Scottish Libraries Programme of events Autumn/Winter 2012

There is a variety of events being offered in Scotland by CILIPS, CILIP and SLIC over the coming months. The details are here for noting:

Promoting Digital Resources: This practical workshop postponed from last June will run twice to satisfy demand, once on August 22nd and then repeated on September 19th. CILIPS is very pleased to be partnering the JISC RSCScotland on delivery of this course. The event is a sell out but you can drop cilips@slainte.org.uk a line if you’d like your name to go on the reserve list.

Our parent organisation CILIP is bringing the popular LMS Supplier showcase to Scotland for the first time. It’s coming to Edinburgh on September 20th. It’s a free event being held in the King James Hotel and you can get all the information you need here.

Autumn Gathering: Back for its third year, this one day conference organised by CILIPS is again being held in Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline. This year’s theme is ‘literacies’ and speakers will be presenting on cross sectoral issues. You can see the full schedule here and you can book an early bird rate delegate place here  (early bird rates are available until 31st August).


In October and November CILIPS is offering two complementary courses on branding for your service and personal branding.’ Branding libraries: What does your brand say about your service?’ is a one day workshop being offered in partnership with the Open University Business School and is designed as a marketing taster course. It will take place in Glasgow on 18th October and  introduce some of the basic concepts underlying brand theory, explore some examples of good branding in public services and prompt some thinking on how libraries can move forward in their relationships with the communities they serve. Book a place and view the course description here.

In November we follow this up with a workshop on personal branding. CILIPS is delighted to have secured Kathy Ennis of Envision Training to run a one day workshop for us on 7th November in Glasgow. Making the most of what you’ve got: Personal Branding and Marketing for Career Success  is designed for the library and information professional seeking to make an impact in their working environment. Kathy’s workshop is a practical interactive session will show you how you can market yourself and your service effectively using personal branding as a professional development tool. Places are limited for this event and there’s a special early bird rate available until 30th September. For all the details and online booking click here.

Partner organisation SLIC are once again working with SCURL, MMITS, JISC and SALCTG to bring the annual eBooks conference to Scotland. The speaker line up is available to view here  and booking is already open for the event which takes place in Edinburgh on 25th October. Early bird rates are available until mid September and you can find out more and book here


Don’t forget that libraries also  feature heavily in the Festival of Politics during August and you can get details of events and speakers in an earlier posting or by visiting the Festival of Politics website.

It’s public knowledge – or is it?

This week SLIC and CILIPS have been engaged in drafting a response to the Scottish Government consultation on proposals for a Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill. The consultation follows an earlier exercise to determine what should be included in amendment legislation.

In common with the outgoing Scottish Information Commissioner SLIC and CILIPS argued for the inclusion of additional bodies, such as local authority trusts to be designated under FOI(S)A legislation but the latest proposal suggests only two technical amendments and not the hoped for extension of coverage of the Act.

Scotland’s Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion,  who will demit office later this month, contends that the state of freedom of information in Scotland is still strong but acknowledges there is more to be done. His final report  is well worth a read in the context of the current consultation and what is and is not a ‘designated body’ as that is where our concerns lie.

SLIC and CILIPS will continue to advocate for extending peoples’ information rights. We would like the loop to be closed on anomalies such as that experienced by residents of one local authority who lost the legal right to ask for information about their leisure services in 2009 when leisure services was outsourced to a trust. We remain optimistic that the Scottish Government will extend our ‘right to know’ in a future parliamentary session.

Govcamp Scotland – securing the digital future

Following the recent publication of the Digital Strategy, a Govcamp Scotland event was held in Edinburgh as part of a global series of initiatives supported by Microsoft which bring Governments, businesses and academic institutions together to better understand how to respond to the digital age. The Digital Strategy aims to put Scotland at the forefront of the digital economy and seeks to increase digital participation – something which SLIC is closely involved in via our Public Library Quality Improvement Fund and partnership work with JISC, the BBC and others.
The purpose of last week’s event was to explore the vision of Scotland’s digital future and seek to maximise opportunities for collaboration in order to realise Scotland’s full potential in this area.
Around 300 delegates including representative from education, business, SLIC, SCURL, local authorities and others heard John Swinney discuss Scotland’s Digital Future and had an opportunity to participate in panel discussions and other sessions which looked at health, education, jobs and skills, the low carbon economy and public service delivery.

I attended the education session which was enriched by the views of a set of school pupils discussing their use of GLOW and other digital tools.  We heard too about Edinburgh Libraries project work with Microsoft.
The day ended with the signing of the Digital Participation Charter which MSP Fiona Hyslop introduced to delegates. The Charter commits signatories to share information and align resources and efforts to deliver shared digital participation outcomes over the lifetime of this Parliament. Founding signatories included Hewlett-Packard, J.P. Morgan, Storm ID, MJI Business Solutions, Mydex CIC, Liberata, Cisco, University of Edinburgh, Carnegie UK Trust, Scotland IS, Sopra Group and Swirrl IT Ltd.

In summary a day of good intentions and interesting debates with lots of opportunities for SLIC, CILIPS and the library community to get involved.

