Archive for June, 2007

My student (Minzah) has been moving right along with her learning, and a fair bit of it is self driven as I like to see my students become independent in the workplace. As this is what it will be like for them when they hit the real world.

Minzah was given a task to create an entire new (but small which is good) collection. She was required to assess our GIS CD-ROMs’ with the GIS Consultants help, to determine what categories they should be filed in. (our special library files items on the shelf by category, not dewey).  Once the items were in their sections, she needed to think about the fields that would be filled out in the Library Catalogue, and then if she was unable to fill out all the fields, due to information missing from the CD cover, she could ask the GIS Consultant to fill in the gaps for her. Together, we determined the shelf numbering of the item, and how it would look on the shelf. And off she goes…

She also carried out many other smaller activities, like quick reference, getting a quote for book acquisitions and doing some hands on work in the library. Just to mix it up a bit.

Here’s what Minzah has to say about Week 2 of her placement

Wow another week already over. This week was quicker than my first. I must admit I had an exciting week as I was able to apply my theoretical studies to practice.

Early this week I had a meeting with the Knowledge & Information Manager. That was great as he really got me thinking about my future goals. During this meeting I was able to examine the services offered by the K&IM team to Urbis and understand how I&KM is applied to the organisation.

Mid-week, I was given a problem to solve which really got me thinking about information management. From scratch I had to organize CD’s into a collection that agreed with the current library cataloguing rules used by Urbis. Firstly, the CD’s were arranged in sections, then I examined what appropriate fields should be used, finally with the help of Jill we decided on suitable shelf numbering and the CD’s were ready to catalogue. I enjoyed going through the process as it gave me a break-down of how cataloging is done.

I have also been doing a lot of on MediaWiki. One of the projects I have been given during my time here is to set up an induction page which is to be turned into a series of podcasts. I have been using MediaWiki to share my thoughts and ideas with the team. I think it’s a fantastic tool to use, as it allows me to collaborate with others.

Yesterday Jill, Katy and I went to visit the Bureau of Meteorology library. I really enjoyed that, it allowed me to understand the organisations range of resources and services offered. It gave me a different perspective of a specialised library.

Overall I have an excellent second week, and covered so much.


Her learning is now moving up a notch and she is working and communicating well with our team. The group collaboration with the podcasting activity, while using the Wiki is also facilitating her interactions.

I’m looking forward to next week, and of course, we’ll give you an update at the end of the week…


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As a result of one of the many interviews I was involved in a few weeks ago, our team has selected ICMS as the PCO (Professional Conference Organiser) for the NLS4 Melbourne 2008 Conference. (NLS=New Librarians Symposium) The PCO will take alot of the headache out of organising the conference for us newbies. It can also be hard to have time to learn from previous committees who have run NLS, as we are so busy conducting the initial organisation stages of the conference and running our own busy lives. Fiona talks about the art of conference programming, something our team could learn from and take on board. Her group organised the very succesful NLS3 Conference in Sydney last year. I believe our PCO will take alot of this work to make it easier on us. But, lots more learning to come…

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Intranet launch

Donna – ex Intranet Chick – has made a great comment on my site about our intranet launch. And I agree with her, people are busy, and the intranet is just not seen as important to them, in terms of their everyday work. The intranet seems to seemlessly intergrate into their work, and a new redesign doesn’t set off any big bang theories with them, but it does to those who are working on the intranet.

After the launch last week, I felt disappointed for a few hours, and then reasoned with myself regarding the reactions of my colleagues.

I may not have received much feedback via email, but on talking to staff, and when I ask “what do you think of the new intranet redesign”, they all say, “we love it” “it looks much better” “thanks, there are more links on there now” “it’s easier to use” “we love XXX feature” (not a triple x feature or anything *grin*) “the intranet before was looking pretty good, but this improves on that”.

These stories can be hard to capture if I’m not out talking to people. It’s not like I can throw this into a statistics meter and say, “hey, this is how good our rebranding and redesign is” because 100 people say so. But the richness that can be gathered from these stories need to be noted, some way, some how…

James Robertson from Step Two Designs expands on the issue of talking to staff. Talking to my staff is what I have done earlier this year, to gather stories from people about what is working for them on the intranet and what is not. My colleagues are also very clever people, and they are good at suggestions, “what if we had xxx on the intranet”. With this information, I can go back to my team and ask them if any of the suggested items is possible to deliver. For our current intranet redesign, quite a few suggested items were delivered, one was less clicks on the frontpage, so we brought many embedded clicks forward to the frontpage. With the new intranet launched, I will continue to speak with my colleagues to elicit more information from them. It’s a continual process, but a very valuable one. As they are the ones using the intranet and if it doesn’t deliver or meet their needs, they are not going to use it.

