4 Mar 2015

Dodgy cursors, wonky links and alarming fire alarms...

Those who know say write from experience. In the spirit of that sage advice I'm going to focus in this post on what happens at a conference presentation when almost everything that can go wrong does go wrong.
The wonderful ASL annual conference took place this year 26 / 27 February. I was very kindly invited along to speak about the SirHenrys2014 expo that ran last summer in UCC library. Overcoming my very brief initial urge to say no and swiftly run to the safe hills I happily accepted the invitation. My first conference paper - happy days as we used say in Henrys! And so began the work on the actual presentation. After many versions and rewrites  I had a presentation to go that would, I was informed by my no way biased colleagues, rock the proverbial house. 
My paper was to be the last paper of the first day and set to start at 16.40. Appropriate graveyard slot for a paper about a nightclub. From 13.30 till 16.40 I sat and watched some great papers and did battle with the punk butterflies moshing away in my stomach. But I felt happy all would be well and right with the conference world. 
At 16.40 I was introduced and slowly walked to the podium. Proceeded to say thanks for the warm introduction and audible words actually came out. I saw this as a good start. After a few fluffs, stumbles and halts at the beginning of the actual presentation I began to get into a comfortable stride and began on a roll and began to enjoy standing up there in front of about 100 people talking passionately about how we did the expo. I said to myself hard bit over enjoy the rest.  
I hadn't counted on technology...
My screen and cursor froze. I consider myself adequately techie but couldn't resolve it. A&SL Committee member Eva Hornung rushed to my aid at the podium and fixed it. Issue sorted. Panic over. I proceeded through my section on the collaborators. Got the requisite laugh for the slide of the three curators in our - much - younger days. 

I then proceeded into the substantive part of the presentation - the crowdsourcing aspect. I laid out the social media platforms we used to promote the expo and to gather our material - the physical and the intangible by way of memories and stories. Next was to come an explanation of each platform in more detail providing examples and exposition. For example, Twitter was essential for creating a media buzz. I had many examples - but as I clicked on Colm O'Callaghan's Twitter account the proverbials hit the fan. Computer froze. Crowd froze. I momentarily froze. Eva again gallantly rushed to the podium. Two minutes of us trying to fix it. And then we Reached a new level.

Of course, like a typical Irish crowd we all sat there looking at each other as if nothing untoward was happening. My nerves began to dissipate. Good sign, nobody was using the fire alarm as an excuse to leave the room.
I decided to skip live links and dance on. This meant a complete on the spot restructure of the paper. My section on our Blog -which had worldwide reach thanks to the Cork diaspora - now involved me talking about the blog posts without showing or reading them. Facebook threads and the role that FB played in creating community, buzz and momentum had to be explained verbally. And a most wonderful two minute RTE news piece by Jennie O'Sullivan that I had intended to play to show the impact that social media can have had to be verbally explained. And finally, the piece that was to leave them literally dancing in the aisles, the announcement of the winner of a straw poll to pick the song that resonated most with the Henrys community could not be used. Everything that went wrong could go wrong. Or almost. it was pointed out by many that at least the sprinklers didn't go off.

It was actually okay. I actually was okay. And I enjoyed the whole experience immensely.

When the 'challenges' began to happen I actually felt a collective wave of empathy,  sympathy and support coming from all the delegates and sponsors. People put themselves in my place. This relaxed me. When everything goes wrong you have nothing left to lose. If things don't go according to your plan, don't panic. Just go with it.

Will I do anything different for my next conference presentation? [subtext - not scared off by the experience]
Firstly, I will make sure to embed all video in my presentation. Live links create a variable factor. I will try to eliminate as many variable factors as possible.
As far as is possible I will make sure the technology works for my presentation by doing, if possible, a run through on the day in the venue.
I will be aware that technology can be a demon and place 'challenges' in your path. No matter how well organised the committee is, (and the A&SL Committee were, and always, are remarkably organised) things unforeseen can still go wrong.
So, I will be so ready for the unexpected.
And, I will retain my sense of humour.
And in the event of everything really going wrong -  I will remember the quote from Charlie Brown and quietly leave the podium and sit with the crowd.


For the Twitter reaction to the 'challenges' and more, click here. 

2 Mar 2015

Marvellous Mapping: Reflecting on online identities and practices using Visitors and Residents Mapping - Workshop, NUIG 13 March 2015

Guest post by David White, Head of Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of the Arts London & Donna Lanclos, Associate Professor for Anthropological Research in the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte. Dave is the originator of the Visitors and Residents concept, and both he and Donna are on the research team which has developed the related JISC infoKit

On the 13th March, at the invitation of Catherine Cronin  and with the support of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, the two of us will be running a ‘Visitors & Residents’ mapping workshop at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Visitors and Residents is an idea we and other colleagues have been developing as a simple way of describing the broad range of ways in which individuals use the Web. It’s based on motivations to engage rather than age or technical skill.

The mapping process has been refined over the last couple of years and is one of the outputs from an ongoing longitudinal study into how learners engage online. The strength of the process is the way in which it helps individuals to reify and visualise the various ways they engage online. This is especially because most of us do have a sense of the ‘geography’ of the various sites and services we use online but it’s not easy to express.

Most individuals also have a well developed model of who is in each network they are members of in Resident modes and the character of the dialogue they will be in across those networks. For example, we understand the modes of engagement in work email and how they differ from being active within a Facebook group of a personal interest but it’s unlikely they we will have mapped these engagements side-by-side even if they, at times, influence each other.

1st Year Health & Social Care Student

3rd Year PhD Student
More recently we have been working on a detailed guide for the mapping workshop. The process has evolved as we have run the mapping workshop with various groups from a variety of academic disciplines and a range of higher education institutions, and via feedback from others who have run workshops for themselves. During this time we have also created a suite of mapping related resources including a pool of the maps from participants which act as examples of specific styles of online engagement. The guide gives a suggested structure for the workshop and collated these resources. Significantly the guide also highlights recurrent themes that have emerged from discussions around maps and offers constructive ways to explore those themes with groups.

The Marvellous Mapping session in Galway will be our first chance to pilot the format we have suggested in the guide. As such we see it as an important stage in the evolution and application of the Visitors and Residents idea. If you can, do come along to the workshop or take a look at the guide to see if you could run a mapping session at your institution.

Marvellous Mapping: Reflecting on online identities and practices using Visitors and Residents mapping will take place at NUIG on Friday, 13 March 2015 from 11:00 to 15:00. For booking information for this free event see here .
If you cannot make the event the main section of the workshop will be live streamed. The event will be live tweeted using the Visitors and Residents hashtag #vandr

26 Feb 2015

'Performing the Archive' Conference National University of Ireland, Galway 22 – 24 July 2015

By Barry Houlihan, Archivist, Archives and Special Collections, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway

Co-sponsored by the American Society for Theatre Research

Professor Tracy C. Davis (Northwestern University)

Dr. Doug L. Reside (New York Public Library)

Professor Catherine Cole (University of California, Berkeley)

Dr. Hugh Denard (Trinity College, Dublin)

Professor Patrick Lonergan (National University of Ireland, Galway)

Professor Lionel Pilkington (National University of Ireland, Galway)

Dr. Emilie Pine (University College, Dublin)

'Performing the Archive' responds to new innovations in archival practices including digital methodologies and will bring together formative thinking among scholars, artists and archivists engaged in working with archival materials and on research and performance projects to explore the uses and possibilities of the archive today from theoretical and methodological perspectives.

We will debate:
  • What is the status of archival research methodologies in published research and graduate training today?
  • What are the possibilities of collaboration between researchers and practitioners working together to remount work based on the archives or research on new material? What working models exist and what have yet to be imagined?
  • How has the digital humanities begun to reshape the possibilities of archival engagement?
  • How can we support the labour of not only archival research methodologies but the maintenance of the archives themselves? How does the holding location of archives (university vs. community archive) affect the circulation of these resources?  How can partnerships be expanded or reimagined? 
  • How has the cataloguing of new/recent archives contributed to new learning and change?
  • Connection of archives, theatre and society: Documentary theatre and socially responsive theatre
  • Theatre, Peace and Conflict – How memory of theatre and conflict, especially that of Northern Ireland, is newly understood and experienced through the archives and contributing to resolution and reconciliation
  • The craft of the playwright: Drafting, editing and writing for stage or radio through adapting the archive
  • How is contemporary performance shaped by memory of past performance?
This conference capitalizes on NUI Galway’s unparalleled strength in Irish theatre and literary archives, taking advantage of holdings including the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive and archives of Druid Theatre, Lyric Theatre Belfast, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Thomas Kilroy, Siobhan McKenna and the Galway Arts Festival, among others, to facilitate a national and international conversation about the place of archives in not only theatre and performance research and teaching, but arts practice and perception of theatre history more broadly.

Coinciding with the Galway Arts Festival, the conference will immerse participants in the living performance culture of Galway as the Galway Arts Festival links together artists from around the world to mount Ireland’s largest international arts festival.

Participants will take part in intensive working group sessions as well as participate in keynote and plenary sessions with leading scholars, archivists and performers working at the intersection of practice and research.

You may propose either an individual paper or panel of three speakers.  Abstracts for individuals for individual papers should be no more than 350 words in length and panels should submit their panel title and grouped abstracts to be considered.  Proposed papers can address practical projects in the area of digitization, curation, or archives administration as well as presenting creative, scholarly or theoretical case studies.

Individuals will also designate a working group to be associated with for an intensive workshop during the conference.

You can apply to the following strands:

  • Archival Materials In/As Performance
  • Digitization: Methodology and Ethics
  • Early-Mid-Twentieth Century Irish Theatre
  • Irish Theatre After Beckett
  • Conflict, Memory and Trauma
  • Scenography and Theatre Technologies

Please submit a 350-word abstract for your proposed paper as a PDF file ONLY with brief bio by 30 March 2015 to performarchive2015[at]gmail.com

For more information, please contact Barry Houlihan (barry.houlihan[at]nuigalway.ie), Charlotte McIvor (charlotte.mcivor[at]nuigalway.ie) or Ian Walsh (ian.walsh[at]nuigalway.ie).
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2015 | Categories:

25 Feb 2015

Building the habit of excellence in library services

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” - Aristotle

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what we mean by "excellent" customer service in libraries. I think whilst we may often talk about delivering excellence, a lot of us probably don’t, but this is intrinsically a good thing! By excellence, I mean true excellence (itself a rather nebulous concept that means different things to different people), rather than very, very, very good – the latter I think is something a lot of us definitely do deliver on. To me, being very, very good means delivering effective, efficient and consistent services, but crucially acknowledging that there is still always room for improvement – and more importantly, the desire and willingness to improve alongside it.

Indeed, when we look at our services there is probably always something that could be improved upon in an ideal world if resources were plentiful, be it operational factors (more staff, longer opening hours, a broader or deeper collection) or infrastructure (a bigger and better building in which to serve our users for example). Moreover, we live in a dynamic world where the goalposts of excellence are constantly moving, and so it becomes a concept that is almost impossible to define. However, as long as the opportunity to improve exists, we can keep pushing incrementally towards it, and ultimately it becomes ingrained as a habit. It is this mindset and philosophy that I think is so important in service delivery, whereas the mindset of “perceived excellence” can be a dangerous thing. When the day comes that we think we have achieved excellence, complacency can often set in and we stop looking for ways we can do things differently and better.

For me, true excellence or “gold standard” customer service is perhaps something we will never reach in practice, but rather an ideal that we drive towards asymptotically. The key thing is that we are continually working and moving towards it, delivering better services than we did yesterday, and I believe this is far more important and much more tangible for our users than whatever "excellence" might look like.

22 Feb 2015

Thirty Five Years Later: The role of the LAI in my Professional Development

By Helen Fallon, Deputy University Librarian, NUI Maynooth

This blog post is based on a presentation I gave at the LAI CPD Group “Developing as a Professional” seminar in November 2014.

I first became aware of the LAI in 1981 while working in what is now Maynooth University (MU). I  was preparing for interview for the UCD postgraduate programme in librararianship and  read “An Leabharlann” to get an insight into what was happening in Irish libraries. My recollection - which may be flawed - is that articles were written by senior people, mostly male.

After graduating in 1982, I worked in an American-run medical library in Saudi Arabia. I enjoyed reading “The Bulletin of the American Medical Library Association” and other library journals. These gave me a sense of being part of an international community of practice. I could see the value of professional reading, although the formal concept of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in librarianship didn’t exist at that time.

Back in Ireland in 1984, I joined the LAI, while working with Bord na Mona. I did this to counteract professional isolation and to enhance my CV. In 1986, I joined NIHED (now DCU). In those days quite a number of university library staff were members and the AGM was a significant date in our calendar. In 1988 or ’89  I was pleased to receive a letter telling me that if I submitted a CV, a supporting statement and the relevant fee I could be elected to the register of associates of the LAI. As an early career librarian, I was keen to enhance my C.V. I was possibly more conscious of qualifications than many of my contemporaries, who had completed the postgraduate diploma in librarianship. From working with American librarians in the Middle East, I was aware the first professional qualification for US librarians was the Master Degree. I thought that in the future I might wish to work in the US. At that time it wasn’t possible to upgrade from Diploma to Masters in UCD as it now is. I applied for and was awarded the ALAI.

In 1989 I took a two-year career break and lectured in librarianship at the University of Sierra Leone. I was invited to meetings of the Sierra Leone Library Association in the public library in Freetown. I have a very high regard for those librarians who got together to discuss how best to provide library services in a time when there were no library budgets, salaries were six months in arrears, the country was in a state of economic collapse and on the verge of civil war and one paperback book cost the equivalent of a month’s salary for the average library worker.

Back in Ireland I sometimes thought about my experiences teaching with blackboard and chalk and correcting essays by candlelight. Looking at a farewell card signed by my students I thought: “Some day, I won’t remember the faces to match the signatures. Maybe I should write about it.” I found the early morning was a good time for me: I wrote for an hour or so before getting ready for work. It required discipline as writing still does over twenty years later. While I was nervous sending my work out, I felt that “An Leabharlann” was “my” journal as a member of the LAI and that helped.  The article published in 1994. The editor of a UK journal read it and asked me to review a book about librarianship in developing countries for his journal. One publication frequently leads to other opportunities from my experience.

Copyright: An Leabharlann

Copyright: An Leabharlann
It was through the LAI that I got my first opportunity to speak at a conference. My presentation, on CD ROMs, in libraries was at the conference of what was then the Assistant Librarians section of the LAI. I was asked to write that as a paper for “An Leabharlann” and from that came an invitation to present at a conference in Greece.

I think the importance of the LAI to the academic library community decreased in the 1990’s. This may have been because there were many new avenues for professional development. I completed a part-time Masters in Women’s Studies in 1996; this was one of a number of new modular programmes on offer, which allowed people to maintain full time jobs, while attending lectures in the evening. The University sector established ANLTC in 1996, offering a comprehensive programme of short courses to staff in member libraries. Most Universities developed internal staff development units. The Nineties were also a time when due to deregulation, airfares dropped in price: going to conference and other events in the UK was now feasible. So in less than a decade many of us went from attending two events per year (the AGM of the LAI and the INULS conference) to an environment where there was a large and varied range of professional development offerings.

In 2000 I joined the staff of MU library. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join  the editorial board of “An Leabharlann” about five years ago. Being a peer-reviewer has helped  me develop my writing skills by critically looking at the writing of others.  It’s also useful for my CV, our library annual reports and quality reviews. I was privileged to have the opportunity to interview Professor John Dean, who taught me at UCD for “An Leabharlann” a few years before his death.

A few years ago, over coffee with the editor of “An Leabharlann” I spoke to her about doing “something”. At that point I had discounted doing an MLIS, having completed an MA. Moving towards the final decade of my career, I didn’t want to put the necessary time and energy into doing a doctorate. She asked “Why not do the Fellowship of the LAI?”. Being asked this question was significant. Information on the FLAI was available on the LAI website, but I’d never heard anyone actually talk about the process or read anything any recipient had written on it. I opted to do the Fellowship by professional portfolio, rather than a thesis. Jane Burns, a friend and professional colleague also decided to do the FLAI by portfolio. At that point the formal LAI mentoring process for the awards was not available, so we mentored and motivated each other. We wrote an article and produced a poster on the process, which may be of interest to people considering this. There’s also a very useful blog post on ALAI written by Aoife Lawton, Laura Connaughton and Grace Toland for those interested. I found the process (CV., application form, personal statement and evidence-based portfolio) very useful as a means of reflecting on where I was at in my career and what I wanted to do/learn going forward.

I am now a member of the LAI CPD committee. This committee works actively to promote CPD and in the last year put a lot of focus on the ALAI/FLAI process. We’ve developed a formal mentoring scheme for people applying for the ALAI and FLAI.

The above is very much my personal story of the role of the LAI in my professional development.
Looking at the LAI from my perspective as Deputy Librarian at MU with overall responsibility for staff development in the Library, I see other advantages to membership. These include:
  • reduction in fees for attending LAI events   - This is important as it means that our library staff development budget goes further
  • The LAI CPD group now offers course certificates on completion of a formal application  by LAI and other groups. This demonstrates that the courses have been considered by a panel with expertise in CPD and have met certain criteria; the certificates are also a useful element of a CPD portfolio
  • bursaries and awards are offered by various groups of the LAI – MU library staff have won a number of these, and have benefited from the professional development opportunities as well as having enhanced CV’s.
  • Engagement with various LAI committees, allows librarians gain opportunities in various roles – member, secretary, treasurer, chairperson – that they might not get in their day-to-day work: these are transferable skills. 
  • It’s is useful for meeting and working with colleagues across the sector and demonstrates an engagement with the profession
  • The LAI offers members both Associateship and Fellowship, with a mentoring scheme to support applicants
  • Evidence of engagement with the LAI and other professional bodies and receipt of LAI awards enhance job applications
  • The Library Ireland Job-Swop initiative offers an opportunity to “job-swop” for a day. Read more about it at http://www.libfocus.com/2015/02/library-ireland-week-my-library.html and http://www.libfocus.com/2014/09/library-ireland-week-2014-diary-of.html
  • While it’s not essential to be a member of the LAI to publish in “An Leabharlann” taking out membership supports our professional journal
  • It’s good to be part of a  vibrant community of professional practice
More details about membership of the LAI and application form can be found at https://libraryassociation.ie/membership.

If you have questions about any aspect of the ALAI/FLAI process or wish to register for mentoring (for ALAI/FLAI) or to be a mentor please e-mail cpd[at]libraryassociation.ie.
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 | Categories:

18 Feb 2015

Framing an exhibition – reflections on Sir Henrys@UCC Library

UCC Library  hosted an exhibition entitled SirHenrys @UCC Library throughout the summer of 2014. The exhibition told the story of the much loved, now defunct, Sir Henrys Bar and Nightclub that was located on South Main Street, Cork. This club was a vital part of Cork’s social, cultural and musical life from 1977-2003. It was renowned locally, nationally and internationally for its vibrant music scene – both rock and dance scenes – and the sense of community that these scenes inspired in those who attended the club on a regular basis.

The exhibition was very much a creation of the virtual, social media, world. It began with a simple tweet that turned into a discussion and it snowballed from there.

The exhibition was promoted primarily through social media, specifically through the exhibition’s Twitter, Facebook and Blog accounts. The actual items and material on show in the space, loaned by people who created the club, attended the club, worked in and ran the club, were garnered primarily through these networks. In essence the exhibition was crowdsourced. Or crowd harnessed as a comment on the exhibition comments’ book put it.

Literally over a thousand items spanning the beginning to the demise of the club was gathered. It is this material, and the whittling down to what was finally chosen for inclusion in the actual physical exhibition that the remainder of this post is concerned with. The remainder of the post is specifically a reflection on the selection process for the pieces, ephemera and texts and narratives used in the exhibition. The post looks at the curating of the exhibition and the framing that is inherent in the act of curating.

When selecting, along with the other curators Stevie Grainger and Eileen Hogan , the actual material that would go into the exhibit cases and feature on the storyboards I was reminded of a lecture I attended as a third year Sociology student. The module was Media Studies and the lecture examined the concept of ‘Framing’. Irish sociologist, (and the lecturer for that course)  Ciaran McCullagh in his book Media Power provides a succinct definition of what framing is and does:

“The basic argument about framing is that the media do not simply provide us with information on certain issues and events; they also provide us with perspectives on them. These place the events and issues within particular contexts and encourage audiences to understand them in particular ways. In effect, the media do not simply select events to cover; they also offer interpretative frameworks through which these are to understood”

Through choosing what items to include I became very aware that we as curators were in fact framing how ‘Sir Henrys the Club’ was going to be perceived in ‘Sir Henrys the Exhibition’. I was aware that we were not just presenting pieces in an exhibition in a neutral way. We were providing a particular perspective on Sir Henrys. As McCullagh says, we were creating an interpretative framework through which Henrys could be, and would be understood by those who came to visit the exhibition. This framing effect would be magnified for those who never attended the club. For example those students not born when the club was in existence would be learning a very small part of the story and that story they learned was framed by what we decided to include in the actual physical exhibition space.

