The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions


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Issues/Challenges/Opportunities:Digital Humanities and Information Professionals

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The above two pictures were found browsing the internet and from these I can ascertain 2 things:

1. They are old

2. The image has been digitised from a collection which holds the original printed copy.

So who did this? Why did they do this? How much did it cost in software & labour?

Even though many libraries have a local history room/archive, it is only in recent times that archives has slowly moved into a realm of it’s own.

Adding to vast content within the web, archivists now promote their unique skill set, but have somehow digitised these skills.

These new skills have brought the role of archivists into a new light, away from the dark and hidden stacks of old manuscripts and glass cabinets they now can promote themselves and their collection worldwide.

Archivists have taken to using blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts. In addition they have embraced the many social networking sites like Flickr.

One example of Flickr  is the Russell Library Blog in Maynooth, even though none of the collections have been made available online, the collection that has recently been posted does contain pictures from the opening event.

So even though they are embracing a path to digitising the collections, I would ask the following:

What are the issues that are holding the Library back from making this collection available online? 

The above collection I am speaking about is a donation of a series of letters from a Nigerian Activist and Political Prisoner. It is collections like these that have so much potential within an Irish context. With the ever increasing influx of various nationalities, these collections can enhance and invite other cultures to take part in events that happen within libraries on a yearly basis throughout Ireland.

Each Library has a specific community, and it is paramount for us as Librarians, Archivists,Information Professionals etc,to embrace and involve every part of that community.  For instance in Waterford there is a recognised large Polish community so through Europe Direct the Library has created a Exhibition that celebrates Polish Independence Day.

It is events like these that we as Information Professionals can create and promote through our fellow disciplines of Librarianship and Archives were we act as the link in the chain that brings together all of our skills. These skills follow each other for a Historian there is Archive for an Archivist there is Catalog, for Cataloger there is Metadata, for metadata there is technology, for technology there is searching  for searchers and finders there is: LIBRARIAN/INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS.

We take on new roles as external influences change, we adapt and learn, we love to learn, we love to inform and give our knowledge to others. We embrace the new with the old, and preserve everything because to us no piece of information is better or worse than the last piece, it may lose value or interest to our user, so we store it away for the next time it needs to be embraced. It is this constant circle and link that keeps us all together and needed within the many disciplines. The people we need to look to are similar to Jane Burns and Barbara McCormack that keep the links alive and search us out in times of need within a project, or to question things they have not yet embraced.

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Digital Libraries & E-Portfolio’s

Linking my Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice with my Digital Libraries Module has proved very beneficial.

Within the various Digital issues I have confronted, the two speakers that attended our class really did shine some light on how to help solves these problems.

Our Assessment for D.L. is a challenge, however exciting. Here we develop and build our own Digital Library!!! It has been a challenge, and also looking “outside the box” at various issues that surround Digital Libraries, copyright, metadata, scanning pictures,photo’s creating “tiff” instead of “jpeg”, files being too large…..

To access how the Professionals do it was a real bonus, instead of looking at creating a Digital Library from my own perspective it gave me the opportunity to see how the larger community would view it , and who they would be.

Connections have literally sprung up everywhere throughout this second semester and as part of our PLN it was suggested we take part in the Hack Library School “Day in the Life” of a Library Student. This was very encouraging as people who had signed up for the day or week were able to contact each other and follow them on twitter or view their blog.

This interest then led me to follow the Library Voices tweets which has just introduced their newest contributor Andy Tattersall, one of the topics he was covering was about digital copyright, which was something I was interested with my own D.L. As it then became apparent Andy had a lot of Prezi’s available which also started another conversation of the likes and dislike of using this new tool.

The following is an amazing presentation which to my surprise I had already become a part of through my own research.

ENJOY!


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Information Tweets Information Bloggers!

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I have been very excited in the amount of information and connections I’m making through Twitter, it started by connecting with and following library personnel that were known within various fields.

However when I attended the AS&L conference and the NPD conference I really was taken aback at how many tweets were being made, the speed people were tweeting, it was like they were transcribing each talk by tweets!

I had known of the #uklibchat and decided the following week I was going to take part in the Irish one #irelibchat. This particular week was on Publishing, and asking why don’t many Irish librarian’s take to it. It was very informative and the leaders were very keen in seeing how the new professionals viewed this.

