Established in 1994 ScHARR's Information Resources team has established itself as a key national player in providing information support to health technology assessment and health services research. The team is made up of professional, highly trained Information Specialists who are involved in the forefront of research, teaching, support and development. This is our blog where we talk about the diverse work we do: #Teach #Research #Search #Support
On Saturday Suzannah attended #HASlibcamp, a health and science libraries ‘unconference’ hosted at City University. Here she reports back on the experience.
Before going to #HASlibcamp I was particularly intrigued by the 'unconference' format, and it did not disappoint. At the start of the day anyone interested in leading a session had 30 seconds to pitch, and then conference programme is put together on the spot. This allowed for some spontaneous collaboration as some people pitching sessions on a similar topic or theme decided to combine their ideas into a single session during the pitching process.
The finished conference programme
Once the programme had been assembled we had a few minutes to gather around and decide which sessions to attend. Unlike most conferences there is no pressure to stay at a session until the end, you are free to switch sessions at any time.
The first session I chose to attend was on future docs and app swaps pitched by Lyn Robinson and Ka-Ming Pang. We talked about how users are simply unaware of how much personal data they are giving to health apps, and subsequently give little thought to the privacy or security of this data. This led us to consider our role as LIS professionals; we could advise users on which apps are ‘safe’, but equipping users with the skills to evaluate apps for themselves is far more valuable. Ka-Ming then told us about the app swaps she holds at St George’s, these events give staff and students the chance to talk about apps they use, or in some cases have developed. These events also allow staff and students who might not normally interact with each other to swap knowledge and experience.
It was really hard to choose which session to attend next! In the end I settled on the ebooks session, pitched by Frank Norman, where we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of ebooks, particularly in terms of how well they meet user needs. Our collective experience said that users often prefer physical copies of books yet libraries are, in some cases, choosing to only purchase ebooks. This led us to question what is driving the move toward ebooks; user needs/ demand, or space and financial considerations. We didn’t come up with any answers but it’s certainly a question worthy of further consideration.
Then it was time for lunch! Lunch was ‘crowdsourced’ – everyone brought along something to share which meant we ended up with a good (if rather eclectic) spread of food. I really enjoyed this aspect of the unconference format.
After lunch I went along to the online induction treasure hunt session led by Catherine Radbourne and Fiona Paterson from City University. Catherine and Fiona created a pirate themed online induction treasure hunt quiz for nursing students at City to introduce them to the library resources. Crucially the quiz got students using resources to answer questions relevant to nursing, ensuring students could see the relevance of what they were doing. After showing us their induction Catherine and Fiona put us into groups so we could have a go at creating an induction quiz. The group I was in came up with an A&E scenario where a patient had presented with an allergic reaction, and students had to use library resources to help diagnose and treat the patient. The activity we devised was by no means perfect (we only had 20 minutes!), but it’s certainly a good starting point.
Creating an induction quiz
This session led into a second session discussing online quiz based inductions, I stayed for the first 15 minutes or so but then decided to switch to the user needs session. I was thrown straight into a group discussion about how a billionaire might get his son to break up with a gold-digging girlfriend, without the son knowing he was involved(?!) – a conundrum intended to get us to think outside the box. This led onto a discussion about the necessity of information literacy skills to serving user needs.
During this final session I was really struck by how many of the conversations we had throughout the day came back to information literacy. The need to empower users to find and evaluate information for themselves was a recurring theme, and the value of these skills really must not be underestimated.
If you’d like to read more about the day then #HASlibcamp have created a handy list of write ups, it’s also worth having a look at #haslibcamp on Twitter. Thanks to the #HASlibcamp team for organising the event, #citylis for hosting, and UKeiG for sponsoring the travel bursary that allowed me to attend.
This post originally appeared on Suzannah's blog and has been reproduced with permission.
Andy Tattersall gave a presentation for the latest series of ScHARR Bite Size talks on writing for blogs and the media. The session was recorded and can be viewed below. Abstract: Academic blogging can be an effective way of communicating your research whilst reaching new and diverse audiences. Blogging opens up potential opportunities that can help with impact case studies, lead to collaborations and other outputs. It can be a break from traditional academic writing and help researchers and teachers write interesting and engaging expert pieces in their field of work and respond accordingly to hot topics. Within ScHARR there are departmental blogs which colleagues can write for as well as many external websites with established audiences. Andy Tattersall will talk about the blogging process, the tools for effective blogging and the opportunities to publish at ScHARR and beyond.
