UKSG Webinar: COUNTER for Librarians

I had planned on attending this free webinar from UKSG, but as is usually the way if I don’t clearly set aside the time, things got away from me.

Luckily the slides and a recording are available.

In my role, usage statistics that are COUNTER compliant are vital. If a publisher only provides non-COUNTER statistics, it is more difficult to trust the figures, and they are often presented in haphazard and confusing formats. I would generally try and advocate for publishers to become COUNTER compliant, particularly when discussing renewals. However, even with some COUNTER compliant vendors it is quite a job to ascertain if the data is truly accurate. It is the best measure we have, but it does need to be tempered with other analysis and a more qualitative appraisal if possible.


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Posted in eResources

LAICDG Library Camp 2016

Library Camp was as excellent as ever. Although often held on a sunny Saturday in May, I never regret going. In addition to learning a great deal about the everyday challenges in libraries in an open and honest environment, it was also a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow librarians.  I have met some brilliant librarians at library camp over the years, and it is always nice to see those friendly faces when you end up at the same, more formal conference together.

Although informal, it is very much bursting with professionalism.
I saw a Steve Jobs quote in the window of an Apple Store in Manchester the other day: “Ideas don’t happen in the boardroom – they happen in corridors”. This came back to me when I was reflecting on yesterday’s event. Library camp is like the corridor between our various walks of librarianship. It attracts a great cross -section of librarians, and in this more relaxed environment, creativity flows.

For any more established librarians who haven’t made it to Library Camp yet, I urge you to get along next year.

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Posted in Information Profession, Professional Development, Reflection

UKSG training: Licensing for Librarians, Manchester

Today I traveled to Manchester for a UKSG licensing course, and to have a meeting with JISC. The Licensing for Librarians course was a useful overview of eResource licensing, what to look out for, and elements of the license to ensure there is clarity on. The course was very interactive, giving an opportunity to learn from colleagues across Europe, and also from the expertise of JISC Collections. Overall this training course results in participants and their institutions being less exposed to the risks of accepting unfair license conditions.

We started the day by contemplating two important questions:

What are the key clauses and what are the implications of those clauses?
How do we negotiate those clauses, how can we best inform ourselves to argue against what we feel are unreasonable clauses?

What is a licence? Read more ›

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Posted in eResources, Professional Development

Negotiation – not as alien as you might think

This post was prompted by an observation at last month’s UKSG Conference session, Meet the New Professionals (It has been languishing in Drafts for a while). After each speaker gave their informative and encouraging presentations, there was some discussion between delegates and the panel on skills of new professionals, and some perceived gaps in what employers are looking for. One employer stated that they did not get good quality candidates for a role they had recently advertised. Whilst a few suggested, and I agree, that this might be down to the job description being off-putting, there are some areas that new graduates are reluctant to embrace. Another delegate mentioned that they found it difficult to hire people for positions that require negotiation skills. The response from some of the “newer” professionals was that this is because negotiation is hard, and they feel unprepared to do this type of work.

I have been working as an eResources librarian for an Irish university consortium for the past 16 months. This role requires some confidence in negotiating. It is not the main part of my role, but it is significant. Prior to starting this role, I think I would have shared this apprehension about negotiation. However, if you are a new professional and you are looking at roles that require these skills, I think you should reconsider your opinion, or your belief in your abilities. If you were asked if you are good at managing relationships and keeping key stakeholders informed, you might be more likely to say you have the ability to do this. When negotiation is mentioned, especially in the current climate of lean budgets and absurd price hikes, this seems more intimidating. However, being a skilful negotiator is not a big leap from being good at managing relationships. Throw in some passion for librarianship, access to information, and the ever important advocacy skills, and you have all the building blocks to practice successful negotiation.  Read more ›

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Posted in eResources, Information Profession

UKSG Conference 2016

This is a brief reflection of the themes and key lessons I took away from the UKSG Annual Conference and Exhibition. I was the recipient of the John Merriman Award, for which I am very grateful to UKSG, and the sponsors of the prize, Taylor and Francis. As a first time attendee, the conference seemed overwhelming in size and number of attendees in comparison to other conferences I have attended. To navigate the busy schedule, and the exhibition hall, the dedicated conference app was incredibly useful. Before getting to Bournemouth I selected the talks I most wanted to attend and exported the schedule to my phone’s calendar. I also had my schedule of meetings with providers saved there, so even in battery saving or airplane mode I was able to quickly check where I was supposed to be and who I was meeting, without digging in my bag or leafing through pages.


The gaps between publishers and librarians are not necessarily shrinking or growing, but they are evolving, and possibly even multiplying. This was highlighted by Ann Rossiter of SCONUL speaking early in the conference on Open Access and competitiveness in her thought provoking presentation ‘Managing relationships between libraries and publishers for greater impact’. Through analysis by SCONUL, and others, it is clear that libraries are faced with increasing responsibilities, but this is not reflected in the levelled out, or even shrinking budgets. The perceived or real gaps that exist between all of us in the scholarly communications field were taken on throughout the conference, culminating in one of the closing plenaries, where Cameron Neylon proposed that it is all down to culture.

ann rossiterFigure 1 Slide: Ann Rossiter, UKSG 2016

Rossiter also questioned which metrics are most useful, and whether they are measuring what we really need to know. This probing of metrics and evidence was continued by Terry Bucknell (Altmetric) and Yvonne Nobis (Cambridge), Hugh Murphy (Maynooth), and Jo Alcock (Evidence Base at BCU), amongst others, in later plenary sessions.

Read more ›

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Posted in Conference, Uncategorized

Social Media for The Library Association of Ireland

How the LAI is using social media. A poster for the Academic and Special Libraries Section Annual Conference


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Posted in Conference

Librarians and Online Privacy, A&SL event, 7th August 2015

On Thursday 7th August I attended a talk about Online Privacy by Alison Macrina and Eoin O’Dell, organised by the Academic and Special Libraries Section of the LAI. I don’t currently work directly with library patrons, but I went along as an internet user, believer in free speech, and the go-to person for social media queries amongst my friends and family. It is my belief that anyone who goes online should be aware of where data is being gathered about them and how they can achieve higher levels of privacy – regardless of whether they have anything to hide.

Laura Rooney Ferris introduced the speakers and the topic, highlighting that the UN prioritises the need for public access to information about online privacy.

In opening, Alison noted that you can’t have freedom of expression without protection of privacy, and this is the basis for her passion for online privacy.


Read more ›

Posted in Information and Digital Literacy