Volume 6, no. 3 April 2011
Association of Librarians and Information professionals in the Social Sciences
Special issue: Library services for the 21st Century Virtual Repositories DELILA: Sharing Information and Digital Literacy Resources; Increasing Uptake at St Andrews; Welsh Repository Network Mediated Deposit Bureau; Useful Resources for tracing information on Open access repositories Virtual Reference Services Ask Scotland: the National Virtual Reference Service; Instant Messaging at the University of Sussex Library; The Ask a Librarian Service at Middlesex University; Ask-a-Librarian: the Virtual Support and Information Skills Training Service at the University of East London Personalising Services Personalised Services in HE
ALISS Quarterly Volume 6 no. 3 April 2011
ALISS Quarterly Vol. 6 Number 3 April 2011 © The authors Each article is copyrighted to its author(s) and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or data retrieval system without prior written permission from the author(s) and full acknowledgement to ALISS. Editor: Heather Dawson firstname.lastname@example.org Published by ALISS.
Special issue: Library services for the 21st Century Editorial Heather Dawson
Virtual Repositories DELILA: Sharing Information and Digital Literacy Resources. Lisa Anderson, University of Birmingham Increasing Uptake at St Andrews – Strategies for Developing the Research Repository Jackie Proven, Repository Support Officer and Janet Aucock, Repository Manager University of St Andrews Library Time and cost analysis for repository deposit: the Welsh Repository Network Mediated Deposit Bureau Hannah Payne, Repository Support Officer, Welsh Repository Network (WRN) Useful Resources for tracing information on Open access repositories
Virtual Reference Services Ask Scotland: the National Virtual Reference Service Gillian Hanlon, Information Officer, Slainte It’s good to chat.. Using Instant Messaging with Our Online Subject Guides at the University of Sussex Library. Chloe Barnes, Learning and Teaching Support Librarian, University of Sussex The Ask a Librarian Service at Middlesex University Lesley Curtis-Brown, Senior Liaison Librarian, Criminology, Sociology, Social Policy and Housing at Middlesex University. Ask-a-Librarian: the Virtual Support and Information Skills Training Service at the University of East London Simone Okolo, Academic Services and Skills Manager, Ella Mitchell; Subject Librarian for School of Computing, Information Technology and Engineering; Graham Fennel ,Subject Librarian for School of Psychology
Personalising Services Personalised Services in HE Elizabeth Tilley, Librarian, Faculty of English University of Cambridge
Editorial Welcome to the latest edition of ALISS Quarterly. It has been published by ALISS (Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences). This special issue takes as its starting point the need for libraries to adapt their services to meet and predict future needs of their users. It has two main areas of focus: online repositories and virtual reference services. Repositories are at the forefront of the open access movement â&#x20AC;&#x201C; offering innovative means for authors/institutions to provide access to high quality research and teaching resources to a wider community. The articles in this issue from St Andrews and Welsh Repository Network discuss possible measures to increase advocacy and deposit. The article from the DELILA project describes a new initiative to create a repository for teaching and learning objects Another innovation is in terms of adapting the reference/ enquiry desk to modern living by offering a service that meets the need for 24/7 virtual support. Read the examples of good practice from the University of East London, Middlesex University and the University of Surrey and a national consortium representing Scottish Library services. Finally the issue closes by introducing the idea of personalised services as a means to tailoring library services to the needs of HE staff and students. We also have a new twitter channel where you can keep up to date with our latest activities. http://twitter.com/aliss_info we are using it to highlight weekly listings of new social science websites and new UK government publications online. Remember that you can also keep up to date with ALISS news by subscribing to our free electronic mailing list LIS_SOCIAL SCIENCE at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/LISSOCIALSCIENCE.html . Or consulting our website at: http://www.alissnet.org.uk We hope you enjoy the issue! Heather Dawson ALISS Secretary.
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
DELILA: Sharing Information and Digital Literacy Resources. Lisa Anderson University of Birmingham With thanks to Jane Secker of LSE and Jonathan Andrews of UoB. The DELILA (Developing Educators Learning and Information Literacies for Education) is part of a JISC and HEA funded OER project. LSE is leading the project and is focussing on making their digital literacy material available. The University of Birmingham is the partner institution, focussing on releasing their information literacy learning objects. One of the aims of the project is to show how digital and information literacy activities can be embedded into institutional teacher training courses that are accredited by the HEA such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (commonly called the PG Cert). For a long time these types of literacies have either been ignored by those developing PG Cert courses, or seen as an optional add on. LSE has already been very successful in embedding a number of digital literacy elements into their current PG Cert course. The University of Birmingham previously had two optional modules on the PG Cert course, but these did not generate high levels of attendance, and so Birmingham are using the DELILA project as a chance to open up discussions between the Library and PG Cert co-ordinators. This is in order to embed elements of information literacy throughout the PG Cert modules rather than to continue to have standalone optional modules. The final aim is to make the teaching materials that will be used to teach digital and information literacy at these two institutions openly available, via their own institutional repositories and Open JORUM. Those from other institutions will then be able to download those materials and re-purpose them for use within their own institutionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; teacher training courses. For the first part of the project, both institutions focussed on auditing all of the potential OERs (Open Educational Resources) that they had for teaching digital and information literacy. A large number of materials in various formats were identified. At the University of Birmingham the librarians worked with the PG Cert co-ordinator to look at all of the modules of their PG Cert, to identify which learning objects could suitably be embedded into each module in order to enhance and complement the current course material. From this Birmingham created a number of worked examples which discussed in detail how these objects would be embedded, how the teacher would use them and what student activities would be used alongside them. It was noted that participants of the PG Cert were often very confident at finding information for their own academic subject areas, but they were unsure about how to find journal articles and books that related to teaching and education. In the module that focussed on understanding educational enquiry, it was decided to embed some of the teaching material that the subject librarian for education uses with her normal taught students. The aim was also to remind the academics that it can be bewildering to be new to a subject, as most undergraduate students are, and to have to do independent research for the first time. This would also demonstrate the importance of having librarians that can teach information literacy skills. ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
LSE also detailed how their digital and information literacy materials are embedded in modules within their PG Cert course, and some of these objects will be released as OERs as part of the project. Many of the objects that were identified as being suitable for inclusion within the PG Cert courses contained third party information such as screen shots of databases. This will be a problem for many librarians who are looking to make their materials openly available for others to use. As the OECD (2007) study highlighted, one of the main barriers to people making their materials openly available are related to legal matters such as the “time required and cost of obtaining permission for using … material for which a third party owns the copyright prior to making them available”. To overcome this barrier the DELILA project team have decided to remove third party content from their learning objects and replace this with place holders that will give some indication of what has been removed, so that it can be easily replaced by anybody else wishing to re-purpose the OER. This should not be seen negatively, as librarians spend time every year having to update the screen shots in their teaching material due to the cosmetic look of electronic databases changing on a regular basis. When selling the benefits to others of uploading teaching materials to an institutional repository, too much attention seems to be focussed on the value of using the repository as a marketing tool for an individual or institution. Many of the materials that were selected for DELILA also included institutional branding. To prevent this from being a barrier to others using the materials, the DELILA team have decided to remove, where possible, all institutional branding. Those wishing to sell the benefits of OERs by making such materials available via institutional repositories and Open Jorum should focus on adding to the teaching knowledge in that area so that it can create a cycle of “share, reuse, improve, and share again” (Ochoa, 2009). With regards to embedding digital and information literacy within PG Cert courses, many librarians will be at the starting point. Being able to see others’ materials, together with descriptions of how those materials are embedded, will provide an insight into what others are doing. This can then be used to drive the process forward within their own institutions. Participants at the University of Birmingham plan to look at the digital literacy materials that LSE are making available as part of the project, to gain inspiration for how they can also include those elements into their PG Cert course. Academic teaching staff quite often work at many different institutions over the course of their careers. By making materials more widely available for re-use, over-time, librarians may in fact be helping their own institutions, as new academic staff members will already be aware of the importance of digital and information literacy through using these materials whilst in post at other institutions.
author in the metadata fields but instead to attribute the author to the persons job title (e.g. Subject Advisor) and their place of work, so that the author field would show: Library Services Subject Advisor. The discussions revealed that many of the subject librarians did not feel that they could claim that the items of work were 100% their own, as they have often collaborated or taken ideas and examples from other members of their team. It was also felt, in the long term, it was more sustainable to put a corporate author as members of staff change subject areas or move to new roles. The project has also provided funding, so that the e-prints interface can be customised to provide an enhanced look and feel for end users, a good example of this is the Humbox interface. To find out more about the DELILA project and to follow its progress, look at the project blog: http://delilaopen.wordpress.com/ References: Ochoa, X. & Duval, E. (2009) Quantitative analysis of learning object repositories, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies 2: 226-238 citing Campbell, L, (2003), Engaging with the Learning Object Economy, in Reusing Online Resources (ed. Littlejohn, A), Kogan Page. OECD (2007) Giving knowledge for free. The emergence of open educational resources. Paris: UNESCO-IIEP. URL: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/35/7/38654317.pdf [accessed 22.02.11].
The project team have drawn up a table to identify how the eprints metadata fields (on which the IR is based) maps to UKLOM and JORUM. This is to ensure that the material can easily be pulled across from the institutional repositories to other repositories such as Open Jorum. The project team at The University of Birmingham are now starting to make decisions on what metadata to include in their institutional repository, and which parts will be visible to end users. After discussions with the subject librarians who had created the majority of the Birmingham OERs, it was decided not to provide a personal ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
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Increasing Uptake at St Andrews – Strategies for Developing the Research Repository Jackie Provena, Repository Support Officer and Janet Aucockb, Repository Manager University of St Andrews Library
Introduction This paper describes the repository services that have been developed at the University of St Andrews and our aim to maximise the benefits of a full text open access repository. We describe how we have supported the strategic aims of the University and worked to embed repository services into centralised research information management, while recognising the culture and practice of researchers at St Andrews.
Background The University of St Andrews research repository has gone through a number of development phases since its pilot in 2002. From 2006 the main driver was to increase the accessibility of the University’s research outputs, and the primary focus was a service to support the deposit of electronic PhD theses. Janet Aucock described our repository service in SCONUL Focus1, concluding that its success came as a result of key partnerships between relevant agencies in the University. The Library repository also established close links with the University’s ‘Research Expertise Database’. This held metadata for research publications and provided research staff profiles. During RAE 2008 Library and repository staff became involved with processes to manage research outputs. The development of close working relationships and a shared vision to integrate systems, data and processes intensified over time. The next phase was the procurement of a new Current Research Information System (CRIS) that could fit with our infrastructure and extend our vision. In 2010 we implemented Pure2 – a CRIS with the ability to describe all aspects of our research activity, expose data in flexible ways and provide a workflow to pass full text research outputs to our repository, now called Research@StAndrews: FullText3. Our PURE implementation has created a core support team of staff from the Research Policy Office, Library and Business Improvements/IT. We are keen to present a joined-up approach to our research community, with coordinated outreach activities. These include joint information sessions covering Research Assessment (REF) drivers, the practical benefits of PURE to individual researchers and the opportunities for open access.
Strategies for increasing repository content We describe below a number of factors which have a positive influence on our repository development. Do you need a CRIS and a repository? The CRIS tender process prompted us to re-examine our infrastructure, and for us the reasons to keep a separate (but integrated) repository platform were clear. This choice ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
may not suit every institutional structure and may be influenced by existing systems and workflows, but it does seem to satisfy a wide spectrum of research data management needs. It facilitates ownership of different parts of the research story and allows particular expertise to be targeted at specific aspects of the service. For example we can direct Library skills to maximise discovery and delivery of full text and Research Policy Office skills to research assessment needs. At the same time both CRIS and Repository together satisfy the needs of individual researchers. The specific advantages of a CRIS At the 2009 euroCRIS conference held in St Andrews, we posed the question “Does a CRIS mean that you will necessarily get more full text?”4 PURE is the primary driver for collecting bibliographic metadata. The fully integrated repository becomes a layer, avoiding the competitive nature of collecting similar data. Repository staff in the library can monitor the research outputs added to Pure as researchers update their publication lists, contacting people who are engaging with the system. The rich metadata allows us to target research outputs that might be suitable for adding full text. The fact we can see complete profiles helps us spot active researchers and make links with events and projects. Building on this strategy to find academic ‘champions’ and provide exemplars, we also looked to external sources of data including outputs of the MERIT project5. Using MERIT metadata MERIT originally aimed to make the full text of all RAE2008 submissions available to the public but was unable to complete this aspect of the project. However a considerable amount of metadata was collected and has been made available in a searchable database. The fact that the metadata has been enhanced with publisher details and the main copyright conditions from SHERPA/RoMEO6 means it has proved to be a valuable resource. The database can be easily searched and downloaded for further analysis, and you can then target content in various ways. For example the results can be filtered by version to find articles that allow Publisher’s PDF in a repository. We check RoMEO for latest policy wording and then email authors with an advocacy message about open access and offer to deposit these outputs on their behalf. At the same time we suggest they deposit author versions of their more recent publications, which means they just add the file to the metadata already in PURE. While it’s possible to find this data in other ways, the MERIT database is a nice tidy solution. Starting with RAE2008 data provides confidence when viewing your repository as a showcase. Working with a batch of outputs from one publisher certainly speeds up the copyright-checking part of the deposit process. Library support services Actual staff on the ground devoting substantial time to interaction with researchers is crucial. As well as drawing on existing knowledge and experience of Library staff, a new Library post was created with the specific remit to support the PURE/repository integration and associated activities. Library staff can emphasise full text and can support open access initiatives. We can offer added services such as digital preservation and usage ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
statistics. Being active in the wider repository community, we can maintain an outward view on best practice and can facilitate optimum discovery of research publications with our knowledge of repository aggregators and discovery services. At the same time the support network in the Library itself, especially teamwork with Academic Liaison Librarians has substantial advantages for institutional communication about research support.
Our way forward is to continue to improve our repository content and research support both in terms of quantity and quality and to embed our services within the research community of the University.
Open Access funding The University has obligations to its funders who increasingly require research outputs to be made publicly available7. The Repository Support Officer provides help in accessing funding streams such as a dedicated Wellcome Trust award, as well as supporting the “self-archiving” route to open access.
Library roles in repository and research support: Palmer, Carole L., Teffeau, Lauren C. and Newton, Mark P. ( 2008). Identifying factors of success in CIC Institutional Repository development. University of Illinois. Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship. Retrieved from https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/8981
Scholarly communication As a research-intensive university we need to be ready to adjust to new methods of scholarly communication. Promotion of the repository can raise awareness amongst our academics of the issues around copyright and full text dissemination, and influence attitudes towards open access. We have enhanced information on our library web pages, set up a blog, created leaflets and kept academic staff informed of the potential citation advantage of open access8.
Walters, T. O. (2007). Reinventing the library: How repositories are causing librarians to rethink their professional roles. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 7(2), 213-225. Retrieved from http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/14421
Open Journal Systems (OJS) and additional repository content The repository has a flexible content policy to store material that may not originate in the CRIS, therefore can accept content from other sources. We are running a pilot project using OJS to support journals run by University departments, some primarily coordinated by the postgraduate community. This content can sit alongside research outputs in the repository to give a wider picture of scholarly activity.
Lynch, C.A. (2003) Institutional repositories: essential infrastructure for scholarship in the digital age. ARL Bimonthly Report, 226, pp.1-7 http://www.arl.org/resources/pubs/br/br226/br226ir.shtml
E-theses Our institutional e-theses mandate continues to provide a current stream of content. We have Open Access sponsor membership of EThOS and benefit from regular retrospective digitisation requests for pre 2007 theses. This increase in content for our own repository is driven by external researcher requests and by internal requests for theses which are heavily used, or which illustrate research strengths in particular disciplines. To maximise discovery of our theses we have retrospectively created metadata for our print theses and ensured that it is in our local catalogue, as well as COPAC and Worldcat. Conclusion The University is committed to making our research outputs available to a wider audience, and we have described some strategies that support this aim by increasing our repository’s open access content. The visibility of data in PURE and the REF driver encourages researchers to populate their profile and in turn helps our advocacy efforts. In the past year, which has seen the full introduction of PURE and the appointment of a full time member of Repository staff, we have seen a significant increase in full text deposits. Between June and December 2010 our total content grew by 52%. As we build relationships we can see a change in culture including a growing acceptance of open access. As well as increasing content, our repository work is proving to be a valuable way to maintain dialogue with our researchers and improve our research support services. ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
The role of the repository: Crow, R. (2002). The case for institutional repositories: A SPARC position paper. http://www.arl.org/sparc/repositories/readings.html
References a b
Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aucock, J. 2009. Developing the Digital Research Repository at the University of St Andrews. SCONUL Focus 46. Available at http://www.sconul.ac.uk/publications/newsletter/46/12.pdf About PURE: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/staff/research/pure Research@StAndrews:FullText: http://research-repository.st-andrews.ac.uk/ Aucock, J. 2009. Digital research repository and CRIS integration. euroCRIS conference, St Andrews, November 11-13, 2009. Available at http://hdl.handle.net/10023/785 MERIT project website https://www.jisc-collections.ac.uk/Project-Merit/ Sherpa/RoMEO database http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/ Library website - Information about funder mandates http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/library/information/ furtherhelp/researchsupport/researchoutputs/ For a recent review of the literature on citation advantage see: Wagner, A. B. 2010. Open Access citation advantage: an annotated bibliography. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Winter 2010. Available at http://www.istl.org/10-winter/article2.html
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
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Time and Cost Analysis for Repository Deposit: the Welsh Repository Network Mediated Deposit Bureau Hannah Payne, Repository Support Officer, Welsh Repository Network (WRN) Introduction As part of the Welsh Repository Network (WRN)1 Enhancement Project (WRN-EP)2 an experimental service, the Mediated Deposit Bureau (MDB), was used to investigate the effect of outsourcing repository deposit on institutional repository services. Working with a selection of pilot institutions from WRN partners, the project team based at Aberystwyth University took responsibility for the deposit of a number of identified collections. The objectives of the MDB were to: 1. Directly increase the number of deposited items within each repository. 2. Identify per unit costs, in both time and money, for repository item deposit. 3. Engage institution staff with the repository deposit process in an attempt to embed the processes involved within their working cycle and further increase deposit. 4. Encourage further deposit by academic staff within each repository through the presence of new repository deposits. It is the second objective which provides the focus for this paper. The full set of services the WRN team provided within the MDB was: record creation; full-item deposit permission checks and item deposit where possible; template requests for full-items and/or further permissions from authors or copyright holders. The WRN team did not approach authors or copyright holders to make deposit requests on an institution’s behalf, however. It was felt more appropriate for an institution to do this as one, this would engage institution staff with the repository deposit process and two, would probably result in a more positive response. Taking the idea forward Three pilot institutions participated in the service: Swansea Metropolitan University (SMU); University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC); University of Wales Newport (Newport). Each institution identified discrete collections of items they wished to submit for processing within the MDB. For the purposes of this paper however, the deposit of only the particular collections detailed below will be discussed.3 SMU Collection SMU identified the research outputs submitted to their 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) return for deposit. The WRN team were provided with a PDF copy of the return which included full metadata records for each of the 131 items. The full set of services offered within the MDB was carried out. Records were prepared externally to the repository as the bulk-upload method for deposit to the institution’s DSpace system4 was to be utilised due to the relatively high number of items.
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UWIC Collection The collection from UWIC consisted of the original computer files of a collated group of research outputs held in the School of Art and Design’s SharePoint site. The WRN team were tasked only with the creation of repository records for the items held. In total, 10 of the stored items were identified as suitable for repository deposit and submitted directly via the DSpace deposit interface. Screen capture software was used to record each submission.5 Newport Collection Staff at Newport had collated citation lists detailing outputs produced by academics from each of the University’s academic schools. A record for each of the cited outputs was created and deposit check services carried out. It is those items identified for deposit from the School of Art, Media and Design list which are discussed in this paper. Again, deposit was made directly via the DSpace repository’s submission interface, recorded by screen capture software. Results Institution SMU UWIC Newport
Total time taken (hours: minutes: seconds)
Cost in £ at £14.03 per hour
No. of items
33: 50: 00 1: 45: 46 00: 47: 32
474.68 24.79 11.11
130 (timed) 9 4
Average time Cost in £ taken per item per item (minutes: seconds)
15: 37 11: 45 11: 53
3.65 2.75 2.78
Table 1: Table to show the total amount of time taken with each MDB collection; the cost of that time based on the hourly rate of a Grade 6 Repository Support Officer; the average time taken per item; the average cost for processing each item in a given collection.
