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Posts Tagged ‘Training’

JISC Legal Copyright Day March 31st 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 12 April, 2010

On the last day before Easter I escaped from the office to head to a rather chilly University of Sheffield to attend a JISCLegal Copyright event. As neither of my copyright officers were available to attend, hoped I’d glean some much needed insight into the latest developments in copyright legislation and practice. What follows are my notes from the event with a few comments where appropriate

Digital Images, John Hargreaves, JISC Digital Media
Formerly the organisation was known as TASI. It is based at the University of Bristol. John gave an overview of their role and services; highlighting their new two weekly online surgery which is open to all. Opened with a note on the relative impenetrability of copyright law (which in the light of the last session of day I can heartily concur with)– however, in this session he aimed to demystify aspects of image © law.

Despite what many people assume just because an image is on the internet doesn’t mean you can use it. Since all images are inherently copyrighted, normally to the creator, there is always a rights issue unless the creator/rights owner has clearly waived it – and indeed even then there might be some constraints.

He highlighted the vast growth in digital images, more user generated content, more sharing, ease of access and proliferation of web 2 services like Flickr and Google Images; services that allow dissemination. Traditional legislation is unclear in a digital context, and also laws are constantly changing and tightening. The suggestion today is that balance of rights lies with the rights holders not public access; something that seems to fly in the face of the open access agenda. Copyright in images will change on formats, something that isn’t born digital might have several different rights holders (original photographer, owner of a photo in a gallery, digitiser etc). The length of time that these rights remain as well for each format can differ.

While rights stay with the rights holder normally, if you create something while contracted to work for an organisation the user might not hold the rights. One line that I liked from John was that copyright exemptions aren’t rights to use, they are defences if you are challenged over your use.

So to avoid some of these problems then you should make use of trusted resources, such as JISC Image collections [LINK]. Commercial sites exist as well, although there might well be per-use or subscription fees to pay. Some sites deal with copyright exempt issues like stock.xchng for example. Also mentioned Flickr and advanced creative commons search for images for re-use. However, some people may well mount images in which they don’t own the copyright – assume the owner doesn’t understand copyright. Look through their images and see if the images in a users collections have the same look and feel, a good guide to seeing if they are the creator of them.

If you want to use images draw up your own license, or at least a clear description of how you would like it to work and the uses to which you will put the images. Even if you don’t directly use it with the rights holder it will help form part of your audit trail documentation, and will clarify discussions. You should consider the various possible rights within an image e.g. moral rights, data protection, expired rights due to age and clear statements of ownership. Joint ownership can be an issue where you need to clear the rights with more than one location.  has sample copyright permission letters that you can use.

Think for anything you or your users create to check that permissions to include images are covered. Consider how long a period of time permission is for (forever for a printed document, or a period of time for a web site for example). You also need to think of any related rights that might need to be cleared up at the same time. Is it appearing on the web and will you archive them or the document in some way. What do you expect the users of your object to be able to do with the images? Indeed if you have these issues clear in your head you are making it much easier for the rights holder to grant clear permissions. And all of this must be clearly documented – permissions, what you can/can’t do, who can use it, what can be done with it, what time limits that exist and the context of use of the object.

Creating image metadata to associate with the image and your use of it can be valuable. It allows you to attach the rights and permissions to the object so it can be passed to other people with these usage restrictions clearly accessible. Finally John talked about importance of asking for size/resolution of an image and how this will impact on where you can use it effectively. Print and screen have different requirements, and if you want high resolution images you are unlikely to find them on free sites – likelihood there will be fees to pay.

Music Copyright, Beverley Dodd, Birmingham City University
Fundamentals of music 1) copyright© is traditional copyright for music, lyrics, artwork etc well established. 2) (p) and this applies to the sound recording itself – p = phonographic. Different copyright laws apply to music around the world. E.g. in the UK the life+70 year rule applies, but there are changes planned. The exemptions are very limited for music copyright. For examination purposes students can perform any music behind closed doors, but photocopying of music is not allowed. Noted that now music in shops has to have a license paid for it; so does that mean more musak?

The power shift in the digital age is towards to rights holder, the major corporations, extending (p) on sound recordings from 50 to 95 years; which is a pretty horrific approach. But this has come because the record companies own the recordings but not the original songs, which remain the ownership of the artist.

CLA licenses do not cover printed music, including the words. Some music cannot be purchased, it can only be hired from publishers. The PRS for Music (Performing Right Society) is the main collecting society in Britain – for live performed music must be declared to them and be licensed, even if given for free or charity. Even more true for music used to communicate to the public in the digital media. License charges vary depending on size and type of performance. Note in the US there are some exemptions for some public places e.g. Bars and Grills.

There was a suggestion of using the old postal method of protecting copyright, a sealed envelope with composition inside date stamped, for musicians to record their rights; which seemed horribly antiquated.

The PRS are very litigious and have even challenged people who work to music on their own, or in private or to horses. Note that YouTube and PRS had a spat in 2009 which saw all premium UK music videos dropped from the site for a period. Noted that some police constabulary (e.g. Wiltshire) refuse to pay the PRS fees and claim an exemption. Even a singing granny in Scotland was slapped with £1000 fee, although they backed down after a slew of negative publicity. The key here is they will pursue just about anyone they consider requires a license. There is a code of practice for University’s available from the PRS.

At BCU they have a conservatoire, and so music copyright and reuse rights are very important to them. Future music © trends as noted are tightening up and locking down. Noted wifi and the Digital Economies Bill means that universities will be required to police and cut access to any illegal use as defined by the UK’s restrictive copyright laws.

eTheses at the University of Sheffield: a case study, Clare Scott
Ethos kicked off by aiming to digitize 5000 high use theses across the country, with 500 supplied from Sheffield. Not all of these were digitized due to issues at the BL. EthOS soft launched 2008. At Sheffield works in a very similar manner to Leicester, including a period of embargo allowed for. Mandated deposit to all students registered from 2008. 3 faculties broadly in support, 2 have particular issues, and 1 is strongly opposed. Issues that have come up included:

  • Prior publication concerns
  • Book publication
  • 3rd party copyright and finding permissions
  • Plagiarism.

In practise hard copy submission will continue for 5 years (2013) and will be reviewed at that point. So far on a day to day basis it hasn’t been a massive change.

Benefits to students include readability and accessibility on a global scale. Hopefully this means their impact will be more immediate and that (eventually) download statistics will be visible. It also offers a taste of self-marketing and promotion for the student. Has helped students when they come to publish as they are seeking copyright permissions earlier that they would otherwise struggle to obtain. Embargo reasons are much the same as ours, including political sensitivity. All theses have to be uploaded, even those embargoed as they can go into the dark archive and not be made visible – but it does mean that an electronic version is available. Problems with commercial exploitation of material when a commercial company took every one of the medical depts, so need to make sure any license doesn’t allow for this to avoid conflicts with academic’s later work.

Sheffield are paying £8,000 a year towards the £40 per theses digitisation fee. Pay up front model is causing problems and concerns from students who expect university will pay. They don’t ask author permission, and in terms of older materials don’t worry about copyright and other issues – reliance on takedown policy. Librarians get asked to download and add to stock, but permission for this is not given. Result is a lot of questions remain, like changing to asking author permissions, or desire from alumni to see theses live. The problem of rising third party copyright questions will continue to rise, and if the training is sufficient to equip the students with the skills to deal with the issues.

Copyright & the cultural sector, Tim Padfield
Developments in copyright law – in policy terms copyright is most important IPO legislation, over patents which actually brings in more money. Libraries and archives are regarded as trusted intermediaries, between rights owners and users, which means it should make things easier for us to seek permissions. A contract can override copyright, and this can be a problem.

Digital Economy Bill Orphan works – Anyone can become an authorised body to license orphaned works, via application to secretary of state. However, every work must be investigated before it can become an orphaned work and so doesn’t really help facilitate mass digitisation.

Exemptions including reprographic copying to cover films and audio, to allow external access to VLEs. Exemptions don’t apply if there’s a licensing scheme in active. Notable that just because an organisation does education, does not mean it is classed as an educational establishment for the purposes of the exemption. Fair dealing is designed to expand to all forms of media beyond text; but only to work carried out by students or staff at a prescribed educational establishment (for private study or research).

Undefined terms and concepts, Tanya Alpin
The final session of the day was rather a disappointment, as it was delivered at an expert academic practitioner level and as such was all but incomprehensible to me.  While doubtless there were some in the room who could follow the legalese, considering the accessibility of the rest of the day’s sessions this was a shame. The one piece of advice I did manage to glean was on the role of originality – the less original a work is, the easier it is to reuse fairly.

