet

  • Reflecting on actions

Have I been successful in improving the weaknesses I identified? Yes – I’ve found a photo I’m happy with, and I’m treating Twitter a lot more professionally (in conjunction with Thing 4, which nudged me to organise my online presence). I’ve started to redesign this blog too, with a new theme, colour scheme and header. It’s a work in progress though, I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

Another mammoth CPD23 blogpost! And by writing about reflective practice, I’ve reflected on my reflective practice, and so the circle begins again…

Umbrella conference: first reflections

I’m not up to speed with CPD23 Thing 5 yet (is it too early for a catch-up week?) but I do know it’s about reflective learning. I haven’t posted my notes from my visit to Umbrella yet, and I’m going to try and write a properly reflective post next week, but in keeping with Thing 5, these are the initial reflections I jotted down on the train back on Wednesday.

  • Don’t just assume you know what users/colleagues want, ask them (surveys/studies/informal chats) – Ian Rowlands, Nigel Ford & Alan Brine good egs of building service/training on solid research
  • Libraries need to get ahead of the digital curve again - Nick Stopforth & Alan Poulter
  • Wikis are a useful tool for internal use – Alan Brine eg ‘the67things’
  • Google Generation results don’t just apply to teens – our users tend to expect quick answers, skim not in depth (Ian Rowlands)
  • Lots of links to check out

CPD23: Thing 2 – investigating other blogs

As I may have mentioned elsewhere, I’m usually good at writing up notes and lists, but when it comes to reflective writing and learning my good intentions often fall by the wayside. Hence it’s only week two of CDP23 and I’m already playing catch-up!

But catch up I will. I found the participants list a little daunting, so the first bloggers I picked to read were participants I already knew or had followed for a while – step forward nataliafay and @woodsiegirl at Organising Chaos – and ones who had commented on my own blog – Annie at The Hobbit Hole, oliverpig, Variegated Stacks and Ahava Cohen at Love in the library.

I followed through some of the comments too, quite a neat way of discovering other bloggers with similar points of view (or opposing, if the comments are negative!). And I clicked through to blogs that these bloggers had written about (is there another word for blog, btw? My spell check is going crazy!).

So now I’ve added London Library Girl, Theatregrad, Sarah Said Library, The Neon Librarian and Odd Librarian Out to my CPD23 network as well. I like this way of discovering blogs by recommendation, rather than picking someone from a list arbitrarily. You weed out some of the less interesting posts, and I’ve joined some really interesting conversations.

So that’s eleven blogs down, only 603 to go!

Chartership to do list: Week 1 – outcomes

Four out of five isn’t bad!

  • Get my MSc certificate signed – copied and signed at my local branch
  • Post it - check
  • Ask about backdating evidence – have emailed Cilip Qualifications
  • Find a Career Development Group – I’m already a member of the London group, and I’m keeping an eye on the events calendar for anything interesting and useful
  • Arrange a mentor meeting - the only one I’ve failed, but she had a baby at the weekend so she’s otherwise occupied at the moment! Once she’s home and settled I’ll arrange everything by email until she’s ready to face the outside world again

Library Day in the Life: Tuesday

Assistant librarian, Guardian News & Media (media library)

- Library Day in the Life project

Tuesday is brownie day in the Guardian library, always good to come in to baked goods!

  • Added the David Cameron timeline I compiled yesterday to the department intranet – now I just have to remember to keep updating it
  • Attended morning conference, which is open to everyone – David Miliband was the special guest
  • Tried contacting the Olympic Delivery Authority press office to get hold of venue floor plans, but their phone is permanently on voicemail, grr
  • Tried to track down a date of birth for tomorrow’s obituary pages, with no luck. It’s going to be one of those frustrating days, I can tell
  • Created a Labour leadership page on our intranet, with profile info for each candidate (Who’s Who entry, Guardian profile & news page etc), a timeline of the leadership race and links to relevant online resources (Labour Party site, Unions Together, Guardian microsite, Guido Fawkes)

Lunch beckons, before I eat all the chocolate brownies.

  • Finally got hold of the ODA press officer – they’re on site all day as it’s only two years to go (you’d think they’d expect calls from the press today, ho hum) but I’ll be able to speak to them tomorrow. So sort of successful
  • Added a nifty searchable map of UK libraries by postcode (created by @psychemedia) to our Delicious account
  • Wrote a new Datablog post, on the cheery subject of animal testing. Now I know that mice are most likely to be tested on, but nearly 400,000 fish were tested on last year too. Not sure when that will ever come in useful!
  • Added the new GDP figure from the ONS to the Datablog post on GDP

Library Day in the Life project

I’ve been really bad at keeping this blog up-to-date recently. I’d like to blame the fact I’m 6 months pregnant for distracting me, but it seems a little harsh to lay the blame on an as-yet-unborn child when really I’ve just been lazy.

