UoL Library Blog

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European Parliament Research Service (EPRS)

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 3 November, 2016

The EPRS produces research documents to inform MEPs preparing for votes in the European Parliament.  These research papers are made available to the public and can be found on Think Tank

Documents produced include:

  • At a glance – 2 pages long, meant to inform MEPs before plenaries.  Contain links to other sources.
  • Briefings – up to 12 pages, on a wide range of topics.  They can track proposals and implementation of legislation, track progress on trade agreements and outline how the EU budgets are being spent.
  • In-depth analysis – up to 36 pages
  • Studies
  •  EU factsheets
  • Topical Digests
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts.

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EMLIP Meeting (22 January 2016)

Posted by JackieHanes on 1 February, 2016

I attended a meeting of the East Midlands Legal Information Professionals group on Friday 22 January. The meeting was held in the offices of Browne Jacobson, in a great location by the canal and courthouse in Nottingham. They also provide visitors with wondeful coffee and cookies on arrival – very welcome given the inclement weather.  Tom Laidlaw and Simon Gaunt of LexisNexis were in attendance to give a demonstration of their new product NewsDesk.

NewsDesk is a media analysis tool from MoreOver Technologies (recently acquired by LexisNexis). The NewsDesk service enables users to search news (free and subscription news content) and social media, and set up email and rss current awareness alerts. The technology powers the local news sections on the BBC website among other major clients. In legal practice, searches could include news about the firm, clients, competitor firms, and practice areas.  This is a key service development area for many law librarians in firms and industry at the moment.  The search interface was modern and intuitive – a world away from the Nexis interface. The target audience was obviously law firms, but it would be useful to any library offering research intelligence services to academics or departments.

After the meeting, LexisNexis treated us to a great pub lunch at the CanalHouse, which I imagine would be a lovely venue in the Summer …

Posted in Law, Service Delivery, Technology & Devices | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Coventry University:PALS

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 8 December, 2015

I heard yesterday of an initiative at Coventry University Library called PALS which stands for Pre-arrival Library Support.

PALS is targeted at international students and looks to induct them into library services before they arrive in the UK.  International students can arrive late for their courses because of visa problems; they can also come with a very different library experience in their own countries.  PALS aims to address some of these issues.

To ascertain international student needs Coventry University Library ran surveys and focus groups with their 2014-15 international students.  They found that student concerns concentrated on the concrete, day-to-day functions of a library – printing and photocopying loomed large, but so did coping with the Dewey Decimal System and finding books on shelves.  Other concerns mentioned included and the size of and space in the library, open shelves, self-service and searching for one’s own materials online.

When asked what formats students wanted help in they plumped mainly for printable PDF guides but also suggested film clips and talking heads featuring fellow students.

Coventry used WordPress to create PALS and disseminated it to prospective students via the International Office, academics with strong links to international student groups and via the equivalent of the ELTU during pre-sessional courses.

You can find it at   In the future Coventry plan to add a virtual tour of the library and put a survey on the resource to gather feedback on it.


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CLSIG Business Information course (16 July 2015)

Posted by JackieHanes on 7 August, 2015

eLegal Librarian

I attended a Business Information: Sources and Search Techniques course run by Karen Blakeman for CILIP’s Commercial, Legal and Scientific Information Group (CLSIG) on 16 July 2015 at CILIP’s HQ in London.  The course was advertised as key resources for business and official information.  As the law and official publications librarian, and back-up for the business librarian, the course seemed like a perfect fit for me.

Karen Blakeman is a well respected and established librarian, who specialises in teaching advanced internet and business information research skills. (A version of) the slides for the course are available to download from her website (the course materials are constantly updated).  The course was well attended, with a good mix of librarians from the academic, public and commercial sectors, including a former colleague (good to catch-up).

The course began by looking at new trends in business information, including the UK government’s open data (‘free…

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BIALL Conference 2015

Posted by JackieHanes on 18 June, 2015

My personal reflections on the BIALL law librarians conference in Brighton.

eLegal Librarian

I attended BIALL’s 46th annual study conference from 11-13 June 2015 in Brighton.  The conference theme was Charting the C’s: Collaboration, Cooperation, Connectivity.  It was my 5th BIALL conference as a delegate, but 1st as a committee chair and speaker (see also BIALL Conference 2013).

