All entries for September 2005

September 29, 2005

Moving day

Well the long promised day has arrived and I have relocated desks. Now rather than being stuck in the middle of the busy thoroughfare I have the pleasure of a window seat, a sunny view (this am at least) and a better view of the comings and goings of the office at large. Much better – and kudos to all those who helped make it possible.

September 28, 2005

Puthering and puthered

Tis a word my mother used recently (claiming she used it all the time whilst we were growing up – I deny this!) to indicate a heavy shower of rain. (e.g. "It's fair puthering down") Later on she used it in the context of being quite tired (e.g. "I'm really puthered"). Wasn't sure if it also might mean a touch sweaty!

As far as I can tell (thanks to Google) in sorta means pouring out/forth – but as for the second derivation no joy at all even with Jen searching in the OED. I'll have to chalk it up to another great Lincolnshire dialectical word that no one much uses…

Until this blog entry that is!

September 27, 2005

Cars & Lists

Well the drive in was smoother today – so much smoother that there was time to pick up petrol and get into the office and kick off work before 8am. Marvellous – would that all days started that easily. Just hope I'm still awake enough to enjoy tonight's art class!

Meanwhile in the world of the reading list project we passed a milestone yesterday as the 800th list was analysed. We really are in the home stretch now, and whilst there are still a lot of lists to be looked at (as the pile on my desk will testify too) I'm glad to continue to get ever closer to that light at the end of the tunnel. Inga's input has been quite frankly invaluable – after myself she's the second fastest analyser on this project which is a real boon. Just hope I can keep her services to the RIU as we shift into other projects – she’s certainly earned the right to be involved in some slightly more interesting aspects.

September 26, 2005

Great Scott!

You go away for a week and when you return the place has been over run by students! I just hope that as we kick off this year's academic session that this morning's traffic was not the harbinger of things to come. 75 minutes to drive here before 8am does not a happy bunny me make.

Coventry may be many (possibly nice) things, but the ring road sucks I'm most afraid to say. Roll on half term and quieter roads…

September 22, 2005

Audio tour begins

Yesterday was the first day that we handed out audio tour handsets. I have two feedback forms already, both with very positive comments, which is encouraging.

Library staff have been trying out the audio tour, and some have learnt things about the library too, which is an unexpected bonus. I learnt stuff when trialling the script, too as my work in the library doesn't have that much to do with the material out there on the shelves, but now I have much more of a feel for where everything is.

Glad that things have started so well. Next week should see the biggest influx of people wanting to take the tour as the students all arrive for the beginning of term.

September 16, 2005

Reading list analysis – some summary statistics

The project continues – as you'll see below we're nearly up to 30%, only 10% away from our target of 40% of all department's reading lists analysed. With the help of my student Inga I hope we'll be able to get through the rest of the lists in the next three or so weeks.

However, for those who might be interested here are some figures for where we are in terms of results to date. Naturally these are very broad brush across the University – and no doubt there will always be lists that are well outside the norm (the standard deviation for some these figures is VERY high, I'd hope the faculty and dept level figures will show perhaps a little less variation)

All results are accurate as of this posting.

Reading lists

  • Reading lists analysed : 766
  • Individual references classified: 41,546
  • Total %age of lists analysed: 29.325%
  • Average %age of dept lists analysed: 34.758%


  • Most individal refs on a single list: 931 (History ug)
  • Least: 0/1 (various)
  • Average items on a list: 53.75


  • Most expensive (all purchased books): £500.65 (Law, postgrad)
  • Cheapest non-zero sum (all purchased books): £6 (Sociology, ug)
  • Average cost (all purchased books): £17.92
  • Average cost (minimum purchased books): £4.69

And naturally longest time to analyse a single list 5 hours – Politics, ug, shortest time 30 seconds Mathematics, ug.

September 15, 2005

Academic Library Futures: perspectives on tomorrow

Aston University Library, 24th November 2005, 10.00 - 4.00

‘…It is our future that lays down the law of our today.’ (Nietzsche)

What does the future hold for academic libraries and those who work in them? This one-day conference will explore our new learning environments, technology and professional competences, and provide critical perspectives on the state of academic libraries in the UK, while offering insights on how to build a vision for the future.

Speakers are:

  • Dr Sue McKnight Director of Libraries and Knowledge Resources, Nottingham Trent University, offering an Australian perspective on UK academic library and information services
  • Christine Willoughby, Assistant Director, Library and Learning Services, Northumbria University on physical space and learning environments
  • John MacColl, Head, Digital Library, University of Edinburgh, on digital futures
  • Anne Bell, Librarian at the University of Warwick on planning for the future
  • Margaret Chapman on the value of professional qualifications and the role of CILIP

The presentations will be followed by a workshop on planning for the future

Conference fee includes lunch and refreshments.

The venue
The meeting will be held in Aston University Library. The University is located in Birmingham City Centre on a green, self contained campus just 5 minutes walk from the city's main shopping streets and 10–15 minutes' walk from Birmingham New Street Rail Station. There is good disabled access to the library and a lift is available to reach the room where the event will be held.

See the notice board on floor 3, see me or contact Jane Marshal ( for more details.

September 14, 2005

Most interesting statistics

We've been asked to put forward the three most interesting or useful statistics about our work over the last 9 months for the Librarian's annual report. Not just us, but all sections of the library. An interesting question – what will look the best?

  • Big stats like "760 reading lists analysed so far in the grand reading list audit"?
  • Small stats like "4 projects successfully completed to generous applause from the management group"?
  • Odd stats like "Number of pens used up to date 13"

This will take some careful thinking – we want to represent what a considerable amount of effort we're all putting in to create the projects and results that we're working on, but at the same time anything going into this report really has to show something worthwhile – not trivial. I'll be thinking on this one carefully up the end of the week, and letting Jen finish it off next week when she returns.

September 09, 2005

Staff Quiz deferred success!

Last night was the staff summer party and quiz. The library scraped together a team which we named the Deep Linkers because it was relevant to our work but ambiguous enough to make folk wonder what it meant.

We had a good time making up ridiculous answers 'cos we didn't know very many! Shame the library couldn't put together its previously successful team from last year's Christmas party who came second. I won't say where we came this time, but we weren't in the top three…

The UK: A disgusting and terrifying place to live?

Writing about web page

One wonders if she lived outside of London (for which I can agree with her comments) and saw some of the rest of the country she might think again. Do so loath this "London is England" view that folks overseas have, without our own people going down that street…

Now if she'd lived in Lincolnshire she'd be able to replace "disgusting" with "dull" and "terrifying" with "terminally boring"...

September 2005

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