Jinfo BlogMy Favourite Tipples from an Evidence Based Researcher

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By Jo Alcock

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Abstract

My Favourite Tipples are shared by Jo Alcock, evidence based researcher in the library at Birmingham City University. She shares her favourite online resources in areas from task management to surveys... and knitting.

Item

Scheduling and organising my time is essential as I work on a number of projects for the library and information sector, including the Jisc-funded Journal Usage Statistics Portal and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics, and coordinate the CILIP Leadership Programme, a pilot programme for developing leaders within the library and information profession. I use a number of invaluable tools to help me.

  • OmniFocus: The OmniFocus task management platform is my most-visited tool, as I use it to manage my to-do list. Unfortunately it's Mac only, but I use desktop, iPad and iPhone versions which synchronise. It's a very flexible piece of software; my most-used feature is the Forecast view which enables me to see tasks that are due today, and for the next few days. I use Omnifocus to record all future tasks in both my work and home life so it's also useful to use to review progress against longer term projects and goals.
  • Doodle: I work mostly with people external to my organisation, geographically dispersed. We're in regular communication by email and conference calls, and we organise a number of meetings, webinars and events. Doodle is an absolutely brilliant tool to help with scheduling calls, meetings and events - it only takes a few minutes to set up a poll with details of dates/times you want people to consider, then you send out a URL and people submit their own availability to help you find the most appropriate date/time.
  • SurveyMonkey: For a number of projects I work on, my role is evaluation and user engagement. One of the ways I collect feedback is via online surveys, and we have a subscription to SurveyMonkey. It's the most flexible I've found in terms of question types and customisation, and new features are added frequently. A particularly useful new feature is the ability to view summary statistics (minimum, maximum, mean) and to highlight any statistically significant results when comparing groups.
  • iDoneThis: I love iDoneThis for recording my "dones". I have two calendars set up; one to record my CPD (Continuing Professional Development) activities, and one to record my exercise. I have emails sent to me at set times each day and I reply to the email with any activities I've done that day and it adds them to an online calendar. I review my CPD calendar on a monthly basis, and then add any significant activities to my CPD log in the CILIP VLE which I use for revalidating my Chartership.

For fun...

  • Ravelry: When I became a librarian I seemed to morph into the stereotype including cat ownership and knitting! Ravelry is a fantastic knitting site for finding patterns (the advanced search is incredibly powerful); recording your stash and your project progress; discussing your projects; and sharing photos of your finished items.

An article in FreePint I found particularly interesting:

  • I enjoyed reading the recent article on "Driving Professional Development through Associations". I’ve always been a member of at least one professional organisation, often more than one, and find them incredibly valuable for professional development opportunities. The article contains some great tips for making the most of your association membership.

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