Thursday, 28 July 2011

An Evernote convert

I got very excited as I started looking at Evernote, as I can see it has huge potential for me, by the sheer fact that you can access the content you put in it from any computer, as long as Evernote is downloaded on it.  I had often been frustrated by having information in a "Favourite" folder in one computer, and not on another.  And then if you no longer have access to that computer, you've lost that information unless you've taken the time to transfer it. 
[As I type this I am thinking that this could potentially be very useful on public library reference desks, to allow staff to share information e.g. "this is a good site to answer x question", but that's sidetracking.] Anyway I started using Evernote straight away, both for work and for personal material.  It's just so reassuring to know that I can get to the information in my notebooks as long as I have access to a computer.  When I leave this job in December, and return to Dunedin I will still have access, and I won't have to do a thing about transferring - what bliss.
I also love the fact that you can have different notebooks, and tag items.  That really appeals to my need to order and categorise things.  No wonder I'm a librarian.

Excuse the random picture, but I have restrained from putting a cat in this blog for 9 Things now, plus it is a good excuse to practise adding images to the site.

Keeping track of what I'm up to

Yet again 23 Things is giving me the opportunity to look at features I hadn't previously taken the time to do so.  The Google suite has a wide range of products, but as I'm not a person who goes looking for the sake of looking, it's only when someone says, "Hey look at this, you can use it to do this" and makes it relevant that I'll give it my attention.
My initial thoughts about Google calendar.   Well it is certainly easy to work with, and I liked features such as the weather forecast and the phases of the moon.
Will I use it?  Probably not, as it would just be yet another thing I would need to remember to check.  My work Outlook calendar is sufficient for my job.  It's there in front of me, and my colleagues in the organisation are able to access it.  As for my personal life, I am happy with my current (non-online) method of keeping track of what I have planned, and it works for me.  As for letting others know what I'm doing, I'd rather tell them and they can put it in their calendars/diaries if it's important to them.
It was interesting to see how libraries are using Google calendar, and good to know the tool is available.

Friday, 22 July 2011


I've just been away for two days attending a meeting with fellow librarians, so this Thing is very timely.  Face-to-face networking is very enjoyable, and highly beneficial.
As far as professional organisations are concerned, I have been a member of LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) since my Library School days, back in the early 80s.  I joined as I felt it was important to belong to a professional group, not only for my own benefit, but to support the work the Association was doing on the profession's behalf.
And they do do some great work, both on a national and regional level.  Conferences are organised annually, and if you can't attend, many of the papers and proceedings are posted on the website for reference.  There are a host of other resources available on the website too, which I've found useful e.g. information on professional registration; copyright; a reader's advisory forum, etc.
Professional development training courses are also organised by LIANZA and offered at various venues around the company, and it's great to have the opportunity to take advantage of these.  The most recent course I attended was on Leadership in times of change, so the training provided is very relevant to the profession today.
The regional committees also do a great job, or at least the Otago/Southland committee certainly does.  They offer activities on a regular basis, and while I am not a regular supporter of these (the topic doesn't always interest me, and sometimes there just aren't enough hours in a day) those I have attended have been good value.  And of course, they offer the opportunity for face-to-face networking, often over a glass of wine and some nibbles (always a good incentive to turn up).

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Online networks

Although I joined LinkedIn several months ago my account had lain dormant until CPD23 Things brought it back into my focus.  I just hadn't spent the time on it, but now, after having read Sharlyn Lauby's excellent article, which prompted me to have a good look around the LinkedIn site, I am more aware of its true value.  Finding time to work on my profile will be a priority, but I also started thinking about connections, and sent out a few invites while I was looking around the site. 
Because one can only do so much online, and still have a life, I will concentrate my professional efforts on LinkedIn and leave Facebook, at this stage.  However I am very interested in investigating how libraries are using Facebook, as I can see the potential there.
I have an interest in training, and have completed a Certificate in Adult Teaching, so the Librarians As Teachers site caught my attention.  The site is obviously in its infancy, but already has some useful links.  And it will be good to network with others interested in the same field - which is what this online networking is all about after all.

