DiSC® Personality Profile…06.29.08

29 06 2008

While thinking about what to post today, I was reminded of the DiSC® personality profile testing I was required to take before being considered for my current “librarian/historian” position by our Human Resources Department.  It is interesting first, because I took the test in October of 2004 but was not offered the job until November of 2005.  After a year, I had given up on expecting any interest when seemingly out of the blue the job offer came in a phone call.  Within days, I accepted the position, put our house up for sale, and was planning the 1,200 mile journey.

I understand the history of these personality tests and the reasoning for using them in the hiring process almost everywhere now but I personally believe there is enough error in them to make them potentially dangerous to the individual.  Playing the percentages, however, companies and organizations use them to weed out or drill down to the pool of candidates that will likely make a good fit.  I especially like (sarcasm) the disclaimer on the results that says, “As you read this report, please remember that there are no right or wrong answers, and no one dimension or pattern is better than any other.”  Yeah, right!

Anyway, the DiSC test revealed that my highest dimension is “Dominance-Steadiness.” Supposedly, this is the “classical profile pattern” they name “Achiever Pattern” of 15 “classical patterns that describe the behavior of people with a specific blend of the four DiSC® dimensions.”  There is also an “intensity index” which “represents the range of intensities for each of your dimensions of behavior.”

In the department under whose auspices I work, there is a predilection to emphasize the animal personality types promoted by Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent, i.e. the Lion, the Otter, the Golden Retriever, and the beaver.  Our manager often refers to the behavior characteristics of individual staff as indicative of these animal personality profiles of which she thinks fit although most of the department have not taken the actual DiSC or any other personality profile. 

Of course, similar personality types from the Greeks which Tim LaHaye and other use are the “choleric”, “sanguine”, “phlegmatic”, and “melancholy”.  Putting them together, the lion/choleric/dominance, the otter/sanguine/influence, the golden retriever/phlegmatic/steadiness, and the beaver/melancholy/compliance are basically the same.  

Although my manager may never have looked at the results of my DiSC® testing from a year before I was hired or may have  forgotten them quickly thereafter, I am consistently placed in the “beaver” profile primarily and secondarily in the “golden retriever” profile in passing group discussions of the topic whereas the DiSC® testing results would place me primarily as a “lion” and secondarily as a “golden retriever.”  I wonder why the discrepancy between my manager’s perception and the results of the actual testing?  Mmmmmmmmm… Certainly, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to speculate.

In reality, I would tend to agree more with the DiSC® Dominance-Steadiness profile to describe my personality type at work.  I believe, however, these types of tests are too general to be of much value other than for making generalizations or fun office banter.  If accurate, they could be useful in creating better teams.  There are too many testing variables though that seem to me could significantly skew the results despite the specialists’ claim that years of testing results makes them trustworthy indicators of predicting behavior.

Update 01.15.09:

In a departmental social gathering today, I was described as a “beaver” and “lion” personality.  Since the department will supposedly all be participating in the DiSC® this month, the subject came up in discussion. It will be interesting to see if the perceptions of others coincide with the personal impressions of co-workers.

Update 02.20.09:

Librarian Signal Personality “Patterns” Survey And DiSC® Profile Results…02.20.09





Casual Reading Recouperating from Surgery…06.29.08

29 06 2008

My knee surgery went well yesterday so while hanging out on pain pills I have had the pleasure of reading a couple of books for fun.  I am in the middle of a new Sherlock Holmes adventure which was supposedly commissioned by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate called the “Italian secretary.”  I am enjoying it very much.  Quite some time ago, I went through all of the consulting detective’s cases chronicled by the famous Dr. Watson.

Another book I am reading is “Quiet Please” about a librarian’s experiences working in an Anaheim Public Library.  I am finding it particularly interesting because 1) I acquired a library technical assisting degree before my undergraduate degree while working in libraries as did the author and 2) because I have wanted to work in a public library as a reference librarian but was never given the opportunity although I tired many times to get hired by just about any public library when I was unemployed with an MLS and living in Florida between 2002 and 2006.  An interesting point the author brings out in the book which may or may not be true is that many public librarians do not read books.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm…

For any new reader, I have been a special librarian for the last 2 1/2 years.





