Resource discovery systems and usage statistics

Storify record of discussion on Twitter this morning about the recently-released UKSG report Impact of library discovery technologies:2014.01 Storify RDS

Please click through to the full Storify (sorry, I can’t get it to embed in WordPress).

I think Ben has summed it up well: a scientific approach is at odds with giving students the best chance of succeeding at university, and using the full range of resources (which also gives them skills for further study and/or employment).  Ethically, we can’t create a control group of students who only use traditional library search tools, and not the RDS, in order to compare their usage and learning outcomes with a parallel group using the RDS.

Beyond the Blurb – resource discovery services conference

A resource discovery services (RDS) is a type of software that allows a library user to search multiple catalogues from a single search interface.  It is sometimes called “a Google-like search” because the front page is normally simple, with a central search box.

This conference in Bath brought together librarians, library systems people, and systems vendors for an exploration of the issues in selecting, implementing, and operating an RDS.

And here’s that joke again:

A library systems vendor dies and goes to hell.  He’s ushered into the great hall of suffering, where he sees people writhing in torment and smells the sulphurous brimstone and feels the scorch of flames on his face.

He turns to the imp at his side and says “Wait a minute.  This isn’t what I was promised when we made our deal.  Where’s the party?  Where are the beautiful women and the delicious food?  Where’s the music?”

The imp replies, “Back then you were a prospect. Now you’re a client.”

Highlights from #UKSGlive 2013

My learning round-up from the 2013 UKSG Annual Conference

Phil Sykes – University of Liverpool – Open Access Gets Tough

Video of talkSlides from talk

SykesIs the triumph of OA is now inevitable? Maybe not – the current situation results from a fortuitous combination of circumstances, such as the political involvement of strongly pro-OA individuals.  We have to provide strong support for OA through our professional bodies and via skilled advocacy on campus.

“Librarians insulate departments and academics too well from the true costs of their journal subscriptions.”  We now have the opportunity to be star actors in the transformation.  Nothing is inevitable, it’s time to get to work.

Jill Emery – Portland State University – Mining for gold: identifying the librarians’ toolkit for managing hybrid OA

Video of talkSlides from talk

EmeryWe need to influence the change in academia not just within scholarly publishing, but also by getting academics involved.  Make recommendations to them on where to publish.  Don’t wait for the invitation – start the conversation on campus.  We need to re-evaluate our budgets and allocate resource for APCs [article processing charges].  Get into marketing and promotion game.

Research and researchers: identity and evaluation Jenny Delasalle – Uni of Warwick – Research evaluation: why is it relevant to librarians?

Video of talkSlides from talk

DelasalleSnowball metrics project – recipe book now available – sets out best practice for how data can be used to support institutional decision-making

Alt metrics [alternative metrics, linked to social web] – open to manipulation, but so are citation measurements.  Opportunities for librarians – the article-level economy is coming, availability of alt metrics will support interest in other kinds of inputs than journal articles.  Researchers want someone with technical expertise who can provide answers and reassurance – librarians can do this.

Laurel L. Haak – ORCID – Connecting research and researchers: ORCID ORCID mission: connecting research with researchers

Video of talkSlides from talk

HaakORCID is an open, non-profit, community-based effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers”

ORCID is to individuals what DOIs are to articles.

Register for your ORCID iD here.  Can embed ORCID IDs in workflows e.g. University CRISs, manuscript submission, grant applications, links with repositories, linkage with other IDs like Scopus Switchboard.

The new digital students, or, “I don’t think I have ever picked up a book out of library to do any research – all I have used is my computer” Lynn Silipigni Connaway, OCLC

Video of talkSlides from talk

Connaway

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure.” – Henry Kissinger.

Users don’t think that e-resources are library resources.  Users are confident in their information seeking and evaluation skills,and they believe that the same info in multiple places means it’s true…

The learning black market – covert online study habits e.g. they use Wikipedia, they don’t cite it, they feel guilty about it. Some admit to citing the references at the end of Wikipedia articles, even when they haven’t read them.  “One size fits no-one.”

Idea: Create personas from special collections and use them to make social media accounts more personal.

The student-information relationship: a perspective of its evolution – Joshua James Harding, Warwick Medical School

Video of talkSlides from talk

HardingDigital consumption was Joshua’s solution to the problem of many heavy textbooks.  He was an early adopter of IT and is now a paperless student.

