Thing Eight: Google Calendar

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
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This was another tool I hadn’t used before. I found it very straightforward to use since it was similar to the calendar function in Outlook which I use most days at work.

The best thing about Google Calendar is, of course, the fact it can be accessed from anywhere. If I had a smartphone, then I can see that being incredibly handy.

At present I tend to use Outlook for recording work events and a paper diary for recording non-work events. Although if a work event involves me needing to go to a different location or be somewhere in the evening then that goes in the paper diary too. On the whole this system works fine although the occasional thing does trip me up when it’s only in one place and not in the other.

I appreciate that Google Calendar could help me streamline that a little bit but, sadly, I’m not sure I’m a busy enough person to justify the effort!

I have added some friends’ birthdays and wedding anniversaries to Google Calendar though since these sorts of recurring events are, naturally, where a yearly paper diary lets you down.

I was interested to see some examples of how libraries use Google Calendar and thought Ithaca College Library’s use of the Google API to push Google Calender data to their library homepage was particularly ingenious. Particularly the fact that the opening hours are accompanied by a photo of the reference librarian on duty! Nifty.


In a previous life, before I started working in the library/information sector, I worked for a professional body. We (Devon & Somerset Law Society) provided CPD courses, a recruitment service, a newsletter, social events, a sporting tournament etc. for solicitors and other legal staff. Interestingly, some local law societies also have libraries but this one didn’t. We did struggle sometimes to get interest and involvement from trainee and young solicitors, who may not have seen the Society as relevant to them and their needs. But for the new professionals that did make the effort to get involved (e.g. joining committees etc), it seemed to make a big difference. Law is a very networked profession and – through their involvement with the Society – these new professionals were able to meet partners and senior staff from big law firms, that they may otherwise have not had the chance to meet.


So, in short, I left this job and moved into my graduate trainee year with a sense that professional organisations were A Good Thing. I’ve probably become a touch more cynical since, but that basic sentiment remains. I joined CILIP in my graduate trainee year and have been a student member since. Next year, after I’ve submitted my dissertation, I won’t qualify for the student rate anymore, so I’ll have to think about what I get out of CILIP (or what I could get out of CILIP). I do want to charter, so I think that reason alone is enough to keep my membership going.

I have been to a couple of meetings of my regional CILIP branch (Thames Valley). This hasn’t been easy as they’ve always been on the same day as my library school classes. Now that the taught part of my masters is out of the way, I’m going to endeavour to go along to more of these meetings. When I worked in an academic library, I found these meetings a refreshing change since it allowed me to meet people from public/school/health libraries too.


Among the (very comprehensive!) list of professional bodies and societies that Bethan listed on the main cpd23 blog for Thing Seven was ASLIB. I had come across ASLIB as a publisher during my masters but hadn’t looked at their website to see what they offer as a professional body.

Since I have  moved from an academic library to information management in the NHS, I was interested in investigating a professional body such as this, which looks beyond libraries and librarians. Their journal ‘Managing Information’ looks particularly interesting. And they offer free membership to students! So, I’ve dropped them an email, and hopefully will be a member soon.

Real life meet-up in Oxford, June 2012

As a final point, I ought to mention the ‘real life meet-up’ that Lizzie Atkinson organised in Oxford, to tie in with cpd23. Around 8 or 10 of us turned up for some library and CPD gossip and I was able to meet some new people, as well as catching up with some familiar ones. Seeing some humans made a nice change from all the website visiting and web 2.0 experimentation that has formed cpd23 so far!

Thing Six: Online networks

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I already have a LinkedIn profile and I do try and keep it up-to-date, otherwise I think it gives a bad impression. So, if I change my job then I make sure I change LinkedIn too. I haven’t got very many connections and I think all of them are people I know in real life (in contrast to Twitter where most of the people I follow I don’t know offline).

I am a member of several LIS groups, but very rarely does anyone manage to get a good conversation going. It’s more of a place to make enquiries or ask questions. I am also a member of a more strategic/managerial group (not LIS specific) as it matches my MSc dissertation topic. That’s even worse! You can just tell that people are posting as a way of saying ‘look at me! employ me! I’m interesting!’  I know every social network is basically an exercise in self-validation but it’s all just so brazen on LinkedIn.

In summary: I think a LinkedIn profile is a good think to have, especially since they tend to come high up in Google searches. As long as it’s up-to-date, then it’s a quick and accurate summary of who you are and what your background is. Does it have a purpose beyond that? In other sectors, probably. I’m not sure it’s the most useful tool for LIS professionals, though.

As an aside, LinkedIn has been in the news lately because some of its users had their passwords leaked. This led to some general chat about LinkedIn and what its role is. I used my new Storify skills to make a mini-Storify reflecting some of this.

[View the story “LinkedIn …. UnLoved?” on Storify]


I am a compulsive user of Facebook. I am not a compulsive user of Facebook in any ‘professional’ sense. As I said in Thing Three, I tend to keep Twitter for the professional side of my life and Facebook for the personal side of my life. Inevitably, there is bit of an overlap, though.

I appreciate that CILIP and other professional groups have pages on Facebook but I think I’d rather follow these bodies on Twitter or via RSS and keep Facebook for the silly photos and the games of Words with Friends.

It’s a different matter for organisations (e.g. libraries), though. If you have an institutional brand to monitor or protect then it’s worth remembering that people will talk about you on Facebook, regardless of whether you’re there. If you are on Facebook though, you can control and direct some of this and also counteract any negativity or inaccuracies.

In my last job (an academic library) I was responsible for updating the library’s Facebook page. We had posters near the issue desk, drawing readers’ attention to our Facebook and Twitter presence. I did have some snide comments from undergraduates along the lines of  ‘why on earth is the library on Facebook?!’ I just think that libraries should use as many ways as they can find to shout about what they do and h0w they can help people.

One reason why academic libraries use Facebook is because so many undergraduates spend so much time on the site. So it makes sense to have library information available in a space they are comfortable with. There is, however,  a risk that this makes libraries look  like they’re trying too hard to be down with the kids … the so-called ‘granny at the disco’ effect.

The library’s Facebook page did tend to be updated much quicker than the library website and was also a bit more informal and friendly in its approach.

So, while I’m not going to rush to use Facebook to keep up-to-date with libraries or librarian organisations, I still think it is vital for these groups to be on Facebook. Not only does it increase the number of people that can be reached, but just being on Facebook (and Twitter etc) gives out a strong message about the attitude of the organisation.


I am already a member of LISNPN but I must confess that I haven’t used the site in a while. I like the ‘bagginess’ of their remit: basically anyone who defines themselves as a ‘new professional’ can be involved. I think its very good for graduate trainees and I wish it had existed when I started my graduate trainee placement. (If I recall correctly, it was founded towards the end of my graduate trainee year.) It would have been good to have been able to network and arrange meet-ups with trainees in other places, which lots of the current trainees are using the site for. I also found the online library school reviews interesting although, again, this was a little bit too late for me as I had already chosen where I was going.

I’ll talk about this more in Thing 7, but I went to a meet-up in Oxford of CPD23 participants the other week. We discussed then that this was something that should happen more often, and perhaps the LISNPN forum would be a way of bringing people together and making ‘real life’ meetups happen more often.

Now I’ve ‘rediscovered’ LISNPN, I will try and use it more often, and engage with it more.

In my final term of library school, we learnt about knowledge management (KM) and how it’s applied to health, law and business libraries. One of the reasons firms implement KM strategies, we were told, is so that they don’t re-invent the wheel and they don’t repeat mistakes.

I think it’s possible to think about reflective practice in a similar way. Because reflective practice is often an individual (or small team) process, you’re unlikely to needlessly repeat a task or project … unless you’re either very busy or very forgetful! But, without sitting down and debriefing yourself after a project, a conference, a job interview etc etc and thinking ‘what went well? what went less well? what would I do differently’, it’s conceivable that you’ll make the same mistakes or miss the same opportunities next time. I shouldn’t keep on about mistakes, really, since reflective practice is just as much an opportunity to pat yourself on the back and reflect on what went well, why it went well and how you can replicate or sustain that.

In a previous job, I saw a major project get behind schedule and take unexpected twists and turns, as the implications it would have on other aspects of the service weren’t fully understood at the outset. Worryingly, quite soon after it stuttered to its conclusion, a second major project kicked off. I would have liked all staff (because as mentioned, this project had an impact far beyond the one planned for) to have been given the breathing space and time to say what went wrong and why and – most importantly – how we could learn from this. With big projects like this, reflective practice (and subsequent action) isn’t just good practice, it’s a responsible thing to undertake.

As I’m going through cpd23, I’m thinking about what tools I like and how I can continue to use them. Even after hastily dismissing Storify in Thing Four, I’ve decided to use it to discuss LinkedIn in Thing Six! At the end, I’ll try to have a mega-reflective session and see what I’ve learnt. And fingers crossed, after Thing Twenty-Three, I’ll have the self-discipline to keep blogging.


When I wrote about Thing 4 last year, I said that it had taken me a while to grasp the point of Twitter, but when I did understand it then it became indispensable. One year on, I’m still finding Twitter a vital way of staying in touch of what’s going on in the LIS-world. I’m still trying to remember to be a contributor and not just a lurker – but jumping in with both feet on Twitter and talking to people you don’t actually ‘know’ really pays off.

If you’re new to Twitter, then I recommend finding a couple of people you think are interesting (perhaps by searching for them by name or by typing topics you’re interested in into the search box), then see who they follow. Most people will have a short bio so it’s quick to see who on this list would be worth following. Then see who they follow!

