David Clover: A Research Librarian does CPD23

my CPD23 blog

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A delayed Thing 6 – Online Networks

Alas real life face to face professional development and networking took over my life (so more on this in the next post)

A quick reflection on online networks though. I liked the suggestion of three purposes and think these useful to evaluate online networking: becoming better known, becoming better connected, and becoming better equipped

LinkedIn: I’ve got a profile on and keep reasonably up-to-date. I could do more on my profile and add my CV etc, and use it to connect with people I have worked with, but in reality in academic libraries it is not a particularly useful site for finding jobs, etc though of course could come into its own if I one day decide to branch out into consulting and training (the far-off retirement plan). It is useful to have a passive presence there and I do increasing find myself checking people on LinkedIn to see current employer and contact details or previous work history.

Other people in other sectors make better and deeper use of LinkedIn but I’m happy with my relatively low key presence.

Facebook: Despite irritation at constant changes to Facebook’s interface and privacy settings, and increased annoyance at people sharing or liking pictures or trite sayings (if this is you I’m slowly converting you to most important status updates only) I like Facebook. But for me it is a personal networking tool, most useful in keeping in touch with friends overseas (though I find even in London it has a role in keeping in touch with people I see less of fce to face than I’d like). The personal aspect  is key though. Some professional contacts and colleagues I’d also count as friends so it isn’t as cut and dry as all that but I like the division and to be able to say things about my life (with carefully set privacy controls) that need not impact on my current or future employment.

LISNPN: I’m NOT a new professional. I’ve been around (even in the UK) for a while now and occupy a managerial position etc so LISNPN isn’t for me – though looking from the outside it looks like a great thing. I’d recommend it (but will leave the “young people” though of course not all young to their own network without oldies like me butting in).

Librarians as Teachers Network: Good to be reminded of this network, but again not a member and teaching only a small part of my role. It used to be a much bigger part and I’m still interested in issues about teaching, training and facilitating learning, but not enough to justify another network.

CILIP Communities: A great idea, but the wrong format at the wrong time. While I joined CILIP COmmunities I rarely checked in and I think CILIP Communities made the mistake (a common enough one at the time) of creating a new specialist social networking community when people were happy with what commercial providers were coming up with and found these easier to use. Many academic related social networks have had similar fates so no blame is due CILIP on this one, and I’m pleased to have heard rumourts that CILIP Communities is to be reviewed.

Google+:How can we miss Google+. I joined as a typical twitter induced early adopter but haven’t found I return to Google +. For all its qualities my networks were already on Facebook and Twitter and without the active community there was little reason to check in and update. It wasn’t helped perhaps by going on extended holiday soon after joining. Phil Bradley suggests Google+ deserves more use – if only because if I risk misquoting him – Google is so dominant in search and in adding the social to search. So I may come back to Google+ but will need something to convinve me.


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Thing 5 – Reflective Practice

Well this should be an easy one – I’m described as ‘reflective’ anyway (or have been recently), and have had to be reflective when doing my chartership, in encouraging my chartership mentees to reflect, in participating in the Future Leaders Programme, and in teaching an Open University course in public health. In theory reflective practice is easy!

In practice, the key difficulty and barrier to reflective practice is time. Structures like chartership and the like help as they force you to step back and think through, evaluate and apply your learning, so I can see what blogs and the ilk work for people too. However the working day can be so packed with meetings, tasks, helping users and just, well, work that taking time to step back isn’t always easy.

I’ve found it helps to set aside a time each week to reflect on the week gone past (usually this is a Friday job) and think about what went well, what could have gone better, what have I learnt, how can apply this learning, what things should I be doing, or trying to find time to do (and what things should I stop doing). Reflection can also be part of planning – for example preparing for a training course and starting off by thinking what went well last time and what else did I notice? How can I make this more interactive and less didactic? What has changed in resources available and their use? This way of thinking really helps produce a better result than just updating what you did the previous year and in that example I’ve found myself doing more interesting and relevant training both for my users and for myself.

I don’t always succeed in being reflective but guess no one’s perfect – and am keen to see what others have been saying on this topic

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Thing 4: Current awareness tools

OK, I’m already on Twitter (@davidclover) so lets start there. I joined Twitter initially to explore and test it’s use and application – and have since found it to be a useful part of my on going networking and prefessional development. Twitter allows a quick overview of conferences I don’t go to, reports and other writing I should read, and ideas about projects and developments I should keep up to date with. It doesn’t make reading up on these any quicker but is a useful means of discovering stuff.

I’ve now got two twitter accounts – keeping my original account for professional stuff and my new one for more personal use. That evolved partially from wanting to cut down what I read but also a desire to keep the two identities partially separate. It’s not to say I won’t tell the librarians I’ve made a loaf of bread – but if you see Dan Lepard saying how good it looks you’re following the other account!

I’ve used RSS feed largely through my email account in the past – and have found it a useful way to keep ahead of a few feeds where I do want to check each entry (even if I delete most). I’ve created a Google Reader feed for other general library blogs, where I want to keep in touch with others but don’t feel the need to read everything one them. And I’ll see how that goes. My wariness is about yet another thing to check.

Storify (well aside from the fact it revealed an incompatibility with my work browser) didn’t seem as useful right now. But I may come back to it if a need reveals itself.


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Thing 3: Personal “brand”

To start I have to expresss my disquiet about the word “brand”. I’m not for sale, much as I do offer my skills, experience, time and energy into a commercial marketplace.

Perhaps that is one reason I decided a few months ago to split my twitter identity – retaining my original account for my professional (but with personality) identity and creating a new account which is more personal in nature, and isn’t linked to professional work, libraries, etc.

So back to my reputation, professional profile, or what would you have call it. Certainly activity on Twitter will be part of this and I’ve been alerted to the lack of more experienced librarians blogging etc… A lot of my professional work is outfacing, particularly within the University of London. In the last two weeks I’ve presented at a European meeting of librarians and archivists with interest in African studies (in Basel, where I was also elected onto the organising group for this body) and in London at a CPD25 networking meeting for subject librarians, where I deleivered what was described (and thankfully intended) as a thought-provoking start to the day. I’ve also been to a couple of meetings representing my Library and this is a key part of my role. This latter point raises questions about how much ones professional and organisational roles/profiles are by necessity linked.

Some actions from my reflections – I want to use slideshare or equivalent to host some of my presentations – such as the two above. This should help promote not only what I said, but also my own profile. I want to consider personal blogging in more depth. I have looked at whether I can change the name of this blog in line with the desire to align myself more clearly with this blog – but I think unless a solution comes to me the only way will be to create a new blog, copy and paste exisiting content and create a link… I’ll look further into that one

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Thing 2: exploring others’ blogs

So catching up a little, I’ll add a post which will explain my late start I promise, since it is linked to professional development.

Having looked at the lists of participants and the delicious tags for NZ (my country of origin) and research and higher education libraries, two things stood out for me – firstly that I want to use this more broadly to collate thoughts and comments on my professional development (as a tool for my second CILIP revalidation or fellowship) and secondly that I need to rethink my personal brand vis a vis this blog. I think I started thinking keep it light touch so I could practice in private, but looking at the lists of anonymise blog titles thought I needed to rethink that strategy and to rename the blog and add more about me and where I work etc.

But thing 3 awaits, and this is all about persoanl identity so a good opportunity to work through these ideas.

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Thing 1: blogging and why I’m doing CPD23

I thought about doing CPD23 last year, but as I knew I was going to be away on holiday for an extended period (I know lucky me!) I thought it wasn’t right to start something and then get stuck part way through. So, I’m very pleased CPD23 is running for another year.

But why CPD23? I’m fairly confident with a lot of social media stuff, I blog for my collection, use twitter in (separate) both personal and professional/personal capacities but know there are areas I know less about or just haven’t looked at yet. I want to use CPD23 to experiment and play with various new things and also reflect on how they could be used for work or professional activity.

I manage a team or research librarians and also look after a large area studies collection. I like both aspects of the job, but it is hard doing both roles in a working week, and in terms of career aspirations it is the management/leadership role that I want to take further.

The areas I’m looking forward to are about personal branding, organising yourself (I have an Evernote account but haven’t used it except to add a couple of notes about wine I like!), filesharing, which I think I could do better, and organising references (as I want to look at new (to me anyway) products).