5 candles. Not 4 candles..or fork handles.

5 candles on my blog birthday cake, on its fifth anniversary*!

I’ve done quite a bit since I started this blog up: Chartered, (hopefully) Revalidated, been a Committee member, been a Convenor, organised training events, gone to training events, formally and informally mentored other information professionals (and been mentored by them in return), set up the UK Library Bloggers wiki, pottered about the edges of interesting projects like the Library Routes and Build India A Library initiatives, been involved in the setting up of various wikis for various purposes, taken part in a course of online study, attended formal conferences and informal unconferences (that is such a horrible word!), and along the way, found a ton of entertaining book-related gifts on Etsy.

In other words – good lord, I got professional! And it didn’t even hurt! Keeping the blog going (despite long periods where I’ve thought “I really have nothing to talk about”, or “I have loads to talk about, but I’d probably be fired if I did”) has been less traumatic than I would have though, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to type all my highbrow and lowbrow thoughts (admittedly, it’s generally more of the lowbrow), and see if anyone else shares them.

So, happy birthday dear blog, may we have many more years together 🙂 And if you’ve tolerated reading this for any of that time – thanks too, especially for not laughing too loudly when I’m being utterly dim 😀

All birthday gifts gratefully received….

*Well, it was on the 17th of June – I’m not so hot on dates sometimes.

cpd23 – Thing 2

I’ve been blog hopping!

Using the cpd23 Delicious bookmarks, I’ve been having a wander around some participants blogs. I feel I already know certain bloggers reasonably well, so after a wander round their blogs, and some commenting, I branched out into other blogs….the blogs of STRANGERS!  I joined in on an interesting discussion in the comments of Libraries, the Universe and Everything, about what number of RSS feeds people feel is reasonable. Some people are certainly able to deal with a lot more feeds than me, although I suppose it’s also not just the number of feeds, but the activity levels of each of those feeds that may be a factor in how many is “too many”.

 I have to admit though, I kind of lost track of where I had been, as I would click on the link of a blog commenter, then comment and follow a link to another comment on their blog…and forget to click the “send emails of following comments” option. D’oh!

I also learned that finding the blogs of commenters on other peoples blog posts isn’t always straightforward – I’ve never seen a Gravatar, or clicked on one before, so when I saw someone commenting here using one, it took me a few clicks to work out where their blog was! It also led me to using Google Translate to read the blog linked to, whereas before I would just have clicked away.

I quite liked this commenting Thing – when I come across a blog I like, unless I already have some sort of “relationship” with the blogger (eg via Twitter), I quite often I don’t comment as it feels like I may be pushing myself unwantedly into a private conversation (yup, I’d be the one at the party worried about talking to strangers, in case the strangers think I’m a fool), but knowing that cdp23 participants are actively wanting to comment and have their posts commented on fells more like I’ve been “invited”.

cpd23 Week One – Blogging

So, week one of cpd23 begins, and participants are asked to set up a blog, if they don’t already have one. Well, I’ve had this blog (in it’s previous incarnation as “Jennie Law” for four years, so I think I’m good for the “setting up and getting used to blogging” part of Thing One 🙂

I set this blog up originally as just somewhere to share the interesting things I found around the internet, with no real expectation of many others finding or reading it (and hence very little thought about a good name). At the time, there were only one or two other law librarians that I knew of blogging, so it didn’t seem like it would be something long term, but for that moment, it felt good to be able to share some random thoughts with other law librarians, and to be able to learn from their blogs. I’ve stuck with it, despite a few periods of thinking “I’ve got nothing to say!” (and then finding a month or so later that I suddenly had a flood of things to say), and now that I’m able to contrast it against other methods of sharing thoughts like Twitter, I’m appreciating more the ability it gives me to expand on ideas though masses of words, meandering as they may be! And the interaction that comes through comments being left here for me, and me going off and commenting elsewhere.

Next up…so, why am I taking part in cpd23?

Well, I work in a law firm. Law firms fall into the category of “special libraries” along with health libraries, science libraries, and all sorts of other places most people don’t know exists, and they’re quite different places to work in, compared to the “usual” libraries, ie public, school, academic. Typically in Scotland, law firm libraries are staffed by only one person, or if you’re lucky, a few people: despite having many firms with multiple offices, often serving multiple jurisdictions, Scots law firms libraries do not have the luxury of lots of library staff. Many law librarians work as solo librarians, which can be quite isolating, so, we have our own groups and associations to help us network, and get the specialist training we need. We can also be put under quite a lot of pressure from our users, and depending on the workplace culture, can either be respected and needed, or looked upon as money-draining annoyances. The need to develop skills and knowledge in this niche area, while working alone or with little support, and constantly needing to defend the existence of the service, can lead to someone working in law to ignore the wider information world, as it’s all they can do to keep up with their own world.

I’ve tried to avoid becoming too insular: I’m involved in my specialist professional group (The Scottish Law Librarians Group), I have good contacts with people in other information areas, I try to go to events outside my area if I can, I keep track of the Big Issues in the library world …but the risk is that I become too settled, and I lose the impetus to do those things, and to keep meeting new people (online, or in real life). I’m hoping CPD23 will give me a push to remind me not to sit back and let things pass over my head when it feel like it’ll be an effort to find out what’s going on, and not to get lazy!

I’m also looking forward to finding some more new librarian blogs: I did the massive trawl to find them all in the first place to set up the UK Library Bloggers wiki, and the periodic updates it needed to add the new blogs I found or was sent, until the wiki was opened for public updates over a year ago. I still manage the entries (for people who claim to be librarians, there’s a lot of individuals out there that can’t put things in alphabetical order!), but I’ve not really had a chance to look at the blogs where people have added themselves…and really, I should be looking!

And now for a disclaimer: I may have difficulties with some of the Things for this course: I can’t talk much (if at all) about certain topics, like my work, the technology we use in the firm, financial issues, training resources, any personal feelings I have about anything I do or don’t do etc…so if I’m not posting on a certain topic, or being annoyingly vague and neutral, it’s not because I’m lazy or not getting into the spirit of things, I just have to be sensible about what I say 🙂
Because yes, some of my co-workers have discovered this blog, and they do know who I am…. 😉

I renamed myself…now I’m a dumpling.

So, for various reasons stated previously, I decided to shoogle the blog about a bit, and I finally decided on what I think you can agree is perhaps a somewhat random name. It doesn’t have a hint of law or libraries in it, but then, quite often, neither do my posts!

The name does have some little bit of reason behind it: it’s part of the lyrics to a Jimmy Logan song my Mum used to sing to me as a child…and I’m pretty childish myself 😉

So, this is my first post as a Dumpling! 😀

My previous contact email address will still work if you have that, but old blog links won’t, so feel free to update your bookmarks if you have any 🙂

*waddles off in a dumpy, dumplingy manner*

A broken habit

No, this doesn’t relate to a tragic and unlikely accident involving damage to a nuns wimple (although that sounds like it would make a most excellent story). 
It’s about me being blank. 
Vacant. 
Uninspired.
I have lost my mojo.
I am without the wherewithal for blogging.
This may, or may not, be a tragic state of affairs, depending on how much or little joy my erratic posts bring into your life.
I have also yet to finalise a blog name change.
It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong.
Meh.

Bear with me, while I try and gather my meandering thoughts again on an occasional basis, and throw them into a blog post.

Another year, another blogday

Yes, I feel all proud, because it’s coming up to birthday-time for the UK Library Bloggers Wiki...it’s toddling along nicely all by itself (with just the occasional spammer attack – it’s really quite satisfying to get to ban and block people!), with people generally seeming quite happy with the process of adding their blogs themselves.

Since I last looked in July 2010, there have continued to be additions in various categories.

                                          July 2010                                        March 2011
Institutional bloggers              135                                                     152
Individual bloggers                 90                                                       107
Chartership blogs                    5                                                         6
Information professionals         8                                                         8
Suppliers                                 8                                                         8

Total:                                      281 blogs

So, a growth in institutional/workplace bloggers, and individual/personal bloggers too, and a solitary, brave Chartership blog.

I wonder if the 2 years without any change, then last years small growth in Chartership blogs is because people are already blogging, and then decide to Charter, and incorporate that aspect of professional development into their existing blog? Or are fewer people Chartering? Or are those who are Chartering using other methods to log their progress?

I’ve also decided to remove the Yahoo Pipes combines RSS feed link for Institutional and Individual blogs from the front page of the wiki – it was initially done as an experiment, and now that people are able to add their own blogs, unless I then go in each time after I get the wiki has been edited alert”, get their RSS feed, and go edit the Yahoo Pipe, it’s never going to be current/accurate. And I’m afraid I just don’t have the time to be fiddling like that constantly!

Of course, I haven’t clicked on each of those 281 blog links, so I’m quite sure that at least some of them are now defunct – my plan to go through them, and remove the dead blogs to another section has definitely slipped to the bottom of my to-do list. Maybe I’ll be more inspired to do it if I get a prize. Can I get a prize?

What’s in a name?

In the case of this blog, it’s a name that had no particular thought or planning behind it – I had no idea whether I would actually want to keep it going, what I would blog about, or that anyone would ever read it.

Well, it’s almost 4 years later (17th June 2007 is blog birthday, if we’re counting), and the blog’s still here, so I think we can now safely assume that it’s probably going to be sticking around. And the name’s been getting on my nerves a bit…you have no idea the amount of people who have found this blog looking for ladies called Jennie Law or Jenny Law. Personally, I’m not actually called Jennie Law, so I’m no help to these poor searchers, although for the right fee I could maybe consider pretending to be…
I also don’t blog a huge amount about law: I’m not a lawyer, I just have the job of finding stuff for lawyers. Sometimes that process amuses me, sometimes it annoys me, and I blog about it. Sometimes I write about library issues, or technology stuff. Sometimes I post about entirely pointless things that entertain me. Zombies have also appeared in some posts. Lets just say I have eclectic tastes…

So, I have decided…the blog needs renamed. But I’m not altogether sure what I’d call it. Do any responsible growneded-ups out there have any good suggestions?