Month: July 2012
Wikipedia defines Business Networking as, “a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities.” Of course, there are all kinds of other networked human beings who use a similar approach to accomplish goals or tasks that may not on the surface be about business. But Wikipedia seems to have no such entry. The Riley Guide defines Networking in its own way – which has more to do with humans finding ways to interact with other human beings.
My life as a library worker, volunteer and intern with plans for a lifetime of work in libraries is one that will surely require more and more networking in order to learn new techniques and best practices, gather information about potential projects and to increase the odds of finding the perfect next job necessary to accompany each new stage of my professional development and skill set. There are lots of suggestions as to what tools produce the best results in this area. Within library-dom, there are plenty who say that staying abreast of events and discussions within professional associations produces quality results. I am of course referring to associations such as American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, and Special Libraries of America among others.
I am very interested in reactions – which leads me to my first question: Does anyone have real stories (hopefully about library work) to share that show examples of how networking has grown your professional persona and added to potential (past occurrences or planned) for new jobs or projects? Any productive response that encourages dialogue on this topic is appreciated and can be added as a comment in this post.
There is, however, a second interesting aspect to Networking – that of connected computers. Two years ago, David Fincher directed the very popular and slightly controversial film, The Social Network. Hard to believe that it has already been two years. Since then, obviously, Facebook has entered a new phase of its business model, that of increasing its levels of advertising within its popular platform and floating itself onto the Stock Market with its IPO. But one of the constant mantras spouted by the character named Mark Zuckerberg in the film is that he really wants to connect people. But what happens as the film progresses? Well, most of the groups of people, even supposedly good friends, fragment as the plot moves toward the ending credits. Slightly ironic, but definitely amusing and worthy of note at least for those interested in film. One can’t say this is inevitable. But one can say that the first thing actually connected via Facebook is computers. And in so being connected (networked), Facebook, as only one such platform, has become widely used for promotion, company blogs and updates from all kinds of institutions (including libraries). This shows me there is still a hierarchical aspect to this technology – social media and networking platforms both – which may prove a limitation to internet based networking and knowledge dissemination as a whole.
This brings me to my second question: Does anyone have real examples (hopefully about library work) they can share on how networked computer or internet-based networking tools specifically have grown your professional persona and added to potential (past occurrences or planned) for new jobs or projects? And, again, Any productive response that encourages dialogue on this topic is appreciated and can be added as a comment in this post.
John Payne Collier (1789-1883)* was a 19th Century English literary scholar, Shakespeare expert and publisher. He was quite respected in his day. But over time, it came to light Collier forged some of the data he used to justify some literary “discoveries.” He is still respected, but he’s a controversial fellow within the domain of Shakespeare Studies.
The Folger Shakespeare Library has a large collection of writings by and letters to & from John Payne Collier in its collection. The library has gradually been creating online finding aids, coded in EAD metadata standards, for subsets of Collier related items in its holdings. Presently, I have been writing a new finding aid, one that will eventually be found in its finding aid database, for letters written from the early 1830s toward his death 50 + years later. This finding aid creation is accomplished via Archivists Toolkit, a fantastically useful piece of software that works as an interface between content keyed into the finding aid (such as Scope and Content and other archival description data) and the XML file that is processed through style sheets to produce the way the finding aid is structured for the open web – the way it looks. The value of this process is that each finding aid does not need to be coded from scratch in XML. It can, however, be edited later in Oxygen XML Editor to change content or to link items such as objects found in Folger’s Luna Insight Digital Image database.
The upshot is that my time interning on this project will result in publication of this latest collection finding aid – an action which will provide even better access to and promotion for Folger’s superb collections.
* This link for Library of Congress’ Authority Records connects the portal because each search is only available in discrete search-sessions.