21 Oct 2014

Celebrating Open Access Week – An Leabharlann opens its pages!

Guest post by Jane Burns, (@JMBurns99), Research Officer, Royal College of Surgeons, and Occasional Lecturer, SILS, UCD.

An Leabharlann is the professional journal of the Library Association of Ireland. It has for a significant number of years been the voice of the Irish library community. The journal is peer reviewed and is published twice a year. An Leabharlann is fully electronic and is available to read and download from the Library Association of Ireland’s website here.

The journal provides opportunities to read articles by fellow librarians and to keep up to date with our professional developments. It is uniquely Irish and it is our own. The Editorial team of An Leabharlann is made up of volunteers involved in all parts of the reviewing, research and publication process. Marjory Sliney is at the helm of the Editorial team, she is a now retired librarian who has a lifetime of experience and expertise in our profession. (editor@libraryassociation.ie).

All members of the profession including students are encouraged to submit articles, book reviews or news using the submission guidelines found in the front cover of the publication. Over the years I have been lucky to be involved in this publication as the Business Manager and have been delighted to see the content develop from strength to strength. It is fantastic to see the interest in the publication with global subscribers and LIS professionals all over Ireland.  

With the growing trend and support by librarians to provide, where possible, open access to articles and research, An Leabharlann has now followed suit.  This decision was taken recently by the Executive Council of the LAI.  Now all issues are OA with the exception the most recent issue - this is one of the many benefits of LAI membership as only members can view the most recent issue.
An Leabharlann provides us all with an opportunity to publish and research articles in an Irish environment. With the move to OA contributors to An Leabharlann will now have a much larger potential global audience. Collectively and individually it provides us with opportunities to demonstrate to this audience the fantastic, innovative and professional work that we do here, to network on a global scale and to identify collaborative research endeavors.

There are two other significant events taking place in Dublin this week to mark Open Access week 2014: the RIAN research meeting taking place on Thurs October23, 2014 and a TeachMeet organised by Repository Network Ireland on Friday, October 25, 2014.  The keynote speaker for the Repository Network Ireland event “Open Access in a Changing World” will be given by Dr. John B. Howard, University Librarian, UCD (@John_B_Howard).

Anyone attending either or both of these events might want to consider writing an article about the state of play of OA in Ireland for the next issue of An Leabharlann. Details of both events are below.
I am looking forward to more and more colleagues becoming involved in writing and publishing about the work that they do. Keep an eye out for the fantastic writing tips and courses that Helen Fallon (@helenfallon) from Maynooth University promotes via her blog; many participants in these courses go on to publish in An Leabharlann.

RIAN Event:
RIAN is the national open access portal for Irish research publications. There will be a RIAN open meeting on Thursday 23rd October in Dublin. Anyone with an interest in repositories and contributing to RIAN is welcome to attend. Please RSVP to doreen.odonovan@ucc.ie as spaces
are limited.

Repository Network Ireland Invites You to a TeachMeet
North Training Room, Berkeley Library, TCD, Dublin
Friday, 24th October 2-5pm
The Keynote on Open Access in a changing world will be given by Dr. John B. Howard, University Librarian and Adjunct Professor, UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics, UCD James Joyce Library, University College Dublin. There will also be presentations on e-Deposit Ireland, Open Access – the European Dimension, the results of the Lenus Survey and a Researcher's Perspective on Finding health information.

This event is free, but please reply to this email to repositorynetworkireland@gmail.com to register. Find out more about RNI at http://rni.wikispaces.com or follow on Twitter @RNIreland.

20 Oct 2014

SHINE: Showcase a your Information Expertise - Report

This is a guest post by Kristopher Meen, MLIS, Volunteer at NUIG Libraries.

The information field’s newest members had the opportunity to share their skills and experience with fellow professionals at NPD Ireland’s annual autumn event, held in Dublin on 11 October 2014. Billed as ‘SHINE: SHowcase your INformation Expertise’, the programme highlighted the variety of exciting work in which today’s new information professionals are engaged. As a recent transplant to Ireland from Canada (with a 2010 MLIS from Western University), I found this an ideal venue for learning more about what’s happening both nationally and locally in Irish libraries, for meeting other new professionals, and for sharing details about a volunteer project that I’ve been working on at the James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway.

Participants had two opportunities to get involved with SHINE: either by delivering a 10-15 minute oral presentation or by preparing a poster. Registered attendees were then able to vote for what they felt was the single strongest presentation and poster, with prizes awarded in each category courtesy of the LAI A&SL section, UCD SILS, and Jane Burns & Associates.

Three of the event’s four oral presentations focused on the presenter’s use of a particular project or tool and discussed the skills developed by the presenter as a result. Caroline Rowan provided a holistic look—‘from both sides of the interview desk’--at Competency-Based Interviews (CBIs), which are becoming increasingly common in our field. A key advantage of CBIs is that they encourage interviewees to draw on personal examples, using their accounts of past experiences to make determinations about how well a candidate has mastered a particular skill. As Caroline provided a number of tips for interviewees, her talk was a goldmine for job-seekers who may well need to navigate this style of interview in the near future.

Penelope Dunn, who contributed both an oral and a poster presentation, came bearing an antidote for the tedious slog of job applications: the continuing professional development diary (CPD). A method of continually keeping track of skills gained on the job, the CPD can be an enormous help when you’re trying to write what is often the most difficult part of a job application, the supporting statement. Keeping a CPD allows applicants to more easily align their skills with those listed in a job description, while simultaneously ensuring that no previous accomplishment is lost to memory.
My own presentation was an account of a project I’ve been working on as a volunteer in the special collections of NUI Galway’s Hardiman Library, an online exhibition of an archival object called the Memorial Atlas of Ireland (1901) that I’ve put together using the open-source software Exhibit. I gave a quick demo of the exhibition’s features, including how it integrates a view from Google maps. I also discussed how learning to use this software has meant updating and improving my skills in html and css web design.

The winning presentation was delivered by Jenny O’Neill and Catherine Ryan, both of the Digital Repository of Ireland. Jenny and Catherine gave us a fascinating glimpse into some of the projects on which they have worked—projects that have utilised such cutting-edge methods and tools as social media archiving and linked data—as well as into the skills that information professionals need to succeed in such an environment. Jenny and Catherine drew attention to the importance of communication skills, including writing skills, in the information field, as well as the value of collaboration. Technical skills are a must, of course, for today’s new information professional; however, as Jenny nicely emphasised, keeping up with what might seem like a dizzying array of ever-changing technologies is really about the core skills of being willing to learn and flexible enough to do so quickly on the job.

Joining Penelope Dunn’s poster on CPD were two further entrants. Sarah Kennedy and Kate McCarthy’s poster summarised their ambitious MLIS Capstone project about the information-seeking behaviour of healthcare professionals in Ireland. After interviewing 222 GPs, they found that 65% had not used a library service in the previous year and that the vast majority were not using open access resources available to them, either. The poster concluded with a series of recommendations on how librarians might offer better outreach to health professionals.

The winning poster by Mick O’Dwyer and Tom Maher focused on The Forgotten Zine Archive. This growing archive of zines (creator-managed, non-professional, small-circulation magazines) has grown to 2000 items since its inception in 2004. O’Dwyer and Maher’s poster detailed how they have gone about preserving, classifying and cataloguing this unusual collection. Their poster made a cogent case for why librarians ought to concern themselves with these kinds of archives—and why zines and other documents from the margins remain significant in the digital information age.
Overall, SHINE was a convincing reminder of the important and innovative work taking place in the information field today, as well as a salient example of how this field continues to attract ambitious entrants seeking a challenging and stimulating career path.

10 Oct 2014

"I'm absolutely terrified, There is so much to learn!!" (Welcome to the Library!)

Last week I observed three students wandering amongst our stacks on our second floor. Walking through the classifications - one hundreds, two hundreds, three hundreds. Up, down and up they went. I asked did they need any help. They did.  They were looking for Accountancy books. Not only were they lost in the wrong row. They were lost on the wrong floor. They, without knowing it, should have been on our first floor. And they then informed me they had walked the length of every shelf on our third floor. If I had not encountered them I imagine they would probably have found their books. In another few hours after they had walked all the stacks. On all our floors.

They really had no idea how the library works.

I asked if they had attended our undergraduate workshops. They informed me that they had attended all four sessions. Yet still they could not find their way around the Boole and find what they were looking for. They did not even know that you start by looking at the Catalogue. This got me thinking and I asked myself:

Are abstracted generic, classroom / lecture based, induction programmes on their own the best way to introduce incoming undergraduates to the library space? In trying to craft information literate students from day one are we trying to teach them to run before they can actually walk? Or should we also be providing a walk round, show and tell, induction tour for first year undergraduates?

I think back to when I was a student and to the library tour I and my peers received day one. We received a fifty minute walk around the building tour. This was given by a number of library staff. We got  basic catalogue instruction. We saw the layout of the building. We were brought to a subject floor and physically shown how to access material. We were shown how to use the copiers. We learned all the basics in a concrete way.

When I myself started working in that very same library I was one of the staff members involved in this library induction. We still did the tours the same way as when I was a student. It was a system that worked. What was hidden to me, as a student, was the amount of man hours that went into introducing thousands of students to the library in a one week period. Every staff member, from Head Librarian to Shelving Assistant, was involved in the library induction for that week. Our other work, the day to day stuff, was put on hold - introducing students to the library and more importantly its resources took precedence.

Over the years we have moved away from this personal,  concrete, hands on approach to a specifically digital / screen abstract induction. We provide workshops. Students attend. And learn, we hope, about the library through watching and listening to our presentations. They get an in depth overview of the library holdings and resources. But is this what they need? Do they need so much detailed information at the start of their academic career? Or do we, in a manner of speaking, need to take them by the hand and gently walk them through the building, explaining our classification system, showing them how Dewey, or whatever classification, works in principle. Do we show them where the books are, how to locate them. Do we show them how to use the microfilm in Special Collections. How to print. How to photocopy. Short would we, in short, give them a grounding in the library before we introduce them to databases, Discovery Tools and e-resources?

Or should we, making much more work for the library staff, do a sort of blended induction? Provide all students with a show and tell physical walk round tour as well as providing detailed workshops explaining how to use our vital e-resources?

My personal belief is that first year undergraduate students should be introduced gently to the library, taken around and shown how things work. We often forget, as LIS workers, how intimidating, scary and confusing a big library can be. Especially for those who have never ever used a library - increasingly the case with the students now coming through our doors. We forget that classification systems are not instinctive or intuitive for those not using them every day.
And at some stage after this physical walk round, and only then, do we move onto the next step of introducing the vast treasure trove that are our E-Resources.

And if I find myself veering towards favouring the abstract, classroom based induction I will remind myself of a comment from a first year. A comment I read on a feedback form for our E-Resources workshop -  "...such a great workshop, the library has so many great resources, there's so much to learn - I'm absolutely terrified."

(I have been working on this post for the last few days and coincidentally I had an exchange on Twitter yesterday with Claire Sewell, Clare Aitken and Elaine Harrington  on the topic of library induction. Thanks for the discussion and the much needed incentive, push if you will, to get this post finished)

3 Oct 2014

Improving wayfinding signage through combined digital/analogue signposting

A year ago I wrote about library-signage redesign efforts at CSI Library, which has led to improved wayfinding for students and increased circulating-book transactions.

CSI’s challenge was to better bridge the retrieval gap between virtual OPAC identifier and physical shelf location. The same challenge applies to our context here at DBS Library.

Over the summer we looked at how a similar feat could be accomplished in our library. As opposed to CSI Library (three-floor building) our setup is somewhat more straight forward as the main lending and reference collections reside on one floor; the bays are also for the most part sequentially aligned.

We sat down and first of all looked at how physical signage could be improved. This involved enlarging fonts and a clearer layout of subject descriptors, as well as splitting double-sided bays into separate logical units and class number ranges: A (front) and B (back).

