Digital curation

I have registered for UCL’s ‘Introduction to Digital Curation‘ MOOC. Digital curation was in its infancy when I studied for my degree, so I’m really looking forward to this course, which starts in May.

And here’s a fact from the Metro (1 April) that might be of interest:


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I have recently written a short post on planning CPD and have now made a list of skills I want to develop this year (and beyond). This is partly for my own personal development, but also part of my organisation’s annual review scheme. So here are some thoughts…

I like that CILIP has finally got an online tool that I can use for my professional development and to keep track of things I’ve done and learned. I am really looking forward to short online courses they might develop, that I can do at my desk when it suits me. I think the Pathways to Information Leadership are a great idea, although the sample materials have not convinced me that I’d invest my money there just yet.

I have also been pondering over which masters degree to study for… you might call me mad to study on top of a good full-time job, but as I enjoy learning I might as well get a degree out of it.

I am currently looking at these options, and would love to hear from people who’ve studied these.

I think that I could tailor any of these to fit in with my main interests, which are education, language and ethics. That makes it all the more difficult to choose. Any ideas/advice/suggestions welcome. Also let me know if you think there’s another course out there that I should consider.

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Library and Learning Space pre-planning Workshop

Today I went to an event hosted by Southerns, the interior design company. The keynote speaker, Les Watson, gave an interesting talk about learning spaces and the role of libraries for the present and future.

Here are my notes:

  • to develop new ideas: use your professional knowledge, open yourself to other areas of knowledge (and the professionals who know!), mix these areas
  • Ellen Langer (On becoming an artist): “inexperience erases fear” – this is good
  • we are becoming an experience society – spaces should stage experiences, trigger subconscious goals (and impact)
  • emotions are present all the time and impact on learning (success)
  • spaces need to reflect the vision and strategy of learning of an organisation
  • informal settings, because “conversation [is] at the heart of all learning
  • space needs constant updating – needs planning into budget (e.g. depreciation)
  • the library as technology
  • changes in how people learn/different model of education
  • learning spaces more communal
  • “from space to place”: become the user’s third place (after work and home) – people should love to be there and “start learning with and from each other”
  • cultural shift in work environments – I am not so sure about this one: staff happiness will be reflected in service levels

Key ideas for development of learning spaces (more at this link):

  • open flexible (agile) space
  • semi private spaces
  • interior design, not architecture
  • service design: service and space interlinked (equal?)
  • pace layering

I also picked up some reading suggestions:

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Regional membership network meeting Yorkshire and Humber

Yesterday I attended a meeting of the soon-to-be-reborn regional CILIP member network. It took place in the beautiful Central Library in Leeds. While I was there, I had a look at the newly refurbished Information and Research Library. (I used to work there, if you remember my refurbishment ideas from 2011.)

Me in the Leeds Information and Research Library

Enjoying the Leeds Information and Research Library

It was nice to see about 20 people there and also some ‘important CILIP people’, such as Annie Mauger and Simon Edwards.

My notes:

  • most CILIP members come from the academic library sector – who knew?!
  • there are 750 members in the Yorkshire & Humber region
  • regional group is important for welcome newcomers to the professional and region, local support and CPD
  • Annie mentioned the ‘CILIP family feel’
  • ideas and needs mentioned: support for mentors and professional registration candidates, community support and information about what is going on locally, networking and sharing opportunities, organised events and visits, opportunities to get new ideas, local training opportunities, local links with Special Interest Groups, social activities, local CILIP materials library, campaigning opportunities, a list of experts to invite as speakers

I am not sure how much progress was actually made but some people seem to have shown a serious interest in being on the group committee, so let’s see what happens! :)

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Know your rights!

The bit of information I have shared most in recent months is about knowing about your air passenger rights.
I think it’s so important to know what you’re entitled to when travelling. Many airlines are very good when delays happen, look after you and do the best they can to make your journey work. Others don’t, hoping that you don’t know that you are entitled to food after a 2-hour delay already.
This year, the EU has even launched a passenger rights campaign, so make sure you find out about that.
And, don’t forget your European Health Insurance card:

(Order it here. It’s definitely free, don’t pay for it.)

