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Archive for February, 2008

Versions

Version One of the Versions toolkit is out – http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/versions/VERSIONS_Toolkit_v1_final.pdf
I’m keen to add something like this to my repository info, especially after today’s ruptions re e-theses (don’t ask..)..

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I’m currently reading “The University of Google: education in the [post] education age” by Tara Brabazon. It’s absolutely fascinating, highly recommended for anyone interested in higher education and information skills in the digital age. I need to buy a copy myself, because as I’m reading I feel the need to highlight passages all the way, I’m nodding my head in agreement whilst I read..

I love this quote on page 45 – ‘Everything can be learnt from the web, except how to use it’. Brabazon notes Google Scholar as a welcome intervention to tertiary information seeking, as Scholar places the refereed literature amongst search results. Maybe I’m getting old, but it seems bizarre to me that higher education can function without the specialisation and expertise that comes from advanced information seeking – moving beyond Google and Google Scholar, which are great starting places, to the specialised databases and indexes. I think I’m finding Tara Brabazon’s book refreshing because after beating the infomation literacy /information skils drum for so long, especially *here*, it’s great to find an academic with the same beliefs.

I remember working on the reference desk at QUT, and one cohort of students arrived saying that their lecturer had set an assignment with a compulsory component of using at least three refereed journal articles. ‘What’s a refereed article?’ ‘What’s peer-review?’ It’s a convention particular to scholarly, academic literature, I guess, but it confers a value based on evaluation and quality control. We have sophisticated (maybe overly so) databases in which to search for this type of literature – I wouldn’t expect first year undergraduates to use these, but final year students who scrape by without them – are they cheating themselves out of really understanding their discipline?

So if we take Google Scholar, with its inclusion of refereed literature, as a step in the right direction, the problem of access remains. The commodification of information by international publishers placing tolls on access – a familar argument to those in libraries and repository circles. Interesting to see this coming from the perspective of information location, evalution and use.

Tara Brabazon is a key note speaker at the LILAC conference. I’ve been to the last two LILACs, they are the Kylie Mingoue’s of conferences – small but perfectly formed! Really enjoyable with a great mix of practitioners and researchers. I hope Tara Brabazon’s presentation goes online afterwards.

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Apparently this isn’t as straightforward as the DSpace documentation might suggest, and further problems may arise when installing patches/plugins etc as most are designed with a PostgreSQL database in mind. This is a problem as it negates one of the main reasons for choosing DSpace, that of being able to use and feed back into community developments.

The web team are think-tanking this to work out a solution. We’d like to be able to extend our repository to also work with a publications database, so that’s an additional issue to take into consideration.

Any comments or suggestions appreciated..

Snapped at home – you can just about make out a pheasant strolling through the brambles.. This little guy has really been making himself at home around our place lately. Caught him strutting along the patio the other morning. I wouldn’t be bothered except pheasants are so pea-brained! As long as he doesn’t try any ‘why did the pheasant cross the road’ type stuff because pheasants don’t seem to be very successful at that…
Pheasant

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I’ve been doing a number of training sessions lately, for a number of different, err, stakeholders in the repository. Today I have my first session with the five librarians that will be helping to administer the collections, and perform the mediation on deposits.

I’ve split the sessions up, ostensibly into three meetings over three weeks. The first will cover the basics – open access, institutional repositories, copyright and permissions (plus licences and terms and conditions – exciting!) and versions. We’ll also go over the main features of our DSpace installation, from an end-user perspective. I’ll ask them to log in, then before our next session I’ll add them as administrators to their particular area of responsibility.

I’m aiming to give them all a chance to reflect on what they’ve covered between one session and the next. It really is a lot to take in, and I remember back to the three days I spent at the RSP Summer School in June 2007 and the breadth of information we took in – quite a lot to get your head around.

It will really help to have extra hands to check submissions – not because I’m flat out but because it provides a continuity of service (so I can go on hols over Easter!). Also I’m rolling out the promotion for the repository over the next few weeks, in a fairly understated kind of way. This week it’s e-theses, to coincide with the university ‘Innovations Week’, where e-theses get a stand in the Claverton Rooms cafeteria. The week after it’s ‘Meet the new Research Publications Librarian’ (me!) announced on the internal news pages. Finally, around, or maybe just after Easter it’s a ‘Know your Author rights’ campaign. *That* should be interesting…

Well, better sign off here. Almost time for the training session number one.

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