Connecting with Scholars

Terence Huwe from the University of California (Berkley) opening this session – going to talk about how ‘faculty’ (academic staff) see the research library, and how we (the librarians) see faculty.

Terence is director of the library at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment – the library is the ‘digital publisher’ for the institute. Faculty study by Ithaka in 2009 – at – tells us about faculty and their attiudes to information/libraries

More faculty members are conducting research at the ‘network level’ – using internet resources as a place to start research, with a growing preference for online/full-text. However faculty members slower to adopt these things that librarians, and also science faculty lead the way – before social science/humanities/arts scholars.

A complex world requires new approaches…

Scholars are responding by increasing the amount they work in groups and consult with each other, more aware of Grey literature  – pre-publication work of high interest, working papers etc. Increasingly aware that others have the skills to search an increasingly complex information environment (i.e. turning to librarians) – but may still have trouble admitting this to themselves and others! We need to help them with this 🙂

What does this mean for libraries? This is an opportunity to reframe our image strategically:

  • save time by assisting discovery
  • educate and form research partnerships
  • to offer interpretive services

[this sounds in some ways very much like a shift from librarian -> information scientist to me? More like information scientists might work in a business environment?]

Move the library away from ‘a place you go’ to a service.

New learning spaces – at UC Berkeley now have bSpace – scalable campus teaching portal – based on Library a la Carte – open source, Sakai platform. As Ithaka research suggests, adoption by faculty is slow, but it is happening.

Terence stresses need to act upon locally acquired wisdom about user behaviour. Outreach is powerful (that means talking to people! Often 1-1), and now you can do effective outreach online.

It is important to monitor the environement for new roles – digital publisher etc.

Taking the Library to the Learner pt 2 – NTNU Library

Ruruk Greenall (@brinxmat) talking about work done at NTNU library (a technical university)

Starting off with information gathered from various surveys – found high use of articles, and that books were not so interesting to the library users – especially not when not available in electronic format.

Found from statistics that 35% of library purchases not borrowed at all. Worked out it would be cheaper to get students to buy each book they needed and get the library to pay for it, than to go to the expense of purchasing, cataloguing and shelving the book.

So – decided to look at how the library subscribed resources appeared in Google – looked at over 300 services and found that out of 333 services, only 6 had content that was not discoverable via Google. So in general can use Google, rather than relying on these subscribed services (for search – not necessarily content). One student comment on the library blog was;

What is the use of teaching students to use databases that are closed to them when they finish their studies

So – rather than try to replicate Google, rather look at the gaps between Google and the library and just look to fill these gaps. For example they created a Linked Data version of MetaLib information and created browser toolbar. Also created a Linked Data representation of SFX (and created a display that includes Sherpa/Romeo status – great idea)

Taking the Library to the Learner pt 1 – Summon

This session from Hannah Whaley and Dave Pattern – talking about their selection and implementation of Summon at Dundee and Huddersfield respectively.

Hannah describes how the amount of information being published as increased at a phenomenal rate – big figures but hard to really get head round how much information is now being published on a daily basis.

At Dundee they tried to model the problem. Looked at their learners – thinking in terms of Marc Prensky’s Digital Natives, and ‘Twitch Speed – complete shift in attention span; internet becomes extension of self storing knowledge and thoughts.

In HE we have responded to these challenges is the use of ‘elearning’ – via VLEs. In the library, adopted ‘Federated search’ – but real challenges – slow; inaccurate; substantial hardward requirement – felt like an old system forced electronic – time for ground up redesign says Hannah.

However challenges – Complexity of eresources (many sources via many platforms), accuracy of information literacy (do students know what they are looking for? Is information accurate?), but need to do this while keeping close contact with the students.

Summon – new product from Serials Solutions – offers webscale discovery [what does this mean in this context?]. Single search box – which they have use to integrate into many environments – in library web pages, in VLE, on mobile platforms.

