Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Special Library Association Conference 2011

Special Libraries Association (SLA) is an international professional association  for library  and information professionals working in business, government, law, finance, non-profit, and academic organizations and institutions.

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) was founded in 1909 in the state of New York and is now the international association representing the interests of thousands of information professionals in over eighty countries worldwide.

Click on this link to find out more about the Special Libraries Association:   http://sla2011.tornado1.com/

The  2011 SLA conference  in Philadelphia provided me with the tremendous opportunity of   becoming "future ready" by exchanging ideas and connecting with thousands of information professionals.  

I learned many things from the lectures at the conference.  Below are the highlights of some of the lectures I attended.  

Thomas Friedman
The opening keynote speaker Thomas Friedman, winner of 3 Pulitzers and New York Times columnist, talked about how the global economic playing field is being leveled.  Thanks to the internet, globalization has taken off, and more and more people can collaborate together to create things and share it with the world. 

Since the world is now "flat":

  • The job market has become more competitive, because employers can reach out to people all over the world.  You have to be above average in order to stay competitive in the job market.  Employers no longer want people who do well at their job, but continuously reinvent their job.  They want people who can do critical thinking and reasoning too.  You need to find your “extra”, develop it, and exploit it.

  • Today cross-disciplinary studies  are more important than ever.  Thomas Friedman said if you spend your life in one silo, you won’t have the ingenuity to connect the dots.  Now more than ever, we need to synthesize and collaborate, incite innovation and inspiration, so that we can create universal connectivity.

  • Silos no longer exist; groups are getting broader and more diverse.  Subject specialty is no longer crucial.  Inter-disciplinary studies are becoming more and more relevant in today’s society.

  •  How we treat a person is more important than ever, because we live in a transparent world.  We are in the age of behavior, because we are under constant surveillance through social media networks.

  • Since there is more information than ever on the internet, we have to learn how to sift out the noise, and find the facts or the “golden nuggets” of information. As information professionals, we should be able to help people find these golden nuggets of information, while giving them a sense of ownership. 

Forensic Science Explained
I went to this lecture purely out of curiosity.  An FBI agent Gene Lanzillo taught us the basics of crime scene investigation.  At this lecture I learned:

  •          When people are deceased they have no constitutional right to privacy
  •          Don’t make assumptions about what happened, even if it looks obvious
  •          People at crime scenes wear hazmat suits, face masks and booties so that nothing is contaminated
  •         Dr. Edmond Locard (1877-1966) formulated the basic principle of forensic science: "Every contact leaves a trace". This became known as Locard's exchange principle.
  •          It takes them 30 minutes to set up each photograph
  •         They take several photographs of everything at several different angles
  •          They also use Nikon cameras, ultraviolet light systems, alternative light sources, pathfinders, and dental stone to make foot print impressions in the ground

So they say you have to be published
Step one to getting published:  Read, read, read
Step two:  Ask yourself…what is missing?  What are the real needs? 
Step three:  Meet those needs incrementally, excellent research develops slowly and other time
Step four:  Think cross-disciplinary
Step five:  Think about how to approach your problem and think carefully about your methodology
Step six:  Consult with colleagues
Step seven:  Create small pilot components of your project
Step eight:  Look up studies that need updating—
Step nine:  Develop a thick skin; some reviewers can be a little harsh
Step ten:  Participate in poster sessions, writing reviews and columns

  •          Keep a log of your ideas
  •          Practice writing as much as you can
  •          Be aware of things that spark your interests
  •          Watch for special issues
  •          Don’t sulk, take the feedback, fix the changes and submit your writing again
  •         Share your ideas with your mentors and colleagues by talking out loud, so you can clarify your thoughts.

