Libraries, the universe and everything

#SLA2014 closing session
July 26, 2014, 11:08
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Following the business meeting, which rather to my surprise I found informative and interesting, the conference closing session rounded off the whole event in style. Four speakers gave short, dynamic, TED-talk-style presentations, and I felt that their enthusiasm and eclectic subject matter was the perfect conclusion. Continue reading

Developing and leading a knowledge sharing culture at #SLA2014
July 26, 2014, 11:05
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During this session I really felt for the presenter, Jim Stewart, as he was up against some significant challenges – the room was much bigger than the audience, it was mid-afternoon on the final day of the conference, and no one seemed terribly keen on participating in any of the interactive aspects. I wasn’t really sure what I thought of it, both whilst it was going on and in retrospect, but looking back over my notes I’ve written down some interesting and coherent thoughts. Continue reading

Social media for everyone and every library at #SLA2014
July 26, 2014, 11:03
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Cheryl Yanek gave a lively and engaging presentation which ranged across a wide variety of social media platforms, looking at their demographics and giving a few pointers about how to make the best use of each of them. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it all – her slides are available at – but rather just record a few of the over-arching points which she made at the outset. Continue reading

Digital Humanities panel at #SLA2014
July 26, 2014, 11:00
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My main takeaway from this panel was that I REALLY want to work in digital humanities! In actual fact I already have an amount of experience on the edges of this area, and I’ve subsequently come up with a plan for gaining more, but if you have any advice for me (or know of any DH projects that could use another volunteer) please let me know in the comments! Continue reading

Big data and job opportunities panel discussion at #SLA2014
July 26, 2014, 10:57
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Big data was one of my target areas for this conference, as it’s a topic about  I should (and want) to know more. This panel seemed like one of the more entry-level sessions about it, and featured some interesting speakers too. What follows is a condensed version of my notes, but the short version is that I found it accessible, engaging and thought-provoking. Speaking were Amy Affelt, Daniel Lee, Kim Silk, and moderator Jane Dysart. Continue reading

Quick take – technology for instruction
July 15, 2014, 11:51
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A short-and-sweet overview of some ways in which tech tools can facilitate or enhance educational/instructional sessions, with an emphasis on online, free and user-friendly. Continue reading

Quick take – networking naturally
July 15, 2014, 11:49
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This was the first Quick Take session I attended, and I must say I thought it was a brilliant concept. A condensed bundle of top tips on a specific topic, with no time for waffle – perfect! This was day 2 of the conference so I had already been putting my best networking skills into practice, and I was pleased to note that I was doing many of the things which Tom Rink recommended, but of course there’s always room for improvement.

Aims of networking:
building and maintaining relationships
getting to know people
building strong foundation for your career
enhance your reputation & credibility
facilitating resource/knowledge sharing
NOT about selling yourself

Continue reading

Monitoring social media, beyond lurking to data mining
July 15, 2014, 11:48
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This was my first stop on a morning of session-hopping so I should say that I only stayed for the first section of this, but I think I heard most of Zena Applebaum’s presentation.

The focus of Zena’s talk was how to turn the noise of social media into action, and turn big data into competitive intelligence data points. She observed that people using social media at work will share information differently when communicating internally and externally (and are, in fact, often more open to external audiences). Continue reading

How not to run a meeting
July 15, 2014, 11:48
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This was one of the most innovative sessions I’ve ever attended – rather than just another presentation, 5 volunteers from the audience were picked to dramatize a 9-act play. All the actors got properly into their characters, and as the acts were interspersed with opportunities for group discussion the audience were encouraged to get involved too.

The session was run by Dave Pollard, and was structured around a manual for facilitating group work which he helped to create. They discovered that although the topics in the manual broke down into 9 main areas, the advice within each was sufficiently granular, so it was ultimately produced in a card-deck format. Copies can be purchased or downloaded (free) from and I encourage you to take a look, as it contains much perceptive, practical advice. Continue reading

The Reluctant Intrapreneur
July 15, 2014, 11:48
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Are you a reluctant intrapreneur? Mary Ellen Bates began her session by asking us this question, before going on to explain her view that information centres should be run along the same lines as small businesses. (The term intrapreneur, rather than entrepreneur, refers to the fact that within a workplace such behaviour would generally be internally- rather than externally-focussed.)

Her presentation was structured around four key pieces of advice, what she termed the intrapreneur’s toolkit, which are as follows:
1. A clear understanding of value
2. A self-correcting client focus
3. Negotiation jujitsu
4. Guerilla marketing

Her slides are available via and/or What follows is a summary of the notes I took during the session, which I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed. Mary Ellen has a really engaging, energetic presentation style, and whilst much of what she has to say can be filed under common sense, she brings a clarity and efficiency to bear on it all. Continue reading

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