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Northumbria Conference on Performance Measurement

Pumpkin Patch Kid

Pumpkin Patch Kid by richard evea licensed under Creative Commons from:

Earlier this week I attended the Northumbria Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services. I have to confess to being a little skeptical that it was my ‘cup of tea’ but Chris Morrison, had suggested we submit a paper here, based on the Copyright Literacy Survey results.  I just decided to go for the day, so I only had a taste of what the conference was about, but I really enjoyed it. I also felt that it tied in a lot with work I’m doing at LSE to measure the impact of not just copyright training, but wider digital literacy programmes. I am currently trying to finalise the evaluation and impact study of the SADL Programme for LSE undergraduates. As well as traditional metrics and a survey, this year we collected a lot of data through interviews with our student ambassadors, Senior Ambassadors and with staff involved in the programme.

The conference emphasised the need to be able to demonstrate (in a measurable way) how you are making an impact, whether it’s teaching digital literacy or copyright, or your services. I can see myself following up many of the papers afterwards and browsing through the programme I spotted many papers on days I wasn’t at the conference that I would have loved to attend that focused on the tricky aspect of how you measure impact when it’s about learning.

This was the first time to talk publicly about the Copyright Literacy Survey, so exciting for Chris and I. We had over 600 librarians and related professionals complete the survey in the UK and we’ve found some really interesting comparisons with those in different sectors (academic, public, schools etc.) and with the other four countries that have supplied data so far (France, Croatia, Bulgaria and Turkey). Our slides are on Slideshare.

Some of the most interesting findings were contained in the qualitative data, which focused on what librarians want to know about copyright during their professional qualifications and for CPD. I’ve included our slides below, but I am fascinated about the ‘fear’ that copyright can bring about (amongst usually competent professionals!) and the way that we need to teach copyright in a positive way. I used the analogy that it was like feeding vegetables to children and the need to embed copyright in teaching, as I’ve tried to do in the TiDA programme. The LSE IMT Comms team have also suggested that we produced copyright fortune cookies to tie in with our launch of the new scanner / photocopiers at LSE. So little messages reminding you of copy ‘rights and wrongs’ hidden inside the cookie. I love it!

Teaching an online course: embedding digital copyright

Isle of Wight sunriseI’ve had a busy few weeks with my regular job, various Information Literacy Group tasks, copyright-related projects, and no less than three external events: APT in Greenwich, the CILIP Conference in Liverpool and a UnionLearn meeting where I spoke about IL. On top of this I have spent the last 6 weeks running an online course, Teaching in a Digital Age (TIDA). I followed the 23 Things for Libraries courses that ran several years ago at Cambridge and at Oxford. I wanted to launch one at that time at LSE for teaching staff, and so to get the opportunity to do this for my International Programmes secondment has been fascinating, a lot of fun and a real learning experience for me. I have over 20 students on the course from India, Malta, Malaysia and the UK. Every Monday and Friday I’ve been scheduling the new blog posts to go live and sending emails to gently encourage students to stay engaged. The most difficult part of the course, aside from the rather fast pace, has been keeping up with the students’ blogs! I wondered if they would take to blogging, but the vast majority really seem to have got stuck in! You can see all the students listed on the TIDA blogroll.

I have to say, the week I was most excited about was teaching them about Creative Commons and finding open educational resources, and to many of the teachers it seems to have been a real eye opener. And what a great way to demonstrate that understanding about copyright and licenses is a fundamental part of being a digital teacher. I’ve collected together some of the posts from the teachers on this topic below, as I think reading their reflections say a lot about how to teach copyright to academics – make it relevant, timely and straightforward, but most of all embed it in the course!

The course continues for another week – this week’s topic is managing information and getting organised exploring tools such as Dropbox, Evernote, Zotero and the concept of tagging.

TeenTech awards

Geoff Walton, Rebecca Jones and Darren Flynn at the TeenTech Awards 2015

Geoff Walton, Rebecca Jones and Darren Flynn at the TeenTech Awards 2015

On Monday I attended the TeenTech finals at the Royal Society to judge a new award launched this year as part of this exciting science, technology and innovation initiative open to all UK schools. TeenTech is led by Maggie Philbin, star of the popular BBC TV show from the 1980s Tomorrow’s World and we met back in January to discuss a report she had written on digital skills.

Through our discussions where I talked about the work I do at LSE and through my professional involvement in the CILIP Information Literacy Group, Maggie and I came up with the idea of a new TeenTech award to recognise the Research and Information Literacy skills of the students work, building on the idea of Isaac Newton that all good science is built by ‘standing on the shoulders of giants.’ I have read a lot recently about the digital skills gap and I think becoming overly focused on technical skills such as computer programming is only part of the story. It’s information literacy skills that are also needed to enable young people to be critical and discerning about the information they trust. And they need to understand about the ways to use and share information ethically to avoid plagiarism or infringing copyright.

I was one of four judges for the new TeenTech award and was joined by Dr Geoff Walton from Northumbria University, Dr Rebecca Jones, school librarian from Malvern St James and Darren Flynn another school librarian from Dixons Academy in Bradford. We had to review all 40 of the finalist projects and had 12 schools to visit on the day. It was a tough decision as this year schools had not yet benefited from much guidance from our group of the expectations. In the end we had a stand-out winner in the form of Birkdale School from Sheffield for their wearable technology project. I joined comedian Katy Brand on the stage to present the award to the students. You can read the full list of award winners here and we were joined at the awards by HRH the Duke of York and various celebrities such as Martha Lane Fox, Dr Christian Jenssen, James May and Caroline Criado-Perez. I really liked how many girls were through to the finals too and was really impressed with the team from Alton Convent School who won the People’s Choice award for their military medical shuttle.

I took away from the day that with a bit of guidance and encouragement its relatively easy to develop IL in project based work at school level, but it should become standard to expect students to list their sources from an early age. It was also clear that we still have a digital divide, not in technology but in access to high quality research. Two of the projects we spoke to mentioned they got access to journals only because they have a parent who worked at a  university who could give them access. That is unfair and I hope next year through a network of collaboration we can work to address that imbalance, so all the schools who participate in TeenTech might be able to get access to high quality resources to underpin their work.

I’m inspired by my day at the TeenTech awards and also hopeful for the future of UK science and technology. I am also so pleased that CILIP ILG and librarians are involved in such a fabulous initiative! And all hats off to Maggie for trying to make tomorrow’s world a better place.

Teaching in a Digital Age (TiDA) launched

Street art in Georgtown, PenangLate last year and early this year I was seconded to work in the LSE office of the University of London International Programmes team. I developed several new digital literacy workshops for them which I ran out in Singapore and Malaysia. However most of the time was spent working on developing a pilot online course for teachers.

I decided early on to base this on a 23 things model which I’d seen work at Cambridge University Library and at Oxford who ran a 23 Things for Research. There was also a very popular 23 Things for CPD and a 23 Things for Digital Humanities. My course is called Teaching in a Digital Age (TiDA) and it is being piloted over the next 7 weeks in 4 institutions- including LSE. I have around 20-25 students taking the course who are all teachers from Malaysia, Malta, India and London and it’s based on a blog. This week students have to set up their own blog, register it with us and write their first post. I’m really excited to see the blogs being set up and to read comments from all the students. Three of my colleagues in LTI have joined the course so it’s great to have their input! If you would like to follow what we are up to, then it’s all available on the blog, and as this is a pilot I’d be really grateful for any feedback!

Copyright – it’s all fun and games!

 Aside from dealing with the regular copyright queries that come in each week – I’ve been spending a lot of time analysing the data from the survey of over 600 UK library and related professionals. It’s mainly quantitative data so I’m glad Chris has better Excel literacy skills than me! Although I may be called upon for my statistical analysis skills as I’ve noticed the four countries who participated in phase one of the study carried out a Chi Squared test. I am reminded of the SPSS course I did as a PhD student! Or perhaps I will ask one of my Stats students on SADL to assist? We hope to have a report ready soon, there is a planned journal article and several conference papers including in July in Edinburgh at the Northumbria conference on performance management.

If you are looking to improve your understanding of copyright there are many courses you can take, great books to read, some fantastic blogs and of course the LIS-Copyseek list. However today I have a willing band of LSE staff (mainly from the library) signed up to play Copyright: the card game. Developed in association with Chris Morrison and Naomi Korn, the game was used earlier this year in sconul copyright training and got excellent feedback. I’ve tried to shorten it for today’s lunchtime session so I hope it works as well as before. I’ll be dividing them into teams and look forward to running it with Maria Bell. More soon!

