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The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris13 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)

 

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

Performance Lab: eleven experiments in science and the arts

Benjamin G MMeunier3 April 2019

[shared on behalf of UCL Culture]

Experience UCL’s cutting-edge research, brought to life by artists, dancers, opera singers and stand-up comedians onstage at the Bloomsbury Theatre and in the unique surroundings of the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL.

Commissioned by UCL Culture, PERFORMANCE LAB brings a radical and bold theatrical season of ground-breaking discoveries to the stage. The first Performance Lab season includes symposiums, live performance, discussions and full theatre and musical performances from Monday 29 April 2019 – Thursday 20 June 2019.

£5 tickets are available for UCL staff and students, and some events are free. See the full programme at ucl.ac.uk/culture/performancelab

Locus developed by Amanda Simo Rodriguez and Anthos Venizelos with dancer Saloni Saraf. Bloomsbury Theatre 2019 © Belinda Lawley

BEIS launches Knowledge Quarter Science and Innovation Audit

Benjamin G MMeunier15 March 2019

The Knowledge Quarter network is celebrating the release of a Science and Innovation Audit of the area, on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The report, which UCL was a lead partner in developing, identifies the area’s nationally leading strengths in AI, life sciences and cultural and scientific collections and publishing, and recommends opportunities for investment and further developing the area to enhance its potential. A key recommendation is the development of a spatial plan for the area that better enables the next generation of scientific and knowledge-led enterprises to locate in the area. The report is London’s only SIA, demonstrating its unique nature within London’s economy. More here.

 

How does this relate to UCL Library Services? We have a key place in London, and in the Knowledge Quarter in particular, and this is reflected in the full report. The report mentions our 18 libraries, “covering a wide range of specialist subjects ranging from bio-medicine and science to arts, architecture and archaeology”. The report also highlights UCL’s leading role in promoting “innovation in Open Science, including starting UCL Press, the UK’s first completely open access university press.” UCL Press and the launch of the megajournal are referenced in Table 5-5: Open Access Publishers started by universities and scientific bodies within the Knowledge Quarter.

In addition, Box 5-4 illustrates how UCL Special Collections’ Outreach programme is delivering meaningful experiences for non-academic audiences to access, learn about and enjoy our Special Collections. Key projects listed include:

• Time Capsule with Edith Neville Primary School: a whole-school project developed around the building of a new school and the demolition of the old. In collaboration with Museum of London Archaeology, the children explored the concept of keeping things for the future as well as the importance of objects from the past. As part of this, pupils were taught about archives and each class has begun to create a class archive.

• Making East London: with funding from HLF and a UCL Beacon Bursary, this touring exhibition was a collaboration with Newham Libraries and Archives (East) to bring together both organisation’s collections to explore East London’s past, inspired by the Main Library exhibition East Side Stories. The exhibition was a centrepiece around which workshops for community groups were run. The workshops were also opportunities for the recording of local peoples’ stories, experiences and memories of east London; student volunteers from UCL have worked to, and continue to, record oral histories as part of a new digital archive.

 

Provost’s Public Engagement Awards 2019

Benjamin G MMeunier3 December 2018

Nominations are now open for the Provost’s Awards for Public Engagement 2019. 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of UCL’s Public Engagement team and the opening of our conversation around our Top Ten Targets for Public Engagement by 2028 and how we can further embed a culture in which staff, students and departments are supported to engage with communities.

We would particularly encourage you to see this as an opportunity to recognise the work of Library Services colleagues who may be eligible for the Professional Services Staff category of the Awards and indeed of the community partners they collaborate with in relation to the Community Award. And do remember that community partners themselves may wish to nominate UCL Professional Services staff with whom they have worked. The awards celebrate the fantastic work that UCL’s staff and students, and their community partners, are doing to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world through collaborative engagement. Tell us who deserves to be recognised for their work with communities – and your nominations will help us build a rich and detailed picture of all the publicly engaged research and teaching happening at UCL this year.  

Please read the guidance notes and nominations form here.
The deadline for nominations is 5pm on Monday 28 January 2019 so you have plenty of time to get your nominations in.

Call for proposals – It’s All Academic Festival 2018

Benjamin G MMeunier14 June 2018


UCL will open its doors on Saturday 15 September for the second It’s All Academic Festival, showcasing the range and impact of what we do to UCL’s London alumni community as well as supporters, staff, public, students and families.

Last year’s Festival brought together over 100 partners from across UCL to deliver a range of talks, tours, workshops and hands on activities for all ages and interests. UCL Library Services was well represented with colleagues from the UCL Institute of Archaeology Library, UCL Press, Special Collections and the Main Library. Library tours were a great success, as were the talks and events on the day.

The 2018 festival will showcase the best of UCL and we are looking again for content that is interactive and accessible. Submission forms (BLANK_2018 IAA Campaign Festival submission form) are due by Friday 29th June. You can complete the PDF version by downloading it and using the “Fill and Sign” feature, or I can provide Word versions of the submission form.

Please share your ideas! If you have a suggestion for the Festival, first seek approval from your line manager and complete the form. You can email the OVPD team directly, cc-ed to me. If you have any queries, feel free to contact me (benjamin.meunier@ucl.ac.uk) for advice.

“Global popularity proves Open Access is the future” says UCL Press as it hits one million book downloads milestone

AlisonFox23 May 2018

UCL Press, the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press, has announced that one million copies of its books have been downloaded around the world.

The announcement comes as the publisher celebrates its third anniversary since launching in 2015.

Its academic books – which feature monographs, edited collections and textbooks – have reached readers in 222 of a possible 223 countries and territories, giving readers in nations as far afield as North Korea and Haiti access to important academic research.

While traditionally published scholarly monographs sell an average of 250 copies per title, UCL Press’s Open Access monographs are downloaded free-of-charge approximately 12,500 times per title. This provides unequivocal evidence that publishing academic content via Open Access is the most effective way to reach a wider, more diverse and global audience.

The most popular title in the UCL Press list to date is How the World Changed Social Media by UCL Professor of Anthropology Daniel Miller and a collective of eight other esteemed global anthropologists.

The first title in the hugely popular 11-book Why We Post series has been downloaded an astonishing 227,336 times since it was published by UCL Press in early 2016.

Professor Margot Finn, Chair in Modern British History at UCL, and published UCL Press author, commented: “Our East India Company at Home volume was co-produced by academics, museum and heritage professionals and independent historians, and making the book open-access is essential to our dissemination plans. It’s a delight in this context to see that the book has already been downloaded in Algeria, Argentina and Azerbaijan as well as China, India and Japan.”

UCL Press’s pioneering publishing programme spans many of the major academic disciplines, from history to philosophy and the sciences to anthropology.

It has published 80 titles and launched eight journals since its inception, doubling its year-on-year output of scholarly monographs with the introduction of 31 new titles last year and expanding its staff head count to six.

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost at UCL Library Services, said: “Institutional Open Access publishing is transformative, being a completely new model of how universities engage with readers and with Society. In the fifteenth century, the invention of moveable type printing in the West transformed Europe. In the twenty-first century, Open Access publishing can do the same.”

Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager at UCL Press, stated: “We are delighted to have reached one million downloads and this achievement is testament to the vision and support of UCL’s senior management, the hard work and commitment of the UCL Press team, and above all to the authors who have chosen to publish their wonderful books with us. This milestone shows the power and potential of Open Access publishing and the global popularity of our books proves OA is the future.”

Knowledge Quarter Community Champions launch

Benjamin G MMeunier1 May 2018

On Monday 30/04, I attended the launch of the Knowledge Quarter Community Champions scheme. The Knowledge Quarter is a partnership of over 85 academic, cultural, scientific and media organisations located in a 1-mile radius around King’s Cross and Bloomsbury. Partners include the British Museum, University of the Arts London, Google, the British Library and UCL.
For more information on the Knowledge Quarter (KQ), see www.knowledgequarter.London

The Community Champions project is a series of events designed to bring KQ partners together with local charities and community groups, in order to encourage KQ partners to develop collaborative projects around the themes of youth, employability, environment and wellbeing.

Jodie Eastwood (Chief Executive, Knowledge Quarter) emphasised the number and importance of libraries in the Knowledge Quarter. One of the major objectives of the KQ is to facilitate more sharing of our resources and collections with the local community. Dr Grace Sims (Outreach Development Manager, Royal Veterinary College and Chair of the Knowledge Quarter Community Engagement Sub Group) outlined the details of these aspirations, to increase the participation of communities with KQ partners like UCL. The scheme is about sharing knowledge of existing programmes between partners, and identifying potential areas for collaboration. The Library Leadership Team are currently collating stories that show how our teams make a contribution to the UCL London Strategy – how UCL Library Services makes “a tangible difference to London’s people, economy, communities and culture”. I have already received some great examples of work with schools and communities in Camden and hope to share this more widely once we the various activities underway have been fed back in the coming week.

