Monday, 25 July 2011

Thing 9: Evernote

And following on with the organising theme we come to Evernote.

The problem:
You want to be able to make comments on webpages and archive them along with your own notes so that everything is all in the one place and easy to access. 
The problem-solvers:
Evernote allows you to take notes on webpages and archive them for later consultation.  Your notes can have file attachments and be sorted into folders, tagged, annotated etc.  There is a paid version as well as a free version (limited to 60 MB/month and there is a usage bar so that you can keep track).

How to use Evernote:

1. Go to and have a look at their Getting started pages.

2. Sign up for an account (you will need to get the confirmation number from an e-mail they will send you) and get to the welcome page.
3.  Download Evernote according to their Getting Started pages and follow their instructions and sign in to your account.  You can create a note by clicking on New Note.  You can add URLs and tags and decide which folder to put it in.  It saves it automatically and it appears in the central panel, which you organise to view by date created, updated or title. 

4. Evernote is not just for making notes but can be used for archiving pictures from your computer or webpages or photographs taken during conferences to save you having to take notes all the time.  All you have to do is to click New Note again and click and drag a photograph from the web or your computer etc. and drop it into your new note (or you can copy and paste if you prefer).

5. You can use the View and Edit drop down menus to alter how you view your information and the Usage button along the top tells you about your monthly use.  The File menu also allows you to organise your notes and attach files etc.  Evernote for Windows or Mac will automatically synchronize your notes with Evernote on the Web every few minutes, but you can manually sync any time by clicking the Sync button.  (This means that changes you make to your Evernote account on different appliances i.e. computers, phones or mobile devices will all synchronise to keep your account up to date).

6. You can also save web content, which involves installing the Web Clipper (a quick and easy process which adds the Evernote button to your Internet browser).  All you need to do it to highlight the information you want to save and click on the Evernote button.  I highlighted a BBC article, clicked on the elephant, added tags when prompted and went to my Evernote page to find it had been filed with my other notes:

This is a really useful tool for bringing together everything that you look at on the web as well as drawing together photos, notes and text from various sources to one location, easily accessible from a variety of devices.

A bit more:

Have a play around with folders, tags, searching and how to integrate Evernote with Facebook and Twitter.

Thing 8: Google Calendar

Following on from last week's focus on networks, we will now have a look at organising tools to keep you sane and on top of everything!

Ever feel like this?


The problem:

You need a calendar, which can be accessed from any computer and can be shared with other people. 


The problem-solver:

Google Calendar is a free web-based calendar which can be shared with other people and accessed from anywhere with Internet connection. Events can be added quickly and viewed by day, week or month. It can also be integrated with other Google services, such as iGoogle, and embedded in web pages and blogs.


A lot of institutions already have Google Calendar on their web pages to keep their staff, students and followers up to date.  Libraries such as the Cambridge University Library (UL), are using Google Calendar to publicise opening hours and events.


How to use:

1. To create a Google Calendar, go to

2. Log in with your Google ID (or get one here and get the benefits of Gmail, iGoogle and more!).

3. Your new Google Calendar will look like this.

3. Before you add any events to your calendar, go to the left of the screen and select Settings under My Calendar and then click on the General tab.  In this General section you can change the time and date formats, plus have a mini icon of your local weather displayed and choose whether to show weekends etc.
4. Click on Save.

How to add events:

1. To add an event, click on Create event on the left of the calendar (you can also select Quick add or highlight a date on the calendar (probably the easiest)).
2. Fill in the boxes for your event and add duration, location and whether you want to have a reminder at some point before the event.
3. Click on Save and you will be taken back to the calendar with your new event visible!

Optional extras

How to share your calendar with someone else:

1. Under the My calendars section on the left side of your calendar home page, click on the drop down menu next to your e-mail address and select Share this calendar. 
2. You will be taken to the Share this calendar section.
3. Type in the e-mail address of the person you would like to share your calendar with and their details will appear automatically underneath (note: this person must also have a Google Calendar too otherwise you won't be able to share it!).
4. Set the Permission settings you would like this person to have.
5. Click on Save.
If you have an iGoogle page then add your Google calendar to it:
1. Go to your iGoogle page.
2. Click on Add Gadgets.
3. In the Search for gadgets box on the right of the screen, type in Google Calendar.

4. You want the first on the list - click on Add it now.
5. Click on Back to iGoogle and your calendar will be displayed!

Further reading

A blog on how libraries are using Google Calendar:

Using Google calendar to manage library web site hours:

Monday, 18 July 2011

Thing 7: Face-to-face networks and professional organisations

Welcome to Thing 7! It’s time to talk about professional organisations: what they do, what the benefits are, and how and why you can get involved.

