Saturday, 10 November 2012

Thing 23 – What Next?

So I am finally at the end, a little late but not too bad.

Reflection of the Programme

I have mostly enjoyed the programme and found it very useful. 
 
I liked the things that dealt with new tools and although I have found that I haven’t taken on the tools I didn’t already know about, I have learnt more about the tools I did know about; and I have taken the opportunity to experiment. This means that our library blog now has a few widgets on it, hopefully providing our users with a more enriched experience when visiting our blog.
 
My enjoyment of this aspect of the course reflects some of my strengths – comfortable with technology, willing to experiment, focused on the practical, looking to improve the user experience.
 
I perhaps had less interest in the aspects that looked at professional networking. Perhaps I need to pick my head up a bit more to look at professional issues in a wider context.
 
Some elements weren’t useful at the moment to me as I’m not looking for a new job and there was perhaps too much focus on new professionals starting out. CPD is after all intended to be continuous. I have gathered together some of the resources that appealed to me most in a Scoop It topic. Hopefully I can refer back to this for useful resources and sources of information. 
 
Sometimes the course felt slightly that CPD was something carried out in isolation, as an independent activity, an end in itself rather that something embedded in a deliverable service.
 
It has been interesting to read other participants reflections and experiences in their blogs. Though slightly disappointing to read that so many are not considering going on to gain professional qualifications. Perfectly understandable given the rising costs but I do wonder where this will leave us in 10 years time.
 
It was a well-paced course and gave plenty of opportunities to catch up which was helpful.

6 word story

Curiosity satisfied :: Experimentation achieved :: Ambition hopeful

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Thing 22 – Volunteering to gain experience

Thing 22 considers whether taking on volunteer roles can help to further your career. This one is a difficult one as you have to consider whether the role you are taking on is adding to the service you volunteer with or replacing staff already working there.

I have been engaged in 2 volunteering activities during my library career. I did both these activities while I was completing my masters. 


The first was to volunteer with an adult literacy class. I also completed a course to support adult learners during this time. Having spent my previous career welded to a pc I thought this was a good opportunity to work with different people and make a contribution. I can honestly say that I really enjoyed it. 


The second activity was to volunteer to help with a short project at the university library. With a number of other students I worked under the supervision of the archives librarian. I think for me this was about just working in a library setting, showing willing and getting something to put on my CV.


I guess both these roles could have been completed by paid members of staff if the institutions had funds for it. I’m not really sure how much they would have contributed to achieving my first post, though my manager did mention the adult leaner support course as a plus point. So does this just play into the hands of managers who know that they can get someone to do it for free? There will come a point, of course, at which if there is no career to progress into, then there will be little incentive to work for nothing.

Thing 21 – Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

I think that I’m running out of steam now that we have got to thing 21 - promoting yourself in job applications and at interview; and this is a topic that you definitely need to have the energy for. All the advice given is very sensible and even a rudimentary amount of searching should provide you with a wealth of valuable pointers. I must admit that I tend not to update my CV if I am not actively looking for a new post. 

Additional points to maybe think about:
If you have an annual work review process this is always a good source of extra information about what you have done and what your strengths / weaknesses are.


Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. I went through a phase of applying for jobs and not getting any interviews. So for one that I thought was a particularly strong application I rang up and asked for feedback. A very nice lady went through my application with me and explained what she would have been looking for. I took on board, changed tack and the next 3 applications all turned into interviews.


Sometimes it is not your fault – don’t be so hard on yourself. Now I’ve had my fair share of mis-understandings, wrong end of the stick, not quite prepared well enough but sometimes despite my best efforts it wasn’t my fault.


The Grumpy Interviewer

Did you get out of the wrong side of the bed? Was the cat sick that morning? Were the kids playing up? Could you be more rude? You’d think that I’d turned up just to spoil his day. But no, I’d spent nearly £100 and 3 hours (or was it more) on a train to get there; begged for a day’s leave because it was a busy time of year, not to mention time researching the organisation and investigating the library services. I think I was due a smile and some consideration.

The Internal Candidate

Oh this one made me angry. I’ve never before or since, sat in a room with all the candidates while the lead of the interview panel fawned over the internal candidate. I’m sure you did know all about him and I’m sorry that you did have to jump through hoops to tick the right boxes. Why include me in your waste of time? Another waste of a day off, time spent preparing and rehearsing a presentation. If you have a strong internal candidate advertise internally first – it will save you money!

The Wrong Job Description

So you sent the wrong job description in the information pack; you didn’t realise until the interview day; but not owning up until I was two weeks into the job? So I’d cancelled another interview; so I thought I was going to a job I wanted and not a role I was deliberately avoiding; so I was moving to a new location (no offer of relocation costs either). Oh shame on you!

Coulda, shoulda, woulda

Of course you don’t do anything because you want a job, you want to get on, you want to prove you can do it. But if I had my time again... actually I'd probably be still sitting on the sofa sobbing "why me?"

Friday, 26 October 2012

Thing 20 – The Library Routes Project - Careers


There are 2 suggested resources to look at for this thing:
These both consisted of very long lists of presumably librarians. Not quite sure how it is organised; the search function seemed to do weird things so couldn’t really focus on types of librarians like me and I don’t want to spend time endlessly browsing.
I already shared my career into librarianship in week 10.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Thing 19 – Catch up week on integrating things

As part of thing 19 we are encouraged to review some of the tools we have covered. I am going to review Google Docs and Dropbox as I am interested in finding a tool to help with a specific problem.

The Problem

We work as a joint library service serving Keele University staff and students as well as our local NHS trusts. Whilst most of our library staff work at the library we have an Outreach team who work across the trusts, using trust networks. Thus sharing documents can become a problem.

The Opportunity

Can cloud-based tools allow us to share documents with colleagues?

Potential Issues

Our NHS organisations provide quite a controlled network environment and this results in a large number of tools, applications and websites being blocked. Users are also prevented from downloading applications to their pcs.

Google Docs

Unfortunately Google docs was blocked by our NHS trusts. Thus it could not be used to share documents.

Dropbox

Dropbox was not blocked as a website on pcs connecting via the trust network. However this tool does rely on a download. Thus our colleagues would not be able to download and install this application. It was also not helpful that the application could only be linked to a c: drive folder rather than a network folder, so it proved not be very helpful to me either.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Thing 18 – Jing / screen capture / podcasts


Thing 18 is looking at multimedia tools.

Jing

Jing is a screen-capture tool, allowing you to create videos of on-screen activity.

ScreenR

We actually use ScreenR for this. It is a similar tool but you don’t need to download any elements. You can see some examples on our YouTube channel. We are creating these as part of our etutorial presentations. You do have to be well prepared before starting to record – what to say, the order to demonstrate something; and if you have to restart more than 4 times, do it another day.
I often just use an image editing tool to capture single screenshots and add additional elements.

Podcasting

The only time I have used podcasting was when I signed up for a radio 2 series of programmes. But I don’t think that this medium suits me – I don’t tend to listen to radio programmes.
I haven’t created stand-alone audio elements. It is something that I have often thought about – creating an audio tour of the library for example (similar to tours used in museums) but I’m not sure how popular they would be. Has anyone done this successfully? It always feels like the visual element is required these days.

Audacity

I have used audacity frequently to create the audio element of our etutorials. We incorporate the audio files created into mediator which we use to create the flash-based tutorials.

Summary

Over the past year I have experimented with a number of tools to create multi-media elements to use in the etutorials that we have been developing. It has been a steep learning curve and I’m sure that there are many improvements to be made but everyone has to start somewhere.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Thing 17 – The medium is the message – Prezi and Slideshare


We’re back to looking at tools in thing 17 – this time using presentation tools.

Prezi

I have used Prezi for a while now, Dec 2011 according to my account. I have seen some really great prezis but I’m afraid that my offerings don’t fall into that category. It can be pretty time consuming but gradually over time you learn about the different options and functionality. My first offering was about my job role and my latest is an interactive map of ourlibrary floor plan – including images and videos. It can be quite stomach-churning, but then we are a circular library and wandering around in real-life can make you dizzy too. I’ve now embedded this into our website. I have a couple more in development.
I think prezis offer something a bit more fun than powerpoints, though powerpoint can also be quite interactive and use multimedia; it also requires a lot of work to get something effective.

Slideshare

I’m familiar with Slideshare as a consumer. I often check out other people’s presentations. However I’ve not shared anything myself. It is not currently part of my role to create presentations and deliver talks. I did create a powerpoint presentation to promote our etutorials but decided to convert this to a video and share it via YouTube rather than use Slideshare.

Summary

Both these tools offer a good way to share your presentations.