Creating a tutorial

Over the course of the last couple of months I have been working the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD) to produce an interactive online tutorial titled Your Reading List and Beyond.

This tutorial is part of ‘phase 2’ or our overall tutorial programme. Phase 1 was designed, constructed and delivered in 2020 and consists of 6 tutorials which are available individually, whilst also designed to fit together to support the needs of dissertation students, whilst been available to all as standalone tutorials.

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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:

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Dissertation advice

One of the key responsibilities for our Faculty Librarians is to support our dissertation students, many of whom will be undertaking a substantial research project for the first time. Although we would always urge our students to consider what materials and resources they are actually going to have access to (this could be in terms of accessing a physical collection such as an archive, or being able to use, say, a particular database), this year it is more important than ever.

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The importance of being eBooks

Although academic eBooks have been around for years, current circumstances have meant that they have very suddenly become more important than ever. Reduced access to physical collections and distance learning have resulted in eBooks becoming an ever-more vital format. Earlier in the year, during lockdown in particular, our acquisitions team wrote about how things had rapidly changed for them with ordering items to support research, teaching & learning at the university.

Even well before the Covid pandemic we have seen over the last few years how increasingly accessing a key text in e-format has become the favoured option amongst taught students in some subjects. And as a result, for some time now we have been purchasing our key texts in electronic format to meet that demand, where possible.

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From “webinarghghgh!” to “webinaaaaaah…”

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…””

Working on webinars

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”

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