Getting your name out there – presentation slides

In late July I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the amazing conference that is the 7th New Librarians Symposium, or NLS7 for short.

After a bit of a relax, lots of sleep and a few good books I’m now in the process of converting my presentation into a blog post and to putting my experience of the conference into understandable sentences – so stay tuned.

In the interim, here’s my slides. I’ve also included all the Twitter action from my presentation at


Internet Librarian International 2013 – Tweets from day 1 of the conference

Unfortunately I’m not in London attending this conference BUT there is some great stuff going on on Twitter about the conference so that those of us who aren’t attending don’t miss out entirely 🙂 

I’ve put together a Storify of my personal ‘best’ bits 

The hashtag for the conference is #iti2013

The conference program is available at 

ALLA 2013 – Embedded Librarian, David Shumaker

ImageOn Monday 23 September 2013, I attended David Shumaker’s pre-conference workshop, The Embedded Librarian, as part of ALLA 2013. I also got to hear David’s presentation at the conference so this update is an amalgamation of both.

What is an embedded librarian?

What embedded means is highly dependent upon your personal situation. There are however 3 key attributes to embedded librarianship. These are:

(1) Strong working relationships with individual information users as well as the community of information users

(2) Shared goals between the library and the library users. The library is accutely aware of the goals of the users and seeks to fulfil them

(3) Customised high-valued and unique contributions to clients.

Why should we be embedded? We are operating in a disrupted environment.

The internet is THE disruptive technology of our generation, it is our printing press. The internet has remade every element of information dissemination in society. It has disrupted the way we provide our services, the way we work, our skill sets and expertise. We are not the only ones affected however, it has disrupted our employers.

But fear not because it’s not all bad news, the disruption presents an opportunity for those who are willing to evolve and transform to meet this environment. Not responding to any of the changes of the environment is the equivalent to a professional death sentence. As Clay Shirky notes:

“You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone! Has never been much of a business model”. As a profession we need to embrace the opportunity this disruption affords to fill new roles and break open the librarian profession box.

The professionals who succeed within this environment are those who are smart marketers of their skills, understand the organisation and possess information fluency, possess the skills and ability to train individuals for effective knowledge management.

How do we become embedded?

Shumaker identified a four step process to become embedded.

1) build relationships with users

2) focus on understanding your users work

3) share your users goals and contribute to achieving them

4) be an integral member of the community

All four elements need to be considered and implemented strategically as you need to balance the aims and skills of the library/information professionals with the interests and aims of your users. You need to become an integral member of the user community without them losing sight of the fact that you have a unique set of skills and expertise. The goal of being embedded is not to become a ‘yes woman’ or ‘yes man’ but to be able to be on-the-ground filling the information needs of your users. Being proactive about their information needs and being able to predict/pre-empt your clients information needs as a consequence of an in-depth understanding of their information needs and current activities is the key to embedded behaviour.

What does this mean for your current activities?

You progress from being the following states:

– Transaction based to relationship focused: One interaction leads to the next. Continual and interrelated interactions benefit both the user and the librarian resulting in increased understanding between the two.

– Generic service to specialised service

– Commodity based service to an value added service

– Apart from the practice to engaged with the practice. There is no ‘us and them’ between the librarian and the user, the division doesn’t exist.

– Service provider to a team partner utilising their skills in whatever way that helps the user.

So what does all this mean? The key message from all of this is:

‘Don’t stop where the user requested you to stop! Consider how you can pre-empt their next step? How can you help?’

Are you ready to change?

Movement to an embedded model is a significant change. The readiness of the organisation should be assessed with respect of the organisational readiness and the library readiness.

Key factors of organisational readiness are:

– executive champions

– respected clients

-existing relationships with middle management

– organisational autonomy

– a supportive organisational culture

Key factors of librarian readiness are:

– experience levels in your librarians – this is important because you’re putting librarians in the ‘field’ they need to be experts at research and analysis, teaching and content management.

– the context and politics of the organisation must also be assessed

– domain knowledge of the librarians needs to be ‘better than best’. The librarians must know the ins and outs of the field in which they will be embedded

– the librarians must also have fantastic interpersonal and social skills

How do you plan for the change?

When implementing an embedded librarian you should employ the integral elements of organisational change. Kotter identifies the eight steps for leading organisational change:

1) establishing a sense of urgency

2) creating the guiding coalition

3) developing a change vision

4) communicating the vision for buy-in

5) empowering broad-based action

6) generating short-term wins

7) never letting up, and finally

8) incorporating changes into the culture

Guidance on all 8 steps are available from Kotter International

In addition to these 8 elements of change, Shumaker identified 3 key elements for embedded librarian projects:

1) Managers must lead – managers must be proactive, they must commit and lead the support for the project. With manager support the library and the user groups will follow

2) Prioritise actions – commencing an embedded project is a significant change and should be undertaken strategically. Assess where you should be embedded first, prioritise your actions with perspective of looking for the easy wins as well as the longer-term opportunities.

3) Run pilot projects – run pilots to work out what works. Find a model of success and replicate it.

How do you sustain and evaluate the success of your embeddedness?

There are four key elements to evaluating and sustaining your embedded librarian these are; marketing, evaluation, best practices for management and best practices for library.

1) Marketing – never stop marketing your project! Promote the project in multiple ways to ensure that all users are aware of the project.

2) Evaluate – evaluate the project in multiple ways. Assess the project with respect to the financial measure, librarian anecdotes, metrics and transaction counters.