Brighton BeachI arrived on the most glorious summer’s day, and Brighton had a definite feel of the Mediterranean.  My first stop was the Justis Pre-Conference Party, which is often the highlight of any BIALL conference.  This year we ate fish & chip at Victoria’s Bar on Brighton Pier, met up with friends old and new, and formed our BIALL conference ‘breakfast club’.

Day 1: Thursday 11 June 2015

The conference was opened by BIALL President Marianne Barber, who welcomed us to Brighton, and gave us ‘permission’ to miss a session to talk to suppliers, or enjoy a stroll along the sea front.

Plenary Session 1: Commercial and Regulatory Evolution of…

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European Documentation Centres: what are they for, what is their future?

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 9 June, 2015

Notes from European Documentation Training: Brussels June 2015

European Documentation Centres were set up to allow the citizens of the EU to participate in a debate about the EU. Their mission was to promote teaching and research of the EU and to make information on all aspects of the EU – from the economy to the environment to health – available to the wider public. Their role was not so much to provide information as to facilitate communication and their establishment was seen as good policy rather than an obligatory function of the European Union.

However, even as far back as 1985 it was calculated that an EDC cost the EU between €10k and €12k a year. In recent years, faced with every decreasing and restrained budgets, the EU has distributed more communications online and less via the medium of print, leaving EDCs with closed or very slow growing collections and a falling number of users.

The delegates at the EU documentation training event were asked to advise the newly-formed pan-European working group on the future of EDCs on ways to take the EDC forward. Over the course of 2 hours of discussions the following points were raised:

EDCs have to face the digital reality. Lots of their documentation is online, fewer and fewer print documents of significance are being sent out by the EU. Users are by-passing EDCs and going straight to Google to find EU documentation.

However, EU documentation is available from a myriad of sources. Refined and sophisticated searches are possible on these platforms though usability is not necessarily intuitive. EDCs will still have a role then in the future but the emphasis will be more on training users in online discovery. Delegates at the training event were unanimous in calling for EDCs to remain a discreet, physical space where people can seek out support in information retrieval and some still saw a role for print documents in that physical space; others envisaged a more world café type set-up with computers available for online access to information.  It has to be stressed though that some historic documents are still not online – digitisation of COM Docs, for example, has only reached the 80s so print is still essential in some cases.

All agreed EDCs need to work on promotion to increase visibility and attract users back to use our services. There was also a widely-supported call for EDCs around Europe to work more collaboratively to create a network in which to share best practice and to make open-source training materials for end users.

Posted in Offical Publications, Open Access, Subject Support | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CILIP Mentoring, Chartership and Revalidation

Posted by JackieHanes on 16 March, 2015

eLegal Librarian

I attended an Introduction to CILIP Mentoring course on Friday 27 February at Aston University.  CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, and it offers a Professional Registration Scheme, whereby members can be recognised as Certified, Chartered or Fellows.  (I am a Chartered Member (MCLIP), having achieved my professional recognition in 2002, under very different chartership regulations).  All candidates on CILIP’s new professional registration scheme are required to have a Mentor.

The course was organised CILIP’s West Midlands Member Network – although a similar one is now being hosted by the East Midlands Member Network.  It was run by Carol Brooks and Gill Colbourne, who are CILIP’s Mentor Support Officers for the East and West Midlands respectively.  The course was attended by delegates from academic (higher and further education), public and government library sectors.  The course was delivered in two halves: the morning session was an introduction to mentoring…

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Information and Digital Literacies & the Researcher

Posted by Helen on 5 December, 2014

On the 28th November I travelled to Cardiff University to attend this WHELF/GW4 event. Although many of the attendees were from Wales and the South West, there were plenty of us from further afield. It was a really good chance to hear about developments in other institutions and to compare good practice. The EMRSG serves a similar purpose on a local level, but I think this event was useful for a wider understanding of research support.

Moira Bent (Newcastle University) gave the keynote speech.

Moira urged us to identify opportunities for successful interventions and then implement them.

