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Archive for the ‘Irish Libraries’ Category

I’m learning many things about Irish libraries during my sabbatical in Dublin. At a recent meeting I found out about the online tutorial called and then I took a look and came away very impressed. I’m told it’s not quite finished, but even what is available already is inspiring.

So what’s it all about? The target audience for this tutorial is graduate students including those engaged in Research Masters programs, PhD studies, or hired as postdoctoral staff.  This tutorial comprises seven units all designed to enhance the information literacy competencies of this target user group.  It forms part of the Strategic Innovation Funding Generic Skills Project titled “Enabling Fourth Level Ireland” (for more background information read this) . The Strategic Innovation Funding (SIF) programme is administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The three main partners in producing this tutorial are the libraries at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Cork (UCC). The content creators are subject librarians at each of the partner university libraries. The multimedia development for this course was done by EMEDIA.

The seven modules are: (1) Introduction to Information Literacy, (2) Research Resource Discovery, (3) Evaluating Your Search, (4) Tracking Down Results, (5) Managing Your Information, (6) Ethics in Using Information, (7) Publishing & Disseminating. It’s a multimedia experience in that there is audio and video. Much of it is presented by the information literacy guide, Ruth, who with her nice voice and clear diction takes the user through the steps.

Sequential progress through the tutorial isn’t necessary and it’s appealing that you can dip in and out of it based on your own skill base. And there are also exercises giving the learner a chance to test their own understanding.

There are also quite a few text-based slides. And when it comes to demo-ing certain concepts or skills, screencasting software has been used. The examples used in this tutorial focus on cancer or biomedical type research but it’s been designed to ensure a broad disciplinary appeal with skills learned being transferable for the most part to other disciplines.

I believe the plan is to make this tutorial available to other higher education institutions, who might wish to use and adapt it for their own purposes. I’ve not come across any tutorials of this calibre focused specifically on graduate level information literacy competencies, but of course feel free to enlighten me. In any case, I think this project and the people behind it deserve a lot of credit.

Helen Fallon is well known in librarian circles in Ireland for the workshops she does on writing for publication.  And if you’d like to learn more about the writing program she’s started for Irish academic librarians, this article is very interesting. Helen has also put together this really useful blog called ANLTCwriters, which started up in February 2009.  I talked about ANLTC in a previous post.

This blog is designed to facilitate discussion about publishing and writing particularly about librarianship and related areas. So you’ll see tips and information posted by Helen Fallon, but also by other librarians who are subscribed.

It’s a great blog for anyone interested in publishing in librarianship to follow. These are the kinds of things you’ll find here:

  • Announcements re the launch of new library journals.
  • Postings alerting librarians about calls for book chapters, and calls for papers (both for conferences and journals).
  • Links to and information about useful articles/web sites with tips on  successfully writing for publication in librarianship or sometimes in academe more broadly.
  • A bibliography on the theme of writing for publication.
  • Articles related to the general theme of publishing, e.g., open access publishing.

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pomodoroThe Pomodoro statue, “Sphere with Sphere”, is located outside the Berkeley Library at Trinity College Dublin. Every time this summer, when doing research as a “Visiting Reader” at the library, I see tourists photographing this famous and beautiful sculpture. Arnaldo Pomadoro is an Italian sculptor. Other of his “Sphere with Sphere” works can be seen at the Vatican, in Washington D.C., in New York, Indianapolis, and in Berkeley, California.


This statue can be found outside the John Paul II Library at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. I was immediately struck by it on my arrival at the library recently to meet with the Librarian and Deputy Librarian there. This is a striking bronze statue by Imogen Stuart of Pope John Paul II with Irish youth. This is surrounded by the “heritage wall” listing the names of benefactors to the University.

I am engaged in work for the School of Information and Library Studies, at University College Dublin. I’m helping the School with a needs analysis, and through meetings and a survey, I’m gathering information about the Irish Continuing Professional Development (CPD) landscape, and about what needs and gaps exist. With this information I’m aiming to establish what a future role for the School might look like in this arena.

It’s been extremely interesting, and I’ve learned a tonne in the process about Irish libraries, in general,and about lots of great initiatives, projects, and resources that are ongoing.

One is the Academic and National Library Training Co-operative (ANLTC) – yes, do they ever love their acronyms here, as, indeed, we do in Ontario! In a nutshell, is a cooperative training and development program, which has been in existence since 1995. They engage in regular needs analysis (usually a survey, sometimes reported on their web site) to establish what members (includes universities and national libraries on the island of Ireland – so the Republic and Northern Ireland) want.

ANLTC has representation from all members and they work together to organize about a dozen CPD events a year, on a cost recovery basis. They also share hosting of the events. Each event typically involves an external speaker, and quite often this person may come from the U.K., but experts from the local institution are often brought in also, so that you have the expert external speaker view plus the value of local context and case studies. They tell me the average cost is usually about 120 Euro for a day long course. Each institution is guaranteed two places.

You can see the great range of programs they have offered on their web site.

I thought this is a model which OCUL could probably adopt without too much difficulty – it seems like an easy win-win model. Kudos to Irish libraries and ANLTC!