On what I’ve been doing

It has been about two months since my last post. In that time I have been busy at my new workplace (AusAID) understanding how things are done, going to meetings and internal courses, and managing a library and information service that is quite specific to the internal needs of the organisation. Certainly, working in a government department (having mostly worked in the private sector previously) is an interesting change.

My main role is to manage a small team of people providing a library and information service to internal stakeholders. The major services we provide are information alerts with detailed abstracts, responses to research requests, and a range of library functions.

We are keen to assist the thematic networks (subject-like groups dealing with specific areas of development assistance) within AusAID to enhance dissemination of information and to help the network co-ordinators improve individual networks.  In addition, we will look for opportunities in some niche areas that we can resource within our existing operational structure. And, I am also looking at how I can market and brand our services more effectively so that we can leverage our services more broadly.

I am keen to study the information seeking behaviours of my target groups, as well as identifying new target groups for the services we are already providing. By understanding the behaviours, it is much easier to tailor an information service to meet the information seeking needs of the client group.

Our intranet uses Sharepoint 2003. I am more familiar with Sharepoint 2007. As an intranet administrator, I hope to work on making improvements to our site pages and look for opportunities that might arise after the upgrade.  Sharepoint is not the greatest content management system but at least Sharepoint 2007 has a few more content options.

I still have quite a bit to learn about the internal operations of the department. Moreover, I have many more people to meet and speak with so that I can better understand the operational environment and where my team can provide the maximum value for the organisation. Understanding organisational culture and workplace behaviours takes time. However, they are necessary conditions to work through in any knowledge and information service environment.

Outside AusAID, I have been reconnecting with other Canberra-based library and knowledge management people – in particular at ACT-KM. I recently organised the ACT-KM meeting earlier this month with a presentation by Scott Lewis from Metanews looking at RSS and showing his RSS newsletter product called Xenos.

I have been to my first Canberra library (Horizon) user group meeting where library management systems were discussed. I will be attending the next APS-KM meeting in May.

And finally, I am working on my last subject for my Master of Knowledge Management at the University of Canberra. The subject, “Dimensions of the Information Sector”, is pretty broad but with scope to examine particular attributes of the sector. Moving house, getting all the administrative matters sorted, and starting a new job haven’t made studying easy. However, I am gradually getting back into some form of routine.

All in all though, I am very pleased to back in Canberra.


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