Wednesday, 28 April 2010

emtacl day 3

Last day at emtacl and the morning after the conference dinner which had lovely food and somewhat unusual entertainment (music played with vegetables anyone?). Also nice to find out the brown cheese I tried the first morning (and didn't like) was like marmite - either love it or hate it!
Two keynotes this morning then I'll be trying to swap between strands...
Virtual research networks: Towards Research 2.0, Van den Brekel - Argh! lost my notes! That'll teach me not to save more often. Will try and go back later and fill in gaps...
Researchers using web 2.0 for collaboration, etc. - general tools and increasingly specialist web 2.0 tools.
Back on track now (just before the end!) - VREs (such as JISC VRE, MyExperiment, DARIAH, etc.). JISC leading the way (Hooray for JISC!). They help researchers from all disciplines to work collaboratively.
Key recommendations from JISC - "Scratch where it itches" - i.e. has to suit the researchers needs. More about community building than technology building. Need support from everyone. Key role for libraries. Preference for web 2.0 style of development. Needs to be driven by researchers. Benefits include faster research results and novel researh directions.
For libraries they act as a good way to feature library resources. Should be involved from the start.
Summary (key points for libraries). Need good communication with researchers. Play a key role in the sharing of information. Redefine the library services to match these needs. Brand and market the library.
Recommends supporting research students by Allan.
Engage, facilitate, stimulate - key message. - hopefully his slides will be up here (yes they are!) and I'll go back later to refresh my memory and fill in the gaps...
I've got Google, why do I need you? Aalen - A students perspective on academic libraries. Think we need an adjustable lectern.
Warning! She says she isn't a typical student. "I think of myself as a nerd" her obsession is reading about stuff online that should make her more effective, that she hasn't got time to use as she's spending all her time reading about them...
"I'm a paperless student" - for about a year! Studying is a whole lot more than reading.
Annoyed by all the tedious tasks you have to do as a student. When are the exams, what modules am I doing, Can I look at previous resources for courses to allow me to decide what to do? Would like the library to catalogue and make accessible these sort of resources.
Annoyed by copyright.
Annoyed by books (does the library have a book, does the bookshop have it, do 2nd hand bookshops have it, do her friends have a copy, etc?) - why can't we make it easier for her to find these things out.
Talking about notes. Printed stuff quite efficient for organising this stuff - think she's probably talking about a personalised learning environment for help with doing this electronically, linking between notes and other resources.
Hard to do this online, but many distractions with studying online as well.
Why did she go digital? Fast typist! Able to type while she reads. Showing Evernote - likes how this works (I like that I can use this on my iPhone & PC!). Also uses Google Docs. Running on her computer - tells her what she's spending her time on, can block applications to allow you to focus. Love the idea of this!
Do these tools make her a better student? She seems very organised with her notes! She makes good notes from resources into her notes that she then refers to (I think this is a move back to how students used to work, but tend not to nowadays - really interesting!).
She uses to generate flashcards to test herself (really quick & easy).
Showed example of collaborative work for assignment - handed in a week early and got an A (really worked well for them). Needed to agree groundrules beforehand.
Is sorry she still has to deal with books at all - likes to take info from the book and then discard the book. Sounds like eBooks would work better for her (as long as she can cut & paste).
Does this make her a better student? Not sure. Thinks she knows a lot less than the previous generation, but has broad, shallow knowledge and is confident about searching for it again.
Finds Uni databases difficult. Gave up and went to Google Scholar instead.
Thinks the way she works is a hack, the internet, computer stone age... are we cavemen to the digital natives? Doesn't agree with digital native idea (hear, hear!) - "screentime does not make you competent!". The internet is not a place - "just because I can use a wooden spoon, doesn't mean I can use all utensils made out of wood". (ace!)
Nice quote from About face 3.o, page 42 about dropping out if you don't move quickly from being a beginner.
It's easy to forget what you don't practice. No use showing her a complicated interface to our resources in year 1 that she doesn't then use for a while. She want easy interface, that she doesn;t need to learn.
Shows video of 2 year old and a cat using an iPad - easy interface.
"The librarians logic is just as alien to me as the programmers"
"Should I adapt or you?
Really good, perceptive talk - slides available online.
How do new technologies challenge the users behaviour, Lauridsen - (From Serials Solutions. We've just bought their discovery tool summon, so will be interesting to me!) Following on from Primo demo (competitor!). Nice graph - amount spent on materials rising(ARL libraries). Perceived value of libray falling (Carol Tenopir).
People going to Google, not library. Lots of reasons why, list from Interesting that students will try the library first (but will then give up & go elsewhere).
Have tried to compete with Google in libraries ... single search across all collections. Federated search ("works to a certain extent", more +ve than I'd be!); discovery layers (over top of catalogue - lots of playing around with this, quite limited material so CAN play), now web-scale discovery (pre-harvested metadata, like Summon. Local versions of pre-harvested metadata have worked out too expensive / time consuming, hence move to web-scale).
Making the information world flat - everything equal in value, print not preffered, no "silos".
Showing stats from uni showing drop in use of abstracting & indexing materials, massive increase in "click through" to full text.
A few warning words -keep it simple, easy & fast. Resist the urge to display the complexities. Align our priorities / behaviours with reality. Stop doing lots of stuff that isn't appreciated.
What happens next? Life after 2.0 training in academic libraries, Buset & Lokse -
Just made it into here as they started! Very tight swapping rooms...
23 things course at one library (in 12 weeks) People seemed to enjoy the course, "discovered these things weren't dangerous" (great - people need to feel they won't "break" a tool if they play with it!). Some changes in behaviour - a library facebook page, 5 blogs, WIKI to complent intranet, some people using RSS feeds.
Other library being discussed covered much less, 20 week course, focussing on small range of technologies, problem based learning. Focus was on the process, not on individual products. Results - good feedback, seems to be limited change in behaviour perhaps?
Follow up survey - showed usual suspects in what web 2.0 tools used, Blogs, Wikis, etc. Why don;t people use Web 2.0 at work - 44.4% said "Not relevant to my job" (! But most of these didn;t receive any training, so awareness of how usual these tools can be is an issue) next along was "I don;t have time", 33.3%.
What has been the most important effect of learning about web 2.0 - new ways of working (most), no-one said "improved contact with library users". Yet most people (44%) said the most important advantage for libraries was improved info for users.
Attitudes - some fairly -ve comments. "email is good enough for me at work"; "I define web 2.0 as more of a leisure activity" (suggests perhaps that problem is educating people about why different tools might be useful / relevant rather than how to use the tools? Changing attitudes not learning mechanics of a new tool?)
Though quotes also recognise that web 2.0 tools are important to users and relevant to libraries. Perhaps individuduals not seeing it as relevant to them though? Happy that other people doing it though...
Conference end Ole Husby - Summing up conference. The cloud is important (his presentation running from the cloud, also cloud of dust from Iceland has worried them in the week before!). Waves (from Chris Clarke's talk) are disruptive... People will use our data in ways we couldn't think of (if it's available). Important to do things from the bottom up... Twitter has been very active in conference (showing the twub). "Because I have twitter, I don't need to keep notes".
Has thanked everyone. The end!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

emtacl10 - day 2

Starting off with a keynote by Chris Clarke of Talis:

Linking Education data - Talking about technology evolution (analogy of waves, can be disruptive). Every 10 years a wave of change in the internet? "Systems of record" in run up to year 2000, big investment, data in silos, big databases / systems like our LMS - innovative pretty much finished now. Last 10 years (web 2.0), investment in us - linking people and data, happening in the cloud. Enabling relationships.
Next up, "linked data". making the web data centric, not document centric. Making it easy to link data together (c.f. paying companies lots of money to do it). DBpedia big hub for linked data
(taking data from wikipedia). links between data sets growing exponentially.
Showing us examples - library catalogue (a linkable data set), BBC wildlife site (links created using concept of "deer" to link to external pages). Links to the idea of open data movement (showing Why? There are also more smarter people outside your institution than inside (whoever you are), so why not let them do interesting stuff with it? Showing examples using government data set...
Particular example of Ordnance Survey - telling us about people being upset about paying for this data, due to public pressure, made available as open data set (cc type licence).
The real disruption here is changing peoples behaviour - still a few years off.
Now "open education". The value in education is in the relationships between educators and learners. Spend time on this, not on general content we want to use. "find, reuse, remix". MITopencourseware pionneers, more people doing this now. This first phase, next phase is what can we do with that content? early example of organising learning through open content. Flatworld knowledge - a commercial company - remixable textbooks, can view on demand for free, but then pay to print off that boook (or any mix of content from various books). Open High School of Utah - 1st school to use open content / have open curriculum. Finally got onto plugging TalisAspire(!), discount if you allow your content (reading lists) to be open.
The real disruption here is changing policies, changing licensing, etc.
Systems of record still important, but innovation is elsewhere. embracing linked data will allowed innovation. Challenge is changing policy more than anything else.