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Staff training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Research Focus Week 22-26th Feb programme

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 February, 2010

You’ll see it soon on flyers and the e-bulletin – but just for interest here’s the programme for the Research Support Office’s forthcoming Research Focus Week.  The highlight naturally being Thursday afternoon!

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

Introduction to Management in LIS and IT

Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 December, 2009

Last week I spent three days on a Leadership Foundation for HE course on management, specifically aimed at Library and IT people working as middle management for the first time.  I’ve always enjoyed management training (it formed a rich part of both my previous degrees), and welcomed the opportunity to go on this.  I must say especial thanks to the Staff Development Office for funding my attendance too.

One thing I’ll be up-front about were the rules of the room – anything we discussed in-depth with real world implications had to stay in the room.  It made for a very free and frank exchange of experiences, but it’s a bit of a shame as I would love to tell people more about them.  But those where the rules, and far be it from me to breach them.

What I really learned was that a lot of people in positions similar to mine face a lot of the same challenges – and with the delegates taken entirely from HE we had a lot in common to start with, even based as we were around the UK.  Quite a bit of what we covered wasn’t new to me, although much of it was well worth going through again.  Some aspects and topics were on the other hand quite new – Edward de Bono’s colour of hats for thinking/decision making is one that really resonated with me.

The three days started with the personal, taking stock of ourselves and our skills using a Myers/Briggs test – which for most of us revealed what we already knew.  However, being aware of it allowed us to shift roles within the group exercises to make maximum advantage of our proclivities and talents.  From team roles and effective communication we shifted to people management and motivation on the second day.  Then leading, delegation along with problem solving.  The last day looked at managing yourself and real world issues and examples.

Throughout this was a very hands on, kinesthetic course with exercises, management games, discussions and tasks.  Very much my prefered way of working, although I’m still quite tired out by it all some days later.  it was just that full on an experience.  Certainly the 24 people on the course bonded quickly in the face of this shared adversity, and discussions over drinks and food continued long into the night.

Our team's effort - in 15 minutesOf especial worth of mentioning were the two extensive business management exercises.  The first looked at setting up a buisiness from concept to pitch.  As the team (and possibly the room’s) biggest extrovert communicator I can honestly say my role as Executive Head of marketing was a plum role; indeed one of the other teams started bidding for my services.  The other exercise saw me heading a team, with very limited resources, in construction of a ship – to be judged against predefined characteristics.  While we didn’t win, our team worked effectively and efficiently – and at least we produced by far the best looking boat.

There may be an underlying metaphor there – but I’ll skip on.

If there was a low point for me it would be the talk from the real head of service.  Contrasted with the interactivity and engagement of the rest of the course it felt dry, and I can;t say I took away anything of especial value from it.  Not helped by the fellow legging it as soon as he finished talking, a debate and discussion about translating theory to practice at senior level would have been a wonderful capstone.

But I have come back with a lot to think about, and the feeling that I’m not alone in the daily challenges I face (from the minor to the not quite so).  I’d love to take some of the ideas further, and will certainly be following up some of the suggested reading to broaden my understanding of the concepts and techniques covered.

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

Alternatives to using a wiki to teach?

Posted by selinalock on 29 October, 2009

I’m looking for some advice or suggestions on alternatives to using a wiki during a session.

Last year I blogged about my experience using a wetpaint wiki with 1st year computer scientists which overall went well as the students liked the option to interact online, rather than interact verbally in the classroom. We found last year and so far with the group this year that they are far happier doing things in front of a computer!

Anyway, there are up to 70 students and I would like them to comment on issues such as the pros and concs of wikipedia during the session. The wetpaint wiki would not allow several people to edit at once so most of the students entries were lost or overwritten last year.

If anyone can recommend an alternative solution?

– wiki software that will let multiple people edit?

– chat room software that can deal with a big group?

– discussion forum software?

– would a blog allow lots of people to comment at once? Or would it fall over?

I only really need the software during the session, as I’m not expecting them to add to it afterwards, so it needs to be free and easy to use/register for. I would have used a Blackboard discussion board but this module isn’t using Blackboard!

Posted in Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Open Access Week: UoL OA Event 28th October

Posted by gazjjohnson on 21 October, 2009

While it’s not falling within open access week there is still a chance for University of Leicester academics, researchers and postgraduates to find out more about the current developments in open access and scholarly publishing.  The Research Office (RSO) and the University Library are presenting an Open Access Information Event, Wednesday 28th October 1pm onwards (that’s a week today). 

The afternoon is broken into two sessions:

Session 1 is suitable for staff and research students in all disciplines.  Speakers include Christine Fyfe (UoL), Astrid Wissenburg (ESRC) and myself.  The focus is on the requirements of the UK HE funding councils and the Leicester open access perspective.

Session 2 is aimed at staff and research students working in disciplines covered by UK Pub Med Central (principally biosciences, health and medicine).  Margaret Hurley and Alison Henning (Wellcome Trust) will be speaking about their specific funding policies and the new UKMPC grant reporting services.  Finally Juliet Bailey (RSO) will talk about the Wellcome Trust OA fund at Leicester.

There will be a break for refreshments in the middle, as well as a chance for formal and informal questions to all the delegates.  The LRA team will be there in force, so it’ll be a really good chance to talk with us about what we can do to help you fulfil the various institutional, funding and theses mandates here at Leicester; as well as making sure your publications are read as widely as possible.

To reserve a place and for a full programme contact Laura Roberts

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

The 10 commandments of researcher development

Posted by emmakimberley on 17 September, 2009

I’ve been mulling over some of the main recurring points from the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 09 and their impact on my own practice as someone who engages with researchers. Here is a brief list of qualities that participants in Vitae 09 thought development activities should seek to encourage:

  1. Ability to operate in a web 2.0 environment (for dissemination, collaboration, networking…)
  2. Recognition of the value of both blue-skies creative thinking and applied research
  3. Interdisciplinarity
  4. Dialogue across disciplinary boundaries (This involves presentation and communication skills: researchers being able to present their ideas in accessible and jargon-free language.)
  5. Participation and support from academic role models (Students are more likely to use their training if they see tangible evidence of its usefulness around them.)
  6. Provision of physical and virtual spaces encouraging creativity, community and dialogue.
  7. Getting students to be reflective and to analyse their own needs (E-portfolios were suggested as one method of encouraging this.)
  8. Training that prepares future academics for new academic behaviours (VLRs, new devices and platforms.)
  9. Recognition that preparedness  to cope with change and challenge is more important than any particular set of learned skills (Training needs to be flexible rather than prescriptive.)
  10. Important role of emotional/motivational support in postgraduate research students (This can be done through events and networking opportunities, a focus on the writing process in workshops, providing alternatives to the formal supervision system etc.)

Can anyone add to these?

Posted in Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Documenting my morning

Posted by gazjjohnson on 19 August, 2009

As I’ve mentioned earlier from the 1st of October I’ll be switching jobs to managing the repository and the document supply teams (or as they will be then the Document Supply & Repository Team, aka DS&RT).  While this date is a few months off, I’m already increasingly getting myself involved with the team and offering them what support I can. 

It is of course a big learning experience for myself, having never worked directly with inter-lending before.  So as a result of this, and being a very much activist learner, I’ve spent the morning shadowing one of the experienced members of the team (Marilyn) as she goes through their daily routine.

There was a lot to remember, and I have to say I was very impressed by her efficiency.  It looks like while a lot of the Document Supply role is routine in nature, there are many disparate elements to the job.  And this is even before I find out more about what we do with Distance Learner support!  There are also a healthy number of queries which thankfully I’ve been able to take a back seat to while the more experienced members of the team answer them.  Doubtlessly in time as I become embedded with the team I’ll be able to answer them myself, but right now I think that there would be a lot of very confused people out there if I took a hand.

Thus all in all this has been a very eye opening experience.  There was a lot to take in, quite a few things I’m going to need to think about some more and some very useful questions raised.  It might be a daunting prospect taking on managing such a diverse section at a time of real change for them, but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in!

