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: