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LCCOS staff news


News for colleagues within the LCCOS department.


eXperience eXchange 2023 – bookings now open

By Angela Young, on 30 March 2023

Bookings are now open for the 2023 LCCOS eXperience eXchange, which will take place online on MS Teams on Thursday 25 May 10.00 – 12.00.

eXperience eXchange – what happens?

experience exchange logoLCCOS colleagues come together to share ideas and good practice about teaching or training design and delivery, academic engagement and support activities through short presentations or other activities.

How does it work?

Colleagues from across LCCOS are invited to give short presentations or teaching activities (5-20 mins) to exchange their experiences an any aspect of their work relating to teaching or training design and delivery, academic engagement or other support activities. This may include feedback from events or training you’ve attended, something new you’ve tried in your work, an idea you might have and would value some peer input, or simply giving colleagues an insight into your role and activities.

The event this year will also include Lessons from LILAC, a report by colleagues who are attending this year’s LILAC: The information literacy conference.

Why get involved?

There are many benefits to being part of the eXperience eXchange, including:

  • bringing colleagues together to give everyone a better understanding of activities happening across LCCOS.
  • benefiting colleagues who may be inspired by your experiences to inform their work.
  • an opportunity to get input and feedback from colleagues to help you develop your ideas.
  • a development opportunity which can provide evidence for an application for HEA fellowship or on job applications, giving opportunity to give a presentation or deliver a short teaching activity in a safe space with a friendly audience, and for sharing best practice with colleagues.
  • an opportunity to try out new teaching activities or tools, including tools for presenting online, such as polls, breakout rooms and whiteboard features.
  • an opportunity to gain inspiration from the work of your peers.

What is the format of the presentations?

This year we invite contributions in one of three formats:

  • A short presentation (5-10 mins)
  • PechaKucha (20 slides of 20 seconds each)
  • A longer presentation or activity (15-20 mins – allows time for more in depth presentations or opportunity for interactivity and input from colleagues).

If you’d rather not present, you can attend as an attendee only, but remember that the event depends on contributions.

How do I sign up?

Simply complete the registration form. We will send you the link to join and liaise with you over your contribution.

CPD25 course: Supporting staff and students with autism and learning difficulties, 07.12.22

By Sharon A James, on 24 January 2023

Back in December 2022 Sharon James and Sarah Turk attended this online course. Below are their write-ups of the presentations.

First presentation, delivered by Clare Caccavone

The first presentation, “Progressing neurodiversity and making adjustments” was delivered by Clare Caccavone, Programme Director at Ambitious about Autism. This charity provides support, specialist education and employability services for autistic children and young people. Clare informed us that 56% of autistic children have been unofficially excluded from school, 4 out of 5 autistic young people experience mental health issues, and only 29% of autistic people are in employment.

Features of autism include difficulties with social communication, social interaction, routines, and sensory overload. To bring this to life we were shown a helpful short video in which young people with autism talked about stimming, a coping mechanism that helps with anxiety. It involves repetitive actions such as rocking, hand flapping, feet tapping, sniffing a scent or squeezing a hand toy. The video is from the Ambitious about Autism YouTube channel. We also watched this Sensory Overload video that allows the watcher to experience what it is like to be overwhelmed by everyday noise and confusion.

Ambitious about Autism are proud of a pilot they ran, the Higher Education Network, where they worked with 17 universities, trained over 100 employers, and enabled more than 170 autistic students to benefit from paid work. Aiming to create a more neurodiverse workforce, they are also working with five universities this year.

Finally, we were given some tips for when working with neurodiverse students and colleagues. These include:

  • In your workplace, notice what could present a challenge for others.
  • Provide advance warning of any changes, cancellations or closures.
  • Allow the use of self-calming strategies that are not harmful.
  • Use someone’s name before talking so that you have their attention.
  • Don’t assume what you have said is obvious; reiterate what will happen and why.
  • Allow more time for information to be processed.
  • Give staff and students any questions you have before meeting up with them.

I found this presentation very helpful, especially the practical tips. The videos were also informative and allowed me to better understand the experiences involved in being neurodiverse.  As a frontline worker I feel that this training will help me when communicating with all library users and colleagues.

Related link

Ambitious about Autism website.

by Sharon James

Second presentation, delivered by Daniela de Silva and Eleri Kyffin

The second presentation, “Inclusive recruitment practices at the University of Westminster, Library and Archive Service”, was delivered by Daniela de Silva and Eleri Kyffin from the University of Westminster Library. We learned about how they have transformed the recruitment process to make it more inclusive and support neurodiverse applicants.

When invited to interview, all candidates now receive a Recruitment Welcome Pack which includes the names and pictures of the interview panel, information about the team and post, interview tips and guidance along with the interview questions (or the topics for questions for senior roles). It was interesting to learn that feedback gathered from both the interview candidates and the interview panel members was on the whole very positive. Whilst some candidates found that having the questions in advance made them more nervous, the majority felt it was very helpful. The interview panel found that even with the questions in advance they could see the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses, and follow up questions could be used to probe a bit deeper.

As a recruiter who sometimes feels that the interview process may not allow a candidate to do themselves justice, it was very thought provoking to hear the positive experiences of both the panel members and candidates at the University of Westminster. What I found particularly inspiring was that whilst this began as a way of making their recruitment more inclusive for autistic candidates, it actually could have the potential to make the process more inclusive for all. Definitely food for thought!

by Sarah Turk

eXperience eXchange 2020 – bookings now open

By Angela Young, on 21 April 2020

Join experience exchange logoour first ever online eXperience eXchange on Wednesday 20 May 2020, 10.00-11.30am.

eXperience eXchange – what happens?

Library staff come together to share ideas and good practice about library skills training and liaison activities through short presentations or other activities. For the first time this year the eXperience eXchange will be taking place completely online, with no limit to the number of library staff who may attend.

How will it work?

As usual we invite colleagues from across Library Services to give short presentations (5-7 mins) to exchange their experiences, ideas or feedback from events relating to library skills training and liaison activities. The event will be delivered using Blackboard Collaborate. If you have not presented using Blackboard Collaborate before, this is the perfect opportunity to try it out with peers as your friendly and supportive audience.

If you’d rather not present, you can attend as an attendee only.

Is there a theme?

This year we invite contributions relating to any aspect of library skills training and liaison activities, but we particularly welcome contributions relating to the online or remote delivery of these services. Ideas for presentations include:

  • Something new you have tried to implement, or that you would like to try out in an online environment.
  • A report back from a training event or conference you have attended.
  • A review of an interesting article you have read.
  • How you have been working to develop your own teaching or liaison skills.
  • Using new technologies in training or liaison.

How do I join the event?

Full joining instructions will be provided. You will need:

  • A computer / mobile device with Internet access and sound (speakers or headphones).
  • If presenting you will also need a microphone (internal laptop / mobile device microphone or headset microphones are sufficient).

How do I sign up?

Simply complete the registration form and we will send you full joining instructions.

The Three Muskebeers win the LSG quiz

By Gillian Mackenzie, on 30 May 2019

A few weeks ago, the Library Social Group (LSG) hosted a pub quiz at the College Arms on Store Street, after a slightly extended (ahem, two-year-long) hiatus.

Five teams pitted their wits against each other, having their knowledge of cover versions, pop culture and close-up library objects tested to the limit. Quiz co-hosts Phil Leonard and Gillian Mackenzie guided teams through six rounds, who were competing for the £30+ cash prize, plus for the coveted LSG Quiz trophy!

The winning quiz team, The Three Muskebeers

All of the teams taking part performed respectably (a word used repeatedly on the night), but the ultimate champions were The Three Muskebeers (although, there were four of them in the team).

We got some really positive comments about the evening (not least that the quiz itself was a “well-oiled machine”), which we hope will encourage more quizzers and teams to join us next time:

“The Library Pub Quiz was the perfect opportunity to meet colleagues I don’t already know or hardly ever get to see, and then alternately suffer the embarrassment of my own ignorance or boast over my superior pop culture knowledge. In other words, a really great night!”

Thanks to all who came along, and see you again soon for another round.




Annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)

By Wojciech A Janik, on 13 December 2018

Last week I had an opportunity to attend the 2018 Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in Boston, Massachusetts. ASEEES is the leading international organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe in regional and global contexts.

ASEEES convention.

It is one of the largest gathering of professionals (academics, librarians, publishers, etc.) working in the field of Eastern Europe and Eurasia in the world, so it was great opportunity to meet colleagues from a plethora of organisations, to exchange ideas, make new links, and discover new opportunities, and of course the right place to highlight our own work and achievements.

Round table The Global Encyclopedia of Informality: Towards Understanding of Social and Cultural Complexity at the 50th Annual ASEEES convention.

The convention lasted four days and was filled with panels and meetings. I was able to attend a number of panels, ranging from “Russian Imperial Cultural Heritage Abroad: 1917-1945”, chaired by Edward Kasinec from Columbia University, to “Copyright and Related Rights: A Look at the State of Play in Publishing, Music Licensing, and Broadcast Media” chaired by Janice T. Pilch, a library colleague from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I found the panels, and especially the discussions that followed, to be very useful and informative. I also attended a UCL SSEES and UCL Press related event: round table “The Global Encyclopedia of Informality: Towards Understanding of Social and Cultural Complexity”, which was chaired by Elena Denisova-Schmidt from the University of St. Gallen and attended by Predrag Cveticanin from the University of Nis, as well as Eric D. Gordy, Michal Murawski and Alena Ledeneva, all from UCL SSEES.

Finally I participated in the roundtable panel: “Leveraging E-resources to Foster Access for Libraries”. The panel was chaired by Angela Cannon from the Library of Congress and my roundtable partners were: Liladhar R. Pendse from the University of California, Berkeley, Zina Somova from East View Information Services and Gudrun Wirtz from the Bavarian State Library. Among other issues we discussed how scholars researching Eastern Europe are using new publishing technologies and initiatives to disseminate their output and to reach new audiences. I used this opportunity to highlight research output related to Slavonic and East European studies/themes that can be accessed via UCL Press or UCL Discovery. Finally, at the ASEEES Committee on Libraries and Information Resource Membership Meeting, I provided a summary report on behalf of the Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services (COSEELIS) of which UCL SSEES Library is a part.

The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library.

I also had an opportunity to visit the Widener Library, an important part of the Harvard College Libraries that is also home to Harvard’s Slavonic collections, where I met library colleagues working in the Slavonic section of the Widener Library.

The convention provided me with the opportunity to discuss some potential projects with colleagues. The project met with interest and offers of support from colleagues from Harvard Library, the Hoover Institute, the New York Public Library and the Bavarian State Library.

All in all I found my participation at the convention as very helpful and informative. Both the knowledge and professional contacts gained during the conference will be very useful in my work and future projects.


Boston. View from the Massachusetts Bridge.

Join us for a Twitter debate: Open Access Books: The authors’ side of the story

By Alison Fox, on 21 June 2018

Hashtag: #OAauthors

Date: 27th June 2018 

Time: 14:00 – 15:00 BST

Open Access monograph publishing has been steadily gathering momentum over the last few years. Funder policies are being introduced to promote an increase in OA publishing, new OA publishers and university presses are being set up, and publishers around the world are escalating their OA output. As a result, scholarly content is now becoming readily accessible to an extremely diverse global audience, able to reach some of the most isolated and impoverished areas of the world.

Yet we rarely hear from academics and researchers about their experiences with publishing Open Access monographs. Why do authors choose to publish via OA? What are the main benefits they’ve witnessed? And how does publishing OA books and monographs differ from publishing traditionally?

In this compelling Twitter debate, host Alastair Horne will welcome a distinguished panel of academic authors from around the world and explore what it is like to publish their books via Open Access. Whether you are a researcher considering your publication options, a publisher wanting to know more about the academic’s perspective on OA, or an institution weighing up the pros and cons of OA publishing models, this session will provide a great insight into academic authors’ current attitudes towards OA.

Confirmed participants include:

  • Dr Paul Breen (University of Westminster), author of Developing Educators for The Digital Age (University of Westminster Press); @CharltonMen
  • Professor Owen Davies (University of Hertfordshire), author of Executing Magic in the Modern Era: Criminal Bodies and the Gallows in Popular Medicine (Palgrave); @odavies9
  • Professor Christian Fuchs (University of Westminster); author of Critical Theory of Communication (University of Westminster Press); @fuchschristian
  • Dr Haidy Geismar (UCL), author of Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age (UCL Press); (@haidygeismar)
  • Professor Bob Sheil (UCL), editor of Fabricate (UCL Press); @bobsheil
  • Professor Laura Vaughan (UCL), editor of Suburban Urbanities: Suburbs and the Life of the High Street (UCL Press) and author of the forthcoming book Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography (UCL Press); @urban_formation


Chinese New Year 2018

By ucylche, on 15 February 2018

Ah, Chinese New Year.

This year marks the year of the dog.

Food, lion dancing, animal zodiac signs… food. Fireworks. More food. Red packets. FOOD. Most of us are probably familiar with that time of year (around January or February – this year it falls on the 16th Feb), when the Chinese celebrate the start of a new year. However, with a greater number of Chinese living in other countries, you might not be familiar with how some of the customs have evolved into their own identities. With that in mind, welcome to Julie and Andy’s handy guide to (or rather personal experiences of) New Year celebrations of the Chinese diaspora. Far out. (Literally.)

Julie (Archaeology and Bartlett Libraries)

I was born and bred in London (quite specifically, the south of London) but my parents were born in Mauritius. My grandparents (and beyond) were from South China, a place called Meixian in the Guandong province. The Sino-Mauritian population is small, at around 3%, but the diversity of Mauritius is such that Chinese New Year is still celebrated throughout the country, and in fact is a festival celebrated more widely than Christmas – something I was always bemused by. Having experienced CNY over there for the first time a few years ago, however, I can see why; it was certainly an experience I want to relive again soon (waistline be damned!).

So-called because the cooking process causes the ball to crack (into a smile!).

Unsurprisingly, CNY is a time for the family, so we spent a lot of time visiting the proverbial extended family and, everywhere we went, we would eat. The Chinese have a special Chinese New Year cake called nian gao, but in Mauritius it’s called gato la cire. (“That sounds like French!” I hear you cry. Well done! Mauritians, like myself, speak Creole, which is like a slang form of French, and gato la cire literally means wax cake.) We will also eat some Sino-Mauritian snacks, many of which are fried (they love frying food over there). A few of my favourites are tien yen nain (round sweet balls made of glutinous rice, sweet potato and sesame seeds), Chinese laughing balls (fried dough balls covered with sesame seeds) and a simple fried cracker made of dough and sesame seeds known as crammy’s crab. That’s a lot of sesame.

Homemade and delicious!

Of course, these will all be supplemented with classics such as prawn crackers (which we call sipek) and dumplings. You’ll notice that some names are French, some English, and some Chinese – being a multicultural country, all Mauritians, whether of the Chinese, Indian, African or European persuasion, will be familiar with the big holidays such as CNY and will enjoy the food, so they will all have their own names for them. The names I use here are the ones I’m most familiar with!

We keep to quite a few of the well-known traditions too. Chinese New Year can be a lucrative time for children (or, technically, anyone who isn’t married yet!), as they receive those all-important red packets of money known as foong-pao. (Note, foong-pao is the Hakka Chinese word for what is known as lai-see in Cantonese). Another important aspect of CNY is the lion dance. Go to the West End’s Chinatown in London on the Sunday nearest to CNY and you’ll see acrobatic lions outside the restaurants heading for a cabbage before ‘eating’ it. Likewise in Mauritius, shops, businesses, or perhaps even a rich family(!) will have a lion dance outside their premises, accompanied with clashing cymbals, drums and gongs, to ward off evil spirits and bring in good luck.

Let ‘s make some noise! (Maybe not in the library, though.)

