The WHELF Research group have arranged a session at Aberystwyth University looking at the use of Wikipedia/media/data in research activities:

Discover how the National Library is utilising Wikipedia and its sister projects to engage with the public, to share digital content and to enrich metadata. Learn more about the ways in which these platforms can be used for research and to improve content discovery interfaces. Following this presentation attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, and to learn the basics of contributing to Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata in a hands on session. Attendees will also have an opportunity to learn how to query the 70 million items of data in Wikidata using the query service.

The session will be led by Jason Evans, National Wikimedian based at the National Library of Wales whose work coordinates collaboration between NLW, Wikimedia and the Wiki Community and leads activities associated with the Library’s collections, Wales as a nation and/or the Welsh language.

This is a free training event, but registration is required through this Eventbrite page.

The annual WHELF Twitter takeover has been ongoing since October. This is a wonderful opportunity for each WHELF member institution to showcase the work it does and to promote activities, events, exhibitions or special collections.

The takeover will continue in January 2020. Many thanks to all contributors!

On 11th-12th November the WHELF Board met in the beautiful venue of Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, North Wales. All the WHELF institutions were represented in person except for Cardiff University who joined via MS Meeting. Tracey Stanley from CU was unable to travel to North Wales as she was being interviewed for the role of Director of Library Services and University Librarian and WHELF would like to congratulate Tracey on her successful appointment. 

Tracey’s predecessor, Janet Peters, was a guest at the meeting and gave a very interesting presentation on Transferring Skills into the Third Age/Life after Work. 

Following her retirement at the end of 2017, Janet focuses on “spending time on what matters with the people who matter”. She has extended her love of horses into volunteering with riding for the disabled and may train to be a coach. Being on the riding club committee has led to Janet managing training events and organising competitions and events. She has found that her skills and experience working in libraries have been invaluable in such matters as revising the constitution, and writing risk assessments and the annual report.  

Steve thanked Janet for her contribution to our discussion of the strategy and to the meeting overall. 

The main focus of this meeting was the new WHELF Strategy. Alison Harding (UWTSD), Mark Hughes (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Tracey Stanley (Cardiff University) have led on this and all staff have been invited and encouraged to contribute ideas and to give feedback. The WHELF Board thanks Alison, Mark and Tracey for all their efforts and looks forward to the new Strategy being published in early 2020.

The next WHELF Board meeting will take place in South Wales on 28th February 2020 at USW’s Cardiff campus. 

The WHELF inter-library loan scheme is one of the case studies featured in a recently published SCONUL copyright briefing paper .

SCONUL commissioned the briefing following the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property which led to the 2014 amendments to UK copyright law.

The authors of the briefing paper are Chris Morrison and Jane Secker.

WHELF would like to welcome Gary Elliott-Cirigottis who joins us representing the Open University and the Open University in Wales.

Gary has been Acting Co-Director of Library Services at the Open University since January 2019 and had been in post as Associate Director, Library services since January 2018.  He has 24 years’ experience across the higher education sector, with a career focused in business transformation, programme management, people management, research delivery, organisation development and change.  He is a qualified Change, Agile, Project and Business Transformation Practitioner.

Gary will be attending the WHELF Board meeting on 10-11 November 2019 at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden, North Wales. We look forward to meeting him there!

Ann Davies will be retiring on 6th November 2019 from her role as Acting Co-Director of Library Services and the Learner and Discovery Service at The Open University and OU in Wales. Ann had been in post since 1998 and prior to that was Deputy Head of Library & Media Services at Roehampton University for 9 years.

Ann’s experience and contribution to WHELF will be missed and hopefully she will attend a future Board meeting as a guest. WHELF would like to wish Ann a long, happy and enjoyable retirement.

Dr Amy Staniforth of Aberystwyth University and CILIP Cymru Wales writes:

This is a free event for members and non members this year so it would be lovely to welcome colleagues from across Wales.

The programme and booking information is all here and people can contact me for further information

On Tuesday 10th September 2019, Gill Morris, WHELF Development Officer, attended the Mercian Collaboration’s 2019 Conference at the beautiful University of Nottingham:

The theme of the conference was Building Bridges and opened with an introduction from Diane Job, Chair of the Mercian Collaboration.

The keynote speech about the Hive at Worcester highlighted the benefits and challenges of cross sector working.

Next I attended a workshop,(complete with board game!), led by Katie Mann of Coventry University. Katie was appointed in May 2018 to a new role of Partnerships Librarian, to support Transnational Education (TNE = delivered in a different country eg distance/online, local delivery [collaborative provision], international branch campuses and flying faculty) 

Katie visited Middle East College (MEC) in Oman for a week where there are 2500 students studying for Coventry University degrees – mainly business, engineering and computing. She looked into issues with accessing e-resources, delivered information literacy sessions to teaching staff, shadowed staff there and reviewed library provision. 

Katie believes skills needed for her role include relationship building, communication , negotiation, an open mind, the ability to analyse a situation and to apply library knowledge to new settings; and above all, patience!

The next session was led by Tom and Stacey from the University of Wolverhampton on Collaboration on UX Design.  The user experience research was user focused and guided, moving away from traditional questionnaires and surveys which can be loaded/leading. The project team worked with Andy Priestner between November 2018 and February 2019. 

After lunch the final session I attended was led by Kate and Catriona from the University of Warwick on Students as true partners – meaningful collaboration between students, academics and the library.

The project began in summer 2018, and focused on research and what this means to students. The aim was to encourage students to engage with independent research from their 1st year as an undergraduate. 

The project team comprised 7 humanities undergraduates, 2 academic staff and 2 library staff.  The project tied in with Warwick’s Educational strategy – teaching beyond boundaries and received funding from Warwick International HE Academy. 

I found the theme of the conference both relevant and timely, and I had much to reflect on during the train journey back to South Wales. Some of the presentation slides can be viewed here.

My thanks to Dr Gaz J Johnson and the Mercian Collaboration Conference Team for inviting WHELF to their conference.


Jenny McNally will be starting as the WHELF LMS Business Manager on 27th June.

Jenny has worked in academic libraries for over 15 years in roles including Cataloguing, Collections Management and E-resource Management. She also worked on a project at Mimas loading data from new contributors into Copac. More recently she has worked in systems management, playing a key role in the implementation of Alma and Primo at the University of Salford.

Jenny will also be continuing as Digital Librarian at Salford and will be based in Manchester. Her working days for WHELF will be Thursday and Friday.

The WHELF Annual Report for the academic year 2017-18 is now available. The report highlights the collective work of WHELF along with news and developments from the WHELF institutions. The report can be downloaded in English or Welsh from the links below: