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Posts by FAB TUDelft

Where are the librarians?

Together with colleague Alenka Princic  I visited on April 25 the Science Alliance meeting on The Impact of Science. We had our doubts whether it would be worth our money (it was a rather expensive day), but decided that we would like to go anyway. The topic is of course of huge interest for us librarians, because we want to facilitate research groups in their visibility and provide them with the right tools to work on their impact. Apart from us, Wouter Gerritsma from Wageningen  (and the recently retired Librarian Ger Spikman) and Gert Goris from Rotterdam were there. Not that many librarians!

The day started with Donald Dingwell, Secretary General of the European Research Council. He impressed us with high numbers (in total 14000 people are working on ERC grants, on 600 places, producing enormous output, with every week a publication in Nature or Science). Interesting remarks from his part were that the timeline of an ERC-fund (5 years) is too short to see result of impact of research. He emphasized that progress is not “plannable”, and that therefore the ERC organisation is bottom-up, nobody tells somebody what to do.

At the meeting, sponsored by Elsevier and CWTS, Nick Fowler, Managing Director Academic & Government Institutions at Elsevier, also held a presentation. Apart from a sales talk about Scopus, he showed us some impressive slides. The reason that The Netherlands has a relative high number of publications output and citation impact lies, according to Fowler, in the fact that we have much collaboration and mobility. So the word brain drain is now being replaced by brain circulation or researcher mobility.

Erkki Ormala,  now at Aalto University, but formerly with Nokia, also gave us some food for thought. Scientific progress is the key driver for innovation, economic growth and social development. This was a recurring topic of the day: do not just focus on academic excellence if you think of impact of science, but also involve the socio-economic impact. Nowadays companies seek engagement from 3rd parties via open innovation. The role of universities is apart from research and education, also knowledge sharing (rather than transfer!). (Later Carl Johan Sundberg,  Bio-entrepreneurship, Karolinksi Institutet, referred to this as the “The 3rd task”, i.e., to collaborate.) Ormala continued: People need to think beyond the routine, and need to have the ability not just to adapt to change, but to create it. Universities should provide the intellectual capacity. We require a fundamental change in our thinking. So develop a globally leading university with a strong knowledge sharing culture. And Ormala put it clearly: Do it now, the world won’t wait!

The report Shirley Pearce, as next speaker, referred to, is probably pretty good reading. One of the recommendations that have been taken up by her taskforce is the creation of a National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), because overall the conclusion of their research was that university business interactions need strengthening and we should try to understand the sector differences.

Reinhilde Veugelers, in her role of Professor of Managerial Economics, KU Leuven (she is also scientific council member ERC), had another observation. She said that we are missing yollies, new high-tech, high-growth sectors, often university origins (graduate spin-offs), though ollies are increasingly open-innovative.

The remainder of the day consisted of a plenary forum, a few parallel sessions in the afternoon (we attended Research management) and the day ended with a plenary session again, chaired by Michiel Kolman, Elsevier. In his stakeholders’ map of Science marketing I missed the libraries. An observation from my side – we were not the intended target group of the day. The support that libraries provide for research management is apparently not recognized (intentionally or not). Most challenging part of the plenary forum was Frank Miedema, Dean of UMC Utrecht. He took as an example the new MRI-guided radio therapy which has a huge societal impact, but no big publications. He stated that grants and proposals should be really read again, that other stakeholders should be involved in the reviewing and that we should change our backward looking reviewing to forward looking actions. I liked the comment Wouter Gerritsma tweeted during his session: “Miedema actually tells the audience that scientists should tell stories. Storify your research! Valuable impact.” A countercomment was made quoting Pasteur: “However, chance only favours the prepared mind”, so how would you prevent bias?

Of course there was also some information about CWTS and the recent published Leiden ranking, and the U-multirank, presented by Ben Jongbloed.

Lisa Colledge (again Elsevier) also took the opportunity to tell something about Pure, and their work in the UK following the demand for comparative data & research metrics referred to as snowball metrics.

Cornelis van Bochove, now with CWTS, tried to model the prospect of economic growth in comparison to investment in research. An important phenomenon he referred to was the rate of learning. If the rate of learning is high, your growth is higher. According to Van Bochove the rate of learning in basic research is higher, so your return on investment is higher. There was some discussion whether his quantitative numbers were correct. He stated that one euro applied R&D generates about 15 euro and one euro basic research generates 50 euro extra national income. So he claims that topsector policies are harmful for Dutch economic growth, and that such approach is more appropriate for transitional counties. Interestingly he also claimed that government should pay for open access to publications and data, because it is needed to raise the rate of learning.

Though there was more material presented I would like to end with the contribution of Marja Zonnevylle (Shell). Instead of talking about marketing your research, she prefers that university and business should start talking together, at an early stage. Shell has a few deep and long relationships with universities (she mentioned ETH Zurich and our own TU Delft). Furthermore Zonnevylle stated that it is not the technology that is the most difficult to tackle: “You can always fix something, it is the other thing that is difficult (economy, politics).”Also Zonnevylle mentioned that Shell’s approach to intellectual property is changing. She says it is good to make things in open literature, because if there is more out there, the more there is to do and learn.

So did we get enough back from this congress, what was our return of investment? Also here I guess you cannot always quantify the impact you get out of it. One learning element for me was that obviously our Deans (two were present, from Industrial Design Engineering and Civil Engineering & Geosciences) had not approached us from the library, when they received their invitation, to ask whether we would be going. So still much work to do!

With courtesy to


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Research data: let the flowers grow!

Fran Berman: let the flowers grow!

From March 18-20 I joined with my colleague @jprombouts the launch event of the research data alliance. Obviously much discussion took place on governance issues. However, I also learned some stuff in Goteborg, and took a few ideas back home.

The launch was kicked off by Neelie Kroes, where she put the necessity to form this alliance forward: the EU is supporting open science, and wants to make science work better for all of us, with ownership and cooperation of scientists themselves. Another interesting contribution came from Peter Fox (Tetherless World constellation / Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). He gave us five considerations:

  1. Work as you’ve succeeded > what would it all look like 10 years from now?
  2. It is not <just> about data
  3. It is about the alliance
  4. Be aware of vertical integration opportunity and needs
  5. The culture around data has to change

Peter told the RDA to be ready, be dynamic, be active, and urged us to bring together Head, Heart and Gut. It is difficult to avoid that I am only blogging quotes that have already been sent around via twitter! I liked e.g. Francine Berman’s remark that it is not just your data, it is other people’s data as well.

Together with Ross Wilkinson and John Wood she forms the RDA Council (to be expanded), where they represent the original founding from US, Australia and Europe. The RDA is being formed, or perhaps a better word would be moulded, by its members into the right shape. Two working groups have been approved so far, i.e., on data type registries and pid information types. The Council emphasized that RDA is about connecting data, people and disciplines. Of course the world consists of more than Australia, US and Europe, so there were also presentations about progress made in the field of research data from Canada, India, South Africa and China.

Upon arrival in Goteborg, we saw these very nice trees and benches.

We could digest real interesting content at the start of the second day. First we had Manfred Laubichler from Arizona State University telling us about the digital HPS (History and Philosophy of Science), He showed us that it is indeed not only about data, but also about the methods you need to deploy the data. Laubichler gave us an example from the Evolutionary population ecology. We saw that researcher Bradshaw changed his mind when comparing his statement in 1948 with the one in 1965. To understand why that happened you need to understand the scientific context of the whole field. So he concluded that these computational approaches require cyberinfrastructure, open and transparent (big) data and linkable repositories. Philip Bourne (from UCSD, and later in the same week also present at Force 11), taught us some lessons:

  1. It is all about trust (“trust in the data is perhaps our biggest achievement”), so listen to your community & engage them in every part of the process
  2. Data quality begats trust (support for versioning hence the copy of record, all versions accessible)
  3. It is all about people (curators are the unsung heroes)
  4. It is NOT all about institutions. No data standards body has directly influenced PDB, the protein databank
  5. It is about Openness. PDB should be more transparent about data usage .

Further interesting stuff from Bourne was that the thought that data are created are equal must end, that we need to understand how data are used, that reductionism is not a dirty word, that we should do more with the long tail, and should stop looking at funding agencies. And to conclude: “Think about the questions we wish to answer rather than simply being able to retrieve the data.”

The remainder of the launch meeting was perhaps really what is all about – established and perhaps-to-be-established working groups gathered for afternoon sessions on the second day and reported back on this the next day. We can tell at the next (mid-September in Washington) plenary RDA meeting what real actions have been taken up by all these groups, what plans are still valid and where new things are added.

Also for us both at 3TU.datacentre and TU Delft Library we need to work on our ambition and see where we can streamline this with all the RDA initiatives. Will we be able to take part in the yet-to-be-approved engagement working group , the publishing data interest group (with its subgroup on citation of dynamic data), while our DANS colleagues chair the to-be-approved certification working group and more interesting stuff is going in, e.g. in Preservation, or PID information, Terminology, etc ….? What we know for sure is that we cannot do everything, There were three things though that I brought back with me to have some further thoughts about:

  1. Should we (copying Research Data Canada) start a Research Data Netherlands initiative? Where we make sure that there is a voice for the Netherlands in several associations, alliances, working groups and that we think about an efficient workload and division in topics, disciplines?
  2. Would it be an idea (perhaps for the to-be-approved RDA Working Group on Preservation?) to start working on a retention table, so that we take the advice to work on “reductionism” into account?
  3. Is Dataverse Network (which we also will offer to our Delft, Eindhoven and Twente scientists) the thing that is “just as easy” for our scientists to use as Dropbox? Mind you, there is a FileSender option, offered by Surfnet, I am not sure whether we knew about this in Delft!

There was so much more, but I guess I should stop, but not without two more quotes:

  1. Scott Brim: We should  get the horse to drink, the desperate need is there, but it is only clear to us
  2. We could view RDA as green house to let the flowers grow.


Blog views as per June 25, 2013: 744. After that date post was migrated to this new url.

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!)


Blog views as per June 25, 2013: 388. After that date post was migrated to this new url.

Things change. But not so fast.

It is not often that I write or talk about books. Yes, I am “proud to be” a librarian, but there is just so much more nowadays that draws our attention and urges us to expose images, weblectures, maps,  research data and articles besides our bold books. What I do know is that we want these books to circulate, be hold, be read and be loved.

So we will make a first step in changing our policy by allowing our readers to keep the book they borrowed for a longer period, and will renew the loaning period automatically, if no reserves have been made on the book. I am curious to see how this turns out – we still want the books back in our book gallery after some time, but who knows, perhaps we should be rethinking the whole “borrowing” concept. Because books are there to be hold, read and be loved, not to be on our shelves. Things change. But not so fast.

Of course we are proud to have this beautiful book gallery – it is iconic and makes our library complete.

The past month (January 2013) we celebrated the 15 year anniversary of the Library building and had an exhibition in our Library Learning Centre, where we showed our ‘ iCone’. When plans were made for a new Library building on the campus, the requirement that a new building should be ‘future proof’ was included in the set of requirements. So yes, our building is future proof, with unique features, such as the (energy efficient) grass roof, a special way of cold and heat storage and of course our fascinating layout and design.

However, we have been working hard ourselves the past five years to keep also the usage and identity of the building `up to speed’ with our changing user requirements. We now offer a diversity in study spaces, places to work together, lounge and relax chairs, exhibitions, workshops, a fine cup of coffee/tea – a true one day stay. Things that were not included in the original `future proof’ requirements. So things indeed change. And sometimes faster than you think.


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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”>


Blog views as per June 25, 2013: 1039. After that date post was migrated to this new url.

Het is een echte middag in de week

Het gebeurt gelukkig niet vaak, maar dinsdag 13 november was voor mij geen gelukkige dag om met het openbaar vervoer te gaan. Michiel Munnik en ik hadden met de voorzitter en een ander lid van het bestuur van de Stichting Gebruikers afgesproken bij CURNET te gaan praten over een mogelijke samenwerking, maar ik ben er niet aangekomen. De reden was triest (“een aanrijding met een persoon”), dus ik maak er verder maar geen punt van, dat is sowieso niet de aard van het beestje.

Dus kon ik daardoor de vrijgekomen middag gebruiken als een echte middag in de week van het nieuwe werken. Voor mij is dat inmiddels redelijk gewoon werken overigens, maar weer eens met de neus op de dagelijkse praktijk is soms heel goed. Het duurde toch wel even voor ik weer terug in Delft was. Aldaar heb ik het nuttige met het aangename verenigd door mijn donatie voor de Water Library te verzamelen (was ik daar anders wel aan toegekomen vraag ik me af!), en ondertussen mijn jas naar de kledingmaker te brengen. Thuis heb ik vervolgens een presentatie voor volgende week kunnen afmaken, dat is ook mooi meegenomen.

Mijn hoop is dat wij als TU Delft of TU Delft Library volgend jaar een bezoeklocatie zijn tijdens deze week. Gisteren hebben wij (onder leiding van projectleider Liesbeth Mantel) ons herinrichtingsplan ingediend bij FMVG (Facility Management en Vastgoed). Een vervolg op het implementatieplan uit 2011 dat nu door Sociale Zaken is gepubliceerd als voorbeeldplan. Wij blijven hameren op het belang van diversiteit, we willen niet iedereen in hetzelfde letterlijke hokje duwen, en werken met persona’s helpt hierbij. Verder laten wij het karakter van onze Library, dat wil zeggen Openheid, Verbinden en Ontmoeten, terugkomen in onze eigen werkplekken. Dat moest ik toch nog even zeggen in deze week van het nieuwe werken!


Blog views as per June 25, 2013: 414. After that date post was migrated to this new url.

“I’m a university”

On October 17, 2012 I was invited to attend and speak at the symposium organised by the CIUP on the creative campus. My topic was about the transformation process of TU Delft Library to a Library Learning Centre and our steps into implementing this concept further into the campus, as a Living Campus.

Let me first tell something about CIUP, because I had not heard about it before. This institute has an enormous campus/park where students from different universities and colleges in Paris occupy houses. It was founded in the early 1920s and the origin of this campus was to prevent another civil world war, just after the first world war – by making sure that the  groups of different nations would work and live together. The Cité Internationale’s 40 houses welcome some 10,000 residents a year, including students, researchers, visiting professors, artists and sportsmen from over 140 countries. It has both accommodation and a wide range of services (featuring a theatre, library, restaurant, sports facilities, support services and more). The Cité’s park spans 34 hectares and is home to the most extensive  range of student accommodation in the Paris region.

Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris – International Creative Campus

I tried to visit the Dutch College but it was under construction. It is considered one of the masterpieces of architecture in the Cité internationale. It is the only building in France designed by Willem Marinus Dudok, one of the leading architects from the Dutch school of the 1920s and 30s. 

According to Beverly Margaria, director for student services at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris, the institute is not just about housing. It wants to help their students to understand each other. They should talk about this utopia once they go back to their homes, and have a different view of the world. They “provide people with wellbeing”.

The library at CIUP (I did not visit!). 

The meeting was an intense one, in total 80 people attended, ranging from urban architects, philosophers, projectleaders, university support staff and so on. Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin, from OECD, talked about student mobility and the future of student housing: growth of demand, growth of short stay and offering new services. His statement: “We are moving away from the idea that the campus is separate & isolated, where people are exclusively set aside to meet and think.”

Louise Béliveau, vice-rector for student affairs and sustainable development at the University of Montreal, explored a study they carried out in 2009, in which the excellently-rated student services turned out to be relatively poorly used. She told us what the university has done to improve this. We met the night before – Louise helped me during dinner because my French was not fluent enough and we could talk English.

For me the best talk was given by Joon-Seek Lee from the Seoul National University (I asked later, he was from the IT department). The title of his talk was: “I’m a university – self-directed online learning behavior research @snu”. SNU recently changed their digital learning environment from Blackboard to Moodle. And he wondered how long Moodle would last. Students are mixing and matching online tools to cover their diverse learning activities, and what the university does is just a fragment of what they use. Students make their own learning paths, and structure their own education. SNU carried out a research with 200 students and found interesting stuff. Their students use multiple devices simultaneously; the students do not explore content outside of their inner circle; and use exploring tools a lot and learn socially with a free (instant) messenger.

