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www.chuukaku.com

Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.



Library Day in the Life — Day 3 — 26/01/11

January 27th, 2011

Campus views

Campus views

This is my third set of posts as part of the Library Day in the Life project, although it’s the sixth round of the project as a whole, which aims to record typical (and atypical) days of library workers around the world. You can find all of my posts within this project under the librarydayinthelife tag. For those new to this blog, I am an academic librarian, providing scientific subject support at a UK university.

Today started with more work on the user testing of the current library website, but started as yesterday ended with the new web developer, briefing him on the user testing. This was followed by a chat with the rest of the academic liaison team so that he got to know them a bit better (he has only really worked directly with the web team so far).

It was good to look at the user testing with a pair of fresh eyes, and we had an interesting talk about which information resources sit in which system – my next task is to draw a diagram illustrating the overlaps and differences in content between the catalogue, link resolver, databases etc. The user testing indicated that this was a source of some confusion to library users, and that they could easily become uncertain where to go if they couldn’t find resources where they expected. This was followed (of course!) by more report writing.

After lunchtime, I had a bit of a break from the user testing material as Joanna Newman, Head of Higher Education at the British Library visited to talk to library and academic staff about the British Library’s 2020 Vision. Joanna talked about the need for shared digital strategy: she suggested that all academic libraries working individually on developing our systems might better be served by collaborative development facilitated by the British Library, which would certainly have changed the nature of our current web project! Good food for thought.

After this came my last dash to answer all my outstanding queries for the day, and to get the report finished, as I wasn’t going to be back in work for six days. I ordered a few books, answered a query about coverage of a particular ejournal title (it was available up until May 2009, but no more recently) and agreed to investigate books in a particular subject area for an academic next week.

Finally, I just managed to get the report finished and sent off by 17.30. I’m aware that major decisions need to be made about the new website in the next couple of weeks, and was determined that the results of the user testing would be available to feed into this, but it was a rather intensive couple of days getting it finished!


Library Day in the Life — Day 2 — 25/01/11

January 27th, 2011

Leicester's New Walk in cheerier weather

Leicester's New Walk in cheerier weather

This is my third set of posts as part of the Library Day in the Life project, although it’s the sixth round of the project as a whole, which aims to record typical (and atypical) days of library workers around the world. You can find all of my posts within this project under the librarydayinthelifetag. For those new to this blog, I am an academic librarian, providing scientific subject support at a UK university.

My two main intentions for Tuesday and Wednesday (my two full days at work) were to finish the report on the user testing sessions we ran on the existing library website before Christmas. We’re moving the whole website to  the university’ new content management system Plone this year, launching a resource discovery system and reworking all our subject pages, so we wanted to have a good look at the old pages and some common (but not necessarily simple) tasks that library users carry out.

Most of the day was therefore spent trying to tame the data a little bit: I’d made a fair start at the analysis, looking at the route that the test pairs had taken through the library webpages for each task. Tasks included finding out how to get a reminder of their library PIN, and trying to access a journal article (which I knew we didn’t subscribe to). Finally some major themes seemed to be coming out of the data for each question, and I was able to move on from the basic analysis to start thinking about implications a bit.

We also had an update of the library web team, at which we discussed progress so far, the sessions IT’s Information Architect has been running with library users, mobile apps, and lots of other stuff.

My main contribution to the meeting was reporting back on a session I’d run with the Information Librarian team discussing our requirements for the new subject resource pages. I followed up the meeting with an unscheduled chat with the new web developer based in the library who had some great ideas for ways of making the large amount of information that needs to go on these pages manageable and easy-to-use, so it was well worth discussing.


Library Day in the Life — Day 1 — 24/01/11

January 24th, 2011

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Leicester's New Walk in snow

Leicester's New Walk in snow

This is my third set of posts as part of the Library Day in the Life project, although it’s the sixth round of the project as a whole, which aims to record typical (and atypical) days of library workers around the world. You can find all of my posts within this project under the librarydayinthelife tag. For those new to this blog, I am an academic librarian, providing scientific subject support at a UK university.

A slightly strange day for me: usually I work on Tuesday, Wednesday and on Friday morning, but this week I moved my Friday morning to Monday afternoon so I could attend a talk in Leicester’s new ‘Intrepid Researcher’ series.

As usual on a half day, one event sucks away all time except that I have to wade through my emails and ‘must do’ work items, sorting out immediate problems – such as a workshop arranged for a day I’m not in next week. Then I headed off for the talk.

The seminar was Ray Land, talking about the educational implications of ‘Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge’ (more on Threshold Concepts here). It’s a topic I know a little about as I produced an annotated bibliography and short literature review on it in an exercise during my MA Librarianship course. I was particularly interested in attending because I’m reflecting on my teaching in my chartership, and because most of the sessions I am teaching this year are new to me, so I’m curious to identify topics students struggle with (find ‘troublesome’. Jo Webb informs me that Moria Bent has looked into applying this theory in the context of information literacy, as evidenced by a brief mention in their joint presentation together here – I’ll update if I can find anything with more detail. Critical analysis is one idea Ray mentioned which I have particularly identified students struggling with in my classes.

Often my days (especially my half days!) offer little chance for reflection, so I always try to take the chance to go to a session like this, which offers some structured space to think about how I do what I do. However, it meant that this, a little constructive chat with other attendees, and email checking was practically the sum of my day!