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.


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