20 Feb 2024

Libfocus Link-out for February 2024

Welcome to the February edition of the Libfocus link-out, an assemblage of library-related things we have found informative, educational, thought-provoking and insightful on the Web over the past while.

Various images show: book cover with the title gender queer, man taking selfie in the library, petrie dish, illustration of hand controlling puppet strings beside people sitting and talking by a table, woman reading outside with a dog on her lap, a redacted document headed government of Ontario and Sunlight project, a graphic with a megaphone that reads library marketing for library marketers
Images featured in this month's link out articles

Books and looks: gen Z is ‘rediscovering’ the public library.
This Guardian article by Alaina Demopoulos investigates why Gen Z and millennials are using public libraries at higher rates than older generations. Libraries have become community hubs for these groups, but will they help libraries with the challenges they face?

Investigative Journalism Bureau and University of Toronto Libraries release new public repository of Ontario freedom-of-information requests.
The Sunlight Project is a database of the freedom-of-information requests made to Ontario's provincial government since 2014. The project allows anyone to discover the existence of the revelatory data and documents contained in records that have already been released and file their own requests to obtain them.

Reading: It Can’t Be About the Numbers.
How many books do we read per year? And does that matter? The author asks how we should understand “reading.”

Paper Trail.
This article explains how tens of millions of dollars flow to the paper mill industry each year, damaging research integrity in the process.

‘The situation has become appalling’: fake scientific papers push research credibility to crisis point.
Robin McKie looks at the influx of fake research papers entering online journal databases, with 10,000 papers retracted by academic journals in 2023.

Do disappearing data repositories pose a threat to open science and the scholarly record?
Research data repositories play a vital role in ensuring research is reproducible, replicable and reusable. Yet, the infrastructure supporting them can be impermanent. Drawing on a new dataset Strecker,  Pampel, Schabinger and Weisweiler, explore how common data repository shutdowns are and suggest what can be done to ensure data preservation in the long-term.

Cast as Criminals, America’s Librarians Rally to Their Own Defense.
As libraries become battlegrounds in the nation’s culture wars, their allies are fighting to preserve access to their collections and keep themselves out of jail, or worse.

Library Marketing for Library Marketers.
This is an informal library marketing podcast for library staff who do all things marketing, communications, public relations, outreach, and more. Join your host, Katie Rothley, as she chats with various experts, library staff, marketing professionals, and other library marketers who share tips, tricks, tools, insights, and more.

Libraries and the need for AI ethics.
Research has shown that most university librarians have a moderate understanding of AI concepts and principles and formal ethics training is required.

Report on the European landscape of institutional publishing.
The EU funded DIMAS (Developing Institutional Open Access Publishing Models to Advance Scholarly Communication) provides a clear picture of the European landscape of institutional publishing and ways to further strengthen such initiatives.

Decolonising and diversifying the Library through student partnerships.
This case study looks at the work to develop initiatives to diversify Warwick University Library’s collections, spaces and services, carried out in conjunction with our key student partners, Warwick’s Library Associates. It explores the origins of the voluntary Library Associates scheme, with an emphasis on working in true partnership with students, to deliver library improvements in line with their priorities and those of their peers. It examines the process of co-creating interventions to aid diversifying and demonstrates the role of the students as drivers for the initiatives. It discusses the ongoing work to be done to meaningfully diversify the Library and involves the student voice in the reporting of the project.

Building Community: Supporting Minoritized Scholars through Library Publishing and Open and Equitable Revenue Models.
With the growth of open access (OA) journal publishing, a myriad of funding models has emerged to serve as an alternative to the traditional subscription model. Models that impose author facing charges are inequitable, favouring well-resourced authors and institutions, and continue the dominance of publications from the Global North. This exploratory study critically examines the current state of funding OA journal publishing and the disruptive role of library publishing programs. We conclude with a discussion of the potential of the LYRASIS Open Access Community Investment Program as a tool to support library publishing programs to sustainably fund inclusive OA journal publishing.

14 Feb 2024

UCD Library's experience with the Celus usage statistics tool

This article is co-authored by John Paul Kiernan (Acquisitions Librarian) and Catherine Ryan (Collections Support Librarian) in UCD Library.

Illustration of a computer screen showing graphs and statistics
Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay

UCD Library has looked into several usage statistics tools over the years including products like JUSP and EBSCO Usage Consolidation. We were impressed with their functionality and reporting features. One drawback at the time, and this has likely improved since, was that the tools did not work with a majority of the publishers we had subscriptions with, and this would have resulted in us undertaking a substantial amount of data harvesting and analysis ourselves. Funding issues also prevented us from trying one out.

Not having a tool to undertake even some of the work related to usage gathering and analysis created many challenges:

  • Collecting usage reports across a multitude of publisher platforms, either manually or through local configuration of automated harvesting protocol (SUSHI) was very time-consuming.
  • Providing usage statistics for the annual Sconul Return in particular, was a significant burden on e-resources staff.
  • Our management team did not have all the data they needed for evidence-based decisions about our collections.
  • An in-house solution for gathering and tallying data had limited reporting capabilities and required ongoing maintenance and recurrent investment of time.
  • Tracking and understanding usage across a broad range of resource types and formats, and of non-COUNTER compliant resources was difficult.

Our interest in usage statistics tools was again piqued in May 2023, when the IReL consortium invited members to an introductory webinar on Celus. The consortium is using Celus to manage and report on IReL usage statistics, and to facilitate IReL member access to this data.

Celus (
https://www.celus.net/) is a tool for automated harvesting and analysis of COUNTER and non-COUNTER statistics. It was created by Big Dig Data, a private company registered in the Czech Republic, in cooperation with the Czech National Library of Technology. Big Dig Data is also an active member in Project COUNTER's Technical Advisory Group.

Following the webinar and some engagement with the Celus team, we could see the potential benefits of using the tool.

  • One platform for all our usage statistics, current and historical – COUNTER, non-COUNTER, local subscriptions and IReL – would provide an overview that has eluded us thus far.
  • The tool’s integration with the COUNTER Registry would reduce workload associated with SUSHI configuration.
  • Availability of deeper analytical tools would help inform collection management and development decisions, publisher negotiations, and help to monitor trends over time.
  • The tool’s intuitive dashboard for running reports would facilitate wider access to data by library staff and help improve our communications about usage to the University.

A business case was made, and funding approved, enabling UCD Library to become the first IReL member to adopt Celus to manage and report on its own institutional data in June 2023.

Implementation was relatively straightforward and completed by the end of Summer 2023. As a first step, Celus provided a spreadsheet template for us to complete with our SUSHI credentials. They had pre-populated this template with credentials for publisher platforms already set up for IReL, so we had to add our credentials for UCD’s subscribed/purchased platforms only. We had these to hand as we had spent some time collating our credentials during Autumn 2022 and many of these were still working. In all, over 100 publisher platforms were set up on our Celus instance, representing most of our subscriptions and purchased content. Celus then created accounts for colleagues who would require access. Once our instance and was set up, we decided to harvest our data back to 2021.

To evaluate the tool and to become more familiar with it, we set ourselves the goal of using it for our Sconul Return usage statistics submission. We had some further training with Celus to specifically address how best to approach the Return, given it requires us to report on the ebooks and journals that UCD Library pays for only (i.e. excluding IReL).

We experimented with the tool’s tagging feature, tagging individual titles and collections to see if we could identify and report on UCD usage only. However, we quickly realised it would require a lot more time to set up fully and would require ongoing maintenance of title lists that we weren’t willing to commit to at this time.

In the end, we used the tool to run separate journal and ebook reports to capture all Total Item Request data and Unique Title Requests by platform. We exported these reports to Excel and then did the rest of the work outside of Celus. Within Excel, we were able to annotate each publisher platform as being either IReL or UCD. For those platforms that had both IReL and UCD resources, we had to do a deeper dive on the COUNTER Reports to isolate usage for UCD's resources only.

The tool did most of the heavy lifting for us in terms of gathering and tallying the data required for the Return, and the manual work in Excel was not too onerous compared to what we had been doing in previous years.

The tool is now gathering our data monthly, and the dashboard alerts us to any data retrieval issues for specific publishers, allowing us to respond to and resolve these issues promptly.

Our next objective is to obtain a more complete picture of our ebook access denials/turnaways. We’ll also revisit the tagging feature as we’d like to obtain data on our individual journal subscriptions. The tool also has the ability to process a number of unmodified non-COUNTER reports from publishers, so we’ll be looking into that too.

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 | Categories:

20 Jan 2024

Libfocus Link-out for January 2024

Welcome to the January edition of the Libfocus link-out, an assemblage of library-related things we have found informative, educational, thought-provoking and insightful on the Web over the past while.

7 images show: A young girl holding a book over her head; book pages folded into airplanes; a spiral staircase leading down to a person standing at the bottom; a man sitting in a chair smiling; the numbers 2023; A graphic of a spiral wheel beside the text IreL executive report 2022; a colourful graphic showing lit up pins over a geographical graph
Images featured in this month's link-out articles

You say you want a revolution! Could it finally be time to rethink scholarly communications?
An opinion piece by Elaine Sykes advocating for a collective approach to changing scholarly communications and collectively issuing a declaration to fair publishing.

American Library Association's Year in Review 2023
This piece takes a curated look back at news in 2023 that affected libraries and library workers and dominated discourse in the US.

Hidden victims of the British Library hack: 20,000 authors
The cyber attack on the British Library affects the payments authors receive from public library lending.

Large Language Publishing
Thought piece on the many effects that AI might have on the scholarly communications landscape.

How a Bay Area librarian became an Instagram star
In this article from the San Francisco Chronicle, Julie Johnson looks at how Solano County librarian Mychal Threets has become one of Instagram’s shining stars. 

Libraries for the future: Europe’s new wave of ‘meeting places for the mind’
From Ghent’s De Krook to Helsinki’s Oodi, recent civic constructions have shared a vision of the library as a living room for the modern city.

A report on the adoption of Irish open research practices
The latest analysis of publication data from IReL 2022 open access agreements.

Generative AI and the evolution of academic librarianship
A short reflection from an academic librarian on ways we can embrace and utilise AI in teaching.

Can reading really improve your life?
Research suggests that reading for pleasure is a key indicator in a child's future outcomes. In this BBC Radio 4 podcast author Julia Donaldson investigates how we can foster a love of reading in children.

‘The incentive to steal isn’t there’: the lost cause of tracking library theft
In this Guardian article, Daisy Dumas looks at the most popular and pilfered books in Australia's libraries. The article also looks at how libraries are adapting their spaces in response to changing user demographics, seasons and socioeconomic trends.

The State of Open Data Report Released
The eighth annual The State of Open Data report, developed by Digital Science, Figshare, and Springer Nature, has been released. The report shows that almost three quarters of surveyed researchers overwhelmingly said they are still not getting the support they need to share their data openly.

Rethinking Institutional Repositories: Innovations in Management, Collections, and Inclusion
ACRL announces the publication of Rethinking Institutional Repositories: Innovations in Management, Collections, and Inclusion, edited by Josh C. Cromwell (access the OA edition here). The book features a collection of ideas, scholarship, and examples that can inspire and reinvigorate how you engage with the repositories at your institution.

5 Jan 2024

The IOAP Diamond Open Access Awards

Jane Buggle (Institute Librarian at IADT, Co-Manager of the IOAP)

The IOAP (Irish Open Access Publishers) is a community of practice established by librarians and academics to support and promote Diamond Open Access Publishing. The aim of this dynamic community of practice is to promote publishing activity that is free of article processing charges (APCs), paywalls and publication embargoes, to further the dissemination of high-quality scholarly output to all in society. The IOAP’s international Advisory Board is comprised of key players in the area. The IOAP is a signatory of Science Europe’s Diamond OA Action Plan and it is a partner in a number of NORF-funded projects.

The IOAP held its inaugural webinar on 6th December at which Dr Graham Stone (Jisc/DIAMAS), Dr Bregt Saenen (Science Europe), and Katrine Sundsbø (DOAJ) spoke about the Challenges and Opportunities of Diamond OA Publishing. The recording and slides are here. Publish OA Ireland and the IOAP will co-host a DOAJ Sprint event, Demystifying the DOAJ Application with Judith Barnsby, on Thursday 29th February at 2pm.

Nominations are now open for the inaugural IOAP Diamond Open Access Awards. Diamond OA Publishers from across Ireland (including Northern Ireland) are invited to nominate/self-nominate in any of the following four categories:

  • Best Peer-Reviewed Open Access Journal
  • Best Peer-Reviewed Open Access Monograph
  • Best Open Educational Resource
  • Outstanding Contribution to Diamond Open Access Publishing in Ireland

The closing date for the submission of nominations is 1st February 2024. Winners will be announced at the IOAP Annual Conference on 12th March.  Each winner will receive an IOAP Medal and an accompanying electronic signature. The Awards will be adjudicated by a prestigious international panel of judges.  Full details of judges, judging criteria, nomination procedures, and the nomination forms are here.


