Hi everyone. I’m Rebecca Parker and I’m one of 4 regional coordinators for the New Graduates group in Victoria. It’s great to see that this blog is already so active and taking on a life of its own—it supports what we’ve always known: that for new librarians, life moves too fast for a static webpage!
So, a little about me … I come from a writing and editing background and graduated from ‘library school’ with a Master of Information Management from Curtin in mid-2007. I’m still a ‘new-ish’ librarian though not a really new one any more …
In many ways, my professional experience in libraries so far can be described as ‘not your average library job’. Some of you may remember my presentation at NLS2008, where I talked about academic libraries offering more to professional librarians than reference work. My role as Research Services Librarian at Swinburne Library is a new one this year, and the kind of work I do at Swinburne is primarily about finding new ways for academic libraries to support research within universities. This includes managing digital libraries (aka repositories, ghastly term, shudder); publishing open access content; and ensuring that our services are tailored to the needs of both researchers and corporate areas of the University.
One of the most exciting things I’ve been involved with so far is the NicNames Project, where I served as subject expert on a project to work out how best to display name variants in digital libraries. We held focus groups with researchers to find out what they expected from search interfaces, and how a search interface would best display one person with many name variants if we nuked everything and started again. This was groundbreaking work because it meant we were suggesting that library authority control didn’t necessarily work in the research context and we were open to new ideas. And it was really exciting to actually be face to face with a room full of real library users and finding out what we did that they liked, and what drove them crazy!
There’s only one thing that really annoys me about being a librarian, and that’s the stereotypes. We really need to change the prevailing attitudes to librarianship both within our own industry and the wider community; the only way to do this is by setting positive examples. There’s a new Facebook group for librarians called ‘Help a Librarian Out’ . It’s a social experiment that aims to connect all the librarians throughout the world so they can help each answer questions and share knowledge. What a great idea! Except that the group’s profile picture is a woman with her hair up wearing old-fashioned glasses. Pleeease.
For a better example of what librarians really are: passionate, devoted, caring and humanitarian … but with a sense of humour all the same … I highly recommend watching the slides from Romany and Suzanne’s presentation.
That’s enough from me for the moment. Like many librarians, I tend to be a bit verbose. Not that that’s a stereotype or anything …