Tag Archives: roundup

Summary of 26 #theta2015 sessions

So yes, it turns out that I attended 26 sessions at #theta2015. This link is to the tag here on my blog, so in addition to all my live-blogged notes it self-referentially includes this post and any future thoughts arising (I have at least one post planned on altmetrics and oral presentations). For those daunted by the thought of that much reading (including my future self, for when asked what I got out of it), here’s a more scannable summary.

Highlighted are those titles that I particularly want to refer back to for one reason or another, which may bear only passing resemblance to those titles that will be of interest to others.

Day 1:

  1. Waves of the Future: Possibilities for Higher Education: throws out a bunch of exciting/terrifying trends affecting higher education and posits some provocative scenarios for the future (open wins; closed wins; automation wins; creative renaissance). Much to think about.
  2. Changing times, emerging generations: a snapshot of the megatrends affecting higher education: more trends, (Australian) demographics-focused. My notes were brief, just reflecting my own discomfort with this kind of lumping which can neglect vulnerable groups. To which I’d now add that I could see the value of saying “Most people are comfortable with this technology and it’s the new way of the world” if you immediately follow it up with “So how do we support people who aren’t?”
  3. Integrating user support for eResearch services within institutions. Lessons learned from AeRO Stage 2 User Support Project: successfully introduced a maturity model for services to provide user support as realised a completely centralised approach wasn’t workable. I’ve come across the maturity model idea before so great to hear more about it and its advantages here; it seems like something that could be useful in all sorts of contexts both in getting ourselves/other institutions up to scratch, and in supporting researchers and other staff (and students too, why not?) to upskill in all sorts of areas of expertise.
  4. 264 students, eight courses, 792 High Definition video streams, no walls: primarily a ‘look at our awesome technology/learning space’ presentation (re a wet lab that can accommodate 8 simultaneous classes – it is in fact awesome) but also good takeaways about the power of stakeholder engagement and prototyping in a successful project.
  5. Forging productive partnerships between learning, teaching, library, and IT: panel discussion about value of collaboration between these groups. Executive summary: it’s super valuable, let’s all do more of that (but also some challenges).
  6. Where does Campus Learning become Online Learning? Emerging trends in learning space design and usage: panel discussion on developing good learning space from various perspectives (academic and IT definitely in the mix). I noted a linkage to the value of collaboration panel above; also now note the link to maturity models implied by idea that putting slides online, while not actual online teaching, can be a starting point.
  7. A Real-time Step into Space: Reducing complaints about study space by providing monitored “satellite” spaces (with “shushing”) and creating an app linked to gatecount cameras to tell students where they can find free spaces. This spawned a brief Twitter discussion in which @GraemeO28 asked if there was an app to shush students and I suggested (accidentally under the wrong Twitter account) a shushing librarian avatar on a wall screen activated by decibel levels.
  8. Video-conferencing and teaching – From outback Queensland to Ireland and back again: looked at student engagement with lectures using video-conferencing a) class from one campus to another and b) video-conferencing to enable lectures by industry experts. Some good discussion about challenges and benefits (especially with the industry engagement).
  9. Connecting data to actions for improved learning: Scan of much-increased sources of data that can be used for learning analytics to predict and head-off failure/drop-outs. Idea of letting students track own data along with health, cf Fitbit-style wearables. (I’d point out that health-monitoring wearables have fallen prey to unconscious bias: male designers fail to include monitoring of periods; white designers accidentally make the pulse detection fail with dark skin. So we’d need to be careful of things like this.) In questions the ‘creepy’ factor was also discussed.
  10. Innovations in publishing; giving control back to authors: I didn’t write down much detail of this good overview of the trend to open in publishing. Being familiar with that, for me the interesting part is the question raised by the conclusion about how we need to shift the power from the publishers (who still have it, even under open access) to the authors. The question being: how do we do this? given that it requires authors to have knowledge, do they even want it? Sometimes with great power comes great mental fatigue…

Day 2

  1. Learning Sciences & the Impact on Learning Technologies and Learning Activities: This turned out to be the session I’d come for: a great introduction to how we know a whole lot about learning and we should be designing learning tools around good learning practices. People aren’t good at estimating their own competence – but increasingly there are adaptive learning solutions out there that can.
  2. How will digital humanities in the future use cultural data?: primarily an overview of how digital humanities scholars use data now. Suggests talking to researchers about what materials they need, investigate APIs, and provide training.
  3. B(uild)YO skilled Data Librarian: flipped classroom so I was too busy participating to take notes
  4. ‘Let’s be brief(ed)’: Library design, education pedagogy and service delivery: participatory design and built pedagogy in redesigning library space for an architecture library. The library as reference material for architecture students, as well as including varied learning/study spaces.
  5. Evolving customer engagement: Using mobile technology and gamification to improve awareness of and access to library services: used Blogger and Google Forms to make their regular library orientation tour more self-directed and fun. So evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Appreciated that they mentioned the (significant) time it took to do the work at various stages, also the demo with a custom-designed ‘game’ for the session.
  6. Towards a New Library of Resources for Higher Education Learning and Teaching: presentation focused on the choice of a vocabulary (to improve search effectiveness) and work involved in mapping terms.
  7. Curtin Library Rocking the (meta)data: a nice point about the line between data and metadata not being clear. Mostly about a specific digitisation project; interesting take away that this was seen as the best way for librarians to develop data skills ‘on the job’, and that they would need to learn new skills for each new project. So then does that mean we shouldn’t worry about generic upskilling, but just jump in? It certainly implies that we shouldn’t assume learning curve (and the time/training/money needed for that) will be less on second or subsequent projects.
  8. Elements Integration – lets chat about Research Repository and populating Researcher Profiles: unfortunately garnered far more prospective Elements users than current ones, which unbalanced the desired discussion and probably didn’t turn out to be very helpful for anyone.
  9. KISS Goodbye to roadblocks in scholarly infrastructure: a bit about open access, but particularly interesting discussion on the need for persistent identifiers especially in the context of the proliferation of standards. ORCID’s tried to avoid pitfalls but early days…
  10. Reimaging the University Helpdesk for the Next Generation of Digital Research Skills: introduced various support services including software/data carpentry workshops, research tool ‘speed dating’, hacky hour at the bar, Research Bazaar. Idea that everyone works in different ways so need different methods. This is resource intensive so I especially liked the idea of essentially matchmaking researchers who know a tool with those who want to learn it to develop a sustainable research community. In later discussion @kairos001 pointed out this is also hard to sustain in a small environment where there isn’t a critical mass of researchers knowing any basic tools. So maybe we need to collaborate with other local unis/CRIs, or even facilitate bringing in external experts.

Day 3:

  1. From Information to Meta Knowledge: Embracing the Digitally and Computable Open Knowledge Future: state of the nation of research libraries in China which are rapidly changing to support research. Culminated in a shocking mention that these libraries are currently hiring more STEM grads than library grads – seen as easier to teach STEM grads library skills than to teach library grads the needed STEM skills. This was clarified as a temporary situation – ideally want to get library schools to restructure somehow to support needed skills. Still felt to me like the focus on STEM might be at the expense of other important aspects of librarianship and even of research viewed more broadly.
  2. Creating Connections in Complexity: discussions at the intersection of big data & learning: flipped presentation but I got a few notes down on the question of where is the ‘human’ in analytics. Provided me with thinky thoughts about not losing the individual in the pattern, and about not devaluing creativity in favour of empirical/quantifiable analyses.
  3. Design Develop Implement – A team-based approach to learning design: helped people wanting to design new learning objects / programs through a short program of workshops and consultations. I didn’t get a lot out of this session but there may be more of use from their website.
  4. Copyright and compliance when the law can’t keep up: Issues with innovation in online classrooms: a good discussion of navigating a middle way between hyper-compliance and total disregard of copyright law, by focusing on managing risk. Gave a useful checklist of things to think about when making decisions, with examples.
  5. Flexible, Secure and Sharable Storage for Researchers: overview of the storage solution they developed for research data and some of the features they built in. Developed for working data – not intended to provide storage for published data – but some thought put into archival (primarily taking the “long-term storage space is cheap, let’s keep everything” approach and figuring they’ll deal with the long-term costs of this if it gets popular enough).
  6. Better connected education – The future classroom & campus: high-level overview of trends in ICT as affecting higher ed. Not in a style I was able to easily note-take so hopefully there’ll be slides online.

And finally:

Links of interest – 28th Sept

Linkspam! I won’t even attempt to arrange these into some kind of thematic grouping this time, just throw them all at you:

Running the Library Race “draws a parallel between fatigued runners and overworked librarians, proposing that libraries need to pace work more effectively to avoid burnout. Through an exploration of cognitive science, organizational psychology, and practical examples, guest author Erica Jesonis offers considerations for improving productivity and reducing stress within our fast-paced library culture”.

