At last, some library content on the blog

Most of the posts on this blog have related to geocaching, but this one is going to have some library content.

Ithaka S+R recently released a report titled Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Chemists, which raises some interesting points. The study interviewed chemistry researchers and research support staff (including librarians) from across the UK. The goal of the report is to

inform research support professionals about the latest research methods, practices, and information services needs of academics chemists and how they have been changing, inspiring their aims to develop robust, relevant, innovative research support services.

I must say that the findings of the report match my experience as a Liaison/Research Librarian for chemistry. There is very little interaction between the academic staff and librarians, which I’ve come to accept. I run a training session for postgraduate students in how to use SciFinder, but that’s the extent of our formal training. Reflecting the report’s observation that most contact between chemistry researchers and librarians concerns the library’s collection, most of the queries I receive are requests for a new journal subscription or book order, or problems accessing online journal articles.

A few of the themes explored in the report were covered at the Research Support Community Day which I attended in Brisbane recently. These include research data management, changes in the way scholarly literature is accessed, and open access and new publishing models. Chemists recognise that they need help with these, but don’t realise that the library can help them. They value the library for its role in managing collections, but may not be aware of the services which are available to them. However, the report does note that libraries are finding it increasingly difficult to provide researcher-focused services, due to limited library budgets and staffing resources.

The three recommendations from the report are:

  • Chemists require better knowledge management infrastructure, systems, and training
  • Chemists require highly customizable and efficient current awareness services.
  • To navigate the complicated and in some cases apparently contradictory publication mandates from funders, institutions, and government, chemists require advisory services to support their research dissemination needs.

Suggested opportunities for libraries and other research support service providers to develop new services for researchers are then discussed. All in all the report provides some food for thought, and suggests services that the library could provide which would be appreciated by chemistry researchers.

Geotrek 2013

On Sunday we attended the first Geotrek event in our area, and had a great time. I’ve put together a story on Storify about it, which captures our tweets from along the way. The trek certainly took us further afield than we thought it would, and we added some of the places we visited to our “to-do” list. To top it all off, we won a prize, which I’m still to collect. A fun day for the whole family, and we’d certainly do it again.

My Information Online presentation – now on SlideShare

Today I got around to uploading my presentation from Information Online to SlideShare. I had to remove the “Benny Hill” theme from it, as I only had permission to use it for the conference, not for publishing online.

If you only want to watch the video (again, without a soundtrack), I’ve put it on YouTube. Because it’s such a major spoiler for geocachers looking for the cache, it’s only available through the link, it’s not publicly visible. I might change this in the future, though.

Information Online accompanying post

This post includes some more information and hints and tips about geocaching that I didn’t have time to include in my presentation at Information Online in Brisbane.

Firstly, some hint and tips for hiding a cache. If you are thinking of listing a geocache on geocaching.com, you MUST read the guidelines for placing a cache first. Then read them again. And then once more. Once you have a good understanding of what is allowed, make sure that your cache meets the guidelines. Each cache submission is reviewed by a volunteer reviewer, and if they feel that your cache breaches the guidelines, it won’t be published until it complies.

One of the most important guidelines concerns getting adequate permission from the landowner before placing a cache. If you are hiding a cache in your library, put a note on the cache page indicating that the cache was placed with the library’s permission. Even some public land, e.g. National Parks in NSW, require formal written permission to be obtained prior to placing the cache.

Another point to keep in mind is to make your cache container as large as possible. If you’re setting up a multi- or puzzle cache which requires cachers to gather information from several locations, it’s nice to reward them with a reasonably-sized container. Families with kids are particularly attracted to larger caches as there is usually some “swag” in there for the kids to look at and swap.

A recent development on the geocaching.com website has been the introduction of Favorite points. Under this system, cachers can assign Favorite points to caches that they loved finding. These points act as a way of encouraging visits to your cache, because caches with lots of Favorite points are obviously seen as something special by cachers. Hiding a creative cache is a good way to attract Favorite points, either by using a creatively designed container, or by taking the finders on an interesting journey as part of the cache experience. Check out the Creative Cache Containers Flickr group for some inspiration when designing a container.

If you wanted to find out more about geocaching in your local area, there are several geocaching organisations around Australia, such as those listed below:

I hope that this post has given you a bit more of an idea of how to go about hiding a cache in your library. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to contact me via email (andrew@geocachinglibrarian.com.nospam – remove the “nospam”) or Twitter.

 

Research Support Community Day

Today I attended the Research Support Community Day, which was held as a pre-conference event to Information Online. The program promised a day full of interesting presentations, and it didn’t disappoint. I’ll give a brief overview of each of the sessions, and if you want to see the conversation on Twitter, the hash tag was #RSCday.

The first presenter was Mary Anne Kennan from CSU, who discussed the skills that librarians need in order to effectively support researchers at their institution. She and her colleagues conducted a survey of librarians in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the UK to determine where the skills gaps were, and also the services which were currently provided to researchers by libraries. The main skills gaps which were identified were around bibliometrics and research data management (RDM). Respondents indicated that most of their training in these areas happens on the job, and Mary Anne mentioned that as an LIS educator, she is interested in the need to merge the “education” which takes place in LIS courses with “training” done in the workplace. Her survey results also show that bibliometrics training/literacy is done by nearly 80% of Australian academic libraries, training in using the h-index by nearly 70%, and preparing citation reports by nearly 60%. There is currently less RDM support than bibliometrics support by Australian libraries, but there are many more activities planned to increase libraries’ activity in support for RDM than bibliometrics. There were some common constraints which are limiting library support for both bibliometrics and RDM support: staff knowledge and skills, staff confidence, and differing demand between disciplines. Mary Anne also provided an overview of a data management unit which was offered by CSU for the first time at the end of last year. The feedback on this was mixed.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

The next presenter was Josipa Crnic from Deakin University Library, who looked at the role that social media plays in the professional lives of researchers. She summarised the findings of several reports which examined this issue. Some of these were:

– occasional use of these tools is common, intensive use is rare

– researchers use more than one tool

– the age of the researchers did not predict the level of uptake of social media. Gen Y researchers were cautious of these tools, and wanted to see evidence that they provided a benefit before using them.

Several handbooks and guides to social media for researchers have been created.

One of the roles of librarians in this space is to promote the permanence of institutional repositories – social media sites that allow researchers to upload their publications may not always exist, but repositories will always be there.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

Next up was Pat Loria from University of Southern Queensland, who talked about “Research Impacts beyond Metrics and Altmetrics”. Journal-level and researcher-level metrics have been around for a while now, but article-level metrics are the cutting edge measurement, with new tools to support them. USQ have developed the NCP (Normalised Citations per Paper), which is based on Scopus RDCP and evens out the playing field between disciplines. He showed the Altmetrics bookmarklet and how it can be integrated into article webpages. Pat also mentioned similar article-level metrics, such as impactstory.org (which can measure the impact of datasets), and the paid service plumanalytics.com, which covers a range of research outputs. Pat’s dream is to develop an Impact Management System, which brings together all the disparate impact measurement data into one place.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

The next speaker was Rebecca Parker from Swinburne University of Technology, who discussed recent advances in Open Access (OA). She began with an explanation of the different flavours of OA (green, gold and hybrid). One thing Rebecca mentioned was that discussions around OA are a good way to engage with researchers and explain the other research support service that the library offers. She presented some statistics that showed that even in disciplines where OA is widely accepted, not even 50% of publications are published in OA journals. The recent OA mandates announced by the two major Australian research funding bodies (NHMRC and ARC) were discussed. With institutional repositories set up to support ERA, libraries are well-positioned to deal with these. These repositories were probably the first library support for researchers offered recently. Being involved in a repository provided exposure to many of the skills which were outlined in the “Reskilling for Research” report from RLUK which was mentioned by several of the presenters. These included knowledge of local research interests, advising on preservation of outputs, impact factors, author rights/IP/copyright/plagiarism, metadata, and funding mandates.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

Susan Robbins from UWS library spoke next, and her topic was data management. She outlined the UWS experience in completing several ANDS-funded projects relating to data management. Her main messages were:

– being involved in data management helps the library develop proper working relationships with groups across campus

– there needs to be collaboration with stakeholders at all levels, including all library staff

– a culture change, driven by education and communication, needs to take place to allow full implementation.

The roadblocks that were encountered included low initial stakeholder engagement, and issues around ethics approval. Engagement was improved by appealing to researcher’s vanity. There are several triggers in the grant application process at UWS which allow the library to be involved in the data management process.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

The final session was a panel session, with several librarians outlining the support services offered to HDRs and ECRs at their institution. The approaches differed, but they were all aligned with the needs of the clients and the strategic direction of the institution.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

All in all it was a very interesting day, with quite a bit of food for thought.

 

Made it to Brisbane

Well, I’ve arrived in Brisbane for Information Online. I checked in to my accommodation at about 3:30pm, then went for a walk to Southbank to get my bearings. I’m attending a Research Support Community Day at Griffith University tomorrow, and the three days after that will be spent at Online.

It’s been five years since I was last in Brisbane, and I still had a rough idea of how to get around. I had dinner at a restaurant in Southbank (with a local water dragon for company), then I took the ferry back to my apartment.

I’m looking forward to the next few days – it will be tiring but interesting at the same time.

The end of a fantastic year

For the last twelve months I’ve been lucky enough to take two days a week off as parental leave to look after our two sons. Today was the last day that both of the boys were with me – our eldest will be at pre-school tomorrow. We had a fun day out at Bicentennial Park at Homebush Bay. The boys enjoyed playing in the two playgrounds, and we climbed the Treillage Tower for a view of the park. I was very impressed that our two year old climbed up all the steps himself (the tower is three storeys tall).

The boys at the Treillage Tower, Bicentennial Park

The boys at the Treillage Tower, Bicentennial Park

Waiting for morning tea

Waiting for morning tea

Fun at one of the playgrounds in Bicentennial Park.

Fun at one of the playgrounds in Bicentennial Park.

After our morning at the park, the boys wanted fried rice for lunch, so we headed to a shopping centre food court for that. There’s a play area at the shopping centre, so they had another play there. It was a busy day, but a nice way to end what has been a great year. I feel very lucky to have been able to spend this time with the boys, and I think they’ve enjoyed it too.

A new look for the blog

I’ve decided to make a change to the blog. I’ve moved to WordPress as my platform, and I’ve also now got my own domain (http://www.geocachinglibrarian.com). I’ll leave the old blog up, but all new posts will be coming from here.I’ve also got a new Twitter account (@GeocachingLibn) which will have all the posts fed to it.

It took a while to get it all set up, but I’m happy wiht it now. My next step is to come up with a look and feel for the blog, including a logo of some sort. The catalyst for all this change is my upcoming presentation at Information Online. I’d like it to be the launch of my new online identity, as well as a great presentation, so I thought I’d jump in and give this web site thing a go.

There will still be posts on a range of topics, but I feel like it’s a bit more united or professional to have my own website. And it’s fun to have a play with, too!