HLG2018 – searching, running and all the rest

In celebration of the HLG2018 conference slides having emerged it is time for some reflections.

Awards-19

This was my first time at Keele University and it was good to explore somewhere new (though not ideal as a conference venue since having found it on the map I then joined the general head scratching about how to get there).  I spent an unhappy hour on the bus from Stoke on Trent and was very fortunate to find a cab to share to get away again at the end.  The campus itself was green and pleasant all be it largely shut down for the summer.

I arrived a day ahead for the HILJ editorial advisory board (EAB).  We had a very productive discussion on the peer review set up for the journal.  Changes should make the peer review reports both easier to complete and more useful for the editorial team.  I was very aware that I do little reviewing and have since made a point of completing one for the journal with the aim to do more in future.  I also continued to flag my idea of driving ownership of the journal amongst HLG members by encouraging a quarterly CPD discussion group (more on this another time or see CILIP SocialLink stream under HLG!).  My involvement in the EAB is great for gaining an insight into the academic processes around journal publication. Do publish in HILJ folks!

A theme for the conference was wellbeing and as part of this I had volunteered to lead a run on the first morning.  I had an initial scout around and got totally lost and we then had a very successful #libraruns effort the next morning (where I lost most of the runners). A good time was had by most (if you run and use strava then join the libraruns club).

The conference started with an update from Nick Poole offering general news of things CILIP.  I get the impression Health remains one of the stronger parts of the membership.  We then heard from Dr Mark Murphy who got us thinking about grey areas in evidence and various lens through which we should consider Evidence Based Medicine.

I attended a session of a Knowledge for Healthcare related working group looking at stats for the NHS LKS.  I may have ended up going off at the deep end about metrics and do feel that the group have been given a brief somewhat too close to the one the metrics group already covered.

I was very taken with a presentation I did not attend (the wonders of twitter to be in more places at once) on a QI bookcase and linked up subsequently with the speaker to learn more.

Good fortune meant I chaired the session where Stevie Russell updated on the work of African Hospital Libraries I am very interested in the work of this charity and have managed to make some headway with making it an area of concern for my own service.  The other talk in the session was on a developing tool for providing Current Awareness Services to biomedical scientists using machine learning.  There was definitely something interesting there but it felt like something of a work in progress and one where librarians experience around delivering CAS could be very helpful.

Work on redeveloping buildings at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Royal College of Surgeons of England  offered contrasting takes with different challenges and needs.  The lack of quality literature on design decisions for new medical libraries was notable.

My favourite talk of the conference was by Kate Misso on reducing waste in systematic review work through the input of librarians to the search process. It was shocking to realise the poor quality of much of the searching under pinning systematic reviews with implications for the findings and reproducibility.  My least favourite was probably laughing yoga which I attended reluctantly as I wanted to hear the Biship and Le Fanu lecture on Evidence Aid that followed it.

For my own part I brought a poster on work I carried out around creating a simple title scheme to support guideline retrieval.

I always enjoy HLG conferences and 2018 was no exception (see my triumph in the raffle at the top of the post!).  It remains a key opportunity to catch up with colleagues and get a feel for what is happening around the place.

 

 

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Revalidation – V

Email from CILIP confirming that my revalidation for 2017 has gone through safely.  I was successful in my plan to get this done earlier in the year.  This reflects both being used to the system and the added pressure of working on a submission for Fellowship.

2017 was a hectic year professionally (though you would not know it from this blog where it has mostly been the Journal Club activity that got written up).  I was lucky enough to attend EAHIL for the first time and spoke there on my work on metrics. It was great to go to a wider conference and hear about some of the interesting developments in the use of text and data mining for search.  I have a stack of photos of the brutalist Berkeley Library at Trinity College to share at some point.

I learnt a lot about feedback delivering both LibQUAL+ and LibUX representing rather different approaches to hearing from library users.  Without wishing to completely dismiss LibQUAL+ I think LibUX is likely to offer a richer forward path.  It is so much more flexible, immediate and powerful.

I was lucky enough to learn from inspirational folk on an NHS LKS leadership programme. Not sure I have ever done quite so many tools looking at understanding my style, preferences and so on before.  I am not sure I feel very different for it but I do have some more tools and excellent contacts.

Fellowship submission this year!

This years celebratory Mj Hibbett and the [re] Validators number is “Do the indie kid”

 

On reading – Libraries and Key Performance Indicators (2017) Appleton

One of the fun things I did last year was contribute a case study based on my work with the KfH Metrics Task and Finish Group to the book “Libraries and key performance indicators: a framework for practitioners” by Leo Appleton.

Cover of book

I was really pleased to have the opportunity to share our work in this way and to get my name in print!

Prompted by reading a review of the book (in the December issue of the HLG Newsletter) and by an upcoming workshop I am preparing for health librarians in the North I thought I would have a read myself.

It is a compact book at 150 or so pages including references.  I think brevity has a lot to recommend it in a practical text and this could be dipped into or read completely fairly quickly.  It covers a lot of ground in a short time including a useful review of past efforts at performance management in library services and the influence of current trends around user experience approaches.  There are a number of examples from different library sectors which is useful for widening the perspective.

There were areas where I would differ – for example around the amount of confidence that can be placed in the various statistical return series.  Changes are coming to the long standing NHS statistics return reflecting careful consideration of how useful a number of these measures are in practice – particularly given likely variation in collection.

The chapters on methods provide good overviews with references to follow up. The librarian tendency to count anything that moves has been exacerbated by the opportunities offered by digital resources to do this and the book is good on tempering this enthusiasm.  I would perhaps have liked more on how to manage a regular flow of qualitative data in such a way as to support KPIs.  A contribution to a bundle of performance indicators across a single KPI perhaps?

Terminology is a bit of a muddle and I found myself confused at times about what was being referred to.  A definition of a KPI is provided but merits clearer flagging.  While there were a lot of excellent warnings about potential pitfalls and dead ends I wonder if more could be done to highlight the positive ways forward?  The various case studies were useful in providing some idea of how people have been able to advance with this work.

It was a relief to read my case study in context and I think it makes a useful contribution to the book. The principles advanced in the NHS Metrics work are widely applicable and certainly supported by the wider research presented in the book.

Having declared my bias up front – I think this is a useful book and I hope people will read it!

Journal Clubbing – Subject vs functional

A new round of our team journal club.  This time some reading looking at different models for delivering liaison in academic libraries.

Subject vs. functional: Should subject librarians be replaced by functional specialists in academic libraries?

Catherine Hoodless, Stephen Pinfield


Journal of Librarianship and Information Science

First Published June 15, 2016
This was a good paper for prompting discussion in our group.  Locally we are operating in a functional model so it is helpful to have a picture of practice and motivation elsewhere.
The researchers carried out semi-structured interviews with 11 senior library managers in the UK.  Opinion was divided amongst them as to which was the right path to take. Unsurprisingly their view tended to reflect whether they had undertaken a shift to a functional model or not.
The drivers for change felt familiar and prompted discussion of how important consistency was.  Subject librarians are like clinical librarians in that they are an expensive resource in limited supply with the potential to create big variations in level of service provision according to degree of involvement.  Strategic targeting of this resource is always going to be required.  The significant growth in HE over recent years is a big pressure on what sort of service can be offered to all.
The article shows evidence of how the models tend to get fudged with a continuum of activity.  Setting boundaries is a challenge in an emerging model. Role holders are generally getting to grips with a revised role rather than coming in to it fresh which must also have an impact.
As ever I found myself wanting to read more research on the effectiveness and impact of the different models.

Revalidation is the name of the game

As Depeche Mode didn’t say.

Another years CPD (2016) safely logged away and submitted to CILIP for the Revalidation Assessors.  Slightly worried that it is almost time to sort out the 2017 log.

