Posted by: Ali | September 23, 2011

Review of RDS Databases

Asked by Liza Fisher of Cengage to review RDS Business & Industry, TableBase and RDS Business & Management Practices. This was work that I completed outside of my normal working hours. I produced a report with comments about exisiting subject coverage, recommended content, and comments and recommendations about technical aspects of the databases.

To test subject coverage and fucntionality of the database I ran the sample searches suggested on Cengage’s own website. www.gale.cengage.com/rds/information.htm This was supplemented by some additional search examples I used from recent student queries.

One of the things that I was asked to do was provide a list of recommended journal titles. There are literally thousands of these and I was pleased to think of the approach that I came up with. I ran a search in the Scimago website www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php to get a list of the top 100 journals for marketing and the 100 journals for business. In addition of the the titles of any ranked journals in those categories that were specifically from Australia (and could be in any quartile). Scimago has the advantage of being freely available if Cengage which to check the results, or run their own searches, and it also covers more databases..

It was good to find that a similar methodology had been used in this comparison http://www.ebscohost.com/uploads/imported/thisTopic-dbTopic-1307.pdf – albiet using Journal Citation Report.

My report was well received by Liza Fisher and Maryce Johnstone of Cengage. Submitted to them 22/9/2011

Posted by: Ali | June 17, 2011

Evaluating library teaching

reqest went out for possible class for Liz to run t his research on

prompted for ethicsa approval, organised cover sheet, and survey, incentives, liaised with lecturer to get permission

we will explain to class and get recruits, probably devise some questions for follow up interview in conjunction with Liz?

Thinking this might be under Bok 10 Evaluation of library services?

Posted by: Ali | June 17, 2011

Ikaroa technology playground Wed 8 June

got the opportunity to hear people talk about ebook readers; tablet devices and ipads, and smart phones, and other bits and pieces

had the opportunity afterwards to talk to owners of the devices

still not convinced i want to run out and buy any of them – cost of the devices, and ongoing running costs or combinations of both of these – but need to be aware of what users are using. Which is the frustrating bit, because our workplace doesn’t prioritise any funding for us to have these devices to work with!

Posted by: Ali | May 25, 2011

Maori Land Court Minute Books training session

In house training session with Sheeanda Field 26.5.11

Covered background to Maori Land Court and practical hands on with Maori Land Court Minute Index and actual minute books themselves

A resource I have used in the past in public library days, not so much recently. Searching the index seems relatively straightforward. Working backwards and trying to find an entry in the index from a page copied from the minute books themselves was somewhat more challenging!

Really useful to get a catchup on using this resource. Reminder of information needs of Maori clients that information seeking is often in reference to a place and whakapapa.

Posted by: Ali | February 14, 2011

Project management training

Friday 11 Feb – Cheat’s guide to project management with Sally Pewhairangi

A project is a temporary endeavour to create a unique product or service. It’s an opportunity to step out of the ordinary and embark on a journey of adventure. A successful project solves a problem to the customer’s delight.

Having a planned approach or map helps achieve better results.

Sally outline the 5 stages of the project manageement map – define, plan, do, check and close. Most people leap in at the do stage. This sounds very much like how we approach marketing – leaping in at the doing stage.

The workshop focused on defining and planning the project – which was very useful. We used real world library projects to put the K.E.T.E Principles (TM) into action – which I think was very valuable.

Importance of knowing how the project fits with the library’s goals to establish a clear direction – obviously important but our library goals are not really clear enough.

Establish what you are doing and why.

Take it to pieces … where we used a mindmap to begin the process of identifying tasks need to complete the project and create a work breakdown structure.

The mindmap process was done in silece with each member of the group writing down the tasks to be done.

The second part of the process was looking at all the tasks and grouping them into 4 main activities – these are represented by the sticky notes in the second photo.

Learning outcomes

– understanding of project management principles with time to work through these in practical exercises

– importance of planning

– useful ideas for running workshops

– seating arrangement of groups around small tables already set up

–  introductions (not everyone to the group as a whole, but moving around and introducing yourself to about 3 people – gave us a moment to write down who we were, what projects working on, so not “struck dumb” when talking to others i.e. like a mini script to read off)

– brainstorming in silence – see above. Extremely valuable for getting everyone’s ideas down on paper, without any one voice dominating the brainstorming session.

Posted by: Ali | February 4, 2011

Moodle skills

in the last few weeks have taught myself how to load content, create a quiz, import a quiz, upload images and documents

worked extensively with the teacher taking the courses

 – took objectives teacher wanted and designed content around that – incorporating our learning objects, reworking our “world of informaiton handout” into a quiz

suggested new essay topic based on one that would deliver decent search results, sorting out ezproxy links, nagging about enrolment – the latter not true library stuff but necessary to make sure all is well with students accessing resources!

Posted by: Ali | January 11, 2011

Embedding content in Moodle/Stream

Prior to xmas was in discussions with a lecturer about library content for an offshore programme for business students in Vietnam. Since coming back in the New Year I have been working on the content – there were be library modules included in different weeks of the programme, so it is my first true attempt at embedding library content I think. I have managed to develop a quiz and figured out how to export it from our library workspace to one of the actual papers.

Learning outcomes

– developing skills with Moodle

– figuring out what/how to embed library instruction content into the papers

Realise i probably need

– to understand more about what are useful learning exercises for students i.e. will the quiz actually help them learn anything?

