WHELF update: June 2014

Gladstone's Library Hawarden, Flintshire
Gladstone’s Library Hawarden, Flintshire

For our residential meeting in May, WHELF enjoyed a change of venue and met at the Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, Flintshire, North Wales. The library houses the personal collection of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) who at the age of 85 moved most of his 32,000 books to their new home in the library using a wheelbarrow!

Some of the topics under discussion by WHELF Reps at the meeting were:

We welcomed Gareth Owen, WHELF Shared LMS Project Manager to our meeting and Gareth reported on the project’s excellent progress:

  • The project has kept to its provisional timetable. The Pre-qualification questionnaire was issued in January of this year to which 12 suppliers registered on line, 8 submitted their responses and 6 were selected to go forward to Invitation to Tender
  • The Invitation to Tender was issued on 10th April and responses had to be submitted by 20th May.
  • Invitation to Tender process has been split into 2 stages: the first stage is written responses, from which 3 suppliers will be selected and the second stage will be site visits to evaluate and compare these three suppliers.
  • The Project team are currently in the process of shortlisting the top three suppliers.

Next generation systems: The WHELF Shared LMS will be an interoperable, next generation system that is cloud hosted with integrated resource management. A shared LMS will lead to greater possibility for shared data collection and analysis which could provide useful insights into developing and improving library services. The contract will be awarded end of August 2014 and the first institutions will be going live with the system at during the end quarter of 2015 and second tranche beginning in 2016.

The WHELF group also discussed a paper presented by Gareth outlining a proposed governance structure for managing the operational LMS.

Succession planning for bilingual staff in Archives and Special Collections
Peter Keelan, Head of Special Collections and Archives and member of the WHELF Archives and Special Collections sub-group recently had submitted a paper to WHELF on the importance of Welsh medium language provision for sustaining knowledge of heritage collections, maintaining the collection, providing bilingual services and ensuring that there are the professional staff available in post to continue these essential services. The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol suggested that the Coleg’s senior management team meet with the Chair of WHELF in order to discuss specialist Welsh-language skills in archives and HE libraries and to see what practical ways this can be taken forward.

The Library at Gladstone's
The Library at Gladstone’s

Lori Bailey, Head of Policy and Member Engagement SCONUL attended as a guest at our meeting and provided and overview of the structure of SCONUL to WHELF representatives. Lori also reported on the recent SCONUL All-Strategy groups meeting and asked for the group’s feedback on the list of priorities that had emerged from that meeting.

ORCID/Research/Welsh Repositories
Swansea University had submitted a (now successful!) bid to Jisc to take part in the Jisc-ARMA ORCID pilot project (http://orcidpilot.jiscinvolve.org/wp/hei-based-projects/) The overall aim of the project is to explore the use and encourage the adoption of ORCIDs across Swansea University and more widely across Wales. Swansea University will embed ORCID in its institutional systems and work with WHELF, the Welsh Repository Network and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. The project also aims to make ORCID available in the Welsh language to support researchers across Wales.

WHELF also discussed the future of Welsh repositories with two guests from the National Library of Wales; Avril Jones, Director of Collections Services and Deputy Librarian and Sally McInness, Head of Collection Care. Sally gave a presentation on developing a digital heritage strategy for Wales and WHELF discussed the next steps in scoping a digital repository for Wales in line with the WHELF Action Plan.

The card catalogue coffee table in Gladstone's Library
The card catalogue coffee table in Gladstone’s Library



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