Thirty library and information professionals from across the region attended the day held at the University of Exeter Old Library. The Chair, Emma Wellard, welcomed everybody and read out her report. She highlighted the professional development events that were run last year including 3 Library Safaris and visits to Britannia Naval College and National Meteorological Library and Archive. The Treasurer, Andrew Hutchinson, then gave his report and emphasized that 88% of all expenditure supported member interests. Catherine Chorley was voted on as Vice Chair and welcomed to the committee. Emma then presented the Harry Galloway Prize to Nicky Turner for her dissertation on the role of the school librarian in improving information & digital literacy skills in Secondary Schools and the transition to HE. You can read more about Nicky’s research here – https://cilipswmn.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/nicky-turner-2017-winner-of-the-harry-galloway-prize/
Dr Beverley Hawkins from the University of Exeter Business School was the first speaker with her dynamic presentation about the Unlimited Value Project. The project is a collaboration between Libraries Unlimited, University of Exeter Business School, Open Data Institute and Real Ideas Organisation. The project is looking at how to capture the social value of libraries, connect social impact to financial value and how library leaders can best respond to working in a more socially enterprising way. One strand of the project is Technology and Data Analytics – using data to develop a better understanding of service user patterns and mapping onto other data sources for wellbeing, literacy etc. The second is Staff Development to empower staff to lead change around social value.
After an enjoyable networking lunch David Ball, independent consultant, gave an informative presentation ‘Open Data and its significance for the research process’. He described the changes from the subscription journal model through to Open Access, Open Science and Open Peer Review. This change has accelerated knowledge developments and made data available to researchers in less affluent countries who don’t have access to funding.
The final speaker was Dave Rowe, a Geo-spatial Software Developer with Carto and a Libraries West Library Systems Officer, who gave an absorbing presentation ‘Using open Geographic Intelligence with library data’. He explained geographic information, location, coordinates, geo-spatial data and geocoding. He gave fascinating examples of using geographical data and assured us that data that includes geography and libraries is always fun. Examples ranged from distance from a library and Environment Agency open data to Global Book Map which shows the books set in the local area (65 books were set in Exeter).
I came away from the event with not only a better understanding of open data, but with the confidence to explore data sets to find out more about library users and the local population and therefore improve my support of the community. It was great to meet up with people from such a diverse range of library and information sectors and discuss the differences and similarities of our work.