As can be seen from the data above, the average time taken per item was very similar between the UWIC SharePoint items and the Newport Art citation items (records for both sets were added directly via the repository interface). There was a difference of 8 seconds between the two average times with Newport records taking the longer length of time to complete. Deposit checks were performed on these items, where no such check was performed on the UWIC items. Also, it was possible to locate and upload a full-text copy of an article processed within the Newport collection which added time to the processing of this item and would have affected the average time calculated. However, it is difficult to imply that the deposit checks were the cause of the difference in time. The original metadata sources for the two collections were very different; data for the UWIC items was taken directly from the original files; data from the Newport items came from citations. The types of items processed within each set were slightly different also. The UWIC collection consisted of Articles, Presentations, a Book chapter and an image. The Newport collection consisted of three Presentations and one Article. In contrast, the average time taken per item within the SMU collection is almost 4 minutes longer than the Newport or UWIC averages, at 15 minutes 37 seconds. This value included the length of time taken for bulk-upload preparation and deposit. This is a valid addition as it is important to consider the length of time taken to take the original ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
metadata source to a submitted repository record. It can be said then that within the MDB it took a greater length of time to process and prepare items for bulk-upload than to process and deposit items directly via the repository. Comparison with previous studies Only one study could be identified that had considered the length of time necessary to make a repository deposit. Utilising repository log files, based on 260 repository deposits, Carr & Harnad (2005)6 calculated the average time taken for item metadata completion as 10 minutes 40 seconds. This is over a minute less than the shortest average time determined within the MDB for direct repository deposit. However, as highlighted by Joint (2006)7, items within this particular study were self-archived and the extent of the metadata entered may have been minimal. An objective for the WRN team was to deliver as full a metadata record as possible for each item deposited via the MDB. A number of papers have suggested figures for the cost of repository deposit per item8, 9, 10, 11. Only two however, have calculated this cost on the length of time taken for deposit12, 13, the others calculating the cost by dividing the number of items present with the total running and set-up costs of the repository. The Houghton report14 estimated the cost per deposit at £9.35, based on an average deposit time of 10 minutes at an average academic salary plus on-costs. This figure is over £5 more than the highest cost calculated within the MDB. This difference can be explained however, as the calculations within the MDB did not include on-costs, considering only the hourly rate of the Repository Support Officer. Also, it is assumed that the average salary value used within the Horton report would have been higher than the one used within the MDB. As part of the LIFE2 Project15 case studies from three repositories of SHERPA-LEAP16 (Goldsmiths, University of London; Royal Holloway, University of London; University College London (UCL)) detailed the cost of the full preservation lifecycle, as set out within the LIFE Model v1.117, per repository deposit. The costs for the Acquisition, Ingest and Access stages of deposit were calculated between £14.70 at UCL up to £23 at Goldsmiths. These can be seen as significantly higher than the costs calculated within the MDB. Again however, the salary levels used within the calculations were different to the one used within the MDB and in some cases the costs within the case studies included the time of more than one member of staff. No estimate of times taken was provided however, making comparison difficult.
References 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
15 16 17
http://www.wrn.aber.ac.uk/ http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/inf11/sue2/wrnep.aspx A full report on the MDB along with individual case studies will be available via the WRN website (http://www. wrn.aber.ac.uk/) Documentation for this process is available via the online DSpace System Documentation- Chapter 8: System Administration (http://www.dspace.org/1_6_0Documentation/ch08.html#N158A5) A video of the on-screen processes within each submission were recorded via SMART Notebook Screen Capture software (http://www.smarttech.com/). Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2005). Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving. Technical Report , ECS, University of Southampton. Available: http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/10688/ Joint, N. (2006). Institutional repositories, self-archiving and the role of the library. Library Review. 55(2), pp. 81-84. Bevan, S. J. (2007). Developing an institutional repository: Cranfield QUEprints- a case study. OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives. 23(2), pp. 170-182. Xia, J. & Sun, L. (2007). Factors to assess self-archiving in institutional repositories. Serials Review. 33(2), pp. 73-80. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.serrev.2006.09.002 Houghton, J., Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P., Oppenheim, C., Morris, A., Creaser, C., Greenwood, H., Summers, M. & Gourlay, A. (2009). Economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models: Exploring the costs and benefits. JISC Report. Available: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/ rpteconomicoapublishing.pdf Ayris, P., Davies, R., McLeod, R., Miao, R., Shenton, H. & Wheatley, P. (2008). The LIFE2 final project report. Available: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/11758/1/11758.pdf Houghton, J., Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P., Oppenheim, C., Morris, A., Creaser, C., Greenwood, H., Summers, M. & Gourlay, A. (2009). Economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models: Exploring the costs and benefits. JISC Report. Available: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/ rpteconomicoapublishing.pdf Ayris, P., Davies, R., McLeod, R., Miao, R., Shenton, H. & Wheatley, P. (2008). The LIFE2 final project report. Available: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/11758/1/11758.pdf Houghton, J., Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P., Oppenheim, C., Morris, A., Creaser, C., Greenwood, H., Summers, M. & Gourlay, A. (2009). Economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models: Exploring the costs and benefits. JISC Report. Available: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/ rpteconomicoapublishing.pdf http://www.life.ac.uk/2/ http://www.sherpa-leap.ac.uk/ http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/4831/
Conclusion Although there have been a small number of studies considering the time or cost of repository deposit none can be seen to have considered both. Through the MDB, data for the average time taken for repository deposit through both the system interface and via the bulk-upload method has been derived. Staff costs for deposit based on WRN staff salary have also been calculated. However, it is possible for others to estimate the cost of their staff time using this data also.
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Useful Resources for tracing information on Open access repositories. Key research programmes. JISC repositories and support programme http://www.jisc.ac.uk/programme_rep_pres.aspx
• OpenDOAR worldwide Directory of Open Access Repositories • SHERPA Activities interesting collection of papers and slides relating to SHERPA projects. Useful for finding information on the history of open access and the issues institutions face. • Guidance on depositing material; copyright; and a guide to self archiving. Also includes some useful promotional and advocacy materials
Areas of activity include Digital repositories projects to further develop repositories for universities and colleges
Open Archives Initiative (OAI) http://www.openarchives.org/
Digital preservation taking forward the development of a distributed environment for digital preservation, in which services, roles and responsibilities are scoped and defined
Develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. Includes free access to detailed technical standards.
Discovery to delivery a service for searching across UK repositories and the agreement of standards for searching and semantic interoperability
Tools and innovation development and pilot innovative approaches to repository use and digital preservation through the development of new software and tools
Site developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton to support Eprints open source software. It provides free access to a wealth of resources including: technical support documents, faqs on self archiving for authors and an extensive directory of useful links. And the EPrints’ ROARMAP service: http://roarmap. eprints.org which is a searchable register of mandates and policies on open access publishing from institutions and research funders.
Shared infrastructure in support of both national and international developments, development of shared infrastructure services such as user profiling services, digital rights management, registries, identifier services, terminology and preservation services Website has a basic briefing http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/HE_repositories_briefing_paper_2005.pdf Which explains what a repository is. Other key features include news from its blog and links to key documents.
Directories of Open access repositories.
Repositories support project (RSP) http://www.rsp.ac.uk
Useful listing from the SHERPA. Project includes links to the websites of key projects.
5.5 year JISC-funded initiative (2006-2012) contributing to building repository capacity, knowledge and skills within UK higher education institutions. Its website has useful sections on Starting a repository, advocacy and technical support. Information on events and full text papers can also be retrieved.
Directory of appreviations and acronyms. http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/glossary.html
SHERPA Programme http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/
OpenDOAR is constructing a comprehensive and authoritative list of institutional and subject-based repositories. It also includes archives set up by funding agencies like the National Institutes for Health in the USA or the Wellcome Trust in the UK and Europe. It is developed and maintained by the University of Nottingham as part of a portfolio of work in Open Access and repositories under the SHERPA umbrella.
Consortium led by the University of Nottingham which is investigating issues in the future of scholarly communication. Key resources offered by the site include.
Directory of Open Access Journals http://www.doaj.org/
• RoMEO Publisher’s Copyright Listings http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php a searchable listing of journals and publishers providing information on their policies regarding self-archiving and open access
Maintained by Lund University Libraries. It is possible to browse by title or subject. You can also sign up for new title alerts.
• JULIET a summary of policies given by various research funders as part of their grant awards http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/juliet/index.php
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
Open J-Gate http://www.openj-gate.com/ Another directory of open access journals lists both peer-reviewed and other journals, reports and series. Indexes articles from 3000+ academic, research and industry journals. More than 1500 of them are peer-reviewed scholarly journals. ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies) http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/ checks the mandates and policies of funding councils worldwide. OpCit Project http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html Based at the Department of Electronics & Computer Science, University of Southampton provides free access to a bibliography of articles and reports that focus upon the impact of open access publishing upon citations. It seeks to show that making articles open access increases the number of citations. The Open Access Directory (OAD) http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Main_Page Is a wiki about open access (OA) hosted by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College and supervised by an independent editorial board. However it relies on the OA community to help maintain and keep the links up to date. A key feature is the The Open Access Bibliography. http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Bibliography_of_open_access which based is Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals, Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2005. and seeks to list and link to articles and reports covering all aspects of open access. Topics include; mandates, copyright, institutional repositories and interviews. Keeping up to date. SPARC Open Access Newsletter Very comprehensive service covering all aspects of the movement worldwide, Highlights key, events, news and papers. Sometimes with daily updates! Produced by Peter Suber http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/ archive.htm
Ask Scotland: the National Virtual Reference Service Gillian Hanlon, Information Officer, Slainte Ask Scotland is a national virtual reference service that aims to offer web-users access to Scotland’s rich library collections, and the expertise of library staff, through the Ask Scotland website, askscotland.org.uk/ which features an email form and instant chat service. Ask Scotland is coordinated by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) www. slainte.org.uk/slic/slicindex.htm and began life with a focus on all things Scottish, answering questions about all aspects of Scottish history and culture. However, the remit soon expanded and participating library services decided to take general reference queries on all topics. There are currently 17 local authorities taking part in Ask Scotland, several specialist libraries (the Glasgow Women’s Library www.womenslibrary.org.uk/ and the Scottish Poetry Library www.spl.org.uk/ ) and one further education library service too. In addition, libraries in other sectors are also keen to participate and we hope to gradually build the Ask Scotland network to include even more services, representing the breadth and diversity of Scotland’s library and information network. Ask Scotland operates on the QuestionPoint virtual reference platform from OCLC, however, our website has been heavily customised to offer the full functionality of the product but with a unique identity. One of the key benefits of the QuestionPoint platform is that it allows us to coordinate the efforts of our distributed group of libraries and librarians, managing a rota system to ensure consistency of coverage around the clock. Our librarians are assigned specific time slots and agree to answer any questions that are received during this time. They can also refer specific queries across the Ask Scotland network to make the most of local subject specialisms, ensuring that the user gets the best response. The email part of the service is available 24/7 and a team of SLIC volunteers even covers the service at evenings and weekends to keep the user wait time to a minimum. We aim to answer all email queries within 48 hours but, in most cases, we get back to the user within a couple of hours. At present the chat service operates between 9am and 5pm, when we can guarantee staff availability. However, as the service expands to include different types of library services, we hope the increase the availability of instant chat. Another crucial part of the service is the Answerbase, which stores previously answered questions, making them available, and searchable, via the website. This service draws on QuestionPoint’s Knowledgebase and allows users to browse the bank of questions, or use a keyword search, to find information on a specific topic. Ask Scotland is the first QuestionPoint service in the world to make the Knowledgebase available in this way and, as a result, SLIC has received interest from librarians all over the world who are keen to duplicate this exciting new dimension to the virtual reference platform.
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
The website Answerbase is also increasingly popular with users and we have now added an RSS feed of answered questions to allow people to keep track of the diverse range of questions that pass through Ask Scotland. This will also allow library services, and others, to reuse this data in blogs and other web spaces.
catalogues in both the public and academic sectors, and is integrated within Ask Scotland at present as our ‘find a book’ tool. This function plays a vital role in connecting people with information as part of the Scotland’s Information landscape. One of our key priorities is to reduce the wait time for searches in CAIRNS to improve the user experience.
Reusing answers in this way not only allows us to avoid the duplication of the same questions being researched by different librarians across the country, it also presents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what libraries can do – showcasing just how far beyond the top portion of Google hits our resources go, and highlighting the added value professional library staff can bring in finding and organising accurate and appropriate resources. Furthermore, the Answerbase is also indexed by Google and we often find that our content ranks highly in searches, opening up the Ask Scotland service and library resources to even more web users.
The fundamental aim of this landscape is to open up Scotland’s library collections and services so that users have a central online access point to information, no matter where it is held. Ask Scotland completes this picture by offering users direct access to the librarians themselves, the most important of all library resources!
In the crowded digital information landscape, effective marketing is really important for new services. Promotion is an ongoing part of the Ask Scotland campaign, and we are mixing traditional marketing approaches with social networking to get our message across. Last summer we asked popular historian and BBC presenter, Neil Oliver, to support the service, which generated interest from different sectors of the media. This also led to a slot on the BBC Radio Scotland show MacCaulay & Co, which is hosted by comedian Fred MacAulay. This was a really positive piece about Ask Scotland and Fred even tested out our chat service on air!
Over the coming months, our goal at SLIC will be to continue joining the dots and working towards this vision, adding new libraries to the Ask Scotland network and strengthening the links with the other services in the Scotland’s Information landscape. Working together in this way not only provides a high quality user experience – the kind of seamless, integrated experience that web users increasingly expect - but also promotes the work of libraries and demonstrates our vital importance in the digital information environment.
Although we have further high profile publicity activities planned for later in the year, we constantly use Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness of the service and build a user community. We also have social networking share buttons embedded throughout the Answerbase so that answers can be spread through online networks. Ask Scotland also aims to link up with other digital initiatives in libraries, as well as those that have been created by SLIC at a national level. For a number of years now, SLIC has been working towards a Scottish common information environment. The vision for this project is an online one-stop-shop for information about Scotland, or information held here in Scotland. The realisation of this vision has edged forward with the creation of the Scotland’s Information website http://www.scotlandsinformation.com/ , which offers users a mapbased search tool for information about Scotland’s libraries, museums and archives, and their collections. Scotland’s Information has been used by the BBC in their First Click Campaign http://www.bbc.co.uk/connect/campaigns/first_click.shtml and by the organisers of World Book Day/Night, http://www.worldbookday.com/ demonstrating the need for a centralised, national library information database of this kind. The service will now be developed to offer greater functionality and will be redesigned along the lines of Ask Scotland to ensure consistency with the other strands of the common information environment. Similarly, CAIRNS, http://www.scotlandsinformation.com/cairns/ Scotland’s union catalogue will be undergoing extensive development and redesign work to improve functionality and refresh the look and feel. CAIRNS currently offers a federated search, covering library ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
It’s good to chat.. Using Instant Messaging with our online subject guides at the University of Sussex Library.
Enquiries arrive by email, but this is not always an appropriate method for dealing with problems, due to the delay when sending and receiving messages.
Chloe Barnes, Learning and Teaching Support Librarian, University of Sussex
Why IM IM allows a more personal approach to dealing with enquiries. It is free for the user and has many advantages over phone calls and emails.