Friday, 15 July 2011


Blogs, Twitter, RSS feeds, Pushnote, Google Reader and my "brand".  CPD23 Things has brought all these things into my focus over the past 4 weeks, and given me the opportunity not only to learn more about them, but also to think about their relevance from a professional perspective.
I'm finding that I quite like writing blog entries, especially when there is a purpose.  But the real benefit has been meeting some interesting people through blog comments, which gives an extra dimension to the value of blogs.  This is an area I would like to develop, because I often find myself wanting to make a comment, but then find it difficult to focus my thoughts succinctly.  So that's one challenge for me to carry forward.
Being made to think about my "brand" has been another valuable exercise that has come out of the assignments, and it's been reassuring to realise that I can have control over it.  Indeed, it's imperative that I do take control, and use the tools available to create the impression I desire.  Becoming aware of how others, including prospective employers, are using the Web to find out about people, and also seeing how well others portray themselves through their web presence, is making me realise just how useful a web presence can be.  So another challenge will be to reflect, and act, on developing my presence.  Investigating LinkedIn more thoroughly will be a good first step.
Using tools like blogs, twitter, RSS feeds and Google Reader has suddenly made keeping abreast of what's happening elsewhere in the profession, and wider, much easier.  There's a lot of interesting news/material available, and two actions immediately spring to mind as a result.  One, I must be realistic as to how much time I spend looking at these; and, two, it is really important to use headings wisely, if you want others to read further.  Give the reader a reason to linger, otherwise their eyes will just move on down to the next entry.  Others have commented on this, and I agree.  It's just so important to know what the entry is about.
I haven't been able to initiate any changes in my work place yet, as a result of what I've learnt, but I have been able to pass on some ideas that might percolate into actions in the future.  I am hopeful, and in the meantime I am enjoying the process and looking forward to further Things.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Taking note of Pushnote

Been thinking about Pushnote, and how by not exploring it I was leaving part of Thing 4's assignment undone, so this morning I took the plunge and installed Chrome.  From there it was a very simple matter to sign up for Pushnote, and then I went off to leave a comment on a website.  That was quite fun, especially as I was the first one to comment on that site.  Next I went searching other websites to see how other Pushnote users were using the feature, with the consequence that I discovered even more things I need to work out!  The FAQs on the Pushnote site are a little on the sparse side, but as I am a great believer in "learning by doing" I guess I'll eventually find out the green up and red down arrows signify, and the + figure.
Will it be useful?  Only time will tell, but at least we're in on it now.  Thanks CPD23 Things.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Tweets & Feeds - no, it's not a bird

I'm really loving the way this course is giving me "permission" to sit down and spend time exploring things like Twitter and RSS feeds, and thinking about them in the context of my professional life.  As I mentioned in an earlier post I had actually signed up to Twitter prior to this course - last September in fact.  The main purpose was to be able to "follow" the library I was then working in, to see how it was using Twitter as a marketing tool.  And when a colleague was away at a conference I logged in to see what he was tweeting about, but there was so much tweeting happening I had to log off or else I wouldn't have got any work done.  After that Twitter had disappeared off my horizon, until Thing 4 brought it back to my attention.  Thanks for the really clear instructions.  Whoever is writing them is doing a fantastic job.  I also appreciate the way they put forward why this can be a valuable tool for us, in our jobs. 
I was already following Stephen Abram @sabram, as I had heard him speak at conference last year and thought he was quite visionary.  Now I've signed up to "follow" CPD23, Christchurch Public Library, New York Public Library (to see how other libraries are using Twitter to promote their resources and services),  InfoLit Group (because this is an area I have an interest in), and LoneWolfMLS (recommended by a colleague I've met online from doing this course, to help with current awareness).
And I sent my first tweet out into ether, which was quite a milestone.  I can see that as my network grows, it could be a useful discussion tool, but it's early days yet.
Then it was on to RSS feeds, and what a useful tool they are.  Great to have all the updates gathered in one place.  Now of course, I have to build time into my day to have a look at what has been posted.  And because, I have to confess, Google Reader is also new to me, it's going to take some time working out the best/most efficient way to use its features.  One question which immediately springs to mind though - how do you remove items from your Reader account?  Or does material just keep accumulating?
Pushnote will have to stay a mystery to me for a while longer, as I don't have easy access to Chrome or Firefox.  I certainly feel I've learnt a lot from this week's assignment though.

Friday, 1 July 2011

One's Brand

Well, this was a very interesting exercise, as thinking about how I might be perceived by people looking at my existence on the web was not something I'd ever considered before.  Not that there's much out there, at the moment.  Googling myself, I came across my entry in LinkedIn, Twitter, and Oldfriends.  All sites I'd joined at some stage, but hadn't done much with, so it was lucky I could still remember which email and password I'd used for each site.  The other entries referred to work related documents e.g. council minutes, list-serv entries, newspaper or magazine articles, etc. or my participation in the Otago Peninsula Challenge over the last 2 years.
After doing the above search, and reading the articles suggested in Thing 3, I decided I could stop being quite so dubious about how much control I can have over content that appears on the web, and actually take control.  I particularly liked the statement in Andromeda Yelton's article, Person branding for new librarians, where she states "Start with your strengths and grow organically.  If you write, blog...If you're a social media wizard, get out there on Twitter and Facebook...You don't have to be active everywhere, learn what works for you."  So, small steps - get a hang of blogging, because I quite like to write, and don't worry about Twitter (does anyone who tweets ever get any work done?) at this stage.  I also changed the background design on my blog, to reflect my personality more (I would be interested to know what readers of this post think it says about me, if anyone wishes to share their perceptions); revealed my name; updated my profile with a few work-related details; and uploaded a photo.  I did a similar exercise with my LinkedIn entry.  It's a start, and I'm looking forward to the journey ahead.