Posts Tagged ‘GCW’

Anonymised library activity data for the academic years 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10: collected for the JISC Library Impact Data Project

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:

Jerome writeup in Discovery newsletter

Posted on June 8th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

This article appears in the current (May) issue of the Discovery newsletter, along with a nice photo of the GCW. Thanks to Helen Harrop of SERO for the writeup!

Great Central Icehouse

The stated purpose of the Jerome project is an ambitious one: to “develop a sustainable, institutional service for open bibliographic metadata, complemented with well documented APIs and an intelligent personalised interface for library users.” Not much there then!

The project started life as an internal ‘un-project’ which aimed to deliver “an amazing way to interact” with the University of Lincoln’s library services in the wider context of the University’s user services and in the face of limited resources.

The funding as a JISC RDTF project has enabled the team to make much swifter progress with their aspirations and to document achievements so that they can share their expertise and developments with the wider community.

The key outputs for this current, JISC-funded, phase of Jerome are:

  • A developers’ toolkit which will include APIs, web services, a technical ‘cook book’, user journeys and other documentation which will allow other developers to build and implement their own search tools.
  • Bibliographic records of books, journals and e-prints released as open data.
  • A user-controlled, personalised search interface.

The project has already gone live with the first implementation of a Jerome search interface [] at the end of March.

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.

“Loovertising” – Posters at Lincoln

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.

Poster text reads 'When you've gotta go, you've gotta go. Learning Development can help you with your study skills.'

The posters were designed by our resident designer (Student Engagement & Communications OfficerSteve 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:

Touch me, I’m upgraded! New self-service screens in the Library

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.

Touch me, I'm upgraded!

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.

In the background (of self service)

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

Merry Christmas.

Overcomplicating our online opening hours once more

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.

  1. I use a mixture of JavaScript includes [making liberal use of document.write( ), so probably bad for usability and accessibility], plus CSS, so that tables of opening hours are formatted consistently wherever they appear.
  2. 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.
    Screenshot of the opening hours for Holbeach. Yellow bars show desk service hours, blue is self-service. Light blue shows occasional late closing. See, I told you it gets complicated
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

On knitting and naming

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.

Photograph of two books with knitted covers, found in the GCW in November 2008

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.

Easy PC, here’s a free seat

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.

Screenshot of the GCW PC availability data application

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…

Algebra, Boole, Computers, Display

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.

Photograph of the Boolefest book display in the GCW

It consists of:

Logo of the Boolefest arts and sciences festivalGeorge 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.