This is a particular issue when you consider that Sir Henrys existed as a club for over twenty-five years. Twenty-five years is time enough for three or four generations of club goers and many music scenes to have stepped through its doors and climbed those infamous steps. How could we objectively condense twenty-five years into an intimate exhibition space? Would it be even possible to do so? Is it ever possible to do this?

Any one piece we chose to exhibit meant excluding another twenty or thirty pieces. Choosing a picture of one band meant leaving out countless others. Choosing to reference DJ V meant excluding DJs W, X, Y and Z.

The act of curating by its very nature is an exclusionary exercise.

It becomes a further issue when you consider that this exhibition took place in a university library. This problematizes because the university is an institution that can bestow legitimacy upon objects and areas of study. When we chose an object we were elevating it above another. When we chose one band we were, tacitly, claiming they were more important than another. This is not something we took lightly.

The way we tried to get around this issue of framing was to highlight the virtual part of the exhibition – our social media aspects – Twitter, Blog, Facebook. These virtual sites were truly part of the exhibition. The social media side, for us, was as much a part of the exhibition as the physical space in the foyer of UCC Library. For us, the material on the Facebook page was, and still is, a richer representation of what Sir Henrys was. It goes someway towards providing a true representation of what Sir Henrys was and remains to those who went there. The Sir Henrys Blog is alive with people’s memories and stories in the form of guest posts. These blog posts composed of people’s memories of Henrys captures Henrys and its spirit far better than any physical exhibition could. The countless stories, pictures and comments, tweets, blog posts provide a richer, far deeper representation, of what Sir Henrys was and remains to be for those who attended it.

Perhaps for a curator / curators to really represent an object or phenomenon they need to incorporate the virtual world? This virtual world, by its very nature, provides a much larger canvas upon which to display the work.

 The main lesson that I have learned from the process of curating this exhibition is to always ask the questions of who, how, why and what.

When I next attend an exhibition – whether that be in a museum, a gallery, a library or wherever, as well as enjoying the exhibition I will ask myself the following questions. Who did the choosing of the pieces contained within – what is their connection to the exhibit, who are they? How did they choose the pieces on show? How did they select them? Why did they choose these particular pieces as opposed to other pieces? What pieces are not on show? What pieces are lying in archive boxes? Or stored on shelves in some storeroom in the building? What pieces are not on show?

I will ultimately be asking what story is being told?  How is this show framed?

(This post was originally posted on the The Riverside UCC)
Martin will be presenting a case study on Sir Henrys @UCC Library at the 2015 A&SL Annual Conference & Exhibition

16 Feb 2015

Democratisation of Collections through Digitisation by Simon Tanner Trinity College Dublin 5th February 2015

Guest post by Siobhan McGuinness / MLIS

Trinity College Dublin hosts a series of Lunchtime Lectures that are pretty handy for anyone in the Library and Information profession helping to build on their Continuing Professional Development. I would suggest to everyone to check out their blog for further details.

Simon Tanner is an academic within the department of Digital Humanities in Kings College London and maintains a blog called ‘When Data Hits the Fan’. For an insight into Simon’s work check out his SlideShare collection.

Simon began the lecture with an overview of his own work at Kings and provided some examples for a closer look at his area of research interest.

The below statement encapsulates the purpose of digital conversion:

“Through digitisation, we are creating a valuable and enduring resource for scholars and the public alike” (http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/stratpolprog/digi/digitisation/)

Throughout the presentation Simon gave many examples of how the scholar and the public can become part of the digitisation process. From historians studying disability in Eighteenth Century England, to a musicologist helping to solve the missing notes on a music score. Efforts in digitisation also open up academic libraries not only to their constituent users, but to individuals beyond space and time and across disciplines.

When you take the context of a public library and digitisation you begin an engagement and collaboration with your community. This is most exciting since public libraries have the ability to bring together young and old to investigate and discover together, for example, the town in which they live, through local history rooms and archives.

All elements of a digitisation project require careful consideration and analysis. The bottom line is the footprint that digitised collections leave behind: do they fully reflect the needs of the envisaged target audience and how do they relate to individuals' research activities? To what extent does digitisation offer value to future research? Essentially, how does a target audience (scholars, students, librarians, lay community and future online users) benefit from the costly process of digital conversion?

Many within the library profession will surely have an interest in the topic of digitisation, but not everyone will have the opportunity to study digital curation or be part of a digital humanities team. Simon’s presentation provided me with a valuable insight and an opportunity to explore this topic further within my own professional context.