Looking back

2020: what a year. What a terrible, terrible year. But, in one of our last blog posts of the year, we thought it would be nice to look back at some of the positives for Durham University Library and Collections.

“Positives!?” I hear you cry. Yes, believe it or not, amidst the unrelenting difficulties of 2020 there have been quite a few. In addition to the reactive services we have offered such as Click and Collect or Browse and Borrow, we have implemented a number of service improvements that will stand us in good stead for years to come, as we (hopefully) begin to edge out of the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming months. So, a few highlights to prove it hasn’t all been bad:

Online enquiries – our newly-implemented Ask DULib service offers a single platform through which we can bring together all enquiries, run a virtual chat service and manage some of our social media output.

Ask DULib

Digital reading – with so much teaching moving to online and hybrid models, essential reading for taught modules has needed to be available online to. Whilst for years the trend has been moving in that direction, the last few months has expedited the move with so many more texts made available in digital format for 24/7, 365 access.

Reading lists – to aid with access to reading for taught modules, as well as the management and acquisition of such materials, we have moved to a new reading list system. This is a vast improvement on what we had in terms of both functionality and ‘look and feel’.

Digital learning – We have worked hard to produce digital learning objects and tutorials that allow users to learn about services and skills at their point of need. Recently an 8th interactive tutorial was added to our portfolio, relating to Research in Museums and Galleries.

One of our online tutorials

Engagement activities – the closure of buildings meant moving engagement and widening participation activities online. Uptake of such activities has led to increased visibility of such activities, both for the department and for the University.

Upgrades – During lockdown we have been able to upgrade some of our catalogue records and add images. For example, our museums were able to add over 3,600 new records, upgrade an existing 25,000 records and add over 7,000 new images.

So, it hasn’t been all bad. Honest.

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