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Posts Tagged ‘report’

Digital Britain – governmental interim report from DCMS

Posted by gazjjohnson on 23 February, 2009

On 29 January 2009 the Government published a plan to secure Britain’s place at the forefront of the global digital economy. The interim report contains more than 20 recommendations, including specific proposals on:

  • next generation networks
  • universal access to broadband
  • the creation of a second public service provider of scale
  • the modernisation of wireless radio spectrum holdings
  • a digital future for radio
  • a new deal for digital content rights
  • enhancing the digital delivery of public services

You can read the report here (and yes there is a executive summary if you don’t feel like wading through the whole report – I know it’s a bit much for a Monday morning for me!)  Obviously, aside from libraries being under the DCMS’ umbrella, how the rest of the country are interacting with the digital society before they come to us will have a signicant impact on how and what they teach us.  This set me thinking that personally I’ve long since thought that the age of pure skills teaching (“this is how you search”) style of library educational activity is dying away; perhaps not totally but no longer as a core activity.  What we need to be teaching more is how to critically evaluate material (“Okay, why is that a good resource?”) as well as understanding your own informational search style.  Let me expand on this (and go slightly off on a tangent from the report)

Sadly this isn’t the sort of thing that can be taught standing at the front of a class of 100+ students running through a demo.  It’s a more interrogative and iterative style of teaching; something that requires all the more that user education from us is embedded within the curriculum rather than bolted on.  Are we equipped to teach this sort of thing?  Personally I’d argue yes; most librarian trainers I know are more than capable of; we just need to find the right in with departments (and I’m talking globally here, not particularly at Leics).  So how do we achieve this?

A discussion we had in the office last week was along the lines of “Should information librarians be effectively departmental staff first rather than library staff first?”.  I know some places embed their librarians actually within departments, rather than basing them in the library; from memory Australia is especially good at this.  Being within the department, physically and strategically would have the knock on advantages of keeping us as librarians better informed of what departmental needs and challenges are, getting us closer to our user communities and ensuring that when it comes time to turn to people to set up courses – well we’re close at hand and embedded from day one.

After all, just how beneficial is it for us to be based in a central building these days?  But I digress.  Doubtless there are examples of this kind of practise out there already; and perhaps we need to be paying closer attention to them to cope with the Digital Britain of tomorrow!

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Posted in Technology & Devices, Training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Research Library’s Role in Digital Repository Service – report

Posted by gazjjohnson on 6 February, 2009

The Research Library’s Role in Digital Repository Services, Final Report of the ARL Digital Repository Issues Task Force (January 2009), http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/repository-services-report.pdf

Might be worth a read for anyone with an interest in the repository world.  I’ve run off a copy so if you need to borrow it.  Best comment in the text so far, talking about the evolution of the repository scene:

We now understand better that institutions produce large and ever-growing quantities of data, images, multimedia works, learning objects, and digital records while mass digitization has launched a new scale of digital content collecting.

And then we have this:

…it is evident that despite the varied funding and resource challenges faced by research institutions, delivering repository services is a crucial function of research libraries.

There’s a lot of worthy content in here that whilst might be focussed on what’s going on in the US is worth noting that it’s always been my impression that they’re probably a year or more ahead of us in terms of general reposiotry developments.  Certainly the section I’ve just been reading in the report about digital records management rang very true as an area the UK as a whole seems to have made very little progress in.  We’re still at the garden-shed hobbyist level of repository management, still experimenting.  In the meantime we do need to think about the real organisational impact of the repository on our institutions, and how we need to carefully shape how and where the repositories sit in all this.

I know I, for one, am still very much learning this.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models – a report

Posted by gazjjohnson on 27 January, 2009

One of the first questions I was ever asked by an academic in a previous incarnation was “All this open access thing is all very well, but who is going to pay for it all?” I didn’t have an answer then, and couldn’t swear to having one know – but at least I know where I might go looking for one.

There’s a big project report out on this subject that’s probably worth being aware of; though at 288 pages I don’t think I’m likely to be reading much more than skimming through it (I’m a kinethetic learner not a theorotician!).  It looks extremely data rich in terms of a lot of open access and scholarly publication information, and certainly I’d point people towards the opening few pages and last few for an overview of the issues in OA and scholalry publications today.

One figure that jumped out at me is on page 17 of the pdf, where it works out that for an academic article on 30% of the cost is the publisher.  This seems pretty rich, no pun intended,of the the j-publishers.  On the other hand p22 shows the savings to all from adopting a more OA approach to publishing.  Could this be the fabled win-win option for the future of scholarly comms?  Not much money for the UK library sector saved (only £11m, which split 180 odd ways doesn’t amount to much – but is this pre-economic collapse of recent months?) 

