University Science and Technology Librarians Group meeting at Imperial

Carole Rhodes of the USTLG introduced herself and the main aims and purpose of the group which meets twice a year in November and May alternating meeting places in an attempt to overcome the North/South divide. The next event will be in Chester.

On arrival I took advantage of the  option to tour the Imperial College Library. Emma took my group around and showed us some of the newer features of the Library Services at Imperial. Holds and ipad loans are all self-issue which have proved very popular with the students. In fact they are about to launch a new laptop loan scheme in response to positive feedback and requests. The Subject librarians are placed in a room on the main entrance level and operate an open door policy!

Back in the conference room, the first session was a behind the scenes look at a Refworks online tutorial which was embedded within an Imperial College teaching course Previously Refworks was taught in face to face sessions but student feedback was that they would prefer the course to be online. Students wanted to fit the training in with their own time and study needs, they found that they didn’t use Refworks for a long time after the in person teaching sessions and had forgotten how to use it by the time they needed it. The online course facilitated revision instead of doing time consuming refresher courses in person. To create the course they used Camtasia for screen capture and articulate studio to insert videos. Each clip was no longer than 4 minutes. It is hosted on Blackboard to enable the course to be embedded within the teaching curriculum. To assess the success of the project they incorporated a survey.  The whole project took from November to May to complete

The second session was delivered by Paula Evans on which was used in the Imperial business school inductions. enabled students to ask questions anonymously which was especially helpful for plagiarism awareness. As with all electronic response tools it enhanced student engagement. Infographics and stats demonstrate that approx. half were engaging. It encouraged those who are reluctant to speak, in particular those students for whom English is not their first language. It was used for large groups of approximately 250 students and enabled the facilitators to answer the most frequent questions but also harvest all rest and post replies into the virtual learning environment. Although is not a free tool there are pricing options for education should at least a few months free access as education

Marguerite spoke on behalf of the sponsors, Pro quest outlining new products based upon the premise that scientists are moving away from subscription journals and engineers are highly reliant on drawings, standards and technical specifications.

Lynne Robinson a self-confessed technophobe ran a session on how the way we interact with students has changed and is changing again with the introduction of smart phones and watches. It was interesting to see how much tech support is readily available in other academic libraries and how many librarians in technology subject areas are self-taught and continuing to experiment and research new tools and technologies which are miles away from the traditional book and journal support provided by librarians. Is the future a library controlled by robots and computers ?

It was lovely to meet other subject Librarians in my field and to discover the vast range of disparate subjects they support as well as discovering new tools and toys that I can try out on my students, especially to increase engagement during induction week. Soo… this year engineers may well be invited to ask me questions using and I’m trying to work out if I can find an excuse to use this


If you’d like further details of the sessions and the materials covered they are all online here


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