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Volume 7, No. 4 July 2012

ISSN 17479258

ALISS Quarterly

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Association of Librarians and Information professionals in the Social Sciences

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Engaging with Library Users: New and Innovative Approaches Roving librarians

Croydon College, University of Huddersfield.

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Library design and space

University of Surrey, University of Sussex. Information Literacy

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Cardiff University, Plymouth University, Middlesex University. International Students University of Bristol.


ALISS Quarterly Vol. 7 Number 4 July 2012 Š The authors

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Published by ALISS.

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Editor: Heather Dawson h.dawson@lse.ac.uk

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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.


ALISS Quarterly Volume 7 no. 4 July 2012

Editorial Heather Dawson

Moving beyond the enquiry desk

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Special issue: Engaging with Library users: New and innovative approaches

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Historical Baggage: Taking the librarian to the learner Thomas Butler, Head of Libraries and Learning Resources, Croydon College The Roving Librarian Helen Sharman, University of Huddersfield

Library design and space

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Re-inventing our spaces to change, challenge and inspire: University of Surrey Library & Learning Centre Jane Savidge, Director of Library and Learning Support Services, University of Surrey Creating a space for researchers – the Research Hive at the University of Sussex Helen Webb

Information Literacy

Connecting Cardiff’s Researchers: Delivering and learning from a social media workshop for research students Sarah Nicholas and Susan Smith, Cardiff University Library Services From Nelson to Frogs: Creative solutions through student collaboration Jayne Moss, Senior Subject Librarian, Plymouth University Julie Moody, Subject Librarian, Plymouth University Kate Russell, Subject Librarian, Plymouth University Amanda J Russell, Senior Subject Librarian, Plymouth University Embedding information literacy skills as employability attributes Serengul Smith, Principal Lecturer, Programme Leader and Learning and Teaching Strategy Leader, School of Engineering and Information Sciences, Middlesex University. Adam Edwards, Liaison Manager Engineering and Information Sciences, Sheppard Library, Middlesex University.

International Students “Dear Mr Angela”: Engaging with international students at the University of Bristol. Angela Joyce, International Librarian


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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 is based upon our 2012 AGM. This was entitled Engaging with Library users: New and innovative approaches and took place at the British Library in June 2012.

Engaging with international students online. The perspective from University of Bristol, Angela Joyce  Historical Baggage: Taking the librarian to the learner Thomas Butler, Head of Libraries and Learning Resources, Croydon College   The Sussex Research Hive: creating a space for the research community, Helen Webb, Research Support Supervisor, University of Sussex 

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This year it took the theme of engaging with library users. It focused on three aspects: the use of new technology to interact with students; the creation of social spaces within libraries and the changing nature of reference/ enquiry work. The presentations can all be viewed online via the aliss website http://www.alissnet.org.uk/Display. aspx?id=10737418256. They are also expanded and discussed in this issue:

In addition the event also featured a preview of a forthcoming website: Social welfare at the British Library.

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Jennie Grimshaw gave a sneak preview of this new portal which is aimed at policy makers and social work students. It is not currently intended for social workers as free access to the most recent ejournal articles is restricted due to licensing. The coverage of social welfare is very broad encompassing children and families, older people, disabled people, minority groups, community regeneration, social services, social security benefits, offenders and the criminal justice system. It will offer access to rights cleared academic resources. Many full text materials can be downloaded free of charge. Access will include the BL’s welfare reform digest which is published monthly and indexes and abstracts key journal articles, newspaper articles, books and reports from the British Library collections. It will also enable cross searching of the complete British Library collection or a subset of social welfare records. There will be a fee based article delivery service for users. While registration is not required, registered users will be able to sign up for a free monthly newsletter and gain access to a personalised homepage. The site is in beta and will be launched later in 2012. Previews at http://socialwelfare.bl.uk This issue builds on this theme of innovation. The first section includes articles on innovation in enquiry work from Croydon and the University of Huddersfield which describe the development and launch of roving help and enquiry services. It is then followed by several articles on Library design. These cover innovations in designing space from the Universities of Sussex and Surrey both of which consider how layout can assist in encouraging collaboration and effective learning. The next section spotlights innovations in information literacy teaching focussing in particular on the work of Middlesex University in embedding information literacy into the curriculum by emphasising its role in the future employability of students and the University of Portsmouth‘s work in library-student ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




creative collaborations to create appropriate learning materials. There is also an article from Cardiff University which discusses the use of social media for communication. The issue concludes with the paper from Angela Joyce which describes her work in supporting international students at Bristol University. We hope you enjoy the issue! Keep up to date with our website at http://www.alissnet.org.uk 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.

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   Heather Dawson. ALISS Secretary

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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

ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




Historical Baggage: Taking the librarian to the learner Thomas Butler, Head of Libraries and Learning Resources, Croydon College This paper is given at the ALISS 2012: Engaging with Library users: New and innovative approaches. The powerpoint slides can be viewed online at http://www.slideshare.net/ heatherdawson/historical-baggage. Check-in Zone G at Stansted Airport at 5am on a miserably cold and wet Wednesday morning in early March is an unlikely location to get a sudden epiphany on the future of the service you run.

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Perhaps helped by a combination of lack of sleep and two double espressos before 4:30 the way Ryanair runs things suddenly presented itself as a solution to a previous unsolvable problem.

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As a team we were about to embark on a project to convert to self-service, in preparation for the even bigger project of moving to a new library. Over the previous few weeks we’d been on a couple of visits to other libraries and were getting slightly dispirited as they all said that self-service hadn’t had the take-up that they would have liked.

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Our major issue was in moving to a new library we needed to reduce the amount of staff time spent on circulation as we were changing from one to three floors with no significant increase in staffing. Trying to keep the service operating as it was at the moment wasn’t going to be an option without creating unacceptable queues. We already had major issues during the day, even with three members of staff on the issue desk solidly from 10am to 3pm the queues would start by 11, would continue to 2 and during most lunch times were half an hour long. Staff were working as fast as they could, the computer system was working as fast as it could, it was just demand far outstripped supply.

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Enter at this stage Ryanair’s latest attempt to trim the bottom line. As I stared bleary eyed at the rows of empty check-in desks looking for which one was processing my flight it became increasingly obvious that there wasn’t a desk, instead serried ranks of luridly bright yellow kiosks were slowly coming into focus. Buzzing between what must have been 20 or so kiosks were three members of staff, helping people to use the machines and then directing them to bag drop, and unlike other airlines which were offering kiosk or desk check-in, Ryanair weren’t offering a choice, so instead of one or two people using kiosks and long queues at traditional desks, there were lots of customers passing quickly through the kiosks with significantly fewer staff involved. It’s at that moment the penny dropped; everywhere I had seen that was using selfservice still had their issue desk, which the majority of people still gravitated towards. Perhaps that was why self-service wasn’t getting the use that was expected. People are conditioned to using the library desk, so if they see it, they’ll use it. A couple of months later, we put our hypothesis to the test, with three self-service units installed and commissioned, we closed our issue desk, crossed our fingers and prepared for the backlash. ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




A backlash that never came. We had a couple of grumbles from a few students about wanting to interact with a human rather than a machine, but in total only three verbal and one written complaint were received. Waiting times were dramatically reduced, with queuing only happening in extreme circumstances. Most students were able to walk straight up to a unit, borrow their books and walk away without having to join a queue, and even at busy times, one member of staff was all that was needed to support the units.

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The other two members of staff who had been on the issue desk were now free to be out on the library floor and soon discovered that students were regularly coming up to them to ask questions, rather than head over to the Enquiry desk. Without even thinking about it we had apparently, and completely unintentionally, launched into a roaming service.

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With self-service being even more successful than I’d hoped for (We had originally set a target range of 65-75% self-service being good, 75-85% being outstanding and 85%+ probably unachievable, from day one we were running at 92%, and have never dipped below this figure), we could then focus on how to reshape the service for the new library.

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The first thing we could do was revisit the architectural drawings for the suggested layouts and strip out the massive issue desks that the architects had designed (and over engineered) in. At this point we started to think the previously unthinkable. Self-Service had created a roaming service, did we actually need to have any desks, could we go completely desk free?

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Over the following months we had a number of discussions both with staff and suppliers, and in the end my enthusiasm for stripping out every desk was reined in by both colleagues and our furniture supplier, Demco, who made the very good point that you needed some kind of focal point in the library, if only for handling complex enquiries that can’t be solved quickly and might require sitting down with a user. By the time we signed off a final set of plans for the library, we were down to one small enquiry counter on the top floor of the library. The original plan had been to move the library carefully and slowly over the Easter vacation in 2011 into its new home, giving at least the full year staff, time to get used to their new working environment. In the end the hand-over date slipped and the carefully planned 8 day move was condensed into a frantic and nerve-wracking two day marathon over the hottest weekend of the year. However, everything was in place, albeit with no signage, and without any real preparation we opened our doors and took the design the service as you go approach to our new home. Thankfully, the amazing team that we have at Croydon did their magic, and you wouldn’t have known that we were all as lost as the students. ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




To some extent not having had time to find our feet worked to our advantage, it meant that the whole team hit the floor running, with everyone out on the floor helping the students track down where things were. Users very quickly got used to, and more importantly, liked, the idea of staff being around on the floor rather than behind a desk.

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A year on from the move we have had to change very little from the way we started working on day 1. A couple of stools for staff at the very quiet times and a slightly better chair at the enquiry point are the only substantive changes that have been made. Feedback from students remains very positive with student parliament meetings returning full confidence in the library service.

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As one member of teaching staff said when I explained the Ryanair approach to selfservice, “Ryainair approach to costs, British Airways approach to service�

ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




The Roving Librarian Helen Sharman, University of Huddersfield

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The roving librarian project was established at the University of Huddersfield in July 2011. The aim is to offer personalised help away from the traditional library environment in social settings or School resource centres. To facilitate this provision of information on the move, with funding acquired from a university teaching and learning innovation bid android and iPad tablets were purchased for all subject librarians. The portability and flexibility of these devices allow us to roam around the various university buildings to reach students and help them at their point of need. The idea of roving is not a new one. A trawl through the literature reveals that this concept has been around for the past thirty years with librarians roaming in social spaces; academic environments such as departmental offices and IT labs (external to the library) as well as within the physical library (Del Bosque and Chapman, 2007; McCabe and MacDonald, 2011). It has, however, been the advent of new technologies such as the iPad that have become the key driver in enabling librarians to offer this mobile service.

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At Huddersfield we have concentrated on roving away from the physical library and move out to the Students Union or one of the seven Schools. In our experience, many students either don’t use the library or use it as a computer centre to either word process their assignments or use Facebook. This observation is backed up by data from the Library Impact Data Project and focus groups I conducted with first year Business Management students as part of this project which revealed that students bought the key textbooks and used the library for group work and to use the computers. Library usage can affect the final grade and the research revealed a consistent correlation between e-resource usage, book borrowing and student attainment across all disciplines not only at this university but across the seven institutions with which we benchmarked our data. We therefore decided to go to the places where the students like to congregate, be it social or academic areas such as resource centres.

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We offered each subject librarian the choice of either an iPad or Android tablet. Most chose the Android tablet, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer which offered the added flexibility of an optional keyboard as well as the use of Flash, a tool not offered by the iPad. We then allowed the librarians time to play with the technology and encouraged them to use their tablet to make notes in meetings/conferences or experiment with it at home. We also scheduled meetings giving librarians the chance to compare apps and discuss any difficulties they had encountered or share any tips of what had worked well. One of the hoped for outcomes of the project was that by using the tablets, the librarians themselves would be more confident in using this technology and therefore better equipped at supporting staff and students using similar tools. Much work went into producing an identifiable brand. A librarian out of context may not be recognised and we therefore felt that it was important to create a logo or image that students could associate with the roving librarian. We took as our starting point the concept of the Martini advertising slogan of “anytime, anyplace, anywhere” and asked our graphic designer to produce a “Martini librarian” with roller skates and appropriate outfit as in the advert featuring Nicollette Sheridan (YouTube, 2008), but instead of the ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




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tray of drinks held out in her hand, it was to be the tablet. This was a little too ambitious, however, and a suitable image could not be found. We did like the colourful roving librarian logo produced by our graphic designer which had a stylish retro look, and also the strapline of “Bringing information skills to you”. It was decided to produce stickers of the logo to stick to the tablets, and the graphic designer produced a poster version using the logo and strapline with a space for us to add the location and times of when we would be roving. This could then be placed on the School plasma screens, as well as the library Facebook page. We use these marketing ploys whenever we go out to the Schools plus we also tweet about forthcoming roving activities using the @hudlib account. Staff in the Schools also retweet the message. A tactic that works well is also to email academic staff and students announcing when we are visiting their school and inviting them to come and meet us if they require any help. Very often, students will be waiting for the team as we arrived and we are able to offer personalised assistance. Academic staff sometimes email their students encouraging them to come and see us at the publicised location.

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The times set to rove depend upon the particular School. For example, staff in the Business School advised that a Monday or Tuesday lunchtimes would be the most productive times to rove in the main thoroughfare known as “The Street” and also in The Street Cafe as this is when the School experiences its busiest times. Promoting the roving activities to students in Course Committees in the Computing and Engineering School, revealed that a Wednesday afternoon when no teaching is scheduled to take place is that particular School’s favoured time. Half of the librarians chose to rove in social areas such as cafes, or in busy foyers/corridors. The other half preferred to try resource centres where students are completing their work, although if this has not been successful, the portability of the technology has allowed them to move to social areas. The librarian roving in the Applied Sciences resource centre received immediate success on her first outing as she was able to help a student find vital information for his assignment. The student was amazed that such help had been at hand exactly at his point of need and responded with the complimentary line “You must have been sent by God!” Different strategies have been tried by the roving librarian. The resource centres allow librarians to sit and get on with their work as they wait for enquiries. However, social areas require a more proactive approach in order to catch the students as they pass by. Some librarians feel uncomfortable with this new way of working, preferring the students to come to them. However, as some staff have persisted in roving, experimenting with visiting different locations and trying out a range of techniques their confidence has increased. For example, it was found that having a table of freebies also helps to initiate conversations as students are drawn to the stall. This then attracts other students and they approach the stand to find out what is going on. Using the opening line “Do you use Summon” has proved to be a great way of starting a conversation. If the answer is negative, then there is an opportunity to promote the resource discovery tool. If the student does use Summon this leads to the next question which is to ask them if they have experienced any difficulties or if they have they found relevant information. If students have found information hard to find, then we ask them if they have two minutes and then replicate the search using the tablets. If they say that everything is OK, there is quite often a pause followed by the admission “well there is one ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




thing...” and then you can offer help. It is a great advantage for the roving librarian to have a good knowledge and experience of using the resources relevant to the subject areas of the school in which they are roaming and which the student would find particularly relevant to their assignment as this improves the effectiveness of the help that can be offered. Personally, I have found that approaching students in the Business School Street Cafe has worked well for me and not only have I been able to give help to the students, but I’ve also had some great conversations about their experience of using the library and found out titles of books they are struggling to get hold of. I’ve found that on the whole, students have been very willing to engage in dialogue with me and I’ve had many conversations that would not have taken place at the Subject Enquiry Desk.

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The roving has also helped establish closer working relationships with staff. For example, an encounter with the Business School placements officer led to the idea of the library producing a leaflet that could be sent out to all placement students advising them on how to access company information relevant to their placement application.

