• Wikimedia Australia Wikimedia Australia
  • Ryan Donahue Ryan Donahue
  • Sue Gardner Sue Gardner
  • Ruth Kneale Ruth Kneale Ruth Kneale sponsored by the State Library of Queensland
  • Stuart Candy Stuart Candy Keynote Speaker, Dr Stuart Candy - Professional futurist
  • Ingrid Parent Ingrid Parent Ingrid Parent
  • Jenica Rogers Jenica Rogers Jenica Rogers sponsored by the State Library of Queensland
  • Marcus Foth Marcus Foth
  • NLS6 NLS6
Jan 302013

This week’s topic up for discussion is practitioner research. Do practitioners have a role in contributing to research? How do practitioners do research? Katherine Howard gives a little introduction to the topic and the workshop – ‘Research for practitioners: getting started and getting supported’. In this workshop, experienced researchers will answer your questions and help turn your ideas into plans. Katherine answers the question that simmers at the back of the minds of practitioners in this profession – I’m a librarian/ archivist/ other information professional. Why should I do research?

Ever heard people say things along the lines of “I wish I’d learnt THAT in Library School” or “Those lecturer-type people don’t have a clue what it’s like to be a librarian/archivist/other information professional today.” Yes?  Well, that’s where you come in!!

Practitioner research is vital for a healthy, growing profession.  Can you imagine if the medical profession never wrote up clinical studies about their patients? Or if engineers didn’t advise their peers about how materials react differently in practical applications? It’s the same for the information professional.  The information sector has seen and continues to see a massive amount of change, and it is those at the ‘coal-face’ who see and experience it first-hand. Decision makers in the workplace need to base their future strategies and actions on evidence and  ‘lecturer-types’ need analytical results to better prepare each new cohort of graduates for the ever-changing information sector. The research that practitioners do (and publish!) plays a big role.  Oh, and a publication or two looks great on the CV, and can set you apart from other applicants as you develop your career.  It shows that you are invested in your profession.

Ok, but how do I actually DO research in my workplace?

I’m glad you asked!

Members of the ALIA Research Committee are conducting a workshop at NLS6 that will present the key elements of a research project. They will also cover the importance of a research proposal, and what you need to include to make yours shine.

If you have ideas about the workshop, feel free to leave a comment about what you would like to know more about, and we’ll try to incorporate it.

Grab your spot in this workshop now. Don’t miss out!

 January 30, 2013  Posted by at 10:30 am program, your nls6 Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 172013

This week’s topic up for discussion is resilience. A little introduction and insight into the workshop – ‘Change is hard for everyone, so start with yourself’ – has been kindly contributed by the facilitator, Jenica Rogers. Jenica will guide participants through self-assessments about change, discuss strategies for building personal acceptance of both small and radical change, and examine some reasons why we resist the new and different. Jenica shares how a workshop about a tough subject like resilience comes together….

When discussing the details of my participation in NLS6, the symposium organising team asked that I give two workshops: one on leadership, and one on resilience. I said yes, immediately, for two different reasons. First, I’ve done leadership workshops before for librarians, and they’re fun and it’s in my wheelhouse and Yes! And second, resilience and change management are the kind of things that I think the most successful among us handle with natural aplomb, but which we *all* need, natural or no, so Yes!

Why resilience? Because the internet and its ubiquity changed the information landscape irrevocably, and libraries and librarians have entered a cycle of constant change as we learn what those changes mean for us. Because the jobs that some of us thought we’d have don’t exist anymore. Because it’s not going to slow down. And because, like death and taxes, change is inevitable. And as committed information professionals, we all want to be able to respond to change with grace, with fluidity, and with energy. Instead, many of us, and those we work with, respond to change with fear, with resistance, or with paralysis. We need less fear, in ourselves and in our libraries, and more resilience.

So for all of those reasons, I said YES! Except I’ve never delivered any formal content on resilience before. (Now what?)

The answer to “now what?” is easy: I’m an academic library administrator. When faced with an interesting challenge, I do research, and I start thinking.
On the formal learning side, I’ve been reading books, making the most of my Harvard Business Review online subscription (search for “resilience”), and scouring the web, both for library and non-library literature to inspire and inform me. One of the unexpected learning moments for me was that there are actual psychological and neurological drivers to resilience and our ability to rebound from traumatic change. On the one hand, of course there are. On the other hand, hey, neat. But what does that say about our expectation that everyone will just roll with change and come out the other side in great shape? Is the science telling us that our expectations are actually impossible? And what can we do about reconciling those two things? How do we prepare, plan, implement, and cope in meaningful ways, as leaders, coworkers, and employees when some of us are hard-wired to respond differently?

On the self-reflection side, this couldn’t have been more appropriately timed. The second half of 2012 was hard for me, professionally — I did big stuff outside my own place of work (Google Jenica Rogers and American Chemical Society), to big effect. I also stalled out at my own library, spinning my wheels while I waited to see what the impact would be of a big, looming, institutional change (Google SUNY Potsdam and systemness). At the same time, a big retirement wave culminated and now 31% of my faculty are “new” librarians. That’s a lot of change for any team, and requires serious resilience. As the Director, my responsibility is for managing it and fostering it and supporting it… not the best time for me to be feeling a bit battered, myself. So a little self-reflection about resilience and how we think about change were well-timed. It’s providing me with excellent fodder for discussion, examples, and case studies to share at the workshop!

So, I’ve learned a lot, and hope to spark some insight in those I get to talk with. Workshops are more than presentations, they’re an opportunity to engage with the professionals there “on the stage” and with our peers. To take challenging ideas and deconstruct them until we can see all the sides. To learn what’s worked for others, and to scribble down ideas about what might work for us. I hope to offer all of that to you as we talk about, learn about, and brainstorm about resilience in this workshop.

I still have four weeks left to prepare — any suggestions on aspects you’d like to see me explore before I come and share what I’ve learned? Please share in the comments.

Register now and secure your spot in Jenica’s workshop.

 January 17, 2013  Posted by at 10:30 am program, your nls6 Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 192012

This week’s introduction to the topic of Copyright has been kindly contributed by Ellen Broad, the facilitator for NLS6 workshop ‘From pinning to scanning to scraping: understanding copyright in collections online’. She promises a spirited and entertaining workshop that all should attend. The Experience Team agrees copyright is an important challenge to tackle and this workshop will aim to remove the ‘fear of the unknown’. So take it away Ellen!….

“Ignorance is bliss”, one librarian commented after one workshop learning about the relationship between copyright law and the services and activities undertaken by her library. Copyright law can definitely be one of those areas in which the more you learn, the more you wish you’d never found out.

It’s true the Copyright Act can be long and complex. There’s probably a number of librarians out there who rue the day they had to wade through section 49 of the CopyrightAct, which in 1600 words sets out the precise terms under which libraries and archives can provide documents to users. Format shifting provisions can leave you cross-eyed, and inter library loan, preservation copying and the enigmatic section 200AB have also been known to cause a few headaches.

In some areas, it’s clear the Copyright Act hasn’t kept pace with digital library and archive practices at all: for most libraries, it’s illegal to make more than one preservation copy of a work (despite digital preservation requiring multiple copies); the Act doesn’t have great scope for digitisation of collections; and it’s silent altogether on backing up collection data, text and data mining, indexing and caching in library catalogues and social media use of copyright works. What seems to be missing from the Copyright Act can pose as many questions for librarians as the extensively detailed provisions recognising certain legitimate library activities.

‘From pinning to scanning to scraping: understanding copyright in collections online’ aims to demystify copyright law for librarians looking to promote collections online, and help staff develop risk management guidelines for using copyright works. We’ll be looking at copyright law and digitisation of library material, using social media platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, new digital history tools that enable new ways of experiencing collections and managing copyright permissions on acquisition or deposit of works into a library. We’ll talk cloud computing, mash ups, Library Hack, open data, creative commons and “Web 3.0”. We’re not spending much time on the basics. We’re starting with the projects you want to do, the online activities you’re interested in, and working back through the copyright do’s and don’ts from there.

If you’ve encountered some particularly thorny copyright issues already trying to undertake a particular digital project, put them in an email addressed to ebroad@nla.gov.au and they might be worked into a workshop scenario. In the mean time, follow @ellenbroad on twitter or sign up to the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee mailing list to keep up to date with the latest copyright news and developments. See you in February!

Early bird registrations for NLS6 close at the end of this month! Grab your spot now!

 December 19, 2012  Posted by at 10:30 am your nls6 Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 122012

Business. It’s not a dirty word.

No, it really isn’t.

I see people almost shudder at the word. This worries me. Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown, or maybe it is thought to be irrelevant to this profession. An awareness and understanding of how and why an organisation exists, what drives it and what makes it tick, is so important….to any profession. The information profession is no exemption.

There have been ideas floating about the last few years at least, relating to the ’21st century librarian’, the picture being painted with business skills in mind. Meredith Farkas identified ‘high level’ competencies such as project management skills, ability to ‘question and evaluate library services’ (analytical skills), ability to evaluate the needs of stakeholders (marketing), and the ability to ‘sell library services’ (targeted marketing communication) among technology related competencies.

