Posted on December 6th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
I’ve just made a change to the way EZproxy authentication works on campus.
If University of Lincoln student and staff users are on a fixed PC within the GCW Library building (XP and Cloud desktops, but not over wifi), then EZproxy will no longer ask them to log in.
(Reminder: you can see a list of which e-resources this applies to, at: http://proxy.library.lincoln.ac.uk/menu)
Because the user is already logged in to the UoL desktop, they will be granted seamless access to the resource without the need to go via EZproxy.
Outside the GCW, and on wifi, users will still see the EZproxy login screen and will have to enter accountID + password to access the resource.
This change has a couple of benefits:
- It reduces the number of times a user has to sign in, at least within the University Library, so it’s quicker and easier to get to the e-resource.
- If we get very busy, as we were the other day, it reduces the load on the EZproxy server and thus the likelihood of our encountering a “Maximum Sessions Reached” error.
However: if you want to make use of the EZproxy bookmarklet to create stable e-resource URLs for Blackboard, I’ll need to exclude your PC from the GCW list. (Some staff PCs are already excluded so we can test EZproxy configurations.) Please let me know if you’d like me to do this.
At the moment, this only applies to the GCW fixed PCs as described. However I’d like to look at extending it to the following:
- Holbeach Campus Library PCs
- Hull Campus Library PCs
- Other buildings on campus (this may be more problematic…)
- Wifi on campus (possibly)
Please remember if you’re writing any procedures/help guides for students that even if you don’t see the EZproxy login screen (on campus), users who are off campus will have to log in, and you’ll want to include that extra step in your instructions.
If you spot any problems arising from this change please report them.
Posted on November 5th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
The University of Lincoln’s Cloud Desktop PCs on the upper floors of the University Library now provide access to Write-N-Cite III for RefWorks.
To access Write-N-Cite on a Cloud Desktop PC:
- Click on the Windows “Start” icon, then on “All Programs”.
- Click on the “Research” folder, then on “Write-N-Cite“.
- The Write-N-Cite application will open, along with Microsoft Word 2010. To log in to Write-N-Cite, ignore the “Group Code” box and click on the link marked “Athens users“.
- If this is the first time you have used Write-N-Cite on a Cloud Desktop PC, you may need to kick-start the Athens login process. To do this, first click on “Alternative login“… then, from the “Find your organisation” screen, click on “University of Lincoln“.
- Finally, click on “Go to the University of Lincoln login page” and you will be able to access your RefWorks references within Write-N-Cite, add citations to Word documents, and generate bibliographies. N.B. before you can generate a bibliography, you’ll need to save the Word document you’re working on.
- Some links to further information:
- There’s a guide to using the Cloud Desktop on the ICT Support Desk website.
- Write-N-Cite III has its own help guide available through the RefWorks website.
- If you want to download Write-N-Cite III for use on your own computer, there are instructions for doing so here.
- Please email RefWorks@lincoln.ac.uk if you have any questions!
Posted on January 24th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
Now’s your chance to find out: we’re extending the term-time opening hours of the GCW University Library by an extra 6½ hours per week. (This applies to the times when we’re not open 24 hours a day, of course.)
From Monday, 30 January 2012, until the end of the current term:
- The Library will open at 08.00 Monday-Friday (instead of 08.30)
- On Saturdays, we’ll open at 09.00 (instead of 10.00)
- On Sundays we’ll open at 09.00 (instead of 12.00)
- Desk services will also start earlier at the weekends, at 09.15
This takes our total opening hours to 106 hours/week in term time, or 146 hours/week during 24-hour opening. (This compares well with other universities’ library opening hours. Three universities selected at random on the web had term-time opening hours for their main academic library of 135, 108½, and 100 hours per week.)
You can find our new opening hours on the University Portal.
Posted on September 1st, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
Last year, in freshers’ week, we handed out these ‘flying book’ ink-transfer temporary tattoos to new students when they came to the Library.
This year, we’re giving people free coffee when they visit the GCW. Lincoln’s a nice place to work, sometimes
Posted on January 31st, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
If you visit any of our libraries over the next few days, you’ll be able to check out the new, all-improved self-service touchscreen machines.
We’ve tried to greatly simplify the steps involved in borrowing and returning items from the Library.
The upgraded touchscreens are already in place in the GCW University Library on the Brayford Pool campus, and will shortly be arriving at the campus libraries in Riseholme, Hull and Holbeach. The new screens have clearer buttons; a more logical screen layout; better explanatory text; and background images appropriate to each campus.
There are still some ‘tweaks’ we’d like to make in future, and if you have any questions or comments about self-service in our library we’d love to hear from you… but we hope you’ll find the new touchscreens much easier—and more pleasant—to use. Hope to see you in the Library soon.
Posted on December 23rd, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
Proposed new background images for the Library’s self-service machines, tailored for each campus library. We hope to start using these (or some very much like them)—alongside greatly-improved touch-screen routines for borrowing and returning books—early in 2011.