Research, writing, working in teams and the joys of spring

tulipsI’ve been really lapse in blogging, mainly due to a lack of time and trying to juggle multiple projects at the moment and realised it’s been over a month since my last post.  I’ve got a few deadlines looming which have been keeping me busy including:

  • my final issue of the Journal of Information Literacy (JIL) before I hand over to the new editor, Emma Coonan;
  • the SADL project evaluation, which needs to be completed before the end of the term and a final event for LSE, UCL and other students involved in digital literacy projects, we are calling the London Digital Student Meet-up;
  • the launch of the online course ‘Teaching in the Digital Age’ I have been working on with the University of London International Programmes team at LSE and is scheduled to start on the 1st June;
  • analysing the copyright literacy survey data collected at the end of last year (and now accepted for two conference presentations);

I’ve also got to start judging around 14 TeenTech projects, which are eligible for the new Research and Information Literacy Award and I chair my first Information Literacy group meeting in a few weeks time.

One of the biggest motivations for me is working with other people – I find it easier to stay focused, to stick to deadlines, you can divide up work, play to your strengths and it’s much more fun.

Pretty much all of my projects involve working with other people, and being part of a team is really important with the Journal editorial work and the Information Literacy Group. It’s great to  have a group of inspiring colleagues around the country to call on to help out with projects – I think of them as my virtual team. In addition to this, recently Emma Coonan and I have been working together again a fair bit, not just on JIL, but preparing for two workshops – one this coming Friday at Cambridge librarians, on ‘librarians as researchers’. And another next Monday at University College Cork, where we are advising on the development of a new undergraduate course in research skills, digital literacy and academic writing. I’ve been working on analysing the data from the Copyright Literacy Survey, with Chris Morrison, and while I’ve enjoyed getting stuck into the qualitative data, Chris is a whiz with Excel. Meanwhile, Maria Bell and I continue to work on the SADL project together and we are collecting data from students on the programme this year, and about to start interviewing some of the academics and library staff who’ve been involved. And the event at UCL, I am working on with Moira Wright, who is UCL’s Digital Literacy Officer and I’m hoping our event is as much fun as the planning we’ve done so far!

When asked recently what aspect of my job I really disliked, I had to spend quite some time thinking about it – every day is different and having multiple projects and so many great people to work with is what inspires me. I also think May is my favourite month, when spring is in full bloom, summer just round the corner and there seems to be endless possibilities both in my garden and professionally!

CILIP Copyright Briefing 2015: a short report

Large copyright sign made of jigsaw puzzle pieces

Photo by Horia licensed under Creative commons

Today I attended the CILIP Copyright Executive Briefing and it is difficult to believe a year has passed since last year’s copyright briefing. A lot has happened in the last year, it’s never a quiet year in terms of copyright as Dr Ros Lyn, the Director of Copyright Enforcement from the IPO told us.

The event was chaired by Naomi Korn who is Chair of LACA, and it was a great opportunity to launch LACA and CILIP’s London Manifesto. The first speaker was Ros Lynch, Director, Copyright Enforcement, at the IPO. She spoke about how Hargreaves had been an attempt to re-balance the copyright regime and how the new exceptions brought in last year were useful for libraries and archives, in areas such as preservation, in widening the research exception to cover all categories of works. The IPO have also implemented the EU orphan works directive and introduced the Orphan Works Licensing Scheme. She was disappointed it was not being used in the sector as widely as expected and wondered if there was a difficulty in understanding what due diligence means. Ros spoke about about areas where the IPO could not deliver change for example not being able to make the 2039 legislative change. Overall the message was to the sector to engage with the IPO. She welcomed the London Manifesto as a step in the right direction and the IPO want to support balance and cross border exchange in the copyright regime.

Charles Oppenheim was the next speaker who examined some of last year’s changes to the law and the impact of library and information professionals. Charles discussed  5 changes to the law in terms of library exceptions and what they mean in practice. These included:

  1. Making of copies available on dedicated terminals – should we be replicating one patron getting access to one item? Or can two people get access at the same time. We discussed if we could be more permissive and whether  dedicated terminals  have to be in the library (Charles thought not) but can it be two people on different terminals having access? Could it be an ipad?
  2. He looked at changes to supplying copies to another library
  3. Copying of items for preserving the collection
  4. Making of single copies by librarians – where you no longer need a signature and charges are not compulsory. How many libraries are making copies for their patrons still? In some sectors this does still occurs.
  5. Making a single copy of an unpublished work can be made for a library of archive user. Applies to all media types


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