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.