1. Do you think your workload has increased in recent months or years?
- Definitely – fewer people in the team plus tasks get added at each appraisal but not often removed
- With new initiatives in literacy and the importance of reading for pleasure, school librarians have a greatly increased workload.
- So effectively – with increased interest comes increased workload?
- Yes. The increased interest is great but means we need to manage our workload really effectively to cope.
- Most definitely. Half the staff as last year and last remaining library assistant keeps getting moved by bosses to other roles
- Do budgets affect the workload in libraries? What do you think? Less money= less staff, more tasks each one?
- Definitely increased! Less staff, less money for labour-saving resources, more pressure to keep up results!
- Also find it frustrating that organisational culture is often anti productivity tools even free ones like http://t.co/wfOaJ0rn5f
- Nirvana has only limited free features I think – time management seems to be something people pay for
- Solo librarian – lack of budget for additional staff definitely increases workload, no-one to delegate to
- While volunteering at the national library association, I have noticed librarians don’t have time for extra activities and lately the lack of time grows into the lack of motivation.
- Yes! Now we’ve finally got more librarians after being denied the money for them for years I’m not allowed to coast! I don’t mind the extra work though as is all interesting stuff, apart from endless checking of reading lists. I think when I was doing ALL the cataloguing & a lot of desk work etc. it meant no time for other projects. Now I do
- I’ve always been able to cope with even a quite busy workload, problem though is stress, even with light workload. The key I think is a strong vision and set of goals (i.e. plan) for the future, based on good information
- I don’t mind the workload as far I know it is worth it.
- I would say my workload has changed rather than increased and become more variable. previously had far more control over my work, now I’m handed it down in projects from on high, if they run out, tough. Hate it
2. What is your biggest challenge in managing your workload?
- Managing the day to day with the strategic, reacting vs planning & still managing not to burn out a big challenge
- Setting priorities
- Having to spend so much time on the desk as no library assistants & being constantly in meetings & sorting out technology!
- Everything concerning customers. They must always notice that everything is working right despite huge workloads. Have you ever noticed the face of users when they see the circulation desk so busy? Some of them even say: Sorry!! Some users even apologised to me/staff for making me/us work too much!! I was surprised to see users who are so polite or “compassive”: “Sorry for all the work I made you do!!”
- Saying no to ‘extra-curricular’ things. I’m doing a lot of fun projects but lately feeling I’ve taken on too much
- Agree on that. It seems extra things are more fun and inspiring. But you really need to concentrate on your work.
- I think it is important to split time management skills for work and extra curricular – I use different skills at work to at home
- Biggest challenge is carefully mapping out my workload – then that all going out the window when an urgent request comes in!
- Being able to set daily goals and seeing the point of what you are doing
- Balancing interesting professional work with routine tasks essential to keep library functioning
- Biggest challenge to managing workload is making sure that there is time to fit everything in, and that nothing gets missed
- Estimating the time that project tasks will take. I have a tendency to underestimate and end up taking on too much at once
- Sounds familliar, especially projects with large team, depends on pace of others & politics, can be much slower than think
- Access to resources. Don’t get right tools for the job because rest of organisation doesn’t get what we need/do
- Prioritising, knowing when to say “no” and the never ending stream of emails (gah!)
- When to say no is difficult for solo librarian as no can mean poor judgement on whole service so its tough to say but need to learn
- It’s not easy, but better to do a smaller number of things well than do lots of things half-arsed
- Remaining enthusiastic for all aspects of the role not just new exciting things & allocating time accordingly!
- Got to stage where I have lots of beneficial projects to work on but routine desk stuff gets in way (and too few others to do it)
- Getting important but not urgent stuff done e.g. strategic planning, important administration
- Biggest challenge can be keeping track of multiple deadlines for multiple projects and sometimes all the work to do at once
3. Do you use any particular tools or techniques for managing your workload?
- I did use TeuxDeux for lists but they’re going to start charging for it, have gone back to pen & paper lists for the time being!
- A boring one, but: Outlook! Outlook 2010 in particular has some great productivity features: I use the task scheduling heavily
- Outlook calendar and task manager. Shared calendar makes planning much easier!
- Outlook Calendar is work default, also Evernote, but really like best good old fashioned notebook & lists!!
- I find a good old fashioned written to-do list at my desk works wonders! Especially when combined with post-its. And gmail calendar is invaluable – especially when synced across devices etc.
- I seem to have taken to writing on my hand rather than on Post It’s lately – can’t misplace my hand!
- Worth scheduling important work into your Outlook calendar as “busy”, so you don’t get meeting requests, etc
- Or…even better mark it “private appointment” – you are then pretty much guaranteed uninterrupted time
- No such luxury here and big open plan office so people interrupt if they see you sitting there
- How do you cope with colleagues’ conversations? Do you ever ask them to stop so you can work? (No worries if can’t say.)
- Headphones & music
- I’m very old school (not in the music sense) and need silence to work. Perhaps earplugs
- I hate noise. It gets me totally distracted. I can’t do anything if it’s noisy and loudly
- I wish I could find a good solution for this. Sometimes I find myself being talkative.
- The check-lists always help to have a feeling that your job is moving on.
- Also, worth keeping a list of what you’ve done, as it helps remind you that you are actually achieving stuff
- Like that idea – rather than getting bogged down in what’s not done – occasionally add done tasks to to do just to tick off
- As much as I embrace technology, paper and pen still beckon at times
- I use Omnifocus for task management
- 30 years of reading around the topic == good understanding of the Western approach recently looked at GTD, it works well
- At work I use Outlook and pen and paper lists, for study and personal life I use Remember the Milk http://t.co/lkcaRRGG3Q
- John Adair on time management; Manage Your Mind,- Butler & Hope (ch. on self-management); GTD works well under stress
- I use to do list software in my personal life but Outlook folders & paper at work
- You can even use a management/ business planning approach – psychology essentially the same as for self-management
- I find sitting down at the end of the day and working out what I want to achieve the next day really useful
- Really like Moleskine (or similar) weekly planner. Diary one side, ruled on the other for my to do list
- I also have a sort of GTD system with one of those expanding folders that can chuck everything in & review weekly
- Librarians would get an opportunity to put their their skills to good use with GTD managing the repository (a key component)
- Not forgetting the original classic (would be shot if did) – Ivy’s list http://t.co/47VxjxjT5f, https://t.co/RGwtj6tORu
- My favourite tool for managing my workload is the word “no”. As I age, I’m getting ever better at using this tool
- I never say ‘no’ to one of my students, though. Ever. I always prioritise their needs
- I’d say main tools used are my email calendar, reminders in said calendar and sometimes paper calendars. Also planning on paper
- So much better at prioritising workload after many years – not about who shouts loudest
4. How can you prioritise tasks?
- Strategic priorities with big impact, can it be done quickly?, is it fun? (important to enjoy your job!)
- Current approach is writing list of 5 (manageable) things I need to achieve that day and focusing on those – not too overwhelming
- Use GTD quite heavily to prioritise e.g. Importance, energy, time available divided by context
- I usually go with the importance/urgency/effort grid!
- Prioritise the customer first, then management tasks, then jobs outside job description I’ve been told to do, then extracurriculars
- Prioritise by importance – also get done first things that can be done v quickly
- But by postponing things you can’t do very quickly you get a large pile of them
- Agree, but if can get things done that only take 1 or 2 minutes then they are out of way and concentrate on bigger things!
- I always love to do things I can do in a short period of time. But it is not always the best option. Sometimes you just have to do at least one long-term thing first
- Definitely – ranking in order of importance/urgency all the way
- Depends on my schedule. Certain things are non-changeable scheduled tasks, like desk duty and meetings
- I’d like to find some time to look at Axiology (not done so far yet – could do with a good library
- Mainly I look at work in terms of urgency (nearest deadlines) and importance. Some is unconscious or practised choices
5. What do you do when you are asked/told to do tasks that are not part of your job either as a one off or permanently?
- Depends what it is! If it fits with my skill set & I can add value, I’d say yes. If not, then I’d try to push back if possible
- Keep a list of those jobs, as they could be used as ammunition later on for getting regraded
- Usually go ahead and treat it as good experience as long as doesn’t prevent job being done too
- My job description says: do your direct job duties + everything your boss says to do
- Because highly competitive teams exchange roles in order to get the goals of the organisation. – you must be flexible
- Difficult depending on who asks…I try to say no unless I have a good reason
- Depends on if it can add value to overall Lib & info service, if its a way to draw people in
- Depends: is it reasonable; do existing workload/targets/deadlines allow space/time; what’s in it for you?
- Usually say we’re understaffed so can you get someone else? Funny but that never works. Must learn to just say no.
- Generally try to be helpful, but depends on task (complexity, competing priorities, time involved etc.)
- With one-off things it depends on the capacity I have and how disruptive it will be to other work also who’s asking. generally if I can help with brief one off things I will, specially if it’s educating colleagues in how to do stuff.
- It can however be difficult if for example – I’m supposed to get a formal project sheet for every project.. If a manager gives me a project with no project sheet I’m not supposed to do it. But you can’t argue with a manager. However it means you don’t know what the remit of the project is or if you really can afford the time.
- With permanent duties fortunately I have the get out clause I can only do projects handed to me these are by definition my duties
- Good and bad sides to getting a reputation for being helpful: Draw the line at things that are unrelated/another department’s issue
- I find I learn to steer clear of people who offload work (not always easy though)
- It’s not people offloading so much as students/staff targeting for assistance with simple things
- I have always done tasks not part of my job and would actively encourage others to do same – if you want to move up that is. And I’m grateful to those who offloaded on me rightly or wrongly back in the day (or were just incompetent)
- If the task is challenging, then it’s OK. But if it’s only something the others don’t want to do.
- Agreed, but it’s important not to be taken advantage of, esp if other colleagues are capable of doing the work too
- Not sure I agree – it depends if the being taken advantage of leads somewhere good – sells your skill and competence
- I usually try to be flexible. I’d rather do it and learn from the experience.
6 Are libraries likely to create a multi tasking work environment where the staff are requested to do many tasks at the same time?
- In my case, a big YES as I was requested to multi task many times!!
