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TU: Librarian

Monthly observations from TU Delft Library Director Wilma van Wezenbeek

Better data, better decisions

I first thought that this was my fourth RDA Plenary, but I think it was my fifth, from Göteborg, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, now to Montreal.

RDA is not a normal conference, with a division between plenary lectures and parallel sessions in blocks of thematic topics. No, it is all about birds-of-a-feather sessions, interest groups or working groups, depending on the status (approved of) and maturity of the group. You need to select what groups or sessions to attend, surely if you are not personally involved in one of these groups.

Is open science starting a revolution? I went to the museum of fine arts to see what happened in the sixties.

That is why the morning session of the second day (I missed the first day because of the DataCite Board Meeting, and a meet-up with Stephanie Gagnon from University of Montreal) was useful for me. It was a quick overview of working groups, being in the middle or at the end of their 18-month period. I bring a few things home to @tudelftlibrary colleagues, e.g.

  • Datacubes, dataarrays – is that something we are working with? For me these were new words, but I am of course not a datalibrarian.
  • Take a look at
    http://www.typeregistry.org.
  • Materials Resource Registries (to make it easier to find and share resources about materials science). Examples at
    NIST
    and
    ChiMaD.
    Note that the software can easily be used for other disciplines. Of course this draws my interest, being a materials science engineer myself.
  • David Wilcox with his research data repository interoperability group is looking for adopters.
  • Anne E Thessen is improving the metadata schema so that curation history can easily be found, and curators can get credit, and valuable work does not need to be repeated (but can be found).

After the Library session (where I presented our RISE self-assessment on behalf of our own Library Research Data Services group), I attended the Make Data Count BOF session. A lot of our colleagues from DataCite were there. Interesting and useful work, i.e., to develop a hub for all data level metrics, so that usage tracking is made easier, throughout all research communities. The first draft COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data has been created and is open for comments. I invite everybody to give their input to this valuable work.

On the third and last day I attended the interest group on education and training for research data handling. There was an overview of available courses and training for support staff on research data handling, or for engaging or guiding the researchers. It was obvious by the eight or some brief talks that there is so much out there, that our own proposal (from Ellen Verbakel @tudelftlibrary together with Irina Kuchina @EIFL) to create a data supporter curriculum, that is based on the research life cycle, seems wise. We want to define the learning goals and competences for the data supporter. The idea is to develop a more unified education, where all the current and present education and training on handling of research data is taken into account. And by the way a tip for ourselves, we should not bypass the Library Carpentry efforts, because here real hands-on work is being stimulated. After reviewing the content of existing courses, we would like to identify and describe the modules missing in these courses. After that we will need to define what modules are mandatory in a course for data supporters. We will also consider the thought of bringing in different levels, a question asked at the workshop. Perhaps I should consider doing a Library carpenter training myself!?

The theme of the conference was “better data, better decisions”. 100% true of course, the better we describe and maintain the data we preserve, the better findable, interoperable and reusable they are, and by doing so every user, also the data producer, can make better decisions.
I mentioned my meeting with Stephanie Gagnon. Talking about better data and better decisions. I read about the big deal cancellations in this blog, and our license manager Marina Lebedeva contacted Stephanie. Being in Montreal was too much of a coincidence, and it was very nice to talk to her. Going through her presentation says it all. From downloads, citations and mentions you can end up with essential journals per discipline for your institute, and that should be the basis of your negotiations. We promised to stay in touch, to enter open access in the equation in Canada/Montreal. Montreal has a good press at the moment in relation to open science, so I am pretty hopeful we will be able to join forces.

Libraries: Are we neutral or brutal?

The past weeks I attended two events related to open science. The first one was in Lisbon, Portugal, and was a RISE high-level workshop on “Research careers and the European funding system: How to make open science a reality”. The second one was in Visby, Gotland, Sweden, and was a seminar on open science, where I gave a brief outline of what we have been and are doing in The Netherlands in relation to open science.

