Update March 2016 (and November 2015)

A new issue of Update means a new back issue pulled screaming from the vaults.  First up November 2015…

I like the Karen McFarlane definition of KM as ‘good IM practices alongside knowledge sharing behaviours’. It helps get past the nagging voice of Tom Wilson in my head whenever I see KM.  I am looking forward to seeing what the NHS Knowledge for Health group working in this area comes up with.

A note of a warning from the Local Government Ombudsman that outsourcing does not remove responsibility for quality of service is interesting in context of a recent article on council insourcing as contracted out services prove inflexible and expensive.  The plans for Gym Libraries in Lambeth is a good example of what can come from this.  This looks like a straightforward reduction in service and commercial land grab.

The puff on two library supply companies merging is seriously lacking in any critical examination of whether this is in fact a good thing for libraries.  There is rather a lot of churnalism style content press release cut and paste in this issue.

Great to read David McMenemy as a much needed counter weight to the “news”. It was really helpful to have something place developments in the profession in the context of developments in politics and society.  In a recent consideration of a team goal I drew up a statement that reflected values around empowerment of people to advance the cause of human knowledge.  This was felt to be hard for people to relate to their day to day work but this article reassures me that we should be grounding our practice in the long term and those things that are true.

An article on reinventing public libraries was interesting on two counts.  The “community driven” future vision sounds to me (as a non public librarian) to be what I would have expected to be the model already (I have had some experience of the work of commonfutures that they mention as it happened in my local library).  I was also interested in the 6 future services they identify.  Open content has real potential – moving beyond the current limited access available via Finch.  The role I would envisage would be in supporting research and access. I was also interested in the combination of MOOCs and widening participation.  This struck me as something with real possibility.  Working with students we can see how important the library is a place that is warm, safe comfortable and equipped for study. There must be a place for more collaboration between education and the public library network.  An obvious example is that my local library is no longer open in the evenings when it would be most useful for students from the local college (as well as those who work away in the day time).

I have to declare an interest in the next article on the Quality and Impact work stream of Knowledge for Healthcare. I contributed as Chair of a task and finish group looking at metrics.  We have prepared a report on principles for good metrics which will hopefully surface soon. As part of the research I prepared a poster for the LHL NHS/HE conference in the autumn. Annoyingly the group members are listed incorrectly – the main folk involved have been Dorothy Curtis, Lorna Wilson, Tracy Pratchett and Richard Parker.  It has been a real challenge working with a group spread across the country. It was striking how much more effective we were after having had a face to face meeting – something I would certainly try to have sooner in future such projects.

Back to the present – March 2016 Update…

The launch of the Cilip Online register of practitioners is announced as set for the 14th of March – not before time. I had an enlightening conversation with a colleague who I would have expected to be all in favour but who had voted against revalidation.  Sadly I think it reflects a need for much greater communication and engagement around the new revalidation process.  The traffic on jiscmail lists on this topic was depressing.

The Yale MeSH Analyzer looks like it could be a nifty tool.

An article on life as an outsourced library chimed with what I just been reading from the November issue.  The experience shared does not seem to me to offer any great advantage from being outsourced other than reducing MoD headcount. Providing a service to other organisations myself under SLA I know how much trickier it is to work with an organisation when you do not fully belong to them – I suspect this is less of an issue for the case discussed but I doubt it helps.

Work on developing data science courses connected to recent involvement I have had with information governance around data and high performance computing. There are major management problems to anticipate and a big role for metadata managers.

The Knowledge for Healthcare update this time is on the major work around Resource Discovery.

The cover article is on IP crime.  The focus seems to be mostly film / music with a side order of small fry ebook theft.  Missing is the storm around Sci-hub which is taking the unlicenced sharing of journal articles to a whole new level. I hope there will be something on this shortly as it raises enormous questions for a swathe of work we do.

Finally – a listicle from Matt Holland – I think a lot of what he says this time could be applicable to my own role where I do not often work at home but do not have a “home” at work either.  I like the idea of “not being strange” I would extend this to say “have some boundaries” – when work follows you home it can be hard to turn off.

Update catch up February 2015

You know the score by now…

A big piece on the Sieghart report the recommendations of which look pretty thin to me.  Not impressed latterly watching how the wifi actions are unfolding with overt commercial advertising presence and a bidding process rather than a universal offer.

The same news section carries details of the disaster at the Library of Birmingham which appears to be being gutted and propped up partially with more advertising cash.

Ask folks about the library and they tell you it is fine – but they don’t know any different. Paraphrasing R David Lankes.

A good bye article from Annie Mauger.  CILIP came on under her leadership though it still seems to be some way off winning back a lot of hearts and minds sadly. I hope she is enjoying her new role.

Phil Bradley tells me I should join Facebook for the good of my professional activity.  This is a tough one as I have steered firmly clear thus far and would prefer to keep it that way.  Not shy of social media but do I want another place?

I was interested to read about the continuing work around the Knowledge and Information Management as a recognised profession across the civil service.  These must be very tough times in those services and seeing a positive approach based around professionalism and skills is heartening.

Not an early Latin printed books expert but enjoyed the article on overcoming challenges around digitisation of these texts.

Ben Showers article linked to his book on Library Analytics and Metrics is very timely as I am now chairing a Knowledge for Healthcare task and finish group on this very topic.  His three areas:

  1. Measure what really matters
  2. Don’t collect it, or measure it, if you’re not going to act on it
  3. Make as much data available as possible

Are bang on really (and chime with other interesting things I have been reading and will blog about later).  I really like the idea that our data should be like dandelions – finding niches where ever they can rather.

Update catchup December 2014 / January 2015

Social media traffic this week from people pondering cancelling their membership of CILIP accompanied by statements that they had just popped another Update unopened on the pile.  I think this series of blog posts has shown that at least for this member there are always things of interest.
Who knows what will be useful in the future?  Not reading something is not going to help that is for sure.  Anyway that said, despite the double issue, this Update is not awash with articles that interested me.
There is a huge amount of news – almost half the issue.
CILIP Electionwatch was launched.  I was pleased to see this attempt to raise the profile of libraries as an issue at the general election.  Sadly the early days of the new government promise to be as destructive to library services as the equivalent period of the previous one. Hopefully the new CEO will bring continued focus on what are existential issues for many services.
The Library A to Z launch is also reported. Having backed this campaign I was disappointed that CILIP did not do so.  There were other organisations involved and I can see no reason why they were not.
There are some nice pictures of the new Uni of Greenwich Stockwell Street Library – since visited and discussed on this blog!
The book review of “The One-Shot Library Instruction Survival Guide” makes this sound an interesting read – one to recommend for the professional collection at work.
Spotted my name in the list of revalidating MCLIPs which was a nice surprise. I am waiting on this years efforts.
I liked the idea of the 23 librarians campaign to raise public awareness of the diversity of roles that librarians carry out (and their skills and impact).
Finally the article on student workers at Teeside Uni library was very relevant to developing areas at work. They used the Peer Assisted Study Sessions model which is doubtless old news to many but not something I recall meeting before.  It is great to see something building on what works.  Having looked at research literature on student roles around academic libraries there is a lot of reinventing and then not evaluating the wheel going on.  The article has what appears sound practical advice. One to share.
PS. Included in the envelope was the CILIP annual report with quote from when I submitted my first revalidation – had forgotten about being asked!


Update catch up November 2014

An information management themed issue.

An article from Laura Williams on embedded information professionals is encouraging.  I would have liked to have heard more about what she actually gets up to while embedded.  I have a feel for the kinds of things embedded clinical librarians would do and it would have been good to compare with a media role.

The article on scenario planning was a helpful introduction to this activity.  I tend to spend too little time looking ahead. An approach like this may be useful in plotting potential routes forward for my service.

I enjoyed the paper by academic Prof. Clive Holtham as something to chew on with ideas of what our role should include as professionals in a society increasingly focused on a narrow rational business oriented model.

An article on the changes to the RCN Library was a welcome update on the progress of their shift in focus.  Audience engagement is being pursued to broaden the range of activity supported by them and open the RCN more to the public.  Moving from defining and targeting an audience through to engagement is something that is highly applicable.  I know I have key audiences already for maximising the reach of my work but new ways to engage them will be of value.

The case studies on makerspaces and so on were a positive quick read.

Matt Holland is a regular author in Update and his latest listicle on working solo worked for me. In a big team I am far from solo but I have to think like a solo in terms of the scope of the people I work with and the difference to the core audience for the service.

This chimed for me:

In the end there are really only two tasks. Responding to your users better and marketing to your users so they come to you in the future. Everything else is just noise.

I also liked the idea of the need for focus – there are endless projects I could be involved in and could initiate but I won’t finish things that way.

The article on peer review in public libraries had me thinking about how to do a light touch version of this and to what extent it might already be happening in academic libraries.  Certainly there is plenty of history of it in the NHS.

Update catch up October 2014

You know the score – still not really catching up with these.

Useful article by Phil Bradley on net neutrality particularly in the light of recent undermining of this in Europe.

Good to hear from @AgentK23 on her trip to the m-libraries conference in Hong Kong. Discussion of WhatsApp usage reflects my experience that it is increasingly being used for group communication by medics. Another case of being where the users are perhaps?

The discussion of her event amplification through live tweeting is a good reminder to the non tweeps of what people are up to when they are tapping away. You still get some anti tweeting / mobile feeling from time to time at conferences.  Great when this is done well – I was sat near @ilk21 at the recent UHMLG Summer Conference (post to follow) and she is great at adding value to what is being said.

Another article on RDA that I dutifully read but cannot say I understood.

I particularly enjoyed the report by Charles Inskip from Digital Libraries 2014. I do not recall seeing much about this at the time and the article really sets the talks in context. Paper books for long term preservation of records!

With the Radical Librarians having gathered in Huddersfield lately I picked out the report of Dave Greene from EFF talking at IFLA.  I like his idea of libraries providing secure private internet connections as part of a wider role for protecting privacy of access to information.


Update catch up September 2014

On we go with another issue…

I was interested in the report of Arts Council research on the impact of automatic library membership. Sadly it seemed the research was a bit patchy with issues in getting going at many pilot sites. I can see similarities to work that has gone on in the NHS to blanket sign people up for eresources. The conclusion point to this being a boost to awareness but needing follow up to take advantage.

I liked the idea of the Random Coffee Trials (see what they did there?). This is a NESTA initiative to encourage knowledge sharing and networking within organisations. This could be worth a try as we look to work more closely across a large directorate.

Glad to see tales of a successful reinvigoration of a school library service thanks to a Foyle Foundation grant and the input of Librarian to make the most of this. You can read the article here. I am glad CILIP campaign on the importance of school libraries.

Also heartened by tales of CILIP Member Network in Yorks and Humber in the light of my muttering over the London MN and the need to find a way to drive more engagement and involvement in this.  We are helped in London by good transport links, hugely diverse professional environments and lots of people. Getting more of those people participating could do great things. The article on SLA ECCAs chimes with this – the vibes from SLA Europe people seems to often be more positive than that around CILIP. How to replicate some of that?

A last highlight was a piece on neogeography by a student. I hadn’t heard the term before but am very interested in the kinds of things it describes. I was fascinated by GIS in my first degree and will read more on this (see also volunteered geographic information).

Update catchup August 2014

Slightly scared that I am falling yet further behind with these!

The August 2014 issue has a beautiful image on the front from the National Fairground Archive and has probably travelled as many miles in my bag as many a travelling fair. I loved the article on this collection. It sits far from the things I am involved in professionally but I am always pleased to read about such a fascinating cultural treasures.

This issue has a report from HLG Conference which took place in sweltering heat in Oxford. I really enjoyed the conference offering up a version of my paper given in updated form at UKSG.  I also spoke as part of the CILIP Debate programme. There is a nice picture of me chatting with Donald Mackay at the end (and a great boggled eye one in the Dropbox collection for the conference.  I was on the losing side but this was no surprise since I had to advocate for hiring nurses using precious library funding. I gave a rather silly talk full of ill informed comment on the merits of the internet and the low level of need for our skills (not like librarians are the angels of the NHS eh?).  But I was very serious on the point that unless we act to defend our services they will get whittled away in a semi random fashion.

The article on tri-borough in London public libraries is interesting as a picture of one route forward for making the cuts that will face many services. I wonder how far such arrangements can extend – what is the most effective scale for a PL network? It is also interesting to read what @wylie_alan had to say about it after attending a CILIP in London event a couple of years back. Some things look like they could end up a bit thin – a public health officer for one borough is now spoken of as one for the tri-borough. Could be a bit busy! That said I am not sure the shift of Public Health from the NHS to local government has seen library provision survive very well.