The conversation veered towards getting our capstone projects publish and how to go about the process, however my thoughts were lying elsewhere, the conferences had sparked something in me and I thought why should librarians just write we are really good communicators and extremely good at sourcing information so why can’t we promote ourselves through conferences within different businesses. Taking our skills and using our knowledge, meshing it into every aspect of a particular establishment.

It’s this platform where we as librarians can really show off, and change the perception to everyone that a librarian is not someone who stamps your books and asks you for an overdue fine, to show that we are everywhere and everyone needs our skills.

I think it is through this avenue that changing the title “librarian” will happen,  and the space we envelope will open up people into finding the new modern ways of seeking information through the many technical options open to us, by teaching people and letting various establishments know what we are.

It seems like various people are doing the above and the idea I have is still being teased around my brain, however if the amount of tweets and the high attendance at the two conferences in March are anything to go by I think we all should raise the bar a little higher and see who takes notice.

One venue that I am really looking forward to and hoping to develop this idea is the various Conferences that will take place in Croke Park next month. I have already signed up for the two days of the European Data Forum, however the Library Association has just announced their dates and 1 of the days overlap, I shall need to sit down and decide. That same week, the Health Libraries conference is on and as part of my capstone it would benefit me immensely to attend, I really need to make a decision!

To find what everyone else is doing I shall take to twitter and find the best solution. While doing this today I came across a fabulous opportunity. A organisation have drafted this new massive open online course MOOC in San Jose state University School of Library and Information Science. This module is covering how to explore libraries and how they are using emerging technology to serve their diverse communities.

This is an amazing opportunity and it is free, it is on a first come first served basis, 400 students will be taking part and no previous educational experience is needed only a knowledge of computers to submit your assessments. Further information can be found here if you are interested.

My personal learning network is slowly building, I feel it may well gather momentum in the coming weeks!


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Library Conferences and Connections

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It has been awhile since I have written, as I have been trying to sort out the presentation of my blog for class, one of my classmates has been instrumental so many thanks  to her 

Last weekend was very eventful, I had signed up for the A&SL conference on Friday and on Saturday I was attending the New Professional Day in Pearse Street Library.

I had mixed thoughts on each event, I was looking forward to  hopefully meeting one or two of the librarians from Waterford where I did my internship, and to my luck one lady that I knew was present.

It was brilliant to get her perspective on the day, and we talked a lot about the Masters and how did the Internship match the actual content that we are covering, she was very perplexed when I spoke about Digital Libraries and “metadata” and “XML” which was amazing so I spoke about  my (small piece) of knowledge about this area, she was so encouraging and there was a talk afterwards all about embedding metadata etc, so she was very impressed!

We had a fabulous lunch in the Radisson Hotel, as all of my classmates joined each other to talk about what we had heard from Simon Tanner from Kings College London, about the many tweets that happened and were still ongoing through lunch. This was my VERY first conference and it was daunting at first, however as the day moved on and the topics being covered, I could relate to it, it soon became apparent how  inspiring  it was to be part of that group for a day.

The next day was the New Professionals Day and the same classmates were attending so we all gathered in the foyer for tea and biscuits, 2 of the speakers that were on the previous day were also here, so it was great to be able to have a cup of tea with them and a chat. Michelle Dalton was one of these speakers and it was exciting to find that I was also connected to her through Twitter. Michelle writes a blog for libfocus and it was great to see how enthusiastic she was about our journey through the Masters.

As the day went by the committee made sure that we mingled with others, we were given “personas” I was a librarian for Kings Inn (I had to Google it)  and we had to go to other groups and pretend who we were and “network” this was so empowering as I got to speak with one of the committee member’s from the day before!

The keynote speaker for the day was Jane Burns and she was so encouraging and approachable in the way she outlined her journey through the Library and Information Profession, she showed us various ways to adapt and transfer our skills over the term within the Masters and how to adapt these when we finished. I was truly surprised how she had worked for Failte Ireland  and had never thought that for one second I could use my Hospitality career in a Informational way…EUREKA!

Jane was a true inspiration I felt for the first time in my life I truly knew where I was headed in a career, and that the people I was surrounded by where true to their nature and loved every piece of their profession, the helpful hints they all gave will not be forgotten from twitter connections too blogs being commented on, truly means this profession is where I want to be.

A HUGE thank you to all!