L&LR staff blog

Sharing information about our work at the University.

Spot the difference: RSP event in Sheffield

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Sheffield Cathedral - DSC_0939The entire e-resources and repository team went en masse to the latest Repositories Support Project event, “Doing it differently“, which was held in Sheffield Cathedral on the 27th of October 2010: “to hear about alternative approaches to repository-like functions, open access and the general field of improving research communications“.

Some quick points from the notes I took on the day:

  • [I think it was] Stephanie Taylor of UKOLN [who] made a good point in her presentation about the ‘forgotten’ people in libraries, who ought naturally to be interested in the content held in repositories, but who are rarely included in discussions: inter-library loans staff being an obvious example, with the repo. as source of material to reduce the burden on document supply.
  • Our own repository was mentioned in Richard Davis (ULCC)’s examples of SNEEP plugins used ‘in the wild’ – it’s good to think that some of the features of the Lincoln Repository (crafted over in the LIROLEM project that gave it its genesis) are still worthy of being held up as examples.
  • Stephanie Meece’s demo of the University of the Arts’ repository was enlightening; it gave considered and coherent explanation of some of the low-level culture-clash conversations that we’ve had with our own Art & Design academic staff. It was worth it, too, to hear about the Kultur Consortium and the potential there for mutual support and development of repositories capable of meeting the needs of the Arts.
  • Joss Winn was also there, bringing the University of Lincoln contingent to five! Joss gave a talk on using RSS to grease the wheels of scholarly writing and publishing, which has an accompanying blog post.
  • Also exciting to see the direction Mendeley is taking [slides], with the potential (in the new year) for new features (“Library Groups”) to support library e-journals admininstration and subscription analysis.

We also took the opportunity (as four of the five committee members were in the room) to conduct an informal, stand-up UKCoRR meeting over lunch, at which we laid the groundwork for the next UKCoRR AGM, which will hopefully take place toward the end of February 2011.

Slides and handouts from the day are on the RSP’s website.

Bring it on home, Jerome

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Our blue-skies library ‘un-project’ (which is still codenamed Jerome) took a significant step forward this week, as Nick Jackson has described on the Jerome blog. Thanks to some clever Horizon-wrangling code (courtesy of Dave Pattern at the University of Huddersfield), Jerome will soon provide searchable access to the whole library catalogue of the University of Lincoln ~ some 300,000 bibliographic records.

Then, hopefully, things will start to get interesting:

Our own catalogue MARC records aren’t the only sources of data that we’re throwing Jerome’s way. We’re also going to tell it to pull records from the Lincoln Repository, through the OAI-PMH* metadata-harvesting protocol. And, via the JournalTOCs API, we can give Jerome access to RSS feeds of the tables of contents for many of our full-text subscription and open access electronic journals. For all resources, we’ll then take a look at what open data and record-enrichment (e.g. book cover images) we can grab from elsewhere on the Web to bolster search results.

Hey presto: cross-collection metasearch; cheap and quick. This cross-collection search will be made available through a dedicated Jerome portal, a search API, and an iPad app.

Diagram of Jerome data inputs

Details of the Jerome API (***still very, very much in development***) are at: http://jerome.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/api/

Also worth reading is Nick’s explanation about what we’ll do with these aggregated search results, once they’re in our clutches:

“Finally, our big new announcement for the next Really Cool And Epically Awesome bit of Jerome: the somewhat boringly named Relevancy Engine. This is something we’ve been toying with the notion of for a while, but we’ve finally worked out how to do it and how it fits into the big plan. In short, it will do its best to make sure that what you get at the top of your search results is exactly what you’re looking for. It takes variables such as the books you’ve borrowed in the past, how long they’ve been out for, which course you’re doing, what year you’re in, borrowing habits of others on your course, past borrowing trends, your physical location, how many books you currently have out, the time of day and even the weather (who wants to walk to the library when it’s raining?) and uses them to subtly adjust which resources we present to you at any given moment. If the library is closed, ebooks will drift up your search results. Everybody on your course borrowing a specific book? It’s a fair bet that’s what you want, even if there are more specific title matches for your search. Postgraduate student? You’re probably more interested in journals than a fresher. These variables wil all be taken into account along with our search weighting (how ‘close’ a given item is to what you searched for ) when we work out the search rankings.”

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*OAI-PMH = the “Open Archives Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting“. No, really.

The great RefWorks Group Code red herring

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Red herring @ Lowestoft, SuffolkWe’re getting another spate of queries across the desk, and sent to RefWorks@lincoln.ac.uk, from students who are confused (understandably) about the procedure for logging in to RefWorks or Write-N-Cite when presented with an unhelpful and baffling ‘RefWorks login center‘ screen asking for a ‘Group Code’.

That ‘Group Code’ is a red herring. We don’t use a Group Code for RefWorks at the University of Lincoln.

So, how do you log in to RefWorks / WnC from this screen? Here’s a step-by-step guide… (N.B. these steps assume that you haven’t logged into RefWorks this way before. If you’ve already followed this procedure in the past from your current computer, you’ll probably find you can skip some of the stages.)

