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The WHELF Research Group is running two “Open Research Cafe” events: “an ideas exchange for different stakeholders on the topic of OA publishing, Open Data, Access to Information”. These events are an excellent opportunity for HE library staff who wish to learn more about the global “Open Research” movement and how this is changing the face of academic publishing (and therefore libraries!).
The Bangor event is on Wed 23rd May, 11-12.30pm: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-science-cafe-tickets-45713877438
The Cardiff event is on Tue 26th June, 1-4pm: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-research-cafe-tickets-46287831149
Events are free to attend and refreshments will be provided: booking is essential!
WHELF sponsored a Welsh Copyright Roadshow event in Swansea on 18th April, run by the joint chairs of the WHELF Copyright Group, Marie Lancaster and Scott Pryor. You can read a summary of the day on the UK Copyright literacy site:
Guest post by Anna Udalowska
Aberystwyth University is well known for providing one of the best student experiences in the UK and a large part of that is down to the strong sense of belonging that we foster, not only with students and staff but with the wider community too.
This year’s Aber LibTeachMeet focusing on inclusivity was a great opportunity to examine what it is we are currently doing so well but also to explore what else we can do both as individuals and as an institution to more actively meet the diverse needs of our users and to make the library as inclusive as possible to everyone.
We prepared ten presentations exploring various elements of inclusivity – accommodating the needs of international or bilingual students, supporting those with sight impairments or those who stammer or building inclusivity by encouraging students to read.
The event itself reflected the topic discussed. Speakers came from four different institutions – Aberystwyth University, University of Leicester, Sheffield Hallam University and Swansea University. Also, three different departments from within Aberystwyth University were represented – the International Student Centre, Student Support, and Information Services. The atmosphere was informal and kind, we openly discussed ideas, asked questions and expressed appreciation for shared experiences.
The day started with a subject librarian, Lloyd Roderick, who gave a presentation on his experience of teaching information literacy bilingually. He shared a few useful resources such as Esboniadur and Gwerddon for helping to support students studying in the Welsh language.
Lloyd’s talk was followed by Yvonne Rinkart from the International Student Centre who presented the findings of a short study exploring international foundation students’ library usage. One of the points raised by Yvonne was that international students are more susceptible to ‘library anxiety’ – the feeling of being confused and overwhelmed that libraries can sometimes induce.
The next presentation given by John Harrington and Diane Jones, speakers from the Student Support Centre, gave us a good overview of the disability services they provide along with statistics for Aberystwyth University, and explained what inclusion really means.
We had the opportunity to look at inclusivity from the student perspective too. A recent AU graduate, Cerys Davies, talked about her experience of using library services as a student with sight impairments. The talk inspired a wave of positive comments and questions. Among many other valuable points, Cerys talked about the difficulty she faced in obtaining accessible reading materials.
Our first external speakers of the day were Harinder Matharu and Adam Smith who had joined us from the University of Leicester. They gave us an overview of the two initiatives contributing to their inclusive university environment – Read at Leicester and Unearthing Histories. Deepening the sense of belonging of minority groups by exploring their history in university’s archives was a truly inspiring idea.
One of the IT Helpdesk crew members – Alice Farnworth talked about the benefits of embedding DSA software training within our library service. She presented us with a variety of assistive tools, of which some such as Read&Write or Inspiration are available on public computers at Aber.
Next up, Philippa Price, who has been shortlisted for the Welsh Librarian of the year Award, told us about the Inclusive Services Group set up at Swansea University. Philippa talked about a broad range of initiatives the Group is organizing and promoting, such as creating recommended reading lists for the LGBT community or putting together dignity packs for homeless women.
Hannah Dee, a lecturer from the Computer Science Department talked us through the idea of improving students’ writing and the ability to read by setting up a science-fiction book club for students and staff from her department. Hannah also introduced us to some interesting books, for which we are very grateful.