Having everything on his iPad means he can do clinics and be able to check details, notes, and carry on with confidence.   Inkling – interactive ebooks, also called smart or multitouch ebooks, including the option to buy chapters. While he studies a textbook, it studies him – maps his progress in terms of what’s been covered, how long spent on each chapter, sets alerts for him to go back and revise specific areas after set times.  Librarians must improve pathways for making this info available to students.

Joshua asks why all paper textbooks aren’t available in e format.  Other problems: fragmentation, reduced variety, variable quality, different platforms and formats…  “Epubs are horrible as textbooks and I urge you, don’t make them any more!”

“I want to be able to annotate PDFs using third-party apps… I think we all want to see the end of proprietary formats.”

Maximising the Knowledge base – the community-driven initiatives KB+ and GOKb – Liam Earney, JISC Collections

Video of talkSlides from talk

Earney

Knowledge Base+ (KB+) in the UK; Global Open KnowledgeBase (GOKb) in the USA.

Both projects aim to capture info that libraries need for managing their eresources portfolios and make this information available to other stakeholders too.  KB+ and GOKb share interests in licensing, but GOKb has a greater focus on sharing a higher level of information across many institutions.

Issues surrounding quality and availability of data in the supply chain:

  • Accuracy (many publishers don’t seem to understand what they publish) e.g. They often can’t make lists of what they publish, or sales/back office have different lists… Laughter in the room as this problem is widely recognised!
  • Availability – not all parts of supply chain have access to all info they need; despite huge duplication of effort with many people involved in maintaining various different databases, but which contain broadly the same info
  • Interoperability: spreadsheets, library staff, link resolver, publisher rep, JISC Collections – all have different silos of info about an institution’s subscription.

Open data delivers practical benefits e.g sharing and collaboration, improved accuracy, reduced burden on any one element in supply chain.

“The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from” – Andrew Tanenbaum

… But do please choose one!  Let your data be promiscuous… Set your data free (but tidy it up first!).  Liam noted that titles have longer relationships with institutions than with publishers.

Electronic resources and ILL – a self-contradiction? – Helle Brink, Aalborg University

Helle gave us an overview of inter-library loans in Denmark, and neatly summarised the current situation in which we can often supply digitised print items but have to send print copies of electronic resources (owing to licencing restrictions).

Possible new models for partial access include:

  • Updating the definition of “walk-in user” to include electronic walk-in?
  • Pay-per-view
  • Voucher solutions e.g. 10 articles per year
  • Read-only, no download or print
  • ILL after embargo e.g. 3 months
  • Public access after embargo
  • New ideas?

It seems to me that most problems involving e-resources and ILL arise from the nature of the licences for electronic resources  the terms and conditions evolved from contracts regulating the use of print resources, and they don’t translate well to the new medium.  Maybe it’s time to design e-resources licences specifically for digital media, rather than simply adapting contracts designed for a print environment?

The twenty-year butterflies: which web cookies have stuck in the internet’s pan? – Jason Scott, Archive Team

Video of talk

Archiveteam

“There is no rare – there is only expensive” – Juke Joint Johnnie.  Jason says, “There is no gone, there is only forgotten.  If we take the smallest amount of effort to set up things to be remembered, they will never be forgotten.”

Archive Team recognise three virtues: rage, paranoia, and kleptomania.

“Instead of the cloud, I call it the clown.  It’s more descriptive!”

“Tiny URLs are one-time crytographic keypads.  We have discovered link shortening services than re-use short URLs.  I’m not a Luddite, but too many people are putting too much trust in storing things on the Internet.”

Publishers and librarians: we share the same values – why are we fighting? – T. Scott Plutchak, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Video of talkSlides from talk

Scott Plutchak“We are some of the luckiest people alive because we get to be part of this.”

“The challenges are technological, cultural, and social.”

“Librarians and publishers – communities that are two key players, but have diametrically opposed views about how to achieve the same goal of making info widely available.”

I disagree that publishers share this goal with librarians.  Are publishers really focused on access to information? Would they still be interested if it were not for profit?  And the routes into the two careers could hardly be more different – how many publishers do vocational training, or volunteer in the information sector as part of their career development?

I think there is a fundamental difference between librarians and publishers in their perception of the value of knowledge and what happens to it when it is shared – to librarians, sharing knowledge increases its value (especially in research); but to a publisher, knowledge sharing without payment represents lost revenue.