3) ensure that library best practices are set and performance is assessed against these measures

4) ensure that best practices in staff and customer management are also maintained.

What are the potential pitfalls of embedded? and how can you manage them?

The road to becoming embedded isn’t going to be all roses. Here are some of the pitfalls and how to combat them.

– You may meet with resistance to the project: If this is the case, start small. Build support for the project with targeted pilots to generate support and word of mouth promotion

– You may need to scale up but don’t have the resources to do so: Strategically position your staff as they don’t necessarily need to be everywhere. You should also consider alternative funding models

– Settling for not really embedded: Don’t settle for close-enough. Constantly assess how ’embedded’ the team is and whether it can be improved

– Don’t let embedded mean isolated: Make sure that your embedded librarians still communicate. Create opportunities for embedded librarians to collaborate.

– Make sure that your embedded librarians don’t get burnout: Set up mechanisms for embedded librarians to share/reallocate work so as to manage the ups and downs of their workload effectively.

Additional re3sources


Whilst these are not the slides that David presented at the workshop or his keynote presentation on Wednesday morning, they provide an overview of the key elements and considerations of embedded librarianship:


David’s paper is available at

Facebook and Twitter – Intelligen​t Informatio​n Symposium 2013

Two weeks ago (6 June) I went to the Intelligent Information Symposium 2013 half day workshops. After a bit of workshop hopping I settled in to an afternoon of Facebook and Twitter presented by Laurel Papworth.

Laurel’s been through the dark ages of social media and come out the otherside. Starting in social media in the dial up days of chat rooms in 1989, she has become an international presenter on social media strategy and currently also lectures at the University of Sydney. Her website is here

I was worried that this was going to be a Facebook and Twitter for dummies course and I wasn’t going to get anything out of it however Laurel (thankfully) put a lot of those fears aside. Whilst there was a lot of explaining the basics of Facebook and Twitter answering such questions as ‘what is a like?’ and ‘what is a hashtag?’ She took all interactions and considerations of the online environment from an anthropological viewpoint which I found very interesting and challenged my current perceptions and social media strategy.

Social media tribes

Laurel highlighted that social media is now over run with tribes and whilst it’s important to be active and present upon the established and ever developing social mediums, successful interaction and engagement with your target audience and users can only be facilitated through contacting and interacting with the tribe to which the user belongs. What does she mean by tribe? Well family ñ your traditional family, your work family, your family of hobby lovers, your family on the web that all love Dr Who, your family on the web that all are fanatical about eating 5 servings of vegetables those groups and all those connections that you develop on the internet and interact with. Every single one of those is a tribe and that tribe possesses influence over your choices. See my “graph” from the presentation on this at :

You are more likely to purchase the same brands as your mum, you a more likely to take film advice from your friend who you know has similar movie tastes to you and your likely to steer away from the goodreads recommendations of that weird friend you have who only reads paranormal romance. So what does all of this have to do with social media? Well the long and the short of it is as a consequence of these established perceptions you’re more likely to take notice of and read content shared by a trusted source in a relevant community.

If you want to spread your information, message or content you need to plant it in the right tribes and if it’s good then the tribe will do the rest. And the tribe isn’t limited to one medium it will share content across everything! See the below link to see how the ripple effect works.

I found this ‘seeding’ strategy particularly interesting because I have recently established twitter and Flickr profiles for ALLA NSW (@ALLA_NSW) and am wondering how to create some noise around the profiles and encourage people to interact and engage with the profiles.

In the workshop Laurel also provided guidance on the categories of communication which will best encourage interaction. There are four overarching types of social media interactions:

§ Testimonials – the I’m talking at you not so effective communication On occasion testimonials have their place however I’m highly skeptical of any organisation that only issues testimonials – this was a sentiment which was consolidated by Laurel. This seems to be old news but it seems that it’s difficult for organisations to put into practice, so I will repeat it: Online communication should not be a one way conversation!!!!! If you talk at your audience with a spiel they may be informed (provided they take notice) however they won’t be engaged.

§ Q&A – the I want to ask you a question will you take the time to give me an answer. This can be an easy and effective way to communicate with your user group. With simple options like – share if you agree or like if you think this. However you do need to be careful. If you put a question out there you may receive answers that you don’t want. I think the risk of ‘not so helpful’ comments should not be a deterrent.
How you manage negative engagement can often draw more interest and interaction from the online community. A fantastic example of this was back around 2007/08 when a batch of batteries a Dell computer exploded due to a mechanical error. Despite the batteries being manufactured by Sony, Dell got the brunt of the online ridicule. So what did Dell do? They posted a video of a faulty laptop igniting on their blog. Below the blog was an outline of what happened, how it happened and why it won’t happen again. They didn’t pretend that the problem didn’t exist, they acknowledged it and even assisted in the distribution of a trending video but also distributed their own message with it. Not everyone on the internet is going to be happy with the message you spread no matter how harmless that message is but it’s better to be there than to not participate.

§ Distribution – the I’m distributing my and others content Requests to please retweet or share my message. This shouldn’t be used too often. People will start ignoring you.

§ Interactions Interacting directly with your user group can be challenging. But a strategic thinking cap can make it a lot easier. Identifying key influencers within a user group and interacting with them can be a great way of spreading your message and creating buzz around your product (be it an organisation, a message, information or even your own personal brand).

The Twitter stream for the Symposium is #iiau There’s some interesting stuff going on so give it a look!