LIANZA 2012 was held this week and the conference proceedings are now online.

Aaron Tay rounds up 6 presentations/posts on librarianship that impressed me.

Elyssa Kroski has put together a list of 100+ law librarians on Twitter.

Jessica Olin writes about how she handles reference on chat – including a question on “Who would win in a fight? A bear or a tiger?” – in Chat reference is a weird beastie.

Meredith Farkas writes on Living our values, pulling together thoughts on a variety of events in the general “ownership vs [increasingly-expensive-]access” debate.

Speaking of which, I’ve particularly been following the saga since Jenica Rogers from SUNY Potsdam posted about her library’s decision to cancel subscriptions to ACS journals – not an easy decision for either the library or the faculty, but she’s been communicating transparently with the faculty about all the issues for some years so has been getting their full support both on the decision and on the backlash from ACS against the attention and support her post has been getting from librarians and chemists alike – ChemBark (with all the comments) has a good summary of a large part of it from a chemist’s point of view, as does Walt Crawford from a librarian-ly point of view; and Catherine Pellegrino focuses on how other libraries and chemistry departments should step forward and stand with SUNY Potsdam on this.

Links of interest: pricing, impact factors, marketing, and staplers

Acquisitions and budgets
2012 Study of Subscription Prices for Scholarly Society Journals (pdf) is out from Allen Press. “[T]he average increase in 2012 dropped, more than a full percentage point below the average, to less than 6%.” (The Consumer Price Index, according to the same figure, was less than 4%.) Much more detail, analysis and discussion is at the source (pdf).

The Librarian in Black writes I’m breaking up with eBooks (and you can too) on the poor deal that current models of ebook provision are for libraries and, by extension, our customers.

Alison Wallbutton in #brandlibraries ponders what branding is, how libraries are branded, and whether we want to reposition that branding. She argues that libraries are successfully branded – as “books”; it’s in the very word. But of course (segue to my own thoughts) we as librarians get twitchy about wanting to make sure that users know we’re not just books, so we reject that outright – often without having put any thought into what we’re going to replace that branding with. Which leaves us in a position where we can’t effectively promote ourselves because we don’t have any image to put out there.

Impact factors
Nixon, J.M. (2012). Core Journals in Library and Information Science: Developing a Methodology for Ranking LIS Journals. C&RL. Advance online publication.
–Outlines a methodology and resulting list of three tiers into which they’ve divided LIS journals according to “influence”. Uses a mix of expert opinions, impact factors, circulation rate, and acceptance rate and, unsurprisingly, comes up with a similar list as those derived from expert opinions or from impact factors.

Probably a good measure of influence; it doesn’t claim that quality follows. Which is good because Sick of Impact Factors which concludes that “if you use impact factors you are statistically illiterate” and has been so widely retweeted and commented on that the author has posted a followup summarising the long comment thread in sections: useful links; concerns about metrics; alternative metrics; and actions to take.

Just for fun
Library Shenanigans reports on The Stapler Obituaries – a mini-exhibition of dead staplers at an academic library.

Links of interest: ebooks, leadership, and change

In the Library With the Lead Pipe publishes a provocative and persuasive essay on the eBook Cargo Cult, beginning

“Libraries created the present crisis in scholarly publishing, and we are creating a similar crisis now with our approach to ebooks.”

A brief history of how libraries have handled (or given outsiders power over us by paying them to handle) the indexing of serials and how we’re doing the same with ebooks is followed by an overview of alternative models for ebook management – several great ones I’m familiar with including Unglue.It and Library License, and several more that are new to me.

Ellyssa Kroski has gathered her three posts on How To Compare e-Book Platforms (points to consider include technical requirements; content; functionality; and sales/pricing model) along with her presentation providing a background to these criteria.

Two very insightful posts: the Librarian in Black posts 7 Lessons Learned While Being The Man; the Free Range Librarian responds with her own perspective in I am The Man — and you can, too!

Jenica (Attempting Elegance) posts an 8-part blog version of her presentation on Killing Fear:

4 #blogjune

Four fantastic links I want everyone to read:

Proceedings of Codcon 2012
A virtual, hypothetical, parodic library conference held by the Library Society of the World on Twitter and Friendfeed on Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

No, we can’t do it all by Meredith Farkas
“So many of us struggle with determining priorities in teaching. Few of us have a workload that would allow us to do everything we would like to do. We hear stories about embedded librarian programs, librarians who were able to co-grade student papers with a disciplinary faculty member, libraries that have co-taught entire classes, etc. and we think: wow, I’d love to do that. But can we?”

