Personal Professional Websites: Musings of a medical librarian

Sarah Visintini is a research librarian for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in Ottawa, Ontario where she supports students and staff with their information needs related to research, patient-care, and education. In addition to her work at the Heart Institute, Sarah also supports reference and systematic review services at the University of Ottawa Health Sciences Library, and is an active member of the Ottawa Valley Health Libraries Association (OVHLA). Sarah is curious about a number of things right now, including knowledge synthesis methods and library service planning, provision, and assessment. 

What is your site’s URL?

What is your tagline or title on your site?

Musings of a medical librarian

Briefly, what is the current purpose of your site?

Warehouse for practical templates, tools and write ups related to systematic review searching (and previously to finding work as a medical librarian)

Was the original purpose of your site different from this current purpose? If yes, how and why did it change?

It started out as a way for me to showcase my web design skills and also projects that weren’t cut and dry like publications. Especially as an early grad when my CV was a little less tangible it was a helpful job application tool.

Are you actively looking for work? (check all that apply)

√ Nope! Not at All! 

Has your site brought you any work? And if so, what?

Unsure. I’ve included it on my CVs all throughout and promoted it on my Twitter profile and through tweets. Hard to say if that tangibly added to my ability to find work, but I’m starting to use aspects of it now in my annual review process (“my tool was cited on these sites”) and in professional networking contexts folks will sometimes mention a blog I wrote, which is gratifying! I think it lent me a certain amount of credibility from early on.

About Your Site and Sites in General

Did you pay someone to design or build your site?

√ Other: Initially I made it but it had a bunch of bugs and the links were breaking, and I just had no capacity to sort it out on my own, so I hosted a student to fix part of it and then paid a company to fix the rest. More recently I gave up on the bugs and migrated to a new platform which will hopefully be more streamlined.

Which of the following content do you have on your site (check all that apply)?

√ Blog about professional topics

√ List of publications

√ Twitter or other social media feed

√ Your Bio

√ Your photo 

Which of the following personal links or connection methods do you provide on your site? (Check all that apply)

√ ORCiD 

√ Twitter 

Is your site strictly library/archives/LIS related?

√ Yes 

When was your site last updated?

√ Within the last year 

What causes you to update your site, and about how frequently does that occur?

Bugs, lol. I leave it until it gets really bad and then I overhaul *sobs*

Does your site use any of the following platforms/services?

√ Squarespace (previously GoDaddy)

√ Squarespace (previously WordPress)

How much do you pay annually to run your website? (for numbers not in American dollars, please use other)

√ Other: $240 or so

Do you allow comments on your site?

√ No 

Do you have advertising on your site?

√ No 

Do you have analytics on your site?

√ Yes 

About how many people visit your site in a month?

√ My analytics aren’t optimized and I just migrated but right now it’s looking like 200/mo

Is having a personal website a “must”?

√ Nope! Not at All! 

Do you have any privacy concerns associated with sharing your personal information, resume, etc., on a public website? If so, what measures do you take to feel safer?

A little. I try not to put any more on there than what’s available on other platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.

What advice would you give someone wanting to create their own personal professional site?

It’s pricier than I initially expected, so maybe have a plan for paying for the hosting and your domain, especially if you’re early in your career or in a feast/famine contracting scenario.


What is your job title?

Berkman Librarian

What types of organizations do you work for or with? (Check all that apply)

√ Academic Library 

If you work for someone besides yourself, does that organization have rules about what you can share on your personal site?

√ Other: To be honest I have no idea! Probably. But since my posts are exclusively professional I haven’t really worried about them, especially now that I’m “tenured”

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada 

Thanks for reading! If you have a personal professional website that you’d like to talk about, please fill out the survey.

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