Taking a step back, there are two documents that provide necessary insight to help align big ideas, projects and services to the organisation’s direction – the strategic plan and annual report. Indicators of objectives, resourcing plans and availability of funds can be found in these documents. So I suggest to get to know your organisation well and the ability to plan and evaluate projects in a way that shows value, I’d say will develop from there. Big ideas and an analytical mind extends beyond just library services, in my opinion, as almost certainly business processes can be made more effective or efficient, particularly when it comes to quality and risk management. Identifying ways that processes can be improved, or even how knowledge is distributed throughout the organisation can fill gaps in service delivery.

You’ll find a workshop on offer at NLS6 that will provide you with an understanding of key principles of these complementary skills, business skills and capabilties that can improve your chances of success in your role and beyond. Develop a set of skills that will set you apart and will assist your organisation deliver on its goals and objectives.

See the bigger picture. Get signed up for the business skills workshop with Cory Banks. Business and libraries, they’re not ‘chalk and cheese’.

LIScareer.com (author Susan Sloan) suggests strategies for cultivating leaderships skills and qualities. These include: –

  • knowing yourself
  • be a mentor
  • volunteer
  • embrace change
  • keep learning

Surely these help, but would these strategies really achieve what we understand as leadership? Do we know what it is? I’d say each person would have their own understanding as it relates to them, but that’s really complicating the issue, isn’t it? I’d also say leadership takes many forms, in many different settings or scenario. You don’t have to be at the top of an organisation to display leadership. Now enough from me, what does leadership mean to you?

Work towards a definition of leadership and identify tools and approaches to engage with these traits with the leadership workshop with Jenica Rogers.

Don’t forget early bird registrations close at the end of December! So get ahead, get down with business skills and leadership and book your spot now!

The role of business skills and leadership may not make sense now, but it will, it will fall into place and have you thinking about contributing to your organisation in a whole new way.

 December 12, 2012  Posted by at 10:30 am your nls6 Tagged with: , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 052012

Thought about how to present yourself as an information professional lately?

Today, we’re likely to be entities in ourselves. We’re not going to be with the one employer our entire career. A thoughtful and, dare I say it, strategic approach is required to build an identity (and brand) so that others in the profession and our professional networks or communities, may know who we are and what we (can) bring to the profession.

The terms ‘brand’ and ‘identity’ tend to be used synonymously when discussing or providing advice on building and managing a personal brand. I invite those keen to learn more to seek their own understandings of these terms. I may stir the pot here by saying they’re two different things.
Please, ponder it.

Building a professional identity doesn’t happen overnight. I’d go a far as saying we will constantly be shaping our professional identities. It’s not just about setting up a Twitter handle or Linkedin profile. I guess you can think of your professional identity as what is uniquely you as an information professional. What do you bring? Try thinking about your professional identity as a piece of a giant puzzle, this being the picture of the profession’s skills, knowledge and expertise. Okay, so you’re not going to know all of this straight away as a newbie to the profession. And I’m just putting ideas on the table here. But you may be eager to share your thoughts, reactions and ideas in the profession. That’s great! Different experiences provide a valuable source – alternative perspectives and understanding. Sharing your fresh thinking about LIS issues shed light on new knowledge, ways of doing things and approaches to challenges.

A professional identity is communicated via a brand, made up of reputation, identity and professional relationships. A brand is like a storefront. It encapsulates what it is you’d like others to see as your contribution, your piece of the puzzle. Communicating your identity takes place in the connections you develop and the contribution you make to your professional network of peers. You might have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a blog, a Linkedin profile, may pin stuff on Pinterest or display your presentations on Slideshare. It is important to consider how all of these channels are presented, and how they can consistently communicate your professional identity.

The ‘Building and managing your professional identity’ workshop at NLS6 with Matthias Liffers and myself will provoke thought and discussion around the drivers for being in the online space and provide an opportunity to fine tune the use of professional networking tools.

Now try thinking about how your professional networking tools, what you’ve achieved and what you’re currently doing in your job or in the profession could come together and be presented on one website. Take it a step further. Show potential employers that you can create a web presence and build your own professional “home” site. Get your hands dirty with a full-day WordPress workshop presented by Kathryn Greenhill.

Participants have a little homework to do before the workshop. Kathryn explains this in a short video and it’s as hard as ordering a book through Amazon.com and as expensive as buying a cup of coffee a month. It involves buying hosting at bluehost.com and choosing a domain name. Participants will leave the workshop with their site configured and set up on the web. The setup will cost around $110 up front. Instructions will be provided, but it is essential to complete this a couple of days before the workshop.

Now in case you missed the useful resources above, here they are again to get you started.