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Procurement of LibAnswers Enquiry Management System

Bethan Smith10 June 2020

I am pleased to announce that Library Services has procured a service-wide licence for LibAnswers, an enquiry management system that will vastly improve our capabilities for handling customer enquiries. This is a fantastic piece of news, providing an important step in achieving a number of our goals in the Library Services Strategy.

A number of staff may already be familiar with the software, including colleagues at the IOE. For those not familiar, LibAnswers is an enquiry management system designed specifically for libraries, which will enable us to improve the service we provide when managing the enquiries we receive on a daily basis.

It will allow us to filter and refer queries to other teams more easily, provide an FAQ database to assist our customers with everyday queries, and statistically examine the types and volumes of enquiries we receive. In the long term, it will hopefully integrate with other Springshare products we have recently invested in, such as LibGuides.

This information, in particular the methodical collection of customer feedback, will play a vital role in helping us to help us to target service improvements in the future and to monitor and plan for our peak times.

As part of this new software launch, we are also aiming to make use of the LibChat chat service available within LibAnswers. We are hoping to have this in place relatively soon to allow customers to interact with us in real time – an important feature as we continue to work remotely as part of the gradual, phased return to campus.

The aim is to have a working platform in place for the new term, with additional elements rolled out in stages. The scope of this initial launch will be limited to a few selected services, including library@ucl. Other teams and site libraries will be added to the platform in a gradual, phased approach throughout 2020/2021.

This will be an ongoing process and if you are considered for involvement in the soft launch of the system you will receive notification from your line manager soon. You may also receive some automated emails in the coming weeks as we gradually set up colleagues on the system.

Progress on this project, both in terms of its technical setup and the wider implications for Library Services, will be overseen and managed by a dedicated project board. Comprehensive training, documents and testing slots will also be set up in order to ensure that staff are well prepared and feel confident working with the software before go-live.

This is an exciting opportunity for Library Services to make our customer service provision more extensive, comprehensive and proficient. We will provide further updates on this project as we configure our LibAnswers platform.

UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries closure

Anna Di Iorio27 January 2020

The UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries, currently based at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in Gray’s Inn Road, will be closing on Friday 21st August 2020, as the Hospital prepares to complete its relocation to Huntley Street. From September 2020, the UCL Cruciform Hub will lead on library provision for UCL Ear Institute staff and students, including information skills support delivered by the training team.

The Cruciform Hub is also the home library for healthcare staff and students at the University College Hospital campus, providing a range of facilities and tailored clinical support services.

Collections from the Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries will be relocated, to the Cruciform Hub and other UCL Library Services sites. More detailed plans are being confirmed and will be communicated in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please send any questions or comments to Anna Di Iorio at a.diiorio@ucl.ac.uk.

UCL 2034 Progress Report

Benjamin Meunier4 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

Enabling Innovation Working Group: Call for Volunteers

Bethan Smith15 November 2019

Earlier this year Martin Moyle, Director of Services, posted about the potential for innovation and service delivery at UCL Library Services. We are excited to now formally announce the launch of the Enabling Innovation Working Group – and to call for volunteers to join it.

We know from experience that Library Services staff have fantastic ideas on new ways to improve our services; what is less clear is how best to collect those ideas and process them, how to enable funding for them and how to ensure that we are able to fully implement them.

The Enabling Innovation Working Group will work together to look at ways of facilitating new ideas and projects, while trying to remove any blockers that prevent them from happening. We will think of ways to help enable small-scale innovation projects in line with KPA4 as part of the Library Strategy 2019-22.

The group will be more focused on the ‘how’ than the ‘what’ – on examining the ways that we can create an exciting, forward-thinking working environment where we are able to test new ideas and fund them. The main output of our meetings will eventually take the form of a report to the SMT, containing recommendations on how best to proceed.

We are keen to gather a representative cross-section of Library Services staff across grades, departments and libraries to make sure that we gain a wide range of ideas and perspectives on how best to enable innovation. We are looking for 6-10 working group members and are in need of volunteers!

How to Join

If you are interested in joining, please consult with your line manager in the first instance and then email bethan.smith@ucl.ac.uk. In terms of commitment, this group will involve two or three in-person meetings. There may also be small amounts of homework and research involved, so please do consider this before applying. Please do not hesitate to email if you have any questions before volunteering.

