Following through, information diet, and interesting readings

Following through

So far, the changes I made to my productivity strategies seem to be working well. The onslaught of February deadlines hasn’t started yet, so we’ll see how it fares/I fare under heavy pressure. My slightly modified weekly review is going much better than it in the fall semester. Mostly, I think it is less stressful because I’m adding a review/reflect process with my “status report” at the end of the week. Doing the progress check at the end of the week, rather than waiting until the beginning of a new week lowers the stress level of the status report review and makes the next weekly review much faster. It’s also helping me to reflect at the end of the week on what I accomplished, rather than stressing about what I didn’t finish. I’m also hoping this translates into better documentation for my dossier, which is due in May 2016…wow, that seems far too close!

Setting aside the daily time for writing worked fairly well last week. Despite not being a morning person, writing first thing after arriving at the office seems to be the best option I’ve found so far. Last semester, my success with this varied a lot. It wasn’t until I was planning for the spring semester that I figured out why. Allowing myself to check my inbox and Twitter inevitably turns into 30 minutes spent taking care of other non-important things.

Random aside – After more than three years in the library, I still fall back into the reactive “putting out the fires” mode of my research coordinator days. Although I set my own research agenda and determine how my time is divided between working with the school of public health and data services, my professional priorities get lost in the constant and competing demands of service responsibilities, regular reference and desk hours, and collection development. In this, librarians and faculty face similar challenges in balancing competing demands and prioritizing the things that interest and motivate us. So why don’t we spend more resources and effort to make this aspect of academia easier? I’m hoping to learn more from Kerry Ann Rockquemore next week, at the NCFDD Workshop on Tenure and Time Management.

Interesting readings…my information diet this week

I’m about half way through the “Information Diet”. While the diet metaphor is wearing thin, there are some interesting points about being more thoughtful of the sources and types of information we consume. I’ve just begun the data literacy section, which I was totally not expecting. More on that next week!

There were some interesting ideas in a blog post by Eric van de Velde, but I disagree with many of the things he says. Still, I think he points out real challenges, but simplifies these challenges into black and white issues faced by scholars. He’s right in that journals are not functional for many needs of modern scholars. What we need to do now is have a conversation, within institutions, professional societies, and across disciplines, about exactly we want and need from the scholarly ecosystem. I’m doubtful that we can scrap the existing system and replace it with something entirely new. Movements like open access, open science, the Reproducibility Project, and other variations on the publishing model present opportunities to incrementally improve the current system. The challenge is that researchers are often unaware or uninterested in learning about these opportunities without related incentives (i.e., recognition in the promotion and tenure process). But that’s a whole other rant…

I’ve added a couple of things by Harold Jarche (, who writes about Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), to my read/watch list. I’m always looking for personal life examples that might work when I teach data literacy skills. I discovered him thanks to Bonnie Stachowiak and her intro presentation to PKM for discovering his work.

Just today I came across Maria Popova’s post on a children’s story inspired by Jane Goodall called Me…Jane. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to read this to my daughter! We even have a copy available in our stacks 🙂


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