Tag Archives: Human Genetics Historical Library

The great cpd23 catch-up (part 2) [Thing 18, and er a bit of 17 too!]

Thing 18: Jing/screen capture/podcasts

I really like the idea of Jing (and/or Screencast-o-matic), and being able to ‘screen-capture’, as many are the times when I’ve had conversations over the phone telling people to ” look for the little arrow button on the side, no, next to the line, no, if you hover your mouse you’ll see it, no its definitely always there, no, Oh you haven’t actually got the right window open” etc etc etc.  My ‘idiot’ guides I make for cataloguing training always include screen shots, as it is so much easier to see exactly what the ‘right button’ or ‘pop-up’ actually looks like (I make ‘idiot’ guides for myself initially, as I like to have things explained step by step, but others seem to find them useful too – just in case anyone thinks I am calling my colleagues ‘idiots’!).  Jing appears to be a tool that takes this screen shot idea to the next level.  Its a bit like when you have a computer problem at work, you ring the help desk, and then they remotely take over your mouse – its a bit spooky seeing things move and open on the screen when you aren’t doing them (and you always remember too late that you’ve left something open that maybe shouldn’t have been open during work time, your Amazon wish list or something!  Which you’d just been checking at breaktime.).  So a bit of a cross between the two (screen shots and remote mousing!) – brilliant!  Though I think I might avoid the audio bit, as I really don’t like the sound of my own voice on recordings…

…which of course makes pod-casts a whole big No-no!

And actually, they really aren’t something I can see a place for in my current job.  Within the library service as a whole, here in Cardiff, podcasts have been used for student training (along with actual videos, too), to good effect.   Putting them together looks like it could take quite a bit of time too, so not something I would try out for its own sake.  Great instructions from Edinburgh Napier though!

Thing 17

I got so excited over Prezi I completely forgot to talk about Slideshare in this Thing!  Slideshare is a useful place to store powerpoints that have been created for teaching, and can thus be used as a resource of teaching materials.  Its also a great place to stick presentations after conferences.  I know sometimes larger conferences will host presentations on their website after the event is over, but this doesn’t always work well in practice.  It can take a while to get them all on there, and sometimes the website itself isn’t a permanent fixture.  Last year (2010) I was involved in the organising of  the WHELF/HEWIT Gregynog Colloquium, and at the end of the event we endeavoured to put all the presentations up on the website.  There were some technical problems doing this, and I know my own presentation never actually made it – it was too large to send my email to the person doing it, and other factors got in the way.  This was especially frustrating as this had been my powerpoint that had failed to run on the day, due to a virus infecting the conference equipment on the first day of the conference, and I had told everyone to check it out on the website afterwards.  What I would do now is have it already up on Slideshare, eliminating those problems of access.  However, personal gripe aside, the website is no longer available either!  Due to the fact that the organising of Gregynog is passed from institution to instition each year, and I’m not sure who actually hosts the conference website, it tends to only be the current year’s conference showing.  [I’ve now added my presentation to Slideshare, only 18 months late!]

I’d been vaguely aware of Slideshare previously, but hadn’t investigated it before, or considered using it.  Now, I think it is another one of those tools that is slowly going to inveigle its way into my regular practices.

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Thing 23: Mirror,mirror what’s in store? Time to create a Thing 24..

I hope it’s not cheating to do Thing 23 before I’ve tidied up the wasteland of missing Things left scattered around, but as I’m being computer frustrated (see previous post), it seemed wiser to get round to some reflection, and achieve one of the Things I’d set myself this weekend.

1. Reflect on the programme in general

Well, its been great!  I gave a presentation on my experience of cpd23 this week at the CLIC Social Media in Libraries event (my first Prezi), so had a good think and reflect about the course while I was putting my presentation together.  I identified some pitfalls   – Time problems, Lack of interest/relevance, Information overload; and I identified some gains – some more tangible than others (like a blog and a twitter account), but including encouragement, networks, practice in reflection.  Overall I’d say its been a really positive experience, and will continue to affect my professional life for quite a while to come.  There will come occasions when I need to use Tools that were introduced to me on this course that I may have initially regarded as of not much relevance (to me as a cataloguer), and I will be even more grateful to have learnt about them here.

As to what I want to do next, I think I shall want to play around with some of the tools some more, and try to learn how to use them better, or see new ways of applying them to my job.  Having done one Prezi, I want to use it again, and make each new presentation better than the last.

