Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum

Posted in WHELF

Supporting research: the evolving role of the subject librarian

reseach events

The WHELF Research group have organized three regional events during May for WHELF subject librarians, research librarians and librarians working in the Wales NHS Libraries.  The purpose of the event is to look at the evolving role of the subject librarian in response to the growing demand to support research and the changes within the research environment. The programme will include 3 presentations:

  • Keynote: The evolving nature of the subject librarian
  • An introduction to the open access agenda in the UK and how this informs library services
  • The researcher as a social butterfly (use of social media/networking platforms, altmetrics etc)

The 3 presentations will be followed by structured discussions to allow attendees to examine in more depth the themes addressed in the presentations and to consider the scope for future research support roles. The events are scheduled as follows:

4th May, Swansea University

10th May, Aberystwyth University

26th May, Cardiff University

The feedback from the structured discussions and a pre and post attendance survey for attendees will be collated and presented at the 2016 Gregynog Colloquium (

You can also follow and contribute to the discussions on the day using the Twitter hashtag #whelfresearch

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

Gregynog Colloquium 2016

The Gregynog Colloquium has been organized this year by the University of South Wales and will take place between 13th-17th June 2016.  This year’s Library programme is a varied mix of topics linked to the theme of ‘The Academic Library of the Future?’ and welcomes Chris Banks of Imperial College London to give the keynote address.  With the support of their sponsors the Organizing Committee have been able to keep the costs the same as last year and may even be able to reduce them.

Please go to the following link to view the programme and for details of how to book:

GregynogThe last date for taking bookings with be 20th May. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Posted in events, WHELF Tagged with:

Mini round up of news from Welsh libraries | Alyson’s Welsh libraries blog

This news update is by Alyson Tyler, Senior Libraries Development Adviser for MALD (Museums, Archives and Libraries Division of the Welsh Government):

Source: Mini round up of news from Welsh libraries | Alyson’s Welsh libraries blog

Posted in news

WHELF Libraries celebrate National Libraries Day

The annual National Libraries Day (6th February 2016)  gave WHELF libraries the opportunity to run events to celebrate and showcase their libraries and staff.

In Cardiff, the University Library Service celebrated with a #LovingYourLibrary theme. All of the university libraries had “heart-ily” decorated stands (and free sweets) where staff and students could leave their views on what they love about their library or comment on where they think services could be improved. This was combined with “meet the team” blog posts on the Library News blog and Twitter to profile staff and their role:

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) also ran with a theme of profiling their staff to demonstrate links to the subjects they support. The Library Assistants used the RWCMD Twitter account to introduce the team (#RWCMDlibstaff) and also put together a display complete with photos from old drama productions they had appeared in along with a quiz for students to enter.

Bangor University organized a number of events in and around their libraries from 25th January to 14th February along the theme of “Love your Library”.

They ran a competition inviting students to tell them in a creative way what they love about Bangor University Libraries; the first place prize was a £25 gift voucher.

Library staff also took the library on tour and were out and about around campus inviting staff and students to share their views on how they use the library and what they like/dislike about the library space. It was also an opportunity to inform users about the services they provide.

Swansea University ran a “Love Your Library week” from the 8th to 12th February with activities taking place between 11am and 2pm each day at the Singleton campus library and a day long event on the 12th Feb at the Bay campus library.


Staff provided tea/coffee, cakes and sweets and invited student feedback via a love heart post it display and “love letters” to the library. Some of the love heart post-its featured on Twitter encouraging further student engagement.

SU ISS NLD16.3jpg         

Posted in events, marketing, value, WHELF

Head of Library Services at Cardiff Metropolitan University

CILIP Cymru Librarian of the YeaCongratulations to Mark Hughes who has been appointed as Head of Library Services at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Since 2008 Mark has worked at Swansea University Library as Head of Collections and Finance. In 2015 he won the CILIP Cymru Welsh Librarian of the Year. Mark takes up his new post at Cardiff Metropolitan on July 4th and WHELF looks forward to working with him in this new role.


Posted in news, WHELF

Cardiff Metropolitan University goes live with WHELF Shared LMS

cardiff met logo March 2016 brings a double success for the implementation of the WHELF Shared LMS as Cardiff Metropolitan University went live this morning with the service ( Cardiff Metropolitan’s implementation concludes the implementation phase for cohort 2 and now the process continues for the third and final cohort: Cardiff University and the Wales NHS Libraries, Bangor University and Glyndwr University.


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

WHELF quarterly news update Feb 2016

The most recent meeting of the WHELF Representatives was via videoconference on Wednesday 24th February. The meeting was chaired by Sue Hodges (Bangor University) and attended by the following: Paul Jeorrett (Glyndwr University), Emma Adamson (Uof SW), Bronwen Blatchford (UofW), Kristine Chapman (NMW), Andrew Dalgleish (UofSW), Alison Harding (UWTSD: Carmarthen & Lampeter), Anne Harvey (UWTSD:Swansea), Mark Hughes (Swansea University), Kathryn Murphy (NLW), Julie Neenan (Cardiff Metropolitan), Janet Peters (Cardiff University), Rachael Whitfield (WHELF Development Officer, minute taker), Nicky Whitsed (OU), Megan Wiley (RWCMD).

Welcomes and retirements: We welcomed new WHELF Representative, Kristine Chapman from the National Museum of Wales to her first meeting and said goodbye to Avril Jones (National Library of Wales) and Nicky Whitsed (Open University)  who are both retiring and thanked them for their help, support and contribution to the work of WHELF over the years. It was also Bronwen Blatchford’s (University of Wales) final meeting with WHELF Reps as she is leaving the University of Wales. The University of Wales is merging with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and will no longer be an independent member of WHELF. Bronwen was thanked for her valued contributions to WHELF and we wish her well in her continuing career at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

WHELF Shared LMS: The WHELF Shared LMS continues to form an extensive part of the discussions at the WHELF meetings and we welcomed Gareth Owen, Programme Manager for the WHELF Shared LMS to the meeting. Gareth reported on progress with the project as we now reach the mid stages of implementation within our institutions; cohort 2 namely, University of Wales Trinity Saint and Cardiff Metropolitan University will both be going live during March 2016. Cardiff University and the RWCMD started their implementation process in January, and Bangor and Glyndwr universities also held their first “kick off” meeting in February.

Good progress is being made to develop a shared catalogue and shared cataloguing via the WHELF Shared LMS. A symposium hosted by Swansea University in November, set out some of the basic milestones and provided a common understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead. Following the symposium, the cataloguers have been active in discussion on a shared online platform (Yammer) and ExLibris has produced a draft plan for implementation.

A workshop was held at Gregynog on February 25th-26th to develop work around analytics. The workshop was facilitated by colleagues from Sheffield and Lancaster universities.

Gareth has secured funding from Jisc over to develop a benefits realisation framework. Jisc has confirmed a budget for this exercise which will last between 6-8 months and is in the process of finalising arrangements with its procurement team. WHELF workshops will then be arranged to commence work on the framework.

As WHELF proceeds rapidly to full implementation the need to provide continued central support for the project was the focus of our remaining discussions in this part of the meeting. Supporting the WHELF Shared LMS across our institutions, continuing to explore and develop the collaborative opportunities that a shared system will bring and exploiting those benefits will be paramount.

WHELF workforce training and development proposal Julie Hart (Aberystwyth University) Sue Hodges (Bangor University) and Paul Jeorrett (Glyndwr Wrexham) met in December to discuss this area of the Action Plan. Their suggestion to WHELF Reps is that a training budget of £5000 be set aside from WHELF funds to support workforce training and development. The funding is to enable

  • Staff development events, activities, or OERs that link to, stimulate and support the WHELF Strategic Aims outlined in the WHELF Strategic Plan 2015- and the WHELF Action Plan.
  • Events, activities, or OERs that inform ways in which WHELF can develop and innovative in the future
  • Staff development, training and awareness raising that offers benefit to the widest range of staff within the WHELF membership
  • Events, activities, or OERs that incorporate all of the above but has potential to reach out to other library partners in Wales and beyond

This request was unanimously agreed by WHELF and the funding request form and guidelines will be finalised and then circulated to WHELF staff to enable them to take advantage of this funding.

Report from the Chair of the Archives and Special Collections sub-group We welcomed Sian Williams (Librarian, South Wales Miners’ Library, Swansea University) to this meeting. Sian, along with Sally McInnes of the National Library of Wales are joint Chairs of the WHELF Archives and Special Collections (A&SC) sub-group. The A&SC group meet twice a year and Sian updated the group on the work that the A&SC group are focusing on as part of the WHELF Action Plan including compiling a list of digitized resources for the WHELF website that highlight WHELF’s treasures; considering a scoping study to address the cataloguing backlog of institutional records; use of volunteers in A≻ discussing a digital preservation strategy and a joint conference on conservation with the National Manuscript Conservation Trust (NMCT) to be held on 19th May.

