Can transparency in publishing costs clear the way for open scholarly communications?

As part of my application for the John Merriman Award I responded to the question “What is the biggest challenge facing you in your current job and how, in an ideal world, would you address it?” In July, I expanded on this answer for an editorial in UKSG eNews.

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Posted in eResources

NASIG 2016: My schedule

These are the sessions I am planning to attend. (The full schedule is available here:!) As always, there are a couple of clashes, so I may hop between some sessions (sorry speakers, please don’t find it rude).


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Posted in Conference, Professional Development

NASIG, here I come!

I have downloaded the app, I’ve been emailing my conference mentor and a couple of other delegates, and I have listened back to the pre-conference Q&A. As long as I have packed the right attire for “semi-arid with possible monsoon showers” I am all set.

Going to a conference in somewhere as removed as New Mexico is a little bit daunting. Luckily, I feel like I have already established a basic connection with a few attendees which is easing the fear. This is not entirely by design, so how have I reached out to people in a very different circle to the usual Irish and UK library professional network?

The mentor system

Available to all First Timers, not just award winners, is the conference mentor system. I have been assigned an experienced NASIG member who I will meet at the First-Timers reception. We have been communicating via email and Jill has a huge amount of experience in libraries, eResources and the NASIG committee and conference organizing. Having a designated Mentor who I can ask questions and turn to if I’m stuck with anything over the conference is brilliant. I am especially grateful as this conference is a world apart from the typical Irish conference where I am lucky to always know quite a few friendly faces.

Writing a conference report

Once registered for the conference, I was added to the NASIG mailing list. Through this I received an email looking for attendees to write reports on each session. As I will be taking notes, tweeting and trying to write a couple of blog posts, I felt this was definitely something I could commit to, pushing myself to write for another outlet and experience a different approach to conference reporting. In general, the conference reports I have read, and the few I have written, usually take in the whole conference, highlighting particular talks of interest to the reviewer, or their key learnings. I will be writing up my NASIG review on Session E5: Open Access in the world of scholarly journals

Signing up to an additional activity

Another email that came through the mailing list suggested that taking a hot air balloon ride was an unmissable activity whilst in Albuquerque and asked if delegates would like to form a group to go together. This is something I have dreamed of doing ever since I was about 4, so I jumped at the chance.  It turns out that Angela, the organizer of this excursion, was the NASIG Merriman Awardee last year. So tomorrow we get to share our experiences of the award, and take a sunrise hot air balloon trip, all before the conference begins!

Finding my Twitter community

With the help of #nasig16 and #librarianwardrobe I have found my Twitter people. As I and others have noted numerous times, the back-channel of conference discourse that takes place on Twitter is exciting, rich, and certainly adds to the whole experience. Hopefully I will talk to these new Twitter contacts in person – “I recognize you from Twitter” is a perfectly acceptable ice-breaker in my book. If I don’t get to talk to each and every Tweeter it’s not the end of the world, in fact some people might prefer to just exchange a few Twitter insights and skip the awkward chit chat. This can definitely make networking easier!

I have just remembered that I read a previous ALA Early Career award winner recommending that you bring a business card. This isn’t as common for Irish and UK conferences, so I though this was a good tip for those of us going to a US event. I read that several years ago though, and now there is obviously not enough time to order some up! Hopefully I won’t miss them too much.



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On not blogging June.

This week I have been furiously trying to tie up loose ends at work as I face into a considerable stretch away from the office. My mind has been wandering to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I will travel next week to attend the NASIG annual conference. In the little corner of headspace remaining, there was been the hum of excitement and anticipation about one of my oldest friends coming to visit from New Zealand. There hasn’t been room to prepare for the 10K race I am running on Monday, remember to call family, or look too closely at potentially interesting job vacancies.

I noticed a few tweets about #BlogJune coming up. I briefly considered it. Of all Junes this one has the potential to be challenging, rewarding and interesting to reflect on consistently. However I am trying to reduce the number of things I commit to and then fail to complete. Enthusiasm has a terrible habit of getting in the way of realism.  Read more ›

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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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