Ko wai au? Who am I? Digital Identity for a career librarian

By Kim Tairi, University Librarian, Auckland University of Technology. Contact: kim.tairi@aut.ac.nz or on Twitter and Instagram

Know your Why

Image of Kim Tairi

As a career librarian I have always been an advocate for using social media to build robust and diverse professional and personal learning networks. I like to think of the networks that I belong to as circles of kindness and reciprocity.

This is my why. I use social media to learn, share and be part of communities of practice that are active in education, libraries, indigenisation and decolonisation and other issues I consider important.

Many of the people I have met virtually have gone on to become friends in real life. I am fortunate.

Private versus Open 

I use my own name and have an open account. I rarely get trolled and if I do, my number 1 rule is don’t engage. You owe trolls nothing and you have every right to block with wild abandon. 

My digital identity, that is, all the digital content that I have created and I am connected with, has grown organically. As an experiential learner, I like to play, make mistakes, try things and see what happens. This has led to some wonderful opportunities – conference papers, book chapters, speaking gigs and meeting incredible people.  

Twice, I have been asked to consider deleting a post by a workplace. However, I have never received an ultimatum to take-down content, it has always been a conversation. In both cases I chose to delete the contested content.  

I am always mindful that even with disclaimers about content and posts not being those of my employers, I am by reputation, associated with my place of work. If you are active on social media platforms, it is good practice to know your workplace social media policy and, recognise that your employer may look at the content you create with a different lens than you. 

Social media is performative  

As a senior leader in our profession, I acknowledge that I am always expected to display professionalism in public forums. I don’t always get it right but I try to be genuine, engaging, kind, creative, stylish and visible as an indigenous, intersectional feminist. I curate my content but try to be me at the same time.  

Social media is a performative space: for example my online persona is an extrovert and tall. I am not. That is why I call myself 1.58m of Awesomeness on Twitter! 

Actively manage your content  

Set up Google alerts and Google yourself regularly. This will enable you to check your digital footprint. Finally, be intentional, mindful and respectful and social media will serve you well professionally.  

You can find me online on Twitter and Instagram. Say kia ora!  

Day 3 of Championing the Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival – The good, the bad and the ugly of digital identity and data

by Marianne Sato, Project Officer, Data, Digital Learning and Publishing, University of Queensland

Day 3 of the Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival was all about Digital Identity and Data Literacy. We saw the good and the bad of digital identity and data.

The bad

Is your online activity a digital tattoo that you may come to regret and won’t be able to remove?

Terra Starbird (Digital Literacy Trainer) from Australian National University told us that “every single thing you do online is a digital tattoo.”  This includes work emails, private emails, social media, searches and purchases. We were horrified to see just how much Google knows about our lives – our relatives, friends, locations we visited, illnesses we looked up and our “celebrity crushes.”

A person with a tattoo spelt as “NO RAGRETS” across their chest.

Big data is a threat! 

Tools and apps can scrape all your online data and the data on your smartphone. Terra told us that corporations will pay to have employees’ online activity analysed to get an insight into behaviour, personality and intelligence. It can be “career ending.”

Raise awareness

Terra asked, “As librarians, should we be about helping people stem that flow of information?” Should we share tips and tools to check online activity, clean up where possible, protect private information and search anonymously? If we raise awareness of the data risks, and the ways to combat it, we can help our clients to make the most of their digital identities. 

The good

Social media has the potential to provide amazing personal and work opportunities.

Kim Tairi, Kaitoha Puka (University Librarian) from Auckland University of Technology showed us the importance of social media for librarians to communicate, build relationships, develop professional circles and “lift up the profession.” 

But it is not without risk!

Kim has chosen to be her authentic self rather than adopt a “brand” that shows an edited version. Kim explained that sometimes it has led to tears. Kim’s tips on making the most of social media include:

  • Plan – think about your goals and values
  • Stop and think
  • Be true to yourself and it will evolve over time.

Kim’s recommendations of Twitter accounts to follow that lift up the profession:

  • @janecowell8
  • @clauersen

Good use of data

Even though our data can be used in a way that threatens our privacy, there are also amazing, ethical uses of data. Data can be used to tell a story, visualise information and gain insights.

Masami Yamaguchi (Librarian), Brett Parker (Senior Programmer and Software Support Officer), and Amanda Miotto (Senior eResearch Analyst) from Griffith University introduced us to data storytelling. They teach researchers to “frame their ideas for their audience” using techniques and tools to create visualisations from their data and a narrative that leads to “memorable research.”

Charles Barnett (Library Business Partner, Design and Social Context) from RMIT University Library presented on the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Project to explore a visual representation of searching activities of the RMIT Community. It was a great example of engaging their community and filling digital capability gaps.

Clayton Bolitho (Research Outputs Data Advisor) from La Trobe University demonstrated Tableau Public, a tool to “help people see and understand data.” At LaTrobe it is used to analyse resource usage, open access publications and to help researchers measure their research’s attention, value and engagement. Clayton recommends trying Tableau to get a better understanding of data.

Bruce White (Open Access and Copyright Advisor) from Massey University explained the value in having coding skills to pull in data to provide rich insights. Bruce learned Python “through a literal accident” and became involved in the Council of New Zealand University Librarians Open Access Environmental Scan in early 2019, to write an extensive program to pull in data from predominantly open sources that gave the universities rich insights into their performance. Bruce recommends to “start simple and invest time to learn the basics.” Check out Bruce’s book – Spreadsheets for Librarians : Getting Results with Excel and Google Sheets. 

The ugly?

All the sessions were about taking positive actions so there wasn’t actually any “ugly.” But special mention could go to:

•    Big data being used in unethical ways

•    Nemeses looking at your social media. Kim’s hot tip: You are being watched!


DigiDex – Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework – Day 3, Wednesday 3 February 2021

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