Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum

Posted in WHELF

Supporting research: presentation from the Gregynog Colloquium

This presentation was delivered by Bronwen Blatchford (Cardiff Metropolitan University / RWCMD), Susan Glen (Swansea University) and Beth Hall (Bangor University) at the 2016 WHELF/HEWIT Colloquium. It discusses the feedback from the 3 regional events for librarians supporting research organized by the WHELF Research Group.

Posted in research, Research group blog, Research group blog, research support, workforce development Tagged with: ,

Natural Resources Wales joins WHELF

We are very pleased to announce that the Library and Information Service of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has become a member of WHELF.

NRW’s Information Services offer a range of electronic and physical resources and services to its staff and supports a wide range of the research activities of individual students. The subject matter of their collections covers land and water management, species and habitats, environmental and conservation management, forestry, planning, landscapes, access and recreation, marine and freshwater, soils and geology. Picture1

They also have specialist collections including historical and recent publications relating specifically to the Welsh environment. Their library catalogue ( also provides access to details of 1000+ datasets held by NRW. The largest physical library collection is based in Bangor, which is open to students, researchers and the general public to view and consult items.

Membership of WHELF will lead to greater collaborative and cooperative opportunities across Wales in terms of access to resources for researchers and students and will also open up opportunities for increased strategic working in evidence provisioning, learning and development and innovation.

The WHELF Representative for Natural Resources Wales will be Tegid Rhys Williams, Information Services Manager. Tegid began his Library career in 2012 as an Information Literacy Officer with Gwynedd Council. During this time he gained a Diploma in Information and Library Studies from Aberystwyth University. In 2015 he was appointed as the Information Services Manager with Natural Resources Wales. He also represents Natural Resources Wales on the North Wales Library Partnership Group (NWLP).

Posted in archives & special collections, collaboration, news, WHELF

RWCMD, Cardiff University & NHS Wales Libraries go live with WHELF Shared LMS

Cardiff University Library celebrated going live with "Alma cakes"!

Cardiff University Library celebrated going live with “Alma cakes”!

Congratulations to Cardiff University Library, the NHS Wales Libraries and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), who have now all gone live with the WHELF Shared LMS. These libraries are part of cohort 3, and make up the third and final group to implement the LMS. Bangor University and Wrexham Glyndwr University are the next to follow with their implementation later this month. Once Bangor and Glyndwr have gone live, the implementation will be complete, and this groundbreaking project will have delivered a shared library management system across the country incorporating all 10 Welsh higher education institutions, the National Library of Wales, and the Welsh NHS Libraries.

Posted in Blog LMS WHELF a Rennir, collaboration, news, Whelf shared LMS, WHELF Shared LMS blog

WHELF Research Data Management Training Day

Largely driven by funder policy, libraries around the world have begun to explore how to support research data management. This means applying our skills to a new context. We need to support researchers to plan data management. We also need to find ways to make the case for sharing data and to design training in “Data Information Literacy”. We need to provide input to making data resources discoverable and creating an infrastructure for long term preservation. RDM is a complex challenge because research is itself so diverse and the message has to be adapted to individual researcher’s needs. Our skills in influencing others are needed to develop research data services collaboratively with Research Offices, Computing Services and with researchers themselves. Research data stewardship will be one of the big challenges for university libraries in the next five years. This practical hands-on course is designed to help librarians build the skills and confidence to play an active part in research data management in their institution.

This training session is a follow up to the WHELF/ UK eInformation group “Research Data Management for Information Professionals” training session previously provided by Dr Andrew Cox on 1st July 2015 at Cardiff Metropolitan University.  That session provided an excellent introduction to what is involved in supporting RDM, and this session one year on will focus on developing our skills to lead and develop research data services at our institutions and collaboratively via WHELF.

WHEN: Tuesday 6th September 2016

WHERE: Cardiff University, Room 0.86 Glamorgan Building – King Edward VII Avenue Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3WT

Trainer: Dr Andrew Cox, Senior Lecturer at the Information School, the University of Sheffield

Who should attend?

