International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive August 2011

Look Beyond Textbooks: Information Literacy for First-Year Science Students

Friday, 26 August 2011 11:48:07 a.m.

This paper describes classroom activities to help students understand the publication cycle and the characteristics of major publication channels (textbooks, books, encyclopedias, and periodicals) for first-year physics students. When designing these activities, the author considered the intellectual development characteristics and the epistemological view of first-year students. These activities help students appreciate how information is refined and repackaged along the publication cycle. Through understanding the varieties of information sources, they learn how to choose the appropriate sources to meet their information needs. Although the activities were created for physics students, they can easily be modified for students in other fields of study.

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Services for Academic Libraries in the New Era

Friday, 26 August 2011 11:47:08 a.m.

The purpose of this paper is to document the integration of Web 2.0 services into the working framework of some of the most advanced academic libraries in the world. It reports a follow-up study that builds on a previous study conducted approximately two years ago. The comparison of those two studies produces interesting findings, notably an increase in the integration of web-based services. However, when some of the most core Web 2.0 services were examined, user participation was quite low. A quantitative approach to the content analysis of library web sites was performed to examine the prominence of twelve pre-determined services. In addition, the literature review focuses on the critical opinions expressed regarding the use of these web services by academic libraries, highlighting some of the problems and issues that have been raised, but are often overlooked.

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UK Research Libraries Busier Than Ever

Friday, 26 August 2011 11:45:46 a.m.

New figures from RLUK university members have challenged the tired stereotype of academic libraries as being quiet, dusty, and increasingly empty. Figures for 2009/10 (the latest for which full data are available) show that there were over 35 million visits to RLUK’s 23 UK university member libraries. This represented an increase of 10% on the previous year and is the highest total since records began, with some institutions recording increases of over 20% in a single year.

The library retains its place as a keystone in any 21st Century university's strategy for success in research and teaching. With expanding opening hours, innovative and flexible reconfiguring of space, and increased access to a variety of resources in a wide range of media, the library is an essential part of campus life.

Research on library trends has shown that this increase in the number of visits to RLUK libraries is reflected in an increase in the number of loans and renewals of the physical stock. The ‘traditional’ functions of the library continue to be valued, as well as the additional new services that our members are introducing. This value is reflected in the consistently high scores received for library provision in annual student satisfaction surveys.

“The modern university library is a vibrant and exciting place to be”, said Phil Sykes, Chair of RLUK. “Here at Liverpool University we have seen a 19% increase in visits over the past year. More than ever our researchers and students value both the resources and the physical environment we provide for them”.

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Reviewing peer review

Friday, 26 August 2011 11:43:46 a.m.

Though most researchers agree with the principles of peer review, many feel there is room to improve how that process is implemented. JISC is already looking into tweaks to the current system, such as open peer review, including funding universities to develop open access academic journals which are compiled from other openly available material.

The committee’s report, now available online, describes access to data as ‘fundamental’ for researchers to reproduce, verify and build on each other’s results. It highlights that reproducibility should be the gold standard that all peer reviewers and editors aim for when assessing a manuscript. This spirit of openness is something JISC supports, through its work with the UK Research Councils. But researchers will also be aware of the challenges of making their data sets available to reviewers. In the longer term, there are technical and economic challenges associated with making data available, especially as different types of data require different treatment. A lot of social data that is created through longitudinal studies makes sense only if the entire length of the study is available. Other data, such as environmental data, must be kept permanently available – you can’t repeat an earthquake.

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Libraries reject 'raw deal' on e-journals

Friday, 26 August 2011 11:38:34 a.m.

Major research libraries have told the two largest journal publishers that they will not renew their "big deals" with them if they do not make significant real-terms price reductions.

Research Libraries UK, which includes the Russell Group university libraries, as well as the UK's national libraries and Trinity College Library Dublin, have told Elsevier and Wiley-Blackwell that they will not renew their current deals when they expire at the end of this year unless the concession is made.

Big deals involve libraries paying a blanket fee for electronic access to a publisher's entire journal catalogue. They were initially welcomed by librarians when they were first introduced a decade ago.

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Warsaw IATUL conference proceedings

Friday, 26 August 2011 11:36:44 a.m.

The  videos from the plenary sessions have been added to the conference proceedings on the conference website.

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The journal usage factor: exploratory data analysis

Friday, 26 August 2011 11:32:30 a.m.

The proposed Journal Usage Factor (the JUF) provides information about the average use of the items in an online journal. Like ISI’s citation impact factor, it is scale independent. In other words you should be able to use it to compare journals irrespective of their size. To gain widespread acceptance, it should be robust and easy to understand.

Alternatively, and as recommended in this study, we simply sort the number of downloads for each item used during period y and take the middle value (the median).

Use is counted monthly from the date of online publication, not on a rolling calendar year basis as is the case for the ISI impact factor.

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