And, I agree with Donna, it could be worse as no one has commented about broken links…

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Billabong in the NT taken at a cashew farm next to Kakadu. I just love the effects created by the sky and the water…

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I thought it would be a good idea if you heard from my student. She has also given permission for me to put her name on this site.

Here’s what she has to say about her placement so far…and, it’s her first blog…

Minzah Hussain, RMIT, 2nd year…

My first week is already over and it feels like I have just started. I had an interesting first week and met many new people and learnt numerous things. Before commencing I really had no idea how broad a Knowledge and Information Management can be, well not the practical side anyway. Now I am gaining a vast understanding of how it can operate in an organisation and the elements that make up a team, such as this one.

I have also had one-on-one time with the Database Manger which gave a good understanding of how the organisation stores and maintains their information. Further more, I met with the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Manger where I learnt about the spatial database and its importance. It was very appealing to me as I never knew such a thing existed.

I have created myself a check list of all the things I hope to learn during my 3 weeks of placement and I am fortunate enough to say I have already covered half my goals thanks to the K&IM team.

Tasks which I have completed so far include:

  • Cataloguing
  • Distributions of journals
  • Shelving
  • Conduct various searches on Amazon and The National Library Australia website
  • Learn how to use various databases

My learning outcomes so far include:

  • Managing information relevantly
  • Evaluate and modify practices
  • The ability to use I.T systems relevant to Urbis.
  • Understanding of the cataloguing system

Overall my first week has been extremely satisfying for me. I was able to gain and develop many key skills which will help me through out my professional development.


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Library Blog

My Library Intranet Portal was a relatively static page until about a month ago. Currently I receive about 8 to 12 emails a day from various news sources, then staff need to send me an email and sign up to each individually and manually, and when staff leave, I then need to take them off the list. I find this quite a cumbersome process, plus, many other staff are probably missing out on the news source. Staff can also receive up to 4 news emails in their in box a day, that’s significant traffic going into their inbox.

So, one day I said to my boss, “can I put this all into a blog”, he said go ahead, get into it !! Things happen quickly here.

So, how does the blog look? It’s not called a blog, my users think it’s an information service. If the term blog was used, they would probably not realise it’s true use and then they would be afraid to use it. So I called it “get the edge”. A place where they can go to to “feed” themselves information. (yes, we are working on RSS feeds).  The blog has a main category, called “headlines” where I put general library newsy items, such as a new book of interest, the government has put out XX report, or anything else. I “try” to post to this once a day, and I do like the “edit timestamp” feature, as sometimes, I can post all my blogs for the week in one go, but have them feeding out on the required day. The next section of the blog consists of the specific news sources, filed under their own heading and then by date. Most of these posts show about 4 items, and then the items roll over onto the category page.

So far, our stats show that the blog has received forthfold increase in usage to the library portal, and over a 3 week period, the stats remained high.

On speaking to my colleagues individually, they do comment that they use “get the edge” and that they think it’s a great service.

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…has been a success. She has been involved in a range of activities. Many of them are self driven, which includes the library induction podcasting activity.

Today I showed her how to use our Wiki to ensure collaboration with Katy and myself with regards to filling in the gaps on her podcasting activity.  Meaning, she can set up the wiki in her specific area and then invite Katy and I to fill in the gaps on what she needs help in.

I also got her to chunk down the activity, okay, so I’d like an induction on the general library, but we also need a number of others, including how to the use the library catalogue and the intranet.

She now has about seven headings to work on, and then she can select a few to concentrate on, such as the library catalogue. While she is on her mission of working out how to inform users on how to use the library catalogue, I have encouraged her to gain a general evaluation of the catalogue which can only be undertaken by playing with the application herself. Encouraging her to think about the application in terms of how users would gain access and as well as thinking that her playing with the library catalogue can be used in the context of being on the job, or fullfilling a uni assignment requirements.

So far, she’s had a great week, she has learnt a range of general library activities, like cataloguing electronic resources, as well as learning what role the intranet plays in the organisation.

We went for a tour of the Athenaeum Library and was even offered some work there !! (on her first day)

Next week we are visiting the Bureau’s Library at the other end of Collins St, and many other fun activities, which I’ll post next week.

She might even do a summary of her week for you on here, stay tuned !

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