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31 August 2011

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR



Focus group analysis

World Café table cloth diagrams

AUG 30, 2011 04:31P.M.

AUG 30, 2011 02:39P.M.

The focus group analysis has just been released to each individual collaborating institution. The groups were designed to pull out additional advising data on usage of library resources and facilities, asking students how much they used library facilities and resources, where they chose to use the resources, any difficulties they experienced, and whether the library satisfied their information and learning space requirements.

The ideas and comments which participants at the Innovations in Activity Data workshop scribbled so colourfully onto paper table cloths during the World Cafe activity have now been written up . The images are as follows: (click on the image to see a full screen version of the image) Diagram 1 from table 1: What data?

Students volunteered with a small reimbursement for their time and involvement, with varying success at each institute (if you’ve been following the blog, you’ll have already seen De Montfort’s focus group discussion), but resulting in a huge amount of data to analyse!

• What data have you access to? • How much data – how many years?

The coding process involved reading through transcripts to bring out broad themes, and refining the themes into smaller groups where applicable. Transcripts were then re-read for the analysis itself, with the aim to not just code them, but to use thematic clues to develop and elaborate on what students discussed. For example, a student discussing problems they had encountered using a resource may simultaneously be indicating non-verbally that their student group could benefit from more in-depth information literacy training, or that there could be improved subscription options for that subject area.

• Where is it? • How do you get access to it?

Analysis was also based around frequency of mentions: the more often a code or theme was discussed, the more important an element it represented in student library use/non-use. This method can be problematic in that it doesn’t always demonstrate emphasis and enthusiasm materialising in the group discussion, or indeed can be heavily influenced by current issues the students are experiencing, but it does still demonstrate what is important to the participant at that time and thus what is meaningful to them. Additionally, when used in combination with other codes and the analysis technique above, it can result in a revealing image of student experiences and usage, and provide material to lead further research at a later date if appropriate.

World Cafe table cloth diagram1 Diagram 2 from table 2: So I’ve collected this data what can I do with it? • Make recommendations? • Use for business intelligence? • Share it? • Your ideas about what you’d want to know


Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR

31 August 2011

• Who could it be aimed at?

Tony Hirst’s sketch on table 3 World Cafe table cloth diagram2 JISCAD - TWITTER SEARCH

Diagram 3 from table 3: What are the challenges?

First draft of the #lidp toolkit is reading for comment from the team - hoping to get this out next week #jiscad

• Barriers to using it? • Data protection? Legal? • Skills? Time? • What’s the value/benefit

AUG 28, 2011 05:25A.M.


First draft of the #lidp toolkit is reading for comment from the team - hoping to get this out next week #jiscad AUG 27, 2011 01:55P.M. World Cafe table cloth diagram3 Diagram 4 is also from table 3. It is a sketch of Tony Hirst’s which didn’t quite fit and which I didn’t quite understand! I have drawn it exactly as he did (I think!).


Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR

31 August 2011



Performance improvements

MT @sociallearn: we’re still seeking a technical researcher in Social Learning Analytics & Recommender Servcs [#jiscad]

AUG 26, 2011 12:30P.M. The run up to Christmas (or Autumn term if you prefer) is always our busiest time of year as measured by the number of searches performed by our users. Last year the search response times were not what we would have liked and we have been investigating the causes of the poor performance and ways of improving it. Our IT people determined that at our busiest times the disk drives in our SAN were being pushed to their maximum performance and just couldn’t deliver data any faster. So, over the summer we have installed an array of Solid State Disks to act as a fast cache for our file-systems (for the more technical I believe it is actually configured as a ZFS Level 2 Cache.)

AUG 24, 2011 04:30P.M.

The SSD cache was turned on during our brief downtime on Thursday morning and so far the results look promising. I’m told the cache is still “warming up” and that performance may improve still further. The best performance indicator I can provide is the graph below. We run a “standard” query against the database every 30 minutes and record the time taken to run the query. The graph below plots the time (in seconds) to run the query since midnight on the 23rd August 2011. I think it is pretty obvious from looking at the graph exactly when the SSD cache was configured in.


in related news, here’s this week’s #jiscad blog and twitter digest: AUG 24, 2011 04:10P.M.


RT @Graham_Stone: RT @qualitydog: #pm9york every library is going to need a ‘data jockey’ - as opposed to a ‘code monkey’? [#jiscad] AUG 24, 2011 12:28P.M. It all looks very promising so far and I think we can look forward to the Autumn with less trepidation and hopefully some happier users.


Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR

31 August 2011


#pm9york about whether every library will need a ‘Data Jockey’ ... if that cool job title becomes widely used then I can see a whole new generation of young people getting unknowingly lured into a career as a shambrarian :)

Tabbloid: 24 August 2011 AUG 24, 2011 09:08A.M. Open publication - Free publishing - More jisc

This week there’s an interesting post over on the EVAD project blog about the problem of finding the right ‘data munging’ tool and how they ended up developing their own custom perl script instead. They’ve publically released the perl script so it will be interesting to watch and see whether their custom built script suits the needs of another project or whether a new bespoke tool needs to be fashioned for every project going. The LIDP project have been presenting to, and in attendance at, the Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services conference which is a week-long event taking place at York University [#pm9york]. Word on the twittersphere is that the LIDP toolkit will be released next week so I’ll probably be linking to that next week. The OpenURL Router Data project launched their article recommender prototype and it’s just as well that I don’t have an Athens log-in because I was quickly drawn in all sorts of intriguing looking material, including an article entitled ‘Getting a Grip on Strangles’. Out in the wider world there have been relevant links flying into my twitterstream from unexpected quarters which suggests to me that either a tipping point is coming our way in terms of a wider awareness of activity data, or I’m am getting more creative in my interpretation of what is relevant to the programme. In any case here are a few highlights that I’ve picked out of this week’s Tabbloid: • this visualisation tool for the Department of Health’s public health dataset is impressive but (to mine eyes) not altogether intuitive or open. • there have been a couple of interesting reads in ‘the media’: • - a mildly doom-ridden article on the potential omnipotence of algorithms on the BBC website. • - a similarly toned piece on the Guardian website about digital serendipity, or the impending lack thereof [they get bonus points for talking about *the filter bubble* without mentioning it by name]. • Lorcan Dempsey picked up on a job advert for a ‘bibliometrician’ at the University of Leicester which struck me as interesting until I realised that bibliometrician doesn’t quite mean what I think it does (i.e. it’s more about content of research than activity data) ... but it still seems reasonably pertinent if you employ the same ‘magic eye’ technique I use to look at the world. • On a related note, Graham Stone picked up on a conversation at


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