Similarly, Chinese families will also set off firecrackers in front of their homes, the idea being that the loud noise will scare off any evil spirits. Firecrackers are set off at certain times of the day, and throughout the day the sound of firecrackers can be heard across the island. Visiting relatives, I remember seeing red confetti all over the streets of Mauritius, where a Chinese family had set off their crackers. Perhaps my most memorable experience of CNY in Mauritius was being stood outside my uncle’s house as he set alight a stream of crackers, vaguely concerned that the largest cracker at the top was about to detonate and I was caught between an impending explosion and a much-taller-than-me wall. It was… intense.

Andy (Library Finance)

Julie, thank you for sharing such a wonderful insight into the Chinese/Mauritian New Year.

My parents were fortunate to embrace CNY when in Jamaica and enjoyed the celebrations much as you have described. Similarly, the festival was an important date in the calendar.

Unfortunately, since arriving in the UK in the 50’s, they broke tradition having lost contact with the Chinese Jamaican community.

So despite both my parents being half Chinese, some of the oriental traditions have been lost and I’m having to relearn the culture. Shameless to say, even my 8 year old, who is also of German/Hungarian extraction, may be ahead of me. Only this week he was preparing for today saying Happy New Year in Chinese and describing the beautiful customs that you highlight. In particular, foong-pao  …….but he cleverly left out the cleaning of his room!

A few weeks ago I asked a friend what he was doing for CNY and the reply was “helping to clean the house.” I thought, that seemed a little strange, especially as my memories of a traditional Jamaican New year was very different. An all night party from 31st December with rum punch, curry goat and guests from what seemed like ‘all of North West London’.

The penny eventually dropped, although food and drink is at the centre of most New Year celebrations, the Chinese New Year philosophy also entails ‘Spring cleaning’. All the old useless things are discarded and the home given an overhaul to bring in the year new. It’s a very special time for family and friends to enjoy, like playing Mah Jung and celebrating health and prosperity. The traditional party lasting as long as 15 days!

Kung Hei Fat Choi to all our Chinese colleagues and I hope our fellow Library staff might also get the opportunity to celebrate this weekend too!!

Happy New Year!

Links for Further Reading!

Discover your animal zodiac and what lies ahead for you this year here.

Superstitious? Here’s a handy guide of what to avoid during CNY…!

Fancy joining the celebrations? Time Out has a few suggestions here.

Love Data Week 2018

By ucyldva, on 12 February 2018

This week is the 3rd international Love Data Week. ‘Similar to Open Access Week, the purpose of the Love Data Week (LDW) event is to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.’ Several Research Data Management teams from London universities have joined forces to run a series of data related events.

Most events are open to all UCL research staff and research students and library staff are also welcome to attend. During the Love Data Week we will also be publishing a number of data case studies on UCL’s Research Data Management Blog.

You can find an overview of the events below;

A full listing of events is available to share.

For any UCL-specific questions, please contact the UCL Research Data Support officers at lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk.

Brexit and Beyond book launch

By Alison Fox, on 30 January 2018

On the 29th January, UCL Press launched its new open access book Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, edited by and Benjamin Martill, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum, LSE and Uta Staiger, Pro-Vice-Provost (Europe) and Executive Director of the UCL European Institute, to a packed lecture theatre of around 180 people.

The event was organised in collaboration with the UCL European Institute (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/european-institute) and featured talks by some of the book’s contributors Chris Bickerton, Reader in Modern European Politics, Cambridge, Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies and Director of the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance, Loughborough University London, Simon Hix, Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science and Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor of International Relations, and Director of the Centre for International Studies, at the University of Oxford. It was chaired by Quentin Peel of Chatham House, and introduced by the book’s editors. A news article about the event and the speakers was featured on UCL’s homepage – read it here.

Given the highly topical subject of the book and the high-profile authors, both the editors and UCL Press were keen to publish the book as quickly as possible, and we sped up the production process to just 3 months in order to capture the wave of interest and to be as up-to-date and relevant as possible. This has paid off, as an extract from the book was featured in The Telegraph on 22nd January.

Hopefully the event and the combined promotional activities of UCL Press, UCL Media Relations and the UCL European Institute will generate more media interest, but in the meantime we highly recommend Brexit and Beyond to anyone following the Brexit debate who is keen to hear the views of leading academic experts from around the world. Download it free here.

Doing Outreach: ‘Telling Tales of Independence’ at the Bloomsbury Festival

By utnvsap, on 23 January 2018

Photography: Christian Fisher, Bloomsbury Festival 2017

To some ‘Doing Outreach’ might sound more like a points-winner in Strictly Come Dancing than a legitimate pursuit for an academic institution, yet it is not only legitimate but essential to what we do. Outreach is the means by which we share with our community and the wider world what we teach, what we research and, of particular relevance to us in UCL Library Services, the treasures we care for.  It is relevant to everyone, regardless of their role in the university, as it not only demonstrates our value but also gives us the opportunity to bring together people who previously shared nothing but curiosity, but might go on to solve problems and create new knowledge.

So for anyone who has ever considered putting a toe in the Outreach water but has yet to go further, here is a brief insider view of a recent event.

The Bloomsbury Festival is an annual enterprise:

“a five-day celebration of the area’s pioneering creativity. Presenting an inspiring programme of arts, science, literature, performance, discussion and reflection, each October the Festival shines a light on the radical imaginations, institutions, and 11,000 residents that shape contemporary Bloomsbury.”

UCL has supported the Festival since it began in 2006, and for the second time was the Saturday Hub, bringing together most of the festival events for that day on the main UCL campus. The stalls were a mixture of UCL research-focused presentations and outside businesses, with street food, music and dance provided by the Festival organisers. Traditionally the Festival has a theme – a broad concept such as ‘Light’ or ‘Language’ or (for this year) ‘Independence’. This gives a useful focus for planning an event, but is sufficiently flexible to encompass many interpretations.

Like many outreach projects, our event (Telling Tales of Independence) developed somewhat organically and we finally focused on aspects of the personal independence made possible through reading, creativity and performance. Sam Duncan, IOE Senior Lecturer in Adult Education and Literacies, discussed her Reading Aloud in Britain Today research with visitors, and invited them to contribute to her data collection by completing surveys or signing up for interviews. Theo Bryer, (Lecturer in IOE’s Culture, Communication and Media Department) and Rebecca Wilson (IOE ICT Teaching Support Analyst), both recently returned from introducing ‘agile film making’ with iPads in a variety of schools in India, presented some of the films and a poster explaining the project.  For younger visitors, performer Laura Mitchison (of community interest company On the Record) read aloud from story books from the IOE Curriculum Resources Collection, and children (and in more than a few cases grownups) were able to explore their creativity by making puppets and designing for them superpowers or award-winning talents.

The weather, a crucial factor in outreach endeavours such as the Bloomsbury Festival, was not kind and led to last minute changes in the positioning of stalls and performances. Even so 3790 visitors came through the Gower Street gates of the UCL campus, and another 1242 came to the Institute of Making. There were 30 stalls set up in and around the North and South Cloisters, and 26 performances took place during the day.

So what did we learn about Doing Outreach from our Telling Tales of Independence experience? Here are a few of the many lessons:

  1. Prepare to be flexible. One of the excitements (and challenges) of one-off outreach events such as Telling Tales of Independence is the unknown. You have to be prepared to throw your best-laid plans to the wind, and do what works when circumstances dictate. Our planned story times, for example became ‘stories on demand’ when we realized that arrangement was more suited to the flow of visitors.
  2. Being part of a large mixed event rather than an individual one might take you out of your comfort zone if you like familiar surroundings and control over arrangements, but it will bring in more visitors, have wider reach, and enable you to meet fellow ‘outreachers’.
  3. 11am to 5pm feels a lot more than 6 hours when you are presenting an outreach event. Arrange for reinforcements for the later part of the day if possible.

And what did we feel we achieved? Well based on the conversations held, the surveys completed, the puppets created and the stories enjoyed, it seemed visitors appreciated and engaged. We hope they left with a better understanding of what UCL is about and enthusiasm for the possibilities presented. Introductions were made – with UCL colleagues, with visitors, with perhaps potential students – that might one day lead to something that would not have happened if we had not ‘outreached’. So on reflection, a worthwhile day’s work.