Oh, yes, and get ready for the European Parliament Elections on 22 May!

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‘Shaping change in language learning: looking back to move forward’ #AULC14

Last Thursday and Friday I was at the 2014 National Conference of the Association of University Language Centres, which took place in Dublin.

Here are my notes:

  • Dr. Thomas Vogel’s vision (Europa-Universitaet Viadrina): Language Centres to become like university hospitals: outward-looking, with expertise, in the community
  • Babel situation: universities moving towards monolingualism (research) but also promoting multilingualism (‘creative resource asset’)
  • EU wants to reach out, promotes language learning
  • German Council of University Rectors: ‘universities should pay special attention to the language skills of all students’
  • Read:
  • Multilingualism in European Universities: multilingual students, immigrant students (2nd/3rd generation), heterogeneous learning experiences and strategies of students, Erasmus success, Bologna process
  • Global changes are indirectly related to languages: personality factor in new knowledge industry, culturally heterogeneous teams and networks (changed perspectives), knowledge available in variety of languages
  • increased Corporate Social Responsibility: employability, changed labour market
  • Language Centres are not an ‘academic tribe’, more like ‘illegal immigrants’
  • Language Centre diversity: curse or blessing? -> opportunity to come up with an agenda for Language Centres to look at what happens in society
  • Future of languages in Higher Education: create new cultural identity for language teaching in HE, define language profession in HE, define research agenda beyond  didactic issues, join public discourse on multilingualism/culturalism, network beyond borders
  • Asian languages and Arabic are the fastest growing languages on the internet
  • Asia also growing economically
  • Ways forward in language teaching, esp. Asian languages: collaboration and communication, involvement in policy making
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Planning CPD actvities

I have recently prepared a short presentation outlining how I use social media for my own continuing professional development, so I found it quite interesting when I came across a text suggesting that the BCG-matrix could be used for planning your CPD activities. What a good idea!

Here is how I understand this:


  • Stars represent skills that you have and that have high value in your work or career. There will be competitors trying to maintain the same skills.
  • Cash cows would represent skills that you have acquired with little effort and that have high value in your work or career. Examples of this might be your native tongue you can use in your career abroad.
  • Question marks (apparently also called ‘problem children’) refer to skills that are a growing part of your work but you don’t currently have these skills. An investment (training and possibly money) is needed, for example coding skills.
  • Dogs would represent skills that you have but that are redundant in your current role. For example, you might know how to use a till but you don’t work at a counter
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Library Camp UK 2013 #libcampuk13

Having spent yesterday in The Birmingham Library I will just briefly share my notes from the day with you. But first of all a huge thank-you to the organisers for all their hard work – the venue alone was worth it!


1. Session
I skipped the first sessions slot in favour of a self-guided tour of the library. As I am currently planning a refurbishment of my own workplace I was keen to explore the architecture, furniture and functionality of the new Birmingham Library. It’s all very sleek,  shiny – and reminds me of Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht. Is the architect the same?
A colleague and I questioned a member of staff about the security features, e.g. gates and RFID tags, marveled at the art works, and tried to work out classification systems.

photo0822  photo0817

2. Evidence-based librarianship
- very difficult to hear (space, group size)
- how much theory is needed
- importance of ethics
- critical evaluation of evidence
- are librarians research-trained?
- are academic librarians more likely to do research? No, it isn’t part of their job role either.
- in the UK, academic librarians are usually support/professional staff category
- HEA encourages librarians to acquire (their) professional qualifications/recognition
- practitioner-led research usually done to improve services, not for research’s sake: most organisations are more likely to take a single student comment into a account than evidence-based practice
- as an academic librarian it is important how you are perceived in the wider organisation – research is the ‘currency’/language your customers use
- the benefits of research might be different from what you expect: service improvement, academics will listen to you as an equal
- research is likely to change your own work rather than service direction
- consider usability tests before changing user-facing systems, e.g. OPAC

3a. Management
- should management skills be taught as part of a library course or can they only be learnt on the job?
- it’s very important to understand an organisation’s culture – so much more than hierarchies and rules
- management in libraries can be lonely because peers might not be librarians – need support network
- moving to management means moving from specialist to generalist – can be difficult if you have identified yourself with a particular profession such as librarianship
- is management a profession? It is often not rated ( any field)
- where does leadership fit in?
- librarians need to manage libraries to be listened to
- importance of recognising that different skills are needed to different areas of management

3b. International Librarians Network
- a mentoring network
- you are likely to meet international staff in UK libraries
- learn about differences in librarianship training in other countries
- safer to see yourself as part of a big (international) group
- other contexts can give ideas and explain why things might (or not) work in your context. Example: study spaces work well in Singapore public library because people are unlikely to have space at home
- network has no tangible outputs yet but hoping for projects to develop

4. Gadgets
- most people in group had gadgets but use for work not widespread
- devices mostly assume that user owns device – difficult when many users using one device (talk to your systems people about this!)
- Bring your own- what about users who cannot afford a device?
- use web-based widgets instead of apps
- publishers moving towards optimised websites (HTML 5)
- licensing a big problem at the moment – move away from login based licenses if you can
- tablets are mostly used for roving or outreach events, sometimes as class sets
- any NFC based tablet can read RFID – get an app! Who said that? If it’s you: I need a chat about RFID and systems, please. < sorted!
- think about more mobile working
- tablets: mainly for consumption; producing not so convenient
- other languages can pose a problem on certain systems
- skills needed for supporting gadgets – are you training your staff? ask simple questions when dealing with users
- accessibility issues

4. Language Librarians
I will let others write about this as it was mainly a chat about what we do in language learning libraries, how we support users and what skills we think we need, such as patience, empathy and cultural awareness.

And something else
Next time I would be happy if we didn’t have to introduce ourselves using a microphone at the beginning of the day – that might be better placed in individual sessions, as you can’t remember everyone anyway and it can be rather intimidating to introduce yourself to the whole room.

This library camp felt more like a conference than previous ones I’ve been to. The sessions I attended were dominated by a small group of people, and felt less like discussions that would lead to new ideas and solutions. Obviously this might have been down my session choices, and to be honest I didn’t do anything about it, so no moaning!

Anyway, it’s been a good day! Keep up the good work, everyone, and maybe consider helping the organisers next year or organise your own mini library camp :)

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Tahini cookies

These are the cookies I am planning to make for Library Camp UK 2013 (next Saturday):


Recipe taken from ‘Jerusalem‘ (makes about 35 cookies)

130g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
110g light tahini paste
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
25ml double cream
270g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Mix sugar and butter on medium speed, until just combined.
Add tahini, vanilla, cream; then add flour and work for approx. 1 minute, until dough comes together.
Transfer dough to work surface and knead until smooth.

Take 20g of the dough (per cookie) and form a ball. Flatten the ball, using a fork, then put on a lined baking tray.
Sprinkle some cinnamon in each cookie.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy :)

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15 November: 2013 European Day of Multilingual Blogging #babel2013 #iwe

Heute ist der europaeische Tag des mehrsprachigen Bloggens, also hier ein kurzer Blogeintrag in Deutsch, ueber die Zeit. Ich wundere mich, ob sich ein Gesellschaft in der Art die Zeit zu lesen widerspiegelt. Zum Beispiel: es ist 6:30.


Im Deutschen, Slowenischen und Polnischen ist es halb sieben. Im Englischen und Italienischen ist es halb nach sechs (half (past) six).

Kann man von der Art, die Zeit zu lesen auf den Charakter eines Landes schliessen? Sicherlich nicht! Aber vielleicht sind die Italiener und Englaender geruhsamer, weil sie gedanklich noch in der vorherigen Stunde sind, waehrend Deutsche und Slowenen sich sozusagen schon in der naechsten Stunde befinden? Die Italiener, Slowenen, Polen und Englaender mit denen ich zusammenarbeite, stimmen mir zu. Aber wir leben alle in England, also wer weiss schon, wie uns das veraendert hat… ;)

Link: Learn to tell the time in German.

Here is what this post is all about.

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