We should be asking “Where can we add value in the research environment?” She questioned the use of ‘research support’ as a term, despite this being well accepted in libraries and literature. She considered whether the terminology influences perceptions and whether our job titles limit what we can do, or what we are perceived as being able to do, for researchers. We need to become more integrated in the community of practice.

She used the seven ages concept to help us identify who we cater for and who we leave out:

  • Masters
  • Doctoral
  • Contract researchers
  • Early Career Researcher (ECR)
  • Established
  • Senior
  • Expert

We should consider what different kind of help we could provide to support their role.

Moira then organised a small workshop which involved lots of interaction and was a chance to discuss with colleagues in smaller groups and find out the challenges others find in supporting researchers. We discussed what we do now, what we would like to do and what obstacles stand in our way.


In the afternoon there was a round of TeachMeet and two were particularly interesting

Amy Staniforth (Aberystwyth University) on organising Open Access week events

  • Researchers feeling bombarded and over monitored.
  • Events focused on practical advice, how to get help (not advocacy)
  • Put an OA poster on every departmental noticeboard
  • OA administrator gave out ‘Five top tips’ and ran an internal event for public services
  • Continued OA visibility by sending round stats each month – ‘Top depositor’ etc.

Alison Harvey (Cardiff University) on assessed research assistantships for the Humanities

  • English department launched a pilot module ‘Project Management and Research’
  • Emphasis on vocational training and employability through activities such as editorial work, image research and assisting in Cardiff’s Special Collections and Archives.
  • The Special Collections staff provided training at the start and then benefited from the work carried out by the students throughout the semester.
  • Further details on the module guide and student blog


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Student-generated induction

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 3 December, 2014

On 27th November I attended a meeting in York about student-generated induction.  The session covered university induction as a whole rather than just library induction.

It was stated that we can improve retention through good induction.  We need to instill a strong sense of belonging – to the institution, faculty, department and class – to avoid people feeling isolated and giving up.

The thrust of the student-generated induction method is to split your students into groups: they discuss amongst themselves what it is they want to know, they tell us their concerns and we address them.  It is believed that this leads to more questions being asked and more relevant questions being asked.  Students lose their inhibitions in asking questions if they hear other students have the same concerns – they are not firghtened to ask for clarification when they know other people are confused on the same issue.  At the same time the students are being socialised – are developing a sense of identity with the group of people they are working with.

The presenter had used student-generated inductions with voting handsets.  He asked the students their concerns, put them on a PowerPoint slide and asked the students to vote for their major concern.  He used the same slide with the same group in the 2nd year to see how concerns changed over time.  He used the same slide with a group of 1st years the next year to see how concerns changed from year to year.

Other useful comments amde during the day were:

  • inductions should  not only be run at the start of the 1st year: interventions at other transition stages are important
  • embedding induction-type information into the curriuclum is the better than information overload at the beginning of a course (we know this already)
  • new students react well to students doing inductions or library tours.  Some universities employ student helpers (on more than minimum wage so it is a better job than working in a bar/shop) to help in inductions and other workshops.  They say new students are more willing to interact with student helpers and ask them more questions than they would a member of staff.

The Twitter feed for the day is available at #sgiyork14.  I was the only one twittering, so it won’t take long to read if you are interested.

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USTLG November Meeting: Supporting Research

Posted by selinalock on 1 December, 2014

On the 26th November 2014 I attended and spoke at the University Science & Technology Librarians (USTLG) winter meeting on supporting research at Aston University. The last time I attended a USTLG meeting was in 2012 when I spoke about our re-structure into a Teaching and Learning team, a Research Support Team and a Special Collections/Digital Humanties team, and I was juts about to start my post as a Research Information Advisor.

This time I updated attendees on what had happened since the restructure and how the Research Services team had developed, and took #OAowl along for company:

#OAowl on the train to Birmingham

#OAowl on the train to Birmingham

The line-up for the day was:
Research Bites – researcher training programme
Georgina Hardy & Clare Langman
Aston University

  • Subject librarians with research support as part of their remit.
  • Research Bites – every lunchtime in July/August, 15-30mins sessions.
  • Record audio & slides to make available.
  • Used EventBrite for bookings & to keep stats on attendance.
  • Advertsie via lots of methods e.g. new bulletin, direct emails, flyers/posters to Depts, posters in library, in email sigs.
  • LibGuides to gather recordings.
  • Options to stay after talk to try  things out hands-on (in the lovely library training room where we had the meeting!)