- The front desk usually is anyway, it is wise to do one thing at once
- Nature of job is multitasking – dealing with enquiries/helping users while getting on with longer tasks
- On issue desk (often mistaken for reception) you can guarantee being interrupted doing one thing for another
- Already feel like I multi task quite a bit, lots of varied things going on especially on help desk
- If you´re a solo librarian -as I am- you already multi task. Multi tasking on balance good as long as you are not spread too thin!
- The time runs faster when multitasking
- I absolutely agree with those who are saying the enquiry desk demands multitasking. You can’t answer questions linearly
- The trick is to realise that the interruptions are as or more important than the task you’re doing between them!
- I think by default most librarians do many tasks at the same time and more so as there is a squeeze on budgets and staffing
7 Would you appreciate training on managing your workload, or do you think it is a skill you are born with?
- I’ve attended time management courses, but they’ve never addressed service-led roles. Someone please offer one!
- Decision making I think is a worthwhile underpinning skill to time management – a lot written on it
- I think it’s a skill you develop over time and with practice, though courses can hel
- Think it’s trainable…Can learn a lot from things like this sharing tips & ideas too
- Both. I also believe the values/education at home, school are quite important: clean your mess, put things back…
- Can know how to manage work load but lack of similarly skilled staff or poor organisation structure can still negative impact workload
- The keyword would be ‘self-discipline’
- I think it’s something you learn by doing, but training could give helpful ideas if new to it or having difficulties.
- Having managed heaps of people my observation is that some people are naturals, others have needed telling what to do and when
- I need a training in not-to-do-things-perfectly. It would save my time a lot.
- That’s an incredibly valid point! We’re trained in precision, yet to complete all tasks we must let that go. Is hard!
- I think training in planning can help but really it’s about devising the tools that work for you – be it calendars electric or paper or using excel, filing systems, project charts etc
Q 8 : What is the best advice someone has ever given you on managing your workload?
- ”If you’re juggling too many balls, it’s OK to drop some of them”
- I was once told to make both a to do and a ta da (ta da! thing done!) list. It works wonders!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes other people are our greatest tool!
- Prioritising the tasks is the key–Get rid of menial tasks very quickly
- That Dilbert cartoon with the speck representing your job comparable with planet earth. Helped with perspective
- SO true. When you have that perspective, deadlines suddenly feel less “dead” and more “line”. Then they’re moveable
- I think that the maxim is that it is the journey that counts (not so much the destination)
- I’d say the opposite: remember that it doesn’t matter how you get there, make sure you remember what you want to achieve
- Also: still make time to have breaks, important to look after yourself and not burn out! or then nothing gets done!
- Not sure anyone’s given me advice I remember, really it’s about practice, planning and keeping yourself organised.
- also remembering you can’t do everything and sometimes one has to say no. I rarely do though.
- I’d say not just getting rid of menial tasks but sometimes getting on with what can be done rather than what can’t
Next Tuesday, #uklibchat will be on Managing Your Workload. What issues do you have with managing your workload? Do you find it difficult to get things done? Do you have any tips?
If you want to contribute to the conversation on this, #uklibchat will be running on Tuesday 5th March 2013 from 6.30pm – 8.30pm GMT. If you want to add questions to our agenda, you can do so here. A guide to taking part in #uklibchat is available here and you can always tweet us @uklibchat or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
We look forward to chatting with you!
#ukibchat has been the subject of a number of articles and reports. Click on the links below for further details.
A Snapshot of Priorities & Perspectives: UK Public Libraries
http://www.oclc.org/reports/uk-libraries/214758ukb-B-Member-Communication-Survey-Report-UK-public-web.pdf Page 4
In this report of a snapshot survey by OCLC, the #uklibchat Twitter account (@uklibchat) was one of the top three Twitter handles that public library staff follow, along with Voices for the Library (@ukpling) and CILIP (@cilipinfo)
20 Essential Twitter Chats for the Twitter Crowd
#uklibchat was listed as second in the “20 Essential Twitter Chats for the Library Crowd”
#uklibchat – Tweet All About It by Sam Wiggins
http://www.cilip.org.uk/publications/update-magazine/Pages/default.aspx February 2012
Sam explained what #uklibchat was all about to readers of the leading UK journal for library professionals – CILIP Update.
Twitter Chat: Instant Ideas and Collaboration by Sam Wiggins
E-books in Libraries by Sam Wiggins
Team member Sam Wiggins has written two articles giving brief summaries of two of our early chats – on e-books and library activism.
Hashtags for Information Professionals by Bethan Ruddock
#uklibchat is mentioned as one of the hashtags for information professionals by Bethan Ruddock – as one of the leading hashtags for structured conversations
#uklibchat, #ECRchat, #PhDchat, #Socialchat and Other Tweetchats by Brian Kelly
Brian, of UKOLN, discusses #uklibchat and other web chats
Michelle Dalton | Movers & Shakers 2013 — Community Builders by Library Journal
Michelle, one of 2013′s “Movers and Shakers,” mentions how #uklibchat influenced her founding #irelibchat
1. What kind of off-site users do you deal with in your job – what contexts are they in?
- University students and staff. Looking for e-content: e-journals etc.
- Work at an organization with multiple offices, both domestic and international – lots of different timezones!
- NHS staff on a different hospital site with no physical library
- Inter-library loan users – administered by email
- Librarians who are looking for career development e.g. working out career goals. In US and UK so via Skype, LinkedIn etc.
- Work for a large international tech-based company, we are remote from 99% of our potential patrons
- Not that many offsite users, but some PGCEs can’t come into the physical library very often
- Spanish Ask A Librarian service http://t.co/kW3SOuCS
2. What kind of issues do you tend to find come up when supporting off-site users?
- Not knowing what the physical collection looks like can impede assistance. Having photos of local collections is helpful.
- Resource access issues (error messages), authentication / login difficulties, pay wall messages (subscriptions)
- 1.Timetables 2.Opening hours 3.Reminders 4.Assistance 5.Checking personal records 6.Searching materials
- Problems may not be technical per se, users may not be clicking on the correct login links. Resource un-familiarisation
- Lots of points where things.can go wrong. Trying to figure out where it went wrong can be a task
- Often tricky to troubleshoot online access issues – sometimes a time difference involved
- Understanding the needs, culture, customs, etc of remote offices in order to service them properly. Know your patrons.
- Even people speaking the same language can have very different expectations/culture/etc
- As with onsite enquiries you have to employ a very logical process to resolve problems
- Social media logins are easier than library authentication processes. Have to manage users expectations.
- Logins, problems with websites that people don’t realise are usually accessed via IP recognition – requires explaining!
- And actually knowing and communicating exactly what is available
- If it’s a physical book they want then the time it takes for cross site transit might be off putting
- Trying to troubleshoot can be time-consuming & frustrating. Blogged on this earlier in the yearhttp://t.co/hkRNm3wS. Also blogged on resource usability & user-interaction http://t.co/93jCHvhO
- Meeting users training requests in more detailed skills such as literature searching. We’re working on the teleporter though.
- Having book covers displayed when they search the catalogue is useful
- I’d say it’s important to make the off-campus e-resource experience as close to the on-campus one as possible
3. What challenges do you face when supporting off-site users?
- Assisting someone on the phone and users getting into the library at the same time going towards the desk
- Replicating users’ problems when accessing from an onsite work PC. Login steps can vary greatly on / offsite
4. What skills do people need to support off-site users – same or different to onsite users?
- 1.Politeness 2. Patience 3.Good manners 4.Resourceful 5.Efficient 6.Calm 7.Aiming to help always
- Patience definitely. Trust in content providers to provide fix when access goes down
- 1. Common sense 2. The ability to think macro AND micro, but know which one is appropriate for problem-solving 3. Empathy
- Users get angry when you don’t have a book or something in the library and you can’t tell them other places to find it
- Extremely good communication & the deduction skills of Sherlock Holmes to decipher people’s issues (often access related)
- In higher education all our users are ‘offsite’ to some extent now. Even full time undergraduates usually have a job too. so skills sets are the same and continually evolving.
- Think you need the ability to be able to describe things clearly, especially if supporting over phone. And creativity.
5. What technology have you found useful in supporting offsite users?
- Have looked into using screencasts (e.g. Jing) – need to develop this troubleshooting tool
- Yes, remote access to assist via desktop is ace – utilize programs like Camtasia.
- Don’t have much access to many technologies, would love to be able to use options allowing us to visually walk through things
- E-mail for interlibrarian loans Phone.Many users still want face-to-face assistance. Don’t know about social media yet
- Details of the Bodleian Libraries’ Scan & Deliver service that we’re piloting here: http://t.co/0wcsUHoq. Currently about 40 requests per week. Hardly advertised though and the charge is quite high. We’re reviewing it next month.
5.a. How many libraries are using social media to support offsite users?
- We use Twitter & Facebook to provide real-time notifications if we know a resource is down/undergoing maintenance
- Facebook is popular among libraries since users & librarians can write long comments, add photos, videos, links. I think Facebook offers great options to libraries. Twitter is so limited to 140 characters but good for latest news!
- We use CoP’s, Online conferencing and Yammer. I’ve also started blogging to raise profile of services.
6. Do you have any ideas for ways to better support off-site users?
- Create patron-friendly wikis or pathfinders or other self-service modules especially for remote offices with big time differences as to not leave them hanging if they have an immediate need. Also, check in with remote users periodically to gauge needs.
- FAQs / guide for students & library staff to help recognise & troubleshoot general access problems
- We have also held an annual eResources showcase for past 4 years, Invite publishers to exhibit & students / staff to attend. The next one is widening from eResources to all library online services / systems
- Increasing staff or diversify them. One person can’t manage all!! And this is still hapenning in some libraries. Staff development is vital.
- Creating our own screencasts & linking to publishers screencasts from our web pages
- In HE perhaps we need to completely re-engineer services to more accurately reflect the changing balance between on- & off campus learners?
- We need to look to the future and be radical in order to provide better service
- I think creating video-tutorials would be wonderful and amazing!!
- I think our new UK-hosted EZ Proxy service could be of use to libraries looking to close the off-campus/on-campus user experience gap
7. How do you support off-site users who don’t contact the library?
- Q7 is almost like, “If a patron falls in a remote office library, do they make a sound?”
- Serious answer. As the saying goes, you teach them to fish so they can feed themselves, with quality instructional resources +avail to them like the aforementioned wikis/pathfinders/online support/etc. Key is to be responsive & helpful in time of need.
- Curious how many libraries know what their ratio of on-campus to off-campus e-resource usage is? For those libraries I know who’ve looked into it, on-campus usually accounts for less than 25% of all usage
8. What strategies do you use to best provide and market services to non-native speakers?
- I think the Tourism field could give us good ideas…try to provide materials in their language might be one…
- In HE international students registered with an institution have to have passed an English language test
- At #ili2012 @mreidsma recommended using http://t.co/AhC8rGr8 to check the reading level of library web site text and aim for a grade level of 8 or 9 (see http://t.co/Tz2IYpah for more info). Too often, lib stuff is much higher
9. Do you think librarians will be helping more offsite users in the future?
- Almost certainly as services are cut from peripheral locations and services either shared or centralised
- Yes, & they’ll be using a multitude of different devices (phones, computers, tablets etc) to access content
- I think the answer depends on the kind of institution you’re in. A company will almost always have remote offices
- Absolutely yes. Social media are spreading & spreading everywhere and thousands of people join them everyday
Other issues discussed:
How do you use Twitter?
- Twitter tends to be more for awareness raising, sharing links, commenting on issues, etc + few DM’s sometimes
- I generally work with UK people in the morning (US time, when it’s afternoon there) and US people in the afternoon
- We notice speed of response of some resources slows down when US comes online in p.m. UK time!
- Overcoming time zone issues: Try to auto-schedule emails or Tweets/etc to appear at the beginning of the remote office work day, even if it’s 3 am your time.
- Access troubleshooting – anyone using remote access to personal PCs? Or even quick screencasts to explain processes?
- Definitely – helped quicken the troubleshooting process. Raises staff morale as well, means we can help!
- We have a library laptop with a mobile USB connection which mimics remote use by students etc. Can test at work
- A laptop (or PC) with a USB 3G dongle makes it easy to test off-campus access problems whilst you’re on-campus and also handy for anyone doing telephone support for off-campus users, as you can see what they see
If you’re interested in how to help your library users remotely – whether that’s in another part of a university campus, or a user in some far-flung corner of the globe – why not join us for #uklibchat on Tuesday 6th November at 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm GMT. To view and add to the agenda, please click here.
To participate in the conversation use the #uklibchat hashtag on Twitter next Tuesday evening. If you are a Twitter or #uklibchat novice, please visit this page for advice on joining our chats.
If you have any queries please consult the uklibchat team via Twitter (@uklibchat) or email (email@example.com).
We look forward to chatting with you!
1.a. Do you have much interaction with publishers in your day-to-day job as a librarian? (and is it positive?)
1.b. If there are any publishers taking part, what are your interactions with librarians like?
- Running a book competition: http://www.managementbookoftheyear.org.uk
- There’s been a big strategic shift in mindsets and working practices in the last few years: Library audiences are now an integral part of publishers’ marketing & publicity strategies
- My publishers are small trade associations – positive experience mostly. But have problems with inconsistent bibliographic records for publications
- Publishers seek partnership with libraries to reach & build audience
- Libraries have staggering footfall, amazing network, most popular and well-used cultural institution. Book borrowers are buyers too. Another unique asset is library data
- Publishers have more money to get to know users better with!! But I guess libraries have the upper hand in being able to track usage
- I have very little direct contact with publishers – I have made requests but never had a response in terms of content
- Large part of my library work involves publisher liaison – email contact, phone calls, review meetings, conferences
- Host an annual eResources roadshow which allows publish reps to to meet & talk to library users & university staff. Hosted for past 4 yrs, wanted to do something to increase publicity of resources to students & staff. Looking to widen scope of show – include publisher demos/talks etc
- Have requested resources on topics to meet curriculum mainly via reps but no joy in the past!
- Have good relationship with one publisher, emails facilitate when distance too great
- Host 2 roadshows (speed-dating/networking workshops) – FUN! Allows publisher reps to meet & talk direct to reader development reps. Aims to build knowledge, direct contact & creative ideas, a process ‘often hampered by the suppliers’
- I haven’t had much experience with publishers in my job, but for my MA I took a module on publishing, was one of most interesting. Learnt more about publishers models, marketing etc. Got to go to Bloomsbury which I blogged about http://ow.ly/cNQsX
- Libraries are a vital component of reading ecosystem. Publishers recognise importance of reader/literature development
- My interactions with librarians are never enough and always interesting. Most useful & favourite part of my role.
- Also sit on the UKSG committee which is a great source of learning and interaction with librarians and intermediaries.
2. How could the librarian-publisher relationship be improved? (and does it need to be?)
- I remember my teachers at University saying that each librarian must know the publishing field well.I think both fields go hand in hand but libraries are, after all, the ones to decide what to buy or not
- Practices based on the interactivity between reader & writer. Important this work continues to flourish in tough times
- Librarians feel far removed from book selection process due to supplier selection. Publisher/librarian roadshows help build awareness
- Exploration of supporting social sci researchers with librarians showed some needs reunderstanding users http://dx.doi.org/10.1629/24183
- There is research which proves correlation between buying & borrowing by the Reading Agency
- Investment of time & energy needed in libraries sharing developments that work well. Could be a role for UKSG
- Also Uni IT depts are too siloed & could work together to share/ brainstorm solutions for understanding users to drive library value.
- Direct contact with users is v.important for publishers – library fairs/events/workshops can make this happen
3. What are your opinions on open access publishing?
- Pro OA especially in academic field where helps further research & knowledge; but don’t know much about it – have reservations
- There’s been a lot of discussion about open access recently because of the Finch Report http://bit.ly/RxQzoI
- Don’t know much about it. Surely a good thing for libraries? Is it a gamechanger?
- SAGE just announced this partnership.http://dx.doi.org/10.1629/24183
- SAGE work closely with University of Sussex Library via a partnership to help us both learn and support research. Exploring open access more next year
- In my specialist industry publishers would struggle with open access due to limited funds for research
4. Do subscription agents help or hinder the relationship between librarians and publishers?
- Publishers unable to navigate hugely complex library network; hence the brokering role of the Reading Agency. It’s different.
- Agents – my sense is that thy are busy diversifying to stay alive e.g. : getting into OA payment management; PPV token sales; offering customer insight tools
5. How do we overcome problems with multiple e-formats causing difficulties ?
- As a school librarian I can’t have multiple formats gotta to pick one and kinda hope it’s the right one and not a Betamax choice!
- Do people think there will ever be one format to rule them all? This problem isn’t going to be quickly solved
- Just encountered a document with DRM requiring software & licence to view, very problematic and not sure of solution
- May be a bit off the question but we do at least have things like Athens authentication to help with multiple different sign ins
6. What would be an effective forum so that publishers know about problems you have that they may be able to help with?
- We set up a unique consortium: 40 publishers, entire UK public library network, led by charity – The Reading Agency. IT’s called Reading Partners. It’s all about building audience & creating rich reading, cultural and learning experiences
- Definitely some kind of partnership, workshops, conference to get together and share with each other
- Dedicated events – maybe online, around a certain theme?
- Library advocacy very important. Publishers backing a number of initiatives with authors and media
- UKSG conference & others like it important for sharing between publishers & librarians. Sage has annual library Advisory Board meeting
7. What do you think will be the biggest development in publishing in the next 5 years?
- Looking back 5 years “What Is Most Important Advance Publishers Have Made in Past Decade?”
- Digital rights management
- I’ve heard vague things of academic institutions getting in on print on demand, publishing core texts with lecturer’s notes etc. http://ow.ly/cNXl4
- This is called Custom Publishing: click here for youtube video
- Cornell University is doing Print on Demand but not customising http://ow.ly/cNXDr
- Another factor is disappearance of government websites to UK National Archives, big problem for my industry. Some Department of Transport info is still current is now very difficult to find and /or search
8. How can we demonstrate the value of public libraries in e-reading?
- Need resources, e.g. e-readers, could run sessions showing people how to use them, what’s available. Library e-reading apps too?
- Librarian In Black’s response: here
9 ( How) has the relationship between library and publisher improved over the last 5 years?
- Publishers woken slowly up to importance of understanding challenges & solving problems. Not just flogging
- Services like journal usage statistics portal (JISC) can provide better & valued connections between pub & library. Staff time saved
10. Do you think partners such as The Reading Agency made a difference? If so, in what way? What more could they do to help?
- Anyone promoting reading is making a difference, and promoting reading promotes both libraries and publishers
11. What one thing can you share from your own experience that has effectively demonstrated the value of your library?
- Positive customer feedback when we provide publications before they knew they needed them
- Children’s summer reading challenges are always hugely popular at local library & must encourage a new generation of readers / book purchasers
- SAGE commissioned LISU library value report of research and survey available here: http://libraryvalue.wordpress.com/report/
Other points made:
- Some thoughts on digital preservation and citation of scholarly blogs: http://bit.ly/PFpBoX
- Data and its potential use was discussed:
- Another unique asset is library data - but how can libraries use and share their extraordinarily rich audience data to provide the customer insight better?
- I guess by sharing some of their unique data: help one another
- On knowing users, publishers may have access to different data than libraries & maybe more time. Ideally we should work together.
- There’s a big pot of Nesta funding available…One of the areas to cover is DATA
The latest #uklibchat discussion agenda is now available – please feel free to add your questions!
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The next #uklibchat is being held on Tuesday 7th August at the usual time of 6.30 – 8.30 pm UK time. This week we will be discussing anything and everything to do with Librarians and Publishers – open access, ebooks and the state of the book trade could all feature.
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1. What developments do you expect in cataloguing in the next few years?
- RDA – this will make people think about how data is used and displayed
- RDA – increased visibility will mean accuracy is vital & expect to find things with broad range of entry points
- RDA - I think understanding how items relate to each other will be a main thing. Also the interfaces for eg: LMS many change
- Hopefully RDA will help to create more access points for users. Sometimes feel a bit limited now
- Yes that’s one of the benefits I’m going to highlight when I explain RDA to the rest of the library next week!
- Suspect there’s very mixed feelings in the cataloguing world about RDA
- Search expectations have already changed, e.g. social tagging.I suspect increased search means everything should be searchable!
- True – you also need to understand why you’ve retrieved what you’ve retrieved to make it work better
- Relevance of retrieval must still be important, rather than a whole noise of irrelevant stuff in search results
- Integrated searching, 1 portal for all library resources, links to full text. But we still use card catalogue so not happening soon!
- Feel a vague sense of uncertainty about RDA – still new to profession so want to get to grips with AACR2 first!
- More collaboration between institutions, more records downloaded from publishers, probably fewer created in-house
- As ‘traditional’ cataloguer am somewhat limited by what our LMS is capable of
- Think cataloguing has been going thru major changes in all of the 14 years I’ve been doing it – this will continue
- Vital as (I hear) RDA is unstructured so need to use older structures
- Well, e resources already catalogued “traditionally” at the moment, but this might not be best approach
- They will provide structure and alternative browsing methods
- Traditional systems may struggle with online scope, but same principles apply – consistency, consistency, consistency
- Didn’t there used to be an online directory of electronic resources classified into Dewey? I don’t think it exists any more
- If online resources are being searched via same interface as physical resources, then cat. rules must be same to ensure success
3. How can cataloguing and classification be applied to smaller collections?
- Is that really “how” or should we ask a more fundamental question: could or should it be?
- Same principles, surely? Make sure users can find & make best us of what we collate & curate? Size irrelevant – except for level of detail which may change
- Cataloguing and classification is designed for any size collection, issue maybe more access to cataloguing software/systems and time/training?
- Sometimes small industrial libs have more money for cataloguing resources (eg AACR, DDC schedules etc.) than big places
- Level of detail depends on nature of collection but as has been said, principles are the same
- Don’t think it matters about size as long as rules applied consistently
- My church has a “library” (1 trolley) & what they need in terms of managing it is very different to my work
- If smaller also means more specialised then by adapting local schemes to own needs
- Maybe even more important to apply principles if collection is at risk of being chucked
- If small size, may wish to outsource some record creation so adherence to standards every bit as important
- We use Metropolitan Museum of Art class system for our art library. Interested to hear if anyone else has encountered it?
4. Do you think library schools should be teaching cat & class or is it best learned on the job?
- Formal education really important for cataloguers, but shouldn’t be exclusively for cataloguers
- Library schools *must* teach at least basics. Is a shocking problem that so few do. More need to copy UCL. But both
- Yes! missed out on Aberystwyth distance course almost completely – on the job brilliant but have gaps in my knowledge
- Think both avenues would be good mix. Some basic groundwork in degree, but lots of on the job training.
- Think there’s a real need as part of library school. I have never got anything like that in any of my roles in libraries
- Yes I do!!! It should be compulsory. But, cannot teach it all so on-job training also essential especially as things change
- It should definitely be taught, but teaching would benefit from practical applications
- Cataloguing needs to be learned in practical situations but good intro needed in library school
- Seed of enthusiasm needs to be planted at library school – especially if no other exposure to cat thro work. Need to make it viable option
- My library still does massive amount of in-house training, suspect many departments do: rare to get someone fully trained when employed
- Need a background even if (like me) not a cataloguer. Obviously cataloguers need on job training too. Balance
- Good to have the basics of why but important it is reinforced in workplace
- Detail is always library specific, but basics and overview should be core part of professional education
- Certainly should be taught. Library school should provide a broad grounding in all aspects of librarianship
- It’s not just library schools that can vary in cataloguing quality – workplaces can also vary in how they view it/provide for it
- Agree that exposure at lib school + as grad trainee are ways to demonstrate importance + possibly attract newcomers
- Should be there simply as a crucial core part of our profession, even for those with no interest in catalofying as career.
- I never did lib degree but worked as cataloguer and learnt on job, was much better than theory
- yes, cat awareness needed for all library professionals, not just cataloguers
- A very hard subject to learn dry – need practical approach to be effective
- Need more practice at lib school though. Work experience students coming to us always ask to do cataloguing
- Special Interest Groups/ARLIS great for doing more cost effective courses. The big CILIP course was too much
- Without cataloguing training as part of degree I don’t think I would ever have learned its importance or investigated deeply
- Cat & class still most useful thing I learned. Very specific knowledge – can learn lots of other stuff through doing
5. What developments do you expect in how library catalogues are presented to users?
- Increasing tendency towards single search box copied from web search. features to support this. improved browsing experience.
- Single search is a struggle for us. We use in house key subjects to filter
- Catalogues already more amazon/google looking which I guess is what users expect. But still need advanced seach otherwise end up with “noise”
- But how many users actually use advanced search? How can the catalogue interface do it on their behalf?
- Interfaces will be much more like popular search engines to attract users who are used to only that
- Simple search I think more used now than advanced search – perhaps suggestions as to what mean more common?
- Agree web browser style interfaces likely to be what users start to expect/want
- Hoping hard that we will stop calling it ‘advanced search’! Nobody wants to do anything that’s advanced!
- We are updating our opac, might ask to substitute advanced search for ‘mega amazeballs search’ instead! N.B. Other suggestions included “extended search” and “detailed search.”
- As long as we don’t lose old functionality as new ideas introduced to make them easier
- Catalogue might become more invisible, something in background that users can reach via Google search.
6. Related to 5: how can we make catalogues & their content more “social”?
- Allow more options for the (dreaded?) user tagging?
