Teachmeet: Be brave and bold in your teaching

Bookings are now open for a TeachMeet on the 6thFebruary, 10-2pm, in Committee Room 1 in the Glamorgan Building at Cardiff University. This has been organised by colleagues at Cardiff University as part of the activities of the WHELF Learning and Teaching Group.

Details of the event:

This event is not aligned to a specific subject area or level. This will be an opportunity for Librarians to come together in an informal setting to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights into their teaching. This is an opportunity to learn together.

All participants are asked to be prepared to deliver a 2 or 7 minute presentation. On the day, a virtual wheel will be spun and those chosen will be asked to deliver their 2 or 7 minute talk.

By the end of the day attendees should have an understanding of how to improve their confidence in teaching and have some new ideas to apply to their own work situations.

Full programme and a link to book:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cardiff-university-library-teachmeet-being-brave-and-bold-in-your-teaching-tickets-42094072504?utm_term=eventname_text


Posted in Uncategorised

Celebrating our Research Collections

Andrew Green, former Librarian at the National Library of Wales, gave a talk last night at Swansea University on “Celebrating our Research Collections” to mark the 80th anniversary of the university’s first purpose-built building: the 1937 library. The focus of the talk was “prospects for collections – analogue and digital, national and local – in humanities, research and learning”.

Andrew Green seated on stage at Taliesin, taking questions from the audience

Andrew Green taking questions

Andrew’s talk focused on the value that special collections can bring to their institutions, in particular drawing out three key points:

Powerpoint slide: the text is given below in the blog post

Photo of Andrew Green’s “Three Propositions” slide

  1. Special collections are assets, to be cared for. They matter.”: caring for its special collections is a clear demonstration that a university respects research and excellence in it, something that will attract the best academic staff and students. Andrew also spoke of the need for retaining “excellent staff” and “energetic promotion” for special collections.
  2. Special collections are important for people outside the institution: archives and special collections are also important in how a university constructs its relationships with the wider community and accessibility to collections is vital.
  3. Special collections benefit from size and variety: there are economies of scale in bringing collections together, to benefit from shared resources and expertise.

Andrew highlighted examples of particular merit which showed the possibilities for investment in special collections by a university (or collaboration): the striking Ruskin Library at Lancaster University, the cross-sectoral Hull History Centre and the Keep at Brighton.

WHELF’s Archives & Special Collections group provides a supportive and collaborative network for staff in Welsh HE institutions. A key aspect of their work is to promote their special collections: you can view a selection of “WHELF’s Treasures” on this website.


Andrew Green’s blog can be found at http://gwallter.com.

Update: the full text of Andrew’s talk has now been added to his blog.

Posted in archives & special collections

Open Access Week 23-29th October 2017

It’s International Open Access Week. Take a look at the @WHELFed Twitter feed to see what events the WHELF institutions have planned for this week or search for tweets using the hashtag #OAWeek for wider news.

A summary of key resources, issues, policies and guidelines regarding open access can be accessed here

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Posted in events, open access

170928 Libraries Week UNI INFOGRAPHIC E - final
Posted in Uncategorised

WHELF Shared LMS: measuring the benefits of collaboration

WHELF is pleased to announce the publication of “Evaluating the benefits of the WHELF consortial approach to a library management system”.

Funded by Jisc, Cambridge Econometrics was commissioned by the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) to carry out an independent evaluation of the project to procure and implement a shared library management system across the 9 universities in Wales, together with the National Library of Wales and the libraries of the NHS in Wales.  This report provides an authoritative and independent framework for identifying and reporting the benefits achieved.

The report is supplemented with three excellent case studies from Cardiff University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the National Library of Wales.

Emma Adamson, Chair of WHELF and Director of Learning Services at the University of South Wales welcomed the report and case studies:

‘The benefits of sharing, as revealed by the Cambridge Econometrics report into the WHELF Wales-wide LMS implementation of the Ex Libris Alma and Primo systems, clearly and independently evidences the significant value and gains that are achieved through collaboration: whether these be economic, increasing innovation or developing more effective and efficient ways of working together.

On behalf of WHELF we thank JISC, Cambridge Econometrics and Ex Libris for their support in assisting with the commission of this important study on the benefits of sharing. I would also like to thank all 600 Library staff and colleagues, from across WHELF institutions, who contributed to the Wales-wide LMS implementation. They have worked collaboratively to help us truly realise the benefits of sharing the collections of WHELF: for the benefit of learners and researchers everywhere.’

The report and case studies highlight the range of benefits achieved by WHELF including:

  • lower supplier costs – £226,000 achieved in 2015-17
  • lower procurement costs- £55, 000 achieved
  • a high quality and high specification system for all participating institutions
  • a fully bilingual front and back-end interface enabling staff and users to access the system in both official languages of Wales
  • shared expertise to develop functionality, training and enhancements
  • better integration with other IT systems
  • greater flexibility of interfaces through the provision of a cloud based system
  • up to date reporting and analytics tools to streamline workflows
  • a common platform on which to deliver more benefits, including through consistent cataloguing standards and reciprocal borrowing

Chris Keene, Head of Library and Scholarly Futures at Jisc, commented:  “Jisc was pleased to support the independent report into the WHELF shared LMS – a project which Jisc supported at its outset through a feasibility study in 2012.  This benefits report not only demonstrates the clear value that can be achieved through collaborating but also provides a legacy, through the methodology employed, for other library services to adopt”

Graham Hay of Cambridge Econometrics stated that “quantitative approaches to evaluating the impact of implementing a LMS under a collaborative approach are relatively underdeveloped. By providing a structured framework for identifying the impacts of migrating to a new LMS through a consortial approach and a feasible method for quantifying them, this report is a novel addition to the existing research in this domain. The approach presented in the report provides a set of tools and frameworks that HE institutions can customise to suit their circumstance.’ Furthermore, the approach can be refined as more and better information becomes available over time, thereby allowing it to evolve and remain applicable in future.”

The report can be accessed here

Contact details:

WHELF: Gareth Owen, Programme Manager Shared LMS, oweng12@cardiff.ac.uk, Tel: 02922510189

Jisc: Chris Keene, Head of Library and Scholarly Futures, chris.keene@jisc.ac.uk, 0203 006 6047

Cambridge Econometrics: Graham Hay, Associate Director, CE, gh@camecon.com, Tel: 01223 533100

Posted in Blog LMS WHELF a Rennir, collaboration, JISC, Uncategorised, WHELF Shared LMS blog

Posted in events Tagged with: ,

Reports from the WHELF UXLibs workshop

WHELF was very pleased to have Andy Priestner run a UXLibs workshop at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen campus on 30th June 2017. Many thanks to Nina Whitcombe (Swansea University) and Sue House (University of South Wales) for these excellent blog posts about their experience of the day.

By Nina Whitcombe, Collections Services and Systems Officer at Swansea University:

“I registered for this course as soon as I saw it advertised on the enthusiastic recommendation of a colleague who had already attended training given by Andy Priestner. The course became full very quickly so I am glad that I did manage to book early.  After working in academic libraries for longer than I am prepared to admit, it becomes very easy to fall into the mind-set of assuming you have a good grasp on what users want. This training was a timely reminder that user requirements constantly evolve and in order to meet institutional aims for student experience we need to gather behavioural and attitudinal data alongside the more traditional data such as footfall, number of loans etc.

Throughout the day, Andy introduced a variety of ethnographic approaches that can be employed when gathering research data from library users. The results can then be examined to identify how our services and spaces are currently used and how people want to use them. We were given the opportunity to carry out practical examples using the various research methods and encouraged to consider how we could take these ideas away with us and apply them in our own work environments.

The final part of the day covered idea generation and prototyping based on data gathered during research. We worked through a number of practical examples aimed at maximising the value of user feedback. It was reassuring to see how quickly and cheaply user satisfaction with the physical library environment can be improved (strategically placed plants acting as privacy screens on shared study tables). We are currently undergoing a major campus redevelopment project and I am sure there will be the opportunity to try out some of the methods and ideas covered at this event soon”


By Sue House, Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, University of South Wales:

In this slightly unconventional post I’ve tried to use reflective questions learned on a CILIP Professional Registration Workshop & Mentor Information and Support Session from CSO Sharon Cook to share with you a personal evaluative and critical summary of the day.

Why did I do this activity?

  • To learn about UX and ethnographic research
  • To find out how I could understand our library users better
  • To find out if I could use UX to help me prioritise my own workload by finding out what is important to my students & staff in humanities, social sciences and law (the answer is potentially ‘yes’.)

What did I learn from it?

I learned a huge amount from this day, the key points for me were:

  • UX is a holistic approach to giving users not just what they want but also what they ‘don’t yet know they want’ and if it is done well and services and products change for the better as a result of feedback then ‘customer service’ is not necessarily required as the experience of our services and products will be good/great.
  • It’s all about how someone feels when they use a service or product (their attitudes / behaviour)
  • It’s all about how ‘useful, usable and desirable’ a service or product is
  • Everyone in the library should be involved in UX research
  • There are several methods available – surveys/focus groups are ok if very well designed, but there are lots more engaging methods which will illicit more useful and effective data e.g. observations, mapping the ‘desire line’ through a space, in-depth user interviews, cognitive mapping, photo elicitation interviews, user journey mapping, card sorting, touchstone tours, love and break-up letters etc. Several of which we were able to experience in various activities throughout the day.
  • You can start small and scale up, you just need post-its and Sharpies!
  • You need to think about ethics and consent forms (speak to your ‘Ethics’ people before you start)

 There are lots of UX library resources available including:

Reading List:

  • Krug – Don’t Make Me Think
  • Priestner & Borg – User Experience in Libraries: applying ethnography and human-centred design
  • Schmidt & Etches – Useful, Usable, Desirable: applying user experience design to your library

How is this going to change my practice?

  • I would like to start by carrying out some 1hr observations of the space around the law collection at our Treforest library in the new academic year
  • I’m also considering using love and break-up letters as an activity in my ‘Refresher’ library induction sessions with returning students

How am I going to share this new knowledge?

  • I’m going to feedback to the team at the next available opportunity
  • I’ve written this blog post for WHELF

How am I going to monitor impact?

I will report back on the observations and inductions to my line manager with any suggestions for improvements to library space and services.

Ask yourself – ‘So what’?

The recent updating and development of classic ethnographic research methods to ‘UX’ has really energised many in the library community to gain a better understanding our users. At a time when libraries are under pressure to provide return on investment/value for money and evidence-based services these methods can relatively easily and more effectively inform the strategic and operational direction of the library service at USW. I would advocate that all USW library staff be involved in UX work. Andy was a great trainer and above all else it was a fun day out – yes, really!

Posted in events, workforce development

New Sconul Executive Board member

Congratulations to Alison Harding who has been elected to the Sconul Executive Board.  Alison was appointed to the post of Executive Head of Library and Learning Resources at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in July 2016, having previously held a number of roles within the library service of UWTSD. She is also a staff governor on the UWTSD Council. She has worked previously at UWIC (now CMU), University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport (now USW).
Alison is the institutional representative on the WHELF (Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) Group, and also a member of the SCONUL (Society of College, University and National Libraries) Access Steering Group.
Her professional interests are library and learning space design, opening up access to resources and services, and library collaboration and partnerships. Alison is a mentor within the ‘Women in Universities Mentoring’ scheme, and has acted as a Leadership Foundation ‘Aurora’ role model.


Posted in SCONUL

Forthcoming events

September 2017
Global Library Excellence Tour – 14th September, Cardiff Central Library

More information including programme and registration: http://libraryexcellence.com/

The Library Global Excellence Tour 2017 is primarily aimed at senior leaders in public and academic libraries in the UK and Ireland. The tour, completely free to attend thanks to our sponsors, is designed to showcase global excellence and ambition in library service delivery and to inspire library leaders to achieve excellence in their service.

This is a free event and an opportunity for non-librarians too to see just what state and national library tech and infrastructure in US, Australia and Europe have delivered and to hear from the best in the UK.

October 2017

CILIP Cymru Wales have three events planned for the 9th of October in Cardiff. All three are open to CILIP members and non-members alike. CILIP Cymru would like you to get involved and share your experiences around the three themes. Places are limited- for each session, if you would like to come please book a place.

Copyright; Come and play the Game with Jane Secker. 10:30-13:00 £10 CILIP member, £20 non-member

Ethically Speaking. 14:00-16:00 An interactive workshop with Nick Poole and Guy Daines. This workshop forms part of CILIP Ethics Review and is an opportunity for those in the profession in Wales to contribute. No charge

Privacy Seminar. 16:00-17:00. Both Nick Poole and Guy Daines will present a seminar on the work CILIP is doing in this area. No charge.

Here is a link to all events mentioned https://www.cilip.org.uk/about/devolved-nations/cilip-cymru-wales

If you would like to know more about CILIP Ethics Review details can be found here: https://www.cilip.org.uk/research/topic

Posted in Copyright, events

Academic Book of the Future project reports

The Academic Book of the Future Project has published the findings from its 2 year project.  The report by Marilyn Deegan states that:

the academic book/monograph is still greatly valued in the academy for many
reasons: the ability to produce a sustained argument within a more
capacious framework than that permitted by the article format; the            
engagement of the reader at a deep level with such arguments; its
central place in career progression in the arts and humanities; its
reach beyond the academy (for some titles) into bookshops and into
the hands of a wider public. It seems that the future is likely to be a
mixed economy of print, e-versions of print, and networked
enhanced monographs of greater or lesser complexity” (pg. 7)

The reports  are available in full to to read from the project website

Outputs from the research project have also been published as a BOOC (Book as Open Online Content) published by UCL Press and can be accessed here

Posted in Uncategorised Tagged with: ,