Raising Your Research Profile – training programme
Linda Norbury & Judith Hegenbarth
University of Birmingham

  • Research support group to oversee research training within the library, run by subject librarians/group.
  • Tried out research support (ideas sessions) on Publication strategies, Open Access, Bibliometrics & Social Media on subject librarians first – helps upskill library staff.
  • Good feedback and led to other sessions/contacts, but need to review and expand in future.
  • Raising your research profile webpages.

Developing a blended learning approach to literature searching support for PhD students
Jenny Coombs & Liz Martin
De Montfort University

  • Compulsory lit searching module for PhD students as part of the Graduate School training programme.
  • Moved to an online approach – students can choose online module + face-to-face sessions or online only (depending on if they can visit campus)
  • Involves all subject librarians in the feedback part of the module – where students fill in a lit searching form to show what they have understood of the module.

Consultancy, bitesize and training – how Northumbria supports researchers
Suzie Kitchin
Northumbria University

  • Provide free advice and help with literature searching for all researchers, but also provide a charged literature searching service for funded projects that wish the library to undertake the literature search for them – charged at research librarian pay rate per hour.
  • research development week – feedback that it’s a good brand that is seen as targeted directly at researchers.
  • Use an online tutorial that is a pre-requisite to face-to-face teaching to ensure everyone is on the same level.
  • Skillsplus – online learning repository – includes all researcher materials – all online tutorials/learning objects are bitesized.

Supporting researchers – then and now
Selina Lock
University of Leicester

JISC Open Access Pathfinder project
Linda Kerr
Heriot-Watt University

  • Research Support Librarian – remit to run repositories and support open access publishing.
  • Offers advice, co-ordination, writes policies, support to staff in schools.
  • OA fund devolved to schools who deal with APCs.


Applying systematic review methodology from Health to other Science disciplines
Beth Hall
University of  Bangor

  • Supports systematic reviews in medicine/health care but found a growing demand for using thouse methods in other subjects such as ecology and software engineering.
  • Bangor Evidence Synthesis Hub (BESH) – Application of review methods and processes to different and interdependent contexts such as health, social care, environment, conservation.
  • Issues with applying methods to other areas – no one database to model search on (e.g. Medline in medicine), search functionality lacking in databases, no subject terms, no register of systematic reviews in non-medical areas.
  • Centre for evidence Based Conservation


You can access copies of the presentations on the USTLG website.

Tweets from the day: USTLG November 14 Storify (header seems to feature #OAowl)

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ethnographic research methods and the user experience

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 14 July, 2014

Andy Priestner (Judge Business School) presented a paper to the BLA Conference on using ethnographical research methods to investigate the library experience of users and to design services which better help them and suit them.  He made specific reference to work conduted in the USA by:

He also alerted us to a new OA journal on the subject.  WEAVE: Journal of Library User Experience will be out this summer

For information on reserach being performed ion the UK see another blog UKAnthroLib:

A conference will run from 17th to 19th March at Cambridge University on this topic:

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Marketing your library services: Ned Potter. from BLA Conference, July 2014

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 14 July, 2014

Ned Potter, the author of the The Library Marketing Toolkit, spoke at the BLA Conference on July 11th 2014. He made several useful and interesting comments, amongst which were:

  • students are bombarded with information from the internet: getting them to see our communications is difficult
  • blanket emails are not effective – they are just one more piece of information which is ignored; segment and communicate with smaller groups.  If you have a message for your whole user group, send a slightly adapted one to each segment of your users
  • send out a newsletter when you have news, not when it is newsletter time.  Make the subject of your email something interesting from out of the letter e.g. ‘Library helps students get firsts’.  The subject ‘Library Newsletter’ is just a short-cut to the delete button
  • send emails at lunchtime.  Emails sent in the morning or last thing get ignored and quickly disappear off the bottom of the  computer screen
  • host documents, not on the library website, but externally where Google will find them, and link to them from your library web site.  Host sites recommended are: a blog, Prezzi, YouTube, Slide share (for PowerPoint) and Scribd (for PDFs)

I have more extensive notes for anyone who is interested.

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