Tag Archives: Umbrella

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???) 

 

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

Being social (Thing 12)

I had a shock on Monday, I thought this week was a reflection week, a week to catch up on those pesky Things I’d previously skipped over (intending to relook at)- but not to be, we are continuing straight on into social media.

One of my reasons for starting cpd23 was to find out about more social media tools and make myself actively try some, rather than spending months dithering about them.  I think the most successful for me so far has been Twitter – yes, one of the most obvious, that most of you were probably already using.  I gained followers really quickly (thanks to cpd23) and am still collecting them, in many ways much to my amazement, but I put this down again to cpd23, and by the fact that I tend to tweet when I’ve done a blog post.   So maybe people are reading my blog too (that would be nice!).  Aside from the real life network we held in Cardiff in the yurt, which came about with the help of Twitter and blogs, I’ve yet to really use my new community in a professional way, but I’d like to think if I started asking some  pertinent questions, that there would be some equally pertinent answers winging my way from people I have not necessarily met in real life – and that feels good (in potentia!).  And of course the week after I joined Twitter I was able to follow what was going on at Umbrella which was really interesting.

I’ve been struggling a bit with LinkedIn, but will persevere there too, not the least because yesterday I was asked to connect with someone (my first connection!) who I had met on a professional basis last year.  He’d noticed/found me on there, and is a good contact to have.  (and I’m going to count him as the ‘one new contact’ we got asked to make!)

I am certainly planning to carry on using the tools I am discovering with cpd23 once the course has finished.  I will be quite sad when it finishes as I quite like having someone telling me what new things to look at!  I am also going carry on with my blog, and am hoping to insert more work related posts in between the cpd23 ones, to ease me into continuing once cpd23 has ended.

I do think that social networking can foster a sense of community, I think it does a great job, and it is up to the individual to get as much out of these communities as they can, (whilst of course putting in to these communities as much as they can too).  They are however just one aspect of ‘professional communties’ and we shouldn’t forget our real life contacts either – nor forget to let them know about things we have learned about online.  Not everyone can/will/wants to embrace social media/networking for whatever reasons, and some people may feel isolated or left out, because they aren’t a part of ‘social networking’ as individuals I think we should try and be inclusive and informative where we can.  Hmm my head is a bit fuzzy here, but I hope you know what I mean.  🙂

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Filed under CPD, Staff development

Umbrella tweets

I’ve never been to Umbrella  – the large UK, CILIP organised library conference http://www.cilip.org.uk/umbrella2011/Pages/default.aspx  in some ways I’ve never been that attracted to it; so large, so many talks and topics, an expensive train ride away…(oh dear I sound so provincial) as a cataloguer there is generally only a small section that is directly pertinent to my job, although lots of other bits sound interesting, trying to justify the expense from the staff development fund at work is difficult (and I’m on the staff development group!). 

This year, having just joined Twitter last week as part of cpd23, I thought I would follow via tweets – this is after all one of the professional reasons for having a Twitter account.

#UB11 has been an eyeopener, for a newbie on the tweeting front I was suddently confonted by a stream of information, and overwhelmed by conference snippets, luckily I had a day at work filled with mostly repetitive tasks, so I could dip in and out of Twitter and try to keep up.  Several people soon emerged as key people to follow with their succint and eloquent synopsis – @walkyouhome , @kirsty_thomson and @tomroper, not forgetting @Philbradley of course.  There were several others too of course, and it depended which session people were attending.  Its all continuing on today so I will be trying my best to dip in and out.

And on reflection, it has made me feel more inclined to think about attending this conference in the future.

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Filed under Conferences, CPD, Staff development