This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.
It was a very early start today, I didn’t really appreciate the 5.10 alarm going off after about 4hrs sleep. However, I had a productive morning on the train journey to Edinburgh. I worked on a couple of documents for the JISC IE end of programme event and sent them to my boss to look at (using the great free wifi service on Virgin trains, something which I hope becomes the norm soon).
I also updated my CILIP West Midlands committee biography as I recently realised I hadn’t updated it to reflect my new job role, and caught up on my RSS feeds. All before 10am!
I arrived at the e-Science Institute in Edinburgh just before the morning break so sneaked in for a coffee to start my day. After finding some familiar faces and meeting some new ones it was time for the second set of presentations; we were introduced to EduApps (we each received a USB with a suite of apps on specific to today), and Julian Cheal talking about linked data in libraries. I found this really useful – it was a very entertaining presentation, and made some of the concepts I’ve been hearing a lot but not knowing exactly what they mean much clearer.
The afternoon was more of an unconference style – you could choose what you wanted to spend your time doing. I didn’t have anything in particular I wanted to work on so went back to the lecture theatre to listen to a variety of short talks. Owen Stephens’ talk also helped me understand some more of the basics about linked data, and I found Richard Cross for NTU’s presentation really interesting. He talked about his first ever mashup which works with their resource list system (they use Talis Aspire) and their LMS, as well as external services. RELIC (Resource List Item Checker) takes an ISBN, passes it to Open Library and other services to pull in data. The resulting screen shows the item details with bibliographic data, links to the item from various suppliers, details (and link) for any resource list it is on, and holding information if available in the library. This could save loads of time as a subject librarian when reading list checking; I spent hours checking different systems to get these different piece of information so to get it all on one search is brilliant. Really demonstrates how useful linked data can be, even with relatively straight forward mashups.
It was a really interesting day and now I’m getting ready to go out for a gluten free pizza and hopefully meet more people from today, whilst making the most of the free hotel wifi!
Not a very typical day for a librarian really, but it’s great to attend these events which bring together librarians and developers/systems experts.
NB: Apologies for lack of links for much of the event, I’ll update this post if I get some more links to share.