Sunday, 4 December 2011

JISC Collections 2011 Conference 24/11/11

This was held at the National Railway Museum in York, which is close to where I live so I thought it was a good opportunity to go to something different but still useful. The day began with a welcome address from the Chair of JISC Collections, followed by an overview of what JISC Collections have been doing over the last year by their CEO. The corporate style was not something I'd experienced before in person, both speakers were very accomplished at speaking to a large audience and very good at making the topics understandable.

The third presentation was about HE and FE perspectives and future directions, these presentations were given by Stephen Town from University of York and Emily Armstrong and Chris Skerrow from Hull College. Town's main message was that research libraries are not matching the values of the researchers. This needs to be addressed as he believes that value measures are becoming more important than quality measures. The University and research libraries, in his opinion are slow to change even though they are committed to sustainability.

Armstrong and Skerrow painted the picture at Hull College and this view is similar to my experience, as I work in the same sector. They have experienced an increase in e-book usage due to JISC's E-books for FE Collection and students want their e-resources available through their own mobile devices. Ideally they would like federated searching to be available, however they are yet to find an affordable system. They also try to make best use of their VLE by making all their library information and digital literacy information available through it. It is encouraging to hear that this is what they do and want to do, as it what the students I work with want too.

The workshops that I attended were Managing E-resources and E-books for FE. The Managing E-resources covered JUSP, which is what I was most interested in, a single point for journal usage statistics. The publishers currently involved are not ones I deal with and there is a question over longer term funding for the project.

E-books for FE was presented by Anna Vernon from JISC and David Scott from Dundee College. Scott mentioned that if the Colleges were to buy the books that are available through the Collection, it would cost £115,000 - that is amazing. Independent study skills are very important to Dundee College, so it is also very important for e-access to as much as possible and for it to be simple and straightforward. They are using QR codes for e-book access and this is something that I need to look into as a way forward, for both the access to e-books and moving on our use of QR codes. Vernon looked at how you can make using e-books more interactive through collaborative reading by using social media apps such as Open Margin, SocialBook, and Flipboard.

I found the day very interesting and have got some good ideas especially for e-books and how they can be further promoted and accessed.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Conference Planning and Mini Umbrella 23/11/11

Last week I was in Newcastle for a CoFHE / UC&R Conference planning meeting. I was nervous about this as I know nothing about conference planning, so what could I offer?
Initially I had to offer:
  • a presence from a College
  • a presence from somewhere local
  • support to other College and CoFHE members
At first I was very quiet as I didn't think I had anything to contribute, I eventually made some contributions and gained in confidence. I hope to be able to go to more of the planning meetings and feel that with a more knowledgeable background and more confidence, I will have even more to contribute.

One of the most positive aspects of the meeting for me was meeting new people, who were very supportive. I hope to be able to keep in contact with them both regarding the Conference and for other aspects of library work.

On the same day, I was due to attend Mini Umbrella. I was presenting with my colleagues Claire and James at the event. I was hoping to get there much earlier to see the other presentations. I managed to get there in time to see the presentation immediately before ours about services to visually impaired library users.

Our presentation was called The New Curiosity Shop: What's on offer today? and looked at what is expected and how we deliver our 21st century library services, by balancing modern and traditional services in innovative and engaging ways whilst working with an ever decreasing budget. The presentation went really well, it got people's attention and made them laugh - so definitely a success and with very positive feedback.

I think that more College libraries / LRCs should go out to cross sector or non-College events and tell their stories. There is a lot of good work out there and it needs to be promoted. It won't happen by itself though. It is something that I have only really started to do this year. I have started small and haven't presented on my own (lack of confidence). Claire and I did the Newcastle TeachMeet earlier this year, this last week, at the beginning of next year, we are doing a workshop for a local UC&R event and today I submitted our paper for consideration at the CoFHE / UC&R Conference next year. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Making better use of e-resources

At the beginning of the year, or possibly late last year, an e-mail came through from Credo Reference informing me that some e-books had bee...