CILIP South West Member Network AGM and Members’ Day 6th April 2018: Exploring Data and Open Data

Harry Galloway Prize Nicola Turner

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 Unlimited Value Project

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.

David Ball Open Data and Research

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.

David Rowe Using Open Geographic Intelligence

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.

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Libraries Data Discovery Day 19th March 2017

Library data day

30 people from libraries, councils, university, tech companies, etc came to Exeter Library for the first Libraries Unlimited Data Discovery Day. The day was run by ODI (Open Data Institute) Devon and was part of an Arts Council England funded two-year research project being carried out by Libraries Unlimited and the University of Exeter Business School to understand the impact of libraries on local communities in Devon.

Luke Burton from Newcastle Libraries shared their journey to releasing their data for anyone to use but explained that they aren’t yet at the stage of looking at outcomes and return on investment. This was followed by group discussions about the data we have, data we want, people and organisations we want to link with, equipment and what are the major questions we want the data to answer. The discussions really widened the scope of what we could do with so many possibilities of positive collaboration to discover health, economic, etc impact.

Beverley Hawkins of the University of Exeter Business School gave a presentation on organisational data and ethical enquiry. She gave an overview of the issues but also gave the advantages of consistent ethical practice. Lots of further discussion will need to follow and an open data policy to be devised. Gemma John, Architecture Anthropologist then talked about her project ‘Designing libraries in 21st century – lessons for the UK’. She explained about the types of data she collected from libraries across 2 continents and the data she collected from the surrounding areas. She used the data to show how people interact with library services and spaces. She gave me a copy of her report which I am looking forward to looking into in more depth.

This was followed by more group discussions and trying to amalgamate information into areas to try to discover the most important themes from the day. In discussion with Luke it appears that he and his colleague Aude Charillon are the staff involved in Newcastle’s Libraries open data project so to have 15 library staff from across Devon involved in Libraries Unlimited open data project is a very positive development. He felt that staff buying into the value of data is key. Other key themes that stood out were

  • Use the resources to achieve the best value so choose 3 or 4 things from the complexity of library data
  • Start small, experiment, put it out there, see what feedback you get and develop the culture of open data
  • Important to work out how to capture anecdotal evidence and use it.

It was a very interactive and collaborative day which I left feeling excited about the early visualisation of the data sets and further involvement in the project.