Earlier this week Andy Tattersall was asked to be part of a panel discussion within the Faculty of Social Sciences and the launch of their Northern Exposure events. Northern Exposure is a new series of events, aimed at helping social scientists maximise the reach and accessibility of their research. It is coordinated by the Social Sciences Partnerships, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (SSPIKE) team and Communications team in the Faculty of Social Sciences. The event was opened by Professor Gill Valentine, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Social Science. Whilst the keynote was a very interesting talk by Mark Carrigan, author of an apt new book, 'Social Media for Academics'. Mark talked about the potential for social media for academics whilst http://www.internetlivestats.com/ chalked the latest daily statistics for Google Search, Tumblr posts and Tweets sent just to name but a few.
Mark Carrigan's book
Following that was an interesting panel discussion around the topic of the 'The academic blogosphere' that was chaired by Sarah Boswell, Marketing and Communications Manager, Faculty of Social Sciences. The panel included Laura Hood - Politics and Society Editor; The Conversation UK, Andy Tattersall - Information Resources; ScHARR, University of Sheffield, Sierra Williams - Managing Editor; LSE Impact blog and James Wilsdon - Director of Impact and Engagement; Social Sciences, University of Sheffield. The event looked at the the value social media can contribute to shaping academic research and how it could be used as a resource to disseminate findings. How academics can use social media as a way of encouraging meaningful discussion. How social media can be used to build a prominent research profile, access relevant information and build important stakeholder networks. How to begin overcoming the barriers to engaging with social media in research.
Panel debate at #NthExpo
Various questions were raised as to overcoming the barriers to using social media in academia, dealing with negative comments and trolls, where should support come for academics using social media. After the panel discussion, delegates were split into four groups and worked with panel members to discuss some of the challenges facing them and the use of social media. It was a worthwhile and interesting event and hopefully springboard on to other events in the Faculty and further afield. Tweets from the day can be seen by following the #NthExpo hashtag
Academic Twitter is more than just sharing research articles and live-tweeting at conferences.Andy Tattersall gives an overview of the humorous accounts that aim to pull back the curtain on the Ivory Tower and share its oddities, culture and inconsistencies. Despite the silliness, the following accounts often discuss issues rarely touched on in the academic community. These accounts offer a lighthearted take on a business that takes itself too seriously and for that, we are immensely grateful.
For many academics Twitter stands out above any other social media tool as their platform for open and scholarly engagement – partially thanks to its immediacy, reach and convenience but also because it can be a break from the formality of academic writing and dissemination. Twitter’s limit of 140 characters means academics have to think carefully not just about what they say but also how they say it. Twitter allows communications to be snappy, sharp and on many occasion quick-witted. If Twitter has done anything for the academic community it has brought the research conversation out into the public domain. As a by-product, a small number of accounts that mock, self-ridicule and bring a touch of humour to the very serious world of research have flourished. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of academic Twitter.
Research Wahlberg @ResearchMark 1239 Tweets, 15.1k Followers
Research Wahlberg is reminiscent to an old Tumblr blog titled ‘Hey girl, I like the library too’, that was a collection of memes of fellow Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling. The purpose of that blog was to post images of Gosling, smouldering and sexy, saying things like: ‘Hey girl you know I would never publish in anything but an open access journal, because changing the existing unsustainable model of scholarly communication is really important to me, you know?” @ResearchMark we see a similar collection of memes interspersed with retweets that aren’t as masterful as Gosling’s chat up lines, but we are open to the idea that Research Wahlberg has a bit more to him than just cheesy chat up lines this time.
Shit my Reviewers Say @YourPaperSucks 597 Tweets, 11.4k Followers
Potentially started out of angst and annoyance to the peer review model, Shit my Reviewers Say aim is in; “Collecting the finest real specimens of reviewer comments since 1456”. Twinned with a Tumblr blog of the same name it sets out to document the malicious, pinnikity and sometimes confusing world of blind peer review. The pinned tweet sums up the collection nicely as one poor researcher is put to the sword with the line; “I am afraid this manuscript may contribute not so much towards the field’s advancement as much as toward its eventual demise.” Most academics who have ever been on the receiving end of reviews that required major corrections will know that sinking feeling they get when reading such barbed feedback. Whether all of these comments are fact or fiction, or amended we do not know, but there is plenty for researchers to take solace in, especially when they next receive such joyous feedback on their paper.
Shit Academics Say @AcademicsSay 3,038 Tweets, 171k Followers
A social experiment by Associate Professor Nathan C Hall, Shit Academics Say is a mixture of funny one liners, memes and clever irony. With an impressive 171,000 followers it is fair to say that this feed has resonated with the academic community and possibly beyond. Certainly well worth following if you are after reassurance, a good laugh or to gawp at what academics can be capable of delivering. The accompanying blog explains why the micro-blog feed appeared with Hall saying: “Like many academics, I have never been completely comfortable with the peculiarities, predilections, or pretensions of our profession.” With snippets of advice in less than 140 characters such as; “If you can’t say anything nice, say it as a question.” and “I don’t make mistakes. I create teachable moments” there is much to take from this stream of consciousness.