The first group meeting is currently scheduled for 3pm on Wednesday 11th December in Room 106 of the Science Library and will be chaired by Martin Moyle.

Please respond by Friday 29th November if you wish to join the group and we will get in touch shortly.

Bethan Smith
Service Improvement Coordinator

LibNet migration to Drupal

Chris Carrington4 November 2019

On Tuesday 5th November, our LibNet Intranet site is being migrated from the current Content Management System, Silva, into the UCL’s new CMS, Drupal.

Throughout the day LibNet should be considered “at risk” and there may be periods of downtime for the site.

What’s changed?

Essentially, only the mechanics behind the site have changed and the pages will look very much like their current state. The migration is not a redesign.

However, the authentication in Drupal is different so you may notice changes in logging in to the site. For example, the home page does not require a login. Also, PDFs and Word documents have been moved into a new SharePoint area which requires a separate UCL login. All links have been updated where relevant.

The move to Drupal should also see better performance of the site and end the recent outages we’ve seen.

Reporting problems

Should you notice any problems on Tuesday there is no need to report them. We expect the site to run normally from Wednesday 6th November. From Wednesday if you experience any problems using the site, please report them to lib-websupport@ucl.ac.uk

Updating web pages

Assigning author rights to colleagues will be reviewed in due course. For the time being, if you require an update to your LibNet pages please email lib-websupport@ucl.ac.uk

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris20 August 2019

Medieval Mysteries from UCL Special Collections

Today’s meeting of the UCL Rare Books Club took a fresh and insightful look at UCL’s medieval scientific manuscripts. An outstanding scholar, Professor Charles Burnett from the Warburg Institute, gave a masterly personal commentary on many of the items on display.

Professor Burnett is here seen describing his favourite item on show, MS. Lat. 15, described in some detail in D.K. Coveney, Descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of University College (London, 1935). It consists of 33 leaves and 1+2 fly leaves. The MS. is a palimpsest, which means that the original text has been erased and over-written. The original text is still visible on some folios.

The contents are in handwriting thought to date from the 14th century and the text is accompanied by diagrams in red or red and black.  The MS. contains various texts, and the one most discussed by Professor Burnett was Johannis de Sacrobosco, Tractatus de Sphera. This main text constitutes one of the most famous fundamental tracts on astronomy and cosmography being circulated from the 13th to the 17th centuries. It is based on Ptolemy and discusses the terrestrial globe, the rising and setting of stars, and the orbs and movements of planets.  Johannis De Sacrobosco (otherwise John of Holywood, or Halifax), is thought to have been born in Yorkshire and he settled in Paris around 1220. He was a mathematician and astronomer. He wrote texts on arithmetic, astronomy and cosmography. He died either in 1244 or in 1256 (see the UK Archives Hub here). The manuscript was formerly in the Graves collection, no. 3496, bequeathed to the Library in 1870. John Thomas Graves (1806-1870) was a mathematician and Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London, whose collection included manuscripts dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries, relating mainly to mathematics.

My own personal favourite, being a church historian of the English church, was the Perspectiva Communis of John Peckham, formerly Archbishop of Canterbury 1279-92, being a treatise on optics. He was a prolific author of treatises on science and theology. This manuscript dates from the 15th or 16th centuries and is MS. Lat. 31, bound  (perhaps from the first) with two printed works, the Arithmetica of Jordanus Nemorarius, edited by Jacques le Fêvre (Johannes Higman and Wolfgang Hopyl, Paris, 1496), and the Geometria speculatiua of Bradwardine (Paris, 1495) (see AIM25 here). The manuscript also formed part of the library of John Thomas Graves, and was formerly Graves no. 3950.

The session today was well attended by UCL staff, students and external visitors. As Professor Burnett remarked, the medieval holdings of UCL Special Collections deserve a wide and appreciative audience.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris13 August 2019

R.D. Laing and UCL’s underground press material

13 August saw a public lecture from UCL Special Collections’ first Visiting Fellow, Professor Adrian Chapman. Professor Chapman is Professor at Florida State University and based in London. He has a PhD from UCL and two English degrees from the University of London. He has publications (academic articles and creative work) in the area of Literature and Psychology / Medical Humanities and a research interest in Rhetoric and Composition. His research is particularly centred on R. D. Laing (the radical Scottish psychiatrist) and his network. For the announcement of his appointment in Special Collections, see here.

