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The reading Issue Write, Write Write – Gillian Siddall talks to Historian Jon Stobart

Seeing the Meaning – Visual Literacy, Student Employability and the Role of Librarians

How do Students Read? – Matthew McCormack talks about his reading research

and more... – iPad reflections, World Book Night


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Spring 2011

| The Reading Issue

Editorial Welcome to the spring issue of Bibliotech; the print and online publication from Information Services. We decided that as publication coincided with World Book Day on March 3rd and an ongoing debate raging about the future of public libraries, we would have a dedicated reading issue. Not just thinking of the written word, we wanted to look at reading in all its glorious guises; whether print or electronic, recreation or study, text or image.

we want them too. As the mother of a teenager who is dyslexic, I often have to remind myself to try and walk in her shoes and visualise how she sees text.

Editor Charlotte Heppell Deputy Editor

A 2010 report entitled Literacy: state of the Nation found the following:

The benefits of regular reading are too numerous to mention, but include: improved vocabulary and concentration, escape from boredom and always having something to talk about – think about a time you may have started off discussing a book with a colleague and how it then snowballs to other people in the room, titles, related films etc etc...

Gillian Siddall Contributing Team

„„ One in six people in the UK struggle with literacy. This means their literacy is below the level expected of an eleven year old

Matthew McCormack Hannah Rose Jenny Spokes George Payne

„„ A quarter of young people do not recognise a link between reading and success

Kate Littlemore Maggie Peach Jenny Townend

„„ Men and women with poor literacy are least likely to be in full-time employment at the age of thirty

Rob Howe Al Holloway Julie Usher

We need to bear in mind when supporting students that But whilst bibliophiles enjoy celebrating all things read- reading doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but directing ing, spare a thought for those who for one reason or them to the right help at the right time is something acaanother don’t get the same enjoyment, whether that’s be- demics and librarians should all be striving to do, via the cause they have visual literacy problems or because they Access Ability team. http://tinyurl.com/6b2nhnz didn’t quite get it when they were young and the reading ‘bug’ never took hold. To get to the fully accessible online version of Bibliotech and post your comments, please go to: We as academics and librarians, who have chosen to http://tinyurl.com/6k5hm6o n work primarily with text-based resources, see reading as such a natural activity that it can be hard to understand Charlotte Heppell students who don’t embrace the written word in the way Academic Librarian charlotte.heppell@northampton.ac.uk

Adele Gordon Helena Beeson Yvonne O’Connor Cleo Cameron Design and Layout James Heppell Marketing Nikki Sutherland Cover Design Lauren Peppiatt

Contents Editorial

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Hearing the words

How Do Students Read? 

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Read all about them...

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World book Day

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iPad Reflections

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IN BRIEF

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TalisList are you using it?

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A day in the life of...

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Hard at it!

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Reading – whole texts or skim reading? 

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Demand driven acquisition – the way forward?

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Help yourself!

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Write, Write, Write

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Seeing the Meaning

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| The Reading Issue

How Do Students Read? Historian Matthew McCormack talks about research he carried out with history students and their reading habits.

I know from my experience of teaching history – and also from studying it, that reading is a big part of what history students do. This is also true of many other disciplines, especially in the arts and social sciences, yet teachers at university often take reading for granted as an activity and underestimate its importance as a method of learning. In the first week of university we present students with huge reading lists or weighty textbooks and expect them to ‘get on with it’. This can be daunting to students who may not have encountered academic genres of writing, large research libraries or independent study models before. When reading doesn’t happen, it can create frustrations for the lecturer whose class plan was relying on it, and a diminished experience for the student: those who haven’t read miss out and those who have can feel short-changed. I therefore decided to carry out a study of student reading for my PGCTHE in 2007 and have maintained an interest in it ever since. By using classroom observations, questionnaires and focus groups, I sought to find out how

history students read and the findings were interesting. Relatively few students read as much as we ask (or even expect) but they are highly selective about what they do read. History students tended to prefer recommended specialist literature to textbooks or websites, possibly because they knew they would get little credit for the latter in assignments. It also became apparent that they developed sophisticated methods of note-taking and annotation, which educationalists recognise are key to comprehension and ‘deep’ learning.

