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November 26, 2014 / Christian M.

Presenting and Resume Reviewing

MAC-MLA poster 10-20-14


First poster presentation! (Photo taken by MAC-MLA)

My First Poster

In October, I attended the annual meeting for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association. It was held in Alexandria, VA. It was nice to reconnect with other librarians in the region that I don’t see very often. You can find a recap of some of the meeting sessions here on the MAC Messages Blog. What I want to highlight is… *drumroll*…my first poster presentation! I feel like a late bloomer, since I know some people who started presenting while in grad school, and I’m 1.5 years post graduation. Better late, than never, right?

My poster is entitled: “A User-Centered Approach to Redesigning the NLM Associate Fellowship Program Website.” During the first year of my fellowship at NLM, my projects included the redesign of the website used to recruit new Associates. This website had been sporting the same look since the 1990s and there were complaints that both content and design were in need of improvement. My poster focuses on the needs assessment I did at the beginning of the project, and the methods which can be utilized for any library website. I will write more about this project at another time, but if you would like to see my poster click here.

I felt a little overwhelmed when I first sat down to design the poster. I’ve seen some bad posters, I and didn’t want mine to be one of them. So I started with a Google search for guidance on creating a good poster, but I still felt overwhelmed, because there are so many sites with advice. Then I talked with the librarian who sponsored the website redesign project. We discussed what I have liked about other conference posters in the past, and what I usually focus on as the viewer of these posters. This was very helpful. I decided to make my poster with lots of visuals and minimal text. I used PowerPoint to create the poster, and most of my images came from 123rf.com.

The presentation experience was great. It was fun telling people about my project and discussing user-centered web design. I received positive feedback on the poster design and the new website (even met a few LIS students who were interested in the Fellowship and had used the new site). I’m looking forward to future poster presentation opportunities!

All About Blogging

On November 12th, I presented as one of the panelists for “Writing Series: Blogging for Work, Blogging for Life.” This presentation was sponsored by the DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. My co-presenters were Marie Kaddell and Aileen Marshall. I talked about finding the balance in sharing your personal and professional life online, and how I utilize blogging to engage with others in the library profession. Aileen talked about finding your voice and branding your blog. Marie talked about workplace blogging and being strategic in using the blogging experience. We each presented for about 10 minutes followed by Q & A with the audience. I was afraid we wouldn’t have many questions, but there was great audience participation and we had a really good discussion about blogging. I felt like I also benefited from the presentation, and gained some insight that will be helpful as I consider future directions and designs for my blog.

Resume Reviews — the Other side of the Table

Resume Review_AGLISS_11-13-14

Talking with Vita about medical librarianship. Photo taken by an unknown person at AGLISS 😉

On November 13th, I visited my graduate alma mater, Catholic University, for Mentoring and Resume Review Night hosted by the Association of Graduate Library and Information Science Students (AGLISS). I’ve been to several events like this as a student, but this is my first time attending as one of the resume reviewers. The reviewers sat one or two at a table, and the students could move around and talk to different reviewers. I had six students come and talk to me. One was interested in government libraries, one in academic libraries, one in medical libraries (yaay!), and three were from the health information technology (HIT) program (which falls under the library science department).

I felt very comfortable giving advice to those interested in librarianship (especially medical librarianship). The HIT students were a little more difficult to provide “mentoring” to, because they were interested in careers in health informatics. I know a little about informatics, since we were introduced to it at NLM, but I’m no expert. I was able to provide feedback on their resume, and give some suggestions for professional organizations to check out, and some options for free courses and websites to boost tech skills. I came away from this experience feeling good about being able to “give back” and help others prepare to enter the workforce, and also with a desire to learn more about health informatics. There are medical librarians involved in informatics, and it would be useful for me to learn more about it.

Those are my updates for now…more to come soon though! 🙂

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2 Comments

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  1. Lisa / Nov 30 2014 1:30 pm

    Congrats on your first poster presentation/session! I find that poster sessions offer a different way to interact with your colleagues. Personas, content inventory, gap analysis, etc. are some great user-centered methods to get started with re: a website redesign project. I’m curious as to how you decided which methods to use and how you culled through all the data collected, especially the qualitative data, which tends to more challenging than quantitative data.

    • LibGirl09 / Dec 4 2014 1:41 am

      Thanks Lisa! For most Associate projects at NLM, a proposal is written by an NLM staff person and general methods or process may be decided ahead of time. That is what happened in this case. My project sponsor had already selected the methods. I did some background reading to understand how others have used these methods, but I decided not to change them (although I could have made a case for changing the methods if I thought there were better ways to assess user needs). I had about five months to complete the whole website project so I just wanted to go ahead and use the methods selected.

      The qualitative data was definitely very….interesting to work with. The focus groups were conducted by two other librarians. Notes were taken from the sessions and put into a word document. I conducted about 12 individual interviews and took notes in a word document as well. I looked through all of those notes and identified recurring themes, to see what the biggest requests/issues were. I also made a list of all the statements/suggestions for changes, and grouped them into categories: general comments about content & design, information for prospective applicants, information for/about alumni associates, and information for 2nd year hosts. I used this summary of user needs feedback for the gap analysis. Personas were created during a group discussion of the (at that time) 1st year Associates–myself included. We used our personal experience with the program and web analytics data to create the personas. Data from focus groups & interviews ended up being pretty consistent with the personas as well.

      My project was definitely smaller scale than a typical library settings, since most libraries have more user groups and users have more tasks and goals to fulfill on their site, so more data would be needed. But it was definitely a learning experience, and I would love to do more of it in the future.

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