What did you say? Working Out Loud


Photo by Linnea Sandbakk available on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking for a while about blogging about my work, tweeting about what I do at work, and how much I should share or what people would be interested in. I think it’s probably something that a lot of people think/worry about – how much should I share? Is this private/confidential? What if it’s critical about something at work – should I mention the things that I’m not entirely comfortable with or that I think should be changed? But to balance all these (legitimate) concerns, it’s also really valuable to share your work and what you’re doing with folk, to generate other ideas and discuss your thinking with a wider community. I suppose maybe some of my more recent posts (like this one about Design Thinking and live-tweeting – which was for a workshop at work) fall into this category of sharing my work.

And then I came across this tweet:

And was introduced to the concept of Working Out Loud – see more of what it is in this graph here, and read this introductory blog post:

Working out loud

So basically, my understanding of it was that it was similar to what I was doing already, tweeting about what I was doing at work, thoughts about issues, articles, people that inspired me, blogging about those things, but being even more intentional about it – inviting others to contribute their opinions, organizing it in a way that is useful to others and to yourself, and maybe even taking it a bit further and setting up a WOL group of peer support, in your workplace or wider.

So what do you think about the concept? Do you already ‘work out loud’? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


One small step for man…


One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind…

That’s a little bit the way I felt as I participated in a health conference – the first ever non-librarian conference I had been to. It felt like a whole new world, and a new place to explore. I’ll try to capture just a few of my thoughts and impressions from attending this conference, and the wealth of knowledge that I learned.

My current position is Information Specialist (Liaison Librarian if you like) with a special focus on Allied Health & Projects. A large part of my work is getting to understand the many different occupations and specialties that are included in Allied Health and help support their research and best practice. This involves doing literature searches to support projects or work initiatives, teaching information tutorials and one-on-one research tutorials, and attending Allied Health events where possible. Just to give you a bit of an idea, a really simple explanation of Allied Health is anyone working in health that isn’t a doctor or a nurse. Some of the many occupations that fit under the umbrella of Allied Health are:

  • audiology
  • dietitians
  • occupational therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • psychology
  • speech and language therapy
  • social work

I had a poster accepted that talked about how my role was created (probably about a year before I came on board) to specifically liaise with Allied Health & Projects to help support research and evidence-based practice in these areas. I’ve included it below, in case you are interested to see it:

Stronger together - Allied with the Library poster - Abigail Tarbotton

Anyway, my overall impressions from the conference (and from some of the themes that were raised) is that many of the same challenges that face Allied Health face librarians as well. The first keynote by Professor Sharon Mickan focused on the importance of using evidence-based research to support our practice, and she also mentioned what a useful resource health librarians are in both locating resources, creating search strategies, and also co-authoring the research along with the relevant health professionals. The other two keynotes, by Professor Susan Nancarrow, and Dr Graeme Benny, picked up the key themes of education, and how many people are going through long years of training, and then the difficulty of getting jobs that are appropriate to their specializations. They also picked up on the importance of being generalists as well, but still utilizing our areas of expertise and providing that guidance and expert knowledge in multidisciplinary teams. Many of these themes would be equally applicable to librarians, I believe – particularly being generalists, learning new skills, but also making the most of the traditional librarian skills & knowledge as we also work in multidisciplinary teams, and get outside of the library and embedded into wider work teams.

One of the other themes – which I know a lot of other librarians can say Amen to! – is that we are not getting more resources, but we need to keep offering and often extending our service. So the little mantra is “Instead of getting more resources, we need to be more resourceful” – for librarians, what can we do with what we have already to work smarter, to help more people, to allow better & equitable access to resources and knowledge?

Many of the presentations were also inspiring, with many great examples of working together, working smarter with the resources we have, and keeping it focused on the customer/user/patient/person – what do they need and is the service we are providing enough for them?

It was encouraging being able to interact with a lot of different people from different disciplines and perspectives, and to learn more about what they do, and how they are doing it differently in response to changing needs.

While there wasn’t an offical hashtag, one of the participants suggested that we all use #nzahconf16 to index our tweets. Many of the conference participants weren’t on Twitter, so it was really exciting to see some of them pick it up for the first time, or dust off their old accounts, and join the conversation. You can also read a storify of the tweets that I collated from the two day conference.

Overall, I had a blast at conference – thank you very much to my workplace for the support to go and present a poster, and network with Allied Health professionals from around the country. It’s definitely helped me understand some of the key challenges facing Allied Health practitioners in their practice, and hopefully it will help me continue to grow my knowledge of each of these areas so I can support them better in my on-going work.
 So back to you now:
  • Have you been to a conference other than a library conference?
  • What were your impressions?
  • How do you think attending professional development events that are not focused on librarians will help you develop into a better information professional?

Journey over the ditch…


Journey” by Mattia Merlo licensed under CC BY 2.0

So by this time next week, I’ll be in Melbourne, Australia – just starting my week over there for ALIA Conference 2014. I’m doing a co-presentation on ANZ 23 Mobile Things with Kate Freedman (@Katejf) who is an awesome friend & partner-in-crime (translate: co-organizer of the aforesaid programme).

I’m looking forward to lots of things:

  • Meeting Kate IRL for the first-time and hanging out over the weekend
  • Doing my first co-presentation; done a few by myself, but looking forward to this new dynamic
  • Exploring Melbourne – any suggestions for place to see/visit/shop or eat at?
  • Meeting heaps of amazing library people at ALIA Conference – I know quite a few from Twitter, but looking forward to meeting more & building those connections IRL
  • Taking the library tours on Friday – seriously; a whole day exploring libraries? I’m keen!

