A Week in the Life of a Web Services Librarian: Day Three

8:30: Arrived at work after another sweaty walk. I’m a little baffled by the fact that it’s actually kind of cool out, but I still get to work and am a sweaty mess. I managed to get a lot checked off my To Do list right away, though: Emailed tech services staff to talk about a global link update that needs to happen in the catalog, sent out an email to University Affairs to publicize our single sign-on changes, and finished up the meeting minutes from yesterday’s Faculty meeting. I also managed to add three more things to my To Do list in the same amount of time. It’s an endless cycle.

9:15: Found some documentation about changes we have to make to ILLiad to enable single sign-on for ILL, in preparation for a meeting this afternoon. Doesn’t look like it should be difficult. Famous last words.

9:30: Updated our collection scope notes for Computer Science, Engineering, and Math. I might not know what studying analog electronics or microprocessors or pure math MEANS, but I know they do it here. I had a brief moment of thinking, “Maybe being a math major would have been kind of cool,” then I looked at the courses required and my eyes went all buggy the way they used to when I had to do math and I laughed at myself. Computer Science maybe I could have pulled off as an undergraduate but math? No way. I’m majorly impressed by anyone who studies math.

9:45: Way too much time getting sucked into email, following random links, and losing track of time.

10:30: Talked to our marketing assistant about a few of the signs and fliers we’re going to need at the beginning of the semester. We want to create some kind of visual icon for all of our banned books events this fall, and we also need some new signs explaining the new scanning feature on our copiers. It’s nice to have someone else who can take a crack at this stuff first…

11:00: Meeting with my web services staff person. We try to check in with each other once a week. I’m still trying to figure out what it means to be a work lead (not technically a manager), how to delegate appropriately, and how to let go of things I’m used to doing all on my own.

11:40: I’m clearly procrastinating because the next thing on my To Do list is kind of hard. I’m feeling distracted, and there are about a million thoughts going through my mind at once, which makes it awfully hard to buckle down and work on the hard thing. Maybe I need to take a walk? Get some tea? Procrastinator…

12:00: Aha! I was reminded by my colleague that today is lunch time knitting day! I’m very slowly working on a cardigan, my first ever non-scarf, non-basic rectangle knitting project. One of our lunch time knitting cohort is practically a professional knitter, and she always offers us newbies tons of help, which is one of the reasons I love lunch time knitting. It’s also nice to just have an hour to sit and chat about things that are not related to the library (or gossip about things that are, as the case may be…)

1:00: Quick meeting with our public services librarian about setting up single sign-on authentication for ILLiad, just to pin down what we still need to know and what steps we have to take to start down this road.

1:20: Email check: I feel like I’m drowning in email this week. Usually I’m pretty good at keeping close to Inbox Zero, but it feels like a never-ending flow right now.

1:30: Now it’s time for tea…or better yet, coffee.

1:45: I’m realizing that today is best suited for smaller tasks that have a recognizable finish point. Deciding to push the hard, intangible, complicated problem off for now and focus on things that can be reliably and quickly pushed off the To Do list. Next up: making some changes to the directory structure of the website, and updating a few links.

2:00: Met with Special Collections to talk content strategy and what our next steps should be to make the site super awesome. I’m feeling a lot better about our work on this particular section of the site than I was, oh, a month ago.

3:00: Public Services meeting, which usually consists of updates about what’s going on in the library. It’s always interesting for me to go to these because my public service in the library is very limited. It’s a great way to hear about what’s going out in the front of the house. One of the agenda items asked for feedback about our website’s soft launch, which just happened about three weeks ago. I made a change that many of our public services folks aren’t happy about: There used to be a page that consisted of nothing but links to other area libraries. This page drove me crazy because, well, that’s what Google is for, right? It was basically a page of bookmarks, á la 1995-era Yahoo. Well, everyone misses that stupid page. Even though the only people who ever visited that page were staff. I suggested putting it on the intranet, but no one wanted to have to log into the intranet to get to it. I suggested creating bookmark files that could be imported into all the public services browsers. No, people really want it on the website. So now, I want to think of the best way to include that information on the website without having to have some random directory listing of other websites. Sigh.

4:00: Back at my desk, and staring at my overflowing email inbox. I re-arranged a few things on the To Do list, pushed a few projects back until tomorrow, Friday, and next week.

4:35: After half an hour of inbox triage, I’m back to Inbox Zero. Not without a few more items added to the To Do list, of course.

In case you’re curious, I manage my To Do list with a tool called OmniFocus. Here’s a screenshot:

Screen shot of an organization tool called OmniFocus

Screen shot of my OmniFocus To Do List

I love this tool. I’m an organization and productivity geek, and I really like how I can schedule things out, add notes to tasks, assign them to different projects, and then check them off with a big shiny check mark when I’m done with them. It also uses this concept called “contexts” that I haven’t yet fully explored, which I think is tied closely to the whole Getting Things Done cult system. I don’t really have a whole life system, but this To Do list app works great for me. It’s also connected to an app on my phone, so I can add items to the list even if I’m not at my computer.

I only have one meeting tomorrow, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to crack down and really get to work on that difficult application configuration I was avoiding all day today. As for Tuesday, though? I’m going home.

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