My Favourite Digital Tools

With the NewCardigan GLAM Blog Club theme for July being ‘Digital’, I thought this the perfect opportunity to share with you all some of my favourite (mostly free) digital tools. May of these tools I use for teaching, however they have a wide variety of uses. I will try to categories them in some sort of logical order:Read More »

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Perfecting the Interview

Job interviews are not easy. They can cause many people a lot of anxiety, and this nervousness then means we aren’t able to portray ourselves in the best light. We can stumble over questions that we would otherwise easily discuss in normal conversation.

I have had many interviews were I have simply gone blank from being so worried I wouldn’t say the right thing. I have also had interviews with incredibly challenging questions. Once, I was given a four part question – I managed to answer part one and part two, but had to continually ask for a reminder of the question (needless to say the interviewers said they perhaps needed to rethink the structure of that one!). I have had complex hypotheticals asking for very specific answers that required so much more information than was provided. Some interviewers really like to put you on the spot, and while some people thrive under this pressure, others find it very challenging.

There are many interviews I have succeeded in, and even more that I have not. So I thought I would share some of my learnings and tips for others in similar positions.

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Controlling your online data and privacy

In the wake of the ‘Facebook data scandal‘ it seems a pertinent time to write a blog post I’ve been thinking about for a while – sharing my tips and experiences for controlling my online data and privacy.

Some people may not have thought much about this until the news broke that Facebook had shared and used people’s data in some dubious ways (shock horror!), however, many librarians and people in the information services industries have been harping on about these risks for years.

So, if you haven’t already, what are some simple things you can do to get on top of your data and maintain your privacy online?

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Technology in Teaching

I read an interesting article recently about using technology to enhance learning: Putting Learning First With New Tech Tools (in Edutopia).

Too often, I have been told to add a video to my content, simply because it is showing that we’re using technology. People want to look like they’re keeping up with advancements with technology, so throwing in a few videos gives that appearance.

But many times, the videos are too long, or don’t really add anything to the content. The learning in that instance isn’t really enhanced by having a video. Using technology in your teaching isn’t as simple as throwing in a video. It has to be carefully sculpted and considered, and used to support and enhance what you are already doing. It is ideally interactive and thought-provoking, helping students to make connections between concepts and solidify their understanding. It must ADD VALUE.

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The Old and the New

So it’s been four months since I last wrote, how time flies! I suppose one reason that I have written less recently is because of my new involvement with Twitter. Instead of saving up all my thoughts for a full blog post, I can throw them straight out in little micro-blogs and start an instant conversation. It’s been a great way to get more connected with the library community, and I’ve gotten to know some great people and learnt a lot of new things through using the platform. So I highly recommend getting on board if you haven’t yet – and then follow me @MissLibraryGrrl

2017 was an amazing year. I never realise how much I have achieved until I sit down and reflect on it, which is why I actually really value my end of year professional review. Writing out all the things I did to achieve my goals is so satisfying, and encouraging to see that I am heading in a positive direction.

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Tips for Working with Images

Do you publish blogs, or maybe a Library guide? Or make posters and marketing materials for your Library? Or maybe you are just doing a PowerPoint presentation and need some images to jazz it up a bit?

As many Librarians would be aware, you can’t just go and take any old image from Google Images, because these are usually under copyright and not free to use. Too many times I have seen images with watermarks being used without permission – and the user doesn’t realise that this is what the watermark signifies!

So what images can you use for free?

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Librarians in Pop Culture

It always makes me especially happy to see Librarians represented in books, movies and TV shows. So I thought I would share with you a few of my very favourites:

  1. In Terry Prachett’s Discworld series, the Librarian of the Unseen University Library (full of magical books for the wizards) has some time ago been transformed into an orangutan, and he doesn’t really want to be changed back. Though all he says is ‘ook’ his character is quite endearing, and I love the description on the fan website (which really could be describing any one of us 😛 ):

    When worried, the Librarian tends to hide under a blanket in his book-lined nest in a cubby hole under a desk in the middle of the library. He is generally naked but he does wear an old green robe after he has had a bath. He is also a Special Constable of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. In his spare time he visits the pub, leaving a trail of peanut shells behind.