I attended the mobile technologies strand:

Library trailblazing, McCarthay -More about librarians playing - I like! Ryerson University, sounds similar in make up to Huddersfield Uni. Complain they are underfunded (though have more librarians than my institution!) One of there first things was SMS from the catalogue (text a catalogue entry to yourself). Asked students what they wanted to do online: Check opening hours, Book study rooms, check timetable, check borrower record, check catalogue, search for articles (as top 6).
Launched uni site and library site. Put most commonly asked for services on a new mobile site first. Quite restricted (to most desired functions and easy to do functions) rather than trying to do everything. Nice computer availability!
Also did a university wide one. Used students to do programming / graphics with librarian in charge - good idea! How may innovation prevention departments (sorry, IT depts) would allow that? Looks very much like the sort of information and display that CampusM would charge us a fortune for. Even talking about introducing location awareness into the next version...
Very impressed!

The ebook reader & the legacy of the paper book, Gasparini & Ugletveit - Talking about ebooks, e-ink, etc. Lots of example of ebook readers. Very basic introduction to them. Yawn! Move onto real books. Reading experience effected by quality of paper, ease of flicking through for navigation, can annotate (*gasp in horror*), see how far you've got, easily bookmark. Different ways of reading (active - learning? or passive - pleasure?). New ways of reading developed (hypertext, video & audio embedded in Vook, etc.). Started lending out ebook readers at Oslo, feedback included - wanting everything for their course on the reader, liking PDFs on it, found downloading difficult, impatient with time to turn a page. Seems to be a willingness to sacrifce some benefits of paper text for search functionality. Really want all their content on it to be most useful. Regular users want to do more stuff than just read books on it though!
Not convinced by their comparison of ebook with paper book, so not going to repeat them all here... Now listing guidelines that sound very much like pretty much every ebook reader I've ever heard of (search function, annotation / highlighting, etc...). Not impressed.

Developing and mobilizing the info skills for students on the move. Sheikh - Infoskills from the Open University. Have struggled with some accents this week, but I'm really finding his difficult - I may not be able to blog much about this talk, so apologies if I get anything wrong (it'll be my misunderstandings, not his presentation) :-(
Moving away from mix of print & electronic delivery (and small amount of face to face) to electronic only as much as possible. Talking about learning and teaching librarians at OU and stuff they are involved in producing - Safari, IL Toolkit, library guide, beyond Google, etc. Says they are looking at developing bite sized IL things for mobiles. Screenshots of Safari & iKnow (I've never seen iKnow - bad me! Aimed at employers). Think he's just said both are free to download. iKnow mobile looks nice and clean / spare. Have created a learning object generator tool for librarians to use - strict limits on word count per page, maximum pages, etc., to make sure mobile objects are bite size and fit nicely on mobiles.
Will be continuing to work on delivering mobile services to users, in various ways.
Sorry if I've got the wrong end of the stick about any of this - really struggled to follow accent.

Remix, repackage, deliver: A case study for the ebook platform, Tonkin (UKOLN)- Open access about the structures behind things, not just making things available.
Hard to predict consequences of making data available (this is a good thing).
Need enabling technologies - need to be simple, cheap, relatively painless. Too risky otherwise.
Early eBooks - not nice in lots of ways! Showed some nice pictures of dead ebook readers. But of course nice to read in all conditions, and low power usage. So problem is content distribution, more than how nice they are to use.
What if your work was automatically converted to eBook friendly formats? What if your computer did that for you - though licence agreements / copyright may stop you... Get metadata automatically as well?
Once you have these documents you can convert automatically, what now?
Likes putting different OS on ebook readers, though cautions against hacking devices.