Another academic Twitter account with an impressive number of followers for this visual collection of tweets where female academic problems are captured in scenes acted out by Lego characters. Sadly just one tweet so far in 2016 but still worth keeping an eye on, especially if you work in a lab. Whilst the Lego Research Institute might be something you ask for next time your birthday comes round.
Another visual account that does not fall short when it comes down to effort. As you can imagine from the the title, this is a comic, or series of cartoons. With an accompanying website and movies PhD The Movie 1 and 2. Created by Jorge Cham in 1997, PhD Comics is about ‘life (or the lack thereof) in academia’. The website has impressive pageview stats into the tens of millions each year and has moved on from the original monochrome version to full colour. The sheer breadth of content and issues touched on around undertaking a PhD and working in academia is incredible. For those who have an adverse fear of failure it might be reassuring to follow the latest tweets and know that you are not alone.
Improbable Research @improbableresearch 8,230 Tweets, 8,252 Followers
Improbable Research aims to ‘highlight research that first makes people laugh and then think’. With the accompanying website http://www.improbable.com/ and YouTube account It has its own Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony and Lectures. The Ig Nobel Prizes aim to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative and spur people’s interest in science, medicine and technology. The recording of 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony can be viewed here. All the improbable research captured by the Ig Nobel Prize can be followed through their Twitter account. Tweets are interspersed with updates from previous prize winners, videos and events. From the outside looking in at this account, especially the 2015 prize ceremony video, it makes academia look like a weird cult – which of course it is, but we don’t like to talk about that.
There are no shortage of fictitious and spoof social media accounts, especially on Twitter. Most fail miserably or dry up after a few carefully scheduled tweets, it’s reasonable to consider that some probably start as an axe to grind and soon disappear or run out of ideas. As with some of the aforementioned accounts, when it is done well it can be profound, hilarious and even add quality to the academic conversation. Most communicate in a language that is coherent to those outside of the ivory towers, and perhaps by the number of followers some accounts have, highlights that more academics have a funny bone than we give them credit for. Despite the silliness of the above accounts they do often discuss issues in the academic community rarely touched on so publically. They are if anything a light take on a business that often takes itself too seriously. When we pull back the curtain we do see a different side to academia that can be a very strange business, filled with its own language and culture. So if you are on Twitter, love academia, occasionally feel alone, an imposter or are after some geek humour there is an online world out there waiting for you to follow
All of the accounts and a few more can be followed on this Twitter list
Andy Tattersall is secretary of the Cilip MmIT Committee and this year they will be hosting their fourth conference in Sheffield at The Edge conference centre on the theme of Digital Citizen. Calls for papers are now taking place, details below. MmIT's remit is to promote the use of technologies within the library and information sector.
A conference which explores and discusses several digital citizenship themes and the role and responsibility of the library and the librarian in supporting citizenry in the digital world.
Keep your diary clear on 12th-13th September 2016 so you can come and join us for our annual conference!
Digital citizenship is a term often used to describe how people acquire and use their digital and online skills and experiences in order to further achieve and develop in their personal, professional and social roles. MmIT believe that libraries across all sectors play a significant role in supporting and developing digital citizenship with our user communities.
With four expert keynote speakers confirmed, the conference seeks to facilitate discussion and the sharing of good practice in answer to some of these questions plus more, with colleagues from across all sectors of the library and information world.
Call for papers
Have you got something to say about the library's role in digital citizenship? Respond to our call for papers now! Deadline 5:00pm Monday 16th May.
In the first of a new series of blog posts, we sat down with Anthea Sutton to find out more about her role as Information Resources Group Manager at ScHARR.
How did you start working in the library and information profession?
I did my undergraduate degree in English Literature and I was quite certain that I didn’t want to go into teaching even though lots of people kept saying to me “why don’t you be a teacher? You’d be a really good teacher!”. So I was trying to think of things that were using a fairly similar skill set and where there was some sort of element of imparting knowledge. While I was thinking about what I wanted to do a job came up in my local public library and I thought I’d give it a try and see if I liked it. I ended up really enjoying it and then started looking into how I could take that further. I applied to do a graduate trainee year at Manchester Metropolitan University in their big academic library and loved it, then did a masters in librarianship over at the Information School here at Sheffield.
Did you always want to work in the health sector?
It was just by happy coincidence really. I finished the masters and was very quickly wanting to find a job as I was fairly strapped for cash after a year of studying! I was quite open minded about what sector and location that I worked in, and it just so happened that the first job I applied for and got was here at ScHARR. It was a temporary post as a research assistant on a specific project that Information Resources were doing at the time, to do with evaluating NHS library services in the region. I did that for 8 months, really enjoyed it, thought it was a really good place to work, got really interested in the health information side of the library and information profession. Around the time my temporary job finished an Information Officer job came up at ScHARR, I applied for that, got it, and I’ve been here ever since. As I say it was a coincidence but I’m very happy with how things turned out as I think it's a really good profession to work in.
What sort of thing do you do on a typical day?
I’ve been thinking about this, it’s quite difficult to capture a typical day really. I think that’s probably true across Information Resources, I think we all have very varied roles and are involved in lots of different things.
For the Information Resources Management side of it one of the big things that I spend a lot of time doing is our workload planning for the group, so any work that comes in, I’m the main contact for that, and it's up to me to firstly find someone to do it, and secondly involvement in costing our work on projects. So that's one of the big things that can take up time in my day. I’m also still an information specialist, I’ve got my own projects that I work on, so literature searching and information management. I’ve always got some of that sort of work going on as well. I run a module on systematically reviewing literature so depending on the time of year I can be quite busy with that, with all the teaching and marking and all the things that are involved with running a module. Today I’ve been to an Open Access clinic that Andy ran, and I’ve also had a meeting about our CPD courses for library and information professionals. I don’t know that today is particularly typical, but that’s what I’ve been doing! It’s quite varied really, but I’d say they are the main things.
You mentioned a meeting about CPD courses for library and information professionals - does this mean there are plans for FOLIO? FOLIO is a programme of online courses that we run for other LIS professionals, generally working in the health sector, but we have done broader things for other sectors as well. We’ve run a number of courses over a number of years. At the moment we are going to be running a course in collaboration with the Australian Library and Information Association, which is all about rapidly reviewing evidence. It’s aimed at LIS professionals who want to add value to their literature searching services by providing an evidence bulletin, so that they’ve done some kind of scanning and synthesis of the information and developed it into a product rather than just a list of references. We’ve run it in the UK previously, so we’re currently looking at the materials and making that changes we need to, both in terms of updating things, but also when we ran it in the UK we ran it for health LIS whereas in Australia it’s for a more general audience. So it’s anyone who might be doing that type of work, whatever sector they work in.
Can you tell us a bit about your work as reviews editor for the Health Information and Libraries Journal (HILJ)?
Every issue of HILJ has a review article. It can be any type of review article, sometimes it will be a full systematic review, sometimes it's an overview or literature review or sometimes we’ve had mapping reviews, and it’s my responsibility as the reviews editor to make sure that every issue has a review article in it. The role includes liaising with authors; if somebody is interested in writing a review article for HILJ they might contact me and discuss whether their topic is within the scope of the journal and they type of review they plan to do. Sometimes people just submit without a discussion but there is usually some sort of liaison with authors, even if it’s just in terms of time scale. Then once review articles have been submitted, it’s my responsibility to find people to peer review that article. Based on what the peer reviewers have said, and my own reading of the article, I would then make a recommendation to the editor as to whether it should be accepted, needs revisions, or sometimes articles are rejected for example if they are outside of the scope of the journal. So it’s quite a lot of liaising with various people but it’s a really interesting thing to be involved in. It’s a good journal and a really good editorial team. I enjoy it as an external type of work.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m quite a music fan so I try and see as much live music as I can, I also really like the theatre, particularly the Sheffield theatres, we get a lot of good stuff on. I like a good film. I’m in a book group, probably quite stereotypically for a librarian?! The rest of the time I spend walking my dog. Do you have a hidden talent or party trick?
I managed to teach my dog how to do a high five which I was quite proud of. I can also whistle really loudly which is very useful for the aforementioned dog!
Anthea and Ringo
Thank you to Anthea for agreeing to be our first interviewee. Look out for interviews with the rest of the lovely IR team in the future!
This week, public libraries have been in the news and I have been reading the news with interest. Many of us working in Information Resources have come from a "traditional" library background and of course we are all passionate supporters of all that libraries have to offer, whether academic or public. This BBC News article discusses the challenges faced by libraries and also therefore librarians, and the Conversation have published this thought provoking article by our University of Sheffield colleague, Lecturer in Librarianship, Dr Briony Birdi who argues for the importance and continued support for public libraries, something I am sure we are all in favour of.