Wrap-up from #OLASC14 Presentation

Speakers Badge

On Friday (January 30th) I presented at the OLA Superconference 2014 here in Toronto. My co-presenter Kim Stymest and I presented a session called “Beyond LinkedIn: New technologies for career development”. It was well attended! And people had great questions. I’m glad it’s done (I was so nervous!) but it was super fun and professional invigorating.

We mentioned a ton of different technologies in the session and thought a digital handout would be useful. You can find the .pdf of the handout here.

Here’s an overview of what we discussed:

Your Personal Brand

Kim spoke about the concept of your personal brand – or, as I like to call it, your career narrative. How are you going to present yourself online? What past lives are swimming around your Google search results?

Your Online Presence

I spoke about how to create an online presence. Using the notion of an ePortfolio – and how to create one from an existing blog that you likely have – I touched on the following:

  • Control your online presence and persona
  • Use as an extension of your resume
  • Illustrate your reflective practice
  • Grapple with issues, skills, or challenges you are facing
  • Showcase your talents in a variety of formats

From there, we walked through a smattering of useful tools that might help showcase your talents:

ePortfolio Platforms

Blogging Platforms:

Drag and drop websites:

I mentioned that – while the drag and drop sites are fun to make and all – I suggest sticking with a blogging platform (most of the people in the audience already have a blog anyway).

I actually went about transforming my blog into an ePortfolio, because I know I struggle to get new content up on my blog (as evidenced under the “Blog” tab!). By promoting static content (teaching statement, presentations, resume, projects, etc.), readers don’t see an outdated blog at the landing page; instead they see it as a part of this larger, robust site. I feel like it presents a better picture of my accomplishments, while also de-emphasizing the space that is date-stamped.

Need some inspiration? We brought up a few sites we’d come across that are fabulous examples of librarian ePortfolios:

Jenn Peters: http://jenniferpeters.wordpress.com
Lisa Rabey: https://lisa.rabey.net
Lauren Pressley: http://laurenpressley.com/library/

Content is king when it comes to ePortfolios, and these librarians have done a great job of making key content accessible to readers.

The next step is getting your resume up. Presumably we all have LinkedIn accounts that showcase your job experience. There is a trend towards creating visual resumes as well. Here are some tools to help you do that:



Be forewarned: Do not get excited and build a pretty, pretty visual resume in ALL these tools. They multiply and you will forget about them. And then a potential employer will find them swimming around Google and think, “huh. This is very inconsistent from the application package we were sent.” Obviously this should not affect your job-ability – but it creates a friction that is better to eliminate by using ONE of these tools (or, my preference: NONE of these tools… I like to have my resume on my website and that’s it. MS Word is my tool of choice).

That said, there are a few caveats to my rallying cry against these tools:

1) About.me is a nice option if all you want is the digital equivalent of a business card. IF you don’t want to go the route of a full-blown ePortfolio, try about.me. Here are some lovely examples:

Example of about.me: The Natural Librarian

Example of about.me: The Natural Librarian

about.me example: Marcy Bidney

Example of about.me: Marcy Bidney

As well, there are examples of how to embed a visual CV into your ePortfolio nicely. I think Lauren Pressley is smart: She’s got her “serious” CV posted on her website as a plain document, and her pretty visual resume linked alongside it. Readers can see both her content-rich, plain looking CV, as well as her fun, content-lite visual resume in the same space:

//End rant about visual resume tools.

On to ideas on what kind of content to include in your ePortfolio. We walked through tools to give you inspiration, and tools to showcase your skills in multimedia formats.

Gathering Inspiration

Resume Design

Need some inspiration for your resume design? Check out Pinterest! There are lots of pins and boards dedicated to visual resumes and resume design.

Resume Design: Check out Pinterest


Getting nice images into your blog posts, slidedecks, learning objects, or social media spaces can help create an attractive space that draws the eye.
As a sidenote, Kim and I are converts of Presentation Zen – as our slidedeck suggests – which gives you some great ideas for designing image-driven, striking, user-friendly slidedecks.
It’s important to use images that are high-quality, pertinent, but also free to use. Here are some ways to find images tht do not limit use:
Flickr: Limit your advanced search to “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” to access free (and often better-quality) CC images.
Haiku Deck: Designed as a tool for making image-driven slide decks. Very good search functionality, to connect you with a better set of search results. Easily exports to PowerPoint.
Google Images: Obviously this is not new! But what is new is that Google Images now allows you to limit your search results by licensing type – limit your search results by User Rights to access images labeled for reuse. 
Google Images

Learning Object Repositories:

I use learning object repositories to get ideas for the development of my teaching tools – everything from simple handouts, to sophisticated online learning modules. Check out these databases of learning objects for ideas and inspiration:

