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Archive for the ‘Service Delivery’ Category

cpd25: Support for researchers (7 December 2012)

Posted by Helen on 2 January, 2013

Senate House

Senate House
Shared via CC BY-SA 2.0 licence

Towards the end of last term I attended the ‘Support for researchers’ event hosted by the M25 Consortium.

It was very nice to be in Senate House and to meet lots of new colleagues. The discussion sessions clearly showed that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to research support. Longer time in the discussion groups would have been useful but unfortunately it was only a half day event.  I have summarised the three speakers below and included some questions raised in discussion.

Miggie Pickton & Nick Dimmock (University of Northampton) started the event by talking about collaboration between the Library, Graduate School and the Research Office at Northampton. The Research Support Hub is a joint initiative between the three teams. It is a WordPress hosted blog, designed to be a one-stop shop for researchers needing information about funding and training. Nick described how there had previously been a very scattered presence and no single place for researchers to find information. The site has only been live since October 1st but has had a good response. There are eight regular contributors and categories/tags are used to maximise discoverability. There is also a section which links to other University blogs and a FAQ page to avoid repetition and aid enquiries.

The repository (NECTAR) is a mutual interest between the Research Office and the Library. The Research Office provides the administrative support; the Library covers the technical issues, metadata and IPR. NECTAR is the main source of data for the REF. In terms of disseminating research, the team are involved in an annual poster competition, annual research conference, and measuring impact.

Benefits of collaboration were increased visibility and increased perceived value of Library services.

Miggie concluded with some tips for making collaboration work:

  • Share common goals and common interests.
  • Actively look for opportunities to collaborate internally
  • Communicate frequently and share knowledge and expertise
  • Present a shared point of view at formal committees.

Jenny Evans (Imperial College London) discussed the Research 2.0 programme at Imperial.  A version of this programme has been running since 2008 but it was only in 2011 that it was integrated into the professional development course for students. The six-week programme was delivered face to face and online, covering productivity, networking, developing an online digital identity, and legal & ethical issues. The advantage of the course was that it raised the profile of the Library and allowed researchers and staff to build their network and collaborate. It was regarded as innovative. However, the blogging part didn’t work so well. Because the course was part of mandatory Graduate School training it was hard to get the researchers to finish the course or stick to deadlines.

Jenny was also involved in filming five interviews with academics about their use of Web 2.0 tools and technologies. The interviewees were at various stages of their career and the aim was to show researchers how a ‘real’ academic was using such tools. The video can be found here.

Jenny’s talk raised a number of issues including:

  • Should we give students guidelines on what technology to use?
  • Should the focus be on the specific tools or the output?
  • How do you evaluate success with Web 2.0 workshops?

Tahani Nadim (Goldsmiths) recently completed her PhD and gave a short talk about her experience of research support. Tahani felt that the Library has a role to play in signposting throughout the PhD, not just at the start. Induction week can be overwhelming and information quickly forgotten. The PhD is an incredibly solitary venture and it is hard to imagine how subsequent years will pan out. Tahani suggested that videos of different stages of the student experience would be useful. She also suggested that Library pages need to answer the question “I need help with…”. Too often they can be buried and messy, when they really need to be simple and clean. The difficulty with a PhD is that you often don’t know what help you need until you need it! This means that problems are often figured out amongst colleagues and the PhD cohort; an informal and valuable network for recommendations.

A number of discussion points were raised:

  • How can the Library’s expertise and resources be used to support research?
  • How can the Library actively participate in the university’s research culture?
  • What role can they play in advising on version management?
  • What about students who aren’t part of the daily research culture?

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Implementing Finch (29 November 2012)

Posted by Helen on 13 December, 2012

This conference was hosted by the Academy of Social Sciences and looked at the implementation of the recommendations of the Finch Review for Open Access publishing in the UK.I attended the first day of the conference which focused on the impact for those involved in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It was an informative day and it was particularly interesting to hear the sharp differences in opinion voiced by PVCs, administrators, librarians and individual researchers.

A full report by the Academy with photos, presentations and video will shortly be available at  but I have included a few short summaries of the key speakers below.

Janet Finch
The authors of the Finch report were an independent group commissioned by government. The Government had a clear objective of what they wanted to achieve and the group were asked to advise on this. They were not there to debate whether change was necessary or advisable. It was not part of their remit to look at data, only peer reviewed publications (journal articles). It was seen as a moral imperative that if the tax payer pays, the tax payer should be able to access the research.

The main recommendation of the working group was a mixed economy between subscription journals and ‘author pays’ for foreseeable future. The balance should shift over time. The Finch report did not say that we should immediately move to gold open access, simply that policy should be set in this direction. It was envisaged that University presses will have an increasing role in the future. The transition should be gradual to avoid destabilisation. Disciplines will have to move at different speeds to accommodate these changes. Positive engagement is needed, particularly in the Arts & Humanities.

It was envisaged that University presses will have an increasing role in the future. The transition should be gradual to avoid destabilisation. Disciplines will have to move at different speeds to accommodate these changes. Positive engagement is needed, particularly in the Arts & Humanities.

Paul Hubbard (Head of Research Policy, HEFCE)
Academic publishing is at a crossroads. In the print age the subscription journal had an important role to play but it is no longer necessary.  The business model will have to change. HEFCE are very keen on institutional repositories because they ensure sustainability and cement the notion that it is the job of the research community to look after their output.

It was suggested that for REF 2020 items should be as freely available as possible, with regard to practical constraints and to requirements and policies of other research funders. Considerations for REF 2020 would include the format of the text and the level of open access (likely to be gold). Due time would have to be allowed for compliance, monitoring and verification. It was emphasized that none of this had implications for REF 2014.

Charlotte Waelde (Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Exeter)
It was hoped that copyright would play a small but key part in the open access landscape, but in fact it has no part. The law of copyright is not an impediment to the Finch implementations. But attribution is still vital as is respecting the integrity of the work. It was deemed vital to get the chain of permissions correct so third parties can use with confidence. CC BY is suggested as the best Creative Commons licence to use in the Finch report. CC BY means that credit is required for the author, moral rights are not affected, and the content can be shared, remixed, and used commercially. This enables broadest possible use by third parties.

Jude England (Head of Social Sciences, The British Library)
She discussed the implications of Finch for libraries but emphasized that the Finch report sits within the changing information landscape. The focus of her talk was on libraries of the future and what they will need to do to adapt. The role of libraries has changed, as has the physical appearance. There is now more collaborative space, longer opening hours, and more electronic provision. In terms of the growing areas of data management, rights and permissions management, and open access, it was crucial that libraries should provide training for staff and students in what all of this means.

The speed of transition from print to digital was discussed and it was suggested that by 2017 no print-only journals would exist and only a small percentage would exist in parallel with digital editions. How will libraries cope with the huge digital storage requirements?

Open Access was viewed as eventually resolving the issues of access, permissions, authentication barriers, subscriptions etc. that libraries always have to think about. In an open access future librarians would need to advise and help with discoverability. It was envisaged that OA would reduce the importance of libraries in developing institutional collections but increase role of managing the institutional repository. Libraries would increasingly need to work together to share functions and resources. Librarians would play a significant role in helping students understand the new landscape.

Lynne Brindley (Former Chief Executive, The British Library)
The Finch report was described as a ‘tour de force’ and praised for raising consciousness of open access. It was acknowledged that the path to implementation was contestable and that it was vital to make the transition without imploding the system.

Gold OA means that publishers receive the revenues from authors rather than those who read the articles. Research articles are freely accessible and conditions around reuse are minimal.

Green OA is seen as the only true route for many OA advocates. Articles in post-print version are made available in institutional repositories subject to embargoes.

How does this apply to arts and humanities? The focus of Finch was journal articles but they do not represent the highest volume of research output for the arts and humanities. Research monographs must be included in the wider debate, as must the peer review process.

Lynne discussed four key areas:
1.    Institutional publication funds. How is the mechanism for allocation going to work in the individual university? Who is going to decide and how transparent will this process be? Will the library budget be raided?
2.    Learned societies. If the subscription model goes, what happens to the other activities of the society? They would need adequate time for adjustment.
3.    Big commercial publishers. Does the Finch report hand publishers victory on a plate? Will we be paying twice? Paying journals up front (APCs) feels like a defeat for green OA advocates.
4.    Libraries. Opportunities and threats. They have long played a role in licence negotiations and are now involved in institutional repositories. How sustainable will repositories be in the new environment? Services will have to develop to support the publication fund.