Blurring the boundaries (Me!) -


Conor Glavin Keynote is cancelled - Boo! He's really good...

After lunch sessions:

The strongest link, Goddard & Byrne - How can libraries get involved in the semantic web / open data? Use RDF to publish stuff first of all. Tools to convert library stuff to RDF (showed some...). Many popular web publisher tools come along with RDF & semantic abilities built in (Zemanta plugin for blogs?). Eprints is a natively RDF app - yay! (Our repository uses eprints...)
Why do it? smarter linking - even standard identifiers aren't particularly unique (10 & 13 digit ISBNs anyone?). Lets us link stuff together really well, so also smarter searching. Show how it can disambiguate links /relationships. Imagine enriching our content with all the lovely data out in the cloud.
Major failure of libraries is not being able to do federated searching - surely improving metadata is better than trying to present bad federated searching better? Biggest hurdle for the libraries may be issues of trust?
Big advocacy role for librarians in linked data - we're good at this stuff (cataloguers) and good at sharing, so persuade others...
Great, very popular talk (standing room only).

Thunderstorms in Hallward, Smyth - Missed the start swapping streams. Talking about "backchat" in giving presentations at the moment - says students like to see that sort of instant, constant conversation. Do "open space" presentations (got a thunderwall area in their learning commons). Emphasis on engaging with people. Lots of distractions in this sort of environment - keep talks short! Can draw in people who weren't formally attending the talk, but passing or on the periphery. Make annotations to slides as he goes along - shows up to 4 screens, i,e, 4 images at a time. Helps people ask you to move back, recap, etc, as you go on - again, encouraging interactions. Makes it easier to do non-linear presentations.
They encourage people to use meaningful images next to relevant text - visual learning.

Showed us Multi-slides - plug in to powerpoint, allows multiple projectors with familiar interface. Annotations still allowed by things like interactive whiteboards.

Manifestations - images on glass walls from the libraries special collections. Now moved onto multi-touch, would like to drag these images around with multi-touch (like seeing these sort of random ideas thrown out, librarians have the great ideas...).

Finished off with quote from a book (Sea Biscuit). Automobile shown as awful in a quote as emerging technology, but don't let that put us off experimenting and linking with researchers.

Clickers: a tool for... - Passed out Interwrite audience response handsets ("clickers") to start.
Asked us a couple of questions - seem quite new to most people. Used "clickers" to get more interaction in classes. Asked if it was just fun, or improving learning?
thought carefully about how they used them, aimed to increase reflection and discussion amongst students (one clicker per group) - trying to choose the right question types for the right situation.

Piloted with sessions on plagiarism. 97% liked to use them. Believed it enhanced activity and interaction. Motivating for staff(and students?). carefully deign the right questions for different purposes.

Pilot lesson 2 was trying to assess learning in a class (series of 3 classes?) for masters students. Found a difference in pre & post testing. Students liked it. Adjusted the focus of the series of classes depending on pre test results (good!). Question design is essential. Immediate post-test may just tell us about recall, not learning (great, most people forget this)!

Conclusions that new technology still requires good pedagogis (good to see they have their heads screwed on right).

The day finished with a sponsor presentation that I won't blog!

Monday, 26 April 2010

emtacl10 - Day 1

I may just blog selected sessions here, rather than all the ones I go to, but here goes for my (almost) live blog (so expect lots of typos and random ramblings) of emtacl10...

Mmm, lovely dinner and nice little delicate cakes for pud!

A welcome, etc., as you may expect, then into the first keynote:

Lorcan Dempsey - "The network has reconfigured whole industries. What will it do to academic libraries?: How libraries are going to have to change their services in the networked future. Has 64 slides to get through! Example of Netflix - knows we aren't in the US, so can't access it. This has changed the way people view films in America. Showed example of recommendations. Netflix however has recently moved much of it's infrastructure to a competitor - Amazon. Their core competence is recommending films - not interested in running a data centre that has to sit behind it, so happy for Amazon (a competitor in delivering films) to do that part of it.
Network encourages efficiencies of scale. Can analysise data much better when you are larger in scale, deliver better what people want. At a network level, makes stuff easily referenceable - use big networks as place to refer others to.
Lets us specialise where we can make an impact - outsource other stuff to other people.
Institutional scale issues? Every library duplicating effort at the moment - not specialising where we should / can make impact. So should library services be externalised? National? Collaborative? Third Party? Or should they be given up?
Sourcing /Scaling very important over recent history, so JISC for UK negotiating stuff, collectively letting us buy things, rather than individual libraries trying to do the same.
Talk about 4 things within an institution level (Discovery; reputation mgt, citation mgt, the whole social thing)
But first, collections! These influence how we think about our other services. Traditionally we;ve looked after scarce things (books) that we need to look after carefully.
Discover happens elsewhere - example of searching Google Books to find a particular passage cf flicking through a book. The norm is now online, external, no longer limited to physical access and familiarity. "We are no longer limited to the 150 people...." of our real life networks, we can scale up to the whole web. So we need to make sure our special, "unique" collections are easily discoverable by people who don't want to use our tools, but use Google, etc. instead. i.e. "Indirect discovery". "Disclosing" stuff to cloud services to allow this. Example of putting a link to a resource (article) in a wikipedia page as a way of SEO (though this was disputed by someone on twitter immediately!).
Why mess about with making nice catalogues, etc., when most discovery will happen through other tools on the web?
Have some scalar confusion here - things happening at all sorts of different levels, "presences" all over the place. Should we have lots of pages, or one thing that can feed into other services?
Also have scope confusion - what are the motivations for each presence and what are we aiming for?
We don't have a controlled environment, the "network" throws all these together.
Social stuff: (context - community - conversation. Return on attention). Manage demand not manage supply. Make people aware of what you have, not enough to put stuff on the web, you need to push things forward that people may be interested in.

Some directions - Thinks we will get rid of most print books except the latest most used stuff. Move to regional stores. 80% or more spending on materials will be licenced electronic content from a few big suppliers. Will have selective & targeted kocal engagement around scholarly materials.
Moving infrastructure to the cloud. complex systems will have to be simplified. Need to realise network effects in this move (recommendations, collaborative collection mgt, etc.).
Shift from space as necessary storage and infrastructure to social, Ad Hoc rendevoiuz space, showcase for particular expertise.
Relationship mgt - Roles is to make informational aspects of reserch and learning more efective. Need to "peel" expertise away from the collection to apply it to wider tools, practices and services. "People are entry points". Make expertise accessible and visible. Not exposes our expertise at the moment, we push to resources more than our own expertise. "If the library wants to be seen as expert, then it's expertise has to be seen".
Doesn;t like the phrase "Info Lit" (boo to him!), prefers "Scholarly literacy".
Has finished about 35 minutes late - sure the fire alarm wasn't that long!

Social Networks strand:

"New Applications derived from behaviour based recommendations" Spiering and geyer-Schulz: Talking about recommendations based on what users do, not what they say...
Sounds like BibTip is service they are talking about.
Bibtip is based on analysis of co-inspections (full views within same browser session). Recommendations reflect local user behaviour, not wider material. Language independant, any media in catalogue, etc. Purely browser history. Ex Libris have installed this on their cat system.
20-25% of user on any particular day click on recommendations. Sounds a bit dodgy to me - how do we know the pages people are viewing are useful? It may be that everyone clicks on the same rubbish book because it comes high up in the list of search results - this system will then recommend it to others, re-inforcing that choice as a recommended book? Or am I wrong?
Started saying it was local only - now saying they are bringing in sharing of data between libraries, but with priority to local recommendations. So (I think) recommendations from elsewhere only come in when local data not populous enough to generate recommendations.

"Mashup of REST-ful APIs only using RSS feeds to support research in a high demanding research environment" Chumbe: Telling us all about mash-ups. Using (is this the draft version of ? No, Dave Pattern tells me it's a seperate JISC funded project that builds on tictocs - no wonder it looked so similar, thanks Dave!) to make a friendly interface for staff to use.
Example - alerts for a repository manager when authors from their institution have published.
2nd Example - cross refs RSS feeds from publishers with university subscriptions. So, stuff you may be interested in (on a topic) that we subscribe to.
Lots of bits and pieces you can do with this.
Not sure I like this. Mainly seem to be turning RSS feeds into a search for latest stuff - shouldn't our search tools be doing this anyway? Perhaps that is why I feel a bit uneasy...