What is a professional organisation?
Well, they come in all different shapes and sizes! But at heart a professional organisation is a group of people joined by a common profession, which serves some purpose towards the furthering of that profession.

They may be an official, subscription-based organisation such as CILIP, ALA or ARA, or they might be more informal, such as LISNPN or LIKE.

What do they do?
All sorts of things! Professional organisations will do some or all of the following:

1. Provide opportunities for networking.
One of the easiest ways to get started with professional networking is to join a professional organisation or group. The three professional benefits outlined by Helen in Thing 6 apply just as much to face-to-face networking as they do to online networking. Connecting with people through a professional organisation can help to advance your knowledge and career – as well as being a great way to meet new people and make friends! There will usually be networking opportunities available at all events – even if it’s just the chance to have a chat over lunch, make the most of it!

Find it difficult to approach people face-to-face? You’re not the only one! Most people find it difficult to start a conversation. I’d recommend this post on Jo Alcock’s blog for some advice about how to get started.

There are some chances this week for you to get involved with organisations in your area, practice networking – or just find out more about what’s going on! Meet-ups have been arranged in various places around the country – see here for a list.

2. Provide opportunities for training and development

Many organisations will run official training courses. These will usually be tailored to meet the needs of their members, and may be part of a professional development framework. They will also often run conferences, which are a great way to develop yourself, and meet new contacts and friends.

As well as these formal training opportunities, professional organisations give you opportunities to develop your skills in other ways, such as learning informally from other members. You can also gain skills and experience from volunteering for a position within the organisation: you could join a committee; write for the newsletter/blog; organise events; get involved in a mentoring scheme. For instance, you might need to gain experience of handling finances and budgets – a committee treasurer position is a great way to do this.

3. Provide structured professional development and qualifications

Many professional organisations will have a structured professional development path. This may include accrediting or validating courses, including the professional qualification courses. In the UK, this is done by CILIP (libraries) and ARA (archives & records management). ALA does the same for library courses in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

They may also run Continuing Professional Development (CPD) schemes, resulting in a qualification, such as CILIP Certification and Chartershipand ARA Registration.

4. Have formal publications

These can range from peer-reviewed journals to magazines and newsletters, to blogs and podcasts. These provide you not only with the chance to learn from the content, but also to contribute!

Associations may also run award schemes, provide advocacy and support, sponsor places at conferences, run current awareness and careers services – and much more! If your organisation isn’t providing the support or activities you need, why not contact them? You might be able to start something that will benefit you – and others!

Why should you get involved?
Being a member of a professional organisation gives you great opportunities, and the chance to benefit yourself and the profession. It can demonstrate that you are committed to the profession, and to your own personal and professional development. Membership gives you opportunities to help others, by sharing your knowledge and expertise, taking on a formal role on a committee, or taking part in a mentoring scheme. If the association is one which charges dues, these will help the association to continue their activities, and provide training and support to its members.

So, what organisations are there?
I can’t possibly supply an exhaustive list – if that’s what you’re looking for, IFLA publishes a ‘World Guide to Library, Archive and Information Science Associations’. If that’s a bit rich for your pocket, try a library! (Copac, WorldCat). The following is a selection of some of the organisations – and, if I’ve missed your favourite, why not leave a comment, or blog about it?

When you’re looking at organisations, remember that they will usually have sub-divisions – called special interest groups, chapters, caucuses, divisions, round tables, groups, committees, units - just about anything you can think of! For many people, these specialist/regional groups will be their main point of contact with the organisation, so it’s always worth checking out sub-groups when you’re deciding whether an organisation is right for you. You will usually get membership to one or more of these groups as part of your membership of the organisation, and can add more for a small fee.

Membership organisations:
All of the following charge membership fees, usually on a sliding scale depending on your salary, and often with great deals for student members. You might even be able to get your workplace to pay for your membership, or claim the tax back on your tax return as a ’professional expense’. If none of them fit your budget, why not have a look at some of the free, informal associations? You also often don’t need to be a member to attend events, so if you’re thinking about joining, why not go along to a few events, and get a feel for the organisation?

Library/info organisations:
CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the UK’s professional body for library and information workers. With 9 regional branches across England and home nations branches in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and 27 special interest groups, from UkeiG to the Patent and Trademark group, to Career Development, CILIP provides a wide range of support and activities.

ARA: the Archives & Records Association supports archivists, archive conservators, and records managers in the UK and Ireland. Sections include data standards and new professionals, and they run the Registration scheme, for formal CPD.