Gregynog Colloquium 2016 The call for papers for the Colloquium has been circulated with a theme of “The Academic Library of the Future” and the University of South Wales who are the organizers of the conference this year are currently following up on suggestions and proposals. The programme will go out at the beginning of April.

Future configuration proposal for WHEEL (Wales Higher Education Electronic Library) The main aims of WHEEL are to license access to resources for learning, teaching and research for the benefit of all users of WHELF library services in the most cost efficient manner possible using economies of scale. It has now been in existence for a number of years, and has provided a valuable service to WHELF member institutions. Chair of the WHEEL sub-group and WHELF Representative Mark Hughes had prepared a paper for the group to enable discussion on furthering a robust, flexible and sustainable model to develop WHEEL’s activities. WHEEL has been identified as a potential growth area for WHELF collaborative service activities in relation to the strategic opportunities opened up by the WHELF Shared LMS project.

Posted in news, WHELF, Whelf shared LMS

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales joins WHELF

main library

We are very pleased to announce that the library of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is now a member of WHELF. The library at the Museum supports the work of the curatorial staff and houses collections in Archaeology, Fine and Applied Art, Industrial and Social History, the Natural Sciences and Museum Studies along with Special Collections such as the Gregynog Collection. The library provides access to students and researchers by appointment and is a natural fit with WHELF to enable more collaborative working particularly in the areas of archives and special collections. In addition to National Museum Cardiff, the Museum also has libraries at:

  • St Fagans National History Museum
  • National Waterfront Museum
  • National Roman Legion Museum
  • National Wool Museum
Kristine Chapman - Principal Librarian Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Kristine Chapman – Principal Librarian
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

The WHELF Representative from the Museum will be Principal Librarian, Kristine Chapman. Kristine began her library career in the academic sector and in 2005 began to work at the Museum, becoming Principal Librarian in 2014. She is honorary librarian of the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association; Cambrian Archaeological Association; and the Cardiff Naturalists Society. She represents the Museum on a number of committees, including the Museum Librarians and Archivists Group (MLAG) and Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC).

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

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

A unified system and interface for the University of South Wales

The third in a series of short blog interviews with project leads at WHELF institutions which have already gone live with the shared LMS and Discovery-Alma and Primo:

Bernadette Ryan at the University of South Wales

The University of South Wales (USW) is Wales’ largest university, and one of the largest in the UK with approaching 30,000 students supported by 1,900 Academic staff and 1,500 Support staff.

USW is a new institution formed in 2013 from the merger of the University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport. The university is still establishing itself after the merger, realigning its teaching, research and estate. USWs’ emphasis is vocationally focused teaching and applied research.

USW is currently spread over 5 sites. Treforest & Glyntaff at Pontypridd, a site in Cardiff, and the City and Caerleon campuses at Newport. Library Services supports 5 campus Libraries across the sites.

£170 million has been invested in campuses over the past 7 years. Investment continues to support the ongoing campus realignment. In particular at the Cardiff and Newport Campuses.

Following the merger, Library Services converged with Student Services. Following a more recent restructure Library Services is now part of Learning Services, which includes Careers & Employability and Student Support & Study Skills. Learning Services is headed up by our new Director Emma Adamson.

What was your legacy system and what do you have now?

As a result of the merger, Library Services inherited 2 library management systems.

The sites at Treforest, Glyntaff, Cardiff and The College Merthyr Tydfil (who share our LMS) used Capita Alto with Capita Prism 3 for discovery and Talis Aspire for reading list management for USW students. We managed our own hardware on site for Alto, but the Prism and Aspire services were hosted remotely by Capita.

At Newport we had Sirsi Dynix, Symphony for LMS functionality and for discovery. All services were hosted by Sirsi Dynix.

Until we were able to move to a single system we were unable to offer a unified service to students across the 5 campuses. Irrespective of WHELFs intentions an LMS change was urgently required for USW. In the interim we implemented Primo as our discovery front end to allow us to merge our e-resources, and to offer students and staff a single interface for e –resource discovery.

Fortunately for us the WHELF LMS Consortium timing was perfect. But being part of Cohort 1 was essential. Any further delay implementing a single system to offer parity of service and experience to all students would have been difficult for us to justify within USW.

