#CityLIS Guest Views: Derek MacKenzie Number crunching in the summer time

This guest post was written by Derek MacKenzie, Head of User Services at CityLibrary and #CityLIS Guest Lecturer.  Here, Derek looks at the collection, uses and reasons for statistics in university libraries.


Derek MacKenzie, Head of User Services at City, University of London Library

Derek MacKenzie, Head of User Services at City, University of London Library

The end of July always marks an important staging post in the University calendar with the end of the financial and statistical year.  August-July is the established period for us to collect data on library usage, spending, occupancy and all the other measures which enable us to assess our activity levels and contribute towards our future planning.   It is also around this time of year when we garner some qualitative and quantitative data in the form of survey results from the Your Voice and National Student Surveys.

Recent highlights

So what are some of the statistical highlights from CityLibrary in 2016-17?

Well, we saw a notable increase in the number of students visiting the library during the Christmas vacation period.   A total of 824 individual students visited the library over the three day Christmas holiday opening period, a 25% increase on the comparable period in December 2015.

We also saw the number of online chat enquiries increase by almost 20% to 1498 – or if you prefer that measured in time….library staff spent 8 days, 9 hours and 5 minutes of their collective time engaged with our users through this medium in the last year!

The number of items borrowed from the libraries declined by 4.7% – this is a continuation of a trend we’ve noted over several years now, a period which, as you might guess, has seen an ongoing increase in the take up of electronic books.

Why collect statistics?

It’s important that we are able to keep up to date with our library statistics as they’re required frequently to report to University Committees (such as the Library Committee and the University Executive Committee).  They also help us report back to Student Experience Committees on our activity and help with business cases to support bids for additional resources to help develop our services or improve the range of resources we can offer to support learning and research at the University.

While year on year measures are useful in giving us some immediately comparable data and looking at trends over a period of time, it’s worth noting that the range and nature of statistics that we gather has evolved over the years in response to changes in the academic landscape and in how library services are delivered.  Online chat enquiries weren’t on our radar 4 years ago as that service was still at the planning stage – but we can now use this as a key measure of library user engagement.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Changes to statistics

However, the scope and reach of the data we gather extends beyond City into the wider academic community on several levels – and changes in this sphere are happening at quite a pace.

City’s membership of the University of London, effective from September 2016, gave an additional focus for us as we began to review registrations and visits from the City community to Senate House Library across the year.   Other factors which have impacted on the ways we measure and record data over the years have been shaped by SCONUL.

A key activity for SCONUL, the national organisation for academic libraries, is the collection and publication of statistics.   And SCONUL has responded to the evolving academic climate by making changes to the types of data submitted by University libraries.  They also provide a framework for libraries to benchmark data against other comparable institutions – this can be a very useful tool for us to assess where we stand and what we’re doing in the wider academic environment.  More information on this can be found on the SCONUL website.

How we collect statistics

Our capacity to gather data is growing all the time with Springshare’s LibInsight software  giving us a particularly agile and dynamic tool to record and analyse a range of library statistics.  The challenge is to be sure that what we are recording is not only accurate but relevant and fit for purpose – and to be able to show that this adds value to the University experience for students.

Another key piece of work in the last year came towards the end of 2016 when Library Services contributed towards the University’s submission for the Teaching Excellence Framework.  The guidance notes from HEFCE (Higher Education and Funding Council for Education) were liberally sprinkled with the words “impact” and “effectiveness”.   More than anything, perhaps, this has highlighted how much the focus of data gathering in H.E now centres around demonstrating the value and impact of activity, not simply recording what is being done.  We’re not going to stop recording how many books are borrowed, how many study places are occupied, how many logins are recorded …but the challenge now is to be able to demonstrate how this activity relates to outcomes.

Universities are increasingly turning to analytics to help with student engagement, retention and recruitment and City is just one of many institutions involved in JISC’s learning analytics project.

I was given a great opportunity to learn more about how other libraries are gathering, analysing and responding to data by attending the Performance Measurement in Libraries Conference at the start of this month.   I’ll focus on some of the highlights from that in a future blog post.  In the meantime, I’d be really interested to hear your questions, comments and thoughts on library data and how we can bring a more analytical dimension to this.


Derek MacKenzie is Head of User Services, Library Services, at City, University of London and can be contacted by email.

If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact our Editor, James Atkinson.

If you would like to join CityLIS in September 2017, you can find our more about our courses on our website.

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#CityLIS Student Perspectives: Nancy Beckett-Jones at the CILIP Conference 2017, 5 – 6 July 2017.

Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #CityLIS students.

Current Library Science student Nancy Beckett-Jones write about her experiences this year’s CILIP Conference in Manchester.


Last week I attended the annual CILIP Conference held at the University of Manchester.  This year’s event promised to be a truly memorable one with an impressive line-up of keynote speakers set to inspire and spur us on; and it certainly lived up to expectations providing much food for thought and many opportunities to learn from others and make connections.  Given the political climate, the individual’s rightful access to information and library services naturally dominated the conversation throughout the 2 day long event.  Discussions centred on the opening up of collections for communities; responding to misinformation in the post-truth era; concerns for patron privacy in light of government agendas; and reflections on emerging library service models.  There were many examples of libraries tailoring services to different user groups that were showcased, and success stories rightly celebrated.

So much has happened since last year’s conference in Brighton when we were left reeling after the UK voted to leave the EU.  A year on and when democratic values and our way of life is being challenged more than ever, our shared mission seems even more pertinent.  It was fitting then that Carla Hayden the first black, female Librarian at the Library of Congress was invited to speak to us.  Her keynote was inspiring and hopeful as she stressed the important task we have as information professionals of working together to break down barriers to increase access to heritage collections for our children and future generations.  She spoke at length about her decision to go to the Library of Congress, and how it was fundamentally at odds with her past.  As a former children’s librarian, and then later as a library school educator, she questioned how she could serve the public at the LoC as historically research institutions have not been welcoming.  She asked us all to reflect on the barriers that are in place, and reconsider the hoops that we make people go through; and stressed that we need the skill set of the younger generation to add to the expertise of the profession to enable this to happen.

Neil MacInnes from Manchester Libraries and President of the Society of Chief Librarians, spoke to us about the transformation of Manchester Libraries, and how they connected the collection with the community and completely remodelled the service.  Prior to the regeneration Mancunians weren’t accessing the library, but by taking the archives out into the community and opening up these collections the library has a new relevance.  Manchester Libraries have now attained portfolio status, a recognition of the contribution that these libraries make to society.  On our first evening, we were treated to a tour around the recently remodelled Manchester Central Library; a truly inspiring library with a unique collection, and a building which has retained its period character whilst gaining new and engaging spaces for users.

We all held on tight as the philosopher and academic Luciano Floridi took us on a bitesize philosophical journey to consider equity in the infosphere!  It was however a cautionary reminder of the centrality of LIS and libraries as forces that serve to counterbalance inequalities.  For whilst democracy and access to information is far from universal, where there is democracy, without education and with commercial organizations largely controlling the answers, although we may theoretically be able to seek information, access to it will always be restricted both in terms of the formulation of questions and in the answers received.  At a time when democratic freedoms are being challenged globally, our roles as library and information professionals are more important than ever in ensuring this equity.

We heard from Salil Tripathi from the Institute for Human Rights and Business, warn of increasing security measures that are being used against us and our way of life and freedoms for our benefit.  He spoke of the worrying possibility of internet companies being forced to police online activity and the importance of distinguishing between hateful speech and dangerous speech; for with the removal of both our human right to express ourselves is undermined.  He spoke of libraries compliance with the Prevent Strategy which is counter to the ethical values that underpin librarianship.  These changes in legislation infringe upon our human right to freely access information, and the prospect of withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights is very frightening indeed.

David McMenemy, Lecturer and LIS course director from University of Strathclyde also spoke about changes that effect our right to access information.  He suggested that with new service models the founding principle of libraries, that we should all have equal access to information is threatened.  This universalist notion is challenged by an emerging idea of ‘community’; for with this understanding, charity/community replaces the individual’s claim to access information.  Volunteer supported and lead libraries actually in essence destroy the universalist notion or library faith.  Political groups are keen to push forward this in place of rightful government support, and the term ‘community’ re-appropriated for a right-wing ideology.  For when the community takes over a library who oversees the service?  There can be no objectivity here, for example if a church group steps into the role, where does that leave LGBT users?  The new service model that includes community based libraries, mutuals and charity trusts, in effect weakens equity and should be understood as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Patron privacy is another big issue moving forwards, for if we fail to ensure this then we inhibit what users choose to access.  Importantly we need to question our own practices in terms of internet filtering; uses of third parties in service delivery; and in using learner analytics.  For in trying to meet the needs of our users are we disregarding our duty to ensure their privacy?  McMenemy went on to suggest ways of responding to these crises: foremost we should debate issues that effect LIS, for not debating is unethical; and it is moreover anti-intellectual to surround ourselves with those who agree and do not challenge us.  He suggested that we might invite the naysayers along, and adopt a non-coterie approach at conferences.

Misinformation in the post-truth age was another key theme at the conference, and Pauline Paterson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, spoke to us about the very real consequences of misinformation, and how low vaccine confidence was due to the spread of misinformation though social media.  CILIP’s ‘Facts Matter’ campaign which champions an evidence based approach to legitimise information, received a lot of positive social media coverage throughout the conference too.

There were plenty of opportunities to group-think at workshops and to network throughout the conference.  I attended Arup’s ‘Rethinking libraries’ session where we were asked to rank key focuses for libraries moving forward, certainly no easy task!  CILIP are also rewriting their Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Practice to make them more meaningful and a more useful tool for practitioners, and we had the opportunity to contribute to this whilst at the conference.

The conference also provided support and suggested new approaches to adopt.  Ian Anstice, editor of Public Library News, armed us with solutions as to how to best support public libraries from closure and negative press.  Stephen Wyber from the International Federation of Library Associations explained the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which form part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and how they can be used as tools for advocacy.

I particularly enjoyed listening to Emma Coonan, Information Skills Librarian from University of East Anglia on the subject of library inductions.  With the new academic year not long away, and thinking about how new students initially interact with the library and how they attain literacy skills, it is interesting to consider how the library is instrumental in this journey.

It is understood that academic libraries take a remedial approach to education and yet our goal should go beyond teaching technical literacies such as keyword searching and the mastery of a set of library skills; we need to encourage self-directed learning and critical thinking from the outset.  Students need to learn how to learn themselves, so rather than induction perhaps we should assist with transition.  According to Coonan we must give them the clue, not the whole ball of string and invite them into the labyrinth of learning.  Rather than an induction, let them come to the library on their own accord and observe behaviours rather than instruct.  Here students are asked to construct knowledge, and the teaching directional; for we must empower students to be critical, to talk back and to ask questions, this is after all the goal of education to develop a critical stance, and as educators we must also support this.  UEA have engaged with this idea and created learning tools to encourage this transition and allow the students to encounter the library.

There was also a real acknowledgement of the emerging workforce throughout the conference, which was very pleasing from my student perspective.  After Carla Hayden had been welcomed by the delegates, she in turn welcomed the students who were present, and she addressed us directly stating that conferences are for LIS students their survival kit, a lifeline, stressing the importance of networking and building strong working connections.  There was also a whole session devoted to supporting new professionals and innovation, outlining the government’s agenda with the Public Library Skills Strategy.  There was also support for a bottom up approach to management and we were introduced to Librarycamp and the value of unconferences for innovative library services.

It was a packed itinerary, and for every seminar I attended there were 4 more that I would have enjoyed and got something out of.  That the challenges we face across the sector are shared ones, and our preoccupations universal means that we can learn from each other and that is what makes the CILIP Conference quite a special event in the LIS calendar and one that I was very pleased to attend.  I’ve come away feeling inspired and supported, with so many references I’d like to follow up on and with a whole bunch of new people to follow on Twitter.  Whilst looking forward to #CILIPConf18, I think I’d like to attend an unconference next.

by Nancy Beckett-Jones,

Library Support Services @UniSotonLibrary and #citylis student, twitter: @beckett_nancy

The hashtag for the conference was #CILIPConf17


Badke, W., 2010, ‘Why information literacy is invisible’, Communications in information literacy, (4:2), pp. 129-141, available at: http://0-web.b.ebscohost.com.wam.city.ac.uk/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=dda60582-45b1-4663-ad73-ccfd524062ff%40sessionmgr101 [accessed on 11 July 2017].

CILIP, 2017, Facts Matter, [blog], available at: https://www.cilip.org.uk/advocacy-awards/advocacy-campaigns/facts-matter [accessed on 11 July 2017].

Elgot, J., 2017, May and Macron plan joint crackdown on online terror, 12 June 2017, [online], available at: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/12/may-macron-online-terror-radicalisation [accessed on 11 July 2017].

IFLA, 2017, Sustainable development goals, [online], available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs [accessed on 11 July 2017].

