Archive for the ‘#camlibtm’ Tag

2011 – the year of…

Well, it’s been a while since I blogged. Not because there is nothing to blog about, rather because there’s a little bit too much going on at the moment. So here’s a little summary of what I would like to be blogging about when I can find the time.

The year of cataloguing conversations

I’ve just ordered a copy of Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st century, which will hopefully reach me in a couple of weeks. I bought it after reading about it from Christine Schwartz (who has contributed a chapter). She talked about 2010 being the “year of catalog(u)ing conversations” but I feel I got to that one a bit late, so I’m very much aiming to see 2011 be another Year of Cataloguing Conversations. We are expecting the outcome of the US RDA Test by Easter and a decision on implementation by June. Given the level of conversation (and angst, worry, stress, conflict) already caused by RDA within the cataloguing world, I can only imagine that this will definitely get us all talking. Venessa and I are also planning to keep talking about High Visibility Cataloguing and have lots of ideas to get other people involved in that conversation too, so I’m hoping it will be a year of positive advocacy and visible cataloguers getting into the limelight and shouting about what they do and how they contribute. We already have guest posts lined up for the blog there.

I tend to end up talking about cataloguing if people stand still long enough to listen so I will keep doing that and hope it is more of a dialogue than a monologue. I am also on the committee of CILIP’s Cataloguing & Indexing Group, which is a great way to have more cataloguing conversations with colleagues from all over the country so I’m looking forward to that.

The year of the (lib)TeachMeet

Last year’s inaugural Cambridge Librarian TeachMeet went really well. We’ve been talking since then about where to go next – members of the organising team are giving talks at conferences during the year ahead so we can tell people about our experiences and the feedback we received.  This week we announced that the next one will take place on March 29th. We have launched our spangly new website and twitter account too, as we were looking to create ways for lots of people to get involved in discussing, talking about, planning and participating in the (lib)TeachMeet. There is also another librarian TeachMeet planned in Huddersfield on February 9th and version for museums – TeachMeet Museums – planned for February 4th so this might turn out to be the year that the non-teacher TeachMeet really took off.

The year of professional conversations

2011 started off with a bang, as I attended the libraries@cambridge conference. Other people have written fantastic summaries of the day which I can offer until I have time to write it up properly. Apart from being a much larger and swishy affair than when I last attended in 2007, it was the perfect mix of inspiring, intriguing and interesting presentations and a rare opportunity to socialise and chat to lots of old friends, former colleagues and new acquaintances (the first time I’ve had people who have only ever “spoken” to me online in some way come up to me and say “oh are you Celine?” or, in the case of Ned Potter, “oh you’re Kuh-juh-klib”). I hope this is the sign of the year to come. At the moment, I’m using the huge network of cataloguers and librarians on Twitter to follow what’s happening at ALA Midwinter in San Diego. Even though my year at work will finish in April, I think the professional conversations will carry on – I might be a bit quieter than usual but I’ll still be keeping in touch with Twitter.

Here’s to 2011 – finally a year which is going to let me talk as much as I want!

TeachMeet, Part Deux

I still haven’t posted properly about the Cambridge Librarian TeachMeet that we had at the end of September and it looks like I’ll never get round to it, because we’re doing serious thinking about the next TeachMeet. We hoping to hold it in the spring some time and have talked a lot about what we’d do differently, what we’d like to keep and new elements we’d like to add to the next TeachMeet. We did an evaluation of the first TeachMeet and I was pleasantly surprised by how many people responded (about three-quarters of the people who attended, which is a pretty good response by any standards). It was also extremely gratifying that so many people took time to write details responses to questions about the venue, their expectations of the TeachMeet before they attended and how it met those expectations, whether they had used any of the things they’d learned at the event. It has been a huge help to get this feedback and we’re going to try hard to incorporate a lot of it into the next version (main tip: don’t break for refreshments in the middle!).

I felt it was especially hard for me to get a real sense of how the evening had gone from the perspective of the participants because I was up at the front most of the time (just hosting/introducing/occasionally remembering to pick names out of a hat cup, the usual Bruce Forsythe type of gig but with less tap-dancing). I didn’t feel I had enough time to just talk to people and mingle (not that I’m a skilled mingler but I would have liked to try at least). I did think that overall things had gone well, the talks were well received and the post-it note questions were much more popular than I had anticipated. But we were surprised by the timing (after a few speakers dropped out at the last minute) and so our planned schedule didn’t really work out. I wasn’t happy with the ending, it kind of fizzled out early and we’d not timetabled in any discussions/q&a session or any extra time for socialising, having a drink, mingling (I’m not obsessed with mingling, honestly). That is something I’m keen to improve next time.

We’re hoping to get more people involved in planning and organising the next TeachMeet, so if you have any ideas/comments/suggestions/criticisms or just want to join us and see how we look when we’re doing “proper thinking”, then please do come along from 6pm Thursday 9th December, CB2 (which has wifi so we’ll hopefully have someone tweeting/checking twitter so you could join in virtually). Food, drink and camlibtm plotting – what could be better on a winter’s evening?

Well Wiki’d

Here we are, the final push for the summit and completion of 23 Things. And it’s wikis, possibly the Thing I have the most experience with (apart from blogging).

