August 19th: #SLATalk tackles entrepreneurship

Short notice, but the Twitter-advice-fest that is #SLATalk is happening tomorrow, August 19th at 3:00 pm EDT – 4:00pm EDT. As it’s pursuant to some of the other content [I made] on this blog, I thought I’d pass it along!

#SLAtalk: Trailblazing! Info Pros and the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Join @SLAhq and the Association of Independent Information Professionals (@AIIP) for an hour-long Twitter chat about what it takes to be a trailblazing information professional. Whether you are already an independent info pro, looking for a career change or are leading the pack from within your company, share how you exemplify an entrepreneurial spirit within your industry.
Tuesday, August 19th from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
What time is that where you are? http://time.is/compare

 

►        New to doing a Twitter chat? Take a look at “How to #SLAtalk” http://www.sla.org/slatalk-plus-slatalk-archives/

►        Follow @SLAhq and @AIIP – and use hashtag #SLAtalk to be a part of the conversation!

 

Q1       (first 15 minutes)        Talk about an entrepreneurial break-through moment in your career. If you own your own research business, how did you win your first client? If you provide in-house services to a company, how did you “sell” your services to an important member of the organization? Or, how did you gain the support needed to undertake an important project?

Q2       (second 15 minutes)    Personal branding. Whether you work independently or in-house, how do you make yourself known? More than just marketing, how do you be a self-starting, risk tolerant and just an all-around go-getter in order to be a trailblazing info pro?

Q3       (third 15 minutes)       If you’re thinking about making the leap into the independent info pro world, what tips or advice would you like to know? If you are already independent, what would you tell someone new to your professional community?

Q4       (fourth 15 minutes)     What are some best practices to having an entrepreneurial spirit? What are some skills, mantras or attitudes one can create and maintain for themselves in order to keep the spirit alive?

Can’t join us live on Twitter? Check the SLA Blog’s #SLAtalk category for the recap which will be posted following the session.

≪ Professional Development Reading List Klaxon
Brush up on what it means to be an entrepreneur with some of these articles below:

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Discussion: An Example of an Unpaid Internship

Pursuant to our ongoing discussions about unpaid internships, I thought this opportunity might be of interest:

Culture, Arts, and Innovation Summer Student – Baycrest Health Services, Toronto

http://current.ischool.utoronto.ca/jobsite/2014/culture-arts-innovation-cai-summer-student

(This link will eventually stop working; see excerpts instead)

CAI is seeking a summer student to oversee a comprehensive campus-wide project involving Baycrests’ permanent art collection (over 900,000 works of art), as well as assist in the coordination of several arts based events throughout the summer in partnership with the National Ballet School and units within our Long Term Care setting.

“The incumbent will oversee a campus-wide art initiative that seeks to expand upon and modernize our current art inventory records. Utilizing museum database program Past Perfect as well as Microsoft Excel, the student will scan our campus, update records, research artists and key collection pieces, with an end goal of creating a comprehensive up-to-date database of our permanent collection holdings. With this new found knowledge, the student will be asked to curate a series of digital exhibitions….

All the while, the student will be exposed to and called upon to contribute towards other exciting projects that are taking place in the summer months including the Dance Exchange, the National Ballet of Canada, and an industrial design project.”

 

Experience with Past Perfect? Curation, research, and collaboration with amazing cultural groups? 900,000 works of art?!

*chin-hands*

 

This is a voluntary position. There is no compensation.”

 

 

Baycrest is essentially a seniors’ retirement home that is also a research facility, “fully affiliated” with the University of Toronto. They partner with public and private organizations, they’re launching a line of “aging oriented products,” and their president and CEO made over $700,000 in 2012.  But they don’t pay summer students to manage huge database projects.

Now, I am not trying to public-shame anyone. But I want to use this as a very real example of what an unpaid internship looks like, and to ask whether or not our readers would think that this position is justified. The post doesn’t clarify whether this is full-time, part-time, or weekends-and-evenings, nor could I find a mirror of the job post on their site (under neither Volunteer nor Career Opportunities).

To me, the amount of experience it offers would make it very tempting — but if it was a full-time position without any compensation whatsoever, I would ready my rotten tomatoes.

Of course, I thought this was a good opportunity to follow my own advice about discussing unpaid internships with the hosting organizations themselves. I reached out to the listed contact and asked for more information about the position: one, why it was unpaid, and two, why there was no required background in art (for the sake of documenting, describing, and indexing: shouldn’t you at least know how to use the A&AT?). I sent out an email on May 7th, and didn’t receive a response.

