Tuesday, 6 December 2016

IFLA WLIC 2016 - Conference Report

Attending IFLA WLIC has definitely been one of my professional highlights of 2016. In case you didn't get enough insight about my experiences via the blog you can now read my conference report via the CILIP website. For more detail all of my live-ish blog posts from the conference can be found here. Enjoy!

Friday, 2 December 2016

From CopyWRONG to CopyRIGHT: Updates from the CLA

One thing I am always asked for is copyright training. From years of sitting on various professional committees I know that I’m not alone in this – librarians always want copyright training. It can be really hard to know where to start as everyone has slightly different needs so it’s best to just dive in!

Working in an academic library I have become quite familiar with the CLA (CopyrightLicencing Agency) Licence which allows educational institutions to reproduce material from copyrighted materials legally. The CLA itself is a collection management organisation which provides different types of licence depending on the needs of the licence holder. Already we are starting to get into confusing territory so I thought it best to call in the experts so I arranged for a representative from the CLA to come and talk to Cambridge library staff.

The obligatory warning: this post is a write up from notes taken at the above talk and does not constitute legal advice.

CLA Licence Overview 
The Licence covers books, journals and magazines in both print and digital format. I hadn’t realised that the CLA actually predates the Copyright Act by five years, having been formed in 1983 to deal with the growing use of photocopiers in schools.

It’s important to realise that the CLA Licence doesn’t cover material that students copy for their own private research and study. This is an exception to the Licence as long as people are using the materials for themselves.  It should be noted that this is NOT the same as using things for group study, that falls under the terms of the licence. More details on legal exceptions not covered by the CLA Licence can be found hereThe Licence also excludes films or images where they are not used in published works or music.

Material copied under the CLA Licence needs to be owned or subscribed to by the University to be eligible. Under the Licence material can be copied for students on a course of study e.g. a defined cohort participating in a class. Students can access the material for the rest of their degree of study, making revision easier. This access must be restricted to the ‘originally completing cohort’ – if another group wishes to use the material that means a reassessment under the terms of the Licence.

Works published in the UK have an automatic indemnity – everything is available to copy unless expressly forbidden. However there are always exceptions and changes so the CLA recommends using their Permissions Checker tool just to be absolutely safe. This operates on a simple traffic light system of red, amber and green with over 90% of material being tagged as green and therefore available under the Licence.  

Changes to the CLA Licence
As of August 1st 2016 the Licence has been updated, largely in response to feedback from bodies such as the UK Copyright Working Group. There were a number of changes, the most important of which are highlighted below:
  • Exceptions for parody or quotation – copyrighted material can now be used for ‘parody, caricature or pastiche’ without having to obtain express permission from the author. This has to be under fair dealing (ensuring that you are using a fair amount of the work rather which doesn’t infringe on the ability of the copyright holder to make money). Further details are available here.
  • Increase in the extent limits – under the terms of the Licence it is now allowed to copy either a defined amount (one whole  chapter from a book, one whole article from a magazine/journal issue etc.),  or 10% of the total publication whichever is the greater. This is an increase from the previous amount of 5%. Articles in particular often come in at under 10% of the total publication which means that more may be copied.

The changes and an overview of the Licence are available via a handy user guide from the CLA website.

CLA and the VLE
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are possibly one reason why so many librarians have a copyright headache.  Institutions need to make sure that digital material is available via secure access which is only available to staff and students and this is typically done via a VLE.  The material needs to be confined to an area accessible only to those enrolled on a particular course of study. Libraries need to make sure that they are not in effect creating an online library of work accessible to all.

The CLA recommends trying to use the digital format of a work wherever possible rather than scanning a paper copy and uploading this. Under the Licence single chapters of a book may be uploaded to a VLE and this can help to overcome access problems with ebooks. If a lecturer sets a chapter from an ebook as required reading this can cause issues when more users than are allowed try to read the chapter concurrently. Uploading the chapter (as long as it’s within the terms of the CLA Licence) can be helpful to students here.

Copyright notices are required on all copyrighted material that is used on the VLE. This should include the course name, title of the work, author and publisher details. The name of a designated person responsible for copyright matters at the institution is no longer required. 

Any digital copies of material must be reported annually to the CLA. This is important not only as good practice but so that copyright holders can be reimbursed correctly. Material does sometimes come out of the Licence so it’s important to check that only appropriate material is included.  The CLA will not ask institutions to remove any material during the year to avoid impacting student learning but it will need to be removed the following year if needed.  The CLA have a new tool to help with reporting – the CLA Content StoreThis is available as part of the Licence and reports automatically to the CLA.

Further information
Below are some websites which might be useful if you want to learn more about copyright:

I hope the above information is useful for anyone looking to learn more about copyright. As stated at the top of this post this is not intended as any sort of legal advice (I really don't get paid enough for that!). Please use this information as guidance only and double check everything. Also if you spot any errors please let me know so I don't leave up incorrect information.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Copyright: Playing the Game

I freely admit to not being the biggest fan of teaching copyright. I like to be able to have a concrete explanation for things and that doesn't always happen when discussing copyright! However needing to know about copyright is unavoidable when working in an academic library and providing training to librarians. It's a topic I often get asked about so I've tried to educate myself about it since I took on my role last year.
One problem with teaching copyright is that it can often be hard to keep people interested as there is a lot of information to take in. The good news is that Naomi Korn, Chris Morrison and Dr Jane Secker have developed a great interactive way to teach copyright: The Copyright Card Game. They have generously made all of the resources for teaching the game available via a Creative Commons licence so last week I ran it for some colleagues through Cambridge Librarians in Training.
I've played the game before with someone else running it but never invigilated before. The good news is that everything needed is already prepared - instructions, cards and presentation. I always find it hard teaching from someone else's slides. This is by no means a criticism as the slides are very well laid out and explained but it's always easier when you've developed something yourself. I ran through them a couple of times myself before the actual session and this seemed to solve most problems.

The session itself went well. There were only three attendees which was a bit of a disappointment at first but in the end I think this ended up working to our advantage. Participants were able to have a proper discussion about the various problems covered and they all said how much more interesting the workshop was as a result.

The workshop itself built up from simple to more complex scenarios which eventually allowed participants to conduct a copyright audit of various situations. This is the real advantage of the game approach over normal teaching - it allows the participants to get some hand-on experience of applying copyright licences and exceptions to real situations. Hopefully this will help their new knowledge to stick. Whilst it was easier for me as I had the answers, running the game also helped me to learn more about copyright and it brought up some interesting discussions which made me think.
If you're new to copyright or want to learn more I think running or participating in the game is a great way to expand your knowledge. Whilst it's still not my favourite topic I'm less worried about teaching copyright now which is saying something!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Future of Academic Librarianship?

It's been a busy few months at work as I've spent the summer organizing and delivering a programme of training for library staff. As I'm based in the Office of Scholarly Communication naturally this training revolves around developing skills to help support the research community. Cambridge library staff are in the fortunate situation of having this training available to them but it has got me thinking about how people in other institutions develop their knowledge of this area. Together with my manager Danny Kingsley we have decided to conduct some research into the suitability of traditional training routes for academic librarians. Our survey has just closed and my blog post from the Office of Scholarly Communication blog - Unlocking Research - is reposted below and I'll be sharing outcomes and developments as we move forward with the research. As always, comments and feedback are welcomed!

Are academic librarians getting the training they need?

The problem

Few people would deny that the world of the academic library is changing. Users are becoming more and more sophisticated in their information gathering techniques and the role of the academic librarian needs to adapt accordingly or risk being left behind. Librarians are changing from the traditional gatekeeper role to one which helps their research community to disseminate the outputs of their work.

This shift offers academic library staff new opportunities to move into research support roles. An increasing number of libraries are establishing scholarly communication departments and advertising for associated roles such as Repository Managers and Data Specialists.  It’s also becoming common to see more traditional academic library roles advertised asking for at least a working knowledge of areas such as Open Access and Research Data Management.

This is an issue that we have been considering in the Office of Scholarly Communication for a while. My role as Research Skills Coordinator involves up-skilling Cambridge library staff in these areas so I’m more aware than most that it is a full time job. But what happens to those who don’t have this type of opportunity through their work? How do they find out about these areas which will be so relevant to their future careers?

For many new professionals studying is their main chance to get a solid grounding in the information world but with the profession undergoing such rapid change is the education received via these degrees suitable for working in 21st century academic libraries? This is a question that has been raised many times in the profession in recent years so it’s time to dig a bit deeper.


Our hypothesis is simple: there is a systematic lack of education on scholarly communication issues available to those entering the library profession. This is creating a time bomb skills gap in the academic library profession and unless action is taken we may well end up with a workforce not suited to work in the 21st century research library.

In order to test this hypothesis we have designed a survey aimed at those currently working in scholarly communication and associated areas. We hope that asking questions about the educational background of these workers we can work to determine the suitability of the library and information science qualification for these types of role into the future and how problems might be best addressed.

After a process of testing and reworking, our survey was launched to the scholarly communication community on October 11th 2016. In less than 24 hours there were over 300 responses, clearly indicating that the subject had touched a nerve for people working in the sector. (And thank you to those who have taken the time to respond).

Preliminary findings

We were pleased to see that even without prompting from the survey, respondents were picking up on many of the issues we wanted to address. For example, the original focus of the survey was the library and information science qualification and its impact on those working in scholarly communication.

When we piloted the survey with members of our own team we realised how diverse their backgrounds were and so widened the survey to target those who didn’t hold an LIS qualification but worked in this area. This has already given us valuable information about the impact that different educational backgrounds have on scholarly communication departments and has gained positive feedback from survey respondents.

Many of the respondents talk of developing the skills they use daily ‘on the job’. Whilst library and information professionals are heavily involved in lifelong learning and it’s natural for skills to develop as new areas emerge, the formal education new professionals receive also needs to keep pace. If even recent graduates have to develop the majority of skills needed for these roles whilst they work this paints a worrying picture of the education they are undertaking.

The survey responses have also raised the issue of which skills employers are really looking for in library course graduates and how these are provided. Respondents highlighted a range of skills that they needed in their roles – far more than were included in the original survey questions. This opens up discussions about the vastly differing nature of jobs within scholarly communication and how best to develop the skill set needed.

A final issue highlighted in the responses received so far is that a significant number of people working in scholarly communication roles come from outside the library sector. Of course this has benefits as they bring with them very valuable skills but importing knowledge in this way may also be contributing to a widening skills gap for information professionals that needs to be addressed.

Next steps

The first task at the end of the collection period (you have until 5pm BST Monday 31 October) will be to analyse the results and share them with the wider scholarly communication community. There are plans for a blog post, journal article and conference presentations. We will also be sharing the anonymised data via the Cambridge repository.

Following that our next steps depend largely on the responses we receive from the survey. We have begun the process of reaching out to other groups who may be interested in similar issues around professional education to see if we can work together to address some of the problems. None of this will happen overnight but we hope that by taking these initial steps we can work to create academic libraries geared towards serving the researchers of the 21st century.

One thing that the survey has done already is raise a lot of interesting questions which could form the basis of further research. It shows that there is scope to keep exploring this topic and help to make sure that library and information science graduates are well equipped to work in the 21st century academic library.

Originally posted on Unlocking Research on October 27th 2016.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Internet Librarian International 2016

Last week I was given a last minute opportunity to attend one day of the Internet Librarian International  (ILI) Conference in London. This is a conference that has always been on my wish list so I jumped at the chance!

I attended on the Tuesday which was the first of two days of sessions on the theme of innovation in libraries.

Towards a sustainable environment - what libraries can learn from the 2030 agenda for sustainable development
Stuart Hamilton from IFLA began the day by talking about how libraries can contribute to the goal of sustainable development. Looking at the United Nations Development Programme goals it's easy to see how the mission of libraries fits with many of these. Perhaps the most important of these is access to information which is vital to sustainable development. Libraries can also be seen as safe spaces in an often complex world and they need to work to make sure this is known. Hamilton concluded by asking libraries to be ambitious and pursue a global agenda. 

How big data is changing libraries - and librarians 
Big data is a term with no given definition and can often be a contentious topic for the information profession who are being asked to cope with another change. 

Rafael Ball from ETH Zurich courted controversy when he talked about the advent of big data being the end of the 'ideology of accuracy' that has ruled libraries for years. Previously the information profession has dealt with comparatively small data which they could spend time analysing and creating perfect records for. This just isn't possible with big data but that doesn't mean that our skills are not still in demand. Librarians have always been able to adapt to changing formats and sources of information and I don't think big data will be any different. It will require us to think in a slightly different way, something Ball referred to as shifting the librarian way of thinking (structured data with expected results) to the big data way of thinking (unstructured data with surprise results). Hopefully colleagues will view this as an opportunity to develop their skills rather than a threat to their work.

Tools for the library innovator
This session featured two presentations on using innovative tools to showcase your information service. The first was a fascinating session from Kenn Bicknell from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Strategic innovation tools for every library type. Bicknell highlighted different ways to reach out and engage both new and existing audiences using examples from his work with the transportation archives of LA. The library uses different social media tools and websites to create engaging content using both text and images and the response has been positive. Bicknell's key message was to link all of the tools together rather than using them in isolation. Too many people start using these tools without a clear reason other than wanting to use the latest site available. If you spend some time planning and creating a strategy you can start to push people towards the content you want them to see and achieve great results.

This was followed by a demonstration of 15 sites for library innovators from Marydee Ojala. These included some sites that I had heard of and use regularly but I also picked up a few tips. The Directory of Open Access Journals provides a well indexed list of open access publications whilst Science Open allows authors and researchers to share their research in an open way. One site I hadn't come across was Smart Briefs which skims the internet, collates information on certain topics and then delivers it to you. This has the potential to be a real time saver for librarians and users.

Something to learn, something to teach: the mentoring librarian
I've taken part in the International Librarians Network (ILN) twice now and found it a really worthwhile experience. This talk by Alyson Dalby, one if the ILN founders, looked at the programme as a mentoring relationship. ILN offers a semi-structured peer mentoring relationship for participants with guided discussion topics. Unlike traditional mentoring relationships where one person has more experience and guides the other, participants can be from any career stage. Having an international online relationship can also help to overcome some other mentoring problems such as finding time to meet face to face. The group have recently published a research report on their website outlining their success which I'll be exploring in more depth.

The responsive librarian
Milena Kostic and Vesna Vuksan from the University Library Svetozar Markovic in Belgrade talked us through their approach to being The responsive librarian. Every year they run courses aimed at training their colleagues in new skills such as digital marketing, digital storytelling and social media. These courses are linked to a wider learning plan and attendees receive credits which they can use towards their annual professional development total. These in person courses have proved very popular with attendees and new courses are being developed. The courses are also well supported by library managers which is great to see. I took a lot of lessons away from this session to incorporate into my own teaching practice. 

Digital scholarship: new technologies and new behaviours
Following on from this Mia Ridge gave the second keynote of the day on her work with digital scholarship at the British Library. Some librarians are afraid of the impact of digital scholarship on their work as they are used to people coming through the doors to use the physical library rather than working online. However there is no way to avoid this so it's a good idea to develop new skills. Ridge showed that the best way to learn about digital scholarship is to actively participate but it can be hard to keep up with the tools. The British Library have developed several ways of learning about new tools from formal training to 'Hack and Yack' sessions where participants gather together to work through an online tutorial on a tool.

This keynote also included my favourite statement from the conference - that metadata is like being promised cake but instead being given the recipe. Users think that they will see the whole digital resource when what often happens is that they can access the metadata. We need to give them the tools to make the cake which means we need to understand how to use them.

Open all hours: using shared and open data in learning and the teaching of data skills
Virginia Power talked about her work educating new library professionals at the University of the West of England. Unless these new professionals improve their data literacy they will be adrift in the library of the future. Librarians need to know how to interrogate the data and there are few courses which teach this through the traditional methods. Power is currently developing a module to meet this need and I can't wait to see it. This is an issue which is very close to my professional interests and I am currently involved in research to explore the area (more on that in future blog posts).

Digital data labs
The remainder of the session was a presentation on digital data labs in Copenhagen. A data lab is "an open platform and space for education and events focusing on digital methods in the academic sciences". These online learning spaces are reflective of the fact that a lot of human activity now takes place in the digital domain. Regardless of what you think about this it does mean that it's a place where libraries need to get involved. Building data labs also helps cooperation between libraries and faculty - something which many academic libraries strive for.

A collaborative approach to developing new library services
Much of Julia Barrett's talk on developing a new scholarly communication service at University College Dublin (UCD) struck a chord with me as I've been working in a similar area. Barrett spoke about the confusion researchers have around the terminology of scholarly communication and compliance issues. Library staff need to work to demystify this, something we have been actively doing in Cambridge. Currently UCD are working to develop a single portal which brings together all of the services on offer to researchers at UCD and tie this into the research cycle. Again this is something we are currently working on in Cambridge so I look forward to seeing the results. 

From vision to reality: developing a collaborative library and information service for nature conservation
The last presentation I attended was given by two Cambridge librarians - Andrew Alexander from the Judge Business School and Lizzie Sparrow from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI). The presenters talked about their roles in creating a new library service from scratch - an opportunity that doesn't come up every day. They wanted the library to be central to the new conservation centre but at the same time to be a user centred service that reached out to people at their desks. With the idea that the librarian is more important than the library they have created an effective and well used service which is at the heart of the CCI.

If anyone gets the chance to attend the conference in the future, it's definitely one I would recommend. I was only there for a day but I've come away with many contacts and ideas which is always the sign of a day well spent! 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Reflections on IFLA WLIC 2016

This is the last in a series of posts about my experience of IFLA WLIC 2016. Other posts can be found here.

I've been back from Columbus for just over a month now and it feels like I'm finally catching up with everything I missed when I was away. Now is also a good time to think back and reflect on what I learnt at IFLA and how I'm applying it at work.

Firstly I want to say that everything you have read/heard about large international conferences is true - they are completely overwhelming. I don't necessarily mean this in a bad way but one thing I learnt was not to underestimate the importance of taking time out if you need it. I tried to go to EVERYTHING as I'm well aware this could be my only chance to attend an event like this. Thinking back I should have built more time into my schedule for downtime from the start. The days were really long with sessions lasting from 8.30am to 6.00pm and I was often hopping from one to another meaning that lunch was constantly eaten on the go (if at all!). I'm quite introverted so I need that bit of quiet time to recharge and I should have included this in my planning.

Another thing I learnt was that it is indeed perfectly normal to switch sessions. Each session was about two hours long and made up of several 15/20 minute presentations so there was a natural pause in proceedings if you wanted to get to another session. It took me a few days to work up the nerve to switch sessions but I'm glad I did as I wound up going to some great sessions I would otherwise have missed. It's not rude in any way, it's just about learning as much as you can. I'm still not sure that the practice will ever take off here in the UK but at least if it does I'll be prepared!

I've talked to a lot of colleagues (both in person and online) since I've been back and they've all been curious about the experience of attending such a big conference. It's one thing to read about people attending events like this but another to have someone you know describing it to you. Everyone has been curious about different aspects of the conference (the opening ceremony in particular!) and it has been really great to share my experience with them. Hopefully I've helped to demystify the whole conference thing a bit and other people will think of applying to attend in the future. 

One really useful thing to come out of the conference is the contacts I made. I did some 'pre-conference networking' online before I went and then met with various people at the actual conference. This turned out to be really useful as we were able to talk through plans and issues and get things off the ground. Having this personal contact has really helped to move the projects forward and I think they are in a much better place than they would have been had we just talked online. I also met lots of new people of course and it was a great way to expand my network.

Talking to people from around the world and listening to their presentations I found it very reassuring that we are all facing similar problems. One thing I particularly wanted to explore was the problem of staff engagement with professional development and many of the sessions I attended gave me some really good tips. Chats in the lunch line or at the vendor exhibition were also really helpful. I have to say that it was in situations like this where the elevator pitch we had to practice as part of the CILIP Leadership Programme really came in handy! It stopped a lot of awkward pauses and led to lots of interesting conversations. 

I've also been putting a lot of what I learnt into action since I got back. There will be times when I'm sitting in a meeting or having a brainstorming session and I find myself saying "I saw this thing at IFLA....". Many of the sessions I attended were really inspiring and I came away with lots of ideas of things to try. I have my previous blog posts to refer back to but I also filled a notebook with notes which are sure to come in handy! So many libraries around the world are doing really innovative things and having a chance to ask about them in person was a real bonus. I've also passed ideas onto colleagues where appropriate and I know they've found that helpful.

So this concludes my IFLA experience (on this blog at least). If you want to know more there will be a conference report on the CILIP website and a piece in Update very soon. IFLA 2017 is being held in Wroclaw, Poland and although nothing is certain it's possible I might get a chance to attend again to show off the fruits of collaborations started at IFLA 2016. I hope that these posts have been helpful in giving a flavor of the conference experience, including planning and preparation. If people take away nothing else from these posts I would just like to encourage everyone to apply when you see bursaries offered. The worst answer you will get is no but I promise you that if you get a yes it will be SO worth it!!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

IFLA WLIC 2016 - Cleveland Rocks!

This is the tenth in a series of posts about my experience of IFLA WLIC 2016. Other posts can be found here.

Even though the IFLA WLIC officially finished yesterday I've planned one more library centric day before I leave Ohio. IFLA runs a number of library themed trips both during and after the main conference and being this far from home I didn't want to miss the opportunity to explore some libraries in the US. I chose to attend the Cleveland Rocks tour which visited the Cleveland Public Library and the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive. I must admit, Cleveland has ever been top of my list of places to visit but the lure of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Archive was too much!

Our first stop was the Cleveland Public Library. The first thing I noticed was that it was guarded by large plastic animals including these colourful snails. This was part of an art installation taking place across public spaces in Cleveland and they certainly brightened up the outdoor reading garden. Hosting public art such as these animals is just one facet of the outreach that the Public Library practices. Inside we were treated to multiple exhibitions from a Shakespeare folio to signs made by homeless people asking for help. Both were interesting and moving in their own way.

The main library branch is made up of two buildings - the original building dating from 1925 and a modern extension added in 1997. Good use is made of the space which is connected by an underground walkway and even though the buildings are quite distinctive the library does feel like one entity. There are a mixture of traditional and modern services in each building including a learning commons, a computer lab and a well used makerspace. Our visit to the Rare Books department was a particular highlight. As well as housing the world's largest chess library the department was also home to a collection of material on Alice in Wonderland and an impressive collection of miniature books. The department also featured an exhibition highlighting past presidents as Cleveland had recently hosted the Republican Party Convention. One particularly interesting item was a signed copy of Donald Trump's autobiography which had also been signed by Meredith McIver - speech writer for Melania Trump! Given recent events this lends an added significance to this item!All of these items and services combined to create a really well used public library service - something more policy makers need to pay attention to when they say no one uses libraries!

Our next stop was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive (which is sadly not in the museum but stored on a local university campus). For anyone wondering why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland the term rock and roll was coined on a local radio show in 1951.

The library building houses a reading room with collections related to artists inducted into the Hall of Fame. This includes a vast range of material from biographies, image collections and journals to children's books. I spent some time reading a children's book from the early 1990s on Madonna - needless to say it glossed over some aspects of her career! In addition the library collects music such as box sets of an artists greatest hits. It has an impressive selection of CDs which made many on the tour jealous...

The real treasures of the collection are kept in the archive and we were lucky enough to be given a behind the scenes tour. The archive collects material related to its inductees, either collected by them or compiled by others. The material is available to researchers and is an invaluable source of information that they might not find anywhere else. Highlights of the collection include handwritten lyrics by Elvis, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Another favourite was Buddy Holly's high school diploma. As well as preserving these items for research purposes the archive lends them for exhibitions and display in the Hall of Fame Museum. If I ever get back to Cleveland I'll definitely be making a visit to check them out!

That concludes my IFLA adventure and it's been a blast! Once I've settled back into the real world I'll be writing a final reflective blog post on how I have applied what I've learnt and what my next steps will be....