Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum

Posted in WHELF

WHELF Reps meeting summary October 2016

WHELF Representatives meeting at Gregynog Oct 2016

WHELF Representatives meeting at Gregynog Oct 2016

The WHELF Representatives met at Gregynog Hall on Thursday 28th October-Friday 29th October 2017. These are some of the topics that were addressed at the meeting.

For the first session of the meeting we welcomed Einir Young, Director of Sustainability at Bangor University. Einir delivered an engaging and informative presentation on the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act and WHELF Reps took the opportunity to consider the ways we are working that are in support of the Act and ways we can articulate this better. Steve Williams provided feedback to WHELF Reps from the HEFCW consultation meeting he had attended on Draft Higher Education Strategy for Wales. The draft strategy has been prepared to align with the principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

Gregynog Colloquium: The Colloquium will be held from Monday 12th – Friday 16th June 2017 and will be organized by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea University. WHELF Reps discussed whether we can develop the Wednesday sessions to be more collaborative in scope between WHELF and HEWIT. Suggestions from WHELF Reps will be passed to the Colloquium planning group meeting which will be held in November.

WHELF Action Plan: WHELF has prepared its Action Plan for 2016-17. The Actions are aligned to the WHELF Strategy for 2016-18 following the Strategic themes of Collaboration, Collections and Research and Engagement. The Action Plan can be accessed from

WHELF Shared LMS: Following implementation WHELF has identified 3 key collaboration opportunities, namely: shared catalogue and cataloguing, reciprocal borrowing and analytics. WHELF Reps discussed papers prepared by Gareth Owen (WHELF Shared LMS Programme Manager) on these three opportunities and supported the recommendations of the LMS Management Board that they each be formalised as a project with project board and remit.

Benefits study: A second workshop had been run by Cambridge Econometrics during which they presented their data template for collecting quantitative data. Feedback from the workshop identified the need to refine the template and accompanying guidance further. Institutional case studies provided by Cardiff University, University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the National Library of Wales will provide qualitative data to accompany the study. It is anticipated that the draft report will be circulated by the end of January 2017. The Benefits Working Group will then consider ways to disseminate the findings and how they can inform future work.

Digital repositories for heritage collections: The National Library of Wales have been working with ARCW (Archives and Records Council Wales) to address the requirements for the preservation and management of digital records. They have tested several solutions including Archivematica, Preservica and Fedora. WHELF would like to explore further the options for a digital repository in Wales and it was agreed that WHELF seeks funding to support a feasibility study that will map current practice and systems and identify a set of requirements.


Posted in collaboration, repositories, Welsh universities, WHELF, Whelf shared LMS

Employability LibTeachMeets Nov 2016

The WHELF Learning & Teaching sub-group will be holding two Library TeachMeets during November 2016 the theme of employability.

The first event will be held on the 9th November at Bangor University and the second event will be held at the Bay Campus, Swansea University on the 28th November. Both events are building on the Aberystywth University Library TeachMeet that was held in May 2016.

Photo by Faustin Tuyambaze – Unsplash

If you would like to attend the event on the 28th November at Swansea University, please register here: Lunch and refreshments will be provided by sponsorship from CILIP’s Information Literacy Group.

And if you have some ideas or experience you would like to share at the event, please contact Philippa Price ( In line with the informal, dynamic nature of a TeachMeet, sessions will be approximately 10-20 minutes long. You don’t have to be an expert to take part!

Posted in employability, events, learning & teaching, student experience, workforce development

Open Access Week

OAlogoOpen Access Week is now in its ninth year and this year takes place from 24-30th October 2016. The Open Access website states that it “is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access (OA), to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research” (

Bangor University will be celebrating Open Access Week with the following events:

24th October 2-4pm:  Open event on Sensitive Research Data

Guest speakers: Professor Mark Elliot, Professor of Data Science, Manchester University and UK Anonymisation Network (via videoconference)

Dr Catrin Tudur Smith, Reader in Medical Statistics, Liverpool University, title of talk: Good practice principles for sharing individual participant data from publicly funded clinical trials.

All are welcome to attend. To book a place email

25th October 2-3pm: Postgraduate training session on Open Access Publishing

Covers the principles of open access publishing, funder requirements, and how to make your articles open access at Bangor. Internal Bangor event.

26th October: Staff training session: REF and Open Access

This session will detail the requirements for Open Access and the next REF to ensure eligibility of outputs for submission using the University’s Research Information Management system, PURE. Internal Bangor event.

Cardiff University will be running a series of pop-up events in key University locations, and visiting academic Schools to promote Open Access. They have designed posters, banners and slides for the plasma screens to support the campaign, and will be running a competition with the theme “Open in Action”.  Entrants will be able to nominate themselves or a colleague with a brief sentence on what they have been doing to promote OA / become more OA. The 3 competition prizes will be a £10 Costa Coffee voucher each and a hand-knitted Dragon (1x each of gold, green, and diamond) donated by our Cardiff University Press Executive Officer. The diamond dragon represents the OA diamond model adopted for journals published by our Press A timetable of the events can be accessed here

Aberystwyth University are offering open access drop in sessions for asking questions and resolving queries based on the Open Access Week theme of “Open in Action”. They are also running a PURE Training and refresher session showing how to enter details on to Aberystwyth University’s Current Research Information System (CRIS). Full details of their programme can be accessed here.


Posted in events, open access, research, Research group blog, Research group blog

Celebrating Library Cooperation

New Wales-wide library system will foster greater collaboration between universities

A new library management system which will promote collaboration between cross-sector libraries in Wales will be celebrated at an event in the National Assembly today (Thursday 22 September 2016).


From L-R. Julie James (Minister for Skills and Science), Sue Hodges (Chair of WHELF), Mandy Powell (CILIPWales/Cymru), Hywel James (SCLWales)

The new bilingual library management system which will be shared by Welsh university libraries (Aberyswyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Swansea University, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Wrexham Glyndwr University), NHS libraries, and the National Library of Wales, will deliver cost benefits, greater collaboration, and the potential to share collections throughout Wales. Bangor and Glyndwr Universities recently completed the roll-out of the system, finalising the implementation schedule across Wales.

A library management system is the technology which enables university and other libraries to buy, catalogue, lend and show their holdings. The consortium, brought together by the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF, a network of university libraries and the National Library of Wales), and project managed by Cardiff University, has introduced the Alma and Primo systems, marketed by Ex Libris, across its member institutions during a three-year long programme.

The successful introduction of the new system across the WHELF network, alongside implementation of the first phase of a shared library management system for public libraries, will today be celebrated at an event at the Senedd with Julie James AM, the Minister for Skills and Science.

Rich Hall Photography

Photograph: Michael Hall

The ‘Celebrating library collaboration’ event is also supported by Wales’ public libraries and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP, which supports the work of the Library, Information and Knowledge Profession), to celebrate wider cooperation across libraries in Wales.

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister for Science and Skills Julie James, said: “I’m really pleased to be able to celebrate your collaboration and innovation in Welsh libraries and I’m proud that the Welsh Government has supported both of these partnership projects. Welsh libraries are leading the way in working collaboratively to deliver a better service for all those who use them. The new shared library management systems will bring significant benefits for library members across Wales. I very much hope that it will also act as a catalyst for further partnership working in future.”

Sue Hodges, Director of Libraries and Archives at Bangor University and Chair of WHELF stated: “This is a remarkable achievement which demonstrates the trust, commitment, vision and strength of collaboration within WHELF. I would like to thank all of the WHELF institutions and Ex-Libris for their fantastic efforts in delivering the implementation and roll-out of the system on time and to extremely challenging deadlines.  Students will benefit immensely from this new library system which provides easier access to resources for teaching, learning and research.”

The Society of Chief Librarians for Wales said: “Cooperation is a crucial part of the efforts of Public Library Services in Wales to fulfil their statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient service for their residents. With the launch of the first phase to adopt a Library Computer Management System for Wales in North Wales, this project will offer benefits for all authorities and is important step forward to ensuring sustainable models of delivery of Welsh public library services.”

Rich Hall Photography

Photograph: Michael Hall

Mandy Powell, Head of CILIP Cymru Wales said: “It is thrilling to see a project of this scope and ambition being rightly celebrated. Librarians, Information and Knowledge Managers are all experts in the world of information and whether it is using their extensive skills to benefit users by widening access, saving money or opening up collections, great things happen when librarians are involved.”

Cardiff University is one of the Welsh universities to have introduced the new library management system in August 2016. Staff at the university also project managed the procurement process and oversaw the implementation of the new system. Janet Peters, Director of Cardiff University Library Service and Chair of the project’s steering group, said: “The collaboration between the member institutions of WHELF has been vital to the success of such an ambitious project. Developed over many years, the desire to work together has been truly inspirational, and we are looking forward to sharing resources and expertise with our colleagues across Welsh Higher Education libraries into the future. Our students, researchers, clinicians, and other users, will gain very real benefits from the new library management system by being able to search the library collections throughout Wales in a consistent way. We are already planning further developments to streamline access even more.”

Rich Hall Photography

Photograph: Michael Hall

Press release courtesy of Cardiff University.

Posted in Blog LMS WHELF a Rennir, collaboration, Whelf shared LMS, WHELF Shared LMS blog Tagged with: ,

Report from the RDM training day

With thanks to Beth Hall, Academic Support Librarian at Bangor University for this blog post:

The WHELF research group organised a training session on Research Data Management at Cardiff University on the 6th September.  Attendees represented a range of the WHELF academic institutions, Natural Resources Wales, and National Museum Wales – Amgueddfa Cymru.

