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.
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.
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).
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.
It cannot be said that I am catching up at present. This issue was read before Christmas and has now travelled across London numerous times in my bag. Onwards…
JournalClick looks like an interesting developing tool. The prices for libraries are very low. Almost worryingly so and I wonder how the coverage compares to other tools. Nearly a million articles added since last July.
There is a puff from the RCN for their journal changes. Time will tell if they can find a sensible pricing model for these.
60 seconds is with Gary Birkenhead in the run up to HLG conference – here is hoping someone will step up for the role of HLG Chair as he vacates it. A really excellent opportunity for someone having had the pleasure of doing it myself a few years back.
The article on wikipedia is a nudge to actually making a few edits myself something I have long meant to try out. Cilip in London organised an evening event on the development of reference in the digital age. The best question came after what can only be described as a chest butting session amongst the audience about who knew the most about reference books / counted the most obscure one as the most vital / glories past and tales of written corrections sent to editors. “Who edits the thing?” My suggestion was – the kind of people who send corrections to the editors of reference books.
KCL colleagues feature next talking about how they have benefited from formal teaching qualifications. I have benefited from their experience without felkng compeled to pursue that path myself as yet. Shadowing their sessions it is clear that they are well structured to support learning.
The next article covers 7 tips for health website managers (though all are generally applicable). I have to look after a number of pages and this was useful when looking again at my content. Always more work to be done here – the challenge is to break free of the confines of the CMS.
The Hometrack website is one I know from mooching about property online (is this now one of the top UK hobbies I wonder?). The main thing I took from this is that most mortgage valuations are done by someone driving past and looking at the property – how on earth do they get away with charging so much!
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.
Continuing my gentle potter to clear the backlog of CILIP Updates I reach April and an issue where I was the subject of the “60 Seconds with” (CILIP login required). This was fun to be asked to do and I had a few people get in touch about it at the time so clearly some do read it.
In the news this month were a few bits on lobbying work – a new chair for the all party parliamentary group for libraries and details of the submission to the Seighart Review. I was glad to see a clearer position adopted on the role of volunteers.
I liked the look of Copyrightuser.org a site I had not heard of before. A good looking resource aimed at explaining copyright to creatives and the public.
I found the reporting of a survey of PMLG disappointing. A good response rate was claimed but not quantified which is unhelpful. I also found it hard to follow the thread of the results. The report on development around Information Management interests within CILIP was encouraging.
A couple of tech bits – Phil Bradley reports an interesting tool for looking at twitter Gwittr which could be handy for investigating details of how people use accounts (amused on trying it that it notes I tweeted Clang quite a lot). I should use DuckDuckGo more but the wandering lifestyle my role requires means I end up on lots of different PCs and tend to stick to the default (it does mean I use Bing a bit). The idea of emerging from the filter bubble is appealing.
I was glad to read about the work of the Internet Watch Foundation. Interesting to put this work in juxtaposition with the research on internet filtering in Public Libraries. Given the bluntness of filtering tools it is a worry that these are in place at most libraries and even imposed by their ISP in some cases. Another nail in the coffin of the digital native was the observation that some of them have no smart phone and no internet at home.
This months library envy article is the Inner Temple library – pretty.
My planned catch up with the 2014 CILIP Update backlog has been predictably knocked off track by other events. I did also hesitate over whether I should read the new issue that has arrived so as to have current news. Having decided to stick with the plan we find ourselves back in March with the House of Commons on the cover.
The news section announces the arrival of the Update App. I have downloaded it but there my use ended. I think paper lends itself well to the kind of reading I do of Update. Clickable links are appealing but as I generally read it on public transport this is not a big selling factor. Glad to see this development anyway.
There is a fair bit of health related content in this issue. Bursaries from HLG for Conference are a good example of the things a SIG can do to support members professional development (they also keep the costs of conference relatively affordable). The report on the Sally Hernando awards aimed at sharing innovation and best practice in health information work across the NHS in England are also a fantastic initiative. I am one of the judges for the London area and love the insight and ideas they provide. I welcome also the update on sending health librarian presenters to non librarian conferences which can only be a good thing for building understanding between the professions engaged in health work.
There a few reports of matters of wider interest around elending, the Finch Pilot and likely impacts of Universal Credit on public libraries. Being behind with reading meant the item on the then upcoming UKSG conference should have been too late. However I am going to attend this conference for the first time next year so I did read it through and learnt a bit about the KBART format which I had somewhat taken for granted.
The value of a cross sector journal was brought home by the Legal Beagle column looking at embedded roles. Questions of subject knowledge and the value of co-location are highly relevant to the liaison roles I am involved with. Co-location is a great way to really engage with users and to spot opportunities to make a difference.
The cover article on the House of Commons library was fantastic including things on authority, outreach, training and information literacy. I liked their personal approach to new MPs and that it ended up becoming an offer to the wider group.
The two CILIP qualification articles went well together. I plan to use the new revalidation rules over the next few days so watch this space for how it went. The experiences of mentoring were helpful. I think this is something where we should be able to do more through the professional body. I have felt the lack of a mentor on a number of occasions (my Chartership mentor back in the mists was a great example but was also my boss under one of the previous sets of regulations so not quite a mentor / mentee relationship). I have also seen members of my team struggle to find a mentor with capacity to take them on. CILIP are working to offer more training on becoming a mentor which is great. I would like to see it go on and function as a wider clearing house for people to find mentors at all stages of their careers.
Finally I liked the MOOC etiquette article. In common with many MOOC participants I failed to complete the ones I have started. I think my failure to meet rule 5 (be engaged) meant I never really did enough of rules 3 and 4 (support others / bring gifts). There was also just too much chat in the forums on the MOOC I took for me to engage with it.
February 2014 Update (no volume or part numbers I can find?) pops out of the plastic wrapper and spends an hour with me on the 20 bus after the Central Line goes into meltdown.
A few things catch my eye in the news section this time.
The CILIP VLE goes live. I had a rummage at the time but have not yet got to grips with it (not least as login is a pain – can you login without going to the main CILIP site yet?). Getting to grips with it is on the list as part of revalidation plan.
There is an item on an NIHR publication (PDF) that includes the use of evidence by health managers. I could do with boosting the support for this group in the Trusts I work with so added to the reading pile.
There is an update on progress with books on prescription since the offer in this area by SCL / Reading Agency. Presents it somewhat as an overnight sensation, when it is clearly built on steady progress over many years, but it makes sense to try any lever to secure more work of this kind.
Finally there is the “Access to research” pilot as part of Finch. I had a look at the time of launch but my public library was not then in the scheme. The onsite only search tool, non commercial use clause and no downloading makes this a fairly restrictive pilot. How much time can people get on a PC? How might they be supported to print or download things they actually need?
The campaign for the right to e-read seems a vital one in terms of the future of public libraries. Good to see somewhere the professional body is involved in pushing for the needs of readers. The APPG meeting is mentioned as being back in 2012 which seems a little old even without my belated reading.
The Phil Bradley column is handy as ever. BigHugeLabs looks a nifty tool.
The future skills section is the regular annual round up to frame the LIS school adverts. Given the debate about the merits of LIS qualifications this article provides some interesting perspectives around the balance between theory / practice and specific / generic. It sounds a good idea that accreditation of courses is now against the PKSB though at the time of the article my alma mater was not accredited. I really enjoyed my MSc and the opportunity it gave me to really get involved with my topics. I picked the course carefully as I wanted to work in health libraries and this is a strength at Sheffield. There were things I enjoyed less but most aspects of the course felt relevant and interesting to me (though my threshold for interesting may be lower than yours). I appreciate my view was perhaps coloured by studying full time and with financial support. I can see how those paying for the course and working through out might have less room to think and different expectations.
Lawbore – looks a brilliantly tailored resource for law students and a powerful advert for City University and their Library Services. Serving students and reaching out it creates a community before and beyond University. I like the fact it has a specific URL.
There then follows stuff about RDA, special collections in Bradford and rare books. Nice pictures but not much else for me (though light exposure of this kind to RDA is probably a good thing).
An item on online mentoring was useful for the more generally applicable practical tips about online meetings. Working in this way is clearly on the rise. New library PCs at work have a built in webcam and Lync also supports screen sharing and online chat. This seems a logical avenue of advance for support at the point of need. Whisper it but I even saw glimmers of a move away from XP in the NHS yesterday.
Last up I was fascinated by the article on collection development for economics (great to see someone from outside the profession pushing debate in this area). While the article is immediately useful to those working with the subject the broader questions about how we carry out the task of maintaining a collection beyond the prevailing view point are applicable generally. In my view we cannot be neutral collectors but must be inquisitive and open.