Around 50 people, perhaps half of them from outside UCL, attended to hear Professor Chapman talk about the influence of R.D. Laing and his network on psychiatry, using as source material the matchless collections in UCL Special Collections from the underground press. Wikipedia says: ‘Ronald David Laing (7 October 1927 – 23 August 1989), usually cited as R. D. Laing, was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis. Laing’s views on the causes and treatment of psychopathological phenomena were influenced by his study of existential philosophy and ran counter to the chemical and electroshock methods that had become psychiatric orthodoxy. Taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of lived experience rather than simply as symptoms of mental illness, Laing regarded schizophrenia as a theory not a fact. Though associated in the public mind with anti-psychiatry, he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left. Laing was portrayed in the 2017 film Mad to Be Normal.’

During his talk in UCL, alas cut short in the last few minutes by a fire practice, Professor Chapman gave a number of examples of Laing’s influence, as displayed in the collections on view, accompanied by recorded music of the period. Take, as an example, musical illustration no. 12: The Doors, ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’. (The Doors, Elektra, 1967). Like Dylan, Jim Morrison was, and continues to be, an icon of the ’60s. The Doors took their name from The Doors of Perception, a book about mescaline and the expansion of consciousness by Aldous Huxley, whose nephew, Francis, was a great friend of Laing. Aldous Huxley found his title in a line from William Blake, the English Romantic poet, who wrote that  ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite’. According to a review in It 39, The Doors’ ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’ is ‘very natural, like breathing’. The need to break through convention and the ‘false self’ to a region where one can at last breathe freely – a liberated zone of playfulness, creativity and authenticity – was a desire shared by The Doors, the Laing network and the underground on both sides of the Atlantic (Programme Note from Professor Chapman).

Professor Chapman’s talk was received enthusiastically by his audience and marks a further step in the successful development of outreach and academic engagement activities by UCL Special Collections.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

Replacing Copac with new NBK Library Hub Discover

ucyltpm8 July 2019

Further to my blog post of 5 February, Copac and a number of related services from RLUK and Suncat will no longer exist from 31 July 2019. They are due to be replaced by a new range of Library Hub services from Jisc, based on data within the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK). Please take note if you use any of the following services:

  • Copac
  • Copac Collection Management (CCM) Tools
  • RLUK record downloading (z39.50)
  • Suncat

There are three “Library Hub” services, the most important one for discovery being Library Hub Discover, which takes over from Copac and SUNCAT and should have similar coverage. UCL’s holdings are now in this service, although I am undertaking a number of detailed tests and would appreciate any reports of missing or strange-looking records on Library Hub. Updates should now be weekly. You can restrict any search to UCL only, by putting “held-by:ucl” at the beginning of any search, e.g. this search for social media books by Daniel Miller. This should be useful for when Explore is unavailable. Real-time availability is not available on Library Hub Discover, but is planned.

The RLUK MARC record downloading service will be superseded by Library Hub Catalogue, a web and z39.50 service. I am currently looking at getting this set up on Alma and will send further information to relevant staff when this is ready.

The third service- Library Hub Compare– is not yet ready but is intended to replace CCM Tools and the SUNCAT Serials Comparison service. Further details will be provided when available.

Please note that all three Library Hub services are still being described by Jisc as “pilot” services but with the imminent retirement of Copac in particular it will be necessary to update practices and documentation.

More information

Jisc have provided a number of extra pages with information about Library Hub Discover, including a general About page, a more detailed FAQ, and lots of search tips in a Help page.

Feedback

Please let me know if you have any feedback, especially about how UCL’s data appears (or if it doesn’t). Jisc are also interested in getting feedback and you can fill in this questionnaire.

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris13 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)

Desktop IT support for Library Services staff

Margaret Stone24 May 2019

Image of all in one EAPThe support arrangements for library staff desktop IT equipment have changed slightly, as outlined in the Core Brief for May.  Please note that this is in addition to (and complementary to) recent changes in support for Alma and other digital library services.

In summary, the first points of contact are as follows:

  • for support for Desktop@UCL hardware and software, contact servicedesk@ucl.ac.uk as this forms part of their standard service
  • for support for non-Desktop@UCL hardware and software, contact Library IT support (the usual address, listed on LibNet)
  • for ordering, disposal, liaison and escalation with ISD, again contact Library IT support.

This information will be kept up to date on our IT for Staff pages on LibNet.