Not Your Grandmother’s Catalog

Do you have enough years on this planet to remember using card catalogs to find books at the local library? Not online card catalogs, but paper, roledex-like card catalogs?

When I was a kid, my grandma worked at the public library. I vividly recall visiting her there when I had research projects for school, or wanted to try out a new author. She would help me find books when I was unsure how to spell the author’s name or book title, and best of all, she would help me when I couldn’t find items such as “The Great Gatsby” under the letter “G”, because it was located under “T” for “The” instead.

card catalogueLearning the rules for how card catalogs worked helped me immeasurably with finding information I needed. Grandma showed me how to try other options to find what I was looking for, if I didn’t succeed on my first search. Little did I know, but Grandma was teaching me how to use metadata or “tags” to search under words related to my desired topic.

In a recent article by Elliott Masie in CLO Magazine, Elliott proposes that one of the “jobs of the future” for learning departments is that of librarian. With all of the content and formats that exist today, the challenge is “discoverability” through use of metadata, search readiness, and content taxonomies.

How will you set up learning opportunities so that employees can access them? What naming conventions will you use, and how will you cross reference “like” materials? How will you know when data is no longer valid and needs to be removed from the catalog? These are just a few of the many questions needed in the new librarian’s role.

One thing is certain; it’s not grandma’s card catalog, anymore.

Leadership and Social Media

Recently I heard from a friend who was reprimanded at work for being active on LinkedIn. His boss asked him directly if he were looking for a new job. He said, “No. I am not. I have been asked to provide recommendations for some colleagues who have recently lost jobs.”

A couple of things come to mind when an employee is put in this situation:

1.) How did the boss know the employee was on LinkedIn, if he/she is not on it as well?

2.) What is the effect on the working relationship between an employee and his/her organization when these questions are asked?

  • The employee is now afraid to write recommendations for business partners, and is averse to using LinkedIn as a networking and learning tool for his work.
  • The boss, the leader in this organization, is not providing trust. How then, will employees be able to give trust in return?

3.) There is a lack of understanding about what the capabilities are of LinkedIn. It is not just for job seekers; it can lead to new clients, it can be a way to keep up with business relationships, and a way to learn using social media, to name a few applications. And yes, it can also be used for job searching.

What thoughts do you have on this situation, and how would you handle it?

Leadership and Social Media

Recently I heard from a friend who was reprimanded at work for being active on LinkedIn. His boss asked him directly if he were looking for a new job. He said, “No. I am not. I have been asked to provide recommendations for some colleagues who have recently lost jobs.”

A couple of things come to mind when an employee is put in this situation:

1.) How did the boss know the employee was on LinkedIn, if he/she is not on it as well?

2.) What is the effect on the working relationship between an employee and his/her organization when these questions are asked?

* The employee is now afraid to write recommendations for business partners, and is averse to using LinkedIn as a networking and learning tool for his work.

* The boss, the leader in this organization, is not providing trust. How then, will employees be able to give trust in return?

3.) There is a lack of understanding about what the capabilities are of LinkedIn. It is not just for job seekers; it can lead to new clients, it can be a way to keep up with business relationships, and a way to learn using social media, to name a few applications. And yes, it can also be used for job searching.

What thoughts do you have on this situation, and how would you handle it?