"By using classroom observations, questionnaires and focus groups, I sought to find out how history students read and the findings were interesting. Relatively few

There are various conclusions that I could draw from all this, but two stand out. Firstly, I think there needs to be a greater appreciation that different disciplines approach reading in different ways: it is one of those unspoken aspects of learning to be a student of literature, sociology or whatever – but it perhaps needs to play a more explicit role in our pedagogy. Secondly, in this multimedia age, we shouldn’t assume that ‘students don’t like books’ and give up on them: rather, we should try harder to help our students engage with academic writing, and therefore empower them to learn. n

students read as much as we ask."

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| The Reading Issue

Reading – whole texts or skim reading ? Academic Librarian Gillian Siddall explores the topic of reading skills for academic purposes

"This was a skill I developed, brought on by the pressure of having to write an essay every two weeks during my first year – I learnt to skim read."

I’ve often faced the question of what I was “reading” at University, which I found a strange way of asking what I was studying. Of course, it was a reflection of the idea that you read for your degree, that you evaluate and assess information around a subject from a number of angles so that you can come to your own conclusion about it. However, I’m not sure I really did “read” that much. For each of my degrees I worked hard and did what I needed to, to get the grades I wanted. I think essays took up most of my time and effort. Of course I read for those and for the seminars I dutifully attended but I’m not sure how much I took in. You see, I read superficially to gather the information necessary for my work, jumping from book to book, article to article. This allowed me to find the relevant evidence and keep up with my busy work load. This was a skill I developed, brought on by the pressure of having to write an essay every two weeks during my first year – I learnt to skim read.

However, I often come across students who find reading difficult. They read everything word for word and books from cover to cover. I have been asked if it’s ok to just look at one chapter of a book to get information for an assignment. I think this is a reflection of students’ lack of study skills when they come to university, similar to their insecurity in writing essays and knowing what to include in them. I benefited from a study skills programme at my undergraduate university which highlighted some of the key skills I needed to develop in order to improve the efficiency of my study - one of which was skim reading. I think it’s important that we share our own experiences with students and help them to develop the skills they need to succeed academically. This is why I believe we should be encouraging students to dip in and out of information sources, be those books, journal articles or websites so they can quickly pull out the relevant information and move onto the next source. We should highlight the variety of reading styles needed for academic study: in depth reading to learn about the core of the subject and skim reading around the different theories to help inform an argument. Perhaps we should make a point of including good study skills books in reading lists to help students to improve their own reading and pointing them to the resources available within the university, such as their Academic Librarian and CfAP. One key book that covers a variety of study skills necessary for university is Stella Cottrell’s “Study Skills Handbook”, although there a number of subject specific texts that can highlight the best way of reading through a subject. Therefore I think we need to encourage students to read selectively and actively, rather than allowing them to get lost in the volume of information available. n

Gillian Siddall Academic Librarian gillian.siddall@northampton.ac.uk

Photo by moriza: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moriza/96724309/


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| The Reading Issue

Demand driven acquisition – the way forward? Hannah Rose talks about a new service we have been trialling...

Information Services has been exploring a new e-book acquisition model, which is driven by demand from students. Through the Dawsonera e-book platform, a collection of over 145,000 titles have been made available for students to browse or search, with the option to rent titles that we do not currently own. The idea is that when a student makes a rental request, they get immediate access to the book they want and at the time that they need it. If a second student then requests the same title, an automatic purchase of the e-book is triggered.

School

The Dawsonera Demand Drive Acquisition model has been in place over the last few months and usage looks to be really good, with 515 rentals and 72 e-book purchases. It appears our students have been making the most of this service, which also gives them the opportunity to contribute to building a relevant library collection.  n

Social Sciences

Arts Education Health NBS Science and Tech

Unknown

Rentals

Purchases

18

2

139

19

57

14

117

12

7

0

160

22

17

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Breakdown by School, revealing the distribution of rentals and purchases:

Help yourself! Jenny Spokes from the Digitisation Team has been looking at a self-help collection, available in the Library. 21st century life increasingly throws many stresses and strains in our direction and all of us may find that we need help in dealing with personal issues from time to time. But not everyone has the time or the desire to visit a doctor or other specialist to obtain professional help, so one solution may be through reference to ‘Self-help’ information. Our university already provides an invaluable counselling and mental health support and advice service for students but were you aware that this is complemented

by a library collection of self-help related books and electronic resources? The self-help collection can be accessed through a search on the Library catalogue: http://prism.talis.com/northampton-ac/ home - just type in ‘self help’ or a specific topic. These resources are available to both staff and students for their own use but equally they present a useful medium for any staff wanting to advise students with personal problems. The self-help collection covers a number

of pertinent topics including stress and anxiety, dealing with depression, anger management, increasing personal happiness, self esteem and dealing with grief. It also includes a series of resources that can be used by education students to help them when dealing with young people they come across in schools who have personal problems. So why not take a look at what the Selfhelp collection has to offer; it may help us to enhance both our own and our students’ lives. n

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Photo by Alan Rosling

Write, Write, Write Gillian Siddall spent some time talking to Historian Jon Stobart about the process of writing for publication and his latest book – Spend, Spend, Spend…

What was the first thing you had

When you were writing your thesis,

I struggle to remember, which is an incredible thing to admit in many ways. I think it was an article published in a journal, based on the work I’d done for my thesis. The first one seems the most difficult and the number of times you send things off and they send them back because they’re not quite right… So I think that first breakthrough is the most difficult thing to do!

No, not really. This makes me seem terribly old or unworldly, but there wasn’t really the same impetus that you should be. I mean, nowadays, people are writing their thesis, their PhD and there’s other publication going on alongside that. And that just wasn’t the same then, certainly not to the same extent. So no, researching and writing the thesis, that was the focus then, and then you might do something with it afterwards.

published?

did you have publication in mind?

You said you applied to a number of journals, did you do a pot luck ap-

proach, or were you more strategic?

I think even then I had a bit of an idea of what was going on. I think it’s a question of working out what material you’ve got and what you have to say and partly which is the most appropriate journal that is most likely to want to print that kind of material. But also, and running alongside that in many ways, is the question of who is it you’re trying to reach.


Spring 2011

| The Reading Issue

"I suppose, you’d want to make sure... it’s a topic that will hold your interest and sustain that interest. And, more fundamentally, something that links into what you’re teaching or what you’re researching because then the two reinforce one another."

So, if we think back to your book

‘Spend, Spend, Spend . . .’ Where did the idea for that come about?

if you think how many words it is - six times the length of a journal article; that’s six journal articles, but it kind of isn’t because the whole thing has to be conceived on a much grander scale, so there’s much more thinking through the whole unit. I think making sure you’re realistic about the amount of time it’s going to take and agreeing a reasonable deadline is important.

The publisher got in touch with me and said “wouldn’t it be a good idea if there was a book about, broadly, the history of shopping”. Where they were starting from was Viv Nicholson, who won the pools in the 1960s. I can’t remember the precise quote, but they said “What are you going to do with How did you manage that with your your money?” and she said “I’m going to workload? spend, spend, spend”; hence the title. I didn’t have a sabbatical. I suppose, it was largely done in the evenings and weekends Did they give you any criteria when and so forth, especially with the nature of they approached you? this kind of book; it’s not something that would be part of the REF. It’s difficult to see It was a fairly loose concept; what they it as a core part of what you do. wanted was to talk about, shopping from about as long back as you could go, they were interested in starting it off in Roman How long did it take from when you times, and sort of running through to the handed it in to the publishers? present day. I drew the line at the medieval period. They had a long time frame, but Reasonably quick, I think it was a few beyond that, no criteria. So I had the oppor- months; it may have been as many as six tunity to look at how to bring that very loose months. A journal can accept an article and brief to fruition. it can be a year or more before it appears. With books, even when they have the final, final copy as it were, it's still months before Did they give you a deadline? something appears, which can be frustrating and a bit surreal. We agreed a deadline but I think I probably missed it. It was probably about a year from when they came to me with the idea, Is a book of this type something to when I gave them the book, but probably you’d like to repeat or do you prefer doing the book was six months of that. a more academic audience? Quite an impressive turnaround!

Yes, too tight I think. Books are big things;

No, I think I’d be quite happy to repeat it. I think it’s very difficult to balance the different pressures or requirements, because

obviously the REF drives what sort of things we want to publish. But I mean equally, in all honesty, how many people buy a research monograph that’s £60? More people are going to think, “£20, I don’t mind that”. I think there’s something appealing in writing for that wider audience, in a way it’s sort of an extension of lecturing. Did you enjoy writing your book?

Yes, although there were bits of it that I enjoyed writing more than others. I mean what that book is, is a narrative of shopping from the middle ages through to the present day. There are bits in the middle that I know rather well because it’s closely based on my research, but I think the more you know about something, the more difficult it is to distance yourself from it. Yes it was enjoyable and it was nice when it was finished. What would you say to a lecturer who is interested in publishing a book for the first time?

I suppose, you’d want to make sure, certainly if it’s a book, it’s a topic that will hold your interest and sustain that interest. And, more fundamentally, something that links into what you’re teaching or what you’re researching because then the two reinforce one another. n

Gillian Siddall Academic Librarian gillian.siddall@northampton.ac.uk

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Seeing the Meaning ‘Visual Literacy, Student Employability and the Role of Librarians’ by George Payne and Kate Littlemore.

In the UK we live in a society that tacitly equates information with the written word. Clues to the precedence accorded to text-based data over visual information surround us. In the UK there is a legal deposit requirement placed upon publishers to submit a free copy of every book or journal published to the British Library. Nothing similar yet exists for films or images. Within libraries, most information literacy programmes focus almost exclusively on locating and evaluating text-based data, using checklists that require the evaluator to hunt down textual clues about authority and provenance. Recent reports, such as The Digital Britain Report (BIS, 2009, 175), the Higher Education Academy Employability paper (HEA, 2007) and the Ofsted Drawing Together report (Ofsted, 2009) all acknowledge the high economic value of creative education to support the burgeoning creative industries, but only recognise these skills as applicable within the domain of specialist Art and Design education. There is little dialogue about the need for “visual literacy” skills - the ability to consciously decode and encode visual data – outside of Arts education, yet we exist in a media saturated social climate where more information is conveyed visually than is conveyed through text. By neglecting visual information skills, we run the risk of sending our students into the job market, and into society, ill-equipped to consciously decode the images streaming towards them, and conversely, unable to create and encode visual data to communicate and illustrate ideas. This does not mean academics are not addressing visual skills through the way they teach their various disciplines. In their Review of the concept of Visual Literacy, Avgerinou & Ericson (1997)

document how visual literacy can be incorporated across a plethora of subject disciplines, but with each subject discipline emphasising a differing skill set, meaning that certain core visual skills may go unaddressed if they are not central to a specific subject discipline.

Visual Information Skills Development with Information Services Since 2004, Information Services at the University of Northampton has run a successful undergraduate Information Management module, which is available to all first years and has an annual cohort of around 80 students. The module is core for most Business, HRM and Marketing students. In 2007, a strand dedicated to visual information skills - the ability to consciously decode and encode visual data – was developed by the University’s Arts library team and added to the module programme. From the favourable student response, the content awakened something within the students, and proved stimulating and timely. We now have a growing research interest in opening up dialogues about the importance of embedding visual information skills across subjects, understanding the role librarians have to play in supporting academics to deliver visual information skills and its impact on student employability. This year we have added to our visual information skills provision, and have been working alongside Design academics to run primary resource workshops for all second year Graphics and Illustration students, examining materials from the University’s Special Collection in terms of the cultural, technological and stylistic information encoded in each artefact.  n „„Avgerinou, M & J. Ericson (1997) A Review of the concept of Visual Literacy. British Journal of Educational Technology. 28 (4), 280-291.


