Monday, 19 July 2010

Thing 17 - Linkedin

Welcome to Thing 17...

After completing Thing 17 you will have ...

a grasp of the possibilities offered by LinkedIn for professional development.

What is LinkedIn?
This is another social networking site which works in a similar way to Facebook in that individuals create a profile and form networks by linking with others, however it is largely used by the business community, especially for recruitment, sales and for maintaining contacts lists. It's benefits seem more long-term than immediately obvious, but may become more apparent in the current economic climate. So far librarians have a limited constituency here, but you may find it useful for current awareness and keeping in touch with others in the profession both inside and outside Cambridge.

Step by step instructions

1. View an individual's profile. Go to and by using the Search for someone by name box you can view the basic details of an individual's profile without creating an account yourself. Here are some examples of some profiles to search for:

Colin Higgins (St Catherine's College)
Clare Aitken (Information Specialist at Schlumberger)
Sarah Stamford (Selwyn College/ebooks@cambridge)
Libby Tilley (Faculty Librarian, University of Cambridge)
Andy Priestner (Head Librarian, Judge Business School)

However you won't be able to view the full details, and these include that person's connections and the groups to which they belong, unless you create a profile yourself. Now in case you are exhausted with creating accounts by now I have copied my own profile in here for you to peruse. It comes in two screenshots (click them to enlarge), here's the top bit

and here is the bottom bit:

I've included this screenshot in particular because I think LinkedIn comes into its own with its discussion groups.

2. If you don't already have a LinkedIn profile and would like one, you can set yourself up by following through the sign-up boxes (I guess you know how to do this now) and remember to check your privacy settings.

3. You can search for and send requests to link to people whom you know. You will see you will be asked to indicate how you know that person and, as with Facebook, you will have to wait for your request to be accepted.

4. Meanwhile you can search for groups (click on the Groups tab) with shared interests, why not start by searching for the Cambridge Library Group. Membership/support of groups such as this, CILIP etc are useful additions to your profile. If you are not sure what to look for, take a look at some existing LinkedIn profiles or use the Groups Directory. You'll notice that you will be able to contact people you find in LinkedIn groups without necessarily needing to know their email address.

Under More you can find a reading list option which links to Amazon. Here you can be updated with new publications in a field which interests you, or set up a list of books you have read yourself.

Optional extras

  • Check newsfeeds from groups
  • Create your own group
  • Add your Twitter feed to your LinkedIn profile
  • Add a recommendation for someone you know to their profile.

Further reading
The Economist ran a special report on A world of connections in Jan 2010 which is available online at their website but requires a free 14-day registration to read.


Now post to your blog ...

Thanks to Colin Higgins and Clare Aitken for their contribution to this post.

Next time...
We'll be exploring Zotero and Mendeley.


  1. Although clicking on the top bit of your LinkedIn page gave me a bigger (if blurry) and readable image, clicking on the lower one didn't produce a readable image for me.

  2. Hi Rosy, I've replaced the image with a new one which I hope is clearer.