UoL Library Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Health Libraries Group Conference 2010

Posted by sarahw9 on 21 July, 2010

The Lowry, Salford QuaysI’ve just returned from my first ever Health Libraries Group conference in Manchester, well, Manchester was in the conference title, although we were told in no uncertain terms from a local that the conference location The Lowry is in fact in the city of Salford.

 I admit at first I was a bit concerned this was going to be too NHS-y for my job, but there was more than enough that was relevant to academic libraries, although I didn’t meet many folk who weren’t employed by the NHS.

 I doubt anyone wants to read a summary of all of the sessions I attended especially when you will soon be able to download the presentation yourself from  the conference website, so I’ve made a summary of points that caught my eye.  You can also read the tweets from the HLG conference searching under #hlg2010. 

Elearning vs Face to face training

Two very different messages came from  two presentations on teaching information literacy to nursing students and practicing nurses.  Mark Raynor & Alison Brettle from the University of Salford showed us the results of their study comparing the effectiveness of face to face training sessions with training that was entirely online.  They found no difference in the results or skills retention of both groups, although a vocal minority just did not like the elearning approach.  I admit in general I would rather learn something from a person telling me than from online instruction, and I’m convinced I remember more.  Whether that’s just a personal preference or an illusion that I remember more is another matter of course.  That could just be me slipping into pre web 2 mode.  If online learning is well designed and it’s a process you follow through rather than just a list of instructions then perhaps its just as good.

Tatjana Petrinic from the University of Oxford spoke about how the popularity of their generic training for nurses (in practice not students) had fallen off, but that 1 to 1 training was very popular – to the point that they no longer have to advertise it, nurses contact them for training.  This has developed into supporting nurses to publishing. They cover literature searching, referencing, complying with the journal style.  Nurses don’t get this kind of advice elsewhere and Tatjana said as a group nurses are very supportive of each other in the process (compared to other professions which will remain nameless).

I think where done well, face to face training can offer more support for people who are unconfident and who prefer a more human approach.  In reality where there are large numbers of students involved well designed elearning can do the job very well, but I can’t help thinking it always helps if you have a friendly face you can ask. 

What are librarians good for?

Two thought provoking presentations by Lyn Robinson and Andrew Booth , whilst very different, came to the similar conclusion that its not so much ‘technical’ skills such as information retrieval that librarians can offer which is unique, as an approach to seeing the bigger picture to facilitate the flow of information and knowledge either across organisations or from creator to user.  Andrew Booth started with the memorable finding made by Paul Glasziou that the longer doctors practised the less effective they were (they don’t keep up to date?), and had wondered whether this could also apply to librarians.  Are the experienced over confident and novices under confident about what they can do? Another perhaps less surprising observation Andrew found in the literature was  a study that concluded that more experienced staff (not necessarily librarians or doctors) tend to have a more ‘passive implementation of the curriculum’ than novices, in other words they are less inclined to innovate (I presume that’s what is meant).  I’m not sure a total novice is always keen to innovate, unless they are completely foolhardy, but perhaps there is somewhere in between.

Reinforcing the original point about the use of librarians was Emily Hopkin’s presentation on how she set up a library service (or rather an information service) with no physical library or stock at NHS North West.  She went about all the informal ways of gathering information about the organisation going to meetings, talking to people in corridors, finding out what was going on.  She discovered all sorts of places where people had information needs she could help with.  Unsurprisingly she found people had little understanding of what a library service is beyond books in a room and that asking people what they wanted was not the most fruitful approach.  To show what she could do she sent them information she knew they needed based on her ‘spying’, and before long they were sending her requests for more work. She found the thing people most wanted was for her to do internet research where they simply don’t have the time or they want a more comprehensive search.  This sounds like great practice; going to grass roots to find out what people are actually doing , and providing a valuable service they never knew they could have.  Its just as relevant to academics libraries as anywhere else.  I think us subject librarians could learn a lot here, in particular with supporting research or even supporting not only the academics but all sorts of administrative staff.  Of course we have known all this for years, but implementing it seems to be another matter.  I had a similar job for PricewaterhouseCoopers (doing internet research / enquires for their staff and writing summaries, briefings and current awareness bulletins), and that was over 10 years ago.

 Other highlights:

Critical Appriasal teaching: Michelle Madden showed  us her excellent wiki for supporting librarians teaching critical appraisal.  She had surveyed attitudes to teaching CA and found three quarters of librarians think they should teach it, but despite the majority having had training that only one third actually do train others.  There were some organisations barriers to this, but often it was down to lack of confidence in knowledge of statistics and medicine.  She has set up a support wiki CATNiP – Critical Appraisal Tookit Navigating into Practice which includes lots of support material include preappraised articles.  I’ve requested access to this site, which I hope I get as it all looks very useful. 

LibraryThing – to update core collections: Helene Gorring and Helen Buckley Woods are using LibraryThing to update the core collections of books for medical libraries, the mental health version is the first they have tackled.  It’s a great idea to do this collaboratively and get direct input from everyone, so get inputting and rating here:  http://www.librarything.com/catalog/corecollection

The Health Informaticist  and collaborative blogging: Alan Fricker and Hanna Lewin talked about their experience of producing their collaborative blog The Health Informaticist.  Unlike our very own collaborative blog, the four writers come from different settings within health information  (a charity, hospital library, governmental body and a private company).  Perhaps we could claim though to have very different specialisms even if we all work for the same organisation.  It was interesting to see another very different collaborative blog in a related field of interest.  On a purely trivial note I did think to myself its time we improved the look of our blog – unless the strictly functional style is what we prefer.

