Professional and public: Shaping our online professional identities to tell our story

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What was personal and private is now public and permanent. How can we use this permanence to our advantage? How do we ensure our public profile is accurate and tells our professional story, not only the story of our library or institution? Proactively creating and managing our own online professional identities can help us control our story, and the content we create for our profiles can improve the awareness and communication within and beyond our library communities. Our online presence also offers another way to present our work, find collaborators, connect with colleagues, and establish professional credibility.

As practitioners in a world where daily interactions now occur in online environments, having a complete, accurate, accessible, and up-to-date online presence is essential. A public, professional identity also ensures that our professional story is told outside the paradigm of institutional branding: Who are you? What is your role in your institution? What do you do? What have you created?

A recent study found more than 90 percent of engineering librarians had some sort of online profile on their library or university website (White, 2013). However, many were lacking basic information about rank, position title, educational background, lists of publications or presentations, or a link to their full CV. While online institutional structures do not always provide the best template to create a robust online profile for librarians, they may be used as a starting point.

This poster presents background information about librarians and their online professional identities. A list of strategies that may be used within existing online organizational structures (e.g. library websites and institutional repositories), are discussed along with a comparison of viable alternatives (e.g. LinkedIn, Research Gate, Academia U, and Google Scholar Citations). Finally, best practices for analyzing a current online presence, some tools for creating a professional profile, suggested content elements to populate a profile, and maintenance recommendations will be highlighted.

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