Category Archives: Work

And we have another ‘toy’

sketchnote project management
After months of research, communication, and discussion, our ERM (Electronic Resources Management) team finally got what we wanted …. a new ERM System (ERMS) to replace the obsolete one. Thank God.

We decided to go for Proquest 360 Resource Manager.  One of the advantages is that we are currently using 360 Core, 360 Marc Updates and Summon; all on the same platform and vendor.  Thus seamless integration.

Now that I have finished the recommendation report, I am planning the Implementation Phase of this ERMS. Exciting times.

The road ahead will be challenging and hopefully rewarding.  Given that we only have a small team with varied expertise level, there will be some learning curve (hopefully NOT a steep one).  Thinking back, it was interesting to note the technologies that we had used before in relation to ERM:

  • Innovative Millennium ERM > Replaced by Proquest 360 Resource Manager
  • CASE > Replaced by Proquest 360 Core
  • Encore > Replaced by Proquest Summon
  • MS Outlook > Complimenting the future ERMS
  • MS Sharepoint > Storage point

as well as the challenges that we faced.

I’m thankful and glad to have the opportunity of leading those projects listed above.

Stay tuned.

Managing tasks with ‘disruptive’ technology

This may sound cliche: I am swamped with project work, routine tasks, meetings, supervision work…and the list goes on.  I have tried a number of methods: from pen and paper, MS Outlook folder and other productivity tools to help me keep track of stuff.  One such tool that has helped me so far is Trello.

There are a number of Trello features that contribute to this.  Here’s one of Trello’s feature: (Oh for those who would like to know more about Trello, here’s a link to guide you.)

Delegate a task via email and with the help of Trello, get it ‘pushed’ into your ToDo Board.

Here’s how my Trello board looks like:


Suppose if I need to email and delegate a task to another staff, I’ll open MS OutLook and begin writing the email.  Once completed, here’s what I do:

  1. Open my Trello ToDo board. Locate the Show Menu (somewhere near the top right of the screen) and click on it.
  2. Click More and “Email-to-board” settings.
  3. Ensure the Cards appear in the correct Column:
  4. Copy and paste the “Email Address for Board” into your BCC field of the email.
  5. If successfully executed, the email should appear under the correct column.

Hope this simple stuff helps.

Useful Links:


Frozen in DC

I attended the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) conference in Washington DC 2016. Stayed at Capital Hilton which was quite near the White House. Weather wise: Freezing cold but no snow.  Flight in was good with no delays.

Before the conference started, I had the chance to discover DC.  But due to time constraint, I only managed to walk to the White House and the nearby streets.  It was not like in 2010 ALA conference where I had the chance to visit the mall and the nearby Library of Congress.  One incident which I won’t forget is the hotel evacuation due to a fire incident sometime during 4 am.  It was freezing cold.  Had to stand with the others in the streets, watching the Fire Brigade or Battalion in action.  However, the hotel informed us that we could wait in the nearby hotel lobbies or chill@Starbucks.

Back to the conference stuff.  There was a bunch of interesting project briefings given by various universities.  The ones that I attended were:

  • Research Software Preservation/Sharing
  • Cost of Open Access: Pay it Forward
  • Scholars@Cornell: Visualizing Scholarly Record
  • Expanding Research Data Services
  • The Future of Finding at Oxford
  • Institutional Learning Analytics

Below are some of the CNI conference videos:

The Cost of Open Access to Journals: Pay It Forward Project Findings from CNI Video Channel on Vimeo.

Makerspaces, Virtual Reality, The Internet of Things at alia Stories from CNI Video Channel on Vimeo.

In the nutshell: It was my maiden conference for CNI.  I found it useful as there was a lot of takeaways as well as insights topics new to me.  Given my interests in Web Discovery and Virtual Reference, there were several briefings that caught my attention.  One of which was “The Future of Finding at Oxford”.  They have published their report online.  It’s very comprehensive, outlining their aims, objectives, project methodology and related matters.  (I am still reading this).

I also googled for previous CNI briefings in Youtube and discovered an interesting talk on Virtual Reference:

One more thing: I should have listened to my wife on bringing just a few clothes for the conference (I was there for about 4.5 days). The custom officers were looking at my ‘huge’ luggage and decided to take at look at it.  Out came the Nescafe coffee bottle, sugar sticks, 4 sweaters, biscuits and so forth.  Before clearing me, the officer commented that I should be well insulated during my stay there 🙂


What I have been up to….