  1. Step one: within the ‘RefWorks login center’ screen, look below the ‘Group Code’ box and click on the link to ‘Athens users’. (If you can’t see that link, then WnC has probably been incorrectly installed on your home computer. Try un-installing it, then re-install from this link – making sure you choose the correct version of WnC for your operating system and version of MS Office.)
    Screenshot of the RefWorks login center
  2. Step two: you will be directed to a ‘RefWorks Athens Authentication Point’ screen – look below the main Athens username & password box, and click on ‘Alternative login’.
    Screenshot of the RefWorks Athens Authentication Point
  3. Step three: you will be taken to an Athens ‘Find your organisation’ screen. You should be able to use this screen to search for the University of Lincoln, and click on the resulting link.
    Screenshot of the Athens find your organisation screen
  4. Step four: click on the link to ‘Go to the University of Lincoln login page’, and – if you are off campus – enter your University network\accountID and password.
    Screenshot of the Athens go to the University of Lincoln login page

That’s it! if you follow those four steps, you should be correctly logged into Write-N-Cite, or into RefWorks itself (you’ll often have to follow this login process when you’re importing search results into RefWorks from other databases or search engines on the open web).

If you’re totally new to Write-N-Cite and can’t even find it on the University desktop (it’s a little well-hidden, we know!!!), here’s a link to even more step-by-step instructions, plus a video to help you get started.

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November 3rd, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Algebra, Boole, Computers, Display

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There’s a small book display on the ground floor of the GCW University Library to mark the end of Boolefest (“a celebration of the life of George Boole“), a week-long arts and sciences festival which has been organised by Dave Kenyon in the Faculty of Media, Humanities & Technology.

Photograph of the Boolefest book display in the GCW

It consists of:

Logo of the Boolefest arts and sciences festivalGeorge Boole was born the son of a cobbler in the centre of the city of Lincoln almost 200 years ago, on November 2nd 1815.  Despite having no advanced formal education, he became an internationally acclaimed mathematics professor who developed the theory of binary logic which underpins all our modern technology; from medicine to music via communications and all points between.

Innovating technology in the Library

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Innovation by Vermin Inc on FlickrI recently chaired the first meeting of a new ‘Library Innovation Group’ for the University.

Here are its terms of reference.

We’re hoping that this new group will be a bit more lively than its predecessor (which had got a bit stale and reactive through overfamiliarity, and which wasn’t very accountable to users or even to other Library staff).

We’re intending, rather than receiving long, dry reports from the various Library systems projects, to use the meetings of the new group to brainstorm problems that are affecting our users, to propose solutions and kickstart development and corrective work, and to keep abreast of the changing technological base of the University. We’ll also blog the activities of the group, which is something that didn’t really happen in the past.

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November 2nd, 2010 at 11:26 am

EMALINK workshop on next-gen OPACs in L’boro

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I’m going to be giving a presentation, along with my colleague Mr Leach, about our Jerome library ‘un-project’, at the next EMALINK (East Midlands Library Information Network) workshop in the Pilkington Library at Loughborough University, on Wednesday, 24 November 2010.

EMALINK Workshop
Joint Lincoln University Library/ Loughborough University Library event

The next generation OPACs

Lab 5
Department of Information Science
Loughborough University Library Building
Wednesday 24th November 2010
2.00pm – 4.00pm (light refreshments available from 1.30 p.m.)

Presented and led by:

  • Jeff Brown, Head of Collection Management, Loughborough University
  • Jason Cooper, Systems Analyst/ Programmer, Loughborough University
  • Chris Leach, Systems Librarian, Lincoln University
  • Paul Stainthorp, Electronic Resources Librarian,  Lincoln University

University libraries across the globe are looking to develop their OPACs. Much potential exists to give users access to a greater range of information in a quicker and more effective way. There will be two short presentations followed by group discussions around the topic which will provide plenty of opportunity to share and compare practices in our different institutions.

This workshop will look to:

  • explore how the Next Generation OPACs will enhance and improve integrated access to resources
  • take forward discussion which will include key criteria in selecting a system and the benefits that can be expected

Presentations

Loughborough University: overview of recent investigation of the current resource discovery tools that are available. This will be followed by a presentation about Loughborough’s experiences of the open source VuFind resource portal.

Lincoln University: outline of  Jerome: a Library ‘un-Project’ which is about experimenting with ways of exposing bibliographic data (catalogue, link resolver, institutional repository), to a custom search engine (using free and open source software) to allow users to search across all library resources in lightning-fast time.

The seminar is aimed at Library staff responsible for developing electronic resource discovery tools and also those with an interest in their use.

Light refreshments will be available from 1.30pm. There are three places per EMALINK institution. Contact your EMALINK representative to book a place by 13th November 2010.

