19 Jun 2018

CONUL Training & Development Library Assistant Blog Award 2018

Libfocus is delighted to host the winning entries of CONUL 2018!

The winner is ...

 The 2018 CONUL Training & Development Library Assistant Award required entrants to submit a blog post on any library related topic.  Entrants could opt to blog about any aspect of their current work for example training activities they undertook; a development in their own library or an item in their library’s collection.  The prize winning and highly commended entries will be published shortly on the Libfocus blog.

Award winners 2018:

Joint 1st Prize:
A Tale of Heartbreak:  The Day I Lost the Inter Library Loans by Victoria Archer, Queen’s University Belfast.
Lessons in Invention from a Medical Archive, by Ronan Kelly, RCSI [Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland].

2nd Prize:
Cleaning shellac records in the DIT Conservatory Library by Sharon Hoefig, Dublin Institute of Technology.

Joint 3rd Prize:
Library Anxiety by Maolsheachlann O Cellaigh, University College Dublin.
Preserving Irish Voices:  The Irish Poetry Reading Archive by Laura Ryan, University College Dublin.

Highly Commended Entries:

Poetic Outreach: Facilitating Poetry Workshops in DCU Library by Eilis Ní Raghallaigh, Dublin City University (DCU).

The Digital Butterfly:  Managing our Social Media Presence in a time of change by Emma Boyce, Maynooth University.

If you snooze, you don’t lose-introducing EnergyPods at Maynooth University library by Maureen Finn, Maynooth University.

Conservation of a Gaelic manuscript at Maynooth University Library by Sarah Graham, Maynooth University.

Developing Snapchat at Maynooth University Library: The Story So Far by Edel King, Maynooth University.

About CONUL Training & Development
CONUL Training & Development seeks to provide co-operative training and staff development opportunities, which are in support of CONUL’s strategic objectives. These opportunities are identified by staff in member libraries, the CONUL Board and CONUL Sub-Committees & Groups.

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | Categories: ,

22 May 2018

To seek change (Att söka förändring)

Just a couple of days back The National Library of Sweden released a new anthology with a focus on the role for the librarian as an observer and analyst. How can we as librarians work with change, development and strategy by observing ourselves, our organizations and the surrounding society and implementing a more reflective perspective. What can we learn, firstly by scrutinize ourselves but also together through sharing experiences. Finally, very importantly, how can we use that knowledge to improve our services and our organizations for the benefit of the library users. Unfortunately it is only published in Swedish but luckily it is available Open Access, through the link below, hopefully you can manage a translation.

The world outside (Världen där utanför) - http://www.kb.se/Dokument/Antologi_2018_PDF.pdf

I'm very pleased to be a part of this anthology. My chapter discusses change and development, individually as well as through an organizational perspective, explained through two different and self experienced cases observed and analyzed from my own perception as a librarian. Hope you find the text interesting.

To seek change (Att söka förändring) - http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-39404

15 May 2018

Library School - a Bavarian perspective

Guest Post by Lena Fischer, an undergraduate student of Library and Information Management from the University of Applied Sciences for Administration and Legal Affairs in Munich, Germany.

During my internship of three weeks at the Library of  University College Cork in March, I was often asked by my colleagues how my education to become a Librarian in Bavaria, Germany worked. With that question in mind Martin O'Connor asked me to write this article. And I’m glad for the opportunity to write it!

First, I must say that the hierarchy among the employees in German libraries is a little bit steeper than in Ireland. There are four main levels of qualification, with the (student) help workers in the first, the employees with a basic apprenticeship in the second, the (mainly diploma or now newly bachelor) undergraduate librarians in the third and the subject librarians in the fourth qualification level. This article mainly focuses on the third qualification level with the undergraduate studies I’m doing at the moment.

In other regions and cities of Germany, such as Cologne, Berlin or Leipzig, you can study Library and Information Management/ Science as an undergraduate or master student the “usual” way, just among hundreds of other students (often of different subjects) at a university of your choice. The studies are good and also well rated, but often there is little practical education and you have to work your way into the special field of your job on the go or during holiday breaks. In Bavaria, which is in the southeast of Germany, we have a different system: studies to become a librarian are not offered at “usual” universities, it all happens under the status of a civil servant within the University of Applied Sciences and Legal Affairs. If you want to get the education to become any kind of civil servant, e.g. also if you want to go to the Bavarian police, or into social welfare services, you must go through a long application process.

First, you have to register with your last grades from school for a standardised test, which is held once a year at different locations all over Bavaria. If you pass the test, and you are among the best people rated (there are around 5.000 people doing the test each year), you are lucky to get an invitation for a “structured interview” to pass on with your application for Library School. While the test is all about reading comprehension, logical thinking, education for democratic citizenship, history and geography, the interview afterwards tests you over all on your personality and abilities for the job and the studies. There is also a huge variety among the participants of this procedure: since this is an undergraduate programme, everybody with an A-level can apply for it - from students directly from school with their A-level in the year ahead (just like me) to students of any fields (often in Arts and Humanities, but also in Science). If you have higher education in any subject, such as a master’s degree or even doctorate, I would suggest to apply for a slightly different library school to become a subject librarian in the fourth qualification level, which is also with the status of a civil servant and lasts two years (the undergraduate study takes three years to finish). One will then be also higher rated and can even get to a library directors position. But back to my application process: If you also pass the “structured interview” successfully, you will be rated on a list with the results of the test and the interview. Each year there is a number of participants the state of Bavaria wants to educate. The number is evaluated from the state and university libraries all over Bavaria, so the education is in line with the demand of new librarians three years after. In my year we are eleven students, but the number is increasing (the classes afterwards have around 20 to 25 students) because of a wave of retirements in the next years. If you are lucky to fit with the list and the number of students of the year, you are officially a student of Library and Information Management at the University of Applied Sciences of Administration and Legal Affairs, section Libraries and Archives, in Munich. As already mentioned, it all takes place under the status of a civil servant of the State of Bavaria, which means you are paid a monthly salary and get a free accommodation during the theoretical studies in Munich.

In total, there are six semesters of which four are theoretical and two of practical education. Unlike “usual” students, there is no such thing as university vacations, but you do have a few days off around the public holidays and in the summer. Starting in October, you have one semester of theoretical education before you get into your first 6 months of internship. During the whole practical education, each student has their own “main educational library” all over Bavaria, where he or she spends most of the time in different sections. For me it is Bayreuth University Library, but there are also State Libraries participating in the education. For the first practical semester, there is only time at the sections of your main educational library and a few weeks at a public or city library of your choice. When you are done with the first year of study (with one theoretical and one practical semester), it is followed by a whole year of theory at the Library School in Munich. Afterwards, there is the second practical semester, which is much more flexible concerning the internships you can take. There are also stints at your main educational library, often used to get more experience and knowledge of different sections or more specialised parts such as library IT or special collections. But there are also around eight weeks for you to choose where you want to apply for an internship, with up to four weeks abroad. Furthermore, it is interesting that during these weeks you can also take some shorter internships at museums, archives or other institutions similar to libraries. With the last theoretical semester afterwards, you will end your studies with writing an undergraduate thesis and also specialising in either special collections or library IT services, a new module which was introduced with the switch from diploma to undergraduate studies recently.

As you see, it is a long and packed study, but it’s definitely worth it and the opportunities afterwards and also during the various internships are very good. I am very grateful for my enriching experiences at Boole Library and I would like to thank everyone in general and especially Martin O’Connor for the wonderful time and great support during my three weeks of internship in Cork!

11 May 2018

Elsevier Workshop for lecturers, doctoral students and researchers – collaborating with Publishers.

Authors: David Forde  Senior Library Assistant DIT Library Services  Dr Brendan Devlin DIT Library Services 

Technical developments, market pressures and a genuine interest in enhancing the user experience has resulted in exponential progress in the value added services provided with a range of library databases.  These developments include enhanced personalisation options, bibliometric analysis, reference managements systems with linked communities of practice, visual abstracts and 3D visualisation options. These services offer new ways to chart the information universe and to contribute to the research conversations within and between disciplines. Given the time constraints on library staff and researchers it makes sense that the suppliers and developers of these systems become allies in the provision of Continual Professional Development (CPD) in this regard.  With this in mind a series of seminars and workshops have been organised by DIT Library Services on the Kevin Street campus. These events are designed with a number of purposes in mind including the:

  • Updating of the skills of library staff and library patrons including undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers.
  • The provision of an informed approach as to how enhanced value added services might be used
  • The identification of future developments 
  • The provision of recordings of the presentation
  • The provision of additional training materials on request
  • As a marketing tool to increase the use of valuable and expensive resources
  • To connect with library patrons and to identify their concerns. 

In the next section we will describe the organisation of a seminar run by Elsevier.  We will also identify the lessons learned and how these will inform the organisation of future events.

Elsevier workshop – curriculum 
The Elsevier workshop featured interactive presentations covering Scopus (an abstract and citation database), Science Direct (Elsevier’s leading platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature) and Mendeley (referencing manager software).

Organising the Workshop 
It is important to organise such workshops well in advance as the trainers have many scheduled workshops and seminars internationally. It is also important to communicate with the trainer relating to the topics to be covered, time needed to do so and the level of delivery.  These strategies ensure that the presentations respond to the needs of the workshop attendees.

Promoting the Workshop
To promote the event we created an event on Eventbrite where attendees could book tickets for the workshop in advance.  Heads of School, were contacted by email and requested to notify all researchers and students, who might benefit from the workshop. Additional promotion was conducted by the creation of PowerPoint slides for upload to campus-wide display screens, and the creation of hardcopy posters for display inside and outside of the library.  Posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms were employed to ensure greater awareness of the event throughout DIT.  Each of these promotional tools outlined the name, location and content of the workshop, with a link provided to our Eventbrite link.  The event was broken into distinct time slots so attendees could choose to attend part or the complete workshop, which ran from 9.30am to 2.30pm with a break for lunch included.

Conduct of the Workshop 

The workshop took place in a training room with attendees able to practise various search methodologies using the training room’s personal computers.  Questions were encouraged from the audience and attendees readily engaged with the presenter on topics such as an interdisciplinary approach to database searches and advantages offered by Scopus versus Google Scholar.  The workshop also facilitated the demonstration of lesser known tools within the Science Direct database (e.g. 3D Molecular Viewer via an “Image” search):

Elsevier advocates responsible metrics within Scopus via Cite Score’s three year citation window (which incorporates a representative proportion of citations across all disciplines) and CiteScore’s ability to include all document types (letters, notes, editorials, conference papers), thus giving a more complete picture of citation impact and making manipulating of the calculation more difficult and of great benefit to our researchers.

Broadening the Workshop Impact 

While the workshop was well subscribed it was not possible for all those interested to attend all of the presentations on the day, therefore Slides from the seminar were circulated to all ticket purchasers.


Science Direct


It is also intended to run Webinars with Publishers as a post workshop event to cater for those who were not able to attend the workshop. Online training resources to supplement the seminar are provided below:

Get started with Scopus

Get Started with Science Direct

Get Started with Mendeley

Post Seminar Reflections and assessment

Following the workshop a survey (created in Survey Monkey software) was forwarded to attendees requesting feedback on the event.  Respondents agreed that the workshop was very relevant to their research, that information presented was clear and the level of coverage was appropriate. Some suggestions were offered from attendees including the provision of further workshops in “searching techniques” and the provision of webinars/recordings of the workshops.
Testimonials of two attendees were digitally recorded, detailing attendee’s experiences of the event:

Dr. Marek Rebow - Head of Research for Engineering

Saad Ahmed - PhD Researcher

The purposes of the workshop described in the introduction have been, largely fulfilled. Library staff found the workshop enhanced their understanding of the value added services of the Elsevier suite of databases. It has proved to be a good marketing device with increased inquiries about future training. Elsevier has provided additional relevant online training materials. Library patrons have provided us with suggestions to modify our service provision.