Alain Bourdin, from l’Institut français d’urbanisme and codirector Lab’Urba, did a wrap-up of the day. He had a somewhat philosophical ending. He noticed that we were all planning according to the path we know. We should understand that the way we use and circulate knowledge will change in 20 years’ time. He also mentioned the difference in time. Routine time (e.g. taking courses) is a different type of time than intense (or highlights) time. The places where we do this are also diferent. The Rolex Centre from Lausanne (which was also a topic of the day, just before my own presentation) is an intermediate thing in between the two different sets. We must enter the next game, what will tomorrow’s universities look like?

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What’s next TED?

Well I don’t know. I had a great day Friday October 5, 2012 @tedxdelft. I enjoyed a huge part of the lectures, I listened, thought a lot, and was afraid/ashamed to work at the happening itself, so I checked out, and got back again, and missed Pim the flowerist, and am very sorry about that. I also had my doubts about the Mars mission, thought that the “wiskundemeisje” could have taken more time, would have loved to have a discussion on the “diversity and inclusion” concept, wondered what lecture last year was also constructed around the mindmapping storytelling, as Wendy did this year, and … well you could argue that twitter might fulfil this need for an immediate response or reaction, but is that true?

YouTube Preview Image

I do not think so – we had this great thing, our TU Delft Library is placed 4th (four!) in the top 7 of the coolest libraries in the world. Wow! I read that via twitter (say over a week ago) and a few from us at TU Delft of course retweeted. And is the news then spread? Apparently not. We still get messages (via mail or twitter) of people who just (now) saw this as news. What’s the point?

YouTube Preview Image

Getting back to our 2nd @tedxdelft. So I missed apparently interaction “right at the spot”, but how could we accomplish that, if not via twitter? Interaction at the end of normal symposia is often very boring. So what would be a good idea for TEDnext? We all are on the stage, the stage is wherever we are. Hmm, would that help? I am not sure, let’ s give it som rest.

Anyway, it was a wonderful Delft experience, and perhaps we will have flowerish lightbulbs on the grassroof sometime somehow somewhere!


Blog views as per June 25, 2013: 567. After that date post was migrated to this new url.

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 ( 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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Midyear Midsummer Midnight

Last week I had an international week, and I did not have to travel any mile for it. On Tuesday we got three visitors from University College London and on Thursday/Friday we had colleagues over from DTU Copenhagen, TIB Hannover and ETH Zurich. It gave me a chance to give two tours through our own library building, which is always useful (e.g. to notice that the printing device of our Library Voyager did not work). Further I could talk both times about our Library Learning Centre, our work on archetypes or persona’s, where we are not “just” involved in accommodating students or student facilities, but are focusing on how we would like to facilitate both work and study the coming years.

Another meeting this week was with TU Delft researchers and administration together about the future of research information, i.e., what we should still register in a local system and what is already available (and harvestable) in the cloud. It is the typical two-step of the library. Of course we are mainly known for our traditional role where we are the content providers (with all related extras, just to name the training, searching, licensing and ordering). Our role in academic visibility is another one, and is more than providing a vehicle for scientific publications. It is really about knowledge exchange, and to progress science. Very interesting discussions!

And for something completely different, a week ago .. at Delft Kennisfestival, nice weather and a funny “swim and water” performance. Roy Heiner was a keynote speaker, just a few translated quotes:

  • team – together each achieves more
  • first it is your team, then the individual and finally the context
  • success is no coincidence
  • to improve is to allow mistakes
  • “at the top” you need to dare to take a step

So what about this midyear, midsummer, midnight then? I joined two friends in a bike ride to “Kijkduin” to celebrate Midsummernight with some homemade icetea, a fresh melon, and hot coffee. Pretty basic, one could say. Though we happened to encounter baby swans, a fox, and camels. Life can be full of surprises!
“Be the change  you want to see in the world”


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