She concluded by saying that it is disappointing that there is no implementation plan because the report has given an impetus to progress. A more extended period for awareness raising would be ideal.

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EMALINK – Bibliometrics & Research Visibility

Posted by selinalock on 12 July, 2012

A rather belated report on this May Emalink event:

What are Bibliometrics and why should I care?  Ian Rowlands (University of Leicester)

  • Bibliometrics can be very sterile & specialist so they must be used in a context that makes sense.
  • Citation data – indicates relationships of influence, deference & usage – a bit like social media networks.
  • Bibliometrics have to help the institution or individual in the research process.
  • BUT bibliometrics just one small par of the puzzle and tools available.
  • How much information is there really out there about research inputs & outputs?
  • Data can be variable e.g. to pick up on Univerisity of Leicester citations then authors need to put University of Leicester in their address.
  • Currently it is difficult to deal with the variety of research outputs e.g. data, software, plays…
  • New tools emerging e.g. Readermeter from Mendely to see if your papers have been socially bookmarked.
  • IMPACT of research – very important for REF but citations do not always translate to real world impact – need to go beyond bibliometrics.
  • Some types of citations have greater ‘weight’ in terms of impact e.g. citation in a NICE guideline directly impacts how healthcare is provided.

Enhancing research visibility at Loughborough (Lizzie Gadd)

  • In 2011 Loughborough found it had slid down the THE World rankings and needed to improve their citations count.
  • The Plan to improve citations = library to run sessions on publishing & promoting research, VC commissioned Academic Champion for bibliometris, promote visibility of good research in high impact journals, recruit & retain good researchers, ciations taken into account when promoting, use ResearcherID and Google Scholar profiles to improve citations & impact & use research repository.
  • Training Implementation = publish or perish sessions for new academics, lunchtime bibliometrics seminars in Depts/Research groups, 1to1 appointments ion request and online tutorials on citation tools and impact tools.
  • Plus provide bibliometric data to support staff and promote bibliometrics training through staff conferences, webpages, blogs & newsletters.
  • The Vision for the future = joined-up thinking (work with research office, IT service etc), research visibility focus (databases of research kit, data and publications).
  • Already seeing improved citations.

Some good ideas that could be implemented elsewhere.

Research training will be high on our agenda once we get our Library Research Services team fully in place, headed up by our own bibliometrician Ian Rowlands. I’ll be moving over into that team later this year.

Posted in Meetings, Research Support, Service Delivery, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lecture capture

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 24 April, 2012

Tony Churchill gave a presentation at DL Forum on Tuesday 24/4/12 on lecture capture.  He talked about a project funded by Echo 360 – a supplier of lecture capture software.  The project looked at uses of lecture capture software beyond simply recording and posting lectures for students to revisit.

The project looked at taking recorded lectures and cutting them up into 15 minute snapshots which can then be used a subsequent year to support students’ learning.  The snapshots could be posted in VLEs before face-to-face lectures to provide students with background knowledge and free up time in lectures for more interaction and discussion.  Recordings of face-to-face lectures can be used to support DLs.
Short snapshots of lectures can be made publicly available and used as effective recruitment tools.

Denise Sweeny reported on a lecture capture project going on at the University of Leicester at the moment.  Using Adobe Connect and/or open source software OpenEyA (see for more information) lecturers from Media and Communication and from Chemistry have captured 5 hours of UG lectures and 12 hours of PGT lectures and have posted them in Bb with no guidance or instructions on how students should use them.  This term they will measure use of the captured lectures using Bb Analytics, focus groups, an online questionnaire and extended interviews.  They want to measure how often the lectures are accessed and how students use them.  They will also gather data on student demographics and their preferred modes of study.

If you want help and advise on capturing your own teaching sessions contact Simon Kear in BDRA.

