Learning Curves


We are still unpacking boxes and moving furniture about the place here at NPD towers, so have perhaps neglected our blog a bit. If you have been following our Twitter or our Facebook page, you will hopefully have picked up some useful advice and news. Some of our Tweets and posts have highlighted the value of volunteering, attending events and just simply maintaining some semblance of an idea as to what is important for your professional development. It is this which we hope to encourage during our events and also via our blog et al.

The NPD team is a ragtag bunch, all having a diverse range of professional interests. This has lead to a rather varied undertaking of projects which has in turn required us to adapt or expand our skill sets. Officially, none of us are no longer students (although some are clinging on). However, our need to continue learning has not stopped.

Just some of the following work is ongoing by our team    in   their various positions: creating and management of a digital library, social media marketing, digitisation and editing work, serials management, special needs work,  cataloguing special collections, academic research, creating and conducting information literacy sessions and perhaps most importantly setting up NPD and organising the forthcoming event. This is not an exhaustive list, and the team consists of only a few members at present. Unsurprisingly, the broad scope of work has presented challenges.

If we take our resident researcher for a start, who jumped at the chance to be involved in the project, they quickly found themselves asking “how do I do this again?” It is not long since any of us have finished our own studies, yet this doubt emerged. What did they do? They went back to whatever notes they still had, re-read articles they recalled and dusted off some of their books. Finally they just dived in and started the research.

Our other members have found themselves getting to grips with content management systems, evaluating them thoroughly and gaining technical know how as they went. They have attempted to learn the finer points of a number of different metadata schema. We have seen different approaches to managing serials, and have spoken about how institutional budgets for such things can really have an impact on the amount of work one does, but also the method. We have learned quickly the power of effective social media marketing, and will continue to seek improvements.

We have been quite lucky however. Not just because we have been afforded these opportunities to work and gain experience, but because we were all aware that our learning would not stop once we had handed in our last assignment. We have attended events, conferences, seminars, training days and talks to gain insights that have proven to be helpful. We have spoken to each other often, sharing our own knowledge when needed. We have expanded and leaned on our professional networks (perhaps a little too much), using the expertise that is at hand.

It may be easy to think that by attempting so much, you’ll end up forgetting a lot, or miss important details. We would  suggest that you stay active, get involved in projects that interest you when you can and get to events. They will add value to you in some  way by refining or simply refreshing skills.

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