Innovations in Libraries: Impressions of a Study Trip to the Netherlands

Guest article by Alena Behrens

From 25 to 28 October 2022, I set out to get to know the Dutch library system as part of a study trip organised by Bibliothek & Information International. Together with 19 other employees from libraries all over Germany, I explored nine cities and their libraries. The stops on our trip were

  1. the Rozet Library in Arnheim,
  2. the Library in DePetrus Church in Vught,
  3. the Library LocHal in Tilburg,
  4. the Library Chocolade Fabriek in Gouda,
  5. the Erasmus University Library in Rotterdam,
  6. the Library DOK in Delft,
  7. the Library OBA in Amsterdam,
  8. the Library De Korenbeurs in Schiedam and
  9. the Neude Library in Utrecht.

Stations of the study trip through the Netherlands on 25.10. – 28.10.2022, map by


This report summarises some of the many special features and experiences of the trip.

„You have to change to stay the same.”

This quote by the painter Willem De Kooning is the motto of the Ministerie van Verbeelding, the Ministry of Imagination. This is not an official ministry, but a collective of architects, designers and librarians. They are the brains behind many of the impressive new library concepts and buildings, some of which we were able to visit on this journey. Rob Bruijnzeels is part of this collective. He accompanied us for a while to give us an insight into the work and structure of the Dutch library world.

To remain relevant and interesting, libraries must adapt to changes in society. In the Netherlands, for example, it is taken for granted that they offer consultation hours for advice on e-government. The self-image as a Third Place is also already omnipresent there. Public libraries are perceived as the living rooms of cities and are used accordingly.

A different organisational form and an efficient design of the work processes make this possible, as Rob Bruijnzeels explains to us further. In the Netherlands, public libraries are private initiatives and foundations. Although they also receive money from the municipality, they are not as dependent on it as in Germany. This gives them greater freedom. In addition, libraries of several municipalities often join together in a large library organisation that manages the organisation and central tasks (media purchasing and processing, management, staff organisation).

The Dutch have a long tradition as merchants. This mentality is also reflected in the country today. If something can be organised more efficiently and better, it is done that way. Departments for cataloguing and book processing no longer exist in the individual libraries. These tasks are taken over by a service provider. Because many libraries participate in this, it is cheaper than running individual departments everywhere. The staff can thus be used more efficiently in the programme work.

Library: not for everyone, but by everyone

Jan van Bergen en Henegouwen from the library De Korenbeurs in Schiedam introduced this principle to us. But it can also be found in other public libraries in the Netherlands. What is meant by this is that the library’s visitors participate in its development.

This is possible, on the one hand, through numerous volunteers. The library in Schiedam works with about 300 of them. A number that surprised all participants of the study journey. No one could have imagined this for Germany and our institutions. However, volunteer work has a long tradition in the Netherlands and is an important part of society. For many, it is a matter of course to get involved in their free time. That is why libraries with few staff and short opening hours, for example, can still offer many events. Our guided tours on the trip were also taken over by volunteers most of the time, only rarely did we speak to permanent library staff.

In this context, the term “community library” came up again and again. Everyone can get involved on a voluntary basis. Events are often organised at request of visitors. This way, the librarians know that there is a real need for a topic and what their target groups are interested in.

This system is complemented by a wide range of self-service offers. Visitors can borrow and return media themselves at the stations provided for this purpose. “Everyone becomes a librarian,” explains Rob Bruijnzeels. Consequently, there are hardly any classic lending or service counters left in Dutch libraries; instead, there are distributed information points. The open design lowers the inhibition threshold to ask for advice. The offers should be designed as low-threshold as possible in order to be an open meeting place for all residents of the community. The visitors are given a lot of personal responsibility, which creates a trusting relationship in the library and with its services.

Impressive and unusual architecture

The unusual and innovative architecture of some of the institutions visited should not go unmentioned. The libraries in the towns of Vught and Schiedam stand out in particular. When I entered the buildings, I didn’t have the feeling that I was entering a library.

In Vught the library was built into an old church. This creates a special sense of space. With workstations in the look of confessionals, the two places are fluidly connected. In addition, the library merges seamlessly into a museum and a Third World shop. The combination of different offers has been very successful here.

In Schiedam I had the impression of entering a greenhouse. The covered inner courtyard has been landscaped with many plants to create a cosy garden where visitors enjoy spending time. The quote from the Roman orator Cicero “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need” has been completely realised here.

But there are also impressive libraries in Gouda and Tilburg that naturally echo the history of the buildings. In Gouda, the current library building was initially a chocolate factory. The building was converted into a library by adding false ceilings and walls. On the floor, there are drawings of the chocolate-making machines that used to be there. In this way, you also learn something about the processes of the old factory.

LocHal Tilburg, on the other hand, used to be a workshop for locomotives, as the name suggests. You can still see this today in the impressive size of the hall. But the crane for lifting the locomotives under the hall ceiling and a history corner also bear witness to this. Here, old pictures of the workshop are on display and former employees talk about their work.

In all the innovative power that lies within the libraries, there are always references back to the history of the buildings. This connection contributes to the charm of the libraries and provides an insight into the past of the city.

Conclusion on the study trip to the Netherlands

This journey exceeded all my expectations and showed once again that it is always worthwhile to look beyond one’s own nose. Libraries in the Netherlands are rightly regarded by us as innovative and forward-looking. I can only recommend taking part in exchange programmes and study trips when the opportunity arises.

Together with 19 other employees from libraries all over Germany, I explored nine cities and their libraries

Everyone benefits from exchanging ideas, learning from each other and being inspired.

Background to the study trip to the Netherlands

The study trip (German) was organised by BI-International (BII). BII is a permanent commission of the Library and Information in Germany – Federal Union of German Library Associations (BID), which promotes international professional exchange in the library sector. Together with the Goethe Institute, BII also supported the trip financially. Marc de Lange from ekz benelux was our tour guide. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks for the partial invitation. My personal opinion is not influenced by this.

This text has been translated from German.

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About the author:

Alena Behrens works as a librarian in the user services department at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. In addition to working at the service desk, her work focuses on the areas of user experience, library as a place of learning and information mediation. She can also be found on Twitter.
Portrait: Alena Behrens©

The post Innovations in Libraries: Impressions of a Study Trip to the Netherlands first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Science & Libraries 2023: 25 Tips for Conferences, Festivals & Co.

In fact, for the first time since the onset of the Corona pandemic, the event horizon for 2023 looks like 50% of events will take place on-site. The other half is split roughly equally between hybrid and online events.

Below you will find a selection of conferences, workshops, barcamps, festivals and other events that you should not miss in 2023. You can find more interesting events in the extensive ZBW MediaTalk events calendar.

#01 – Roundtable | 19.01. | Online
Organised by: Special Interest Group “User Experience in Libraries” at the German professional association for employees in libraries “Berufsverband Information Bibliothek“ (BIB)
UX Roundtable: Annual Planning UX
“The aim of the UX Roundtable is to exchange ideas on user experience and usability in libraries and at universities across institutional boundaries in the German-speaking world and thereby make libraries and information facilities more human-centred.”

#02 – Conference | 01.02. – 03.02. | Bonn (Germany)
Organised by: Transforming Research through Innovative Practices for Linked Interdisciplinary Exploration (TRIPLE)
TRIPLE Conference 2023 – Improving Discovery and Collaboration in Open Science
“Since 2019 the TRIPLE project has been developing the multilingual discovery platform GoTriple, aiming to facilitate interdisciplinary research and foster collaboration. The platform provides a central access point for users to explore, find, access and reuse Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) materials at European scale (data and publications, researcher’s profiles, projects).
The final TRIPLE conference focuses on the potential, challenges and possibilities that arise out of these endeavors for Open Science in SSH and beyond. It will focus on the following topics: Innovation and innovative services in SSH; Multilingualism in SSH; (Crowd)Funding in Open Science; Sustainability, Research Infrastructures and Open Science; Collaboration; Metadata and Data Quality; any other topics related and of importance to Collaboration and Discovery in Open Science.”

#03 – Conference | 13.02. – 17.02. | On Site, virtuell or hybrid
Organised by: Research Data Alliance Deutschland (RDA), Helmholtz Open Science Office
RDA Germany Conference 2023
“The RDA community in Germany wants to contribute to increasing the exchange of data and making the reuse of data more efficient. The location (on site, virtual or hybrid) will be decided at a later date.”

#04 – Conference | 13.02. – 17.02. | Online
Organised by: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
International Love Data Week: Data: Agent of Change
“The theme this year is Data: Agent of Change. Love Data Week is about inspiring your community to use data to bring about changes that matter. Policy change, environmental change, social change… we can move mountains with the right data guiding our decisions. This year, we are focused on helping new and seasoned data users find data training and other resources that can help move the needle on the issues they care about.”

#05 – Conference | 01.03. – 03.03. | Heidelberg (Germany)
Organised by: Project bw2FDM, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, University of Konstanz, Heidelberg University.
E-Science-Days 2023: Empower Your Research – Preserve Your Data
“The E-Science Days are an interdisciplinary conference series centered around the topics of research data management and Open Science – with diverse offerings for professional exchange between science and technology. Save the date in your calendar now – more info coming soon!”

#06 – Unconference | 09.03. – 10.03. | Online
Organised by: Center for Open Science with support from the National Science Foundation award
Unconference 2023: Open Scholarship Practices in Education Research
“Collaborate, Learn, and Share as We Advance Open Science Practices in Education Research: The 2023 Unconference will be a virtual participation event featuring participant-led sessions analysing the current state of Open Scholarship practice seeking solutions to identified problems. Participants will assess barriers to adoption of Open Scholarship practices unique to the education community and brainstorm strategies for promoting greater awareness. Sessions will provide a broader and more educational focus for attendees who are seeking to expand their knowledge about Open Science.”

#07 – Conference | 21.03. – 22.03. | Online
Organised by: ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
Open Science Retreat: Reform on Research Assessment in the context of Open Science
“Only together can we successfully change the way we work scientifically. Only together can we advance Open Science. WE does not mean scientists only. WE incorporates scientists, science communicators, data stewards, librarians, publishers, editors, and other stakeholders involved in Open Science developments. With the Open Science Retreat, the ZBW wants to bring together international Open Science supporters from different stakeholder groups. For two afternoons in a row, the aim is to dive deep into the topics that are of burning interest to all of us.”

#08 – Conference | 21.03. – 23.03. | Gothenburg (Sweden) & Online
Organised by: Research Data Alliance (RDA)
RDA 20th Plenary, Gothenburg – Research Data Alliance 10th Anniversary Plenary meeting
“The Research Data Alliance will celebrate its 10th Anniversary Plenary Meeting in March 2023 in Sweden, going back to where RDA was launched in March 2013. Following on from the success of the 19th Plenary meeting held in a hybrid format for the first time, P20 will take place in Sweden’s second-largest city – Gothenburg. The three-day hybrid conference will once again bring together researchers, data scientists, policymakers, and data stewards from disciplines from all over the world to share new ideas and explore best practices in using data.”

#09 – Conference | 27.03. – 28.03. | Online
Organised by: Consortium for the Social, Behavioural, Educational and Economic Sciences (KonsortSWD)
Conference on Social and Economic Data (KSWD)
“Social and societal developments can only be understood and explained with the help of good and up-to-date data. But this must be done in strict compliance with data protection. The KSWD is the German forum for an interdisciplinary exchange on the topic of research data. The KSWD is open to all those interested in research data from science, politics and data production, as well as representatives of research funding agencies and research infrastructures. The guidelines for the work of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) are discussed here. The dialogue serves to build and further develop the research infrastructure for the social, behavioural, educational and economic sciences. During the conference, the appointment proposals for the representatives of the social, behavioural, educational and economic sciences in the RatSWD are also elected.”

#10 – Conference | 03.04.| Kochel am See (Germany)
Organised by: Open Science Freelancers, Access 2 Perspectives
Open Science Retreat
“Whether you are just getting started with Open Science or are already an open hero. Whether you are a researcher or provide research services. If you are ready for a week of new ideas, productivity and rebooting: this retreat is for you! The Open Science Retreat is an event from Open Science enthusiast for Open Science enthusiasts. The main goals are: Learning – Getting stuff done – Networking – Reflecting – Rebooting.”

#11 – Conference | 24.04. – 25.04. | Hannover (Germany)
Organised by: German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (RfII), Volkswagen Foundation
Shaping Data Spaces in Germany and Europe – Impulses From Science
“What needs to be done to establish research data infrastructures in a sustainable, networked and quality-assured manner? The aim of the event is to initiate an interdisciplinary exchange that explores the need and the necessary prerequisites and competences for the use of data infrastructures and focuses on actively helping to shape the future scientific landscape.”

#12 – Festival | 26.04. – 28.04. | Online & various locations in Germany
Organised by: Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre
University:Future Festival – Heads Up!
“The festival will deal with topics related to the future of higher education: technology, didactics, strategy development, competences, architectures and much more. It will take place in the physical as well as in the digital space. The principle is: Digital first! The event in all its diversity can only be experienced online. Physical stages at various locations in Germany will enable encounters and networking in person. The festival is bilingual in German and English.”

#13 – Festival | 14.05. – 16.05. | Aarhus (Denmark) & Online
Organised by: The Next Library (Aarhus Public Libraries)
Next Library 2023
“We invite library innovators from all over the world to join next year’s festival and we hope to see many of you. Next Library 2023 is currently in the process of becoming a hybrid festival so it will be possible for people all around the world to tune in on the conversation. We are still working on the format and the programme, so please stay tuned for more updates, questions and ideas for Next Library 2023.”

#14 – Conference | 23.05. – 26.05. | Hannover (Germany)
Organised by: Verein Deutscher Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare e.V. (VDB), Berufsverband Information Bibliothek e.V. (BIB)
111th German Librarians’ Day: Forward to Far
“The motto of the largest and central continuing education event for German and European librarianship in 2023 is ‘forward to far’. Lectures, panel discussions and posters will focus on the following topics: Topic 1: Shaping everyday working life: Workflows, practical relevance, management, controlling, statistics, new work, new services, job profiles
Topic 2: Qualifications in education and occupation: study programmes, initial, continuing and further training, recruitment, job profiles, internationalisation of qualifications
Topic 3: Building and Learning, Architecture and Pedagogy: New Construction, Conversion, (Hybrid) Learning Places, Resources, Sustainability, Didactics, Educational Partnerships
Topic 4: Services and Community Building: Portfolio, Networking, Participation, Democracy Promotion, Internationalisation, Rural Areas, Bookmobiles
Topic 5: Data and Publications: Editions, Linked Open Data, Digital humanities, Bibliometrics, Open Access, Scientific Publishing, Search Spaces, Standardisation, Open Science
Topic 6: Digital and Analogue Infrastructures: NFDI, FID, Long-Term Archiving, Research Data Management.
The detailed lecture programme will be available here from February 2023.”

#15 – Workshop | 05.06. | Online
Organised by: ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
INCONECSS Community Meeting
“A couple of times each year, we invite you to take a closer look at a current topic and to share your experiences with others. More details will follow, as we get closer to the date.”

#16 – Conference | 06.06. – 08.06. | Brighton (UK)
Organised by: UX in Libraries
UXLibs 2023: Connections & Collaborations
“The 2023 theme will be ‘Connections & Collaborations’. We will be encouraging attendees to think about how they connect and collaborate with others both inside and outside of libraries when engaged in User Experience work: How might we collaborate in order to make our services more useful, usable and desirable to our users? How might we work with specific user groups to establish and co-create more relevant and inclusive library services? How might we forge connections with external groups or individuals in order to improve both our processes and results?”

#17 – Festival | 03.07. – 05.07.
Veranstaltet von: ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences
Open Science Festival 2023
“The Open Science Festival offers space for exchange and impulses on Open Science practices with international experts, practical workshops and a marketplace for networking activities. SAVE THE DATE.”

#18 – Conference | 05.07. – 07.07. | Budapest (Hungary)
Organised by: Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER)
LIBER 2023 Annual Conference: Open and Trusted – Reassessing Research Library Values
“The topics of the conference are: Supporting the pillars of Open Science, developing independent and inclusive collections, building sustainable infrastructures, managing data and information for a new kind of intelligence, addressing the post-pandemic challenges in education, engaging with libraries’ communities, enabling autonomy in scholarly publishing.

#19 – Conference | 21.08. – 25.08. | Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
Organised by: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
88th World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2023: Let’s work together, let’s library
“The goals of the IFLA Global Vision will be the central theme during this Congress. With the motto Let’s work together, let’s library, we explore how libraries can contribute to an inclusive society, one in which everyone has the opportunity to participate. Key topics include personal development, the stimulation of reading, the development of language and digital skills, free access to culture, digital knowledge and innovation.”

#20 – Conference | 11.09. – 13.09. | Berlin (Germany)
Organised by: hbz – Wissen Information Innovation, ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
“SWIB conference (Semantic Web in Libraries) is an annual conference, being held for the 15th time. SAVE THE DATE!”

#21 – Conference | 13.09. – 15.09. | Cologne (Germany)
Organised by: Technology Arts Sciences TH Köln, Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre
TURN Conference 23: Prototype Future – Sharing Solutions for Transformative Teaching
“At TURN Conference 2023, you will share teaching practice and learning materials with colleagues from your discipline and beyond. In fixed time slots and supported by writing consultants and other experts, you can further develop your concepts and studies for further dissemination and easy adaptation by colleagues. Our aim is to create products at the conference itself, i.e. prototypes of the teaching of the future in the form of didactic design patterns or Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) projects, as material for teachers (which can include learning material for students), which will be uploaded to the conference website and can be further used by others also thanks to open licensing as OER. In the aftermath of the conference, further distribution channels will be opened up. Those who launch promising new or further developments during the concept sprints are candidates for a sprint award at the end of the conference.”

#22 – Fair | 25.09. – 27.09. | Madrid (Spain)
Organised by: OpenAIRE, Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT)
4th Open Science Fair (OSFair2023)
“Open Science (also referred to as Open Scholarship) is at a crossroads. Implementation and adoption are progressing, with researchers, research institutions, funding agencies, service providers and infrastructures all engaging at various levels. However, different models are emerging which produce a seemingly fragmented ecosystem and achieve small steps on top of traditional scholarly communication system. In order to enable international and interdisciplinary research, we need to ensure interoperability across communities and services while still maintaining our ability to support diversity of workflows and knowledge systems. OSFair2023 aims to bring together and empower Open Science communities and services; to identify common practices related to Open Science; to see what are the best synergies to deliver and operate services that work for many; and to bring experiences from all around the world and learn from each other.”

#23 – Conference | 27.09. – 29.09. | Berlin (Germany)
Organised by: Open-Access-Büro Berlin, twelve Berlin universities and colleges
Open-Access-Days 2023: Open Access – Shaping Visions
“In 2003, the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities and Cultural Heritage was adopted. Where the ‘vision of a comprehensive and freely accessible representation of knowledge’ began in 2003, 20 years later the universities are working closely networked and in exchange with non-university research and cultural heritage institutions on the topic of Open Access. On the basis of this long-standing cooperation, Berlin’s universities will bring Open Access back onto the stages of the German capital in 2023.”

#24 – Conference | 23.10. – 26.10. | Salzburg (Austria) & Online
Organised by: International Science Council’s Committee on Data (CODATA), World Data System (WDS), Research Data Alliance (RDA)
International Data Week 2023: A Festival of Data
“International Data Week (IDW) brings together a global community of data scientists and data stewards; researchers from all domains; data, interoperability and informatics experts from all fields; industry leaders, entrepreneurs and policymakers. This event will be an inclusive and celebratory Festival of Data, with in-person and virtual components, highlighting the opportunities for the positive transformation of our world in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other global challenges. IDW 2023 will combine the RDA Plenary Meeting, the biannual meeting of this international member organisation working to develop and support global infrastructure facilitating data sharing and reuse, and SciDataCon 2023, the scientific conference addressing the frontiers of data in research organised by CODATA and WDS.”

#25 – Conference | 06.12. – 07.12. | Online
Organised by: TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and University Library, Berufsverband Information Bibliothek (BIB), Leibniz Association
“The #vBIB is the virtual conference for digital library and information topics. SAVE THE DATE.”


Events 2023: How to stay up to date

These are our event tips for the Open Science and library world for 2023. Of course, there will be more exciting festivals, fairs, barcamps and other formats in the course of the year. We will collect these for you in our event calendar on ZBW MediaTalk!

To stay up to date on interesting events, you can drop by there or subscribe to our newsletter. There, we will inform you about new highlights on the Open Science and library event horizon approximately every fortnight: Sign up for the ZBW MediaTalk newsletter.

Are you missing an event?
Do you have an event tip that is not yet listed here or in our event calendar? Then we would be pleased if you let us know:

Submit event tip

This text has been partly translated from German.

Decision-making aids for event attendance: Highlights 2022

Despite the still ongoing pandemic-related obstacles, there were already many worthwhile conferences, workshops, festivals, barcamps & co. in 2022. We have reported on some of them in more detail here on ZBW MediaTalk. So if you are thinking about attending one of the events we recommended, our review will certainly help you in your decision-making:

Further reading tips for event organisers:
Do you organise events yourself and are looking for tips on how to make them even better? We have been dealing with this more frequently lately:

The post Open Science & Libraries 2023: 25 Tips for Conferences, Festivals & Co. first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Educational Resources: Getting Started in OER in the User Services – Best Practice from the ZBW

by Nicole Clasen and Carola Ziebart

Status quo of Open Educational Resources in Germany

Open Educational Resources (OER) are an important element in the transition of science towards Open Science. The UNESCO defines them as “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions”. In its Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, the United Nations Organisation describes under point 4, „Quality Education”, the tasks of sustainable and fair education and training. Open teaching and learning materials make these calls for free-of-charge, freely available information programmes possible, and offer good opportunities for implementing the Agenda 2030, even outside the primary education sector.

“Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions”

UNESCO publishes new definition of OER

The dissemination of Open Educational Resources in Germany is low, however, as was already shown in 2015 in the study “Open Educational Resources in Germany: development status and perspectives (German) and was again made evident in the second UNESCO World Congress on OER (PDF). The essential features of Open Educational Resources – sharing, reuse and further development (German, PDF) – are not yet established as standard in German higher education institutions.

Five challenges hinder the mainstreaming of OER into education
Second UNESCO World Congress on OER

Knowledge about how to produce OER and its challenges is however also essential so that library users can be advised competently. The challenges include reusable licensing, copyright and finding the right tools for the planned OER project. By checking the individual service programmes for OER compatibility, and creating space and programmes for OER in both their analogue and their digital teaching and learning location, libraries can additionally support the dissemination and better use of OER.

First OER project at the ZBW: just do it

For these reasons, Open Educational Resources should be a fixed element of the user services at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics . We therefore decided that the best way to get started in this new topic for us was to implement an OER project in practice. How otherwise could we competently advise students and researchers if we had never been involved ourselves with free licenses or searching for Open Educational Resources and their platforms?

We received regular enquiries as to why this or that was not possible in the context of international inter-library loan and document delivery. Up to now these questions have been asked and answered by email. The topic thus required a lot of explaining. We wanted to change this and communicate the topic proactively in the future, so that it could also be explained and shared among international libraries. Colleagues in the ZBW document delivery department saw H5P as offering a good opportunity to explain the complexity of German copyright law and its consequences for international inter-library loan to international colleagues in a light-hearted yet concise way.

H5P is a free software programme for creating interactive content and exercises. Thanks to the diverse, interactive possibilities it offers, it provides an excellent and light-hearted way to get started in Open Educational Resources. The basic version of H5P is accessible free-of-charge, and content created with it can be re-used.

Communicating knowledge in a light-hearted way: the quiz

The colleagues began by selecting a suitable H5P component for the knowledge transfer intended. The desired blend of explanatory slides and infotainment seemed to be provided by the component “Course Presentation“. Part 1 of the Open Educational Resource created explains the different aspects of German copyright law and its significance for inter-library loan. These include details such as the permissible percentage of 10 per cent of a work that may be copied from the work at most, the definition of ‘public domain’, and the information that the sending of PDFs is not permitted. Following this, in part 2 the knowledge communicated was tested in a quiz.

Part 2 – a Quiz

The approach selected, which made it easier for the team to get started in Open Educational Resources through a familiar territory such as inter-library loan, was successful. All colleagues have expertise and many years of experience in the field. This means that they were able to concentrate fully on developing the H5P slides, selecting license-compliant photos and creating suitable metadata. And that was exciting enough for the start. But the greatest hurdle was the following decision: When is the draft good enough to go online? The perfectionism of librarians and Open Educational Resources would seem to be mutually contradictory rather than complementary.

The H5P quiz on German copyright law in international inter-library loan aroused the enthusiasm of our colleagues who then directly developed a sequel: an explanation of the electronic reading room.

Everyone has to do it: in-house further training on OER

Following these initial experiences, we plan to integrate the insights gained regarding Open Educational Resources permanently into user services and make them available for all colleagues. To this end, our department has initiated the in-house training series “OER for information specialists”. Practical and modular in conception, it provides all employees of the user services with insights into the OER entry topics of licensing, searching for public domain material, and data and media literacy. Additionally, open-source software is presented and tested. All lecturers are departmental colleagues who have familiarised themselves with individual tools in advance.

The first steps towards Open Educational Resources have been taken. The training programme in particular offers potential for further use-based projects and facilitates access to shared knowledge.

Our tips for OER newcomers

To get started successfully with OER, we would recommend taking part in the appropriate workshops and online training courses. There are many offers for this. Then you can see which of the OER platforms fit your library or topic.

This might also interest you:

This text has been translated from German.

About the authors

Nicole Clasen is Head of User Services at ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. Her work focuses on information transfer, digital user services and the usability experience.
Portrait: ZBW©, photographer Sven Wied

Carola Ziebart has been working as a media and information services clerk in the user services department of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics since April 2004. She works in the areas of document delivery, service desk, dunning and loss management and also in the area of data quality and coordination.
Portrait: ZBW©, photographer Sven Wied

The post Open Educational Resources: Getting Started in OER in the User Services – Best Practice from the ZBW first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

User Experience in Libraries: Insights from the University Library of Hildesheim

An interview with Jarmo Schrader and Ninon Frank

It’s impossible to cover the many facets of User Experience (UX) in a single article. We are therefore approaching the topic with an international interview series that provides many examples from best practice, personal insights and tips for all those who would like to start with UX themselves: to the UX interview series.

