Posts Tagged ‘British Library’

OAPEN-UK focus group at the British Library

Posted on November 21st, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

British Library staff & contractors' entrance

Today I was at the British Library (allowed in via the staff entrance, no less) for a librarians’–repository managers’ focus group of the JISC/AHRC-funded OAPEN-UK project, which will run to 2015 and which aims to gather “evidence to help stakeholders make informed decisions on the future of open access scholarly monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences”.

N.B. There doesn’t seem to be a nice, standard abbreviation for ‘open access scholarly monograph publishing’, so to avoid endlessly repeating the phrase I’ll refer to them as ‘OA e-books’ from now on. Today’s focus group was made up of academic library people (from cataloguing, e-resource management, and subject liaison roles) along with HEI repository managers.

OAPEN-UK is an extension of the original Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) project which looked at the role of OA scholarly monograph publishing and its potential effect on researcher attitudes, behaviours, business/publishing models – mainly in the Netherlands. Five publishers (a mixture of ‘pure’ commercial and university publishing houses) are on board the OAPEN-UK steering group; between them they have contributed 60 book titles which will form a pilot data study: divided into 30 matching ‘pairs’ of titles (each pair sharing common characteristics), one book in each pair will form the control group (licensed for sale as usual), the other in each pair will be:

“…made available on the OAPEN Library in open access under a creative commons licence. In addition, the titles may be placed / discoverable via the publisher’s own website, institutional repositories, authors own website and will be 100% available in Google Book Search. MARC records will be made available to libraries”

Quantitative and qualitative data—sales, usage, citations, reuse, plagiarism—will be gathered on both groups of 30 (control/experimental), and combined with information from focus groups (including this one!) and user surveys to inform recommendations for future directions in OA e-book provision: aimed at publishers, universities, libraries, and researcher-authors and researcher-readers.

OAPEN-UK header image

The bulk of today’s focus group was taken up with an exercise to identify some of the issues of interest to libraries and repository managers in an OA e-book-’enabled’ world. The 12 attendees divided into four groups of three and brainstormed using post-it notes (pink: ‘big issues’; blue: opportunities, yellow: questions) on charts divided into four areas for consideration: technical, financial, attitudinal, and administrative. We were then each asked to ‘vote’ on the issues we felt were most important/worthy of discussion, using little red stickers.

I took photos of the four charts:

OAPEN-UK focus group 4 OAPEN-UK focus group 3

OAPEN-UK focus group 2 OAPEN-UK focus group 1

Here’s a list of just a few of the interesting discussions that came out of the exercise:

  • What will be the attitude of subject specialists – if selection isn’t tied up with a financial burden to the university library, will they feel they have lost control of the selection process? Libraries will expect good, accurate, and correctable metadata and selection tools… or will we see a national, shared OA e-books ‘firehose’ feed with little or no selection at the institutional level?
  • How will the vendors of e-book aggregation services and platforms react? And what will be the effect of their reaction on libraries who subscribe to their services? Will we see a model where publishers/aggregators charge for ‘added value’ to a basic OA offering?
  • Does ‘Open Access’ equate to ‘access in perpetuity’? Whose responsibility will it be to ensure continued access? Will we need a LOCKSS/UK Research Reserve-type approach to looking after OA e-books? What should be the role of the JISC/legal deposit libraries/other national bodies in this (to set standards and accredit/certificate universities, perhaps)?
  • Who pays in a future OA e-book ecosystem? We’re not on familiar gold/green journal OA territory. What about author royalties – how will they be collected? Will they suffer, and how? Are libraries being pushed into a new ‘big deal’, this time for e-books (and can OA help)?

Flying Scotsman in sunlight at KGXAt this point, unfortunately—and typically—I had to dash for my train. But I’ll be following the OAPEN-UK project with great interest; it’s one I hope to come back to in future.

Some links:

Taking the register

Posted on May 23rd, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

In talking about authentication issues, the notion kept coming up that single, central, shared registries of information about libraries (e.g. the WorldCat Registry) could be valuable in helping publishers to make it easier for users to navigate to subscribed content via their own institution’s login option(s).

This spurred me to thinking: in what central/shared registries are our library details held, and what use can I [and our students/staff] make of this information?

This’ll be one of those blog posts that I’m still adding to in a year’s time, as I remember more stuff. I’ve(And a passing thought – wouldn’t it be cool if there was a single über-registry for libraries that brought all of these details together using a single API? Anyone?)

The University of Lincoln has library information registered with:

1. ISIL – International Standard Identifier for Libraries

An ISIL is like an ISBN or ISSN for an entire library: a way of uniquely and unambiguously identifying “an organization, or one of its subordinate units, throughout its life“. We have an ISIL for each of our five libraries, assigned to us a year ago by the British Library (the UK national agency for the ISIL). We use them for RFID stock control; to associate a copy of a book with its home library. The ISIL standard is ISO 15511:2009. Our five ISILs are:

GB-UkLiUGCW University of Lincoln: Great Central Warehouse University Library
GB-UkLiUTRR University of Lincoln: Theology Reading Room, Chad Varah House
GB-UkLiURPC University of Lincoln: Riseholme Park Campus Library
GB-UkSnHOC University of Lincoln: Holbeach Campus Library
GB-UkHlHUC University of Lincoln: Hull Campus Library

2. LibraryThing local

LibraryThing local ( is a user-maintained directory and “gateway to thousands of local bookstores, libraries and book festivals“. LibraryThing users can create and edit entries for individual libraries, browse libraries by geographical area (including via a nice Google Maps display), add libraries to a list of favourites, and subscribe to RSS feeds of library events in their area (e.g.). We don’t really make use of these features – we don’t run a lot of ‘public’ events at the moment.

We’ve had directory entries since 2009 for four out of our five libraries, which I’ve “claimed” using my own LT account – writing this, I’ve noticed that the Theology Reading Room doesn’t have an entry.

  1. University of Lincoln – GCW University Library
  2. University of Lincoln – Theology Reading Room [no entry]
  3. University of Lincoln – Riseholme Park Campus Library
  4. University of Lincoln – Hull Campus Library
  5. University of Lincoln – Holbeach Campus Library

3. OpenURL registry

Our OpenURL link resolver (EBSCO LinkSource) is registered with the OpenURL Router service, maintained by EDINA for all UK HE and FE institutions. The registry holds details of our base URL for constructing links, our preferred link resolver button image Find it @ Lincoln, and our authentication details (UK Federation scope and IP ranges).

Registry entry at:

Service providers can construct OpenURLs for our users with the base URL:

4. Talis Silkworm Directory

We have (had?) entries in the Talis Silkworm Directory (directory.­talis.­com) for all five of our libraries. This is (was?) a community-driven open directory of information about libraries, that powers (powered?) mashups like Philip Adams’ SCONUL Access libraries maps on the De Montfort University library website.

As you can probably tell from my present/past tense confusion above, I don’t know if this directory is still operational. I’d heard it was defunct some time ago, and it now appears that the subdomain has been switched off.

5. Social networking websites

The GCW University Library has a page on Foursquare, the “location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore”. An interesting one this – it’s not a library-focused service, and not one we ‘control’ (though the official @unilincoln Twitter account is listed as ‘staff’), but probably the site that most of our users will interact with.

We also have a Flickr profile: I used it to upload a set of (mainly) historical photos of the GCW building, back in October/November 2008. I haven’t used it since. We’ve never bothered with specific Library accounts on Twitter or Facebook*.

6. UK Access Management Federation

We’re a member of the UK Access Management Federation: this controls all sorts of authentication to third-party electronic resources and comes with its own set of jargon:

7. WorldCat Registry

This is the newest one on me: although I think I remember someone from OCLC (Mark Allcock?) talking about it at the first UK Mashed Library event in 2008; it was only a Twitter conversation last week that promopted me to look at it in earnest.

Again, four out of our five libraries already have profiles (which I’ve now “claimed”). I’m still exploring the site, and I haven’t yet updated/registered all of our details, so I’m not entirely sure what benefits we can get from it – I’d appreciate any advice from WorldCat Registry old hands. I don’t understand how the WorldCat Registry relates to the WorldCat Affiliate Tools—if at all—either.

  1. University of Lincoln, GCW University Library
  2. University of Lincoln, Theology Reading Room [no entry]
  3. University of Lincoln, Riseholme Park Campus Library
  4. University of Lincoln, Hull Campus Library
  5. University of Lincoln, Holbeach Campus Library

8. Document supply (added 23 May 2011)

Owen Stephens suggested this one. We’re listed in the British Library’s Directory of Library Codes for document supply, where we have our own identifier (it’s HL/C-3). I’m sure my colleagues in inter-library loans won’t hit me for not knowing that off the top of my head.

Repository team news & report on RSP Winter School #rspws11

Posted on February 24th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

The latest news from the Repository team at the University of Lincoln:

RSP Winter School 2011

I was lucky enough to attend the three-day Repositories Support Project Winter School (#rspws11), which this year was held in the impressive surroundings of Armathwaite Hall near Bassenthwaite in the Lake District. As you can see from my photos, it was a real hardship.

Avenue of trees #rspws11

The programme included a keynote address by the immensely switched-on Professor Martin Hall, V-c of the University of Salford (and the first UK V-c on Twitter!), which touched on archaeology, museums, data preservation, open access, mobile learning, and the meaning of the modern university. The remaining speakers and discussions over the three days seemed to relate to two main topics:

  1. Data preservation and OA to datasets: Max Wilkinson on the work of the British Library and the BL datasets programme (; Miggie Pickton from the University of Northampton about their ‘KeepIt‘ project to preserve university research data.

The consensus about research data seems to be this: don’t rely on your existing processes for your ‘publications’ repository. Keep a clear wall between a publications repository and a data archive. The requirements for describing/cataloguing, preserving, and providing access (sensitive data, etc.) are all just too different for datasets and publications. Also, there seems to be a general agreement that a more national, shared approach is appropriate for datasets than the strongly institutional focus of publication repositories.


  1. The options for CRISes and Repositories when gathering data for the REF: presentations from Keith Jeffery; Mark Cox

It slowly emerged that there seem to be at least two different approaches to REF data-preparation that universities are taking: some [generally large, research-intensive universities] are investing heavily in a CRIS (which is impacting on the role of the Repository); others [generally the smaller HEIs, though with notable exceptions] are developing and enhancing their existing Repository systems, and relying on EPrints/DSpace to do more heavy lifting.

Bassenthwaite Lake

Interestingly, there was relatively little talk of e-theses in all this. We did however manage to slip in an advert for the UKCoRR members’ meeting (tomorrow!)

Slides and notes from the various presentations and workshops are available to download from the RSP’s website.

Tweets bearing the Winter School’s hashtag #rspws11 are preserved in a Twapper Keeper archive.

Armathwaite Hall

Meanwhile, back home in Lincoln…

And at our regular Repository team meeting on Friday, 18 February. It seems to be a particularly busy time, Repository-wise, at the moment. Welcome to David Young who came to his first Friday team meeting.

Present: Bev Jones (BJ), Paul Stainthorp (PS), Rosaline Smith (RS), David Young (DY).

  1. We’ve hit 2,800 items on the Repository, which is a credit to Lincoln’s academic staff, as well as to the tireless efforts of RS and BJ! We’re aiming for 3,000 items by the end of April, 2011. If we hit that target, I’ll be doing some more baking.
  2. There are a number of useful training events on at the moment: some organised by the RSP (e.g. this one), as well as this extremely valuable-looking non-RSP event in Glasgow. Many of the events relate in some way to getting data in/out of repositories for REF purposes (c.f. the discussions at the Winter School, above). Unfortunately, Lincoln people aren’t able to attend many of these events, so PS and DY are going to meet to discuss the possibility of running/arranging a similar event in the East Midlands.
  3. The group discussed some EPrints tweaks: publisher search, the ability to ‘bounce’ a Repository record from one owner to another, the perennial unique author IDs …all of which are possible and in place in at least one other EPrints repository. We also touched upon our succession/emergency planning (i.e. how would the Library cope if and when the volume of Repository traffic outstrips our resource to deal with it: our “Plan X“.)
  4. RS updated us on the Kultivate project: there’s another workshop in London on Monday, 28 February; RS is still planning a meeting with the Faculty of Art, Architecture & Design. RS has issued her final reminder by mass email to academic staff, asking them to attend a Repository workshop or/and to get in touch to discuss depositing their items.
  5. BJ reported that all Repository records from the calendar years 2010/2011 (so far) are now identifiable to a quarter. (We need this level of specificity to produce our Quarterly Research Output Reports.) However, there’s still some confusion over exactly how we can construct date-limited queries in EPrints – BJ is going to ask on the eprints_tech and UKCoRR mailing lists to see if we can get a definitive answer.
  6. Now-quite-finally, I (PS) ran through a number of things I’m going to bring to the next Repository steering group: including technical developments and where we might need to take EPrints in the run-up to the REF, as well as improving the Repository’s presence on our corporate website. I’m also going to speak to the chair of the steering group (University Librarian, Ian Snowley) about the date of the next meeting.
  7. Did I mention it’s the UKCoRR meeting tomorrow?

Bassenthwaite morning reflection

My library ‘footprint’

Posted on December 21st, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp

Very slightly inspired by a recent blog post by Joss Winn:

A couple of things have reminded me recently that it might be useful to describe how I use libraries.

Historical interlude: my first experience of libraries would have been in visting Cullercoats/North Tyneside Central public libraries in the ’80s. After moving down to Lincolnshire, I borrowed books from Horncastle public library (more on which later), and used my secondary school’s Jobson Library (named after local benefactor George Jobson).

As an undergraduate, I didn’t use APU’s university library all that much. I remember, vaguely, a library induction talk in a large lecture theatre. I used to cycle in to campus early and read their newspapers before my first lecture. Over three years, I might have borrowed a handful of books (not really course-related) and a few music scores. And occasionally used the study carrels to work on maths assignments, when I really needed to concentrate.

Overall, looking back, it was a bit of a missed opportunity. I didn’t understand the value of the campus library: at the time I was much more excited by our course lab and studio facilities, and by the Sinclair computing centre, which gave me my first taste of the Internet, email, IM, Yahoo! and Lycos, web design and HTML, and which stayed open until 9pm (I remember being surprised and impressed by that; just as I was by the first 24-hour garage I found in Cambridge. Such things did not exist in rural Lincolnshire).

After having worked as a librarian at the University of Lincoln for a few years, I made a slightly better stab at using the services of the Robert Gordon University’s Georgina Scott Sutherland Library while I was studying there for my MSc. Because Aberdeen is a long way away, I never actually visited the library in person (I still haven’t), but I made heavy use of both their e-resources and their postal loans service.

Great Central Icehouse

Now, in 2010, I regularly use the services of four libraries:

  1. Horncastle public library, which is ten minutes’ walk from my front door. My children go there every week for storytime and activities. From time to time, I check my LibraryThing wishlist against the Lincolnshire County Council ‘Virtual Library‘, and reserve books to read on the bus. (What would be really nice would be if I could point my LCC library account at an RSS feed of my LibraryThing wishlist, and be alerted when a new title becomes available). And I’ve recently been getting into researching my family history, for which the public library’s online access to Ancestry is invaluable. Horncastle library has also been a great place to work ‘from home’ when the roads have been bad this winter. I’ll be pleased when they upgrade from IE6, though.
  2. I’ve also joined Essex public libraries. I was tipped off about them by a colleague: they don’t require that you be resident in Essex to join, and they have a very good collection of e-books (Lincolnshire public libraries don’t do e-books, yet). I think I might also still be a member of East Riding Libraries, from when I lived in Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
  3. As I mentioned last week, I often base myself in the British Library when I’m in London: because it’s so close to King’s Cross and St Pancras railway stations; because they offer decent, free wi-fi; because there’s always an exhibition to see; and because there’s plenty of coffee to hand.
  4. Last but not least, the 5 libraries of the University of Lincoln – because that’s where I work.

Libraries I’d like to visit include the Ward Library, Henry Bloom Noble Library, and Castletown Library (all on the Isle of Man), the Lit & Phil in Newcastle, and Cambridge University Library.

#blgk and #evolvingenglish

Posted on December 15th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp

I’m blogging from the balcony of the Cotton Room, overlooking the atrium of the British Library at St Pancras. (I’ve been attending a meeting in London today, and to save money I booked two single, off-peak train tickets: leaving me with plenty of time to explore the BL.)

I’ve based myself here for the day because:

  1. The British Library is committed to making information of all kinds as widely available as possible.” Translation: good, reliable, free wifi FTW.
  2. I particularly wanted to visit the BL’s “Growing Knowledge: the evolution of research” exhibition (hashtag:#blgk), which is all about innovative tools for digital research. It’s worth a look (you don’t have to visit the smart, white digital exhibition suite at St Pancras; you can register online and explore many of the tools over the Web). There’s some good stuff here: some of the services and discussions could be useful additional material for our own ‘Working on the Web‘ staff workshops, and I’m particularly interested in the Research Information Centre (a still-in-development BL/Microsoft Research project to build a scientific VRE [Virtual Research Environment]): of obvious relevance to the University of Lincoln’s own VRE project work (more about which soon). Register/log in, and you can watch a video about the RIC. I also filled in their evaluation survey for Growing Knowledge.
  3. The other exhibition on at the moment is Evolving English; a trawl through the historical, social and cultural roots of the English language. It’s fantastic. If you’re at all interested in languages, and you’re in London before April 2011, you should go. I sat in a booth and recorded myself reading a Mr Tickle story, for their English dialect/accent map. (Hashtag:#evolvingenglish)