Tag Archives: Gregynog

Conferences a-go-go (Thing 15) – or how to evoke the sympathy vote…

I’ve been attending conferences and seminars ever since I was a postgraduate student doing research in Ancient History/Classics, even at that early stage I started co-organising seminar series and a conference that resulted in a book.  Taking a leap from being a student wrapped up in a subject I was fascinated in, to becoming a full time working person attending a ‘work’ based event, was actually a bit of a jump.  For a start I felt that I was coming into the subject/conference not fully aware of all the ins and outs, and who was who, and what did I actually think about these topics.  Well, obviously I was there to learn, and to decide what I thought about these issues (which were probably newer to me than the social life of women in 5th century Athens – not my research subject but I probably had a better handle on it than I did anything to do with librarianship at the start).  But gradually knowledge increases.

I have yet to attend Umbrella, though this year I did follow it on Twitter (thanks to cpd23); last year I attended the Cataloguing and Indexing Group conference, which I found really interesting, and great to be at an event with lots of other cataloguers (Yayyy!).  Within Wales we have our annual WHELF/HEWIT colloquium at Gregynog (in Powys) (for library staff working in higher education institutions).  This is a good place to start ‘conferencing’ as you are more likely to know someone (or at least have a bunch of colleagues with you), and for several years now there has been a ‘young/new professionals’ stream, so an ideal place to start presenting too.

Attending a conference can be nerve-wracking, it helps if you have a colleague attending with you – though this is often not possible.

I try to remind myself that other people are shy and nervous too (although they often don’t seem it), so if I have to walk into a room/conference on my own, I will try to see if there is someone else on their own, and will go and join them and strike up a conversation – start with the basics – where are you from/where do you work etc (although I believe I did once bore someone stupid as I forced conversation on them for what seemed an eternity as I could see no way out, until the dinner bell rang – so perhaps you might want to avoid me!)

As you might have guessed I don’t find these kind of social events easy.

Giving a presentation at an event, apart from being great for your professional development etc, is also a good conversation starter, as people will usually come up to you and talk about your presentation, and you often make good contacts this way.  Maybe they are working on something similar, or have a similar problem at work, and your ideas might have given them a fresh viewpoint on the subject.  Or maybe you just entertained them.  Whatever, it is a good feeling to know that you have reached other people.

Or maybe you just evoked their sympathy… the last presentation I gave (at Gregynog last year), was on the first afternoon of the conference, and there was a technical hitch; somehow a virus had got on to the computer/laptops that were being used for the presentations – this had caused quite a few problems prior to my talk, but when it got to me, that was it, my powerpoint would not run.  Despite everyone’s best efforts I was left with 3o mins to talk in, and no pretty pictures to distract people with!  I was gutted, not the least because I had spent hours getting my presentation together.  I gave the talk, almost through gritted teeth (trying not to cry); and was thankful in many ways that I had done an ‘old-fashioned’ kind of talk – it was all written down as I have yet to master the technique of free talking round the presentation.  So, old-fashioned scripted talk got me through; but wasn’t half as interesting without all the images.

So, sympathy works – but I wouldn’t recommend it!  I also played a part in the Murder Mystery event later in the conference – now that got people talking!  So, dressing up and talking in a silly voice works….ok, now I’m getting a bit carried away.  I think what I am trying to suggest is – get involved, give a paper/presentation, help out with the entertainment, help out on the registration desk, and if you are shy this will help give you those inroads into conversations that can be almost as vital as the presentations you attend.  [Think that is called NETWORKING].

For my next trick…

I’ve been thinking for awhile that I’d really like to organise an event for cataloguers in Wales – we don’t get out much, but I am sure we have a lot to share/offer.  So, cpd23 resolution for September – I will make that event happen!

(Any cataloguers in Wales out there interested? (or from just over the borders, I don’t mind) even just a sharing of practices, special projects, or worries about RDA???) 




Filed under Cataloguing, Conferences, CPD, Librarianship, Staff development

A brief think about Things 13 and 14

It’s amazing what a few days away from the real world can do to make you lose track!  After some bacchic worshipping at Greenman I return to find I am losing my grip on the 23 things and have some catching up to do.  But with a 17 page dense list of duplicate MFHDs to manually merge (don’t ask!), I haven’t quite got the time to really play around with Google docs, wikis, Dropbox, Zotero, Mendeley and CiteULike.  However, if I can at least write a few random thoughts on these subjects for now, I can pretend I am still keeping on top of things!

Thing 13 – Online collaborating and filesharing.  I have limited experience of this, but did use a wiki (PBWorks) last year when I was a member of a team organising the library side of the WHELF/HEWIT annual colloquium at Gregynog.  The higher education institutions in Wales take turns in organising it, and last year it was Cardiff University and UWIC who did the honours.  A wiki was set up to help us organise the programme and the entertainment (we had our own murder mystery!) and the sponsorship, and it did prove valuable in being able to sort things out between meetings.  I have to admit to not feeling too comfortable using it though, despite it being relatively easy to use, I kept feeling I was missing something and wasn’t using it properly.  We have a couple of in-house collaborating systems, and as I don’t use them that much, again, I feel like I am floundering around.  I guess most of these systems work best when you have a good reason to use them, and plenty of use out of them.

Thing 14 – Referencing systems.  Well, this made me laugh, I wrote a 100,000 word PhD and did all my references by hand!  I still have all my little card boxes; cards in alphabetical order by author.  And of course, well into the project I even started noting on the back where I had put the article/photocopy/ILL when I had the copy (ie which folder/boxfile etc), and if it was a library book, what the classmark was – which was all extremely useful, and something I really should have done from the start.  I still use some of these articles for other research, and am always really annoyed with myself when I haven’t written the location on the back!

So, would I have benefitted from one of these systems???  Well, I haven’t the time to check them out at the moment, but will do so at a later point and report back.  From my earlier comment, I think I would like to see the facility to note down where I was keeping my article/photocopy (as I did on the back of cards); although of course these days there would be a higher chance of the articles being online, so a link to full text would be handy too.  I guess the proof of the pudding would be in the eating, so next time I am writing an article, or doing some research, I should perhaps attempt to use one of these systems, and see how they compare.  But I do like my little cards…



Filed under CPD, Librarianship, Research