Thoughts on proliferation of new researcher tools webinar

A short while ago I attended a SpringerNature Webinar on How does the proliferation of new researcher tools affect libraries and publishers? One of the three presentations particularly caught my attention and I’ve written up a summary and some of my own thoughts here. The presenters were Bianca Kramer & Jeroen Bosman, Subject Librarians at Utrecht University.

Bianca and Jeroen presented results from a global survey of researchers they conducted in 2015-16. It was a large survey with over 20,0000 participants and versions in various different languages. The survey asked participants about what tools they used for different parts of their research workflow, and language specific tools were included in the non-English versions of the survey. Bianca made the point that with the aid of modern technologies, the research workflow does not have to be, and often is not, linear.


showing the non-linear research workflow.

 The results of the survey are all openly available on the project’s website – Most of the results Bianca and Jeroen presented were not a surprise to me, but there was one thing that jumped out – the high proportion of respondents sharing their research on ResearchGate (64%), particularly in  comparison with those using institutional repositories (36%). I downloaded the Excel data available from the WordPress site, and when I just looked at the UK data for this question, it was far more what I was expecting – 47% for ReasearchGate and 48% for institutional repositories – reminding me to expect global variation.
They had also looked at the links between different tools and had mapped out how many respondents using a particular tool for one activity used the various tools for another activity. Jeroen talked about librarians supporting the integration of the different tools, which resonated with me. When talking to my library users about tools or demonstrating them, the question of whether and how they integrate with other tools or software often comes up.
The heat maps produced to show the frequency of different tools being used together are available online and I’m wondering whether I could use them to help in my decisions of which tools to focus my user education resources on. I have a very long list of things I could produce resources on, and deciding which is most important is not easy. For example, if I know Google Scholar, Mendeley, R and Microsoft Word are popular with my users – what other tools do people often use with these? Do these linkages reflect ease or possibility of integration? Similarity in type/style of interface? Or do they depend more on which tools are pushed by individuals or institutions?
Although it’s obvious a lot of work has gone into this project, it had only a small amount of external fundraising. The project started from personal interest, and was mainly supported by Utrecht University providing time to work on project.

Communicating copyright

Today there was an event run by LIS-Copyseek called Communicating the Copyright Message. I couldn’t attend in person, but thanks to the wonders of Twitter I still managed to engage with attendees and learn a few things.

  1. INFO: The CLA license terms are changing – I didn’t manage to catch from the tweets exactly what the changes are, so need to follow up on this one.
  2. IDEA: Call short training sessions a “Copyright Briefing” I think this would go down better with my users than “Copyright Training” – for a start it sounds shorter, and in some way I feel “briefing” has more connotations of providing lots of useful information and somehow fits better with the style of some sessions I am planning.
  3. IDEA: Copyright card game – going to investigate further how this works but sounds interesting. Could fit in well with my ambition to add an element of “play” to my training?
  4. REMINDER: Biscuits (or other food/drink-based encouragement) should be used at all library training sessions – it does actually encourage people to come.
  5. REMINDER: Try not to appear scared when teaching copyright – the audience will notice!
  6. REASSURANCE: I’m not the only one who worries about having to say “no” to people when the topic of copyright rears it’s head In sessions you can start from the point of view of what you CAN do, rather than what you CAN’T do, but this is harder when responding to a direct “Can I …?”, or worse “Yes, but surely I can …?”. I think the only advice I can give myself and anyone else on this one is have a selection of “No, but you could…” answers and remain sympathetic but positive.
  7. IDEA: The idea of a copyright community of practice is one to investigate further, and possibly apply to other topics – it might work as an approach for various info skills.
  8. REASSURANCE: This made me breathe a sigh of relief!

Finally, thank you very much to everyone tweeting from the event!

MmIT Conference 2016 Call for Papers now open!

Digital Citizenship : What is the library’s role?

 A conference which explores and discusses several digital citizenship themes and the role and responsibility of the library and the librarian in supporting citizenry in the digital world.

The annual conference of the Cilip Multimedia, Information and Technology Group (MmIT) is taking place at the Edge Conference Centre at the University of Sheffield on Monday 12th September and Tuesday 13th September 2016.

Photograph of smart phone in use.Press showcase – Team metappolic” by ImagineCup is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

  1. How does your library enable electronic participation in society and provide digital access to information, knowledge and scholarship?
  2. Does your library support users in their understanding of digital trading and e-commerce?
  3. What is your library’s role in digital literacy and in helping users to understand the pedagogy of technology and the use of technology in all aspects of life?
  4. Do you help your users…

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Takeaways from UX Show and Tell

Oh dear, I’ve done it again; neglected the blog. Never mind, let’s try again.

So it appears attempting to spend time reflecting on an event and then writing up about it just doesn’t work for me (at least not at the moment). So I’m trying another tactic and throwing out a first impressions list of key points from an event I attended today.

I discovered at 10.30am this morning via Twitter that a UX show and tell event for librarians was happening in Cambridge this afternoon. I didn’t have anything in my calendar and this is a topic I’m particularly interested in so, after checking non-university librarians were welcome, I went. I’m not known for spontaneity, but I’m very glad I decided to go!

So, my thoughts:

  • There’s been lots of UX research going on in Cambridge libraries recently. I kind of knew this as I’d heard about the Protolib project going on at the moment, but I didn’t know any details.
  • Nobody regretted doing the research they had done. Although, I suppose if they had regretted doing it, they possibly wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it at this event.
  • Generally, post-it notes and approaching people in person seemed to be the most successful ways of recruiting participants. I found this too in the UX research I did for my MA dissertation.
  • A few libraries had tried the Love letter / Break-up letter method. For some it worked brilliantly, for others it was a flop. Why? Don’t know.
  • Getting students to engage in photo-based methods was unsuccessful for the two libraries which tried this. Why? Again, don’t know.
  • One study found that what people already in a space were doing defined how someone coming into that space felt they could behave. This brought up the question of whether we should clearly signpost the intented purpose of a space or just let users choose what they want to do in that space. The answer given was see what they’re doing and then signpost, which seems reasonable to me.
  • In another study it was found that the users really liked the “open privacy” of the space and being surrounded by print books, even if they were using online resources. This library has alternating desks and book stacks in the main reading room.
  • It can be really hard to leave your preconceptions behind you when conducting a touchstone tour of a space you know well (i.e. your own library!)
  • The ethnographic approach can be addictive and can pull you down lots of different paths. Try to stay focussed on your research question – you could always conduct another study if something really interesting crops up.

Thank you very much to all the speakers and organisers for putting together this event. It was a very interesting and useful afternoon.

5 highlights from Internet Librarian International 2015

1. Data visualisation

2. Apps in the Library

3. Thinking playfully

4. Ethnographic research in the library

5. Altmetrics

The Art of Networking

This evening I attended a UCL Skills4Work workshop on networking.  I signed up for it because networking is on my list of skills I want to improve on in the coming year.  I came away with some useful ideas, so I thought I’d share them here:

  • If you want to start a conversation with someone start with an open-ended question about them.  Use the situation to help you think of something (you don’t have to go in with “So, what do you do?”).
  • If a conversation isn’t going so well and you want to move on there isn’t really an easy way to do it.  You just need the courage and to be honest.  A good closing comment could be “Great to meet you, hope you have a great event.”
  • Listening is really important.  Aim to spend 70% of the time listening and 30% of the time talking.
  • Your elevator pitch.  I’d heard of this before, but not prepared one – it’s your 30 second answer to “What do you do?”.  Say what you do, why you do it and what your passions are – don’t just list facts.  Practice it, but make sure it doesn’t sound scripted.  It should be flexible depending on the situation.

cpd23 Oxford meet up – Wednesday 13th June

Are you taking part in cpd23 and would like to meet other participants?  Have you taken part in cpd23 previously and would like to share your wisdom with some newbies?  Or just like the idea of a sociable couple of hours with other library folk?  As next week is cpd23 ‘real life networks’ week I’m organising a meet up in Oxford next Wednesday 13th June from 5.15pm at The Mitre on the High Street.  Everyone welcome, cpd23 participant or not.