1. GCW University Library, Brayford Pool
2. Theology Reading Room, Chad Varah House
(Notional – we don’t have self service machines at CVH [yet?].)
3. Riseholme Park Campus Library
4. Hull Campus Library
5. Holbeach Campus Library
Posted on December 7th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
I’ve been working on a little website for the University of Lincoln’s resident statistician, John Flynn, to promote to students (and their lecturers) the services of the Lincoln Maths and Statistics Support Centre.
It’s [yet another] WordPress site on the University’s blogging / self-publishing platform, ‘themed’ with the University’s new-ish CWD (Common Web Design) template.
The support centre itself operates out of the GCW University Library (“Learning Development” suite) three days a week, and helps students with assessment worries and analysis for project work. Related: sigma – Centre for Excellence in Mathematics & Statistics Support.
The website is at: http://mathsandstats.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/
Posted on November 27th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
This is one of those seemingly-simple jobs that turns out to be more complicated (needlessly so, I’m sure) than you might expect: that of communicating the Library’s opening hours to our users.
I’ll admit in advance that I’m a terrible pedant when it comes to consistency and getting small details right, which probably doesn’t help.
But why so complicated in the first place?
- We have five separate libraries (sort of—one’s a ‘reading room‘—which AFAICT is just a small library). Each library runs different hours, ranging from 142 hours/week at the main, GCW University Library during our periods of 24/5 opening, down to just 19 hrs/wk, spread over 3 days (at the aforementioned ‘Theology Reading Room’ in Chad Varah House).
- It’s not just library opening times: we also need to communicate our library desk service hours, which are usually shorter [naturally...] than the building hours. This is perhaps becoming less important as self-service takes off, but don’t dismiss it as a pedantic librarianism – we’ve learned that users really value knowing the difference, and get irate if we don’t tell them in advance that we’re going to close a help desk 15 minutes before the building closes.
- The opening hours change throughout the academic year to take account of Bank Holidays, vacation periods, and changes to the teaching calendar. Needless to say, each campus runs to its own slightly different timetable. There’s a reasonable amount of autonomy for the campuses – which means they can be flexible to meet local needs, but does mean there’s no one person who necessarily has all the year’s opening hours at their fingertips.
- Topically, there’s always the odd snow day, just to keep things interesting!
If you try and give the users too much of this constantly-shifting information in one go, it starts to look far too confusing on the webpage, poster or flyer. Not enough detail, and students/staff (rightly) complain that they’re not being kept in the loop.
And the University of Lincoln’s opening hours aren’t even really that complicated: our near-neighbours and close acquaintances in the Sibthorp Library at Bishop Grot (a.k.a. Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln) have it much worse.
So, here’s what I’ve tried to do, in order to get the opening times across clearly. It’s worth saying that I don’t think we’ve cracked it, yet.
- I overlay the tables with properly-proportioned, colour-coded bars (again using CSS), to give a visual indicator of the length of the working day. Colour is used to distinguish desk service times from self-service opening. I liked this idea when I first thought of it, but feedback has been mixed—people are generally indifferent—and I do worry that it’s just confusing.
- A few weeks in advance of University vacations, I usually post PDFs (like these: 1|2|3|4|5), one for each campus library, containing the vacation opening hours. These have the advantage of being self-contained documents, which I can leave up for users to download without cluttering up the website or disturbing the in-semester opening hours. But they’re a bit clunky.
- We’ve been experimenting with using a spreadsheet on Google Docs to allow my colleagues (via Google’s sharing-and-permissions options) to edit their own library’s opening hours, including vacation and Bank Holiday ‘exceptions’ for each campus library… the idea being that we could then get Jerome to use the information to generate flexible opening-times displays on the fly. I’m not sure how well this will work in a live environment, and rather than using Google Docs we may end up creating something bespoke within the Total ReCal project to track and ‘push’ changes in library hours out to students’ own personal calendars, as well as to the web.
The daft thing about all of this is that I shouldn’t really care about our opening hours: it’s not particularly my responsibility, just something I picked up because it generally falls to me to get stuff online for the Library. And it certainly shouldn’t absorb as much time and mental energy as it does… but dammit, I just want to get them right.
Q. Is it just me? How do you make sense of your library opening times for your users?
Posted on November 26th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
I read a news story in the Lincolnshire Echo [online] today about ‘yarn bombing’ – where street furniture and other random objects are given colourful woollen coverings by guerilla knitters – often overnight. It’s a sort of “environmentally-friendly graffiti”, apparently.
I immediately thought of the knitted book-cosies we found on the shelves in the GCW University Library – exactly two years ago this week. Odd coincidence.
We were mystified at the time (we still are: we never found the culprit/artist…), but at least now I’ve learnt a word for it. And just that small change of mental state somehow makes it less inexplicable: the literal power knowing a name gives you over the thing, through being able to conjure up or dismiss images of it in speech.
Still, it got me on the radio again.