Posted in Document Supply | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World Reprise

Posted by selinalock on 1 June, 2009

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World: Cover

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World: Cover

Following on from Gareth’s earlier post on this subject, here’s my thoughts & questions:

  • Information Literacy is a major component of this report – it argues that it is a growing area that students are deficient in. Recommends that it is a high priority for HEIs to train their students in & keep their staff updated on.
  • “Information literacies, including searching, retrieving, critically evaluating information from a range of appropriate sources and also attributing it – represent a significant and growing deficit area”
  • However, no mention anywhere of how to do this or that libraris have been struggling to get this on the agenda for years.
  • Q: What do we do with this report? Take it to VC? Take it to teaching & learning committees? What strategies & solutions do we suggest for training students & staff? Do we take a take roots approach with lecturers? Do all of the above?
  • Web 2.0 skills (communication, networking, sharing) are becoming employability skills.
  • Students are living in a Web 2.0 world and might expect Web 2.0 solutions in the future – though at present they expect a traditional face to face approahc in HE and do not equate social software with learning. This may change as the next few generations come through the school system.
  • Students are currently consumers of content in the Web 2.0 world rather than creators – we need to find hooks i.e. show them how the technology helps them.
  • Q: What are the hooks for staff and for students in using Web 2.0 in a learning context?
  • Three types of online space: Personal (emails & messaging), Group (social networking sites) and publishing (blogs, wikis, youtube).  Students will not want us in their personal space but there is scope for utilising group and publishing space for learning & teaching.
  • Information literacy should incorporate other web awareness issues e.g. plagarism, data protection, personal data on the web and online identities.
  • Q: How do we do this? How do we work with others in the institution who teach/train on these issues? How do we update ourselves in all these areas?
  • Upskill staff on e-pedagogy: as this will be needed for them to take advantage of using Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Q: How skilled are we as librarians in this? What training do we need in order to offer the information literacy teaching the report advocates?
  • Report suggests there are already examples out there of good practice in the use of digitised materials and online learning resources at module level. Though no specific examples included. It asks how these can be supported and used on a wider/larger scale.
  • Q: What good practice are we already using or aware of with regards Web 2.0? Does it upscale? What opportunities are there for us to work with other colleagues inside & outside the institution to provide services?
  • Take into account the prior experience and the expectations of students.
  • Q: How do we do this? Do we cultivate more links with school librarians in the UK? What about overseas, distance learning and mature students?
  • Digital divide still exists – don’t forget that!
  • “Means of access will be multimedia, mobile and pocket-sized”
  • Q: Are we prepared for the next wave of multimedia and mobile type resources?

Overall, this report is good for librarians and the information literacy cause as long as we DO something about it. Take action & not just talk about it!

Posted in Service Delivery, Staff training, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Teaching with Emotional Intelligence

Posted by selinalock on 31 March, 2009

Teaching with Emotional Intelligence by Alan mortiboysI attended this session run by Alan Mortiboys on 23rd May at the University of Leicester.

So, what is teaching with emotional intelligence? Alan suggests “that is recognising the feelings of yourself and your learners, in order to make you both more effective in your roles” and “encouraging an emotional state in your learners that is conducive to learning.”

That doesn’t really tell you a lot until you start to examine the type of emotions you might (inadvertently) be invoking in your students. For example, in the session we looked at a list of metaphors of how we see our teaching role, such as law enforcer to the potentially criminal or carer to the vulnerable. Out of that list I chose salesperson to potential buyer, as I often feel we are trying to sell library resources to users and convince them to use them. However, I tend to associate salespeople with desperation and a feeling of discomfort. Is that really the effect I want to have on students?!

We then looked at the kind of feelings we do want to encourage in our learners, for example, confident, empowered, interested, receptive, motived, and thought about what we do to encourage these feelings. I felt slightly better in this exercise as I believe I encourage some of these feelings by acknowledging sources they already use, give them a chance to practice skills with help on hand and explain why the session will be useful. This also tied into the next exercise which looked at how we can address learners’ fears and expectations regarding their learning.

The last part of the session covered strategies for using emotional intelligence with learners:

  • Being present: ensure you are aware of your learners reactions and listening to them so you can respond to their needs (if appropriate).
  • Group empathy: try to be aware of things that could be affecting how your learners are feeling e.g. anxiety around exam time.
  • Dealing with fears & expectations: make sure your learners are aware of what will happen in a course and what is expected of them.
  • Acknowledging individuals: fro example, making eye contact equally among students, using their names and acknowledging previous contributions during a session.
  • Physical environment: making this as pleasant as possible (for the parts that are under your control!!).
  • Non-verbal communication: being aware of what your non-verbal communication might be saying – try videoing yourself to see what you look/sound like during teaching.
  • Self-disclosure: letting the students know your human in an appropriate context e.g. OK, I’ve not tried this before so we’ll see how it goes… or, When I first started studying this area I found it difficult…”
  • Prefacing your response: “I’m glad you asked that question…” but this only works if you genuinely mean it!

