Monthly Archives: June 2012

Things 8 & 9: Getting Organised

Thing 8: Google Calendar

It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve started using Google Calendar ‘properly’. I have a gmail account to access Google Reader so it’s always been available to me, but I recently worked out how to sync the calendar to my Android phone and that’s when things took off! My phone based calendar has limited options in the events and if I program a recurring event I cannot delete one occurrence (so when I mark Brownies sessions I can’t delete the one that appears during half term etc), so I started by putting these into Google Calendar and syncing my phone to it – so far so good (and much less annoying!)

I then wanted to add reminders for work related things such as when I have meetings at our other site – not because I’d forget per se, it’s just easier to have these things all in one place – and I can access my Google Calendar from my work PC instead of whipping my phone out every time (which I think looks unprofessional if people see me at my desk typing on my phone). I can also edit things that I’ve input at home, so for example when I was looking up train times for a library visit last week I was able to add notes to the calendar and know, when I need the return train times, I had them handy in my phone calendar.

I haven’t made anything public yet, but there isn’t really the need for it. But it does seem a useful tool, especially if you used it for, say, library events, and then embedded it on the website.

Thing 9: Evernote

I’ve actually found Evernote to be really useful – ok, so I’ve only be using it a week, but my next two weeks are really busy (two conferences in two different cities, not to mention a Healthcare Assistant Training day, a Shropshire Health Trainers meeting, the Village Fayre, complete with the Brownies in parade, and the swimming club’s annual gala!). Evernote has given me a place online, and on my Android phone, to store lots of useful information – yes the documents and notes could be stored on my phone before, but not altogether in one place. I have a ‘notebook’ for the conferences, including attached pdf’s with programmes in them and even a checklist of things I need to remember to bring with me. Once I get there I can make notes about the session’s I’ve attended and keep them all together (although knowing me, I’ll fill a paper notepad too!) and I have separate ‘notebooks’ for meeting agendas as well as one for Brownies and one for the Swimming Club I volunteer at (I sit on the club’s committee and organise scheme’s of work etc!) so I can keep things together, but also keep ‘home’ stuff separate from ‘work’ stuff.

The only thing I don’t like so far is that it automatically tags my notes with my location when I’m adding notes from my phone – I’d like to be able to choose to add this ie add a ‘Glasgow’ tag for notes added at the Health Libraries Group Conference and not add a ‘Telford’ tag for things added from home; but ultimately I can learn to live with it, it’s not exactly a deal breaker for me. (P.S. I have since realised I can just delete these after posting!)

A friend of mine uses Evernote and I mentioned it to her the other day. She advised that she doesn’t trust it with data that she isn’t prepared to loose as someone she knows has lost all of their data. While this might seem like a scathing criticism of Evernote, it got me thinking – ultimately it is common sense. We shouldn’t be saving important digital documents in one place anyway – whether it’s a PC or a web-based service, if something goes wrong you can loose it. One of my friends on my Masters course lost an assignment – while backing it up on a USB stick. The computer crashed and took out the data on the stick too meaning that both copies were lost. The only copy he had was a week old print out, which just goes to show that USB sticks aren’t 100% reliable either. Really important stuff should be saved in a few places (and maybe a print out isn’t a bad idea either, even if it is a week old!) which is where my Dropbox comes in – but more on that in Thing 13! This is one reason that when writing my Masters dissertation I saved it to a new document every few days – if the one I was working on got corrupted I could go back to a version a few days old, instead of starting from scratch! I didn’t need it, but why tempt fate!

OK – I’m off to enjoy a quiet week before my life turns to chaos – the week off from CPD 23 couldn’t have been timed better!!

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Thing 7: Real Life Networks

I joined CILIP so that I could work towards my CILIP Certification, but I’ve taken advantage of training and networking days as well. I also recently joined the committee for the Career Development Group (CDG) West Midlands having met a few of the members at the Information and Networking day in Coventry in April (they co-hosted with the CILIP West Midlands branch). Other events that I’ve attended include a Framework of Qualifications and Library tour in Rugby Public Library and in July I am attending the Health Libraries Group (HLG) Conference in Glasgow – so I can definitely say I’ve had my money’s worth from this year’s membership!

As previously mentioned I am undertaking one of CILIP’s professional qualifications and I’m hoping to take this through to Chartership. It was the clear stages and advancements that were on offer that attracted me to this over an NVQ as it allows be to build on my Masters Degree and eventually qualify as a Librarian.

In regards to publications, so far I’ve written articles for the CDG West Midlands and HLG newsletters, but I also have second articles for both in the works as well (one has been submitted for the CDG July Newsletter and I have agreed to write one for the HLG September Newsletter about the Conference in Glasgow). I think even in these relatively small publications, it is an easy way to get your name out there.

I’ve also been doing some work with the NHS Midlands Regional Trainers Forum on the ‘Sharing Training Materials’ sub-group and the suggestion has been made that when we finish our project we may be asked to write an article for the Health Libraries Journal. If we are I think I might offer to help co-write; the opportunity to get published in a ‘proper’ journal is too good to pass up!

In February I also attended a training networking event run by the West Midlands Health Libraries Network. This was a really good day – the focus was on marketing and I learnt a lot about what the other West Midlands Health Libraries are doing, both from the timetabled seminars and from the marketing ‘mix-up’ where everybody provided examples of what works for them. This was a really good opportunity and I would recommend attending future sessions, or even organising something similar for your sector.

I will be attending the CPD23/ CILIP West Midlands meet-up on Thursday in Wolverhampton so I look forward to meeting some of you there.

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Thing 6: Online Networking

I originally joined Facebook to keep in touch with University friends, but since then I’ve added old school friends, various current and former colleagues and even some cousins I don’t see very often. I’ve always tried to keep it more for personal stuff, but as I’ve ‘liked’ CPD23, and my CILIP Special Interest Groups (CDG and HLG) it’s also being used for more work related stuff.

I’m not what you’d call an active user; yes I check my friends’ updates regularly, but I don’t post all that often. There’s a mixture of reasons, including ‘my daily life isn’t always exciting enough to post about’ and ‘I don’t see the point in photographing my food’ (you can laugh, but I know people who do this and mobile internet has made it worse!) but I think as I get more involved in professional networking that my Facebook use might pick up – not so much the posting, but talking to people through the site. It’s a great way to talk to someone you’ve only met a few times, or know of, but haven’t properly met yet.

I think the main advantage of Facebook is photo sharing and advertising events. With Twitter you can post one photo per ‘tweet’, but with Facebook you can add whole albums of photos. With the events you can put all of the details and discussion in one place and people can be invited and asked to invite others – it’s a good way to spread word of mouth, while making sure that the correct details are being passed on.

This year the library that I work for joined Facebook and Twitter – I’ve been put in charge of the Facebook account and while I try to post to this regularly and advertise it on our monthly newsletter we still only have library staff who follow it. Short of sending invites to all of our library members (which seems a bit over the top) I’m not sure what else we can do to bring the numbers up (any ideas would be greatly appreciated!) but it tells me that our library members want to keep Facebook for personal not work related things as well.

I have joined CILIP Communities, although I have yet to make any friends because it’s difficult to find time for a good browse of who is on there. I do like the Announcements section and the ability to store documents – as well as the feed from my blog on the left! (On a side note I couldn’t get the RSS feeds from CILIP Communities to work on my WordPress blog – does anyone know why? Without being able to see any error messages I’m not sure why it’s not working!) I also like the blogs section on CILIP Communities, especially the Bloggers Landscape where members blogs are included as it’s a good way to find library related blogs (it’s how I first found herslantfinely and the CILIP WM Blog) I’m planning on using my blog over the summer to record my reflective writing from the HLG 2012 conference and various other things, so I might look at getting my self added to the Bloggers Landscape in time for this.

I haven’t joined LinkedIn yet – although I have been thinking about it. What do people think of the site? I’d be really interested to know if people find it worth while. I have to say though that I did like the quote in the CPD23 post: “Facebook is the backyard BBQ; LinkedIn is the office” I think that it is an apt description!

I think LISNPN might be useful too. I’m planning to work towards my Chartership after I finish my Certification so I think it’ll be a handy place to be able to seek advice and make connections.

 

 

As a preview for Thing 7 next week I’m planning to go to the CILIP WM/CPD23 meet up in Wolverhampton on Thursday 14th June. Details here: http://communities.cilip.org.uk/blogs/cilipwestmidlands/archive/2012/06/07/informal-meetup-for-cpd23-participants-and-others.aspx I look forward to meeting lots of new people!

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