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Posts tagged strategy

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.

 

And the most important people are … our authors

Reporting on the ALPSP international conference, 10-12 September 2014.

While I am at this (learned society) publishers’ congress, our Board of Directors have sent on September 11 a message to all employees at TU Delft announcing that the way forward is open access. Open access so that contributions to science are spread, read and re-used. In the Netherlands, State Secretary Dekker recently expressed his views on the transition of Dutch academic publications to Open Access, which he hopes to achieve within five years in 60% of the cases. 

A few days in London, that’s what you think. However, the ALPSP meeting is based in a hotel (Park Inn) at Heathrow, so the only thing you see (and hear) is the airport.

Keynote opener was Amy Brand from Digital Science. She presented an overview of the products (a lot fall under Digital Science) that help taking away pains from the researchers. “Pain is the mother of invention”. Products or services I had not heard of before were: Sparrho, Sciencescape  and Uberresearch.

A bit about libraries

The first day (being only the afternoon) held (after the keynote) two things. A library panel (I think that those were the only librarians, apart from me, present) and the presentations of the Innovation Award (winner to be announced Thursday September 11). Surprise surprise, I liked the library panel. The topic was about whether we (librarians / publishers) were competitors or customers. Jill Taylor-Roe asked us to recalibrate the collaboration. Would it be better together? Graham Stone tried to tickle the audience (as you will understand mainly publishers) by explaining that repositories actually help in impact. “It is not about stealing. We have paid, we link and drive usage”. At his university (Huddersfield) they now have their own Press, and publish their undergraduate journal with severe peer reviewing. As Jill also pointed out, Graham said that libraries and publishers are both contributors (not competitors) to advance science. The really important people are the authors, not the librarians or the publishers.

Innovation Award

Seven nominations for the Innovation Awards, 5 minutes each. Wow! I liked (but information might not be complete;-) BioRXiv , initiated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, as I understand a good filter to proceed to journal publications.  Another success was presented by Frontiers from Open Science platform, where open access journals are being (openly) peer reviewed, with top scientists as Editors, and maximising impact for authors.  They even started a Frontiers for young minds! With an Editorial board of kids. Last one I mention is Edifix (from Inera), where inaccurate references are something from the past.

Congratulations to Kamila Markram from Frontiers. They won!

Congratulations to Kamila Markram from Frontiers. They won!

Impact and relevance

A panel opened the next day, but it was lively enough to attend. I especially appreciated the contributions from David Smith (IET) and chair Toby Green (OECD). Take a look at OECD’s Freemium Access publishing, more or lest the differentiated access Amy Brand presented the day before. It is a mixture of free (just reading) and premium (paying, for downloads or usage). With David I had a nice chat afterwards, where we discussed the typical behaviour of engineers i.e. IET noted having a very low percentage of mobile traffic on their platform. I spoke also with the panellist from Thieme who claimed that open access would leave libraries without a job. What we see in Delft is that we advise in the publication route and start to administer apc’s, so I did not agree with his observation.

31 flavours of research impact. CC-BY-NC by maniacyak on flickr.

31 flavours of research impact. CC-BY-NC by maniacyak on flickr.

Melinda Kenneway opened an interesting session on metrics. I had heard Mike Taylor from Elsevier at the APE, but his story this time was different, he advocated the use of multiple or mixed metrics, not bibliometrics or altmetrics, but choosing the right answers based on the questions of the customers. We also had the joy of listening to Euan Adie, founder of Altmetric. He defines altmetrics as everything in metrics that is not citations, resulting in a broader view of impact. An idea that popped up in my head when he talked was whether we (as librarians) should be starting to tweet much more about the Delft publications, as part of our workflow.

Discovery

In the afternoon presentations on “cracking the discovery code” were scheduled. where EBSCO, Sage and Graham Stone (again, see day before) talked. Graham’s university was the first Summon client in the UK (2009). I liked the way he referred to the discovery system as a tool that is “levelling the playing field,  giving every journal a fair chance” and warned us, librarians, to avoid the desire making minilibrarians out of our users. I also made a note to look at the TERMS – top 14 deal breaks when licensing electronic resources, that he cocreated, so I will definitely get back to his presentation.

