Newish information professionals and fearless risk-taking

What does big, bold, fearless, barrier breaking information professional practice look like (not this)?

Ross Harvey curmudgeon-ing?

Ross Harvey queried the value of new professionals groups, particularly in Melbourne, stating “we don’t want in our information professions people, whether ‘new’ or not, who continue to need the props that supportive environments provide”. Really? We don’t want as colleagues people who need supportive environments?  What an odd thought.

I wonder whether Ross’ query arises from the contrasts in his sources.

  1. On the one hand Ross seems to prefer a (UK-based, and relevant here) notion where a ‘new professional’ is one either (a) still in, or (b) recently finished course, or (c) in first post;
  2. So he is apparently bothered by his perceptions of a recent ‘proliferation’ of ‘new professional’ groups in Melbourne; apparently (from the above-quoted statement) because they may be serving/supporting people beyond such early situations—yet if Ross is thinking of the group newCardigan, as commenter Hugh surmises, then he has misapprehended that group’s purpose (think more new=fresh-thinking rather than new=young); and
  3. And Ross’s perception of what our profession *does* need is quoted from a report “Re-envisioning the MLS” prepared for a USA audience–where the professional status applies only to postgraduates.  In Australia one may start an information profession with an undergraduate degree in LIS.
What does big, bold, fearless, barrier breaking information professional practice look like (not this)?
CC-BY-NC image by Jon Lucas of Daniel Ilabaca performing handstand on a balcony rail from Flickr (not big, bold, fearless, barrier-breaking information professional practice?)

When my convention-bending is limited to vocabulary

So tell me–because I’m clearly not a bold, fearless, risk-taking, god-send to the profession who would, without support, obviously know –from whom does Ross expect the (un-propped) big, bold, fearless, barrier-breaking activity?  And, what does such activity look like?  On the one hand it seems like he is saying anyone beyond their first post should be kicking up an (unsupported) storm rather than collaboratively networking.

Yet the plea seems as directed to we ‘true’ new professionals, and if so I wonder: how is an Australian *new* information ‘professional’, ie one still in, or just out of their course (which in Australia may be a first undergraduate) going to be in a space/state of knowledge & power (particularly if they lack as yet a position) where they might “go ‘big’; break down disciplinary, social, and professional barriers”?

Perhaps, Ross might be bothered by the co-existence of “newCardigan“–started (I believe) by mostly mid/early-mid-career librarian-flock information professionals eager to connect with other-flock information professionals without the restrictions of flock-bound professional associations; and “GLAMR new professionals“–created within the archive-flock ASA.

While both bear the word “new” – they’re using it differently (new-thinking .v. newly-minted), have different structures (one monthly parties with only the support of colleagues; one unknown frequency with the support of an association), and probably have different goals, except when occasionally their goals of breaking down disciplinary, social and professional barriers intersects with (for one potentially including, and the other directed specifically at) new professionals.

Hey, I wonder if those groups might be interested in whatever b&f-b3u3 things it is that Ross wants to see?

Limbering up with LinkedIn

Monkey Swing by Thomas Tamayo at Flickr

Thanks to Dale Smith (2012) I received Tim Tyrell-Smith’s (2012) guide against being lazy on LinkedIn.

On pondering Tim’s advice, I wonder whether there are some people (like me perhaps) for whom such sites are not the best place to promote oneself. For example: suppose one is aiming for a career change – where they have worked in the past could be a distraction; Or suppose one has been out of the workforce raising children for many years? Or working at positions below one’s ability during those child-free years because they are the only ones with child-friendly hours?

If I were to convert Tim’s warning signs into a to-do list, re-ordering for the limited position LinkedIn has in my humble ambitions:

  1. Keep profile updated:
    Thankfully, LinkedIn sends out notices fairly regularly, so when someone else updated their profile recently I let it prompt me into updating mine.
  2. Come up with an appealing headline
    Particularly difficult for humble people – could you point to some good ones?
    (Update August 8: Michael Keleman recommends precise (unpuffy) clarity)
  3. Improve summary without just copying resume
  4. Find a few more connections.
    Eek, I’m not keen on quantifying my connections, so I’ll not let Tim’s “at least 100” factor in at all. (Except cousins: I still take childish pleasure in having lots of cousins (>50)).
  5. Complete profile
    If I did, I would run out of things to update it with?
  6. Keep personalising connection requests
    – yes, of course, would anyone send a generic request except to someone they know very, very well?
  7. Keep seeking constructive groups
    Two of the ones I joined are more often spammed than constructive
  8. Find new ways to contribute constructively to groups
  9. Provide true, specific recommendations for others
    It is the only kind I would, but for whom would my recommendation be desirable?
  10. Recommendations? Does anyone take them seriously?
    Even Tim admits they don’t carry a lot of weight. Maybe he just wanted to round out his “10” signs? How useful are they if you’re not sure what kind of work you’re seeking? Might they be counter-productive the more generic they are, or if they are more relevant to past than future ambitions?

What would you advise?

Image credit: Tamayo, T. (2008). Monkey swing. CC:BY-NC/2.0 from


Keleman, M. (2010, January). LinkedIn Taglines. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from
Smith, D. (2012, July 28). RT @WayneMansfield: 10 Signs You Are Being Lazy On LinkedIn […] #inf2506. @das013. microblog. Retrieved from
Tyrell-Smith, T. (2012, July 26). 10 Signs you are being lazy on LinkedIn. Retrieved from