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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 »

Good Practice in Information Literacy for Academic Research

Posted by knockels on 4 April, 2011

I attended this RIN/UK Council for Graduate Education workshop at the University of Warwick on 14 March.  It has taken a little while to write this!

There were three useful particualrly useful presentations:

Kate Mahoney of Vitae spoke about the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), designed to be integrated into all training given to researchers.  It is a tool designed to help researchers find out what they know and what training they need.   It has four domains – one, “Knowledge and Academic Abilities”, specifically includes Information literacy and management as one of its “descriptors”.   Other domains include descriptors of interest  – for example, “IPR and copyright”, in the “Research governance and organisation” domain.    There are also many other descriptors that have an information literacy angle.       There is more about the RDF on the Vitae website.

Wendy White of the University of Southampton spoke about the soon to be launched revised Sconul 7 Pillars of Information Literacy.   This is scheduled to be launched at the forthcoming LILAC conference.  

Joy Davidson of the Data Curation Centre spoke about data management, something, along with copyright, that researchers need to think about at the outset, and not the end of their research.      Many people – universities, publishers, funders – have opinions or mandates on data management, but not many people offer support, so perhaps a role for us as part of our own institutional support?  Attention was drawn to DCC training and support materials.  

The two breakout sessions produced some interesting things which I will follow up: I liked the sound of Glasgow Caledonian’s RefWorks material, online and designed to be worked through at one’s own pace.   I liked the sound too of adding “contact your information librarian” to the induction of new staff, thus becoming something that they had to do and have ticked in their first week or month.

The three presentations mentioned above, plus one other, are at http://www.ukcge.ac.uk/events/pastevents/1011area/infoliteracy11.

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Opportunities in Difficult Times: UKOLN social networking event

Posted by gazjjohnson on 23 February, 2011

On Tuesday I went down to the Museum Studies dept to speak at a UKOLN event, aimed mostly at the museums and curation sector – so it was nice to go and talk with a different group of folks for a change.  It was also nice to finally make it into one of the few depts where I’ve not done a personal appearance in the past three years at Leicester (think there are still a few more left though).

The day opened by Ross Parry from Leicester giving a welcome and overview of the work and research of the Dept of Museum Studies, which was interesting background material.  Following that we went around the room to gauge the level of experience with social networking which was from a few folks dipping their toes in through to some wanting to do a whole lot more with it.

Ann Chapman then opened up with her first talk – What Web 2 can do for you, which gave a clear overview of Web 2 environment; which for a fair number of people in the room seemed to be right up their street.  While a lot of the material was familiar to me, it was interesting to see them presented in the span of children to OAPs; rather than my usual focus on like-minded professional engagers.  She spent a bit of time talking about character based tweeting as a way of engaging new groups, a serious aim or a more fun option.

We moved on a group exercise looking at generating a business case for a Web 2 resource.  The group I worked with discussed using LibraryThing as a way to get around catalogue software restrictions…I’m sorry, I mean enhance the  accessibility of reading list resources.  A lot of our conversation circled around the idea of how to overcome the barriers that might stop us stone cold dead in the water, but not letting them be the major driver.  We also discussed how important it was to have an aim and objective and an exit strategy, and how to deal with feature creep (as senior managers add new objects to a project in progress).

Next up Ann came back to talk about some tips for getting Web 2 right.  Following on from the business case she talked about the planning you need to do to convince senior management and IT about what you want to do, how you’re going to achieve it and whom will be doing the work, let alone where this fits into your policy.  Some good advice on using the resources followed – obvious if you’ve been working with these for a bit, but much needed for new folks – thinking about spam, thinking about regularity of posts etc.

After lunch Ross Parry came back to talk about distance learning courses in the Museum Studies dept and their use of social networking,  He started off giving an overview of the school and how they have developed over the 50 years of the school, culminating with the Digital Heritage course.  He talked about keeping the print resources that they have developed over the years with the DL reader in mind, whom will likely be time poor and want everything to engage with right there at the point of need.

He talked about technologies and wanting to find an area of co-currated space for the students and staff to use and interact with.  At the same time they were thinking about building relationships with individuals, groups and the sector as a whole through this interaction.  They mounted a blog (Common Room) that was accessed via BlackBoard to give the students a feeling of trust and security, as well as a University feel.  He makes use of Skype video chat for interaction, that really helps the interaction with student.  The DL Curriculum Shell is the way they think about the whole set of environments and student interaction.

Next up I gave a talk expanding on some of the professional experiences I’ve had over the years using social networking environments within Higher Education libraries.  after this there was chance in groups to have a look at some of these social tools, although in my group we spent most of the time having an extended Q&A and demonstration of resources from me than working through the worksheet (sorry Ann, but I think my lot found that useful!).

Finally Ann capped off the day drawing together the various themes – making a case, taking those first steps, ideas for practical experimentation and overcoming obstacles.  A brief discussion followed and then we closed for the day.  I really enjoyed the discussion I had with the various delegates, and as always it’s a sheer pleasure to help out UKOLN whom do offer such an excellent range of expertise and training events across the sectors.

The event programme and presentations can be found here.

Posted in Staff training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

RSP Winter School 2011: Day 1

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 February, 2011

Amramthwaite Hall Hotel, Front LawnWednesday saw me make the long trek up to the top of the Lake District to Armathwaite Hall hotel and the RSP’s winter school.  Like the summer school these are small, intimate gatherings of repository workers to share experiences and learn from one another.  It’s all a little more focussed than your average conference and more akin to an OU summer school sort of thing.  We’re expected to work, not just simply sit here and listen; although it would also be nice to wander the grounds or visit the spa…if there was just the time!

Day one kicked off with a tasty lunch before Jackie of the RSP opened proceedings (in place of Bill Hubbard who unfortunately had called off sick).  Following an ice breaker (which involved a lot of movement and talking) we had the keynote from Salford University’s Vice-Chancellor Martin Hall.  Martin is very switched on to the modern electronic communication environment (the first VC to tweet) and gave an impassioned overview of the importance of open access to the modern scholarly institution – underlined with the economic importance of it as much as the research world.

Martin speaksHe suggested the future for repositories is increasingly going to be centralised and national level, and that local institutional repositories may in time go the way of the dinosaur.  Although, this said he admitted this would take make years to arrange, and given the competitive nature of many institutions might be easier said than done.

It was great to hear a senior institutional manager who really understands the role of open access and repositories, and a great way to really kick the school off.  After Martin the event went from the sublime to…well me.  I was drafted in at the last minute to give a reflections of the summer school 2010 talk.  I can’t claim it’s the most polished talk I’ve given, but seemed to go down well.

We had a short evening break, and then we moved into a debate between Green and Gold open access as the final route.  Personally I still think the truth is a hybrid model, but it certainly was good to hear a former RSP member (Dominic Tate) debate with one of the newest (Emily Nimmo).  Then we moved onto dinner and informal discussions.

Oh tweets from the event are tagged #rspws11

And day two, looks even more packed.

Read about Day 2 and Day 3 here

Posted in Open Access, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Open Access: the impact for libraries and librarians (RSP Event)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 December, 2010

As a special Monday treat – here’s the third guest post from my team, this time from Valérie Spezi.
______________________________________________________________________________

I went to a very interesting conference last Friday on Open Access and its impact on libraries and librarians, organised by the Repository Support Project (RSP). As usual with RSP events the conference was very well organised, including venue and catering, and the selection of speakers was of great quality.

The conference was well-attended, mostly by librarians from all over the UK and across sectors, which wasn’t really surprising given the title of the conference. Librarians from the Higher Education sector formed the bulk of the audience; but it was nice to see that there were also a few publisher and funding agency representatives, as well as information and library consultants.

The conference objective was to provide librarians with greater knowledge of Open Access, what it is and what it isn’t, how it is currently developing and shaping scholarly communication systems and what impact it’s having on libraries. Far from preaching Open Access at any costs, the selection of speakers offered a balanced view of what is achievable within Open Access and what isn’t.

Bill Hubbard started off the conference day with a presentation setting out the background to Open Access (OA), i.e. what OA is and what it isn’t, and what the rationale supporting OA and the drivers are. Open Access for most of us simply means ‘open to read’ (including cache, save and print), and most materials available today on Open Access are open in this way. But it was interesting to learn that the original idea in the Budapest vision started out with a more unifying view of an open world where material would be open to read and re-use. However the reality proved to be much more complex and made it difficult to achieve this ideal of a total open information world. Then, Bill presented the usual drivers for OA (serial crisis, moral case, financial rationale and academic need to have speedy access to scholarship). More importantly, Bill added an additional driver: ‘because we can!’, meaning that we are witnessing major changes in the information environment, and Open Access is one of these major changes taking place and it can’t be ignored as we have the technology and all the good reasons to do it. Finally, Bill went through the usual misconceptions about OA (subversion of peer review, replacement for publication, invitation to plagiarism and an attack on copyright) and explained why these arguments against OA were erroneous or even sometimes illogical. In conclusion, it was suggested that what is needed to build OA are systems and workflows to support researchers, institutions and funders, who all seem to be favour of Open Access but are facing great challenges individually.

The second speaker was Alma Swan, from Key Perspectives Ltd, who has done a great deal of work on scholarly communication and Open Access (it is only fair to note that she and her business partner pioneered key research studies on researchers’ attitudes towards Open Access in 2004/05). Alma’s talk was about the economics of OA. The aim of her talk was to present the costs and savings at system levels (Houghton et al. report [2009]) and at university level (Swan [2010]). She presented first, in great details, the results of the Houghton et al. report, which looks at costs and savings in three different OA scenarios (self-archiving or green access; repository archiving with overlay services; open access journal or gold OA). She then moved on to her own work which builds upon the Houghton report as she used the Houghton methodology to build a limited number of case studies looking at costs and savings at institutional level.

In conclusion, the main idea from Alma’s talk was that universities differ greatly and therefore results differ greatly from one institution to another: whereas the Houghton report indicated that the UK scholarly communication system as a whole could enjoy substantial savings across the sector, Alma’s work indicate that research-intensive institutions may end up yielding negative savings (i.e. paying a cost) in the move towards Open Access, and therefore the national OA savings case needs to be managed so that some universities are not individually disadvantaged.

Following on was the interesting talk from Wim van der Stelt, Executive Vice President Corporate Strategy at Springer, one of the biggest STM publishing houses. Beside the presentation of the various open access options offered by Springer, Wim made a few interesting points:

  • Firstly, Springer has adopted the strong Open Access position, meaning that all their open access content is open to read and to re-use as in the Budapest initiative, save for commercial purposes. The main reason for this was according to Wim the fact that it seems that end-users generally don’t care about copyright and hence Springer’s decision to go strong OA in order to simplify copyright policies. Wim emphasised the fact that Springer leaves the copyright to authors and is generally happy with just a licence to publish.
  • Secondly, Wim bluntly took on the role of publishers in today’s scholarly communication system. If publishers’ role in distributing or disseminating scholarship was acknowledged as a thing of the past, it was however said that publishers create value-added services to their authors – though what exactly those value-added services consisted of was not really debated.  In short, Wim reminded the audience that publishers are in the scholarly communication market to make money first and foremost, thus the legitimacy of open access embargoes enabling publishers to ‘rightly’ monetise on content. So, yes to Open Access as long as there is a business model, and BMC, recently acquired by Springer, has certainly proved that Open Access can be extremely lucrative. But Wim also insisted on the fact that publishers are equally eager to please their customers, i.e. the research community, and thus Springer wouldn’t go down the open access route if it was felt that there was no demand for this from the research community they serve.
  • Thirdly, Wim talked about the difficulty to introduce new OA journals as they often bear huge fees whereas they still have not yet yield any impact factors.

Wim concluded his speech by saying that it was believed that OA would stay as a complementary business model; a conclusion I understood was also shared by some of the speakers present at the conference. As Bill repeated several times, Open Access is not THE solution to today’s scholarly communication failures; it’s only one of the components of the changes scholarly communication is going through.

Susan Ashworth, Assistant director for Research and Learning Support services, presented the development of Enlighten, the University of Glasgow’s research repository holding just over 35,000 records (but only 3,600 full-text items). Susan talked about the organisational/staff structure of Enlighten, and it was interesting to see that the University of Glasgow went for a manager-less unit but with a very strong support team consisting of cataloguers, a service development manager and an advocacy manager. From the many common drivers listed by Susan, one specific driver stood out: the imperative need for research management the RAE brought about in Higher Education and Enlighten seems to fulfil this role just fine. Other interesting aspects of Susan’s talk were the excellent work the Library has done on author disambiguation using Glasgow Unique identifier (GUID), the delivery of subject feeds from Twitter, and the hot-linking to publications of all that valuable information when it comes to research management that are grant funding and funder names.

Dave Carr, the Open Access Adviser from the Wellcome Trust (WT), was the next speaker. The OA policy was introduced in 2005 and made mandatory in 2006, requiring WT-funded researchers to make their publications available within 6 months of publication. Dave estimated the compliance rate to the policy to be close to 50%. But the WT is aiming high, and raising the compliance rate is one of the top priorities of the trust. Therefore Dave’s talk was all about how the WT can persuade researchers of the benefits of Open Access and how the WT can help their researchers to make their publications available on OA. Dave’s talk was focused on the need to establish communication with researchers. Too many researchers are still unaware of OA funds or self-archiving practice, this is why the WT is working hard in getting the message across to researchers. In conclusion, it was felt that sanctioning non-compliant researchers was not the way to go for now, and the WT would strive to persuade researchers rather than adopting a punitive approach.

Chris Middleton, from the University of Nottingham, presented a case study on institutional funding for OA publishing. The main driver for setting up the OA fund was the looming REF. Some figures were provided: 353 OA fund requests were made over 4 years, whereof 140 were made in 2009/10, representing circa £171,179. The average cost per article at the University of Nottingham, was estimated at £1,317, but the payments were wide-spread, ranging from £277 to £2,990. The message Chris tried to pass across to the audience was the paramount importance of budgeting those OA costs (where is the break-even point?), but also that this is a very difficult task a University/library sets for itself. Chris used a slightly modified version of Alma Swan’s economic model to base her calculations on OA costs and savings.

Jackie Wickham, the RSP Open Access Adviser, reported on a survey of repository staff she conducted over the summer 2010. The survey was distributed via the UKCoRR list. Beside some useful data on repository staffing, such as 76.2% work part-time, 73.8% work as part of a team or that repository staff tend to be highly educated, Jackie also offered a summary of the skills repository staff (managers and administrators) thought were important, and this included communication (getting the message across), interpersonal skills, project management, determination, perseverance and patience .

Finally, the conference day came to an end with Paul Ayris, Director of Library Services at UCL and President of LIBER, who presented a selection of Open Access projects he’s involved in such as:

  • DART-Europe, the principal gateway for discovery and retrieval of OA European theses, and how the EThOS project fits into this.
  • Europeana libraries, some sort of Google-equivalent (which in itself is an already ambitious endeavour…) for European quality-assured research content.
  • LERU (League of European Research Universities) – a consortium of 22 research-intensive universities in Europe lobbying at the European level for the promotion of research.

In conclusion, this RSP Open Access conference was very informative and enlightening and helped to understand the debate, the drivers but also the challenges of Open Access. And, in the words of Bill, the conclusion would be that OA enables publishers and librarians to channel the huge changes currently taking place and ensure quality control of the research made freely available to anyone. Far from delivering anarchy in scholarly communication, OA helps stakeholders to organise and channel the mass of open research content.

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The Future of Interlibrary Loans – workshop

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 December, 2010

Another guest post by one of my team members (Izzy Hoskins again!) on a recent ILL event
—-

On the 8th December myself and two colleagues attended the EMALINK event Inter Library loans: towards the future – differences and parallels at the University of Derby.

This consisted of presentations by both Tim Peacock of the University of Derby and Dorothy Atherton of the University of Nottingham. These presentations were followed by demonstrations of their systems and a discussion between attendees as to the varying natures of our methods.

Tim began by presenting various statistics, notably that after a period of decreasing requests the past two academic years have seen an increase in requests at Derby: 07-08 seeing a 9% increase and 09-10 an 8% increase. They seemed to welcome this rise and felt that this was due to moving towards a user friendly electronic requesting system. Their website was visually accessible and an online requesting service was available to everyone although undergraduates have to pre-pay allowing staff to update their records. This was felt to be a problem and they are hoping to develop an online payment system in order to ease the administrative process. It certainly seemed to be the case that their administrative processes could be streamlined into a much more efficient and staff friendly system. All requests were received (at the staff end) by e-mail and had to be re-keyed in order to be placed with the British Library. I have to say I was quite surprised by this especially given that one bonus of electronic signatures is that it does away with large quantities of paperwork. Printing these requests off effectively recreates this paper work and would be very time-consuming for their staff.

Dorothy Atherton, Services Manager in Resource Acquisition & Supply at the University of Nottingham gave the second presentation. Their department centrally processes three campuses and deals with around 8000 requests annually and are responsible for ILL, Digitisation as well as their digital archive. They have introduced digital signatures with a 100% online requesting system and like Derby were very keen on an accessible online interface. After a period of decline the number of requests that they receive has plateaud since 2006 with the number of loan requests remaining around 40% of their total. In 2010 the number of SED requests has overtaken that of photocopy requests which given the smaller costs of these they are actively encouraging. Like us all their requests are initially sent to the BL although the number of items they receive from them is gradually declining which has pushed them towards a greater use of Amazon marketplace, OCLC, Google and direct searches.

Both institutions used DX as a courier which led to some amusing bursts of horror with claims of items being found on roundabouts and ditches. We moved onto tea and were able to meet the faces behind daily correspondence.
Later it was agreed that a discussion between the attendees, co-ordinated by both Tim and Dorothy, would take place. A number of topics were discussed:

  • Inter-lending of electronic items:
    • Most institutions were aware that they could supply on occasion although most held back on supply as legislation was either not readily available or clear. This is clearly something that needs to be addressed with the movement towards electronic collections.
  •  Charges and quota systems
    • Some very interesting differences were uncovered and there seemed to be a number of somewhat complicated payment systems in place and quota allocation varied drastically between institutions. For example:
      • Lincoln only charge 50p for an inter-library loan
      • Warwick have budgets for departments as opposed to the usual quota system
      • One institution even allowed members of staff to donate their quotas to colleagues..
  • Electronic Signatures
    • Nearly all attendees aside from ourselves had moved to electronic signatures although this did not necessarily mean a simpler system overall.
  • Writing up status
    • Surprisingly most institutions treated writing up students as full time paying students when allocating allowances
  • Charges
    • Many institutions subsidise the British Library costs although most seemed to looking towards increasing their charges in light of imminent budget cuts.
  • Rising costs
    • These were a key feature and it was particularly interesting to note that some institutions purchased items online if they were found to be cheaper than the British Library charge of £12.00 for a loan.
  • Databases
    • Everyone used the same databases, ie: Worldcat, Copac, Suncat and the inforM25 and some also paid subscriptions to Unity amongst others.

It was very interesting to see where we fit alongside other institutions that are facing similar pressures. We came away with a lot of ideas and suggestions to take our service forward and felt that meeting the people we work alongside through e-mail will be of benefit in our work.

Posted in Document Supply, Staff training | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 December, 2010

A guest post from a member of my team (Izzy Hoskins) on a workshop she and another of my team went on this week.
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On 7th December I attended the Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop at the University of Leicester organised by Andrew Dunn. This course was aimed at Library assistants looking to develop their careers.

The day began with an interesting talk by Emma Donaldson who had completed the ACLIP accreditation, something that I had not heard of previously. Although I was unsure how far this particular course could take someone professionally it certainly seems a cheaper and more accessible option than others in its field. The portfolio that had to be completed in order to achieve this award was passed around and seemed to demonstrate a very hands on and active approach to learning – something that certainly appeals to me and that I am likely to pursue. I would however have liked to hear more about this qualification and where it leads.

Secondly Abigail Howe presented a talk about her personal path which seemed the most focused of the day. Her background as a library assistant alongside her MSc Library and Information Studies (Distinction) at City University has led her to become the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Huntingdonshire Regional College. Her achievements are down to an active pursuance of a professional career and she gave good examples and suggestions to the audience. Advice given included:

  • Creating experience – in a previous role she herself had drafted in sixth form students to work for free during her lunch hour so that she could experience managing a team.
  • Networking through conferences
  • Involvement with UC&R alongside CILIP
  • Creating contacts using Twitter
  • Listening to others in the field by joining committees
  • Taking time to do some professional reading
  • Dressing, speaking and acting professionally, effectively behaving as if you are already in a professionally qualified role

Although her personal development path seems a little intimidating her general message certainly rings true and I am sure her C.V. will continue to become very impressive.

Chris Brown of Aston University gave the last presentation of the day by library staff. Having worked in various positions she was eventually led to complete the masters course at Loughborough. Interestingly she noted that she was advised not to take library assistant roles after graduating and instead hold out for an opportunity to arise. Although I could appreciate this sentiment I wasn’t sure how achievable this would be in the current jobs market.

Staff development took the second half of the day giving advice about creating C.V’s and performing at interviews. A large part of their discussion was spent on identifying the skills and pressures for staff within your target market although this only seemed to centre on higher education institutions. They focused on marketing yourself, finding your unique selling point (USP!) and quite importantly moulding your application to the market as opposed to trying to fit the jobs market to yourself. A lot of their advice was useful but I did feel that at times it took a while to get to a single point and that this time could have been used in a better way. For example I would have liked the chance to develop my own C.V. or to hear more about the variety of career opportunities within the library profession.

Although the day was very general I thought it was both insightful and useful. The follow up by Andrew Dunn to the feedback given has been excellent and is very much appreciated.

Posted in Staff training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Legal Issues in Web 2.0 and cloud computing

Posted by taniarowlett on 29 November, 2010

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the above named UKeiG course.    The day consisted of a full  programme jam packed with useful information, knowledge and anecdotes, all provided by Professor Charles Oppenheim in his usual engaging manner.

The morning focussed on IPR issues, both in relation to the ‘rights holder(s)’ of user generated content produced via Web 2.0 applications, but also the incorporation into such content of different types of 3rd party material, which of course is a completely separate but equally important issue. 

Charles helpfully directed us to the Web2Rights materials, which I have found useful in the past for their flowcharts and diagnostic tools, and tested us with a number of scenarios.  As I and my fellow participants were from a wide range of copyright/IPR/Web 2.0 technology backgrounds it we interesting to see that we were all fairly consistent with our responses/approaches to the issues raised. 

The most interesting sessions of the day for me were those covering the issues of defamation and data protection.  The increasing adoption of Web 2.0 technologies as part of educational engagement means content generators need to be aware of UK defamation law, and what can constitute libel, even if said in jest.  

Whilst many of us know the basics of the Data Protection Act (DPA), it might come as a surprise to those who have embraced cloud computing that personal data such as that covered by the act should not be moved outside the EEA, unless the recipient country has an ‘adequate’ level of protection themselves, and that data held in a ‘cloud’ is often moved around the world, albeit temporarily, to maximise system efficiency. 

It was a day that provided much food for thought, and I think it would be very easy to get weighed down in the detail and the intricacies of the Acts. However, in the first instance I think I shall just draw up some guidelines to include in my training materials!

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Digital Strategy & Website, Service Delivery, Staff training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | 1 Comment »

FIL @British Library St.Pancras – Nov 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 29 November, 2010

On the 26th November I travelled down to London to attend, and participate, in the Forum for Interlending’s (FIL) biannual British Library event.

