Uncooked Data


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

SLA Conference 2010 – initial thoughts

I’ve posted on the SLA Europe blog about my time in New Orleans and the sessions I attended as president-elect. I’ve posted on Running Life about my attempt at a run in NO weather; here I am going to share general reflections on the conference.

60 sites in 60 seconds

I secured a seat for this session early on – even better, one by a socket for iPhone charging. The room was full to overflowing for John and Gayle’s canter through 60 great websites: business information, great blogs, productivity tools and a few just for fun. Slides are here via Slideshare.

B&F awards & giving back

On Monday Philip Gatzke received his Early Career Conference Award at the Business & Finance ceremony. This time last year it was Annie and myself in his shoes so I was pleased to be able to help out by accompanying Philip. It was good to see Jeff Graveline, one of the B&F award winners I met last year, also helping – this time presenting awards. We had to make a sharp exit as we also needed to be at the International Reception to hear Geoff Walton accept his Information Professional of the Year award. The plans were somewhat scuppered by a spectacular storm which started just as we were due to leave; we had to jump over a young lake of water to exit our taxi at the International venue.


Twitter was an invaluable tool both in the run-up to the conference and in New Orleans itself for serious and not-so-serious information. I was indebted to @librarysherpa for her help in locating somewhere en route to NO to watch the England v US World Cup match. And in-conference tweets from all sorts of people helped keep me up to date with what was going on. It was also fun to meet Tracy, aka librarysherpa, in the queue for breakfast on Monday morning. And to think that last year I didn’t see the point… (I am @Batty_Towers).

Closing ceremony & Nicholas Carr

The business meeting was short and informative: the state of the SLA’s finances and its future plans is one for a future discussion. Am audience of internet-savvy tweeters then listened to Carr tell us that we are changing our brains with our use of these technologies. I’m not convinced by his arguments, but I probably would say that…

Other sessions

I also attended a number of other sessions which I hope to have time to record briefly here in the near future.

  • BNA/ Legal Division breakfast meeting
  • Rising Stars & Fellows Roundtable, including SLAE’s Bethan
  • Refworks’ vendor presentation – a chance to find out about a PhD tool
  • Diversity Breakfast with Art Munin talking about White Privilege (pdf)
  • B&F’s poster session (picking up some good ideas for my next PhD poster)
  • Petroleum & Energy division’s presentation on free resources

On Monday and Tuesday mornings I could easily have been in four places at once: looking at my personal brand; our international session; fundamentals of business research; learning what goes in a good consultant’s toolkit.

New Orleans history and sights

Wednesday morning was my first opportunity to try the much-talked of beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde. Wow! That’s a lot of sugar. But a great opportunity to chat with @ibraryguy prior to attending a session on the history of prostitution in New Orleans. It’s easy to smile at the idea of a directory of local prostitutes, harder to contemplate the actual reality and the real people behind the titillating pictures. Pamela Arceneaux’s talk was animated and informative.

With only a few days in NO and a busy conference I squeezed sightseeing in where I could. Following last year’s  conversations, this year I ate grits; I also had rabbit livers and an alligator sausage.  I rode the St Charles Avenue streetcar and checked out the cathedral. One of NO’s museums was right next door to the convention centre – Southern Food & Beverage – including a history of the American cocktail. That was $10 well spent for an hour.

I’m glad I have taken a day off work today to write up my general reflections, revisit my notes and make my list(s) of post-conference action points. It’s always energising to spend quality time with a bunch of bright, enthusiastic and forward-looking people and I am looking forward to the challenges of the next few months.


Filed under: Event report, SLA Europe, , , , ,

Tweeting While You Work – SLA Europe event

On 16 March I attended SLA Europe’s seminar ‘Tweeting While You Work.’
Dr Hazel Hall (@hazelh; @LISResearch; @CentSocInfo) of Napier University in Edinburgh, Julie Hall (@juliehall) of Women Unlimited and Julie Lewis (@judithlewis; @MostlyAboutChocolate; @Seshet) of Seshet Consulting gave their perspective on using Twitter at work and as part of our work.