Big data

Fiona Murphy chaired the final session of the day on big data. There was in that session not much new for me, though it struck me that the underlying message was that we should be careful. We should not make confusing correlations, will need human interaction to structure the data, and need to make authors aware how to correctly cite data. I learned from my neighbor, one of the nominees for the Innovation Award from Inera, that 20% of the provided data citations have incorrect doi’s. We can of course also have fun, e.g. with the autocomplete text Google makes (why is UK so … cold).

Text mine or yours or …

On Friday morning we had our final sessions. Both were interesting. Gemma Hersh from Elsevier explained their Text and Datamining policy and went through the criticism received, via a.o. LIBER. They have changed a few things since, e.g. users are not asked anymore to provide a project description when they register for mining. The fact that registration is needed however will not be changed, according to Hersh. CrossRef is now working on a cross publisher solution. The talk by researcher Lars Juhl Jensen  (here is his blog) nicely touched upon some of these issues. Jensen gave a wonderful talk about what text and data mining is all about, and that researchers like himself just want to be able “to take it, mine it and make it publicly available”.  Furter reading about this (and other) sessions at the alpsp blog.

... Ours?

The final session had open access as topic. Chair Wim van der Stelt from Springer tried to bring some different angles to the discussion. We had people from Wiley, Royal Society and BMC talking about flipping your subscription journal, learning from starting an open access journal and having the dialogue with your customer, respectively. I liked the contribution by Jackie Jones (Wiley). She gave the Wiley criteria to flip or not to flip. Obviously parameters such as rejection rate, submission level, funder behaviour and proven open access success in the discipline are relevant in this decision. Phil Hurst (The Royal Society) mentioned that they only would be launching open access journals. He referred to the SPARC page, that summarizes why open access is a big benefit. I did not really get an answer when asking when the time would come that the default for launching a new journal would be open access, realizing that large publishers also could drive the change and influence behaviour. Well, I wrote earlier about that of course! Though we all agreed at the congress that our authors and researchers are the most important stakeholders, perhaps some other stakeholders might influence the direction publishers are taking;-)

View from my room. Heathrow!

View from my room. Heathrow!

Looking forward: TU Delft Library

Read here about:

#researchdata

#livingcampus

#trust

#libraryenvironment

#debate

#onlinelearning

#openaccess

#otherdata

#researchsupport

#discovery

#tudelftlibrary

#inspiration

About #inspiration. This Summer in our Library the exhibition "Island of Thoughts". Visual artist Eveline van Duyl is exhibiting her larger-than-life-size portrait sculptures of philosophers.

About #inspiration. This Summer in our Library the exhibition “Island of Thoughts”. Visual artist Eveline van Duyl is exhibiting her larger-than-life-size portrait sculptures of philosophers.

 

The library environment, finding a shared purpose

The meetings of the Liber Architecture Group are great to reflect on library spaces. I had the opportunity to combine a lecture in Helsinki, Finland, with some site visits and talks.

The first preseminar visits were on Tuesday May 6, and our starting point that day was exactly in our line of thinking. Valeria Gryada, from Aalto University, the Otaniemi campus, presented a way of involving the users in the design process, which we are also doing in Delft (see presentation I held on Friday to be published at the LAG website, prepared with Liesbeth Mantel).

The greenhouse project of Aalto University was a very low-budget (50 kEuro) project, where a student team rooted the basis for the set-up of the area. The students really get to know the insights of the specific school. Normally a design project is finished after transfer, but in this case it just started after the furniture had been brought in, with observing, learning and improving. Further her presentation had three more interesting elements, being: 1. mentioning the number of alumni (80000) as key element of the university details; 2. focusing on the areas of strength of the library; and 3. positioning the library as the place where “the university is seen”, as neutral ground. The library’s vision of seeing the learning centre network as a living organism seems to be a future proof one.