“Thing 24” – I think I would like to come back to this in a year’s time and see what has changed in my working practices, and how many of the cpd23 Things have been integrated or adapted.

2. Identify some gaps in your experience

We have a rather hideous appraisal form to fill in each year at work, in fact nearly every year they seem to change it, and it gets bigger and more complicated, and truly awful to fill in.  So I generally have a good idea about my experience gaps.

One of the gaps I would like to plug is my knowledge of the Library of Congress classification scheme (I feel very ashamed as a cataloguer to be mentioning this!).  I’m a Dewey girl!  I’m responsible for the cataloguing of books for the medical and healthcare libraries at Cardiff University, plus the Human Genetics Historical Library (housed in SCOLAR) – and they are all done in Dewey.  LCC makes me scream, but I am assuming that is because I haven’t been introduced to it properly, I haven’t even worked anywhere where I have had to shelve books in it.  But I am having to use it gradually more and more, as I help out with books for some of the other libraries, and when helping out with cataloguing the Rare Books collection.  Often I feel like I am wading through treacle trying to understand it, and just when I think I am getting there, I discover we have used a slightly different variant in-house and I’m lost again.  I’ve been hoping to go on a course for years, but they always seem to be in London, and quite expensive (especially adding travel costs), so as yet I haven’t.

I have however, started filling in one knowledge gap recently by signing up to a distance learning short course postgraduate module on Rare books, being held by Aberystwyth.  It seemed quite timely considering I am now spending about one day a week cataloguing rare books.

3. & 4. Personal Development Plan

As mentioned above we have a fairly detailed development plan in our appraisal forms, gaps have been identified, time scales set, etc etc.  So I am not going to reconsruct a new PDP.  What Iam going to do though is aim to regularly check my progress against my appraisal form, and identify where I am falling down before it gets round to next year’s appraisal (which is what usually happens)!  Make the plan an ‘action plan’ rather than a ‘Did I do any of the things I made up last year?’ plan.

5. Keep Blogging

I intend to.

I hope you keep reading!



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Advocacy (Thing 16)

Advocacy for libraries is something I hope that most of us (library staff) do all the time, albeit mostly on a small scale, and it was interesting to read Johanna’s blog post about Activism, Advocacy and Professional Identity.  I’m not an activist for libraries, but wholeheartedly support those who are.

I work for an academic library service and at the moment we don’t seem to be suffering the same kind of threats that the public libraries are, however, that is no reason to rest on our laurels, and who knows what might happen in the future.  Funding is being cut every year, and resources are getting more expensive.  Along with many institutions we are not automatically replacing staff when they leave, and hence many staff have an increased workload.

Academic libraries still need to shout about their services, and not just assume that their mere existence is enough for students.  Many students and staff often have little understanding or knowledge about the services that are available to them.  Many of my colleagues are very active in promoting our library service, with a special highlight on Information Literary.

As a cataloguer I’m tucked away in the back room (ok, the admin block a mile away from the main stretch of University buildings), and promoting our services is not part of what I do.  However, I often feel I have to shout out for cataloguers, and remind our colleagues what we do (and that we exist!) – internal advocacy is important too!  In the last few months I have started contributing to a blog for SCOLAR (our special collections and archives), which is one way of promoting these collections.  Partly because of this, the main cataloguing department are now thinking about having a blog too, to promote our activities to colleagues, students, and anyone else out there who might be interested.

Not being an activist for libraries, I feel that anything I do is very small fry, compared to those who work hard at campaigning, but I hope that every little thing counts, and a positive conversation with someone you encounter on a social basis, certainly doesn’t do any harm.  As for publications, I was a co-author on a piece about the Human Genetics Historical Library that appeared in the journal Clinical Genetics, which is not a journal I would ever have thought I’d be published in!

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…and Doctors will wear scarlet

I contribute to another blog at work which showcases the rare books and archives held by SCOLAR (Special collections and archives) at Cardiff University.  At the moment I am mainly posting about the Human Genetics Historical Library, a project I have been involved in since 2007 (I am the only cataloguer for this collection).  Although in months to come I (and the rest of the team) will be getting chance to help the Rare Books Cataloguer, so I am hoping I may get to blog about books that are older than the 20th century!

My latest post is on one of the Darwin centenary books we have acquired.


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