  2. Did you know that Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon (Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, NOT Alfred’s niece as shown in the movies), is a Librarian by day? HEAD Librarian of the Gotham City Pubic Library to be more specific. It’s nice to think of us Librarians as butt-kicking superheros, thank you very much.
  3. Speaking of butt-kicking, Evelyn ‘Evie’ Carnahan – the female lead in ‘The Mummy’ movies, is an exceptionally intelligent and strong Librarian. Her knowledge of ancient Egyptian mythology and hieroglyphs would shame any scholar. And she won’t let no undead jerks tell her what to do!
  4. I was recently shown an amazing movie called ‘Desk Set’ from the 1950’s starring Katharine Hepburn as ‘Bunny Watson’ – a sassy and highly intelligent Librarian whose role and department is at risk of being replaced by a fancy new computer (sound familiar?!) There’s also a pretty cute love story intertwined in the very witty and humorous dialogue.
  5. While not technically a Librarian, I absolutely love the sneaky Carl Conrad Coreander who runs the antique book store in the ‘Neverending Story‘ film. I always think of the library as a safe place for all, especially for those kids who need a place to go at lunchtime in school, just as Bastian is saved from the bullies by entering the book store. I can’t help but laugh at Coreander’s sentiments “the video arcade is down the street, we just sell small rectangular objects, they’re called books and require a little effort of your part – and make no pllffbb beeps! Now on your way” haha oh I feel you!
  6. I could go on and on, so I’ll leave you with a quick few others to check out on your own – if you haven’t heard of Rupert Giles, the Librarian in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, definitely have a watch. Of course, ‘The Pagemaster‘ film has a great eccentric librarian, Mr. Dewey (lol), who is willing to bend the rules a little. Then there is ‘The Librarians‘ film series and TV show from the USA which again has supernatural elements and a very clever Librarian. Finally, ‘The Librarians‘ TV show from Australia takes a more realistic approach, with a horrible librarian who is actually painful to watch (but its very funny).

So, from this list you can see: there is mostly an even split of male and female Librarians – interesting. Also we seem to be quite eccentric, and involved in lots of supernatural events, and are also very intelligent, quite funny and sort of rule breakers. I’m quite happy with this profile 🙂

Who are your favourite Librarians in pop culture?

Copyright and book covers in Aus

It can be easy to forget as you are diligently working away, but every book cover in the library is covered by copyright law, not just the content within the book. Often the book cover will contain an artistic work, and some may be particularly unique.

So if you are using thumbnails in a catalogue, or a blog, or on a library poster – is this breaching copyright law?

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Peer Review by AI?

An interesting article by Janne Hukkinen in Wired has introduced me to a new concept, peer review conducted by artificial intelligence!board-2181407_1920

The article argues it is risky business, and I agree. While it can streamline the process and lead to faster publishing, I seriously doubt an algorithm could review a paper to the same quality as a human expert. Nuances would be missed. As the author states it would fail to consider values, “such as ranking two scientifically equal texts on the basis of their social relevance”. Hukkinen also tells a story akin to Hal in 2001: a Space Odyssey, where a rogue program sent “terse letters” without the knowledge of the company.

Clearly there is space for computer assistance, searching for plagiarism and obvious errors for one. It can immediately discount some manuscripts based on particular criteria. But peer review done solely by AI? I am sceptical. Of course, I suppose people are sceptical of every new technological development. Perhaps in the future it will simply be accepted as the norm.

The article poses some interesting questions for the future of publishing and science, and is well worth a read. The possibilities really are endless…

Beall’s list – what happened?

Since I wrote about Predatory Publishers and Fake Academia back in January, there has been some updates on Beall’s list, which had been taken down around the time of the post.

The author of the list, Jeffrey Beall, has come out with an article titled What I learned from predatory publishers, which provides “a first-hand account of the author’s work identifying and listing predatory publishers from 2012 to 2017.” This article provides some interesting insights into predatory publishing, and also suggests why Beall felt it necessary to remove the list – he was under “intense pressure” from his employer and feared losing his job.

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