University of Bergen Staff Mobility Week: Day 3

School trip!

[Check out Day 1 and Day 2]

The third day of Staff Mobility Week was an all day excursion, visiting interesting places key to Norwegian economy, life, and culture. It was an early start, which wreaked havoc on my body clock. Because gets light so early, we all had trouble sleeping – it only got dark after midnight, and you’d wake up at 3am thinking you’ve overslept because it was as bright as midday.

All three groups – Library, IT, and Health & Safety – went on the excursion. It was really nice to chat with the other groups and catch up on what we’d all been doing. The day was excellently planned, and I commend the SMW organisers for shepherding that many people so effectively. We were like excited children going on a school trip.

A troll at the entrance to Mongstad

A troll at the entrance to Mongstad

First was Technology Centre at Mongstad oil refinery – called by the Norwegian Prime Minister “Norway’s moon landing”. We were given a presentation in English about this the largest carbon capture test facility. Unfortunately, due to the specialist nature of this subject, it included quite a bit of jargon – I sometimes struggled to follow it, and I know my European colleagues garnered even less. However, a guided tour in our coach around the facility was a interesting experience.

We also had a tour around the oil refinery – again fascinating, but I found it a strange experience to reconcile with my own political/environmental views. Nevertheless, it is something I would never have had the chance to do otherwise.



Following this, we took a ferry to the North Sea island Fedje (pronounced Fii-ya). Here we had a warming lunch of creamy salmon soup.

A local of Fedje gave us a guided tour and a little of the history of Fedje, including a mercury-laden German U-Boat which was sunk just off the coast. A few years back, Fedje experienced an awful oil spill from a tanker, but there was no trace of it due to fantastic clean-up efforts.

Knitting machines

Knitting machines

Hopping back on the ferry, we travelled to the Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum in Salhus (Sol-hoos). I can imagine many librarians in the UK would be excited by this museum!

The museum used to the factory for Krone-Marco knitwear, but went out of business in the 1980s. It’s since been converted to a museum, but still retains the working machinery. Our guide was able to demonstrate the machines, which really drove home how loud, claustrophobic, and dangerous it was to work there.

The community of Salhus had formed around the factory, so it is great to see it living on as a museum. Though the working machines may have worried some of our Health and Safety group colleagues!



We returned to Bergen, having seen a side of Norway the tourists may not get to. The oil refinery at Mongstad, the fishing and whaling community of Fedje, and the legacy of the textile industry in Salhus, all offering a unique insight into Norway – but, as my Norwegian colleagues pointed out, certainly not the whole story.

University of Bergen Staff Mobility Week: Day 2

Sharing success stories

[Day 1 can be found here]

The second day of the Staff Mobility Week was the first day of the Library group programme. It was opened by Library Director Ole Gunnar Evensen (starring in the videos below). He introduced the Library, and its current projects and accomplishments, and showed the Magic of the Library video, which won silver in the annual IFLA marketing award:

We were also introduced to
Search and Write (Sok og scriv), an information literacy and skills platform, and the newly launched PhD on Track, a hub of information and resources for PhD students.

The first workshop was the presentations from participants on Marketing the Library, its Resources and Services. The brief was:

The headline will be: “Marketing YOUR library and its resources and services” […] We would like to hear about fun and creative ways of promoting your library. Please share smart and incredible success-stories as well as spectacular failures. In a way, this will be “Story time”.

We heard about recent social media developments at the University, as well as from the other participants from around Europe, including outreach, events, and new buildings. To demonstrate some innovative marketing at the UoB Libraries: A Plagiarism Carol  – most cast members are Library staff!

[Turn ‘Captions’ on for English subtitles]

We broke for lunch, which we enjoyed in the beautiful museum gardens. Unfortunately, the sun made me a bit sleepy for the following session! A good dose of tea and biscuits put that right, though.

The second workshop was Reference management – Best practice? The discussion was on reference management software training, primarily EndNote. It was great to hear that we all have the same challenges, regardless of our country.

The evening activity was a hiking trip up to Mount Fløien. There is a funicular that runs up and down Fløien at an incredible incline.


I am not usually one for exercise, or any physical activity to be honest, but the hike was well worth it for the view, and the ice cream at the top. It was a relatively easy (very relative!) hike, but I still had a great sense of achievement at the top. 

Navigating your career: PIC2013 session write-up

This post focusses on Navigating your career, a presentation delivered by Malcolm Bryant, Managing Director & Head of Corporate Services for EMEA & Asia, Morgan Stanley, at the Perfect Information conference I attended in May. You can read my overall impressions from the conference over at the SLA Europe blog.

Malcolm began with a memorable analogy: Managing your career is like going to the dentist. We all know we should go. Sometimes we don’t go as often as we should. And some people don’t go at all.

Navigating your career

Navigating your career

Malcolm said something obvious, but important. No ones going to come along and manage your career for you. You personal development is your responsibility, not your manager’s.The first element of taking charge of your career is to plan.