Posted by: Ali | December 8, 2010

Mentoring applicaiton sent in

I’ve sent in my form to be a mentor. The application process isn’t very clear – there is a profile form you are supposed to submit so I have done that. Maybe I should have included a covering letter outlining that I met the other criteria, but that wasn’t even asked for. I did ask if they wanted my CV. I haven’t done any mentoring training per se but have worked through the handbook on the LIANZA site and thought about the questions and written stuff down. Will see what pans out – this close to Christmas I am not expecting to hear anything back …

Posted by: Ali | November 19, 2010

Library stand at Vice-Chancellor’s symposium

I had an idea a few weeks back that maybe we could have a little stand in the foyer outside the symposium highlighting some key library things, as a way of engaging academics in a conversation about things library.

So with the help of some colleagues that is exactly what we did. We focused on two key things  – the universities digital repository and the new eTV service (this was launched officially during the week, so this was a follow up promo, and we could reuse the promo materials from that launch). Took the laptop over for demos (tech problem with that after morning tea meant I missed the post morning tea session which was a real shame).

We weren’t overrun with folks at our stand, but having said that there weren’t huge numbers at the symposium this year. I personally spoke to about 4 academics, which is 4 more than I probably would have spoken to in a “targetted” way. Plus colleagues had chats with other academic staff. We didn’t put a huge investment into the stand – given our windows of opportunity were 30 minutes at morning tea and 30 minutes at lunch (turned into 20 minutes due to session running late!) so I think it was worth our time, and I’d do it again next year – except maybe get someone to bring the laptop over, set it up and take it away again when the sessions are running. Having to slip out of sessions to deal with that was just too much of a distraction and as a result I don’t think I got the maximum benefit from the day. Plus the panic over trying ot get it shut down was very unwelcome!

This update was inspired by a session by Stuart Gordon at the symposium on e-portfolios. Stuart was talking about the Massey aligned myportfolio http://myportfolio.ac.nz/. I think I have set myself up on that but I haven’t used it, and now have quite a bit invested in this. Stuart promoted my portfolio as a one stop shop for storing your CV, conference notes, opportunity to work collaborative with others and have a blog etc. His own site even has favourite music videos.

Posted by: Ali | October 5, 2010

Talk on marketing

This morning I had the opportunity to hear Brian Meredith’s answer, courtesy of a Business Breakfast seminar here in Palmerston North (organised by UCOL and Massey in association with Vision Manawatu and Manawatu Chamber of Commerce). Brian was an entertaining speaker who delivered his perspective on what marketing is all about.

First he addressed what it isn’t. Marketing is not:

1. “the art of arresting human intelligence long enough to extract money from it” – this is a very common viewpoint and one  that is driven by motivation for short term sales. But it is not long term, sustainable, or ethical;

2. the place where ads are done? – if only it was that simple;

3. A big black hole for money to disappear into – no marketing should be considered an investment, with measurable outcomes;

4. Sales with a degree – well yes it can be!

Fundamentally marketing is not rocket science, not scary and above all not optional. Even if you don’t think you are doing any marketing you are – because people will notice everything about your business/service – taking in the appearance of the building, the cars parked outside etc. etc.

Brian told an anecdote about angling, and how despite having the best gear money could buy he couldn’t catch a fish. Advice from a wise old angler? Think about it from the position of the fish? Where do they live, what do they eat, what is their life cycle? Businesses are the same – the only perspective that is important is where the money comes from – the customer. His other anecdote concerned the baffling “the plug for the jug is in the bathroom” sign in a hotel – why would you want to take the jug into the bathroom to boil it. Whatever the reason for this, it wasn’t a customer focused decision! 

So what is marketing?

Marketing is a concept:

an organisation will only achieve its goals by identifying/creating needs/wants amongst its chosen target market and fulfilling them at a profit* time after time (*not-for-profits can substitute “cost effectivelyhere)

Marketing is a state of mind – this is all about everyone in the business being customer focused – realising that it all centres around the customer. This has to be in place before Marketing as a set of tools and techniques will even work.

Brian outlined the four fundamental questions that need to be answered:

1. What business am I in?

This is potentially the most difficult. Brian gave the example of a company who considered themselves in the drill business, but the reality is they are in the hole-making business. What happens when a laser product comes along that can create better holes, more cheaply? The drill business essentially disappears.

2. What am I selling?

Is it just a cheap deal? That’s how it seems for lots of businesses, but some customers want more than that.

3. Who am I selling to?

We need to understand every aspect of our customers, and when we think we know them, review everything we know.

4. Why should they want to buy it?

My thoughts:

One of my colleagues  said at the end of the talk “what he calls marketing, I’d call customer service”. As Brian said, for too many businesses marketing starts with the tools and techniques, but really its about all of the other aspects he talked about – the customer being central to the marketing concept, and the marketing “state of mind” – where marketing is everyone’s concern.

 What business you are in is one of those fundamental questions that is at the heart of competitor intelligence. I’m not sure its one we have thought about enough in the library sector. When I think about the academic library I am in, and the work I do, I increasingly think I am in the business of helping people get qualifications by passing papers – yes I provide information and facilitate access to resources and build collections etc, but fundamentally I’m here to help students make a success of their studies (and staff their research and teaching). It made me think about the vexed question of information literacy – going back to the marketing concept, is information a need students have, or is it one we should create! And part of that comes back to being clear about the value it would have for them.

Key learnings:

  • reiteration of what marketing is all about including the importance of focus on the customer, marketing is everybodys business. Marketing as a state of mind is critical – and it just confirmed my desire to continue to spread the word on this!

Domains – currency of professional knowledge; communcation and professional relationships (blogged on my marketing blog and on staff blog); professional leadership (encouraged other staff to come along to the talk and they did)

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