31 Oct 2014

PlumX – EBSCO roadshow, UCD, 30th Oct. 2014

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an EBSCO roadshow event, which covered their recently acquired Plum Analytics service (thanks to Michael Ladisch for the invitation).

Plum Analytics launched back in 2012 on the back of Jason Priem’s rationale around Altmetrics (see the manifesto for more), the idea being that traditional filters of scholarly communication (peer-review, citation counting, JIF) are simply not sufficient (and transparent) enough to account for what’s actually happening out there on the Web, which forms part and parcel of modern scholarly communications.

EBSCO jumped right into the mix here and now aims to offer a comprehensive metrics service through the aggregation of traditional metrics and alternative metrics in a side-by-side view context (they call this ALLmetrics).

The following metrics are considered:
1. USAGE (clicks, downloads, views, library holdings, video plays)
2. CAPTURES (bookmarks, code forks, favourites, readers (e.g. Mendeley), watchers)
3. MENTIONS (blog posts, comments, reviews, Wikipedia links)
4. SOCIAL MEDIA (+1s, likes, shares, tweets)
5. CITATIONS (PubMed Central, Scopus, patents)

Example sources include the likes of Amazon, Bit.ly, CrossRef, Delicious, Dryad (for data sets), dSpace, ePrints, Github, USPTO, Scopus, Stack Overflow and more… This list is added to with new sources as they bubble to the surface and establish themselves.

In a nutshell, EBSCO’s Allmetrics goes beyond traditional citation metrics and aims to offer a more holistic view of how researchers’ outputs are communicated and ‘used’. It does so by considering a multitude of popular digital environments where scholarly outputs feature.

The University of Pittsburgh was the first institution that adopted this service – PlumX/Pitt.
Below is a screenshot of one of their academics and his scholarly footprint.

EBSCO’s full presentation is available here. See https://plu.mx for more on PlumX.

At this point in time, no higher education institution in Ireland has adopted this service.
It will be interesting to see who will take the leap first.

As part of the wider discussion around Altmetrics, you also might want to consider Featherstone, R. f. (2014). Scholarly Tweets: Measuring Research Impact via Altmetrics. Journal Of The Canadian Health Libraries Association (JCHLA), 32(2), 60-63.

27 Oct 2014

The Russell Library World War I Exhibition - Library Ireland Week Event

Guest post by Barbara McCormack, Librarian, Russell Library and Special Collections, Maynooth University (barbara.mccormack@nuim.ie)

We are currently hosting a very interesting exhibition in the Russell Library to mark the anniversary of World War I. ‘Maynooth College 1914-1918’ was developed to commemorate the role of Irish Catholic army chaplains in the First World War while also documenting the history of Maynooth College during this period.  On Tuesday 18th November, there will be an event specifically for librarians and archivists as part of Library Ireland Week.

The full programme and booking details are available here.

Image supplied by Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
 The exhibition is a collaborative endeavor between St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth and Maynooth University, with a grant from Kildare County Council towards costs.
Exhibition Goals
-    To commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
-    To focus on local history during the period 1914-1918.
-    To assess the impact of the War on the day-to-day running of the College.
-    To commemorate the work of Irish Catholic army chaplains during the conflict.
-    To explore the relationship between the Irish and English Catholic administration at this time.
-    To explore the impact of the War on teaching staff.
-    To explore attitudes towards the threat of conscription in 1918.
-    To create opportunities for community engagement, specifically with regards to adult learners.
-    To encourage learning, reflection and dialogue in relation to Ireland and the First World War.
-    To encourage further research in the area of conflict resolution and military history.

The exhibition and accompanying events focused on local history during World War I through an analysis of the following themes:

-    Daily life in Maynooth College during the First World War.
-    Meeting the need for Irish Catholic army chaplains at the front.
-    The threat of conscription in Ireland.
-    Irish nationalism during World War I.
-    A German professor at Maynooth College.

I look forward to welcoming you to the Russell Library on 18th November, to mark Library Ireland Week.
Students, 1916. Image supplied by Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library

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.