Introduction During the summer of 2009 the Learning and Teaching Support (LATS) team at the University of Sussex Library decided to radically change our text-based online subject guides. We required pages which were dynamic and engaging as a tool for use in IL sessions and to promote library resources to our users. High usage was our priority as we knew that many of our users were bypassing Library web pages in favour of the Library information and resources embedded in the VLE. A scoping project uncovered a product that would enable us to easily create interactive, professional looking guides with integrated Web 2.0 features. The product was LibGuides, a web application from Springshare, widely used to create subject guides in the USA yet virtually unknown in the UK. LibGuides opened up a world of Web 2.0 to us and we were able to design a set of guides that we are really proud of. Clearly written and aimed at all level of user, they contain RSS feeds to current online journals, search widgets for our online journals, federated search and Library catalogue, embedded YouTube films and our instant messaging (IM) service Meebo. This article aims to provide a case study for using IM, focussing on our reasons for introducing this facility, how it has been used, our experiences and further developments. Enquiries at the University of Sussex Library We have an extensive collection of online resources, with around 25,000 online journals, over 100 online resources such as databases and digital archives, federated searching via Ex Libris’ Metalib and thousands of newspapers and e-books. Many users access this information remotely, as well as on campus, and as our online resources continue to grow a key issue for us is how best to provide support and guidance. In the Library itself we have a single information point, our Information Hub, where users can make enquiries about anything from Library fines to online information. All staff participate in enquiry work, from Grade two Library assistants to Section Heads, a move that was spurred on by statistical reports showing over 90% of our queries are procedure-based and take under 5 minutes to answer. As a busy Library there can often be a queue to speak to a member of staff here and with the desk positioned on the ground floor, we rely on students to come to us from wherever they may be to ask a question. This in itself can be a barrier to many users. We have tried to address this issue by having “roving staff” on duty throughout the day, who are actively moving around the building, seeking out those who need help, but again users need to identify themselves which could be a problem for a shy or anxious person. Telephone enquiries are taken at the Information Hub, but again as the desk is busy, some calls may go unanswered if the line is engaged and giving complex instructions over the phone can be difficult. ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
“It combines the personalized service of the traditional reference transaction with the remote access capability and anonymity of a search engine.” (Desai 2003, p.22). We knew many of our users would already be familiar with how it works, due to the popularity of MSN and Facebook chat which is now integral to daily life. Also, the expectation might already be there to engage with us in this way: “The impact of Digital Natives on colleges and universities is not limited solely to the classroom. In the era of Amazon and Ebay these students have come to expect a high level of responsiveness from online services and are impatient when dealing with democracy.” (Gaston 2006, p.13). We wanted our subject guides to really connect with our audience and providing this extra service, with their technology and in their “domain”, seemed like a good place to start. As the guides provide remote access to subject-specific online resources and tools, it seemed appropriate to offer assistance with this, so that we could talk through any problems, especially for those at home or unable to get in touch any other way. IM seemed very appropriate for answering these queries due to the immediacy of response. Questions could be clarified and instant feedback received from the user, providing a more efficient and rewarding experience for users and staff. Additionally, it seemed beneficial for shy students or for those who may have language difficulties, as we have a large international cohort. Feedback received from academics in our Sussex Centre for Language Studies during Library teaching sessions had shown that many of these users can feel intimidated by the busy Information Hub and could often be left with unanswered questions. Anecdotal evidence had also shown that these groups were familiar with using IM for connecting with family and friends. Choosing Meebo There are a wide variety of IM clients and initial investigations revealed Meebo to be a contender as a popular, stable, web-based tool that allowed multiple logins. It also offered additional functions, such as a “notifier” that will automatically log you in and then sit at the bottom of your screen and flash to inform you of new messages in an unobtrusive yet effective manner. Most importantly to us, Meebo was quick and easy to set up and integrate with the Libguides system, by simply copying and pasting a URL to create the chat widget. The size and look of the box is customisable, meaning it could fit inside a variety of different pages. Once set up, members of the Learning and Teaching Support team tested the chat facility and logged on from various locations to check the service worked well. ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
Going Live We launched our online subject guides ready for the new academic year of 2009, complete with the Meebo widgets. We were able to promote the service at our induction talks and in Library teaching sessions, hoping that it would appeal especially to new students with questions who may not feel confident enough to approach staff inside the Library but would be familiar and confident with IM technology. We also designed a number of posters displaying QR codes that linked to the subject guides, positioned around the Library shelves in the relevant subject areas. We highlighted the IM element of the guides, hoping users would access the pages on their mobile devices and possibly use the IM service in this way too. At first the LATS Librarian and Superviser managed the Meebo service from around 9am, until 5pm, as thanks to the notifier, watching out for messages was simple. Due to the office arrangement, keeping a check on who was able to “watch” and reply was not a problem and could be handled informally when one person was away from their desk or unable to log-in.
For 2011, the Meebo chat is now on the front page of the Library web site to extend our reach to all users. Management of the service is now handled by the whole Learning and Teaching Support team, informally without the need for a rota, as our office space lends itself to this. Although it is early days, we have seen the number of queries rise tenfold in comparison to the same period in 2009. As we continue to raise awareness of this function, most recently with new promotional postcards, we hope to see even more users engaging with us in this way. Bibliography Gaston, J. (2006) ‘Reaching and teaching the digital natives’, Library High Tech News, 23 (3). pp 12-13. Hvass, A. and Myer, S. (2008) ‘Can I help you? Implementing and IM service’. The Electronic Library, 26 (4). pp 530-544. Desai, C.M. (2003) ‘Instant messaging reference: How does it compare?’, Electronic Library, 21(1).pp. 21-30.
If we were offline for any reason, for example at evenings and weekends, Meebo would still store the question for us to respond to upon logging in, enabling us to contact the user where their details had been left. Usage of the service was slow to begin with. We could generate statistics from LibGuides which showed that our subject guides were exceedingly popular with 33,331 hits by the end of the first term, which was excellent news. The number of queries was however low with approximately one or two per day, although encouragingly they were mostly subjectbased questions, for example, how to locate a specific journal or how to find information on a topic. There were times when the value of using instant chat, rather than email, could be strongly felt. For example, one question began with the sentence “How can I find information about camp narratives?”. The conversational nature of IM allowed us to question the user further and eventually discover that this referred to first hand experiences of those in concentration camps, rather different from our initial understanding! We could then suggest where best to look for books, articles and primary resources. This process would have been rather drawn out over email and possibly too complex over the telephone at our Information Hub. Informal feedback from users in our teaching sessions generated many positive comments about having the chat facility available. Although the guides were clearly linked to from the Library homepage and other sections of the website, the feeling seemed to be that the service was “hidden” and should be more visible. Making changes For the new academic year of 2010 we decided to add the Meebo widget to the dedicated web page for new students, again hoping to appeal to those starting University and in need of help. We thought this would attract more general enquiries and this did prove to be the case, with questions about Library fines, reservations and opening hours soon appearing. ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
The Ask a Librarian Service at Middlesex University Lesley Curtis-Brown, Senior Liaison Librarian, Criminology, Sociology, Social Policy and Housing at Middlesex University. Following on from the work on revamping and launching new Subject Guides using the Springshare LibGuides and CampusGuides software, the working group decided to trial the LibAnswers software. This enables users to ask questions and submit them online for librarians to answer. An online FAQ database is created. Staff may add new FAQs to the database where they identify other queries not previously covered. Staff may also separately log the enquiries they receive via the enquiry desk, email and other means. The group found the software easy to use and it provided us with a statistical tool for monitoring service demands and provision. The group recommended the purchase of the software, at a cost of (ÂŁ863.92) per year (including custom domain and analytics). This was approved, and the service was launched as the Ask a Librarian service in September 2010.