We now have Ex Libris Alma for Acquisitions, Resource Management, Fulfillment (circulation). Primo continues as our discovery layer. Both are hosted, so we don’t have to worry about maintaining any hardware. Talis Aspire has been integrated with Primo and can finally be rolled out across the whole institution for USW students. As we were already using Primo prior to the WHELF Consortium, we carried over our Primo Total Care contract.timing

Describe your implementation

Our implementations started in early January 2015 and we went live on the 28th July 2015.

As might be expected managing the merging of 2 data sets was a major concern. In terms of what the data looks like in Alma and Primo, through duplicate records, differences in cataloguing standards, along with the perennial legacy data issues. While we have started to address this, it is an ongoing challenge.

Authentication was another area of concern for us. The College Merthyr Tydfil continues to share our LMS. Our requirement for separate Shibboleth authentication for USW and the College Merthyr Tydfil, to allow access to different collections was a major complication in both Alma and Primo. This was resolved, but it took some time to arrive at an acceptable solution.

In terms of managing implementation, being part of Cohort 1 had its challenges. We had a small project team, which included our 2 Assistant Heads, 2 Assistant Librarians who have the most knowledge of Alto or Symphony, the Database Manager (E-Resource Management, Cataloguing and Acquisitions) and myself as Project Manager and as the Systems and Public Services Manager. We met regularly to report progress and to flag up issues.

Communication to Library staff was through a newsletter and email. At times due to workloads this was difficult to maintain and could have been more regular. Ideally this should have been supplemented by face to face meetings with the wider staff.

On a day to day basis the project was progressed by myself and two colleagues Wayne Morris, our Database Manager and Nick Roberts, Assistant Librarian to my Team. Between us we ensured the project plan deadlines were met. We also organised and managed all the process review groups, which were tasked with reviewing business processes and establishing new ones utilising the functionality of Alma.

Merging systems and processes was very difficult not only because of the 2 library management systems but also due to geography and the number of sites. Simple things like organising meetings of process review groups, which everyone could attend was a hard task to achieve across five sites up to 30 miles apart. Process review and training is ongoing, maintaining this commitment is not easy.

What have you learned from the process?

If we did it again we would ensure we built in more time to look at our data and how it will look to end users. Other institutions have commented on this, and for those in Cohort 1 the lack of time between the signing of the contract and the start of implementation was something we had to accept to be part of Cohort 1.

Maintaining time for training post go live is essential. Once you go live just getting on with it is no substitute for giving colleagues space and time to reinforce and extend their knowledge of a new system. This needs to be supported for some considerable time after going live.

What benefits have been achieved?

For USW having a single system for library staff and students and academics to access has been a massive benefit. At last we are all on the same system and have a common interface for customers!! Alma has not only allowed to us revisit processes and procedures, but crucially unify them.

In Resource management/Acquisitions there have been a number of immediate advantages. Having all formats in one interface has lead to better catalogue record management and receiving is quicker. In the near future we hope to be able to send invoices directly to the Finance system and be able to place requests on supplier sites and have invoices uploaded into Alma.

What are the main challenges ahead?

We still have data issues especially around duplicate records. We know it will take some time to conclude, but it is progressing and Alma provides very good functionality to support this work.

The big challenges are going to be at a consortium level. While it is very exciting to be close to the point where consortium potential can begin to take shape, there are going to be difficult hurdles to overcome . Agreeing standards and general principles to allow activities such as inter-lending and shared cataloguing are achievable but complex.

Anything else to add?

It has been a very challenging 12 months. But, we have our new system and have made real progress in the 6 months since going live. The future holds some exciting prospects to work in collaborative environments.

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

UWTSD go live with WHELF Shared LMS

daffodilAs Wales celebrates St David’s Day today, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) have another reason to celebrate as they go live with the WHELF Shared LMS. UWTSD is a multi-site university, Carmarthen and Lampeter merged in 2010 and Swansea Metropolitan joined in 2013. Since merging, the library at each campus has been operating on 3 different systems, adopting the WHELF Shared LMS has meant that the libraries are all on one system, streamlining registration and account management for their users.

UWTSD is the first institution from cohort 2 to go live. Cardiff Metropolitan will be the next institution to go live and cohort 3 implementation is well under way.

Posted in shared services, Whelf shared LMS, WHELF Shared LMS blog

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