E-Books Unbound: Speakers confirmed

The 2011 ebooks planning group have confirmed the line-up for this year’s conference which takes place in the National Piping Centre in Glasgow on 27thOctober.

The National Piping Centre, Glasgow: venue for the 2011 ebooks conference

The speakers are:

Nora Daly of the British Library who will be looking at how digital technologies have changed research and exploring what role the 21st research library has in this new environment;

Consultant, Ken Chad, who has been working with a JISC ebooks project  looking at ebook business models in higher education with a view to help libraries and publishers better understand the requirements of patrons and develop affordable library-delivered e-books;

Emeritus Professor at Loughborough University, Charles Oppenheim, is our featured keynote speaker, and he’ll be discussing the legal aspects of the expanding digital  business models;

Sophie Rochester, an independent literary consultant and founder of The Literary Platform, a website dedicated to exploring new platforms for literature, will discuss new platforms and developments within ebooks,  and finally

Wendy Walker, of Glasgow University, will look at  patron driven acquisition at her home institution.

The Planning Group are delighted to announce that Jason Miles Campbell, manager of JISC Legal Services, has agreed to chair the event.

The exhibition to accompany the event has sold out in record time – a week after we announced the event all our spaces had been snapped up!

If you’re interested in attending there is a special earlybird rate of £65 avaiilable until 15th September and you can register here

You can also visit our lanyrd page   to find out more and add yourself as a delegate or opt to track the event.

Don’t forget the hashtag for the event is #ebooks11 so you can follow ebooks  on Twitter

Demonstrating value and delivering satsifaction

Last month SLIC published the first annual Scottish FE Library survey where, in partnership with JISC RSC’s,  we scoped trends and developments in library services across the country. Our findings included the fact that most library managers are qualified librarians and colleges take a positive approach to staff development for library staff. Significantly,  where the college library has no professional librarian, learners are less likely to have access to electronic resources or induction sessions in making best use of library resources.

Now another survey report has taken this a step further in its review of student satisfaction and library provision in the UK  higher education sector. The report prepared by CIBER on behalf of Research Libraries UK analysed data from the National Student Survey and SCONUL national library statistics to uncover links with student satisfaction.

Some of its findings are very interesting and support CILIP’s advocacy for the service our members provide  and the value they add to the work of their organisations as well as our commitment to CPD in post:

  • After institutional size, the strongest predictors of overall library satisfaction are the percentage of library staff that is professionally qualified, followed by the level of library spending;
  • The strongest library predictors of overall course satisfaction were staff hours spent in (library) training per student FTE and annual loans per FTE user.

This type of analysis is set to become more important as the financial challenges and competition for budget share increases. RLUK’s report on the importance of libraries and the difference made to student satisfaction by availability of professional library staff, connects to another study being led by the University of Huddersfield (home of Information Professional of the Year, Dave Pattern) under the JISC Activity Data Programme. The aim of this project, which began last February, is to prove a statistically significant correlation between library usage and student attainment.  Due to conclude in September, CILIP in Scotland has managed to secure an ‘early indicators’ report from the Project Team who will deliver a session at our annual Conference in Glasgow on 7th June as part of the FE/HE strand. That’s one session I don’t intend to miss.  What about you?

Working in a Digital Age: 10th Anniversary ebooks Conference 21st Oct 2010

Yesterday I attended the 10th Anniversary e-books conference, held in the impressive surroundings of the Playfair Library in Edinburgh. The day was opened with reflections on 10 years of ebooks by Catherine Nicholson, Head of Learning Resources at the Glasgow School of Art. She took us through the history of ebooks, starting with the inception of Project Gutenberg in 1971 taking in some milestones, including the first ebook readers in 1998 and Stephen King’s experiment of releasing a book online in 2000, to the digital landscape as it is today.

The ebooks market has developed a great deal since then – and since the first ebooks conference – with digital reading starting to move into the mainstream and to be less focused on the academic. However, it still can’t be regarded as mature, with the proliferation of devices and lack of interoperability standards meaning that the market is still fractured and often confusing. Catherine suggested that it would be more useful, perhaps, to regard this as being the end of the beginning.

Caren Milloy, Head of Projects at JISC Collections, gave an overview of the current digital landscape. She believes that it is important that publishers look forward and try and adapt to new ways of working and, where possible, lead. Using an interesting example in another industry (that of Playboy) Caren demostrated that it is better to try and embrace chance and to innovate.

Not quite sure how everyone felt about that particular part, but Caren’s point was correct. Publishers won’t, in the long run, be successful if they expect that they can force people into buying the paper textbooks, if there is a better alternative.

She also demonstrated a couple of examples of the way that enhancing ebooks can make them more attractive to readers, whether this be by adding value, as in the case of Enhanced Editions being offered by Canongate. Another interesting concept is shown off in this video from IDEO:

Though there were many positive developments and a great deal of potential for ebooks, Caren did finish on a little bit of a low note, her feeling being that, in light of the previous day’s comprehensive spending review, innovation could be difficult at a time of shrinking budgets across many library sectors.

Next, Professor David Nicholas of University College London, discussed the implications for libraries and librarians with the rise of the “Google Generation.” I have to admit that this is a term which I sometimes have problems with. The term, as it is generally used, suggests that everyone born after 1982 does things differently from their predecessors, making little allowance for variations in access and engagement within that age group. This could have repercussions for those that aren’t fully engaged. Happily, the conclusion that Professor Nicholas draws is that, in fact, we are all the Google Generation.

In an interesting and thought-provoking discussion he mapped out the challenges that there are for library services as digital becomes more widespread. On the one hand, the increase in the free availability of digital data is a positive thing for the information profession, it does have associated with it the spectre of disintermediation, which is a threat to the sector.

There were aspects that may be construed as controversial. In describing a great deal of information gathering as “horizontal” rather than “vertical” (in other words that there is a tendency towards the shallow understanding of a subject) he did raise the spectre of dumbing down. Though I should be clear, this isn’t to imply any fear of new technology from Professor Nicholas, as one often sees in hand-wringing articles about the growth of online resources.

Helen Ellis, from Springer, gave a short presentation on the Springer/SHEDL ebooks project. It’s good to see that Springer don’t place any DRM restrictions on their ebooks!

Leading up to lunch, Jon Trinder, PhD student at Glasgow University, gave an interesting talk on the growth of and use of mobile technologies in learning. He gave us a short history of mobile technologies and went on to discuss some of the trials that have been attempted to gain an insight into how students make use of it.

Unfortunately, they did find a number of barriers to doing this, not least that students don’t always wish to cooperate with these trials.

Using the example of Iron Bridge he also suggested that mobile learning has a lot of development yet (though some things are changing) as people aren’t yet used to the technology, and what makes it unique.

Jon’s talk was so packed with information that he, unfortunately, conscious that he was in the slot leading to lunch time, found himself rushing the second part. However, he had given plenty for us to chew on.

Checking my Twitterfeed at lunchtime I saw a link to the article in the Bookseller about the attempts by publishers to restrict off-site access to ebooks for borrowers. Pertinent, if worrying.

Debbie Boden, of Glasgow Caledonian University, looked at many things, including the changes that digital technology is bringing to library services (and many other aspects of out lioves). Digital engagement is important, but there are challenges that come with this. One of the most important things to consider is actually the terminology. “Digital Literacy” has slipped into common usage, but people don’t like to be described as illiterate. Perhaps this discussion needs to be framed in a different way.

Taking us through some things which may seem counterintuitive (students actually requesting that Facebook be banned from some areas, and that there be parts of the library that are like a “traditional library,” for example), and the idea of your digital footprint, there was a lot to think about. The digital footprint part was interesting: we tend to hear a lot in the press about employers searching for prospective employees online and rejecting them for things that they’ve posted. However, the opposite is true. If your online presence suggests, for example, that you have good communication skills, they may view this positively.

The Digital Economy Act, one of the final pieces of legislation to pass the last parliament is controversial, and has potential consequneces for the library and information sector. Head of Partnerships and Professional Adviser at the National Library of Scotland, Janice McFarlane, laid out the challenges that face library and information services in the wake of this bill.

Finally, Elize Rowan, from Edinburgh University Library, outlined many of the issues faced by acquisitions departments in libraries with the shift towards an increase in digital content. These include the inclusion of poor quality MARC records (which if not dealt with can have consequences for the library user), Digital Rights Management and issues around concurrent access, long-term access and – bizarrely – the insistence of some publishers that institutions make a 20 book minimum purchase.

There was a melancholy air to some of the presentations, given the disruptiveness of new technologies and the impact comprehensive spending review, which had been announced the day before. Overall though, I took a great deal from the day, and I hope that everyone else found it to be a success.

Valuing our professional differences

LLUK held their annual seminar at the Scottish parliament on 15th September. The discussion was chaired by Martyn Wade, LLUK Council Member and Chair of LLUK’s Scotland Committee and focused on workforce development. The specific challenge was ‘how do we create a single lifelong learning workforce for Scotland’s future?’

LLUK has six constituencies: HE, FE, Community Learning and Development, Work Base Learning, Libraries Archives and Information Services (LAIS), and Career Guidance. The immediate response is, of course, whether this is a ‘good thing’ and then shouldn’t we be celebrating our unique contribution since we all meet the needs of our customers with proven success? Each of the sectors had a chance to put forward ways of joining up approaches to CPD, common standards and qualifications, sharing of resources and ways of overcoming barriers.

The discussions were of particular interest in a week when LLUK proposed changing the title of the LAIS National Occupation Standards (NOS) to Knowledge management services, Information and knowledge management services, or Information and knowledge services. In a stated attempt to avoid jargon, the title of one section is suggested at ‘Managing the interface with the customer’. During the development of the last set of NOS, LLUK promoted a generic approach but we have to consider what defines our profession, wide as it already is. We have to balance new skills with traditional, professional ones.

In an interesting discussion, the group agreed that shared competencies and values can sit comfortably at the core and accommodating the uniqueness of sector partners is vital. The event was followed by a Garden Lobby sponsored by Des McNulty MSP.