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After the student has received help s/he is asked whether their encounter with the roving librarian will result in an increased use of the library resources. They are requested to complete a 3 question questionnaire using the tablet. We ask them questions about how regularly they use the library/electronic resources and whether after receiving help they will use the resources more. Over 80% of the students surveyed say that the encounter will lead to an increased use of resources. We have also experimented with using the questionnaire as a conversation initiator. Our experience is that students are drawn to “cool librarians” using up-to-date technology and are very willing to talk about the frequency of their library use. This often leads on to more personalised help. We hope to continue roving in the forthcoming academic year from the middle of October when the students start working on their first assignment. More thought is needed about the brand. Producing a pop-up banner and badges are ideas that have been muted. There maybe merit in roving within the library, especially as this summer we are moving the bookstock as we change from subject floors to a single sequence. There will be an increase in directional enquiries from September onwards and staff available with tablets to help students find the resources would be a great help. Finally, more work needs to be done in upskilling staff in using the tablets. To read more about the roving librarian, see the Sharmana blog at http://sharmana. wordpress.com/ References

Del Bosque, D. & Chapman, K. (2007). Your place or mine? face-to-face reference services across campus. New Library World, 108(5/6), pp. 247-262. McCabe, K.M. and MacDonald, J.R.W. (2011) Roaming reference: Reinvigorating reference through point of need service. Partnership : The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 6(2), 1, pp1-15. YouTube (2008) Martini - Rosso - Nicollette Sheridan Skating - UK Advert. http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=7hYPeH-m9U0 [Accessed on 12 June 2012] ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012




Re-inventing our spaces to change, challenge and inspire: University of Surrey Library & Learning Centre Jane Savidge, Director of Library and Learning Support Services, University of Surrey. University of Surrey opened a new Learning Centre to extend the existing Library in September 2012. Further phases of refurbishment will continue during 2012/13 and 2013/14. This article is based on a presentation given at the ALISS visit to the Library & Learning Centre on 22 February 2012. Images of the building may be seen on http:// pinterest.com/surreylib/library-learning-centre/ or facebook http://www.facebook.com/ surreylib

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The Library & Learning Centre Project was conceived in 2007, at a point when many University Libraries, including Surrey were reconsidering the student learning experience, recognising the need for development to reflect increasing expectations. This was in the context of the recent launch of the National Student Survey and the introduction of variable fees both of which were having an impact on student perceptions of university facilities, support and services. Situated on the University of Surrey’s Stag Hill Campus in Guildford, on a hill side within the sight line of Guildford Cathedral, the Library serves an academic community of approximately 15,000 students, 76% studying on campus. The original Library was constructed as part of development of the campus following the award of chartered status in 1966 and the phased relocation from Battersea to Guildford.

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Despite physical difficulties associated with access, level changes and the restricted space available to extend, the importance of maintaining the Library as a central hub of student academic activity was a compelling argument for redeveloping the building in situ on the existing brown fields site rather than moving to possible green fields location. Cost and environmental sustainability were also deciding factors.

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Comprising seven storeys, a large floor plate and low ceilings, the existing Library was designed to maximise space for the physical collections. Study areas were placed against the window walls and at the perimeter. The original design included innovative features, in particular waffle slab construction to strengthen the floors supported by hefty pillars which also act as channels for air circulation. Redevelopment was complicated by additions made over time to accommodate the growing collections and to change functions on an essentially ad hoc and pragmatic basis. However it was the lack of appropriate and varied study space and the pressure of increasing student numbers which convinced the University of the need for redevelopment. Visits increased by 55% in 2007/8 and continued to climb steadily until we were operating beyond capacity. Two developments in particular changed perceptions of the Library and drove up use. The first was the merger of several departments to form Library and Learning Support Services in 2006. This was the starting point for an integrated approach to student academic skills and information literacy development which involved Liaison Librarians and Student Learning Advisers. The team providing support for the development of research ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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student transferable skills also moved to the new department. This approach was supported by the redevelopment of one floor of the original Library to create SPLASH, the Student Personal Leaning and Study Hub, a centre of support and advice. The space provided a test bed for ideas contained in the JISC report which recognised that “Spaces are themselves agents for change. Changed spaces will change practice”. 1

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Within weeks of opening students had discovered and owned the new space. It became the most popular study and social learning location in the building, and possibly on campus. Students loved the flexibility of the open areas, moving furniture to re-configure the layout to suit their needs. Experience of how this space was used and equally of what worked less well, informs the Learning Centre design.

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At about the same time our first foray into 24 hour opening (a 12 week pilot) was, in part an attempt to reduce the pressure on seats. This led to a need to for students to break from long hours of study. Whispers, a self service food and drink zone was created in an attractive space with a view of the Cathedral and hillside. This study zone operated more effectively as a preferred location for independent and group study than many of our traditionally designed areas, also influenced the design of the informal learning spaces in the new building. Design and Construction of the Learning Centre

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Our brief was a challenging one. Many of our requirements derived from observation of student use of existing space, student feedback, discussions with consecutive Surrey Students’ Union Executives and visits to other libraries to view recent library developments. We were looking for a design and layout based on micro environments supporting very different kinds of study while minimising the impact of different learning activities on others working nearby, protecting areas intended to support quiet and silent working. We wanted a design which would work holistically with the existing building, not a beautiful new Learning Centre designed to stand in isolation. Key requirements were to:

• Use the opportunity presented by the new build extension to unlock the potential of the whole building including the original library • Review the balance between study areas and collections across the buildings taken together to utilise existing space more effectively • Develop a design which would bring coherence and clarity to the arrangement of the building as a whole • Increase the availability and the diversity of learning space, designing in a high degree of network connectivity • Provide a future proofed design to allow changes over time

1 Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Designing Space for Effective Learning: A Guide to 21st Century Learning Space Design, p. 30, <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/JISClearningspaces.pdf>.

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• Provide attractive and varied study areas, using colour and furniture to develop a distinct identity which would energise and inspire creative learning • Provide a designated and enhanced cafe on the ground floor and a separate informal meeting and learning space on Level 1 to designate more clearly informal social learning from the simply social! Develop a more sophisticated approach to informing the behaviour of students in specific study zones moving from zone signs (silent, quiet, group) to signal the character of specific spaces on the basis of layout, colour and branding to signal visual identity.

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The design was also intended to support changes in the operation of services in the building, linked with implementation of RFID and the extension of 24 hour opening, increasing access to self service for students and the implementation of roving help from a support hub rather than operating from information or lending desk.

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Other departments in the new building brought further considerations. These partnerships were an important means to develop the site to its maximum potential and were key to the integrated approach envisaged. Specialist language learning facilities and support were to be embedded within the Library space. The School of English and Languages, a shop with cafe servery, and the University Bookshop also joined us in the new building. RMJM were appointed as lead architects following a competition and began work in 2008. Volker Fitzpatrick Ltd was the contractor responsible for the construction. As architects of University of Sheffield Information Commons, RMJM had previous experience of Library development on a challenging site and they developed a particularly creative response to address the challenges of the brief. They proposed use of the innovative hybrid concrete system used in Information Commons to design in flexibility and to allow for rapid construction. This freed the internal spaces by minimising the need for columns. The use of a floor void to deliver services and ventilation enabled room partitions to be introduced and changed easily, creating many and varied layouts. The rapid build minimised the impact on students during a project which had to take account of the constraints of the academic timetable. In final form the Learning Centre comprises a four storey addition of 4,950 square metres to the existing Library, increasing it in size by more than 50%, adding 300 study spaces in a fully wireless enabled environment, 180 fixed PCs and new student group study rooms. The building features a smart light and airy interior which despite the constraints of the site gives students opportunity to look up from their work and into the distance. The exterior façade clad in gold and bronze anodised aluminium is inspired by Guildford’s Saxon origin name “Glydeford”, meaning the golden ford and complements the golden angel on nearby Guildford Cathedral. One or two examples may help to explain the subliminal messages we hoped to build into the design to support different learning styles. Surrey’s focus on research led teaching and the more traditional approaches of certain cultural groups informed a continuing need for ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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silent and quiet individual work space. Experience in the original building which used an approach based on designated silent floors showed the difficulty of maintaining silence in a building which was not designed to support this. In the Learning Centre we have used double height space, screened from the adjacent group study area to generate a hushed atmosphere, reinforcing this with typography and visual images.

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For informal learning the George Edwards Meeting Space supports drop in, student meetings and group work, using furniture to separate a large open space into different clusters. This space is distinct from the social space provided on the ground floor concourse and serves to reinforce the focus on learning. In other study zones we have used different colour palette and furniture to differentiate individual work space from general group study.

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To support the aim to make the building more coherent, visual icons provide way marking of routes and large scale images and typography brand particular areas with a distinct identity. Despite being separately procured by the Library the signage works well as an integral part of the architectural scheme.

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Since the building opened we have had many positive comments. Student engagement with the space has been evident since we opened the doors with over 50% increase in use. The refurbishment of the original Library continues this summer and a six monthly review of the Learning Centre has just been completed to ensure that we pick up on key messages prior to developing detailed designs for this next phase.

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Creating a space for researchers – the Research Hive at the University of Sussex Helen Webb This paper is based on a presentation given at the ALISS 2012 AGM: the prezi presentation can be viewed online at http://prezi.com/uwwkrlrrslal/creating-a-space-forresearchers/

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In November 2010 the Research Hive opened in the University of Sussex Library. The Hive was supported by a gift from SAGE and is a dedicated space for researchers containing a mix of study desks, comfortable sofas and two bookable rooms for meetings.

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We were delighted to find that the Hive was quickly adopted by our researchers and it continues to grow in popularity. The door scanner provides usage statistics and, as we expected, the majority of our users are doctoral researchers. Indeed, over a third of all currently registered doctoral researchers have used the Hive so far. The breakdown of use by department is indicative of library use as a whole with the arts, humanities and social sciences being the heaviest users.

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From the start we knew we wanted doctoral researchers to be involved in the development of the Hive so an important element of the Hive is the Hive Scholars. Each year we appoint three current doctoral researchers on a bursary to be our Hive Scholars, an exciting role which sees them taking on responsibilities which could range from promoting the Hive space at departmental inductions, writing for the Guardian Higher Education Network or supporting individual researchers with research queries in the Hive.

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The Scholars commit to working on average six hours a week each on Hive duties. Two hours are spent in the Hive itself, getting to know the users as well as a sense of how the Hive is being used. The Scholar shifts are publicised so that Hive users (or potential Hive users) know when they will find a Scholar available. During shifts the Scholars are not ‘supervising’ the space, rather they are available to answer questions on the facilities, to listen to suggestions for events and to support researchers with general queries by directing them to the people within the university who are best-placed to help. Another aspect of their work is planning and running informal discussion groups for doctoral researchers. They’ve been running small group sessions on practical issues such as getting over writer’s block, sharing experiences of being an associate tutor and thoughts on how to make the most of the relationship with your supervisor. These discussions are facilitated by the Scholars but they are marketed as an opportunity for everyone to share their ideas and experiences. Feedback has shown that attendees have appreciated being able to discuss difficulties and frustrations with their peers – they make connections and feel less alone knowing that others are experiencing the same problems. The Scholars write up the sessions through their blog, making the ideas available to those who didn’t attend. Often the Scholars are covering topics that are dealt with by official training sessions. Linking the two means that they can complement each other – for example people ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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attending a presentation skills training course might then choose to come along to a Scholar-facilitated session where they can practice some of the techniques and skills they have been taught. With each new set of Scholars it will be important that we are careful to provide them with guidance on what they should aim for during their year as a Scholar so that they can strike a balance between working on new ideas and continuing to run sessions that have worked in previous years.

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In summer 2011 we carried out our first evaluation of the Hive, sending out a survey to all researchers in order to gather the views of Hive-users and non-users alike. The Scholars ran a focus group formed mainly of Hive-users to get some qualitative feedback.

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The findings revealed that one of the key elements to the Hive’s popularity was that doctoral researchers felt that having a space solely for researchers showed that the University valued them and their research. They were appreciative that the Hive was accessible to researchers rather than all postgraduates as they felt they had more in common with research staff than with taught Masters students, and that they perhaps deserved some recognition of their efforts and dedication to their research rather than being defined as ‘non-undergraduates’.

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The opportunity to meet other researchers also emerged as a key positive with respondents commenting that ‘I’ve met so many fellow researchers I wouldn’t have otherwise’ and ‘It’s nice to be able to meet researchers from across campus’. As well as the social aspect of meeting fellow researchers, the Hive has helped users to feel less isolated even when they are simply working quietly on their thesis. The knowledge that they are not the only ones dedicating time to their research helps to inspire them, and it seems that being in a room full of fellow researchers working away has helped some of our users to fight other distractions.

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The Hive is only a relatively small space and the size and layout means it can’t be everything to everyone – some researchers would like it to be a silent space whilst others want to use it for discussion and it can be difficult to find a balance that doesn’t end up meeting no-one’s needs. The first eighteen months of the Hive has been a fascinating experience. One of the key things we’ve learned is that we can’t anticipate or define how our users want to use the Hive. Whether it is coming in at 3am, bringing their own glass markers and using the glass wall as an enormous blank canvas to do their calculations, or using it as a 9-5 office space, or coming in to hold a reading group with colleagues, the Hive users will find their own way of making the space work for them. In practice we’ve found that many people are using the Hive to work quietly. This is partly because the Hive was the first fully completed space in a period of library refurbishment and therefore was the quietest place in the building. We began by advertising the Hive as a place for ‘collaboration’, and some researchers expressed their dislike of this, perhaps feeling that we were giving them a space of their own but then attempting to tell them

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how to use it. On reflection it is perhaps easy to write words like ‘collaboration’ in a proposal for a space such as the Hive but much harder to define exactly what you expect ‘collaboration’ to look like. Although the Hive isn’t regularly full of groups actively working on something together we know that the users are collaborating in a more organic way – sharing resources, helping each other with translations, proof-reading conference proposals and generally building up a support network to see them through their thesis and onwards.

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We know that people feel very strongly about the Hive. One focus group was given the hypothetical situation of all researchers being given office space by their schools and asked whether the Hive users would use those spaces or continue using the Hive. All asked said they would choose the Hive - an indication of how the research community values the space.

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As the Hive develops we would like to encourage more researcher-led events which can be initially facilitated by the Scholars but then continued by the community. A further opportunity for development is the new Research Staff Association which has been formed at Sussex by early-career researchers and with whom we have been working to discover how the Hive can support them. We are also keen to make more of the unofficial collaborations and connections that have been made by researchers using the Hive so that we can tell others how the Hive could benefit them.

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Connecting Cardiff’s Researchers: Delivering and learning from a social media workshop for research students Sarah Nicholas and Susan Smith, Cardiff University Library Services

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Cardiff University enhances the research postgraduate experience and supports the work of academic schools and supervisors through its Graduate College. The work of the Graduate College includes delivery of a skills development programme, to which Cardiff University Library Services have contributed for a number of years. A new workshop, The Connected Researcher: Networking and collaborating with social media, was created for the College by subject librarians, Susan Smith and Sarah Nicholas, in 2011 and repeated in 2012, in response to the College’s expressed need to offer researchers insight into online networking and communication tools.

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The creation of The Connected Researcher cannot be viewed in isolation, but must be seen in the context of a sector-wide adoption of social media. Vitae, the researchers’ champion, first ran its now-annual Digital Researcher event on 15 March 2010 (Vitae 2012). This was very soon followed by the 2010 CIBER report Social media and research workflow, which illustrated how “social media have found serious application at all points of the research lifecycle” (CIBER 2010). Since the publication of this report, the importance and status of social media within academia has grown, as evidenced by the Research Information Network’s publication Social media; a guide for researchers (Cann, Dimitriou and Hooley 2011). This invaluable publication offers an overview of social media and their relevance to research.

Initial development

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Planning The Connected Researcher demanded the acquisition of new knowledge and skills to a degree not previously encountered when preparing workshops for the Graduate College. This newly acquired knowledge had to be maintained throughout the workshop development process, due to the rapidly changing environment that is social media, where new tools regularly appear, and are adopted or rejected by the research community. The literature on social media and academic was surveyed, with significant reports such as those by CIBER (2010) and RIN (2010) serving to contextualise social media for research students. Interviews with academic colleagues with expertise and interest in social media offered both direction for the workshop and content. Attendance at training events, such as the CILIP CSG-Information Literacy Group’s Developing your web presence: the librarians guide workshop (Lingard and Secker 2010), and extensive reading of online material including blogs, ensured up-to-date and apposite content. The workshop, having been prepared, was trialled with 16 senior library staff one week before its first run in February 2011. This allowed opportunity for minor changes and the chance to anticipate participants’ questions.

Content and format Underpinning The Connected Researcher is the conviction that researchers need a clear idea of why they should use social media. In order to be driven to adopt social media tools, participants must be convinced of the relevance of social media to the research ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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process. Delivering this workshop has highlighted how researchers may be experienced bloggers, use Twitter and regularly examine their RSS feeds, without having reflected on the value of doing so.

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The workshop was delivered in six defined, task-based sections. The introductory Why use social media? set the context for how social media may be integral to the research process. Interviews with academic colleagues resulted in three case studies next being presented, adding authenticity to the session. Networking examined a range of social networking sites such as academia.edu. Disseminate and Communicate covered blogging and microblogging. Social bookmarking and citation tools, such as diigo, CiteULike and Zotero were the focus of Collect and Review. And The Joined-Up Connected Researcher concluded with an overview of how to present a cohesive online presence.

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As can be seen, the task-based approach within the workshop emphasised the practice of sharing, communicating and networking. Whilst practical tasks were undertaken, the workshop was not a technical how-to session, but rather awareness-raising. The Connected Researcher was designed to stimulate discussion and debate, to encourage participants to think about the benefits of social media use and to examine issues such as privacy and intellectual property rights.

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A social bookmarking list, publicly accessible at tinyurl.com/ConnectedResearcher, was created to support the session, with links to featured websites and supporting documentation. Researchers, contacted in advance of the workshop, were actively encourage to tweet before, during and afterwards using a nominated hashtag. Engagement with Twitter in this way offered some indication of participants’ confidence with social media tools and encouraged their active involvement, drawing on their personal experience to the benefit of their peers.

Feedback

Feedback from the sessions across both years was largely positive, with all the participants stating that the workshop was useful to them. Comments included “all resources discussed were presented in a clear/understandable manner and should be relevant to all aspects of my PhD”, “excellent opportunity to learn about modern networking within academia” and “essential for [the] modern researcher”. Some feedback from the initial session resulted in major changes for 2012. As requested, additional practical tasks, such as an analysis of attendees’ online presence and a discussion conducted through the medium of blogging, were added. The workshop was extended from three to five hours to accommodate these additions, though the subsequent 2012 feedback will result in further changes to workshop timings. Suggestions to divide the practical and discursive elements of the workshop, will be incorporated into future sessions.

Future development

The Connected Researcher workshop is included in Cardiff’s Graduate College programme for 2013 and is to be offered as two sessions. The first session will be in workshop format, examining social media tools. The second session will provide a forum for discussion ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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and debate of the issues surrounding social media use. Researchers experienced in social media will be invited to participate in the second session to offer a practitioner perspective, about which librarians, on the periphery of the research process, can only theorise.

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At the point that social media is as integrated into academic practice as email, The Connected Researcher will be rendered redundant. But until such time, this workshop will continue to be a supportive environment for Cardiffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s researchers to investigate and harness the benefits of social media.

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Bibliography CIBER. 2010. Social media and research workflow. [Online] London: CIBER, University College London. Available at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/infostudies/research/ciber/socialmedia-report.pdf [Accessed: 29 May 2012].

Cann, A , Dimitriou, K and Hooley, T. Social media: a guide for researchers. [Online] London: Research Information Network. Available at: http://www.rin.ac.uk/our-work/ communicating-and-disseminating-research/social-media-guide-researchers [Accessed: 29 May 2012].

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Lingard, M and Secker, J. 2010. Developing your web presence: the librarians guide. [Online] London: LSE Centre for Learning Technology. Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/ madrattling/developing-your-web-presence [Accessed: 29 May 2012]. Research Information Network. 2010. If you build it will they come? How researchers perceive and use social media. [Online] London: Research Information Network. Available at: http://www.rin.ac.uk/our-work/communicating-and-disseminating-research/use-andrelevance-web-20-researchers [Accessed: 29 May 2012]. Vitae. 2012. Digital researcher online. [Online] London: Vitae. Available at: http://www. vitae.ac.uk/researchers/346891/Digital-Researcher-online.html [Accessed: 29 May 2012].

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From Nelson to Frogs: Creative solutions through student collaboration Jayne Moss, Senior Subject Librarian, Plymouth University Julie Moody, Subject Librarian, Plymouth University Kate Russell, Subject Librarian, Plymouth University Amanda J Russell, Senior Subject Librarian, Plymouth University

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The search for new ways to communicate and engage with our students is a constant challenge. Research by Dickstein & Mills (2000) and Travis & Norlin (2002) showed the “librarians know best” model is not effective. A solution we have explored at Plymouth University is to use students’ talents and skills to create new resources that speak the same language and are jargon free and use approaches more likely to engage their peers. This article discusses two very different projects developed by the subject librarian team, one involving the collaboration with media arts students to create short information tutorials and the other the employment of students to create a suite of library tutorials.

From Nelson: Collaborative practice with Media Arts students

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In order to engage new students and impart information more effectively, the Arts’ Librarian realised she needed to change her approach to the Freshers’ Induction. A collaborative practice module for media arts students presented an ideal way of harnessing student talent. After successfully pitching her brief for a library video, a highly entertaining and humorous induction video (which included a brief appearance from “Nelson”) was produced by Jon Mason, a final year media arts student (Mason, 2010). Because of its original approach, the video proved to be highly popular, not only with the arts students but also other students. The whole project cost in the region of £60 which involved software costs and costume hire!

To Frogs: Employing students to create tutorials

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An initial internal scoping survey to determine students’ perceptions of librarianproduced content found that students preferred a straightforward approach, rather than “patronising” or comic styles. A student-led design approach, inspired in part by the success of the student produced video, was decided upon. Two students were employed for a three month period over a summer to evaluate potential platforms and open source tools, to create content, organise training sessions for library staff and to produce support material to ensure subject librarians could continue to develop the site in the future. The result was LiliPad (with the design of a tree frog), our online library tutorial site (LiliPad, 2010). This project was allocated funding from an internal innovation fund to pay for a survey and employment of student/students. An initial internal scoping survey to determine students’ perceptions of librarianproduced content found that students preferred a straightforward approach, rather than “patronising” or comic styles. A student-led design approach, inspired in part by the success of the student produced video, was decided upon. Two students were employed for a three month period over a summer to evaluate potential platforms and open source tools, to create content, organise training sessions for library staff and to produce support material to ensure subject librarians could continue to develop the site in the future. The result was LiliPad (with the design of a tree frog), our online library tutorial site (LiliPad, ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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2010). This project was allocated funding from an internal innovation fund to pay for a survey and employment of student/students.

Working with Students

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Several elements are required in order for a student partnership to be attempted. There needs to be trust and support from management and the courage from all concerned to grasp opportunities as they arise and not to be afraid of making mistakes. The collaborative practice project came about because of a chance remark from an academic, resulting in the Artsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Librarian having just a few days to prepare her pitch to the students. The LiliPad project was started by a couple of librarians who were grappling with the creation of online material when the opportunity arose to apply for internal innovation funding. The timescale was very short â&#x20AC;&#x201C; funding guaranteed, surveying student opinion of online tutorials, advertising the post, interviewing and employing students all had to happen in the space of 8 weeks. There were times when the team felt they were trying to do the impossible. Before embarking on a project it is important to have clarity of purpose and set down realistic, precise outputs. Without this initial scoping the project is in danger of floundering from the start. It has the added benefit of allowing management to see exactly what will be achieved. In the case of the online tutorials project, the funding application process helped to clarify this thought process and made the team focus on what they wanted from the students.

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Good project planning and careful time management are key to a successful outcome. One of the most difficult aspects for both projects was managing the time of the students effectively so that completion was on time. The problem for the induction video project was that the student worked on this during term time as part of his degree course and it was difficult for the librarian to dictate strict deadlines. In this instance, a high degree of flexibility was given and as a consequence the project overran. It was only due to the enthusiasm and dedication of the individual student that meant he continued to work on the project after his module deadline. This was a key lesson learnt and subsequent projects of this kind have been managed more tightly with students being given a clear roadmap with set dates for key tasks, strictly adhered to. The online tutorial project had specific outputs as outlined in the introduction but there was no clear plan for achieving these since the initial task was fact finding and findings from that dictated any future course of action. As a consequence the team initially had no clear progress plan and at times it was only down to the diligence and professionalism of the students that progress continued to be made. Since the funding for employing the students was for a very specific time, it soon became clear to the team that the haphazard approach of making decisions as and when required couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t continue and a plan was ultimately put in place with clear instructions to the students. On reflection, the team admit this was the hardest part of the whole process and future projects will be much more carefully mapped out, with clearer, more precise instructions. The ultimate success of this type of collaborative approach is dependent on the quality of the students. We have been impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of all the ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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students we have so far employed. In part this could be put down to luck but, particularly in the case of the online tutorial where students were employed for money, careful initial planning ensured the team employed students with the right skill sets. The team invested a great deal of time in the selection and interview process despite having limited experience in this area and a very short deadline to work to. The job and person specifications and interview programme were carefully constructed to ensure someone with the right skill set was appointed. The result was that the team employed two students whose skills complemented each other: one who had a computing background and would be useful in setting up the systems to host content, and the other, a business student, who had the creativity and flair to provide the content.

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Working in partnership with students is mutually beneficial. Library staff are introduced to a fresh new approach from people who have no previous concept of how things are normally done and are not held back by office politics. Yes, the team on occasion had to apologise for a student’s enthusiastic but naive approach to something. One of the outputs of the online tutorial project was to organise training for staff so they could continue to develop and edit the content. It was an interesting experience for the librarians to be in a training session given by a student!

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The student’s themselves benefit not only from being able to showcase their skills but also in developing the softer but essential skills of team working, time management, presentation and communication skills. The online tutorial team were also able to give feedback to the students on their cvs and interview technique.

Conclusion

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So would we do it again? Absolutely! The Arts’ Librarian has employed students through the collaborative practice module every year since the initial project. It takes a minimal amount of initial planning and is not too time intensive to manage. On the other hand, employing students for money involves a great deal of initial planning and time in setting out bids for funding, advertising for and interviewing candidates, and, once in post, training and managing them. The team have several projects in mind if a funding opportunity presents itself.

References

Dickstein, R. & Mills, V. (2000) ‘Usability Testing at the University of Arizona Library: How to let the users in on design’. Information Technology and Libraries, 19 (3). pp 144-150. LiliPad (2010) ‘Learning Information Literacy in Plymouth Academic Development’. [Online]. Available at: http://www.informationliteracyplymouth.org.uk/. Mason, J. (2010) ‘Plymouth University Library Induction Video: Part 1’. [Online]. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNdKNhsMLCg&list=UU_Qr379fwX1hWGctH NMUBqg&index=1&feature=plcp. Travis, T. A. & Norlin, E. (2002) ‘Testing the Competition: Usability of commercial information sites compared with academic library web sites’. College & Research Libraries 63 pp 433-458. ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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Embedding information literacy skills as employability attributes Serengul Smith, Principal Lecturer, Programme Leader and Learning and Teaching StrategyLeader, School of Engineering and Information Sciences, Middlesex University. S.smith@mdx.ac.uk Adam Edwards, Liaison Manager Engineering and Information Sciences, Sheppard Library, Middlesex University. A.edwards@mdx.ac.uk

Outline

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There is clear evidence that graduates, in general, lack the personal skills, attitudes and behaviours needed for success in the workplace. For university students, gaining employability skills such as information literacy, reflective thinking and writing skills throughout their education is now more important than ever. British Universities have been increasingly investing in various strategies to ensure that their graduates are fully equipped with knowledge and transferable skills and are able to respond to the changing needs of the job market. With the heightened need for our graduates to be employable, the focus has grown from academic literacy to include ‘workplace literacy’. However, these two should not be considered separate entities but rather a development from one to the other.

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At Middlesex University an intra-university team has built a framework to target the development of academic and information literacy as well as graduate employability. The team comprises staff from the School of Engineering and Information Sciences (EIS), the Learner Development Unit (LDU) and Learning Resources (LR). This paper aims to share our experiences at Middlesex University in devising such a collaborative strategy. We will also discuss the results of our work so far, including the changes which have been made and the results of a survey to show the impact on the students’ progress.

The Beginning

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There is a clear indication that science and engineering students, in general, lack employability skills (King 2002) and they have the misconception that these skills are not necessary in industry. However, regardless of a student’s program or discipline, employability skills are critical for success in the workplace and the challenges educators face in aiding students to develop these skills have increased substantially. Students often arrive at university not realizing that they will need sound information literacy skills, the ability to filter and evaluate the most appropriate sources for research nor that they are expected to read and write reports and essays at academic level. It is crucial that university students are aware of the academic and professional development responsibilities they need to undertake in order to progress to an expected level. They are also expected to enter their careers with the capability for continuous professional development. Over the last couple of years there have been several attempts to incorporate information literacy skills into various modules within EIS. However, a school report on this trial and subsequent consultation with the LR team has highlighted a number of issues such as weak consultation and collaboration between academics and LR. ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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In the summer of 2011 several meetings with the EIS Academic Dean, the Learning and Teaching Strategy Leader (LTSL) and Learning Resources were held. The aim of these meetings was to overcome previous problems and target the provision provided to the students. In this way a larger number of students would receive help and the teaching would be more efficiently and effectively delivered.

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It was decided by the LTSL that the embedding would focus on EIS programmes and not modules, and the information literacy and communication skills would focus on those needed in academic and professional environments by following the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) guidelines for employability. The CBI Employability Guidelines have been mapped onto sessions provided by the LDU and LR. Further, in order to create a seamless integration of the LDU and LR academic and professional development sessions into the student learning experience, the LTSL has worked closely with LDU and LR staff and module leaders to identify those sessions that are most appropriate in terms of the moduleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s practical activities and assessment. Subsequently, the module leaders have scheduled these sessions within the normal module timetable. This means that all students take these sessions as part of their study, and these are also tied into their module content, assessment and practical work. At present this initiative relates only to 1st year modules, however the strategic plan aims to extend this into 2nd and 3rd year modules.

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Embedding our work within the syllabus of each programme has not only raised student awareness of our existence but also of the importance of each of these aspects (information literacy and academic/professional literacy) in their academic work. Online surveys have been conducted to elicit data on the marks gained for the linked coursework, the skills and knowledge retained by the students and the views of their tutors as to whether this has made a real difference to the quality of the work the students have produced.

The librarianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective

For Librarians, there are a number of advantages to the approach outlined above. In this section we look at how this is beneficial for the management of the teaching we do, the changes in methods we have implemented to improve our teaching and the evidence, limited for now, that this does indeed have a positive impact on studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marks.

Management

The first and in many ways most important benefit of this new collaborative working is that the School has agreed to the plan. When negotiating with academic staff for slots to teach the students, the fact that this is a plan the School wishes to see implemented gives the request more weight. The collaborative planning of the training means we avoid previous problems of duplication. For example, if the Library knows LDU are covering plagiarism in a session, then we do not. The planning has also meant a much greater understanding by Library and LDU of the matrix structure of the undergraduate programmes. This has then meant we have not fallen into the trap of teaching students the same thing twice. For example, for one large module we did not see several lab groups as we knew they would see us through a different module. ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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For the Library part of the training, the Librarians created a series of sessions to be run over the three years of the undergraduate programme. This is broken down into a “menu” 30 minute segments. Depending on need or time available, the material we use can be easily rearranged to suit specific needs. Indeed a plus of this has been taking some first year elements and using them for third years who are direct entry and therefore unfamiliar with UK universities and how their libraries work. This menu was then shared and agreed with School and Learner Development Unit staff to ensure no unnecessary duplication.

Methods

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At the same time as the Librarians were meeting with School and LDU to discuss collaborative working, we were also looking at different ways of presenting our own material. A small working group comprising the author and two colleagues, Kate Healy and Vanessa Hill, met to work on ideas for better training sessions. Our key aims were to:

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• Shift away from teaching as “death by Powerpoint” and the laborious following of step by step instructions. (The behaviourist approach frequently adopted by library trainers, Montiel-Overall, 2007.) • Make the sessions problem based by relating them to a live project in the curriculum. (Diekema et al, 2011)

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• Develop learning through games and group activities, rather than teacher knows best. (A more constructivist approach to learning, Wang 2007.) • Improve quality by resisting the temptation to cram in material. Less is, we believe, definitely more, to allow students to reflect on and absorb their learning. (Chen and Lin, 2011)

Examples of the games and activities used are in Appendix 1.

Does it improve their marks?

We know from the work at University of Huddersfield that there is a clear link between those who use library resources and those who get higher class degrees. Might we see any evidence of this at Middlesex? In January 2012 we ran a short survey of second year students we had seen earlier in the autumn term. Of those completing the survey there were 66 attendees and 22 nonattendees at the library sessions. This was 88 students out of a total of approximately 210, 151 of whom had attended our two training sessions. The results for those attending show they get better marks. The commonest mark for those attending being 65% and those not 50%. The highest mark for those attending was 90% and 75% for those not. Bibliography marks were higher too. There would appear to be some evidence that those attending the library sessions do indeed do better. But were they searching more effectively?

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Search tools used

Attendees

Non-attendees

68%

63%

Wikipedia

38%

27%

Summon (discovery tool)

68%

40%

Library catalogue

30%

59%

Google

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The project this group worked on with us in class was about the Cornish villages 4G broadband trial, a government funded pilot to improve connectivity to rural communities in south west England. A clear result from the survey is that the non-attendees relied heavily on the library catalogue. However, as we had explained in class, the information on the topic is such that only with the use of newspapers and journals would the actual project be found, as it is too recent to have featured in any book. Thus Summon would have to be used to find information from library resources. We also teach the students that Wikipedia can be used, but with care. Finally, the data on evaluation criteria shows those who attended are much more aware of the importance of academic authority. The non-attendees preference for easy to read material has been unsurprising to Librarians but raised understandable concerns when presented more widely to academic colleagues not involved directly with this group. Attendees

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Evaluation criteria Current

Non-attendees

89%

59%

Relevant

76%

59%

Academic authority

67%

41%

Easy to read

24%

45%

However, we need to treat the results with caution. The Huddersfield study shows that there are a significant number of 1st class graduates who do not use the library at all. So are the attendees simply those who would do well if we did nothing at all? Other concerns are that a large number of students, nearly one third, did not attend. Many also responded to the survey to say they already knew how to use the library so did not need this session. One student went so far as to say this: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think library training is relevant... I expect to have a real lessonâ&#x20AC;?

Yet the latter two tables of results would suggest they actually do not know. How do you make them appreciate library training is a real lesson too? Should this be compulsory? We see the answer as even closer working between School, Library and LDU. Despite the planning and closer working, we still have to ask for time to see students. The ideal should be that the library and LDU teaching is a fully integrated part of the curriculum, with this reflected in the aims, learning outcomes and timetable for all our programmes. There is an opportunity to do this over the next few months with the revalidation of the computer science programmes and it is one we intend to take. ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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Conclusions Our school level framework has aimed to embed the development of academic and information literacy as well as graduate employability seamlessly into the program curriculum, by integrating module content with input from the LDU/LR services. Our collaborative work has also aimed to prevent a tick box approach by: • Fully embedding the development of employability skills into the curriculum • Integrating the specialist input, appropriate for the Computer Science and Engineering students’ needs, offered by central units directly into the curriculum

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• Ensuring that staff are aware of the relevance of the sessions to their modules and, by tying sessions in to module related case studies and projects brings together the expertise and experience of subject specialist staff and skills and support specialists

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This is only the first year of working in this new way. The new collaborative management structure is helpful to all and is making delivery more efficient. Our changed methods are making sessions more fun for both students and librarians, whilst also allowing space for more reflective learning. But above all else, we can now begin to show some measure of impact in line with studies elsewhere. Or as we say to the students, library training gets you better marks.

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References 1. Chen, K. and Lin, P. (2011), Information in university library user education, Aslib Proceedings, 63 (4), 405. 2. King, T. (2002), Development of student skills in reflective writing, http://www.osds.uwa. edu.au/__data/page/37666/Terry_King.doc [accessed 01/06/12] 3. Diekema, A.R., Holliday, W. and Leary, H. (2011), Re-framing information literacy: Problem based learning as informed learning, Library and Information Science Research, 33, 262. 4. Montiel-Overall, P. (2007), Information literacy; Toward a cultural model, Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 31 (1), 45. 5. Wang, L. (2007), Sociocultural learning theories and information literacy teaching activities in higher education, Reference & User Services Quarterly, 47 (2), 150.

Appendix 1: The full project team • • • •

Paul Bernaschina, SL English for Academic Purposes, Learner Development Unit Adam Edwards, Liaison Manager for EIS, Learning Resources Vanessa Hill, Liaison Librarian for EIS, Learning Resources Serengul Smith, Principal Lecturer, EIS

Appendix 2: Games and activities we use These ideas evolved into some worked out activities which are as follows:

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Thinking about resources game Inspired by a workshop at the LILAC 2011 conference, this is a simple card game designed to get students thinking about the five main types of resources they will find searching for information. The five resources, books, web pages, newspapers, academic journals and popular journals are then matched to a definition and a good for and not so good for card. This is done in groups of three and each group is then invited to feed back on a resource. Discussion then ensues on the good for and not so good for aspects of each resource. This enables us to cover the problems of relying too much on the internet and the virtues of the peer reviewed paper. The assumption is that through activity and discussion, deeper learning occurs than if this were simply us talking to slides.

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Keywords

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Before we let the students explore our discovery system Summon, we get them to think about keywords, starting with an image, deliberately chosen to be not computer related. We then ask for what the students see. Computing students see fruit on the market stall, design engineers tend to see colours. We then ask for more detail. For example, the people in the picture could be customers, the stall holder, passers by and can be categorised as old or young, male or female. We ask the students to think of wider terms, such as business competition (there is a supermarket behind the stall), health (five a day) and the like. We finish this with a discussion of the fruit likely to be confused with technology, apple, orange or blackberry.

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We then run the same exercise, but with their real project so they can see the difference this makes to the words they use.

Hands on

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For first years, we then get them to apply the keywords to our Summon search engine, which searches across the library catalogue and all our e-journals. It also has a handy built in Harvard reference generator. Even the most sceptical student is won over this activity. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t set them a search to do, we ask them to explore Summon using the keywords they have and then to tell us what they found. As they search we go round the groups offering advice and pointing out the refining tools and reference generator, if they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find it themselves.

Evaluation

We then as a final group activity ask students to evaluate a sample set of search results (a website, newspaper article, trade journal article and academic journal paper) and again discuss what we have found.

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“Dear Mr Angela”: Engaging with international students at the University of Bristol. Angela Joyce, International Librarian angela.joyce@bristol.ac.uk

Introduction

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The University of Bristol

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In September 2011 a new Library post – International Librarian - was created, on the same grade as Subject Librarians, to support international students. This post is .75 of a full-time post and I combine it with the post of Economics, Finance and Management (EFM) librarian, which is .25 of a full-time post. Why the rather endearing title “Mr Angela”? Students often don’t know how to address me in emails. - they don’t always know from my email details if I am male or female, and I have just the same dilemma at times with Chinese or Arabic names. They are often very respectful and formal too. International communication can be tricky and misunderstandings can arise.

The University of Bristol has significant numbers of international students. Our Education Strategy, 2010-2016, states “We will enhance the international character of the University by increasing the numbers of international students in the University, and by striving to deepen their integration into the University community.”

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The University is not quite among the top 20 UK recruiters, the largest being University of Manchester for 2010-11. (UKCISA, 2012). However, our numbers are high – about 15% or 3,600 of our students are international, with the majority doing EFM, law, arts and engineering. The top incoming students come from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, France, India, the USA, Greece and Germany. We have ten libraries, open to any students or staff.

What does the job involve?

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The aim is to develop Library services and resources which “meet the changing needs of international students”. The job description has basic guidelines, but there is scope for creativity, and I have been able to try out interesting approaches. There is a practical element but also a need to be familiar with academic research on internationalisation processes. The main tasks are building up an International Collection; promoting the ten libraries; helping students with information literacy either individually or in groups; training staff in international cultural awareness and working with other University departments, to give a quality service to international students. Having been an international student myself in the past (in France and Austria) I well remember the feelings of loneliness and culture shock at times, although it could also be exciting and amazing.

International collection

I am developing a print and electronic collection, to help students with study and research skills. But the scope is wider than this: it also includes books on the local area and its history, and on the UK. There are books on modern British cultures too, questioning what it means to be British, English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish today. Alongside books about nice places to visit such as the Cotswolds, are more controversial ones on subjects like the slave trade in Bristol. In addition, there are books which deal with the internationalisation of higher education, and experiences of students who come to the ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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Outreach

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UK to study. Finally, there is a selection of “easy readers” which help to extend students’ English and appreciation of literature. The materials are generally being well used, with study skills the most popular. There are also eBooks and a list of websites which can support international students, eg. The Prepare for Success website (2012), which get students ready for study in the UK. The collection is promoted to international students, but other students probably use it at times. As we do not get our circulation system, ALEPH, to differentiate between home and international students, we cannot track which ones are borrowing materials. A large part of the job involves outreach to students. Different methods have been trialled. For example, I have a special international Library Web page: http://www.bris.ac.uk/library/using/international/

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At first few people viewed this, but this term it has had had 465 views, which is reasonable, considering the low usage many Web pages have. Some are from prospective students who possibly “googled” it. I also communicate via Blackboard, if I am given access to specific courses. I had hoped to email all international students, but the email list owner, the head of our International Office, preferred me not to, as they get many emails. Another useful channel is Facebook. The University Library does not have a Facebook page, but I have a personal page which I mainly use for professional networking. I am able to write on the “walls” of various University groups with message about Library services, such as the International Office students’ group, and the Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies. This has proved useful and I do get responses. I ensure that I go to any welcome events run by the International Office, where I may have a stand, or may just mingle with new international students and give them publicity materials. I also experimented with informal events at Christmas and Easter, offering mince pies and Easter eggs in the Library and being available to help students. But the take-up was low and so I am doubtful about the value of these. Many students do email with Library questions and come and see me individually. They often want help with Library databases or searching, or finding things on the shelves. Once they are shown what to do, they quickly understand, but often it is a case of finding the right stuff on the Library Web pages, which are packed with information! I have also run a few generic classes, but large classes are mainly provided by subject librarians, for all their students. Margarida Dolan (2009) gives some excellent advice about effective work with large international groups. The policy in our Library is not to provide materials in students’ own languages, as some in-house research has indicated that they do not want this (Reynolds, 2009). I know that some universities do provide it though. I do speak to some students initially in their own language when we meet (French, German, Spanish, a little Mandarin), which can be a nice icebreaker.

Staff training

An interesting part of my work is providing training for Library staff, to raise awareness of international cultures. At my first session which I called “See the world differently”, for subject librarians, I showed excerpts from the excellent UKCISA DVD, Bridging our Worlds, (2012) which has interviews with many international students and staff. I then ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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talked about the four dimensions of Hofstede (Hofstede, 2010), ie. power distance, individualism versus collectivity, masculinity versus femininity, and uncertainty avoidance, which I think are a very useful framework for understanding cultural differences. We discussed our own experiences and ideas for better communication with students, and finished by sampling some cakes from various countries. More training sessions will be rolled out to other Library staff soon. It is important not to generalise about nationalities however, and to remember that everyone is an individual too. We are each shaped by our own culture and it can be hard to be objective.

Beyond the Library

Conclusion

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Outside the Library, I liaise with many University groups, including the International Office, Careers Service, Student Union and Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies. I enjoy going to academic discussions at the Centre for International and Comparitive Studies in our Graduate School of Education. Our Pro Vice-Chancellor has invited me to join a group which will look at internationalisation of the curriculum, and it is good to think that the Library will be part of that. Being a keen linguist, I try to keep my European languages going, and I am learning Mandarin which is challenging but gives me a different view of the world! I have made contact with other international librarians around the UK; there are still few specific posts, although I know that various libraries are addressing the needs of international students.

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This is still a new role and the job is sure to evolve. I am learning a great deal. I hope to increase student outreach, both online and face to face, and I am looking forward to collaborating more across the University. There are some interesting issues around inclusion versus exclusion, for example many of our international students do not want special materials provided in their own languages (Reynolds, 2009) but want to use their English. In fact, by improving services for international students, eg. clearer English in publicity materials, more reflective teaching, more help, we are probably benefitting home students more too. References 1. BARTY, A., LAGO, C. & UK COUNCIL FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AFFAIRS. 2008. Bridging our worlds : a DVD for training staff working with international students : trainersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; manual, London, UK Council for International Student Affairs. 2. DOLAN, M & MACIAS, R, 2009. Motivating international students. Available from http:// www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/handbook/international 3. HOFSTEDE, G. H. & HOFSTEDE, G. J. 2010. Cultures and organizations : software of the mind, New York, McGraw-Hill. 4. JONES, E. 2010. Internationalisation and the student voice : higher education perspectives, New York ; London, Routledge. 5. Prepare for Success. Available from http://www.prepareforsuccess.org.uk/ 6. REYNOLDS, JANE, 2009. An examination of the library support needs of international students studying at the University of Bristol (MSc dissertation, University of Bristol). 7. UKCISA: International students in UK higher education: key statistics. Available from 11 May 2012 ALISS Quarterly 7 (4) July 2012


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8. University of Bristol, Education Strategy. Available from http://www.bristol.ac.uk/esu/ facultyadvice/policy/educationstrategy/edstrat.pdf 11 May 2012


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ALISS Quarterly Vol 7 no 4 july 2012