We visited two more libraries this first day, the Viiki Korona infocentre and the Terkko Medical Library. Both are examples of places that opened 15 or 16 years ago and that are now thinking of redesigning their locations and getting rid of the book stacks. Walking around in these places opened the discussion about what really remains after removing the books. A library context (adding meaning to meeting) adds commitment for a shared cause, knowing that all people in that learning environment are there for a shared purpose.

A lot of students put off their shoes.

A lot of students put off their shoes.

Aalto University - the techncal school.

Aalto University – the technical school.

Liber attendees listening during Terkko tour.

Liber attendees listening during Terkko tour.

The second preseminar (half) day was a visit to the beautiful music centre and the Sibelius Library. This building was created by putting the function as first priority (the acoustic designer’s voice was always listened to). The concert hall has glass windows though, and the stage is put in the middle of the hall, as in an arena. Music researchers, teachers, artists, students and lovers can work, listen and create together, a very well-thought concept. For us in Delft the word “creation” is also very important, and we would really like to see this realized in our physical library, both to show what was created by Delft’ hands, and by feeling the creative atmosphere during your study or work. This makes a nice bridge to my earlier thoughts about a library as a commitment to a shared purpose.

The stage and the windows in the concert hall.

The stage and the windows in the concert hall.

Pike statue outside the music centre.

Pike statue outside the music centre.

On Wednesday May 7 in the afternoon Kirsti Lonka, Prof. of Educational Psychology, University of Helsinki, held her keynote lecture, and tried to engage us participants by asking us to think how we should design our spaces for the digital natives (and digital immigrants). She explained the differences between these two groups, and these are quite huge. We of course still have to accommodate both. In her opinion e-learning is dead, and blended learning is king. Every third meeting Kirsti said  should be a face-to-face one. Blended learning environments combine physical, virtual, social, mobile and mental spaces of learning – beyond the classroom! This is a very short wrap-up of her presentation. Surprisingly though was that she referred to the library as a space attached to the learning centre, of course connected, but not (yet) included or renamed. That is not how we position our library in Delft.

Then the topic moved to office work spaces for librarians and a few trends were highlighted. One of them was the idea of an activity-based office where different work profiles should fit into, being the anchor, connector, gatherer (collector) and navigator. Or the acknowledgement that the library staff should not think of their own spaces as separate from their users’ spaces. We all need to discover, gather, analyse, create and share.

I would like to summarize the second day of the seminar, Thursday May 8, with a tripadvisor (and I am selecting just a few of the presentations!). Today we could go to see the Vienna Resource Centre. The biggest question is whether the space is embraced by the users, or remains an artistic impression, You could only know by really visiting the site. If you wait just a few months you could see the Sleeping Beauty of Riga, the castle of light or national library, to be opened end of August. Elif Tinaztepe, from Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, won the 2012 Collaboration Award for their user involvement in the DOKK1 project for Aarhus. Within a year you will be able to visit it. A bit further down the road (first half of 2016) lies the opening of LILLIAD Innovation Learning Center (a refurbishment of the Library), where they are creating a place to support the culture of innovation. And the day ended with a double trip to Kaisa House, first in the afternoon during the normal tour and then with Liesbeth Mantel and Francine Houben in the evening after our conference dinner.

Kaisa House opened September 2012

Kaisa House opened September 2012

The Library still has a lot of bookshelves, but a very nice design.

The Library still has a lot of bookshelves.

After our exciting evening adventure our last day of the seminar arrived on Friday. In the morning we heard in the first session technical aspects of the libraries built and to be renovated in Bern (Switzerland), and the huge building (85000 sqm and capacity of 320 km records shelving) of the national library of France. Then I could present my talk about our Living Campus and the use of personas. It was very nice that Francine Houben, our architect, made the connection in her presentation afterwards and showed the difference in the floormap of our Library between 1998 and 2014. Further I heard again her very nice presentation about the Birmingham Library, never boring. Francine also asked all librarians and architects to speak up to the politicians so that they would be able to understand that a library is more than books (and as I put it “more than a building”). The seminar was closed by the lecture of Anne Hanneford (the Hive at Worcester), which is a truly combined library for both the main public, researchers and students and in all ways connects the city with the university. They won the Times Higher Education Award for Library Team last year.