Future plans 
The experience of running this workshop has confirmed that there is indeed value in establishing partnerships with database providers to organise bespoke workshops and training events in our libraries. It has provides an enhanced understanding of the value added services of the Elsevier portfolio of resources for library staff and library patrons. The organisation of this workshop has provided us with a template for the organisation of future events and engendered a list of support contacts within DIT.  Based on this experience we believe that future workshops will promote the value of our portfolio of databases and other services provided by DIT Library Services.

Posted on Friday, May 11, 2018 | Categories:

12 Apr 2018

A&SL 2018 Conference and Exhibition - Fail Better: Lessons Lived; Lessons Learnt

Guest post by Colleen Ballard. Colleen Ballard is studying MLIS at UCD. Special interests include books, manuscripts and ephemera. @cballard_biblio

A&SL programme
A&SL Conference Brochure

I had the pleasure of attending the A&SL Conference 2018 on Friday 9th March at the National Gallery of Ireland. Borrowing from Beckett, the theme, Fail Better: Lessons Lived; Lessons Learnt, endeavoured to prompt a shift from failure as negative to failure as a valuable learning pivot in a progressive profession. This resonated personally. I knew I could benefit from a positive approach to failure, and I felt both reassured and buoyed up to tackle my faulty perceptions.

Speakers candidly revealed failures. It was reassuring to discover in various levels of library and information service, failure is experienced. Colleen Burgess (HUC) stated how in the US regular events to discuss failure had resulted in a supportive culture of experimentation. John McManus (TCD) noted it is easy for a cataloguer to make mistakes, and, no escaping it, they are visible to all as illustrated by exposure of his own mistakes. He observed some difficulties within cataloguing could be addressed if the desire for perfection is challenged. Áine Carey (MU) highlighted how the best attempts to improve teaching provision can disappoint and not develop as expected. The importance of continuing in the discovery process and implementing plans to find what works was emphasised.

I particularly anticipated the keynote from Duncan Chappell (Glasgow School of Art) on the loss and restoration of the art noveau library designed by Mackintosh, and he did not disappoint. Happy to extract himself from the “disaster circuit” and into the calm of the NGI and A&SL Conference, he guided the audience through devastation, aftermath, recovery, and the value of a disaster plan. Residue of grief was palpable but so was excitement at the new incarnation in progress, a testimony to lessons learnt that will better facilitate user friendly engagement with a beautiful new space. Gauging audience response, many hope to visit when the library reopens in September 2019.

From tweaking titles to boosting blogs; papers, panels, and three posters conveyed failure as a formative learning process. The final presentation by Jane Burns (IHF) and Niamh O’Sullivan (ITB) – a duo which delighted many according to Twitter responses – addressed workshop woes with WOW’s (workshop on workshops), sharing a tried and tested checklist for success. Overall, specific words stood out emphasising the value of acknowledging and using failure to advantage: experiment, change, improvement, trying, growth. Or, drawing from the eclectic quotes displayed at the conference, as Yoda puts it, “the greatest teacher, failure is”.

Tweets confirm that the pleasing space of the National Gallery of Ireland was an appreciated new venue. The facilities were comfortable and conducive to concentration, and the atrium used for breaks beautifully enhanced the generous hospitality of the NGI and facilitated perfectly the chance to form new acquaintances. Andrea Lydon informed us the NGI has plans of its own and it is hoped, lessons lived and learnt, all their library dreams come true.

A quick directive how to move slides on would have avoided hitches – apparently it was not the usual arrow. Taking notes in the dark was a challenge!

This conference opened the conversation on failure, and suggests there is much more to discuss, indeed continue discussing, now and in the future. #ASL2018.

My personal gratitude to Bibliotheca for the bursary I received to attend this enjoyable event and A&SL for this opportunity.

Note: There will be a second review of the A&SL Conference published in the October issue of An Leabharlann.

16 Mar 2018

Attending non-library conferences

Guest post by Caroline Rowan.

As librarians, we attend seminars and conferences for a variety of reasons - for CPD, for networking, to learn about new technologies, to compare our activities against our peers and to be inspired with new  ideas.

While I am a regular attendee at LIS conferences and workshops, 2018 has been my first year to attend a non-library conference as a librarian. The Irish Network of Medical Educators held their annual conference in University College Cork from 07-09 February. The theme of the INMED conference was clinical supervision, but because it was about medical education, much of the content was directly relatable to what we do in librarianship. In fact, Professor Peter Cantillon (NUI, Galway), Chair of INMED, specifically noted that INMED is a meeting for people with “teacher identities”, which resonated with me particularly given that teaching is part and parcel of a health librarians role.

I’ll just touch on a few of the sessions to give you a flavour of the conference, (you can see the full list of speakers and content here.) but hopefully it will demonstrate to you that there is plenty on offer outside of our own particular field, which can still be directly relevant to our work.

Dr. Dorene Balmer, from The Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, spoke about the concept of entrustment, which was defined as “reliance of a supervisor on a trainee to execute a given professional task correctly, and on the trainee’s willingness to ask for help when needed”. Of course this doesn’t always work and can result in a matrix of possible engagements. Do we as teachers recognise when our students are capable of taking on tasks either with supervision or completely independently? Correspondingly, do our students recognise when they do not have the skills to deal with a situation, and the self-awareness to ask for help? Furthermore, do we reflectively evaluate our own teaching practices to see whether we in fact are operating to the ideal?

The next speaker was Prof. Pim Teunissen from Maastricht University, speaking about the issue of focusing on assessable outcomes and what can be measured. He argued that this obscures the value of the actual experience of learning and the development of unquantifiable skills. An educational assessment needs to combine assessment with an awareness of how people learn from work. Setting milestones isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, the be-all and end-all of a learning programme.

When it was time for the parallel workshops, I opted for the session titled “Interprofessional Education and Technology Enhanced Learning”. I was interested in seeing what kind of software and technology was being used in healthcare teaching. I found, however, that most of the talks focused on the interprofessional (AKA multi-disciplinary) teams, and there was less focus on new technologies than I would have expected from the title.

However, the presentations on team interactions and evaluations gave plenty of food for thought as well as some useful ideas for potential projects. One such project was the development of scenario-based learning videos to help supervisors give feedback to trainees. It’s an idea which could transition well to to any discipline, as could the feedback from another presentation that users preferred small-group learning to online learning.