A failure of imagination – the problem with format neutrality
“I often hear librarians promoting their ‘modern librarian’ credentials by saying ‘it’s about the information, not the container’. By this they tend to mean that […] we should not be concerned about in which formats information is available, as long as it is available somehow. But what if it is about the container?” Read more to inspire your imagination.

Collective action for ebook collections
“I still agree with the notion that unless ebook publishing and distribution changes, libraries are still screwed. So let’s change things. Here are three things *you* can do.” Read more to improve ebook access.

Links of Interest – ebook lending, web design, bibliographic software, open access

Lending eBooks
Colorado’s Douglas County Libraries has come up with a model whereby they buy, host, and manage the lending of ebooks (including DRM), rather than subscribe to publishers’ platforms. See more details on the model and a letter to publishers about how it works.

Here’s a cute way of reminding users of the value of libraries when they check out print books. It would be interesting to think of ways to make this work with e-resources…

Web design
See a demo of One-Pager, a free template for library websites designed and user-tested to make it easy to find the most important information – and to be immediately mobile-friendly and accessible. You can read more or download the code here.

Bibliographic software
Beyond Bibliographies: Collaborating with Citation Software (powerpoint) is a poster comparing Endnote, RefWorks, Zotero, and Mendeley.

Open Access
(I try to include a variety of stuff in these round-ups, but open access is kind of a strong interest of mine, so…)

Some keen-eyed librarians noticed that the previously open-access Reference and User Services Quarterly was suddenly open-access no longer; the Library Loon investigated and reported back. Apparently in future articles will be embargoed for a year, although as at writing older articles aren’t available yet either.

(This reminds me that I keep meaning to find out whether The New Zealand Library And Information Management Journal is intended to be open access or if it’s just openly accessible by default, so to speak. In any case they’re there at the moment – as are all the LIANZA conference papers from 2004. They’re not browsable/searchable in the most user-friendly format but I know from experience what the web group’s dealing with, and that just getting them all in one place is a fantastic achievement.)

The Library Loon also has a fantastic discussion about how to recognise scammy “open access” publishers.

SCORE Library Survey Report “aimed to get a national [UK] perspective on institutional engagement in Open Educational Resources through their librarians”.

Open Access in Chemistry – slides from a presentation at the 2011 ACS Spring Meeting giving an excellent overview of what it says on the tin – in terms both of numbers and of attitudes.

Links of Interest 30/3/2012 – article linker, impact factors of open access journals, and more

Customer service
UConn Discovers What Students Want From Their Library – too complex for a pull quote, follow the link for a summary.

Two solutions for increasing the usability of that blasted Article Linker page:

Open Access
JQ at the University of Oregon writes about High-impact open access journals and includes some invaluable tables of OA journals ranked by SJR, SciMago, and Eigenfactor impact factors. These (sorted by subject) could be useful for promoting OA to departments and to students graduating from university who still want to keep up with research.

Positioning Open Access Journals in a LIS Journal Ranking looks at OA journals in the library science field:
This research uses the h-index to rank the quality of library and information science journals between 2004 and 2008. Selected open access (OA) journals are included in the ranking to assess current OA development in support of scholarly communication. It is found that OA journals have gained momentum supporting high-quality research and publication, and some OA journals have been ranked as high as the best traditional print journals. The findings will help convince scholars to make more contributions to OA journal publications, and also encourage librarians and information professionals to make continuous efforts for library publishing.

Data curation
Demystifying the data interview: Developing a foundation for reference librarians to talk with researchers about their data
As libraries become more involved in curating research data, reference librarians will need to be trained in conducting data interviews with researchers to better understand their data and associated needs. This article seeks to identify and provide definitions for the basic terms and concepts of data curation for librarians to properly frame and carry out a data interview using the Data Curation Profiles (DCP) Toolkit.

Subscription statistics
Subscriptions in Context (powerpoint) is a clear and elegant presentation for University of Central Oklahoma library faculty liaisons on all the factors the Serials department considers when evaluating subscriptions.

Just for fun
A Library Society of the World thread began, “Gregor Samsa awoke from uneasy dreams to find he had been transformed into a monstrous librarian” and went on from there.

Links of Interest 19/10/2011 – infolit & student success; serials; conferences

The Swiss Army Librarian posts a regular “Reference Question of the Week”. One of the latest covers using file conversion websites to help a desperate patron who needs to print out a file in a format that the library doesn’t support.

Sense and Reference discusses three recent blogposts on libraries getting rid of books to create spaces.

The effect of library instruction on student success
Three C&RL papers:

  • The Academic Library Impact on Student Persistence: “a change in the ratio of library professional staff to students predicts a statistically significant positive relationship with both retention and graduation rates.” (Note that they show correlation, not causation; in their discussion they’re inclined to suspect that the effect of more library professional staff is an indirect one.)
  • Measuring Association between Library Instruction and Graduation GPA: “if more than one or two library workshops were offered to students within the course of their program, there was a higher tendency of workshop attendance having a positive impact on final GPA. The results indicate that library instruction has a direct correlation with student performance, but only if a certain minimum amount of instruction is provided.”
  • Why One-shot Information Literacy Sessions Are Not the Future of Instruction: A Case for Online Credit Courses: “Researchers analyzed the pre- and post-test scores of students who received different types of instruction including a traditional one-shot library session and an online course. Results show that students who participated in the online course demonstrated significant improvement in their test scores compared to the other students. This study shows freshman students’ needs for more comprehensive information literacy instruction.”


  • Jenica Rogers names names of vendors with annoying practices. Some vendors responded well; some badly. Jenica posted another followup on Vendors that delight me.
  • SCOAP3 is an initiative to set up a consortium that redirects library funds from paying for closed access High Energy Physics journal subscriptions to funding these journals to be made open access. The FAQ goes into more detail about how the model will work.


  • LIANZA 2011 starts on Sunday – #lianza11 tweets from all attendees will be captured in a set of CoverItLive sessions and I’ll be liveblogging as much as my wrists allow
  • the worldwide online Library 2.011 conference will follow, running from November 2 – 4, with sessions held in multiple timezones.

Links of Interest 23/8/2011 – What Students Don’t Know (and bonus marketing)

This has exploded onto the various networks I follow, so it seems a good time to gather some other links with it:

What students don’t know gives an overview of findings from an ethnographic study of how students at various Illinois universities research, and is a vital read for anyone in the academic environment working with students.

Related links:

Unrelated links, on marketing:

  • Gavia Libraria writes about all those times people say “So you’re a librarian? So… you… shelve books?…” and suggests Representing Ourselves by telling people what we do (in elevator pitch format – she gives examples) rather than waste time attempting to argue about stereotypes.
  • Mr Library Dude collects a bunch of Social Media Ideas & Prizes for Libraries from various libraries.

Links of interest 2/6/11 – collaborating with students

Reading my RSS feeds sometimes a theme emerges from the chaos – this time it was ways in which academic libraries have collaborated with students to enhance both library services and student learning.

Students Studying Students: An Assessment of using Undergraduate Student Researchers in an Ethnographic Study of Library Use “reports on the use of undergraduate students enrolled in an Applied Anthropology course as researchers for a library use study at Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library”.

Similarly, Brian Mathews writes about Exploring graduate student use patterns of the UCSB Library.

Experimentation in an Academic Library: A Study in Security and Individual Student Engagement
“The Special Collections and Rare Book Department at Western Michigan University collaborated with a student worker to develop a system to improve security and employee performance. The student was taking a course in psychology that required him to develop a workplace behavioral intervention with a client and modify an important behavior for employee performance.”

Library instruction
Building a Participatory Culture: Collaborating with Student Organizations for 21st Century Library Instruction – literature review and summary of some events where the library hooked into student association events, or initiated their own in collaboration with the student association, to teach library skills.

Brian Mathews again: Reframing the Concept of Plagiarism, Or What I Learned From Banksy – on art projects in the library.

A Friendfeed discussion on Our library posts a newsletter called “Stall Times” in our bathrooms. A student using the pseudonyms “Mike Koch” and “Hugh Jass” recently made a parody called “Small Times.” Our creative manager contacted him and invited him to collaborate. The conversation doesn’t go further in depth but does include links to archived bathroom newsletters from this and other libraries.

Back to Brigham Young University – they’re also famous for their parody of the Old Spice commercial, made by the Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Production Crew, consisting of two full time employees and ten student employees – see their behind the scenes.

There’s lots of scope for collaboration with journalism, media, music and film students. Language students could translate subtitles. History/literature/etc students could work with digitisation projects. Computer science students could work on components for open source library software. The sky’s the limit…