Open Source ILS Software Alternative Koha…06.26.08

26 06 2008

Previously, I had mentioned the alternative, open-source ILS software Evergreen.  I should also have made note of the other alternative that is growing in popularity as well.  More information about Koha can be found at the LibLime website http://liblime.com/products/koha which I will investigate more closely in the near future.  It appears that there are two versions of the software focused on both large and small libraries, Koha ZOOM and Koha CLASSIC, respectively.

The “About” section of the LibLime website says: “

It all started with an idea: open access to ideas and information not only builds better libraries, it builds better software too. It didn’t take long to reach a tipping point in the library industry. The dawning of a New Erain library solutions continues. Today, LibLime is the library community’s most trusted provider of open-source solutions.

Rather than sell software licenses for static, hard-to-customize software products, we’re informing libraries about the benefits of open source, enabling them to make choices about how best to provide their communities and staff with better technology services. We enable libraries to use open-source software to its full potential by providing outstanding commercial support services – hosting, migration assistance, staff training, support, software maintenance, and development – solutions tailored to each customer’s needs.

Use of open source not only lowers the per-library cost of running software, it also empowers libraries with a higher level of control over customization and the overall direction of software development.”





No Posting Friday…06.26.08

26 06 2008

I will be out of commission Friday and the weekend as I am having surgery for a torn meniscus.  Hopefully, I will be in a frame of mind to post here soon thereafter.





Washington Times Coverage of SLA Annual Convention…06.26.08

26 06 2008

Joseph Szadowski gave a rather enlightened review of the SLA Annual convention and special librarians in general in Monday’s edition of the Washington Times which is excerpted here:

Library Techies: Beyond The Dewey Decimal System http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/23/library-techies/

The modern librarian must be Twitter-savvy and able to manipulate the Web and aggregate RSS feeds as quickly as compile competitive intelligence.

In other words, a librarian must be good at social networking, customizing computer databases, filtering data and getting the facts.

That 21st-century paragon of the information professional was well represented here at the 99th annual Special Library Association’s (SLA) conference last week.

Nearly 5,000 specialized librarians working in such diverse areas as news, energy resources, military, engineering, chemistry and the law descended on the Emerald City to look at how their industry continues to evolve in a world dictated by digital bytes and the immediate access of information.

The opening session’s keynote presentation set the tone for the conference and was led by one of the Internet’s founding fathers.

Vinton G. Cerf, Google vice president and self-professed Geek Orthodox Chief Internet Evangelist for the search leader, looked at the past, present and future of cyberspace.

Mr. Cerf’s early contributions include helping to develop a packet switching network and TCP/IP protocols for ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) back in the 1970s, some of the key pieces of the Internet’s infrastructure.

Prompted by PBS interviewer Charlie Rose, Mr. Cerf offered a prediction that by 2010, 50 percent of the world (more than 3 billion people) will be online thanks to the continued innovations of mobile devices…”





Flickr Uses for Libraries…06.25.08

25 06 2008

Jessica Merritt’s post at CollegeDegrees.com which is almost entirely below (http://www.collegedegrees.com/blog/2008/06/24/how-to-make-flickr-work-for-your-library-50-resources/ ) on “…How to Make Flickr Work for Your Library…” was loaded with useful reference information should I or someone else want to use Flickr in this or another library.  I have used Flickr in the past before it was purchased by Yahoo.  My personal photos were migrated to Yahoo Flickr when this happened.  Unfortunately, I would not upgrade to the non-free version so now only a small portion of my photos are available to me without upgrading my account.  I was given time to move the photos before the big change but obviously it wasn’t enough time for me.  Anyway, here are the ideas about using Flickr professionally (I hope they don’t mind using so much of the post.  The copyright information is at the bottom):

Getting Started

Follow these guides to get a crash course in using Flickr in your library.