Concluding remarks: the library should not just reach out to its users, but put  them central in their innovation process. Without interaction with other disciplines, other ideas, other people you will have no innovation. So make sure that you not only facilitate this process for your users, but also apply this to your own staff and actions. And always keep your eyes and ears open. You can add context and people will find their shared purpose in the library environment that suits them best.

A “No access” insurance policy – would this work?

There’s something that’s been nagging at my mind the last few days. We are preparing for the open access “mandate” that our Dutch secretary of state has challenged us with. How can we link open access and toll access in a sustainable manner? What are successful examples (what can we learn from others, or what are pitfalls to avoid?), how can we make the transition without (too much) extra cost, what can we do on a national level?

During these preparations it occurred to me that we seem to make things pretty complex. And things are quite simple. We as librarians “just” want to make sure that our users have access to the content they need. And we feel annoyed by paying more and more for content that was produced in and reviewed by our university staff. We want to give our scientists and students the assurance that they have access. But at what cost?

So let’s imagine that we could buy a “no access” insurance (in the Netherlands we don’t arrange a health insurance, but a “sickness” insurance). We always get access to the information we need, and we insure ourselves in cases access fails. Our insurance broker gets an insurance fee from us for this.

WP_20140502_003

And we pay for publishing to quality publishers, if we think that this adds to our impact. Otherwise we “publish” through our own university channels. We all acknowledge that the quality publishers do not change or moderate our content (this is done by our peers), but that they can add value by making our content part of a highly-used platform and that they can add value to the user experience of this platform.  But now I am making things more complex again. Back to the basic question: How about a “No access” insurance?

Choices: our common ground

No matter who you are, or what role you play, what we all have in common is a choice. Being a mother, singer, librarian, colleague, former publisher, friend, sister, daughter … I can make choices. These may of course be wrong, strange or just right,  and sometimes the circumstances leave you no other option to do this or that, and your final decision does not feel like a choice at all. However, my point is that somehow down the line you always have a choice. For years now I perform in a band (Guano), and we make our own songs. I complain that we do not have gigs anymore, that I would like to be on stage again, but I can only blame myself. I have the choice to do something about it (and stop complaining).

During the seasonal holiday break we played a game where you can select who you are, the bomb, the general, the spy ... could we enable that play in the real world ;-) ?

During the seasonal holiday break we played a game where you can select who you are: the bomb, the general, or the spy and change it along the way … could we enable that play in the real world 😉 ?

Choices are also current in our professional life. If I could add just one tiny bit to the open access discussion, it would be this thought or insight.

The author or researcher chooses a journal to publish his or her article in – sometimes in an emerging field or looking for a certain quality stamp there is not that much to choose from. He or she has done the homework, checked all references, worked with the co-authors, optimized (though not manipulated) one or two figures, has datasets available and submitted the paper. The reviewer (via a peer review selection process) is asked (within a certain timeframe) to review the paper, and to give a fair and sound review report, based on which the author can revise (which is most often the case) his or her paper.

The Publisher has a portfolio of journals that are either launched via an idea of the Publisher themselves, or via societies or (Chief) Editors who had a great idea or had seen an opportunity. The journals are processed, priced and promoted via set routines. In this chain of activities there is ample room to make a choice. Certainly when it comes down to choosing the way the articles can be accessed or the value that can be added. Should a traditional toll access journal be flipped to open access? Should a new journal be launched as an open access journal? What is the market attitude, the revenue stream, will any change affect journal submissions, and ultimately the journal’s impact factor?

We librarians also have choices. Space and time limit me to name all choices for all stakeholders. We are not really selecting the (primarily subscription-based) content we provide to our university staff based on quality anymore, but far more based on our budgets. The big deals, selection profiles and PDA (patron driven acquisition) have contributed to diminishing our role as content “selector”. However, our choice has been and still is to try to encourage all players to make their publicly funded research available in open access. This still costs a substantial amount of money (to process the article in its open access form), and we librarians should take responsibility and arrange the money stream needed for this. The big advantage is that it releases us from the dilemma that we might not be able to offer the best available scientific resources to our own researchers. A global choice to free up the scientific content guarantees that our students and researchers have easy access to today’s knowledge. There is a choice we can make. And stop complaining.

TU Delft Library 2014 new year greetings - today's knowledge will impact all your tomorrows

So librarians, do not forget that as all players in the field, we can also make our own choices. We are representing an institute that cherishes the past, lives in the present, but with a firm vision on the future. Get up on that stage!

Resilience for us, librarians

I must say that these are busy times. I hardly have time to post a few lines, which frankly of course is not entirely true. You can always make time for a few lines, right? My challenge however is that I have a lot to tell, and not just a few lines. Let me explain.

As TU Librarian I am confronted with a severe budget cut. We are discussing and thinking a lot how to address this in a way that we still can be the Library we want to be for our users and for our employees. Which is possible, though difficult. More about this (which is as said more than a few lines) later. At least I could present our plans with our employees today, during a plenary session.

For now I wanted to share with you an approach that was brought to me (and some of my library colleague directors and members of the UKB licenses working group) by Sarah Durrant. Sarah gave (with Tracy Gardner) a training on negotiation skills for librarians. A small part of the day was spent around the necessity of being resilient. And I thought that this might actually be a good approach for the situation we are in now, at this time of budget cuts.

Because: How do we keep going while things are constantly changing? How can we address an uncertain future? Perhaps the ABC-approach Sarah explained to us, could help. Firstly A – Adversity, so bad luck or misfortune may happen to you. Then, secondly B – Belief, and that is the story we tell ourselves. Belief is what we hear in a discussion or presentation or think what has been said, what was meant, or will happen. Then lastly C – Consequences and that means that you are in the position to make a connection to the story you believe in. And that connection brings the opportunity to make the story such that it may give you a positive perspective. Well at least that is my translation to a theory that has been around for quite some time (please refer to the Edutopia blog I’ve just read, where I also found the picture used below, image credit: iStockphoto).

And so I have done my few lines after all. If you want to hear more, you could also check the TEDtalk by Martin Seligman.

The virtue of being slow

We have got…

a story to tell
people to meet
ideas to share
inside the Library
and cloudwise as well

This was how we started 2013 and we just launched our highlights 2012

But what does it mean? If I take a look at my own agenda, I have been involved in a review process for the University Library Eindhoven, visited the iDCC conference (just for one day, and met with David Groenewegen) in Amsterdam, had a virtual Board meeting for DataCite, and my first Steering Committee meeting for the LIBER group on Scholarly Communication and Research Infrastructures, had meetings with DOK Delft and our TU Delft Sports & Culture group to start working together, did a short talk on the Living Campus ideas for Young Delft, tested working at HNKR with @moqub, showed our Library to Raymond De Prez, Ron Dekker and Wim van der Stelt, had some KB colleagues over, spent a lunch meeting at the University Library in Groningen and …

Well I guess a busy agenda as probably a lot of others have. So what’s the point? The best moments are the unexpected ones, the talks in the doorway, or when wrapping-up, the ideas we share when a visitor spends some time at one of our exhibitions, or has a shared interest in cultural heritage. When we had our New Year’s cake, coffee & tea early January and I talked a bit about our highlights, I mentioned the potential added value a library environment has on “slowness”, and that this can be a virtue. To take your time, to meet the unexpected, to find something in common you never would have known otherwise. You might think a busy agenda would not allow this, but this is not true, as long as you take in-between time to be slow.

I just celebrated today the one year’s anniversary of DOKLab – a few of us at the party came to talk about a possibly new phenomenon, the slow book experiment, something like slow food. Not multitasking, zapping and speedreading, but taking your time to read, contemplate, debate and be “laidback”. And again not an original idea, I found a blog from one year ago on the Slow Books Manifesto, a pity though that blogreading does not count …

(the same site as the Slow Books Manifesto contained a post on a flopped book of Dr Seuss, you must read this and take a look at the pictures, see below!)

