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Just over one week down, of being a “stay at home preggers person” and all is going well. I don’t think I would have enjoyed being “stranded at home” (those close to me know what this means) if it wasn’t for the varied activities I had planned. One that is keeping my mind challenged, is the NLS4 Website developments.

I am learning further about tables, linkages between pages and basically getting the HTML to do what I want it to do. I have tackled, successfully, the program, which in my mind was a big job. It did take time, but I worked on one problem at a time, finding it all fell into place very quickly. The program page is not launched yet, but will be in the next week or so. I enjoyed doing the abstracts page and seeing the rich and varied papers that will be presented, from a variety of sectors, makes me feel very proud to be a part of this team!!

Registration has been delayed a bit due to technical reasons, but we have announced our first keynote speaker, do go to the site and check out the News Page.

Another joy is that I have been able to get back into is cooking. I enjoyed doing home science at school, all those years ago, and when not at school, I would tussle with my Mum in the kitchen, and cook up a few things. So, this last week has seen the chef extr-ordinaire (oh, can’t spell it !) come out – again ! I’d love to do a cooking class over a few months, but we’ll see if / when I get time for that. As a part of our Urbis Team Day a few years ago, we went to a Thai cooking class and I believed I came home feeling more confident when cooking, so classes can help. However, when we were in Bali, I refused to pay $100 for a few hours one morning, as in Australia, I know I could do a few nights of a course, for that much.

So, all is not doom and gloom, being a stay at home person. It can give you time to get through some items that have been in “waiting” for a while, or opening up some hobbies that have also been shelved, such as photography. Also, I must remember to do my ALIA Pd and get that accredited…

It seemed like it would take forever for this time to arrive, but it soon caught up, and I have now commenced the first day of my “new life” as a ??? maternity leave person? impending mother? ummm, I’m not quite sure how to word it. I don’t want to use the words housewife…I still have my “other” library interests and activities to keep me involved in my career, such as the NLS website. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get right into the swing of things.

Today, I have already updated the “exciting news” on our NLS website, and have looked after the concreters who are here working away.

I had a fantastic farewell at Urbis this week, it actually started last friday with a joint lunch, with another person who was leaving. I preferred to undertake a “joint” event as it took the “heat” off myself. Many people gave me lots of lovely gifts for the baby, stuff that makes you go gooey and imagine the little one wearing or using once they arrive. And on the last day my boss did a wonderful speech rounding up the library and intranet services and their progress from when I started at Urbis, close to 3 years ago, to how they look and work now ! I felt tired after reflecting on all that. It’s good that Ian and Ignatius are now taking over the services, they can look at them from “fresh” eyes and implement further changes, progression and development.

So, here is the Urbis Technology & Knowledge Team, some of us.

L-R: Ian, Ignatius, Johan, Me – Jill, Andrew and Adriana

Geelong Library Event

Last week I went to a Geelong Library and Information Week event, and it was good to connect with some of our regional counterparts. I had to be careful when I said, “I work in the city”, because that doesn’t mean, “I work in Melbourne”, most thought Geelong, so I needed to clarify. When I asked them why there hadn’t been an event for a while they mentioned that it “all got too complicated with ALIA”. But I don’t think a group needs ALIA to get like minded librarians together from a variety of organisations, so I do hope they keep meeting up. It will be good for myself, and easier to get to, than going to Melbourne during the next year. I was amazed I knew so many people, before I went I knew I’d know two people, but when I got there I knew about 6 people and a few others had heard of me through the ALIA lists. It was good to get chatting to people to talk library talk I hadn’t done for a while, such as document delivery and talk about the progression of those services through the use of technologies. So, I think I have found one way I can keep up to date with my profession while out of the workplace.

Anyway, I’m off to keep on with Day 1 of my new direction.

Thanks bloggers and blogging readers for making comments on some previous posts, it’s good to stay in touch.

Seems like Kathryn had a blogging reflection day on Sunday as well, and she has noticed her posts are slowing down. As I have noticed many blogs are doing the same (see blog list in right hand column). I find Kathryn and others blog posts highly interesting and informative, I learn about new library or general technologies, what other library interests others have, I connect with librarians who I have never met personally (I met a few of you at Beyond the Hype, which was great) and being a soon-2-be stay at home Mum, it will allow me to stay connected with the library community.

I don’t want to stop blogging as I don’t want my blog to become a “fad”. I have tried facebook and am still on it, but I value blogging as being somewhere that my profile can develop and gain a personality of it’s own. Where I find facebook easier for chatting with others. To me my blogis a record of what I have done / progressed in my library career and how I have done it. It could possibly develop into some research or a PD or, as it has some back ground information that could develop into a potential Phd, that I may tackle, one day.

Some bloggers post every two months or so, but I enjoy reading what they are up to, not matter how infrequent they post, and I know they will come back and submit a post, when it’s their time. So, I guess this blogging thing is about finding your mojo, and realising it can be like exercise (like Kathryn has said) and that at times it may be neglected, but as long as you are getting enjoyment out of it, it’s good to keep your posts up, because not only do you benefit but your general library community does. Overall, it’s up to the blog owner to decide when it’s fate is up. If you do, I know we’ll meet up in other ways.

Let’s see if other bloggers discuss this issue further.

Or, you could try the 20 questions Kathryn has listed on her blog.

Blogging Quiet

Hi there dedicated blog reader,

I have been pretty blogging quiet of late, so quiet, I haven’t written a post since Feb this year !! Crikey. I do note a few other blogs becoming quieter and one popular blog – Blisspix – has left the building. Blisspix, my fellow Aurorian Sheriff has decided to wind down her blog and focus on other library / semantic web concentrated work and blogs. Blisspix, I’ll miss you !!

I am wondering if other blogs will wind up? I have even questioned the value of mine, now that my career / lifestyle direction is changing, but I hope to focus on other extra curricular issues and blog about them. There still seems to be a readership of my blog out there, as I’m sure the statistics don’t lie. So, I will aim to keep intech the verve up and happening.

What’s been going on of late??

One really side splitting moment was seeing “Librarian Idol” perform at the Butterfly Club. Mind you, I am on a conference committee with Andrew Finegan, aka Librarian Idol, but had not met him yet ! This this virtual world is amazing.

My first impression of him in person was of side splitting laughter that could be heard by all at the concert. Andrew took me on such a journey of his profession, his Australian Idol experience, littered with so many funny librarianism jokes, that non library people would also be sure to get the jokes. Andrew, we want you to come back, and perform for a huge group of Librarians in Melbourne. Maybe we could book out the Athenaeum’s Theatre?? See this You Tube clip to see what Andrew is about.

During the last three months our Leap into Leadership group delivered the Leap day at the State Library of Victoria (thanks to the group who helped me in the last month, when it was difficult for me to get through the work), I have travelled to Bali for a wedding, employed a new Library Technician, Adriana Everett, as Meredith was poached by another group at Urbis, started winding up my job and employed my maternity leave replacement, Ian Rossiter, who starts tomorrow, at Urbis !! Welcome Ian. I will shadow Ian for two days a week, over the next few weeks, and then I go into a period of 8 weeks of rest before the newborn arrives !! I’ll post some pics on this site soon.

I am really looking forward to the next few months, I can focus on the NLS4 Website, my husbands work website which is about 2 years old, finalise my ALIA PD and possibly send it in for recognition, clean up the house in prep for a new kitchen, do the filing and get my tax done.

Thanks for being such a dedicated blog reader, it’s much appreciated and I will be back sooner, rather than later.

Also it would be good if you could send me your comments about what you think I can blog on…

Jill

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will note that I post interviews given to my previous library students or staff. Meredith started with us at Urbis in December 2007 and I sent her an interview that shows the consolidation of her educational and work experience and how she’s putting her past and current experience to work at Urbis. 

Jill – Welcome to Urbis Meredith, can you tell us a little bit about yourself

Meredith – Well, to start with, I’m really pleased to be working with you here at Urbis. I guess I’ve taken a fairly indirect path to get here, via a range of admin roles and English teaching, but I’ve always been been interested in finding out information and organising it for others. These general interests led me to enrol in the Graduate Diploma in Information Management at RMIT and I’m due to complete my last two subjects in the first half of this year. Jill – So, you are studying at RMIT, what have you learnt from some of the courses at RMIT and then applied to the workplace?

Meredith – I’m really glad I enrolled in the RMIT course as it’s provided me with a good overview of information management issues, concepts and standards (and what many of those acronyms and jargon words mean!). I’ve gained confidence in learning new software, researching unfamiliar topics, ascertaining end-user needs and tailoring information. The group projects develop time management and teamwork skills and help you get to know other students – and I’ve met some really great people. The course can’t prepare you for everything because there are so many potential work environments for students to move into. However it does introduce you to networks such as professional associations and industry blogs, which you can access to develop specific areas of knowledge. The work placement program offers an opportunity for hands on experience and also helps you to discover what kind of work environment you more likely to be suited to.