  1. Why should librarians care about Flickr?: This librarian makes the case for using Flickr in the library.
  2. Priceless Images: Getting Started with Flickr: Check out this post for an introduction to Flickr for libraries.
  3. Get Flickr-tastic!: This guide will show you the ropes for using Flickr in your library.

Uses

Check out these ideas for using Flickr to get inspired.

  1. Give a virtual tour: See how this library offers a look around on Flickr.
  2. Online Outreach: Sarah Houghton-Jan suggests using Flickr to find images of your library.
  3. Share event photos: This library shares photos of a Charlotte’s Web event on Flickr.
  4. Advocate with Images: This article discusses using Flickr to let your community know what’s going on in the library.
  5. Flickr for a Library Tour: This librarian from the University of Winnipeg describes the details she used to create a photo tour of the library.
  6. Share history: Post historical photos of your library on Flickr for all to see.
  7. Create custom posters: Lansing Public Library made their own READ posters with Flickr.
  8. Promote events: This library promoted their book and bake sale on Flickr.
  9. Libraries and Librarians: This group on Flickr is a fast growing community of librarians around the world.
  10. Show off cool gear: Inspire other librarians by sharing new additions to your library.
  11. Library of Congress: Visit this awe-inspiring image archive to get an idea of how powerful Flickr can be for your library.
  12. Libraries that use Flickr: Check out this list to see how other libraries are making use of Flickr.
  13. Murder by the Book: This Flickr set promotes a murder mystery event held at a library.
  14. Flickr/Yahoo & Library Collection: Find out how the National Library of Australia is building an image bank with Flickr.
  15. Steal this Idea: Flickr for Librarians: This resource offers a wealth of great ideas for using Flickr in your library.
  16. Image storage: This wiki page takes advantage of Flickr’s easy image storage.
  17. How nonprofits can use Flickr: TechSoup offers recommendations for using Flickr.
  18. Teen Trading Cards: Hennepin County Library has used Flickr to get teens involved.
  19. Create a magazine cover: One library used a Flickr tool to create a magazine cover and share it with the community.
  20. Things to Do With Flickr in Libraries: This guide offers a variety of useful ideas for putting Flickr to work.
  21. Celebrate new additions: This library shows off their first bookmobile patron and more.
  22. Show off events: Show your community that your library holds fun events by putting their photos on Flickr.

Tools

Put these tools to work to make Flickr even more useful.

  1. Flickr Storm: Use this Flickr search engine to locate images with specific Creative Commons licenses.
  2. Flickr Favorites via RSS: With this tool, you can have your favorite Flickr users’ favorites sent to you by RSS.
  3. Flickr Machine Tags: This tool makes linking and tagging your photos much easier.
  4. Motivational Poster Maker: Create motivational posters for your library using this Flickr tool.
  5. TechSoup Technology Donations: Thanks to TechSoup, you can get a free Flickr Pro account for your library.
  6. Free Use Photos: This group is full of photos you can use for free and without restrictions in your library. You can also upload your own photos to share with the group.
  7. Flickr Backup: This application allows you to back up your precious Flickr photos and save them locally. This is also helpful if you’ve lost photos, but have them on Flickr.
  8. FlickrSlidr: Use the FlickrSlidr to embed Flickr slideshows on your library’s site or blog in a simple, easy way.
  9. MyFlickr: Put this application on your library’s Facebook profile, and you’ll be able to stream your Flickr photos.

Guides

For specific instructions on how you can use Flickr, visit these guides and tutorials.

  1. Let’s Play Tag: This article discusses best practices for tagging photos and more.
  2. Thirteen Tips for Effective Tagging: Follow these tips to make your images easy to find.
  3. Flickr pornography: Discuss how you handle filtering of pornography on Flickr in this forum.
  4. Social Tagging Workshop Session: Learn how you can put tags from Flickr and beyond to work in your library.
  5. Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software: Michael Stephens offers a guide to using social software, including Flickr, in libraries.
  6. Social Networking, Flickr, & MMOGs: You’ll find lots of information about using Flickr in this collection of podcasts and presentations for social libraries.
  7. 10 Reasons to Use Flickr at Your Library: Get inspiration for using Flickr from these excellent examples.
  8. 10 More Reasons to Use Flickr in Your Libraries: This post expands upon the previous one, offering even more ways to make use of Flickr in the library.
  9. Flickr + Libraries = Scary, Scary, Scary to Some Folks: This blogger explains why Flickr is anything but a scary tool, and how you can make the most out of it.
  10. University of Michigan: Flickr: The University of Michigan explains in great detail how to use, and what you can do with, Flickr.
  11. Flickr Learning and Sharing: In this guide, you’ll see how to use Flickr for marketing and building your library.
  12. Flickr for Academic Libraries: This post explains a few things about Flickr, and how you can use it in an academic library.
  13. Flickr for Library Teens: Find out how to best use Flickr for your library’s teenage demographic.
  14. 7 Things You Should Know About Flickr: This document explains how you can use Flickr as an educational resource.
  15. Flickr & Libraries: Read over this librarian’s notes on a discussion concerning library use of Flickr.
  16. Why should libraries be socially networking?: Here you’ll find out why using Flickr and other social tools is important for your library, and a few ways to use them.
  17. Patrons Participating in Library 2.0: Find out how you can get your library patrons involved in Flickr.
  18. Are Flickr Modules Good for Library Websites?: Joomla considers how libraries can improve upon Flickr module use…” 

 © Copyright 2008 CollegeDegrees.com





Twitter “Best” Practices…06.25.08

25 06 2008

Although I don’t use “Twitter” myself, I may do so in the future as needed and opportunities arise.  Many librarians now use this technology.  David Lee King (http://www.davidleeking.com/) blogged the following Twitter insights today which I found interesting and potentially helpful, particularly to a newbie like me:

“…Twitter Best Practices:

1. Have a bio. When people see an interesting tweet, they might click through and want to read a bit about you – the first place they’ll look is your Twitter bio. Most bios provide a brief outline of who you are. For example, mine currently says “I write about, talk about, and work in libraries!” (yes, that’s a very boring bio – I should change it).

Even better – include an invitation in your bio. Here are two examples:

  • I’m a 35 year -old marketing professional who is learning about new media. Help me learn Twitter please! Follow me and I’ll follow you!
  • New followers: please @ me to start or join a conversation.

2. Extra links in your bio.You can add links to pertinent sites and services in your bio. If the URL is long, make sure to shorten it with one of those tiny URL services. Otherwise, the link text will run into the background of the page… and make you look like you look bad.

3. Spell check your bio text.Misspellings look bad. Nuf said.

4. Use a good headshot for your picture/icon:Best practices for the little pic that accompanies your tweets – a headshot of you, smiling. Or maybe you being silly. If possible, show your personality.

Don’t frown – if you don’t look friendly (or you look scary), others might think twice about friending you. And on the web, thinking twice means you’ve lost them.

5. Add a background image. Any image. Silly. Professional. Ugly. The point here is that using the default Twitter background on your account makes you look like a newbie. And that’s bad, especially when it’s so easy to add an image.

Brownie points for using the image like these two tweeters. See what they’ve done? They smartly positioned an image version of a link list that appears in the far left portion of their twitter page. Nice way to share links and promote themselves!

6. Say “Hi” to new followers. When someone follows you, reply back. That’s nice! Here’s one example: “you might be the first librarian I’ve met.  HI!”

Even better – one person direct messaged me with this message: “Welcome New Follower!! How goes it?  Have you tweeted anything that I should know about that I may have missed?” Wow – he’s asking you to introduce yourself in a very direct and helpful (to him) way. Nice.

7. Silly observations:

  • Social media and community manager types tend to play guitar in a band and mention it in their profiles…
  • they all subscribe to Chris Brogan’s twitter account.

8. Finally, don’t do this: I saw one twitter account (that I didn’t follow) with these characteristics:

  • Bio said the person is a “key executive in digital media”
  • No picture/icon was included
  • No background image was used
  • He’s not following anyone
  • He has 7 followers
  • He’s only written 5 updates…”







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