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Internet Librarian International. 20th-21st October, London

Neil Lynch and myself attended this year’s Internet Librarian International conference.  This is one of my favourite conferences.  Hearing about innovations first-hand from librarians from around the world is always interesting and gives me ideas on how our own library could do things differently.  Every year there’s always new themes which form part of the conference buzz.  This year, for me, that theme was libraries need to provide what users want or they will simply go elsewhere, leaving libraries facing a very uncertain future.  Liz McGettigan and others gave excellent presentations on what this actually means for libraries – principally a radical replacing of traditional service delivery with new technology based services.

Paul & Neil at ILI2015

Neil (R) and Paul (L) at ILI2015

That’s my very brief conference ‘takeaway’.  Read on if you wish to read the summaries, presentations and my key points from the sessions I attended.  You can also check out the conference programme and this archive of conference Tweets.

Day 1

Keynote: Knowledge is Beautiful
David McCandless @mccandelish
 Author of 2 books. @infoisbeautiful and Knowledge is Beautiful.

  • Visualising data helps you see connections and patterns you didn’t see before.  Big data describes large amounts of data that can be mined for information.  Data is the new oil.  Visualised information has incredible potential to help us quickly understand, navigate and find meaning in a complex world.
  • 9 from 10 users use same password across all sites.
  • 5% use password as a password.
  • Linked info isn’t knowledge.  David created a range of live dataviz that update as the source data is updated.
  • Dataviz elements all must have meaning. Not just for design ie 3D.
  • What radical changes happen when we have to ask big questions about ourselves and our services? The Libraries Taskforce was established in 2015 in response to the Independent Library Report for England. Its remit is “to provide leadership; to implement the recommendations of the Report and to help reinvigorate the public library service in England”.

Dynamic disruption: inventing the new library
Liz McGettigan @lizmcgettigan
Confronted with huge competition libraries must redefine themselves, their services and their business models. The future is not just about adapting to the information explosion, but about co-creating and making the library a more active space of knowledge creation. This session explored innovative technologies, tools and apps, new designs and showed how they are capturing new audiences and influencing budget holders.

  • Libraries always faced disruption. Public libraries failed to capitalise on people’s network to have a uk wide integrated library platform. Mobiles are most popular platform for info consumption. Find out more about the SOLUS app.
  • Self service means staff are in the library helping users rather than stuck behind the service desk where self-service issue machines are being used instead.
  • Public libraries must become digital hubs.  I.e. librarians helping with big data.
  • Learning is changing. I.e. interactive video. What has the library got for me in 1 to 2 years time?
  • Need creative leaders. Interactivity in learning and accessing information. I.e. touch screen. 3D printing, gaming inc. treasure hunts, augmented reality, robotics, Occulus Rift, cloud computing, i-beacon, AI.  Analytics – turn that data into knowledge to customise the customer experience.
  • We are in an information tsunami. Competition is fierce. Online services compete for users attention.
  • The future? Drive-in libraries. Libraries without books.
  • Popup elibrary, where users can access books through lots of screens.
  • Cre8 – a pop up library space. To encourage creativity amongst younger people. Winner of library change lives award 2014.
  • Incremental change not enough. Radical change is needed if libraries are to meet the challenges ahead. Disrupt or be disrupted.
  • Future of libraries must focus on giving users what they want.

Radical thinking for library services
What radical changes happen when we have to ask big questions about ourselves and our services? The Libraries Taskforce was established in 2015 in response to the Independent Library Report for England. Its remit is “to provide leadership; to implement the recommendations of the Report and to help reinvigorate the public library service in England”.

Johan Tilstra  @JohanTilstra
Utrecht University Library
A library without a catalogue

  • University libraries don’t have to provide local search functionality. Don’t need to spend resource on this as you can discover books anywhere as catalogues are available via the cloud, then delivery follows.
  • Users don’t want local search. Students start their search on search engines, then Wikipedia.
  • Only 10 people run Google Scholar. What if Google turn it off?  Users wouldn’t resort to their library.
  • By using other search like OCLC via your library’s subscription the library moves up your browser.
  • Leadership for libraries task force. Reinvorating public libraries in England.

Kathy Settle  @Kathy_Settle
Department for Culture, Media & Sport
Leadership for Libraries Taskforce

  • Libraries are civic spaces to serve their communities. Going beyond books to find more info. I.e. putting people in touch with groups or carers about dementia.  Teaching literacy. Code clubs. Business hubs. Performance and exhibition space. Co-locating with other council services.
  • 20% UK population not online. Public libraries can support them. For example, providing assistive technology and helping older people to access the Internet.
  • Libraries task force to help deliver on the Independent Library Report for England, December 2014.
  • People who are deciding on future of libraries are those who use them least.
  • Need to improve digital services and access.

Digitised collections – open and creative
The annual Off the Map competition challenges students to create videogames inspired by the British Library’s digital collections. For 2015 the “Alice’s Adventures Off the Map” competition, accompanies the Library’s forthcoming exhibition,  which celebrates Alice in Wonderland’s 150th birthday. The Memory Field project  – elements of which can be seen in the X Track – investigates how a DJ interacts with visual and audio collections and allows library users to mix and annotate links between digital collections.

Stella Wisdom  @miss_wisdom
The British Library
The British Library ventures off the map

  • Off the map.  Explores how BL digital collections can be used in new ways.
  • Alice’s adventures off the map and The Wondering Lands of Alice uses digitised images from BL collections.

Dan Norton and Fernando Vilarino
Computer Vision Centre
Memory Fields

  • The annual Off the Map competition challenges students to create videogames inspired by the British Library’s digital collections. For 2015 the “Alice’s Adventures Off the Map” competition, accompanies the Library’s forthcoming exhibition,  which celebrates Alice in Wonderland’s 150th birthday. The Memory Field project investigates how a DJ interacts with visual and audio collections and allows library users to mix and annotate links between digital collections.

Transforming strategic engagement
How are librarians working in new ways with professional service colleagues who are responsible for strategic engagement? In what new ways has strategic engagement become a function in libraries, distinct from the traditional subject liaison role? Why are some academic subject areas retaining traditional librarian roles?

Katie Fraser and Neil Smyth  @katie_fraser
University of Nottingham Library
Transforming strategic engagement

  • Relationship management. Librarian’s jobs have changed to align with relationships they have with others in the university – faculty and students.  Hard to stop doing some things in order to focus on new tasks such as focusing on making relationships.  This is harder as its not tangible like managing books.
  • Strategic engagement cycle. Building bridges as above. Partnering with others and seeing how all needs are met.
  • This means knocking at faculty and schools doors to try to engage, and was difficult. One reason being lots of staff changes.
  • Strategic information gathering. Mostly about conversations, meeting others and asking big strategic questions.
  • Joint diagnosis of needs. How to bring library and faculty needs together? Still working on that.  Everyone needs to be on the same page before action planning.
  • Be proactive in identifying risk before implementation.  Evaluation and review are also important.
  • Librarians found they had to take a leap of faith into new role and needed support from colleagues in the workplace and the profession.

Wonderful library websites
Great library websites help raise the profile of libraries, engage audiences, promote library services, provide seamless user experiences, improve discovery and open up collections. In Norway a large open source website project means that even the smallest library can have a great website.  In the UK, Digital Bodleian is a new single discovery interface for the libraries’ digitised special collections.  Developed using open standards, there were technical challenges – and innovative solutions.

Petter von Krogh  @pvkrogh
Buskerud Fylkesbibliotek
Webloft project – gives public libraries new websites.

  • 97% Norwegians have Internet access.  88% visit the Internet so public libraries need to be logged on.  ‘Society is where the library is’.
  • Open source and open licensing will be big growth areas. Libraries need to provide access so anyone can use open data and build upon it.
  • Petter’s project is webloft. Uses WordPress just like 24% of websites do as it’s easy, versatile and has a large community.  Plugins added to provide extra functionality.
  • Webloft library channel – upload content to YouTube, Vimeo or SoundCloud.
  • So webloft is not just a website, it’s infrastructure.

Matthew McGrettan
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Digital Bodleian

  • The Bodleian Library had separate collections, each with different user interfaces and no cross-collection search. Poor user experience.
  • Solution: single search, metadata scheme, better user interface, search index – Digital Bodleian.  Includes books, images, manuscripts.  Uses IIIF to bring together images held in other libraries.

Jon Bentley  @bent0s
Barriers to a seamless user experience

  • When surveyed about requirement for access management system seamless user experience came top.
  • Users expect consistent wifi. Design of pages must work well on mobile devices.
  • Training imperative on how to use these platforms on different devices.
  • Speed of access limited by how quick publisher’s sites are to respond.
  • Better procedures to inform libraries when resource urls are changed.
  • Next steps: Improve connection with publisher data.

Using technology to develop digital literacies
Using gaming and game design, problem solving, creativity, storytelling, maker culture and experimentation, libraries are bringing new ideas to ICT training and are helping to bridge the digital divide.

Nick Tanzi
Mastics Moriches Shirley Community Library
Video gaming as digital literacy

  • Digital literacy – ‘the ability to use information and communication technology to find, evaluate, create and communicate information’.
  • Video game design workshop.  Uses Kodu Game Lab.  Teaching kids to programme using a visual programming language.

Bridging the digital divide
Jeroen de Boer  @jtdeboer
Bibliotheekservice Fryslân FabLab Benelux Foundation

  • Nancy Kroess – ex EU Commissioner – ‘if you’re unable to code you’re missing a lot of advantages’.

Ake Nygren  @akenyg
The public library as a community hub for non-commercial learning.

  • Webmaker
  • Web literacy (exploring, building, learning).  Have made tools to help users remix the web – x-ray goggles, Thimble, Webmaker.
  • Mobile library FabLab – taking these tools to rural areas in the Netherlands – inc a 3D printer.
  • ‘Developing connections rather than collections’.
  • Learning by doing as a solution for the fact that teachers in secondary education are struggling to teach students how media is created.
  • Also delivering a modular package to help other libraries develop their on FabLab or Makerspace.
  • ‘Learning by making’ – Netherland Government approved budget so Maker education platform started.  It’s essential that libraries are involved to bring this to schools and public libraries.
Networking at ILI2015

Networking at ILI2015

Day 2

Keynote: Fighting to speak freely
Jodie Ginsberg. Index on censorship, UK  @jodieginsberg
EPIC is an independent non-profit research center in Washington, DC. EPIC works to protect privacy, freedom of expression, democratic values, and to promote the Public Voice in decisions concerning the future of the Internet.”

  • Free speech is in the “permanent interests of man as a progressive being”.
  • Mass surveillance already changing how we work. 1/3 writers in free world have avoided writing criticising government.
  • Surveillance uses security as a reason to invade privacy.
  • Index on Censorship opposes the right to be forgotten as it’s censorship and is too blunt a tool and too woolly.  Also suggest Google shouldn’t be the arbiter and there is no right to appeal, and it’s unworkable and only applies to servers in the EU.
  • CIPA implementation went beyond the requirements of the law. Overzealous firewalls, for example.
  • Students are being denied free speech as controversial speakers are increasingly not invited to universities.  Extremist speakers banned in some universities.  They want to shut down controversy to keep them safe.  Some have trigger warnings for students.
  • Free speech encourages the clash of ideas and not the closure of minds.
  • It was suggested that volunteers may censor how public libraries offer Internet to users.  Making decisions on providing access to information based on their own prejudices, rather than following the professional values paid staff would.
  • Protecting children. The best thing is to educate them and signpost risks. Otherwise you have to deny Internet access completely.
  • The Communications Data Bill (“Snooper’s Charter”) likely to be reintroduced along with other anti-terrorism legislation which will further curtail freedom of speech and terms are broad “undermine British values”.  A wide-ranging and vague statement – what are “British values”?
  • Update – On 4/11/15 the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill was introduced

The changing world of search
Phil Bradley  @Philbradley
Phil explores how Google search is changing, looks at why alternative search engines are so important and how social searching is changing search as we know it. Some recent news on search engines:

  • Google now forces you to go to your country version by default.
  • Ability to filter by pages visited gone.
  • Reading level discontinued – will Verbatim be next?
  • Dubious results. Google Martin Luther King Jr and this site is highly ranked –
  • Search engines are advertising resources – not there to give you the right answer.
  • Google tries to personalise your results based on your location, ads you’ve looked at and your search history.  It also promotes results with Google+ pages and reviews first.
  • In the US Google has dropped market share to Bing.
  • Right to be forgotten gives power to Google to remove search results.  In Russia you don’t need to prove it, you can just ask results to be removed.
  • 75% increase in Facebook video posts since 2014.
  • Individual publishing vs websites for news i.e., and Twitter and Facebook increasingly used as news sources.
  • The number of Internet searches on mobile devices exceeded those on desktops in 2014.
  • The future?  Wearables. Internet of Things.  Personal identification when shopping. Will shoppers be biased to shops that support that?

Demonstrating value
Evaluation and measurement are powerful weapons when it comes to securing support, funding and advocacy. In this session, librarians, a researcher and a publisher share ways to demonstrate impact and value to different audiences – from senior level decision makers to everyday users.

Christel Olsson and Tove Lekselius
University Library of Boras
Good customer relationships

  • What is the key value of the library?  Library as a space, face to face contact and doing what systems can’t.  Students often reluctant to ask questions.  Though library staff get lots of IT support questions.  These account for 28% of enquiries.
  • Face to face contact will be the most important thing in future. Introduced the “Meet and Greet Project” where library staff spoke to students at lectures and workshops.
  • Also introduced the “Quality Walk” where library staff look at the library from the user’s point of view and make a point of engaging with users – just by doing a simple “See, Nod and Greet”.
  • Library staff also asked to keep a diary. Note times when we said no to a customer and categorise enquiry by type of request – ILL, enquiries etc.
  • Also introduced the “Critical Friend” concept.  Staff pair up and shadow and review each other.  Initial reluctance at start and didn’t take off. So renamed it “Inspirational Friend” with certificate and staff adopted it.  It Includes documented evidence that all participating staff have the same knowledge base and have been putting customer at the centre.
  • Future developments:  Evaluation from participants.  Inspirational Friend certificate to include 2 stars and a wish (reward and a wish for improvement).
  • Librarian role is changing and you cannot end customer relationships.  Need to ensure users want the library and give them what they want. Library staff should ensure it’s always worth users visiting the library.

Leo Appleton  @leoappleton
Centre for Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University and University of the Arts, London
Knowledge, access and inclusion. The power of the public library

  • Research study into users experience of using public libraries. Focusing on citizenship.
  • There was a bias though as he surveyed library users rather than non users.
  • Libraries need to focus on digital by default inc digital skills. But not at the expense of print.

Seth Cayley  @sethcayley
Gale Cengage Learning
Researching the digital humanities

  • Extinction chart predicts libraries will be extinct by 2020. Unlikely, but shows profession needs to change and data mining is key to enable libraries are the link between the customer and research.
  • Netflix used data mining, for example, to commission house of cards.
  • 90 9 1 rule for community engagement also applies to data mining. Only 1% doing most of it.
  • 90% of users don’t know how to research.

Measuring to drive decisions
How are libraries measuring their activities and usage in order to drive effective decision making? UiT The Arctic University conducted a deep log analysis of its information literacy MOOC. This user feedback has enabled the library to refine its understanding of how students approach information literacy, and adapt future course offerings. Can altmetrics be used to help a governmental agency evaluate the social impact of government agencies – and can they help change the way management reaches decisions?

Lars Fingenschou and Mariann Lokse  @LarsFigenschou
Arctic University of Norway
Learning opportunities and barriers: making the most of MOOC usage data

  • Join the information literacy MOOC anytime
  • Evaluation from running the MOOC:  Less than half took the exam as it’s not compulsory and give no course credits.  96% passed the final exam. Was it too easy?  Found that less than 22% passed on first attempt. Some students took 20-30 attempts.
  • Course intended to improve students learning. The data showed parts of course students had most problems with. Were those questions too hard?
  • Allowing unlimited attempts seems to discourage learning.

Peter Nieuwenhuizen  @PNieuwenhuizen
Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment)
Altmetrics: a social revolution in library impact measurement or just hype

  • – alternative bibliometrics.
  • Department publishes using various publication formats including online and social media.
  • Do non scholarly pubs also have an impact?
  • It’s a way to validate social impact.
  • Tested it on 33 articles published this year on Lidar Uncertainty Measurement Experiment (LUMEX).
  • Results: Government publications are mentioned in social media.
  • Conclusion: Altmetrics provide fast results, but are not suitable for all government publications.

Customer engagement
In Australia, a mobile makerspace that was set up to inspire and engage young people has extended to an adult audience too. In the Netherlands, a partnership of graphic designers and information managers set up a resource hub for social innovation.
Donna Kellion  @MakerSpacesMack
McKay Regional Council, Queensland, Australia
Social engagement and skills sharing

  • Makerspaces MacKay – kids making stuff with power tools etc.
  • How to take the time to pass knowledge to others. Young people learn social skills by sharing knowledge with elders.
  • Also benefits mental health in older life.  The project encourages them to make stuff and share knowledge with others.  Proven to have long-term benefits.  However, more mentors are needed.
  • Libraries no longer knowledge access – now knowledge sharing.

Nigel Browne  @ihsrotterdam
Information Manager at Dutch Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS).  Part of Erasmus University, Rotterdam
Engaging with partners for social innovation

  • TRANSIT project. Transformative social innovation theory.
  • Website includes a resource hub – a content management system.
  • Not just for academics. But for practitioners too.
  • Limited budget so needed to make compromises.
  • Use Google Goggles in Google Analytics to get more precise analytics such as user flow and page views.

Paul Gray
November 17, 2015