So if you’re attending the conference, or work in a local library, please come up and say hi! I’m keen to meet as many new people as I can and am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity 😀

So brace yourself Melbourne – I’m coming for you (along with a whole bunch of other librarians)!

Professional Registration: Round the First Bend in the Road!

Fall-foliage-wv-winding-country-road - West Virginia - ForestWander
http://www.ForestWander.com via CC License on Wikimedia Commons

Well, after my post last Saturday on coming up with my Professional Training Plan, I am happy to report that my plan has already been approved – yay!

So it is now due end of February 2015 so I can start my plan.

As promised, my plan has now been approved so I’ve put my plan below:

Professional Training Plan – Abigail Willemse – January 2014

  1. Understand what it means to be a library and information professional (1 activity)

    1. Explore the balance of professional & personal in social media profiles for professional librarians through reading, observation, and blogging. Consider how this applies to my professional practice. (Professional Knowledge or Communication, BOK 1)

  2. Understand the ethical base of the profession and the code of professional conduct (1 activity)

    1. Read the LIANZA Code of Professional Conduct and produce a document reflecting on how I have applied this in my professional practice. (Professional Communication (if I share this document on my blog), BOK 1)

  3. Develop a breadth of practice relevant to your role (3 activities)
    From my Position Description as Electronic Resources Librarian at Wintec (a, b, c):

    1. Manage, facilitate, and administer all aspects of the Library’s web presence and provide leadership in its enhancement

      1. Learn HTML and CSS to help with my role in administering Wintec library’s website in my new professional role commencing February 2014. (Professional Practice, BOK 7)

    2. Take primary responsibility for aspects of the digital research repository and services relating to the management of information

      1. Investigate policies detailing preservation and rights management for items contained with Wintec’s digital repository and modify or create if necessary. (Professional Practice, BOKs 5, 8, or 9)

    3. Research, evaluate, develop and communicate new technologies likely to affect information provision and teaching and learning in higher education and provide training.

      1. Evaluate a range of different technologies, tools & packages for their applicability & appropriateness in Wintec library. (Professional Practice, BOKs 6, 8)

  4. Address knowledge and skill gaps not covered in your qualification or required for your job (2 activities)

    1. Map my new job description against the BOKs and discover the areas which are less required by my role (these are likely to be BOKs 1 and 11). I will update this plan each quarter as I identify these areas & find activities to fill them.

  5. Understand the breadth of library and information services and diversity of customer requirements (2 activities)

    1. Understand users’ expectations of Wintec’s library website and find ways to increase the usability of the website. (Professional Practice OR Leadership, BOKs 3, 4, 10)

    2. Understand users’ expectations of service at the reference desk and develop knowledge of common questions or problems. (Professional Practice, BOK 10)

  6. Participate in professional networks and activities (2 activities)

    1. Present at LIANZA weekend school 2014 & seek feedback from others. (Professional Communication, BOK 7)

    2. New Professionals NZ – continue to create content & collaborate with others to build up a range of resources for NZ librarians. (Professional Leadership, BOK 2)

    3. Continue in my role on the LIANZA Waikato BOP regional committee. (Professional Leadership)

    4. Participate in informal networking events (such as library breakfasts).

  7. Understand the New Zealand context of your work, in particular awareness of the Treaty of Waitangi and Matauranga Maori (2 activities)

    1. Attend either a Matauranga Maori course or an equivalent activity/course. (Professional Knowledge, BOK 11)

    2. Read & comment on articles and/or book on Maori knowledge concepts and service provision & learn from colleagues. (Professional Knowledge, BOK 11)

It’s not required to put in suggested Domains of Knowledge and the BOKs after your activities, but I put them in for my reference to ensure I have something in each Domain and that I covered the BOKs. These may change – they are suggestions – but they do help to ensure my plan is well-balanced.

My plan may change slightly over the next 12 months as I need to submit it to my mentor for quarterly reviews and sign-off, but the basic structure won’t change.

I’m recording my learning in my online journal, using the Revalidation Journal Template provided by LIANZA. It has a space for the date, description of activity, what you learned (have to keep that to under 30 words – argh!), which domain it fits into, and which BOK it fits under.

I’ve shared both my Professional Training Plan & Portfolio of Learning (aka journal) on Google Drive with my mentor, so we can both access (and edit) them anywhere, anytime.

So I think that’s all from me – now I just have to start doing it, and recording my activities…

That’s probably easier said than done!

Trail of links: professional reading on Twitter

Here is the trail of links I have followed (and read) from Twitter over a morning 🙂
I’ve been wondering how I could keep track of my professional reading, and looking at what I click on and read from Twitter is probably a good start! I created this list manually by embedding every tweet I clicked on – does anyone know if there is a programme that can keep track of what you click on from your Twitter account?

Do you keep track of your professional reading from Twitter links, and if so, how do you do it???

It was interesting looking through this list to see the type of things I click on and am interested in; IT and education is definitely a big component, as is social media/blogging, library stuff, and job-hunting (probably as I am job-hunting at the moment!) It was a fun exercise to do and maybe something I should do fairly regularly to see if these type of links change or not.

Information Technology and Education

Library Stuff

Job Hunting & Work/Life Balance