SLA: The School Libraries Association (not to be confused with the Special Library Association!) supports, and promotes the value of , school libraries and librarians. They also run awards, courses, and provide online resources.

IMRS: The Information and Records Management Society welcomes as members ‘all those who work in or are concerned with records or information management, regardless of their professional or organisational status or qualifications’. They run a bulletin, training, and a conference.

ASLIB: The Association for Information Management provides training, along with an impressive portfolio of publications. Members are not necessarily librarians, with ASLIB’s portfolio being aimed at ‘people who manage information and knowledge in organizations’

BIALL: The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians represents legal information professionals and suppliers. They provide information and support for those interested in/already pursuing a career in legal information work, including a ‘how do I?’ wiki, publications, and conferences.


IFLA: With around 1600 members in 150 countries, the International Federation of Library Associations is truly an international organisation. Most library associations are members of IFLA, and you can also join as a personal member. IFLA publishes internationally-renowned guidelines and reports, and has relationships with other world bodies such as UNESCO, the UN, and the World Trade Organisation. They have a wonderfully diverse range of special interest groups and sections.

SLA: the Special Libraries Association is based in the US, but has chapters all over the world, including a very active European Chapter. The divisions and caucuses provide support for professionals in a wide variety of fields and areas of interest – including a baseball caucus! Members don’t just come from special libraries, and many cite networking opportunities as one of their main reasons for joining.

ALA: the American Library Association also has members all over the world. They accredit US, Canadian, and Puerto Rican library courses, and run 2 big conferences every year: ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual – featuring book cart rallies!

AIIP: the Association of Independent Information Professionals represents and supports independent information professionals worldwide, with e-learning tools, publications, conferences, and special deals with vendors. The association is also open to those who are considering going independent or starting their own business.

SAA: The Society of American Archivists account for many of the different names for sub-sections! With committees, sub-committees, sections, roundtables, student groups, and task forces, there are plenty of opportunities for involvement in a number of areas.

Non-library/info organisations
Many information professionals are also members of professional organisations outside the LIS sphere. These are a great way to gain skills and contacts from other professions, and widen your viewpoint.

HEA: Librarians who do a lot of teaching may wish to become members of the Higher Education Academy, which provides resources and support for teachers in the HE sector.

The Chartered Management Institute provides managers and leaders with opportunities for online learning, networking, and structured CPD.

CIM: the Chartered Institute for Marketing is celebrating its centenary in 2011. With levels of membership that cover novice to fellow, they also offer the chance to become a chartered marketer.

If you’re working/supporting users in a particular field, you might like to see if membership of their professional body is open to you, perhaps as an affiliate member.

Informal organisations:
The Library Society of the World describe themselves as ‘a world-spanning group of library professionals and library advocates, dedicated to furthering the role of librarians, archivists, information professionals, and information educators through communication and collaboration. The LSW is about people, not buildings (although some of us think architecture is sexy). It’s about friendship, not organization. It’s about creating and fostering opportunities, not building barriers and divisions.’ They have professional development material, a set of priorities that will chime with even the most jaded info pro, and a distinguished list of ‘Shovers and Makers’.

LISNPN: The LIS New Professionals Network started online (and was mentioned in Thing 6 by Helen as such), but has graduated to face-to-face events. Open to anyone with an interest in being or supporting new professionals, the network has discussion forums, resources, and recently ran an advocacy competition.

LIKE: The London Information and Knowledge Exchange meet monthly to ‘share stories, learn and exchange knowledge in an informal and relaxed setting.’. They run a variety of events – the next, LIKE27 on 28th July, is a guided walk of London, with an optional guided tour of the Guardian’s offices and Information and Archives service!

Hack Library School: By, for, and about library school students, Hack Library School is another group that started out online. Hack Library School also now has face-to-face meet-ups, including one at this year’s ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

What now?
Absorbed all that? Good! Your task for this week’s Thing is to consider your experiences with professional organisations, and blog about it! What involvement have you had? How has it affected your career? What have you learned? Why are/aren’t you a member? Extra credit for investigating a new organisation or group!

Thing 6: Online networks

Welcome to Week 5, and Thing 6, which is all about online (or social) networks and communities.  These have completely revolutionised how we network and make connections with others.  If you've already completed Thing 4, and joined Twitter, congratulations!  That's an online network too.

If you're not sure about what online (or social) networking actually is, or what it entails, take a look at this brief introductory video.  It's from 2007, making it positively prehistoric in online networking terms, but it does hit all the main points!

There are so many online networks out there.  They fulfil different purposes, they have different raison d’êtres, and they attract all kinds of people with common interests and goals.  Selecting just a few for Thing 6 was pretty difficult!  So what we're going to do is look at the two 'big wigs' of the online networking world, that's LinkedIn and Facebook, both of which have become pretty much synonymous with online networking, and both of which are well-known and established.  And then we're going to look at three other online networks (LISNPN, LATnetwork and CILIP communities) which have been designed specifically for librarians and information professionals.  The list is absolutely and in no way at all definitive or comprehensive, and you don't have to explore all of them.  Also, if there are others that you use or recommend, please feel free to blog about those instead!

Why network online?
There are lots of advantages to engaging in professional online networking, but I think that, in general, they all fall under one or more of the following three headings:
  1. Becoming better known, and more visible in your fields of interest and expertise, by joining in with conversations and sharing information.
  2. Becoming better connected, with people whom you might otherwise never actually get to meet.
  3. Becoming better equipped, gaining knowledge and information from others, and staying up to date with the trends and ideas in your profession.
But before we get going, a quick word of advice!  Please note that it's really, absolutely and completely NOT necessary for you to sign up to any, or all, of these online networks.  If you're not a member of them, and would like to keep it that way, that's perfectly fine.

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network, with over 100 million members.  There are lots of librarians and information professionals using LinkedIn, and it's an excellent way of building and organising your professional relationships.  And, importantly, bearing Thing 3 in mind, LinkedIn profiles tend to rise to the top in Google searches, so a well-maintained and constructed profile can be a really beneficial tool for the development of your online brand.  LinkedIn can be a useful way to introduce others to your professional experience and expertise.

Although you'll need a LinkedIn account to explore it fully, it is possible to have a look at some profiles and see how it could be used.  To do this, go to the home page, and type a name into the boxes that say 'Search for someone by name'.  This will let you see the kind of information that people put onto their profiles.  I asked my Twitter followers if any of them had full, exciting or sexy profile pages, and couple of people volunteered their profiles, which are all great examples of best practice:
Getting an account on LinkedIn is very straightforward.  You can easily register from the home page, and for more guidance, take a look at this video. As it's a professional network, you'll probably want your profile to match your CV or resume, so make sure that the photograph you use is suitable and that the tagline is appropriate.  And then you can begin to make connections with people in your networks and with other librarians and information professionals!

One of the most useful features of LinkedIn is the groups, which are, unfortunately, only accessible to members of LinkedIn.  These are a good way to expand your network and connect with other professionals based on common interests or goals.  Obviously, the first group you'll want to join is the 23 Things for Professional Development group!  To do this, go to the 'Groups' tab, and search for '23 Things', then click 'Join' to become a member.  If you like, explore other groups too.  Here are some relevant ones:
  • Sue Hill Recruitment Network
  • Special Libraries Association
There is plenty of advice online about how to use LinkedIn successfully, and how to get the most out of your membership (see, for example, Sharlyn Lauby's articles on optimising your profile, here).  And if you like, take a look at this article by Charlie White, packed full of infographics: How are people really using LinkedIn?

The world's leading social network, with over 750 million members, Facebook is most popularly used to socialise with friends and family, and to share news and photos.  Most people wouldn't think about using Facebook in a professional capacity.  However, it has become a powerful marketing tool and an excellent way to build more professional relationships.  After all, there are 750 million people out there to build them with!

If you're not on Facebook, it's easy to sign up from the home page and create a profile.  A word of warning, though: Facebook's privacy policy and its stance on intellectual property have been criticised widely (and rightly so).  You may wish, therefore, to take a look at these policies in more detail before signing up, and they can be found here.

While individuals on Facebook have 'profiles', to which they add personal information, organisations and institutions have 'pages', which can have multiple owners and have a slightly different functionality.  (There are also 'groups', but the less said about those, the better).  Your primary concern will clearly be to become a fan of 23 Things for Professional Development!  To find our fan page, simply do a search for us in the box at the top, and then click 'Like' to become a fan.  This means that information posted on this fan page will appear in your news feed on your Facebook home page.

Other pages (all of which can be viewed, with or without Facebook membership) that you might be interested in are:
If you'd like to know more about Facebook, there's an interesting article on it's privacy policy here, a case study on libraries using Facebook by Jane Secker here, and for something a bit more frivolous, you could always watch the really rather good film, The Social Network, directed by Aaron Sorkin.

And then three more, just for librarians and info pros:


Image from LISNPN
LISNPN is an online network for new professionals in the library and information sector.  Anyone in the sector can join the network, and at the moment there are over 900 members from 34 countries!  You definitely don't have to have a professional qualification, you definitely don't have to be young, and the definition of 'new' that is employed by LISNPN is very loose indeed!  So although the network is designed for prople who have joined the profession in the last decade or so, more experienced professionals are also very welcome.