 

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It is the Library. What else.

I never came to post this one – I guess that the ending of a year might be a good momentum for almost anything, I must say that it is far from original (I know), but it is an attempt to talk about a thing (libraries) without explicitly mentioning the name (all the time). Another reason to write this was that I do not want to play a defensive role; I want to take another approach. Inspired by (I do watch the telly when working in a hotel room) The Richard Dimbleby Lecture (BBC, 28-02-2012), Ken Robinson‘s TED talk on Changing the education paradigms, Steven Johnson‘s Where good things come from and Thomas Friedman (2011. That used to be us.).

I found this nice picture of TU Delft Library on Arvind Jayashankar’s weblog

So finally I sat down to it. In a hotel room in a Birmingham, February 28th, almost 29th, 2012. I decided that I should now put down the framework and that this framework could be transformed into something wilder, or deeper, or more.

The whole idea is that we all are working to make the world a better place. Surely we as being people working in science. And good science needs good sustainable support.

What is it that science, the scientists, the students, the research&developers of our companies and anyone else involved in science need to make this world a better place? Let us assume that they work in a university or company or study at a place where the basic elements such as their lab facility, a stable state-of-the-art ict infrastructure, and things as their salary or for students their exams and classes are being facilitated. But what could make the difference?

Firstly they all need access to see what already has been done, to proceed where no-one has gone before, and to understand what could go wrong. To study as a new learner or to gain deeper insights in new fields or being a life-long learner. Access for others to their own production and products (articles, labdata, software, experimental settings, videos, images, blogs) if possible, so that they themselves and/or their institute or company are “recognized”. Viewing the latest weblectures from anywhere they decide to be because that is the place they can best carry out their research, thinking, talking or just offers the best studyplace.

And not just access would do, real science means the possibility to dig deeper, to understand more, to repeat your experiments, to link to possible bypasses and go on. That takes time, it takes patience, it takes talent and it costs some. It means thoroughness or richness, posing and opposing theories and getting fundamental discussions that might end nowhere, but sometimes mean it all. To read and learn from your suggested books, but finding that this is not enough, doing extra assignments, taking up special projects, being curious and being proud of it. Knowing that you can find your stuff in journals, via databases, and ebooks, but enriching your playground with other inspiration via TV, film, podcasts, music, websites or magazines.

And nobody can make the world a better place just on his own. You need others, you need criticism, you need serendipity, you need to meet your peers. Of course you can travel to your congresses, but you also need this meeting point nearby. It is a sort of access point, but a physical one. You can drink your coffee, tea, juice, go through some magazines, talk and meet with both the PhD or colleague you know from your department, but also the people you accidently bump into, the lecturer you at last can ask that one question, to attend “just-nice-to-know” or “hey-isn’t-that-sort-of-what-I-am-doing” events and watch the news, not on your stand-alone tablet, but sharing the experience with others. You might get some advice from experts, e.g. about writing or publishing or how things work with intellectual property at that place. Any doubts you might have on ethical issues in your research or other practice can be shared with peers and debates are encouraged.

You also use this space to see your business relations and vice versa. And will it make the world a better place? The best ideas know their origin in places like these. Let’s call it acquaintance. A healthy economy is not just driven by greater efficiency, but also by people inventing more goods and services. And people need inspiration to come to innovation.
So we have had access, richness, and acquaintance as basics needs for science to prosper. Let’s add one final one to this, and this is progress. That is what science (and the people working on and in it) adds to the world, right?
And if we need to think of the good sustainable support to accommodate this, what is it we think about? Who might be able to provide access to the latest results, and can help you gain visibility? To make sure that the research can be done thoroughly? Facilitate a space to meet up with your study, business or research acquaintances? Hear and see what you have not heard before? Where everything breathes progress?
It is the Library. What else. To make the world a better place.
<The English words are perhaps a bit farfedged – I could not find better words for the four Dutch ones “toegang, diepgang, omgang & vooruitgang”>

 

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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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