In the afternoon, I attended a presentation on the SafeMed programme for stress management and building resilience, which has been made mandatory for 1st year medical students in UCC. Dr. Margaret O’Rourke, clinical psychologist, spoke at length about burnout, the frog-in-boiling water concept and the need for self-care, as well as the ability to say “No” when we do not have capacity to take on new work. This is something that many librarians could benefit from particularly where staffing numbers have been significantly reduced or where working as a solo practitioner.

On day two of the conference, I attended Professor Peter Cantillon’s “Getting Published” workshop. There were individual exercises, group discussions and then a shared learning piece as well as recommendations for those who want to publish. It was validating to note that healthcare professionals experience exactly the same challenges and concerns as librarians when publishing - motivation, self-confidence, selecting the appropriate journal, working with co-authors, establishing peer support, finding funding, dealing with rejection, and promoting your research among your peers all got a mention. I came away feeling inspired and motivated to make time for my academic writing, regardless of workload, and to commit to turning my various drafts into publishable documents.

After the workshop there was a talk on bullying in the healthcare system and particularly in relation to medical trainees. There were some horrific, but not surprising, statistics given for the rates of bullying and its impact on staff, as well as recognition that bullying impacts not just the direct victim, but also those who witness bullying.

After that we had two hot topic sessions: one on realist reviews and the other on a new feedback app developed by the College of Anaesthetists in Ireland. You can watch the video about the feedback app here. It might generate a few ideas for your own teaching and learning feedback, particularly those of you who are interested in app development.

The INMED conference may be aimed at clinical educators but there was plenty to be learned as a non-clinical attendee, even with the focus on clinical supervision. I would be very interested to see more librarians attending conferences like this. There is significant value in reaching outside of our library bubbles and evaluating our teaching and learning strategies against those of other professions. Attending non-library conferences is also an opportunity for librarians to build visibility of our profession and an understanding of what we can contribute within the academic environment.

Posted on Friday, March 16, 2018 | Categories:

14 Mar 2018

Pop Up Librarians

Guest post by Hilde Terese Drivenes Johannessen Research librarian for religion, philosophy and history and sociology and social work at University of Agder,  Norway

In 2011 Agder University Library (AUL) began our research support project. We saw that research support was carried out in different ways and was very dependent upon the liaison librarians. Also, the different faculties had different cultures when it came to use of the library. Our project’s main goal was to offer the same research support to all staff members in the university. Therefore, we decided that we shall contact all new academic staff members within a period of four weeks after they start working at the university. One of our ways of marketing this was making posters of each research librarian with bullet points of what they could ask the library, or the librarian about. This idea was inspired by an Erasmus stay at the Glucksman library at the University of Limerick in 2013. The posters were spread to new staff and displayed in the faculties and in the library.

Our research support project was successful, and most researchers know what the library can offer. However, our user survey showed us that few students knew about our subject guides, or that there was in fact a liaison research librarian supporting their subject. We decided to market ourselves again. This time with a younger, more whimsical approach to engage the students. We had avatars of the research librarians made and displayed these in the library shelves. The avatars are holding a poster with their names and the web address for the subject guides. As we are a small library with a limited number of staff, we try to make the students self-sufficient and decided to market the subject guides more than putting up contact information to the librarians. However, the website informs students that they can meet a research librarian in the help desk every day between 10 AM and 2 PM. We are excited to see if this will generate more use of our subject guides, and are also thinking about campaigns we could use the avatars for, like selfies/shelfies with your librarian, find your librarian etc.

To read more about our research support project, the following publications are suggested:
Daland, H. (2013). The Ph.D.-candidate as an information literate resource: developing research support and information literacy skills in an informal setting. LIBER Quarterly, 23(2), 134–155. DOI:

Daland, Hidle, & Hidle, Kari-Mette Walmann. (2016). New roles for research librarians : Meeting the expectations for research support (Chandos information professional series). Cambridge, Mass: Chandos.

12 Feb 2018

SLIP Ireland Conference 2018

Guest post by Helena Byrne one of the founding members of SLIP Ireland

The schedule for the SLIP Ireland Conference 2018 has just been released and has a bumper schedule of students, recent graduates, academics and practitioners well established in their careers. Tickets for the event are FREE and include lunch. This year’s conference theme is “To be or not to be an information professional, that is the question”

Conference Details
Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, 144 Pearse St., Dublin 2.
Date: 24/02/2018
Time: 10:20-4:30

Student Librarians & Information Professionals Ireland (SLIP Ireland) is an independent group founded in 2015 to bridge the gap between theory and practice in Library and Information Studies and facilitate discussion on both theoretical and practical issues in the field. This is the third annual Conference and takes place at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street.

Attendees will include current Libraries, Archives & Records Management and Digital Humanities students, as well as librarians and archivists from academic, corporate and public sectors. A main feature of previous conferences was a panel discussion with the three heads of Library schools in Ireland (University College Dublin, Dublin Business School and Ulster University). This year we are extending the invitation to the two archive schools in Ireland. The question for the academic panel will be “Libraries and Archives, is there a difference?”

The question for the academic panel - Libraries and Archives, is there a difference? is something that as a new professional I got asked quite often from people outside the field and we think it will spark an interesting discussion and give attendees lots to think about and use when engaging with the general public.

The last session in the conference will be a panel of practitioners from a variety of information roles who are members of a of professional bodies that represent their sectors. The theme for the practitioner’s panel will be "what kind of information professional will you be?". We will be asking the panel about the professional body they joined, why they joined it and what benefits do they get from it? It is hoped that the new professionals attending the conference will then go on to join a relevant professional body for their field.

Although the call for presentations is only open to current students and recent graduates the conference is open to anyone information professional to attend regardless of what stage they are at in their career.

If you can’t attend you can still follow the events via Twitter through the hashtag #SLIP2018 

1 Feb 2018

CONUL Conference 2018 - Bursary announcement

We are delighted to announce that CONUL (Consortium of National & University Libraries) is once again providing funding for two enthusiastic individuals to attend its 2018 conference, with the theme ‘Transformative Experiences’, to be held in the Galway Bay Hotel on 30-31 May. This is a wonderful opportunity for those beginning LIS careers to attend an internationally regarded conference, with ample provision to attend sessions, network with delegates, and learn about key issues facing research libraries.

Two bursaries in total are available, one for each eligible category of applicant: 
1. LIS students currently studying a LAI accredited course
2. LIS graduates who have graduated from a LAI accredited course within the last 5 years
LAI Accredited courses can be found here and here.

CONUL 2018 bursaries will cover:
Full CONUL 2018 registration - entrance to conference sessions and sponsors’ exhibition, all conference documentation, lunch and refreshments, drinks reception and conference dinner on Wednesday 30 May
One night’s accommodation on Wednesday 30 May, with breakfast the following morning
Transport costs from within Ireland to and from Galway
Appointment of a mentor for the duration of the conference

To apply please email Michelle Agar (magar@tcd.ie) with a letter of expression of interest (maximum 500 words) that includes:
An outline of why you would like to attend CONUL 2018
Your anticipated learning outcomes, and why you would benefit from attending
Confirmation of your agreement to submit a report of the event to the Libfocus library blog within 4 weeks of attending the event, which may be published on both the Libfocus and CONUL websites (mandatory)

Successful applicants will be notified via email by Monday 19 March

In addition to attending conference sessions successful applicants will be required to:
Submit a report on the conference within 4 weeks of the event for potential publication on the Libfocus library blog and CONUL website
Be present at the conference venue in Galway for the full conference programme

*Closing date for applications is 17:00 on Wednesday 28 February 2018*

24 Jan 2018

Studies in Arts and Humanities Journal 3:2 – Special Issue on Minorities and Indigenous People

Guest post by Jane Buggle, Deputy Librarian, Dublin Business School 

The Editorial Board of Studies in Arts and Humanities Journal agreed to mark the official recognition of the ethnicity of Irish Travellers by the Irish Government in 2017 by publishing a special issue on minorities and indigenous people.  I am grateful to the Editorial Board for allowing me the opportunity to edit this issueThe librarian– faculty publishing partnership creates meaningful networks across disciplines, institutions and countries.

Studies in Arts and Humanities Journal is an open access, peer-reviewed academic journal which publishes quality academic papers by undergraduate and postgraduate students alongside that of faculty.  It also publishes work by artists and practitioners. The Special Issue on Minorities and Indigenous People attracted submissions from academic institutions from around the world, including Monash University, the University of Auckland, the University of Hawaii at Mãnoa, Cambridge University, Dublin Business School, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the University of St. Andrews.

Martin Collins, the Co-Director of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, wrote a powerful editorial in which he contextualised the importance of the official recognition to Irish Travellers.  We grouped together other submissions on the Irish Travellers in an In Focus section. Missie Collins provided insights into the creation of the Traveller Ethnicity Quilt, Traveller lifestyle and the many years of campaigning that have finally wrought this recognition.  Professor Gianpiero Cavalleri provided an overview of the recent DNA study of Irish Travellers which demonstrated that the Travellers did not split from the settled community during the Famine, as had previously been believed, but rather some twelve generations ago. Anthony Howarth, a PhD student at Cambridge University, looked at the recognition of Traveller ethnicity through Barth’s critical approach to the study of ethnicity.

There is an almost global sweep to the content in the issue.  Articles look at the experiences of the Roma, the Māori, the Aborigines, Kanaka ʻŌiwi in Hawaii and the Sephardic Jews who were exiled from Spain, through a variety of prisms including civic emancipation, resource ownership, resistance, genealogical curation and cultural syncretism.  We are particularly pleased to have published our first piece of European funded research, The Commencement of Roma Civic Emancipation by Professors Elena Marushiakova and Veselin Popov.  Mo Wells, a member of the Lakota Sioux, contributed an insightful perspective on the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Also included is a topical article on the protection of endangered languages.

Jeremy Dennis, a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island, discussed his art and influences with Fiona Cashell.  We have included poems by a number of recent immigrants to Ireland.  Marie O’Neill wrote a book review of Donal Ryan’s All We Shall Know

In the course of editing this issue, it struck me that open access publishing offers an incredibly powerful platform for the voices of minorities and indigenous people that are so often excluded from discourses that concern them. We hope that in the year of the official recognition of the ethnicity of Irish Travellers that this special issue helps to empower the voices of ethnic minorities through its peer reviewed academic content.

6 Jan 2018

SEDIC XIX Conference on Information Management #19JGI - Review

The latest SEDIC's, Spanish Information Managers Association, annual conference took place in National Library of Spain on 15th November 2017.

The topic of the event was: Back to the future. Visionaries of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Our profession has changed a lot in last decades. Apparently, the roles, processes and challenges of information management institutions have little to do with yesterday's. How has the work of the information management professional changed in last thirty-forty years? How did you imagine the future of the profession then, and to what extent have the steps taken built what we are today? What great innovations did the preceding generations (and not necessarily technological ones) deal with? In what ways have the concepts of user, utility and social relevance, collection management, user satisfaction and evaluation, access, citizen participation, services, etc. evolved, and to what extent has it impacted our roles, training and professional objectives? How do we imagine today that these concepts will evolve, and where do we understand that the steps we are taking on this path will take us?

Source: sedic.es

Inaugural Presentation

Ana Santos opened the conference by highlighting the collaboration between SEDIC and BNE, as well as the support of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.

Ana invited attendants and information managers to reflect on the transformation in which libraries are immersed. Even though needs have been changing, libraries mission remains essential for citizens. Today, society requires less traditional services while increasing the demand for new digital services.

Conferences allow the debate on the evolution of cultural institutions such as archives, libraries, etc. as well as analyzing citizens' needs and how they perceive them.

He ended his speech by thanking the visionaries who participated in the conference as speakers, and inviting them to continue dreaming and building the institutions of tomorrow's.

CONCHA VILARIÑO PERIÁÑEZ. Vice principal at Coordinación Bibliotecaria of Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports

Concha Vilariño outlined how much our profession has changed during last decades, the new forms of social communication and interaction with users, as well as the new knowledge and skills of the professionals, which require a constant update and a great capacity for adaptation.

There are many examples of pioneers in the history of cultural institutions, whose ideas and work have been a source of inspiration. These pioneers have highlighted the importance that the management of information and knowledge has had, has and is going to have in an increasingly complex society.

In Spain in the 1980s, a series of events led to the rapid development of Spanish libraries and the creation of large information management projects. These advances stem from learning by doing, which is how the future should be conceived. Teamwork and cooperation between professionals have been key factors to thrive these projects.

In order to make new ideas emerge, we must improve communication between professionals in the sector and other sectors related to our objectives.

Yolanda de la Iglesia insisted on the support of the BNE, the collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and all the actors that have made possible the organization of this conference.

One of the aims of this event is recognising proffesionals' efforts and work that have mark the way to move forward, by providing innovative ideas and solutions to be applied to users, services, management of collections and with so many other aspects of our cultural institutions.

The conference program is aimed at eliciting discussion, debates, ways of thinking, criteria and experiences.

Inaugural Conference

Jose Antonio Pascual referred to how philologists make the most of digital libraries to work. Owing to the technological development on both libraries and archives and the librarians' and archivists change of mentality, philology as field has been able to thrive as never before.

Humanities can be collaboratively researched in a world laboratory with the collaboration between digital libraries and philologists. This cooperation allows different specialties to work together in network contributing to create knowledge without being physically at the same place.

He referred to certain manuscript whose digitization, web availability, and accessibility at any time and place allow researchers to make a linguistic traceability of words, by finding lexical relations and evolutions. In addition, being capable of studying several manuscripts and comparing their texts can result in other interests for philologists.

Finally, he stressed that we must be aware that we must collaborate by offering the means that each one possesses, such as access to the data and provide added value. Furthermore, young people have a lengthy career yet, so their passion for libraries and archives is determinant.

Professional conversations I: Users and services

The first debate dealt with the participatory role of users in the library environment, how they evolve and the new needs they have.

Esperanza Adrados indicated that users of libraries and archives have changed a lot in last 20 years. Institutions are becoming more accessible and opener to everyone, for which legislation has helped. Technologies have contributed to this openness to citizens, and, as a result, they are making digital services more requested. In addition, in order to give more visibility to archives, there is still a long way to go, and it would be advisable to do so from the first years of school.

We must take social networks into consideration, as they allow cultural institutions to appeal to non-users. However, it is difficult to provide such a broad service because each user always wants to be the best assisted and we lack the means to provide with an optimal service. In the end, according to Esperanza, the information professionals work as daily demands emerge. An exclusive team to draw the attention of new users is necessary. Anyway, events like exhibitions, concerts, etc. are taking place in libraries' and archives' spaces, which help their visibility to be increased. Besides, commemorations or specific dates are considered.

Arantza Mariscal stressed that the key change regarding users was that they could go personally to archives or libraries and make inquiries from the screen. In addition, he pointed out that although the institutions and their objectives has also evolved, it would be desirable for this change to be faster. Libraries must be proactive, by proposing experiences, contents and services that generate curiosity to new users because citizens increasingly have a desire to learn, create things and participate. For this, it is necessary for cultural institutions to be more flexible, know how to change at the same pace society changes.

As a public service, we must work for non-current users, reflect on what is happening and risk the proposals that are offered, and create a more educated, informed society.

Among the audience, it was stated whether today, with the digital platforms on the rise, the physical spaces of the institutions are so important. It was pointed out that spaces should not disappear, but they will be managed differently and, in addition, archives and libraries offer human tools and equipment that guide research and learning. Therefore, the professionals must evolve and adapt to digital society. In the future, the raw product will be made available to users in order that they decide what to do with it.

Professional conversations I: Professional profiles and training

In this session, professional profiles and training in the field of documentation for the future were discussed.

According to José López Yepes there are three aspects to consider in the documentary sector: the document concept itself, what the science of documentary information is, and what an information professional is. The teaching objective is not clear and there is a problem of terminology in the professional area of information.

The university does not only transmit knowledge but also allows research, intellectual forms and thinkers. The basic training of the professional should be given in the university so that well-trained professionals can really help users. A doctorate is more than a certificate, as it indicates that the person knows how to obtain new scientific knowledge. However new ideas can also be come up without being a doctor.

Javier Leiva considered that documentation professionals today need a broader range of skills, rather than so knowledge. Sometimes the curricula are a little outdated, as changes occur fast. So, university should look for faster updating mechanisms. Moreover, a continuous training of information professionals is necessary. Although it is important for information professionals to have studied humanities, we must consider how knowledge is acquired today. University should continue to offer basic knowledge, while coping with learning micro-needs. It would be necessary to introduce in the universities the concept of microcertifications as well as digital badges, which allow, through evidences of acquired knowledge, to broaden the focus and the way in which documentalists are included in the professional world.

For instance, MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Course) are starting to be offered by universities. These are more self-taught microformations. In addition, a constant update is required, and the development of competences more important than the content itself.

The audience asked how the documentalist can train as a researcher to give added value or quality to all the digital contents. It was pointed out that intellectual training is basic, and any career is useful to be taken into account as you can also specialize later in Librarianship and Information Sciences. Indeed, it is possible that in the future Spanish documentalists are graduates in other areas.

Professional conversations I: Technology and technical processes

RICARDO SANTOS MUÑOZ. Manager of Technical Processes at Biblioteca Nacional de España

This discussion focused on technology and technical processes, which have experienced the most technological change in libraries and archives.

According to Virginia Moreno, archivists are becoming ICT professionals, as they must decide how to deal with documents in order to design electronic documents that will be managed in digital archives. Therefore, archivists are fundamental in the records management process. However, it has been some difficulties in integrating them into the process due to their reluctance regarding technology.

As for regulations, what most effect has in records is what regulates interoperability and single electronic archives. In addition, although technology would be cutting-edge, it is only a means and it has to be adapted to what is being defined within institutions. Regulations also give more work because they generate pressure on meeting deadlines and defines guidelines without indicating exactly what to do.

Ricardo Santos pointed out that technology will determine how we will work in the future because it makes the most of the resources and provide with solutions to know how to create data. In this sense, the profound change for the information manager has been to change from being a provider of records to a provider of data and information to the public.

It was highlighted that both catalogs 2.0 and collaboration of users and researchers will help to enrich data. In addition, the future goes towards a semiautomatic cataloging, where catalogers will no longer be a transcriber, but a data generator that will catalog by thinking about how users and machines will read them. Libraries own enormous amounts of data that have not been studied yet.

In the audience, it was asked whether technology makes many library and archive standards unnecessary. The flexibility that technology gives makes standardization less rigorous and hence highlight the importance of semi-automatic cataloging. Anyway, standards are necessary for the reuse of data.

In conclusion, the work archives and libraries will do in the future regarding the challenge of electronic administration and generation and reuse of data was evidenced. In the end, technology is an essential means that helps to carry out organizational changes as well as ways of working, opening up information and citizen participation.

Professional conversations II: Public service and profitability

IGNASI LABASTIDA I JUAN. Director of Research and Innovation Department at Universidad de Barcelona Library

It was discussed how both public service and profitability can work together.

Cristina Alovisetti explained management of copyright from a commercial perspective, particularly within Museo del Prado, whose objective regarding digitization process is that the digital images have the highest level of quality as possible. Today there is more and more access and dissemination of images of the museum, and we also find an open universe of images on the Internet.

Management of rights is not against dissemination provided that the use is lawful. For instance, Museo del Prado does not charge for the use of images in doctoral theses. However, the Museum has used resources to generate high-quality images and maintain them, so if somebody want to use it is normal to request money to help finance the Museum and continue generating files.

However, according to Ignasi Labastida all public institutions should transmit their works, which are in the public domain, to the digital public domain. On Museo del Prado, everything that is digitalized is in the public domain, and standards that machines understand are used. Besides, the money that public institutions use to digitize is paid with public funds and should be returned to people. The most appropriate model is to put images in public domain, and if you want more quality, go to the institution to request and pay for it.

Moving to other point, it is very important to begin to positively perceive copyright, which can be managed in diverse ways depending on the different purposes for which images are used. For example, in our university the philosophy states that as doctoral theses are open, therefore images they contain should also be.

It is emphasized that some European museums have an open policy on rights and there is also a European letter that expressly states that the fact that an object of art is digitized, yet being in public domain, it does not alter its public domain nature.

Among the public the movement openGLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) was mentioned, considering that all cultural institutions are going to have to rethink legal obligations to open data. Although openGlam has a large budget, the financing for open access to data is also the responsibility of the government. Moreover, one thing is that the works are in public domain and another thing is that their images are. It is also very important to start making data more open and reusable among museums.

The audience also commented that the first reuse directive of the public sector does not put limits on the reuse of public information and is aimed at ensuring that public resources are used to the maximum to generate wealth. Nevertheless, after that, a correction was made with the idea of recovering the high costs of the digitalization processes. In short, it is a problem of the administration that does not devote to these issues the necessary resources society demands.

Professional conversations II: Relevance and social function

JOSÉ SÁNCHEZ SÁNCHEZ. Predecessor of Managing Director of Castilla-La Mancha Library
RIANSARES SERRANO MORALES. Former Guadalajara Senator and predecessor of Director of Archivo Histórico Provincial de Guadalajara

This conversation focused on the relevance and social function of the information centers, for which it would be convenient to know how to measure them.

Riansares Serrano believes that archives, libraries and museums are making a significant effort in information dissemination and social participation. The incorporation of new technologies, electronic archives, administrative transparency and an adequate management of information has multiplied how much archives are demanded. Professionals must participate actively in their local communities where they work.

In Castilla-La Mancha region, for example, it was possible to facilitate access to libraries thanks to library buses and local, public libraries. It is necessary to attract young people when they are at school as well as university to make citizens aware of the importance of the custody and conservation of bibliographic heritage.

Juan Sánchez highlighted how the percentage of Spanish public library users has increased regardless of the recession. Despite the availability of technology, many resources and professionals are still needed.

Owing to the ill-conceived administration of Spanish governmental regions, there are significant inequalities between them. Councils are in charge of libraries services, and if there are no funds, there are no resources to be provided. Everyone must be able to use library services, including local, small communities. However, it has not been achieved due to a lack of political will. Libraries should be on politicians' agenda, instead of being a timely goodwill. There must be political obligations and commitment.

Professional conversations II. Preservation and access to collections

MAR PÉREZ MORILLO. Manager of Legal deposit of online publications at Biblioteca Nacional de España

According to Lluis Anglada, the word preserve should be replaced by deferred access over time. Preservation is undeniable important, but it can be an obstacle to access. In addition, current legal deposit legislation is no longer valid, because there is more and more information in number, diversity, dispersion. Therefore, the future preservation will be collaborative, federated, selective and not easy at all.

Three ideas were proposed to make digital hole smaller in the future:
  1. Do a deep review of our professional practices, by making the most of the resources we have.
  2. Pay fees for associations and cooperative projects, since the financing will also be cooperative in the future.
  3. Determine what level of aggregation we are going to work.
Mar Pérez pointed out that preservation is destined to enable people to access records. Moreover, concepts and practise of acquisition and legal deposit of digital content seen as bibliographic heritage is complex. There are two types of legal deposit:
  • Content freely accessible on the web and that can be collected with a robot, which automatically tracks and saves the content of websites.
  • Content that is online, but have restricted access. It is also subject to legal deposit, but we cannot save it automatically, but we have to contact publishers and distributors to ask for permission and content.
New models of preservation are needed because the digital preservation policy used is designed for collections digitized in libraries thus in tangible support, not considering digital-born content itself. Other relevant aspects are supports, formats, applications, intellectual property, collaboration and resources.

In addition, exhaustivity is ruled out. In Spain, a massive search and collection of the .es domain is done once a year, while in other domains the search is done by selecting collections. These collections must be defined by web curators. Nowadays we hope that the black hole that will be seen in 50 years, which is called digital dark age, will be smaller thanks to libraries, archives, etc.

