– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Things 11 and 12

Things 11 and 12 for 23Things for Research are investigating LinkedIn and Academia.edu.

I haven’t signed up for either before. Re Academia.edu,  I’m not an academic and don’t feel the need for a place to list my CV or publications (of which there are none anyway, just lots of citations/acknowledgements in other people’s work, and those are not substantive but generic ‘thanks to librarians and archivists in this long list of places I did research’ type things). Could it be any use to people who are thinking about PhD proposals or looking for pre-qualification work experience in archives or…? I don’t know. It does seem very specifically for career academics whose main function is getting research published. At least it has categories for ‘talks’ and conference papers. I haven’t looked at the teaching side yet – maybe that’s just listed in one’s CV.

I only know LinkedIn from the incessant stream of ‘invitations’ I get from people I know or don’t know to join it, and those of course make me not want to. I feel these are much more personal networks about individuals than I need professionally. I don’t have much of an individual or personal professional profile anywhere. Perhaps I should? So far I’ve felt my online work time was better spent improving the visibility and content of the collections I look after. And I wouldn’t want it to become yet another communication stream I constantly have to check – though I suppose, as with flickr, facebook or twitter, any communication via these networks could easily be filtered into my work email inbox.

Still, my philosophy, for the purposes of 23Things for Research at least, is: New Things Are Good. Therefore, into LinkedIn and academia.edu I go…

LinkedIn signing up review:

  • give my home postal code? you are kidding! the work one, of course.
  • sigh – Industry categories include Libraries and Information Services but not archives… I chose the latter.
  • I skipped the ‘import email contacts’ bit – I am not inflicting any of those annoying emails on anyone else! I’m sure I can find useful contacts by myself…
  • haha the account confirmation email went straight to the junk mail box! this is going to be a problem…
  • now – how am I going to tailor my contacts here? is it worth having more or less a replica of my personal facebook friends, only all of us have our Work Faces on in LinkedIn? Do I want to make Connections with everybody who’s ever sent me an enquiry? Should I restrict my connections to librarians, archivists, curators, conservators? How does this work? I will have to see…
  • It might possibly be useful or interesting to see who’s looked at my profile on LinkedIn, but the thought of every profile-owner being able to clock my visits, in person, not just as ‘a reader from Milton Keynes’ or whatever the blog monitors often show, is not so nice. Hmmm.
  • I wish it would not use ‘school’ when it means ‘ tertiary education’.
  • What I can see about other people is quite restricted with a free account – I can’t see the names of people I know and work with!

Academia.edu signing up review:

  • Academia.edu is very creaky at the moment, I will have to update later…

I am getting dizzy from all these passwords, clever PW management tricks or no… can’t spend any more time on this today. Conclusion: for both networks, so far, from me, a big hmmm…

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A PS about another of the extra posts, this one on ‘Blogging to engage’ – the college archivists have a collective online presence at Oxford Archives but it doesn’t provide any way for us to pool our knowledge or make our frequent collaborations visible and available to researchers. Many of us only work for our colleges one or two days a week, and all of us have a hard time just keeping up with the incoming enquiries and improving the descriptions of our collections. But as a group, we have tremendous amounts of knowledge of the kinds of information that has been accrued over the centuries in Oxford archives, much of it as yet unplumbed, waiting to be unlocked by researchers in all sorts of fields. What’s the best way for us to help them to do that? Something to think about, even if most of us don’t have time – or quite possibly remit from our respective employers – to do that.

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