UoL Library Blog

Develop, debate, innovate.

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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