The difference between the price and the value of knowledge, eh…

Other

  • A group of us went for a run on Tuesday evening – the inaugural UKSG 5K?  Maybe it should be part of the official programme from 2014 onwards!
  • A knitting breakout session – another idea for the programme
  • Meeting lots of people from other countries who were talking about their work in English has prompted me to acquire some professional vocabulary in other languages.  I’m starting with ALA’s Multilingual Glossary, which includes French and Spanish
  • Referring to a discovery interface with different resource elements as a “bento box approach” – nice description!
  • I think many people still think of UKSG as a serials organisation, but their remit has evolved in recent years and their current mission is to “connect the knowledge community and encourage the exchange of ideas on scholarly communication” – so if you think UKSG isn’t relevant to your role, perhaps it’s worth taking another look?

RAPTOR workshop – an adventure 65 million sessions in the making?*

*with apologies to Jurassic Park

What is RAPTOR?

RAPTORRAPTOR is a JISC-funded kit for looking at e-resources statistics.  RAPTOR stands for Retrieval, Analysis, and Presentation Toolkit for usage of Online Resources.  It was a JISC-funded project led by the University of Cardiff – read more about the project here.  This post summarises my notes from the RAPTOR workshop in Birmingham earlier this week, delivered by Dr Rhys Smith and Dr Phil Smart of the University of Cardiff.  The first version of RAPTOR was released in 2011. Institutions have multiple authentications systems (e.g. Shibboleth, IP), and each logs usage by username.  However, each of these logs are on different systems and in different formats, and some info is missing (e.g. usernames, departments).  Federation operators have a need for stats to demonstrate value for money to their funders.  RAPTOR is a piece of software which allows these usage logs to be collated.

RAPTOR’s goals

  • easy to install & configure
  • not intrusive
  • web front-end for non-tech users
  • scalable
  • standards-based where possible
  • free to use
  • open source
  • community-driven

RAPTOR components

Local deployment options diagram

Local deployment options – image credit RAPTOR wiki

Client (ICA – information collector agents) sends info to the server (MUA – multi-unit aggregator; web):

This picture isn’t as good but it captures Phil doing RAPTOR hands:

Components

RAPTOR is a set of Java programs.  Each competent runs on its own Jetty instance.  Public/private keys, SSL handshakes.  Working on exposing MUAs to SAML metadata instead of keys.

Supported authentication systems

  • Shibboleth IdP
  • EZproxy
  • freeRADIUS

And soon to include OA LA (OpenAthens), OA LA proxy, simpleSAMLphp, Radiator – plus anything you can manually configure.  You can configure RAPTOR to parse any log file you like, you just need to be brave.

If you love xml

Application of RAPTOR

More information about usage, enriched with identity info, gives more business intelligence.  RAPTOR can currently pull out department and affiliation from the IdP [identity provider].  This could be extended in future to include other attributes – let the RAPTOR team know your requirements.
Can use the data to show usage of e-resources by department, system use by affiliation (e.g. UG/PG/staff) e.g. PC cluster room usage.  Could map e-resources usage to attainment info – caveat of correlation not causation.  SWITCH is the Swiss version of JANET – SWITCH AMAAIS [Accounting and Monitoring of AAI Services] project is doing similar things to RAPTOR.

RAPTOR-JUse project

The RAPTOR-JUse project aims to integrate stats from people and platforms by combining data from RAPTOR about the activity of individuals (via the IdP) and data from JUSP [Journal Usage Statistics Portal] about journal usage stats from the SP [service provider] end.

RAPTOR and JUSP have different reporting periods – RAPTOR is per event; JUSP uses defined reporting periods.  This is just one example of the issues to be overcome in this project.

Demo of RAPTOR

The RAPTOR login page is comfortingly simple – though you can’t use federated login (for now).  The irony was acknowledged 🙂  After logging in,  you will see something like this:

Example stats

Can you spot the summer holidays trough on this graph?

Summer holiday trough
You can add postprocessors to sort rows, extract top 10 only etc.  It’s possible to format the entity IDs with SAML organisation name.  The team hope to develop a layer in RAPTOR to represent stats by affiliation as a proportion of the total users, not just raw number.

Can’t do Boolean ‘AND’s in the filter

RAPTOR data can be downloaded in .xlsx .csv and .pdf formats.  It’s not (yet?) possible to see total combined stats for different authentication mechanisms through the web interface – the problem is caused by the different host names being owned by different publishers.  If unique IDs are brought in for publishers in future, this would then be possible.  For any users who’ve dropped out of the directory, no values will be recorded.