On completing this and submitting their question they are informed that the question has been entered and they will receive an email once it has been answered.
When the question is answered, the student receives an email via our Ask a Librarian email address.
The Student View
The answer may also be viewed on the Ask a Librarian website.
Students may browse the topics or type a question into the search box. The system automatically suggests previously answered questions to the user or they may choose to submit their query. The user may also browse topics to find an answer. The topics tag cloud relates to the topics assigned to the question and answer by staff.
The questions and answers can also be fed into Twitter.
When a user chooses to submit their query, they are prompted to provide more information on their question and their personal information e.g email address, name, user type and school.
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
The Staff View Staff logging into the system monitor incoming questions. They may claim questions to answer themselves or click on the icons in the Actions column to send an email to another member of staff asking them to look at the query. The system stores previously answered queries.
Logging Enquiry Desk and Other Subject Queries The interface for logging non Ask a Librarian queries is simple to use. A notes field allows staff to enter more information where necessary. The working group decided on the categories and these may be changed at a later date where necessary. It was difficult to strike a balance between offering every possible option and having an overpopulated list of options for the librarian to choose from.
Queries received via another route (e.g enquiry desk or email) may be logged by clicking on the Record a non-LibAnswers transaction link.
The Compose and Edit Answer Screen The userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s question is displayed at the top of the page and staff may edit this. The system recommends answers that staff may reuse, editing where necessary. This saves staff time and avoids duplication of effort. The edit space allows staff to use images, include links to webpages, and attach Helpsheets. The interface is easy to use and uses icons familiar with many computer users.
Staff may answer the question privately. The statistics for these queries are logged on the system but they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t appear on the FAQ database for other library users to view. This is useful if there is sensitive or personal user information that should not be shared publicly, or where the query is user specific. A tool at the bottom of this screen allows us to record our statistics for this service. Questions may be added to a Twitter feed at the click of a button. Setting up the Twitter feed and adding it to our Ask a Librarian service was easy. ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
Administration Administrators in the working group may edit settings and create new accounts for staff. The user interface is intuitive and uses the same boxes and icons.
Statistics The software has enabled us to collect statistics for queries received via LibAnswers, by email, phone, and at the enquiry desks. The ability to monitor patterns of service use is increasingly important in informing decisions on the organisation of staffing within departments and across the service as a whole. The statistics generated are displayed in an attractive visual format.
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
Ask a Librarian queries: Unsuccessful queries are those users choose not to submit to us. They may find the answer on the database or prefer to visit us in person at the enquiry desk.
Enquiry desk statistics.
Ask-a-Librarian: the Virtual Support and Information Skills Training Service at the University of East London Simone Okolo, Academic Services and Skills Manager, Ella Mitchell; Subject Librarian for School of Computing, Information Technology and Engineering; Graham Fennel, Subject Librarian for School of Psychology Introduction Our Ask-a-Librarian, virtual and email reference service was launched without fanfare in February 2009 and the project implementation was managed by the providers, OCLC. To increase take up, the mobile qwidgets were strategically placed in the studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; portal, our e-journals and database pages, the Library Face book and embedded in our most popular database, EBSCO. Since then students have sent more than 2300 enquiries via the chat service. This article will concentrate on the innovative aspects of delivering the service at UEL Library rather than the implementation, which other Universities such as Anglia Ruskin has covered. Staffing and other issues Staffing has been one of the most challenging and rewarding aspect of delivering the service. During the first months, a pool of staff, ranging from, Assistant Librarians to Campus Managers, monitored chat. However, we decided to open this up to Library Assistants who volunteered. Our strategy had been to train all staff who work on the front desks. The pool now consist all levels of staff. This strategy was backed up with training, especially Library Assistants, on our various electronic resources, e books and other library procedures Involving Library Assistants was a controversial decision. Concern about their ability to give detailed and accurate answers, was raised. We were however confident that some of our highly motivated Library Assistants would benefit from involvement in this new way of supporting students.
All queries logged on the system can be exported to Excel and we are investigating whether this will allow us to manipulate the data to give us a more detailed breakdown of the transactions and activities. Very little staff training has been required to use the software. Some discussions between the working group and librarians should identify areas where our use of the software may be improved to make the statistics more reliable. The project has been successful so far and has provided us with useful data which we hope to interrogate further in the future.
Further more, most enquiries we receive are such that can be answered by any staff. Our chat guidelines, encourage staff to refer questions to appropriate senior staff. Equally chat teams are mixed to include all levels of staff. Our open plan office enables easy face to face communication. Periodically, we monitor quality by evaluating chat transcripts of all librarians and our Library Assistants have been found to give correct and comprehensive answers. Another concern raised is that Library Assistants might demand to be re-graded as they begin to deal with higher level enquiries. This proved the case. Library Assistants used chat monitoring as evidence during a recent re-grading application. This is not bad as all staff should be given the opportunity to take on new challenges for the future. The strategy to involve all staff has been successful. It was about building a pool of motivated and knowledgeable staff to deal with enquiries at the point of need.
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
Librarians feedback A survey of librarians in July 2010, returned very positive results. They liked the range of enquiries they dealt with. Some commented on how they gained insight into our students in far away places as Malaysia, Wales, India and Germany. They would welcome subject based enquiries rather than the frequently asked questions. The following comments illustrate their points: “I’m able to deal with queries that are a bit more involved than those I usually get at the library counter.” “The opportunity to widen my personal knowledge.” “Can be satisfying to provide quick response to users who are at a distance.” “It makes a change and is a new and interesting way to interact with students.” What users think We have received more than 270 survey returns from users since 2009, majority of which are positive. Evaluation is also done by studying chat transcripts. We know that a wide range of students, distance learners, those with disabilities as well as students seating in the library or snowed in, use the service. “It’s a very good service and the librarian was very helpful..thanks.” “Nice and simple way to get a quick answer.” “It was great! Especially since i’m living in The Netherlands and not being able to actually visit the Library.” “I am so happy this service is provided. Reduced my stress. Thanks.” • • • • • •
47% were repeat users 90% found the librarian helpful 86% were satisfied with the answer to their enquiry 90% would recommend the service to someone else 97% were likely to use it again 96% found it easy to use
Extended service Initially the service was available between the hours of 11-5pm, Monday to Friday. This was moved to 1-5pm. A successful pilot of 1-7pm from October to December 2010 was undertaken. Since January 2011, the service is available from 1-7pm on Mondays to Friday and 1-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. A dedicated team of four new Assistant Librarians cover these evening and weekend hours. Take up will be evaluated after a period of six Months. The initial signs are promising, although the February intake of new students may have contributed to the increase.