Lightening talks! It seems no-one put their name down for one on the first day!

"To face or not to face" Novosel - Nice to see someone from Croatia (Zagreb Uni). Largest Croatian Uni, 6,500 students. They have 28 subject librarians. That's 2 and a half times the number we have with 4 times the students. What are we doing wrong? Sorry, slipping into a rant about staffing there...
Talking about using Facebook (most popular social network in Croatia) - she suggests they are up to 10 years behind some other countries, so Facebook still up & coming there. Most academic libraries in Croatia lack even fairly basic web presence.
Put news type items from the wider country / world on their own wall, along with links to other pages - using it to push useful links / links to people? First 5 months went from 0 fans to 1,100 fans (now 1,400) - sounds like they really got in at the right point to surf the peak of interest in facebook in their country.
Dissapointed that people aren't using it as social space, just as a feed of information. There is probably more interaction going on than on our page though :-)

"Another look at personalisation" Haya & Stattin- Don't know what this one is about, slightly annoying I can't find abstracts anywhere!
Ah! Personalising library websites - inspired by BBC? Their "old" website looks quite nice at first glance! Now using Drupal to allow people to personalise their new pages - use Shibboleth to log in. This means they have all the associated info about groups, etc., people belong to. Their webpage now like how I think our portal should be? Can move stuff around, add elements to a pages, etc. Looks really nice. Have a search box that stays fixed in place, most other stuff (underneath) changeable. Don't care if people don't customise as "standard" site is still better than old one! Though nice if they do... Will be carrying on working on it to improve things.

That's the end of the first days sessions. (Organ?) concert in the cathedral is on offer tonight, followed by a reception of some sort.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

emtacl (pre)conference

Arrived in Norway for the Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries (emtacl) conference.

Have put my slides in our repository and will try and record audio as well to go alongside. The talk itself is based on an article I've written for The Electronic Library - hopefully I should get the final okay soon and make that available as a pre-print.

Depending on how things go over the next few days I'll try and blog the sessions I find interesting as I go along.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Stuff wot I have wrote...

Very aware I haven't put anything on here for a while. mainly as I've been writing stuff up recently and didn't want to duplicate anything! Lots of things hopefully to be published over the next few months, but I've also recently given a talk at LILAC which is available online (slides & audio).

Emtacl conference will be next week, ash cloud permitting. I'll post slides (and possibly audio) afterwards.

In general I'm putting (serious) conference papers/slides along with journal articles in our repository as they crop up. Not bothering to deposit workshop type events though...

Next step will be to work out what to do over the next year or two with the results from this years projects. Will aim to think aloud about them on this blog.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Conference talks in the pipeline

I've just been accepted to talk at two conferences, LILAC in Limerick next March and EMTACL10 in Trondheim in April.

Both have QR codes as a theme, but the LILAC talk is entitled "QR Codes – using mobile ‘phones to deliver library instruction and help at the point of need." and is very much about what I've done at the University, what's worked and what hasn't and how it supports information skills.

The EMTACL talk also covers QR codes, but with the title "Blurring the boundaries between our physical and electronic libraries" it is much more of a rant from me! I'll be talking about how we can blur the boundaries between the physical library and electronic resources through technologies such as QR codes as well as mentioning some other technologies such as GPS and wireless communication and their potential. It'll then be a bit of a rant as to why we don't use RFID for interesting stuff instead of just using it for stock circulation....

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Last focus group!

Ran my last focus group yesterday - have starting writing them up, but half still to do. Some interesting things jumping out already:

1) Students are happy us getting their mobile phone numbers any way we can and using them to get in touch - as long as it's with "useful" information. Defining "useful" is a bit tricky though...

2) Any barrier, however small, is too big and will stop them using new services. This is unless they see an immediate and obvious advantage to doing it.

3) Most of the focus group members only thought about using library services in the library - all our electronic resources; all the ways of contacting us; all the info on webpages; twitter, etc. used almost entirely on campus by those attending the focus groups. So, most genuinely didn't see the point in anything delivered to mobile devices unless they gave them an advantage on campus. Bit of a surprise this! The students were a mix of part & full time as well...

Will need to follow up with some sort of contact with distance learners perhaps? Or more part-timers to see if this is typical?