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Posts Tagged ‘forum for interlending’

FIL @ BLSDSC Friday 16th March 2012

Posted by gazjjohnson on 19 March, 2012

This is going to be a somewhat briefer than normal entry for an external event, as I was hosting the day – thus not as much chance to make notes and have useful networking; more a case of a lot of running around and keeping multiple plates spinning in the air to keep everything on track, on time and running smoothly!

The view from above of the BLDSCThis annual FIL event at the British Library’s Boston Spa Document Supply Centre (where oh so many of the inter-library loans we obtain for staff and students come from) has been running for many, many years.  While the format varies a little from year to year it always features some aspect of behind the scenes touring as well as an update from BL staff on plans and forthcoming activities.  Given the recent roll out of the new BLDSS (Document Supply Service) here at Leicester and across the country, I along with many of the other delegates were eager to hear what was next.

I was there at 8.30am, and despite not being on the delegates list (heck, I’m only national Chair of FIL and running the day – why would I be on the list!)  I still made it through security and to the conference centre.  It had been at least 10 years since I was last on site and I was interested to see how much of the leafy campus had changed, and how much was still the same.  The buildings do have a certain monolithic quality to them, as befits such a nationally recognised organisation – although there was less of a “bunker” quality to the place than I remembered.

Myself, along with fellow FIL Committee member from Newport Helen and local head of BL Customer Services Kate, spent the next hour arranging the rooms, stuffing delegate packs and arranging a selection of freebies around the room.  Most of the delegates were coming by train and then transferring to a coach the BL had kindly organised.  We were supposed to see the coach around 10am, but due to a slight delay in getting out of York (couple with I hear a scenic tour of the North Yorkshire countryside) it didn’t appear until almost the time we were scheduled to kick off.  This meant I had to do some creative programme juggling with the aid of the morning speakers to keep us on track – and importantly give the delegates as much of an opportunity to talk to each other as possible.  Experience sharing is at the heart of all FIL events, and so while the temptation to reduce breaks to make up lost time was there it’s not an option I’m ever keen to employ.

Following a warm up and introduction to the day from yours truly we moved onto the first two talks.  First up Lucy Wilkins of Bristol University gave us an overview of her experiences at the big ILDS conference in the States late last year.  Lucy had been sponsored by FIL to attend and it had clearly been a valuable and eye-opening experience for her.  She was followed by Margaret Rowley from Worcestershire Health ICT Services who talked about the parallels and differences between the NHS and other interlending sectors.  This was useful not just for the insight but also in attracting more health librarians to be in attendance than would normally be at the event. It really added depth I think to the exchange of experiences between the delegates during the day.

At this point half the group went off on a tour, while the rest listened to Andy Appleyard and Anthony Troman from the British Library.  Andy did a marvellous impromptu slot when the slides for the session went AWOL for a few minutes, but we were soon back on track.  I was very interested by a number of things the BL has coming down the line – electronic signatures, a greater focus on accessing BLDSC items on mobile devices and even lighter touch DRM than they currently use.

Behind the scenesAn excellent lunch followed, and then for those whom had been a tour a chance to hear from the BL guys.  I went on the tour which took us around part of the operation that suppliers us books and journals; and included a few updates on the BLDSS.  I would have liked to have seen the robots selecting books in the repository building itself, but sadly that wasn’t on the agenda for today. Maybe next time.

After a tea break we split the groups once more for two discussion workshops led by myself and Lucy (which ran twice so everyone could get involved).  Lucy’s looked at the tips, resources and skills that we all use everyday – with a particular focus on what areas we need to upskill new entrants to ILLs with.  This will be a useful output that will help shape some upcoming FIL training.  Mine looked at the visibility and perception of ILL services within organisations and by their patrons; although it took an interesting detour in the second session to discuss charging arrangements for ILLs.  Lucy and myself will be writing these sessions up for the FIL site in the near future (along with the slides from the event)

Finally Lucy and I shared some highlights from our workshops with all the delegates, and after some brief final discussions we packed everyone onto the coach – and I cleared up the rooms.  Being FIL Chair gets you all the best jobs.

The feedback from the event was very positive, and there were some great ideas from the delegates for topics to tackle in future events.  I’m even already thinking that maybe a FIL @BLDSC in the autumn might not be an unrealistic proposal…

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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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