Posted in Projects, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Technology & Devices, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

User testing on the UoL Library website

Posted by katiefraser on 15 February, 2012

In August last year the Library launched a new website, and in order to facilitate its creation, myself, Selina Lock and Mark Harrison ran a couple of user testing sessions, on the original website and alpha version of the new website. The redesign was prompted by the University moving to a new content management system, and there was support from an Information Architect in holding sessions to discuss content and organisation of material. The focus of the user testing sessions was therefore on navigation around the website and terminology.

New and original home pages

The new (red) and original (blue) homepages side by side

The participants

15 participants took part in the testing on the original website, and 5 participants in the testing on the alpha website (where we experienced significantly lower take-up and turnout to the tests). A mix of taught and research students and staff were recruited to participate in the testing, and there was a good spread of subject disciplines represented as well.

In order to get a little bit of background information, each participant completed a questionnaire. This indicated that around half of the participants had not been introduced to the library website by their Information (subject) Librarian. From this we could conclude that a signficant proportion of users would be approaching the website without having received formal training on its use.

Navigating the websites

Wherever possible the participants were paired, and encouraged to discuss the tasks they were given aloud. These discussions were recorded. In both the original and alpha website tests tasks involved navigating around the website to find certain pieces of information, such as a book, information on a company, a PIN reminder and a journal article. These tasks were identified as common user activities by the librarians.

Major themes arising from the participants’ navigation and discussion of the website were:

  • Library-specific terminology could be confusing, e.g. terms like catalogue
  • Users were uncertain about which system listed particular resources, e.g. the difference between the catalogue vs. e-journal lists vs. databases
  • Information was sought in context, e.g. PIN reminder information was expected to be by the PIN entry box
  • Information was expected to be consistent located across different systems, e.g. the library homepage always listed at the top left
  • Users could often end up in a ‘dead end’, e.g. searching for information within the catalogue which was in a different system, and never returning to the main website
  • Users often abandon the website when stuck, choosing to send an email or contact library staff instead

It was therefore concluded that terminology needed to be improved on the new library website, and that there also needed to be more consideration of where information was located on each page. The improved structuring of the website did seem to have improve the location of information for some tasks in the alpha website testing.


Example of alpha mock up

One of the alpha website mock-ups, with one set of terminology options

In the alpha testing, users were also presented two alternative mock-ups of the alpha website, with different terms on each. Half of the groups saw version A first, and then commented on the version B as an alternative, and the other half saw version B first, and then commented on version A.

Some terms were more debated than others. A particular issue involved differentiating between the new discovery system, which allowed searching by journal article title, and the existing journal title search, with participants putting the article title and journal title in both boxes interchangeably.

The expertise of the users had a significant impact on preferences for some terms. Novice users preferred the label ‘Books’ for the catalogue search, but the more experienced users (particularly academic staff) felt that this oversimplified the diverse range of materials in the catalogue.

Where an explicit preference arose, this term was included in the new version of the website (now visible at However, even the current solutions to the most debated terms (the Articles, Journals A-Z and Books searches) continue to confuse a proportion of users.


The main conclusions arising from the studies were the following:

  1. Don’t assume that library website users will have had training: a proportion of users will always be approaching the site ‘blind’.
  2. Terminology is an issue, and some terms present bigger challenges than others. Describing searches is a particular problem because of the multiple search interfaces available. This problem isn’t yet entirely solved by discovery systems (which don’t always offer journal title searches, for example).
  3. Information needs to be consistently presented on different parts of the website and help needs to be contextually located, near to its point of use.
  4. The difference between library systems (catalogue, journal title search, discovery systems, databases) are not instinctively understood by users. Furthermore, once a user enters one particular system, it will often serve as a dead end: users rarely return to the homepage and look for an alternative route to information.
Many of these conclusions are directly applicable to the design of library websites in general, and the outcomes were consistent with more general guidelines for website usability.

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Service Delivery | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Heron User Group Meeting

Posted by taniarowlett on 15 December, 2011

I recently attended, along with my colleague Rob, the 25th Heron User Group Meeting at King’s College London.

The programme sat well with me as I am currently dividing my time between my usual Copyright Administrator activities and managing a JISC funded digitisation and OER project ‘Manufacturing Pasts’.

The presentations from Jane Secker (LSE), Donya Rowan (Derby) and June Hedges (UCL) about their recent OER projects activities and findings were therefore very interesting, and in many ways they encountered the same 3rd party © issues as I did as IPR Administrator for the Phase 1 OTTER project.  In speaking about her work on the OSTRICH project, I was pleased to hear Donya mention OTTER, and see that she found my ‘Copyright and OERs: Do’s and Don’ts’ factsheet useful when assessing/clearing material.  It was good to see Derby’s adaptation of OTTER CORRE process model too.

In was very pleasantly surprised to hear June talking her success in empowering contributors to risk assess their own materials before their release as OERs.  By asking them to list content they weren’t sure about, and discard anything that wasn’t integral to their materials, the outcome was a minimal amount of 3rd party © requiring clearance.  Whilst this was music to my ears I’m not sure whether it’s possible to roll this approach out institution wide.  As Copyright Administrator part of my role is to educate module writers about the legalities of including 3rd party material, and alternative sources of © cleared materials, but the one thing I can’t do is give them more time to stop and check their materials.

Following on from this the CLA very bravely stepped up to answer questions from the floor.  Sarah Brear confirmed that the CLA hoped to have a new licence agreed for the next academic year, and confirmed that the USA lookup tool was still in it early stages, but the intention was to roll it out to other territories once it was up and working properly.  There was also a request for the CLA to release anonymised photocopying data, which Sarah promised to look into.

During the afternoon George gave a presentation on Heron’s Packtracker software, which we started using earlier this year.  Although we knew the basics, it was very helpful to see some of the areas we don’t currently use fleshed out, so both Rob and I picked up a number of potential ways to streamline our processes, which we hope to put into practice shortly!

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Document Supply, Open Access, Service Delivery, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Leave a Comment »

Research data management

Posted by knockels on 29 November, 2011

Yesterday I attended a meeting of the University Science and Technology Librarians’ Group in Cambridge, on the subject of Data Management.   

Research data management is an essential skill for researchers.   What data do they delete?   What do they back up and how?   Who will be able to access the data when they have left the University?   What counts as “data”?    How can they store and structure the data?   A horror story was told in which someone left computer equipment containing five years of PhD data in the pub, with no backup…

Two papers looked at projects in the area of data management training.   Incremental produced training material available at  DaMSSI used the Sconul 7 Pillars and Vitae Researcher Development Framework to develop a skills framework for training.  There is more information at and   DaMSSI also produced career profiles, to show the relevance of data management skills to a range of scientific careers.

Yvonne Nobis of Cambridge University described interesting research undertaken at Cambridge.     There are projects at Cambridge where people from different areas work together – the Pathgrid project, for example, uses image analysis software developed by astronomers to analyse pathology slides.   This came about because of a conversation over lunch.   Are there any formal mechanisms for helping this happen?  The research aimed to discover whether potentially useful software developed for one purpose was shared with or discovered by people in other disciplines.     It looked at physics and at bioinformatics.   Interviews conducted for the research indicated that some researchers were involved in writing code from scratch because they did not know that someone had already written what they needed.    At the same time, it uncovered reasons why researchers did not share code they had written – these included not wanting requests for support, errors being uncovered, and problems getting recognition for your work if it was useful outside of your field.   The argument was well made that as research data these days is often derived from other data, using software, that software is a research output that should be made available alongside the data itself. 

What is the role of the library in data management and in curating software?   It was suggested that libraries are seen as the people who deal with information, and so it falls within our remit.  It was further suggested that we might help by running training and producing training materials, by facilitating a workflow to make software discoverable, and by devising ontologies (the JISC-SWOP project has done this, in fact).

I can see the argument here, although I can also see that the subject falls within others’ remit as well.  I wonder what is already on offer at Leicester from IT Services, Research Support Office, from College doctoral training programmes and the Skills for the Professional Researcher training, and from departments.    That would be interesting to know, and perhaps help us to decide if we do have a role, in coordinating existing provision or offering new training.  

On another matter I have offered to write a short piece for the Health Libraries Group Newsletter to publicise USTLG to health and medical librarians who find themselves looking after science.   One colleague present yesterday was a medical librarian who had added science to her portfolio.

Posted in Service Delivery | 4 Comments »

JISC Digital Literacies workshop

Posted by emmakimberley on 13 July, 2011

I recently attended a JISC workshop on Digital Literacies in Birmingham with a view to finding and sharing some ideas about graduate study and web technologies in HE. Coffee and wi-fi, collaborative activities, and an agreeable workshop space, led to a discursive and thought-provoking day of practice sharing and creative thinking, both face to face and on twitter.

We began by splitting into groups in which we discussed the ‘anatomy of a digital graduate’, labelling an image of a ‘graduate brain’ with its ideal contents. Across all the groups it was generally decided that graduates should leave university equipped with a range of competences. Among these were: the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing digital environment, or ‘digital agility’; an awareness of the need to use discrimination when it comes to digital materials and sources; a conversational/open approach to learning; and an understanding of digital profile and identity issues and their implications. Some of our brains can be seen here:

This exercise led to a lot of tradition vs technology discussion, raising questions such as: ‘Can you Google your way to a first?’ and ‘Is the ‘Facebook brain’ any good for learning?’. No-one present wanted to turn back the clock to times when information gathering was a ‘quieter’ process, but most groups identified possible negative implications of the digital age such as information overload or a decline in the quality of information. It was generally agreed that such issues should be dealt with by supporting the development of judgement, discrimination and awareness rather than using a head-in-the-sand style approach. Predictably, we all challenged the idea of the digital native, concluding that knowledge of a technology does not always equip students for using it in ways tailored to learning or research. We tried to visualise the way educational values might change over the coming 15 or so years, anticipating that there will be new meanings and expectations to contend with, especially in the areas of critical thinking, judgement and ownership of knowledge.

Discussion soon moved on to the role of the lecturer or facilitator in accommodating the technologies and behaviours needed for learning. We decided that educators must increasingly address and adapt to issues such as:

  • The transfer of attention from sheet to screen
  • The growing conception of information as something always in progress
  • The expectation of constant connection
  • Aspects of learning that were once hidden being made visible for sharing, reflection and assessment
  • The use of mobile phones and digital devices in contexts that are traditionally tech-free
  • New meanings of being critical or thinking critically

Culture change is needed from teachers in order for productive learning to take place: for example, we all agreed that we need to be open to a seminar-room backchannel, including the use of mobile phones, if we’re going to say that embedded practices are better than separate skills-based modules for digital learning.

Several interesting projects were presented, including JISC’s Supporting Learners in a Digital Age project, whose case studies are available here:

The day finished with a paper chase exercise – which was rather like a digital support version of the game ‘consequences’ – encouraging us to share our ideas on the roles of teachers, learners, support staff and management in developing digital learning initiatives, and to answer the question ‘Who is responsible for digital literacy within an institution?’. We didn’t find an easy answer, but there was a sense that general digital literacy across the board is not necessary. If people become digitally literate within the context of their own disciplines or areas, then these pockets of expertise will connect into institution-wide networks working horizontally rather than imposed centrally – a particularly good example of this being the network of UoL tweeters! Less confident users can then gain confidence from the web of support and examples of good practice this creates.

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Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice

Posted by katiefraser on 13 July, 2011

Earlier this month I attended the 6th annual Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) Conference. In return for my kindly sponsored place, the Library and Information Science Research Coalition asked me to blog a day of the conference. I won’t repeat the same material here: my post covers day one, and my fellow sponsored attendees covered a pre-conference workshop, day two and day three.

Overall, it was a great conference, and a really useful opportunity for me to consider how to use evidence in my own work. The main messages I took away were:

  1. think small and manageable when gathering evidence in your own everyday work
  2. nothing is too small to share, there’s an appropriate place to publish any study
  3. library and information practice isn’t the same as medicine (where EBLIP emerged), librarians need to think about the kind of evidence which is appropriate to use in our own work.

Next up? Thinking about how to gather evidence for the new (and repeat!) sessions I’m running this coming academic year.

