25 Jul 2017

Video games and Libraries

Guest post by Eduardo Cruz-Palacios

Source: pixabay.com
As you well know, books, libraries and librarians have always been together. With it, librarians concerned about preserving our written knowledge, they began to protect books with the aim of preserving our cultural legacy to transmit it to future generations by gathering, organizing and preserving what known. It means that libraries allow us to know who we are and where we come from.

Owing to technological improvements, specialization came to the book industry, so the capacity for book development was enhanced. So was the variety of books. Then, new documentation institutions emerged to preserve these books according to different needs (preserving the national bibliographic heritage, facilitating their access to local communities, supporting educational processes in universities, improving literacy skills, etc.).

Other kinds of industries were devoted to encode culture in a symbolic way and to "engrave" it in such different materials. Science and technology have always fostered the creation of those cultural artifacts in which human beings have made its own ideas be immortal. As the cultural industry does not cease to create, documentation institutions have faced all the subtleties of these new materials so that they have never neglected their mission which allows us to transmit our cultural legacy to our children. I am referring to photographs, music, movies, websites, digital books,... and video games.

Culture and video games
What is your favorite video game?

If you think that video games do not appeal to you, perhaps it is due to the fact that you have not enjoyed one a) that offers you the kind of stories that engross you; b) whose mechanics (set of rules) motivates you; c) with aesthetic patterns that reflect your personality; or d) “built” with technology that looks made for you.

Video games buffs are called nerds because of its connotations of weird or marginalised due to what the activity of playing video games involves: it is needed for gamers to be locked physically and cognitively to enjoy. However, this is not new. A reader that reads about reading will know that many stories lived through books were underestimated because they were considered imaginary, distracting and even dangerous. Conversely, nowadays, how we encourage people to read! :)

Today, a similar turning-point, but on how we see video games, is happening. Reports regarding video games and users’ habits state some facts that mean video games are integrated into our culture (Asociación Española de Videojuegos, 2015ab. Spanish Association of Distributors and Publishers of Entertainment Software, 2011. Interactive Software Federation of Europe, 2011. PWC, 2011):
  • More and more people videoplay.
  • Factors such as sex, age, occupation or hobbies do not determine whether a person plays or not. Indeed, there always seems to be a video game for each person, as the specialization of video games industry has been creating such a varied range of this artifact.
  • What varies is the habits: when, where, why, with whom and to what we video game. Personality and sociocultural experiences are useful to determine our favorites ones (sometimes we play one video game because our friends play, or their story has already thrilled us with a series of books or movies).
Let’s look at these following images whose data being shown justify taking the integration of video games in our culture for granted. They concern the global, European and Spanish contexts, respectively. I am delighted to receive data about other countries.

Source: Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015a).

Source: Interactive Software Federation of Europe (2012).

Source: Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015a).
From Libraries to Society
For libraries, video games must be resources for the accomplishment of its social purposes.

To begin with, the conservation of heritage. Libraries can assist in or even take charge of the preservation of these digital artifacts, which are representative of the culture we are. It is their experience in elucidating the relevant factors of documents, namely, the characteristics of formats, materials and contents, as well as in defining standards for the description and organization of knowledge what makes libraries be suitable agents. We find more reasons by considering libraries’ methodologies for digital preservation that address a multitude of aspects (technological obsolescence, environmental degradation, metadata harvesting, several kinds of media, etc.).

In addition to this, making this cultural heritage accessible for community. They are capable of negotiating with the industry to make video games available at no cost to people. What is more, they can design spaces to use video games in a effective and comfortable way as it happens in reading rooms.

Moreover, as instruments to develop activities that strengthen the community relationships. One of the missions of public libraries, particularly local ones, is to strengthen the bonds of people by setting up programs that join people having common interests. Literary cafes, reading clubs, exhibitions, etc. There will be many more, why not with video games? Is this an opportunity to connect with people not reached and to strengthen intercultural bonds?

Furthermore, as something to be literate. There are many approaches to literacies, particularly I am focused on Multiliteracies view (Cruz-Palacios and Marzal García Quismondo, 2017). As for video games, we must take into account the importance of considering knowing how to "read" (to videogame); "write" (to design and to code); to communicate using (within games with other people) or about video games (understanding the medium: technology, history, mechanics, aesthetics or art); acting according to citizen values; and dealing with our emotions to avoid the problems that some people associate with video games.

Besides, as a field of knowledge. Libraries can gather and organize the best documents about games based on its aspects or other resources’ that deal with them: history, design, development software, art, guides to create, treatises or manuals of basic knowledge, "packages" of specialized academic journals, websites of companies, directories of professionals, etc.

Finally, as something to be made in libraries’ makerspaces. Libraries could organise all resources what local community could need: space and infrastructure, technology (hardware and software), specialists, guides, etc.

Some examples
Videogame Lab on University California Santa Cruz (http://guides.library.ucsc.edu/videogames).

Computer & Video Game Archive on University of Michigan (https://www.lib.umich.edu/computer-video-game-archive).

Broward County Library (http://www.broward.org/Library/MyLibraryOnline/Pages/VideoGames.aspx).

University of Chicago’s Library (http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/videogames).

Console Living Room on Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/consolelivingroom).

National Videogame Museum (http://nvmusa.org/)

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) (https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/11/29/video-games-14-in-the-collection-for-starters/).

Greater Victoria Public Library (https://gvpl.ca/using-the-library/our-collection/video-games).

City of Melbourne’s Libraries (http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/community/libraries/collections-elibrary/Pages/games.aspx).

Bibliography, BBDD, journals, papers,... regarding video games selected by University of Michigan’s Library  (http://guides.lib.umich.edu/c.php?g=282989&p=1885546).

Library of Brooklyn’s Game Center (http://gamecenter.nyu.edu/academics/the-open-library/).

The UT Videogame Archive on University of Texas at Austin (http://www.cah.utexas.edu/projects/videogamearchive/index.php)

Cited Bibliography
Asociación Española de Distribuidores y Editores de Software de Entretenimiento (2011). El videojugador español: perfil, hábitos e inquietudes de nuestros gamers. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.aevi.org.es/pdf/EstilodeVidayvaloresdelosjugadoresdevideojuegos_resumenpresentacion.pdf

Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015a). Anuario de la Industria del Videojuego. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.aevi.org.es/web/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/MEMORIA-ANUAL_2015_AEVI_-d-efinitivo.pdf

Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015b). El Videojuego en España. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.aevi.org.es/la-industria-del-videojuego/en-espana/

Cruz-Palacios, E.; Marzal García-Quismondo, M. A. (2017). “Gaming para las Alfabetizaciones Múltiples: Videojuegos en la Educación del Siglo XXI”. V Congreso Internacional de Videojuegos y Educación (Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, España, 7-9 de junio de 2017).

Interactive Software Federation of Europe (2012). Industry Facts. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.isfe.eu/industry-facts

6 Jul 2017

Rudaí 23 - A 23 Things Collaboration

Posted on behalf of Shioban McGuinness

Rudaí 23 is an online, self-directed course based on the 23 Things program, delivered by a collaborative group of librarians and educators, in association with the Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland, and The Library Association of Ireland. The course is accredited by the LAI.

The program consists of 23 modules which will be delivered free and online via our website.  Participants can choose which modules to complete and earn up to 5 digital badges:

Visual Communicator, Online Networker, Critical Thinker, Engaged Professional and CPD Champion.

The course will cover current issues and trends in the information profession as well as the use of web technology to promote your library and network with your peers.

Participants must complete a series of simple tasks such as learning how to use different presentation software like PowToon, or maybe you would like to know more about collaboration tools such as Basecamp. We shall be experimenting with Augmented Reality through apps like Aurasma.

Learning includes reflecting so we ask you to write an online blog post about your experiences which in turn lets you earn the relevant badges.

This course will be of interest to information professionals who would like to learn more about using web tools for professional development and promoting your library, by the end of this course you will have a fully functioning professional blog, a wide network of professional online colleagues and you will be completely up-to-date on what's current in the world of libraries, online collaboration and social media.

We are delighted to confirm that registration for Rudaí 23 will open on the 28th of August and the first module will begin on the 9th of September.

Check out our previous course from 2014 here: www.rudai23.blogspot.com

For more information email westernlibraries@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @rudai23 @wrslai to receive updates and don’t forget the hashtags #rudai23 #23things.

“One of the best courses I've taken part in. Highly recommended”
“Having tried all of the ‘things’ I now feel far more confident in my abilities to use social media as a tool for work/professionally… my development in confidence at using social media has been key in my Chartership journey as it has given me the ability to connect with others professionally.” 

Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2017 | Categories:

27 Jun 2017

A report on the National Acquisitions Group (NAG) Conference, Glasgow 14th & 15th September 2016

Kathryn Briggs, System Librarian, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

I had the privilege of attending the conference thanks to a bursary from the Acquisitions Group of Ireland (AGI). This year’s theme was ‘Public and Academic Libraries - Learning and Working in Partnership’. The conference consisted of a variety of speakers, workshops, a student panel, choice of tours, a first time delegate’s reception, conference dinner and an entertaining after-dinner casino. There were a range of captivating papers, energetic workshops and plentiful opportunities to network with delegates and speakers from across public, academic, and special libraries together with publishers and suppliers.