Our guests today: Jarmo Schrader and Ninon Frank from the University Library of Hildesheim (German). Their insider tips:

  1. “you can go a long way simply with a smile and a friendly tone of voice”,
  2. first gather the “low hanging fruits” and
  3. then if you are not sure, simply give things a try and rearrange the furniture.

Their “Mission UX” started with an inspiring in-house workshop on the topic. Their methods range from guerrilla interviews to think-aloud tests and flip charts with a question that they would like their users to answer – their favourite method, by the way. In the interview they tell us why it is so important to supplement qualitative observations with quantitative methods, their three most important take-aways from 2.5 years of UX experience and why a red couch created a minor storm of indignation on their Facebook account.

Jarmo and Ninon, you work in the User Experience field at the University Library of Hildesheim. When and why did you start this? What does it mean in practice?

Jarmo: It was always important for us to offer a service that is oriented around our users. A workshop with the UX expert Andy Priestner, which I attended in spring 2019 was the starting point for our conscious exploration of the User Experience topic. I enjoyed the seminar so much that we invited him to an in-house workshop at the University Library of Hildesheim during the summer. The one and a half very intensive and fruitful days of the workshop ultimately formed the basis for our activities in the field of UX.

Ninon: The workshop provided the impetus for various projects. For example, we were wondering how we could make our reading room more attractive to users or how we could furnish an area, where magazine display cabinets used to stand, in such a way that it meets the needs of our users.

University Library of Hildesheim©

In practice this meant that we rearranged and then tested various furnishing scenarios as prototypes with the furniture that was available to us. We made it possible for the users to give feedback (mostly via a publicly displayed feedback form). However, we also measured the usage statistically, in order to be able to make a comparison between the statements made and the actual usage.

Ninon: It is our long-term goal to adapt our services and premises more towards the users, thereby achieving higher usage. However, needs are continually changing – it’s not as if we will ever have reached the stage where we can say: Things will stay like this for ever.

Jarmo: I also regard UX as being part of a mindset, a skill which one can continually work on and not necessarily a fixed objective that we must achieve.

Which UX methods are you using at the University Library of Hildesheim?

Ninon: During the workshop we learned about various methods. Since then, we have been doing guerrilla interviews as well as making observations. By “guerrilla interviews” we mean that we develop a small group of questions and then approach people in the library or on the campus with it. We also lay out feedback forms or set up flip charts for comments and notes.

Jarmo: The relaunch of our online catalogue HilKat was accompanied by UX methods. In the process we were greatly assisted by a student who carried out think-aloud tests via video conference in the context of his master’s thesis. Test persons solved various tasks in the new HilKat and “thought aloud” while doing so, so that we could understand where there were stumbling blocks in using the catalogue, which functions were popular, and which may not have been correctly understood.

Could you give us an example that worked in practice, where you used UX to solve a problem?

Jarmo: At the library we have a small reading room which is used far too little in our opinion. Based on our observations, we suspected that we could increase the attractiveness by using fewer but larger tables. We tested this theory by rearranging the furniture of half of the room and usage did actually increase; we also received positive feedback in accompanying surveys. Ultimately, a reduction of seats led to usage increases of between 25% to over 50%. A complete success!

Reading room of the University Library of Hildesheim© after the redesign

Ninon: A further example was our idea to position mobile partitions between the tables so that users had more privacy. Our prototypes received very negative feedback in the feedback forms so we didn’t pursue this idea any further. And we actually saved money too.

Mobile partition walls in the University Library of Hildesheim©

In order to use UX methods, it’s necessary to have library users who are prepared to participate. How do you manage to find and motivate these users?

Jarmo: As yet, we’ve limited ourselves to simpler methods which do not take up much of the users’ time, meaning that we didn’t have major problems here.

In our workshop with Andy Priestner we also tried out techniques such as interviews or cognitive maps and discovered that you can go a long way simply with a smile and a friendly tone of voice.

Ninon: Many users are amazingly willing to take part in such participation methods. We always receive feedback – especially when setting up flip charts with a question. This is really great!

What are – let’s say – the three most important lessons that you learned in applying User Experience methods at the University Library of Hildesheim?

  • Just do it!
  • You can always learn something from failures.
  • Users don’t know what they want either. (They first have to be able to try it out.)

Have you also used methods that didn’t work at all? What were your biggest or funniest failures?

Ninon: We took up a request and experimented with allowing users to eat and drink in our reading lounge. For this, we removed the cosy furniture which was there to “chill out” on – including a red couch – to other places in the library, and put wipeable tables and chairs in its place. The feedback was: Yes, this is great but where on earth is the red couch?

Feedback “”where’s the red couch?”” – University Library of Hildesheim©

Even on Facebook, where there had been very little response before, this absence was noted. We then brought the couch back, which was promptly rewarded with positive feedback.

What are your tips for libraries who want to begin with UX? What is a good starting point?

Jarmo: Start with the “low hanging fruits” – namely problem areas you already know about – and with changes that can be made with relatively little effort. Being successful here will then give you the required motivation to continue, and for these projects, simple UX methods are usually sufficient. You can save advanced techniques for later.

Our experience has also shown that you should supplement qualitative observations with quantitative methods, as otherwise there is a great risk that, filled with enthusiasm, you will only see what you want to see.

This text has been translated from German.

Read more about UX in libraries

About the authors:
Dr Jarmo Schrader has been deputy head of the University Library of Hildesheim since 2008, where he is head of the IT department and supervises specialist units in the STEM area. He holds a doctorate in molecular biology and works mainly in the field of digital library services.
Portrait: Jarmo Schrader©, photographer: Isaias Witkowsk

Dr Ninon Franziska Frank is a subject librarian for education, social sciences and economics at University Library of Hildesheim and also works in the areas of public relations and information dissemination. Before becoming an academic librarian, she completed her doctorate in French literary studies in the Cotutelle procedure (a binational doctoral procedure) between the University of Erfurt and the Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. She is particularly interested in insights into the needs of users.
Portrait: Ninon Franziska Frank©

Featured Image: University Library of Hildesheim©

The post User Experience in Libraries: Insights from the University Library of Hildesheim first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Science & Libraries 2022: 22 Tips for Conferences, Barcamps & Co.

by Claudia Sittner

After the coronavirus years 2020 and 2021 were practically a total failure for on-site events and everything actually took place online, a cautious trend towards a return to on-site events can be observed for 2022. Since even the most creative tools and formats have shown: Nothing can replace a face-to-face conversation on site or a chance encounter during a coffee break for networking. Nevertheless, there are still many “online only” events. But new hybrid event formats in particular are on the rise. So is hybrid becoming the new normal?

In our event tips for 2022, you will find all these facets of the new event world: purely digital, hybrid and classic on-site event formats. Below you will find a selection of conferences, workshops, barcamps and other events that you should not miss in 2022. You can also always find more interesting events in the ZBW MediaTalk events calendar.

#1 3rd ESFRI RIs -EOSC Workshop: What does EOSC bring to RI users?
Workshop | 25.01. – 26.01. | Hybrid
“The main objective of the workshop is to bring together ESFRI [European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures], ESFRI RIs [Research Infrastructures] and EOSC [European Open Science Cloud] stakeholders, in order to showcase and better comprehend the EOSC concept, including the Open Science and ‘FAIR’ policy agenda, and the vision for the future, along with the EOSC value proposition for its users, and ensure an optimal federation of clusters and RIs with EOSC.