I wish I had more to report, other than to say that I will probably continue to (politely) pester HR staff by email when similar posts pop up in the future, and I promise to keep everyone apprised.

In the meantime, what do you think?


Agenda for 26 April Annual Meeting in Pasadena

Going to ArLiS/NA Pasadena?  Meet us there!  April 26th at 12:30 PM

What will we be discussing?

  • The connection between student groups, local groups and ArLiSNAP and ascertaining how ArLiSNAP and ArLiS at large may be of use to these groups

  • Are there other ways to connect to ArLiSNAP members for discussion such as twitter, skype, etc?

  • What needs are being unfulfilled by the blog, content-wise, and the solicitation of volunteers to submit more content to the site such as guest post about their current projects

  • Talk about how we are looking for new liaisons: chapter & student especially

  • Suggestions about specific projects that liaisons might wish to implement and reaffirmation that the current liaison positions fulfill the needs of ArLiSNAP members

  • Planned changes to the ArLiSNAP blog and soliciting assistance with content migration and implementing a consistent tagging system

  • How to create diversity within the field and attract new voices to the profession

  • Suggestions for bars to go to after El Chollo

Have any more suggestions? Please let us know!


Lunchtime Chat!

Mark your calendars for an upcoming pre-conference lunchtime chat, organized by ARLIS/NA’s Professional Development Education Sub-Committee.

Preparing for Pasadena: Crafting Your 2013 ARLIS/NA Conference Experience

Friday, April 5th, 2013

11am Pacific – 12pm Mountain – 1pm Central – 2pm Eastern

Guests:

Cathy Billings, Brand Library & Art Center

Sarah Sherman, Getty Research Institute

Alyssa Resnick, Glendale Public Library

Lynda Bunting, Blum & Poe

 

Please join us for an informal and informative discussion about the ARLIS/NA community and our upcoming conference! Learn more about fun things to do in Pasadena, tips for getting the most out of your conference experience, resources available for first-time attendees, and how to get involved in ARLIS/NA. This pre-conference Lunchtime Chat with Cathy Billings and Sarah Sherman (Program Co-Chairs) and Alyssa Resnick and Lynda Bunting (Local Arrangements Co-Chairs) is your chance to ask questions, share advice, and get ready for our meeting!

Chats are free and anyone may attend. The URL for this chat will be announced on ARLIS-L the morning of Friday 4/5/2013. Hope to see you there!

Patrick Tomlin

Alice Whiteside

ARLIS/NA Professional Development Education Sub-Committee


Seeking a few good blog contributors

Happy Tuesday, arlisnappers!

Are you currently working on a great project? Experimenting with a new technology or teaching tool? Curated an interesting exhibit or new collection?

Tell us all about it! We’re looking for contributors to help us develop more original blog content; let’s start by talking about what our amazing and diverse members are doing.

This is open to all of our students and new professionals (and even the not-so-new!), and can be a great opportunity to share your work or research in an informal, low-key environment. We’ll continue to solicit for more thematic content, so if you’re more research-focused at this point or aren’t quite ready to write, there will be many more chances in the future!

We’ll keep this as informal as possible, while still maintaining some sense of order and decorum (that’s our forte, right?). You can either post a comment here with your contact info and a brief description of what you’d like to talk about, or send an email to myself (Stephanie) or Suzanne, sgrimm AT uscb.edu or suzannewalsh AT gmail.com, respectively, and we’ll assign posting dates from there.

Can’t wait to hear from you all!


Friday, March 12: ARLIS/NA Chat “The Future of Art Indexing”

Join the next ARLIS/NA Chat, this Friday, March 12:

*The Future of Art Indexing*

Recent discussion about BHA has brought to the fore a possible near-term  chilling reality — one in which access to both retrospective and current indexing may be severely curtailed. More broadly and across the disciplines, scholarly publications everyday become more available in digital formats. Some content becomes available through open access venues online, while others are available through subscription sources.

* What impact does this trend have on the future of art indexing?
* Do art researchers look to indexes as a primary discovery tool and will they use them at all as inevitably more and more content becomes available to them online in full-text?
* If we believe as a community that art indexes will continue to be a necessary and relevant discovery mechanism, how will the community support indexing projects going forward?

Please join us in an online discussion about this fascinating, challenging and changing element of our research landscape.

