Thursday, 15 December 2011

A sample from JISC's recent research on Activity Datat - SALT

SALT – Surfacing the Academic Long Tail

Taken from the SALT blog at the address above:

"SALT will test the hypothesis that Library circulation activity data can be used to support humanities research by surfacing underused ‘long tail’ library materials through search. We will investigate how issues of relevance and frequency of borrowing might shift within the particular use case of humanities research. An API onto ten years of circulation data from The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) at The University of Manchester will be made available to the HEFE community, and the project will pay specific attention to the sustainability of an API service as a national shared service for HE/FE that both supports users and drives institutional efficiencies (e.g. collections management)"
I suppose I interpret this as a more complex version of the catalogue functions that suggest alternative books if you search for another. I'd be interested to see it in practice and whether it could be made to run 'real tim' in the future.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Measuring Impact for FE Libraries

The topic of Measuring Impact was recently raised on one of the email lists. It's always been a tricky subject but one which is becoming more and more important when we are often having to justify our existence and resources. Below are some of the ideas already being used and which I wanted to make note of for future use:

  • Correlating book issues and InfoSkills sessions against grades (although this as been questioned as there are so many factors that contribute to academic success)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Promoting E Resources Workshop

I'd been invited to an E-Resources event hosted by Lancashire Libraries and Anne Kail from Credo. As it was only down the road in Preston I was given a day pass and escaped from the mad house. It was a great day for me, not only because it was a chance to catch up with colleagues I'd previously worked with on the North West Reference Group but because it was genuinely interesting. Focused very much on networking the group was made up of librarians from  public and college libraries with a few intruders in the form of Anthony Beal from JISC NW and Bill Doktor from Newsbank

Hosted by Credo it was inevitable that their services were going to be showcased. Their free topic pages are something I will have to look into but realistically Credo reference is to expensive for us ever to consider for all it is one of the best services of its type.  Lancashire are Beta testing a brand new product of Credos called illuminati which brings together different streams of content. It was good and from a public library point of view it is interesting but I think for colleges many features are just to similar to what our VLE already do to make it worth while.

The main purpose for me was to see what other people were doing so I was a bit taken a bit when I everyone got really excited about my training plans for the team. I hadn't thought it was anything special but a number of people there said they were going to try it out with their services. I was also pleased to hear that JISC are investigating how to split services such as Infotrac and Ebrary into groups suitable for the different levels of student we work with in colleges. Anne Kail is going to provide us with summaries of the day so I'll post that when I get it.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Recycled Book Crafts

Nicked from Kirstie's Handmade Britain - I love this woman's work and am already thinking about recycling books from the library to make Christmas decorations.

She had some lovely Bauble type items but I've also found these with a quick search of the web. I reckon combined with the butterflies I already know how to make they'd make an ace Christmas tree

Paper baubles from The Guardian

Strip Baubles

Folded Paper Baubles

Contrasting Glued Baubles

Friday, 21 October 2011

Heritage Cirqa (And the Harry Potter Great Hall)

While there is still money in the budget I'm being allowed to attend staff development events. (Or as another member of the team put it, go off on my jollies) The fact that our Library Management System provider happens to be based in Oxford certainly makes these events more enjoyable but that aside the open day yesterday at Heritage was certainly valuable.

The main aim was to introduce Cirqa, a major upgrade for the system that will be available next year. While I have a natural tendency to distrust anything a LMS provider says until proven otherwise I am genuinely excited about the difference Cirqa will make to the way we use our systems.  It's just starting BETA though so I think it'll be a while before we see it live.

After the technical bits in the morning we had a chance to talk to our support guys and discuss the failings of Heritage amongst ourselves. It turns out we're not the only ones experiencing weird systems stuff so we all had plenty to discuss. 

In the afternoon we had an excellent tour around Christ Church, including the Great Hall from Harry Potter (much smaller than you would think) and a visit to the library, something that is not normally on the public tour.

What I'm Reading

It's Study Week next week and with not much else planned I've brought home two wonderful books to keep me occupied. It's been a while since I've read anything apart from fiction so I'm really looking forward to a bit of self education.

The first is Patrick Mauries Cabinets of Curiosities, a wonderful encyclopedia on the origins of the Wunderkammer. I happened on this book by chance while browsing a publisher catalogue and immediately bought it for the art library. Even though I get to keep it for the next few months I'm still tempted to add it to my Christmas Wishlist.

The second is a book called Beauty in Decay from URBEX. It's a photographic exploration of abandoned spaces and architecture which I find both beautiful and sad at the same time.  It's the sort of book I'll pick through, dipping into during quiet moments. (Unlike C of C which I'll read cover to cover) Again, it's probably going to end up on my wishlist for Christmas this year.  

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

5 Android Apps to Turn Your Phone Into a Mobile Document Scanner

5 Android Apps to Turn Your Phone Into a Mobile Document Scanner

As I'm trying to get to grips with QR codes, this piece, describing how much further you can take the image capturing capability of your smartphone really caught my eye. I will be trying it out and posting the results shortly.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Toe in the Water - Summer 2011

For the first time in years I've done a bit of art work I'm pleased with. It's been a big step  for me to consciously sit down and work on a project.  The plan evolved from an old nature book which I found in a charity shop. The original concept was to remove all the entries for animals and plants which were now extinct in England. The reaction of most people is that they are amazed I would be willing to destroy a book. The real shock should be the number of species which had become extinct since the book was published in the early 1900s.

These are just some of my favorite images, I'm still working on the book and project has gone beyond just removing the extinct species to experimenting with the images and material of the book itself.

Elle Decoration. Reclaim, recycle article.

The September issue of Elle Decoration contained a fascinating article on recycling outdated and shabby items, bought cheaply from flea markets, into stylish, modern and unique pieces. The side board, which had been transformed using a new set of legs and some high gloss enamel paint, really stuck with me.

I'm waiting for the videos of the transformations to be posted to on Facebook but it has prompted me to start looking for a new renovation project.