- Is there any research that shows that user tagging is actually what users want? I have my doubts about tagging
- Key steps I reckon are: 1) more seamless integration of “social” features, frictionless sharing & reuse is the way to go. 2) would like to see serious attempts to make catalogs a social “destination” where users feel some ownership of UGC
- Think it’s important to find out how people are using the data – options to export as text message or email is good
- I hate tagging but suspect because am just a weird throwback who likes hierarchical structures/browsing
- Think what we’re offering isn’t great so far, so “not yet”. But we’re getting used to socialness on other sites
- I think a feeling of ownership of [whatever content they add] is important to build social interaction
- It’s hard to get people to participate in social areas where they aren’t already i.e. the library catalogue
- Tagging can work quite well eg: course codes/lecturers’ names or terms such as ‘credit crunch’ for non LSH terms
- Problem:too many different terms for same thing in user tags, cf. problem of users not knowing what terms we use
- Tagging may be case of ‘what librarians think users want’. Think it could help in complex situations but not be relied on
- Think it’s important not to ‘do social’ just for the sake of it. Find out what users want
- Too much inconsistency to be relied on but could be useful add-on
- Will mention social bits (QR, Pinterest, sharing buttons) on our catalogue: http://t.co/dU9VbviY
- I really think leveraging a big database of user-generated stuff like LibraryThing for Libraries is the way to start.
7. What is the best way to get into cataloguing?
- Wonder whether for some the question isn’t more ‘what’s the best way to get OUT of cataloguing’ (!)
- For me was an afternoon a week cataloguing a collection that wouldn’t otherwise be done – no pay, but was taught and guided. Advantage of voluntary experience – felt less pressure to do it quickly – could take time and concentrate on doing it right
- Volunteering seems to be common route, or asking to shadow cataloguer in current workplace
- I was lucky I did 1 day a week ‘secondment’ to cataloguing department to get experience. More about aptitude than experience at start
- No idea about the “best” way, mine was shambrarianship plus interest in metadata plus willingness for self study. A *lot* of what I already knew snapped into focus (if that makes sense) during formal cat & class module in MSc though
- Was lucky enough that it was part of early training which led to job in cataloguing department
- First job = catalogue maintenance. Staring at catalogue records all day makes you absorb rules I think!
- Started in kid’s school library. Then got job in academic slide lib doing image cataloguing. Moved to role cataloguing DVDs, then current post as cataloguer
- Did basic cataloguing and grew curious
8. What is the best classification scheme for an academic library?
- Is there one?
- We use Dewey Decimal Classification, but no idea which is best. Definitely need to use established scheme though
- Dewey has familiarity as used in public libraries but it all about how well students are made aware of how (and why) it works
- For a “normal” academic library, are there suggestions beyond Library of Congress and Dewey? Personally get on best with Dewey
- Used Bliss, Library of Congress, Universal Decimal Classification, home-grown – think all have there place, like Bliss personally
- Personally, I loved Bliss!
- Really like Library of Congress in my workplace academic library. Some sense to some of the letters: M Music. I like it being broken into letters & numbers
- We have almost everything going in the various bits of my lib. Lots of Bliss, Library of Congress
- We use in-house system so not really qualified to answer but would think whatever most user friendly (tall order!)
- In-house is surely perfectly acceptable for universities who may have very specialised collections?
- We are legal deposit so lots of confusion. Have to explain system to poor users daily!
- Been on uni open days recently and surprised that HE libraries use different schemes in same library!
- In our case partly different collections with different schemes brought together in one library
- Thought we were somewhat unique using more than one scheme in same library, interesting to hear it happens more often than I realised
- Using established scheme means more collaboration options but often bespoke schemes in place, especially smaller libraries
- Weird classification schemes confession – always had a soft spot for Garside’s scheme (University of Leeds & UCL)
- Dewey numbers can get too long and confusing, especially for dyslexic students (or whatever correct term is for numbers)
- Depends on balancing ease of use for students over ease of use for eg: shelf ready – bespoke schemes can have their place too
- I find Dewey harder to keep track of with extremely long numerical extensions. True Library Of Congress has long numbers too,but only in some places.
- Depends how many bookks would be at shorter number-easier to find amongst lots of same or to understand long numbers?
- I like Bliss – mix of letters and numbers and broken down into groups of three makes more memorable
- Dewey would definitely be my 1st choice for a medium size & not-too-weird academic library
- Bliss – I find it very unintuitive for finding things, lower case letters and numbers confuse
- I like Library of Congress, find Dewey fails to meet needs if large or specialised collections – too many numbers
- I like Library of Congress but maybe because I’m most experienced in it (apart from various in-house schemes)
- Dewey all the way! But, if I’m not being selfish, I would say probably both Dewey and Library of Congress -these seem to be most common
9. Anyone have experience of developing a structure/order for ephemera collections?
- Depends if it is important to retain original structure/order (as in archives). Also whether collection is growing or finite
- Also closed vs open access defines what approach you can take
- The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian will have lots of experience, as will Chelsea (College of Art?)
- Museum libraries often require more specialised classification systems. We use 4 & do a lot of our own tweaking!
- The way I pitch it is if it’s not catalogued correctly you may as well throw the item out of the window
- I try & educate as I go in terms of benefit in greater visibility = greater times issued = value for money
A final thought:
“Just to say that good (consistent, standardised) catalogue records are FUNDAMENTAL to effective information retrieval!”