The event will focus on the current state of EOSC and how the thematic RIs and ESFRI clusters fit into the developing landscape, including the partnership with the newly established EOSC Association. The main focus of the 3rd workshop is on how the RI communities and researchers can use and benefit from EOSC, getting added value. Besides the general benefits of EOSC towards open science and ‘FAIRification’ of data and services, it is considered that the daily use of EOSC Exchange and concrete tools by the RI users for intra and interdisciplinary research will also greatly benefit EOSC, in becoming useful and effective, contributing towards its sustainability.”
Organised by: ESFRI Task Force on EOSC, the EOSC Cluster projects, EOSC Association, EOSC Future and the StR-ESFRI2 Project, in close cooperation with ESFRI and the EC

#2 What Is Web 3.0? The Decentralized Web: An Introduction
Workshop | 27.01. | Online
“What is the decentralized web, why is it important, and where is it along the path of development? How does Web 3 differ from Web 2? How does blockchain and cryptocurrencies fit into the ecosystem? Who are the players working to realize this vision? Why is the Internet Archive, a library, a leader in the decentralized web movement?”
Organised by: Metropolitan New York Library Council

#3 WissKom2022: How do you do it? – Public and academic libraries in dialog (German)
Conference | 21.06. – 23.06. | Jülich (Germany)
“Academic and public libraries mostly operate in separate world[s], but they have more in common than is apparent at first glance. Many libraries face the same challenges. Some have successfully addressed them, while others can only sing a song about the hurdles. What do academic libraries and public libraries have in common? What distinguishes them in their paths and goals for the future? How and what can libraries learn from each other? From the perspective of both types of libraries, current topics will be presented and discussed at WissKom2022. The contributions are to follow the ‘lessons learned’ idea and thus stimulate an exchange about the presentation of one’s own activities and their feedback. How can libraries work together and for each other? You can expect experience values and success models among the topics: digital strategy; Open Access; sustainability; Open Space in libraries; user groups; information and advice.”
Organised by: Cental Library of the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Cental Library of the Public Library Düsseldorf
Hashtag: #WissKom2022

#4 Paris Open Science European Conference (OSEC)
Conference | 04.02.22 – 05.02.22 | Paris (France) & Online
“One of the main topics addressed during this conference will be the transformation of the research and innovation ecosystem in Europe, as well as issues of transparency in health research, the necessary transformation of research evaluations, the future of scientific publishing, and the opening of codes and software produced in a scientific context.”
Organised by: Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the French Academy of Sciences, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS),the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcéres), the University of Lorraine and the University of Nantes

#5 Open Science Retreat: Dialogue on Openness, Transparency and Science Communication in the Digital Age
Workshop | 15.02.22 – 16.02.22 | Online
“Only together can we successfully change the way we work scientifically. Only together can we advance Open Science. WE does not mean scientists only. WE incorporates scientists, science communicators, data stewards, librarians, publishers, editors, and other stakeholders involved in Open Science developments. With the Open Science Retreat, the ZBW wants to bring together international Open Science supporters from different stakeholder groups. For two afternoons in a row, the aim is to dive deep into the topics that are of burning interest to all of us.”
Organised by: ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
Hashtag: #OpenScienceRetreat

#6 2022 Unconference on Open Scholarship Practices in Education Research
Conference | 24.02.22 – 25.02.22 | Online
“We will analysing the current state of open scholarship practice and interactive hackathons seeking solutions to identified problems. Participants will assess barriers to adoption of open scholarship practices unique to the education community and brainstorm strategies for promoting greater awareness.”
Organised by: Center for Open Science – Charlottesville, Virginia

#7 Open Data Day 2022
Conference | 24.02.22 – 25.02.22 | Online
“Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. Groups from around the world create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society. All outputs are open for everyone to use and re-use.

The focus this year is on five priority areas on which Open Data has a positive impact: environmental data, tracking public money flows, open mapping, data for equal development, ocean data for a thriving planet.”
Organised by: Open Knowledge Foundation

#8 Barcamp Open Science 2022
Barcamp | 07.03.22 | Online
“The Barcamp Open Science is a barcamp dedicated to the Open Science movement. It is open to everybody interested in discussing, learning more about, and sharing experiences on practices in Open Science. We would like to invite researchers and practitioners from various backgrounds to contribute their experience and ideas to the discussion. The barcamp will bring together both novices and experts and its open format supports lively discussions, interesting presentations, development of new ideas, and knowledge exchange. Though, previous knowledge on Open Science is not mandatory. The barcamp is open to all topics around Open Science that the participants like to discuss.”
Organised by: Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science
Hashtag: #oscibar

#9 Open Science Conference 2022
Conference | 08.03.22 – 10.03.22 | Online
“The conference offers insights into both practical and technical innovations that serve the implementation of open practices as well as current and pioneering developments in the global Open Science movement. Such developments are, for example, the increasing plea for open practices as lessons learned from global crises as well as recent discussions on the relation of Open Science and knowledge equity. Furthermore, the conference offers many opportunities for networking and exchange.

The annual conference is dedicated to the Open Science movement and provides a unique forum for researchers, librarians, practitioners, infrastructure providers, policy makers, and other important stakeholders to discuss the latest and future developments in Open Science.”
Organised by: Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science
Hashtag: #osc2022

#10 Open Access Barcamp 2022
Barcamp | April 2022 | Online
“The Open Access Barcamp offers the community the chance to exchange ideas, network and learn from each other. The barcamp format is designed to be more open than a classic conference and deliberately does not use a pre-determined programme. Instead, the participants can suggest topics and hold sessions on issues of their choice. All topics related to Open Access are welcome.”
Organised by: Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) of the University of Konstanz as part of the project

#11 2022 Library Publishing Forum
Pre-conference in the week of 16 May 2022 (days to be determined, probably one to two afternoons) | Online
“We are committed to expanding the diversity of perspectives we hear from at the Library Publishing Forum. Working towards some of the “Continuing Initiatives” from the LPC Roadmap for Anti-Racist Practice, this year we ask all proposals to explicitly address how they are inclusive of multiple perspectives, address DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion], or incorporate anti-racist and anti-oppressive approaches.

The Library Publishing Forum is an annual conference bringing together representatives from libraries engaged in or considering publishing initiatives to define and address major questions and challenges; to identify and document collaborative opportunities; and to strengthen and promote this community of practice. The Forum includes representatives from a broad, international spectrum of academic library backgrounds, as well as groups that collaborate with libraries to publish scholarly works, including publishing vendors, university presses, and scholars.”
Organised by: Library Publishing Coalition (LPC)

#12 International Conference on Economics and Business Information- INCONECSS
Conference | 17.05.22 – 19.05.22 | Online
“This conference wants to address issues relating to economics and business information. Main topics: Research Data, Reshaping of skills and structures, Research support, Open Access. The main target groups are librarians and other information specialists supporting researchers in Economics and Business Studies.

The uniqueness of the conference lies in its international scope in combination with the focus on Economics and Business Studies: bringing together best practices from different countries, establishing a platform for stimulating discussion, exchanging opinions, helping participants to improve and enhance their local services.”
Organised by: ZBW – Leibniz Informationszentrum für Wirtschaft

#13 Open Education Global Conference
Conference | 23.05.22 – 25.05.22 | Nantes (France)
“Specialised sessions will address unique approaches to OER such as the best way to implement OER in Russia, or Z-degrees at community colleges in California and also provide practical advice on things like OER diversity and accessibility. Thematic sessions highly relevant to the future of open education will also be held. We will specifically encourage sessions linked with the usage of technology for open education including linguistic tools, artificial intelligence, repository management, and blockchain. Sessions will be tied to UNESCO OER Recommendation action areas.

The Congress in Nantes will host learning labs to provide opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge associated with successfully implementing an open education initiative. Learning labs will address a wide range of topics such as advocating for OER, creating OER content, open licensing, policy for OER, open practices associated with disseminating, using, and sharing OER, open pedagogy, etc. Learning labs will be tied to UNESCO OER Recommendation action areas.”
Organised by: Open Education Global und Université de Nantes

#14 8. Library Congress Leipzig 2022: #FreiräumeSchaffen (German)
Conference | 31.05.22. – 02.06.22 | Leipzig (Germany) online
“Our motto #FreiräumeSchaffen (this means: create free spaces) connects the digital with the analogue space. The pandemic experience has shown how important such a connection is. How we want to fill the free space of libraries has to be explored again and again: in stock management, in digital services, in our learning and event offers and not least in the way we lead the library company into the future. So far, we have succeeded in striking a balance between digital services, analogue knowledge repository and genuine meeting place. The concrete ‘what we want’ is constantly changing. That is what ‘free spaces’ stand for. The idea of a free, equal society remains. That is what libraries stand for. So #FreiräumeSchaffen is also an appeal to the innovative power of our sector. The 8th Library Congress is also the 110th German Librarians’ Day.”
Organised by: Library and Information in Germany (BID) – Federal Union of German Library Associations
Hashtag: #FreiräumeSchaffen

#15 6th annual international User Experience in Libraries conference (UXLIBS VI): UX and Organisational Culture
Conference | 06.06.22 – 08.06.22 | Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Great Britain)
“User experience (UX) research techniques are wonderfully accessible and offer us unparalleled access to the worlds of our users. In turn, UX design offers us an established process to follow to take the resulting research insights gathered, transforming them into action through prototyping and iteration. BUT absolutely none of the above matters if your organisation is not ready for, or not interested in, UX. […] If you don’t have the support and understanding of your colleagues and senior management all your UX hopes and dreams will come to nought. Some institutions are simply not interested in centring their services and activities around user needs and behaviours, while others just don’t realise yet that this is what UX research and design is all about. Doing UX is one thing, but getting it embedded and accepted, and the opportunities understood is quite another! If you don’t address the culture issue, like the Big Bad Wolf, it will come and gobble you up.At UXLibsVI we want to offer talks and presentations that speak to this challenge, which explore how the threat of organisational culture and closed traditional mindsets and approaches can be tackled head on.”
Organised by: UX in Libraries

#16 IASSIST 2022: Data by Design: Building a Sustainable Data Culture
Conference | 07.06.22 – 10.06.22 | Gothenburg (Sweden)
“The conference theme, ’Data by Design: Building a Sustainable Data Culture’, emphasizes two core values embedded in the culture of Gothenburg and Sweden: design and sustainability. We invite you to explore these topics further and discuss what they could mean to data communities. As a member of IASSIST, you are already part of at least one data community. Your other data communities may be across departments, within organizations, or among groups in different countries. How are these groups helping design a culture of practices around data that will persist across organizations and over time?”
Organised by: Swedish National Data Service (SND)

#17 re:publica 2022: “Any Way the Wind blows” (German)
Conference | 08.06. – 10.06. | Berlin
“All further information on the event will follow shortly on the republica channels.”
Organised by: republica GmbH
Hashtag: #rp22

#18 Open Science Retreat: Dialogue on openness, transparency and science communication in the digital age
Workshop | 14.06. – 15.06. | Online
“Only together can we successfully change the way we work scientifically. Only together can we advance Open Science. WE does not mean scientists only. WE incorporates scientists, science communicators, data stewards, librarians, publishers, editors, and other stakeholders involved in Open Science developments. With the Open Science Retreat, the ZBW wants to bring together international Open Science supporters from different stakeholder groups. For two afternoons in a row, the aim is to dive deep into the topics that are of burning interest to all of us.”
Organised by: ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
Hashtag: #OpenScienceRetreat

#19 LIBER Annual Conference 2022
Conference | 06.07. – 08.07. | Odense (Denmark)
“LIBER 2022 Annual Conference Theme: Libraries in the Research and Innovation Landscape — Supporting, Partnering, Leading. The upcoming LIBER 2022 Annual Conference will address the following topics: Libraries as research institutions; Citizen science and research communication; Partnering with other organisations and the private sector; Community building for researchers; Research libraries as publishers; Role of research libraries in bibliometrics; Special collections in research libraries.”
Organised by: LIBER, University Library of Southern Denmark / Syddansk University Library
Hashtag: #LIBER2022

#20 EuroScience Open Forum 2022: Crossing the borders, engaged science, resilient society
Conference | 13.07. – 16.07. | Leiden (Netherlands)
“The main objective of ESOF2022 is to strengthen the trust in the various ways society is influenced by science and, on the other hand, how science is influenced by choices, dilemmas and responsibilities that arise in society. ESOF2022 will be about the creation of a sense of urgency in scientists, policy makers, media, and the general public to deliberate more actively on science. ESOF2022 in Leiden will reinforce the societal dimension of European research-recognizing that citizen engagement is intrinsic to the support of science and to appreciate the benefits of science for the economy and quality of life.

ESOF2022 conference with the theme “Crossing the borders, engaged science, resilient society” is embedded in a 365-day programme of Leiden European City of Science where we will celebrate arts, science, and technology, targeted to reach out to the general public and truly connect science with society.”
Organised by: Leiden University, the Municipality of Leiden, Leiden University of Applied Sciences, and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)
Hashtag: #ESOF2022

#21 87th IFLA World Library and Information Congress: Inspire, Engage, Enable, Connect
Conference | 26.07. – 29.07. | Dublin (Ireland)
“In conjunction with the Irish National Committee, IFLA will be […] publishing more information as the Congress plans develop.”
Organised by: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

#22 Open Access Days 2022: Kollaboration (German)
Conference | 19.09. – 21.09. | Bern (Switzerland)
“The Open Access Days are the major annual conference on Open Access and Open Science in the German-speaking world. The 2022 motto of the Open Access Days is Collaboration.” The Open Access Days are aimed at all those who would like to get to grips with the many facets of scientific publishing, for example, employees of libraries and other institutions of the science infrastructure and of publishing houses; but also scientists and members of the science administration.”
Organised by: University Library of Bern
Hashtag: #OAT22

This text has been translated from German.

Events 2022: How to stay up to date

These are our event tips for the Open Science and library universe for 2022. Of course, there will be more exciting conferences, workshops, barcamps and other formats in the course of the year. We collect them for you in our events calendar on ZBW MediaTalk!

To keep up to date with interesting events, you can either drop by there or subscribe to our newsletter, in which we will regularly inform you about new highlights on the Open Science and library event horizon: sign up for the ZBW MediaTalk newsletter.

Is an event missing? Do you have an event tip that is not yet listed in our events calendar? Then we would be happy if you would let us know.

Decision-making aids for event attendance: highlights 2021

Despite the second year of the Corona pandemic, there were many conferences, workshops, barcamps & co. worth visiting in 2021. We wrote about some of them in ZBW MediaTalk. So if you are thinking about attending one of the events we recommend, our review will certainly help you make your decision:

For Event Organisers

Do you organise events yourself and are looking for tips on how to make them even better? We have been dealing with this more frequently lately:

About the author:

Claudia Sittner studied journalism and languages in Hamburg and London. She was a long time lecturer at the ZBW publication Wirtschaftsdienst – a journal for economic policy, and is now the managing editor of the blog ZBW MediaTalk. She is also a freelance travel blogger (German), speaker and author.
Portrait: Claudia Sittner©

The post Open Science & Libraries 2022: 22 Tips for Conferences, Barcamps & Co. first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Tracking Science: How Libraries can Protect Data and Scientific Freedom

An interview with Julia Reda

Data tracking has long been a lucrative business model for many corporations. The fact that it also takes place in science is not so well-known, however. But here too, dangers are lurking for data protection and the freedom of science and research. And libraries also have a role to play, as stakeholders in the scientific ecosystem, particularly if they take out any kind of contract with profit-oriented companies such as publishing houses, in which the data from researchers can also function as bargaining chips.

Julia Reda from the Society for Civil Rights (GFF) has long been dedicated to the assertion of fundamental rights in the conflict area surrounding copyright and data protection. In the interview she explains the role libraries and digital infrastructures play in this complex topic and why it is so important for these institutions to build their own infrastructure and focus on green Open Access instead of financially supporting publishing houses to build up a parallel and commercial infrastructure.

During the recent online conference #vBib21, you gave a presentation on “Tracking Science: Consequences for Data Protection and Scientific Freedom” (German). Why is this topic also relevant to libraries?

Libraries do far more than just making literature available. Ideally they provide a comprehensive knowledge structure in which people can learn and do research. The exploding costs of licences for specialist scientific articles is not only making it more difficult for libraries to fulfil this task: scientific publishers use the enormous profits they procure in this way, at the expense of the public purse, to buy up more and more software companies responsible for organising the science industry, from logging measurement results in the laboratory to assessing the quality of research. In this way the science corporations create a commercial parallel structure to the services that libraries should actually provide but are often unable to, due to a lack of financial resources. Once public research takes place on commercial platforms, it is easy for these companies to collect highly sensitive data about the researchers. This represents a danger to their privacy and to the independence of science. Libraries must take a stand against this trend, because it is their very own duties that are being privatised here.

How is scientific freedom threatened when major publishing houses track the surfing and search habits of individual scientists?

Individual researchers could be hindered in carrying out their research: For example, the Chinese government has already induced certain scientific publishers to block access to specialist articles in China for users whose topics are a thorn in the side of the regime. China has also imposed sanctions on individual scientists and research institutes who are working in these research fields. If science companies sell personal data to governments – about who is reading and downloading which specialist articles – further researchers can become the target for sanctions. The resulting “scissors in the head” (self-censoring) that begins before the actual restrictions of scientific freedom even occur, is particularly dangerous. Researchers start to avoid controversial topics because they feel that they are being watched, and they want to avoid trouble.

A further danger is that the use of data to make decisions will increase existing unfairness in science. It’s already well-known that the so-called “impact factor”, which should provide information about the quality of specialist journals, is completely unsuited to this task. Nevertheless it continues to be called upon for career promotion decisions. Measuring the quality of scientific papers according to the number of times they have been accessed can also give a distorted picture. Male, white scientists who are English native speakers and who are particularly present in the media have an unfair advantage in such procedures.

The topic is however very abstract. Do you have a concrete example for us in which tracking had negative consequences for scientific freedom or an individual scientist?

One well-known example is that of the activist and researcher Aaron Swartz, who was accused of computer sabotage by the US government after he had automatically downloaded thousands of specialist articles from the commercial repository JSTOR via his completely legal university access in the year 2010. JSTOR became aware of Swartz’s “suspicious” surfing behaviour and blocked his access. Although JSTOR reached an out of court agreement with Swartz, the US public prosecutor’s office pressed charges against him and pursued him as if he were a criminal. He had done nothing worse than borrowing too many books from the library. Swartz committed suicide in the year 2013; it was only after this that the case against him was dropped. In the meantime the EU copyright reform of 2019 has made it clear that scientific publishers in the EU are not allowed to prevent the mass download of specialist articles for the purposes of text and data mining as long as these activities do not compromise the safety and integrity of the computer systems.

