Information Needs

My primary role as an Information Professional is to identify the needs of my clients, in order to facilitate their activities. But, it can be difficult to anticipate what my clients needs are and will be, without direct interaction with them.

Although I have found good resources, and I am frequently updating our web pages and sharing things on our social media platform, without confirmation that these are the resources that my clients are benefiting from, I am unsure on whether I am providing good information or if I could be doing more.

One way to find out is to go directly to the people; find out what they want. However, I have sadly found that getting any constant form of dialogue is extremely difficult. People are busy and they can’t always respond.

Within an academic institution, it would be a little easier as there are set courses that students are enrolled in and so topics of interest are already known. However, within a business, things are always changing. Interests and activities are vast and people’s interests are widely diverse.

It would be nice to know how others have integrated their services into the businesses they work for and whether there has been good communication with their clients, regarding their interests. And if not, what has helped them continue to provide a good service and anticipate their clients’ needs?

 

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Library Portal: Part 2

puzzle tree

Creating a library portal was something I really wanted to do and expressed as much in my interview. It was something I thought would benefit the business as well as make things easier for us to share information.

 

hmm

Although, I expressed concern about how relevant it would be and whether anyone would be interested (which was mentioned in a previous post), I decided to persevere, with the encouragement of my manager.

Initially, I wanted to create an actual site that would be added onto the business site. But this would have included quite a lot of work from the IT department, in terms of coding and design. So we were forced to use the intranet site we were already using. This meant having to get a bit creative by fleshing it out a bit, making it more appealing and accessible.

 

I created an Excel workbook where each sheet represented a page that would be on our intranet site. This meant that I had a place where all the information was held and could be modified at any point. It also made organising the information a lot easier.

I did have a bit of trouble with IT, when asking for help on how to change/modify certain things, but they were eventually helpful in making the site look a little better. They helped create a tile layout, where each tile became a link to each page of the site. This meant that we could have nice images that represented the contents of each page.

 

proud

I feel really proud of the fact that I was able to fulfill something I had intended to do from the very beginning. In addition to this, a little bit of me will forever be there, as I was the one who started this whole process.

In the future, I hope to make it a bit more aesthetically appealing and to have content that others will find interesting and useful, that will then encourage them to regularly check the site for any new information.

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.

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.