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Where’s the manual? What’s the password, again?

One thing I noticed when I started my new job is that there was no manual of any sorts at all. Not even something with general info about policies or the college.

Everything is learn as you go. Which is fine, but sometimes it’s just annoying to have to stop what I am doing and search out someone to help me. I have no problem asking questions, but if all I need is a password, or the code to the photocopier, then it just seems like a waste of time.
Not only is there no manual, but the information that is out there, is spread out and sometimes hidden. The computer monitors at our information desk currently have bits of paper taped all over them with various login and password info (eg. wireless access, disability services, etc.). Some staff members keep papers under the calendar where we mark down our stats, but I never think to look under it for info. Library policies are sent to staff via email, so if it wasn’t for one Lead Hand going “oh, you’ll probably want this”, I never would have discovered some of them.

It probably sounds like I’m dissin’ my work, but that’s not at all what I’m getting at. From OLA I had an idea that I’d like our subject specialists to start using wikis for the subject guides. To get them to buy-in a bit and introduce them to wikis, we all sat in on the Web conference from The Education Institute on wikis and libraries by Darlene Fichter. I realized shortly before this webinar, that what we could really use before diving into subject guides, was a staff wiki!

So after that presentation, a co-worker and I got together and we discussed products we liked and decided to go ahead and use PBwiki. So On April 11th, we started our staff wiki and we decided to give it some format and content before showing it to all the staff. There were a couple who heard about it and started inquiring and wanting the password to it, so we gave it out, but in general we kept it to ourselves. We sent the link to our manager at the end of last week and she just told us it’s fine and to go ahead and distribute to everyone now (and she started by adding a page too!). My co-worker is planning to spend some time one-on-one with most of the staff to show them how to use it and explain it all. I know it’s a useful resource to have. So far we have just some basics – policies, campus info, logins, etc. but we’ve also made it a place where we can have discussions.

At the moment we are pretty happy with PBwiki. It is fairly easy to use. I was surprised that we were able to upload files – quite a handy feature. We chose the “educator” blog which means it’s ad-free; not really a big deal, but I know some staff would get confused by the links to ads. Anyway, I kept seeing their PostOnBlog project so I figured I might as well share with all of you how I’m using PBwiki at my library! Now I want a sandwich :p

About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.


3 thoughts on “Where’s the manual? What’s the password, again?

  1. Its lucky you work with Beulah, she seems like a hardworking gal a great complement to your innovative initiatives!

    Posted by Dora | 20 Apr 2007, 7:38 PM
  2. You might also try and suggest that a password manager be used for the passwords instead of post-its and scraps of paper.

    An online password manager would be accessible by all terminals without having to install anything. That might be a good starting point. I suggest PassPack.

    Tara Kelly

    PS. I’m a co-founder at PassPack, so I’m a tad biased, but there are other products out there too, just run “free online password manager” through google.

    Posted by Tara Kelly | 22 Apr 2007, 8:17 PM
  3. I used PBWiki to pull together all my coworkers notes from CLA last year, and it was really neat. We could then read about all the sessions we had each missed. I think that’s a really great idea to pull together all of your library info. We have numerous procedure binders, and I think online is a great idea.

    Posted by Devon | 23 Apr 2007, 12:51 PM

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