Learning and Research Desk Training

To gain some further knowledge and develop my skills as a Library Adviser for QUT I attended two and half days of Learning and Research Desk Training. During these days I developed my skills in searching for information, helping students with study problems and how to deal with emotional clients. By completing this training I have grown as an information professional by improving my customer service skills allowing me to better help users and their library experiences.

One session taught was about searching for information and the tools available for students regarding studying. This was a valuable class as it highlighted to me that various searching techniques that are useful such as searching for synonyms by putting all similar words together inside brackets. I was also unaware of using questions marks as wild cards within words when words could be spelt differently in different countries such as searching for colo?r. It was also useful to see all the study skills resources QUT has available to their students such as CiteWrite, Studywell & Study Smart tutorials. The most enlightening aspect I took away was that as a first tier point of contact for users of the QUT Library my job is about pointing users to these resources and skills and explaining how to best use them, promoting independence and allowing the users to develop their own study skills.  Overall this session has allowed me to develop my searching skills further and define my professional perspective on how to best help and empower users to utilise the library resources.

Learning about dealing with emotional clients has really allowed me to improve my customer service skills and thus grow as an information professional.  We listened to a speaker from QUT Counselling services who explained when dealing with an overwrought clients it is best to empathise, stay calm and advise them of the options available to them such as counselling services, financial services and academic language and learning services. We should empower distraught clients to help themselves. When dealing with irate clients staying calm is best and this was reiterated by counselling services and from the Library Services Manager, Nicole Clark. Knowing how to deal with emotional clients is vital as these people usually need the most help. By learning these techniques it has allowed me to grow as an information professional as customer service is crucial role played by many information professional roles.

By attending these training days I have been able to grow as an information professional.  I learnt that as a first tier point of contact for library users it is my job to show clients the many options they have available to them for the study, financial and emotional needs. If I cannot help them directly it is important that I can point them in the direction they should go and make sure they get there. It is also crucial that I have the skills to deal with emotional clients in order to become a successful information professional. By attending the session from counselling services I have been able to further develop my customer service skills and thus develop my professional skills too.  Overall the Learning and Research Training days have allowed me to develop several of my skills including searching and customer service which has allowed me to grow as an information professional.


Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities


Reference Management Tools Seminar

Attending the learning seminar regarding reference management tools enlightened me to the different tools available at present and how they can be used most effectively. Some of the key learning outcomes I achieved were improving my knowledge of Endote, Latex & Bibtex and Mendeley and comparing these different management tools.

Before taking this seminar I did not have much experience with management tools. I had some familiarity with Endnote but had not used it for any assignments myself as I did not require to list. However it was interesting to learn that the Endnote 6 offered by QUT has four QUT styles included in it and now includes a window that showcases the PDFs associated with their reference. I feel this would be very beneficial to students as it allows them to not only collate references but resources also. This makes it much easier for students to find relevant documents and reference correctly according to the appropriate QUT referencing styles.  Endnote web was also discussed and this now has the added benefit of syncing with the desktop and recognising duplicate references and allowing for them to be identified and discarded as necessary. Endnote web is interesting as it allows users to use the management software from any desktop with an internet connection. However the fault with this tool is that it needs an internet connection to work and allow users to access their lists and libraries.

Endnote web is similar to Mendeley, another online reference tool. Before this class I had not heard of this tool but now understand that it is both an online and desktop reference tool. One of its main benefits over Endnote is that it can enrich its data/metadata from the internet a lot better than Endnote. You can also see others and interact within Mendeley communities, which is beneficial as users can see what their colleges or peers are also reading and referencing. One downside of Mendeley is that it is run and owned by a private company. For the users this could mean it shuts down and disappears overnight, it is not reliable like Endnote which is used by many more people and is a large company.

The other reference management tool looked at was Latex and Bibtex. These are very interesting tools mainly used by scientists, engineers and mathematicians as it allows them to write formulas. When they complete the references they look great however to get to that stage a lot more is involved when compared to Endnote or Mendeley. Two systems must be installed and the codes to write the correct references and formulas need to be known. This means users must be very knowledgeable of this tool before they can use it efficiently and correctly.

From attending this session it is apparent that an information professional must be aware of reference management tools as they are used by many users and directly relate to library services within the learning and teaching environment. By learning about Endote, Mendely and Latex and Bibtex their similarities and differences could be identified. Also which users they would suit in particular could be seen. Overall this session was very enlightening in respect to reference management tools and how they can be used by users.


Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities