Accessing resources

Finding resources can be hard when you don’t have access to the many journals and books, online and in print, you had access to when you were at university. However, there are ways that you can continue quench your thirst for knowledge.

Alumni schemes

Find out if your former university allows you to continue accessing resources as an alumni. You may have permission to access online material as well as print at the university library or libraries that are related to that university.

Google Scholar

Although not the greatest of tools, Google Scholar does provide access to some journal articles. It is well worth a look to read around a subject and find out who the key authors are and how the subject has developed through the years.

Magazines/Newspapers

It is worth keeping an eye out for any developments in publicly accessible media. This is especially worthwhile if you are interested in a specific industry. 

For example, I am interested in the use and accessibility of information so any news on technological advancements are useful.

Look all around you

The world is brimming with information and just taking notice of the things around you and the things you use can be really informative. 

For example, like a lot of people, I use apps a lot. However, rather than passively use them, I look at how they structure and organise their information, how easy it is to search for things and what kind of features have been put in place to make things easier.

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Ways to progress in your career

Ever since I started my current job, I had been thinking about ways to progress in my career. Through searching I have found that there are a few ways that I could develop as an information professional.

1. Develop in your role

It’s important to have a grasp of what your role includes in order to find out how you can develop the service you provide.

For example, when I first started, I wrote down what kind of searches I would be performing; making detailed notes of which research tools I would need to find each piece of information.

In addition, I saved all the research tools I would be using in my bookmarks menu and an Excel spreadsheet. I also, did this when I came across useful sites, where I had found interesting reports and articles that related to the interests of my ‘clients’.

By doing doing this, I was able to be more proactive when providing information. Information would either come straight to my inbox or I could scour these sites for useful reports and articles. Thus, I was able to pass this information on to those who would find it useful.

2. Read

Another way to progress in your Information Professional career, is to continue to read. It allows you to find out what new developments are happening in the field or the different ways you can disseminate information.

When I finished my course, I did find it difficult to stay in touch with the field, as I was no longer able to access the articles, journals and books I could when I was completing my course. In addition, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go with my career as none of the traditional roles seemed to fit what I wanted to do.

However, my current role has allowed me to explore new possibilities and new avenues. Although, I am still figuring things out, the internet has a wealth of information; and social media sites, such as Twitter, are really useful for keeping up to date.

So, just continuing to read and explore, enables you to figure out what you want to do and where you want to go.

3. Pursue further education

Pursuing further education can allow you to further understand what it is you want to do, by surrounding yourself in the literature, in research and people within the field. In addition, I believe that supplementing your education with skills in other areas can broaden your understanding of a particular subject in a particular are of study.

In order to truly develop as a person, I have decided to  learn a language, develop my coding skills and truly consider whether I want to do a PhD. I like my profession and I like that I feel that there is more to learn, more to find out and more to develop. I have a hunger for something more, so pursuing more study seems to be a good choice for me.

Work and play

Lonely-Woman
https://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-we-might-feel-lonely-and-what-to-do-about-it/

Just when I was feeling frustrated by the fact that I’m in a team with only two people (me being one of the two) and having no one else to talk to at work, I began meeting someone who works in a different area, who gave me something to engage in whilst being able to meet other people from work.

I’m a cyclist, which means that I get see certain people regularly when I get into work – which is mostly in the changing rooms. One of these individuals was weirdly enough part of a work climbing group. I say ‘weirdly’, because climbing was one of the sports I have wanted to try out, for a long time. I had done a climbing session when I was younger and I had been scared sh*tless. But for some reason over the years, I had begun to think of it as something I could try doing properly. So it was really random when she had asked if I had wanted to go, but it was a a definite yes, on my part.

Together
https://pixabay.com/en/photos/buddies/

So after months of frustration, I found an activity that I could do and it was with my work colleagues. I no longer felt like a weird loner who didn’t know anyone. Sadly, they work on a completely different floor, so it’s not like I can just go and have a chat with them at work whenever I want. But the fact that I have a presence at work, that I am engaging with my work colleagues, makes me feel like I am beginning to belong. 

I have to say that, I was surprised that I went. I’m the type that is incredibly shy and stumbles over my words and is incredibly awkward with people I don’t know. But these last few months have taught me that I like people. I like having different people to talk to and do things with . Also, my interests have increased, which means that it’s nice to have people in my life that share those interests. So, I wasn’t going to let my awkward self sabotage what could be a great experience.

Library portal

As my role is primarily built on dealing with requests, I have found myself wondering what else I can do when there are severe quiet periods. 

(http://marketingland.com/whats-big-idea-3-fundamentals-successful-digital-creative-153747)
One thing I decided to do was design a libray portal. I decided that for the moment it would be best to design something that my colleague and I could use to gain easy access to a variety of different sites. A lot of the reources we used are contained within different spreadsheets and any sites that we come across that seem like they would be useful in the future, have no place to go.

A library portal would not only allow us to collect all the resources onto one platform, but they would also allow us to gain easy access to these websites, remotely. In addition, by categorising the resources and adding descriptions and tags, such as type of information supplied and topics covered, we can access the resources we need quickly.

(https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/digital_library.html)

Another reason why I decided to design a library portal was because when we had built it and we had organised it in a way that was easy to use, we could then allow others within the organisation to gain access. This means that they would also have access to knowledge of where to find certain information and also the kinds of resources we use. Furthermore, we could start creating pages dedicated to particular divisions of the company so that we can give them quick access to the resources they may need and also keep them updated on any new developments within their field. It could also be a great place for them to add information that they think would be relevant to their colleagues.

However, within an organisation like mine, I do wonder how relevant and useful it would be. Is it something I just want to do, or could it potentially be something that could benefit everyone? But I think that if I don’t try, I will never know. If I think this is worth building than I have to be prepared to do the work and the convincing.

(http://micheleborba.com/michele-borba-blog-8-simple-secrets-to-help-kids-develop-can-do-attitudes/)

Adapting To A New Work Environment

Before my current role, I had never really been part of a big company. So I had never worked among so many people I actually wasn’t working with. I was used to working in an environment where I knew who everyone was and communicating with people was easy.

Being the shy person that I am, I was struggling to adapt. And for weeks, I was stressing myself out and beating myself up about my personality, missed opportunities, my likes and dislikes and the way I even look.

I kept going back and forth about what I could do to build relationships with my colleagues and then giving up and blaming it on my weird personality. I spoke with friends, I looked online, but found that if I wasn’t willing to take the leap, not much would happen. I had to accept the situation or actually do something about it.

Making the decision to do something is easy, but actually doing it is hard. Also, continuing to do something, without anything massively changing, was a huge knock-back and made me feel like it wasn’t worth it.

However, time is something that seems to make everything better. And after going through a month of fighting with myself, a moment finally came where I just couldn’t be bothered to be worried it about it anymore. And so I thought I should write this post as a reminder that I stressed myself out for a whole month and nothing changed when I did nothing.

If I want to change the current situation, I should make the effort. If I want to stay curled up in my bubble, then I shouldn’t worry about it. I have to make the choice and I have to stick with it.

 

 

 

It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I have posted anything and it’s because there is so much going on that it’s been hard to really sit down and think about what to write. So I thought I’d just get everything out that I’ve been doing over the last couple of months, in this blog post.

Firstly, I’ve learnt so much about what it means to do efficient searches. Whilst I have been using specific databases to find relevant information, I have also had to utilise google’s global reach to find information. However, with google I have greatly taken advantage of the advanced settings. 

For example, I limit my search results to a particular date period and to a particular format (mostly PDF). I also take advantage of Boolean logic to make sure I receive results that contain the required search terms. 

In terms of the databases I use, I have to make sure I know what database to use for the information I’m looking for. With the number of databases I have access to, it can be tricky remembering what each of them do, especially the ones I don’t use often. I guess, over time that will change as I get used to the variety of requests that I get and the type of information I need to source. But, having been here for just over 2 months, my knowledge and my understanding of how my role and actions can contribute to my team and to the business, is steadily growing. 

Another key area I need to work on, is my knowledge of the different areas of the business. Things that are helping are, meeting people from different departments, going to presentations that have been put on by different teams and taking note of the kinds of enquiries people have made. 

Also, going to training sessions really help. For example, those run by the companies of the different databases can really help in terms of understanding more about the terms that are frequently used and understood by those within my industry and the kinds of things they are looking for. This is especially the case when others ask questions. I get to know what aspects are important to them when they are looking for information. 
In addition, going to training sessions that talk you through the industry itself would help, as I would further understand the mindset of individuals within this industry. 

My team has also been preparing for work experience and grad students. We are also working on enhancing our online presence and creating reports that dictate departmental information. This amounts to consolidating information so that we can create something that we can pass on to others in a concise and informative way. For me, this also means using my knowledge of the service and the data we have gathered so far, as well as making additions and improvements.

So, these past couple of months have been quite busy and it has been hard to pinpoint what I want to write about. But I’m definitely on a journey and I would still like to share it (hopefully someone out there might be interested).

Getting to know the business

Going into any new job can be difficult, as getting used to the work and the people can take time and patience. However, when you’re completely new to the sector, things can be much harder.


Currently my role requires me to understand a whole new language; a language I had purposely stayed clear of but found myself interested in as I began my career. Which means that on top of understanding what my job role is, I have to understand the industry, the acronyms and what the different departments within the industry do.


What has made this easier is the initiative that my team are carrying out in order to make our presence known within the company. We have decided to update and develop our online presence by providing useful links and information on our online page. To do this we’re going out and meeting people from different departments to find out what they do and advertising our services in the process. In this way, not only do I get to know about the different aspects of the business, but I am able to promote what we do and thus make more people aware of who we are so that they can use us in the future. 

In addition, we can provide ongoing help by finding out what people are interested in. For example, if there is a particular subject that they’re interested in, we can keep a eye out for anything we see in the news or randomly come across. This makes the job more exciting and can help to build a good relationship with people within the business.