To sum up, conservation does not make sense if it is not considered as a long-term access. That is why we must collect, store and process information to make it recoverable and useful. So, we can also avoid that digital hole as far as possible. Given the volume of work that it involves, the best way to proceed will probably be by the federation of efforts and common funding.

Presentation 'Suzanne Briet'

LAURA GARCÍA. Librarianship and Information Science student at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Laura García's speech was focused on Suzanne Briet, about who and their work, despite having been an outstanding documentalist, there is little information.

Born in 1894 in France, she was a librarian, historian, documentalist and informatologist. He began teaching English, but in the 1920s he started working for the French National Library being familiarized with Librarianship world. In the 30s, he began to oversee the catalogs room and bibliographies. After that, she was part of the French Union of Documentation Organizations and, finally, she was vice president of the International Documentation Federation.

She never left Documentation being always very active. In the 50s he devoted himself to traveling to understand how other cultures and countries understand libraries and documentation centers. In US, he discovered the truly access library rights of users. She returned to France and decided to put it into practice by promoting that any citizen had access to libraries collections.

In 1951 he wrote an important manifesto on Documentation, composed of three parts:
  1. Technique of intellectual work: to harvest information and interpret it to make work more comfortable. In addition, the documentalist must participate in that investigation.
  2. Documentary profession: must be integrated into their users' cultural contexts. It also involves the formation of users.
  3. Documentation as a necessity of our time and of the future: must be linked to technological advances as well as advancement of society.
Suzanne was and is little known. Many of his records have been lost. She retired at age of 60 and went on writing to die.

Finally, Laura García invited everyone to research into forgotten visionaries of yesterday's, like Suzanne, and help us visualize the tomorrow.

Roundtable: Visionaries and projects in organizations

MARGARITA TALADRIZ MAS. Predecessor of FESABID president
CARLOTA TORTOSA. Archives consultant at IECISA
EVA CEREZO LÓPEZ. Informatics Manager at Abana informática

Margarita Taladriz moderated the roundtable, whose debate focused on the role that companies have played in the management of information and documentation, and how it collaborates with LIS professionals.

Elisa García-Morales collaborated in the founding of one of the first Spanish companies of document management services. From then, libraries and archives have changed as much as technology. At the beginning, professionals were requested to give advice in the initial stages of automation. It was a time of innovation and constant change, in which fundamentals for large processes of information processing were laid. Today we are looking for quality control and being able to process enormous amounts of information.

Francisco José Valentín pointed out that society now demands access from any place at any time through digital devices. Some problems stem from these needs and must be resolved.

Although the technological incorporation occurred before in Anglo-Saxon institutions, most of Spanish ones have followed the same steps. In addition, as part of the technological path was already done, it was easier and faster.

According to Carlota Tortosa archives have changed a lot because files are now electronic. There has been a great evolution in technological and normative fields. Institutions need to increase their understanding of technological knowledge to be able to participate and get people involved.

One of the important points is the management of change within the institutions. It is necessary that all the people of the institution are involved and that they see their benefits. If there is a leader responsible for this change in the institution, it is much simpler. However, if there is no such person, workforce need to persevere, although the change may not occur. Anyway, when companied are requested, the need already exists.

Eva Cerezo has seen profound changes in services. Nowadays, more services and projects aimed at digital transformation are requested. Likewise, more and more technological competences are requested in professional profiles.

As for recession, a positive consequence has resulted, as it has helped to draw new lines of competence and services. Companies have had to make the most of technology to innovate. Companies must undoubtedly adapt to cultural institutions.

In the future, information management will provide with services, including software. Technical process and electronic archives will increasingly be managed by specialized companies. Public institutions will remain as service managers. Digital librarians will manage services and selects content. It will require an interdisciplinary professional with good training in digital skills and continuous learning.

The public was reminded that public-private collaboration is necessary. There are projects that would not have come forward without this collaboration. The private should not replace the public, but we must understand each other. The ability to evolve and adapt is the result of collaboration and customer needs.

Closing conference

The closing conference was given by Maria Alexandra Veríssimo. The association to which it belongs was created in 1973. It has about 1000 associates: people and institutions. However, the association is neither an union (you cannot discuss professional legislation nor have representation at social level) nor a school (it is not possible to contribute to the certification of professionals).

The area with more activity is higher education libraries. Libraries of central administration have almost disappeared because of decisions made during the recession.

The challenges that the association faces are many and diverse: formative, political, economic and social. In Portugal, the profession of librarians, archivists and documentalists is in constant change, and, lamentably, dire problems emerged: hiring of unskilled professionals, reduction of leading positions librarianship qualification, and non-differentiation.

As for regulations, there is a deficit legal framework, as there are no laws for libraries and that of archives is outdated. What is more, although a program was developped to create a library network, today it has no funding. Likewise, libraries have good infrastructures, but without continuity.

Given this situation, two aspects are prioritized:
  • The political, social intervention: making social mobilization to have a voice.
  • Projection and assessment: give visibility to professionals, who must have qualifications. It is necessary to recognized professionals' roles.
The projects include the qualification of information services, career support, qualified hiring, and performance with a code of ethics. To achieve this, systematic policies, guidelines and strategies are taken into account to know which direction to follow.

The BAD (bibliotecarios, archiveros and documentalistas) notebooks, training activities, the BAD News newspaper, translations of the regulations in the documentary area, events such as the BADjobs, etc. are organized since 1973. Now we are working on the creation of a directory in which all the professionals are divided into categories.

Currently there are two topics on which the focus is:
  • General Regulation of Data Protection by the European Union.
  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Many entities already support this initiative, and so archives and libraries can.
To become visible in the documentation and information sector, we must stop talking in closed communities and try to get others to talk about this sector.

The public wonders what makes Portuguese different to Spanish, what we look like and what we can do together. According to Alexandra, the fundamental difference is on the regulation, which creates the need for qualified professionals. As for what having in common, it is the training of professionals. As for what can be done in collaboration, it is to work together for common causes and objectives and to contribute to sustainable development for community's integration.