Where did all the books go?

The University of Hudderfield Library is entering into the 2nd phase of a 3 year refurbishment. Last year, it was the entrance floor, and this year it’s the two subject floors above. Floor 5 is already cleared of stock, and floor 6 will be empty by the end of next week.
I couldn’t resist spending a few minutes wandering around the deserted floor 5 this afternoon. Most times of the year, it’s a vibrant and busy subject floor — today is was eiree and desolate. With the shelving and staff gone, you get a real sense of the space and size…
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The floor of the former PC room is dotted with circular patches where the culmulative effect of hundreds of students on PC swivel chairs has gradually worn away the carpet. It’s like something out of a sci-fi film where people get zapped and turned into a small round pile of ash 😉
You can find the rest of the photos here.
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quick conference summary

Graham and Ian have already said many of the things I was planning to say, so just a quickie blog post and I’ll try and add more later…
A big “thank you” to everyone who was involved in organising the conference — I think it’s safe to say it was a huge success. A huge amount of face-to-face “social networking” went on, which partly explains why I didn’t have time to blog anything!
I’m sure I read a blog post/comment from Stephen Abram that Enterprise wasn’t going to be an OPAC bolt-on front-end (like Primo, Endeca, AquaBrowser, VuFind, etc), but that’s certainly how it was pitched at the conference. One question I was planning to ask, but forgot, was whether or not the relevancy ranking algorithm would be tweakable — the demo threw up some iffy results (e.g. a search for “dogs” ranked a book that didn’t contain the keyword anywhere in the title/author/summary higher than other books that did). Being able to give certain MARC fields a higher priority for relevancy ranking is a “must”.
Keynote speaker Sue McKnight was extremely quotable, and here are a few of my scribbled bullet point notes from her session:

  • “we need to adapt to the digital mindset”
  • don’t give stuff sexy/trendy names — if it’s a information desk, then all it an “information desk”
  • we need to be creating the future and not be the victims of change
  • “…Shibboleth?! Bloody Hell!!!”
  • “become a change junkie”
  • “the status quo isn’t an option”

Ever since seeing Helene Blowers present, I’ve watched what presenters do with their hands (Helene is very kinetic and is almost impossible to photograph). CODI President Amy Terlaga must be double-jointed, as I certainly can’t do this with my thumbs (I tried, and it hurt!)
As Ian has already mentioned, the news about Horizon 7.4.x in the UK was extremely disappointing.
The two User Groups decided to combine, but decided to take a vote on what their new name should be. As soon as the name is chosen, I’ll rebrand the DUG Wiki (https://library.hud.ac.uk/dug). I’ll also be adding the presentations to the wiki (as soon as I’ve got permission from each presenter).
The plan is to put together a registration page for the new User Group that will:
1) register your organisation as a member
2) set you up with a wiki account (so you can edit the pages)
3) let you vote for the new name for the group
We’re also planning to look at chat technologies to help move away from face-to-face meetings, which are always difficult for non-UK members to attend.
So, keep a close eye on the wiki for further info!
I’ve also finished uploading all of my conference photos to Flickr
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Southampton – day one

The presentations for day one of the conference have drawn to a close and there’s only time for a quick blog post before we all head off for an evening of nautical fun and frolics on the “Three Rivers Cruise”. Cross your fingers no-one falls overboard!
Unfortunately, for “personal reasons”, CEO Gary Rautenstrauch isn’t at the conference, which is a shame.
The opening keynote by Keith Sturges talked about the continuing change within the company (something which most customers are only too aware of) and the continuing growth of the company (16%, compared to a sector average of 8%). The SaaS (Software as a Service) model is being pushed hard, with the UK hosted solution handled by IBM in Greenock, Scotland (“the most miserable place you could ever go to”!).
I’m still sceptical of SaaS being a “must have” for UK academic libraries. There are good and valid reasons why universities would prefer to have control over their servers and IT infrastructure — integration with other systems being a key one.
Next up, Kevin Rushbridge (Project Co-ordinator for the Swift Consortium) talked about the state wide consortia model set up in Victoria, Australia. I thoroughly interesting presentation — I think Kevin is speaking at a CILIP event soon? If so, he’s well worth going to see. I was tempted to put my hand up at the end and ask “did you consider Open Source?”, but manged to resist.
After the afternoon break, Talin Bingham (Chief Technology Officer) presented the Symphony product roadmap. As reported elsewhere, Enterprise is the upgrade path from EPS/Rooms and e-Library is the replacement OPAC for iBistro/iLink.
The big news from Talin is that Microsoft SQL Server 2005 will become an alternative database option for Symphony 3.3 (which is due 2009), with support for SQL Server 2008 coming afterwards.
One thing that’s always bugged me about iLink/iBistro is that the book title isn’t a clickable link in a set of search results. In the screenshot of e-Library, it looked like that was still the case.
Talin also mentioned that URSA is continued to be developed, but without support for the British Library, it’s a product that has very little relevance to many UK libraries.
I’ve not had chance to upload images from the presentations, but there’s a clutch of photos from the registration and lunch on Flickr:
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Library and Information Show 2008

