Jun 042016

I’ve always loved stories of intrepid women who went from England or Australia to places like India or Africa in the 1900’s or 1930’s. Brave women in big hats with long skirts and field glasses and a steely, determined chin who said things like “fiddlesticks!” when confronted by an elephant far closer to her mosquito net than was comfortable.

english abroad

With all the risks in that kind of travel – typhoid and malaria, residents who did not agree that white people should trample their country, probably a lack of women’s loos –  I wonder whether I would have ventured further than my front door if I had the same opportunity.

Tomorrow I’m going to Africa for the first time and my inner Nervous Nelly is carrying on like some turn-of-the-century pale-faced debutante. All fainting and smelling salts.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advice for South Africa puts it at Level 2 “Exercise a high degree of caution”. This is currently the same advice as for Belgium where the National Terrorism Threat Level is Level 3 of 4, indicating that a serious and credible threat exists. In South Africa the caution is due to the high level of crime, rather than risk of terrorism.

My university, when giving me permission to travel, required me to fill in a “DFAT 3” form, which asks me to list security precautions due to our corporate travel advisory company having a high risk rating for the country. I had to demonstrate that someone at the conference knew my movements, I had a known roaming phone number, that I was staying at accommodation of a particular star rating and that I had a transfer from the airport to my accommodation. I have been sent warnings about what to do if I am mugged. I have been advised not to use ATMs in public, or to show my phone obviously in the street. And if I travel in a car to make sure the doors are locked and the valuables are in the boot.

I am sure all will be OK. If those women in the 1930’s could do it in long skirts, then I am sure that me and my iPhone will be just fine.


Jun 032016

Sorry about the teaser yesterday 🙂 I had just been walking around the house saying “I’m going to Africa on Sunday” because it felt so bizarre to say… and it spilled into my blog.

I have been invited to keynote the 13th International Southern African Online Information Meeting in Pretoria next Thursday.  I am then presenting a workshop on the Friday.


I suspect that the lovely Michael Stephens of Tame the Web had something to do with the invitation, having talked there a couple of years ago – so thanks very much, Michael.

I am very excited to be meeting Phil Bradley for the first time, as I have watched his ongoing commentary on the changing face of online search with interest.

While it is very nice to be invited to find my own topic. it can be really hard to find something that is both unique and likely to be interesting to others. I ended up going with the keynote that I always wanted to see at library tech conferences, but ends up more likely to be a chat over morning tea in the exhibition hall. So often there are amazing, stimulating, inspiring ideas at these types of events… but by Day Two my brain is full and I am feeling rather overwhelmed and not quite sure how the really, really interesting dazzling new ideas will stay with me when I return to the office.

So, here is a summary of the keynote:

What do I do when EVERYTHING is so shiny? Personal strategies for coping with new technologies
At library technology conferences, delegates learn a lot and see inspiring speakers doing clever projects with exciting technologies … and possibly return to their workplaces a little overwhelmed and unsure how to relate this to their day-to-day practice. Factors like mountains of email, budgetary restrictions, an inflexible work environment and lack of time for training can make exciting new shiny technology projects seem aspirational rather than achievable. From a library-school educator’s perspective, leaving a conference feeling more able to use new technologies may be linked to skills and actions that are not technology-based at all. A hidden rule book, defining a core purpose, hacker ethics, produsage, skunkworks and generosity may be some surprisingly effective non-tech tools that improve your ability to make an impact with technology. 

And.. they also asked me to prepare a three hour workshop, so I went with something that would explore and expand the themes of the keynote:

Futures dreaming and finding a personal technology strategy
With so many technological options and so much operational change possible in our information services, just what will they look like by 2026 ? What focus can an information professional take now to stay calm, competent and effective as they navigate these changes?

This workshop will focus on facilitated activities to answer a number of questions designed to tease out possible futures, such “what would you do in your information service if you had all the time, money and skills you needed?”. Participants will be encouraged to share their wisdom and their questions with each other so that the group can create together alternative pictures of information services in 2026. Each participant will also work toward their own personal strategy for assessing, implementing and coping with new technologies to benefit their clients and information services. Participants should leave with some ideas they can implement today to cope better with a technological future of tomorrow

Jun 012016

So, you’ve dusted off your blog again for blogjune 2016; or created a nice, shiny new blog ready to join in the conversation. What are you going to post about?