Writing habits

  •          Develop a routine
  •          Create a schedule and stick to it
  •          Write regularly
  •          Create goals and deadlines
  •          Proofread before submission and read things aloud
  •          Find a writing partner. 
Core Competencies

  •          Choose an appropriate journal and follow their requirements and formatting guidelines

      Reviewer Criteria

  •          Topic of potential interest to readers
  •          Originality
  •          Clearly defined topic and purpose
  •          Appropriate choice of research methods and procedures
  •          Research results clearly presented and explained
  •          Logical/ justifiable conclusion
  •          Organized

Manuscript acceptance/rejection

  •          Accept
  •          Accept, with pending revisions
  •          Reject, but invite resubmissions
  •          Rejection
  •     If you get accepted with pending revisions, you should respond promptly.  If you do not want to make the revisions, you need to provide justifications for not wanting to make changes.  However, publishers do not like it when you quibble.  Finally, you need to submit the revised article to the editor with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, data, statistics, tables and figures. 

Alternative uses of the Library Degree
What employers are looking for?

  •          Employees who accepts challenges
  •          are Quick to learn and not afraid to change
  •          Flexible
  •          Resourceful—finds the best solution within a budget
  •          Positive attitude
  •          Someone who knows software, html, CSS
  •          The ability to thoroughly understand all levels of online search interfaces and data structure
  •          Broad knowledge of web applications and tools
  •          Understands the limited nature of the web

Ways to find work:

  •          Volunteer
  •          Network, network, network
  •          Be proactive
  •          Get out and show your knowledge
  •          Continue learning new things

Lastly, remember: 

  •          We are all self- employed
  •          Change is always heading our way
  •          The investments you make in yourself will define your career opportunities
  •          Forget about perfection, focus on resiliency and courage
  •          Let go of the attitude that --no one understands what it is I do
  •          Professional viability is reliant on our continuous ability to learn new things on demand and remain flexible
  •          Don’t get too comfortable or complacent. Keep working hard, take chances and always have an exit strategy. 
  •         Define your own value to a potential employer
  •          You learn a heck of a lot more from failure than from success, it’s okay to make mistakes
  •          The only time you learn something substantial is if you risk failure
  •          You are not a failure so long as you learned something from the experience
  •          Have confidence in your skill set—the world needs what you know
  •          Use LinkedIn!

Best Resume Practices

  •          There are no rules about resumes
  •          Always keep your resume updated
  •          Think about who your reader is
  •          Try to keep one document that is your basic resume and make changes when needed.  In other words, don’t have several different resumes for several different jobs.  This can be challenging to keep up with.
  •          Curriculum vitaes are better for international
  •          Resume must create a bridge between where you are now, and where you intend on going
  •          Create a bridge statement for your resume…What are your preferred skills and what makes you unique?  
  •          Highlight skills that would be applicable to the library position you are applying for
  •          Be quick, concise and clear
  •          Don’t go over two pages
  •          Divide your skills in areas that will match your bridge statement.  In other words, divide your skills into areas or skill buckets. 
  •          Project what it is you really enjoy doing
  •          Highlight your strengths
  •          Use key words because often times your resume is simply scanned for key words that fit the job description
  •          End on a strong note, begin on a strong note—most of the time resumes are scanned and not thoroughly read
  •          However, check for grammatical and spelling mistakes
  •          In your cover letter begin with…I was excited to read about the position, show enthusiasm and interest.  Let them know why it is you are interested in the job. 
  •          In the second paragraph of the cover letter, explain why it is you match the job description
  •          In the third paragraph, confirm you interest and how you can be contacted. 
Closing Keynote Speaker:  James Kane

James Kane has been recognized as one of the leading researchers and consultants in the science of loyalty and the role it plays in human relationships and the communities we form. He has merged the worlds of business, neuroscience and behavioral psychology.  From http://www.jameskane.com/
From his lecture, I learned:
  •    Predictions are based on the context of the present, so they are not always correct
  •  The reason why our species has survived is because we continue to work together
  • What keeps people together are relationships not politics--Human beings look for trust, belonging  and purpose
  •  Use insight to strengthen your relationships with other—look beyond what is obvious, show empathy and ask yourself—what is causing them to act this way?
  • Anticipate people’s needs before they ask you
  •  People like to be included
  • Connect with the people you interact with—go beyond the basics and share some commonalities
  • Talent is overrated, you need to work hard in order to be successful

If you have any questions about the conference, please feel free to contact me.  Also, if you would like to know of some people in the area that do career counseling and resume review, I would be happy to share that information with you.

Sincerely, Sarah Parnell

No comments:

Post a Comment