Dr Andrew Cox, senior lecturer at the Information School at the University of Sheffield and project director of RDMRose, delivered the training session.  Andrew gave us an in-depth introduction to what is involved in research data management, what support researchers need, what expectations are out there from research funders and institutions, and a chance to explore our role and the role of others at our institution. A highlight of the session was listening to some recorded examples of researchers talking about their data; we explored the attitudes and experiences of researchers. There was also opportunities to reflect, discuss and share ideas about RDM support across institutions.

rdm-blog-300x200Some of us had been at previous training provided by UKeiG at Cardiff Metropolitan University on 1st July 2015 and already had a good working knowledge of RDM.  This session on 6th September 2016 was an important timely update and did incorporate updates to funder expectations, for example the RCUK concordat on research data.  This session also had a focus on how we lead change at our institutions; this was something we recognised as an important focus for WHELF. Many of us have set up services and support at our institutions but we now need to embed and establish these services, and we need to expand and increase engagement with these services.

At the end of the training session, we had a group discussion to identify areas where WHELF institutions can collaborate to further develop RDM support, these are listed as follows.  The WHELF research group will discuss how to take these forward:

  • Share and co-develop training materials
  • Audit where are we now – current status of RDM support and structure at WHELF institutions, also identify strengths at the institutions that could be shared – expertise/subject specialists
  • More training/webinars on RDM topics e.g. DMP online, this need could be met by raising awareness of webinars being provided by JISC, DCC and other organisations
  • Share and co-develop RDM policies
  • Share event attendance/representation on national groups such as the RDN and RDMF

We also spent some time as a group discussing our top current priorities at our institutions. The priorities are as follows ranked in order of importance:

  • Awareness raising amongst research staff at our institutions
  • Creating training materials and good practice examples
  • Complying with RCUK policies and the new RDM concordat
  • Setting up a data repository with appropriate metadata, better understanding about metadata schemes for data
  • Engaging with senior staff

Other concerns that the Bangor University research support team highlighted are:

  • Sensitive data
  • RDM for EU-funded projects
  • Using a CRIS as a data repository
  • Working with the research office and ensuring RDM is considered for grant applications before they are submitted


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

Fantastic news: Implementation completed for the WHELF Shared LMS!

ex librisCover WHELF Logo

Bangor University went live with Ex-Libris Alma and Primo on 25 August, completing the implementation cycle for all of the 11 Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) Shared Library Management System (LMS) institutions.  The first to go live was Swansea University in June 2015. The period since then has been marked by intense and focussed work on the part of all of the WHELF implementation teams and Ex-Libris in order to migrate from 6 legacy systems to a single shared cloud hosted system.

The 9 universities of Wales (Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff  Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Swansea University, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Wrexham Glyndŵr University), together with the NHS libraries in Wales and the National Library of Wales now share the same library management system and discovery interface. This provides a platform for building deeper and wider collaboration and for further work in opening up and sharing our collections for the benefit of all.

Sue Hodges, Director of Libraries and Archives at Bangor University and Chair of WHELF stated: “This is a remarkable achievement, which demonstrates the trust, commitment, vision and strength of collaboration within WHELF.  I would like to thank all of the WHELF institutions and Ex-Libris for their fantastic efforts and hard work in delivering the implementation and roll-out of the system on time and to extremely challenging deadlines. I look forward to further opportunities based on this ground-breaking shared platform”.

The WHELF Shared LMS has already delivered major benefits to the participating institutions, including a consortial discount, other cost benefits and a fully bilingual interface for staff and users.  Students and other users will benefit immensely from this type of next generation LMS which provides easier access to all resources for teaching, learning and research. All resources including library owned, open access, licensed and externally hosted resources can be accessed via a one-stop interface or search for both digital and print resources.  We also have a unique opportunity to work more closely with other Welsh libraries for the benefit of everyone including procuring shared content and sharing collections and services. Robert Bley, Managing Director of Ex Libris, UK stated “Ex Libris is excited to enter this new phase in our relationship with WHELF. With the implementation process completed as scheduled, we look forward to working with WHELF on the next phase of broadening and deepening collaboration opportunities within the consortium, for the benefit of students and researchers across Wales”.

The project will provide a model business case for the development of a shared LMS across a consortium of HEIs and a summary of the key requirements and issues to consider for implementing a shared system and the key benefits and impacts of doing so. WHELF is now actively working with Jisc on a benefits realisation study, which will report in 2017.  For the future WHELF is now committed to building on this initiative, enabling more benefits and to sharing its work with the wider community. ”

We will be celebrating the successful implementation of the WHELF Shared LMS at the ‘Celebrating Library Collaboration’ event to be held at the Senedd on 22nd September, hosted by Julie James AM and alongside colleagues from across the library sectors in Wales.

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

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