Practical example – took 140 Environmental Science 1st year undergraduates:

  • 2 weeks of 2 hour practical labls
  • Introduced to Summon and asked to research topics both on Summon and on the open web and keep notes on what they found where
  • Results showed that ‘general’ information better on open web, but ‘academic’ content on Summon (students were asked to rate)
  • While found that higher proportion of searches on Summon needed ‘refining’, refinement on Summon resulted in more improvement in results set than refining on open web search interfaces

About finding a balance between easy/accurate information, with appropriate support.

Still challenging to ‘take the library to the learner’ – technologically and culturally – but making progress.

Now Dave Pattern – talking about implementation of Summon at the University of Huddersfield.

Huddersfield implemented ‘MetaLib’ federated search solution in 2006 – but didn’t fulfil promise. Noted a huge increase in use of Google Scholar in place of library systems, so decided need to do something. Drew up a ‘wish list’ of what they really wanted:

  • Single search box for all (really all) library content
  • Very fast results (<1 second, no federated search)
  • Clean and simple interface
  • Easy to maintain

Invited vendors to come to pitch products/solutions against this list.

Summon was the product that they were impressed with (and could deliver immediately, whereas some other products still in development)

Implemented gradually – had to transition from existing systems

Actually quite easy to implement – some stuff to deal with – e.g. MARC21 mapping, working out daily uploads of information from local information sources (in this case Library catalogue), dealing with deletions

“Summon (or other similar products – Aquabrowser, VuFind etc.) will highlight all your crappy cataloguing” – either through bad or inconsistence practice or copy cataloguing errors. This will apply to any library – doesn’t matter how good your cataloguing is, these products tend to expose the problems.

Generally found students liked it – although some criticisms as well (e.g. ‘too much like Google’)

Implementation of Summon at Huddersfield and at Northumbria has been documented as part of a JISC project – see for more details.

Getting real about social media

Start of the second day of Internet Librarian International, and Hazel Hall (Director of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University) is going to talk about “relevance of social tools for information professionals” (slides at

Hazel says that we need to recognise that what we aren’t going to do is as important as what we are going to do.

Hazel relates how social media informs her – to know that her sister caught a salmon last Friday, meet up with people on trains, important dates, what’s happening in various organisations, the birth of a friends baby and the death of a colleague.

Social media are aggregators of people (not data or information alone) – their lives and experiences – and this is true for librarians and information professionals of course as well as everyone else. Hazel says that librarians and information professionals are good at organising and commmunicating information – and so natural for us to use social media as an extension to the ways we have done this traditionally. However, we may not be so good at engaging with library stakeholder communities in a participatory, collaborative fashion – and understanding how we can use social media to help with this.

Hazel talking about how it was possible to use a blog post to propose a physical meeting – impromptu coffee mornings – and this draws from an extremely wide set of people – who might not otherwise usually meet or interact. Hazel says new knowledge happens at boundaries – and by bringing these people together you explore the boundaries.

Hazel says that even after 500 years we really don’t full understand the impact of the introduction of the printing press. She mentions the ‘Gutenberg parenthesis’ – that the limited amount of printed information available made us believe that it was normal to codify information – but that looking back on this in the future we will see this as the anomaly in human history.

Hazel mentions the 5 stages of twitter acceptance:

  • Denial – ‘twitter is stupid’
  • Presence – ‘I don’t get it but I feel I ought to do it’
  • Dumping – ‘I’ll just advertise stuff like blog posts etc.’
  • Conversing – authentic 1-1 conversations

“I’m using Twitter to publish useful information that people read, and to converse 1×1 authentically” – this is where the true value of microblogging lies.

People use Twitter in different ways – e.g. Phil Bradley uses his account very differently to Hazel. Hazel keeps her truly ‘personal’ interaction for Facebook, as Twitter (for her) always has an aspect of her professional face. (Hazel feels this is perhaps because Phil is an independent consultant, and so always representing himself – I’m not sure I agree, I suspect it is just more about what you are happy to publish to certain audiences – Phil is simply ‘more public’ than Hazel would be my conclusion I think).

Hazel relates how librarians and information professionals have been using social media for staff development, professional communication (e.g. in place of email lists), profile raising – tweeting and blogging, peer-review work.

Hazel moving onto the use of social media for the delivery of library services. Research snapshot shows that in this cas social media is used largely to deliver the same services in a different way – and noting that libraries are often ahead of the game in comparison to the rest of the organisation – however still very much a ‘we publish’ and ‘you consume’ model – Hazel asking where the user participation element is.

There are example – using a blog to build on traditional services and engage library members through discussion in comments, recommendations etc.

“We are all part of the reality: develop our users, develop ourselves” –

In his PhD Umar Ruhi ( describes how users move through stages of use:

Consume -> connect -> canvas -> communicate -> comment -> commentate -> contribute ->collaborate

We need to develop stakeholder participation – lead communities. Hazel relates how at Napier they’ve used Yammer to do student support – students used it because it was useful and because humans like making and sharing things.

Hazel believes libraries should be following ‘end users’ (library members) via social media – this isn’t to say you’ll see every single tweet, but that you have that direct contact. She also notes that this isn’t necessarily about Twitter – your users more likely to be on Facebook.

Q: Thinking about appropriateness – is it possible to manage personal/professional identity

A: Can’t necessarily manage others – but need to be aware of what we do ourselves – no real answers at the moment

The Library laboratory

This session from Nils Pharo from the Faculty of Journalism, Library and Information Science at Oslo University College. Nils is not ‘hardcore technical’!

The Library laboratory is a project – website at – in Norwegian. It has been running for 4 years, funded by Nowegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority (ALM). Initialised by Thomas Brevik – about connecting people in Norway who had an interest in libraries and technology.

Library laboratory supports:

  • net-based meeting places
    • blog
    • wiki (including terminology explanations etc.)
  • physical meetings – annual workshops attended by people from across library sector (public, academic, specialist)
  • projects/prototype development
    • guidance
    • “micro-funding”


  • Established network of enthusiasts
  • Intitiated other projects financed by ALM (including ‘Pode‘)
  • Now buidling infrastructured to support existing projects
  • ‘Open Library’ provides a solution for merging data from system providers, librarians and library users

The ‘open library’ system is now up and running and being tested with data from the Oslo Public Library (Pode Project)

SWOT analysis of the library laboratory


  • Engaged a passionate group
  • Technological infrastructure


  • Small community scattered across many environments
  • Lack of resources to dedicate time to system development


  • National library invests in new union catalogue system – will require a rethink of how library data is managed – may be able to build on work already done for ‘open library’ – opportunity to work with National Library


  • Many library systems with different interests in Norway
  • Lack of identifiers – and each community/system has it’s own identifiers

Q: What are you lacking when it comes to identifiers?

A: e.g. no identifiers for authors; identifiers for records (different on each system). Current work at the National Library to improve authority identifers

Use of Microsoft LiveLabs Pivot in a Library

This session by David Kane from the Waterford Institute of Technology.

LiveLabs Pivot is a product designed to “interact with massive amounts of data in ways that are powerful, informative and fun” (quote from Microsoft) or “making sense out of mountains of data” (MIT Technology Review). Initially worked via a dedicated viewer, but now can be viewed in a browser.

Pivot allows you to drill-down to specific items using faceted browsing – David demonstrates this with this collection of cars in Pivot provided by Microsoft (you need Silverlight installed to view this).

At the Waterford Institute they used Pivot as a data analysis tool:

  • Downloaded data about 5,000 most ‘in demand’ books from the library system (i.e. most under pressure rather than necessarily most borrowed – that is a popular book, but where there were many copies in the library would not be included)
  • Then allocated colours to sets of books depending on level of demand (green through to red)

Gives way of visualising demand – and make case for additional copies etc.