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Posted by gazjjohnson on 8 July, 2011

Interesting question from my boss this morning asking about the EPUB format especially as it contrasts to PDF, which i confess I know little about.  This is on the back on one of our departments increasingly looking towards making material available on eReaders rather than our VLE (BlackBoard).  My thanks to the folks on twitter whom have kicked in the following bits of insight.

  • EPUB is basically a zipped bag of xml and css with slightly improved DC metadata in it. Best for reflowable text, unlike PDF.
  • PDF is written in stone so doesn’t flow well on ereader devices.  Best ereader for PDF is iPad. EPUBflows.
  • Calibre makes EPUB
  • EPUB will work better on e-readers like kindle – PDFs work but difficult to read
  • Think there is linked data potential in the metadata.
  • v.3 is particularly interesting from a metadata perspective
  • Not just for ereaders IMO. Range of advantages Inc. Reusability & accessibility

So there you are – all the wiser now.  The link above is actually well worth following as it does give quite a clear view.  Is it enough information for the boss?  I don’t know, but I’ll pass it along and see what else she’d like to know.

Posted in Service Delivery, Technology & Devices | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

LRA Most Accessed Research April 2011

Posted by gazjjohnson on 6 May, 2011

  1. Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ (Madge, Clare et al)
  2. The Impact of Labour Turnover: Theory and Evidence from UK Micro-Data (Garino, Gaia et al)
  3. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change (Sandell, Richard)
  4. Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care (Pitchforth, Emma et al)
  5. Educational Leadership: an Islamic perspective (Shah, Saeeda J.A.)
  6. The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths (Sim, Chow Yen Desmond)
  7. Authenticity in ELT Task Design: A Case Study of an ESP Project-Based Learning Module (Choi, Lai Kun)
  8. A cross-cultural study of predictors of self-handicapping in university students (Pulford, Briony D. et al)
  9. Optimal Number of Response Categories in Rating Scales: Reliability, Validity, Discriminating Power, and Respondent Preferences (Preston, Carolyn C. et al)
  10. Thomas C. Schelling’s psychological decision theory: Introduction to a special issue (Colman, Andrew M.)

The same paper as last month tops the charts for April, and sets a new record high for accesses (1019 accesses!); clearly a hot topic for the moment. Overall this month there has been a rise in all the items appearing in the chart; even while as a whole access to the LRA were down this month. However, the Easter extended shutdown likely affected the levels. Countrywise the same top ten countries continue to show up as last month.

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. India
  4. Australia
  5. Canada
  6. Germany
  7. China
  8. Malaysia
  9. France
  10. Italy

In other news the LRA Annual report for 2010 is now available online for consultation.  One thing is very clear – this month’s top item scored almost as many accesses as last year’s annual top item.  It seems the use of research shared on the LRA just continues to rise month on month to new heights, which is a real credit to the LRA Administration team for making it possible!

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LILAC 2011

Posted by sarahw9 on 5 May, 2011

LILAC logoI was able to get to the third day of LILAC Conference 2011 (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference) this year held in London on the final day at the LSE.  I’ve put down the main points I picked up from some of the sessions I attended.

Does information literacy have a future? Geof Walton & Alison Pope.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that people are concerned about their future in an economic climate of cuts that this session was so well attended.  Geof Walton modelled a session on enquiry based learning by giving us all a set of questions to discuss in small groups and report back.

It was a discursive session that covered a lot of ground, here is a selection of the type of issues that all the groups came up with:

- How do we manage the expectations and perceptions about the library and information of various groups; from students to academics / researchers to admin staff.
- How to make more connections to get more timely training/ teaching into student’s courses.
- Information Literacy as a birthright, related to literacy in general being able to read. Its not a luxury but a life skill.
- Need to be able to demonstrate the positive outcomes.
- Teach alongside academics so they can contextualise information literacy skills.
Geof Walton emphasised the need for research informed teaching, and enquiry based learning. Information literacy is the scaffolding to enquiry and it can blend with technology supported learning.

