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HE Libraries in South Africa

Simon PBralee9 December 2019

Three Librarians from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits) gave a talk to UCL Library Services staff on the Higher Education sector in South Africa.

Salome Potgieter, Kedibone Ivory Moagi and Devind Donald Peter came to UCL in November 2019 following a visit of a delegation led by the Vice-Provost (Global Engagement) in 2018. The talk was an opportunity for them to share their experiences and learn from UCL Library staff about practical projects that could take the Library and the Wits user community forward.

Higher Education in South Africa

There are 26 universities in South Africa, split into Traditional Universities, Comprehensive Universities (vocational) and Universities of Technology. It is a massive sector with a student population of around million (compared to 2.3 million in the UK). Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, the student population has doubled. The number of black students has grown to more than 80% of the student body and women represent approximately 55% of enrolments.

The sector faces challenges including escalating costs, a Fees Must Fall campaign and calls to decolonise education and remove symbols of the apartheid past.

Wits University

The University of the Witwatersrand is called Wits for short (pronounced Vits) and students are called Witsies. It is one of the oldest universities in South Africa, founded in 1896 and given university status in 1922. There are five faculties spread over three campuses. It is one of the best universities in Africa, ranked first in Africa (Academic Rankings of  World Universities 2018) and in the top 400 universities in the world. There are around 38,000 students in total with 17% postgraduate level.

Wits is focused on research impact. It competes globally and acts locally. One area they explore this is in the Tshimologong (“New Beginnings”) Techknowledgy Factory which is often described as South Africa’s Silicon Valley. Wits supports #4IRSA – the Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa – an initiative developing the country’s digital technology sector through collaboration between academics, industry and government. A notable project was the “Brainternet” project, which streamed brainwaves onto the internet. Researchers from the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre also developed the first successful liver transplant from a mother living with HIV to her critically ill HIV negative child. Both mother and child survived and thrived. Open Access research is held on Wired Space online repository.

Witsies have the Wits Edge. There are many notable alumni, including several Nobel laureates one of whom was Nelson Mandela. It also home to Bidvest Wits Football Club – the Clever Boys- one of South Africa’s finest football teams.

Wits Libraries

Like UCL, Wits operates on a decentralised model. There are 11 libraries over three main campuses. The Wartenweiler Main Library and William Cullen Library are housed on East Campus along with the Architecture Library, Biophy Library and GeoMaths Library; Commerce, Engineering, Law Libraries are housed on West Campus; and the Management Library, Wits Health Science Library and Education Library are housed on the Parktown Campus.

There are many similarities between us and Wits. They receive over 2,500,000 visits per year (compared to an estimated 5 million at UCL in 2019-2020). Like most universities they find that users are using more online resources and they have noticed a decrease in the use of physical book stock.

The service is currently undertaking a Library Skills audit and are exploring systems to support this such as LibGuides. Currently some courses like Health Sciences and Commerce, Law & Management have Information Literacy embedded in the curriculum. Info-lit is also part of the “Road to Success Program” for first year Engineering & the Built Environment undergrads.

Alongside this, the Library team are involved in a Reimagining of Library Spaces project which aims to improve the user experience with digital technologies. As part of this process, Wits Library have created a new Learning and Innovation Centre, which is open 24 hours. The space will enable face-to-face engagement with groups of academics, researchers and students with flexibility to turn into a space for independent individual or group work. They have also created a Focus Room which includes Kapp boards (digital flipcharts), Video recording equipment and Nintendo switch, Xbox and PS4 consoles and on top of the usual laptops and large screens.

The library receive feedback from their users through the normal channels including liaison committees. They also use Facebook and Twitter to engage with their users.

Wits Talk

Salome Potgieter, Kedibone Ivory Moagi and Devind Donald Peter

For more information, please read the slideshow from the talk.

UCL 2034 Progress Report

Benjamin G MMeunier4 December 2019

UCL has published the Progress Report 2019, highlighting some of UCL’s key achievements and steps towards realising the vision set out in UCL 2034. Highlights in this year’s report start with a Library Services initiative, the UCL Open megajournal as an example of academic leadership. You can see the review on the 2034 website at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/2034/progress-report-2019

Here’s a summary:

Principal Themes 

  1. Academic Leadership
    UCL Open’s Megajournal – The Constitution Unit’s role in a think-tank for Northern Ireland – Forming closer ties with the European Space Agency
  2. Integration of Research and Education
    Posters in Parliament – UCL’s 1000th Arena Fellow – the Bloomsbury Theatre and Performance Lab
  3. Addressing Global Challenges
    Antiretroviral treatment preventing the transmission of HIV – Developing a legal tool to protect refugees’ rights – Helping an indigenous community restore parts of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
  4. Accessible and Publicly Engaged
    Public art at UCL – Growing community-university partnerships in East London – Building robots inspired by nature
  5. London’s Global University
    Working with Camden to drive innovation and social change – planning approval granted for new UK Dementia Institute – “Cosmic Coffee”
  6. Delivering Global Impact
    The RELIEF centre working to better integrate the forcibly displaced – Tackling chronic pain in children – Biogas project awarded Horizon 2020 funding

    Key Enablers

    1. Best Student Support – the Accommodation team’s Welcome programme
    2. Valuing our Staff – Welcome to UCL programme for onboarding new staff
    3. Financing our ambitions – an update from the It’s All Academic campaign
    4. Excellent systems – new UCL Staff Intranet
    5. Sustainable estate – Transforming the IOE
    6. Communicating and engaging – the #MadeatUCL campaign

HE Libraries in South Africa

Simon PBralee15 November 2019

You are invited to a talk presented by senior librarians from South Africa on:

The higher education landscape in South Africa, Wits University and the Wits Library

on Monday 18th November, 14:00 – 16:00 in Room 106, DMS Watson building (Science Library).

(more…)

UKeiG CPD Group: Better social media for libraries: Twitter, blogs and Instagram

GillianMackenzie22 October 2019

Along with the LaSS library team, I help to maintain our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and social media is probably our main method for outreach at the moment. Also, I am part of the communications team for Astrea, the UCL network for women in Professional Services, and being a somewhat tentative user of social media myself, I felt it would really benefit my various work roles to learn more about using social media more effectively. So, I recently attended a course on Better social media for libraries at CILIP.

The course was practical and fun, and I came away with lots of ideas and things I want to try out. LaSS has a reasonably healthy following on Facebook, and we’ve recently run a successful series of ‘Meet the Team’ profiles, introducing the LaSS team to our library users. Our Twitter account is less established,  but as the course focused mainly on using Twitter, attending made me feel more confident about trying new things with the LaSS account. In particular, seeing examples of fun things that other libraries, museums and archives have successfully carried out on Twitter was quite inspiring (see Museum Wars, Orkney library using a Twitter thread to tell a story, and the viral ‘absolute unit’ post).

Over the course of the day, we also discussed social media strategies, analytics, and scheduling. The trainer proposed “1 in 4” guidelines for Twitter activity, structuring and varying Twitter activity as follows: a reply; 1 in 4 Tweets directly about the organisation; a link to something useful; and a ReTweet. The course highlighted the importance of developing a strategy of what you want to convey on social media, advised against just broadcasting (but rather interacting on social media), and also not simply Tweeting about the library every time.

Using analytics can help you to identify which posts were most popular with your audience, and what times they are most active, which can help you to plan your social media output more effectively. Creating a social media calendar was recommended, along with using free versions of software such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule posts.  Planning posts in advance means you don’t have to be constantly coming up with new ideas – you can do things in bulk, as a team, and schedule content to be published at an appropriate time.

The course emphasized that linking your social media marketing with other marketing helps both, so we need to make sure we are joining up all of our marketing at LaSS. For example, we have monthly ‘library hacks’ posters (featuring timely, handy hints about using the library) that we put up around LaSS, and we will start putting these up on social media too. We could link these together with a unique hashtag on Twitter too, to make them easier to find (e.g. University of York have used #UoYtips to tag all of their library tips on Twitter).

We also discussed the importance of using images on social media, and part of the course looked at creating images for this purpose. Canva was recommended to create images with the right dimensions for whichever social media network you use (i.e. they have free templates for Facebook and Twitter posts), as well as options to create a variety of other content, such as posters, logos and presentations (in other words, Canva can be a useful tool beyond simply creating images for social media).

It’s also useful to have an image to accompany a blog post, as it makes it more engaging for your readers (apparently). Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo while I attended the course, but I’ve included one I made earlier on Photofunia (a non-subscription, fun website where you can edit photos online for free in a matter of seconds resulting in high quality photo collages).

Image of LaSS Library and Lavender, our library cat, created using Photofunia

Towards the end of the course, we also briefly covered Instagram, which is something we’ve been considering getting at LaSS.  I know a few UCL Libraries are already using Instagram (e.g. IOA, SOP, Main, IOE, and Special Collections), and I am keen to have a go with LaSS too, even more so having attended this social media course. Instagram isn’t a news feed in the same way as Twitter, so it can be used as and when to show off collections, buildings and library staff! Also, Instagram Stories are perfect for covering one-off, on-the-day events we hold in and around the library.

The final 3 social media tips from the course were to be creative, be brave, and to be joined up. I think we’ve made a good start on doing this at LaSS (it’s pretty brave to post a ‘meet the team’ profile about yourself!), and I think we can definitely build on that in the future too.

Research IT & Data Management drop-ins – autumn 2019 dates

TinaJohnson10 September 2019

The Research Data Management team and Research IT Services jointly run regular drop-in sessions.  These sessions are open to all UCL research staff and students. 

Someone from the Research Data Management team will be there to help you with:

– at all stages of the research lifecycle.

If you’d like to come along to one of our drop-in sessions, please contact the RDM team at lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk with a summary of your research data query beforehand.

Representatives from all of the RITS service areas teams will also be on hand to answer questions or problems related the following areas:

  • research programming
  • workflow automation
  • finding tools and services for your research programmes
  • high performance computing
  • handling large datasets
  • handling personal and GDPR special category data
  • data storage

For RITS queries, there’s no need to book, but the RITS team can make sure there’ll be someone there to help with your problem if you email rits@ucl.ac.uk, ideally two days before the session.

Researchers are encouraged to attend however small their query. The sessions will also be a good opportunity to discuss research funder requirements, find out about services available at UCL and to get support with particular issues you are having.

Upcoming sessions

Date Time Location
Thursday 19 September 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Tuesday 1 October 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Thursday 17 October 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Tuesday 5 November 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Thursday 21 November 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Tuesday 3 December 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)
Thursday 19 December 10am-12pm Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing)

Updated from the original post by Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, dated 11 December 2018

 

Ophthalmic Nursing exhibition at Royal College of Nursing

Debbie CHeatlie7 August 2019

Moorfields Nurse Consultant, Nicola Dunlop, with the assistance of Debbie Heatlie, Librarian of the Joint Library of Ophthalmology, arranged an exhibition on Ophthalmic Nursing at the RCN Library, running until November 2019.

The exhibition features books on ophthalmic nursing practice from the RCN collection and artefacts used by nurses on loan from the Moorfields Eye Hospital Museum, including Eagle Eye ointment, an early ophthalmoscope, an artificial leech and leech holder and coloured glass dropper bottles.  If you are wondering what the teapot was used for, please visit to find out.

A photo of Nurse Agnes Lansdell and her husband Herbert Crookes reveals a fascinating story of her life. Agnes trained and worked at the London Metropolitan Hospital (Hoxton) and the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital (Moorfields) where she met her future husband whilst he was receiving treatment for shrapnel injuries to the eye sustained during the Battle of the Somme.

Entrance to the exhibit is free.  Royal College of Nursing Library, 20 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0RN.  Located behind John Lewis in Oxford Street.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri  09:00 – 19:00 ; Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 ; Sunday Closed.

 

 

UCL research data repository publishes its first outputs

TinaJohnson14 June 2019

UCL researchers can now publish, archive and share data, code and other outputs supporting published research in UCL’s new institutional research data repository (RDR).

research data repository

UCL’s new research data repository

First repository dataset published 5 June

On 5 June, UCL researchers, Library Services, ISD and Figshare staff celebrated two years’ preparation and the launch of the new university repository.  The very first upload: an mp4 laparoscopy video of Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica is part of an interdisciplinary Special Collections – Digitisation Suite collaboration.

Main features of the service

The UCL research data repository (RDR) service is free, open access and cloud-based with UCL single sign-on, and offers 10 year preservation in almost any file format.

Other features include embargo and integration with GitHub – and UCL Research Publications Service later this year, saving effort on REF submissions.  The institutional repository offers additional features over the commercial Figshare service: greater storage (50GB for individuals and 100GB for groups), larger file uploads (5GB), team project collaborations and metrics analysis and reporting.

The secret to a fast and painless repository experience

Testers found the repository intuitive: easy to log in, browse, and find, view and download items.  Uploading and describing an item takes minutes once the files and metadata are ready.  The trick is to prepare in advance:  good file names, a summary description, co-authors and their ORCIDs, keywords, the grant code, URLs or DOIs of linked research, and copyright licence codes.  A quick guide, detailed guide and FAQs are available on the Research Data Management webpages.

Once checked and approved (within 3 working days), each published item receives a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to make it easy to share, discover and cite.

Researchers are responsible for compliance with funder policies, intellectual property/copyright and GDPR leglisation.  Personal data is not accepted in the repository at present unless completely anonymised or pseudonymised.

The Research Data Repository service is supported jointly by:

More guidance is available on the Research Data Management Repository webpages and in the Research Data Repository FAQs.

Contact: researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk for questions, support, comments and feedback.

Data sharing is necessary for reproducible researchFAIR data and major funder compliance.  The new UCL research data repository is part of the university’s investment in infrastructure to enable Open Science practice across the university.

Join the UCL reproducibility mailing list for news and updates, invitations for input and training.

Further reading

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris13 June 2019

Visit of Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

On Thursday 13 June 2019, the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, visited UCL with members of his cabinet.

The purpose of the Commissioner’s presence was to re-visit those European universities to which he feels especial affinity. He leaves his position in the autumn of 2019 once the new European Commission takes office.

As Pro-Vice-Provost with a responsibility for co-ordinating Open Science across UCL, I was asked to address him in the Provost’s Office to outline the success that UCL has had in introducing Open Science practice across the institution. I also highlighted the challenges in Europe in moving to embrace Open Science principles. This is the text which I used in my talk, sitting next to the Commissioner as I spoke.

Successes

  1. UCL Press is the UK’s first fully OA University Press. We have published 106 monographs with over 2 million downloads – when conventional sales over the bookshop counter might result in 200 sales per title. Our most downloaded book is from Professor Danny Miller in Anthropology in UCL, How the World Changed Social Media, which has been downloaded over 300,000 times. This shows the transformative effect of OA monograph publishing.
  2. We have also launched a megajournal platform – with the first subject section being the Environment. This has Open Peer review and the submission is made available immediately as Green OA in a Pre-Print repository prior to peer review and final publication.
  3. We have just launched our Open UCL Research Data repository for academics to archive their research data for sharing and re-use.
  4. UCL Discovery is the institutional OA repository. We monitor OA compliance from the Faculties on a monthly basis and have compliance rates as high as 90%. UCL Discovery has just passed the 20 million download mark.
  5. From 2000-2016, Digital Science has shown that UCL is consistently the university in the Russell Group in the UK most engaged with OA.
  6. We have also launched a pilot Open Educational Resources repository to collect educational materials for sharing and re-use.
  7. We have a pan-UCL Open Science governance platform, which monitors the introduction of Open Science principles and practices across the institution; and we lead work in Open Science in LERU (League of European Research Universities).
  8. UCL is one of the first universities anywhere in Europe to include Open Access to publications, research data and software, as a core principle in our academic promotions framework. This policy was signed off and published in 2018.

