Event report: Employability TeachMeet at Swansea University

Many thanks to Helen Bader (Assistant Librarian (Drama), Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama) for writing this report on her experience of attending the recent Employability LibTeachMeet at Swansea University:

In November 2016 the WHELF Learning and Teaching Group held an Employability LibTeachMeet at Swansea University’s Bay Campus. The event followed on from two previous LibTeachMeets earlier in the year, at Aberystwyth University and Bangor University.  The programme promised an interesting and varied line-up of speakers and attracted more than 20 delegates from libraries across Mid- and South Wales.

The day began with an eagerly-anticipated tour of the new Bay Library, which currently supports more than 5,000 engineering and management students and staff based at the Bay Campus. There were plenty of students using the study areas, but the spacious and open design (complete with natural light and some wonderful sea views) ensured that the library didn’t feel overcrowded. I particularly liked the variety of study spaces available – especially the stand-alone soundproof ‘pod’ for group work – which I felt would help to make the library a comfortable and inviting place to work.

After the tour it was time for the LibTeachMeet proper to begin. The first presentation was given by Ellie Downes, a Library Support Assistant at Aberystwyth University. She offered her perspective on recognising transferable skills in students and library staff, based on her experiences as an undergraduate, graduate library trainee and current Masters student. Ellie highlighted some of the key employability skills that library staff can help students to develop, such as the ability to navigate and critically evaluate information sources.

Next up was Karen Dewick, the Customer Services Team Co-ordinator (Information Services and Systems) at Swansea University, who provided an opportunity for delegates to reflect on their own employability skills in her workshop-style session – a useful exercise for those of us who haven’t completed a job application in a while!

A delicious buffet lunch followed, thanks to sponsorship from the CILIP Information Literacy Group, with time afterwards to wander the few steps down to the beach with coffee in hand. It was hard to tear myself away from the picture-postcard view, but fortunately the afternoon’s presentations were able to tempt me back inside.

Both Sarah Gwenlan, from Aberystwyth University, and Susan Glen, from Swansea University, examined how their respective library services were supporting the employability agenda as part of larger, university-wide initiatives. Sarah described the work of Aber’s Employability Action Group and the contribution of the Information Services department to the development and delivery of joint workshops, the signposting of employability resources and an employability guide. Susan talked about supporting the employability skills of researchers at Swansea through the library’s participation in the postgraduate training programme, which offers a Skills Development Award mapped to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework.

The final two presentations of the day were both delivered by staff members of the Swansea Employability Academy. Rebecca Vaughan outlined the Swansea Employability Academy Award, a modular course that allows students to undertake their own personal career journey and gives them the skills to learn, reflect and develop professionally along the way. Rebecca’s colleague Gareth Hill concluded the LibTeachMeet with another workshop session which encouraged us to think about how we could get students and staff to engage in and see the value of employability initiatives. He emphasised the importance of ‘trial and error’ – having the confidence to try different approaches and evaluate whether they work, without being paralysed by the fear of failure. His philosophy of making ‘marginal gains’ was also very thought-provoking – rather than coming up with one big idea for developing employability skills, try making lots of small changes/improvements that together will add up to a significant step forward.

Many thanks to the WHELF Learning and Teaching Group, in particular Philippa Price, for organising such an enjoyable and stimulating event, and to the CILIP Information Literacy Group for their sponsorship. (Read Philippa Price’s blog post of the day here)

View presentations from the day here

All images licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Posted in digital literacy, employability, events, information literacy, learning & teaching, WHELF, workforce development

WHELF Annual Report

The WHELF Annual Report for the academic year 2015-16 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:

English: https://spark.adobe.com/page/jz7Eyk4pBoCEl/
Cymraeg: https://spark.adobe.com/page/iRI4tdS7naRog/

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda / Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Unsplash - David Beale

Unsplash – David Beale

Posted in archives & special collections, collaboration, employability, events, JISC, learning & teaching, learning spaces, news, research support, student experience, Universities Wales, value, Welsh universities, WHELF, Whelf shared LMS, workforce development

Toolkit for library collaboration

The Sconul Collaboration Strategy Group have developed a toolkit for library collaboration “to aid the selection and development of efficient and effective shared services within and beyond the HE library sector”.  The toolkit has been authored by Richard Parsons, University of Dundee along with Diane Bruxvoort (University of Aberdeen), Robin Green (University of Warwick), Ann Rossiter (Sconul) and Tracey Stanley (Cardiff University). The experiences of the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL) and the WHELF Shared LMS collaborative procurement have helped inform the development of the toolkit.  To download the toolkit and for more information see http://www.sconul.ac.uk/news/toolkit-for-library-collaboration


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

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 2016. 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 http://whelf.ac.uk/about/action-plan-2/

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: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/employability-libteachmeet-tickets-29074997099 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 (p.price@swansea.ac.uk). 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” (http://openaccessweek.org/page/about)

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 c.a.roberts@bangor.ac.uk

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 http://cardiffuniversitypress.org/ 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

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 support, workforce development Tagged with: ,