To make orientation for students easier, we also added alphanumerical perpendicular(ish) signs, which were attached above the main bay labels.

This covered the physical layout aspect.

Catalogue records were also adjusted to account for digital signposting at item level. We originally suggested to recruit two MARC fields for this purpose:

Data element
SQL column
Shelving location code
Coded value, matching the authorized value list 'LOC'
To account for the alphanumerical bay label
Uniform Resource Identifier
A URL or URN, which provides electronic access data in a standard syntax.
To account for a digital location map (e.g. hosted on the cloud)

The SQL table ‘Items’ was adjusted to include the shelving location code 952$c.

Item Record in local Koha instance
There were two options looked at regarding the inclusion of links to maps in the OPAC. The first was to include 952$u in the catalogue records. The problem with this was twofold. One catalogue record might relate to different physical locations, which in our context are: Aungier Street Main Lending, Aungier Street Reference and Dame Street Main Lending. Second, it is not possible to do batch catalogue record modifications at present in Koha. However, there is a workaround using MarcEdit for batch bibliographic record modification, but the problem with multiple item locations within one catalogue record is still not addressed – which map would you link to?

The second option was to add the link to the map to the item records. This could be done by batch item modification but the issue here is that while you can add a URL to the item record you cannot add a note to describe it. So the library user would only see the standard message as below “Link to resource”.

Catalogue Record in local Koha instance / Holdings
We are considering to include a global digital map (one for each site) with relevant bay-sign markers. The maps would then be placed prominently on the OPAC homepage.

As an aside, the consequence of adding a shelf location code is that library staff must take note when shelving not to shift books from one bay to another (or one side of a bay to another) without updating the relevant item records.

Below is a sample screenshot of a catalogue record with a bay location identifier at item level (example: AS Bay 3A).

Essentially, the library user has now information about the physical location of the shelf in addition to the call number. In this example, Violence : six sideways reflections with the call number 179.7 ZIZ lives on shelf 3A. This additional piece of information reduces the burden on the user to identify the correct shelf. Within our context, all the user has to do now is look down the aisle and keep an eye out for the perpendicular(ish) sign 3A.

The term has just started and I took the liberty of asking some students in situ (at the OPAC station) what they thought of the additional location descriptor (i.e. digital with analogue linkup). Their responses were uniformly positive. The idea, ultimately, is to empower students and reduce wayfinding queries at the reference desk, as well as reducing library anxiety.

Credit goes to my colleagues Trevor Haugh, Marie O’Dwyer and Colin O’Keeffe. This project would not have been realised without their expertise, enthusiasm and active support.

It’d be great to hear from other folks out there who have tried to improve wayfinding in their library context through a combination of digital/analogue signposting via Koha (or any other LMS).

Amy F. Stempler, (2013) Navigating circular library stacks: a case study on signage. Reference Services Review, 41(3), 503 – 513.
Wilson, A. (2012) QR Codes in the Library: Are They Worth the Effort? Journal Of Access Services, 9(3), 101-110.
Hahn, J., & Zitron, L. (2011). How First-Year Students Navigate the Stacks: Implications for Improving Wayfinding. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(1), 28-35.

23 Sep 2014

On the Value of Popular Music Archives

Dave Grohl outside Baltimore Stores, Cork © Siobhan O Mahony
UCC Library, as part of the Sir Henrys @UCC Library exhibition, recently hosted a roundtable discussion titled Pop@UCC: On the Value of Popular Music Archives. The speakers were from within and without the academy and provided some interesting insights on the area of archives and popular music.

The speakers on the panel were Stevie GraingerCronan O DoibhlinRay Scannell, Jez Collins and Siobhan O Mahony. The panel was chaired by Eileen Hogan. Some perceptive and interesting insights were provided from the floor by, amongst others,  Andy LinehanAaron CaseyGriffith Rollefson, Luke O Brien & John Byrne.

What follows below is a quick summary of ideas discussed in the session.

