Saturday, April 14, 2018

Webinar Debrief and Conference

March was a busy month. I presented on a webinar on alternative careers in librarianship and then spent the next week at the HEUG conference with some personal travel capped onto the end. I had hoped to be able to post the slide for the webinar though I don’t know if they will be posted. (If they are then I will make an addendum to this post with the link.) I thought the presentation went well overall though I sped thru my slides a little too quickly and was not as organized as I would like in outlining my points. This is my third webinar and I have not gotten the hang of public speaking. I think I still need more experience and as much it doesn’t come naturally/ is not my strong suit I need to do it more.

The presentations genesis is that librarians can save any organization money by helping knowledge workers focus more on producing work product and less on information plumbing. The plumbing is refers to handling the necessary though time consuming informational foundational work (search for prior art on the project, uploading work to the DMS, researching aspects of the project etc) that is part of their job. Any company wants their workers focused on what they are best equipped and skilled at doing while minimizing extraneous work. In a world where information is quickly expanding I think the future of work is focusing on a singular idea or function. Librarians play an invaluable role in this change as they can help sift thru the external information and catalog the internally created information. Librarians in an organization are often considered an expense though if you align yourself with revenue then you’re able to better advocate for resources and expanding your practice.

The Higher Ed User Group or HEUG is for users of the Peoplesoft Campus Solutions database which I am now a user at MPOW. It was a fantastic conference where I learned a great deal that I can bring back to my office. The conference this year was held in Salt Lake, which is a lovely city to visit. (For anyone working in Campus Solutions I would highly recommend they attend as you’ll learn a great deal.) As you can imagine, higher ed is getting more concerned with data and using data to help make decisions. There seems to be a lot of focus on tools, extracting data, and data in the cloud which as a tech enthusiast I enjoy though as a librarian I see the data literacy aspect is the next step. What do you want the data for/how will the data inform your decisions? Institutions large and small (or even individuals) need to understand the data and then use that data to make the best choice. There was a speaker at the conference who said that we need data curators and then referenced librarians as people who act as curators (Note: I thanked him for his shout out after the session). As a society we are drowning in data and that is a very different situation than we’ve been in the past. As more and more data becomes available curation is more and more important. Part of that curation is choosing what is valuable (and what is considered fine to collect re: privacy) and then what we do with the data. I love data (and data tools) though more important is what we do with the data to inform and understand our decisions.