The day started with Graham Titley, current FIL Chair, providing the introduction welcome and overview of the day. One of the things that struck me was the costs to FIL of organising the event at the BL and the newsletter. One thing that was clear is that FIL needs engagement for and with its members, something that resonates with my recent engagement with CILIP.

First on the programme was Richard Scobie from the BL sound and music collections, who gave an overview of one of the many collections and services within the BL that a lot of people might not have used. As we don’t have a music dept of Leicester this wasn’t of immediate practical use. However, one could easily foresee some of our depts (e.g. Media and Communications) having some call on these materials. I think I was most interested as to practicalities of how one of our readers might get hold of one of these recordings – the formats etc.

Richard talked us through their acquisitions policy, everything from legal deposit through to collecting representative samples from around the world such as sending representatives to record events like WOMAD themselves. A lot of access to materials is through the reading rooms (aka listening rooms), although print and manuscript music can only be read in the Rare Books and Music rooms. SoundServer exists to provide access to digitised materials. Access to archival sound recordings is via a subscription, which is free to HE and FE libraries (unsure about public libraries mind you). I was quite interested to hear about Petrucci music library which appears wiki for music scores, although for the largest part within copyright.

I was a bit frustrated as Richard didn’t show us any of these services or various links he alluded to during the session; which given music support isn’t especially in my remit I’m unlikely to follow up after the fact.

Following this session the group broke in half, one set to tour the BL and the other to take part in a discussion workshop looking at the challenges facing inter-lending, how to overcome them and to generally share experiences with the delegates. This seemed to go down well (so well that we re-ran the workshop in the afternoon with the other half of the delegates).

After lunch Elizabeth Newbold from the Science, Technology & Med Collections at BL talked about her part of the BL. Like Richard, her overview was ripe with detail but thin on demonstration and I confess that I found it a little hard to pick out particular value from her session. One point she made raised my eyebrows – she commented that generally universities are more clued up in the delivery of digital content and materials than the BL; and that the BL aspires to offer the levels of service that we HE/FE librarians do as a matter of course. I was deeply complimented, if not a little concerned that our national library should feel it wasn’t leading the way on these things.

After the workshop re-run the afternoon was concluded with Jason Murray giving a highly entertaining, and hands on demonstration of the BL’s technology for dealing with disabled readers. This was by and far the best of the BL sessions in the day, with Jason’s delivery alone raising the slightly flagging attention of the audience. He raised some valid points about supporting disabled readers and included some interesting points about dealing with students with mental health issues as well. He explained that mentioning a disability scares some staff, but that with proper training and plenty of patience it is possible to offer them excellent service levels

One other thing I did take away from the day was the sheer cost of holding an event at the British Library, close to £8,000 for the day, which meant that even with close to fifty delegates that FIL made a loss on the day. I suspect future events may need to relocate to another cheaper location in London, and include visits to the BL as an add on to the programme. A shame as the BL venue is nice, but sadly the return on the group’s investment doesn’t really seem enough.

Due to my organisational hat wearing role for the day, I wasn’t able to tour the BL, but I’m pleased to hear from Lyn (my accompanying team member) that it was well worth the trip! Hopefully FIL will be able to arrange something along the same lines as this next year (there’s already a March 2011 event going up to Yorkshire), although perhaps at a less costly venue!  Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve outputs from the workshop to type up and try and turn into a useful resource for those folks who couldn’t make it to the meeting!

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Summer School for Repository Managers 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 June, 2010

Madingley Hall, Cambridge - venue for the RSP summer schoolA week or so ago I attended the RSP summer school at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge.  The Summer School has been running for three or four years now (I helped organise the first one) but until now I’d never found the right time to attend.  Originally these three day focussed study events were aimed at first time repository managers, but clearly the support remit of the RSP has broadened considerably.  It could be seen from the delegate who ran the breadth of experience from old hands like myself or Graham Stone (Huddersfield, and UKCoRR chair) through to people only just taking their first steps. 

To cover an event in any real depth would take far too many lines of text, so what I’ll attempt to do here is try and capture a flavour of the event, with any especial highlights. 

Day 1
As with all events day one began with the gathering of the 20 or so delegates from across the country, some of whom had been travelling since before 5am in order to get there.  Following an introduction to event from Dominic Tate and Jackie Wickham of the RSP we moved to an ice-breaker exercise, creating a poster to encapsulate the discrete elements that make up a repository – and then selling them to the group at large.  There were some interesting insights that came out here including the challenges of the REF, working with academics as well as the technological barriers to progress.  In many respects this was a good opportunity for some reflection on our advocacy work and the differing messages to different stakeholder groups. 

After tea the first talk was from Tanya Abikorr of MIT Open CourseWare.  Her focus was more on educational repositories than institutional, and was possibly of more interest to those working on coursepack digitisation.  What was very interesting to note was the size of the MIT team working on this (at least 7 full time staff), and some of the comments about what is permissable under US copyright law.  As one of the speakers on day 2 pointed out, UK copyright law is actually far more restrictive than this.  Finally Graham Stone talked about the Huddersfield repository experience in some depth. 