Librarycamp, 2017, Librarycamp, [blog], available at: http://www.librarycamp.co.uk/ [accessed on 11 July 2017].

McMenemy, D., 2017, Sustaining our common values the pressures at play and to come, [online], available at: https://www.slideshare.net/dmcmenemy/sustaining-our-common-values-the-pressures-at-play-and-to-come-77505705?qid=1d56ac3e-f25a-471e-b165-d8f908db5edf&v=&b=&from_search=2 [accessed on 11 July 2017].

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#CityLIS Student Perspectives: References and Recommedations for those joining CityLIS in September 2017 by Mariana Strassacapa Ou.

Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students.

Current Library Science student Mariana Strassacapa Ou offers some reflection and recommendations for incoming CityLIS students.

I’m a full-time MSc Library Science 2016-2017 student, which means at the moment I’m working on my dissertation, to be handed by the end of September—scary but fun times. As a break from the research I decided to gather a few Library & Information Science references in this blog post, aiming at the new colleagues joining CityLIS this 17′ Autumn; it is also a bit of a reflective moment for me, to look back at this year that has passed so quickly, and try to come up with not too long a list of readings & other things that I think could be quite useful to anyone starting their MSc LIS at City.

Attention: this list is highly subjective! Loads of personals interests in it, but I’ve also tried to think more broadly and include a little bit of everything. Also worth noting that I am an architect from Brazil trying to get into librarianship, so I did not have any background when I started at CityLIS; so if you’re already a library worker with some knowledge of things, then you might already know or even read things from this list. And I’m also interested in libraries in particular, even though of course the world of LIS goes beyond them, so if you’re interested in information management in big corporations, well, you won’t find much stuff for you here. Anyway, this is supposed to be introductory, and something that I would definitely have appreciated knowing/reading about when I was starting myself. So here we go:

Books!—because we all love them, right?

Books that nicely introduce you to the world of LIS

Bawden, D. and Robinson, L. (2012). Introduction to information science. London: Facet. Yep, starting by the book of our dear lecturers, and that’s because it is genuinely a great resource. I found myself going back to it for every single assignment I would write. Is is an ‘introduction’ indeed, but more than that is also presents lots of discussions and critical commentaries, and very useful lists of references about the many LIS themes. There are many copies of it in the City Library, but the one I bought for myself ended up completely highlighted and annotated, and I used it throughout the whole course/year—so I would definitely recommend buying one for yourself if you can. If you become a CILIP member (we CityLIS students can easily join), some discount on Facet books apply!

Link to the book in the CityLibrary
Facet publishing website: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk
CILIP on Twitter: @CILIPinfo


Buckland, M. (2017). Information and society. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London: The MIT Press. The MIT Press is a publisher to watch, as they are always coming up with good stuff of LIS interest; this book is a true little gem, and part of a fine ‘Essential Knowledge Series’ that is actually very helpful; I also like the Metadata and the Open Access titles; the Computing: a concise history also looks great but haven’t read yet. But Information and society gives a great, short & sweet introduction to LIS and to the discussions around the relationship between, well… information and society! The foreword is by our dear David Bawden.

The MIT Press on Twitter: @mitpress
Link to MIT Press books on Internet Studies/Information/Communication
Link to MIT Press book on Humanities  (note the annotated Frankenstein edition!)


Gleick, J. (2011). The Information: A history, a theory, a flood. London: Fourth Estate is a big, amazingly readable book that ‘tells the story of how human beings use, transmit and keep what they know. From African talking drums to Wikipedia, from Morse code to the ‘bit’, it is a fascinating account of the modern age’s defining idea and a brilliant exploration of how information has repeatedly revolutionised our lives’ (from the back of the paperback edition)—I don’t see how it can be more appealing than that! I was reading this one when my CityLIS classes started, and I surely felt as I was more tuned in and ‘kept up with’ the many LIS themes that were being discussed in class by having been reading this book.

Link to Gleick presenting the book at a Talks at Google on YouTube
The book record in the CityLibrary


Wright, A. (2014). Cataloging the world: Paul Otlet and the birth of the information age. Oxford: Oxford University Press presents a fascinating history of not only Otlet and the Mundaneum, but of cataloging and indexing and organising practices as modern phenomena, introductory of the ‘information age’. Contains loads of relevant LIS characters and events and it was obviously very well researched. The book also has a pretty website.

Link to this book in the CityLibrary
Link to a presentation of the book by Wright on YouTube

Books on Library History

I love history and I think the biggest frustration of my life is that I did not graduate as an historian but as a d**n architect. I try to work my way around it; my undergrad dissertation was about Chinese modernity, and for my LIS dissertation I’m trying to build an archival resource that can be useful to library history studies.

Anyway, I know that lots of CityLIS friends like history as well and many are great enough be historians themselves, so I thought a couple of library history references would be nice. Note: no history-of-libraries-of-all-times-and-places here; this is specific stuff because I think specificity makes nice history (more about my views of library history here). These ones are about the history of the public library.

part of our lives

Wiegand, W. (2015). Part of our lives: a people’s history of the American public library. Oxford: Oxford University Press is a, well, history of the American public library as institution written from the voices of the library users—the people—as a history from bottom-up: ‘the library in the life of the user’, instead of the other way around. The author, librarian and library historian Wayne Wiegand, concluded that over more than a century people have been coming to the public library to get, mainly, ‘information, space, and reading’.

Link to the book record in the Senate House Library
Link to Wayne Wiegand himself talking about the book in this great YouTube video


Black, A. (2016). Libraries of Light: British public library design in the long 1960s. London: Routledge from British librarian and library historian Alistair Black is an accomplishment in terms of his work; he has been talking and researching about how to write public library history that embeds the library in its cultural and social milieu for a long time, as well as trying to bring other disciplines closer to library history—in this case, architecture and urbanism, studies of modernity and political history. Great read that also highlights the library user’s voice and perceptions.

Once a CityLibrary member you can have free online access to the full book here
And anyway this is the physical book in the CityLibrary

And then there’s the Library & Information History journal, and the CILIP Library and Information History Group to be joined if of interest. I like following the many events, conferences and talks held by the Institute of Historical Research – School of Advanced Studies, University of London; in the past year I’ve attended some very nice events like Future Past: researching archives in the digital age and the History Day 2016: Libraries versus Archives! (audio of full discussion available!); it was also from the IHR events that I became aware of the Layers of London project, which then turned out to play a major role in my present dissertation.

To follow on Twitter if you’re a history person:

Books that help make sense of the digital

Digital and computing everywhere, but what is ‘digital’, what does it even mean?! Are analogue and digital antonyms? What are we actually doing when we digitise things, objects? What is a digital library? Some big & intimidating questions here, but these two books are guaranteed to make you feel much more comfortable thinking and doing digitally:


I have no idea how to endorse Peters, B., ed. (2016) Digital Keywords: a vocabulary of information society & culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press more; this is a phenomenal book that departs from the idea that ‘whatever else it is, the digital revolution is a revolution in language’ (p. xviii) and that ‘terminologies do routine work: every word that empowers action also screens what we can do in reality because reality has first limited how we can use words’ (p. xv). Each chapter is an essay on a ‘digital keyword’: we have for example ‘Analog’ by J. Sterne; ‘Democracy’ by R. K. Nielsen; ‘Gaming’ by S. Bhaduri; ‘Sharing’ by J. Drouin; they all try to understand what these ‘keywords’ mean and do in our society & culture. My favourite chapter is ‘Digital’ by B. Peters the editor himself; his basic argument:

like fingers, digit media carry out at least three fundamental (Lacanian) categories of actions: digits count the symbolic, they index the real, and, once combined and coordinated, they manipulate the social imaginary. (p. 94)

I would keep an eye on Benjamin Peters’ work through his website; note his newest book How Not to Network a Nation: The uneasy history of the Soviet Internet, doesn’t it sound amazing?

Links to excerpts from the ‘Digital’ and the ‘Analog’ chapters
The CityLibrary doesn’t currently hold a copy of this book, but I’ve just ordered one through CityLibrary More Books scheme and should be around in four weeks or so!—yes we get to order the books we want to the library, pretty cool. You can also buy your own from Foyles or Waterstones.


Rumsey, A. S. (2016). When We Are No More: How Digital Memory Is Shaping Our Future. London: Bloomsbury is a lovely book by historian Abby Smith Rumsey; among many fascinating things she’s done she has spent a decade in the Library of Congress. Divided in three parts, ‘Where we come from’, ‘Where we are’, and ‘Where we are going’, the book explores memory in the digital age, ‘for memory is not about the past. It is about the future’ (p. 12); the goal is ‘to deepen our understanding of memory’s role in creating the future and to expand the imaginative possibilities for rebuilding memory in the digital age’—she succeeds; it is a very insightful reading.

The CityLibrary holds a copy of it
And this is her in a Talk at Google about the book on YouTube

A book about humanity and knowledge


Peters, J. (2016). The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the rise of free culture on the Internet. New York: Scribner ‘is a provisional narrative introduction to the story of free culture in America, using Swartz’s life as a lens on the rise of information sharing in the digital age’ (p. ix), but this is a modest description of the book by its author. Peters goes a long way back in time, back to ‘Noah Webster and the movement for copyright in America’ through discussions on authorship and knowledge ownership & sharing, with carefully researched historical material, until Aaron Swartz, his work and and legacy; the book ‘is an important investigation of the fate of the digital commons in an increasingly corporatized Internet’ (from the book flap). It is a fascinating read and sheds lights on important contemporary publishing debates and practices.

I didn’t find a copy of this book around our libraries; there is one at the British Library, but as you might know the BL is a reference library (no lending), and personally I find it a bit annoying to read ‘casual books’ in the Reading Rooms there, unless of course it’s an item that is only available there so no other option. You can order one for CityLibrary, or buy one from Foyles or Waterstones.

Still on this copyright/ownership of knowledge theme, the UCL Press is doing an amazing job in fully open-access scholarly publishing; ‘it seeks to use modern technologies and 21st-century means of publishing/dissemination radically to change the prevailing models for the publication of research outputs’ (from their website). I’m currently reading their very recently published The Web as History, lots of relevant stuff for LIS.

A couple of apparently conflicting but interconnected awesome books


Schnapp, J. T. and Battles, M. (2014). The library beyond the book. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press is a super fun read on the past, present and future of the library as a ‘mix-and-match space’. The authors call the book a ‘provocation’, and address ‘a threshold being traversed at the time of writing’:

The threshold in question is made up of interlocking components: changes in the nature and status of the document and the book; changes in practices of reading, research, note-taking, and information-sharing; changes in the architectural and institutional containers in which such practices are carried out and by means of which they are supported. It was arrived at not suddenly but slowly, not with the wave of a digital magic wand, but thanks to a century-long transformation in the culture of communication. (p.14)

Link to the book record in the CityLibrary
Link to article/excerpt of the book in the Slate magazine
Article on the metaLAB (of which this book is a resulting project) work in the Digital Humanities; it is also a very good introduction to the field, if you don’t know about it already.


The library might go beyond the book, but Houston, K. (2016). The Book: a cover-to-cover exploration of the most powerful object of our time. London: W. W. Norton & Company dives deep into the book as ‘the quiet apex predator that won out over clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, and wax writing boards to carry our history down to us’ (p. xvi). This book on books is about ‘the history and the making and the bookness of all those books, the weighty, complicated, inviting artifacts that humanity has been writing, printing, and binding for more than fifteen hundred years. It is about the book that you know when you see it’ (p. xvii). By far, this is the most beautiful book as book of this list; so nice to touch and hold and flick through all the nice illustrations. And apart from its fascinating content, made me think about the relationships between book history and library history, and the history of the document(ation) and library & information science.

Keith Houston is going to be in the British Library talking about this book on the 3rd July
Link to this book in the CityLibrary

Other resources

A journal I like to follow and read is

The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy,

by The University of Chicago Press.

A recent article I’ve read in it and enjoyed very much is Hoffmann, A.L. (2016). Google Books, libraries, and self-respect: Information justice beyond distributionsThe Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, 86(1), 76-92.

A person whose work I like to follow is

Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information Luciano Floridi

His book Fourth Revolution: How the infosphere is reshaping human reality provides a great introduction to his thought and to his concept of ‘infosphere’; from the Oxford University Press website: ‘Considers the influence information and communication technologies (ICTs) are having on our world; Describes some of the latest developments in ICTs and their use in a range of fields; Argues that ICTs have become environmental forces that create and transform our realities; Explores the impact of ICTs in a range of areas, from education and scientific research to social interaction, and even war.’

Link to Professor Luciano Floridi on Twitter

He is part of the Oxford Internet Institute, ‘a multidisciplinary research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, dedicated to the social science of the Internet’; I usually keep an eye on what they’ve been doing there, and on their events and blog posts.

To follow on Twitter:

Bodleian Libraries
‘Inspiring collections and beautiful libraries. Facilitating world class research at the University of Oxford’

OUP Libraries
‘Oxford University Press’s insights for librarians, sharing news, resources, and ideas for libraries across the world’

‘The Open Library of Humanities. Building a sustainable, open access future for the humanities. Join us. info@openlibhums.org’

U of MN Press
‘University of Minnesota Press is the publisher of groundbreaking work in social and cultural thought, critical theory, media studies, and more’

Open Culture
‘We make the web a more intelligent place. A Thought-Provoking Blog. Free Courses. Free Audio Books & eBooks. And more’

Be sure you check CityLIS online repository in the

Humanities Commons

for CityLIS alumni dissertations and theses

Essential to-do’s

issue your library card for the Senate House Library, an amazing University of London library with a very comprehensive Book Studies section and cozy leather sofas.

issue your British Library Reader Pass; some items I was only able to find there, and to enter the Reading Rooms and to consult any material you must have a Reader Pass.

• ask someone as birthday or Christmas or whatever day present for a gift membership of the British Library; the Member’s Room is a very nice place to work & study; you get some free tickets to events, and free limitless entry to the exhibitions.

• issue your library card for the Barbican Library; it’s the largest public library near City, with great collection and great space (it’s inside the Barbican Centre!)

I hope this is all of some help and use. I really enjoyed my year in CityLIS and wish it hadn’t passed so quickly. Do feel free to ask any question, and suggestions to this list are always very welcome.

This post was first published on June 26th 2017, on Mariana’s personal blog this is a digital information technology.

Follow Mariana on Twitter.

If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact our Editor, James Atkinson.

If you would like to join CityLIS in September 2017, you can find our more about our courses on our website.

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#CityLIS Student Perspectives: Volunteering at CityLibrary by Isabel Martinez Carrasco

Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students.

This post is by current #citylis student, Isabel Martinez Carrasco and is about the volunteer position she undertook at CityLibrary last summer.


Lyn Robinson informed us recently that new volunteer positions are available at City University Library this summer for #CityLIS students, so I would like to take this opportunity to talk about my previous experience of doing so.

Last year, from July to September 2016, I was participating in a very interesting project at the Northampton Square Library inputting data from the University access control system (PLAN) into LibAnalytics (a data management package) and testing methodologies for analysing the data.

The project aimed to identify, using statistics and data analysis, the real circulation flow of student visits by features such as school and course of study, ensuring confidentiality, at the different libraries locations at City, University of London. With that, the University intended to be better informed about the libraries’ use routines and design a Library Services Operational Plan through which to know if additional resources were needed, report the results to the Library Committee and provide evidence.

My tasks consisted in collating all data in Microsoft Excel, editing, categorising, sorting and filtering it according to parameters set out, and then uploading them to the data analysis program LibInsight. I also collaborated briefly in the data management of SCONUL annual library statistics and library staff training records.


At the beginning, I was not confident if I would be able to cope with it because it required the use of advanced functions in Microsoft Excel with which I was not entirely familiar, but rapidly the supervisors of the project, Derek MacKenzie (Head of User Services) and Martin Edwards (User Services Librarian, Law) made me feel at ease. Indeed, their instructions were always clear and very well-defined, and they suggested to me a project timeline in which tasks could be completed reasonably and feasibly.

The project required a commitment of approximately 4-6 hours per week over a 2-3 month period. I must also say that, at that time, I was involved with some personal circumstances that forced me to travel to my country during the summer and both supervisors were always very flexible and understanding to rearrange my schedule, providing that I comply with the agreed hours.

I knew that other #CityLIS classmates were collaborating in respective projects related to content digitisation activities at the main library and contributing to the improvement in usability of the library website at the Cass Learning Resource Centre, and they too were happy as well.

I am very thankful and satisfied for having had the opportunity of volunteering at City University Library. It was a great experience for me and I really enjoyed it. All staff are very nice, and I could use all the facilities, see how the library looks ‘behind the scenes’ and how it is a working really busy information environment. I gained invaluable skills at data analysis and I learned how to use pivot tables and dashboards in an Excel spreadsheet, knowledge that I am quite sure will be useful for my master´s dissertation.

For that reason, I encourage everyone at #CityLIS interested at volunteering at City University library to apply.

You will not regret it.


You can follow Isabel on Twitter.

If you are interested in studying Library and Information Science, our next Open Evening is on June 14th from 5.30-7.30pm – you can book your place here.

If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact our Editor, James Atkinson.

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