Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Libraries Futures Symposium – Trinity College Science Gallery – May 19th 2016

source: @markyb09
The event, held from morning to early afternoon, was the second last in a season of events organised by Trinity College librarian Helen Shenton as an opportunity for information professionals to meet to discuss the road being travelled into the future by libraries. Trinity themselves have a 2020 strategy plan recently published and this event had much to do with how other great library institutions are dealing with the ever-changing nature of libraries and what projects are under way in their own places of work to meet this future. After a very interesting introduction by librarian Helen Shenton, the University Provost talked for a few minutes about the plan and the importance of the Trinity libraries, both in terms of the historical collections and the uniqueness of the Legal e- depository. This seemed to be a theme of the evening as Helen pointed out at the end: the need to keep both heritage and books as well as more digital content.

source: @richove
The first speaker was Roly Keating, the Chief Executive of the British Library. Opening with some comic remarks on what we thought would be the future library in the sixties (clean lines, Doctor Who), Roly began an enlightening talk about the two sides of the library and The British Library’s 2023 plan. He spoke about how their primary location near St Pancras station in London is a knowledge centre surrounded by organisations seeking knowledge but only became a knowledge quarter through communication. The two sides of the library line up with the geography of the location; the physical, collected, preserved lines up with the physical library itself to one side of the train station and the virtual, open, connecting and global linking to the ongoing Google build project to the other side. The library however is working towards the second side, in digital items and openness as well as taking a role in creative economy. An important aim is described as being to “make [their] intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment”. Roly says that as the library is funded by the public it is their “birthright”. The focus of a lot of the talk was the library’s six purposes: Custodianship, Research (of all kinds), Business (support), Culture, Learning and to be available for and represent an International audience. The key projects under way include the ‘Save our Sounds’ project which plans to try and save some of the most under threat recordings in their collection, the off-site newspaper archive in Boston Spa in Yorkshire which houses ever piece of British Journalism since the 1600s, and their international print digitisation project.

source: @martinoconnor3

Following on from Mr Keating was Mike Keller from Stanford University. He began his talk with a summarising statement saying what they were about that followed on from the two side of the library – both tradition and innovation in supporting and stimulating. Although he pointed out that their aims are mostly in line with serving their university population of students and faculty, what they do at the university is very useful in their responsibility towards “cultural patrimony and documenting [current time]”.  Mike went on to talk about how they preserve reference based information assets via LOCKSS and CLOCKSS (which he explained for those not in the know), Stanford Digital Repository which contains over 1100 collections, and they have also begun web archiving alongside other libraries and institutions. Key points he mentioned included the importance of having a data management plan when seeking funding for research, which encouraged a follow-up question from the audience after he was done speaking. Next Mike spoke about how their catalogue search worked and how library catalogues are much better for finding titles over Google Scholar. He also spoke about a very useful tool developed by a friend of his called Yewno.com. This search is based around conceptual maps that connect areas of a topic when searched which researchers can then discuss. He demonstrated this by searching ‘Ireland Easter 1916’ which drew a plain but detailed mind map of concepts around this event. He explained that 50 algorithms are used to create this. Mike also talked about a several year long project that occurred in the University which gathered 67,000 and counting maps from the collections of David Ramsey and created an exhibition centre with a stunning floor to ceiling screen. Following this he discussed the IIIF vision for the future of this and other projects, questioning if in the future of digitising these items if they could be analysed, a search could be done within the collection and results could be even compared across websites. Stanford is working with many other institutions, including UCD, to make the tools to meet this vision and make the project findable on the web. Another project they have undertaken at Stanford launched mere days ago and is entitled ‘Enchanting the Desert’ and aims to provide a interactive resource where peer-reviewed scholarly articles were available. Mike finished up with the empowering message that people are what will make the future of libraries and not necessarily just those with degrees.

source: ‎@clarebrarian

The third speaker was Richard Ovenden of Bodleian Libraries in Oxford. Richard continued the theme of traditional and new library uses in his talk when comparing conserving the heritage of the historical reading room and the new needs of the library in relation to the refurbishment of the New Bodleian. He mentioned the problems with fitting these new needs within although beautiful, restricted architecture. Therefore they have preserved the older parts for the heritage but also for the historical books and manuscripts and refurbished the 1930’s building  in the centre of town to make it less “opaque” and more visible to students and the public and suitable for use as a cultural and research building. The first step in this process ,aside from changing the front of the building to be more visible with a open facade, was to move a great deal of their low-use titles to the appropriate storage facility for the work on the building. They would then be returning some of them while keeping a flexible storage facility with a smooth service should any of these texts be required. This storage facility would be staffed by an interesting mix of library staff and those with forklift licences! This reduction of books would make for more open shelf access and study space as well as exhibition space. They also worked on the general appearance of the spaces to make the tunnels more Star Trek and the space in general more open, while retaining important spaces such as reading rooms. These reading rooms would get a more fresh and well-lit look, while the stonework would be cleaned and unseen features would be made visible. All of these changes made a huge impact academically and in terms of the public. In Academic terms it opened up the space for research collaboration and international fellowship projects (which would include a ten week immersion project) as well as seminars. The updates also supported the changing nature of the library. In terms of public impact, footfalls exceeded expectation at over 880,000 visitors in 13 months, with the Oxford Literary Festival hosting 49 events in the library. Other cultural highlights include the Shakespeare’s Dead exhibition which was launched recently by Dame Maggie Smith. The library has now also hosted educational events such as coding for young people and the Big Draw of the Year. He closes on the points that the library functions completely on philanthropic donations and that marketing is key in libraries.

source: @martinoconnor3

The final talk of the day was given by the founder of MetaLAB at Harvard, Jeffrey Schnapp. He began with an extinction chart from the past that suggested that the library as a physical form would be extinct by 2020, which he mused was simply not true. The belief at the time was that the library was “vestige of the past” and ideas along these lines of the library as only physical were na├»ve ideas about what the library was or will be or indeed what knowledge is. This fantasy is an either/or idea; that there can be libraries with books or the internet with knowledge. Jeffrey then suggested that the library was an experimental space and as he mentioned later on it had been since early in the 20th century as new types of technology had to be dealt with. This is where the idea of Metalab came – “a idea foundry, knowledge-design lab”.  Two things of interest are  designing a user-centric digital lab and archive (as a physical space) and designing the 21st century library, one component at a time. One project undertaken at the University was something called a Library Test Kitchen that didn’t lose the expert element but brought the conversation into an area of speculative design. This project asked questions such as ‘what would a reading room fit for text and digital library use look like’ and ‘what does the contemplatory space in this 21 century library look like’. An interesting point that Jeffrey brought up was how libraries are leading the pack in relation to collecting data in databases and catalgoues and how useful it would be if this was open. One project he was part of that looked at this used records to show how the printing of books was disseminated across Europe over the first 1000 years of printing. Something that he said towards the end really stuck with me. He claimed that having a background in cultural history made him interested in ethnology. He spoke about how the work library and its origin Biblioteca essentially means bookshelf and that although people use this to justify the extinction of the use of libraries, the idea of a book is also changeable, so why should the shelf not? He then proceeded to talk a bit about the interesting history of libraries from Alexandria and Pergumon to Napolean’s mobile library that he brought to war with him to attempts at the modern library incuding the Idea Store. His concluding points concern an important recipe – What is the library yesterday, what is the library today and to link up with the topic of the day, what is the library in the future. Jeffrey believes this is a hybrid, a multimedia space for knowledge access and activation. It will include reading rooms but will not be the ridiculous space for books mapped when the New York library was opening and the reference desk will need to be changed. 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Thing 23: Making it All Work Together

The first concern I had regarding social media streaming was that all my accounts, and their login info, is in one place for hackers to get at and the truth is - i'm a bit paranoid about these things (i feel weird checking my email on the bus WiFi) and if hackers really were skilled enough they wouldnt need all of it on a plate.

With a bit of a look around i found this could be useful, both in terms of keeping up with group and twitter activity for LIS but also if i wanted to get going on my entertainment news blogging again as i often find information across Facebook, Twitter and the internet at large. The requirement for this post was to reflect on one of the options, but i prefer to look at the ones I can sign up for and talk a bit about each. For the main part, however, I focus on HootSuite.

Due to the mobile app download requirements of Flipbook, i went for  Hoot suite, which is something i've came across on Twitter before. The limit of 3 feeds (particularly in terms of linkedin groups) is a bit of a letdown as this could be so useful if it went across more LinkedIn groups. My email already compresses updates on LinkedIn so it'd have to be worth my while to use a different platform for connecting social media outlets. Particularly since, although the cross platform posting sounds useful, i'm not using social media for work at the moment and any other news blogging i'm doing, Facebook and twitter already cross-platform post to each other, meaning posting to my Facebook group via Hootsuite would double-post on twitter. The useful item on this may be scheduling, but cant Facebook groups already do that? 

It is however very useful for looking at feeds on your screen in the one place. I do find it difficult to keep up with all the Twitter accounts i follow (especially since my tweet alerts to my phone don't seem to work any more) and having them in lists takes time to switch between them where you can have various lists spread across your Hootsuite. Despite my earlier comments, i'm not knocking it as a useful posting tool - it would be more of use should i use it in the future for work as LinkedIn and other social media that aren't Facebook and Twitter can be added in that I wouldn't necessarily use for my entertainment news sharing.  I would just need to get a pro account for this to be of benefit.

Google alerts is something i used before. I cant remember unsubscribing from it but i don't think i get the alerts anymore. This is something that could be useful; if you use your librarian skills on search engines well as too general terms will give you too general results and result overload.

Buffer may be of use in the future also as it allows you to schedule links to share rather than just posts and you can edit the post depending on the platform you're sharing to.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Thing 22 Mobile Things

I certainly agree with the point made about using mobile counterparts because of convenience. When i used to blog news more frequently, i found more time to do it on the blogger app and via twitter. Just the other day i explained to my partner that i didn't bring my camera to the ballet because i wanted to put our picture up on Facebook as a way of saying we were there and damn it with the quality.

As i explained in a previous post about instagram, my phone although smart, is very silly about things such as being able to store messages and other things on the massive memory card instead of saving them to the limited phone storage meaning that sometimes my phone registers as having no space when i delete a ton of things. Therefore mobile app downloads dont really happen for me, but i will have a look at the google store and see whats on offer in the areas that might be useful; meetings, presentations, libraries.

That said, i'll used the app version of  Office suite, or at least the basic package, is rather useless outside of reading documents and pdf - it has no edit or create features that i could find. That said, there are mobile versions of apps that i've used that i've found very useful (email, facebook, blogger) albeit with limitations (no way at seeing junk emails, no way of editing checkins etc once posted, no minimise to move between the internet and blog post).

I'm sure the apps mentioned could be useful in the future, if you had the time to use them frequently. For example, one of the first things i thought of with Gum is that you could scan the barcode of books in the library and users would know you had it if they were looking at it in a bookstore. As i've said on previous occassions, with these things, its a matter of prioritizing what areas you need more modern imput and working continually on that.  Beacons also sound interesting but as with a lot of these types of things, patrons need to have to be tuned into the item in question - in this case bluetooth. Bluetooth is something i myself only turn on if i'm sending or receiving something from a friend or family member. But that's just me, so they definitely could be of use.

One app i already have that would serve some of the functions mentioned in previous posts about images is snapchat. It's popular enough for students to more than likely already have it and as i have it, its a quick and easy way to keep students interested in the going-on at the library. It's temporary nature has both pros and cons though.

The temporary nature of the photos may line up a bit with instagram's disabling of the 'save photo' function which i imagine may help with issues to do with labelling your images with creative commons as for the main part, images show up for a few seconds and cannot be saved. Obviously more sophisticated phones can screencap the snapchat, but on average even if they did it would not be a problem. Its also an app that you don't need to buy and there's no real issues of storage space as the pictures disappear. 

It does mean that your notifications and updates arent available for ever, so that picture you took of a new item or opening hours will dissappear and the information may go too quickly for patrons to read in time. Patrons who do not look at your snapchat every day may miss things. But i myself and many others do look at them every day, as these types of things become a bit addictive. As i said before, a lot of young people do use snapchat already so this might be a good way of updating your patrons about your library and could be beneficial is used correctly. 

If i were to consider this going forward i would use it for the following things; updating students on new titles, any temporary changes to the opening hours, added features to the already available electronic resources,  the library itself and its facilities. The temporary nature of the photos may be a selling point for encouraging patrons to appear in the images. It could also be a way of updating students on the current space available in the library, meaning that part-timers can check before they leave the house how busy the library is that day. Also libraries that have more events may find it a useful way of demonstrating the events that happened. It could be away of connecting the departments within the college by allowing each department to take over the snapchat for the day, talking about the types of things they do each day and introducing students to staff and services available. On that note, it might also be a way for the wider library-interested community to get a feel for what the librarian does.

The downside is that, like most social media, this is something that needs to worked on daily to keep snapchat users interested and its not always possible to find something to post about every day. But it is quick enough to take a picture and write a short amount of text so with a bit of creativity, it could work well.

Thing 21 - Infographics

Now that i think about it, reports that i wrote for advocacy at work may have popped off the page just a bit more may have worked better as an infograph. Given my boss' limited time it may have been useful. However, infographs may not cover all bases and works better for figures than facts and the purpose of a infograph seems to condense information whereas a qualitative argument is also important in expressing what library hours mean to students, not to mention leaving in all the information would make it over long and undo this purpose. I will test out an infograph on a report i wrote recently regarding opening hours and see if it works well. 

I decided to pick easel.ly because i think pdf's would be more useful for printing purposes and the name was catchy. It useful that you can sign up with google.

It's important in this infograph to hone in on the highest figures, students responses and financial benefits.

It's probably a bit cluttered but was trying to get as much important information across in the below infographic

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Thing 20: presentations

Presentations are scary. I avoided them where possible in uni, only doing a few here and there and accidentally, though gleefully, missing a group one in  my GDIP LIS.

This week i had to give a presentation to students on the electronic resources available to Business students, but figured a live demo would be better, especially since it was on short notice. But I will do up the slides i would have done up if i'd had more that a few minutes to give the demo. Perhaps i can put a few more points on the resources and make it available to students?

My presentation probably aligns most with the first category, the exposition, as i will be presenting the facts about the resources and giving a basic how-to guide. My audience are final year business students so its tailored to their resources and whether the resources cover the three employment paths: management, marketing and finance. In my research i found out that our limited resources arent really tailored towards the finance aspect, so this i will need to break to them gently and provide alternatives. They will be at the beginning of their thesis research journey, and some of them are foreign exchange, so i will need to cater to different levels of familiarity with the resources.

The point made about knowing your subject is something i felt very fearful of in my actual demo - i'd have a general idea how to work the resources but be a bit rusty on legitimate searching as i havent got queries in awhile and wouldn't be that well up on business topics. Obviously i used my limited time before i was due to give the demo looking at a few more general topics but with recently cut hours it was hard to spend any real time on it, so i muddled through the few search suggestions i got unexpectedly.

My story will be as follows.Introduction to myself and library. How to login to the portal through which you access the resources mentioning that they should have received an email by now, if not email on handout. Then go through each resource, one-two slides per resource with space for questions at the end. This handout mentioned is something i did prepare for students this week so it will make up some of my story. This means I have a fair idea what will be going into the resources part of the story. I know from experience what types of questions and concerns the students have, so this should help the slideshow construction.

I will more than likely stick to PowerPoint, as i own it, and the work Microsoft Office is 2013 so it's a quite updated version i can use during quieter times. I was however interested in learning about Prezi, Google slides and slideshare. Thankfully i've learned from experience that messing around with schemes and fonts and images just wastes time so i know the best idea is always to go for a clear font (such as Times New Roman) and style, keeping accessibility in mind. My images will only be screencaps, which i have some prepared already so nothing to worry about there. The plan is to simplify the resources for students, so paragraphs of words on the page would be counter-productive anyway- therefore i will be constructing clear simple bullet points.

As soon as i've constructed the slides i will screen cap some of them here.

i've removed the email addresses for privacy

and a closing slide

Thing 19: The legal side of things

It is interesting that i got to this topic today when only yesterday i was catching up on my ILN (International Librarian Network) topics since my email app went bust and copyright was the topic i was discussing with my partner. 
What i said i will repeat here: considering my profession as an academic librarian i have scandalously little knowledge on the current national rules on copyright except the usual 'no photocopying more than 5% of a text' and referencing in an essay. I would know a bit about attribution and creative commons from my college essay writing days and choosing images to use in posters advertising our services and rules, but other than that i'm fairly behind, particularly with regards to stuff that is not open access. I volunteer now and again with the DOAJ so my knowledge of what constitutes open access is improving but its the other side of the copyright field i know little about. In my conversation with my partner he discussed his frustration about pharmaceutical companies claiming intellectual ownership of indiginous knowledge and I mentioned how my understanding about just how free a stock image is expanded in relation to that No campaign poster earlier this year.

Created by Christina Hardison for opensource.com

I didnt know that legend suggests copyright law originated among monks and i can certainly understand that copyright was first brought into law to protect the author. I can understand that continuing today. But what i cannot understand is that a certain amount of journal publishers can have such a hold over research and its dissemination to the point that sometimes it costs so much more for a researcher to have their work freely available and still respected. Also this idea that works of a ridiculous age are the property of a writers family- surely they should be making their own living and not desperately hanging on to the rights of their deceased family members efforts so that big companies can give them lots of money to make a movie - yes the movie company shouldnt be able to make so much money off the work of others but when did art become about who made money and who didnt? In my own view, education should not be something for the privileged, but for the masses. Maybe this is a bit idealistic but most librarians are librarians for a love of literacy and imparting knowledge, particularly to the disadvantaged. 

I am certainly glad there are additional provisions WIPO has made for libraries, although the document is a few pages long so i will go have a read and comment some more later.

Creative commons is something i have a bit of knowledge about from volunteering with DOAJ as mentioned above so i think i will take the second task to complete. However the content of the first task has given me lots to think about - particularly in terms of who anything i create at work belongs to.

sourced from Academic Revolution Remixed's Flikr

To be included in the Directory of Open Access Journals there are a few important requirements - people need to be able to read all content of the journal ("Is the full text of the articles available online? The options selected must be available on the site for download by a user.")  and they need to have access to the copyright information ("Check that a statement about the journal’s Open Access Policy is stated clearly on the web site") which is  fairly usable creative commons and has to be embedded in the article.
This is a useful resource for information professionals as it offers another source, both for our own research and aiding the research of our patrons as electronic resources and journals in general are quite expensive. In the few applications i've processed so far, a few have even had low or no Article Processing charges which although it is less popular, it means that this research at least could be entered easily, an incentive for academics to have their articles freely available. The website also encourages a digital archiving policy meaning that older work is also available freely. Another important requirement for being included is that the journal have a full editorial board and be peer reviewed, increasing the quality of the content. The editors scan for plagiarism also.