Spring 2011

| The Reading Issue

Hearing the words Charlotte Heppell on the subject of audio books

Photo by: Brian Lane Winfield Moore

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doctabu/117954591/in/set-72057594090682218/

Audio books whether in CD or downloadable format, are fast becoming an alternative to the written word. There are various reasons for this; one of them being ease of availability and accessibility via hardware such as iPods, iPads, MP3 players and software such as iTunes. Typically, reading the written word has been thought of as a mental activity; we use our eyes to read across the page, our intellect to decipher what we are seeing and our emotions to connect with the subject. Audio books can seem like a lazy alternative, but there are many benefits to them which we may not have considered. Nowadays we are all really busy and when we just don't have the time, one of the first things to go is reading but using audio books allows us to multi-task. Whatever we are doing, whether it’s housework, driving or even exercise, we can still engage with a good book.

They are really great for people with ‘Print disabilities’ such as visual impairment or dyslexia and they can help us negotiate our way through material containing strong dialects or unfamiliar language. One thing I hear regularly from readers is that they skim and scan text or skip parts out of boredom, or the need to find out what happens next, but with audio books we can engage on a different level, making it a more complete experience. Not all audio books cost money either; check out the following websites for free access to hundreds of titles: „„ http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/ „„ http://www.calibre.org.uk/modResourcesLibrary/ HtmlRenderer/howtojoin.html/

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| The Reading Issue

read all aBouT Them... Maggie Peach, Records management assistant gives us the low down on what the university reading groups have been reading

Platform 51 (formerly YWCA)

Reading Group - currently reading One Day by David Nicholls

the reading group's chosen book for December was 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' by Stieg Larsson. Following the Christmas break the first meeting of the New Year took place on 26th January. Although not all of the young women had read the book there was plenty to talk about. Following a brief résumé of the plot and intricate story lines within the book, by one of the group’s avid readers, an animated discussion took place around some of the themes running through the book:

violence against women, murder, the casual nature of the relationships between some of the characters, and the self-sufficiency and isolation of the heroine are just some of the themes that were talked about. The nature of the themes meant that strong views and opinions were expressed, often simultaneously. With everyone talking over each other trying to get their views across the discussion was lively and animated. While the discussions were loosely based around the story lines within the book they did veer off into more personal areas at times. On the whole the group agreed that the book, while slow to get started, draws the

reader in and becomes a compulsive read. Encouragingly, following the group discussion several of the young women who had not read the book felt inspired to go ahead and give it a go. The University Staff Reading

Group - currently reading Her fearful symmetry by Audrey Niffeneg-

ger and Tracey Chevalier - Falling Angels

With no meeting in December and two books to discuss, the University Staff Reading Group met for its first meeting of the New Year on 27th January 2011. 'What Was Lost' by Catherine O’Flynn and 'Alone

world Book day World Book day...and now Night too! established in 1998, World Book Day was designated by UNESCO (United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a worldwide celebration of books and reading. It is now recognised in over a hundred countries and this year, in the UK and Ireland, it will take place on Thursday 3rd March 2011. For details of associated celebrations and events check out: http://www.worldbookday.com/ In addition, this year sees the first World Book Night taking place on Saturday 5th

March and being broadcast in partnership with BBC2. One million free books will be given away by 20,000 passionate readers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland. See http://www.worldbooknight.org/ for further details of this exciting and unprecedented event. As you can imagine, there are quite a few bookworms in Information Services and so we like to mark the occasion with a display in both Park and Avenue libraries featuring some of our favourite reads.

We’d love to know what other University staff have been reading too so if you’ve recently read something you think is worth shouting about and would like it to appear in our display then please email jenny. townend@northampton.ac.uk with the book title and a few lines on why you enjoyed it so much. Not a reader? Reconsider. Henry Valentine Miller said “we should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate” and who could deny their soul that? n


spring 2011

in Berlin' by Hans Fallada were the two books under discussion. Not everybody who attended had managed to read both books but everyone had read one of them. Of those who had read ‘What Was Lost’, the majority of the group found it a dreary and depressing read. There was some discussion about the characters all of whom appeared to lead very dreary and ordinary lives centred in and around a shopping centre. The story line was quite fragmented with lots of random and seemingly pointless interjections. Several of the group found humour in some of the authors’ observations, but not

| The Reading Issue

everyone was amused. The book was not considered one to recommend and nobody who hadn’t read it felt a burning need to do so. On a more positive note, those who had read the Hans Fallada book ‘Alone in Berlin’, whilst not full of enthusiasm, found it an interesting read. Discussion centred around the fear and uncertainty that must have been felt by people living in Berlin under the Nazis as well as their perception that absolutely no-one could be trusted. Given the trivial actions that could bring a person to the attention of the SS, it was felt that this attitude was completely understandable. In one strand of the discussion

the group wondered what might have happened if some of the characters had been more trusting of each other. The surprising facet of this book is that it is based on a true story and the group, on the whole felt that this fact added to our enjoyment. If you are interested in joining the Staff Reading Group, then contact Charlotte Heppell via email: charlotte.heppell@northampton.ac.uk

CurrenTly reading... We had a quick cast around staff from (mainly) Information Services to see what they are currently reading: 'Depths' by Henning Mankell - Helena Beeson

'The thousand autumns of Jacob De Zoet' by David Mitchell - Andrew Milne

'Paths of glory' by Jeffrey Archer - Rob Howe

'The little stranger' by Sarah Waters - Jenny Townend

'Falling angels' by Tracey Chevalier - Maggie Peach

'Her fearful symmetry' by Audrey Niffenegger - Chris Dale

'Sweetness and power' by Sidney Mintz - Jon Stobart

'Ego tunnel: science of the mind and the myth of the self' by Thomas Metzinger - Cleo Cameron

'One day' by David Nicholls - Janet Milner

'House of echoes' by Barbara Erskine - Jo Farmer 'Even money' By Dick and Felix Francis - Miggie Pickton 'Alone in Berlin' by Hans Fallada - Alan Rosling

'True blood: dead to the world' by Charlaine Harris - Gillian Siddall 'By design: a biography ' by Richard E. Grant - Julie Usher

As a celebration of World Book Day, Information Services will be having a book review display in the foyer of the Library; if you need inspiration for a new read, this may be the place to look!

n

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ipad refleCTions The Learning Technology team have put their heads together, to discuss the reading experience of using an iPad...

over the past feW years, devices have been getting smaller and smaller – from big desktop machines, to laptops, and more recently to smart phones. More recently we have seen an interesting combination of features coming together to produce a new breed of device – and a return to slightly larger devices again.

to explore their potential within the University. The ability to download additional tools (called apps) from a massive supply available online significantly adds to the basic functionality of the iPad. The team keep coming across new features and articles (e.g. http://tinyurl. com/4p86xqv) which are exploring new ways to use the iPad within educational environments. From a quick survey of the team so far, there are a number of reading apps available for use and download (iBooks is already supplied). Some of the apps depend on having an iTunes account to be able to download and transfer content to the device – which is not always intuitive if you don’t normally use this (note: If you have an Amazon account then you can always use the Kindle app instead). The backlight is a real plus if you are inside but this is naturally redundant when you are in a natural light setting – indeed there is a small amount of reflection from the screen which can be a bit distracting.

"From a quick survey of the team so far, there are a number of reading apps available for use and download."

Touch screen tablet devices have been around for a few years and were normally based around the idea of a laptop with a rotational screen which meant it could double as both a traditional laptop or touch screen device. Despite being mooted as a potential big seller, these devices never really took off – possibly due to their size and weight. Apple (well known for their innovative and intuitive systems design) entered the markets with a touch screen tablet device called the iPad. This device was smaller than a laptop, larger than a phone and only had a few key buttons around the edge. Based on a similar design to the iPhone, this quickly became a best seller and seemed to fill the need for a device of this type. For the past few months, the Learning Technology team have been provided with a small supply of iPads

Reading on the iPad is very intuitive with a simple flick of the finger you can easily turn the page or navigate to another part of the book. This becomes such a natural process that you come to expect this from every e-reader which is not normally the case. Some team members who have family already using other e-readers indicated that whilst the iPad has significant functionality – this can be distracting if you just want to read a book – with the screen not being as ‘easy on the eye’ as something like the Amazon Kindle or the Sony e-reader (both of which are also available to loan from the Learning Technology team!) It is this versatility mentioned above that is, however, proving to be a big success for the iPad with reports of people from age 3 up to 80 (and beyond) – making use of this tool for general entertainment and their own development. With a vast range of cheaper alternatives (many based on an alternative system called Android) entering the market it will be interesting to see what else Apple will be doing to maintain the iPads popularity. n


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The News IN BRIEF

Reading In Practice Extending students reading and learning through community engagement A project by the HEA last year, encouraged students to get more involved in reading, by working with the wider community. 14 students took part in placements in a series of 40 weekly literature workshops in diverse settings, such as a dementia care setting, a hospital ward for the elderly, a drug rehabilitation unit and a school. After a short training period the reading group assistants generated reading material which contributed to themed reading packs which could be used by future facilitators. To read more about this project, go to: „„ http://www.english.heacademy.ac.uk/

Getstats The Royal Statistical Society launched a campaign last year called ‘Getstats’ which aims to improve our skills in understanding and using data. Although it looks like the initial thrust of the campaign is over, you can still see the informative launch presentations and materials on the Getstats blog. „„ http://www.getstats.org.uk/ getstatsAbout.html

International scientific collaboration for the visual learner A map portraying scientific collaboration across the world has been created by Olivier Beauchesne at Science Metrix.

explore/projects/archive/independent/ ind4.php

„„ http://www.wired.co.uk/news/ collaboration

A interesting two-part report, from the Research Information Network, takes an in-depth look at how researchers in the UK use electronic journals, the value they bring to universities and research institutions and the contribution they make to research productivity, quality and outcomes. „„ http://www.rin.ac.uk/our-work/ communicating-and-disseminatingresearch/e-journals-their-use-value-andimpact

„„ http://wires.wiley.com

Voices for the Library You may have heard of this group in recent times with threats of library cuts across the media. Did you know though that they were established on Twitter initially in response to errors in reporting facts about library services and use? It seems some reporters have been getting their figures mixed up when discussing libraries. „„ http://zine.openrightsgroup. org/comment/2011/a-social-

archive/2011-01/31/scientific-

E-journals: their use, value and impact - final report

Authors are invited to contribute and matched with other authors in their field to encourage collaboration. Coverage includes medical and scientific topics; and is available through the University of Northampton via Wiley.

networking-success-story?quip_ thread=blogPost5752&quip_ parent=10960

Wiley Wires Interdisciplinary Reviews

Historical reading on the latest technology

Linked to the map is a multi-award winning resource called Wiley Wires which focuses on ‘high-impact topics at the interfaces of the traditional research fields’. Wiley describe the content as a cross between the immediacy and high visibility of online review journals and the structure, authority and coverage of encyclopaedias.

The British Library have revealed their first mobile app. It is called Treasures and will give you some amazing historical gems, such as rare manuscripts, as well as audio and video material. „„ http://www.bl.uk/app/

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spring 2011

| The Reading Issue

TalislisT are you using iT? Yvonne O’Connor, Information Services assistant extols the virtues of using the university reading list software. TalisList enables you to create electronic reading lists from your own desktop via your web browser, allowing you to take control of your own reading lists. It’s easy to set up and create reading lists which accompany taught modules/courses, mirroring what is linked on NILE. It provides a quick and simple way to help you and your administrative staff maintain and update your reading lists in a hierarchical structure, allowing flexibility in how you organise your lists and sublists. Entries in reading lists can be set up to link to a wide variety of resources and databases, and can be deep linked to individual articles we subscribe to electronically.

Using electronic links, avoids misdirection caused by typing errors on printed lists, which helps to avoid student’s disappointment when they can’t find material easily. Also, because TalisList is linked to the library catalogue, they can reserve or request any material that is on loan. Keeping us informed about new reading or resources is vital; we can then order new titles, latest editions or extra copies so that your students have the resources at hand, enhancing their learning experience. Using TalisList will also help towards achieving the University E-Strategy and, of course, by using less paper, it is much better for the environment.

Photo by comedy_nose http://www.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/3291167436/

To view an example of a TalisList reading list, go to: http://nntalis.lrs.nene.ac.uk:8080/talislist/ index.jsp/ and do a keyword search using the term “example” So now you know the advantages. Don’t delay, contact your Academic Librarian who will be happy to show you the functions of TalisList and help you get started. At the moment, TalisList is under review and may eventually be replaced by another system which will work in a similar way. n

yvonne o'Connor Information Assistant yvonne.oconnor@northampton.ac.uk


Spring 2011

| The Reading Issue

A day in the life of... Cleo Cameron – Acquisitions Assistant It wouldn’t be an exercise in hyperbole to say that books are indeed my life. My days are mostly spent in the company of various titles, both old and new. My position as Acquisitions Assistant in Information Services entails the receiving, checking and some minor cataloguing of the shiny new books that come into the library each year, so I am always privy to the enthralling reads that our library affords to students and staff alike. Allied to this, I am also responsible for any donated stock that comes our way; a particular favourite of recent years is a Philosophy collection, but I have also dealt with an extensive History collection and I am currently working my way through a donated Leather collection.

But the books don’t stop there. In my other conception as Evening and Weekend Supervisor, issuing, locating and shelving books also form part of my day to day existence and, of course, I read quite prolifically. With all these books at my disposal, it was inevitable that I would have to study. So when I do not have my Library hat on you will find me with my head buried in an eighteenth century text, either literary or philosophical in nature, which informs the basis of my PhD study and accompanying lecturing in Women’s Writing. You see, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said books are my life...

Hard at it! In this regular feature, we like to show how the staff in IS are updating their skills, studying for a qualification or carrying out research in their own areas of interest. Jenny Townend – Extra Learning Support Specialist (ELSA), is currently working on an Open University course – ‘Introduction to counselling’, in order to better support her students. Heather McBryde-Wilding and Hannah Rose from the Academic Support Team were awarded a joint teaching fellowship with Eunice Lumsden (School of Education) for a research project based around the Early Childhood Studies course at the university. Rob Howe, Head of Learning Technology and Media Support, has gained a distinction in his MBA and successfully secured a £250,000 bid to the HEA. He will lead the one year TIGER Project (Transforming Inter-professional Groups through Educational Resources) with Ali Ewing in the School of Health and partners at DMU and Leicester University, with the aim of producing open educational resources for inter-professional groups. Rob has also published an article - Transitions in higher education with technology and learning: methods for elicitation.

Chris Powis, Deputy Director of Information Services had the article published: “We always come here”: investigating the social in social learning.

Rob Davis - Learning Technologist, has been awarded his MSc Computing Technology (Internet).

For access to the aforementioned articles, go to http://journals.northampton.ac.uk/index.php/ elehe/

Rob has also successfully completed a seven week course with The University of Oxford on Effective Online Tutoring.

Chris has also delivered two further papers:

Alan Rosling and Kate Littlemore have had a chapter published in a book: Digitisation Perspectives, edited by Ruth Rikowski and published by Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2011. The chapter is called: Improving Student Mental Models in a New University Setting.

Powis, C. & Webb, J. (2010) Making every second count: creating effective teaching sessions. Hard Times: service survival through innovation: Welsh Libraries, Archives and Museums Conference, Llandrindod Wells, 14 May 2010. Powis, C. (2010) Librarians as teachers: what makes a good teacher in our context? Futureproof: making libraries indispensable to learning, teaching and research, the 5th CILIP CoFHE and UC&R Joint Conference, University of Exeter, 21-23 June 2010. Joanne Farmer from the Academic Support Team and Adam Pickard-Brace, from the University of Nottingham, co-delivered an EMALink event, entitled: 'Speaking the same language: developing library services for international students', on the 10th Feb.

Hannah Rose and Charlotte Heppell achieved AHEA (Associate Higher Education Academy) certification. Andy Stenhouse and Gillian Siddall, have been involved in around ten CAIeRO events with the School of Health, to redevelop course provision. Adel Gordon – Learning Technologist, is progressing with her MEd at Hull University in E-Learning. She also has contributed to the University CPD events with an oversubscribed session on 'User generated videos to enhance learning and teaching'

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Cover design: Lauren Peppiatt - 3rd year BA Illustration students


Bibliotech The Reading Issue