Moderator: Carol Ann Fabian, Director of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University
March 12, 2010, 11am Pacific – 12pm Mountain– 1pm Central – 2pm Eastern

Instructions on how to use Meebo chat software are included on the Chats page: http://www.arlisna.org/chats/ Transcripts of previous chats are also available on the Chats page.


What a librarian looks like

Back in September, an acquaintance of mine blogged about an activity he’d done with a group of students at the University of Texas-Arlington.  I tried a similar activity in a research seminar I’m participating in this semester.  Participants are mostly faculty (with a smattering of grad students) in the sciences and humanities.  Nominally, we’re all there to talk about information visualization and the intersection of the arts and science.  Having them draw a picture of what they think a librarian looks like seemed like an interesting idea.  I had hoped to avoid the buns-and-glasses stereotype, but I guess it’s a hard image to shake.  Here are a few of the drawings:

In addition to the drawings, I also asked them to list examples of what a librarian does and what you can find in a library.  Though their drawings are disappointingly stereotypical, their written answers showed a deeper understanding of the role of librarians and libraries in fostering teaching and research at our institution.  Their answers indicated that they understand the basic duties of many librarians on our campus (even for folks outside of public services positions), the wide range of material we collect, and even the changing use of our physical space.

I’ve often heard fellow librarians (particularly those of us in academe) talk about how few of our users understand what we actually do.  But perhaps they know more than we give them credit for.  Even though I’m disappointed that buns and glasses still predominate, I am heartened by the fact that my fellow seminar participants think of the library as more than just a place to check out books.

Anyone else out there soliciting feedback about what our users think of us?  If so, let’s chat about it in the comments below.


Tips & Tricks for Time/Project Management

Some of us use to-do lists, emails sent to ourselves, things we find on Lifehacker or 43 folders, various Google apps, etc.  And some of us just manage to keep everything in our heads.  But regardless of how we do it, we all find ways to manage our time and our projects.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the inbox zero principle and “tasks” in Gmail.

Have a favorite technique for staying organized and on task?  Digital or analog,  share it in the comments below.


“We should be so lucky!”: The Kind of Problems You Wish You Had

Here at the University of Colorado-Boulder, we recently completed a partial renovation of our main library.  We added a technology-equipped learning commons (open 24/5!), a coffee shop (serving high-quality caffeine from local business The Laughing Goat), several new instructional spaces, a more welcoming reference area, and much more (read all about it here).

We anticipated that the new spaces would be popular with students, but the response has been even better than we expected.  The library is busier than anyone has ever seen it (especially for this early in the term), and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

But in the midst of our excitement, there is concern.  If the library is full of students and faculty now, what will it look like during midterms and finals?  Will we be able to handle the increased traffic?  Will quality of service suffer?  And how do we spin all of this to our advantage (convincing administration that we need more space, funds, staff, and resources)?  It’s really the kind of problem you wish for, which has caught us a bit off guard.

Is your organization facing a similar challenge?  Maybe you’ve recently introduced a new collection or service, and are overwhelmed by the response you’ve received.  I’m interested in hearing other stories about what to do when things go well, rather than just when they flop.

Comment away!


The Rhythms of Professional Life

Listening to NPR earlier this week, I caught Frank Deford’s most recent commentary, “In Sports and Life, Once-Lazy August Is Filling Up.”

Among Deford’s musings on the increasingly hectic pace of August were these gems:

Once upon a time, August was just sort of a valuable nowhere time that got us safely, leisurely from the peak heat of July to the autumn of September, when everything would begin again.

Then things changed. First, everybody started going back to school before Labor Day. Who’d ever heard of such a thing?

Then everybody started saying “24-7.” That put the pressure on August to stop being so lazy and catch up with all the other 24s and sevens.

As an academic librarian, the rhythms of my professional life tend to correspond to the school year, with a quickening in the fall and a gentler pace in the summer months.  The kind of work I do depends on the season, as well.  For example, instruction tends to happen in the fall and winter, with a greater emphasis on research time in the summer.

But academe is not the only place art librarians find themselves, nor is it a homogeneous environment.  Tell us about the rhythms of your professional life, how the work you do changes over the course of the year.  Have changes in technology, communication methods, or other features of professional life had an impact on these rhythms?

It would be great to hear from a diverse group (academics, museum professionals, corporate or special librarians, public librarians, etc.).


“Orwellian” Kindle Deletions: Legitimate Copyright Kerfuffle, Giant Yawn, or Teachable Moment?