David mentions ‘Google Refine‘ which also allows visualisations of data.

David shows another Pivot visualisation – looking at how books are distributed across different locations and library branches.

What did he use to create the visualisations?

  • Microsoft PivotViewer
  • Pivot Collection tool for Excel
  • Miscosoft Visual Studio 2010 (for Silverlight)
  • Silverlight 4 tools for visual studio
  • Silverlight 4 toolkit

David shows online example at – created using a Z39.50 connection to the catalogue and some PHP processing.

Q: How could it deal with multiple languages?

A: Can generate text in appropriate language ‘on the fly’ and overlay on images. Also Sliverlight has some ability to provide text labels in appropriate languages

Q: Interested in work on ‘high demand’ items – does it have an application to ‘reading lists’?

A: Good question – reading lists are something they are looking at currently in general, but haven’t considered how Pivot would be used.

Q: Can you use Pivot to incorporate ebooks?

A: Absolutely no reason why not. But if you wanted to merge collections that problem would need solving first – Pivot not doing this for you. But could use colour coding to differentiate ebooks from print books and so easily visualise where you have ebook coverage etc.

Information Services at Shire

This session by Rob Haran from Shire Pharmaceuticals (based in the UK but international company). A medium sized company (I guess in the pharmaceutical world)

Company that is growing – so need flexible solutions. Cost limitations both in terms of content they can afford and the size of the team managing electronic resources.

Marketing used:

  • Passive – email strap lines, out of office messages, posters
  • Active – new hires email, articles in newsletters
  • Self marketing – resources and word of moth

InfoZone – is web site giving: global access to electornic resources, other services and training

Creating an identity – built on InfoZone – distinctive logo – on top of this now built new services – InfoHub (a study/information space) and InfoLink.

Rob notes problem of emails – can be spam – and this creates very negative reaction.

Make sure training is targeted – but found specific training for new/updated resources didn’t work so well.

Attending team meetings – 5 minute snap shots – Rob’s experience is that you loose peoples attention if you go longer than about 5 minutes (10 minutes is too long)

Where ideas haven’t worked so well they have tried to refine and improve – e.g. promotional material in A4 format put on people’s desks just got binned – but postcard sized material worked.

Found classroom based training for new or updated resources (i.e. aimed at existing staff) weren’t successful – perceived as too long (3 hours), wrong time, not of immediate interest. So need to relate training to short term business needs, thinking about shorter sessions over lunch.

For introductory email – made more interactive by introducing links – rather than pushing more and more content into email. Can also ask questions – ‘what alerts would you like’, ‘what information do you need’ – get the person using your services straightaway.

Rob sees seamless, easy access to resources as part of marketing

Collaboration outreach and ‘inverse’ outreach:

  • Reference Manager – enable request for literature search support
  • Work with Corporate Communications – they may want information (e.g. newspaper articles) that you have access to

Meaure success – get feedback, capture quotes.


  • Develop and identity
  • Take opportunities
  • Don’t expect immediate results – these things take time

Disseminating electronic resources in the physical library

First post-lunch session at Internet Librarian International, starts with Esben Fjord from Gladsaxe Public Library in Denmark.

Esben going to talk about how to disseminate electronic resources in the physical library. At Gladsaxe they are experimenting with new forms of digital platforms in the physical space. Not a proper project in the traditional way – no goals, no success criteria – this is deliberate! Want to explore potentials rather than achieve a particular result.

But they do have reasons why they are doing this:

  • Increase in electronic resources available in the library
  • Want to take the electronic resources to where the users are
  • Want to take advantage of librarians skills
  • Want to expose electronic resources in context
  • Want to work in cooperation in partnership with the users
  • FUN!

Created 4 ‘platforms’:

  • Digital signage (big screens)
  • Music chair (called Sonic)
  • A drawing machine
  • An ‘interactive floor’

Digital Signage:

  • 10 big screens all over the main libraries and branches
  • Controlled by a digital signage systems – like a CMS
  • Factual information, reviews and recommendations
  • Events
  • 10 editors – each responsible for 1 or more screens

This is OK, but want to do more – create a more interactive experience. In the future plan to:

  • Cooperate with wider community and other libraries
  • Interactive presentations, data from users, competitions, surveys, etc.
  • Exposing electronic resources

Drawing machine:

  • Children can draw on the interactive drawing machine
  • Figures from the national web portal for children ‘Palles Gavebod’ – exposing children’s library service
  • Can add their own pictures – but very limited facility at the moment
  • Machine eyecatching – attracts children – they love it! – but this leads to support needed

Want to:

  • Use the machine to support events and shows – this will need new version of the software and better organisation and ownership

Music Chair:

A circular chair with built in speakers and a touchscreen display. Currently:

  • Librarians create playlists to make recommendations
  • The chairs are eyecatching – users think they are cool
  • Content from YouTube and Grooveshark (nobody has told them not to…)

Wanted to promote BibZoom – a national streaming service – but found this wasn’t well designed for this type of activity – more based around a traditional library model of ‘find’ and then ‘borrow’.

Example of older man who discovered electronica recommended by librarian – he found it breathtaking and borrowed a lot of recommended albums.


  • User created playlists and recommendations
  • Special events playlists
  • Content from BibZoom mentioned above
  • Better user interfaces
  • Other kinds of media – films, computer games

Again – they have access to film streaming, but hedged around with DRM etc, make it difficult for them to use in this context 🙁

Finally – the Interactive Floor:

Projection of an image from the ceiling onto the floor – has a ‘water effect’ – ripples when people walk across it, or touch it. So created set of quotes about water from books to project – and surrounded it with the books from which the quotes were taken. See video at

Currently using it for:

  • Play and gaming
  • Exhibiting text – like the water example above – other examples as well – e.g. project cartoons, and you can interact with the figures
  • Supporting special events
  • Users think its funny
  • Good branding


  • Better user interfaces
  • Develop library specific flash presentations
  • Expose electronic resources – especially newspapers – but again copyright/IP a problem

Challenges now:

  • Technical infrastructure and data models (e.g. APIs)
  • Copyright and DRM
  • Electronic resources are made for searching – not for communication and dissemination
  • Backend interfaces
  • Competences and knowledge
  • Organisation and ownership

Monitoring and Maximising Organisational Impact

I’m at Internet Librarian International today and tomorrow (I’m speaking at the end of today). This session is being delivered by Joy Palmer (MIMAS) and Brian Kelly (UKOLN).

Starting off with Brian Kelly – with a focus on the impact of the Social Web:

First thing to maximise impact of content – set it free! So he encourages people to record and disseminate his talk via many methods – and applies Creative Commons license to enable this.

Brian highlights there is increasing acceptance of ‘Social Web’ as of value to us as professionals – so time to start asking questions about impact and showing value. Brian believes we need to reshape the Gartner hype cycle curve – avoid the ‘hype’ being too much, and jump the ‘trough of disillusionment’ straight to productivity.

Brian showing stats about his blog – but stressing stats in isolation are meaningless – need to give context. But also stresses the dangers of ‘rankings’ for blogs – measurement leads to ‘winners’ and ‘losers’?

Arguments against gathering stats:

  • We know we are doing a good job
  • Users happy with services
  • Gathering stats distracts from core businesses


  • Government (and other bodies) unconvinced
  • Maybe some services need to be ‘retired’
  • Evidence could be in favour of more investment in some services

Need to understand trends… e.g. how effective are mailing lists? About 3rd of the audience saying still important way of discussing things, about 3rd saying people have moved onto other mechanisms – RSS, Twitter, blogs etc.

Brian shows two pieces of evidence – lists aimed at web managers and web professionals have dropped significantly in use, whereas lis-link although has dropped slightly still very well used… – shows importance of context.

What types of metrics?

  • Blog usage statistics – but beware of automated tools artificially boosting stats (and other reasons why stats vary)
  • Technorati – Some say Technorati rankings not worth screen they are projected on, but Brian saying this is worthwhile because no effort and people will pay attention

People’s behaviour changes over time – Brian now seeing impact of Twitter referrals in terms of what drives traffic to his blog – so he knows to focus in this area to bring more traffic. He can also see in stats the impact of him adding a ‘subscribe by email’ to his blog – big leap in number of hits – so makes sure he always includes this option on blogs now.

What to do?

  • Register with Technorati
  • Look at Wikio for blog rankings as well

But Brian stressing limitations – league tables can be flawed – blogs may stop at end of project and drop from rankings etc. – but important to have a ‘story’ to explain.

Brian noting that the effort of tweeting a post is absolutely minimal – and substantial return – look at effort. Recommends registering with to get stats on use of any shortened URLs you post using the service.

Finally Brian suggests that we can identify popular services and contribute to reach audience – so Wikipedia good example.

Now over to Joy Palmer to talk about moving ‘Beyond Usage Stats’ – or demonstrating value and marketing services when you have no money:

Joy faces the challenge of understanding the impact of JISC national services – Copac, Zetoc, Archives Hub … – on the UK knowledge economy.

Wanted to use audience research to drive engagement – needed to understand:

  • Perceptions
  • Value
  • Unique selling points
  • … but most of all BENEFITS

Benefits drive engagement (in the commercial world = SALES).

Often we think we know who are users are, and how they benefit from our services – but if you question and dig you may find answers are not what you expect, or that you know less than you thought.

Statistics only give very partial information about usage, and give little or know information about how a service is actually valued and where it fits in the users’ context. That’s not to dismiss statistics completely – as Brian outlined you can interpret statistics in useful ways.

However, there is a lot that statistics don’t tell you. Understanding impact and value means rethinking performance. Joy going to outline what they did at MIMAS:

Looked at who exactly is using the services – but beware you may find biggest users are not the people you are funded to provide services to – e.g. Archives Hub has a great deal of use from family historians – which is great, but not the target of the core funding for the service.

Looked at questions of market penetration (and defining market) and other areas…

Joy recommending the JISC “Guide to Researching Audiences” – did it on a shoestring, over Christmas! Carried out online surveys (over 3 weeks), and then follow up interviews.

Polite insistence to get surveys filled in – e.g. popup on COPAC website. Also found bribery effective – amazon vouchers for interviewees. Used 4 staff to do 12 x 30 minute interviews.

Wanted to understand:

  • If users UK based
  • Were they from HEIs
  • What their role was (academic, student, librarian)

Got lots of good feedback – much more feedback on Zetoc and Copac than on Archives Hub – perhaps because screened for people from UK HEIs – and for Archives Hub lots of users outside this core audience.

However, still left with holes in knowledge…

Features are not benefits!

‘simple and convenient’ is not a benefit – it is a feature.

Need to put yourself into the mindset of the user – far too often we talk about features of our services – which can be useful but doesn’t clearly communicate what your product is and what it will do for the user.

‘create new knowledge’, ‘further your career’, ‘gain recognition’ – these are user benefits – and this is the language MIMAS have started to use on the homepage of the Archives Hub.

E.g. – we don’t need to sell ‘cross-search’ but the benefits of serendipity.

Quotes from users very valuable – and can be mined for benefits.

e.g. on Zetoc alerts “The alerts have enlightened me on many topics”

What next for MIMAS in this area?

  • Need to do more market analysis – who aren’t we currently reaching
  • Need to develop marketing startegy

Key message – you don’t have to spend a lot – 3-5 interviews can give you a huge amount of valuable information. This is NOT A SCIENCE – there is no set way of doing this, although there are some methodologies you can adopt.