Sunday, 26 August 2012

An extra contribution: On writing readably

After my diatribe about Prezi, I wouldn't want colleagues to think I was a wet blanket!

So, since I'm not really a grumpy old curmudgeon, I thought I'd share something I wrote last night with research students in mind - a piece entitled, On Writing Readably.  If you've got a chartership portfolio or dissertation in the offing, maybe this might offer food for thought.

Thing 17 (Prezi and Slideshare): See, here's the thing

Here we are at Thing 17: Prezi and Slideshare.  Only six things left after this one, and I'm not a quitter!

But ... See, here's the thing (to quote Leonard on BBT):-

I have tried, truly I have. I've fought and struggled with Prezi on a number of occasions, and I just end up getting mad at it.  Mad at it, and mad at myself, because I know I'm not stupid, and I'm not generally thrown by web 2.0 innovations.  I spent absolutely ages trying to master Prezi back in November, and I've dabbled on and off since then. 

Easy as pie?*
So I spent several hours of a precious Sunday afternoon/evening trying to get to grips with it today, and I've eventually decided that I'm not spending more time on something that makes me so tetchy!  I don't like zooming about.  I struggle to make slides bigger and smaller.  I don't want my audience to see something that basically looks childish and ineffectual.  Don't get me wrong - I've seen loads of other people's Prezi's, and very nice they look too.  But in the time I've spent on it, I could have done a very effective PowerPoint.  (Sometimes the old ways are the best?)

But, all to no avail.  I've got four slides in order, with a path between them, and it looks - pathetic. There's no other word for it.  I should rename mine, Karen's Shame:-

Dizzy Doctor

Slideshare, on the other hand, makes perfect sense to me.  I've only ever uploaded two presentations, but it's enough to convince me that it's a very useful way to share stuff publicly:-

Two Presentations on my favourite subject: Celtic song


* As for the pie?  That was yesterday afternoon's project.  It, too, took hours - I even made the puff-pastry from scratch.  The difference being that it was delicious, and thoroughly worth the effort!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

CPD23 - experimenting again with Storify

I just wondered if Storify would act as a kind of 'mind-map' to bring together all the different activities I'm currently involved in - partly so that I can ask myself whether and how NEW opportunities fit into what I've already taken on!

I have a tendency to say 'yes' to every opportunity, but maybe I need to be more scrupulous about not taking on extra challenges!

So - here's the Secret Life of the Somewhat Heavily Committed Music Librarian.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Thing 16: Advocacy, Speaking up & Getting Published

Here's the link for Thing 16 on the CPD23 website.  This is a tricky one.  I'm all in favour of speaking up for the profession, but as the author of Thing 16 admits, the big question is how to do it.  Thing 16 finishes with a list of suggested 'Things to do'.

So, here goes!

Rebel without a Cause?  Not me!

  • Consider why it's important to advocate for the section of library and information sector that you work for or want to work in.
  • Because music libraries are getting thinner on the ground, especially public libraries with adequate music provision.
  • Have a think about what advocacy you've been involved in. Give examples so we can pool resources and inspire others to do the same. Or, give an example of some advocacy that you think has been particularly effective – library-related or otherwise.
  • Well, I've advocated within our institution for more information literacy / user education, and that has been taken on board in the new curriculum.  (There were 'have your say' sessions, and I had mine.  I got gasps of amazement when I reported a student's mother phoning in asking for recordings to help with their offspring's dissertation.  But I think that was influential in kickstarting the drive to improve our provision.)  
  • As to other examples - the recent drive to save public libraries has been inspirational and effective, but it's not something I've been involved in.
  • If you haven't been involved in advocacy, reflect on what your skills are (or which you want to develop), what you're most passionate about and think about what you might be able to do.
  • My skills?  I'm articulate, enthusiastic, and I believe I write well.  And I've published quite a bit, on music librarianship, musicology and 18th/19th century cultural stuff.  (My first book is due out in March 2013, but it's not a librarianship book.)  I would like to help get the Wighton Database back online again.  The Wighton Collection of early Scottish music has a dedicated room in Dundee Central Library, and is supported by the Friends of Wighton.  I've joined as a Friend, and I've recently become Campaigns Officer with the Library and Information History Group.
  • If you're passionate about public libraries and want to help – let Voices for the Library know! We're keen to get more people involved with things like asking organisations and well-known figures for supporting statements, securing sponsorship, liaising with other campaigning bodies and representing us at events.
  • At the moment, I've got quite a lot on my plate, so I watch what's going on with public libraries, but haven't taken an active part.
  • If you've got any potential content for That's Not Online! let Jacqueline know.
  • That's a new one on me.  I'll bear it in mind.
  • Think about where advocacy fits in with professionalism – maybe comment on Johanna's blog post about Activism, Advocacy and Professional Identity or if you can get hold of any, look at some job descriptions and identify where you think the advocacy might fit within the requirements of the roles.
  • Again, I'll need to think about this. 
  • Publication challenge! A prize for anyone who gets a piece of library advocacy published.
  • Oh, I do love a challenge!  I can write.  I just need to find a cause to write about.  I think I have to write about the Wighton Collection, don't you?  Watch this space ...

Monday, 6 August 2012

Thing 15: I'm jumping back in!

Oh dear, I've missed something.  Some Things, to be accurate. Week 11 is where I stopped keeping up:-

  • Week 11 (16th July)-  Reflections (Thing 12: Putting the social into social media 
  • Week 12 (23rd July) - Filesharing/Collaboration (Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis & Dropbox)
  • Week 13 (30th July) - Organising your references (Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / citeulike)
In fairness to myself, I already do a huge lot of social media stuff.  I wrote about it in Sunrise earlier this year, so that's effectively my contribution to Thing 12:-

Sunrise (CILIP East of England & CDG) 2012 issue 1, 2-3
‘Social Media in Libraries: Me and My Cyber Presence’ 

As for filesharing and collaboration - I've experimented slightly with a PBWorks Wiki, when I did my IAML(UK and Irl) Crowdsourcing the Celtic Bard talk at the Annual Study Weekend in Cardiff this Easter.  Here's the Slideshare presentation. I subsequently published the paper in Brio - once I'd written it up!  That takes care of Thing 13.

Organising my references?  Ah, I've used Endnote, flirted with Zotero and make irregular use of Mendeley.  But I have two big Word documents as well, formatted my preferred way, and annotated.  One is my doctoral thesis bibliography, and the other is the post-doc one.  Sorted!  Oh, and I use Diigo and Evernote.  Thing 14 also ticked off the list!

Which brings us to  ... 

  • Week 14 - (6th August) - Getting involved (Thing 15: Attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events) 

Get involved - and keep a record of it!

I network a lot.  I'm in IAML (UK and Ireland) and the international organisation;  I've attended and presented at various events.  I'm also in SALCTG, the Scottish Academic Libraries Cooperative Training Group, and I've just become Convenor. For a long time I also represented my library at the SCURL Disability Group, looking at library support for disabled users.  I've been branch secretary for our trade union, and was a library union rep down in South Tyneside many years ago.  And I've been involved with various other groupings over the years, too.  I've also just finished serving on the Council of the Royal Musical Association, in my other incarnation as musicologist, and I've given papers both at the RMA Research Students' Conferences and at Musica Scotica.  I was on the conference organising committee for that this year, too.

Please can I emphasise here that I am not listing all this stuff to polish my own halo, but rather to demonstrate that if you steadily get on with these things as the opportunities arise, you can amass a good body of work to list on your CV.  If I appear to have done a lot, it's not that remarkable over a career of nearly three decades.  Yikes, am I that old?