And finally… 

Thanks HLG  I enjoyed this event.  There were lots of useful practical things I could take away, and that’s not just the free pens and post-it notes.

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Posted in CILIP, Collection management, Research Support, Service Delivery, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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 »

Research into how academics use blogs

Posted by selinalock on 11 August, 2009

Adventures in digital academia

Could be a useful resource when discussing web2.0, professional identities and open publising with academics.

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

Mothballing the SM@LL project

Posted by gazjjohnson on 1 July, 2009

Just in case you missed the earlier posts here and on the ScienceLeicester blogs, I’ve just posted about the feedback we had for the SM@LL project from the funders.  For now, any future discussions about similar projects will be over on this blog – so leave us in your RSS feeds folks!

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

Blog stats

Posted by gazjjohnson on 6 May, 2009

It’s been a while since I did one of these, but following last month’s news I thought it might be interesting to see how the traffic to this blog is doing.

Month Hits %age increase
July 09  195  N/a
Aug 08  144  -26%
Sept 08  276  +92%
Oct 08  145  -48%
Nov 08  406  +179%
Dec 08  653  +61%
Jan 09  745  +14%
Feb 09  820  +10%
Mar 09  1086  +24%
Apr 09  1189  +9%

Obviously these are non-disambiguated, and for all we know are the same person or crawler.  But as a useful guide to the hit-rate for this site I wonder how they stack up against the library pages, and perhaps more importantly for the future – against the SM@LL site?

Posted in Blog admin | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Talking about my blog regeneration

Posted by gazjjohnson on 3 March, 2009

I have just returned from the outer limits of the 2nd floor, where I’ve been having a lively discussion with Stu Johnson and colleague Marta about blogging.  Stu tells me that he’s been very impressed with the UoL Library blog and what we’ve been doing with it, which is really great to hear.  As regular readers know I’m a big advocate of blogs as knowledge based resources and communication channels within organisations (as well as without); so I’m delighted our own little corner of the blogosphere has encouraged some other people to have a go.

It is interesting that a lot of the challenges we faced in setting up and populating this blog are uppermost in the their minds as well; getting content, ensuring engagement from staff, coherent voice and privacy issues.  From what I heard they’re well on their way to creating a first class blog for their staff to share experience and learn from; so I wish them well.  I’ll look forward to reading it (if and when they allow public visitors).

I think my one regret from the meeting is that once again I don’t have anything especially exciting top blog about at this point; but perhaps we should be grateful I’m not writing about digital preservation and curation again!

Posted in Blog admin, Meetings | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

An author’s guide to blogging – some help & guidance

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 September, 2008

As noted earlier we pioneering 4 wanted to expand out our test community to include a few more people, and hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to read the various emails I’ve sent out about it.

One thing we didn’t cover in the emails were any house rules and regulations for authors and commentors.  This blog is very much an informal knowledge exchange tool, which means we try to keep the tone light, informative and professional. It isn’t an appropriate place to air any inflammatory issues; rather it is a space to seek comment and input to areas you’re working on or to share/reflect on your own experiences. It is also a useful place to post links to articles or reports that are of interest to the library community.  We 4 have certainly learned quite a bit over the past couple of months already.

If you’ve never written for or read a blog before, we’d recommend following some of the links in the Blogroll(on the left) to see the tone and style adopted by other academic bloggers.  It might be that you’re actually a long time blogger with a different hat on (personally I’m into my 5th year of blogging now), in which case the four of us would like to invite you to start contributing sooner rather than later.  Don’t be afraid – no one is going to call you stupid!

I’ll leave you with Johnson’s good blogging conduct rules of thumb, which I’ll expect you all to inwardly digest and be able to quote from heart by next month:

  • Keep posts/comments short, light and readable (yes this post probably fails that test)
  • Don’t stress over the grammar – better out than in!
  • If you think it’s interesting, chances are someone else on staff does too and will benefit from it.
  • Add tags freely and plentiful – use categories sparingly (and please ask if you want to add more categories!)
  • Try and blog at least twice a month if not more – the more voices the blog has the more valuable and enjoyable it will be
  • Try and comment on at least one post a week – I will be keeping score.
  • There is no such thing as a bad post…(well almost)
  • If you’re unsure about anything- just ask me, Keith, Selina or Sarah
  • AND remember: anyone in the world could read your post/comment…so never blog anything you wouldn’t be prepared to stand up in the middle of a crowded room and shout about!

Posted in Blog admin, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Librarians and blogging

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 September, 2008

Latest SCONUL Focus has a number of articles on librarians blogging.  Read it here:

http://www.sconul.ac.uk/publications/newsletter/43/

Any thoughts or reflections people?

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

About a blog

Posted by gazjjohnson on 24 July, 2008

I had a very productive meeting with Keith, Sarah and Sue Wednesday morning talking about various Biology related matters.  It’s always nice to stroll down to the ClinSci library, though I wish I’d remembered that we were meeting first thing before I trudged into the DWL Office first.  Would have saved on shoe leather.

One of the things we did talk about, that wasn’t strictly biological related was this blog itself.  We agreed that we’d:

  • Meet in about three weeks to review the progress so far.
  • Invite all those who came to the Web 2.0 day from the library to become contributors/readers.
  • Consider the longer term plans for the blogs usage.
  • Review the blogs progress after a further month.

I’ve a feeling organising this meeting will fall on Sarah or myself!

Posted in Blog admin | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »