Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Body of Professional Knowledge

I recently completed a CILIP consultation survey on the value of a Body of Professional Knowledge (BPK). The consultation is one stage of CILIP's Future Skills project - a project which will "review CILIP's qualifications and ensure every member gets the recognition they deserve from their employers and society for a unique suite of highly valuable, relevant and endurable skills." (CILIP, 2012) The existing BPK came out in 2004, just after I had begun the second year of my BA library degree. One of our tutors was involved in its creation so it was discussed in a lecture (and I think we may even have had a small assignment on it). Its aim has been to establish "the unique knowledge which distinguishes library and information professional from other professional within other domains" (CILIP, 2004). For anyone who hasn't seen it you can view a copy here.

When I first saw it in 2004 I found it very hard to understand. Visually I found it hard to relate the description with the diagram of the core schema because of the way they had chosen to emphasise certain words. Some were in italics, some were in bold and there is no clear connection between how these are chosen and the key words/phrases from the diagram. Having studied it since during my chartership, and again now, I find it easier to comprehend. However, when the first question of the consultation survey asked "What does the current BPK mean to you?" I'm afraid I ticked "hard to understand". As a general overview of the areas involved within the profession it's not bad, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone new who wanted to see at a glance what knowledge and skill-set is required.

The second question in the survey asks "What are you looking for from CILIP BPK?" The existing BPK identifies the following areas of knowledge:
  • information organisation, e.g. classification schemes, taxonomies and subject indexing
  • information dissemination through publishing
  • information generation controlled by information need and user behaviour and facilitated by operations such as metadata, hyperlinks, abstracts, tags, etc.
  • information resource management including acquisition, cataloguing, storage and disposal
  • information service provision including information retrieval and portal/website design
  • profession-related policies, laws, codes of practice, etc.
  • generic/transferable skills of computer and information literacy, research, interpersonal skills, marketing, management, training and mentoring
It is time for the BPK to be updated - there are new skill-sets relating to information technologies, digital literacy and web2.0 that have since developed and the main areas outlined above can be teased out more. I think the BPK needs to be multi-purpose. It should outline the key areas but then be more specific so that individuals, organisations and employers can use it as a basis for the specific skill-set a professional requires. That way it can then be accessible and useful to those within the profession and be used as an advocacy tool to promote what we do.

Friday, 3 February 2012

My Library Day in the Life

I have chosen to take part in this year's Library - Day in the Life, an event whereby librarians offer up a day or week of their lives to show what their job is really all about. I was all prepared to begin on Monday but, unfortunately, was off ill so I'm afraid I did absolutely nothing work-related that day! Therefore, with my week already gone to pot(!), what follows is a detailed account of my Thursday the 2nd February.
I began my day at one of our smaller sites, Anstee House Learning Space. The Learning Space houses our resources for fashion and textiles, EFL and media and film. The fashion and EFL stock are well used so I spent my first hour giving it all a good tidy and checking for strict Dewey order - what a fun start! ;)

A call from my manager prompted me to double check the 18 certificate DVDs over there. We need to keep them off the floor so that they are not available to under-18s. Unfortunately, an enterprising colleague had recently tidied our office and I found them all shelved back in the main DVD collection! I took them all out, made sure they were clearly labelled and added a circulation note to each advising of the location and issue restrictions. Next I went through a pile of EFL reading packs (book with accompanying CD/s) that had been left for me that needed turning into composite loan items.

My last job before 11am was to finish preparing the staff timetables for next week and upload them onto our intranet. At 11 I took another barrier count reading (the first had been at 9am - we take counts at The Learning Space at 9am, 11am, 3pm and 5pm to identity and monitor busy periods). I had a total of 42 people through the door with only 3 of them coming up to the desk so it felt like a quiet morning. (This week we're keeping a log of all enquiries to capture the number and types of enquiries we receive.)

Between 11 and 1 I dealt with a delivery of resources transferred from our other sites and sorted through my emails and tasks list. I'm generally very organised but if I start to slip things can get out of hand very quickly! I also had a lot more enquiries but they were mostly regarding topping up print credit. The number of in-depth assignment enquiries we receive is definitely declining. The cause of this I'm not sure - are students able to find more online?; are assignments becoming less academic, particularly with the increase of vocational courses offered?; are students themselves changing and just not wanting to ask for help?; or is it us? During our interactions are we probing less into the work they're doing and therefore not instigating in-depth help from our end?

My last hour at Anstee was quite noisy - we have very thin walls and a class in the room next door were playing music quite loudly!

After an hour for lunch I attended a senior team meeting from 2.15pm to 4.00. I contributed to discussion on ways of managing students waiting around for their PC bookings, a proposal to change the loan period of staff DVDs and some collections topics. For the last hour of the day, in addition to adding my meeting action points to my tasks list, I was timetabled on the enquiry desk. A large portion of that time was taken up with helping a group of hairdressing students pint out a revision pack. My final task was to prepare my list of priority jobs for Friday. These include: going through the Tadio Times and identifying relevant programs to record and add to stock; Heritage housekeeping; check the processing status of new stock.

So, that was my Thursday! For anyone who is interested this is what I did at the beginning of the week:
Monday - I was off ill so did nothing work-related!
Tuesday - created a basket of stock requests with our suppliers; put up the posters I had created to promote our LRC eResource of the month and LGBT history month; DVD keywording (we do regular batches of DVD weeding and I want to go through the titles I identify to keep and review their keywords to try and encourage their use); morning shift at our Richmond Road Resources Centre (art, design and music); and 2 hours on the enquiry desk in the afternoon.
Wednesday - finished developing a feature page on Moodle promoting our resources supporting National Apprenticeship Week; created a display celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth in the Reading Zone; trialled Classroom Video's streaming option and compared quality with a physical DVD; timetabled 1 1/2 hours on the enquiry desk, 1 hour on the help desk and 1 hour in the HE Centre.