All a-Twitter: #librarian #discovery

by Tasha Maddison
Saskatchewan Polytechnic

I recently started as a #copyrightlibrarian @saskpolytechlib. With a new job comes change; from organizational culture to strategic direction to the educational mandate. What I had not anticipated was that the methods used to communicate with colleagues would be so dramatically different nor how I would learn about my new field and the ever evolving world of copyright.

In my past life, I lived and breathed by email. You might say it bordered on addiction as I was constantly checking my email; sick days, evenings, weekends, vacations, whenever. My experience @saskpolytechlib is that my colleagues don’t rely on email in the same manner. The communication options vary, perhaps because the campuses are distributed across the province. We use email, phone (seriously, people call one another), Microsoft Lync and Twitter. Lync was new to me, but so was the fact that others use Twitter to post their whereabouts, note meetings and conferences they are attending.

I have been on Twitter since participating in @CPD23 (the ’23 Things’ program). I was originally a reflective tweeter, completely defeating the purpose by tweeting several days after an event. At times, I just didn’t see the point. Too concise, too cryptic; anyone can follow you and you can follow anyone – that all seemed wrong, #notfacebook.

My experience with Twitter changed upon arriving @saskpolytech. I discovered individuals like @mgeist, @relkatz, @copyrightlaws, @howardknopf, among others who tweeted almost daily about important copyright issues like #TPP, @googlebooks #fairdealing, #happybirthday, #beatlemania, to name but a few.

My information seeking behaviour has also changed in regards to conferences, including those that I am not even attending. The University of Toronto recently hosted a one day conference on copyright. I followed the conference with great interest, #CopyCon2015. I then started following pretty much everyone who shared their thoughts throughout the day. Later in October, I attended #ceblip2015 and totally broke out of my shell. I always take comprehensive notes during conference presentations, #keener. Since attending my first library conference as a librarian, I have shared those notes on my blog, #lessonslearned. I occasionally tweeted about a conference but it was either reflective (see above) or it was to note my general excitement about an upcoming event. At #ceblip2015, I took notes on my iPad and tweeted about each presentation on my iPhone simultaneously. This enabled me to file away information for future review. I found like-minded librarians in the audience who I didn’t necessarily speak with in person, but started following on Twitter. I expanded my knowledge and my #social network.

As a presenter, I have always felt apprehensive at the thought of real-time comments via Twitter. I was always slightly scared to later check the audience’s reaction (or lack of) to my presentation. Recently, I have used Twitter to see what resonates with listeners. I am curious and delighted to see what the audience believes are my key takeaways. Twitter is useful at conferences to start a dialogue with presenters or audience members as they share their experiences. You can clarify points, share thoughts and impressions, as well as seek further information.

Three months into the job I don’t check my email as often outside of work hours. I do however frequent Twitter. I retweet quite a bit. I follow with great interest the evolving trends in scholarly communications, open access and the wonderful world of copyright.

This article gives the views of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice or the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.