Day 2
The second day was the most hectic and packed, and despite a cancellation of the first speaker the delegates engaged in a long (possibly overlong) session on IPR, copyright and repositories from Laurence Bebbington (Aberdeen University).  There was much of value in what Laurence had to say, although at times it seemed to take him at his word on what is and is not permissable would freeze developments in the repository field.  He was followed by Bill Hubbard (CRC, Nottingham University) looking at institutional mandates and compliance.  While few delegates had an OA mandate, most institutions represented are considering implementing them in one form or another.  There was a considerable amount of talk focussed on the carrots we can offer, contrasted with the more stick like mandates, during this session too. 

Following a brief update on the RSP’s work from Dominic, David Davies (University of Warwick) presented the results of some research looking at what people look for when searching for online learning resources.  I must confess that I found David’s talk hard to follow, and while the discovery and exposure of the contents of our repositories is often paramount in my mind, I found it problematic to join what he was espousing with our every day practice.  The day was capped by the delightful Robin Armstrong-Viner (Aberdeen University) who gave a fascinating talk looking at how a repository and CRIS can work together in practice.  While a few technical hitches denied Robin the practical demonstration he’d planned at the end, it was still fascinating insight as to how a CRIS can change the workflows and relationships that repository staff have within an institution for the better. 

Day 3
The final day was very practically focussed with a reflective session on advocacy from Dominic echoing at least in part some of the previous two days activities and coverage.  One thing that was clear from delegate comments is that there is still much work to be done in this regard within most if not all institutions; and that we should not be downhearted by the repetition that is required.  We also touched briefly on the some of the work of May’s RSP Advocacy workshop.  complementing Dominic’s session nicely was Nicky Cashman (Aberystwyth University) who gave a fine overview of using statistics as a tool.  While the mathematical components weren’t new to me, some of the approaches and uses to which Nicky puts them had me scribbling notes for future consideration. 

The final full session from Ian McCormick (ARMA) was a little disappointing.  As an overview of ARMA it was fine, however as to the role at which repository managers, UKCoRR and RSP could play in tandem with the organisation this was much less clear.   What was clear from the delegates was increasingly we are all working more closely with our research office type colleagues with whom we share much more commonality on many issues than those in the libraries within which many repositories are based. 

Networking...in the sun

Image courtesy of Misha Jepson

Overall though it is safe to say that this was an excellent and information packed event.  The opportunities for networking (and in my case to also lose at croquet twice) were especially very valuable, and continued throughout the delicious meals and long into the night.  I’ve returned to work with a much greater insight into what is going on across the country, as well as numerous practical ideas to apply within our repository work.  As is always the case at these kind of events in one way or another we are all facing similar challenges ranging from academic engagement, compliance, deposition, changing copyright environment, staffing challenges and of course the REF.  But what is heartening is the number of different ways in which people have found to meet these; and while not all are applicable to Leicester’s environment many are. 

Slides from the event can be found here.

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USTLG Spring Meeting Redux (Afternoon)

Posted by selinalock on 17 May, 2010

Following on from my post USTLG Spring Meeting Redux (Morning), here’s few notes on the afternoon.

Theme for afternoon: social networking.

Advocating professional social networking to academics. Paula Anne Beasley and Linda Norbury, University of Birmingham.

  • The subject librarians are well placed to advocate Web2.0 tech for gathering information via social networks.
  • Found a knowledge gap for those not using Web2.0 or not of the generation to ‘just have a go’ at things & prefer some training.
  • Surveyed staff in College of Physical Sciences & Engineering about their use/knowledge of Web2.0 using a free text survey.
  • Responses variable, but enough interest to offer training session.
  • Major issues from survey were whether Web2.0 tools were secure/stable, whether there was a University policy on using them and a lack of knowledge.
  • Anne & Linda managed to get the College Academic Enhancement Group interested in the session, and all invites went out from that group rather than from the Library.
  • The training session that was offered was originally going to cover blogging and twitter. However, as Linda got stuck abroad due to the ash cloud it became focused only on blogging on the day.
  • 31 attendees for session: academics, admin staff, researchers & Emeritus Professors.
  • Got very good feedback and the attendees were enthusiastic about blogging on the day.
  • They hope to follow-up with seminars on social networking and social bookmarking, plus a support course in Blackboard.
  • No-one else in their University is currently offering training in this area.

‘Do Librarians Dream of Electric Tweets?”, Gareth Johnson, University of Leicester.

The next presentation was from our very own Gareth, who gave a very enthusiastic talk on using Web2.0 technology for networking, and in library services.  Main points were:

  • Why use things like twitter & Blogs?
  • For professional networking, self-reflection, sharing experiences, staff development, answering enquiries, motivating staff etc.
  • Can be very powerful tools.
  • Like Gareth, I pick up lots of useful information and links to new reports via twitter now rather than by other routes.
  • When using these technologies it is important to be human: respond to people, don’t just broadcast, share things.
  • The best use of web2.0 csome when you allow it to overlap your personal, workplace and professional lives, but if you’re not comfortable with this level of engagement it can still be useful when used only in work hours.
  • Important to “find the right tools for you”.

Gareth’s full presentation:

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Meetings, Mobile technologies, Research Support, Service Delivery, Staff training, Subject Support, Technology & Devices, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Information Literacy within our Institution: Thoughts from LILAC

Posted by katiefraser on 15 April, 2010

LILAC Tweet Wordle

Word Cloud of tweets during LILAC 2010 courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/davepattern/

Just before Easter I attended the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference, held this year in Limerick, Ireland. It was my first chance to step back and think about my new role as an Information Librarian at the university, so great timing for me.

I attended a range of different talks on areas relevant to my own personal development (on librarians’ roles as teachers, and case studies of online tool use), but in this post I’m focusing on talks which I felt had institutional significance in terms of what we’re doing with information literacy, how we’re doing it, and what else we can do.

What are we doing?
The amount and kind of information literacy teaching inevitably varies within as well as between institutions: different courses and different disciplines have different needs. However, when responsibilities for information literacy are split between different departments and services across a university there are obvious benefits from tracking who does what: to make sure students acquire key skills, and to identify opportunities for collaboration. I believe librarians, as specialists in the area, have the responsibility to make sure these skills are developed, even if we are not always responsible for delivering them ourselves.

Gillian Fielding’s presentation on The Information Literacy Audit at the University of Salford described an institutional audit as one way of doing this. The team at Salford took a checklist of key information skills to programme leaders across the university to determine what training was provided, how it was provided, at which level (pre-entry, induction, year 1, 2, or 3, or at Masters or PhD) and by which department / service. Despite difficulties with timing of the audit 70% of undergraduate course leaders participated, and it seemed like a really good way of opening up dialogues between central services and departments about what needs covering and how it can be offered. It certainly sounded like information I’d find useful, although they did have large number of subject specialists to carry out the audit compared to us!

How are we doing it?
One of the big themes of the conference for me was about how the library collaborates with others in the university. In fact, the workshop I was at the conference to lead (focusing on central services’ roles in supporting research student communities of practice) was looking explicitly at the library’s role in the wider university community. Sophie Bury from York University in Canada covered a similar theme in her presentation on academics’ views of information literacy.

The academics she surveyed pretty universally agreed that information literacy skills (as defined by the ACRL standards) were important. Furthermore, the majority thought librarians and academics should be working together to deliver sessions, a finding that she noted was echoed in some previous studies, with others suggesting that librarians should be handling this area. However, she also found a fairly even split between academics believing that sesssions should take place outside or within class time. This is an ongoing issue: sessions which take places outside of class time are not as well attended, but it’s easy to understand why academics are reluctant to jettison discipline-specific content for more general skills. How we fit information literacy into the student experience AND the student timetable is something I’ll be thinking about more over the summer as I look at my teaching for next year.

What else can we do?
Finally, as well as more ‘traditional’ information literacy, the conference also got me thinking about ways in which information literacy teaching can impact on a broader range of skills (see also Selina’s previous post about Critical Appraisal). Stephanie Rosenblatt from California State University gave a talk entitled They can find it, but they don’t know what to do with it looking at students’ use of academic literature and found that students were already competent enough at finding scholarly literature (the main focus of her teaching) but that they didn’t know how to use the academic materials. Should librarians be developing a more rounded approach to teaching information literacy? Aoife Geraghty and her colleagues from the Writing Centre at the University of Limerick discussed a way in which centralised student services could work together to support such activities.

Lastly, Andy Jackson from the University of Dundee ran a workshop on generic graduate attributes, challenging us to develop attributes such as ‘cultural and social and ethics’ into teaching Endnote and Refworks use. This was immense fun (once we’d worked out that attribution and intellectual property could be seen as cultural and social ethical issues!) and made me think about all the different angles and educational opportunities that even the most basic software training workshops offer.

Where Now?
The conference ended with a Keynote from Dr Ralph Catts talking about developing our research methods and evaluation (in time for the conference next year!). The appeal for librarians to involve educational researchers in their planning and evaluation was a little misplaced for me (I have a background in educational research, and was rankled by the implication that librarians universally lacked the ability to evaluate, rather than the resources to do so). However, I think his message about the importance of evidence in instigating, developing and evaluating our practices was sound. I definitely hope to use the research I learnt about at LILAC in the next few months, and I hope to do more reflection and evaluation as I settle in to the post.

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