  • The course is open to all WHELF information professionals, librarians, research and IT officers with an interest/responsibility for supporting research, especially research data management
  • Any library and information professional in Wales wishing to keep their skills up to date


10.30 Arrival and coffee

11.00 Welcome and introductions

11.15 RDM policy in context

12.15 Data case study

12.45 Incentives for RDM and data sharing

13.15 Lunch break

13.45 Research Data Services, including data management plans and teaching “data information literacy”

14.45 Leading change in RDM within your organisation

15.15 Summary, Q &A, resources available

15.30 Identify and discuss WHELF priorities for collaboration on RDM support

16.00 Close

Outcomes of the event:

  • Participants will increase their knowledge of research data management
  • Participants  will be more confident to lead and develop research data services at their institutions
  • Participants will be more confident in working with researchers supporting their RDM requirements
  • We will identify priorities for collaboration across WHELF on RDM support, that the WHELF research group can take forward

This event is free thanks to funding from the WHELF Staff Development Fund.

Lunch will be provided for registered attendees. Please email with any dietary requirements.

Spaces are limited. Booking will close on Monday 15th August 2016. Please click here to book.

About the trainer: Dr Andrew M. Cox is a Senior Lecturer at the Information School, the University of Sheffield, the UK’s first Information School. He was the director of the RDMRose and “Wicked ways in RDM” projects. He is a University of Sheffield senate award winner for learning and teaching  and a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His research areas are research data management; social media and wellbeing; and information behaviour in serious leisure. He is head of the Information School’s Digital Societies Research Group.

Posted in RDM, research, Research group blog, Research group blog, research support, workforce development

News from UWTSD

UWTSD logoCongratulations to Alison Harding who has been appointed as Executive Head of Library and Learning Resources at UWTSD (University of Wales Trinity Saint David). In her new role Alison will provide overall leadership in devising, implementing and monitoring a strategic vision for the provision of library and learning resources to support UWTSD’s mission and strategic priorities. We look forward to working with Alison in her new role.

WHELF also bids farewell to Anne Harvey, Head of Library and Learning Resources UWTSD: Swansea. After more than 30 years working in higher education institutions in their many guises (West Glamorgan Institute of HE, Swansea Institute of HE, Swansea Met & UWTSD) Anne has decided to take early retirement. Anne became a WHELF Representative in 2007 after being appointed as Head of Library & Learning Resources at Swansea Metropolitan University. We will miss working with Anne and thank her for all her support and contributions to the work of WHELF over the years and wish her a very happy retirement. Anne will be retiring on 1st September 2016.

Posted in news, WHELF

The Big Reveal: Showcasing collections made accessible by conservation

Thank you to Sally McInnes (Unique Collections, National Library of Wales) for this report:

 WHELF Archives and Special Collections Group / ARCW Conference

National Library of Wales

19 May 2016

Since 2008, staff from the Museums, Archives and Libraries Division of Welsh Government have worked together with archivists, conservators and the National Manuscripts and Conservation Trust to preserve and provide access to archival collections. The NMCT scheme provides the opportunity to undertake a fully funded manuscript conservation project and 15 eligible organisations have taken advantage of the scheme, which has provided conservation funding for 35 projects, amounting to over two hundred thousand pounds.

In May, nearly 50 delegates attended The Big Reveal conference which was held to celebrate this partnership and to demonstrate the significance and impact of conservation work on users and collections. WHELF has identified that opening up collections and promoting access is a strategic objective and it provided generous support towards the costs of hosting the conference.

The Archives and Special Collections Group members have made several successful applications for funding. Presentation were given by Elisabeth Bennett, Richard Burton Archives, on the records of the South Wales Miners’ Federation which provide invaluable evidence about the development of industrial relations in the UK and the wider impact on political, social and economic history. Elen Simpson, Bangor University Archives, spoke about providing access to the Penrhyn Jamaica Papers. These papers form part of the Penrhyn Collection, which is a significant research resource which provides an insight into the administration of a large estate in North Wales.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Pennant branch of the family acquired sugar plantations in Jamaica.  The Jamaica papers relate to the ownership of these plantations and provide evidence of the activities of the slave trade at this time.

Other successful applications include Aberystwyth University for the conservation of important and fragile music manuscripts from the University archive, mainly from the George Powell of Nanteos collection. One of the items is a fragile double sided, manuscript sheet written by Gustav Holst as the rehearsal copy of ” O Spiritual Pilgrim” from the 1933 Gregynog Festival.  A series of Mendelssohn letters were also conserved as part of Aberystwyth University’s 2013 grant application. As a result of the funding these items have been conserved, rebound and consequently are accessible to the public.

The scheme is now open for applications. Expressions of interest should be a maximum of 750 words and should be e-mailed to by Friday 22 July 2016.

Posted in archives & special collections, events Tagged with: ,

Summer closure for refurbishment at the RWCMD

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) will be closed from Friday 8th July until Monday 12th September in order to carry out work to improve the library entrance, issue desk and office space. As part of the refurbishment they will laying new carpet and rearranging the study space in the rest of the library. It will be an “all-singing all-dancing!” library refurb for RWCMD as they  will also be implementing Alma and Primo as part of cohort 3 in the WHELF Shared LMS. If you need to contact the library during the period of closure email:

Posted in learning spaces, news, Whelf shared LMS Tagged with: ,

WHELF/HEWIT Gregynog Colloquium 2016

The WHELF/HEWIT Gregynog Colloquium was held on 13th-17th June 2016 and was organized this year by the University of South Wales. The annual Colloquium is a week long event held at Gregynog Hall near Newtown, Powys and is an opportunity for delegates from the library and IT sectors to gather for a week of professional development and networking. The library programme runs at the beginning of the week (Mon-Weds am) and the IT programme from Wednesday afternoon until Friday.

From L to R: Janet Peters (Cardiff University), Chris Banks (Imperial College, London), Emma Adamson (University of South Wales), Steve Williams (Swansea University)

From L to R: Janet Peters (Cardiff University), Chris Banks (Imperial College, London), Emma Adamson (University of South Wales), Steve Williams (Swansea University)

The theme of the programme this year was “The Academic Library of the Future” and the keynote address on Monday morning was given by Chris Banks, Director of Library Services at Imperial College London. Chris suggested a revisit to the RLUK report on “Academic Libraries of the Future” and also highlighted Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. It was particularly interesting to look at the future of the library in terms of these trends to see where we can support and collaborate in emerging technologies and where in some cases we could be ahead of the game! Chris Banks’s presentation was followed by Steve Williams (University Librarian Head of Libraries, Archives, Culture and Arts at Swansea University) who discussed “The Academic Librarian, Wittgenstein and the Pizzaiola”. Steve opened debate on “which came first, the library or the librarian?” and considered the essential infrastructure that the library provides, how that is changing in the digital landscape and the skills and future skills/role of the academic librarian to support that.

Following tea and of course, cake! cakeit was great to to hear of the enthusiasm, interest and willingness of the academics at UCL (University College London) to publish via the UCL Press, the UK’s first fully open access university press. The UCL Press has been a great success; 20 books are planned for publication during 2016 some of which will be innovative in their use of browser based enhanced digital content. Monday’s session concluded with a look at the international agenda from Paul Jeorrett (Head of Library and Student Services, Wrexham Glyndwr University). Paul’s interactive session gauged where Welsh HEIs currently sit with regard to supporting international students from an LIS perspective and some horizon scanning on what may be next.

Tuesday’s programme directed us to a range of sessions detailing the wealth of work that is undertaken in the WHELF institutions. To mention just a few of these sessions, we heard from Bronwen Blatchford (Cardiff Metropolitan University), Beth Hall (Bangor University) and Susan Glen (Swansea University) on the feedback from 3 regional events across Wales run by the WHELF Research group to look at how librarians can support both  learning and teaching whilst developing the skills to support the rapidly changing and developing world of research.

Group discussions at the Gregynog Colloquium 2016

Group discussions at the Gregynog Colloquium 2016

John Dalling and Sarah Jones from University of South Wales Trinity Saint David talked about their experience of launching a new combined request service for distance learners. Mapping existing workflows enabled UWTSD to see that efficiencies could be achieved by merging separate services into one interconnected workflow which led to introducing a single online request form. From Cardiff University we heard from Erica Swain who reported on the findings of a project on face-to-face vs. online library induction with undergraduate students from the School of Dentistry. On Wednesday morning we were able to hear about some of the new physical spaces in libraries as Michele Davies and Karen Dewick (Swansea University) gave a presentation on the new Swansea Bay Campus Library and Emma Adamson (University of South Wales) on the extension to the Cardiff ATRiuM campus opening in September 2016.  No Gregynog Colloquium can be complete without a mention of the Shared LMS,  and it was exciting to hear from Iain Young (Heriot-Watt University) on our  Scottish colleagues vanguard approach to implementing a shared LMS in the SCURL collaboration. Andrew Brown (Swansea University), Christiane Kloos (Aberystwyth University) and Nicholas Roberts (University of South Wales) held a panel discussion on using data analytics across WHELF institutions.Finally, Gareth Owen (Programme Manager, WHELF Shared LMS) introduced a new Jisc funded project that will be taking place across WHELF in the next few months. The project is to identify, measure, define and monitor the benefits of the WHELF Shared LMS. Graham Hay and Michael Lee who are the external consultants from Cambridge lanyardEconometrics carrying out the project, outlined the methodology for developing the evaluation framework. This brought to an end the library side of the Colloquium programme and it was over to IT for their programme until the end of the week.

A number of the WHELF sub-groups took the opportunity whilst colleagues were gathered together to hold a meeting following the close of the programme on each day including the WHELF Research Group, WHELF Learning and Teaching Group, WHELF Copyright Group and the WHELF ALIS/Customer Services Group.

Congratulations to the University of South Wales for a well organized conference and thought provoking programme. We are grateful for the support of the sponsors of the Colloquium: Canon, Blackboard, CAE Technology Services, Proquest, ExLibris, Wiley, Biblotheca + 3M, Gale Cengage Learning.

See more from the conference on Twitter by searching #Gregynog2016.

Presentations from the conference can be accessed here.

Posted in collaboration, events, research, research support, WHELF, workforce development Tagged with: ,

AberLib TeachMeet 2016

This blog post was written by Ellie Downes, graduate trainee at Aberystwyth University:

“The 2016 Aber LibTeachMeet held at Aberystwyth University was a great success. The subject of this get together was How do libraries make you more employable?’ one of the hot button topics face by librarians at the moment. Among the group were HE, public, FE, and NHS librarians, and we discovered we faced similar challenges in each of our sectors.

The LibTeachMeet was opened by Julie Hart, Aberystwyth University Librarian and Deputy Director of Services, who noted the difference between employment and employability within the context of HE skills.

Our first speaker was yours truly, and I spoke on my experiences both as a recent student, and as a library trainee, and how in both cases the library contributes to employability. 

Next up was Anita Saycell, subject librarian, who gave a talk on the resources we have at Aberystwyth to help students keep up to date with industry developments and research companies.

Our third speaker was Síona Murray from Coleg Llandrillo, who gave us an insight into Further Education’s contributions to employability, as well as touching on a range of topics such as Information Literacy, Digital Literacy, and social media skills as employability skills.

Next, Sarah Gwenlan, subject librarian, spoke about Aberystwyth University’s efforts to collaborate Library resources and skills with the Careers Service in our Employabilty group, and developing shared sessions, and discussions were had about the best time in the degree scheme to introduce these lectures to students.

Finally, Joy Cadwallader, subject librarian, gave us a personal case study about how libraries were making people employable back in the 1980s, as libraries have to keep up with new technology, so do our students.
There was plenty of discussion about employability of students but also skills for librarians. Another key point that came up was how to market the library’s involvement and provision of skills, and the issue of ‘presumed knowledge’ with a phrase I particularly enjoyed which is ‘IT confident doesn’t equal IT competent’. We also discussed the importance of collaborating further with careers services to develop joint sessions on skills, and looking for ‘employability champions’ amongst colleagues and academic departments. We also touched on the challenge of finding a good hashtag to promote the value of libraries to employability, which proved to be a difficult one.

I would like to thank everyone who attended and spoke, especially those who took the time to travel to Aber, as well as CILIP for sponsoring this event and helping us provide the lure of lunch and freebies.

All that’s left to say is I’ll be looking forward to Aber LibTeachMeet 2017.”


This event will be run again in North Wales during November 2016.

Posted in employability, events, information literacy

Measuring and monitoring the benefits of a shared LMS

This presentation was delivered by Graham Lee and Michael Lee from Cambridge Econometrics at the recent Gregynog Colloquium. The presentation outlines a Jisc funded project to identify the benefits of a shared LMS; to identify what has been acheived, what the evidence is for this and what can be anticipated in going forward by developing a logic framework. Cambridge Econometrics will provide an independent evaluation and provide a high level of analysis to demonstrate the value of this project to our sector and wider. Workshops as part of the project are to be scheduled for July and September.

Posted in JISC, value, Whelf shared LMS, WHELF Shared LMS blog

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