Anyway, to get me back in the game I’m taking part in the fifth Library Day in the Life project, which starts today. I’ve blogged a typical week before, but this time it’s a collaborative effort. More than 80 librarians are taking part in the project, from backgrounds as diverse as the Ottawa Public Library, the University of North Carolina (Greensboro), the NHS Bolton library and the Bodleian law library. What a fantastic resource to show budding librarians the variety of roles available to information professionals!

Week in the life: Monday 24 May 2010

Arrived 9.30am (or maybe a little bit after!). My colleague Holly is away this week so I’m doing a few tasks first thing that she would normally do if she was working the early shift (9am).

Normally I’d work a 9.30-5.30 shift, but today I’m leaving a few hours early for a baby scan (exciting!). Not to worry though, it was a busy morning so plenty to write about.

  • Afghanistan casualties – We check the MOD site every morning for details of any new deaths, then add them to the casualty list we store in Google docs. This list is made available internally through the research dept intranet, and externally through the Datablog. There was one casualty over the weekend, so I added his name and details to the list of British casualties, and changed the number of UK deaths on the spreadsheet.
  • Afghanistan wounded – We update this as and when figures are released. I checked the MoD and DoD sites but no further figures have been released.
  • Afghanistan casualties worldwide – We keep a list on the intranet of the casualties suffered by other countries as well as the UK. Checked iCasualties, and updated the list on the intranet.
  • Cuts query for John Harris on Alastair Campbell – used Lexis Nexis to search for profiles/interviews, and a review of his previous diaries book, and emailed nine or ten articles.
  • Corrections – The Guardian prints corrections every day in the Corrections and Clarifications column, and we add them to the relevant articles on our internal text archive. Found today’s corrections in the archive library, then used the Corrections tool to add each correction to the article it is correcting.
  • Wrote up my notes from In Copy training last week – we’re going to start loading the From the archive column onto the website ourselves soon, as it’s been discontinued online (no one else has time or inclination to do it), so we’ve had training on how to do it from In Copy.
  • Uploaded Saturday’s From the archive article as a practice, and ironed out a few glitches with someone from ESD. We’re trying to settle on a uniform style that looks okay but also incorporates good SEO, and so it’s clear it’s an old article not breaking news.
  • From the archive for next week – We try to keep at least two weeks ahead of the From the archive column, which we send off every Thursday for subbing, but we’ve been busy lately so there are a few gaps to fill in. I checked our On this day calendar for ideas, saw that the driving test has been compulsory for 75 years and searched the digital archive for driving test stories around the first week of June 1935. Came up with a House of Commons proceedings report about road safety, not one of those gems you find sometimes but quite interesting anyway. Typed the text into the Google doc we use to compile future articles, edited it to 450 words and entered the details onto the Google calendar so colleagues know I’ve covered that date.
  • Sidebar for the newspaper – The home desk want a panel to go with the Dr Andrew Wakefield story tomorrow, detailing the history of the case, so I checked the wires and Lexis Nexis for previous stories, timelines and dates then wrote it through, with about ten bullet points on the original study, GMC investigations and other key dates.
  • Updating Aristotle – The Guardian’s database of MPs needs updating with the new shadow cabinet posts for Labour MPs, so I copied over the job titles from the Labour website and used the production software to amend each minister’s profile online. Harriet Harman is now officially the acting leader etc.

Online: Ghostsigns archive

I have so many posts to catch up on! On 18th March I attended the launch of the Ghostsigns archive, overseen by project manager Sam Roberts and created as part of the History of Advertising Trust collection (more of which later).

A ghostsign, for the uninitiated, is painted advertising on a building, the forerunner of billboards that has all but died out. I became involved with the Ghostsigns project last year, when Sam Roberts contacted me on Flickr to invite me to add a photograph of a sign to his group on the photography site. HAT has enabled Sam to build up the collection from a group on a public website (which now has 450 members and 4,058 photos) to a searchable online archive that will preserve the images, which form an important part of advertising history, permanently. My photo incidentally wound up on a postcard to celebrate the launch, which was quite satisfying!

To coincide with the launch I wrote a Datablog post providing metadata for each of the signs in the archive – location information, including county and partial postcodes, and image links and descriptions for an initial set of 30 signs. The plan is for Sam or someone on the project to be able to add further image links and descriptions as time allows.

I think there are two valuable lessons from my involvement in Ghostsigns:

  • firstly, learning the role a web 2.0/social media website can play in creating an archive. The Ghostsigns project wouldn’t be as far-reaching if it weren’t for the input of the Flickr group’s members, and Sam would never have been able to reach so many other enthusiasts without it. Librarians and archivists shouldn’t just jump on the social media bandwagon at random, but in certain circumstances opening up the acquisitions process to the web, or using sites like Flickr, Twitter or Facebook to reach a new and specific audience, can really pay off.
  • secondly, that the Datablog can be used to serve a purpose beyond the general reporting of news. Yes, the dataset created in partnership with the Ghostsigns archive increases traffic to the Guardian site, and provides raw data for Guardian users to manipulate or use as they please. But it also provides HAT and the Ghostsigns project with a useful tool that can be developed by them in future.