On Monday 20th June 2011, Laura Williams and I myself presented the following slides at the CILIP CDG New Professionals Conference. If you have any questions regarding the presentation, please get in touch with us; our contact details are available on the final slide (Twitter or drop a line via the comments on our blog). We regret that you won’t get the full impact of our paper via the slides as many of our ideas and points were spoken, however you can take a look at some of what we said via posts by Rachel_s_b and PaleyLaura.
Posts Tagged ‘NPC11’
Whilst at SLA 2011 (noticing a theme with how the recent blog entries are beginning?!) I gradually became more confident at introducing myself, and often ended a conversation by enquiring if the other party was on Twitter or had a blog – cue business card swap. One problem I quickly realised, and was accentuated by talking to fellow ECCAs, was that my Twitter and blog name didn’t make any sense. It was just a string of letters and numbers that once formed the first part of my university email address. When I set it up, I was intending to primarily to follow, not tweet so presumed that the name did not matter. I quickly realised I would get a lot more out of Twitter if I contributed, and waded in without thinking about my online identity. The name problem spread when I started my blog – I felt that the most important factor was keep the same name to identify a clear link between my Twitter and blog. Upon my return from Philadelphia I have been riding a wave of library excitement, and decided to finally get round to fixing the situation. Below, I have outlined the process I went through, and some tips for changing/creating an online name.
1. Actually think of a new name. This was the crux of the problem. When I first joined Twitter etc, I did not give my name any thought. I just used the first thing that popped into my head. Thats a bad idea, and the reason why I ended up as shw34. To arrive at my new name, LibWig (you can decide if it is any better!), I did the following…
- Ignored online name generators – they are of little use, producing generic strings of letters and numbers, some not too dissimilar to what I had before.
- Get a pen and paper! Write down all the words you think emphasise what you want to say about yourself. For me, this was primarily stuff to do with libraries, mixed in with my name, such as library, libraries, 2.0, information, knowledge, biblio etc.
- Cross out words that you do not like the sound of. You’ll be saying your name to potential co-workers and employers, you have to like how it sounds. It also needs to roll off the tongue easily, else you will just confuse conversations!
- Take the first end end parts of names, and string them together in as many ways as possible. Hopefully they should produce something of use.
- Google these names – many that made my shortlist were quickly ruled out when they were either taken on Twitter already, or on another blogging platform with a presence far greater than mine. I wanted to avoid confusion with these other people, so avoided the names.
- Contemplate just using your full name! Unfortunately, it seems I have quite a popular name on social networking sites, so all variations of my name that I liked were taken. I contemplated using underscores and numbers, but as the whole point of my name revision was to make it simpler to say and type, I wanted to avoid these if possible.
2. Actually change your Twitter name.
- Big tip for when you do this, update your bio just before you change the username, as your old name and bio will exist concurrently for a short amount of time. If you can explain in your old bio that you are changing your name, it will help your followers if they come across your old twitter.
- Put out a few tweets including your old name and your new name in the same tweet to help people identify who you were, and who you are now.
- Consider reserving your old Twitter username to prevent it being taken by someone else and associating themselves with you.
3. Consider your ‘new look’, but don’t change it too quickly.
- I thought about altering my Twitter picture at the same time as my name, and creating a whole new ‘look’. I decided against this when I thought about how I read my tweets. I keep an eye out for certain people’s conversations, and I do this primarily not by looking for their name in the text, but by scanning my feed for their picture. Keeping my eggs will hopefully help people identify that I’m the same person as shw34. Plus, I do quite like my eggs. They are a good metaphor for a lot things. Maybe over time, when people have become used to the new name, then the eggs might be upgraded to a picture of yours truly.
4. Update your blog name, if you want it to match. Remember, if you have done your checks properly as per point 1, a domain should be free to move your blog to, or create from scratch. I’m on wordpress.com, which made it easy to migrate my content across. I’m sure there are plenty of guides out there for other blogging platforms too.
- First, from within wordpress, I’d recommend downloading an XML file of your blog content, just in case the unthinkable happens and all your hard work vanishes. To do so, click on ‘Tools’ in the left panel, select ‘Export’ and save your file. You can also use this to upload to other blogging platforms I think, should you wish to change provider.
- When changing your username, you have several options. For a quick overview, take a look at the WordPress.com video. I chose to move my content to my new address – libwig.wordpress.com – and create a new, blank blog in the old address. This meant I could create a page explaining to people that I have moved, and where they can find me. Bear in mind, if you choose to discard the old usename, you cannot recover it, ever. It might therefore be better to create a blank site with the old address, and then just make it private just in case you change your mind. On the plus side, no one else will be able to use that name, so don’t worry about another blog making use of your old site traffic.
5. Update your links
- All links to your old site will become dead. You can pay for a wordpress.com upgrade of $12 to map your new domain and automatically forward any users across. I haven’t used this, instead deciding to work my way back through all links to my site in the site stats, contacting other sites and blogs to inform them that due to my change in URL, their link is dead and invite them to update it. Remember to apologise for the inconvenience though! You’ll also have to publicize your change in address, but creating a blank site explaining that you have moved will help.
- Also remember to update your blog link in your Twitter address or anywhere else that you have it!
- Update any business cards you have to reflect the new address!
6. Pick your timing for when you alter your name etc.
- I have chosen to update my name, somewhat foolishly, after handing out lots of business cards at a conference with my old name and blog address on. In an ideal world, I would have altered this prior to the conference, however as explained above, I did not see it as an issue back then. I’ve decided to do it this weekend prior to the New Professionals Conference in the hope that anyone who hears me speak will then associate me with my new name.
