Photo of Katie Fraser

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.

CPD23 Thing 3: Consider your personal brand

July 4th, 2011

My desk: a mixture of professionalism and junk?

My desk: a mixture of professionalism and junk?

This blog is part of 23 Things for Professional Development, a course encouraging information professionals to explore online tools.

I already started thinking about my personal brand during week 2 of CPD23, when another participant commented on how my blog and website appeared to someone who didn’t know me. Long story short, I come across as professional (score!) but also a little bit serious, which is a bit more of a mixed blessing!

Me and My Site

This got me thinking about the history of my website came about. I created its first version in around 2003, before the concept of social media had really started to catch on. It was a combination of a place to put up information about myself, such as my CV, and a place for me to practice my html. I guess this is history is part of what gives the site its serious flavour!

Am I happy with this? Well, yes and no. Having looked a bit at my blog with fresh eyes I decided it was very dry, and I at least needed to add a picture of myself (already done). I’m also considering making my blog my front page on the site. I don’t think too much of a redesign is possible as I hand-code the site in html (except for the WordPress blog, where I hand-code the template!) and don’t have much time to make changes currently. I know there’s mixed opinion about the need for having a personal website at all in the social media era, and I know the URL I have chosen is impossible to remember, but I do love my site, and I like reminding myself I can use markup language occasionally!

My Visibility and Web Presence

The pay-off for having maintained my own website for a while is that I do quite well in Google searches for my name. I knew this already as I search for myself quite a lot! Part of this is to keep an eye on how visible I am, but I also teach searching techniques and different search engines. As I know what tends to come up about me, I find searching for myself a useful way to compare and contrast different sets of search results!

In searches, there’s a few other Katie Frasers with quite high visibility: especially the one who works for ‘Take a Break’ magazine! Generally, my website features highly across search engines, as do my Twitter account, my Linked In page and my page, all of which I update fairly regularly. For some reason, Google is the only search engine which offers another Katie Fraser’s Linked In page first. I tend to fit the way my style to the kind of service I’m using. On Linked In I’m professional, and on Twitter, I post a mixture of personal and professional stuff. I’m not consistent with my profile pictures, but I do always use a picture of my face, and my face IS consistent!

Generally, I’m quite happy with the way I appear online. I do concentrate more on my professional identity in things I post on the open net, and save my more personal thoughts for either places where my information is quite locked down (such as Facebook) or for face-to-face encounters. However, I don’t think anyone reading my Twitter account would think that I’m always a serious person!

Library Day in the Life — Day 3 — 26/01/11

January 27th, 2011

Campus views

Campus views

This is my third set of posts as part of the Library Day in the Life project, although it’s the sixth round of the project as a whole, which aims to record typical (and atypical) days of library workers around the world. You can find all of my posts within this project under the librarydayinthelife tag. For those new to this blog, I am an academic librarian, providing scientific subject support at a UK university.

Today started with more work on the user testing of the current library website, but started as yesterday ended with the new web developer, briefing him on the user testing. This was followed by a chat with the rest of the academic liaison team so that he got to know them a bit better (he has only really worked directly with the web team so far).

It was good to look at the user testing with a pair of fresh eyes, and we had an interesting talk about which information resources sit in which system – my next task is to draw a diagram illustrating the overlaps and differences in content between the catalogue, link resolver, databases etc. The user testing indicated that this was a source of some confusion to library users, and that they could easily become uncertain where to go if they couldn’t find resources where they expected. This was followed (of course!) by more report writing.

After lunchtime, I had a bit of a break from the user testing material as Joanna Newman, Head of Higher Education at the British Library visited to talk to library and academic staff about the British Library’s 2020 Vision. Joanna talked about the need for shared digital strategy: she suggested that all academic libraries working individually on developing our systems might better be served by collaborative development facilitated by the British Library, which would certainly have changed the nature of our current web project! Good food for thought.

After this came my last dash to answer all my outstanding queries for the day, and to get the report finished, as I wasn’t going to be back in work for six days. I ordered a few books, answered a query about coverage of a particular ejournal title (it was available up until May 2009, but no more recently) and agreed to investigate books in a particular subject area for an academic next week.

Finally, I just managed to get the report finished and sent off by 17.30. I’m aware that major decisions need to be made about the new website in the next couple of weeks, and was determined that the results of the user testing would be available to feed into this, but it was a rather intensive couple of days getting it finished!

Library Day in the Life — Day 2 — 25/01/11

January 27th, 2011

Leicester's New Walk in cheerier weather

Leicester's New Walk in cheerier weather

This is my third set of posts as part of the Library Day in the Life project, although it’s the sixth round of the project as a whole, which aims to record typical (and atypical) days of library workers around the world. You can find all of my posts within this project under the librarydayinthelifetag. For those new to this blog, I am an academic librarian, providing scientific subject support at a UK university.

My two main intentions for Tuesday and Wednesday (my two full days at work) were to finish the report on the user testing sessions we ran on the existing library website before Christmas. We’re moving the whole website to  the university’ new content management system Plone this year, launching a resource discovery system and reworking all our subject pages, so we wanted to have a good look at the old pages and some common (but not necessarily simple) tasks that library users carry out.

Most of the day was therefore spent trying to tame the data a little bit: I’d made a fair start at the analysis, looking at the route that the test pairs had taken through the library webpages for each task. Tasks included finding out how to get a reminder of their library PIN, and trying to access a journal article (which I knew we didn’t subscribe to). Finally some major themes seemed to be coming out of the data for each question, and I was able to move on from the basic analysis to start thinking about implications a bit.

We also had an update of the library web team, at which we discussed progress so far, the sessions IT’s Information Architect has been running with library users, mobile apps, and lots of other stuff.

My main contribution to the meeting was reporting back on a session I’d run with the Information Librarian team discussing our requirements for the new subject resource pages. I followed up the meeting with an unscheduled chat with the new web developer based in the library who had some great ideas for ways of making the large amount of information that needs to go on these pages manageable and easy-to-use, so it was well worth discussing.