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Posts tagged LIBER

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.”

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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!

LIBER 2014 – Reach out, get into the light!

LIBER 2014 was held in Riga this year, obviously for two reasons (or perhaps three): it is the European Capital of Culture this year, the new National Library (“castle of light” opens this year, and hosted the conference). And perhaps because we could have the former President of Latvia give a wonderful speech about “the power of the word”. Three days around 350 participants gathered from 36 countries, talking about or listening to a variety of subjects, but all under the main theme of this year’s conference: “Research Libraries in the 2020 Information Landscape”. I am picking just a few topics. This year (see last year’s blog) I attended the conference with my colleague Will Roestenburg.

The castle of light

The castle of light

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The book gallery in Riga

Open Access
On Tuesday NEREUS (information hub of libraries in supporting research and education in social sciences) organised an Open Access Workshop on Open Access Policies in practice and lessons learned. Five institutes presented their open access policy, mainly focusing on research papers or proceedings and including deposit in the institutional repository. These repositories are named e.g. WRAP (at Warwick, UK), or Lirias (Leuven, Belgium) or RepositoriUM (Minho, Portugal). Main take aways from this session were that you need marketing & advocacy skills in your library, you need to think of how to position your CRIS, repository and personal pages, and you need to diversify your message, because researchers (and their disciplines) are different, and stakeholders (researcher, student, institute, public, companies) are different too. Institutional mandates come in (and prove to be) very handy to increase your success, but you still need to implement the mandate and spread the word.
On Friday there was also a track on Open Access. Inge Werner told us about the new strategy for OA publishing in Utrecht University Library: from services to partnering. Their idea is to work as a greenhouse, and after helping journals in their first phase (though this may last 6 years), to have them transferred to a commercial open access publisher. The main problem for the library is that they really need to educate the editors that publishing cannot be done for free, and although the library is still sponsoring a substantial part of the publishing costs, that will not be the case after the transfer. It is good that we (as libraries) test different models with our main shared goal: get research “reachable”.

Open Framework
Maurizio Lunghi presented on Thursday morning the results of the APARSEN project.  Without (being able to) becoming too technical, the idea of the interoperability framework is that it connects all sorts of persistent identifiers (PI’s), without trying to make one of them redundant or obsolete. It is pictured as a ring of trust (if all PI domains expose their content on LOD, linked open data, in the same way). There is a demonstrator demo online, and I have the idea that this is a very useful development.

Innovation, Flow & Friction
Rachel Frick, Council on Library and Information Resources, USA, started off with telling us where she originates from, and had a nice keynote on Wednesday afternoon, where she referred to DPLA, the digital public library of America. How to minimize friction and maximize flow? We live in a mash-up culture, crossing national and international boundaries, and we know that the network changes everything. We should not wait until people find what we have (after we have at least digitized the most interesting stuff that is not digitally borne), but enrich Wikipedia, make our metadata part of the network and expose our dark matter to the light as true leaders and practitioners of openness ourselves.
Lorraine Joanne Beard and Nick Campbell, from the University of Manchester, UK, explained how the library links to the university strategy. They also confirmed that the library should be vocal and tell how they can help the university to reach its goal. The Eureka example YouTube Preview Image that they have initiated in their Innovation group was a nice one.  In a dragon’s den like event students’ ideas were selected by a professional jury and the winner got some money, and the realisation of his/her idea. Several themes emerged in the contest that were picked up. The Manchester representatives told us to put ideas in practice, and to be more risk taking.
Eva Dahlbäck, from Stockholm University Library, Sweden, told us how they have (internally developed) managed to create the web-based software Viola, which helps staff in the closed stacks to fetch any requested material from the physical stacks, with a smartphone as device.

The right colour!

The right colour!

E-books
One of the plenary lectures on Wednesday was about the e-Book Phenomenon and its impact (by Prof. Thomas Daniel Wilson, University of Borås, Sweden). What I liked (it was a pity that he could not finish his talk due to time constraints) was his remark that e-book development has the potential to make an impact on every stakeholder. His suggestion for universities was to produce open-access textbooks, because now you can tailor the textbook to the course (instead of the other way around). Examples he mentioned were the Florida Distance Learning Consortium and Intermediate Algebra (see http://collegeopentextbooks.org/), representing the very best of Open Educational Resources.

