Apologies: this is one of those generic catch-all blog posts. I attended four separate events last week: here’s a short report from each one.
De Montfort University, Leicester. 28 June, 2011
- I gave a presentation.
This workshop for CILIP members was looking at various ways in which libraries can have (and can measure) their ‘impact’. I spoke first about Lincoln’s involvement in the University of Huddersfield’s Library Impact Data Project (LIDP), and how that project is trying (successfully, it seems) to measure the relationship between students’ library use and their degree ‘success’.
Then DMU subject librarian Jason Eyre talked about his PITSTOP project, which built a mediated forum for online discussion between Social Work students on placement, their lecturers, and their practice educators (in the NHS and local authorities). Jason explained that while the online discussion forum itself was not very well used, the impact of the project was that is acted as a catalyst for building a better relationship between students, academics, practice educators, and the library.
After a very well-run World Café session, where we moved around between different tables, each themed with a different aspect of ‘impact’ in libraries – and then lunch, information management consultant David Streatfield presented on the difficulties of measuring and evaluating the impact that academic libraries can have. He outlined some of the different approaches that have been taken in the past, and how those approaches can be less than successful in an environment of government pressure to control public service provision.
Lastly, Maria Cotera, former president of the CILIP Career Development Group, told us several anecdotes about the ways she has seen library workers make an impact themselves, through their involvement in staff development, social, and extra-professional activities. In an exercise, all the delegates came up with an example of a shared pressure or circumstance in our home institutions that could be turned into an opportunity for staff development.
Thanks to Marie Nicholson and the UC&R East Midlands committee for inviting me to speak! Twitter hashtag: #UCREMimpact.
University of Lincoln. 29 June, 2011
- I gave a presentation.
This was another East Midlands event, and the first EMALINK event held in Lincoln since we joined that network. It was organised, jointly, by the University of Lincoln, our neighbours Bishop Grosseteste University College, and Nottingham Trent University (NTU). The theme was the lifecycle of collection management: from selection and acquisition, through analysis and review of collections, and finally disposal.
NTU kicked off with a look at their work to incorporate Talis Aspire into the DNA of their library: they’re building a set of resource selection and allocation processes that are strongly driven by the resource lists built by academics using Aspire. Lincoln responded with two short presentations about collection analysis: our project to compare the strengths and weaknesses (in size, breadth, and age) of the various subject collections in our physical bookstock with the relative sizes of the student body in different subject areas; and our work to determine value for money in ‘Big Deal’ database subscriptions. Finally, Susan Rodda from Bishop Grosseteste talked about the options for disposing of unwanted physical library stock, and how BG have managed, for several years, to weed their collection without sending any paper to landfill.
Goodenough College, London. 1 July, 2011
On Friday, I attended this briefing event for the current JISC research data funding call for proposals, on Joss Winn‘s behalf. The JISC programme manager ran through the requirements and expectations for the various strands of this current call. Kevin Ashley of the Digital Curation Centre also presented: about how the DCC can support and work with institutions who are running research data management projects. See hashtag: #jiscmrd for information about the programme.
The Open University, Milton Keynes. 4 July, 2011
After a long, Sunday-afternoon train journey to Milton Keynes, I paid my first ever visit to the OU’s Walton Hall campus for another activity data-related event, this time organised and hosted by the team behind the JISC-funded RISE (“Recommendations Improve the Search Experience”) project.
The day began with three presentations from projects funded under the current JISC activity data strand:
- Joy Palmer of MIMAS and the SALT project (“Surfacing the Academic Long Tail”: MIMAS working with the John Rylands University Library of the University of Manchester);
- RISE themselves (Richard Nurse of the OU) talking about how they are using EZProxy log data to power a recommendation service (“…users who looked at this, also looked at these…“);
- Via video link, live from Huddersfield: Dave Pattern talking about LIDP.
Then, another World Café-type exercise (two in one week!). We moved about the room, scribbling on the tablecloths, making notes about: [a] what activity data universities have at their disposal; [b] what use we might put it to; and [c] what barriers are in our way.
In the afternoon: two more presentations. The OU’s Tony Hirst (a.k.a. @psychemedia), rattling and rambling through various techniques for visualising activity data. This is really valuable stuff… what I’m less clear about is: where’s the first rung of the dataviz ladder? How does a muggle start thinking about data visualisation? Tony says that many of the techniques he writes about are things he “didn’t know how to do a couple of hours before…“, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of us will find them as easy to pick up! Tony’s coming to Lincoln soon, so I’m going to try and talk to him about data visualisation a bit more then.
Last of all, David Kay (of SERO and the JISC activity data Synthesis Project: kind of an umbrella for all of these separate activity data initiatives) summed things up nicely: including an excellent slide listing the kinds of skills library workers are going to have to develop in order to do justice to activity data: including data visualisation, again! I’ll post that slide here, if and when I can find it.
There was a little bit of activity on Twitter for this workshop: look for the hashtag #iad11.