Hmn, reading on to p27 and looks like an OAP model will actually cost HEIs more. And a little further we have the follow quote which talks about the library world in a little more detail

It is difficult to say exactly how open access publications will be treated by research libraries
and what role libraries would play in dissemination and preservation in these alternative
publishing models. Nevertheless, we suggest that research libraries may continue to play a key
role in providing access to open access journals and have costed library handling activities
accordingly. With little evidence to date that open access self-archiving leads to subscription
cancellations, acquisition cost savings have not been included. However, should they arise in the
future, there would be potential for significant additional savings.

Towards the end of the report there’s a very heartening conclusion (p231) point made about OAP

The costs, benefits and impacts of alternative scholarly publishing models revealed by this
analysis demonstrate that research and research communication are major activities and the
costs involved are substantial. Preliminary analysis of the potential benefits of more open access
to research findings suggests that returns to research can also be substantial, and that different
models for scholarly publishing can make a material difference to the returns realised, as well as
the costs faced.

Anyway – if you are involved in research, or supporting research, this worthy report is well worth at least a cursory glance.

Posted in Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Report: The demographics of social networkers

Posted by gazjjohnson on 16 January, 2009

This morning I’ve been reading a couple of reports.  The first is by Amanda Lenhart on the PEW Internet & American Life Project entitled Adults and Social Network Sites.  According to their data:

  • Adults with online social networking profiles has gone up from 8% (2005) to 35% (Dec 2008 )
  • 30% of adults 35-44 have a profile (the report covers other age ranges, but since this is my peer group…)

Of these adults who do use them

I wonder how those numbers would look from a UK audience?  I’d suspect MySpace wouldn’t be anything like as popular, at least that’s my perception of their market penetration over here – what do you think?

Personally I’ve profiles on all three, but really only use FB for my professional and personal networking.  LinkedIn just leaves me cold.  Then again the median age of the LinkedIn user in this report is 40; so I’m a fair bit below that demographic point.  Shockingly the report concludes that on the whole adults are less likely to have online social networking profiles (65% vs 35%); something I’m sure is replicated in order of magnitude over here if not the exact numbers.

One paragraph later on was quite interesting, following on from things Alan and others have talked about in SmallWorldz and elsewhere – that of maintaining multiple online identities

  • A user generall wants to be finable by the people they wish to add to their online network…but may not wish to be so visable as to be harassed or observed by people totally unknown to them.

Or I’m sure in some cases people who are known to them, not quite sure I want everyone I’ve ever studied or worked with in my professional networks; and social networking security settings aren’t that customisable in many instances.  Interestingly 29% of users discovered their friends political interests/affiliations through networking sites.  Then again how many people list their real leanings on these sites? 

The report concludes with the data and methodology of the work.  So well worth a read, the main text is only 10 pages long.

Posted in Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Final report on Institutional and Subject repositories published

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 January, 2009

Read the report here:

Jones, C and Darby, R and Gilbert, L and Lambert, S  [2008] Report of the Subject and Institutional Repositories Interactions Study.

Just glancing through the exec summary makes for interesting reading.  A lot of the survey work was conducted with the UKCoRR membership last year and in many respects is a good overview of current custom, practice and cultural drivers that exists in the UK repository field.

I was interested to note that the first of their 7 recommendations was “continued support be given to implementation of national standards for unambiguous identification of authors, funders and higher education institutions”.  Having had a little involvement with REF preparations I know how crucial this step is going to be, and that as LIS staff we’re likely to have a considerable role to play behind the scenes in facilitating this.

Posted in Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Report: Embedding digital repositories in the University of London

Posted by gazjjohnson on 8 January, 2009

I’ve spent the last hour or so reading this report on the SHERPA-LEAP universities.  It makes for interesting, though very heavy going, reading – at its heart is the hypothesis that digital repos are being under-used and seeks to explore the reasons why.  It touches on the emotive, the logical, the strategic and the operational reasons for embracing or not in fair detail. 

I found myself nodding along with some of the results, many of which are essentially common sense if you’ve worked in the repo field for any amount of time.  I was especially interested in the 7 motivations for digital repositories (these things always come in 7s, I used to talk about the 7.5 rules of repository advocacy just to be different).  These are:

  1. Fear of missing the boat
  2. Providing a HEI shop window
  3. Enabling archiving/curration of institutional assets
  4. Facilitating open access of scholalry outputs
  5. Reducing dependence on traditional publishing
  6. Providing up to date overview of institutional outputs
  7. Exploiting added value feature of digital content.

Each of which is a motivator for a different set of stakeholders (as you’d expect).  I’ve not met many folks driven by (1) but I’m sure as everyone seems to have a repository these days that they’re more common than I’ve encountered.  As a librarian I know (5) has been something I’ve been dealing with since 1997 with Big Deals providing lots of titles yet at the same time denying us the level of granularity in terms of reviewing what we purchase.  But then when you’re looking at price hikes of 58% in toto against an increase in the retail price index of 11%; well you know there’s little else libraries could have done at the time than say “yes” to the deals.

And I’ve not even got to the part of how to overcome the barriers!  The exec summary is worth a read, even if you don’t feel you can plough through the whole report.

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