It had been a whirlwind period – Dec 2016 till Jan 2017.  I was not able to post due to lots of stuff that had taken place recently.  In the nutshell, here’s a quick overview:

  • Attended CNI (Coalition for Networked Information: CNI) conference in Washington DC in early Dec 2016.  One of the nights, me and the other hotel guests had to evacuate due to a fire. Spent more than an hour in the freezing chilly DC morning
    (4 am).
  • Flew back to Singapore to close the deal for our new home. Yes, as last, I got a house. (Alhamdulillah).
  • Down with flu for most of my vacation leave in Singapore Dec 2016 – Jan 2017.
  • 2017: Preparing for my panel session as well as paper session for SLA AGC 2017 inshaAllah
  • Completed the first phase of the electronic resources management system project, now leading the implementation phase.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts.

Dealing with unmanageable stuff


How do you deal with something that is not easy to manage? By this, I mean issues related to the excessive or systematic download of the library’s subscribed electronic resources materials.

A little background to this:  Libraries sign license agreements with electronic resources publishers to ensure that users do not violate or infringe any copyright regulations.    In addition, we also have to ensure that there are no ‘crawling’ activities – our users do not deploy some form of software to download multiple documents within a very short period of time.  So, when any of these happen (excessive / systematic downloading), it will trigger an automated access block on the suspected campus IPs from the publishers.  Thus, users are not able to access that particular electronic resources.

The last few weeks have been pretty busy with a spike of such incidents.  I had to liaise with the publishers to ensure that our access is reinstated as well as assuring that we will investigate the matter thoroughly on our end.  In addition, I have to contact our counterparts – campus IT Security Team.  Once we have identified the ‘perpetrators’, my next task will involve contacting them and ensuring that they are NOT to repeat the ‘act’ again. (if they are guilty of it)

We have been very proactive in ensuring that our users are well-informed about these issues.  Some of our initiatives include:

  • Announcement on our library website
  • Email blast
  • Posters at strategic places on campus such as campus diner, congregation areas in the library
  • Library trainings
  • Electronic Billboards
  • Informal meetings / chats with our users on this issue
  • Re-visiting our license agreements and renegotiating with the electronic publishers

Hopefully, we can reduce the number of such incidents; though eradicating them would be rather tough.  Like I said before, sometimes when it rains, it pours …


KAUST Library Day 2016

It was a day of ‘bonding’ between the library and our community. Hosted people from different Research Centers, Core Laboratories, and Academic Division.  They were asking questions about our services, facilities, and our new discovery layer.  We had raffle draws, library quizzes, “Name the Discovery Layer” (aka search service) competition, library tours and our very own “coloring wall”.  One of the main prize giveaways was the “solar-powered  Bluetooth speaker”. Oh, not forgetting the fabulous food too.

Library Posters and Facts Chart


People that made it happened!


The coloring wall before it was colored 🙂

Teamwork in Diversity. Is it possible?


I lead a team of people from different countries, cultures and faiths.  Working in such environment presents challenges as well as opportunities.  There is not a one size fits all solution to overcome these issues.

How do I get those individuals from different walks of life to come and work together to achieve a common goal despite all our differences.

Then I stumbled upon this interesting article in Forbes:

“Diversity Is Required To Make A Company Strong, But Unity Is Required To Make A Company Successful”, Amy Rees Anderson ,   (Accessed on 12 Oct 2016)

The article brought up several useful points:

3 things to create unity:

  • Tolerance
  • Learn the points of views of others
  • Appreciate differences

Coming back to the idea of teamwork, yes -it’s possible to have a successful diverse team but the main point will be Unity.  I’ve added some points to ponder:

  • Building trust
  • Keeping your word
  • Providing your support
  • Fair treatment
  • Everybody is important in the team no matter how small or big your title or job scope

Well, this list could go on and on … but to summarize, all of us have to put our differences aside at some point, check our egos, agree to disagree and keep moving forward, bearing in mind our common vision and mission within the organization. Uh one more thing, at times your patience will be tested.


« Older Entries Recent Entries »