Jill – It’s ideal that you have worked before in a planning company (name the place)?? and then for Melbourne City Library in their Planning Library (your experience is uniquely matched to our library), are there any similarities you are seeing at Urbis, compared to the other two organisations?

Meredith – Well, I worked with Coomes Planning, a small planning company in a temporary admin role for a few months before I started studying information management. This was a small business environment where staff pretty much looked after their own information resources and documents, according to their work areas. I became aware of the kinds of projects, resources and documents used in the planning industry. Later when I worked in a short-term role assisting in the Corporate Library at the City of Melbourne, the range of resources was considerably wider, given the size of the organisation and the breadth of Council interests and activities. The library was also unique in that it was an information resources centre for Council staff, but was managed by the Yarra-Melbourne Library Corporation as part of the network of public libraries in the cities of Yarra and Melbourne. It was a great to learn practical ways of keepng up to date with information resources on a very broad range of subject areas – such as, setting up subject profiles with publishers for alerts on upcoming releases, using topic-based email lists, and building an accessible and frequently updated library intranet page so staff can find information easily themselves. This was especially helpful for staff who were located in other buildings or sites and couldn’t just drop in to see what was available. Now I’m here at Urbis where there are interstate offices and a diversity of business units and resources, but the Librarian and Knowledge Management team are based in Melbourne. There is a small physical library for the general reference books and serials here, and more recently, final copies of planning and property reports are being included too (see response below re shelving!). Email is a convenient means of communicating with library staff, and the intranet is a major source of centralising information. It’s a constantly evolving process, and I think the next version of the intranet (with a search facility) is due to be launched soon.

Jill – Our library has a range of shelving systems here, I think there are about four (4) distinct systems, what is this teaching you about classification systems and special libraries?

Meredith – As a general comment, special libraries aren’t static – they reflect the organisation they serve (and all the changes they have undergone, or may occur in the future!) They need to be end-user focused in order to be viable, so the library staff here have had to work out how to categorise a diverse range of resources so other staff can access what they need. As I’ve discovered, Dewey classification isn’t the full picture, although it is useful for cataloguing general resources. However it doesn’t work as well for the planning and property resources which are more easily located by municipality or regional area. So the library is split up into different sections, and once you get used to that, it does become initutive where things are likely to be. Clear shelf labels and signs are really important (many thanks to my predecessor, Katy Li!) Fortunately, shelving space is not an immediate concern, and there’s still room for multiple copies of some items, and also for a fiction book swap. In the future, it may be necessary to reassess what the physical library should contain and how it should be catalogued – especially in the interstate and overseas offices.

Jill – What sort of technologies are you interested in? And what do you think you will learn at Urbis in that regard?

Meredith – I’m not a real techie-type (eg. don’t have an i-pod or digital camera, and didn’t know the difference between GIS and GPS – shock/horror!) but at the same time I’m curious about technology and Urbis is a great place to see what is available and how it enhances business services and facilities. I went to a presentation recently by a new business unit in Urbis and saw how virtual reality (3D modelling) is being used to explore planning proposals. Really amazing! I’m also interested in intranet development and the Knowledge and Information Management team here have done a lot of work to make the breadth of Urbis information resources accessible via portals on the homepage. They’ve also developed a project summary database which is linked to resources in the library catalogue – so staff can find out information independently. I attended a brainstorming session a few weeks ago to help with the intranet search keywords (ie. yellow stickers all over the wall!) I remember doing something similar in a class about thesaurus-building at RMIT. I’ve also had some involvement with archiving procedures and can see how document management is an integral part of a general information strategy. So, in a nutshell, there’s lots to see and learn!

Jill – Anything else you’d like to share with us

Meredith – Well, I’ve been here at Urbis a couple of months now (sorry to take so long to get these answers back to you, Jill!) It’s a dynamic and ever-changing environment to work in and I’d encourage anyone interested in information management to make the most of any opportunities to work in a special library environment. Thanks Jill.

Thanks Meredith, you sound like you are enjoying your work at Urbis and have benefitted from being involved in many activities, including those that preclude to the Intranet. It shows what skills library and information can bring to a role/company. Keep enjoying what you are doing and learning and your last semester at Uni !

Last week was the 11th Aurora Leadership Institute and a few bloggers, who went in 2007 have been blogging about their reflections the last week or so, including Kathryn and Fiona, Kathryn gives a truly wholesome view of how Aurora affected her and what she has continuted to learn in her life afterwards, her post shows true courage as a leader and shows she’s not afraid to share what she has learnt. Fiona, you are the same as me in the fact that you think about Aurora every day. Three very impacting moments on my life include living in Perth for one year in 1995 (some people still want to know the stories about what happened over there), traversing Europe and Asia for 7 months in 2004 and attending Aurora in 2007. Compare the time lengths of each, 365 days, 220 days and 5 days !! How’s that for Aurora Impact !! 5 days and it can turn your life around. I don’t think the changes straight after Aurora were evident, but as I say, it provided me with a toolbox that I could gather new items on the way, or discard old items or newly tested ones that I didn’t like.

Would I have travelled the path I intended if I hadn’t gone to Aurora? As I was the person called up about 2 days before, because there was a spare space, I had started to set my path in other directions, like career coaching. I had a rough plan of what I wanted to do, but I believe Aurora helped me to see the “yellow brick road” with more clarity. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to get up and present papers at conferences if I hadn’t gone to Aurora. However, I always had an ability to do it, but was frightened. I used to let people talk over the top of me, and let them have the floor show, but now I ensure I can get in there and express how I’m feeling or what I want to say. And I have learnt that it’s okay to also let those people have the floor show if I feel I don’t have anything to contribute, I can listen and learn. I have become involved in many extra curricular library activities, but have now had to trim them back. And my future direction for this sort of work will involve more personal and introverted activities like writing papers or doing research, than organising a function.

I still don’t profuse to know everything, as I know I will be learning all my life and working on various aspects of my persona, as well as travelling the world. That’s the joy of life and having a career. However, Aurora taught me to be more analytical and critical of the things I do and the experiences I go through.

Aurora has also given me a *Fantastic* group of people who I can call my peers  and mentors, and I thank them for that. They allow me to bounce ideas off them, and vica versa, which continues our growing process. And I think that’s one of the main things I have become richer for, since going to Aurora.

Aurora is a truly personal and impacting experience, and if you are up for it, you should consider it.

A Kosovo Experience

I was speaking to a lady at work today about the people of Kosovo and their joy at independence and the Serbian people’s riots over their liberation, and it struck me that I can share a unique experience I went through nearly four years ago when I drove through Kosovo, in one day.

My husband and I were travelling all over Europe and living in a van, when we hit Croatia and were busting to go to Turkey, but were hestiant due to the southern countries standing in our way. To drive through Albania meant you would probably get robbed, or your car stolen, and the only other way was to go through Montenegro (previously Yugoslavia), Kosovo, Macedonia, to Greece then Turkey. As we started to plan our trip it was looking unlikely that we’d get into Turkey with the car and we didn’t want to leave it anywhere, so we settled on at least getting to Greece and enjoying the sunshine, food and people there.

We talked to a few tourists that we met, as many didn’t speak english, read our travel books and decided to make a “run”for it, through those countries described, in a day.

Montenegro seemed pretty hard up and still grappling with their own poverty. However, it had some very beautiful elements, that you see in the lastest James Bond “Casino Royal” movie, that is shot on a beautiful island with dramatic mountains and water scenery, see these two pics, that describe Montenego’s beauty.

montengro.jpg    montenegro.jpg

Anyway, to the crux of this blog, KOSOVO

As we neared Kosovo, we were not sure what to expect, as we’d been stopped by quite a number of police in Montenegro and we were wondering would Kosovo be even worse than this?? Well, it was actually quite civilised, the police and border guards were on their best behaviour, there was a UN presence everywhere, we noticed the proliferation of children playing on the street or swimming, which we hadn’t seen for quite a few days. People seemed happy and they were all out busy working in the field. I believed they were keen to rebuild their country quickly and felt very proud of their country. They must have been robust to recover so quickly from the disasters of the 1990’s. And maybe they were happy to be rid of communism?? I wouldn’t know. After Montenegro, that was full of mountenous country, Kosovo offered farming land that was flat and farmable. It seemed like it’s land would provide riches if people were able to gain access to land.

Here are some photos of Kosovo. Note, they are taken from a car, so you may notice the cars window’s showing up in the photos, but I think it will paint a good picture of the place for you.

dcp_5237.jpg dcp_5239.jpg dcp_5240.jpg dcp_5241.jpg dcp_5243.jpg dcp_5242.jpg 

Since I have learnt that the people of Kosovo have gained indpendence from Serbia (old Yugoslvaia), I felt very happy for a people who are so proud of their own country and heritage.