Thursday, 31 March 2016

Public libraries in the news

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.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

HEA Health and Social Care conference 2016- an information specialists' view!

Claire Beecroft
Helen Buckley-Woods
Information Resources' Claire Beecroft attended and presented at the HEA's Health and Social Care conference 2016 with fellow IR Information Specialist Helen Buckley Woods. In this video post Claire talks about her session and day 2 of the conference.

HEA Health And Social Care Conference Report from Claire Beecroft on Vimeo.

Monday, 21 March 2016

LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

Suzannah Bridge
Rachel Walker

Suzannah Bridge and Rachel Walker are the newest members of the IR team - you’ll find them working on the Information Desk in the ScHARR Library. They both have a background in libraries, but neither of them had worked in a library supporting health research before and they have found that there is plenty to learn! Here Suzannah writes about taking part in the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC.

Shortly after Rachel and I started working at ScHARR LIHNN began a pilot of a literature searching MOOC aimed at health librarians. As literature searching in a health context was new to both of us we jumped at the opportunity to learn, and supplement the training that our colleagues Mark and Naila had given us.

The MOOC covers six aspects of literature searching, spread across as many weeks; Ask, Scope, Search, Refine, Summarise and Evaluate. The MOOC is primarily aimed at librarians working within NHS England, but the vast majority of the content is useful to anyone with an interest in literature searching. The first four weeks broke down the literature searching process, covering things such as the PICO framework, the levels of evidence pyramid, how and where to find synonyms, using thesaurus terms, and search filters. The final two weeks of the MOOC were more directly aimed at those working within NHS England, and although interesting were somewhat less relevant to us.

Screenshot of the MOOC

Here's Rachel's experience of the MOOC:
I heard about the LIHNN literature searching MOOC through my colleagues at ScHARR. As a new member of staff in the ScHARR Library, I was keen to get an insight into how to carry out a health related literature search which would enable me to support my colleagues and students. The MOOC was an excellent introduction to literature searching and gave me a good overview of how to carry out a health related literature search. The advice on identifying search terms and synonyms, and selecting the most relevant resources to carry out a search was very useful. I am looking forward to putting these new skills into practise.

Rachel started (and finished!) the MOOC before me, and after hearing her positive reviews I decided to give it a go. Aside from the obvious benefits of learning about literature searching in health, I’ve also found the MOOC interesting from the perspective of an LIS professional; looking not just what the MOOC is teaching, but how this teaching is being delivered.

A few weeks ago I attended an NLPN Digital Skills event where one of the developers of the MOOC, Michelle Maden, spoke. Having participated in the MOOC it was really interesting to hear about it from the perspective of a developer/instructor on the course. Michelle reported that a number of the MOOC participants were LIS professionals who already had these skills themselves, but were looking to the MOOC for ideas about how to train others.

For anyone who is looking to develop online training, particularly on a larger scale, Michelle had several tips:
  • Find out what your potential audience/users need before developing any training or deciding on a platform
  • Make sure you use a range of teaching methods to cater for various learning styles
  • Ensure the content is interactive to keep learners engaged
These are observations that I hope will come in useful soon as we look to update IRIS, the online information skills training we offer to ScHARR students.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

App Swap at The University of Cambridge

Andy Tattersall
 I've run several App Swap Breakfasts at the University of Sheffield and had the opportunity to run one for librarians at The University of Cambridge earlier this week as part of their on-going professional development programme. App Swap Breakfasts began life at The University of Brighton and instantly caught my eye as a great way to share good practice with mobile devices but also highlight useful apps that peers might be missing.

I gave the presentation to about 16 librarians from across the various campuses and started by talking about some of the really useful peripherals you can buy for your mobile device. These included my Lightning to VGA connector (I have a HDMI one too), my X Mini speakers, and the tripod stand for holding your tablet device straight and give you a free hand. It was a good opportunity to discuss the issues around having apps and was interesting to find out that more than half of those in attendance didn't have a tablet device - thankfully I had a second one for them to look at with some of my featured apps installed on it.
I gave the presentation below on 20 featured apps which focused on pure library apps, ones for communications and productivity as well as those to help with teaching and research. It was good to showcase the likes of Ad
obe Voice and Haiku Deck as well as Explain Everything for screen capture and Hootsuite for Twitter curation. The full list and presentation are below. I also met with an ex Sheffield colleague afterwards and was given a short personal tour of the campus and city which as you'd imagine was really nice. It was interesting to find out that Cambridge has no less than 114 libraries and that until recent times new starters had to sign a charter to say they would live within five miles of the university.

It was a long round trip of about eight hours, but well worth it to visit such an impressive campus and deliver a workshop around apps, even though there was no breakfast. You can see which 20 apps I chose to showcase in my Haiku Deck below.

Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Yet more from the Information Resources Academic Development Group

Louise Preston
Within our team in Information Resources, we have a wealth of experience and a real diversity in skills and knowledge. Everyone, in every workplace wishes they had more time for professional development, and within Information Resources, we carve out an hour, every six weeks, to get together to talk about our work and focus on our development, as part of our Information Resources Academic Development Group (IRADG). Louise Preston looks at what's happening in the IRADG.

I last blogged about the IRADG back at the end of 2014 and the group had a small hiatus whilst I was on maternity leave.

However we are back and stronger than ever (or something like that!). We rotate our meeting topics, as we are such a diverse group, with alternate meetings focusing on searching and the interim meetings focusing on teaching and research respectively. This allows us to address the needs of everyone in the group, whilst acknowledging that the vast majority of us got into the role through information science and librarianship roles.

It has been really useful having Mark and Naila, as newer members of Information Resources at the meeting, as they bring knowledge and expertise from their previous roles that add to our experience.

So far in 2016, we have spent some time grappling with the advanced capabilities of Endnote (as we have relatively recently moved to Endnote from Reference Manager) and spent time discussing the development of teaching and training materials for online learning, and the pedagogical differences between face to face learning and online learning….and it’s only the start of March!

In our next session we are planning to discuss the following paper about the role of stakeholders in systematic reviews Recording and Accounting for Stakeholder Involvement in Systematic Reviews.

Information Resources, despite being a small team, always provides a team member to participate in the “Gone in 60 Seconds” slot, as part of our larger section meetings, with our colleagues in Health Economics and Decision Science – this month Angie Rees is going to talk about the ScHARR Health Utilities Database. This ensures that the work we do gets regularly shared with our colleagues in ScHARR.

Our future plans include a session on development of models and searching to populate these, from our very own Suzy Paisley and a catch up on all the conferences and seminars we have been attending and presenting at in 2016.

So as you can see, as well as focusing on our day to day jobs, we all enjoy taking the opportunity to get together and learn from one another!