Peaks and troughs in borrowing

A good couple of years ago, I blogged about “lending paths”, but we’ve not really progressed things any further since then. I still like the idea that you can somehow predict books that people might/should borrow and also when you might get a sudden rush of demand on a particular title.
Anyway, whilst heading back up north after the “Library Domain Model” workshop, I got wondering about whether we could use historical circulation data to manage the book stock more effectively.
Here’s a couple of graphs — the first is for “Strategic management: awareness and change” (Thompson, 1997) and the second is for “Strategic management: an analytical introduction” (Luffman, 1996)…


The orange bars are total number of times the book has been borrowed in that particular month. The grey bars show how many times we’d have expected the book to be loaned in that month if the borrowing for that book had followed the global borrowing trends for all stock.
Just to explain that it a little more depth — by looking at the loans for all of our stock, we can build up a monthly profile that shows the peaks and troughs throughout the academic year. If I know that a particular book has been loaned 200 times, I can have a stab at predicting what the monthly breakdown of those 200 loans would be. So, if I know that October accounts for 20% of all book loans and July accounts for only 5%, then I could predict that 40 of those 200 loans would be from October (200 x 20%) and that 10 would be from July (200 x 5%). Those predictions are the grey bars.
For both of the books, the first thing that jumps out is the disconnect between the actual (orange) number of loans in May and the prediction (grey). In other words, both books are unusually popular (when compared to all the other books in the library) in that month. So, maybe in March or April, we should think about taking some of the 2 week loan copies and changing them to 1 week loans (and then change them back in June), especially if students have had to place hold requests in previous years.


For some reason, I didn’t take any photos at the “Library Domain Model” event itself, but I did do the “tourist thing” on the South Bank…
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"Engaging our Digital Natives", University of Bradford

On Friday, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation (“Web 2.0 and You Too“) as part of the “Engaging our Digital Natives” event at the University of Bradford. For some reason, Slideshare isn’t showing the notes from the presentation, but they should be available if you download the Powerpoint.
Some photographs from the day are available on Flickr or as a slideshow
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UKSG 2009

Far too tired to blog anything sensible, but wanted to say how much I enjoyed the UKSG 2009 Conference in Torquay 🙂
Looking at the Twitter feed (#uksg09) it sounds like the trains have been atrotious. Hope everyone eventually made it back home in one piece.
I was already full of cold before setting off and it wasn’t until this morning that my ears finally “popped” from the flight down to Exeter on Sunday… just in time for the flight back to Manchester! Once again, now all I can hear is my tinnitus 🙁 Just in case anyone was wondering, that’s why I spent most of the conference sticking my fingers in my ears and shaking my head from side to side 😀
There’s lots of photos from the event on Flickr. However, I must get myself up to a photography course, as only about 10% of all the photos I took were worth uploading. My favourite shots are these two…
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…I’ve no idea who any of the people are in the first shot (taken during the Tuesday evening drinks reception), but the second is Clare Duddy with her prize of a new Samsung netbook — many congratulations!
Not sure why, but I’ve not uploaded any photos of the duck that was starring at me through my hotel window… I’ll get photos of it uploaded tomorrow!
It was also great to meet Mike Ellis, and I’ve lost count of all the people I networked with and all of the ideas that sprang from those conversations.
Best of all, someone promised to email me a receipe for how to make limoncello — yay! 🙂

It's raining squirrels

Squirrels falling out of the sky isn’t something that’s unheard of in Huddersfield — see this BBC News story about an inventor who suffered whiplash from a falling squirrel — but I’d not seen it happen until yesterday.
Late yesterday afternoon, we ventured out into the snow and had a little wander through the local woods. I’d taken my camera with me and, not too far into the woods, I took this photo of the path…
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My camera’s set up to do a “burst” of shots, so it automatically took another 3 photos in quick succession. Just as I was taking the first photo, I was aware of a noise in the tree tops — what I didn’t realise was it was the sound of a squirrel falling 😀
The next shot caught the squirrel in mid-fall, although it’s just a blur in the middle of the frame…
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…it had a soft landing in about 9 inches of snow…
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…and then headed straight back up the nearest tree…
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…within seconds it was leaping around the tree tops like nothing had happened…
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World exclusive!

This is a little naughty of me — posting pictures of the two subject floors that have undergone refurbishment this year before many of our library staff have had chance to see them in person 😉
Last summer, we refurb’d the entrance floor of the library and rebranded it as the “Student Centre” to reflect the fact that the myriad of student service departments now had a presence in the library. Shortly afterwards, actor Patrick Stewart formally opened the library 🙂
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(Mr Stewart chats to Lisa and Bryony at the “Ask a Librarian” desk)
This year, we’ve tackled 2 of the 4 subject floors and they’ve been strictly out-of-bounds for most of the summer. Just before the floors were handed over to the builders, I popped round with my camera (see Flickr)…
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Four months on, and I’ve gone round again. The refurbished floors aren’t open to staff or students yet, as shelving is still being fitted, PC desks are being installed, and crates of stock are returning from temporary storage. You can view the photographs on Flickr or watch them as a slideshow.
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The architects had a difficult brief — improve study facilities, add social spaces and flexible areas, and do it all with the existing space and without loosing shelving capacity.
Wandering around the floors, they’ve managed to do it and then some!

  • flooring is used to guide people through the floor, with clear paths from both staircases to the Subject Team office on each floor
  • the silent study area and silent PC rooms aren’t enclosed rooms, but use corridors of thick glass walls to absorb noise — as you enter the areas, the noise from the rest of the floor simply vanishes!
  • to free up much needed space, each floor makes use of mobile shelving from Nordplan
  • power sockets and data points are everywhere — scattered across the floor in floor boxes and mounted in vertical poles close to the where the comfy furniture will be placed
  • most of the walls are curved, and most of the walls are glass — natural light floods in and you’re never far away from the great views across the valley and towards Castle Hill (Huddersfield’s most famous landmark)

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One thing I’ve not taken a photograph of yet is the new eco-friendly library catalogue PCs, and that’s because I’m not installing them until later on this week …pop back on Thursday evening and I’ll reveal all!
And, if that wasn’t enough, today we unveiled our Learning 2.0 programme at the annual Teaching & Learning Conference held at the University — yay! 🙂
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I am reliant on Bloglines

Well, it turns out I am reliant on Bloglines when it comes to finding out what’s going on 😀
Little did I know that my work colleagues have been busy uploading photos to Flickr behind my back! I’ll hopefully be bumping into a few of them at the Beer Festival in Holmfirth on Saturday, so I’ll be quizzing them about these images 🙂

The Headmen

I mentioned that I used to be the bass player in a band (“The Headmen”) a while ago and it was great to hear that one or two people still listened to our stuff!
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Partly prompted by the fact I’ve been in touch with Simon (vocals/guitar), I’ve converted some of the old recordings into MP3 format and created a “fan” page on Facebook yesterday:
www.facebook.com/pages/The-Headmen/24224123641.
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It’ll soon be 20 years since the band formed (t’was in Oct 1989), so maybe we’ll reform for the anniversary? 😉
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Stuck on a train

The joys of free wifi slightly make up for the fact that I’m stuck on a train that’s going nowhere fast — the East Coast main line is suffering long delays due to the train which was ahead of mine managing to damage and bring down the overhead power lines :-S
Today was the first meeting for the JISC Towards Implementation of Library 2.0 and the e-Framework (TILE), held at the impressive LSE Library in London.
I’m still not 100% sure what the TILE Project will manage to achieve, but it was great to spend 4 hours in a room full of people who are keen to liberate and share library data, primarily for the benefit of our users.
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