Simona Martorana is one of a small group of intrepid Durham University students wrestling with medieval handwriting. They are guided by Michael Stansfield, Senior Manager of Archives and Special Collections, normally in person, but over the last few months online. During these palaeography sessions, students catch a glimpse of a past world through the many stories that surface in our archival sources. Simona discusses a document from the Durham Cathedral Archive, which our staff look after at 5 The College.
If students were brave enough make it past the terrifying dragons we had set up in the library during induction week, they may have experienced the library’s first foray into UX research. UX stands for User Experience, and in a library context it basically means that users are put at the centre of all our decision-making, from the big to the small. UX research puts an emphasis on using creative and intuitive methods with participants, rather than standard surveys that can be uninspiring, boring, and often cannot get to the heart of how users feel, as well as what they think.
We wanted to find out what new students felt as soon as they walked into the library, and whether the expectations of returning and postgraduate students were being met, so induction week felt like the perfect time to conduct our research.
Being Period Positive at the Billy Bee
At the end of last year, any regular visitors to The Bill Bryson Library will have noticed the ‘Period Positive Drive’ donation point near the entrance:
This initiative was a collaboration between The Student Wellbeing Team and Durham Students Union’ with the ultimate aim of providing sanitary and incontinence products to students and staff who are ‘caught short’ in a busy, central study area.
Earlier this year I was involved in the production of the new Library and Collections promotional video. The aim was to move away from an instructional or overly corporate approach, and create something inspiring and emotive (as engaging as ‘this is how the self-issue machine works…and now we move on to the Dewey Decimal Classification’ type videos are…)
Down the road in London Town this morning, a judgment was handed down by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Whilst the judgment itself has attracted far more attention than many others in recent memory, we imagine that for some of our students, and both academic and professional colleagues (denizens of Durham Law School excepted), some of the many citations that peppered the pronouncement may prove particularly perturbing. But help interpreting these is available…
A shh of Librarians from Durham University Library have this week been getting a sneak preview of the soon to be opened Teaching and Learning Centre. Just 2 minutes walk from the Bill Bryson Library, the centre will offer a range of spaces including a cafe, a range of group quiet study areas, group study rooms (they’re sound-proof – we checked!), flexible teaching rooms, lecture theatres and (after our tour guide got temporarily disorientated and took us into it), at least one walk-in cupboard!
We’ve included some pictures here so you can see the spaces before they’re teeming with staff and students. Enjoy!