  • As Social media is such an integral part of many people's lives we are now intuitively more aware of archiving, what it is and how to do it. We now actually document our daily lives. When we post a picture of ourselves on Facebook or Instagram we are archiving our lives. When we post a comment on Twitter we are archiving our thoughts. When we blog we are archiving our thoughts and ideas. With Social Media, and how we use it, we are all well on our way to becoming DIY archivists.
  • Popular Cultural archives within the Institutional setting are slowly beginning to appear. But it is still the case that American universities are far more open in their approach to popular cultural archives than their European counterparts.
  • Exhibitions should provoke. They should shake us, make us think about, and see, things in a different light. A good exhibition will always do this.
  • Social Media sites are a wonderful resource for research or archival data. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc are a boon to those seeking material. BUT there are too many hidden resources on these sites - it is not always the easiest to mine these rich resources. Seeing how difficult it is to find material on these sites shows the key role that metadata has in increasing access to resources.
  • Facebook is a necessary evil. There is so much material being posted there - but it all gets lost so quickly and is then extremely difficult to retrieve.
  • If you have a personal archive you need to ensure that it lives on. That archive can end up being your legacy.
  • Libraries and museums need to engage with the DIY or hobbyist archivists. Often, these archives are created through passion - what happens the archive when the person is no longer around to maintain it? Often it dies out with the person who created it and upkeeps it.
  • Magazines and newspapers are always looking for live gig photos. There are so many amateur pictures out there that could be licensed. Siobhan O Mahony, for example, has had her photos of Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl published in The Irish Times. Posting these images on Facebook throws them out into the public domain.
  • For the library, Popular Music Archives are a great way of engaging with the community. The Sir Henrys @ UCC Library Exhibition has been a great success in drawing people, many of whom have never even been on UCC grounds before, into the library. The footfall has been tremendous.
  • There are issues with crowdsourcing material. For example, people can be very precious with their material. They have an emotional attachment to it. The question for the institutional archivist is - How to get the people to let go of their material? How does the Institutional Archive encourage people to donate their material? How do we get them to break this emotional tie they have with the material?
  • The process of curating an exhibition is like the process of writing a play - you are creating a narrative, you are telling a story.
  • DIY Archivists with good material must be informed that donations are not stuffed in a drawer. Great care is taken with the material. Material is archived properly to save it for generations. The DIY Archivist must be shown how their material will be taken care of. They need to be walked through the institutions archives to show how the material will be cared for. They need have explained to them how the material will be catalogued, and stored and preserved and how access to it will be provided.
  • Sustainability and access are two major issues with regards to archiving popular music material.
  • Discussion with potential donors can be a long drawn out process. It can literally take years. Relationships need to be built between the donor and the institution.
  • The pictures that people take at gigs or clubs, for example the work that Luke O Brien has done in recording the Dance / Sweat scene in Henrys are cultural history or phenomenon. They are capturing a phenomenon for posterity.
  • We do exhibitions to engage with community, to showcase our collections or to stimulate and provoke discussion.
  • The Sir Henrys exhibition was an opportunity to create something new. It was an opportunity to create something beyond the older printed books.

For those who wish to read more, and / or listen to the full event, Jez Collins has posted a report, with full audio, of the discussion here.

21 Sep 2014

IFLA Information Literacy Satellite Meeting, 14-15 Aug 2014

Guest post by Shona Thoma, Maynooth University Library

On the 14th and 15th August 2014 I attended the IFLA Satellite Meeting on Information Literacy in Limerick. The meeting gave me the chance to get a little deeper into the elements involved in delivery and assessment of Information Literacy, and to examine alternative approaches to and definitions of it. This was my first international conference, and as is to be expected, the conversations had outside of the meeting rooms over coffee or meals were just as interesting and useful for learning about new events, teaching tools, and projects that others are working on. I have to give a mention of thanks here to groups such as NPD Ireland and the sections of the Library Association whose events I have attended over the last two years and have offered the opportunity to dip a toe in the networking pool through “speed-networking” etc. This certainly made the prospect of striking up conversations with my fellow attendees slightly less daunting.

The below summaries are just a selection of the many and varied presentations I attended over the two days, and the key points I took from them.

Keynote: Nancy Fried Foster
Using examples from her own research at the University of Rochester and subsequent studies, Foster presented findings from investigating different information seeking groups and how their approaches and techniques for searching differ. She elaborated on the different techniques observed in a good average student getting high grades vs. a time pressured researcher with a funding deadline, or a busy medical student. She noted that bad habits don't necessarily equal low information literacy – the people studied were found to be good researchers. Researchers are “messily organised” - only they need to find the information in their office so they cannot be judged on this, they must be assessed on their output. Foster also stated that we cannot judge our best researchers by their use of Boolean operators!

Forthcoming research will provide new knowledge of the nitty-gritty of research for librarians through an ethnographic study of students’ processes. This is drawn from students keeping map diaries, providing details of what students are doing throughout the day: where they go daily, and what areas are seldom visited. The study also utilised photo elicitation interviews, retrospective interviews where participants drew comic strips, and a Design Workshop on their ideal website.
The results are not fully analysed yet but Foster advised looking out for their publication as it will provide valuable insights into how students and researchers search and manage their information, and help us to make this more efficient, but in ways that suit their habits.
Follow Foster on Twitter: @AnthroLib

Constructing Learning in the Online Environment Using the Right Tools: Modelling, scaffolding, journaling, reflection, peer review, and rubrics – Kim Glover
Glover shared her experience of a library research course, run completely online. The course runs for 8 weeks and covers a research problem given by the instructor at the beginning of the course, the final project being an annotated bibliography.

These tools are used to help the students to develop their research skills:
•    Modelling – an example from a previous student who did well is shared with the students.
•    Rubric - students know how they will be evaluated and it is also used for conducting peer evaluation. Beware of a mechanics only rubric - sometimes students got mechanics right but didn’t achieve the overall quality required.
•    Scaffolding - detailed feedback is given at the beginning, this then tapers to only being essential support.
•    Journaling - students record how they are going to take what they learnt and use it in other courses. This has proved to be the most successful part of class affording a place for reflections and communication with the tutor.
•    Peer Review – the class had previously lacked peer interaction and a colleague recommended peer review. Students learn from each other by correcting each other’s work and gain a sense of responsibility for each other.

Glover noted that she has not witnessed negative feedback in the peer review, sometimes the students don't give a lot, but generally it's constructive.
The annotated bibliography is worth the majority of marks. Continuous feedback and providing the rubric results in very high pass rates and the retention rates have been excellent each time the course is run. The student evaluation of the course have been very positive, in particular they appreciate that it is well organised and sets clear expectations.

On Demand and Across the Globe: International Tutor Support and Teaching an Online Library Course – Elizabeth Newall, Lulu Qiu and Robin Chin Roemer
This online library course was born out of students’ repeatedly requesting help with literature searches. The course runs over 5 days and participants post reflections, learning and questions online about the course content. The feedback has been consistently good every time the course has run.

However, those online in the evening weren't getting as much support as those who were logging-on during the day. This was down to tutors being online during their working day, typically finishing at about 5pm in the UK. Newall looked at how to negotiate this problem, and decided to follow the sun! She sought new tutors for the course from Washington and China, creating an international partnership with Qiu and Roemer. Tutors assisted all students participating in the course regardless of location. There were set exercises and set resources in the course which made things straightforward for the international tutors. The US students enjoyed participating in a course based in the UK, and it gave the students in the University of Nottingham’s Chinese campus a greater sense of belonging to their parent University.

This solution of cross-time-zone tutoring allowed better responses to student queries, although sometimes it wasn’t clear what time they should log-in. In future they will clarify this across the time-zones. Differences in academic terminology are also an important factor to note when tutors are corresponding with students in a different region.
Overall, this partnership allowed for a great exchange of ideas, peer learning across countries and a professional development opportunity for all of those involved.

Workshop: Coming Face-to-Face with the future of Information Literacy Assessment
From a selection of workshops, I chose to attend Brandy Whitlock and Julie Nanavati's 'Coming Face-to-Face with the Future of IL Assessment: Why and How to Use Authentic and Performative Measures to Assess Student Learning'.

Whitlock and Nanavati highlighted ways to set clear learning objectives, how to match those with appropriate assessments, and how the results of assessment can be used to modify future classes. They advised using ACRL standards and Bloom’s Taxonomy to help devise manageable outcomes.
To ensure that the student can gain the most from carrying out a task or assignment they should be given:
•    Detailed instructions
•    Rubric
•    A successful example

The student should always be at the centre of the outcome, focusing on what they will be able to do after instruction. Whitlock and Nanavati emphasised the need to continually update your class based on students’ success and feedback, and shared examples of how they have done this in their courses.

Snakes or Ladders? Evaluating a LibGuides pilot at UCD Library – Michelle Dalton
Michelle Dalton presented on UCD’s experience of using LibGuides to help direct students to relevant resources for their subject.  Dalton warned against using LibGuides to market your library’s content. They should be used as a filter, helping students to navigate information within their discipline. At UCD they determined to keep the guides simple, not wanting to overload students with information.

Students don't think they need LibGuides or they don't know about them. Marketing the guides is key to their success, and improving the students’ research experience. Those students who used the guides found them really useful. A statistics package is built into LibGuides so analysis could be done on a detailed guide vs. minimal guide. Students looked at the introduction page and databases guide mainly. They don’t spend a huge amount of time on the LibGuide pages. Link usage can also be analysed. This data could then be used to check with academic staff if the resources being used are in fact the ones they want students to use.

LibGuides are now used for all e-learning support at UCD. Promotion was carried out through face to face instruction and collaboration with academic staff. More information on UCD Library’s LibGuides experience can be found in the Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Challenge Accepted: On a Quest for Information Literacy - Kathrin Knautz, Anja Wintermeyer and Julia Goretz
Faced with a new generation of students and a trend towards lack of motivation in higher education, Knautz, Wintermeyer and Goretz asked: how can we improve higher education and make a more dynamic learning environment? They found the answer in “gamification”.

They decided to use game elements for conducting information literacy instruction. Rewards throughout a computer-game styled learning platform were used to drive student motivation.
Students need to compete against each other and their tutors by completing tasks that would advance their information literacy. Students usually receive experience points for completing quests, helping them to move through the levels of the game. The students also choose an avatar from four possible races, for example elf or giant, adding to the game-like experience.

There are 15 possible levels, with the information literacy course being passed at Level 11. If students continue playing beyond Level 11 they get a better than pass grade. There are also extra achievement badges to collect. The use of a leader board contributes to the game-like environment and helps to motivate students by creating competition. They cannot see whole leader board however – just their immediate neighbours.

The students and tutors gave very positive feedback on the game being a useful tool for exam preparation. The ability to achieve bonus points towards the final exam was seen as very useful to the students! The benefits of engaging students with these game elements have obviously been recognised as the creators have been asked to develop a meta-system to allow lecturers to “gamify” their courses.

Keynote: Dr Michael Stephens
Stephens spoke about how he hopes his 8 year old neighbour won't be told to turn his device off in his future education. The phone shouldn’t be seen as a barrier but a new opportunity to engage with education. For librarians, this means adapting our skills so that we can be useful in new ways. This could mean helping educators to build learning platforms, conducting outreach with mobile technology or expanding the audience for our collections in unexpected ways. Experimenting with apps, software and other new technology is the best way to learn how they will be useful to us.

Stephens asked us to challenge our concept of professional development, moving away from PowerPoint and reading journals. He noted that while people might be uncomfortable with changes and chaos, we need this for innovation to occur. For the library to be a place where learning happens, their needs to be room for play and discovery suited to multiple intelligences.
Follow Stephens on Twitter @mstephens7

Main areas of learning from the sessions I attended:
1.    Learning from assessment – continually revising approach based on the students feedback
2.    International considerations of online courses – time-zones and terminology
3.    Embracing new opportunities provided by emerging technologies – exploring new tools as part of CPD.
4.    Gamification – creating new ways to engage students is becoming increasingly important and this looks set to be big.
5.    Information Literacy skills beyond formal education – using in information literacy in new contexts and being flexible in our definitions.

I created a Storify of tweets from the meeting.

Dr Sheila Webber has more blogs and information from presentations I didn’t make it to on her site.

I blogged in more detail about the Round Table discussion on Information and the Active Citizen, and my own experience of presenting a Pecha Kucha, on my blog http://shinyshona.wordpress.com/

12 Sep 2014

Four librarian webinars in September

Check out the following upcoming webinars. Topics covered include audience research methods to inform website redesign efforts, library self-service software (not limited to self-issuing technology), a talk on 25+ free tech tools in support of patron engagement and digital literacy skills development and, finally, a discussion around the issue of library censorship (banned books).

Redesigning Your Website: Know Your Audience: Five Low-Budget, High-Impact Research Methods
Tuesday, 16th September, 6pm – 6:45pm (GMT) (Provided by Systems Alliance) 
It's critical to make informed decisions about content, navigation, and design when creating or redesigning your website. Through a user-centred design approach, you can better understand who your visitors are, how they perceive your organization, and how they interact with your website.

What do site visitors need? What are the key messages that drive them to take action? What are their abilities and limitations? These questions are best answered by going directly to the source: Your audience.

This webinar will explain how a small investment in audience research can provide the insight you need to improve your visitors’ experience. How can you get to know your audience?

The webinar will cover the following audience research methods:
• User Personas
• Focus Groups and Interviews
• Card Sorts
• Usability Testing
• Surveys

Library Self-Service Software and Devices 
Thursday, 18th September, 7pm – 8pm (GMT) (Provided by the ALA) 
Self-service library technology is everywhere nowadays, from machines that can scan and sort books automatically to self-checkout stations and book vending machines, allowing patrons to access library materials and services without a personal interaction.

This session will discuss how this technology can best serve the library’s users as well as its staff. Our panel of experts will tackle questions such as:
• How can self-service devices and technology most effectively work for you and your library?
• How does this technology change the nature of how you interact with your patrons?
• If you’ve got a limited budget, which type of machines should you look at to meet your needs?

Taming Tech Tools for Libraries 
Thursday, 18th September, 7pm – 8pm (GMT) (Provided by WebJunction) 
Join this webinar to explore a toolbox of 25+ free tech tools that you can use to help your library better serve patron needs and to work smarter. With so many new tech tools popping up everywhere, we are all working on a wild frontier of possibilities. But how do you know which tools are worth “taming” to help you provide better library services? In this webinar, tech-tamer Kieran Hixon will unpack a toolbox of 25+ free tech tools that can help your library better engage with patrons and build digital literacy skills. From completing daily tasks to growing advocacy efforts, these web based tools can help you work smarter.

Banned Books Regional Issues 2014 
Wednesday, 24th September, 5pm – 6pm (GMT) (Provided by the ALA)
In 2013, there were 307 reported requests for books to be removed from America’s libraries, potentially putting those volumes out of reach of students, readers, and learners of all types. While every corner of the map faces unique issues related to library censorship, these issues also catalyze passionate freedom-to-read advocates dedicated to getting these books back on library shelves.

In this one-hour webinar, we will “travel” from London, to South Carolina, to Texas, to California, to talk with three activists about the problems they face and their efforts to un-ban books.
• London, UK: Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, will start us off by discussing issues faced outside of the U.S. and how Index chooses to respond.
• Charleston, South Carolina: We will then travel to Charleston -- where the graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel has been a flashpoint in a university funding controversy -- to hear from Shelia Harrell-Roye, a committee member from Charleston Friends of the Library. With the 2014 Banned Books Week focus on graphic novels, Harrell-Roye will discuss what her group has been doing to support this critically acclaimed book.
• Houston, Texas: From Charleston, we will move to Houston to hear from Tony Diaz, author, radio host, and leader of El Librotraficante. Diaz is a champion for banned books and for ethnic studies textbooks in both Arizona and Texas.

This banned books journey will end in Thousand Oaks, California, where a representative from SAGE (the webinar sponsor) will take your questions for these three defenders of the freedom to read.