LISNPN has all kinds of stuff on it, and it's really member-driven, so if there's anything that network members want to see, they can make it happen.  It includes forums and blog posts, interviews, resources and reviews, and there have been (face-to-face!) meet ups and a brilliant advocacy competition since the site was launched just over a year ago.  To find out more, check out this blog post by Ned Potter (aka @theREALwikiman) about the future of LISNPN.

It's a very friendly, and very user-friendly site, so to sign up, just enter your email address and password in the boxes to the left of the page, and follow the instructions.  You'll get a profile with a picture and space for a brief biography, and there's also the opportunity to add 'friends'.  Once your profile is up and running, go to the "Just joined LISNPN?" thread on the message board, and introduce yourself!

Image from Teachers Monthly.

The LAT network was set up in order to offer support to librarians and information professionals who do a lot of teaching as part of their jobs, and/or for those who are taking formal teaching qualifications.  Its key aims are to gather and pool knowledge and expertise, and to provide a space to share ideas and thoughts. For more information about the site's origins and purposes, have a look at this blog post from one of the founders, Johanna Anderson (aka @Jo_Bo_Anderson).

The site includes lots of information, about upcoming events, advice on organising (lib)TeachMeets and there's a forum which includes threads on book recommendations and just general teaching ideas.  It's also really easy to sign up and get a profile: just click 'Register' and enter your details there.

CILIP communities is an online network for all librarians and information professionals to share information and make connections with each other.  Although a lot of the content is restricted to people who are CILIP members, there is a great deal of material on there which is open access, including links to the whole CILIP blog landscape.  And just FYI: CILIP stands for Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals, and it's a UK-based library association.

If you are a CILIP member, it's very easy to sign up, to get a profile and then add contacts.  In the top right hand corner of the screen, there's a 'Log In' link, which takes you through to the registration page.  If you're not a CILIP member, then you can sign up with a Guest account, and this will allow you to take part in discussions on the forums, and to organise and coordinate the information you receive from CILIP.

And if you're a member of another country's library association, have a look to see if they have any equivalent communities or forums.

What to do now!
To complete this Thing, blog about your experiences with these sites.  Which do you think are the most useful, and why?  If you already use these sites, how do you use them, and what have you got out of them?  If you don't want to use sites like these for online networking, why not?  And do you agree with the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, when he said: "Facebook is the backyard BBQ; LinkedIn is the office"?  If you're an experienced online professional networker, do you think there is room for new networks like Google+?

There are TWO Things this week, and the next post, by the brilliant Bethan Ruddock, will be along shortly.

PS. I'd also like to say a very, very BIG thank you to everyone who responded to my plea for LinkedIn profile pages!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Thing 5 – Reflective Practice

Thing 5 already? Yes indeed! Thing 5 is Reflective Practice. As you’ve been working through ‘the things’ you may have learnt how to use some new tools or had a refresher on the tools that you use already. You may have been encouraged to restart abandoned blogs or join Twitter with a clearer understanding of your online presence and what you want people to know about you. You may have taken steps to get some more current awareness on the go by setting up some RSS feeds. Whatever you have got out of 23 things for professional development so far take a bit of time this week to reflect.

What is reflective practice?
This post is by no means an in depth piece about the definition and theories of reflective practice, but more of an introduction to how to get going with it yourself. If you do want a more in depth look into reflective practice I’ve included some references at the end of post.
I see reflective practice as an important part of not only our professional, but personal development. It provides an opportunity to review the experiences we have, learning from them and applying what we have learnt.

How do I become a reflective practitioner?
Everyone will have their own style and preferred process of reflective practice, this is just one idea for you to consider based on the already existing models out there.
I’m all for simplicity so these models appeal to me most:

Greenaway (1995)

Borton (1970)

You’ll find a model that works for you, it might be that you adapt an already existing one like these examples.

I go through the following three steps when I’m embarking on a bit of reflective writing.

1. Recall it: this could be an event you’ve participated in, a project group you’ve been part of, a workshop you’ve delivered, an enquiry you’ve responded to…

2. Evaluate it: Take some time to consider these questions
What did you learn?
What did you enjoy?
What worked well?
What, if anything, went wrong?
What would you change?
What (potential) impact could this have in your workplace?

3. Apply it: Take some action. What can you practically apply from the experience you’ve had?

Tools for reflective practice
There are a variety of tools available to you for your reflective practice activities. Just as the process of reflective practice may vary from person to person, the tools used may also differ.

As you’re participating in the 23 things, Thing 1, a blog, is a perfect tool for communicating the evaluating part of the reflective practice process. Blogs are a great way to share your thoughts. The reason me and my colleague @sarahjison set up our blog (Librariansontheloose) was to give us a space to reflect on and evaluate our experiences as we work towards CILIP chartership. There are of course more tools including drawing, audio-visual, podcasting.

Are there any difficulties in becoming a reflective practitioner?
Yes! The most common seems to be time. We all have busy lives, so being realistic about what you can reflect on is important. If you are able to factor it into your everyday work activities, great. If not, be selective.

Reflective writing can also be a challenge, but resources to address this are plentiful online. If you’re an information professional based in the UK keep an eye out for reflective writing workshops organised by the Career Development Group, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). If you’re based in another country see if your professional body organises any similar events or put it to your employer as an opportunity for your professional development.

Sometimes the most difficult part of being a successful reflective practitioner is the application of what you’ve learnt.

Why should I bother with reflective practice?
Being a reflective practitioner does have its challenges, but it also has its rewards. Amongst other things being a reflective practitioner can…
  • Help you be more objective about experiences
  • Give you more control over your learning and development
  • Help you demonstrate you are active and responsive
  • Give you a better understanding of your work

So, there we go, a whistlestop introduction to reflective practice. Give it a try. Have a think about your approach to reflective practice. If you’ve any tips or resource to share, please do.

Want to know more? Try these…

Boud D, Keogh R and Walker D (1985) Reflection, Turning Experience into Learning, Routledge.
Schön, D (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, How Professionals Think In Action, Basic Books.
Greenaway, R (1995) Powerful Learning Experiences in Management Learning and Development: A study of the experiences of managers attending residential development training courses at the Brathay Hall Trust (1988-9). The University of Lancaster, Centre for the Study of Management Learning.


A wonderful blog post from a 23 things participant, Elaine Andrew, about attending a reflective writing workshop. 
Random musings of a librarian, almost
Reflective writing workshop

Another fantastic blog post giving an insight into the difficulties of reflective practice from another 23 things participant!
Nataliafay. Librarian. Human.
Getting out of the reflective practice rut
This is from a teaching/education perspective, but still relevant to us as information professionals
Thoughts on learning processes and other musings
Understanding Reflective Practice 

A lovely introduction to reflective practice from Toby Adams
The Purpose of Reflective Practice
Another good introduction to reflective practice from Sarah Stewart
Journaling as a tool for reflective practice

*Images of reflective practice models
Greenaway (1995)
[Accessed 01/07/2011]
Borton (1970)
[Accessed 01/07/2011]

The images in the post are available for use from Flickr under the Creative Commons Licence
Paperchain in hand

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Could you help the cpd23 team? Calling (wannabe) techies!

In an ideal world, we'd like to be able to give out certificates of completion to everyone who finishes the cpd23 programme.  With the participant count now nearly at 700, this isn't something that we want to have to do by hand!

'Help' by LiminalMike on Flickr
'Help' by LiminalMike on Flickr
We're looking for someone with the technical know-how (or the time to amass the technical know-how) to help us implement a semi-automated system.  It's something I'd love to try and figure out myself, but lacking the time to do a proper job I've offering up the idea to any who'd like to have a go.

I envisage something a bit like this:
  1. Finishers complete a form to say they're done and would like a certificate, supplying all the necessary details.
  2. Members of the cpd23 team verify that they have really finished, and mark their entry thus.
  3. Magic happens (this is where you come in!) to convert that table of data into personalised pdfs for each completer.
The solution you find has to work in the cloud so that all the cpd23 team can easily help with the verification/help look after the rest of the process etc.

If this vague explanation piques your interest please get in touch in the comments or @cpd23 on Twitter.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Thing 4: Current awareness - Twitter, RSS and Pushnote

Welcome to Thing 4! In this Thing we'll explore a few tools that will help you to keep up-to-date and aware of goings on in the library and information world. The three tools we have chosen to explore are Twitter, RSS feeds and Pushnote. However if there are any other tools you use for a similar purpose, feel free tell us all about it when you blog about this Thing!

Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows you to publish short updates of up to 140 characters. Users follow other users to subscribe to each other's updates. All the updates from the users you follow will be aggregated in to one timeline that appears when you log in to the site.

Although a common belief is that Twitter is filled with celebrities tweeting about what they had for lunch, in reality few users actually use the service to send updates about the minutiae of their everyday activities, instead preferring to use it to network and share ideas or interesting things they have seen around the web. This is what makes Twitter such a valuable tool for those of us wanting to improve our current awareness.