Information Literacy beyond 2.0. Peter Godwin
Peter Godwin had trouble getting any sound for his video clips, but that didn’t matter as he is direct and entertaining enough without needing to resort to videos.  He favours big global themes and here are a few he mentioned:

- Web 2.0 is old now, but actually no one knew what it was.  Its settled down but not gone away and we are all influenced by it.  Students don’t know what web 2.0 is although they experience and use it themselves all the time.
- We are heading for an increasingly mobile and social world and that won’t change. Our job is to accommodate to that.
- There are early adopters and slow adopters.  People don’t change quickly.  We can watch the early adopters and watch from their mistakes.
- The nerds are a minority.  Most young people use tools but don’t have a techie understanding of them.
- Younger generation are not good at sharing and neither are academics / researchers or librarians.  We need to reallocate the time we have and change the way we behave and work.
- Only when you try to write something for wikipedia do you realise how difficult it is.

He had some engaging thoughts on information literacy, for instance it has been ‘pampered’ by its attachment to academia, he suggested we should be thinking of it in the context of transliteracy.  This made me think that information literacy as we know it is based almost entirely on textual information rather than visual or audio.  We are dealing with increasingly multimedia information for instance from the familiar such as video to emerging technologies for instance Mike Matas; A news generation digital book and augmented reality / virtual reality.  New media is in perpetual development but on a day to day basis our students need help dealing with old media and communication tools.  Perhaps the gap between the two is where we come in at present.

This links in with Jesus Lau’s keynote speech on the UNESCO project to develop international indicators of information literacy. He has been developing this alongside folk from the media world to develop Media Information Literacies.  The focus is on everyday experience for instance access to news media rather than academic information. The competencies are based on how these intertwine

Information Literacy of Health Students: assessment and interventions. Lana V. Ivanitskaya

Led by faculty member who is not a librarian Lana Ivanitskaya is an academic in industrial / work psychology.  She designs tests such as personality tests and has to assess them.

Her first point was that competencies are not just knowledge and skills but also attitudes and beliefs.  If you only focus on the skills you will miss a lot.  Students own knowledge of their skills gaps is a familiar scenario for librarians. First year students think there is nothing you can teach them (often), PhD students seem to have the opposite attitude.  Lana Ivanitskaya described the RRSA (research readiness self-assessment) online survey which includes tasks such as evaluating websites and application of knowledge.   The survey includes ‘soft’ questions which assess the students’ beliefs as well as their results and they have found this is very predictive of their level of attainment.

The RRSA survey also found some interesting differences between students and experts at information skills. They found experts better and that students overestimated their skills.  In fact the experts under estimated their skill the more expert they were. 

Lana stated that students still find how to do research hard and are not taught how to do it.  She compared the number and quality of references cited in student papers between those who had completed the RRSA and those that had gone through library information literacy training.  She found that the impact of library teaching was three times better than the RRSA, but that the students preferred doing the RRSA and were more willing to do it.

So the message? Lana wondered if we should focus more on online training.  Without seeing in detail what either the RRSA consisted of compared to the library training its hard to say of course.  Perhaps its down to the old messages of getting to the students at the right time and place and using the right voice.

Knotworking as a means to strengthen information skills of research groups.  Elija Nevalainen & Kati Suvalahit.

Finding new ways to connect with colleagues across campus that work isn’t always easy.  At the University of Helsinki they had success using ‘Knotworking’ a way of working developed by one of their academics, Professor Yrjö Engeström.  The process brings together different groups from across the organisation to work more quickly and less hierarchically than team structures.  ‘Knots’ are formed to find solutions to specific problems, and the problem they wanted to address was how to re engage with researchers. 

Here is my summary of what they found:

- Research groups think information literacy is for the good but they have no time to do it, its best aimed at Masters students.
- Information skills still important to research groups are; bibliographic tools, searching databases, current awareness, obtaining material you can’t get locally, establishing networks of contacts, organising references, consulting library staff. 

Interestingly the librarians learnt that their changing role put them in the same boat as the researchers, and they learnt a lot about the researchers from this project. The project also had the unexpected effect of gelling together the researchers as a group.  The project reinforced the value of personal networks and working with user groups. Working with researchers as equals also had a beneficial effect on the library staff who developed greater confidence in working in emerging subjects and services they don’t yet have expertise in.  These themes are not new of course, but success in developing a change in culture is something often dreamed of but not realised.

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