Crowdsourcing
Zooniverse, figshare, distributed proofreaders, metadatagames: they are just a few examples of crowdsourcing. Elena Simperl (from University of Southampton, UK) had a lot for us to learn about it. With crowdsourcing you have a problem and solve it by an open call, using the large network of potential. You can have macrotasks (e.g. innovation), microtasks (e.g. tagging, many people at the same time in parallel), crowdfunding, or contests. Of course it is a nice opportunity to engage with your customer (though you need to understand what drives participation). As Simperl said, computers are sometimes better than humans; this is the age of social machines. Improve information technology, but do not overdo crowdsourcing. Let people do the creative work, and the machines the administration. And in her conclusion she said that creativity remains as task for (the staff of) the library, and we should be glad that you “free up” time to spend on creativity.

Research data management, what works?
This workshop  in the morning of July 2 was organized by the LIBER working group / steering committee on Scholarly Communication and Research Infrastructures. I was moderating the second part and thanks to some good suggestions made by Marina Noordegraaf, we had a very interactive session about training and skills, and encouraged people to start research dating. In short the main take-away messages were that you need to remember that the research groups are not all the same, that you need to be brave (again!) and go out to the researchers, and that we should take advantage of our own network, and learn from each other.
Arlette Piquet from ETH Libraries and Collections, Zurich, Switzerland showed the next day how they are dealing with data curation. Starting with a research survey in 2011, they have defined a timepath and approach, where they have decided to work from one solution, being Ex Libris Rosetta (including administrative data).

Cultural programme
On Tuesday morning we had some time to stroll around in (a very rainy) Riga. We visited the Dome or Riga Cathedral, which is very famous for its organ (for which Frans Liszt, although he has never been there, wrote a chorale “Nun danket alle Gott”). Especially the old cloistral corridors with Riga heritage was worth our visit. Afterwards we drank a coffee at a lovely place, called Sweet Day Café.

Away from the tower now

Away from the tower.

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Sweet day cafe

Sweet day cafe

Librarying, the new buzzword? A report from LIBER2013

This week I attended for the first time in my Library Life the LIBER Congress (which took place in Munich, Germany). It was a strange week, where I was of course heavily occupied with some possible governmental budget measurements, and met with a lot of my Library colleagues.

The main reason for coming over was the workshop LIBER organised on the “10 recommendations on Research Data Management, what’s next” on Wednesday 26 June, and the first face-to-face meeting of the steering committee of Scholarly Communication and Research Infrastructures. I am a member of that committee and my colleague @jprombouts, head of our Research Data Services, is member of its working group. Research (Information) Infrastructures and the Future Role of Libraries was the main theme of the Conference that took place for the remainder of that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The main keynote lectures were therefore focused on this topic, and for me the two keynotes on Thursday were the most appropriate to this theme. Liz Lyon, director of UKOLN, University of Bath, showed us that universities could regard themselves as data publishers and that they should take responsibility for their own data products. Libraries can help researchers publish their data, with curation, discoverability, citation, formats and metrics. Librarians should be more and more be part of the Lab teams. Carlos Morais Pires from the European Commission made a nice comparison between engineers and librarians. “Engineers stop when things start to mean something”. Further he gave an overview of the things (formal communications / recommendation) the EC has done, and what is to be expected in relation to Horizon 2020. Geoffrey Boulton’s speech on Friday was similar to the one I happened to hear at the 10th anniversary meeting of LERU, in Bruxelles, last November. The discussion afterwards though made me sending tweets again, because I could not agree more: Talk to researchers and ask them what they need instead of going to spread the word about what you do. And see the library as a function, not an entity. Or as I phrased it myself: “librarying, it is a verb, it is active, it is dynamic, it is not a thing!

The Bavarian State Library at Munich ..

At our own workshop Jeroen informed the participants who attended this workshop (some 80 – 100 people) about our 3tu.datacentrum, our collaboration with DANS in Research Data Netherlands, and emphasized that it is important to “think big, start small and act now”. He took care of recommendations 5, 6, 7, and 8, which focused on collaboration and services. These recommendations were finalized and prioritized during the LIBER-conference in Tartu last year. Wolfram Horsten, from Oxford University Library, focused on Policy & Infrastructure (recommendations 4, 9, and 10) and showed us that it is good to start with a research data policy, and that you should have a centrally led approach (either with the library in the lead, or together with more supporting services), but you also should let the local initiatives flow. Partnering! was his final word at the discussion at the end. Rob Grim, the chair of the working group, from Tilburg University Library and IT Services, made the ten recommendations complete, with 1,2 and 3 and emphasized that libraries should work on having skilled people. He also referred to the implementation plan the working group will now start working on.

Where the Conference reception took place …

Of course there were also other session worth attending. I just pick two, to be a bit selective (as we heard also from Boulton, that is our role!).