If you want to follow me on Twitter, then feel free! I’m @maniccharlie

RSS feeds

I have a Google Reader account for keeping up with blogs, but I’m not terribly good at keeping on top of it. I find Twitter a much better way of finding interesting blog posts, and then seeing the reaction to them. Google Reader is good, though, for blogs and websites that have a fairly low profile or aren’t updated very often. It would easy to miss these on Twitter, if indeed they are even on Twitter, whereas Google Reader captures it and has it ready for you when you next log in.

I also find it useful to categorise blogs into folders on Google Reader. (I think it’s that innate librarian desire to categorise and classify everything in life). There’s numerous ways to do this, but – since most blogs I subscribe to are library-related – it’s done by sector or theme e.g. ‘Libraries – academic’; ‘Libraries – health’, ‘Libraries – new professionals’ etc.

And if everything gets a bit overwhelming, then I take great comfort in admitting defeat, clicking ‘mark all as read’ and just vowing to start again!


This is the first time I’ve used Storify. I do like the fact that you search for a topic over a range of web 2.0 interfaces really simply. That in itself is quite handy. The ‘walled garden’ approach of the internet annoys me sometimes, so I like that I can really easily assemble a story that pulls together info from Twitter, Flickr, YouTube etc. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the finished story, though. I wanted to be able to play around with it, resize the images and drag them into a new order. Instead everything is just linear.

Since it’s the Jubilee bank holiday today and I am multitasking and watching the service in St Pauls while writing this, I thought I’d make a small Jubilee Storify – simply because I knew there’d be loads of material to choose from.

I’m glad I had a go at using this tool since it was new to me, but I’m not I’ll be sticking with it if I’m honest.

[View the story “Diamond Jubilee” on Storify]

When I wrote about this topic for last year’s 23 Things, I spoke about keeping Facebook for (to paraphrase myself) “friends, and colleagues I would go to the pub with” and Twitter for “networking and for friends who like libraries”. Because my Facebook settings are private and my Twitter settings are public, another way of thinking about this is that Twitter is for saying or sharing things that I’m happy for anyone to know about me, whereas Facebook may contain more personal information.

So, I’ll leave Facebook out of this post from now on, since I don’t use it as ‘professional’ tool online. So, that leaves my blogs (including this one), Twitter, LinkedIn plus all the various miscellany on the internet (some posted by me and some not). I am @maniccharlie on Twitter and that’s a name I’ve used across many sites over many years. It may not sound terribly professional but it does display my long-held adoration of the Manic Street Preachers and it does at least have my name in!

Talking of names, I call myself ‘Charlie’ and use that name in day-to-day life both on- and offline. My full name is Charlotte and that is what I have always put on my CV, job applications etc. This does mean, however, that if any prospective employers went to Google me, for instance, they may not find the personal brand I’ve been cultivating! So, recently, I’ve been trying to sneak ‘Charlie’ into job applications and it’s in brackets at the top of my CV too – so that people can make the connection. It sounds obvious but, if you’re going to make a personal brand – make sure people know how to find it.

The final name-based grumble I want to make, is that my name could also be a man’s name. Although all the best Charlies are, of course, female. (Sorry Mr Brooker). Particularly online, it can be hard to tell someone’s gender so I have chosen the same avatar for WordPress, Twitter and LinkedIn that clearly shows my face. This also allows people I meet on Twitter to recognise me in real life.

I put my name in DuckDuckGo (reading Phil Bradley’s column in CILIP Update encourages me to try new search engines) to see what came up. Other than the page about a school in Salt Lake City (clearly not me), the top results are all about me and all things I’m happy people to see/know. The Wikipedia page is about a quiz show I was on last year. While not strictly part of my ‘brand’, I mention quizzing as a hobby on my CV and it’s mentioned in my Twitter bio so it’s something I’m happy for people to know about me. It makes a good conversation point too! I was interested to see that my LinkedIn profile didn’t appear on DuckDuckGo – whereas a Google search would have it in the top couple of results.

Thinking about the future – I have taken the ‘back seat’ approach of checking there’s nothing embarassing about me on Google and leaving it at that. What I know I ought to do is to start proactively and strategically leaving a footprint online so that what’s on Google is what I want people to see, not merely what I’m happy with them seeing. That is part of the reason why I joined LinkedIn earlier in the year (when it shows up in search engines, anyway).


Like last year, I found the Delicious list of cpd23 participants more helpful than the list of blogs on the cpd23 blog.

It made me smile to see how many other people are having second go at cpd23! We can do it this year, guys. Right?!

As discussed in Thing One, I’m about to move into the health sector, so I filtered the Delicious list to just show me blogs by information professionals in this sector. I found Lucy Librarian’s blog a cheerful, positive account of moving from library school to a health library.

And I was very struck by this – I think all the comments show that I’m not the only one who found it a thoughtful, insightful blog post about overcoming the fear of having an online presence.

I’m trying to remember to add any interesting blogs I find to my Google reader, so that I can keep updated with all these interesting people and views.