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Archive for the ‘Offical Publications’ Category

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 »

Visit to Coventry University Library (16 January 2013)

Posted by JackieHanes on 16 January, 2013

I visited Sue White, the law and official publications librarian, in the Lanchester Library at Coventry University, to discuss library inductions and reading lists.  I attended a CILIP event at the Lanchester Library shortly after it opened, and it was interesting to return a decade + later to see how it had fared/aged.   

The subject librarian team have a very different structure to us: the team is much larger, librarians are responsible for only 1 or 2 subjects,  and they are supported by a large team of library assistants.  However, they provide services to both taught-course and research users, and they are responsible for their enquiry service too.  Lanchester had enquiry desks on each of their three floors (science, social science and arts).  But these have been closed, and replaced by ‘roving library enquiry staff’ to limited success.  Sue is currently involved in a project to train students to act as roving library enquiry staff. 

The law collection is classified using Dewey, but shelved out-of-sequence.  The collection includes a large number of print journals and law reports, which Sue feels are at risk, because of space pressures in the library.  Sue is also the EDC librarian: although her enquiries are very low in number, the print resources are well used, but she feels they would be better used if inter-filed in the main collection.

Coventry University provide all undergraduate students with a copy of their course textbooks as part of their £9K course fees.  While library footfall continues to increase, levels of borrowing and shelving are noticably lower.  It’s not yet know how this will affect library provision in the future.

Coventry University have used the Talis Aspire reading list software for about 5 years.  Subject librarians initially create module reading lists and handover responsibility to academics.  I was disappointed to discover that Sue has also failed to make Talis Aspire work with the LexisLibrary and Westlaw law databases.  Workarounds include linking to journal title level, rather than article level; and linking to judgments on BAIILI, rather than authoritive law reports.  She is also unable to use Talis Aspire to help with editions checking, and has employed her library assistants to manually check reading lists on an annual basis.

As regards library inductions, Sue is far more embedded into the curriculum than me.  She delivers a library welcome lecture in the first week (1 x 200 students), and then sees all students in their seminar groups during the second week for a legal research practical session (10 x 20 students).   In later weeks, Sue delivers lectures on official publications (jointly with an academic), and Westlaw and LexisLibrary database training (jointly with a third party database trainer).  By way of contrast, I delivered a library welcome lecture in the second week  (1 x 400 students), but was unable to deliver practical sessions, and met with resistance from timetabling.  Coventry University also used Echo 360 technology to record library training events and make them available on Moodle.

Sue was interested to learn more about our subject pages (they do not have an equivalent on their library website), my legal research online tutorials, and our experiences with the JustCite legal search engine. 

Lunch was not on the agenda, but I did enjoy a very nice coffee and black-forest brownie …

Posted in Collection management, Law, Offical Publications, Subject Support | Leave a Comment »

Official Publications Seminar (7 November 2012)

Posted by JackieHanes on 16 November, 2012

I attended an Official Publications seminar on Wednesday 7 November 2012.  It was hosted by the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) and held at the National Archives in Kew.  A fabulous building, if a little out-of-the-way for travel.  Their cafe and restaurant is well worth a visit!  Our four speakers were all from the National Archives, and spoke about their roles in legislation, parliamentary and government publications, and collections policy.

Carol Tullo (Director of Information Policy and Services)

Introduction to the seminar and role of the National Archives in official publications policy and standards.  Discussed on the provenance, authority and legal status of official publications.  Focused on the role of crown copyright, and the strive for open-access, reliable and re-usable information.  New Gov.uk website replaces Direct.gov.uk, as single source of government information, with departmental websites closing in next few years.

John Sheridan (Head of Legislation)

Introduction to the Legislation.gov.uk website.  Designed for public not legal users.  Can search and access via Google.  Links to most current version of legislation.  Can print via PDF with crown branding.  4 user personas were developed during design process: legal expert,  professional, citizen, and novice.   Problem of keeping legislation up-to-date.  Use collaborative model of expert participation (from legal publishers) to up-date legislation.  Use of  technology to help manage drafting and updating procedures, including commencement and extent. Expect to be up-to-date end 2013.

Helen Creeke (Official Publications Manager) 

General introduction to parliamentary (bills, house and command papers) and departmental papers.  Parliamentary papers available in PDF format via Official-Documents.gov.uk from may 2005 to date.  Printed copies can are published via TSO.  Publication of departmental papers not standardised.  Move to online-only publication via departmental website.  Perpetual access to online departmental papers not guaranteed – especially with move to close departmental websites.  National Archives has managed the UK Government WebArchive since 2005.  Periodic (quarterly) snapshot of selected government department websites and documents.  Standing Committee on Official Publications (SCOOP) conducting a survey of printed official publications under banner ‘Print Still Matters’.

Julia Stocken (Head of Information Management and Practice)

Outline of National Archives collection and selection policy.  Public Record Acts require preservation.  Only 5% of public records selected for archive.  Need to be of historical significance – much guidance!  Previously transferred after 30 years, now moving to 20 years. 

Handouts and full notes are available on request.

Posted in Law, Offical Publications | 1 Comment »