Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day in a life of librarian - My week

Curious about in academic librarianship in Singapore as a career? Try So you want to be a academic librarian in Singapore?

Okay, I foolishly agreed to do this  Library Day in the Life Project which is basically a project where librarians agree to blog or Tweet about their work for a day or a week.

Why do this? Well I suppose this would help people who always wonder what librarians do, or for people who are thinking of joining the profession in Singapore. Do note that this is just one librarian's experience in one academic library in Singapore. (Ivan Chew over at the Rambling Librarian blog has covered the Public Librarian side for years)

If there is anything I've discovered about librarianship, it's this - Every librarian's job is different, often radically different, even if both are in the same institution or even at the same department (I'm with the Information Services department at Central Library). Depending on your inclination, talents or position, you can be doing very different things, or at least have a different mix of duties. This is one of the things I love about librarianship.

Monday  25/1/2010

Started the week by going for half day course "Making the best out of 2010". I'm not a big fan of such courses, I would rather be back doing library work really. But during a break, I did manage to catch up with a colleague and she told me about the work she was doing on environmental scanning of ebooks. I recommended the excellent No Shelf required blog as well as the mobile libraries blog.

After lunch, I met a honours year student to help with her honours thesis. Her topic was a bit theoretical, and during my earlier prepartion I didn't manage to find much. However I was able to find her the full text of an article she wanted but couldn't find.

I was interrupted mid-way through by a phone call from yet another honors year student, requesting a information advisory session, he needed help finding statistics on Singapore. I suggested he email me with more details first.

I returned to the student and also directed her to the Phd thesis from which the paper she was interested derived as well as showing her the typical tricks like how to find the full-text article from a citation (many pitfalls!), proxy bookmarklet, use of document delivery etc.

A colleague of mine who was observing (he was supposed to learn from me??) also chimed in with some interesting comments. After the student left, I briefed my colleague about some of the things I have being doing from the handling of the Twitter account, to the analysis I did last year on LibQual+ as well as usage reports from our web servers. Also made him aware we were evaluating LibGuides and LibAnswers. He updated me about the lean sigma project he was working on, we had a little discussion about some basic statistic issues, including concepts such as the Central Limit Theorem.

I headed home and after dinner, I answered a round of emails including an email  from the student who called earlier asking where to find statistics about Singapore. I also decided to see if  I could update my post about the use of Zbar as a barcode scanner for Iphones . In that post, I figured out one could scan barcodes with one's Iphone and instantly do a search in any library catalogue (including ours , NLB etc). But the search that was used was the not the mobile version of our catalogue.

I quickly discovered our mobile catalogue was an old version which did not support Iphones. Also found there was a newer version that did support it, will check with our IT department to see if I can get it up some time. 

I accidentally lost the full version of the rest of the week, so this is from data pierced together from looking at my online calender and emails sent out. Sorry!

Tuesday  26/1/2010

  • Attended tutorial by colleague on use of Factiva for issues tracking
  • Attended meeting with research staff from a newly formed institute to discuss how we can provide research support - this is probably most interesting aspect of my work this week but I don't feel at liberty to reveal more. Really interesting work here
  • Followed up with student from advisory session on Monday through email
  • Continued to work on evaluation report

Wednesday  27/1/2010

  • Manned information desk in the morning  
  • Spent some time thinking about the use of bibliometrics in a project I'm involved in
  • Attended Departments strategic planning meeting to discuss tasks for 2010
  • Ad-hoc meeting to discuss the number of EndNote training sessions to be held
  • Provided some support for colleague asking about wiki
  • Finished reading paper on SNIP (Source normalized Impact paper) - new feature added by Scopus

Thursday  28/1/2010

  • Discussed new features of Encore upgrade + Scopus with colleague
  • Manned reception desk in the afternoon - Many unusual queries.
  • Discovered now provides full-text of Straits Times
  • Colleague consulted me about functional specs about mobile friendly site of upcoming portal review
  • Discussed with colleague aspects of the upcoming portal review , my portion involves somehow incorporating widgets similar to Netvibes, Igoogle (not quite sure)
  • Trying to figure out if I should attend a course "Writing for social media" by @ramblinglibrarian probably the most famous librarian in Singapore (if a librarian could ever be said to be famous!), but the course fee is quite costly.

 Friday  29/1/2010

  • May have to revisit some of the analysis and work I did last year with LibQual+
  • Showed a colleague how to use Tungle, to schedule team meetings
  • Tweeted about a maintenance issue with one of our online standards
  • Attended sharing session on proposed changes in the performance management system 
  • Discussed with a colleague the program for the upcoming workshop I will be doing for graduate students (not discipline specific)
  • Continued to evaluate and write report on LibGuides.

So there you have it. A day in the life of a inexperienced librarian in one of the largest academic libraries in Singapore.










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