The merger of Careers Development Group into the CILIP Branches to form Regional Members Networks seems a reasonable plan overall to me. That said I bumped into a member of the Cilip London RMN on the tube today (small place London) and it sounds like the committee is almost unchanged from when I was a member a couple of years back. A number of that committee have done very long service and I had hoped that the merger might prompt a renewal with fresh blood. Maximum terms of membership are supposed to be in place and I hope people will move aside to allow others to have a go.

Reading about Midlothian libraries I was struck by how similar our issues are in terms of needing to influence decision makers. A steady stream of data and stories is required to help people outside our world understand what we are busily up to.  The need for partners is also familiar. I was somewhat dismayed by the fact that the service is so short staffed that people are working through their holidays and in their own time.  This is simply not a sustainable way for people to live and for a service to operate.

Revalidation submission celebratory post

With only a slight hiccup due to my previous submission not having been marked as passed (rapidly rectified by Member Services) I have finally got round to submitting my CILIP Revalidation based on 2014 CPD activity.

It was great to take the time to reflect on a fairly hectic year. HLG conference was a highlight. I also felt the journal club I ran with colleagues at work was an excellent way to learn.

I was surprised quite how many libraries I visited in my travels.

I have not had a chance to join one of the seminars on obligatory revalidation but I am happy that it is a useful process for me.

This years celebratory tune from MJ Hibbett (minus the (re)validators) is a cover of Boom Shake the Room – enjoy!

Obligatory CILIP revalidation and the change to make it worthwhile

A really important change is being proposed by CILIP to revalidation.  2015 is going to see discussions culminating in a member ballot (October) proposing that Revalidation become obligatory for those with Certification, Chartership or Fellowship.  Read all about it and then come back.

I was confused at first skim as to what the point was – obligatory but non compulsory Revalidation would make little difference.  The new scheme for Revalidation is in my view a good thing (see We (re)validate for my take) but many have shrugged or not looked too closely expecting something highly onerous / pointless. I didn’t see how the change to obligatory Revalidation would alter this.

But then someone pointed out the inclusion of a public Register of Practitioners.  This makes it a useful change.

The Register will give people a way to have the professional body confirm to anyone that they are in membership and actively engaged in CPD.  It will definitely encourage people to have a closer look at Revalidation (and hopefully give it a try).  It has the knock on effect of stopping people claiming membership levels they do not hold when applying for things.

I have been proposing something like this in all the many CILIP consultations of recent years so it is great to see it potentially coming into place.  I would like something that went further – providing an online location for sharing professional roles and activity.  Sort of like a LinkedIn profile but without it the spam and being spotted doing “library” good (thanks to the 15 people who have endorsed me for this to date!).  But this is would be a great start.

I look forward to the debate!

Update catch up June 2014 edition

This issue was read and has been floating too and from work in my bag ever since so a rapid run through while dinner is cooking.

In the news we have the start of the regular CILIP AGM strife with various updates on planned governance changes. It was good that these were eventually balanced better though not without the usual levels of stress.

Poor old Tom Bishop from the RCSEng Library gets renamed Tom MacMillan in an item about an event on current awareness. The RCSEng have been developing a fantastic tailored current awareness service working closely with their members.

There is a press release posing as news from one of the suppliers who have developed a new ebook reader that they claim helps visually impaired readers. Standards have not always been a strength for this company so hopefully they have taken this on board for this development.

Phil Bradley talks about Vine as a means of communicating with library users. I recently saw some nice brief videos from colleagues down at St George’s.

The article on Social media risk is interesting but lacks information on how the survey was distributed which has the potential for sample bias.

The article on managing your professional online profile is a handy nag to remind me to update my LinkedIn. Setting up on SlideShare lately will also help share things of interest.

The likely creator of the short videos from SGUL features in her #uklibchat guise. I have occasionally engaged with this but it tends to fall at the wrong time for me. Hopefully this article will bring it to wider attention as it is a good forum for discussion.

The item on JUSP was a really good introduction for me to this system I was only dimly aware of in my NHS days. The idea of benchmarking is particularly appealing and something for me to pursue as part of work to improve our user insight at work.

Finally another dose in the ongoing dripfeed of articles about Chartership, revalidation and the VLE. Great to see the progress with using these tools and making the whole set up easier to engage with.