Another visiting speaker, Paul Conway from Sheffield Hallam University, discussed accessible templates for presentations and hand-outs and other tips on being inclusive in the classroom. Kate Wright from the Aberystwyth University E-Learning Group delivered a short presentation on supporting users with a stammer. Kate raised a few interesting points including stammering not being perceived as disability, although it is classified as one. She also discussed the stereotypes surrounding stammering.
As with our last three LibTeachMeets this was a fantastic forum for not only reflecting on current practice but for generating the new ideas necessary for us to continue to build on our reputation for inclusivity in a diverse and fast-changing environment. We received positive feedback from speakers and attendees who described the programme as interesting, varied, informative and thought-provoking. We greatly appreciate all who joined in and we hope it will generate some great ideas that will assist in our aim of increasing the awareness and accessibility of both the library facilities and the services on offer here.
This is a guest post by Philippa Price, Subject Librarian at Swansea University
Last month, Swansea University hosted a library teachmeet at its Bay Campus. The topic was ‘Second Year Success’, inspired by research which suggests that students experience a dip in performance in their second year of university (sometimes called the ‘sophomore slump’). The event was a chance for university librarians to gather informally to share concerns, ideas and experiences of supporting second year students.
We had around 20 higher education librarians taking part on the day, including one further education librarian who supports HE. The feedback so far suggests it was a productive event. By the end of the teachmeet, attendees had:
The programme included guest speakers from Swansea University – Janet Collins and Amy Genders, Student Experience Officers from the School of Management, and Rosella D’Alesio, Academic Success Programme Manager from the Centre for Academic Success – but the emphasis was on group discussion.
The format was inspired by a recent CPD event on student-generated induction. We used small group discussions to generate responses to the areas identified above and then used electronic polling to let attendees vote individually on which was the most important to them in each area. We found the following:
The format worked well and made for a lively and constructive day. The ‘call to action’ at the end when attendees were asked to identify and vote on the next steps they will take seemed particularly motivating. It’s a strategy I’ll use again when planning training and support sessions as it seems a good way to translate reflection into action.
This is a guest post by Jane Daniels, Bibliographic Librarian at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Being able to use these open source packages to clean up our legacy data and enrich records received from publishers and vendors was identified as a training requirement by the WHELF Cataloguers’ Group in 2017, as was the need to provide CPD for our workforce to ensure that cataloguers and systems colleagues can work together to identify, prioritise and complete metadata improvement projects. The need to provide the training received added support recently following the agreement between Jisc & WHELF to contribute WHELF records to the National Bibliographical Knowledgebase.
The NBK provides us with a fantastic opportunity to share and enrich records as part of a collaborative UK-wide service but, like other contributing libraries, we know that we have metadata issues to address if we are to realise the full potential of the NBK i.e. cleaner data = less matching & merging queries = greater discoverability for our collections = an improved end-user experience.
Another incentive for us, as Ex Libris customers, was the release of the Alma MarcEdit API and the possibility of further workflow efficiencies.
The training day was free to attend (thank you WHELF Staff Development Fund!) and in a central location (thank you National Library of Wales for the fantastic venue and exemplary event management service provided by Elen Rees and her team) which meant that we had good representation from across our Consortium with 16 colleagues making it on the day.
Our trainer, Owen Stephens, provided a good mix of demonstrations and hands-on tasks. It was clear that what we learned sparked many ideas about possible data wrangling scenarios which Owen was happy to address during breaks, over lunch and at the end of the day! So what did we learn?
It can be used to:
We also had an introduction to Regular Expressions which is the syntax used to find and deal with metadata problems, or omissions, in MarcEdit. This topic had added value for us as Alma users as we can use this same syntax to create and edit Normalisation Rules in Alma.
It can be used to:
We can use these 2 packages individually or in tandem to improve our records e.g. analyse and transform data originating in spreadsheet format in OpenRefine and then export the data to MarcEdit for validation and conversion to MARC.
I think that everyone of us will have thought of at least one metadata problem on the day that we now feel confident to tackle using the combination of Owen’s training & the marvellous functionality of the software packages.
The next stage will be to practice using the packages and to share our experiences and techniques across our Consortium for the benefit of all.
Jane Daniels, Bibliographical Librarian, Cardiff Metropolitan University
On Wednesday, 25th April 2018 from 11:00 to 15:00 we will be hosting this year’s Aber LibTeachMeet – a fun and informal mini-conference for sharing ideas through short presentations.
This year’s theme is: How can we make the library more inclusive?
The aim of this year’s program is to explore what we can do both as individuals and as an institution to more actively meet the diverse needs of our users, and to make the library as inclusive as possible to everyone.
The event is open to all students and staff.
Please contact email@example.com or visit the EventBrite page if you would like to know more about the event or to confirm your attendance. We still welcome proposals for short presentations. If you would like to share ideas or experience of inclusive practice please also get in touch.
A new article has been published open access on UKSG Insights by Janet Peters, Director of Library Services and University Librarian at Cardiff University. “Shrinking horizons – or pushing boundaries?” gives “an overview of the current benefits from collaborative working within Wales, at a regional and a UK level and globally”. She suggests:
“those libraries who are willing to to trust each other and to work together may yet have the best chance of survival, provided that they.. push the boundaries of their thinking and.. actions”
Access the article here: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.397
The WHELF Learning & Teaching group are running a teachmeet at Swansea University on Wed 21st March:
There is some research to suggest that students experience a dip in performance in their second year of university (sometimes called the ‘sophomore slump’). This event is a chance for university librarians to gather informally to share concerns, ideas and experiences of supporting second year students.
More information and booking here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/second-year-success-a-library-teachmeet-tickets-43404640448
The hashtag for the event is #SwanseaLTM18
Many thanks to Karen F. Pierce (@Darklecat) for writing this post on our recent WHELF event:
On Monday 12th February a group of WHELF cataloguers and special collections staff gathered together in Cardiff to learn all about artists’ books – what they are and how to catalogue them.
So, how does one define an artists’ book? Anne Evenhaugen on the Smithsonian Libraries blog suggests that:
An artist’s book is a medium of artistic expression that uses the form or function of “book” as inspiration. It is the artistic initiative seen in the illustration, choice of materials, creation process, layout and design that makes it an art object.
We began the day with a talk from Sarah Bodman (@SarahBodman), Senior Research Fellow at UWE, Bristol. Sarah brought a suitcase full of examples of artist’s books for everyone to handle and look at, to get a feel for the different kinds of expression these items can take. She talked us through different printing mediums and different styles of showcasing ideas, and included a brief history of artists’ books from ideas that were formulated by Stéphane Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard, 1897 (published 1914) which was a seminal influence on artists’ books and concrete poetry, and also Matisse’s Jazz (1947). Many key works inspire or spawn other works, such as Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963), which has had many homages such as Tom Sowden’s Fortynine Coach Seats (2003) amongst others.
Some artists want to engender participation from observers/readers – so, Tom Mosely has created books that he invites people to tear the paper in; and Ann Tyler included images of knives and tools which readers had to lift to read the text of Billy Rabbit: An American Adaptation (2007), thus becoming symbolically complicit in the story.
Sarah’s presentation was a great introduction to the day, and helped to show people how diverse artist’s books can be.
The next presentation was from Doreen Barnaville, Cardiff Metropolitan University, talking about the collection of artists’ books they have, how it came about and was built up, and how they engage their students with the books. Their collection is a working collection and students are encouraged to handle the books, and take part in workshops. Some of the books in their collection they have had for years and used to be housed in the main library collection before anyone really realised what they were, and how special they were. They now have an active collecting policy, and add to their collection each year. Those doing the buying try to get as much information from the artists themselves where possible, which can be added to the catalogue record.