Data will be a lot more correct from the moment you install it and run it correctly

Installation options

  • simple – good for test deployment but won’t scale well
  • normal (one ICA on each service to monitor, MUA & web on a Raptor-server server (sic)) – good for large deployment, production use
  • completely separate (ICA, MUA, web elements all on different servers) – probably overkill for most situations

RAPTOR local deployment options in diagrammatic form:

Components

For different components to talk to each other, they need to know each other’s host name, and have encryption keys to swap.  Could have Shib/IP info going to different MUAs.

What do you want from RAPTOR?

Ease of config, supported systems, look & feel, dashboard, reporting vs graphing…?  Let the team know what enhancements you would like to see!  Tell them via the RAPTOR wiki.

WUGEN and WAYFless URLs

To explain what a WAYFless URL is, it’s best to begin with explaining what a WAYF URL is.  WAYF stands for Where Are You From, and it’s a type of URL that allows you access to a service provider via single sign-on by including a step where you have to choose your institution/organisation – hence “where are you from?”.  Therefore, a WAYFless URL is one which does not ask you for your institutional affiliation, and bypassing this step makes it easier and quicker for your users to access platforms.

Setting up service providers to work with your identity provider often involves building WAYFless URLs that are specific to your organisation.  However, they can be brittle and prone to breaking if the target platform changes domain name structure.

A WAYFless URL is one that takes you to an error page

And that’s where WUGEN comes in.  WUGEN [WAYFless URL Generator] is a tool for building robust WAYFless URLs.  The site leads you through a few steps and builds the URL for you.

Click on “Explain my WAYFless URL” to see a rating of the URL on the reliability thermometer:

Explanation of your WAYFless URL

Thanks Rhys and Phil for an excellent workshop 🙂  Before I left, there was time for a final RAPTOR hands moment:

RAPTOR hands

If you enjoy other forms of raptor-related humour, see Philosoraptor

See more on Know Your Meme

E-Resources FAQ

This is a collection of things I wish everyone knew about e-resources.  Whether this area is new to you or not, I hope you find something useful here; and do let me know about any points I’ve missed in the comments.

What are e-resources?

E-resources are also known as electronic resources and there are two main types: e-journals (or electronic journals) and databases.

Many e-journals are digital copies of print journal articles, but increasingly e-journal articles are published without a print analogue.

There are several kinds of databases

  • Bibliographic – this type of database is a collection of references to published literature.  It functions in a similar way to a library catalogue, but indexes details of articles rather than books
  • A&I (abstracting and indexing) – in addition to bibliographic details, this type of database also contains abstracts of the individual articles
  • Full text – a database which includes the full text of all the articles it has indexed
  • Data/statistics – a collection of numbers and facts which you can query in order to extract a particular dataset.  A database in the purest sense of the word.
  • Images – a database containing a searchable index of images and the images themselves

What does full text mean?  Full text refers to an e-resources that makes available online the whole contents of journal articles, not just the abstract or citation.  Full text articles are often subscription resources, requiring an individual or institutional account for access.

What is an abstract?  An abstract is a summary of a journal article, often published at the beginning of the article.

What is a platform? A platform is a website which hosts content or programs.  Examples include JSTOR and ISI Web of Knowledge (which hosts a number of databases including, confusingly, Web of Science).

What is SFX?  SFX is an OpenURL link resolver, which works by compiling a list of all the journals to which an institution (such as a university) is subscribed and linking to that content.  Primarily, it functions to allow you to search an institution’s subscriptions to see if you can access a particular e-journal, and which years are included in the subscription.  At Oxford University, SFX is locally branded as OU eJournals and is one of a number of resources whose contents are searchable via SOLO.

What is MetaLib?  MetaLib is a search system which allows you to search for resources, link to them, and (in some cases) search within them.  This is not possible for all resources, as they need to be compliant with a protocol called Z39.50 in order to be searchable.  At Oxford University, MetaLib is locally branded as OxLIP+ and is one of a number of resources whose contents are searchable via SOLO.

What is a paywall?  A paywall is a barrier to a website which requires you to authenticate to view the content.  Usually, this requires a paid subscription.  An important implication of this is that any content behind a paywall is not indexable by search engines and therefore will not appear in the search results.  Not everything on the Internet is known to Google.

There are several methods of authentication

Internet Protocol (IP) – the IP address of your computer identifies where you are in the world, and is also used by sites like BBC iPlayer which use your IP address to check which country you are in.  If you are using the university’s computing facilities on campus, the computer you’re using will have an IP address within the university’s main range, which is detected by the e-resource you are trying to reach and access will be granted.  Working “off-campus” means that you are off the university network, perhaps using your own laptop in a university library or working from your own home.  This means that your computer’s IP address is not within the institution’s IP range and you will need a different method of access.  VPN software is commonly used to solve this issue and it works by extending the institution’s network to your computer, thereby bringing it into its IP range.

Want to find out your IP address?  Just go to whatismyipaddress.com

Single sign-on (SSO) – logging in via SSO identifies you as a member of an institution (such as a university) and therefore allows you access.  A great advantage of SSO login is that your authentication can be pushed from one site to another via your browser, so you don’t have to keep logging in when you go to a different subscription site that accepts SSO authentication.

Username and password – the old school method.  Nowadays, this only really applies to a small number of really expensive resources, where tight budgets or low demand mean that a several-user subscription than whole-campus access has been purchased.  There may only be (for example) 5 usernames and passwords for the resource, and if all 5 are in use, you will need to wait until someone has logged out so that you can use that ID to log in afresh.

Also good to know

What is a session identifier?  Session IDs or tokens are commonly used in online shopping sites and data/statistics databases.  These types of sites combine a variety of information to produce the page you are viewing, rather than retrieving a pre-prepared HTML page.  The session ID is used to track the individual user’s actions during the course of their session on the site.  Your shopping cart contents or dataset only exists because you have selected and combined certain elements during the session, which will time out after an order is finalised, or the user logs out, or after a period of inactivity.

URLs which contain “session” or “sid” indicate a session ID, and are not persistent.  If you are attempting to link to a resource, check the URL: if it contains a session ID, the URL will not work when someone tries to follow it later on because the session will have timed out.

Some e-resources have embargoes which are periods during which access is not allowed (usually to protect the publishers’ interests, or in JSTOR’s words “protect the economic sustainability of our content providers”).  There are several types of embargo:

  • A rolling or moving wall – a fixed period of months or years.   For example, most journals in JSTOR have an embargo of 3 or 5 years, and as a new issue is published, its equivalent from 3 or 5 years before will become available on JSTOR.
  • An annual cycle – for example, all content before 1st January of this year is available.  This will add another year to the archive on 1st January of each year
  • A fixed date – for example, only content before 2005 is available

If you’re carrying out research in your subject area, make sure you don’t rely exclusively on resources with embargoes, as you will be missing current and recent material.

E-resources and copyright – keep your use legal!

Most e-resources publishers have a ‘fair dealing’ arrangement which allows you to print or save one article per journal issue.  Downloading an article happens when you view the article on screen, not just if you save it.  Please be aware that systematic downloading is not permitted under fair dealing arrangements and may compromise your institution’s access to the resource.  Also, remember that your access to e-resources is for your own research and learning only, and you may not email pdfs or other downloaded documents to anyone outside your institution.

See also: E-Resources – less frequently asked questions for the next part of the story…

Highlights from Oxford Social Media Day 2011

Oxford Social Media Day 2011 took place on 8th September.  I live-tweeted the event and you can search for #osm11 on Twitter for all related tweets.

Now that many libraries are using social media, this aim of the day was to be inspired to take it further.  Our  five speakers did an excellent job and here are my top take-home tips.

  • Jo talked about how librarians interact with many different groups of users and stakeholders in our work, and asked us each to prepare a 30-second elevator pitch to market our skills to one of those groups.
  • This was great for practising my skills in “selling” the library and its services to senior management, students or academics.
  • People will infer things from your brand even if you don’t actively manage it.  For the next exercise, we had to think of 3 words or phrases to describe the brand we would like to convey.
  • Use namecheckr  to see if your username is available on a range of social sites
  • It’s important to keep your brand consistent across different social media sites
  • In social media, commitment to community not the tool is important – go to the sites where your users are.

Public library social media policy #osm11

  • Public libraries & museums act 1964 – key legislation relating to how public libraries operate today
  • Some things you don’t know in advance, and can’t predict if a venture will work – you just have to try it out
  • Need qualitative data to assess effectiveness of service delivery
  • Risk aversion makes things difficult (same problem in universities)
  • Use social media for service delivery – go beyond using it simply as an announcement service
  • The worst possible social media strategy: “we want a Facebook/Twitter/whatever page”
  • Libraries can get involved in online forums as well as the main social media sites
  • What would you expect from a public library’s social media presence?

