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Library related events, questions and links: My professional life on a page

Library Day in the Life – end of the week

Thursday and Friday seemed to rush past in something of a blur.

On Thursday morning I saw a demonstration of Westlaw China – I had seen the first release at the SLA conference last July, so this update was interesting. Then I met with our head of L&D to iron out some problems with the trainees’ inductions starting next week. My third meeting was an all-firm presentation about changes to the appraisal system for 2010. By the time I had been to all those meetings, squeezed in my review of the FT and a frankly more interesting daily update, it was lunchtime. I went out for another run – just my usual 20 minutes loop – then logged in at the enquiry desk.

This was an afternoon with two deceptively simple queries – one for medical articles, another for an international standard. These both took over two hours to resolve. The first I couldn’t help with, as unpublished conference abstracts are difficult to find. The second I did solve with help from a Russian-speaking colleague in the US. I was also asked if we had an Athens password. That’s a typical ‘Google first and look at library resources last’ kind of question. It means that someone’s run a Google search for relevant articles, found something likely-looking, and then asked the library for it. This is rather less efficient that using the legal journals index and our catalogue, particularly since these were articles we did have access to. If the lawyer hadn’t asked, would they have gone without  – or spent money on a download that duplicated our resources?

A slew of shipping queries kept me at the desk until 6.00pm when I escaped to the pub for a much needed pint.

Friday saw me back at the enquiry desk at 9.30 carrying on with the shipping queries and trying to record Thursday’s time and enquiries. Another busy morning – juggling shorter, easier questions with the more involved kind of query. During lunch I talked with a colleague who’s just joined the research team on a part-time basis; we discussed what the trainee induction would involve and how she’s been getting on. I spent about an hour in the afternoon on a new update that we are developing for one of the practice groups. I followed that with a piece of research I’d taken on during the morning – looking for possible future conferences for another practice group. The conversation I had with the trainee about the research was a classic example of what my US colleagues call a reference interview. I’m asked for ‘forthcoming events’ in a number of sectors. Is that just in the UK? What sort of events? Is a major trade show as relevant as a networking breakfast? How far in advance do you want me to look? Is this chargeable and how long do you want me to spend looking?

The last half an hour was employed by tidying up, finishing the time recording and leaving myself an enormous list of things to do on Monday.

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Some possibly useful research links