A big thank you to everyone who came along to my OPAC session at the Library and Information Show last week! If you’re looking for the presentation, it’s available on SlideShare (I’ve finished adding the comments to the slides).
During the afternoon, I snapped a few photographs
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Owen Stephens has already mentioned the funky “Smartblades” from Intellident. I dread to think how much is would cost to kit out an entire library, but maybe in 20 years from now most libraries will have smart shelving? Seeing the blades light up (using blue LEDs) in sequence as they scan the shelves is cool beyond words 🙂
SirsiDynix were demoing an early (“pre alpha”) prototype of “Enterprise” (the replacement for EPS). The search examples shown highlighted that it automatically uses fuzzy searching (e.g. “global warning” also found “global warming”). Over the weekend, I couldn’t resist tweaking the “did you mean” suggestions on our OPAC to do something similar (e.g. “global warning” or “nursing practise“). It’ll be interesting to see what SirsiDynix come up with to differentiate their new product from “Primo” and “Encore”.

Brian Kelly – Man of the Year!

Just a quick post to add my congratulations to Brian Kelly for picking up the “IWR Information Professional of the Year” award at Online Information 2007!
Unfortunately I didn’t get chance to snap a photo of Brian with said award, but I did grab this one of Richard Wallis (from Talis) pretending that it was his…
The celebrations went on to an ungodly hour at both Maggie Jones’s
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…and the “Prince of Wales” pub…
…and the hotel corridor looked a little like this at 1am in the morning…

Patrick Stewart in the Library

It’s not every day that you get a former Captain of the starship Enterprise in your Library, but today was one of those days! Patrick Stewart is the current Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, and was born just down the road in Mirfield.
The refurbished library opened it’s doors to students in September (see photos), but today was the official opening ceremony of the Student Centre (which is the entrance floor of the library). To celebrate the event, we had a string quartet playing in the foyer, and Patrick Stewart gave a speech and unveiled a plaque.
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No sooner had Patrick walked in, he headed straight for the Info Desk…
Lisa (left) is looking slightly surprised and that’s my better half Bryony sat on the right.
After an entertaining speech…
…Patrick unveiled the plaque…
…drinks were served…
…and he personally thanked the library staff for their hard work over summer…
I’d thoroughly recommend getting a string quartet to play in your library entrance — it definitely sets a nice ambience 🙂

Waterford, Ireland

A big “thank you” to everyone who made me feel so welcome at the Library Association of Ireland’s Public Libraries’ Section Conference in Waterford!
My presentation (“Libraries on the Web (2.0)”) is currently available on SlideShare.
There’s a big pile of photos from the event on Flickr, and I’ve also separated out the images taken in the Waterford County Library
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Library Refurbishment

The entrance floor of the University of Huddersfield Library has been closed all summer for a major refurbishment. Today, we opened the doors to the “Student Centre” (the new name for the entrance floor) in time for Welcome Weekend and the start of Fresher’s Week.
Apart from the refurbishment, the new Student Centre hosts service points for the various Student Services which were previously housed elsewhere in the Central Services Building. This is great news for our students, as the majority of the services they require to support them during their studies are now in one place.
Even more exciting (for me, anyway!) — we get delivery of our new RFID book sorter on Monday morning 🙂
You can see all of the images from this morning in this Flickr set (or as a slideshow). Here are some of my favourites…

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We’ve even managed to tweak our OPACs so that the screensaver matches the new colour scheme 🙂


NAG 2007 Conference workshop

I think I’ve just about recovered from my first NAG Conference, which was held this year at Keele University…
Ronald Milne takes a question from Ken Chad
A big “thank you” to everyone who came along to the “Web 2.0 – It’s Okay to Play” workshops and I hope it sparked one or two ideas that you might want to pursue!
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Some of the photos I took are now on Flickr (I’ve used the tag “nag2007”).
The presentation is available to view or download at SlideShare: www.slideshare.net/daveyp/n-a-g2007
As promised, here’s those links for you to explore…
Continue reading “NAG 2007 Conference workshop”