October Update (and April 2015)

The shrink wrap crackle of a new edition through the letterbox pushes me to try not to fall further behind again.

October 2016 had some good stuff in it.

Interested in the plans for the new Lambeth Palace Library – I work just around the corner and will hopefully be involved in a building project myself nearby so there will be two Library projects within a few hundred metres over the coming years.

The Library Leadership Reading Group is profiled.  I have dipped in and out of this but frequently find it hard to participate in twitter events in the evenings. I am hoping to participate in the next one on Compelling People which looks useful for me as someone who needs to influence people without some of the usual levers.

Alison Day writes about the creation of the PKSB for health I am a fan of this in that it finally prompted me to complete my PKSB.  Having examples grounded in my predominant practice was a real help. The new online version also made it much easier to work through (and share). The close working between NHS libraries and CILIP has been a real positive for both.

I loved the Reads and rights campaign at Bath Spa – such a brilliant engagement project building on the strengths and values of the library within the institution and society.

Way back to April 2015 next with the announcement of the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework – stunning to think it was less than two years that this was published given all the work and progress subsequently (more on this in another post).

The other main thing to strike my eye was a piece by Paul Pedley on protecting the privacy of users particularly relevant in the light of the passing of the IP bill and a tide of news relating to capture and use of personal data.  There is a lot in the article to check out and some solid pointers for areas that we need to look at as a service.

 

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Update September 2016 (and May 2015)

I am falling behind so this is a quick post.

September 2016 first the hoody issue.

My being behind flags to me that I need to read more about the NHS Library Impact Toolkit. This is a key agenda across the NHS and rising at work so I need to know more here.

Confirmation in print of my MCLIP revalidation. I attended a fellowship event organised by Cilip London last week – I really need to get on and just do this. First job will to be find the necessary mentor – anyone care to help?

The article by Jane Secker on text and data mining was useful with clear pointers to developments and potential roles. I wondered about how this sort of work might mesh with the AI and automation agenda – might we see automated tools doing most of the grint work in literature work?

Complementary to this was the article on Full Library Discovery. Not sure quite how far down this path we are yet. Trip plus local materials could be the basis of something in the NHS.

Back to May 2015…

There is an advert for the UHMLG annual conference (I still owe this blog a day two post from it) that was my first UHMLG event – as of yesterday I am an UHMLG committee member.

A bit late really to read the article about the first UXLIbs Conference. In practice I have read a lot about this at the time and since. I finally read the Protolib report this week which uses the techniques discussed here and is a real eye opener on student use of space. I was in one of our super high intensity spaces yesterday thinking about what might help mitigate some of the effects of it.

July August Update (and June 2015)

I read these two issues on the train up to Scarborough for the CILIP HLG 2016 conference and these notes have been sat waiting for a quick tidy up ever since. I was slightly annoyed by this Cilip Conference special as it was a reminder that the change to the Cilip Conference being an annual affair means other events had to shift. The HLG conference appears not to have sold out this year which may well be related to the new date and HE colleagues were missed.

HLISD is featured after ten years in existence. I had a small hand in this in the past and am glad it continues to serve a useful function. It was a shame that the end of the NLH marked a reduction in the use of HLISD as a data source into other systems. I hope this will be returned to as we develop future sites. I wonder if the API is public?

I enjoyed the article on interlending in public libraries (takes all sorts I know). I take the position that people should be able to access whatever they require through their library. Within that I have a strong suspicion that ILL is frequently uneconomical versus a well streamlined purchase route.

June 2015 was also a Cilip Conference special!

Research by the Arts Council England on health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries is a good match for projects at work around impact.  A range of techniques were used to seek to put a value on libraries. The figure seemed low to me – £19.51 for users is barely the cost of a few books. This does compare well to the figures I subsequently heard about in the presentation on RoI at HLG2016.

The article by Sarah George on joining students on a field trip was a great example of opportunistic engagement. Participating in the scholarly life of the institution gave openings of an informal and semi informal nature. Closer work with placement libraries seems a logical way to go and something currently in mind.

#HLG2016 Metrics made practical

As promised here are my slides from #HLG216 in Scarborough.

A few thoughts follow to build on the content in the slides for those not around at the time / to make them a bit more helpful generally.

As my talk progressed I became very aware of how the metrics work linked closely to my day to day. We operate in a functional structure and I am part of a team responsible for Partnership & Liaison. This translates for me into wanting to have lots of meaningful conversations with people.  Metrics are a means to that end. I didn’t mention it during my talk but this year I produced Annual Action Plan style reports (a la York) for the NHS Trusts I work with. These proved much more engaging than my old annual report. They featured a small number of carefully picked metrics with explanations of what I thought they might mean.

The presentation builds through the various models / methods we considered as we researched the use of metrics.  It was good to tap into experience in the room of why our measures can be unconvincing, hard to share and obscure. I was really pleased to find by chance (picked up from the weeding trolley at work) a 1990 text by some of the greats “Quality assurance in libraries: the healthcare sector” which strongly affirmed the areas people were focusing on and some of the approaches under way. Not much changes in the end.

We ended up with four overarching principles for good metrics

Meaningful – the core of this is that the metric must be something people (other than you) care about. It should be aligned to organisational objectives and be readily understood by stakeholders.  You need to talk them about it! An extension of this is to remember that framing metrics as a target should be approached with caution. There is the potential to set targets for the sake of it that will lack meaning for stakeholders. Tell them how you are performing and then discuss whether this is more or less than they need. Metrics need to be kept under regular review to reflect changing priorities and remain meaningful.

Actionable – for a metric to be useful for us it needs to be in an area we can influence. If we cannot make it move one way or the other it then we don’t want to be held accountable for it. A good metric will drive changes of behaviour and service development.  We also need to remember that the metric is only an indicator and we need to carry out appropriate research to back up what we suspect the figures are telling us.

No numbers without stories – no stories without numbers

Reproducible – this principle contains quite a lot.  It starts from the position that tracking a metric is a piece of research. Accordingly we need to be transparent about our methods and we need to be so before we collect the data. We should use the best data available to us.  Replication implies that we should get consistent results if two people examine the same thing at the same time.  Finally we also want our metric data collection to not be excessively burdensome. If it takes two solid months to crunch the data then it probably isn’t reproducible (or you would really have to get an awful lot from it).

Comparable – finally we want metrics that allow us to see change over time.  Often we will need to recognise that this can only be internally. We may be able to look to benchmark externally but we should be realistic. Even if we are transparent it will remain difficult to establish consistent data and there are frequently influencing factors that we may or may not be aware of. For example – what is the impact of being in a Trust three times bigger? or with three sites? or thirty? what kind of staffing model is in place? how is the service funded and delivered?

All this is a fair bit to keep in mind so the Metrics task and finish group prepared a Quality Metrics Template. This is designed to support people in creating, documenting and sharing their metrics.  The slides include a worked example and others were distributed in the room for the final group work section were people had a chance to start drafting some out or just discuss the principles.

In discussion the potential was seen to use completed templates as the basis of a process of refinement seeking best of breed metrics around particular questions.  Hopefully a tool will be available to collect them in the first instance and then an approriate group might be assembled. There was some concern that metrics might be imposed but this strikes me as unlikely.  The diversity of services and the needs of local stakeholders mean that one size will definitely not fit all.  There was discussion of the NHS national statistics return and the importance of considering these in the light of the principles.

I hope people will find the principles and template useful. It was great to talk to such an enthusiastic audience. More conversations please!

Revalidation – going for the threepeat

Spookily almost a year to the day since I last submitted I have once again completed the documents to revalidate my MCLIP.

I hope the current discussions at CILIP will finally see the launch of the online register of practitioners the long overdue public face of revalidation.

It has been another packed year professionally with a host of new conferences, visits, LibUX, Metrics and more. Plenty to reflect on! If anyone wants to talk revalidation do give me a shout – happy to talk you through it.

This years mandatory revalidation celebratory tune from MJ Hibbett and the Validators is – Things will be different when I’m in charge from the Album “This is not a library”

April 2016 Cilip Update (plus October 2015)

Items of note in the new issue and the back issue…

April starts with the usual news.  A small item in the news section about Sci hub is hopefully a signal for some deeper analysis of this.  Given the universal preference for no logins and simplicity in access this is one of the big stories in scholarly publishing.  The creator of the site has a very different definition of Open Access to the one librarians would recognise but it feels like this could lead to a more rapid transition to a more legally realistic Open model.

The opposite page links nicely with Sandra Ward discussing the need for skills around risk, security and data privacy.  Good luck to the people who have given Sci hub their network logins and think they will only be used to access journal articles.

The article on the value of trained library and information professionals is encouraging. The full report will warrant reading.

I enjoyed reading about work to bring student art into the library space in Wimbledon. Not sure how we could support something of this kind with our students. Adding visual and physical learning aids would be a start.

Now back to October 2015 with a health focus apparent…

News wise this feels like an issue where CILIP HQ is starting to show the response to member pressure for a more actively advocating institute. The initial response to the AGM resolution to oppose amateurisation was underwhelming but it feels like My Library By Right and other work is now moving things in a better direction.

An item on faculty / librarian collaboration looks very relevant to my interests – I had missed this one at the time and it sounds like a potential team journal club conversation starter.

The cover article on Knowledge for Healthcare is a good run through. The one year updates are now circulating and a lot has been achieved. My own involvement in the Metrics work has been stretching both in terms of building knowledge on the topic but also in leading a distributed team. I wish I had pushed for a face to face meeting sooner as this really improved our subsequent work together.

More health with an informative article from RCSEng on their collection review. I am lucky to sit as an external on their joint Museums, Archives, Library and Surgical Information Services committee and this article really filled out the story on work I had heard about there. The close working relationship presented here is a great example of how heritage collections can underpin modern practice. I highly recommend the recently opened temporary display at the Hunterian on vaccination which includes letters from Edward Jenner, film, moulages from the Gordon Museum and historic antivaxxer postcards.

It was useful to think about what happens to our social media accounts on our death. It some ways a companion piece to the talk by Brian Kelly at Internet Librarian 2013 ago on what happens to your digitally speaking when you leave an employer. I definitely have some work to do to be ready for either of these eventualities.

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.