Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum

Posted in WHELF

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 Blog Grwp Ymchwil, RDM, research, 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

UNESCO recognition for one of the National Library of Wales’s treasures

Tuesday evening at the Senedd eight new pieces of documentary heritage were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World UK Register. The only item from Wales to be included was The Survey of the Manors of Crickhowell & Tretower by Robert Johnson (1587), held at the National Library of Wales.

This survey is a part of the Badminton Collection held in the Library’s Map Collection. Like many other such estate surveys of the period it includes a textual description of the estate, its extent, its properties and tenants; unlike most other surveys this survey also includes a set of maps produced as part of the survey. This is the earliest example of a grand estate atlas designed as a coherent volume of decorative estate maps.

New Blog here

Further information in the press release:

(Thank you to Nia Mai Daniel, Head of Archives and Manuscripts Section, NLW for this information)

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

WHELF Reps meeting report May 2016

The WHELF Representatives gathered at Gladstone’s Library on 19th-20th May 2016. Attending the meeting were: Sue Hodges (Chair, Bangor), Emma Adamson (U of SW), Kristine Chapman (National Museum Wales – Amgueddfa Cymru), Andrew Dalgleish (U of SW), Ann Davies (OU),  Alison Harding (UWTSD: Carmarthen & Lampeter), Julie Hart (Aberystwyth), Mark Hughes (Swansea), Paul Jeorrett (Wrexham Glyndwr), Manon Foster Evans (NLW),  Aimee Jones (Cardiff Metropolitan),  Janet Peters (Cardiff University), Rachael Whitfield (WDO), Megan Wiley (RWCMD).

Some of the topics under discussion at this meeting were:

WHELF Shared LMS: We are now in the final stages of implementation, progress in Cohort 3 (which consists of Bangor University, Cardiff University, Wrexham Glyndwr University and the Wales NHS libraries) is going well and all sites remain on target to go live on the agreed milestones. However, implementation across the consortium marks whilst a huge achievement in itself marks just the beginning of the process to realise the benefits of a shared LMS. Recognising this, Jisc have agreed to fund a benefits study conducted by Cambridge Econometrics to identify what has been achieved, 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.

International interest in the Shared LMS continues, the Programme Manager for the WHELF Shared LMS, Gareth Owen, recently attended the Academic Librarian 4 Conference in Hong Kong in June to present on the project and nearer to home, Gareth will be speaking at the SCONUL conference this year held in Cardiff, June 23-24th.

WHELF Strategy: WHELF’s existing strategy will be drawing to a close at the end of this academic year and in anticipation of this we have been working on a new strategy for 2016-18 to underpin our activities. Our strategic aims are identified as:

  • Collaboration
  • Collections and Research
  • Engagement

WHELF Reps agreed the draft of the new Strategy and it will be in place for the start of the new academic year. We also took the opportunity to review and update the WHELF Constitution and as part of this have agreed a new meeting schedule of 3 times per year of 1 meeting by videoconference in February and a residential meeting in May and October. The WHELF Officers group will meet 4 times a year via videoconference.

Guest speakers: We welcomed two guests to our meeting, firstly on Thursday 19th May, Alyson Tyler, Senior Libraries Development Adviser for the Museum, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD) of the Welsh Government. Alyson attended as part of MALD’s future library strategy consultation to ask the HE library sector what our priorities are for 2017-20 and how might some of these be acheived. We had a very useful discussion with Alyson and look forward to seeing MALD’s new strategy in due course.

Our second speaker Tom Mowlam, Director of Operations at Ubiquity Press attended on Friday 20th May. Ubiquity Press is an open access publisher of peer reviewed academic journals and books as well as a journal hosting platform. Tom presented to us the different business models that Press offers along with outlining some of the partnerships that they have in operation. Thank you to Tom Mowlam for taking the time to come and visit WHELF and for giving us lots to think about!

Posted in collaboration, news, WHELF, Whelf shared LMS

Resources for librarians supporting RDM

The presentation below details some of the available resources for librarians and researchers to provide guidance on what steps need to be taken when setting up research data management services and which documents are the most useful to consult.

Thank you to by Dr Beth Hall, Academic Support Librarian at Bangor University (with help from Bronwen Blatchford, Cardiff Metropolitan University) for compiling these resources together.

Posted in Blog Grwp Ymchwil, RDM, research, Research group blog, research support Tagged with:

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