Report on USTLG Summer 2006 meeting, held at the Harold Cohen Library, University of Liverpool

Thursday 22nd June 2006

Report by staff from University of Manchester

Introduction to Web 2.0 and Library 2.0

Dave Pattern – Library Systems Manager, University of Huddersfield

Report by Martin Snelling, University of Manchester.

The web is now changing in a significant way, hence the term “web 2.0”, which is being bandied about. You may come across phrases such as the “semantic web”, for example. Up until now, most websites have not been designed to be read by computer, so computers cannot extract the meaning of words or numbers from them. The trend now is towards more innovative web applications and services, with the social aspect of the web coming to the fore – with blogs, wikipedia and so on. These developments are largely being driven by loose social networks. The onus is on libraries to bring their electronic services up to the same level as the Web 2.0 developments.

Web 2.0 developers tools

These include:

The web as a platform Exploitation of Unique data

The beauty of web 2.0 is that it allows collective intelligence to be developed, with a diversity of opinions and independence of an institution or country (take a look at

It also allows for unintended uses – with content taken from two sources to create a new service (eg, Dartmaps, or xisbn ). The hip, trendy word for this is “mash-up”, (which I thought only applied to music, so I must be a few weeks behind the times).

All this development is being led by some influential groups of people, who are good at the visual processing of information, who are better at multi-tasking, and who use lots of “social” software. They are also consumers of information on the move, using lots of technology.

Library 2.0
Is all about

The Huddersfield OPAC allows repurposing of data - they are developing RSS feeds with library messages, etc. But it’s not all about technology; developments are user-centric – asking what students actually want – and also about

The main thrust is to make the library a destination, not an afterthought, making it more relevant to user needs and removing barriers to the use and re-use of information. This is both evolutionary and revolutionary – the ideas discussed are progressions, not pioneering – but the revolutionary bit comes from the radical rethink in the way in which library services are delivered.

Social Software – what do our users want and are we delivering it?

David Clay – University of Liverpool

Report by Lorraine Beard / Barry White University of Manchester

The vision: “The Internet is not just a repository, it is a mechanism for new discoveries, for expanding our knowledge and for making links between people that would previously have been impossible.”

A PEW-Internet and American Life Project on Teens and Technology ( which reports that American teenagers are:

Research showed an average of 14 hours Internet use per week by 19-20 year old students in USA (Hargittal, 2006), with over 80% using the Internet several times a day. They show high usage of new services e.g Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, MySpace but also create content in the way of blogs, web sites, etc

In contrast, academic staff were found to “want to do their research, read and write about it, share it with others, and keep up in their fields”. More precisely, they wanted to be able to:

To these ends, new sharing approaches to scientific communication are appearing, including Open Access 2.0 a website aimed at organising and sharing references.


“is about global collaboration in key areas of science, and the next generation of infrastructure that will enable it.” For instance, the eBank UK project, which seeks to link publications with original research datasets.

Other social networking tools include Instant Message Reference services, such as the one from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada ( )

And weblogs, such as Warwickblogs – 4013 blogs at last look with lecturers putting lectures on itunes.

In answer to a question, Liverpool is investigating a blog and putting a Wiki into VLEs. There was a feeling that often there is not enough technical staff in libraries to fully exploit social networking tools and libraries should consider employing more staff with programming skills.

It would be good to find out about practical ways in which libraries are using social networking tools - maybe a USTLG Blog or Wiki would be useful for us to collaborate and share knowledge and good practice in this area?

The Research Information Network

Stéphane Goldstein, Research Information Network

Report by Barry White, University of Manchester

The meeting’s second speaker was Stéphane Goldstein, from the Research Information Network (RIN) who described RIN’s history, purpose and activities, beginning – tongue-in cheek – with Oscar Wilde’s aphorism that “it is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information”.

Stéphane described how RIN was established as a result of the report of the Research Support Libraries Group in 2005 with monies from the four Higher Education funding bodies, the eight Research Councils, and the three National Libraries. It works through a structure of four consultative groups in Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Life & Medical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering & Technology (with USTLG member Roger Hines), and Library & Information Science, and talks to all groups involved in the research information process, including library bodies (such as CURL and SCONUL), JISC, funders of research, data centres, and publishers.

RIN’s mission is “to lead and coordinate new developments in the collaborative provision of research information for the benefit of researchers in the UK”, and its brief covers all subject areas, all kinds of information sources and outputs used and produced by researchers, and research in HE and outside. RIN has a current staff of three (expanding soon to four) and is housed in the British Library at St Pancras. Within that its strategic aims are:

In the pursuit of these activities RIN has developed a programme of work in four broad areas. Under the heading of Search and Discovery RIN has:

Regarding Access, RIN has or is

Under the heading of Scholarly Communications, RIN is working with key stakeholders to develop a shared agenda in this area. It is conducting:

In the area of Digital Data, RIN has noted the increasing need to manage and provide access to digital data given the lack of consistency of practice across research funders, and noting that different requirements arise in different areas. It is thus working with other interested bodies on a “co-ordinated framework of principles and best practice for the provision of online e-content.”

In the area of Collaborative Collection Management and Storage, RIN is working with CURL and the British Library on a study for a National Research Reserve – a collection of little used material, and has released an evaluation of the CoFoR collaborative collection management project on Russian and East European Studies.

RIN is also involved in a project led by the Office of Science and Technology (OST) to help determine the priorities for a national e-infrastructure policy in the context of the Government’s 2007 Spending Review.

To find out more about RIN see its website at

Using new technologies in teaching

Kara Jones – University of Bath (

Report by Lorraine Beard, University of Manchester

Characteristics of Millennials

Term for generation born between 1982 and 2000. Over 90% of UCAS applicants are in this group. Also known as digital natives. Research by Future Lab shows they are:

Lynne Brindley, 2006, states that Millennials

Education Characteristics

Information Characteristics (Jonas-Dwyer and Pospisil, 2004)

What strategies can be used to meet the needs of Millennials?

What tools can be employed to do this?

Weblogs, Wikis, RSS, social bookmarking, podcasts. Can also use a mix of these tools.

Examples: Nature Neuroscience blog ( ) and
Nature Chemistry ( ),
Weblogs, WikiLiver ( )


Examples: A Manchester University PhD student had an article published on a Maths Weblog he has created at . (Exploring the Blogosphere, Mathematics Today V. 42 (1) 1 February 2006).


Question: are there any examples of how Weblogs and Wikis are being used in teaching – at Bradford a biochemistry lecturer does a podcast of his lectures. Students text questions and he answers them on a blog ( )

Reading list at
Blog at


Mark Gavillet, University of Newcastle

Report by Martin Snelling, University of Manchester

Athens authentication for electronic library resources will eventually be replaced by a new system, Shibboleth. Biblical scholars will know that Shibboleth was the first known example of a password. It can be used to set up on-campus access only if needed, which will help stop infringement of licenses. Users may also set-up their own customised library resources. Newcastle has been running a JISC study into using Shibboleth. Results show that:

Current Models of Access management include:

Shibboleth isn’t

But it is a secure transport system that binds these things together. Benefits to the library include:

Benefits to the user include:

The only “but” is that users need to tell the system which institution they belong to when they use a resource. That authentication does allow them to carry on and use other resources during the same session, without having to re-authenticate. At present very few resources are Shibboleth-enabled. Eventually it is hoped that users will log-in to the “library” and then use a service – with the aim of achieving a single log-in username in the future.

The meeting thanked all of the speakers, the organisers and the generosity of the Harold Cohen Library for the use of their facilities and hospitality.