Overall, an interesting session which reminded me to consider the emotional dimension of teaching.

Posted in Meetings, Training | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Using a wiki and peer evaluation with 1st year medics

Posted by sarahw9 on 12 March, 2009

wiki on BlackboardThis is our second year of using a wiki in our session with 1st year medics ‘Finding the Evidence’.  The purpose of this session is to make sure that students understand both where to find and how to use resources that support evidence based medicine.  This exercise also aims to support the students as they embark on their 10,000 word dissertations where they follow a real patient for two years, looking at the the patients’ medical condition, treatment and their social context. 

We set the students a clinical question, for example, they may be asked if a particular drug helps a medical condition or what evidence there is to support a particular type of treatment (I don’t want to give away of our real questions here!).  

Before the training sessions the students are given an assignment which they complete in groups of 3.  In the wiki there is list of resources they have to search.  They have to record their search strategy (keywords and more detail if relevant), and what they find in answer to the clinical question. Then they have to write a conclusion based on all the evidence they have found, and make any observations about differences of opinion they find in the literature. 

The resources they search are: Clinical Knowledge Summaries; Intute; Medline; The Cochrane Library; and the British National Formulary.  This is to familiarise students with guidelines for physicians, prescribing doses, patient information, as well as the literature at the highest level of evidence and the more exploratory (but still peer reviewed) levels of research literature. 

When they arrive at the session the students are given some further background to evidence based medicine and are shown some extra tips on searching these tools.  We hope they actually take it in now they have used them the tools for themselves.  We discuss the ‘answer’ to the clinical question they were asked and give feedback to the students on their assignments.  Then the fun starts as they are asked to look at another wiki and enter comments on each others wikis, noting three things another group did differently to themselves.   I think this is quite eye-opening for them – to see that another group answering the same question using the same resources finds different results and emphasises different aspects of the question.  They should (and virtually all did in fact) find the same basic bottom line answer to the question, but there may be a few subtleties for example different situations where different treatments are applicable or where the evidence is unclear.  We also ask the students to say what they would do differently if they were going to do this exercise again.

We are still compiling our feedback from the sessions, but so far it it mostly good, and amazingly the students say they can see the point of the exercise.  I think in future we need to consider ways to focus the students’ comments more.  Some have put in alot of detail and constructive comments, others are more along the lines of  ‘ours was better than yours’. 

Overall this is a good way to focus students on particular resources.  It is also very specific to a particular question and plugs straight into resources they are going to be using for their dissertations (or they should be using).

Selina has also used a wiki with the computer scientists if you want to compare notes and outcomes.  Interestingly different groups of students have different characteristics as a whole. This type of exercise may be working for medics and computer sciencists, but would it work for others?  Perhaps its time we tried it.

Posted in Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

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!

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

Sign(age)s and Portents

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 November, 2008

Feeling chuffed right now as I’ve managed to get the digital signage here to obey my commands – and so now it’s displaying a new message as well as the standard stuff.  That seemed fairly easy now I know which buttons to press, though the software didn’t make it obvious I can certainly say!

Spent most of today teaching new sessions to the science postgrads on Databases and Endnote/RefWorks. A small but good bunch of students, all of whom bar one came to both sessions.  I have to say it’s been rather a herculaean effort to get all the handouts and lecture slides up and running; but well worth the while.  Like most first run sessions there were various things I felt could have been done better – but you generally only think of them once you’re live.  But since I made the sessions fairly informal I was able to slip them in every now and again as though they were pre-planned.

I think the only two real glitches we hit were Zetoc failing to work for anyone (so I’ve passed that onto Sheree) and some of the EndNote filters not quite working like I expected – something to go away and investigate post-hoc I think.

I’ll read through the feedback tomorrow, once I start working on the Chemistry p/g sessions for next Wednesday – hoping to recycle a fair bit of info…

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