The website is fairly easy to use and is searchable at article level. Once you search, you can filter results by journal licence, which means that you know which will be easier to reference, re-use etc. There is also a browse function which devides sources by, thankfully, the library of congress subject classifications which means finding the right content easier. The whole website has an embedded link to more information about the creative commons licence of each work.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Thing 18: Communicating through photographs

I love communicating through pictures. I'm the type of person who loves leaving a picture with no caption and having people guess whats going on. Or, embarrasingly, loves announcing a dramatic hair style change by not telling anybody about it beforehand and then posting a 'look at me' type picture. I used to not be so hipster and petty. I used to hate pictures of myself. But then, you see i got a taste of people caring where I went, what i wore and who i went with when hanging with some unashamedly camp fellows. It's eased off a bit in recent months, but for awhile (and snapchat is partially to blame) I got a lil bit obsessed with photographing everything i was eating, every place i was and every cute animal i saw. It just became habit. I think my phone not being able to handle the update to Snapchat saved my soul just a little bit.

But i've gone a bit off topic. I've used Flickr a bit, mainly in an observational way but i've never used Instgram (you don't want to know the un-pc alternative name i have for it, though this particular group that should be offended named it). I have however used pictures to communicate whats new in the library, primarily new books, and i added some pictures of the library to our own page after our previous librarian left because i felt it needed more colour. Therefore i can understand how Flikr might be useful to tell the library story - i have no problem with people saving pictures which i understand as the only benefit of Instagram except filters, though i'm willing to give both a go.

Flikr is something i can across, like most things, through fandom, where other fans had posted film set images or fan art. It also somewhere I used recently to look at pictures of a marathon i was very proud my sister took part in. I didn't know that it could search for creative commons pictures so i now realise one particular advantage of using it in our field, particularly with regard to reference questions we might get about copyright free images. It is also, as i've said in previous posts about images, a good way of sharing event pictures and its useful that a group of people can post the same place. Who would ever need more than a terrabyte of storage! At least not for quite awhile! Tagging and gathering images into topics is a good tool - though people may vary in their wording - so maybe only use our own Library field standards if possible? Then the interactive nature of the site allows users to add their own tags thus broadening the findability. I certainly agree that photographing fragile items is a good idea - much like leave no trace with nature, you can take a memory of the item for more to see without exposure to more people.

It's hard not to get sidetracked with all the groups and topics and albums and chatrooms (oh and the metadata!) but i finally got to the task at hand. I thought the NLI photostream was a good place to look for a photograph, particularly since i love old photos and they saw in their Flikr commons statement that none of the photos have copyright only attribution. I scanned it abit until i found the photo below. It reminded me of myself posing with a friend of mine - me awkward and my friend posing like a pro. It was only after i saved it i realised something crazy - the awkward guy has the same surname as me! Major General Ennis on the left. I kind of want to find out if we're related now, and the NLI is a good place to start.....

Instagram is something, ever by its name, that gives me the feeling of a hipster app trying to be cool and cultured by using something like anything ending in gram. It also throws up associations of selfies, ridic filters and apple products, but i have decided to approach everything with an open mind. But then i realised you need to download the mobile app for it to work. My phone doesnt have that kind of space, no matter how much i delete - will i be failed on not competing this task? Would that be fair as not everyone has a smart phone?

I guess i'll enquire and find out - returning to this task at a later date. I have enjoyed looking at New York Public library account - those book covers connecting with the people behind - never gets old.

I think instagram is a bit flashy for our library, though it might help connect with the younger undergrads and i've yet to really look at it. Flikr would work for us because there's lots of embedding features and you dont need an account to view the images. I think we could use it to regain that student updating service we lost with a more awkward Moodle website  - on the old website it was designed with a front page that was useful for posting information and updates as well as a more useable library page but with the new website there seems to be more restriction on who views what version of the front page and its harder to work out how to post things there. Also our institutions marketing team has taken over other roles as late so cant spend as much time updating about the instiution as a whole on the institution twitter.

A flikr account could be useful for posting images of new items in our collection, promoting services and displaying those posters i like making that we cant put on the  wall in the new building because of new paint etc.