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 23: Reflection – what next?

January 26th, 2012

Lake reflection

Reflection in the lake

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

My last task in CPD23 is to reflect on what’s next. For me, CPD23 has been split quite clearly into its two areas of focus: online tools and general professional development. I’ll admit that I mainly got involved out of interest in the tools. It’s been good to have a push to look at some tools I hadn’t had the chance to look at, and also to review and consider the tools I’m already using.

Mendeley is the tool I’ve really picked up and ran with out of the ones I tried in the programme. However, I’ll also admit that I’ve been back to and started using Evernote since I purchased an Apple-branded tablet device in the autumn: the synchronisation has suddenly become a lot more valuable to me.

I’ve also enjoyed thinking about the wider CPD themes covered, and it’s those I mostly focused upon in the personal development plan I completed for this task. I was actually surprised how many concrete ideas I already had for what I wanted to achieve this year: writing them down has pointed out just how many goals I’ve been secretly setting myself! Having this record will definitely help me review what I’ve achieved. I think it’s quite nice to have a PDP outside my formal institutional development plan, as some of my personal goals don’t really tend to fit within that structure. Maybe it’s something I’ll do next year as well.

Many thanks to the organisers of CPD23 for arranging all these fun times.

CPD23 Thing 22: Volunteering to get experience

January 13th, 2012

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

Thing 22, volunteering to get experience,  is going to be a fairly short one for me. I haven’t really done any volunteering in the traditional sense, but I have committed parts of my ‘spare’ time to things like working on CILIP committees, my stint as a Project Board Member on CILIP’s Defining Our Professional Future, and various other professional activities. The main benefits I’ve had from such activities have been in extending my professional network and allowing me to get involved in the profession outside my part-time hours while I looked for full-time work.

I don’t think that volunteering endangers our profession, except in the most obvious way: where volunteers are used to substitute for posts that have been or should be paid ones. However, it’s pretty subjective when this is the case, so I think we have to be quite careful where we’re led on that front.

CPD23 Thing 21: Promoting yourself

January 9th, 2012

Gateway on Nottingham University's University Park

A gateway to new opportunities?

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

Thing 21 covers promoting yourself in job applications and at interview. As I recently went through a job application and interview process I’ve was thinking about this quite a lot recently. Thing 21 starts off by asking me to answer some questions:

What do you like to do?
I actually like most of my job, particularly working with staff and students directly on their research, but also some of the less direct stuff: for example, improving the resources available within the library by optimising our collections.

What do you dislike?
Checking reading lists! Anything where I feel like I’m not having to engage my brain, really.

Do you remember the last time you felt that feeling of deep satisfaction after creating, building, completing something? What was it about?
I do get this a lot from my work. The most recent was probably working out a different way of updating book collections in a particular area and applying it successfully.

What skills do you need to do the things you like?
My example was quite specific, but the generic version of this is that I tend to enjoy anything that involves analysing my work and coming up with ways of improving it. To do this I need reflective skills, research skills and technological skills.

The next suggestion is to make a kind of database of my interests and achievements. I don’t have anything as structured as this, but I have naturally kept a record of these things through job applications, CV updates and appraisal activities, and I’m actually a little reluctant to structure them too much, as I tend to package the same achievement differently for each job application. However, I have made sure I’ve organised and backed up all the relevant materials.

Lastly, I’ve been asked to share interview tips that I’ve found useful in my career. It’s not exactly an obscure tip, but I think the thing I’ve found most useful is finding out about the organisation. As information professionals we’re one step ahead on this, and I really think that doing your research (looking at websites, and making use of contacts) is one of the most productive things you can do before an interview. Also, don’t think that this stops once you’ve crossed the threshold of the organisation: you’ll probably be given quite a few clues as to the organisation’s priorities on the interview day itself (in a tour, in a discussion, or even in the questions you’re asked) and can benefit hugely from awareness of these.