Learning about ULC’s Learning and Engagement Team

By Kelly Hetherington, Repository Officer at University Library and Collections.

On Wednesday 11 May, the University Library and Collections Learning and Engagement Team invited staff from the rest of our vast department to come and learn about what they do on their team.

Seeing as my role involves so much computer work, I jumped at the chance to have a trip out for the following reasons:

  • The session was held at the Oriental Museum – a lovely change of scene from home working / Bill Bryson Library office because it is full of fascinating artefacts.
  • Our colleagues there regularly hold sessions for school children.  This means they are fun, engaging, and lovely so I knew the session would be interesting and I’d learn something new.
  • This was a session about ‘object centred engagement’ – we’d be able to touch real life old artefacts! (More on this later).
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The Triple A project: how open access research is helping children

Every month, statistics about Durham Research Online (DRO) – our institutional publications repository – are published here. As part of this, we pick a publication of the month.

In November, there was an online talk given by members of the Department of Psychology’s Centre for Neurodiversity and Development about their project: Triple-A: Attention, Arousal and Anxiety in the classroom. The project draws attention to the fact that classrooms are busy, noisy and multi-sensory places and some children, often those who are ‘neurodivergent’ (e.g. have conditions such as autism), can face difficulties in this environment. The project is dedicated to raising awareness of these difficulties and helping develop tools to support children and educators. The talk was recorded and is available here. To celebrate the public talk, we picked a fully open access article, related to the research:

Distraction, distress and diversity : exploring the impact of sensory processing differences on learning and school life for pupils with autism spectrum disorders by Elizabeth K. Jones, Mary Hanley and Deborah M. Riby

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Durham authors: publish Open Access through our publisher deals

Over the last 12 months you may have noticed that there has been a significant increase in the number of publisher agreements that the Library has signed up to.  Deals which cover both the cost of open access for Durham University authors as well as the subscription fees that have long been covered from Library funds.  Terms such as “read & publish”, “transformative” and “transitional” are all used but what does it all mean and what, if anything, is being so markedly changed?

As the joint statement from OA2020 and cOAlition S states, the main aim of these deals is to help us to transition to “new [publication] models that ensure outputs are open and re-usable”.

This step towards an increasingly open and accessible world of scholarly research articles can be funded, it is believed, not by spending even more money but through a re-jigging of the fees that are currently being paid to publishers specifically for subscriptions:

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ALN Conference 2021: A blog post about a conference talk about the blog…

Could we call this a metablog?!

On September 8th 2021, Kelly Hetherington and Ben Taylorson presented a lightning talk at the ALN Conference about this very blog.

ALN stands for Academic Libraries North, which, is pretty self-explanatory – if you work for an academic library and you are in ‘The North’ (Game of Thrones, anyone?), you are welcome here.

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#DULibIntroducing… Richard Holmes

Please state your name, full job title, and a brief description of what that entails:

Richard Holmes, Faculty Librarian for Social Sciences. The central element of my role is to communicate between the departments in the faculty and the University Library and Collections to ensure we are delivering services and resources that meet their diverse needs. I do this by attending key committees within each department to promote new and impending library developments and to pick up changes that may have an impact on the Library, Special Collections or Museums. I also provide support to enable members of Durham University at all levels of study to get the best out of the wonderful collections available. This can range from answering basic email enquiries, through one-to-one tuition, to delivering research skills classes embedded within teaching programmes. I also have a role in collections development, ensuring the right materials are available when needed to support each department’s teaching and research activities.

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Digital Diwali – November 2020

Another impact of Covid-19 has been on how museums engage with their communities. In previous years, the Oriental Museum has hosted large-scale Diwali celebrations on site, attracting over 400 students, staff and people from the local community. In 2020 the celebrations moved online, and museum staff found new ways to get people involved. We invited people to create videos showcasing how they celebrate Diwali, what this time of year means to them, their favourite food and recipes and reflections on how things will be different this year.

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It’s Energy Awareness Week!

Every year, at around this time, our friends at Greenspace organise ‘Energy Awareness Week‘, which is designed to encourage staff and students to help eliminate energy wastage.

You probably won’t be shocked to hear that The Bill Bryson Library uses a lot, and we mean a lot, of energy.  Being open 24/7 and often housing over 1500 users, tapping furiously away on energy sapping laptops or computers; studiously reading one of our many texts under the glow of one our well lit study areas; keeping warm with our central heating (OK, so a few students aren’t warm, we hear you – it is so hard to get it right for everyone but we are working on it!)

Now that the scene has been set, let’s reveal the figures…

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