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 ›
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 ›
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.
Figure 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.
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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.
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Overall this was an excellent way to gain an understanding of the e-resources landscape from various angles. And some interesting librarian pop quiz trivia! Do you know what YBP stands for? EBSCO? Who published the first academic/scientific journal?
I gained some interesting insights into how the academic publishing industry operates. It also allowed for some reflection on and explanation of things that are perhaps straight forward but I hadn’t taken the time to step back and think about. Topics such as COUNTER, Access Protocols and Open Access were introduced, but not dealt with in depth as there are other UKSG training seminars on these. What was really brought into focus for me was just how much I have learnt over the last 6 months about the more in-depth technical elements of e-resource management. It was certainly a great opportunity to lift my head out of the spreadsheets and talk to other early career serials librarians about their experiences.
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Brief notes from The Academic Library’s Role in Supporting New Students, University of Limerick 30th April 2015
What we think we know vs reality.
Changes on both sides of the transition.
Macro and micro factors must be considered.
Liz Thomas: improving student retention, 2014.
Age has significant impact on student challenges in retention.
Study finds that transition is a challenge for students, not just perceived. Social and extra curricular is important. Time mgmt, maths, research, & social = high importance.
Active learning linked to higher retention and more success.
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