Here’s my tips about feeding the hungry blog-beast.

baggyjumper. (2011). Hungry! Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggyjumper/5462303212/

baggyjumper. (2011). Hungry! Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggyjumper/5462303212/

  1. Flesh out those half-baked bigger ideas
    • You probably have three half or fully-baked ideas from the last year that you know you would like to flesh out into fully-fledged big topic posts. Maybe a really cool project you did at work. Or a speculation about copyright, user service, drones in Maker Spaces… whatever floats your boat… Promise yourself that by the end of June you will have these published and work on them bit by bit over the month. It may not be until the end of the month that they are done, but you don’t have to get them completely finished in one night.
  2. Pick two or three other bloggers on the #blogjune 2016 list. Read whatever they write and craft a response. If they write silly short stuff, all the better. Follow on in the same vein.
  3. Take a pic of your workspace and tag the post with #blogjune #workspace
  4. Start a distributed poem. Write the first line, pick another blogger on the #blogjune 2016 list ,tag them by mentioning their blog URL in your post and challenge them to write the next line and pass it on.
  5. Recipe. Recipes never go astray.
  6. Write 5 Things About Me
  7. Write 5 Things I wish I learned at Library School
  8. Write These strange 5 tips about working in a library will astound you
  9. Open a Soundcloud account and record a two minute audio piece to embed in your blog. One minute to create profile, two minutes to record, one minute to embed in blog post. Publish! Under 5 minutes
  10. Commit to a single week where each post is just one single sentence and no more. #blogjune #brevity
  11. Write a post called “What to blog about for blogjune?”



May 262016

Twitter is fab for small, ephemeral snippets and quick chatty witticisms. And for building a sense of community and creating a real, viable network that can be called on outside Twitter. Yay Twitter!

BUT … once upon a time, about 8 or so years ago, Australian libraryland had a thriving, buzzing community of longer-form thoughts and more considered conversation; distributed and archived across our blogs daily. Honestly, Hugh, as Kate says, it was different to Twitterworld… and I’d go as far as saying “better for some things”.

Every June for the last six years, a group of Australian library bloggers have committed to blogging every day in June, as blogjune . You can see the history of the first blogjune at Con’s blog, Blogging, thankfully .

Peta has been wonderfully organised and come up with a neat way to register:

register by tweeting your blog URL with hashtag #iambloggingjune.

You can then pop over to her post, Blogjune is looming, and see the list of people who are joining in. (While you are there, check out her responses to the Research Data 23 Things . Fabulous stuff!)

Blogjune is a chance for people to give to their peers and the profession. I want to commit to doing this. So do many in the community of wonderfully clever, chatty, generous Australian library bloggers.  If you are one of them, please join in and share, even if you just do one post and then decide you are out.  Please do not underestimate the value of posting small, trivial-seeming things, unrelated to libraries in any way. These are the “spaces inbetween” the professional conversation and vibrant, interesting and essential.

The secret is – anyone can be part of this community. This is not because we are indiscriminate, just (I hope) welcoming and supportive. The overhead (go start a blog and start chatting) is relatively low. Being the person who asks “why?” or says “I don’t understand” or “why don’t they do things this way?” is valuable and helps keep the conversation relevant. June is the BEST time to start a blog in libraryland because there are people to chat with … and if you are a student, I KNOW that you are probably in between semesters and it is a good time to put your toe in the water. (OUA SP2 students excepted :))

You, yes you, who may consider yourself just a casual passer-by here, can contribute too, even if you do not blog. Read and think about what is posted. Generally someone publishes a file you can add to an RSS reader to keep up to date. Just take some of the ideas from the liblogosphere (yes, we called it that…) and carry them into the real world.

Or comment. Comments keep bloggers on their toes, are just plain nice to receive (even ill-thought-out and critical ones – “OMG! someone is reading this!”) and provide stimulus for further conversation in the comments, as longer posts by others and distributed across other platforms like Twitter.



May 162016

I spoke in April at ALIA’s “Abstract to Paper” session. My part, about how to turn a fully-written conference paper into an engaging conference session, followed on from a presentation from Gaby Haddow and David Wells about how to turn an idea into an abstract that will be accepted and Helen Balfour discussing how to turn an abstract into a conference paper.

I promised to publish my slideset here, and so, a month or so later, here it is. As usual with my slidesets, they are made to be a “partner dance” where what I say does not make much sense without the slides and the slides do not make much sense without me speaking to them … I have briefly tried to capture below the gist … Giving a great conference presentation from a written paper .

2. First thing. If you are allocated 20 minute, prepare for 15. Speakers get excited and digress and emphasise points as they see their audience’s interaction. This is good, but you want to allow time for you to do this. Also it is good to leave time for questions at the end, and for unanticipated delays, like technical difficulties or the speaker before going overtime. By all means, have an extra 5 minutes up your sleeve in case you do need the full 20 minutes, but be prepared also with the 15 minute version and work on the basis that this is the one you will be giving.

3. I told the audience to remember this picture of a small child hugging a small live tiger. It would become relevant later on.

4-7 The presentation was about the crafting that goes into the talk before you are delivering it ….. the only way to prepare for the actual delivery is to practise, practise, practise, practise, until it is so rehearsed that it seems like you are speaking spontaneously

8. Interaction with the audience. I asked them what they thought I was going to say.

9. I outlined what I was actually going to say … and then said it.

10. Hook. No matter what you think, to a large chunk of your audience you have a funny accent and you have funny mannerisms… or let’s just call them “idiosyncratic”. You need to give your audience a chance to get a feel for your pacing and tone before you start telling them anything important… so spend 30 seconds or so on some kind of “warm up” idea, which allows them to fall into your speaking rhythm, helps orientate them to you as a speaker and feel more comfortable coming along for the ride.

11. In the case of this talk, it was the kid and tiger picture. Total gimmick. No other purpose than to wake people up a bit, get their attention, make them wonder where things were going…

12. At most conferences, unless you are first speaker, most people have brains that are almost full and have possibly been subjected to some less-than interesting presentations. A hook is also a way to draw a line in the sand and create a kind of contract with the audience – “okay, I am actually going to try to pay attention to your needs and how you are reacting and try to be interesting and engaging… so having shown you this unusual thing that may have woken you up, I promise that I will keep going in the same vein, as long as you engage with me too”

12-20. Who is it about? The audience. You have had your chance with the abstract and writing the conference paper to be the one driving the ship. Now, you need to remember who is likely to be there and talk for them. This includes the next speaker who is an expert in the same field and may, if collegial, mention one of your points in their presentation. Or your next boss. Or your next employee. Or someone who has no idea of the particular topic, although they are experienced in the profession. Or a new graduate.

The question I asked a the start of the presentation “What do you think I am going to talk about?” is actually a good way to gauge the audience interest, level of knowledge and expectations. It also is a good “hook” that will have the audience listening harder to you to see whether you do actually say what they expected, and also to have clarified for them right at the start where they may have knowledge gaps, so what they should be listening for.

21-23. You need to pitch your presentation as part of a conversation.

When you wrote the conference paper, the references that you used positioned your topic within the existing disciplinary literature and conversation. You have shown that you understand the current research, thinking and where there are disagreements or conflicting views. This makes your point of view stronger if it is clear that you understand what is happening in the discipline, and are not just making things up with very little consideration. Without sounding like you are reading a list for the sake of reading a list, do mention the ideas of others in your session to ground your ideas.

At a conference, you will have – and should have – attended all the other sessions and especially the keynotes. Themes emerge in conferences and, if you are lucky, people make some rather strong statements. Picking up on these and acknowledging them in your session strengthens the conversational aspect and makes the audience understand how your ideas fit into the conference theme.

You can always research the keynotes, the other speakers on the programme and the stated theme of the conference before the day. You should come armed with this, ready to work some of it into your presentation, and leave some places for a bit of spontaneous engagement with the ideas of the last couple of days.

24. How much? 5000 words do not fit into a 20 minute presentation. You cannot include it all. You will have to abbreviate.

25. Some people take a “shrinky dinks” approach, where they try to cover all of the material in the paper in the presentation. This can be important if reporting on a technical process, where leaving out a step will stop the audience from understanding the whole point

26. Some people take an “abridged highlights” approach, as with the 10 minute edited highlights of an Apple product launch event. They still try to include it all, but miss out bigger, less interesting chunks.

27. It is OK to just highlight one part of the paper and focus only on that. There is no crime in stating clearly “There is a whole section on x. covered in the written paper that you can read up on later, but if you want to know more, then please ask in question time or catch me at afternoon tea”. I have seen very successful papers where they just covered the theoretical or practical side of the paper, or went in depth into one of three case studies and relied on the audience’s ability to generalise.

28-29. You know the “so what?” of your paper. If someone asked you for a two sentence explanation of the most original, interesting, valuable points you were going to make, something that would compel them to chose your room instead of a concurrent session, what would you tell them? Know this. Make sure your audience know this by the time they leave. Repeat it at the start, middle and finish if you need to… but this should be your guide when deciding what to cover and what to leave out.

30. – 31. What do you want your audience to take away from your paper? What are the main points you are making ? Ensure that these are very clearly identified during the paper and make sure you re-iterate them at the end.

32 (Hence I repeated my takeaways)

  • Include a hook
  • Make it about the audience, not you
  • Ground your topic in disciplinary conversations and those specific to the conference
  • Know that you will leave something out and be OK with that
  • Make sure that whatever is unique, interesting, novel about your paper has been highlighted
  • Make it clear to the audience what your main points are and what you want them to have learned during your session

33. Always be prepared for, and leave time for, questions.

Dec 012015

Come to the inaugural meeting of Perth’s first and only….



“Where did you get that bruise?”

What’s this?

A meeting of library people to discuss hot topics, learn from the discussion and put new ideas and concepts to the test. We will find all the arguments and counter–arguments around a topic and voice opinions that might be unpopular but will force us to analyse and rethink current practises.

Everyone who wants a say can have one, and we hope that everyone who attends will have a go at giving some kind of opinion – whether sensible or outlandish, whether you agree with it or not. Sometimes arguing against what you believe clarifies why you actually believe it. Or you could even find you change your mind.
Library people (as everyone else) can get stuck in an echo chamber of the same inoffensive conversations, and Library Fight Club will stop all the niceties and get discussions going.

Everybody welcome, bring your non-library friends!!

Of course, we don’t talk about Library Fight Club, but we may tweet/blog it if anyone non-local is interested. Let us know.

When is it on?

The first meeting is on the 17th of December, at 6pm at the upstairs room of Rosie O’Grady’s in Northbridge. RSVP to petra.dumbell@postgrad.curtin.edu.au by the 14th of December.

This is a free event, but we are expected to buy a few drinks from the bar downstairs.


What will we fight about at the first meeting?

“We are done being librarians – nobody should have “librarian” in their job title”

We hope to see you there:

the inaugural fight club members: Kathryn Greenhill, Lydia Dawe, Matthias Liffers, Megan Fitzgibbons, Yusuke Fitzgibbons, Petra Dumbell

Jun 232015

… but I can’t do both.

Parenting, job and doing other things involving dance or the beach take up my finite amounts of time.


sirexkat. (2009, February 26). 57/365 11:20pm and still working. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/sirexkat/3310904615/

(Like making muffins for Mr12 and his three Maths Talent Quester friends as they work on their project)

(Cleaning up again after an old and not-so-neat-any-more cat)

(Trying to find the right dance sneakers that will not split open after three months of use)

(Driving Mr17 to Adult Fans of Lego in Lower Upper Right Woop Woop)

(Working on the box office for the Sound of Music school production)

(Packing to go away for a month)

(Dealing with flooded window and insurance claim so it is all fixed before I go away)

(Long, long skates or bicycle rides along the beach)

If I blog, it cuts into time left over for sleep.

I have so many unwritten blog posts that I would love to write at the moment, including one titled “What happened when I stopped doing all the things”. I would love to be in a place where I could put the time into a blog again, and where I did not prioritise 101 other things that keep me healthy. I love the thinking and writing and talking.

(And, most of all, I love reading what others write when #blogjune cranks things up again and feel like to keep this momentum I need to keep my side up and create too)

But sleep. Better.

Jun 192015

Let them.

Here’s why.


tomosaurus. (2006, December 13). Not today, thank you! Retrieved June 18, 2015, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomloudon/322172413/

Today Sam responded to the discussion all about Imposter Syndrome, “I’m not a technical person, but…” She describes beautifully the situation I have been in in several jobs – the only woman around the table involved in a discussion about IT and feeling as though I have to really, really get it 100% right with facts and tone if I am going to try to contribute. This is despite knowing all those things that Sam knows:

I know that I have successfully managed complex projects with technical aspects and have learned enough of the lingo to be able to effectively work with software developers, business analysts, systems administrators, storage analysts and other types of IT professionals. I know that I have skills and experience that other people in these groups do not, including an understanding of critical legal and regulatory requirements like copyright, recordkeeping and privacy. I know that there is a need for people who can build bridges between hard core IT professionals and other groups of users and stakeholders, and that is one of my strengths. I know that IT managers come from a variety of backgrounds and cannot have in-depth knowledge of everything, and that by the time they reach middle or senior management their technical skills must necessarily give way to other types of expertise anyway. I know that succesful IT programs need more than just technical understanding and that the soft skills that librarians have can make all the difference. And I know that my seat at the table has not been given to me by accident because someone failed to notice I am a complete fraud.

