This is the sixth in a series of post about my experience of IFLA WLIC 2016. Other posts can be found here.
Day two of IFLA started with a thunderstorm. I'm told it's not usually this hot and humid here but the weather seems to be making an exception at the moment! I suppose it doesn't make much difference if you'll be inside all day (and I REALLY appreciate the air conditioning!).
Brave New World: the Future of Collections in Digital Times: Services without Content OR Content in Context
The first session kicked off the competition for longest title at the conference. I wanted to attend this session as it talked about born digital content and open access, two areas that are directly related to my work. The session started off with a difficult question - what will the library of the future look like? Will there be librarians at all? Hopefully yes or I'll need to start my career again! The session asked us to think about a world where librarians remained unseen and content is king but users still trusted us to put the information they found into context for them. This set the scene for the talks that followed.
Dan Cohen from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) talked about the way in which his organisation brought its content to a wider audience. He described this as maximal access - not only making the information available online but connecting it with its audience. If Open Access is the how, maximal access is the why of sharing information. This really stuck with me and is certainly something I will be reporting back. He also shared the Rights Statements website which provides twelve clear and machine readable licences which can be applied to different types of material. The difference from other licences is that these allow the user to search by what they want to do, for example search an image database for all images they can use in a school report. Having taught copyright to confused users I think this is a great idea!
Another highlight of the session for me was James G. Neal's talk on born digital content. There is a wealth of digital content out there from research data to government information and if we don't preserve it we won't be able to give access to it in the future. Is this content going to be the end of libraries or a great opportunity? Librarians are ideally placed with the right skill set to help preserve this content and I think we are up to the challenge.
Guidelines for Continuing Professional Development: Principles and Best Practices
This interactive workshop promised to be a real highlight of the conference for me and it didn't disappoint. We divided into three groups - employers, training providers and members of professional associations - and discussed the Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning section's Guidelines for Continuing Professional Development. I was in the Providers group as my job involves teaching and training. The results of the discussion can be seen in this Padlet (results from the Employers and Associations groups can also be seen). It was really reassuring to me to see that others had the same concerns as I do. I've been in my role for less than a year so I often feel like I'm still finding my feet and any reassurance is gratefully received. One important point that was made in my session was that it's important to build in iterative evaluation or you run the risk of leaving it out. I've been evaluating my own teaching programme at work but as a result of the session I need to think more carefully about how I do it. We were given homework to create an action plan. I've included mine below to make myself follow it through!:
- plan iterative evaluation of the Research Ambassador Programme
- determine a time allocation for staff development with key stakeholders
- collect evidence on the value of professional development to demonstrate importance to library managers
The Role of Stakeholders in the New Serials World
The final session of the day looked at issues surrounding Open Access. This is a subject I've come to know well during my time in the Office of Scholarly Communication but it was interesting to see the approaches taken around the world. Gaelle Bequet from ISSN International highlighted the problem of predatory publishers who appropriate journal titles in order to target early career researchers. We need to do more to equip our research community with the information literacy skills to avoid these sort of pitfalls. One website which aims to do this is Think, Check, Submit which gives researchers the chance to check the journal they are submitting to. I knew about the site but I think I need to work harder on educating our research community.
Birgitta Hellmark Lindgren from Stockholm University talked about the opportunities for libraries to get involved in the publishing process. At Stockholm they felt that this was a good fit for their existing portfolio of services. University libraries have access to and knowledge of their research communities and getting involved in publishing is one way to extend the help we offer them.
Tomorrow night is the cultural evening so the blog may be shorter (and possibly more photo based). As much as I'm looking forward to the sessions I'm also looking forward to meeting new people outside of the conference!
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