A cake for Open Access week

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I baked this chocolate cake to mark Open Access week 2010, and to celebrate (belatedly) our passing 2,000 items on the Lincoln Repository. It was enjoyed over coffee in the Enterprise@Lincoln café, by colleagues from C.E.R.D., the Library, and the University Research Office, all of whom have been instrumental in making a success of our Repo.

OA cake 1

(I did have some help with decorating it, and with creating the OA logo in white icing…)

We actually reached the 2,000-item mark on the Repository at the end of July 2010, so this cake’s been a while in the baking. On the Lincoln Academic Commons website, Joss Winn has discussed some of the stages in the development of the Repository that led to its doubling in size in only six months – including, in no small part, “the work of Rosaline, Bev and Jill in the Library, who are tireless advocates for the repository among academic staff”.

ROAR Repository growth chart for the University of Lincoln

(Image created by ROAR, The Registry of Open Access Repositories.)

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Lincoln Open Access chocolate cake

Creative Commons Licence
The following recipe can be re-used, adapted and shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Ingredients (metric equivalents are approximate):

  • 4 oz (100 g) dark chocolate
  • 5 oz (140 g) sugar
  • 5 oz (140 g) margarine
  • 10 oz (280 g) self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ pint (140 ml) milk, warmed
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Method:

  1. Grease two 7″ sandwich tins and line with greased baking parchment
  2. Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (180°C; 350°F)
  3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water
  4. Cream the sugar and margarine together in a bowl
  5. Beat in the golden syrup, the melted chocolate, and the egg
  6. Dissolve the bicarb. of soda in the milk
  7. Slowly blend the flour and milk into the mixture, bit by bit
  8. Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins
  9. Bake for at least 45 mins on a shelf near the top of the oven
  10. When cool, decorate with dark and white chocolate icing.

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The University of Lincoln Repository exists for the permanent deposit of research and conference papers, e-theses, outstanding student projects and teaching and learning materials produced by our community of staff and students.

Links:

Click here for more information about the Lincoln Repository and here for PDF help guides.

Open Access week is “a global event, now [2010] in its 4th year, promoting Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research“. It’s not all about cake.

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October 18th, 2010 at 11:28 am

Understanding Google Apps – staff training course

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I’m about to launch (along with Joss Winn and David Young) into a series of training sessions for University of Lincoln staff, entitled:

Understanding Google Apps

Straightforward online collaborative tools for researchers

90 mins (+ optional 30 min ‘surgery’)

This training workshop will introduce you to some of Google’s collaborative applications that may be useful in your research and teaching. Many of them replicate familiar applications that you already use on your PC, such as word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentations and calendars. All of Google’s applications are used through a web browser and can therefore be accessed from any computer.

In addition, the applications have a number of collaborative features which makes working with others quite easy.

Signing Up: Prior to attending this session, please can you ensure that you have signed up for a Google account. This is simple to do. Click here and complete the form. In the workshop, we will assume that you have a Google account but have little experience with the following collaborative applications:

  1. Google documents (documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and drawings)
  2. Google calendar
  3. Google groups

Full details in this Google document!

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October 13th, 2010 at 11:31 am

Jings: RefWorks

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For more than a year, I’ve been meaning to resurrect my website of tips & tricks for reference management. I finally got around to doing so today, with a new video tutorial about sending references to a RefWorks account from the University of Lincoln Repository.

You can see it at – http://refworks.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/

Screenshot of the RefWorks tips and tricks blog

Last July, inspired by my colleague (CERD Technology Officer) Joss Winn‘s collection of Google Search Tutorials, I began creating my own screencast videos, with the intention that they would “build up over time into a collection of useful video tutorials to help [people] use RefWorks personal bibliographic management software“.

I still think there’s real potential in creating short, single-issue video tutorials, published in blog form, to address RefWorks / bibliography management FAQs. So I’m now going to attempt to keep on top of it and add a new video every week. I’m creating the screencasts using TechSmith Jing software, and the site itself is running on WordPress (on the University of Lincoln’s own blogs service, at: blogs.lincoln.ac.uk).

Jing (and the associated screencast.com website) makes it reasonably easy to create screencasts with audio, and to embed them in any web page (including a WordPress blog post)…

…and you might assume that six or seven years of presenting live radio would make easy for me to knock off professional-sounding voiceovers straight into a headset mic. Yes; you might very well assume that.

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October 12th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Why I’m giving up on Facebook (again)

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I’ve suspended my Facebook account because I’ve been finding it increasingly (a) difficult to keep on top of its ever-changing privacy settings; (b) redundant: I get far better mileage from Twitter et al.; and (c) an irritating intrusion instead of a pleasure.

These messages—which I saw when I tried to deactivate my account—only confirmed that I’m right to switch off (click on the image for a bigger view).

Facebook screenshot: all my friends will miss me, apparently

I know it’s a ‘joke’, but emotional blackmail from a social networking website, I don’t need.

I’ve set myself a calendar reminder: if I’ve not felt the need to reinstate my account by this time next year (i.e. 12 October 2011), I’m going to set about deleting my Facebook presence completely and permanently.

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October 12th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

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