Challenges and how UCL can help  

  1. Academic concerns with Plan S, not with Open Access, threaten to de-rail the advances made across Europe in Open Science practice. We would like to support Plan S by working with the Commission and others to make Alternative Publishing Platforms, on the model of UCL Press, a reality across Europe.
  2. Those who manage the European Open Science Cloud have not engaged with universities, indeed they ignore my calls for collaboration. UCL would like to work with the EOSC to determine rules of engagement for universities. We have considerable experience, running the DART-Europe portal for OA research theses, which aggregates metadata for 619 universities and provides access to over 800,000 full-text research theses in 28 countries.
  3. The Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform work on Next Generation Metrics is badly stalled and needs a kick for it to produce a set of Recommendations which can be embraced by the global academy. UCL could help as we are out to informal consultation on an institutional Bibliometrics policy, grounded in Open Science principles.
  4. UCL is attempting, with LERU and other partners, to build a pan-European community for Open Science; the Commission could help by providing opportunities for seed funding to encourage growth in community engagement. Open Science, after all, is about people not just principles and practice.

I gave the Commissioner a gift bag from UCL Press containing, amongst other things, a copy of Danny Miller’s How the World Changed Social Media, the most downloaded book from UCL Press. The Commissioner has asked me to follow up with him and his team on a number of the issues I raised. I will certainly be doing that.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Creating Connections East: spaces available for event on 10th June

Benjamin G MMeunier24 May 2019

Creating Connections East: UK 2070 Commission on Inequalities

Monday 10 June 2019 15:00 – 17:00

Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, E2 6HG

Creating Connections is a regular networking event bringing people together from UCL with representatives of community organisations, charities, residents’ groups, social enterprises and statutory organisations. For our next event, we’re teaming up with the UK2070 Commission, an independent inquiry into social and economic inequality in the UK. We warmly invite you to join us.

 

We’ve still got some spaces available – find out more and sign up at studentsunionucl.org/volunteering/about/creating-connections/creating-connections-east

And if you know anyone else at UCL who might be interested, please do feel free to pass on this invitation.

Topics will include:

Local talent & skills: Come and talk to people interested in: how to nurture local skills, ensuring local talent is part of the economic future, support for vocational training, how universities can support local job markets, how we can help people overcome barriers to entering the workforce.

 

New technology: Come and talk to people interested in: how new technology can create new jobs, how the Voluntary and Community sector can benefit from new technology, how schools can prepare young people for technological change, how data science can be utilised by communities, what opportunities are there in clean tech?

 

Local cultural and sporting sectors: Come and talk to people interested in: how to engage under-represented groups in the cultural and sporting activities; what role universities have in the cultural and sporting sectors; the role of culture and sport in economic development.

 

Supporting projects for the future: Come and talk to people interested in: What types of projects would transform east London for long term success? What services and activities should local decision-makers focus on? What would success look like in east London?

 

This is a short networking event for people interested in these issues – a starting point for finding like-minded people you might want to collaborate with. It’s intended for experts, beginners and everyone in between. It’s not a conference and there won’t be long plenary speeches or workshops!

 

Light refreshments will be provided.

 

Find out more and register at:

studentsunionucl.org/volunteering/about/creating-connections/creating-connections-east

If you’ve any questions or comments about the event, contact John Braime at Students’ Union Volunteering Service (j.braime@ucl.ac.uk) , Briony Fleming in UCL’s Public Engagement Unit (b.fleming@ucl.ac.uk) or Lucy Natarajan from UCL / UK 2070 (lucy.natarajan@ucl.ac.uk)

 

Creating Connections East is organised by UCL’s Public Engagement Unit, Students’ Union UCL’s Volunteering Service and The UK2070 Commission

Research Data Repository launch 5 June

TinaJohnson17 May 2019

UCL is set to launch its new Research Data Repository. This service enables UCL researchers to publish research datasets, make them discoverable and citable, meet funder requirements and store data long-term.  Preserving and sharing digital assets are FAIR data principles – key components of research replicability and open scholarship.

UCL Research Data RepositoryRegister to join us on Wednesday 5 June 5 – 7pm and find out more about the Repository.

Institute of Education, W3.01 IOE, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL  View Map

This event, introduced by Paul Ayris (Pro-VP-UCL Library Services), will include an update on on Open Science developments at UCL, a live repository demonstration and the opportunity to ask questions.

More about the UCL Research Data Repository from the Research Data Management team:

Get involved in reproducible research

Library blogposts on open science and research reproducibility: