Sunday, 18 September 2011

Thing 19: Catch up week on integrating 'things'

Time to reflect...

I have to say, I think this catch up week couldn't have come at a better time. Trainee training has begun with a vengeance in the law library, and I have spent all of this past week chasing my tail between trying to get my presentations sorted, keep on top of our endless enquiries - oh and deal with being stranded at home on Thursday, courtesy of a cable theft on my train line. (Cheers for that, you copper-thieving w!!**!*!)

Got another training session with our new trainee lawyers on Wednesday, and then another one the following Wednesday, and then a few more later in the year. Our training programme runs quite differently to any others I have participated in at previous firms...I think it's good for the trainees, because they are not utterly bombarded with everything all at once...but for me as one of the main trainers, it feels like it's never-ending! But more about that in another post - I definitely want to blog about the trainee training but not now. Not now.

So - reflection on all of the Things we have covered in the last few weeks. I think one of the things (excuse the pun) that I have definitely got out of the program so far is thinking about networking. I actually attended a great training session on this a couple of weeks ago (another thing on the 'to blog' list...) and I doubt I would have even signed up for the session had we not given the concept consideration in this program. The important of being able to network in our comunity has never been more obvious to me. Making other contacts is good not only from a professional development point of view, eg. looking for a job, but also opens our eyes to other kinds of library work out there. And you never know when you might need to call in a favour! (And vice versa!) Networking is not something I have ever particularly enjoyed; to be honest, I think a lot of people find it tiresome/trying etc, but in this day and age, it's a very good skill to hone. I'm attending a few seminars over the next month or so (one run by CILIP, the other by CLIG) so maybe that will be a good chance to put what I hope are some new-found skills into practice!

The other major benefit I have felt from taking part in CPD23 is becoming aware of a whole range of technology/online tools and applications, of which I would never have otherwise been aware. Jing was a complete eye opener to me and is definitely one which I feel could be used in our law library, to save time on some of the little ad-hoc training sessions we run every time a new joiner comes to the firm - or, it could be used to create demos of particular resources, and then they could be made available on our Intranet. The possibilites are endless.

Another concept I had never explored before was Google Docs and Dropbox. I had no idea that these kind of applications existed. While we don't really have use for them in the law library, as in our law firm we have a very strict system of filing documents in a particular place, where they are either available to everyone/certain individuals/private etc, depending on the circumstances, they have still made my life a lot easier at home! Being able to share certain docs with Mr Law_Lib_Extraordinaire has definitely saved a lot of time and hassle! I think the example I gave before was of our wedding spreadsheet - no more arguing over whose turn it is to log on to my laptop and update it! I think these tools definitely could benefit many workplaces, but not a law firm - not in my experience anyway.

Mendeley has also proved very useful in terms of writing an article. All my sources are in one place, and I don't need to worry about trying to pull them all together at the end.

The other idea that really got me thinking was the importance of social networks. Again it's something of a dilemma for me, for on the one hand, I am uncomfortable with the fact that I can be found so easily on something like LinkedIn - but at the same time, I see the importance of embracing a tool like this, because from a professional point of view, there is no denying that more and more recruitment agencies are utilising it. So while I don't feel 100% happy with having my professional working life documented for the world to see, I am not about to take my profile down because I recognise the benefits. That particular Thing also led me to joining LIKE, a LinkedIn group for London information professionals. While I haven't made it along to any events yet, I would like to do so in the future. So it's definitely opened my eyes in that respect.

The one thing that hasn't changed over the course of the program thus far is my feelings on using Facebook an Twitter in a professional capacity. Partly because, as you know by now, all these websites are blocked in our firm, but also, because I just don't like to mix my personal life up with my professional life. I feel LinkedIn should be suffiicient - there are many people on there who are professional acquaintances only, and whom I would never 'add' on Facebook. However, I am aware that I am perhaps in the minority in this respect, and that's okay with me - I am happy to just take a slightly less active role in the social networking commuity. I feel LinkedIn is enough in this respect.

All in all, it's definitely been an eye opener for me over the last few months. I have been made aware of so many applications that I never even knew existed, and it has highlighted to me the importance of keeping at the forefront of these trends. Information professionals should definitely be on top of these things, and I think prior to CPD23, I thought I was pretty clued up - but now I see I had a lot to learn! Definitely looking forward to the remainder of the program.

And now, alas, back to the trainee training. Statute law here I come....

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis:

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