Highlights? Talking Metrics at HLG2016 in Scarborough where I got to meet a number of colleagues previously known only from twitter and by their good work.  Hearing Sherry Turkle on Reclaiming Conversation with lots of food for thought on how we interact online and in person.  I also ended up getting involved with work around evaluation frameworks with Sharon Markless which was a real eye opener.

Definitely need to get the Revalidation done earlier next year as it really is a bit far away for some of it already. Given the lack of blogposts of late I will have some reflecting to do.

This years MJ Hibbett and the Validators tune is Lesson of the Smiths – enjoy!

Beyond authority – beyond late

Where is the time going?  Without the discipline of the CILIP Update backlog and with other competing priorities this blog has been something of a ghost town.

The academic year is also fast approaching it’s end and there are a number of tasks still to complete for the PDR.

One of those was to consider the book Beyond Authority: leadership in a changing world (2007) Julia Middleton.

I had picked this out as addressing a particular challenge for me in my leadership role in that I currently operate with no direct reports.  For my service to improve I need to affect change but this has to happen by working through partners, with limited funds and with people who I do not have particular authority over.

The book itself considers how leaders can operate beyond the traditional forms of authority granted by position or control of funds.  It considers how circles of authority relate to your place in your wider organisation and society in general.  When we move into the outer circles we need to lead beyond authority.  My role places me frequently in this position. Indeed I can feel like I am outside my circle much of the time while working to deliver a service for one sector from within another and as the employee of an external organisation with those I frequently work with most closely.

Key sources of power when operating in the outer circle are identified as communication / networks followed by personality and ideas.  It has certainly been my experience that good ideas will win people over but that you need to get a lot of people on board for them then to advance.

The book explores different roles for those leading beyond authority.  I am attempting to be a transformer in driving change and the book is useful in highlighting the potential to be used as a useful idiot or expert idiot.

The bulk of the book considers what is required to lead beyond authority.  I was generally encouraged by these. Elements around the right approach fitting my perception of my character.  People are key and it is important for me to build my networks but also to get outside my professional bubble.  The right methods section was where I have most work to do – this is about the long game but particularly about building strategic coalitions.  To do this a clear strategic message is vital.  Having been introduced to Strategy on a page as part of my NHS Leadership programme it seems a good place to start.

All in all a worthwhile read – I suspect that even those who feel they operate firmly within their own organisation and with the ability to direct a team to achieve their strategic goals would benefit from considering how they might reach out and work effectively beyond the library bubble.

Update November 2016 (and March 2015) and the end of the road

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It has been a long old struggle but this post covers the current issue of Update and the last of my backlog. The plan is not to let it get out of hand – there is no doubt that a current issue of Update is more interesting than one a year plus old.  While not always the most thrilling of publications I have continued to find the odd thing I have not heard about elsewhere and some really helpful brief articles on a wide variety of topics.

The October issue has a timely article on privacy and the Library user. My catch up reading meant I read another article by the same author (Paul Pedley) only the other day.  There is a handy list of potential paths to take to work with users around privacy issues.

I have already spoken to colleagues about the article by Wendy Morris on the Big Read at Kingston University. We are currently engaged on a mass reading project and there are valuable ideas here on how to build on the possibilities this offers.

South London colleague Sian Aynsley updates on the KfH Learning Zone. I heard a verbal update on this at #NHSHE2016 so this is more a reconfirmation of details of this helpful resource.

Finally in this issue I enjoyed reading about the experience of Sue Willis on the Libraries Taskforce. It is fascinating to have a glimpse at this task of influencing within government. The importance of adjusting communication styles to suit audience was an obvious take away.

And finally – May 2015!

I had already seen the Design Thinking for Libraries toolkit but this is well worth a look if you are interested in user experience and design thinking. There is a free book with all sorts of tips and ideas on how to learn more about users. I will probably read this again ahead of a project I am managing to use external consultants to help with this at work.

Finally there is an article explaining obligatory revalidation – sadly it didn’t make the case strongly enough to get it past the members!