Alison Harvey (@AlisonHarvey_), Cardiff University, then spoke about Ron King and the Circle Press collection housed in CU. The collection was gained due to collaborative work between CU and Cardiff Met, as Ron King was very particular about where he wanted his works to be housed. One of the first projects to take place was an exhibition held in CU Special Collections that was curated and set up by art students from Cardiff Met.
Following on from this was a presentation about Shirley Jones and the Red Hen Press. Shirley Jones is a Welsh artist and several institutions in Wales house her work. Kristine Chapman (National Museum Wales) spoke about their collection that has been built up over the years since about 1999, and the relationship they have engendered with her; In contrast, Lisa Tallis (Cardiff University) then spoke about the complete set of work that Shirley had donated to CU as an alumni, including proof copies of some of her books. These proofs were brought out for attendees to peruse, and to be able to see the various stages that Shirley goes through when creating her art.
After lunch we reconvened to get ‘technical’. Maria White (co-author of “Artists’ books: a cataloguers manual” ARLIS guide) spent the afternoon giving us guidance on how to actually catalogue artists’ books. After having spent the morning hearing about these items, and seeing physical examples, we had a good idea of how difficult cataloguing them might be! Maria talked us through all the relevant MARC 21 fields, and gave some suggestions of where to find further information that we might need, for example from exhibition catalogues, and artist’s and publisher’s websites. Key problems that might be encountered were – not knowing the name of the artist, not having a title for the work, and having the work in a form difficult to describe. If you are very lucky there might be an ISBN but this is unlikely if the artist has published it themselves. Maria did say that most artists would be very happy if you contacted them to get more information about the work. For a start you would be informing them that their work was held in your library, and they might find that information valuable and informative. It is also important for the person buying the work (which probably wouldn’t be the cataloguer), to get as much information as they can at the point of purchase, this is most easy if the purchase is at a book fair where you are likely to be buying directly from the artist themselves, rather than through a specialist book shop. Picking up associated ephemera, to include with the book, and even taking notes from a conversation with the artist can be extremely helpful to the cataloguing process.
Maria had also brought along a load of examples, and after her initial presentation we were all given a couple of these examples to have a go at cataloguing (using paper templates). As we were sat in small groups around tables we were able to discuss the items in our groups which helped us as we put together our catalogue records. Maria said she found it very interesting listening to all the discussions, and hearing the issues and thoughts that were being generated. There were a whole range of different books to work on, and some were swapped between groups. Some were easier than others, and some needed a bit of input from Maria. After we had all completed several records (or at least discussed several items), the discussion and feedback was opened up to the whole group and we were given the ‘answer’ sheet – i.e. MARC records of all the examples, that Maria had created. The groups took turns at discussing individual items, highlighting any problems they had, or anything they found interesting. It was extremely valuable being able to see what the record for a book could look like after having a go oneself. By not using computers we had mostly not been able to check on websites for further information, although a couple of people had used personal devices to do so. It was evident that sometimes you really have to go outside the item to get basic details, such as the title –which is a very different approach to when cataloguing mainstream textbooks.
The whole day proved to be very interesting, informative, and even challenging at times, but it was wonderful to be able to handle the books that both Sarah and Maria brought with them, and which brought the session to life. Colleagues from different WHELF Institutions were able to share information about their collections and how they are working with them. As there were some spare places we were joined by library staff from Bristol, Canterbury and Cork which also widened our discussions.
WHELF Shared LMS Programme Manager Gareth Owen and Tracey Stanley, Deputy University Librarian at Cardiff University, have just had a chapter included in a new volume “Collaboration and the Academic Library” published by Chandos Publishing. The editor of the volume is Jeremy Atkinson, an active past member of WHELF.
The abstract for their chapter is
The Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) have undertaken an ambitious programme to procure and implement a single Library Management System and discovery interface for all Higher Education institutions across Wales and the National Library of Wales. The paper describes the steps taken to create the conditions for a complex collaboration at a national level, and the benefits identified and achieved from this. It also covers the opportunities for deeper collaboration which have been established, which have potential to transform service provision across Wales.