UoL Library Blog

Develop, debate, innovate.

BLA Conference Sheffield 2011

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 29 July, 2011

A is for Advocacy, B is for Branding and C is for Communicating your worth
Antony Brewerton, University of Warwick

Antony talked about marketing library services. Of special note in this highly entertaining talk was the Ladder of Loyalty: successful marketing creates the Ladder of Loyalty which (from the bottom) goes:

6. Partner (clients with whom you work to develop new services/better meet needs)
5. Champion (users who are aware of the added value you provide will fight your corner)
4. Advocate (users who have been well-served will recommend you to others)
3. Client (frequent user of services – consult, what are their needs?  Meet those needs)
2. Customer (2nd year UGs, 3rd yr UGs – meet them again, encourage them to use resources)
1. Potential customer (new users – induction)

Huddersfield University Library Impact Project
Graham Stone, Huddersfield University

Graham spoke about the findings of the library impact project, the results of which are already widely reported. 
Interesting in this talk were the value-added services Huddersfield’s catalogue (Sirsi Dynix’s Horizon) provides to students:

  • The catalogue has a keyword cloud below its search box.  This shows the most popular keywords used on the catalogue in the last 2 days and students can click on them to search the catalogue.
  • If students log on, the catalogue knows which module they are on and recommends readings
  • The catalogue produces new books lists at module level – it recognises Dewey numbers associated with each module.
  • The catalogue has a ‘students who borrowed X also borrowed Y’ service.
  • It has a ‘did you mean?’ service
  • It has a ‘students who searched with this keyword also searched with this keyword’ service.
  • It has a ‘students who needed this journal also found this one useful’ service.

All these services are possible because of the data storing the library undertook for the impact project.  And, they claim, their value-added services introduce serendipity into online searching.

 Also of note, Huddersfield have introduced Summon recently.  This is how they have set it up on their website:

Analysing service quality among postgraduate Chinese students
Bradley Barnes, University of Sheffield

Bradley has conducted research in this area as he recognises the importance of Chinese students to university income.  We run the risk of losing these students to HE institutions both in China and other parts of the world. 
He used a SERVQUAL survey to test Chinese students’ satisfaction with their UK university and found satisfaction levels were low.  Amongst Bradley’s recommendations to help make the Chinese student experience a better one, at institutional level, are:

  • Be empathetic to students’ situation – in an alien culture, miles from home
  • Make adjustments for Chinese expectations – the students lack experience of the UK and therefore have higher expectations than home students
  • Give more pastoral care
  • Reduce class sizes
  • Provide staff time to do the above
  • Provide textbooks and, if possible, laptops – an adequate number of books are especially important to Chinese students
  • Provide financial assistance and advice
  • Provide low-price refreshment outlets
  • Provide longer opening hours – do not close everything down at 5pm
  • Provide cultural guidance in China before they come here.

Research Services at the LSE
Barbara Humphries, London School of Economics

The LSE contacts each new PhD students and asks them to complete a short questionnaire which asks them for their thesis title/research area.  They then send the student a 2-page guide to support their research.  This guide includes information on:

  • Appropriate information resources
  • Keywords to search with
  • Sconul access
  • Inter-library loans

The guide is written from a template and takes about 1 hour to write at first, but with practice this gets shorter.  

Students are invited for a 1:1 consultation with the academic liaison librarian after they have received the guide and are also put in contact with students from other departments who are researching in the same field (there is significant research overlap in management, sociology, economic history, anthropology and social policy).

This personalised service has helped:

  • Increase library awareness of research areas
  • Increase student awareness of library resources
  • Increase the visibility of the library
  • Evaluate library resources and isolate the core resources which need continuing at all costs

Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caledonian University

GCU has created an information literacy and academic writing skills package called Study Methods and Information Literacy Exemplars from an original package created by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester. 

It sits in the VLE but can also be viewed here:

It is available for use by other institutions under Creative Commons licence.

Promotional library videos
Stephen Bull, University of Birmingham

Stephen reported that the University of Birmingham Library has made a promotional video.  The video was 4 months in the planning and was filmed by Birmingham’s in-house media centre.  It took 3.5 days to capture the 7 hours of footage that was filmed to make the 4 minute 28 second video.  The video includes testimonials of students of all levels and from all faculties.  Birmingham expect the video to be current for 2 to 3 years.  It can be viewed here:

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