- My blog is still in relative infancy too. Were I to wait until it had matured, updating links and contacting other sites would have been a lot more laborious. I think I would have opted for the $12 wordpress.com redirect if that were the case! If you are considering a change, maybe do it sooner rather than later, just incase you hit the big time and it becomes too difficult to alter.
I’ve just returned from SLA 2011 having won an Early Career Conference Award generously sponsored by SLA Europe and SLA Legal Division. Having slept off the majority of jet lag, I am feel in a slightly better position to blog a few of my initial reactions to the conference.
The thing I want to convey first is the sheer size of the event. When the registration hall looks like this, its a good indication that its going to be big…
Thankfully, my co-sponsors provided me with two great mentors, one from SLA Europe and one from the SLA Legal Division. Sara and Liz were both fantastic at providing tips and tricks to selecting sessions to help me get the most out of the event. There can be anywhere in the region of approximately eight to twenty-two sessions running concurrently so selecting which one to attend can be a bit of a challenge. This was definitely one of the strengths of the conference though; you are never stuck for a session to attend! What I found harder was pausing and take a minute to think about what has been said, and making sure any notes are in an order that will make sense at a later date.
I want to mention the networking opportunities at SLA, but feel that networking sounds too objective. Granted, there was A LOT of business card swapping (see Conference Preparations for my worries on this), but I met many people who I spoke to at length and felt I got along with really well. To give an idea of just how much talking took place, I have now lost my voice and numerous throat sweets are being consumed to repair it in time for New Professionals Conference on Monday! Like many things connected to SLA, I’ll attempt to expand on this further in a later blog entry (networking experiences, not the effectiveness of Strepsils).
The sessions themselves were fantastic. I attended a mix of general sessions and those aimed at members of the legal divison (though you are free to attend events hosted by all divisions). This provided a nice mix between big ideas tailored for libraries as a whole, and ideas and problems directly related to my field of interest. John DiGilio and Gayle Lynn-Nelson’s ’60 Sites in 60 Minutes Gets Collaborative’ was a highlight, as were interactive sessions such as Mary Ellen Bates and Gayle Gossen’s session on delivering elevator speeches.
Much of the conference felt slightly surreal, a bit like an episode of The Magic School Bus (for those that remember it). Absolutely fantastic, but a bit crazy at the same time.
Definitely time to start saving, as I’m determined to return to future SLA conferences!
I’d like to highlight a few differences between the core skills needed to complete my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Hopefully this will demonstrate the skills needed to keep up to date in the profession, and how a professional qualification can help. Keep in mind I’m new to the profession, I’d be keen to know what those with more experience think!
Prior to starting my MA, I studied history. The skills I learnt – essay writing, structuring and planning – have all been put to good use this year, as has my ability to chomp through journal articles and books. The primary difference has been the way in which I select resources.
Whilst studying for my BA, I rarely strayed away from JStor and the university library catalogue. The currency of articles and books that I referenced was only taken into consideration when trying to determine the historiography of the topic. A stark contrast to my MA; secondary literature is ‘old’ after several years as opposed to several decades. I now think very seriously about using an item from more than a few years ago, unless it is to illustrate how much things have changed. The difference between currency of information in the two professions came as a shock to me. It had always been important to ensure that you found the most up to date interpretation on a historical event, but if you didn’t agree with it, it was reasonable to backtrack to a previous argument, providing you sufficiently backed it up with relevant facts. In my experience, this is not the case with librarianship. For the most part, arguing against changes can be seen as regressive (with a few exceptions- libraries and politics mix A LOT and cause a lot of debate, making the use of alternative arguments more acceptable).
Despite this, there are still similarities between how librarianship and history are both practiced. Ranganathan’s principles still hold true, but have been evolved and incorporated with new disciplines and technology. Similarly, historical practice has evolved from the times of Von Ranke, but acknowledges where today’s practices stem from.
I’d like to highlight a few points arising from this comparison:
1) Librarianship is exciting and fast paced. Keeping on top of emerging trends and technology can be difficult. It won’t do to simply follow advice from the 2000s. Make use of those current awareness skills, not just to help users, but also yourself.
2) Librarianship is practical. The master’s course serves as a way to prepare you for a role as a professional librarian (keep an eye out for a presentation from myself and Laura at the NPC11 on what “professional” is). To be ready for this, you need to be as up to date as possible.
3) A good librarian looks forward as well as at what is going on around them. By doing so it is possible to prepare yourself and the service provided to meet the constantly changing expectations of users.
4) Don’t get lost among all the new ways of working – it is important to keep a handle on what makes a good librarian. Understanding the ethics surrounding the profession is still essential, whether you are dealing with users face to face or virtually.
This is an unusual aside from my usual blog posts, but bear with me, its only short.
Laura Williams and I have had our paper proposal accepted for the CILIP New Professionals Conference 2011. As part of our presentation we will be investigating ideas surrounding professionalism. If you work in the library or information sector, it would be great if you could find a few minutes to fill in our survey. In return, we will be extremely thankful! The link is pasted below, and the survey shouldn’t take long to fill in, we anticipate 5-10 minutes depending on if you get carried away with the open ended questions.
You’ll be able to see the results of the survey as part of our conference presentation in June along with loads of other great speakers. I dare say a blog post will be appearing relating to the matter afterwards too.