Last Tuesday I went down to UWE in Bristol for a day all about Research Data Management (RDM) and academic librarians. It was a really interesting day on something which I personally hadn’t thought much about but luckily lots of other people have! To be fair one of the points made was that the majority of institutions feel we are working with other areas over and above RDM but it provides a real opportunity for librarians, especially those working in liaison roles.
One theme that did run through is that librarians are not necessarily the people leading on this (i.e. writing policy etc) but they can be instrumental in success and education of researchers because of the cross departmental nature of liaison work.
So first of all … what is Research Data and why are we thinking about it?
Research data is the data created when research is undertaken.
It is basically the next big area to be looked at in terms of research – how is it curated, how can it be accessed etc
1. Ability to advise on preserving research outputs (49% essential in 2–‐5 years; 10% now)
2.Knowledge to advise on data management and curation, including ingest, discovery, access, dissemination, preservation, and portability (48% essential in 2–‐5 years; 16% now)
3.Knowledge to support researchers in complying with the various mandates of funders, including open access requirements (40% essential in 2–‐5 years; 16% now)
4.Knowledge to advise on potential data manipulation tools used in the discipline/ subject (34% essential in 2–‐5 years; 7% now)
5.Knowledge to advise on data mining (33% essential in 2–‐5 years; 3% now)
6.Knowledge to advocate, and advise on, the use of metadata (29% essential in 2–‐5 years; 10% now)
7.Ability to advise on the preservation of project records (24% essential in 2–‐5 years; 3% now )
8.Knowledge of sources of research funding to assist researchers to identify potential funders (21% essential in 2–‐5 years; 8% now)
9.Skills to develop metadata schema, and advise on discipline/subject standards and practices, for individual research projects (16% essential in 2–‐5 years; 2% now)
The list fills me with a bit of dread but I can see how useful it is and also how important it is for future proofing the role of liaison librarians.
Luckily the afternoon introduced some tools to educate staff on Research Data Management.
The Vitae day on spaces for researchers was a really interesting event. The morning was spent hearing about the Hive at Sussex. This is a dedicated researcher space and one of the things it helped me understand is that it isn’t so much the space itself but what you do with it and the people involved in it. The Hive is swipe card access (swipe card access seems to be very important for these researcher spaces as it gives control and exclusivity) but otherwise is a fairly simple space with sofas, computers and laptop spaces. On the surface it doesn’t seem like anything special but the community that has built up around it, in no small part due the partnership with Sage, seems like a vital part of the researcher’s experience.
Sussex is working in partnership with Sage (who apparently want to adopt more universities …). Sussex get funding for things like the Hive Scholars and Sage in return get the opportunity for feedback from researchers far richer than anything they could get from surveys and other traditional research methods.
The Hive scholars are three researcher’s who receive a bursary for 6 hours work a week. They all work on things to promote the hive, utilising social media to great effect. Something they said echoed with what we did at Cass – using a variety of methods that interlink to get maximum liaison opportunities. The scholars reported how the Hive enriched the research community by providing a hub which allowed informal social events as well as more formal events to take place. These events then meant people who may have been doing similar research in different departments met and exchanged ideas. It is easy for researchers to be silo-ed but the library is a centre for all of them and therefore a sensible place for these hubs to be located.
A couple of great ideas they had were Shut up and write! (re
searchers meet in a cafe, have a chat then concentrate for a set period of time and then have another break) and advice written on the glass walls by more experienced researchers for new ones at the welcome event including “Read A lot”.
In the afternoon session we had a talk by Dawn Duke, Researcher Training and Development Officer, about the SPLASH area at Surrey and writing boot camps they set up to encourage researchers. One was a full on boot camp with people telling people off for not working and things, this was for full time Phd students because they identified a big problem with procrastination and that it usually had a cause. The bootcamp helped people identify causes, suppo
Finally we heard from Fiona Colligan, Warwick Research Exchange about how Warwick has introduced somethin
g akin to online dating for researchers called Research Match this built on similar set ups to the
Hive but has broken into some groups which didn’t interact so much with the physical space for examrt each other and break through the procrastination problem in spaces that suited them so if they needed quiet that was available but if they wanted to collaborate that was available. Surrey also identified a few issues about completion so they organised a retreat for part-time and distance students. This was more relaxed than the bootcamp. One thing the library did was source a collection of thesis so students who may not have seen a UK thesis before were able to see what this was. Two senior academics also stayed at the retreat for the whole weekend (students stayed on site for the weekend).
ple people in the hard sciences who have their own networks in labs etc but they have signed up to research match in large numbers. This sort of innovation really seems to come out of physical spaces.
By the end of the day I really felt encouraged to think beyond physical spaces for ideas that the library can be central to in the support of the researchers but also confirmed that a physical space dedicated to researchers, ideally controlled by swipe card, is a worthwhile idea but needs to be part of something bigger in terms of collaboration and student involvement. A room with a sofa and computers labelled “researcher’s space” isn’t enough.
I have stroyfied some of the tweets from the day below:
Hearing about the Sussex Hive, Surrey’s SPLASH and
I got a lot from attending. It was great to meet other librarians from across the world (there were lots of international delegates) and meet many faces from Twitter. I am really lucky to work somewhere that encourages us to attend conferences. It is such a positive experience and one I think is vital for us and our institution to evolve and stay ahead of the game. LILAC is a big conference (by UK standards), but not so big that it feels overwhelming. Each day there was a keynote and then parallel sessions which meant there were a lot of things to choose from.
Glasgow was a nice place to visit and we did appreciate the free Caramel Log in our goody bags.
All the presentations that are available are here.
Keynote 1 – Megan Oakleaf
Play the ace: assessing, communicating and expanding the institutional impact of information literacy.
Megan’s impressive keynote looked at how it is important to demonstrate the value of the academic library to universities and how IL can be used to do this. She is the author of a US report: Value of Academic Libraries
Some points she made included:
Everyone loves library but don’t want to pay for it.
Focus on what collection enables people to do.
It is a good idea to define outcomes (learning outcomes) of what institution needs and wants. Could include employability, student retention.
What leads students to come to an institution? In US library second most impactful building. (learning spaces are first).
At Minnesota library instruction increases chance of re-enrolment year on year.
Library website design … What part communicates impact on institutional focus areas.
We did a great exercise where we used a grid called the Instruction Impact Map with Campus Needs, Goals and outcomes down one side and a list of things we do int he library along the top i.e. Tutorials, reference service etc. We then took one of the columns and rated how well it impacted on the campus need. This really made us think how we could connect the two things and really demonstrate how important what we do is.
Megan then suggested collecting evidence to back up our claims on the impact of our work making two important points:
We already use them at City but I hadn’t really thought of using them to base a whole session around but by using things like the polling and wallwasher they could be really interactive tools in our teaching as well as great support tools.
I have to confess to having a bit of a fan girl moment when I saw Lord Puttnam as with my film-lover hat on I think he is an incredibly important figure in the British film industry. I now realise he is also an powerful voice in the world of Education two examples of his work are:
The overarching theme of his speech was that what may seem radical to us now will not be in the future that People expect new form of relationship with world around them now. He gave several examples:
Uni of Sunderland 24/7 opening radical in 1997. As was drinking coffee in library – keyboards so cheap irrelevant.
Www is just a click away.
Importance of libraries and schools.
Refreshing to see how quickly racists etc are brought to order on twitter.
Librarians help people steer towards right information.
Talked about unpredictability of what is to come I.e. Facebook buying instagram
Talked about the fact his parents would have thought 3 careers was bizarre but he can imagine his grandchildren having 6.
Huge levels of competition and complexity – unique challenges for us as educators.
The point that most people were buzzing about afterwards was:
Many currently in education will work with voice activated technology in working lives.
This means we will need a pedagogy to work with voice activated tech … Importance of voice and thinking. Keyboard skills will still be useful but not as important. Research and development is not put into keyboards. Money is in voice recognition both spending on research and in profit.
Apple, google and amazon all using this technology so children born today will think it is the norm. Essentially we will be working differently. Oracy (?) will be important. Teachers will have to be better at listening and students better at talking
and so strong spoken language skills will need to be developed. He said this isn’t that new, Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric is still a best seller but we will need to structure thought differently it requires students talk more but teachers less. 1975 Bullock report suggested teachers were so long winded pupils had 20 secs each to talk.
Currently there is disparity between how people behave with tech at home and how it is used in classroom. For example a surgeon from 1912 couldn’t work today. A teacher could because we aren’t using enough technology in classroom.
Need to understand students world, how they relate to it and we need to be aware of problems surrounding adopting technology i.e. digitising old practices isn’t the way forward. We need to consider what advances an entire digital pedagogy could be like. It is about digital not digitising.
He discussed the need for an undisputed education of women. World class education system underpins world class health and social system. Will not work other way round.
He ended with a quote from Stuart Brand “We are gods so we better start getting good at it”
There was then a great Q&A session:
Q: French children don’t learn to read and write until later. They develop oral and reasoning skills first. – what about it?
A: Need to look at other countries. If you find yourself saying “this is the way we do it” stop doing it that way.
Q: Exam system doesn’t reflect digital technology. IB allows it more than A levels with large piece of work.
A: most useful thing medical world could do is clone librarians as they have 19th century assessment process. It is out of step with technology and teaching. Lord Puttnam thinks International Baccalaureate is the way forward.
He then talked about the role of librarians:
Not what we do but branding is a problem.
Breadth width and importance of what we do needs to be promoted by us and others.
We aren’t gatekeepers.
Make sure title librarian isn’t trapped.
British library has done it brilliantly. It is vital and important.
Q: Cost question of technology.
A: Things you can’t afford not to have. If you are seriously concerned about child’s future you will forgo things to get them. Cost of slates in 19th century was crippling for a family but they did it. Education can’t be allowed to become unaffordable. TES – cheaper for them to buy £100 tablet and send it to all subscribers than the print copy as print costs £100 a year. Got to make tech vital so saying not do it because of cost is not relevant. IPad is as important as slate David Lloyd George learnt to write his name on.
Q: Issue around accent etc for google voice (and all voice technology)
A: technology will improve and be more forgiving. Recalling dictation from work in advertising. He learnt how to dictate a letter. You have to think in a particular way to dictate a letter.
Matrix of literacies
Being articulate is a life skill.
Q: Distance …
A: Cisco telepresence system on west coast of Ireland. He does lectures from home. 5 universities. Notion of distance is not relevant any more.
Playing Games and growing trees Andrew Walsh Huddersfield @andywalsh999
This session really appealed to me as I am interested in the gamification of learning. Huddersfield have done a lot of work on the connection between library use and student achievement. One of their findings was that the physical library didn’t make a difference. This meant they wanted more serious use from students who came in for social reasons by putting a game over top of library usage.
This year was not only my first LILAC but also my first solo presentation at a major library conference. I am pleased to say both attending and presenting are experiences I look forward to repeating.
Despite the fact that anybody who knows me knows I can hardly be described as shy and have never shied away from public speaking or giving presentations I was nervous. I have delivered presentations to groups of 300+ but presenting at LILAC was by far the most nervous I have been before an event. I think this was probably because I was delivering a presentation to my peers. People I respect, who know a lot about Information Literacy and who all might have thought the “innovative” idea I was presenting was in fact old hat.
Before I get on to the presentation itself I’ll explain a bit about the process that I went through to get there. LILAC put out a call for papers in the Autumn with the themes for the conference. This year they were:
We welcome proposals which address one or more of this year’s conference themes:
IL and the digital future
Supporting the research community
Transitions: from School through to Higher Education
IL and employability
Active learning and creative pedagogical approaches
We’ve been doing a lot of work at Cass on IL and employability so I instantly thought this would be a good strand for a presentation. However … the best idea wasn’t mine! So I asked my lovely colleague Carolyn Smith if she minded me talking about our Cass Certification programme as it was her idea. Luckily she said yes. I wasn’t entirely sure where to begin with my abstract so I looked up some previous year’s and realised that there is a lot of variety in styles, some heavily referenced and some not so much.
I wrote a short abstract of 300 words (for a 30 minute presentation) which my manager and Carolyn both read and suggested a couple of tweaks. Then I submitted it and waited. I wasn’t sure I’d done it right so was very surprised when I received an email saying it had been accepted on provision that I made a couple of revisions. These were basically adding a bit more about why it was innovative and different and taking out some background.
So, I resubmitted and then forgot about it. April seemed a long way off in December but suddenly it was the last week in March and I need to get something done so I gathered all my points together and started working on a Prezi. Prezi really suits my way of thinking as I am quite a visual person and I like the way it works you through a thought process. For me it works a bit like a mindmap which I then reorder to make sense to other people (I hope).
So presentation done, I just had to make a few notes on Evernote so I could easily refer to them. These were basically statistics and a few points I though I must make.
I was ready to go! I was lucky I could get my session over with on the first day. At LILAC they run several sessions at once so people sign up for the ones they are interested in meaning there is a lot of variety to choose from. I had a good turnout and it was nice to see some familiar faces in the audience.
My main worry beforehand was I had misjudged the content and that it would all be over in 5 minutes or I would rush the end because I had no time and that would have been a bit awkward either way. I don’t like to over rehearse but I had mentally run through it a couple of time and in the end was pretty much on time. I had parts of the presentation I could have rushed or taken longer to talk about if I felt timings were out but it was ok and I had time for several questions which was good as it made me think about how library certification might work elsewhere.
This was a really good experience and something I hope to repeat again. I’d really recommend submitting papers and giving presentations to anybody. The worst is you won’t get accepted but there’s a good chance you will. I am very lucky to have very supportive colleagues and manager who encourage us to try to apply for conferences and submit papers.
I was doing a late night at Cass tonight so didn’t start work until 11 and started the day at the main site before walking to Cass mid-afternoon. Today was another bitty day. Unlike yesterday I didn’t feel I got as much done today but that happens, I started a few things like a help sheet and my post for next week’s 23things (I can’t reveal what on but it was fun researching!) and I ordered some books. Tonight I issued some books, answered a couple of queries and topped up a lot print credit. I also got slightly confused about what to do when closing the library (that phrase always makes me think of It’s a Wonderful Life when in the “how things would be if George Bailey had never lived” scenes to illustrate Mary’s singleness they show her closing the library).
Here’s my day as a pie chart –
Today Tamise and I continued to help the student from yesterday with Bloomberg. We looked into it before she got there so once she arrived we were able to show her exactly how to find the daily spot prices for natural gas in Europe over the last three years. She went away happy. Tamise and I then had a long chat about how we could turn all our FAQs etc into a searchable resource for students.
At lunch we had a very bizarre conversation about ukuleles and recorders which led to a few emails going around all afternoon (hence about 15 minutes of my afternoon taken up with ukuleles and recorders. The thing about librarians is they can find a you tube clip in seconds to illustrate almost any point so these discussions just refine our skills!)
Because I can’t tell you about next week’s 23things there’s not much else to say about today.
This is supposed to be about what I do all day as a librarian – it’s not all books you know! Today has been a bit of a catching up day as you might see from my lovely pie chart of my day:
It’s a bit odd seeing it like that as several if those tasks were spread out through the day. For example I’m constantly reading emails and responding to them in between other tasks. I’m very much a multitasker with several things going on so most of those things will have been done mixed up rather than in blocks of time.
I had one student query, there are more in term time, from a student asking how to login to science direct. They were having problems because they were trying to get into science direct off campus and not from one of our links. I quickly recorded a screen grab of how to log on and sent them a link as well as written instructions. This took 5 mins at most and if anyone else asks how to log on I have the clip for them.
I also talked to Tamise the Senior Information Assistant at Cass to try and sort out a Bloomberg query she had from a Phd student. Thanks to Tamis calling Bloomberg’s helpdesk the student was helped and I found out they can send you a transcript of your phone query!
I’ve been filling out my first appraisal in this role and it’s taking longer than I’d like because you have to link it to various strategic goals which means reading a strategy which may be out of date but I’ve been given some help from the cass library operations manager which has speeded it up.
I also have been wrestling with the university’s cms to get my subject pages up, again a process which takes much longer than it should but not for much longer …
I had a couple of meetings today too. The first was with my colleague Mandy who is the subject librarian for Arts and Isabelle from the Centre for Language Studies . We were talking about Mandy and my plans for pages for International Students on the library website. Isabelle was really enthusiastic and is going to help us out with a few links to language resources, in return she’ll use some of our content.
My second meeting was quick and with Neil our digital repository manager. He told me a bit about what he was doing and I talked about Cass and my role.
I’m one of the members of the 23things City team which is a week by week course we’re running for our colleagues to show them various social media tools. Today I looked at a few of the 23things participants’ blogs. A few have taken an extended break after week 5’s reflection but I’m sure they’ll catch up, hopefully they haven’t been put off by the amount of things in week 6! Two of the prezis from last week were absolutely laugh out loud funny: Prezi on City University library and Prezi on 23thingsCity
So that was my day. Tomorrow I am working late so will have a different type of day …