Ideas from the audience: Mumsnet, catch kids young, involve community groups, book clubs, humour

Ideas from people on Twitter: Direct contact with someone who can answer queries, not just referral to an FAQ page (via @stormfilled); Up-to-date info & speedy, personal, informal response to enquiries (via @archelina)

Marketing academic libraries in a web 2 world

View more presentations from Ned Potter
  • Social media gives great opportunity to listen as well as post
  • No one cares about the “how” – focus on benefits not features, outcomes not process (in the words of @radfemburlesque: Don’t say “hey, we have books” – say “hey, we can get you a first / make your 2.1 less work”)
  • Recommended sites for Twitter analysis: Twocation, Tweetstats, Klout. Focus on improving engagement stats rather than how many followers you have
  • Use Facebook to rescue buried treasure – highlight features of the library
  • “One minute on… “ technique for making short and snappy videos. e.g. One minute on e-journals
  • Use focus groups to get useful and honest feedback about your service

Andrew Hood from Lynchpin Analytics on Measuring social media success (presentation available to download)

  • Monitoring vs measurement – translating what we’ve measured into “has it worked?”
  • The monitoring challenge: capture, collate, filter, category, sentiment, classify, trend, risk analysis, respond
  • Risk analysis – or opportunity analysis (turn problem into opportunity?)
  • Don’t report on something if you can’t do anything about it – use metrics for factors you can influence
  • Monitoring tips: set up RSS searches and collate
  • Measuring tips: document KPIs, use Google Analytics, benchmark by traffic source & engagement

Duncan Smith of iCompli on Social network sites: managing risks (presentation available to download)

  • Something defamatory + published = libel. Things previously said in private now published publicly
  • Not allowed to run competitions on Facebook
  • Contempt of court: do not publish anything to do with a court case (esp. imp. for local authorities)
  • Employee use of social networks – employees with access should have ‘basic’ legal training
  • BBC’s guidance/policy docs on social media – managers “should not adopt an overly restrictive approach”
  • You are responsible for moderated comments on your blog because you authorised/published them
  • Good idea to have a “notice and take down” procedure – could be just an email address to contact
  • Data Guidance – good for legal info (subscription resource)

A very thought-provoking day… I find myself dwelling on issues of the last presentation in particular.

I would love to think that most employees are intelligent enough to know what is appropriate use of social media (or ask if they’re not sure) and I worry that too much bureaucracy will extinguish the sparks of imagination and creativity that make social media such a dynamic and fun way to reach out to our users.

I’m pondering how to write a titanium* social media policy that would still have enough oomph to be meaningful and act as a useful tool for staff; while avoiding being just another work-related document that you have to sign to say you have read but then forget about**.

*Low density, lightweight but strong.  See what I did there?
**Examples: equal opportunities policy, smokefree policy, use of IT policy, health and safety policy, fire safety policy (I could go on)… all worthy aims but bogged down by documents that can feel more like a noose than an airbag.

Library Committee

Today, I am preparing for Library Committee which meets in 3rd Week of each term*.

Representatives from a variety of groups in the college sit on this committee, including the Junior, Middle and Senior Common Rooms (JCR, MCR and SCR = undergraduate, postgraduate and academic bodies respectively), the Principal, the Senior Tutor and the Librarian.

The procedures for Library Committee are quite formal: I have to prepare a set of papers which includes the agenda and a variety of supporting paperwork for the committee to consider in the week before the meeting.

This term, the agenda items include a plan for tackling the conservation and cataloguing of the Rare Books collection, matters relating to staffing, circulation statistics showing rates of borrowing and returning items during the last 3 terms and the impact of switching library management systems from GEAC Advance to Aleph in July 2011.

Agenda items are discussed in the meeting with input from JCR, MCR and SCR representatives.  If all goes well, my proposals will be passed and I can then begin work on implementing them.

*Note on terms at the University of Oxford:

There are 3 terms in each academic year: Michaelmas (October-December), Hilary (January-March) and Trinity (April-June).  Each term is 8 weeks long (Full Term) and these weeks are numbered 1-8.  Noughth Week and Ninth Week are also referred to although they are not part of Full Term.  The week before 0th Week is sometimes called Minus 0th Week or Minus 1st Week.  I’m not sure which is mathematically correct…