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.
Last week the Faculty Librarians presented 3 webinars via Zoom on trial e-resources, one for library staff and a further two for staff and students across all 4 faculties. The aim of the session was twofold: firstly to promote the vast number of resources we currently have on a temporary basis. And secondly, to use this as the first step in delivering a range of webinars across the coming months on other topics. Considering this was our first foray into webinar hosting there was a decent attendance and the feedback received was very encouraging. We also learned a fair bit about the do’s and don’ts of presenting a session like this via Zoom! Continue reading “From “webinarghghgh!” to “webinaaaaaah…””
We all have those moments, having found 5 minutes where we can actually read that journal article our friend/colleague/supervisor/lecturer/mum sent us. We might be nestled in our nice comfy chair, laptop at the ready. Or we may be perched uncomfortably between the washing machine and fridge; the safest place to steal a few moments peace and quiet from the increasingly feral children running rampant through our homes.
And then it happens. That journal article, in the journal we know we could access at the click of a mouse when we were on campus, tells us we have to pay $38 to have 24 hours access. Why can’t it be easy? Why!!?
Over the course of the past few weeks, we’ve all had to adapt to a rapid change in working circumstances. With our physical Library and Collections sites closed, the support we offer for our users has shifted firmly online. In previous blog posts we have looked at the realities of working and learning from home, and how we’ve introduced services such as the virtual enquiry desk to help our users remotely.
Looking further ahead, we are now planning as to how we can continue to offer some of the other training and support we regularly provide, but now in an online environment. As a Faculty Librarian, a large part of my role is user education and support. This can be support for 1-2-1 queries, and it can be delivering sessions to cohorts of students related to particular topics, disciplines or resources. As we are currently unable to see our users face-to-face – and it may be some time before classrooms/lecture theatres can be used to see groups en masse – it’s important to plan for alternative delivery methods. Continue reading “Working on webinars”
In the next of our series introducing members of staff, #DULibIntroducing welcomes Jen Aspinall, a member of our fantastic Learning and Engagement Team! Earlier this year, before lockdown began, I met with Jen in the wonderful Small Island Coffee in Bill Bryson Library to talk all things Library, and to get to know her over a Flat White and cake.
In a pre-coronavirus world, we at the Learning and Engagement Team spent our days engaging school children; families; community groups and those with access requirements to enjoy and use the truly amazing collections of Durham University. We were able to work with all walks of life in amazing buildings – with equally amazing collections – Durham Castle, Palace Green Library and the Oriental Museum and hopefully, raise aspirations for young people in our region to go to university and have as much fun with researching collections as we do.
Gillian Ramsay is an Assistant Curator at the Oriental Museum, part of the University Library and Collections family. She kindly shared her recent blog post for the Islamic Art Subject Specialist Network about the work being done in partnership with them from our collections. Thank you so much to all of the staff at Museums for sharing the fascinating collections during lockdown; this is an especially well-timed post as it touches on Ramadan, which is currently being celebrated by Muslims all over the world.
So, after watching the latest Government announcement this evening I was looking for some lighter entertainment to take the edge off the rest of the day, only to realise as I tried unsuccessfully to find the Disney Plus App on the Smart TV, that I was still a day too early.
Luckily, as a University Library we offer online access to far more than ‘just’ books and journal articles, newspapers and theses. We can provide you with access to an archive of over 2 million tv broadcasts from ‘classic’ episodes of Eastenders and Hollyoaks (thats’s still a thing, right? And Tony is still in it?), through to Disney favourites including Dumbo, Bambi and The Bridge to Terabithia. Or maybe, given the times we’re living in, something a bit more cheery, like Toy Story 1,2 or 3, or all of the movies in the Halloween Franchise?
Last Friday – Valentine’s Day – Durham University Library and Collections welcomed a class of 35 year 10 pupils (and 3 teachers) from Southmoor Academy in Sunderland. The pupils were there to learn about who we are and what we do, as well as sampling a little of what life at university is like when it comes to finding and using resources.
This was my first experience of accompanying a group of this age. As the Faculty Librarian for the Business School I work with undergraduates, postgraduates and staff. But not schoolkids. I have two teenagers of my own. I come to work to get away from them…!
Celebrating, discussing, and promoting open access publishing needs to be done throughout the year but it is helpful to have a designated “Open Access Week” and use this as an opportunity to channel our thoughts and to put an extra spring in our steps.
As the blurb on the official website states:
“Open Access Week, a global event now entering its tenth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.”