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Current Awareness Techniques That Might Work for You

Clock This is a comment we received from one of our readers... but I often feel this way, and I bet lots of folks can relate:

"I often don't remember to check [TechBits] or all the other blogs, wikis, lists and sites recommended by other staff--even when I have a moment to spare. Example, I check my Bloglines maybe once every six months. Not exactly useful to me, is it? How do folks manage? And what aren't they doing that should get done?"

Finding time for current awareness and getting things done is definitely a balancing act, and everyone manages differently. What works for one person might not work for another -- and adjustments may be necessary in the face of other demands. Here's how I manage -- and I hope others will share their own philosophies in the comments!

  1. Figure out which RSS feeds are relevant to your work, and then be ruthless in picking what to read. Pick a daily limit (say 10 min./day) or a longer block of time each week/month, and then skim until you find something that could apply to you and your library. Don't feel bad about marking everything as "read" if it's overwhelming to see too many unread items.

  2. Watch for technology in the news media -- my favorite source is the "All Tech Considered" segment of NPR's All Things Considered program. I catch it during my commute, but the website lets you listen to it on your computer or transfer it to a portable music player, or subscribe to RSS/podcast feeds.

  3. Use the SCLS Journal Routing service to get tech info in handy magazine format -- I like Computers in Libraries for its tight focus on library technology and Wired for general tech (and tech culture) awareness. Sign up for journal routing (requires password). 

If you feel like you're shirking "real work," remember that the knowledge you gain from current awareness can help you plan ahead and solve problems more nimbly. Better to balance a little time learning about tech matters (like Kindles, software licenses, Thunderbird, for example) with your other work now, than to really scramble when your library needs them or when patrons ask about them!

Comments

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This is really cool. Thanks Techbits peeps!

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