Once I worked out a strategy about how I could use this situation to my advantage. This idea will not be a surprise for those who think first and talk afterwards. I usually work the other way around. Often not to my credit nor merit.

Sometimes I feel compelled very early on during a meeting to make a comment, or ask a technical question, to establish that I have at least the same level of IT knowledge as other people around the table. (It may be a perverse anti-manifestation of imposter syndrome “I am allowed to doubt my own abilities privately – but don’t you DARE” )

But maybe there is a better way to spend the first part of that kind of meeting.

In judo, one strategy involves using the opponent’s strength and weight against them.

I will not generalise and say outright that all men in IT presume that women do not understand technical discussion unless a woman clearly established otherwise. (I will not point out that some women make the same presumption). I will not say that sometimes men around the IT table know less than other people but speak with greater confidence. I can say with confidence I have sat around many tables with men in IT who were presuming that I knew far less than I did.

I will say that you can learn a lot sitting around a table where people start with presuming you know less than you do, if you let them continue to think that. You can observe who actually has little knowledge and blows hot air instead. You can even pretend that you did not hear something stupid the first time and ask them to repeat it for the rest of the room to hear.  You can learn a lot politically. You can find out who would bother to clearly explain things they do not think you understand (which gives you a lot of information about their communication skills) and gauge how accurately they can do so (which gives you insight into their IT knowledge). It lets you understand whether they acknowledge that other types of skills are important (given that you must be there for some other reason if you have no idea about IT), and so how they are likely to work with others on any joint project, or how savvy they would be at negotiating non-IT matters. It can give you a good perspective on how they make IT decisions (based on actually solid knowledge? by being taken in by marketing buzz-words? by believing vendors without questioning? by defaulting to legacy techniques and tools because they have not updated their skills?).

I have tried this a couple of times, but I get defeated by being a well-brought-up woman. I often feel deceptive and uncomfortable by not letting on that I speak the same language as they do.  I think it could be very powerful, however, to see what happened if I let it go beyond my comfort level…

Jun 182015

Please read obligatory apology for blogging about blogging .

In the last couple of days I have considered what blogging has done for me and how, to me, blogging means being a node in a conversation not just making chronologically ordered posts to a site. I want to go on to consider blogging and the “imposter syndrome” as mentioned by Wendy and Lyndelle on Kate’s post does anybody actually care? blogging and professional discourse.

UPDATE: When I use “professional blogging” I am talking about blogging from a disciplinary view about a particular profession. I realized when I re-read the title that “professional blogging” could also refer to writing a blog as a job to make money. I am not using it this way.

Both Wendy and Lyndelle talk about feeling too new, not qualified enough, to join in the conversation by blogging, although they can see the value to the profession of blogging continuing, and in overcoming personal discomfort to do so.


DaPuglet. (2009, September 29). Pug Imposter “Pug Love.” Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/dapuglet/8426525097/

When I talk about the time that blogging takes I think that part of this time, when one is blogging in a professional space, involves evaluating one’s own risk profile and comfort levels. Given that professional blogging simultaneously creates a personal space (in that one is sole author of the web space) one has a lot of control over the formality, rigour and personality of that professional voice, and of the safety net that exists in this home space where it lives. It is somewhere where it is you who determines exactly what is a “no go” zone on the site, what is discussed, in what detail and with which attitude. The hard bit is really in finding who you want to be in the space.

Forming a professional identity is something that every successful new professional will do anyhow. Finding this professional identity involves introspection (blogging is excellent for this), interacting with other professionals (blogging is excellent for this), making sure one has correct information and is able to share this clearly using the language and concepts of the profession (blogging is excellent for this) and often developing specialised interests and expertise in one area of the profession, according to personal interests and abilities (blogging is excellent for this).

Rachel Singer Gordon discusses the “imposter syndrome” in her 2003 article about overcoming the Systems Librarian Imposter Syndrome .

Joan Harvey talks about a syndrome called “the imposter phenomenon,” in which otherwise successful individuals believe that others overestimate their talents, that their success is not due to their own ability, and that they will eventually be exposed as frauds in their position (Harvey and Katz,1985). While this syndrome occurs in people across all professions, those in positions that constantly require doing new tasks or taking on new roles are particularly susceptible to these feelings. Their cure lies in realizing that their success stems from their own abilities and actions rather than in some random or external force. The cure for systems librarians lies in realizing that, as long as they know (or can find out!) enough to keep the systems in their own institutions humming along, they are successes—and integral to the smooth functioning of their library.


Knowles, C. (2008, June 28). Playing on the Merry go round. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/theknowlesgallery/4714085113/

Similarly, to be a successful blogger, one needs to keep a blog humming along and no more (and no less). It involves acknowledging that success or failure (if there is such a thing) in blogging is not due to any external forces, but one’s own talents and abilities.

One does need to choose to be the type of professional, or the type of blogger, that matches one’s abilities and the time one has to devote. One needs to define success in blogging or a profession on one’s own terms and find one’s own niche. No-one knows what professional success or blogging success looks like for an individual because that person is making it up, for themselves, as they go.

Personally, I am not going to win professional awards anytime soon for being most business-like dresser, or best at “working the room” or most committees served for professional organisations. I am not going to be appointed to the highest possible managerial position I can be, nor fill a job that earns me the maximum amount of money that someone with my abilities, skillset and personality could. My blog is not going to win awards for most frequent updates, breaking of original stories nor for short and snappy posts. The blog platform is created on my terms to present the type of professional that I am – competent and able in some areas, less so in others, but all of it richly me and belonging in this space I have created.

In response to Lyndelle and Wendy, Kate has written a very reassuring post about how imposter syndrome affects everyone and is very honest and generous about her own insecurities and the effect on her

Impostor syndrome can be a gag. It can cause us to sit on ideas. It stops us from blurting out the things we should blurt out. It holds us back as individuals and it holds us back as professionals and it holds our professional discourse back. It undermines our confidence in our own thinking and our capacity to make a contribution to professional conversation

 In the comments on this post, Kate mentions a different approach from Kim Tairi

“I’ve flipped it & try to think of it as reflection and questioning rather than self doubt; wanting to be a better leader/boss”

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 7.54.39 pm
I have attended a fair whack of professional conferences – as delegate, someone who has submitted a paper, as invited speaker and even done a couple of keynotes. I have seen many, many other speakers and I think I have a good measure of what is engaging and what is not. At one point, I remember sitting in the audience at a terrifically engaging, well-researched, clearly organised and interesting talk with beautiful slides and thinking “the main difference between this speaker and most of us in the audience is that s/he has put in the hard yards creating this presentation. I bet that there are a bunch of us who are kind of interchangeable, who could do a similar job if we showed the same devotion and had put in the many, many hours that this speaker has done”.

I know that I have given talks where nerves, insecurity, or maybe a desire to deliver to the people who asked me to be there, have buoyed me on to put in hours and hours of careful research, practice and preparation to be a much, much better version of me than I could ever be without the sheer hard slog of hours of work. In some ways, “imposter syndrome” may well be healthy professionally because it can force one to define what is important, what you care about, to not to be paralysed, and to do something to stop feeling like an imposter.

Reading the posts from bloggers taking part in #blogjune, where people mainly identify as Australian libraryfolk (even if they expressly do not write solely from that perspective) it is easy to see a range of voices and topics that make up this corner of the conversation. Although few voices could be classed as solely discussing disciplinary issues in a formal style, I think that most can be considered to be professional blogs to the extent that others in the profession are connecting with them, potential employers and employees form an impression of them as people and there is a mixture of (often very insightful and interesting) disciplinary discussion that is not happening in any other forum.

Being a successful part of the conversation that is professional blogging does not involve knowing it all, or reaching some ideal standard or level of disciplinary discussion. It does involve forming an identity and finding a voice as a blogger that can only really be achieved by getting in there and experimenting, in the same way that creating a professional identity involves doing something rather than sitting back and avoiding action because you are unsure. Sometimes being the one who does not have the answers but has a fresh perspective and asks the question “why?” or says “do you mean this? I don’t understand” can make people who have been spouting their mouths off for years pause, think and re-think. This is a valuable contribution.


Gordon, R. S. (2003). Overcoming the systems librarian imposter syndrome. Libres, 13(2). Retrieved from https://faculty.washington.edu/rmjost/Readings/overcoming_the_systems_librarian_imposter_syndrome.pdf

Harvey, J., and Katz,C. 1985. If I’m So Successful, Why Do I Feel Like a Fake? The Imposter Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s.