Earlier this year, we had a wiki within our department for staff to contribute ideas as part of a collaborative contribution to the UL’s strategic framework. We used the wiki in CamTools for this, which was easy to use and extremely effective for this form of collaborative working between almost 20 different people. It was much easier than attempting to do something by email or scheduling several meetings in person. This way, by the time we did all meet in person we had a body of work to discuss and refine together. I actually think that this wiki was better for collaborative working than using Google Docs, it was less slow and more stable. It also required no special login as we were registered on the CamTools site by our existing Raven user names and using our work emails. I would recommend the CamTools wiki function – the only problem I had was that it doesn’t seem to have a way of telling you when someone else is actively working in a document at the same time as you (or maybe I just haven’t figured this out, I can’t say I looked very hard) whereas Google Docs tells you very clearly who else is looking at the document (even though often this means they just had it open recently but are no longer actually active there).

Unlike some of the other wikis mentioned, CamTools had the advantage of being available to anyone invited (since we were all University staff) while remaining a private space, not indexed on Google or visible more publicly. A bit of privacy is sometimes a good idea when you’re working on drafts or brainstorming ideas that aren’t quite ready for public consumption yet.

Cambridge Librarian TeachMeet logo

logo by Girl in the Moon

Andy very kindly mentioned the TeachMeet – as one of the organisers of the Cambridge Librarians TeachMeet, I’ve looked at other pages on the general TeachMeet wiki pages as well as contributing to our own TeachMeet page. I’m very glad to hear other people reporting that they found it easy to use. It’s a good use for a wiki and we haven’t (as yet) had any issues with spam or malicious posting.

I looked at all the suggested links, there were some really interesting uses of wikis in the library workplace. If you haven’t read everything yet then it’s really worth taking the time to look at Antioch University’s wiki page on Staff Roles and Responsibilities or, “Rules the Man has come up with for you; the person sitting at the front desk right now”. Number 9 is “no knitting”. Not pandering to any librarian stereotypes there. And number 10 is something that one would like to this goes without saying, but obviously doesn’t.

I’ve come across the use of wikis for internal documentation before as I have a strange fascination for and interest in library documentation. I’m not sure this affliction has a name but I do like reading procedures and protocols for other libraries (and cataloguing/technical services departments in particular). It tends to be more usual for US libraries to make their intranet documentation publicly visible but I was pleased to find (via the Library Success Wiki) that Ireland are also more open with their documentation – University College Dublin has a Cataloguing wiki as do the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick (a different UL).

With a colleague, we have discussed the possible use of a wiki for our departmental documentation and we’re talking about what to do for the bigger TeachMeet we’re hoping to hold in 2011 (yep, that’s right, we’re already thinking about the next one!) and that might involve setting up our own wiki so there may well be more wikis in my professional future.

Working in the cloud

Cloud image

Image from Flickr, by kevindooley

Back on a computer, so I’m taking the opportunity and skipping Thing 19 for now, to write about Thing 20, Google docs, because I know what I want to say and it won’t take long.

It won’t take long particuarly because Girl in the Moon already said it all. We used Google docs to create a number of documents as part of our preparations for the Cambridge Librarians Teachmeet. We each used it for a different kind of document and then added things to each other’s work. It was really easy to use and very useful in that context. The benefits are obvious for collaborative working (avoiding all those emailed attachments, etc). I am still left with some negatives though:

  • As Girl in the Moon mentioned, you have to know the correct email address for someone’s Google account (or they need to create one specially to collaborate with you if they don’t already have one). That led to a bit of back-and-forth with us and it is interesting to note quite a few of us choose different email accounts for different things.
  • The documents in Google format are fine for simple structures where you don’t want to do much in the way of formatting. However, when I tried to change the layout of something to landscape… nope, not possible, at least as far as I could tell.
  • Transferring documents from Word to Google and back again did create some oddities in formatting again, which were quite frustrating and would be even more so if I were using Google docs on a regular basis.

I was glad of the chance to try Google docs out with a real purpose and was impressed with the way you could add location-specific notes to explain what you’ve done to a document and why. However, I wonder whether there might be some options for collaborative working offered by CamTools that might have worked better in the case of the Cambridge Librarians TeachMeet organisers since we’re all Cambridge University staff with access to CamTools.

Save the date – TeachMe(et)!

A very quick post to say we had a very productive, enthusiastic and friendly meeting about arranging a TeachMeet. It all started with this blog post by Isla, over at Musings of a medical librarian where we started adding comments. Girl in the Moon quickly organised a Doodle poll and sorted out a meeting and tonight I met them both, as well as Niamh and Chris of the Lizard Lounge. It was great to take the whole Cam23 experience a step further and meet face to face – we discussed lots of Cam23 Things as well as TeachMeet-y Things. Isla did a mind map, two of us had pen failures (old school technology fail) and we came up with A Plan of sorts.

I’ll blog more about this when not so tired (look at the time, it’s past my bedtime!) but wanted to get the word out that there will be a TeachMeet for Cambridge librarians. Monday 27th September. If you think you’d like to give a 7 min talk or a 2 min nano-talk, then we’d love to hear from you. More information to follow.

In the meantime, if you’re interested, then take a look at the short description of what a Teachme(et) is on Wikipedia or have a look at all the information on the TeachMeet site, where we will hopefully have details of our event soon.

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