Making a gateway of knowledge for knowledge sorters

It is a recursive idea that people who sort knowledge and information and make it available for other people need knowledge and information themselves. Not only that, but in order to access it quickly and easily, they require someone to sort it and make it available for them saving their time.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, and sometimes people don’t, what I mean is that librarians, library staff and information professionals spend their working time ensuring that other people can access the information that they need. However, they also need support, they need some professional evidence to develop their own knowledge, skills, interests and improve the services that they give to other people.

The Charted Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) is aware of that need and they have been giving support and training opportunities since 1877 as the Library Association and 1958 as  the Institute of Information Scientists. These bodies merged in 2002. CILIP believes that it should be an “authoritative source of data and evidence about information management and libraries” and “an active partner in providing a research and evidence framework for the sector as a whole”. Therefore it commissioned us at Evidence Base in partnership with Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University to look at the possibility of a portal of information about information, knowledge about knowledge: a place where information professionals can go to get find authoritative evidence to back up practises, procedures and new developments. CILIP also asked if we could make some suggestions of how such an enterprise could be sustainably funded.

Together we examined the online resources that exist for other organisations. The American Library Association’s LARK is a good example. We looked at things that could be of use to information professionals of all fields and had a sneaky peak at what other professional associations were providing. More than that, we actually asked people what they wanted, what would really be useful for them. And the answers were:

Essential Features:
Case studies
Data sets/statistics
Open access search engines and repositories
Research reports
Regular updating
A variety of entry points to evidence e.g. sector, use and topic
Sharing options e.g. Twitter

Recommended Features:

Summaries or structured abstracts of key papers and reports
Sector specific resource
Indicators of rigour
Links to other CILIP resources

They also suggested some Additional Features:
Comments facility
Ability to export references
Briefing documents for different stakeholders
Alerting services

We suggested that the best method of funding such an undertaking would be by a collaborative approach, with funding gathered from a variety of organisations.

We are delighted that CILIP and now considering what can be done to achieve this important resource for librarians, library staff and information professionals. The full report is on the CILIP website.

 

Advertisements

Do you have 30 minutes spare to discuss OER?

Evidence Base at Birmingham City University are currently working with the Jorum (http://jorum.ac.uk) team at Mimas (University of Manchester) to create a series of case studies about Jorum use. So, if you have used Jorum and would be willing to share your experiences of using and sharing Open Educational Resources (OERs), we want to hear from you.

The information will be collected via a short interview, which will be written up as a case study for the Jorum website. The interviews should take approximately 30 minutes via telephone or Skype.

If you are willing to be interviewed, please leave your details in our very short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/jorumcasestudies

Please do share this request amongst your networks/colleagues – we need your stories!

IRUS-UK new users survey feedback

IRUS logo

IRUS logo

Evidence Base is responsible for community engagement on the IRUS-UK project, a Jisc-funded project developing a statistics service for repositories in UK Further and Higher Education institutions. As part of the community engagement, we survey new joiners to the service to get her their first impressions, collect ideas and suggestions, and discover the areas they need more support with. Their feedback informs the technical development and guidance and support aspects of the project:

  • Technical development – we keep a technical wishlist based on user feedback, and review this at monthly team meetings to prioritise development work.
  • Guidance and support materials – we work with other members of the IRUS-UK team to provide relevant help and guidance for using IRUS. User feedback helps us focus our efforts on guidance for the areas that need it most.

As we are moving to the second year of IRUS-UK, we produced a summary of the key themes from the user survey so far. This included benefits and challenges, the way people use IRUS-UK and other repository statistics, their views on the open data approach, benchmarking, and feedback on specific features of IRUS-UK. The table below demonstrates some of the ways we have responded to feedback from these surveys:

IRUS-UK response to user feedback

IRUS-UK response to user feedback

Community input to IRUS-UK is something which is highly valued, and we will continue to collect feedback from the community on a regular basis. The summary report is now available from the News page of the IRUS website.

Mobile technologies in libraries – recent events

Though our m-library community support project has ended, we remain active in the area of mobile technologies in libraries to provide people with information which may help their library/information service, and to continue the conversations as new technologies and developments are introduced. Over the summer we have been involved in two events, as outlined below.

CILIP Umbrella Conference 2013

At the CILIP Umbrella Conference 2013, I collaborated with a colleague within BCU library, Annmarie Lee, to present a paper on ‘Putting research into practice: mobile technologies in libraries’. I have been part of the mobile technologies working group for BCU Library and Learning Resources, and through that have been able to be involved in projects as a researcher to help put what we learnt through the m-library community support project into practice (e.g. using the information in the Pathways to Best Practice Guides). Annmarie and I gave the perspective from a researcher and a practitioner, and highlighted some of the mobile technology projects currently in progress at BCU Library and Learning Resources. We also shared the benefits of a researcher/practitioner collaboration and some tips for both to help each other. You can view our presentation below, and our paper will be available in the conference proceedings which will be published by Facet Publishing.

Annmarie and I also wrote an article on this topic for SCONUL Focus which is due to be published shortly.

Mobile resources library access issues workshop

I helped co-ordinate this workshop hosted by Jisc Collections, and was invited to present a section in the morning session. The idea of the workshop was to get librarians together to discuss the issues currently being experienced in terms of access library content via mobile devices, and see if we could come up with a way to move towards addressing the issues. I presented on some of the approaches libraries are using to record information about access to library resources via mobile devices, and some of approaches publishers and content providers are delivering their content to mobile devices. My slides are below:

I also blogged an overview of the day on the Mobile Technologies in Libraries blog, and Mark Williams from Jisc Collections has published an article in Research Information reporting on the main themes from the day and the next steps.

Birmingham City University Library and Learning Resources, along with many other libraries I’m sure, have been working on mobile development over the summer to support the students when they return in September. If you’re interested in utilising mobile technologies in your library/information service, please check out the Pathways to Best Practice Guides or contact us for further guidance.

DevCSI Stakeholder Survey 2013

Evidence Base at Birmingham City University has been commissioned to undertake a survey of stakeholders on behalf of DevCSI, the Developer Community Supporting Innovation project. DevCSI aims to build a community of developers working / studying in UK Education and investigate the value and impact it can make to technical innovation in the wider educational community and at an organisational level. DevCSI is managed by the Innovation Support Centre, UKOLN at the University of Bath and funded by JISC. The broad topics of this survey include: benchmarking developers across the sector; examining stakeholders’ views of software development; discovering examples of local innovation; and gathering suggestions about the on going future development of a developer community.

The survey is currently available for developers, managers of developers, senior managers, funders, vendors/suppliers and users (academics/researchers/librarians) at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/devcsi2013

Each respondent will be able to enter a prize draw to win a £200 Amazon voucher or one of four £50 vouchers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win, please follow instructions at the end of the survey.

The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes of your time. Please be assured that all data will be anonymised during analysis. We would welcome your responses by 28th June 2013.

In addition to the survey responses the DevCSI team are looking for people who would be willing to provide further in depth case study data to support the project. There will be an option towards the end of the survey to supply your contact details if you are interested in finding out more about this. Please note this is not a compulsory element of the survey.

If you have any queries about this survey, please contact Evidence Base: ebase@bcu.ac.uk

Thanks for your help – we really value your feedback.

Report on m-library activity

As part of the JISC-funded mobile library community support project, we ran two fact finding surveys; one at the beginning of the project and one at the end. We have now published the final report for the end of project survey (data collected July-August 2012) as well as a series of summary blog posts.

The full report is available online as a PDF, or you can view it below:

Mobile technologies in library – community support project outputs

Mobile technologies in libraries

Mobile technologies in libraries (photo from Kennedy Library on Flickr)

The JISC-funded mobile library community support project we’ve been working on is drawing to a close, with just the final survey report still to be published. I thought it would be useful to provide a summary of the outputs with relevant links.

Social media resources

We’ve been using a number of social media services to collate resources and support discussions:

Case studies

We collected a number of case studies throughout the project:

Pathways to Best Practice

We brought together the resources we had collated as well as information from conversations with practitioners to put together ten pathways to best practice guides. Each includes an explanation of the area, the benefit to the library, current state of maturity, examples of initiatives in libraries, lessons learned and useful contacts. You can view each online or download a PDF version.

Fact finding surveys

We ran two surveys during the project; one at the beginning of the project (Nov-Dec 2011) and one at the end (Jul-Aug 2012). The surveys gave an idea of where libraries were in terms of implementing initiatives with mobile technologies as well as examining barriers to implementation and considering potential solutions. The report for the first survey is available from Slideshare (you can download a copy). The report for the second will be available shortly from the documents section of our Slideshare account.

Continuing the discussion

I’m sure we will continue to keep abreast of developments in the area and will continue to share resources we find (using the tag of mlibs). We’ll also be blogging still, though the blog is in the process of being moved to a new home over on the JISC blogging platform. We’ve also set up a JISCMail M-LIBRARIES-GROUP discussion list, so please feel free to subscribe and share any news or ask questions via the mailing list.