When I prepared my statements for the first workshop (where I participated in two panels) I created another acronym: FECS (if you say it, one might hear “facts”); i.e., we should be able to offer our researchers Flexibility, Evidence, Consistency and Support. In relation to open research data, I argued that it is important to provide relevant and to-the-point support. At our TU Delft Library we have developed an open science training for PhD’s, so we help our researchers doing the right thing. We understand that there is no obvious solution for all research; you have to take into account that the scientific processes are different per discipline. Flexibility is key – at TU Delft we incentivize the culture of sharing data by the following approach: we say that the lowest level of sharing your data would be within your own research group. To do this takes already management of your data and proper stewardship. Once you have done that, you have created the basis for further opening up if possible and relevant, with our mantra: “as open as possible, as closed if necessary”. Evidence for reuse of research data is not so easy to obtain, but needed to set good examples. At 4TU.Centre for Research Data we have collected case studies to inspire other researchers. Consistency lies at the level of the departmental heads and executives. We are not just talking about open access to publications (articles, books, reports) or research data, we are (at least at the universities) opening up our primary processes and campuses, work or materials that have been provided with public money.
The leaders in research organisations in general should be aware that a change is needed at different levels. To mention just a few things that passed along:

  • Research integrity is perhaps more important (relevant to think about) for mid- or senior researchers
  • Research organisations should give their staff time to think
  • Choose your research (grant) evaluators carefully
  • Open science should be embedded in current practices and codes of conduct, not being or leading to its own criteria (guidelines)

There was so much we wanted to address in Lisbon. In the active part of the workshop on the second day I really liked the ambition for the subgroup I participated in: “enabling researchers to share components of their research as early as possible”.

The Champalimaud Centre of the Unknown really lives open science. All citizens may visit the open areas of the Clinical Centre, and the patients can choose the place for their treatment (e.g. for chemotherapy).

The Almedalen festivities are often free to participate in, and take place on surprising locations. A nice mixture of private – public – politics. And in the evening: parties!

The open science seminar in an open place (garden) in Sweden is difficult to report from for me. My talk was in English, but everything else was in Swedish. However, I think that the Swedish Library Association (they co-organised it with the Organisation for Science and Public) appreciated the contribution I made. It is essential that we are moving along in the same direction in Europe, so that we continue to make progress in open science. We need other countries, apart from The Netherlands, to be daring and sharing as well. Brutality (in the good sense of the word) is something we librarians sometimes need to learn a bit. Now that the Chairpersons of the universities are involved in the Dutch negotiations with the bigger Publishers, we see that this is rewarding to do. I liked the discussions I had with the SLA staff. The SLA is a member organisation for all libraries, including research, public and special libraries. At the Almedalen meeting the SLA clarifies the role and position of libraries for the politicians, who walk around and participate in panels. I always say that the Library offers neutral ground, so that other people can have debates and take their positions. That is why Studium Generale fits very well in our Library.  (Secretary General at SLA) wondered whether that was not too naïve: Librarians are also knowledgeable, can verify facts, and people can trust and rely on their library, does that make us neutral? During our discussion however we concluded that both positions are true. All libraries should be educating (or helping) their patrons so that they can make their own balanced decision and formulate their own opinion, based on trusted material – that is what we are doing, and should be doing, and it is a very important task. However, to bring this about so that others understand this role, requires some brutality.

After I wrote this blogpost, I noted that the bottle I took with me (I collect beer bottles) was from the Brutal Brewery – such a coincidence!

 

Evaluation. Another open science perspective.

Finally I had some time to read two reports related to open science, one from the European Commission Expert Group on Altmetrics, and a lengthier one from the RISE High Level Group. It is not my intention to summarize these reports in full, but merely to reflect on some parts I found interesting. Mind you that my focus these weeks is on finding tools or actions that can help in the 3rd line of our national plan open science, i.e. “Recognition of and rewards for researchers”, so I have been reading with some “bias”.