All had multiple Twitter identities for multiple purposes. Hazel Hall also emphasised that her Facebook profile was the place where her non-work social networking took place, thus creating clear boundaries between Twitter as a work tool and as a social tool. To an extent this is what I have done too. My Twitter community for @Batty_Towers is now a mix of PhD-related people and work colleagues. Only some of these are interested in the football score or the trains I have taken, so I need to share carefully when using Tweetdeck: is this for Twitter and Facebook or just one service?

Hazel’s presentations is available here. So far the event’s been covered by VIP, WoodsieGirl and will feature on the SLA Europe blog. Photos are available too though thankfully none of me.

I have chosen to follow people who post work-related information. I use it as a kind of current awareness service – if there’s an interesting new paper or article it will be tweeted about by one if not more of the accounts I follow. This approach was challenged a bit by the Digital Researcher event I attended: this is probably not the way to fully exploit the advantages of social media within the research community. Julie Lewis took us through some of the interfaces for using Twitter. Julie Hall also emphasised the ways that Twitter had improved their business and opened doors to new opportunities. All clearly pointed out that the way to think about Twitter is as a public conversation; not just a mindless broadcast.

Bob De Laney, News & Business Director at Lexis Nexis chaired the event and asked a key question: Would you pay for Twitter access? Participants felt that on the whole, they would not – if Twitter started charging, users would migrate to another service that was free.

We have a library Twitter account; I set it up to track for political parties’ announcements during the party conferences when accessing other broadcast would have been difficult. Another colleague uses it to check conversations around a different topic. And we, excitingly, follow the BBA’s Libor rate. I cannot see us tweeting on behalf of the library just yet, I think that’s a little advanced: how would that fit with the firm’s social media strategy?. And there are plenty of other people tweeting the kind of library current awareness we would have access to. But it’s good to be in a position to contribute where we can, and know that we are not too far behind should opportunities arise to fully Twitter While We Work.

Filed under: Event report, SLA Europe, , , , ,

Twitter: Work tool and research tool

Yesterday I attended the pilot Digital Researcher event at the British Library, jointly presented with Vitae. Vitae is a body that promotes good practice within academic research communities. Apologies for the flood of #DR10 tagged tweets yesterday.

My immediate and key thought is that we in the library world seem to be far ahead of other disciplines in our adoption of social media. I was surprised by this. I think, on reflection, it is because I have heard so much about how libraries have been promoting mobile and social tools. So I had naturally assumed they were common throughout all academia.

Over at PhDinProgress I am going to be summarising and reflecting on how I can use what was discussed yesterday more effectively in my PhD. Over the next day or so I will post here on Uncooked Data my thoughts about the differences between academic and commercial practice. This will be further informed after hearing what’s discussed at this evening’s SLA Europe event around Twitter in the workplace. And a useful and related Business Week article for homework reading…

Filed under: Event report, Training, , , , ,

#DR10: Digital Researcher

I’m cheating and getting two blog posts for the price of one, as I am posting this here and on my Other Blog. On Monday I shall be 1% of a crowd of research students at the British Library for an event run by Vitae: Digital Researcher – Managing your networks and building your profile.

I’m looking forward to this for three reasons. Firstly, it will be interesting to find out how another tribe of people are using Web 2.0 tools. I’ve read, and heard, and done a lot of law-librarian things collaboratively online. But I have not really exploited these tools for my PhD.

Secondly, it comes a handy 24 hours before the next SLA Europe event – about Twitter, and how we use it at work. A good opportunity to compare and contrast the two approaches: corporate life and research student life.

And finally, as a part-time, distance student I don’t spend a great deal of time in the company of my research student peer group – I would probably struggle to even identify a peer group – so spending a day with 99 other PhDs-in-waiting should be a brilliant boost to the motivation levels.

The organisers set up and emailed us all with the hashtag #dr10 for the event. It caused me mild amusement that this is also being used by a Dutch community somewhere, as a bunch of other tweets are in our search feed.

Filed under: research, Training, , , ,

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Batty Towers

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Some possibly useful research links