14 Dec 2023

The Lower Decks: A Symposium on Janeway and Open Access Publishing

This post includes the abstracts and streamed recordings of most talks delivered at the inaugural Janeway Symposium, which took place at Birkbeck, University of London on 7th and 8th September 2023.

The itinerary consisted of five panels: (1) Janeway/Open Library of Humanities Report (links one & two), (2) Innovative Uses of Janeway, (3) Content and Creativity, (4) Editorial Innovation and, (5) Open Access, Communities and Activism.

Ronan Cox, Jim Rogers and I had the opportunity to speak about the School of Communications Undergraduate Journal (panel 5: Open Access, Communities and Activism), published by DCU Library in partnership with the School of Communications.

Learn more about Janeway here.

12 Dec 2023

Libfocus Link-out for December, 2023

Welcome to the December edition of the Libfocus link-out, an assemblage of library-related things we have found informative, educational, thought-provoking and insightful on the Web over the past while.
Shows a man wearing white gloves, the interior of a large library building, a woman sitting between library book shelves, a black and white photo of library staff with the text tiktok on it,  a word cloud graphic with the prompt: share one word that describes your feelings about the challenges/tensions of working with RDM, a picture of a woman

“Our job is to fight against entropy”: Narayan Khandekar on the Straus Center and the Forbes Pigment Collection
Read or listen to this interview with the director of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies. Learn how the center's research reveals the artistic processes used to create the works of art in the Harvard Art Museum collection as well as the best ways to preserve them.

Margaret Kellerman, MRIA, Professor of Literature
Margaret Kellerman looks back at the year-long fellowship she completed at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library (NYPL). She describes her research and often moving discoveries among the papers of Irish literary figures Mary and Padraic Colum.

Exploring the challenges and opportunities of research data management (RDM)
Sobering summary of challenges that RDM practitioners face when they run data management services. Hope comes via imagining how a better RDM ecosystem could work.

Open access at a crossroads: library publishing and bibliodiversity
This opinion piece argues that the gold open access model is destructive to the knowledge production ecosystem by addressing the importance of bibliodiversity and the ways in which library publishing can contribute to sustainable and equitable knowledge production.

Developing a library strategic response to Artificial Intelligence.
As libraries move to adopt AI, it will impact services in different ways - a working document from IFLA provides considerations when developing a strategic response.

2024 guide to Instagram for Libraries
Social media platforms can provide a valuable form of outreach for libraries - here are some tips to maximise the audience.

Not your mother's Library: how libraries are evolving
With resources that range from teaching kitchens to 3D printers, libraries across the U.S. are innovating to meet the changing needs of urban communities.

2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Librarians and Book Lovers.
It's that time of the year... Holiday gift guide for librarians and book lovers.

Low level of expenditure on Irish language books in libraries ‘disgraceful.
Éanna Ó Caollaí looks at a report from an Oireachtas sub-committee looking into Irish language written media. It includes criticisms on library spending on Irish language materials and the absence of a dedicated Irish language policy in the National Strategy for Public Libraries 2023-2027.

How to teach primary source literacy skills in universities.
Read about primary source literacy instruction using Special Collections and how it is instrumental in teaching transferable critical thinking and research skills that help prepare students for their academic careers and real-life scenarios.

Everyday Evidence-Based Practice in Academic Libraries: Case Studies and Reflections.
Wherein Claire Walker Wiley, Amanda B. Click, and Meggan Houlihan collect solid, thorough examples of evidence-based practice across functional areas of academic libraries, including many evidence types in a variety of contexts. Five sections are under scrutiny: Understanding Users, Leadership and Management, Instruction and Outreach, Collections, Open Initiatives.

How American Librarians Helped Defeat the Nazis.
In war, as in everything, information is power. And for the United States and its allies in World War II, an epic battle from an analogue age that meant obtaining and transmitting by hand useful intel. This included information about the development of destructive new weapons - before the Nazis could prevent their enemies from getting it. Enter the librarians, tapped by US government officials to help in this effort. These librarians adopted technology from other fields to photograph an array of documents, including those that were rare and/or archival, and found means of sending them across continents. They used both microfilm and microphotography - technologies that came to play a key role in the wars of the twentieth century.