Last week, Amazon remotely deleted copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from users’ Kindles.  As it turns out, the ebook publisher selling the editions didn’t actually own the rights for these works.  As one could imagine, the blogospheric reaction to this event has been a mixture of smirking irony, outrage, confusion, and lots of I-told-you-so.  (See the first link above for an excellent overview of the reaction.)

I had a quick succession of thoughts while reading about the deletions:

  • ZOMG!  Jeff Bezos is stealing your stuff!
  • Um, you bought an unauthorized ebook from a shady publisher.  Why are you so surprised?
  • Wait, how were you supposed to know the publisher was shady?
  • Huh, remote deletion wasn’t in the terms of service.  But who reads those anyway?
  • How can consumers avoid this in the future?

Any ideas for how to address this event with our users?  It seems like a great opportunity to talk about DRM, reading legalese before you buy/agree, copyright terms, applying information literacy beyond books, etc.

And as librarians, how can we use news items like this to our advantage?  What knowledge and services do we provide that could be particularly relevant in situations like this?


Surviving the Presentation

For our discussion topic this week, I’d like to tackle an issue that’s likely on the minds of many ArLiSNAPers these days: giving an effective presentation during a job interview.

I work at the University of Michigan Library, and we’re currently in the process of filling a large number of librarian positions.  For nearly all of the positions, a presentation is a required part of the interview process.  I’ve spent the last few weeks going to a staggering number of candidate presentations.  I’ve seen bad ones, good ones, and great ones.  Here are a few thoughts I’d like to share:

  1. Even if you’re not on the job market, go to these presentations anyway.  They’re often open to library staff or other members of the community, and they can give you a sense of what to expect.  Even if they’re for positions outside of your subject area, you can still gain valuable tips for success.
  2. If you’re the candidate, try to find out beforehand where you’ll be giving the talk, who will be there, what technology will be available, etc.  Knowing these things up front can help make your presentation better by allowing you to tailor it to your audience and venue.
  3. Employers often give you a topic to address.  If you don’t understand what you’re being asked to talk about (for example, the topic is long, rambling, and appears to have been picked by a large committee with conflicting interests), don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
  4. While keeping this topic in mind, think about the purpose of the presentation.  Do they want you to demonstrate your skill as an instructor?  Knowledge of particular resources?  Critical thinking about an issue that’s important to the profession?  Use this thought exercise as a way to guide your choice of presentation style and content.
  5. If you’ll be using PowerPoint, Keynote, or other presentation software, take some time to look at the work of Edward Tufte, particularly The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.  Think about how you can avoid presenting your audience with nothing but bullet points and copious amounts of text.  We are art librarians, after all!
  6. If you’ll be demonstrating a particular resource (particularly electronic resources like ARTstor, the Avery Index, an OPAC, etc.), make sure you know it extremely well, including all of its potential quirks.  Be prepared to soldier on (while remaining calm!) if something goes wrong.
  7. Practice your presentation!  Get feedback from peers, mentors, supervisors, etc.  Practice some more!
  8. Be prepared for at least one completely off the wall question during the Q&A afterward.  Don’t let it rattle you.  The same goes for hard questions you’re not able to answer.  Don’t be afraid to say, “Can I think about that for a minute?”
  9. Remember that the presentation is only one part of the much larger interview process.  Don’t limit your prep work to the presentation and then completely blow it on the search committee interview.
  10. Let your personality show through!  You’re funny, personable, and a great conversationalist, right?  Then don’t act like a robot when you get up in front of the audience.

Have other questions or advice about surviving the presentation?  Comment away!


Integrating Library Instruction into the Curriculum

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about library instruction. The art history department at my university has invited me to help develop a new course, tentatively titled “Information Technology for the Art Historian.” The course will focus on a variety of skills that are needed to be successful academically, such as conducting research, acquiring and using images, preparing presentations, and writing research papers. I’m really excited about this opportunity to include the library in the art history curriculum!

There seems to be a trend toward integrating library instruction in the curriculum, rather than the more traditional one-shot approach to library instruction. At the recent ARLIS/NA conference, I attended a discussion group that focused on making library instruction an integral part of student’s educational experience. Some suggestions included, using assessment tools such as Survey Monkey for pre-and post-testing during library instruction, incorporating games and group-work, and using visual mapping/mind mapping to teach the research process.

I’m wondering what other tips and tricks librarians can try to make the research process fun and interesting for students, especially in a semester-long course. Has your library integrated library instruction into course curriculum or developed a course (either required or for extra credit) for students at your institution? If so, what challenges and successes have you experienced?