Ask yourself what motivates you? Is it financial, getting tasks done, the people you work with, career progression, or lifestyle and work/life balance? Evaluate you’re job; write down what you like and dislike about your job.Your ‘likes’ are opportunities to increase scope, add value, and improve skills. And discuss these with your boss/colleagues. Your dislikes can form suggestions for change. Discuss these with your boss – even minor improvements are worth it.

What do you want to be doing in 3-5 years? This is a good amount to be looking forward, as 6 months can be too immediate, and 10 years too far – anything can happen! I found this a very helpful piece of advice. I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years time, it’s too far to comprehend, and my 6 months’ goals are very much driven by my current role and its priorities. 

The second important aspect of your career development is networks.

There are typical excuses for not networking: it’s too political, a fear of rejection, you may feel too junior. But career won’t take care of itself. The benefits of networking can be internal and external to your organisation, including a better understanding of your firm, benchmarking, and feedback.

The final part of Malcom’s advice for navigating your career was some concrete steps to take in the next 90 days:


  • Evaluate your job, your likes/dislikes, and tweak it.
  • Think about the next 3-5 years – possible future roles, do a gap analysis, write it down and discuss with your manager.
  • Using these, come up with personal development plan


  • Think about first impressions. It’s worth prepping yourself for introducing yourself, i.e. What am I working on? Like an elevator pitch for existing contacts.
  • 6 month rule – keep existing relationships warm. Keep in touch with your contacts, e.g. send them an email with ‘I saw this article and thought of you’, congratulations on a recent award etc

Malcolm’s talk was helpful, and comforting as I am already doing much of this as part of the Chartership process. It was interesting to hear advice that was pertinent to me at this stage of my career, but I am sure many senior managers in the room also found something of use in it too.

Will I do these things in the 90 days post-PIC2013? I haven’t yet – I’ve been away, and catching up from being away, which just goes to show even these simple tasks need active attention given to them.

University of Bergen Staff Mobility Week: Day 1

Velkommen til Norge!

Bryggen (old Bergen)

Bryggen (old Bergen)

I spent the first week of June in Bergen, Norway, attending the University of Bergen Staff Mobility Week. The trip was funded through my university’s participation in the Erasmus Staff Training Mobility programme. I will be blogging each day separately, as it was too large an event to summarise in one post. I arrived in Bergen on Monday 3 June, and this will form the first of these posts.

This was my first solo arrival in a foreign country, so I was nervous and excited. I get a bit nervous flying, so I was glad I have my row of seats to myself on the plane, so no one could see me practicing breathing exercises!

The airport is about 25 minutes from Bergen, and these 25 minutes were what I was most nervous about. I don’t like getting an unknown bus route in England, let alone in Norway. All was fine though, and I apparently looked like I knew what I was doing, according to someone I later met who recognised me from the flight/bus. Bergen’s lovely, though my hotel was up a very steep hill, and I had to drag my suitcase up it! Despite the hill, and taking three wrong turns, I arrived at the hotel with time to spare, so decided to take a stroll in the botanical gardens of the University Museum before registration.

Bergen University museum and botanical garden

Bergen University museum and botanical garden

Registration was in the very snazzy Student Centre building. They handed out umbrellas with registration packs. This was the first clue to the Norwegian obsession with the weather – they are more obsessed than the English!

Tea and coffee meant an opportunity to meet other participants. One of the first people I met was someone from my own institution! Neither of us knew the other was attending, proving it is indeed a small world. We then moved into ‘Egget’ – The egg-shaped lecture theatre, where we were welcomed by Vice Rector Astri Endresen. She gave us an overview of internationalisation at UiB (University of Bergen’s Norwegian acronym), and background into the University. Following Astri, co-ordinator Signe Knappskog welcomed us to the Staff Mobility Week (SMW). Signe’s presentation aimed to get us up to speed with Bergen, with photos of the rain (second clue), a list of the many, many fires Bergen has experienced, and a quick course in Norwegian.

A quick course in Norwegian

A quick course in Norwegian

Next up, an enjoyable and informative presentation from Atle Rotevatn, Associate Professor at the Department of Earth Science – Black Gold in Norway: History, controversies and the role of science. Oil is one of Norway’s largest exports, and Atle covered why it has such rich oil and gas reserves in the North and Norwegian Seas, and the economic development of the industry. This led on to how research at UoB has and is informing this industry. Although I know very little about Earth Science, geology and the oil industry, I found Atle’s presentation interesting and enlightening. 

'Black gold' in Norway

‘Black gold’ in Norway

Following this, presentations from the organisers, running through the individual group programmes. We broke out for lunch, which involved much chatting and getting to know others in our group. It involved the most incredible cake – the size of A1 paper, half cream, half sponge. It was certainly a talking point.

There was an evening activity each day of the programme, and Monday’s was a guided walking tour of Bergen. Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining, taking us into alleys and hidden streets – a lovely start to my week in Norway.

Bergen's hanseatic buildings

Bergen’s Hanseatic buildings