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Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

CILIP’s New Professionals Information Day: Fear the fear and do it anyway

January 13th, 2011

Sign at CILIP HQ


One of the blog posts which has disappeared down the virtual sofa during Operation Move House is my talk at CILIP’s New Professionals Information Day (NPID)(an annual event aimed at new information professionals, students and the information-profession-curious). This ran in London in October (at CILIP HQ) and Newcastle in November (at the rather beautiful Newcastle City Library.

I was going to upload the slides for my talk after the event, but without the context of the talk they felt rather disjointed, so I thought perhaps a blog would capture it better. The two days also influenced my current professional activities to some extent, which I wanted to reflect upon: but more on that later.

I was asked to speak at this event because of my work on CILIP’s Defining Our Professional Future (DOPF) as a new professional. I was given the suggested title ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Working with people at all levels‘ but in the end the talk was more about how neither part of the title applied to me!

  1. Feel the Fear: I wanted to talk about how positive my experience working with senior professionals in DOPF had been. The project board was inevitably made up of people with an enthusiasm for CILIP, but who felt it could do better. I wanted to point out that working with other information professionals (senior or otherwise) seems intimidating, but it’s actually probably easier than working across disciplines, and that there’s no reason (or stigma) in getting involved even at a very early stage in your career.
  2. Do it Anyway: this talk actually persuaded me to reflect on the way I become involved in professional activities. Enthusiasm always hits me before fear: I commented in the talk that my motto is like ‘Agree to do it, and then feel the fear afterwards’. This means I get into some random situations, but nearly all of them have been positive for me, so I wanted to talk about harnessing that enthusiasm!

The conclusion of the talk was what a great experience getting involved in the wider profession had been for me, and to make it clear that CILIP can be a great option (if only one among many!) for getting involved in professionals activities.

CILIP HQ: picture of the ramp by the entrance

More CILIP HQ: note the pink CILIP logo in the window

The talk sparked some fascinating debate about CILIP from sceptics in the audience: I emphasised that I was focusing on the positives of getting involved in the Institute, but that I wasn’t a CILIP representative, and that I knew it was only one option among many.

My favourite moment of the discussion was in Newcastle where, together with Maria Cotera (Past President of the Career Development Group), I persuaded Phil Bradley (who was then still running for president, and in the audience as he gave one of the NPID keynotes) to say a little bit about why he’d rejoined and become active in CILIP again: he gave a lovely speech about the importance of professional bodies and the opportunity we have to do something great with CILIP.

It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm and response for running this event in both north and south, and there was some great speakers to chat to, but it’s sobering to realise that this could be the last year that the New Professionals Information Day might not be around next year due to budget constraints.

I suppose the major long-term outcome of the event for me was, having reflected on how positive my experiences getting involved with CILIP were (in DOPF and also as a previous member of CDG Yorkshire and Humberside) led me to resolve to become active more regularly. I’m going to take over on the UC&R East Midlands committee for my institution next: unlike some of the things I’ve become involved in during my professional development, this is a stable commitment (which I think will do me good), but also I’m looking forward to helping develop some random plans on the committee once I start!

Using Prezi to teach

September 1st, 2010

Screenshot of part of the Prezi

Screenshot of part of the Prezi

My last post ended in somewhat of a challenge to myself: to use my love of playing with new technologies to experiment a little with the format of my teaching. I’ve therefore been trying out Prezi, the “zooming presentation tool”, as a way of presenting a teaching session I’ve been working on.

It’s still very much a work in progress, which is why I’ve gone with a screenshot rather than a link to the Prezi itself! However, I’m quite happy with how it’s going.

Because Prezi is a big canvas you can move around, zooming in and out, it acts as a mindmap of the stuff I want to cover in my session, and has encouraged me to think about how different aspects of the teaching link together, and how to make a narrative out of them. This has helped me develop the session, and hopefully should make it more coherent.

Another benefit is that I can use this mindmap as an archive of the presentation and the resources I cover, allowing students to retrace my actions, and acting as a tangible reminder of how I interpreted the resources. As well, of course, as mundanely linking to the resources I covered!

However, now I’ve arranged the Prezi as I want I’m starting to think that I could take the information back into a Powerpoint presentation, using other cues to indicate when a concept is a key idea, and when its more of an aside – which I’m currently using zoom to indicate. The zooming mechanism has acted as a useful tool for making me distinguish between key points, the meat of the presentation, and hints and tips, but it isn’t the only way I could present these different types of information now I have identified them.

I suspect the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, and I won’t really decide what I think of Prezi until after I’ve used it in a session! Furthermore, the educational technologist in me knows that even if it is a success, it may just be the novelty of the tool catching students’ attention and not its inherent usefulness as a way of displaying information and ideas. However, the new teacher in me isn’t above using a little bit of novelty in an attempt to help students learn! That said, I will post the Prezi here after I’ve used it in my teaching, and see what conclusions I can draw on its effectiveness.

LILAC 2010: Part one – Workshop Presentation

April 15th, 2010

Clarion Hotel, Limerick

View of the Clarion Hotel, Limerick, my accommodation, from bridge by the Conference Venue

It goes to show that funding student places at a conference pays off! Last year I visited LILAC 2009 in Cardiff on a sponsored student place and this year I was back again presenting a workshop!

The workshop was called Building research student communities: is there a role for library and information services (slides can be found via the link). The workshop was based on activities at De Montfort University and the theory of  Communities of Practice, and was written with my colleagues Melanie Petch, Lecturer in English Language from the Centre for Learning and Study Support and  Jo Webb, Head of Academic Services.

The workshop seemed to go well, although the timing slipped a little so there wasn’t time for as much interactivity as I’d have liked. Still, it was fantastic to feel like I was moving towards the centre of our very own librarian Community of Practice and I really enjoyed being an active participant in the conference.

I’ve already written a little about the event in relation to my new job on our library blog in a post called Information Literacy within our Institution: Thoughts from LILAC. However, as I mention there, I felt LILAC was strong in both supporting reflection on work, and reflection on personal professional development, so wanted to take a chance to reflect on some sessions that had covered the latter, which I’ve done in my second post: LILAC 2010: Part two – Reflections on Teaching.