In the scientific ecosystem, libraries often advocate Open Science, for example by operating their own Open Access repositories or by negotiating Open Access-friendly contracts with publishers. What pitfalls are lurking here in relation to tracking and scientific freedom?

It is important that libraries rely on green Open Access, i.e. provide their own infrastructure for the publication of specialist articles. Contracts with science companies are not only associated with high publication costs for Open Access publications, the so-called Article Processing Charges (APCs), which financially burden the public purse. The danger of these contracts is also that libraries will give away the control of the publication infrastructure. Commercial companies then host the specialist articles and can track the surfing habits of people who call up these articles. Universities and libraries should preferably completely avoid these contracts and invest the money in their own infrastructure.

Four aspects that are important for contracts with external service providers - as listet in the next paragraph

Four aspects that are important for contracts with external service providers.

If contracts are signed with external service providers, however, these four aspects are particularly important:

  • The contracts must be tendered, so that different companies can compete with their respective quotations.
  • The contracts must avoid “lock-in effects” that lead the libraries to become permanently dependent on a specific provider. To ensure this, it is important that the software of the online platform used is Open Source, so that it is possible to change provider without the researcher needing to get used to a completely new platform.
  • The specialist articles must also be subject to genuinely free licences that allow unlimited further use on any other platform and for any purpose; this ensures that it is still legally possible to move from one provider to another, or to infrastructure that you operate yourself.
  • Finally libraries must insist that tracking of the surfing habits of individual researchers is contractually forbidden and that the software runs on in-house university servers. Only in this way can the university or the library comply with its public mandate to protect the fundamental rights of the researchers. Just a few days ago, a university was prohibited by the courts from forwarding personal data to the USA via a commercial provider, because this violates EU data protection laws (see Administrative Court Wiesbaden: The cookie tool “Cookiebot” is a breach of the GDPR and is therefore forbidden [German]).

In your presentation you called upon libraries to get involved in the debate and campaign for data protection. What can libraries and digital infrastructure institutions do in practice?

As well as specific suggestions on what they need to bear in mind when negotiating contracts, it is important that the library associations and managements of higher education institutions publicly declare their solidarity with the researchers whose fundamental rights are threatened by science tracking. This involves turning down pseudo-scientific quantitative metrics for the evaluation of research quality, as companies such as RELX are increasingly offering. It is also a good idea to disseminate campaigns such as the petition „Stop Tracking Science“ or the statement from the German Psychological Society about science tracking (German), which addresses not only individual researchers but also scientific institutions with sensible suggestions.

Are there further issues in which libraries should get involved or become more aware of, in order to protect scientific freedom?

Libraries are often keen to stand up for the basic rights of researchers and to use legal regulations to improve access to knowledge for the general public. For example, the new EU copyright reform has created new ways for libraries to make out-of-print works freely accessible on the internet. It is important they make use of these new freedoms as soon as possible, even if they do not have any practical experience of them. At the Society for Civil Rights (GFF), I am working towards the legal assertion of fundamental rights in the conflict issue of copyright. I would be delighted to hear from libraries who would like to take advantage of these new opportunities and who are looking for support.

This text has been translated from German.

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About Julia Reda

Julia Reda is an expert on copyright and freedom of communication and heads the project control© Copyright law and freedom of communication of the Society for Civil Rights, which is dedicated to the enforcement of fundamental rights in the area of conflict with copyright. From 2014 to 2019, Julia Reda was a Member of the European Parliament, where she focused on net policy issues, in particular the EU copyright reform and the regulation of online platforms. Julia is a Fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation and Affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Portrait, photographer: Diana Levine, [CC-by 4.0]

The post Tracking Science: How Libraries can Protect Data and Scientific Freedom first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Science as a “Wicked Problem”: How Libraries can Accelerate the Transformation

by Birgit Fingerle

In mid-November innOsci – the forum for open innovation culture in the German Stifterverband – published the workbook “The Opening of Science / Workbook on Designing the Transformation (PDF, German).

Opening of science as a “wicked problem”

The opening of science is described in the workbook as a “wicked problem”: a very complex problematic situation, characterised by the fact that it surpasses the ability of a single organisation to understand it and react to it, and that disagreement often exists about the causes of the problem and the best way to solve it. Ultimately no higher education institution alone can achieve a systematic transformation to Open Science. Collaboration across organisation and industry boundaries is essential to achieve the objective. The concept of the wicked problem offers important starting points for better understanding of the challenges and the development of solution options. In order to solve wicked problems, it is important for people to change their behaviour, particularly as open approaches question habitual working practices and cultures.

Supporting innovators in the science system

A series of people from the science system were interviewed for the workbook. Four personas with their respectively perceived hurdles and obstacles relating to Open Science were derived from these perspectives, for example that of an Open Science officer.

The workbook lists a variety of small and large steps that can be taken to promote Open Science at all levels. The steps that support researchers who want to practice Open Science as innovators in the science system include:

  1. The creation of incentive structures for open practices, particularly funding possibilities and support services;
  2. Obligation to publish research data and methods;
  3. Take into account open practice expertise and the societal impact of the research during appointment procedures;
  4. Open Science further training and qualification offers.

Create incentive and support structures for open practices

Libraries in particular can contribute to creating incentive and support structures for open practices by establishing support services or by referencing the support possibilities offered by other organisations. These include the Open Access officers already established at many libraries or the establishment of help desks as well as online information services and discussion forums.

Even if they do not offer any relevant services themselves, libraries can at least point to the services of others. Examples of relevant online information services are the, or the Open Economics Guide of the ZBW (German; English language version will be published in 2022). Support centres for Open Science (Germam) and Open Access (German) are listed in the Open Economics Guide.

Open Science further training and qualification programmes

Similarly, libraries can, on the one hand, offer training opportunities for Open Science and, on the other, can point to training possibilities offered by third parties. There are many different training formats possible. They range from on-site seminars and MOOCs via “challenges”, such as the Open Education Challenge Series, and email courses to the Open Science Coffee Lectures (link in German language) offered by the Bonn University and State Library and the Bonn University Computer Center for example.

Many training opportunities for Open Science, Open Access and Open Data are listed in the Open Economics Guide (links in German language).

Start with yourself: promote a collaborative working culture

A series of measures in the workbook serve to “open spaces and promote discussion”. It is a good idea to start with yourself if you want to convince others of the advantages of something, and this also applies to open working practices. Libraries should therefore also practice a collaborative working culture themselves, if they want to convince researchers of its advantages. The ever present “bubble-thinking” that many employees in science and administration have always wanted to get away from, that hinders the flow of information, creativity and innovation, would thereby be removed, enabling many employees to enjoy a collaborative working culture. Relevant measures often begin small, such as chance meetings in the kitchenette, at the sofa corner and an easier desk rotation. Collaborative software and Working Out Loud Circles can also promote exchange and collaboration, as can innovative event formats such as open space conferences, barcamps, hackathons and lunch talks or the use of creativity- and innovation-promoting working methods including design thinking, business model canvas or crowdsourcing.

This text has been translated from German.

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About the author:

Birgit Fingerle holds a diploma in economics and business administration and works at ZBW, among others, in the fields innovation management, open innovation, open science and currently in particular with the “Open Economics Guide”.

Portrait, photographer: Northerncards©

The post Open Science as a “Wicked Problem”: How Libraries can Accelerate the Transformation first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

First Open Science Retreat: On the Future of Research Evaluation

by Anna Maria Höfler, Isabella Peters, Guido Scherp, Doreen Siegfried and Klaus Tochtermann

Open Science is known to cover a broad range of topics. The implementation of open practices is quite complex and requires involving various stakeholders, including research performing organisations, libraries and research infrastructures, publishers and service providers, and policy makers. Among other things, regular exchange and networking within and between these groups are necessary to accompany and support efforts towards more openness – ultimately, transforming them into a joint and global movement.

That is why the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics has now launched the international “Open Science Retreat” as a new online exchange and networking format to discuss current and global challenges in the implementation of Open Science and the shared vision of an Open Science ecosystem. The format aims especially at the stakeholder groups mentioned above.

Within two compact sessions over two consecutive days, around 30 international experts from the different stakeholder groups are given the opportunity to dive deeper into a specific topic, to share their own expertise and experience, and to record their thoughts on this. The first Open Science Retreat took place at the end of October 2021 and focused on the “Research Evaluation – Promoting the Open Science movement”.

Four provocations on the evaluation of Open Science

To start off the discussion, Isabella Peters (ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics) reflected in an impulse talk on the extent to which open practices are currently recognised in research evaluation. Therefore, she formulated four provocations:

Four Provocations for the evaluation of Open Science.

