How This Librarian Works–Karlen Chase

Job Title: Research Analyst

Institution: University at Buffalo

Job Duties/Description: My department has been tasked with creating a university-wide database of engagement activities that has a public-facing Web display. These activities include the engaged scholarship, experiential learning and professional service activities faculty and staff undertake. I serve as the technical lead on the inventory project and provide guidance to the university’s Engagement Advisory Committee on how data collection choices will impact search results and what data must be collected to create their desired sorts and slices of the data. I built the pilot data collection tool in the Microsoft SharePoint CMS and am now building the second iteration in Campus Labs Baseline and the WordPress CMS, using Gravity Forms and Toolset plugins.

Current mobile device(s)? I still have my first smartphone, an HTC Droid Incredible 2 that I bought in 2011. It has been rooted and modded with CyanogenMod-7.1.0.1, running Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread, five versions of Android back). Since modding the phone, it runs much faster. I don’t plan on getting a new smartphone until this one dies or is no longer useful. I use my old Nook Color for reading and browsing the Web. (I had also rooted and modded the Nook Color, but I found the processor couldn’t stand up to the increased task load of operating as an Android tablet, so I reset it to factory settings and the Nook operating system, which is a lower version of Android.) The advantage of using my devices so long is that by the time I replace them, the experience is akin to trading in a Yugo for a Porsche.

Current computer(s)? I still prefer desktop computers because of the pricing points. I have an old Dell at home that I bought in 2007 and will be upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7 when I have the time. At work, I have a Dell Optiplex 7010 with 16GB of memory, so it’s much faster than my home computer. I also have dual monitors on my work computer, which I love.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Google Calendar, Evernote, Pinboard and Feedly. I also use Microsoft Outlook’s tasks for work.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? My FitBit Zip.

What’s your best productivity/organization/time-saving trick? If I can kill it in two minutes or less, I kill the task. Otherwise, I’m using the Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirillo.

How do you manage your to-do list/workflow? My inbox in Microsoft Outlook is a to-do list; there are never more than about 15 items in my inbox, and I’d like to get that down. I use Microsoft Outlook to schedule deadlines and repeating tasks. I also use Google Calendar to schedule reminders for both work and personal tasks. I have implemented a “light” version of The Secret Weapon (TSW) [link: http://www.thesecretweapon.org/] in Evernote but would like to go full-on TSW at some point in the near future.

What resources do you use for professional development? I take classes on software through UB’s Organizational Development and Training department. I also use YouTube extensively to view tutorials for specific WordPress plugins or for anything else tech-related that I need to do at work. I use Microsoft support anytime I need to uncover another Excel trick.

What are you currently reading? I am always in the middle of about a dozen books, rotating a few primaries. My primary reads right now are Moving Inward: The Journey to Meditation, by Rolf Sovik; The Secret of the Yoga Sutra: Samadhi Pada, by Pantañjali, commentary by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait; Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, by Pema Chödrön; and Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding, by Lynn Darling.

Is there a website or blog you’d like to recommend to your fellow librarians? I am loving the Skillcrush and Buffer blogs right now.

Where do you see your job/career 12 months from now? Time will tell. I’m focusing on the labor, not the fruit, right now.

Any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to plug? I have picked up some side projects that are all writing-related. I’m also working on a few short stories for submission to literary journals.

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