The title “Meeting the needs of PhD candidates: Services, networks and relevance” attracted too many people for the size of the room. Eystein Gullbekk, Oslo Library, showed us their PhD on Track, which was launched one month ago. It provides modules under three tracks Review and discover / Share and publish / Evaluation and ranking. The principles they used during development of the modules were: Illustrate / Demonstrate / Explain / Provoke. Gullbekk’s second part focused on “being relevant”, where he used the principle of the actor network . Viewing a topic from different aspects, e.g. a publication can enact as apprenticeship or as accreditation, and you should realize that there can be conflicts of interest, so take different enacted realities into account and make it visible (both conflicts and resistance).

Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard, from the Royal Library Denmark, presented a successful crowdsourcing project: “Denmark seen from the air”. The Royal Library has 18 million photographs, so what to do with these, how can they be made useful? This project used the collections of photographs of farms “seen from the air”.  It started with 200 k negatives from the area “Fyn”. The idea was to get more data about the precise location of the farm. At a certain time in the project every minute a “farm was moved”.  At this moment 87% of pins have been geotagged. So as said, pretty successful! Some take-aways from Birte: Appeal to your roots; and Continue to have new material, to attract people again.

So was it a valuable experience? Yes, I would say so, the mixture of meeting people and hearing interesting stories makes it going of course. And now back to my librarying 😉

Beautiful surroundings indeed!

More than marshmallows and candy bar wrappers!

Fourteen colleagues attended the first Ticer Library Directors’ Course from August 19-21, 2012. The last day was a joined one with the participants of the Ticer Summerschool. We did not have time to evaluate this last day with the fourteen of us, so I decided to provide my summary and short comments on this blog.
Firstly it would be appropriate to mention that I indeed valued the Directors’ course: we had some good practical exercises, a lot of things and literature to think about and work on, perhaps not so many strategy issues as I would have anticipated on the first 2 days, but best of all was that I met new and interesting colleagues and the Course Director, Janet Wilkinson, and senior lecturer Roger Fielding, who both did an excellent job. I will never forget our Marshmallow Challenge!

Lorcan Dempsey introduced the Ticer Tuesday (being its Course Director) and did a quick wrap-up of the talk I enjoyed in Birmingham last February. He introduced David Lankes (@rdlankes, see his own post). This was the talk that I liked best, a bit provocative, typical American, but filling in the gap that I had slightly missed on days 1 and 2. Of course not everything was new, but here are a few quick-and-dirty quotes or lines to remember:
– The mission for the library has not changed over all these years, how we do it has  changed.
– What makes it new librarianship is if you realize that knowledge is created through conversation (and not contained in “static” containers).
– As a library we have a voice, if we e.g. give instructions these should be focused on helping the members to learn, not on how they can get access.
– We do not have users, clients or consumers; we have members and they “own” the library and add value to it.
– A place with books is a storage place; a place with librarians is a library.
– A librarian does not need the library building to be a librarian … so a librarian is the one who creates the library.
– We are librarians and we are on a mission. Be radical!
There is a lot I have not put in this summary, a question could be the possible disbalance in the phrases above on “membership or ownership” and “the librarian who creates the library”. Of course we should see this as cocreation, but this puzzles me.

The other three in-depth talks were on Open Access, Research data management and Networks. These were less strategic, but interesting because of the overview we received on the relevant situation, reports and papers. Marc van den Berg had a good interactive voting exercise where all participants had to give theire scores on the ten recommendations the LIBER Working Group on e-Science and Research Data Management had just released. We apparently (and typically?) gave all recommendations almost similar scores. Lorcan Dempsey, in his role as Chair of the day, asked the presenters where they would make their choices in their own libraries, not per se referring to research data management, but in general. The answer to that question remains difficult – I myself would be interested to see whether we in The Netherlands would be able to differentiate between the university libraries the coming years. Further I was triggered by the reference made by Marc on the Gartner hypecycle for education, 2012, where it shows that Digital preservation of research data as a trending topic has had his peak, and could now be overhyped.

At the end of the day we got a Library tour at Tilburg University. Interesting to see that Tilburg invites faculty to come over to the library. Apart from the datalab and teaching lab there is also a dedicated faculty space, only accessible for faculty staff. It is not yet crowded, but a good initiative!

Finally, Rachel L. Frick (https://twitter.com/rlfrick) provoked us to come from our often institutional to a networked focus and gave some good examples how this could work for libraries. We discussed the question she gave us, i.e. if the library is unified by a brand (and then, what is this brand)? Interesting for us in Delft (involved as we are as a Library in social innovation, see the (Dutch) weblog) was the reference she made to the constellation model, often used when organising collaborative efforts.

 

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