  1. We drown in Open Science metrics and indicators – but we do not understand what they mean There are a plethora of approaches and recommendations on how to evaluate Open Science and which indicators might be suitable for assessing Open Science practices, for evaluating Open Science careers, for monitoring the progress towards the great amount of research products that are openly available. There are even automatic Open Science assessment tools on the market already. There is a well-equipped suite of Open Science indicators and metrics, which can be used to provide quantitative summaries about the research landscape and Open Science. However, there is a clear lack of contextualisation of these metrics and a lack of understanding of what the indicators indicate, and what they really mean for the research community.
  2. We drown in guidelines on how to use Open Science metrics and indicators – but we do not know what to use them for. There is a huge flower bouquet of guidelines and recommendations on how to bring Open Science indicators into practice. All of them discuss under which circumstances metrics and indicators are useful tools and when they are able to provide reasonable insights. And all of them list the circumstances under which indicators are not the right tools, for example, when they are not used responsibly. The key of responsible use is the alignment of the goals and the context of the evaluation with the suitable indicators. In terms of Open Science or in terms of promoting Open Science often neither the goals nor the alignment strategy is clear.
  3. We can stop promoting Open Science as soon as 100% of the research output is open – if we believe there is not more to achieve. If we understand Open Science as research outputs made openly available, with the right incentives, e.g. funding, the Open Science journey may end sooner than thought. However, often more and other features are associated with openness, e.g. the reproducibility or the credibility of science which is believed to be increased through Open Science practices. These goals of Open Science are not yet addressed by most of the proposed Open Science indicators. There is a lack of a community-driven discussion of what goals should actually be achieved with Open Science.
  4. Do it all or die tryin‘: Open Science overwhelms researchers. Sometimes it seems that there is only all or nothing in Open Science – at least only ALL is rewarded – the others have to justify themselves. Who is a good open scientist anyway – who is an Open Science champion? Is it only this researcher that reaches 100% or high scores in all Open Science indicators that have been proposed? Propagating the all-or-nothing-principle might be counterproductive. Researchers do not start doing Open Science because doing everything and targeting 100% everywhere in every indicator is neither practical nor possible for them.

Open Science and research evaluation: what have we (not) learned?

Taking up this impulse, the participants were divided into two breakout groups on the first day to reflect on the last ten years of Open Science and to discuss the question: What do we already know about Open Science and research evaluation and what do we not know?

One result of the discussion was that even if the attention on Open Science has been achieved and its general values with respect to research integrity and good science practice are largely accepted, the term and its implementation seem still unclear (with the risk of ‘open washing’) for many. A coherent definition and understanding of what Open Science is still lacking. And what are the goals and expectations, and consequently what shall be measured, why and for whom (cui bono?)? This is associated with the general question: What is quality of research and what is good quality of research? Consequently, the required change of research culture takes longer than necessary. And it seems useful to talk more to people who don’t see the point in Open Science practices. Their reasons against Open Science could provide more insights to remove the last barriers.

The participants further discussed the role of metrics. Open Science and subsequently metrics need a subject- and discipline-specific consensus. A common set of metrics for all scientific disciplines has not proven to be realistic. Metrics that fit certain disciplines and needs can be a good, and maybe in the beginning small, starting point to advance open practices. A lesson learned from (citation-based) bibliometrics (in which we are somehow trapped) is that applying metrics rather at the institutional and group level instead on the level of individual researchers is seen as a successful way to promote open practices and culture change. This also provides a better way to measure Open Science assets such as collaboration. And besides measuring the research outcome or outputs, also procedural criteria (methodology) and further forms of contributions (including negative results) should be evaluated, of course. In the end, however, there is still a lack of indicators to assess the quality of research – a challenge that traditional ‘closed science’ metrics also face.

Finally, another outcome of the discussion is that financing Open Science, especially in the transition phase, is still unclear. A model for its sustainable funding and its integration into regular research funding is still an open issue. In this regard, this is also an issue of equity in accessibility to Open Science as a public common good, as addressed in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

Vision: How could an Open Science world look like in ten years?

On the second day of the Open Science Retreat, participants were again divided into two breakout groups. They were asked to develop a vision of how an Open Science ecosystem would look like in ten years, when research evaluation has been successful in promoting open practices. The discussions revolved around the following topics, all of which have to be accompanied by a change in attitude.

Types of publications: There will be a tendency towards “micro-publications” (i. e. information is shared when it is available) and machine-based approaches for evaluating these micro-publications should be applied. However, differentiation might be necessary for the various scientific disciplines.

Attributions to authors vs. institutions: Publications should be assigned to institutions rather than individuals and corresponding mechanisms are needed to clearly attribute/credit the individual contributions. “Negative” results should of course be published as a contribution to science. Furthermore, the role of reviewers should be attributed as contributors to the improvement of scientific work.

Shifts in roles of stakeholders: New ways of publishing processes to increase transparency and a separate review process should be applied. And the question should be solved: do we want funders to be involved in the evaluation and review process (independent of reputation)? There is a danger of assigning too much power to one stakeholder (e. g. funders). Thus, a future Open Science ecosystem has to be in control of the “checks and balances”.

Policies regarding research evaluation: They should be open and FAIR based on the question: who is supposed to share what in which time frame? Therefore, tools need to be in place to evaluate whether these policies meet FAIR and transparency criteria (e.g. currently there is no document version control, no DOI for call for tenders, etc.).

Finally, each participant was asked to formulate an own vision of a future Open Science world as concisely as possible in the form and length of a ‘tweet’. A voting derived the following top aspects for this vision:

  • In ten years sharing data and software has become an essential component of good scientific practice. Responsible data management to ensure data quality is part of students’ curriculum from the very beginning.
  • An efficient research data management infrastructure of tools and support is available for everybody. Adequate funding is provided to cover efforts for Open Science.
  • Data and software publications have become “full citizens” of the publication world, contributing to researchers’ reputation.
  • Reproducibility of research results is achieved.
  • Publishing negative results will be the normal, researchers will not be blamed for them.
  • People and open infrastructure are funded, not projects. They are evaluated based on the past performance.
  • As research is open, it is fully evaluated by external entities thereby removing internal politics.
  • The term “Open Science” is a thing of the past, since research in science and other fields has opened up such that the open/closed distinction is only necessary when there are good reasons for not sharing, but then at least these reasons are shared in an open and FAIR way.

Save the date for upcoming Open Science Retreats

The discussions were of course much more extensive and complex than can be presented here. And the participants themselves documented a great amount. All tweets and more can be read in anonymised form in the corresponding collaborative pad.

You are an Open Science advocate and would like to exchange your experiences and ideas with a group of 30 like-minded international Open Science enthusiasts from completely different domains? The dates for the next two retreats, both events will of course take place online, and their topics are already set.

  • 15/16 February 2022: Sustainable and reliable Open Science Infrastructures and Tools
  • 14/15 June 2022: Economic actors in the context of Open Science – The role of the private sector in the field of Open Science

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  • Website Open Science Retreat
  • Hashtag: #openscienceretreat
  • Reflections on the evaluation of Open Science
  • Open Science Retreat on Research Evaluation – anonymised collaborative notes condensed into one document
  • Open Science Podcasts: 7 + 3 Tips for Your Ears
  • Publishing Behaviour in Economics: Coronavirus Pandemic Turns out to Be a Temporary Shock
  • One Year of Open Access: The journals Wirtschaftsdienst and Intereconomics Take Stock
  • Open Science: How to Implement it in a Multidisciplinary Faculty – 7 Recommendations
  • Open Economics Guide: New Open Science Support for Economics Researchers
  • Barcamp Open Science 2021: Opening up new perspectives
  • Open Science Conference 2021: On the Way to the “New Normal”
  • Rethinking Events Digitally: a ZBW Guide for Successful Online Events
  • About the authors:
    Dr Anna Maria Höfler is coordinator for science policy activities. Her key activities are Research Data and Open Science.
    Portrait, photographer: Rupert Pessl©

    Prof. Dr Isabella Peters is Professor of Web Science. Her key activities are Social Media and Web 2.0 (in particular user-generated content), Science 2.0, Scholarly communication on the Social Web, Altmetrics, DFG project “*metrics”, Knowledge representation, Information Retrieval.
    Portrait: ZBW©

    Dr Guido Scherp is Head of the “Open-Science-Transfer” department at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and Coordinator of the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science.
    Portrait: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied

    Dr Doreen Siegfried is Head of Marketing and Public Relations.
    Portrait: ZBW©

    Professor Dr Klaus Tochtermann is Director of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. For many years he has been committed to Open Science on a national and international level. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of the EOSC Association (European Open Science Cloud).
    Portrait: ZBW©, photographer Sven Wied

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