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.
I’m currently in a strange limbo between my old and new jobs. At my old job it is a tale that is reflected across HE – cuts to student numbers therefore cuts to budgets and so on. My new job appears to be a world of optimism where service and quality are the buzz words and the problems in the wider HE world are something that occurs on the news.
I hope that things improve in the general HE world – it really will be a blow for the country if things are destroyed.
At the moment I am thinking about new Library Management Systems – one is really impressing me, and not just because of the free chocolate! I’m looking forward to being able to make a decision and get things started!
It reflects a growing concern in libraries (as previously mentioned), balancing the quiet spaces that many users enjoy using with the needs of modern social spaces other users require.
It is interesting to read the opinion of an academic when the majority of libraries focus on student needs for study rather than the academic staff. The content of libraries serves both but the buildings themselves are usually student focussed.
Certainly this is going to be an issue for years to come.
Today I’ve been at Sussex combining seeing my film studies lecturer with meeting with library colleagues from their research department.
Sussex is different to us in that they don’t have subject specialists but a team of librarians who support research and one supporting learning and teaching.
It was interesting to exchange ideas and also see that some of the stuff we do is on the same lines.
I’m going to look into roberts funding to see if we can support our project that way. We’re also going to arrange a morning where the information advisers at brighton meet with the Sussex teams.
After a day of film and libraries I’m feeling very enthused – I’ve even written the first 260 words of my essay.