How many things? Only 23.











Well now, I’m almost done here, just two more things to go. Here’s one I should have done a few weeks ago, but was a little bit busy at the time.

Thing 17 is all about presenting, looking in particular at Prezi, but also Slideshare for tried (tired?) and tested Powerpoint slides.

Let’s start with the positives, cos I’m feeling relatively happy. I’ve been using Slideshare for a wee while (a year or so?) and it’s been useful to have somewhere in the public domain where I can place public talks I’ve given to groups of people, or talks at conferences etc. I also found out that it can be used to host documents as well, which I did for my sample business case for requesting a social media presence. I like being able to see how many people have viewed or downloaded my presentations in Slideshare.

One of the few downsides is that in order for someone to print or download a presentation in Slideshare they need to have an account. My line manager has cottoned on to the fact that I have an account and now sends me emails asking me to download and email him this or that presentation or print this or that one for him. Not a problem for me, but a bit of a barrier for the general user, especially if I’m off on my hols for two weeks! Another slight downside is mainly a problem within where I work as I can’t upload into Slideshare, so I have to email myself the .ppt to home and upload it from there, which is not really a problem as I also have to email it home if I want to put it on a memory stick to take to the conference/workshop anyway…

If you take a look at any of my presentations you’ll see they’re all a bit dull, and a bit samey. They break most of the presentation/powerpoint ‘rules’. And most are on the same sort of topic (CyMAL, libraries in Wales). I’m not sure if we have a Very Fixed rule in work on .ppt but we do have a template we’re meant to use. I try to liven it up with videos and images where possible, and I hope my presentation style is such that people aren’t bored in my talks. (Although seeing students texting or checking their smartphones during a lecture is very disconcerting. Am I (a) that boring, or (b) are they that important that they have to check for messages every 5 minutes? Wouldn’t have happened in my student days, I can tell you, not least because we used pen and paper to communicate … )

I’ve been wanting to liven my talks up for a while and have seen Prezi in action during the last couple of years, so Thing 17 was a great opportunity to finally make myself give it a whirl. But oh dear me what a disappointment! Although to be fair, it’s not really all Prezi’s fault. For some unknown and inexplicable reason, Prezi LOOKS like it’s working on my computer in work, but is infact, not working at all. It merilly let me do hours of work on my presentation but failed to point out that it wasn’t actually saving it! So, I go home at the weekend, all excited about showing my partner my new Prezi, and we log-in, and there’s nothing there! Oh the disappointment. And frustration. later, after repeating the work, it happens again so I ring the IT people in work but as it’s a 3rd party application they can’t (won’t) support it (ie won’t investigate what the problem is). I look at online forums (fora), and others seem to have the same problem – it cannot save. The suggestion of copy & paste into another tab just does not work. Prezi offers no explanation of why it’s not saving some prezis. We noticed at home that the version I was viewing in work was different from the one we accessed at home. Why? Is this a browser thing?

Anyway, I tried, I failed, but I had a bit of fun in the process. I think Prezi will be useful to get away from a boring linear talk and to present ideas more graphically. However, unless I’m allowed to do them all at home, and if I can ensure that I don’t give myself motion sickness in the making (playground roundabouts, lifts in buildings and being swung around in a ceilidh all give me sea sickness), then I will return to Prezi.

I looked at a couple of the resume (CVs) in Slideshare, and they looked fun. Nice idea.

Oh, as an aside – the name. I was chatting to a fellow librarian at a conference and I mentioned that I liked so-and-so’s Prezi – they thought I was just being uber-cool in calling the presentation a “prezi”. And at home my partner said ‘Shall we look at the prezis now?’ and I immediately thought we’d got presents for each other. What a disappointment. (Especially as my Prezi wasn’t there – see above.)



[Why have I waited so long to do this Thing? Well, I wanted to spend some time on it, and see if it would be possible to use these things in work, but I kept on running out of time, and in the end I found out they aren’t possible anyway, so I’ve finally written the blog post!]

Sharing your work is great (not in a plagiarism, can-I-copy-you at school sort of way), but sharing documents if you’re working on something with a group of people, possibly remotely from each other as well. (Thing 13.)

Unfortunately, in work, Google Docs/Drive is disabled, and we cannot install software like Dropbox onto the thin clients. Although there are occasions when I would like to make a document available virtually for a select group of (external) colleagues for their edits, it’s currently not possible in work. Internally, an electronic records management system was introduced last year so now we can view all documents and edit them, from one central place, which is much better than before.

I don’t really do home working so I don’t really need to work at home on a work document, so having Dropbox at home wouldn’t really help anyway.

I actually looked into sharing documents online about a year ago, not for my job/work, but for my yoga life. I have a range of typed handouts I wanted to make available to anyone, and looked into a number of different options, including Dropbox and Google docs, but the one I liked most was minus.com. It is simple, free, uncluttered, doesn’t require installation, can be accessed from anywhere and does all that I needed. (Admittedly it’s not really designed for multiple-author editing.)

You can see my minus profile here, and download any of the yoga handouts you want!

And whilst I have used various wikis, I’ve never created one. Not really seen the need to do that yet.



Volunteering in libraries has been (and still is) a contentious issue, especially in the last 12 months or so, principally around the areas of staff losing jobs and being replaced by volunteers, or library branches closing and being re-opened by volunteers. I’m  not even going to begin to discuss this as it’s a huge minefield. Anyway, this Thing is all about me, not the wider world. (Sorry that sounds really ego-centric!)

So, for Thing 22 we’re tasked to reflect on whether we’ve undertaken volunteer work, how it was, did it further our career etc.

For my library career I have not undertaken any volunteering that I can think of. Or for my researchy career prior to this.

I have undertaken quite a lot of voluntary work however, in areas of personal interest. Whilst this hasn’t ‘furthered my career’ as the Thing blog post discusses, it has increased my skills, knowledge and experience in general. And I’ve met people who are now friends.

None of it was ever on a formal capacity (good volunteer programmes will have an agreed plan or document of understanding so everyone is clear about expectations etc.) and essentially centres around groups I’ve joined in my local area which I have some affinity with.

These include being a member of the volunteer committee who oversee Honno Welsh Women’s Press for a few years, a position I took up after finishing my (paid) work for them; also taking on various roles in the (now defunct) local LETS scheme; taking on various responsibilities in a local literature festival that ran for a few years in Abersywtyth (called Rich Text), and currently being a trustee of a  group of local yoga teachers called Yoga I Bawb (trans. yoga for all) who work towards taking yoga out to particular groups and making yoga more accessible. I also run some lunch time de-stresser sessions twice a week at work – just 15 mins  but it’s amazing the difference it makes!

 



We’re nearing the end of 23Things (how on earth did that happen?) and it’s time for some more reflective thinking about ourselves.

Thing 21 is all about promoting yourself at job applications and interviews, CVs and personal strengths.

I’m slightly disadvantaged as I have been in this post for seven years now, and haven’t prepared a CV since then. A couple of years ago I applied for a temporary post as a secondment (using their standard form, not a CV) and had an interview but didn’t get the job, which looking back, I’m now glad about!

CVs

Despite not having really updated my CV for some time I do have a ‘full CV’ document. In this I have put everything down that I’ve achieved (even certificates at school sports days!) and all my jobs and education. However, I know I haven’t really kept it up to date in the last seven years and I’ve given a lot of talks, written articles and completed training that are not recorded in this ‘full CV’ document. This may be because in my current job I have an annual performance management plan and so quite a few of the work related achievements are in that. It’ll be a bit of a big task to go through the last seven years of these documents, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Something for over the christmas hols perhaps?

From this ‘full CV’ I then can create a specific short one for any job that I might apply for.

My interstes/activities

Through recent work activities, and to some extent some of the things in 23 Things, I have a growing realisation that I like ‘comms stuff’ (communication). Whether it’s a strength of mine I don’t know – others will need to answer that!

Interview tips

I agree with most of the ones on the Wikiman’s blog post as referenced in Thing21. Here are a few tips I’ve gleaned, either from being the applicant, or, from being on the panel.

  • be yourself – if you give a false picture of who you are you may find you don’t fit in later on
  • first impressions count – be smart, punctual and smile as you enter the room
  • make eye contact with everyone
  • plan, plan and plan some more – I have a document with loads of sample interview questions in and would prepare sample answers to them so that I wouldn’t have to think of something on the spot
  • always have an example of something you’ve done for every type of work/activity mentioned in the job spec
  • have a spare pair of tights (if you’re wearing them).


et cetera