PRIMO: http://www.ala.org/CFApps/Primo/public/search.cfm
MERLOT: http://www.merlot.org/
CORIL: https://ozone.scholarsportal.info/handle/1873/6 (note: CORIL is defunct. But there is lots of good stuff in there. Possibly outdated, and not reflecting new technologies, but still good stuff. I like it.)
Quest Garden: http://questgarden.com


Infogr.am: http://infogr.am
Visual.ly: http://visual.ly
Pictochart: http://piktochart.com

Supporting Multimedia



Screen-o-matic: http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/
Jing:  http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html


Captivate:  http://www.adobe.com/ca/products/captivate.html
Camtasia:  http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html
Storyline by Articulate:  http://www.articulate.com/products/storyline-overview.php


Windows: Windows Movie Maker:  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows-live/movie-maker
Apple: iMovie:  www.apple.com/ca/mac/imovie

Slides and PDFs, Social Media Archives

Archive and embed your various file types within your ePortfolio:

Slideshare:  http://www.slideshare.net/
Scribd:  http://www.scribd.com/
Storify:  https://storify.com/

Infographic Tools:

Kim and I thought it might be useful to take trends coming up in job ads a lot – for example, experience working with data – and explore how you might capture your personal learning on such a topic using free online tools. Obviously one does not “pick up” research data management or data literacy or working with SAS. But finding lower-level tools and exploring them illustrates your willingness to learn new things and explore new tools.

If you have a data set, explore how to manipulate data and present it in a graphical way. Here are some free infographic tools:

Infogr.am: http://infogr.am
Visual.ly: http://visual.ly
Pictochart: http://piktochart.com

… And if you are at a loss for what type of data to use, generate a dataset using these free tools:

Wolfram Alpha:  www.wolframalpha.com (Exporting data to an excel file is a “pro” level function – but create a 30-day free trial to generate some data files.)

Worldbank.org:  http://data.worldbank.org

In my case, I’m just using my student evaluation data! Easy.

Your Professional Development

There are tons of free/cheap online learning opportunities for librarians. Here is a laundry list of ideas for your professional development:


Free online courses taught by universities. See my article about exploration of these tools for librarian PD here. I am taking Gamification right now! From one of the most prestigious business schools on the planet! For free!

Coursera: www.coursera.org
EdX: https://www.edx.org
Udacity: www.udacity.com

Open Courses:

MIT Open Courseware: http://ocw.mit.edu/
Open Yale Courses: http://oyc.yale.edu/

Free Learning:

Instructables: http://www.instructables.com/
Users post their own how-to instructions on creating everything from bird houses, to crocheted mittens, to ePortfolios.

Khan Academy: www.khanacademy.org
Learning modules are focused on topics within math, business and the sciences. Admittedly, these are geared towards K-12 students but even us older folk may not know much about Grade 12 Accounting or Differential Equations… 

Code Academy: http://www.codecademy.com/
Learn to code for free!

Cheap Learning:

Skillshare: http://www.skillshare.com/
Courses are normally $20-40 and focused on design skills (i.e. Adobe products, web design, lettering etc.

Library Learning (Cheap & Free):

ASIS&T Webinars: http://www.asis.org/Conferences/webinars/
Libraries Thriving: http://www.librariesthriving.org/
IFLA New Librarians webinars: http://npsig.wordpress.com/webinars/
JISC RSC: http://www.jiscrsc.ac.uk/

Your Online Community

Argh, this is the piece I struggled with the most: where do librarians connect online? I honestly don’t know. Personally, I connect via Twitter the most. Some ideas we came up with for the presentation include:

Academia.edu: http://www.academia.edu/
Mendeley: http://www.mendeley.com/ (both useful for sharing your research)

Twitter hashtags to check out:


Other ideas from the audience (thank you for your contributions, friends!):

LinkedIn groups: So, we sorta panned LinkedIn in the title of our session, but the groups are still good! Sounds like there is useful professional conversation taking place in there.

Listservs: Uuuuggghghhh I am Listservs! But alas, this is where most of our professional exchange continues to take place. I don’t know how they work. I don’t know how to sign-up or unsubscribe from them without looking foolish. Also: They are closed. Why can’t we just make those conversations centralised? And open-ish? And supportive of interactions that richer than just the Q and A textual format? Blergh.

I also wondered whether librarians could leverage spaces like Glassdoor to share information about working in various institutions? Hm.

We had some nice comments and feedback and some hilarity from Twitter. Kids these days, and their tweeting!

And really, if your professional website looks like this…. You clearly don’t need my help. You are SET. 😛

Phew! I think that sums it up. Thanks to everyone who came and I’m looking forward to continuing the dialogue! Through the internetz!


One response to “Wrap-up from #OLASC14 Presentation

  1. Pingback: The Fine Art of Creating An Online Professional Presence | Exit, Pursued By A Bear