UoL Library Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘digital library strategy’

In a Few Years Time: Digital Library Strategy – slides and mindmaps

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 March, 2009

Some weeks ago a lot of us attended a Digital Library Strategy workshop here in the library, led by Ken Chad.  I’ve written about the day, but I’ve just been passed Ken’s slides and the mindmaps from the session.

The mindmap was generated by small groups talking about the challenges, opportunities and issues around each of the 4 areas of discussion. They reflected back on the presentations from Ken and Richard, but also on the experience and insight of the various group members taking part.  They’re in no way a comprehensive point of view, and as you can see no ranking order is applied to them.  Each one is a comment, idea or concept in its own right.

But these will help the Library in shaping its future Web 2 and digital strategy developments for the next 3 or so years.  More about that in the near future…

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Posted in Digital Strategy & Website | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Library Web Site of the Future

Posted by sarahw9 on 23 February, 2009

dwilson212508-105_0001Steven Bell’s article The Library Web Site of the Future Inside Higher Ed was published at a timely moment for us here at Leicester, where the digital library strategy is up for discussion. 

In short he says libraries should stop thinking that they will attract users by providing lists of resources or search boxes or portals.  Most users have their own one or two favourites and they have already got their own ‘backdoor’ route there.   Long lists don’t tempt people in to look for more, they just confuse people.  Also they are increasingly disinclined to go out and visit an external website or potal. 

Rather than attempting to mimic search engines academic librarians should aim to differentiate their Web sites. They should devote the most eye-catching space to information that promotes the people who work at the library, the services they provide and the community activities that anchor the library’s place as the social, cultural and intellectual center of campus. That shifts the focus from content to service and from information to people. Academic libraries must promote their human side. The library portal experience should emphasize the value of and invite stronger relationships with faculty and students. That means going beyond offering a commodity that, by and large, the user community can well access without the Web site. The next generation academic library Web site must leverage what academic librarians can do to help faculty and students improve their productivity and achieve success.

 Even more interestingly….

Academic libraries are already moving in new directions that may provide the answers, and it suggests the library portal no longer needs to compete to be the one-stop portal where faculty and their students begin their research. These pioneering libraries distribute the content across the institution’s network and beyond. They are putting the links where faculty and students can find them easily. It changes the library website paradigm from “you must visit our portal” to “we’ll be where you are.”

In the broadest sense (forget websites for a minute) this is certainly how I envisage we should be working by providing routes to tailored resources with course tutors and departments.  Providing generic lists of databases and search engines, which mostly look all the same to people is not going to help anyone.  We have to get deeper into modules.  Academic staff need a basic understanding of what tools we can use, whether thats a Custom Search Engine, or nifty tool that makes academic journals easier for their undergraduates, a Netvibes page of resources for a module, setting up an RSS feed into the course module on Blackboard or similar via Delicious.  Thats before we have even started looking at information literacy, evaluating resources and where we want to go. 

Still I’m not sure that we should abandon our portals or search boxes entirely though; perhaps we need both.

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Service Delivery, Technology & Devices, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Arcadia@Cambridge – looking at Web 2.0 and libraries

Posted by gazjjohnson on 2 February, 2009

Following on from Friday’s excellent meeting on digital strategy for the library I’ve been pointed towards this site by a couple of folks – http://arcadiaproject.lib.cam.ac.uk/.  To quote from the site:

The Arcadia Programme is a three-year programme funded by a generous grant from the Arcadia Trust to Cambridge University Library. The grant will enable us to explore the role of academic libraries in a digital age, create new programmes and services, particularly for undergraduates — and also to improve the external environment of the library.

They’ve a blog as well, which like the UoL Library Blog covers a lot of emerging technologies, though unlike our good selves they’re focussing into them in more depth.  Not a great deal on the site yet, but probably one to watch over the coming months.

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Technology & Devices, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Digital Library Strategy workshop – a review

Posted by gazjjohnson on 30 January, 2009

Joanne asked if I’d author a few thoughts on this morning’s workshop so here are my reflections.  As I didn’t take many notes you’ll all forgive me if I miss any points out – or perhaps you might like to add them in the comments.

The session was led by Ken Chad whom kicked the session off with the wider context of emegring technological and social development within which we in education work.  Whilst I was familier with some of the aspects, quite a few were real eye openers and I came away from the session with a list of books to track down and read (I’m reading Clay Shirky on the train this week).  He also made me think about getting a FlipVideo camera – before I remembered I already owned a pretty swanky HDD camcorder.

Our very own Richard Mobbs followed up with another excellent talk covering the tech and systems from a more education centric point of view, and again richly illustrated and presented.  Aside from sitting there and thinking “But if we need to support users with these devices and resources we need to become proficient users and exploiters of the resources ourselves.” there’s not a lot a can add here, except to say the statement “Everything Changes” has never seemed so apposite.

The second half of the session was my favourite bit, but then I’ve run and participated in so many conferences and workshops over the years that I love getting my teeth into a challenge*.  I did enjoy working with Team Yellow, though my one regret was we didn’t get to change teams and interact with a wider range of people in the room.  That said the format of 4 areas of challenges and our responses worked very well.  For the record the areas we were considering were:

  1. Content/Collections
  2. Infrastructure/processes
  3. Learning environments
  4. The role of librarians and library services

Our group started the way it intended to go on – bringing chaos to order; but in a fractal rather than dysfunctional kind of way.  We certainly debated, discussed and exchanged ideas at a high volume and velocity.  My apologies to any in the other group who may have been expecting a more thoughtful approach from us; but as was obvious from the number of post-its that went up we all had a lot to contribute.

So what now?  Well now is the hard part and for once I’m glad it’s not me that’s got to get my teeth into synthesising a plan from these ideas; and evaolving this into a straetgy.  That is a lot that we could do, much that we should, and perhaps even more to which we could aspire.  But the question is – which are the best options for us? 

That only time, planning and the wealth of experience possessed by the library and university staff will tell.  We’ve a long road of discovery and innovation ahead of us, and it might be a bumpy ride along the way.  But to failing to travel it is not an option.

*As I’ve noted elsewhere I’ve an activist kinesthetic learning style, which probably explains these things.

Posted in Service Delivery, Staff training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »