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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.

Library Day in the Life — Day 1 — 26/07/10

August 2nd, 2010

Victoria Park, Leicester

Victoria Park, which sits behind the University.

This is my second set of posts as part of the Library Day in the Life project, although it’s the fifth 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.

I was only in the library on Monday and Tuesday this week. My current post is usually part-time, working Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings, but this week I swapped Wednesday for Monday and ended up taking Friday morning off to give myself a short break. This crammed a lot of activities into two days!

My first activity on Monday was attending the Web 2.0 forum – a group of librarians, researchers, student support, educational technologists etc. who meet up to discuss web 2.0 and its use in the university. I’ve never been before as I’m rarely in work on Monday mornings, so it was an interesting experience, although attendance was low because of the summer break. There was lots of discussion of e-books – both in terms of e-book readers and support for e-books provided by the library – and also mobile web access to university resources. Lots to be thinking about!

When I got back to the office I finished checking my email and started addressing a query from a member of academic staff about obtaining some topographical maps of Iceland: they were out-of-print, but he’d heard they might be obtained from the British Library. A quick visit to our Document Supply department across the office established we weren’t quite sure of the details, so I ended up contacting British Library customer service, who told me it might be possible to obtain something through the imaging service rather than the document supply service, but that it was best to contact the Map Library directly for details.

A member of staff from our Student Development team contacted me via Twitter to ask if I’d be interested in joining the new dissertation wiki she’d set up. I’ve got a user account on at least five different wiki sites, so I spent a few minutes researching my own account details for the right one, and then sent a request to join.

This was followed  by a meeting of the team redesigning the library website. Next academic year the library is in line to move its website onto the University’s new content management system: this project is looking at making some changes to the website for the upcoming academic year, and then will move on to the redesign as a whole in collaboration with the web team. I had to quickly finalise my choices of interesting library site designs to take to the meeting.

In the meeting we had a productive conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of the sites we’d brought, and ended up with a task to put together some suggested layouts for our new pages for next year. In addition, I need to learn a bit more about Google Analytics, which the library systems team have set up on the current webpages, to help interpret our usage statistics.

Tomorrow: the map query, part 2!


April 6th, 2010

Chinese New Year fireworks

Photograph of Chinese New Year fireworks at University Park, University of Nottingham, 2010.

Since I last posted a lot of things have changed. I’ve started my new job and finished my old one, in that order, as I was asked to carry on working part-time in my old maternity leave cover post while I started my new (permanent) part-time post. I’ve submitted my personal development plan for chartership, moved from subject support for Business to Science, and had to adjust to a whole new institution.

I’ve also just (before Easter) returned from LILAC (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference) 2010 where I ended up presenting a workshop solo, due to last minute changes of plan. I’m not surprised I haven’t updated for a while, although as my chartership plan involved updating this blog (and as blogging LILAC seems to be becoming an annual activity for me!), I’ve been feeling bad about it. I’ve also been involved in meetings and work on the renamed Big Conversation and spent yesterday evaluating consultants’ bids: more on that soon.

The good news is that I have a backlog of blogs waiting to be written on my new job, LILAC, and various bits and pieces. I’ve also migrated my blog to WordPress, as Blogger was suspending support for FTP and I’m still not convinced enough by the cloud to stop hedging my bets. Plus, I’ve got all this webspace, may as well use it! The particularly observant may notice a few small changes in the layout, and I’ll continue to fiddle with it for a while until I’m completely happy, but both blog themes were based on the styles from my main site, so things mostly look the same (except perhaps in Chrome, where the background seems to be broken – working on it).

Anyway, this really constitutes a) a shout out to say I’m still here, b) a brief update of what I’m doing and c) a way to remind me to make the updates that aren’t here yet!

Next steps

September 4th, 2009

I can’t quite believe that the course is over! I completed my dissertation and handed it in at the end of last week. I’m happy with it (although I’ve spotted a few things I’d change in retrospect: bound to happen) and looking forward to finding out the final results. My work on the Information Commons is complete, but I’m heading back to the IC at least two more times to give a couple of presentations on my study next week, for a CILIP UC&R Wales visit and an SRHE seminar.

On top of that, next week I’m starting my new job! It’s a temporary post at De Montfort University, and I’m going to be an assistant librarian, working with the Business School. I have an MSc in Occupational Psychology, which is the study of business from a psychological perspective, which should give me a good start in the topic. I’m looking forward to starting, although a little nervous! This week has been a semi-break between course and job, although I’ve been tying up some loose ends and preparing for the presentations next week, so it’s not all been holiday.

Obtaining my first professional post has made me reflect on this blog a little. I’m really happy I’ve kept it going throughout my graduate traineeship and my library course to my first job. I started the blog because I couldn’t find any which documented that journey, and I hope it proves useful to people about to start librarian training. At the very least it’s entertaining to me to look back at what I’ve been doing for the last two years, and a great record of all the things I’ve done. I’d recommend the process to anyone else too!

Note: Photograph is a view from the Information Commons, with the infamous comfy seating.