June 30, 2009

Knowledge MicroManagement

Welcome to Knowledge MicroManagement 101! I don't know about you, but the "unit of analysis" of the information I organize is not usually at the book or journal article level. It is very often at the level of an email, a conversation, and sometimes even a Tweet!

Flying solo? Add value by tracking and documenting everything. If your mantra is, "I am here to make people's job easier,"** then you will find tons of ways to make lasting contributions. Just remember that the knowledge you are managing is often bite-sized.

Exhibit A: It occurs to me that I never blogged about one of my shining moments, because it seemed lackluster at the time and because I was not blogging very regularly. I was helping one of our workteams edit some documents and they had been comparing color samples side by side on sheets of paper (!). I taught them about RGB color recipes (skipped the hexadecimal web safe color lecture because people don't always want to know all that), and looked up what the exact color balance was in their logo. Then I made a document for them (at left, click to enlarge) with the color values, sent it to everyone, saved it in a logical place, and inserted the filename and path on the document itself so anyone finding a print version of it in a pile somewhere would be able to instantly call up the electronic version.

Exhibit B: I mentioned last week that I was helping with a file management survey to help plan a tech training. This type of survey would vary greatly from one organization to the next, but here is an image of what I was using. (Click to enlarge or email me for a copy.)

The big stuff: Our accessibility statement is up! I am happy to report a BIG VICTORY FOR THE WHITE SPACES! I successfully navigated the revisions and approval process for this statement and its linked web accessibility resources page, and I am helping to adapt it for use on other sites we manage. It is not perfect, so please let me know if you notice anything that could be improved.

And keep smiling!

**There was a long discussion on the SLA Solos list-serve about "other duties as assigned." More on that later.

June 18, 2009

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

SLA motivated me to recommit to this blog and perhaps make my second attempt to restructure it to facilitate a more regular posting schedule! What have I done as a solo lately?

1.) I helped eliminate some of the administrative tasks I resent by volunteering to restructure our phone tree, with the miscellaneous calls ("Dial 0 for assistance.") being rerouted to someone other than me; this was in the works - either as a complaint or a legitimate request for the higher-ups to approve - for quite some time, but I finally sat down, listened to the outgoing announcements over and over and mapped the current phone tree, then made a chart of "Current and Proposed" routing of calls by topic and got it all approved. Today we began recording the new announcements so that true reference questions still come to me but I no longer have to deal with employment verifications, sales calls, and various and sundry other secretarial business that NO ONE should have to deal with, especially not the information specialist, even if she be flying solo.
2.) I continued to revise the accessibility statement I hope to have posted on our websites; reviews and various approvals are still pending.

3.) I made "Display copy only; for information on how to obtain a copy please contact..." stickers for our information booth at our annual conference; small but significant. I was horrified by how many vendors at SLA had scribbled "last copy do not take" on their display copies. This is a situation that should be anticipated, so I found myself thinking, "C'mon, a little class, please!"

4.) I successfully got 3 staff members Tweeting at our annual conference to demonstrate the rich potential this has for experiencing an event virtually. I am going to submit a Twitter proposal for our next annual conference mapping out exactly what the costs and benefits are and what we should think about in terms of training and publicity between now and next May to make it happen.

5.) I led "Finding Your Way Through the Internet Wilderness," a tech training session at our annual conference and even managed to fit in screenshots of the previous days' tweets to show people its potential for conferences (and real-time transit updates for that matter!). Google Alerts were also heavily encouraged in this session.
6.) I am experimenting with "lists" in Facebook so I can appropriately integrate my professional contacts into my personal space without subjecting them to, for instance, "Eileen had applesauce for breakfast and is listening to Morrissey." Does anyone know how to do this?? (The lists, I mean, not applesauce and Morrissey.) I now have four lists I can add friends to, but I cannot figure out how to make varied security settings correspond to each list.

7.) I have learned how to add and arrange content in our web system.

8.) I am taking an online course called "The Power of One: Information Professionals Working Alone" and I will definitely report back!

9.) I made a file management quiz for staff in preparation for a training I am organizing on file naming conventions and file management best practices in order to find out what they are currently doing before I plan the training.

10.) I am now tracking my "Google Alerts Sent," thanks to inspiration from Jim Byerly, Electronic Resources Librarian, at the Minnesota DOT Library. Thanks, Jim!