Part 1

The report “Next-generation metrics: Responsible metrics and evaluation for open science” ends with 12 recommendations, including the set-up of a European Forum for next-generation metrics. There were also five headlines provided at the end:

  1. An open science system should be grounded in a mix of expert judgement, quantitative and qualitative measures.
  2. Transparency and accuracy are crucial.
  3. Make better use of existing metrics for open science.
  4. Next generation metrics should be underpinned by an open, transparent and linked data infrastructure.
  5. Measure what matters.

And a denser summary could be: Metrics: use them responsibly, and use numbers together with a qualitative assessment.

From the altmetrics report: “Figure 2 – The basket of metrics for the evaluation of science (Haustein, 2015).”

This report perhaps does not add that many new insights, but offers a good overview of what has been done, the pros and cons of altmetrics, and gives a prospect for what needs to be done. Remarkable however that only nineteen responses were received on the Call for Evidence last summer.

Part 2

The RISE report can be downloaded, and also be purchased as a print book – it covers 228 pages (with a long list of references, and some useful case studies at the end), and reading it on my laptop in the train back from Hannover was not optimal. However, I picked up a few things.

The chapters and paragraphs were written by (groups of) individual members – the full report has not been endorsed by the whole RISE group. There is however “The Mallorca declaration on open science”.  Also here five “headlines” capitalize on achieving open science:

  1. Remove the barriers that extreme competition for limited resources create for Open Science.
  2. Implement Open Access publishing where publication is part of the continuum of research.
  3. Establish competence and confidence in the practice of Open Data.
  4. Ensure research integrity.
  5. A cohesive European approach.

Ad 1.

I invited Megan Carey at a CESAER Workshop on Open Access we organized in Bruxelles early in February (you can find the presentation she gave here). Megan is member of the RISE Group, so I was curious to read her contribution.  She indeed grasped my attention by stating: “True progress on Open Science in Europe will require rethinking the way research is funded and researchers are rewarded, in order to address the underlying forces that currently act to discourage Open Science. Longterm policy changes must directly address and remove the current barriers to Open Science practice. Such actions could fundamentally change research culture – simultaneously improving conditions for researchers, promoting excellence, and encouraging openness.” A few suggestions she made are the need for a relative shift of funds away from largescale collaborative projects towards PI-driven funding schemes; and more generally, that the granting schemes should undergo an overall simplification. Ultimately, there is a need to support a move towards funding centred on “people, not projects,” the approach of several world leading funding organizations. The latter claim is also reflected on a simplified drawing created by the “authors”.

From the RISE report: “Figure OI.3: New dynamics of innovation.”

Ad 3.

In the paragraph on open data, written by Ian Mulvany, I liked the rules (Goodman et al., 2014) Mulvany referred to. These rules are already from 2014, but never brought to me like this. As Mulvany puts it: “Were all of these rules to be adhered to by all researchers, we would have as good an Open Data ecosystem as we could wish for.”

The challenge “Competence in working with data” is addressed by the three rules:

  • Rule 1. Love Your Data, and Help Others Love It, Too;
  • Rule 3. Conduct Science with a Particular Level of Reuse in Mind; and
  • Rule 4. Publish Workflow as Context.

The challenge “Appropriate infrastructure for open data” is addressed by the following four rules:

  • Rule 2. Share your data online with a Permanent identifier;
  • Rule 5. Link Your Data to Your Publications as Often as Possible;
  • Rule 6. Publish Your Code (Even the small bits); and Rule 8. Foster and use data repositories.

Challenge three: “Creating a supporting culture for openness” addresses the three remaining rules:

  • Rule 7. State How You Want to Get Credit;
  • Rule 9. Reward Colleagues Who Share Their Data Properly; and
  • Rule 10. Be a Booster for Data Science.

And here my “bias” is being rewarded after all, because this last challenge and the related rules are about “how we can ensure that the correct incentives are in place to support the sharing of open data”.

Part 3

I noticed that in the RISE report recommendations are “all-over” being given to the “green road” of open access, i.e., “The RISE Open Science Group strongly endorses the use of the Green Open Access/ self-archiving model as the most immediate solution for Open Access publication.” In the part written in the Mallorca declaration this is a bit more specified and for me better understandable, and put in context: “The success of Open Science will depend on Open Access publishing having sufficient resources to implement a fair and transparent evaluation process and to ensure the quality, reproducibility and integrity of published research. Posting on recognized pre-print servers, data publishing platforms and self-archiving on shared platforms (‘Green Open Access’) provide useful complementary solutions for immediate pre-publication sharing of Open Science research.”

And then to end with a sidestep –recently I contributed to the Open Education Consortium Year of Open blog with a perspective on open science. Reading with this “bias” as I did (well not fully) with these two reports, is again enriching my perspective. Am I reading this as Library director, as DataCite member, as participant in the Dutch “big deal” negotiations, or as writer of the national plan open science?

Regardless of my own perspective, a very nice overview of the first National Open Science Day on 29 May 2017 was created by Mark van Huystee: just get inspired by all these perspectives!

Drawing made by Mark van Huystee, 29 May 2017. Part of the opensketching weblog “What does open science means to you?”

 

A brain day in the Library

Be inspired. That’s what we like to achieve for our students, teachers and researchers. Or whoever passing by or visiting our Library. This is pretty simple these four weeks. Our Library is filled with brain activities, as part of the university celebrating her 175 years of existence. The theme chosen for the university festivities is “Technology for Life”, and many events are being organized that form part of this celebration.

The mission of the Library is to enable knowledge to flow freely. It is a place to study, learn and be inspired. During the ‘Explore your Brain’ weeks students, staff and the general public can find out how to get the most out of their brain, with or without technology.

In our Library we help you to “Explore your Brain”. We have a 3D floor image of the brain, workshops and lectures, movies to watch all day, mind games to play, a digital shower (as of March 16), innovative study spaces, special music and much more. We have composed brain boxes for primary schools (and 20 schools have signed up for these) and Library staff can get small steps to keep fit during working hours. Our coffeecorner Coffee-star will also offer some brain ”stimulating” food. Four brain captains from Library staff and their teams have worked very hard together to make this happen, alongside all other work, and I think that this is perhaps even the best result out of this.

All pictures taken on Brain day 2 ( 14 March 2017).

In our university news paper another twist on this topic was recently presented. The university research fields mapped as if it were a brain.  The role of the Library in this Aida visualization tool, as explained in this article, is part of a Pecha Kucha session our colleague Dirk-Jan Ligtenbelt will present on 16 March 2017. A Pecha Kucha session about the future of the Library.

As I explained earlier “we cannot predict the future. We should continue to do relevant work, dare to innovate, and move forward …”. Working together with faculty staff on this work and organizing a stimulating Brain programme is moving us forward. Great!

Making open science the new reality

The National Plan Open Science has been presented, and the National Platform Open Science and website have been launched, as we had planned for, on 9 February 2017. It was great to have been able to play a part in this.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for me was finding the balance between being the neutral writer (because the Plan is a joint effort, and expresses the ambitions of the responsible coalitions, not mine) and the Librarian with an opinion (which I obviously have).

We have delivered fourteen concrete ambitions related to 100% open access for scientific publications (created via public funding) per 2020; optimal reuse of research data; implementing a broader view on the way research and researchers are assessed and rewarded; and promoting and supporting open science.

It was great that all Parties involved created responsible coalitions per ambition, and the collectivity that is needed for this, is perhaps one of the major achievements during the creation of this Plan. I said it before “I am, because we are”.

NPOSlogo

I like to share in this weblog just a few of the things that came along, but were too difficult to grasp at this moment, or were not big enough to make it into an ambition:

  • Could we give credit to researchers who start new research based on existing research data (and thus stimulate reuse)?
  • How could we stimulate researchers to cite data(sets) as part of their reference lists?
  • What would it mean if we would say: “if we invest in science, it needs to be open science”?
  • An event for researchers to present all available infrastructure and tools is one thing, but do not forget to involve administrators and managers, and also those working in HR, Finance and ICT.
  • All articles submitted are first routed to the research library > here the open access policy of the journal selected is checked, taken care of the right sort of license, and the final version after publishing is stored in the institutional repository. Is that a crazy thought?

Take some time to read our National Plan, and have a look at our website. Let us know if you have ideas, comments, or would like to participate in the Platform. We need each other to make open science the new reality.

IMG-20170208-WA0002

There are many people I could thank, but these are the most important ones: our wonderful writing team!

Our own shade of open

Another update in the writing process of the national plan open science for The Netherlands. The good news is that we have drafted our first version and discussed this with a group of stakeholders during a second creative session. Just wait a bit, and weeks will become days will become hours, and it will be a second that our plan reaches its audience.

It is not yet that second. I can tell a bit more, though, about our approach and steps.

Creative sessions
We read, and talked, watched and listened, as I mentioned in my first weblog. Obviously the Council Conclusions and the Amsterdam Call for Action on open science form a strong basis. The first tuning of our findings took place on 7 December 2016, where we met with a group of twenty-some people in the Hive room at TU Delft Library. A wonderful report was made by Marina Noordegraaf. We found it important that we made a strong visual report, so that regardless of the result at the end, each step is worth the effort. Of course this session was, though an important one, only one of the many inputs to our plan. At this first session we took the scientific process as the central point, and all people present plotted their current and future actions on the several phases of the process.
This gave us valuable input – we could make overviews of both, i.e., of current and future actions. We used the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to write down a 60% version of the plan. The plan starts of course with the definition and context of open science, and ends with what will happen next after finalizing the plan early February. The middle part is the most important part: there we show what The Netherlands are doing at this moment and what we will be doing the coming years to open up the scientific process.
On 11 January 2017 we had a second meeting, with more or less the same group. Here we took the future actions and discussed why they are needed (the problem) and what they will solve (the solution), who would be action holder and the estimated time line. We had an active discussion. We learned that people preferred to talk about ambitions instead of actions, and about a coalition instead of action holders. We are now in the middle of finalizing these ambitions with the stakeholders involved.

IMG_1609

11 January 2017 – The Hive @tudelftlibrary.

Contributors
“No pressure, no diamonds”. Having three months in total for composing our national plan means that we have to make choices. Every choice is a direction, so it is good to make choices, and by doing so to make progress. One of the choices, of course upon consultation with our supervisor Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, was to involve (semi-) public stakeholders only. The people attending our creative sessions were from higher education- and research institutes, their libraries, funding bodies, the national library, research data centres, ICT and research(ers) organisations. Besides these, we have spoken with (representatives from) private companies, their confederation (VNO-NCW), the international organisation of STM publishers, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Business Europe and consulted several individuals (such as researchers, teachers and health care workers) to get inspiration or answers. However, the plans or ambitions of the latter group for open science will not be covered in our national plan. The plan is the start, though, of a process where other bodies and stakeholders need to be involved.

Researchers
Talking about open science is talking about researchers, so how are they involved? In the Plan, the ambition is written down to organize a researcher-targeted conference on open science later in the year. For now we have (apart from the larger higher education- and research institutes) researchers involved via DJA (The Young Academy), PNN (“Promovendi” Network Netherlands) and we intend to get in touch with Postdoc.nl.

How open can you get?
Another choice is to decide when it is the best time to open up the result. Is that something you do right from the start, in the middle or at the end? We have chosen for a sort of compromise. The plan is not ours (us being the writing team), but theirs (them being the stakeholders involved). We want the actions, I mean ambitions, to be feasible and realistic, and showing too early what we are going to do, might have a negative effect if things mentioned have to be deleted after all. However, here at TU Delft we have just started our Year of Open, and for me Open is more than opening up the scientific process. It is also an attitude. It is about being honest, telling people what you are doing (and why), and motivating people to do the same.

The compromise
So this is the compromise: if you send an email to nationaalplanopenscience@tudelft.nl, you get an 80% version (in Dutch) of our draft plan (after 17 January 2017). We can send you an English version after 26 January 2017, that will be the 95% version. I cannot guarantee we will respond to all remarks / comments we receive, but at least there is a “shade of open”. The plan will be final and presented on 9 February 2017.

Making open science the default road. Making open science just science.

Quote by Thomas Carlyle. At the end of each session, I used another quote from him: “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you will be able to see further”.

Published 15 January 2017; small edits 17 January 2017.

Just science

So here I am, starting to write the national plan on open science for The Netherlands. This seems to be a heavy task, with a deadline of early February 2017. And nothing on paper yet. Why do I have confidence that we will succeed?

  1. I am, because we are. The full quote is: “I am because WE are and, since we are, therefore I am.” A quote by John Mbiti, of which the short version was used at a “tile painting” workshop at Royal Delft (De Porceleyne Fles) we recently organized during our “Day out of the Library with all our personnel”. The assignment was to paint a quote that had a relation with the benefits of working together. I succeed, because we succeed. Not only is the writing process a team effort (with Hester Touwen, Anke Versteeg and Astrid van Wesenbeeck), we are not making up our own ideas. We read, listen, view, talk, get together, and – though our time is limited – aim to put the actions that The Netherlands is undertaking in relation to open science together. We do this in close connection with and under supervision of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences.
  2. “Beware of that demon called ‘Changing The World’.” A quote by Marty Rubin. We know the Council Conclusions on the transition towards an open science system, and of course the Amsterdam Call for Action (see here the blog I wrote about the Congress). Open science means that we open up the scientific process, as much as possible. This will further science and society. Economy and innovation may flourish by opening up the scientific process. For our plan we restrict ourselves to three lines, based on the goals as laid down in the Council conclusions, i.e., 100% open access for scientific publications (that were created via public funding) per 2020; optimal reuse of research data; and perhaps the most important of all, implementing a broader view on the way research and researchers are assessed and rewarded. We are aware that a lot is going on, both in and outside our country. It is impossible to mention everything, though we will incorporate a few initiatives in relation with these three lines, and we will be listening to the users from science and society. No we will not be changing the world by writing this plan, but we will be adding our practice, ideas and actions to reach our result: meaningful access to science and scientific processes.
  3. A plan is not the end; it is a beginning. In February we will have a national plan open science, and at the same time our Ministry will launch the national platform open science. In this way continuity is guaranteed, actions can be followed, new ones can be added, and changes can be made.

Intermezzo

Let us support our researchers so that it is clear for them, on their bumpy road, what they can and cannot do, what tools they should be using (in what way), and how they can reach a destination that seems to be blocked. Making open science the default road. Making open science just science. 

Indications which road is closed ("afgesloten"), or still available ("bereikbaar") should be given.

Indications which road is closed (“afgesloten”), or still available (“bereikbaar”) should be given.

It should be clear who is allowed to do what.

It should be clear who is allowed to do what, and what tools are useful.

It should be clear what you cannot or should not be doing.

It should be clear what you cannot or should not be doing.

“Go as far as you can see.
When you get there
You’ll be able
to see farther”

Thomas Carlyle

 

The future of libraries? Just move forward.

Via Emre Hasan Akbayrak  I read an interesting report from the Aspen Institute (Amy K. Garmer) covering a Leadership Roundtable on Library Innovation. In the roundtable three strategies were identified that “focus on libraries embracing technology as a means to anticipating and addressing consumer needs”.

I used the reference in a short talk about the library of the future when our TU Delft Library colleague Frits van Latum retired (exactly one month ago at time of writing, time flies!).
Within this past month a few things happened in our Library that reminded me of these strategic lines.

Superconnectivity
Think 10G! Re-imagine your staff as community activators working on relations and collaboration. Create superconnected creative spaces.

I find resemblance in what we are doing with our research data management programme within the university. Together with our faculties we are assembling the right framework and tools for their researchers and design relevant faculty data stewardship. This is all about relationships and collaboration.
A Library as Supertape or Superglue. A Library as Superbrain, that you can connect to and trust.

America Civic square
Facilitate the debate as a neutral player. Act as a living platform, and safeguard the local and national conversations.

From the report this seems to be more focused on public or national libraries, but the neutral role of the Library is of great value, also for us as a university library. It is with that reason that Studium Generale operates as part of our organisation. And the social part of the platform can be enforced by the renewed Coffeestar (that officially opened on 10 September 2016). However, there is much opportunity to grow in this area!

App-Library
Anybody can add content to the library, though the library still checks and validates, and by doing this a rich online library emerges, where usage and participation are key for its success.

The content you can add can be so much more than the traditional text and images. On 26 September 2016 we opened the depot of our academic heritage, which moved to our building (and is now part of our book depot). We want to add material like this to our online Library collection, and want to hear user’s stories connected to these objects. We are also planning to do that with our tinkertable devices and material.

Photo made by Marcel Janssen.

Opening of our new depot for academic heritage. Photo made by Marcel Janssen.

The App-Library can add to the educational experience, and the content can be (re-) used in education. A good example for this was presented in the exhibition Chairs, tables, lamps and sets that started in our Library, and now (until 9 October 2016) is displayed in the Prinsenkwartier. The chairs of the Faculty of Architecture were taken out of their shelves and into education. Three design courses challenged students to start “a dialogue with a Chair” and – inspired by that research – to make a new design for a Lamp, Table or Set.

As I said in my presentation on 1 September, we cannot predict the future. We should continue to do relevant work, dare to innovate, and move forward. There are enough metaphors that come to mind when reading the report. I already mentioned Supertape, Superglue or Superbrain. With the retired Frits in mind, you can also have a:

  • Library as espressomachine (strengthens your senses)
  • Library as mindmap (ordens your mind)
  • Library as sailing boat (takes you whatever direction the wind blows)

There are enough metaphors around for us. That is for sure!

tudelftlibrary

My Library could be an open square, where I have a comfortable seat, and where I get a new insight, from the people I meet or the things I encounter.

 

A city of transparency

I am reporting on LIBER and on Helsinki again. So it better be good. A few days of both is a good way to pass your time. At LIBER 2016 “opening paths to knowledge” (45th edition) there were the usual topics on the agenda. The best short speech of day 1 for me was the speech during the conference dinner, by the deputy mayor. He referred to the Helsinki open data site, and called Helsinki a city of transparency. In times where populism rules, it is necessary to know your facts, and to advocate for the better argument. This is why it is so important to share your data and your knowledge. It had been a long day, and I could not make notes, so the quotes are not perfect, but I thought it was a very good dinner speech. Copying from the website: “Imagine a city where public decision-making is easy for all to follow and comment on using any digital channel. A solution to this challenge is being sought in Helsinki, which has long been working to unlock the data reserves related to municipal decision-making.”

WP_20160629_002 (1)

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The first day also started with data. The topic of the pre-workshop I attended was “skills for supporting research data”. There were a lot of examples of libraries starting training for staff, for researchers (at different levels), a lot of variety in topics, in forms (flipped classroom, MOOCs, offline and online mixes) and experiences. The conclusion Wolfram Horstmann made at the end was that our role regarding research data skills training is established, what remains is at what level and detail we can or want to do this. Useful links (besides of course of our own training Essentials 4 Data Support) are the overview of existing education-models by DataOne, and the MOOC developed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The University of Edinburgh.

Another topic of LIBER was Libraries in publishing (or should we say releasing results, as was suggested during the conference). I liked the presentation from Göttingen. Margo Bargheer and Birgit Schmidt found a few answers when preparing their paper. Research libraries are on a mission: they work on more transparency, more participation, open access and more accuracy. Libraries can help researchers to “be good, and avoid the bad”. I liked their references to the Open Science peer reviewer oath, the Singapore statement on research integrity and the answer to the question we asked ourselves in the pre-workshop (when is the right time to start training) by their training for junior scientists. Talking about outreach, on the last day we had a presentation about Altmetrics. Susanna Kirsi Nykyri and Valtteri Reino Vainikka, from Helsinki University Library, shared their experience with Plumx from Ebsco. I really appreciated their reservations and conclusions at the end. Altmetrics are not the answer for everyone, as always it is discipline-related. As a library you may have a lot of extra work, choice of the platform is essential, the success is depending on language, complete metadata, use of identifiers and source lists. ORCID seems to be of great help (though ORCID accounts also need to be updated).

Of course I could not attend every session (however, my colleague Zofia Dzwig also attended LIBER, and went to other presentations), but I was enticed to go to the “user-centred” session on day 2, and good that I did so, because this was a very nice session. The one that I highlight here is from Cambridge University Library. Sue Mehrer and Andy Priestner made an impressive presentation. Bear in mind (quoting Margaret Mead): “What people say, what people do, or say they do are entirely different things”, and try to benchmark yourself against services that people encounter in their daily life. A good idea according to Sue and Andy is tested via a MVP (minimum viable product), which gives you the opportunity to fail forward (learn and improve). Their Futurelib prototypes (70% complete) are often not brought to the final version. When I later spoke to Andy, he mentioned that this is the way it is in a time where things change so rapidly, we are living in beta forever. Their staffing is just 1,5 person. Depending on the topic, they have other employees involved and hire extra resources. All sessions made clear that innovation is dynamic, changes need to be evaluated, and users to be asked for their experiences on a regular basis. However, beware that you check what your users do (not what they say). To give also some credit to the other two presentations in this session: keep on listening, reviewing and challenging (Penny Hicks). And if you go out and ask your users, bring in an outside view, and do not present yourself as a library (Eva Dahlbäck and Martin Wincent).

An example MVP from Cambridge University Library. Spacefinder: helping Cambridge University students find study spaces which match their needs.

And of course open science and open access  were present at the congress. Ralf Schimmer had a keynote, but did not bring a new view or the “how” roadmap on his transformation paper.

A bit before the wrap-up I had to leave, thank you LIBER, organisers and particpants, for yet another conference worth attending!

Sparks of joy

Is it possible to know (the intention or story within) a book without reading it? To just discuss its outline with some friends or colleagues who more or less “believe” in it? And then without further ado writing a blogpost about it.
Well anyway, that is what I am doing, so apologies if I have made the wrong assumptions. As far as I get it the book is about clearing the mess in your house, in a logical order, and to help you in reaching or living a happy life, without too much focus on possessions.

I wondered about the analogy with us librarians. Part of us is about collecting, in the old days of paper, and nowadays of online content (and then often without possession;-). A collection that we order, clear and clean, in a conscious or thoughtful way. (Other parts of us are about so many more things, serving the best study places, providing academic skills to students and staff, facilitating the production of online education or research output. Of course.)

Do we wonder, during our special tasks, if something “sparks a joy” (the phrase that I hear and read whenever the book is quoted)? Is that something we could or would consider in our review of (online) materials? I guess not always. However perhaps this question would just be enough. Joy. Inspiration. Good memories. Useful tips. Bringing in the joy of reading, of keeping or telling why something is or was important. So that could also be a good subtitle for the Library. A place filled with sparks of joy.

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Dig-It! Research Exhibition during IfoT 2016 TU Delft.

On June 2, we had a Research Exhibition in our Library. Twenty innovative projects of our university were presented, and a lot of (external) visitors were walking around, talking with the researchers, and listening to some speed talks. Some people asked me whether this was a proper event to take place in the Library. I explained that we want people to search (be curious!), find (get answers!) and share information (create and innovate!) via all sorts of channels or ways. So of course our place can contain so much more than the traditional books or study places. Exhibitions, project presentations, workshops. In the context of science, design and engineering they all fit our purpose. To create sparks of joy.

And by the way. I am hesitating to follow my friends’ way of clearing or cleaning the stuff in my own house. I am fuzzying my way through my possessions. 😉

© 2011 TU Delft