If you already have an account, skip this paragraph! If you don't already use Twitter, follow the easy steps below to create your account and begin tweeting:
  1. Go to and click the yellow "sign up" button and follow the steps to create an account.
  2. Once you have created your account you will be taken to your Twitter homepage where you can update your profile to include a short biography, a link to your blog and a profile picture. We recommend that you leave the Twitter Privacy box unchecked because this means other CPD23 participants can read your tweets. You can always change this at any time.
  3. Now post your first update. Click in the status box at the top of the screen where you see the question "What's happening?" Write a comment, maybe something about your participation in the 23 Things programme. You are restricted to 140 characters, and as you type you will see the number at the top right of the box decrease. Leave enough characters to add #cpd23 at the end. This is known as a hashtag and allows Twitter users to group tweets by subject. By adding #cpd23 to your tweet your comment will be picked up by other participants. Once you click "Update", this tweet will be added to your timeline, and anyone who follows you will be able to see your tweet.
  4. Search for @CPD23 (or click here) and click "follow". Now our tweets will appear in your timeline!
Being able to view all updates using a particular hashtag has made Twitter a valuable tool for following conferences. For example, if you wished you'd had the chance to go to SLA's 2011 conference, here are all the tweets from conference-goers: #sla2011. Another use for the hashtag is for holding real-time Twitter chats on a particular topic. A great example of this is #libchat, the brainchild of @NatalieBinder which is held every Wednesday at 8-9.30pm EST.

Once you have been tweeting for a while and have built up a few followers, Twitter can be really handy for asking questions. To help me with this blog post I asked my followers who their top 3 Twitter accounts were for LIS news and information. (I also asked them to "retweet" this message - commonly abbreviated as "RT" - so that it reached more people.) Based on the results of this, here are a few lists of people you might like to follow for starters, then why not try finding a few yourself! If you find someone interesting, take a look at who they follow and go from there. But follow as many or as few people as you personally can manage - current awareness is good but information overload is bad!

RSS (commonly known as Really Simple Syndication) allows you to view new content from web sites, blog entries, etc in one place, without having to visit the individual sites. This obviously makes following library news and developments a lot easier, as all the news comes to you!

The first step you need to take when subscribing to RSS feeds is to sign up for a feed reader. There are many available but for the purposes of this programme we will use Google Reader as you have already created an account with Google. As an example of how to subscribe to a feed, let's get you subscribed to the CPD23 blog. In the right sidebar of this blog there is a "Subscribe to..." box. Click on the arrow next to "Posts", and click "Add to Google". This should take you to your Google Reader (you may need to sign in with your Google account) and you can then subscribe to this feed. From now on, whenever we post something new it will come straight to your Reader, eliminating the need to keep checking the site. You can subscribe to other blogs and news sites in a similar way, even if they don't have a subscribe button embedded in their site, most web browsers will have an RSS button - this may be up by the address bar, or in Firefox 4 this is in the bookmarks menu.

Here is a handy bundle of all the CPD23 blogs:
RSS feed of all CPD23 participants (this version, courtesy of Shannon Robalino, is one single feed will all the participants' posts in it)
RSS bundle of CPD23 participants (this version will load the 600+ blogs separately into your reader)

And here are a few of my favourite blogs for keeping abreast of library news and trends (again, explore for yourself, follow your interests etc!) -

Pushnote is a tool that allows you to rate and comment on any website. If any of your Twitter or Facebook friends use Pushnote as well, you can add them as a friend, and then share pages with them. You can also choose to automatically post your comments to Twitter and/or Facebook if you want to share them with a wider audience. They have a handy set of FAQs on their website here:

To sign up, go to, fill in your details and click sign up. You'll then have to download a browser add-on. Once this has downloaded you will have a new star button up by the address bar on your browser. Click on this to rate and comment on the page you are viewing, and see comments other people have left. The star will turn green when other people have commented on a page, and will turn red when your friends have commented or shared a page with you.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Pushnote is only available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers.

What to do now!
To complete this Thing, blog about your experiences with these tools. Which did you find most useful and why? Have you come across any blogs or twitter accounts that you've found particularly useful for current awareness? Have other CPD23 particpants been sharing helpful pages via Pushnote?

Images in this post by IconTexto on

Friday, 1 July 2011

Real life networking for #cpd23

Several events were organised to tie in with Week 5 of this programme, which looked at online networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, LISNPN, LATNetwork, CILIP Communities) and real life networks (library membership organisations, special interest groups and other groups relevant to information professionals) . So far all of these events are in the UK and details have been included below.  Now events are starting for the end of the programme too.

Would you like to organise an event in your area? Let us know when and where you're meeting and we'll list it here, on the calendar and on Twitter.

Wednesday 12th October 2011
Leeds 'End  of CPD23' Event, 6.00pm onwards, Angel Inn, Angel Inn Yard, Leeds, LS1 6LN.
"To celebrate the end of CPD23 and all the hard work everyone's put in over the past few months! A few drinks and time to chat about the programme whilst meeting local participants. Please join up here or tweet me @libmichelle so we know how many to expect."
N.B. DO NOT try to use Google maps to find this address, it will send you to the wrong street! Angel in is down a side street off Lands Lane, a couple of doors down from the Cath Kidston shop.

Friday 30th September
Plymouth Event, from 6.30pm, The Bank (the pub next door to the Theatre Royal).
Thursday 21st July
London event, 5.30pm for 6.00pm – 7:45pm, CILIP, 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE, #CILIPLNDN #CPD23.
"CILIP in London are pleased to be able to offer a chance for participants to meet up, network and consider Thing 7 (Offline networks, regional and national groups, special interest groups) during the appropriate week. The evening will feature brief informal talks looking at the CPD impact of various bodies and networks as a stimulus to discussion and we hope that it will make for some good blog posts!"
The event is free and open to all. For bookings and further information visit CILIP in London blog.

Newcastle event, 6:00pm onwards, The Town Wall pub, Pink Lane, NE1 5HX
"NE meetup for those working in libraries. This is around the networking week for CPD23, but you don't have to be doing CPD23 to come along."
To give an idea of the numbers coming (so that space can be reserved in the pub), please complete this poll.

Wednesday 20 July
Cambridge event, 5:30 pm onwards, in the back bar at The Maypole, 20a Portugal Place, Cambridge CB5 8AF. #cilipeoe #cpd23
"Regardless of whether or not you are currently a CILIP member or a CPD23 participant, come along to meet your branch committee members, representatives from various CILIP special interest groups and regional networks and, more importantly, to meet and network with each other."
For bookings and further information visit CILIP East of England's blog.

Cardiff event, 5pm onwards, in the yurt at Milgi, 213 City Road, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF24 3JD.
The venue would like to know numbers, so please comment on this blog post if you'd like to go, or tweet

Leeds event, 5:30pm until 10:30pm, Angel Inn, Angel Inn Yard, Leeds, LS1 6LN. (Note: DO NOT try to use Google maps to find this address, it will send you to the wrong street! Angel in is down a side street off Lands Lane, a couple of doors down from the Cath Kidston shop.)
"Please come along to this informal meetup with fellow CPD23 participants, new professionals, and anyone else who fancies coming along for a drink and a chat"
To give an idea of numbers, please sign up on the LISNPN event page or tweet @WoodsieGirl.

Manchester event, 6:30pm onwards, Port Street Beer House, 39-41, Port Street, Manchester, M1 2EQ (in the Northern Quarter).
"Informal meet-up for NW cpd23 participants as part of thing 7, but any interested library folk welcome."
Approximate numbers needed to book table - if you are thinking of going along, please comment on the event blog post or tweet @manynicethings.

Peterborough event, 5.30pm onwards, The Brewery Tap, 80 Westgate, Peterborough, PE1 2AA
"I am hoping for a diverse group of people including those who are not taking part in the cpd23 programme. It's a chance to meet others who work in the information industry, make new friends and share your experience."
Please email Kathy Teague or tweet @katthyt2 if you'd like to come.

Tuesday 19 July
International online event, 6pm GMT (that's 7pm BST, 8pm CET and other times elsewhere), at
Virtual, online meetup for cpd23 participants from any location.
Tinychat is a free video and text chat room provider; you don't need to register to use it.  Instructions on how to join in are available here.

Oxford event, 5.30pm onwards, at The Turf Tavern, 4-5 Bath Place, Oxford, OX1 3SU.
"All LIS-interested people in Oxford welcome..."
Organised by Sonya Adams, @SportingNeasden on Twitter. No need to book, all welcome.

Monday 18 July
Birmingham event, 6pm to 8pm, Church St. branch of Urban Coffee Co. #cpd23 #cilipwm
It will be a very informal meetup; no presentations or speakers, just a gathering of local people from the LIS community. If you'd like to bring a friend or colleague along, please do. :)
No need to book. For further information see the CILIP West Midlands blog.

Edited 7/7/11, 11/7/11, 13/7/11, 14/7/11, 15/7/11, 18/7/11 by Katie Birkwood to include details of confirmed Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff, Oxford, Peterborough and online events. Edited 13/7/11, 14/7/11 by Jo Alcock to include details of confirmed Manchester event. Edited 19/9/11 by Niamh Page to add Leeds event and to reverse event order so newest events are at the top.