Based on the main areas where programmes are already happening, KQ has identified 4 categories: Youth (which covers work with secondary, primary, early years, family), Wellbeing (physical and mental), Employability, Environment.

One of the presentations of early “success stories” was a collaboration between the Recovery College, part of Camden & Islington NHS Trust, and Kings Place Music Foundation. The Recovery College provides courses designed to contribute towards wellbeing and recovery, allowing students to share their experience of mental health or physical health challenges and teach on the courses, with the intention of inspiring hope and embodying the principles of recovery. The speakers emphasised how being able to hold events at Kings Place allowed students to socialise and normalise mental health experiences in a welcoming non-clinical space. This has proven very beneficial to the students of the Recovery College. Wellbeing courses at the Recovery College are open to all, including staff in the KQ partners. For further details see: https://www.candi.nhs.uk/services/recovery-college

Presentations also illustrated how the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) set up a homework club with the Bengali Workers Association (BWA), supporting pupils aged 6-16 (mainly 9-10). This has proven hugely popular with the BWA. The RVC initially offered vet-related activity sessions (e.g. specimen handling in lab coats) but transitioned to support for Maths, English, Science in line with parents’ expectations and demands. The homework club still has a link to the RVC, for instance, narrating the stories of animals or counting different types of animals or bones…

 

The slides and delegate information pack from the launch event have been uploaded to the Knowledge Quarter website here. If you would like to find out more or get involved in the Knowledge Quarter activities, you can:

  • sign up for the newsletter to be kept informed about the latest Knowledge Quarter news and events. You can sign up on the KQ website.
  • sign up to the Knowledge Bank, where KQ are trying to encourage people to connect with one another based on skills they want to share or want to learn about.
  • attend future events, subject to line manager approval. KQ have a great line up planned for 2018 including private views at the British Library (May 9) and the British Museum (May 18). All of these events are run for free with the aim of encouraging mutual trust and understanding between KQ institutions.

International Women’s Day events at UCL

8 March 2018

Today is International Women’s Day – see below for a free programme of events supported by the UCL Institute for Women’s Health.

In 2018 we are also marking 100 years since the Representation of the People Act, 1918 first saw certain women winning the right to vote. The new exhibition in the Main Library, Dangers and Delusions’? Perspectives on the women’s suffrage movement is part of the UCL Vote 100 celebrations taking place throughout the year.

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris22 February 2018

The National Archives at 40

Yesterday,  I attended an evening reception at The National Archives (TNA) in Kew to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its new building. In addition, the CEO Jeff James noted that 2018 marks the 180th anniversary of the foundation of a precursor organisation, the Public Record Office, by Sir Henry Cole. Henry Cole also initiated the practice of sending commercial Christmas cards by post, so he has a lot to answer for. Cole was quite an innovator and clearly his day job gave him plenty of time to pursue other ideas and activities, as his entry in Wikipedia, which can be found here, makes clear.

As with all cultural organisations, the TNA is re-inventing its role in terms of how its spaces are configured and how it engages with the general public. Redevelopment of the TNA spaces, with bookable conference facilities, are already in evidence. I was reminded by TNA staff that the UCL Cruciform Hub has had quite an impact on the thinking of the TNA in how to configure public spaces. The TNA are extremely impressed by the UCL model for learning spaces, which is being implemented across the UCL family of libraries.

The formal part of the evening consisted of a number of short talks in the new Conference facility. Those of you with long memories (including me) will remember when Blue Peter on BBC1 was compulsive viewing for children and, surprisingly, a Blue Peter video formed the centrepiece of the presentations.

The video showed two of the Blue Peter presenters (those with long memories will recognise the main presenter) summoning up papers about the history of Halifax. I must have seen this programme when I was much younger, but I cannot remember it. Amazing to see how times have changed… The presenter in question arrived at the TNA and was told by Security at the desk, ‘Do you have a pencil?’. On being told ‘No’, the Security Officer  said, ‘Well you can’t come in without a pencil. Look, we can sell you one’ – 11d, I think, was the unit cost of TNA pencils. To emphasise the fact that times have now changed, the TNA demonstrated a 3D printer (unit cost £3,000) which was printing 3D replicas of seals which are attached to medieval and early modern TNA documents.

UCL of course currently has part of its Special Collections stored at the TNA, and we have our own dedicated Reading Room there. The TNA are good friends and we value our partnership with them whilst we plan exciting futures for our own Special Collections.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost

UCL Library Services