With so much incorporated in the two days it is impossible to provide a detailed account of all the sessions, so instead I offer an overview of the sessions and speakers which interested me the most. The full programme of events is available online. Firstly I would like to mention the online tool Glisser which hosted the conference presentations – I loved it! Glisser is a slide sharing tool and audience response system that works with attendees own smart phones or other devices. It allows you to write notes alongside the slides and email them to yourself for future reference – which was very useful for this report!

The opening address was delivered by Alison Stevenson who discussed rebuilding library collections after the devastating fire in the renowned Mackintosh library which was nearly entirely destroyed in 2014. Before the fire this library was generally accepted as one of the finest Art Nouveau interiors internationally, with its architectural and artistic beauty.  Off course it was not only the wonderful building that was lost; the books and journals that were housed there were also destroyed.

Interestingly, up-to-date catalogue records were fundamental in disclosing what was lost for restoration and insurance purposes. Surprisingly none of the collection was unique so a decision had to be made on which items were worth conserving ... only 12 out of 8,000 will go back into the new mackintosh library in 2019! Luckily the valuable items were not in this building.  People wanted to help after the fire so the library needed someone to manage social media at all times... The library provided a list of titles that needing replacing and then held off all other offers until a later date. Alison indicated that management of social media and press relations should be in a disaster plan. 30% of titles were gifted back to the library, internet archives were used for titles that were freely available online.

Aude Charillon spoke about empowering users on their rights to use creative works. Aude has been developing a project called Commons are Forever, to help the public understand what is in the public domain or can be used under license, to better appreciate the limits and risks of using copyright images and information. Aude promotes use and re-use, create and share... engaging people with copyright without actually mentioning copyright!  Staff at Newcastle Libraries are encouraged to tell people about free material online at the information desk. For example “no we don't have a print copy of a book but the copyright has expired so you can get it free online”. Aude suggest organising something fun and creative in your libraries to teach something as dull as copyright!

The #WhatsYourStory marketing campaign  was presented by Alison Millar. The campaign from Leeds Libraries was designed to let the public know about all the different services available the local library. Marketing of public library services is particularly challenging because they offer so much to so many people! Leeds Libraries decided that the best way to promote their services would be to have real people advocating on their behalf.

The campaign presented people in videos, on posters and on billboards whose lives were changed for the better as a result of the services available from Leeds Libraries. The impact of #whatsyourstory reached far beyond Leeds; with plenty of media attention nationally and internationally. In addition to reaching new audiences, the social media element of the campaign promoted engagement and interaction. Leeds Libraries are using the responses generated from the campaign to find new case studies and engage with new audiences.

The Access to Research (A2R)  initiative was presented by Jonathan Griffin. Access to Research is an online service for local libraries across the UK, formed is in response to a recommendation in the government-commissioned ‘Finch Report’ on improving access to publically funded research. The report recommended that major subscription-based publishers should license public libraries to provide free access to over 15 million academic articles for free. Search results are generated by Summon; promotion of the service was patchy; the service seen high levels of use in a small number of libraries. Nevertheless, the service was a success with users, but more training for staff, as well as promotion, is needed since it was decided to continue providing the service.

In Library Service Delivery: Independence and Opportunity, Paul Howarth spoke of putting libraries on a strong and sustainable footing for the future by becoming an Industrial and Provident Society. Suffolk’s Libraries Industrial and Provident Society Limited is the formal registered name for Suffolk Libraries . An Industrial and Provident Society, a not for profit, independent and charitable organisation set up in August 2012 to run the service for the benefit of the people of Suffolk. All libraries in Suffolk are run by Suffolk County Council and are operated as an independent charitable co-operative. Paul highlighted the challenges and opportunities that Suffolk’s independence and distinct governance presented in its establishment. One of the central objectives involved saving money; there was a 30% saving over the first 4 years.

The final paper I am going to refer to is Journal Acquisition at the University of East London: meeting rising costs and rising expectations. Thomas Shaw explored innovative approaches to journals acquisition performed in the university. As with most libraries they have never-ending cost pressures with rising user expectations – users expect more ejournals. The University of East London piloted moving away from typical journal acquisition practices to new approaches such as demand-driven models for purchasing journal content. Demand driven acquisition for journals would be fantastic in the perfect world; seamless with an automated workflow after purchase. The problem is that it’s more expensive than inter-library loans, there’s no library ownership and of course there’s multiple structures with multiple publishers. In short they still have rising subscription costs along with rising expectations. In the current environment the price increases are unaffordable and unsustainable. Increased data analysis is required – ultimately we all need to support open access!

Of the four workshops to choose from, I signed up for ‘Copyright, the card game’ and ‘learning & working in partnership with DRM free e-books’.

Copyright the Card Game  is an educational game resource designed to train people in UK copyright law. Seemingly once you start thinking more creatively about copyright education, it becomes less tedious, consequently it’s easier to get people to participate and engage in learning about copyright. The game takes teams from copyright basics through to real world scenarios which explore the relationship between licences and copyright fair dealing exceptions. Working in teams of four or five we had to tackle a number of common scenarios, determining which cards were applicable for the particular situations. An interesting method to teaching the fundamentals of copyright.

The Scottish HE: Learning & Working in Partnership with DRM Free E-books workshop was facilitated by Wendy Walker and Anna Andrzejewska. The workshop explained the procurement process and some of the successes and issues experienced by the Scottish Higher Education Consortium when they undertook a procurement exercise to work with publishing partners for access to DRM free ebooks. After some dialogue participants were split into small groups where discussions on eBook models and consortia possibilities for the purchase of eBook took place.

Additional events included a choice of tours to either the Glasgow Women’s Library or Whittaker Library & National Piping Centre. I choose to visit the women’s library; which is the only accredited museum in the UK devoted to women’s lives, achievements and histories, with a lending library, archive collections and a vast programme of public events. We received a very warm welcome with tea and cake on arrival followed by a walk around the public and restricted areas in a building that effortlessly fuses old with new. At the time of our visit, as part of the Tall Tales tour, the sculpture The Chandelier of Lost Earrings, was on display in the library. The sculpture is made from over 3,000 single earrings donated by owners who have lost the other half of the pair. The tour was a wonderful way to bring to an end a stimulating and extremely informative two days.

I hope this report encompasses the calibre and range of papers as well as workshops offered at the conference. I would have no hesitation in recommending the NAG annual conference to those in search of a well organised event with a diversity of papers, workshops and social assemblies. The conference had a good combination of work and play; allowing for significant knowledge to contemplate and communicate, plus generous networking opportunities. If you require any further information just ask; thank you! http://kathrynbriggs.weebly.com
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 | Categories:

22 Jun 2017

The CONUL Bursary winners reflect on #conulac17

For this year's CONUL Conference CONUL decided to award two bursaries to current LIS Students. Below are the reflections from the two winners, Louise Wasson and Sophie Lynch, on the application process and the conference itself. And a call to LIS students to apply for any bursary that comes up. A call that we at Libfocus wholeheartedly echo - when you see a Library Bursary, apply for it! Though it may take up some of your limited and precious time, the reward, if you are successful, more than makes up for the effort.

Sophie Lynch is currently an MLIS student at University College Dublin and holds a BMus (Hons) from the CIT Cork School of Music.

My name is Sophie Lynch, and I am currently a full-time Masters of Library and Information Studies student at University College Dublin. Prior to my MLIS, I completed my Bachelor of Music at the CIT Cork School of Music. While in Cork I had the pleasure of completing a summer internship at the CIT Cork School of Music Fleischmann Library and was also afforded the opportunity to visit the main CIT Bishopstown Library. These experiences were my first proper forays into the world of librarianship and gave me the confidence to pursue this career path. After I moved to Dublin to further my studies, I began working as a part-time student shelver for UCD Library working in both the James Joyce Library and the Health Sciences Library respectively.

I first heard about the CONUL Student Conference Bursary through Twitter. At the time, I was absolutely swamped with assignments and deadlines to meet and did not pursue it further because I felt that I did not have time to write an application. It was only when the deadline for applications was extended that I decided to apply. At this point, a few of my lecturers had encouraged my class to apply. One of the main reasons I decided to apply for the bursary was that as an MLIS student on the verge of graduating I wanted to learn first-hand about current developments and research in the profession. I also wanted the opportunity to research potential career paths by listening and speaking to established practitioners. Above all else, I was intrigued by the topics that would be covered under the conference theme “inspiring and supporting research.”

At the CONUL conference, I experienced what it was like to be part of a social media team for such a large event. I gained some insight into the inner workings of the conference while also having the opportunity to speak to delegates. This meant that I was constantly engaged and not simply passively listening. At each of the presentations I attended, I always felt that I learnt at least one interesting piece of information or discovered a new resource that I had never encountered. In addition to this, as I knew very few people at the conference, I was forced out of my comfort zone having to speak to more people. From carrying out tasks behind the scenes to speaking to people during breaks, there were many natural opportunities to network. As a result, I have had many stimulating conversations and have made new professional contacts.

I would highly encourage other LIS students to apply for the CONUL Conference Bursary. The application process was straightforward requiring only a one-page letter, and it did not take me as long as I expected to complete my application. I was initially a bit intimidated at the thought of applying for a bursary to attend one of the most prestigious library conferences in Ireland. However, I need not have worried as the CONUL Conference is one of the friendliest conferences I have encountered for newcomers and students.

Sometimes as an LIS student I become so immersed in my studies (particularly around deadlines) that I lose sight of what was going on around me. I find it difficult to keep up to date from afar on new research and exciting projects that are happening in the library and information profession. For this reason, I think that going to conferences and seminars encourages you to learn more about what is happening in your profession and can also help you stay abreast of new developments and trends. After the CONUL Conference, I felt inspired by the professionals I had listened and spoken to and was brimming with ideas for the future.

Attending conferences can be very expensive. As a student, without the help of the CONUL Conference Bursary and the support of my lecturer Jane Burns I would not have been able to attend this conference. My main piece of advice when it comes to applying for bursaries is to make time for your application, be brave and apply!

Louise Wasson currently works as a Library Assistant in the Queen’s University Belfast Medical & HSC Library.

Having now completed my PG Diploma in Library and Information Services Management by Distance Learning with the University of Sheffield iSchool, I was only too delighted to step away from my laptop and final assignments in order to make the journey down to Athlone for this year’s CONUL conference on the theme of Inspiring and Supporting Research.

Having already undertaken an MA and PhD in Medieval Literature, research support is an area which I have a vested interest in, and so this was an invaluable opportunity to meet established and experienced information professionals and learn from their ‘on the ground’ perspectives.  I certainly was not disappointed.

Like many LISM students, I completed my library qualification while working full-time.  Despite the numerous challenges associated with this method of study, the main drawback to distance learning was always the lack of face-to-face interaction which could at times be quite isolating.  Therefore, the opportunity to meet other bursary winners and LIS professionals was incredibly appealing and a great incentive to apply for the CONUL conference bursary.

Over the course of the conference I spent an enjoyable two days chatting and engaging with librarians at all levels and stages of their career, and from a range of different professional perspectives.  For example, the opportunity to engage with publisher representatives was particularly useful and insightful as my current role as library assistant does not require or allow for this sort of networking.  Therefore, the combination of formal and informal networking opportunities provided by the conference was an ideal way to ease into what could otherwise have been a potentially daunting situation.  Nevertheless, the friendly, welcoming atmosphere and hospitality from the CONUL social media team, organizers and delegates was evident from the outset and throughout.

As one of two lucky bursary winners I was delighted (and pleasantly surprised!) to be given some immediate responsibility for live tweeting the conference sessions from the official @CONULconf account (as well as my own personal account), and also for recording Periscope videos and short sponsor videos.  The opportunity to ‘learn on our feet’ so to speak was one that I really appreciated and would highly recommend.

The freedom to choose parallel sessions of interest was another bonus as this ensured that while all sessions were covered, each person could choose sessions of specific professional interest.  Particular highlights were the innovative Day 1 ‘Show & Tell’ presentations, Day 2 Keynote from Danny Kingsley, ‘Presentation Skills for Researchers’ and closing Open Access Panel Discussion.

Having attended previous conferences outside of the LISM field, energy and enthusiasm often tends to wane on Day 2.  This was not the case at CONUL 2017.  Lively and engaging discussions and ideas characterized the entire conference and provided the opportunity to take away new ideas and perspectives about ongoing challenges facing the profession.

Although it might be overwhelming to add bursary applications to the long list of administrative activities already undertaken by those working full time and completing their library degree, I could not recommend the experience enough.  Professional posts will involve significant competitive funding applications, report writing etc., and so any practice in producing this sort of documentation will be invaluable in your future career.  While it might be tempting to presume that conference bursaries will be oversubscribed and too difficult to obtain, I would strongly encourage LISM students and early-career professionals to apply and make the most of all available opportunities, as the exposure to different practices in different institutions may well be one of the best and most useful CPD opportunities you will encounter.

Overall, the experience was thoroughly enjoyable and insightful from start to finish with a rich programme of speakers and a wide range of expertise across a spectrum of relevant, timely and challenging issues.

A fantastic conference with an impressive online following and presence, I look forward to returning in the coming years and remaining a part of lively and important discussions.