Knowledge base The implementation of the local Knowledge Base began in spring 2010. Three members of the team were appointed to act as editors and the first task was to use our Questionpoint archive to populate the Knowledge Base. The process made us realise the importance of involving other staff in the development of the Knowledge Base. We formulated some guidelines which were used to base staff training on. The main purpose of the guidelines was to make staff aware of the potential of the Knowledge Base as a support tool when handling enquiries. Additional benefits which the guidelines highlighted were greater parity of answers thus leading to a better experience for students using the service. The guidelines highlighted the Knowledge Base as a useful tool for training new staff in enquiry work. This is particularly important as our Ask-ALibrarian service has staff with varying responsibilities and areas of expertise and it is therefore vital that knowledge can be shared easily across the service. The guidelines explained: what kind of material should be submitted, how to submit and how to use the archive when answering enquiries. At the training sessions, staff were shown how to access the Knowledge Base to browse its content, how to use existing content when answering enquiries via QuestionPoint and how to add new content to the local Knowledge Base. We were greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by staff, with many new submissions being made during these sessions. The initial enthusiasm waned and submission rates have not remained as high. 68% of all submissions in 2010 were made between February and April, the time when the training was taking place. In late 2010, the Knowledge Base was made searchable for all website visitors via the UEL Library website (http://www.uel.ac.uk/lls/support/askalibrarian.htm). Our vision was to make it a point of need enquiry tool for all library users. There is evidence of its use by users of our website. Our next focus is on further populating the Knowledge Base, to keep it up-to-date with accurate and relevant information. Once the newly employed Assistant Librarians are settled in their job, it is envisaged that they will take some responsibility for maintaining the Knowledge Base. Future developments Ideas for future developments include; • Partnership, with other services within our university to provide a one-stop-shop virtual support service for all students
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
• Investigate partnering with other institutions. • Undertake a survey of all users • Looking at strategies for improving staff input to the knowledge base to stop the facility becoming stagnant. Summary The Ask-A-Librarian has been successful. We have evidence that it supports students who struggle with accessing electronic resources. Our new students as well as those in far away places get immediate answers to enquiries. The extension of the service to evenings and weekends is proving popular and our students tell us how much they value the service. Our staff, are supportive and derive satisfaction from the instant feedback they receive. We will continue to innovate and find new ways of improving access to our online resources for students.
Personalised Services in HE Elizabeth Tilley, Librarian, Faculty of English University of Cambridge The following words are used almost interchangeably in the course of this article. There are nuances of difference but essentially they all invoke the impression of a person as special and unique and that satisfying the specialised needs of that person is paramount. 1. Personalised: def. to make something suitable for the needs of a particular person 2. Bespoke: def. specially made for a particular person From Cambridge Dictionaries Online: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/) 3. [Highly] Tailored: def. To make, alter, or adapt for a particular end or purpose 4. Boutique: def. A small business offering specialised products and services From: (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/) In some shape or form, personalised services have been part of information services in Higher Education for many years. After all, an element of the ‘personal’ is usually associated with interactions between people (librarians and users). But with all due respect to the countless hours and the huge numbers of dedicated library staff of the past, working in academic libraries is different now. I would also suggest that whatever services looked like in the past, the personalised nature of services was possibly tamer and less proactive than we see today. There is very little need to elaborate on the changing world of information resources which our users encounter; their own pre-conceptions and searching behaviour which impinge on this; the potential staff and resourcing budget cuts that we expect and anticipate, all of which contribute to potential structural changes in the management of library services. Whilst this upheaval over the last decade has been happening, library staff have been learning how to teach, they have been engaging with the retail industry in order to learn about customer service, they have thought long and hard about how to better utilise library space, they have dabbled with social media and have been endeavouring to keep pace with digital developments and regularly changing work interfaces. We might be excused contemplating changing focus to consider how we personalise our service on the grounds that there is just too much else to be done. However now is exactly the right time to start proactively engaging in service provision that is highly tailored and personalised, driven and shaped by our user’s needs and expectations. The typical library user no longer exists, if it ever did, and the challenge for us is to develop a different service. If large businesses such as Amazon and Tesco can personalise their services, then surely it is relevant – and feasible - for library services to do the same. Andy Priestner (Judge Business School Information Services) and I came to the conclusion that the personalised service we were privileged enough to be able to give to our own users in the Cambridge environment was a priority for us. We were wary of the potential damage that centralising services across the University might have on our own focused, user-driven services. In developing the boutique model which our article (Priestner & Tilley, 2010) described it seemed to us to be relevant to consider whether there could be
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
a model or strategy that put a personalised service at the heart of what we do. Having a model in place seemed to us important precisely because the nature of a library service providing personalised services for users is a dominant feature. At best it may stem from a proactive professional with a strategy and focus for where the service is going and an instinctive feel for the place and need for collaborative and centralised services to draw upon; at worst there is simply an ad hoc collection of interesting ideas and examples of to make our users lives better. Having a model as a broad base from which to begin to develop vision and strategy for a service is helpful and keeps our librarian minds focused on the nuts and bolts of what we need to do. Making sure that what our users see as a bespoke, tailor-made service is key; the mechanism for how this comes about is adopting a strategy which acknowledges and depends on an integrated model that recognises the relative merits of centralised, collaborative and personalised service features.
Provided we get the sort of take-up that we are hoping for the blog should become a mechanism for continually challenging our own assumptions, for exploring ideals and realities. The blog and the subsequent book will, we hope, establish an on-going dialogue for those interested in becoming more relevant and more in tune with the needs of their users. The symposium is already fully booked but we would welcome your contributions for the blog (and potentially for the book). If you work in Higher Education and currently provide a personalised or highly tailored service we would like to hear from you. http://personalisedlibraries.wordpress.com/contact-us/ Reference Priestner, A. & Tilley, E., 2010. Boutique libraries at your service. Library & Information Update, 9(6), 36-39.
The Symposium on Personalised Services in HE libraries that takes place in March 2011 will provide a forum for those interested in exploring the boutique model and its constituent parts. Case studies and interactive workshops will help provide much-needed practical ideas of how to engage with a personalised service. However, the overall aim of the conference is to examine these within the context of the model or strategy. Alongside the symposium there is a blog that will act as a hub for resources on personalised library services in Higher Education while a book on the subject, to be published by Ashgate Publishing is in preparation. http://personalisedlibraries.wordpress.com/ At the moment the content of the blog chiefly focuses on the symposium and related event information, together with a bibliography of relevant articles and books. However, we plan to continue to add content over the next six months and hope that this will come from other information professionals not just ourselves. We want to build a comprehensive picture of the sort of personalised services that are currently being offered in HE libraries via case study examples, active commentary and practical ideas and tips. We also anticipate that many of these contributions will ultimately be included in the book. The blog is intended to be interactive and to challenge our current perspectives. On the issue of personalisation, but from his own blog, Andy Priestner comments:
“I’m also of the opinion that although we think we personalise our services, that in reality we don’t work that approach hard enough. Do you know what all your PhDs are researching? Do you become actively involved in the research process? Do you give out induction materials to named students? Are your service guides relevant to one student group or as many as possible? Do you regularly meet with all your users face to face? Do you greet everyone who comes into your library? etc. I know that I couldn’t honestly say yes to any of those. Are we missing a trick or tricks? I’m sure we are and that we could be sharing our personalised success stories”
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
ALISS Quarterly 6 (3) April 2011
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