Posted on June 13th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
These data consist of entries for 4,268 anonymised students who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a named award at the end of the academic year 2009/10, along with a selection of their library activity over three years (2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10): library item circulation, visits to the main GCW University Library, and e-resources usage represented by authentication against AthensDA.
View this item on the University Repository: http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/4540/
Posted on May 17th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
We’ve got a new poster campaign in the GCW University Library. Look out for them, next time you’re… taking a break.
The posters were designed by our resident designer (Student Engagement & Communications Officer) Steve Pannett. Copies can be downloaded from the Posters at Lincoln website, which “aims to be a permanent digital repository of all of the poster campaigns that have been on display around the University of Lincoln’s campuses“. You can view the poster campaigns at: http://posters.lincoln.ac.uk/
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 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.
Posted on November 18th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
Courtesy of Nick Jackson of the Online Services Team: real-time PC availability in the GCW University Library, through your browser.
We’re hoping to have this projected into the GCW foyer by the start of 24/5 opening.
Correction (19 November 2010)! We’re going to audit the data (to make sure the number of available PCs on each floor – i.e. the denominators – are correct) then look for opportunities to display it in the GCW. I was ahead of myself, again…
Posted on November 3rd, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
There’s a small book display on the ground floor of the GCW University Library to mark the end of Boolefest (“a celebration of the life of George Boole“), a week-long arts and sciences festival which has been organised by Dave Kenyon in the Faculty of Media, Humanities & Technology.
It consists of:
“George Boole was born the son of a cobbler in the centre of the city of Lincoln almost 200 years ago, on November 2nd 1815. Despite having no advanced formal education, he became an internationally acclaimed mathematics professor who developed the theory of binary logic which underpins all our modern technology; from medicine to music via communications and all points between.“