Workshop Retrodigitisation 2022: Do It Yourself or Have It Done?

by Ulrich Blortz, Andreas Purkert, Thorsten Siegmann, Dawn Wehrhahn and Monika Zarnitz

Workshop Retrodigitisation: topics

Under the workshop title “Do It Yourself or Have It Done? Collaboration With External Partners and Service Providers in Retrodigitisation”, around 230 practitioners specialised in the retrodigitisation of library and archive materials met in March 2022. This year, the Berlin State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage hosted the retrodigitisation workshop (German), which was held online due to the pandemic. For the first time in 2019, it had been initiated by the three central specialist German libraries – ZB MED, TIB Hannover and ZBW. All four institutions jointly organised a programme which, on the one hand, was about “Do it yourself or have it done?” and, on the other hand, about the question “Is good = good enough?” about quality assurance in retrodigitisation. After each of the eight presentations, there were many interesting questions and lively discussions developed.

Keynote: colourful and of high quality

The keynote on „Inhouse or Outsource? Two Contrasting Case Studies for the Digitisation of 20th Century Photographic Collections“ (PDF) was given by two English colleagues, Abby Matthews (Archive and Family History Centre) and Julia Parks (Signal Film & Media/Cooke’s Studios). They reported on their projects on digitisation of photographic records and old photographs from municipal archives, which they have carried out in cooperation with volunteers.

This was also a big challenge because of the Corona pandemic. Both were able to say that by involving those who later became interested in this offer, a special relationship to this local cultural heritage was developed. The experience of the volunteers also contributed a lot – especially to the documentation of the images, the speakers said.

Cooperation: many models

The first focus of the workshop was on collaboration in retrodigitisation. There were five presentations on this, which had a wide range:

Nele Leiner and Maren Messerschmidt (SUB Hamburg) reported in their presentation on “Class Despite Mass: Implementing Digitisation Projects with Service Providers” (PDF, German) on two retrodigitisation projects in which they worked together with service providers. It was about the projects “Hamburg’s Cultural Property on the Net” (German) and a project that was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in which approx. 1.3 million pages from Hamburg newspapers are being digitised.

Andreas Purkert and Monika Zarnitz (ZBW) gave a presentation on “Cooperation With Service Providers – Tips for the Preparation of Specifications” (PDF, German). They gave clues on tips and tricks for preparing procurement procedures for digitisation services.

Julia Boensch-Bär and Therese Burmeister (DAI) presented the “‘Retrodigitisation‘ Project of the German Archaeological Institute“, which is about having one’s own (co-)edited publications digitised. They described the work processes that ensured the smooth implementation of the project with service providers.

Natalie Przeperski (IJB Munich), Sigrun Putjenter (SBB-PK Berlin), Edith Rimmert (UB Bielefeld), Matthias Kissler (UB Braunschweig) are jointly running the Colibri project (German). In their presentation “Colibri – the Combination of All Essential Variants of the Digitisation Workflow in a Project of Four Partner Libraries” (PDF, German), they reported on how the work processes for the joint digitisation of children’s book collections are organised. The challenge was to coordinate both the cooperation of the participating libraries and that with a digitisation service provider.

Stefan Hauff-Hartig (Parliamentary Archives of the German Bundestag) reported on the “Retro-digitisation Project in the Parliamentary Archives of the German Bundestag: The Law Documentation” (PDF, German). 12,000 individual volumes covering the period from 1949 to 2009 are to be processed. Hauff-Hartig reported on how the coordination of the work was organised with a service provider.

Conclusion: In the presentations on cooperation with other institutions and service providers, it became clear that the success of the project depends heavily on intensive communication between all participants and careful preparation of joint work processes. The organisational effort for this is not insignificant, but the speakers were nevertheless able to show that the synergy effects of cooperation outweigh the costs and that projects only become possible when others are involved.

Quality assurance: Is “good” = good enough?

This question was posed somewhat self-critically by the speakers in this thematic block. Procedures and possibilities for quality assurance of the digitised material were presented:

Stefanie Pöschl and Anke Spille (Digital German Women’s Archive) contrasted the quality, effort and cost considerations of “doing it yourself” with those of purchasing services. In their presentation on “Quality? What for? The Digital German Women’s Archive Reports From Its Almost 6-year Experience With Retrodigitisation” (PDF, German) they looked at the use of standards to ensure the highest possible level of quality.

Yvonne Pritzkoleit and Silke Jagodzinski (Secret State Archives – Prussian Cultural Heritage) presented under the title “Is Good Good Enough? Quality Assurance in Digitisation” their institution’s quality assurance concept. This is based on the ISO/TS 19264-1:2017 standard for image quality. The concept can provide many suggestions for other institutions.

Andreas Romeyke (SLUB Dresden) explained in his presentation “Less is More – the Misunderstanding of Resolution” (PDF, German) why less is often more when it comes to the resolution of images. He described what is meant by resolution, how to determine a suitable resolution and what effects wrongly chosen resolutions can have.

Conclusion: Increasingly, digitised material is not only used as a document to be received for academic work, but it itself becomes research data that the users use, e.g. in the context of the digital humanities. This results in special quality requirements that are not always easy to implement. The three presentations on this topic showed different approaches to the topic and also that it is an important concern for quality management to put effort and benefit in a reasonable relationship. It became clear that standards such as ISO 19264-1 are increasingly being applied, even if this is still not always done according to the textbook, but within the range of technical and personnel possibilities.

Workshop Retrodigitisation 2022: lively discussions – good feedback

In the first part of the workshop, all presentations contained concrete recommendations and useful tips for the design of digitisation projects with service providers. Many aspects that were described in the presentations and discussed afterwards were strongly oriented towards practice, so that they could be incorporated by the participants for their own implementation of projects with service providers and offered a good basis for future planning of their own projects. It was particularly interesting to hear which quantity structures for the pages to be scanned can be implemented in projects with service providers and how projects could be successfully implemented with several institutions despite the pandemic.

The presentations on the topic of quality in the second block of the workshop also met with great interest. Again, all contributions included many practical tips that can be applied to the audience’s own organisations.

In summary, it can be said that the workshop with its many interesting contributions showed the many different ways of working with service providers and the increasing importance of quality management.

The feedback survey showed that the workshop was again very well received this year. All participants were able to take away many new impulses and ideas. The organising institutions will offer another workshop next year. In 2023, it will be hosted by the ZBW.

This text has been translated from German.

Further readings:

About the authors:

Ulrich Ch. Blortz is a qualified librarian for the higher service in academic libraries and a library official. He has worked at the former Central Library of Agricultural Sciences in Bonn since 1981 and has also been responsible for retrodigitisation at the ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences since 2003.

Andreas Purkert is a freight forwarding and logistics merchant. In the private sector, he worked as a certified quality representative and quality manager and as part of the industry certificate REFA basic certificate work organisation. Since May 2020, he has been head of the Digitisation Centre of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

Thorsten Siegmann is Head of Unit at the Berlin State Library and responsible for managing retrodigitisation. He holds a degree in cultural studies and has worked in various functions at the Foundation Prussian Cultural Heritage for 15 years.

Dawn Wehrhahn has been a qualified librarian since 1992. Since then she has worked, with a short interruption, at TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Technology and Natural Sciences and University Library. Her areas of work were: Head of the Wunstorf Municipal Library, Head of the Physics Department Library at TIB, from 2001 Team MyBib Operations within TIB’s full text supply. Since October 2021, she has headed the retrodigitisation team.

Dr Monika Zarnitz is an economist and Head of the Programme Area User Services and Preservation at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

The post Workshop Retrodigitisation 2022: Do It Yourself or Have It Done? first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Behind the Scenes: UNESCO Declares Bookbinding as Intangible Cultural Heritage

by Claudia Sittner

What is „Intangible Cultural Heritage“?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Communication Organization (UNESCO) defines this as “oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts”, according to the Website of the UNESCO about Intangible Cultural Heritage. Traditional crafts are also eligible. Examples of Intangible Cultural Heritage are German bread culture, Hessian „Kratzputz“ (an artistic, decorative plastering technique), fairy tale telling or East Frisian tea culture.

Elke Schnee, sign language and bookbinding at the ZBW

To explain what ZBW employee Elke Schnee has to do with UNESCO, you have to backtrack a bit. Schnee has been working in the bookbindery of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics for almost exactly 40 years. She did her apprenticeship there in the 1980s, and a little later her master’s degree (German „Meister“), before taking over the management of the then rather large bookbindery a short time later.

There were two deaf trainees there who were henceforth under her care. Out of the situation, she took the trainer aptitude test and learned sign language for four years. Above all, however, she learned sign language in practice, in conversations with colleagues and trainees, says Schnee. “I fell in love with sign language on my first day at the ZBW.

Sign language: for Elke Schnee it was a matter of course to learn them

There were already two deaf people there, and I was fascinated by how they talked to each other. Then I learned several signs right away”, reports the master bookbinder. In the video interview, she remembers exactly her first four words: book, coffee, milk and end of work (the German „Feierabend“). It has always been important for her to integrate all employees and trainees. Everyone should be heard and understood.
 






Over the years, she has shown 33 trainees how the ancient craft of bookbinding works in all its facets. Of these, 18 percent were deaf. Today, the bookbindery of the ZBW no longer trains, and it is not alone in this: while 150 people were still trained as bookbinders nationwide in 2019, there were only 60 left in 2020. “We have to stick and work together now, otherwise the centuries-old knowledge will gradually be lost”, Schnee appeals.

The BDBI and the UNESCO

It was not only this decline that prompted the Association of German Bookbinders (BDBI), in which Elke Schnee has been active for several years, to apply for a very special award: the inclusion in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. “Before we are declared a dying species, this seemed like a good measure”, Schnee explains. The BDBI members felt encouraged to do so because they often heard of similar crafts, such as organ craftsmanship, being included. UNESCO’s text about tradtional craftmanship worthy of protection quickly confirmed that the craft of bookbinding was suitable for application.

Background UNESCO in Germany

UNESCO first initiated the designation as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003. Under the motto “Knowledge.Skills.Passing on”, around 580 crafts and traditions from 130 countries have since been included in the international list. There are also national inventories. Germany joined the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. There are currently 131 entries on the national list including organ craftsmanship (Orgelbau), biike burning (an annual bonfire night celebration – Biikebrennen) and blue printing (a dyeing process for linen or cotton fabrics – Blaudruck).

Each German federal state may submit four proposals per year to the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs. If the proposals are approved there, the maximum of 64 proposals will be passed on to the Expert Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage of the German UNESCO Commission. After a thorough examination, the Committee makes recommendations and forwards them to the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and to the German Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media for confirmation. Only after this multi-stage procedure is the Intangible Cultural Heritage entered in the Federal Register. Gold and jewels do not qualify for this status. Why does one take on the effort anyway?

The application as Intangible Cultural Heritage

Back to Elke Schnee: She has been a member of the BDBI board since 2019, first as a guest member, since 2021 officially elected. And in this capacity, she has slipped into the very working group that dealt with the application for inclusion in the UNESCO list.

One morning, Schnee was sitting unsuspectingly in her first BDBI board meeting when she was told that two letters of recommendation had to be organised as quickly as possible. She then quickly found two supporters in the former Kiel Mayor Susanne Gaschke and the ZBW Director Klaus Tochtermann. Once this hurdle was cleared, the professional association submitted its application to the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the BDBI’s home state, in November 2019.

Waiting for UNESCO

In the meantime, the association learned that it had cleared a first hurdle on the way to becoming an Intangible Cultural Heritage Site: its proposal had made it into the top 4 of NRW. Almost 1.5 years after the application, in the middle of the Corona pandemic in spring 2021, the good news came: the craft of bookbinding had made it onto the German UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The celebration was small due to the corona pandemic, a certificate was presented and the BDBI members were allowed to use the corresponding UNESCO logo from then on. “The craft of bookbinding has an important function for cultural heritage and the culture of remembrance”, it says in the current Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. And further: “Despite digitalisation, the craft of bookbinding has not lost its vitality. It contributes in particular to the preservation of old books and archival materials. Interested laypeople have the opportunity to attend courses at adult education centres or in private workshops and thus learn the basics of bookbinding.”

UNESCO Cultural Heritage, and now?

When asked what this award means to her personally, Elke Schnee says: “Of course it’s nice to know: It’s a profession that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s great, it has such a charm that many people think it’s good. But apart from that, for me it’s more like: OK, we’ve already come this far, we’re already so few that we get species protection.“

Elke Schnee was pleased, however, because at the same time as the craft of bookbinding, German sign language also made it onto the German UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

To all those who are also thinking about applying, she recommends: “Just do it! You can only win.” It is important to keep an eye on the deadlines, to get help and more people on board, and to proceed in a parallel and structured manner. The checklist (German) on the German UNESCO website would help.

Bookbinding soon to be a World Cultural Heritage?

Once a year, the Intergovernmental Committee for UNESCO inscribes new Intangible Cultural forms and good practice examples of the preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on the international UNESCO lists. So far, Germany has been involved with five entries. The following have been inscribed:

  • idea and practice of organising shared interests in cooperatives,
  • blue printing,
  • craft techniques and customary practices of cathedral workshops, or Bauhütten,
  • falconry,
  • organ craftsmanship and organ music.

And perhaps one day the craft of bookbinding will also find its way into this international list, especially since bookbinding exists in almost every country in the world. This will not prevent the shrinking of this profession in times of digitalisation, but at least it will create good conditions to make people aware that it is worth protecting and preserving.

And Elke Schnee?

She is thinking about a book about the craft of bookbinding, so that the centuries-old knowledge about books will really not get lost. Abolishing books and the craft of bookbinding is out of the question for her: “If people only work digitally, they will have to go to occupational therapy later on, where they will learn basket weaving and bookbinding. Simply to keep them healthy.”

And a little later: “It fills me with happiness when I see my work in the evening after a day in the workshop. I had such a day yesterday. It felt so good to see what I had done – I picked up the book again and thought: that was a good day.”

This text has been translated from German.

This might also interest you:

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. She can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Xing.
Portrait: Claudia Sittner©

Photos: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied

The post Behind the Scenes: UNESCO Declares Bookbinding as Intangible Cultural Heritage first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Happy Birthday, MediaTalk! Our Must-read List From 11 Years of Blogging

The categories in our birthday article range from factual such as Open Science or Social Web to the most curious/weirdest contributions, the (still!) most requested added-value blogposts, a few ZBW milestones and MediaTalk Magic Moments. Travel back through time with us and be amazed at which posts are more relevant today than ever.

Please note: Until 2017, mainly German-language blogposts appeared on ZBW MediaTalk. That’s why this post contains many weblinks to purely German articles. We have marked them with “(German)”. If you are particularly interested in a translation of an older blogpost, please let us know (team@zbw-mediatalk.eu). Maybe it’s worth updating it in that case, too?!

MediaTalk-Magic-Moments

Blog birth: Blog birth: Back then, on 22 February 2011, on a presumably grey February morning in Hamburg, the WordPress blog was launched with two contributions: World Wide Science – How Scientists Work in the Internet (2011, German) and the inaugural lecture of ZBW Director Klaus Tochtermann: “Future Internet – Opportunities and Risks for the Media Industry” – mit Audio (2011, German). Parallel to the blog, the Facebook account and the Twitter account existed from the beginning. In the beginning, however, MediaTalk looked a bit different

MediaTalk 14.05.2016

In 2016, ZBW MediaTalk editor Birgit Fingerle published the trends for the coming year for the first time: 7 Trends That Will be on the Agenda in 2016 (2016, German). Since then, this column has been one of the most popular contributions on ZBW MediaTalk every year. Do you already know the trends for 2022? Special goody: In an insider’s look behind the scenes, Birgit revealed 2016 in a three-part blog post series how to (1) find and recognise trend; (2) organise trends and (3) turn trends into innovations (all 2016, German). Must Read!

MediaTalk goes international! From 2017 onwards, blogposts on MediaTalk are also be published in English. First English blogpost in this context: GO-FAIR: A Member States-Up strategy for the EOSC implementation. Accompanying this, the team started the weekly English newsletter, which briefly addresses current developments, presents interesting studies and reports and announces some relevant dates.

ZBW MediaTalk event calendar: In January 2017, the first blog post with event tips for the coming year (German) was published and was so well received that it became an annual MediaTalk institution. In May 2019, we launched our events calendar with an ever-growing number of interesting events for digital infrastructure workers and Open Science enthusiasts. By the way, have you already checked out which events you shouldn’t miss in 2022?

Open Science – all in

In 2012, the Leibniz Research Network Science 2.0 was launched on the initiative of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (German).

In 2014, we announced the first Science 2.0 Conference by the Leibniz Research Network Science 2.0. This year, the 9th Open Science Conference, as it is called now, will take place from 8-10 March. By the way, you can still register for it In 2015, the conference was joined by the Barcamp Science 2.0. This year’s Barcamp Open Science will take place on 7 March.

What is it like to live Open Science consistently? We asked Christian Heise about his experiences and insights when writing his open PhD thesis (2017).

Generation R: Forming Open Scientists and Shaping Science Systems (2018). The aim of Generation R (R = Researcher) is to help researchers take advantage of the changes towards Open Science and to shape the future of the new Open Science systems and tools.

Did you know? Open Access preprints are cited and shared more often (2019).

How can Open Peer Review be implemented? Where else could Open Peer Review be applied and how could it be fostered in the future? Tony Ross-Hellauer, one of the authors of the “Guidelines for Open Peer Review Implementation“(2019), talked to us about the core elements of Open Peer Review and his recommendations.

Research Data Management: Toolbox for Successful Institutional Services (2019). The BMBF-funded project FDMentor developed guidelines and solutions for institutional research data management.

A classic in the field of Open Science: How can new indicators be found that make sense of Open Science and Open Innovation (2019)? Established indicators for research and innovation processes have so far inadequately captured Open Science and Open Innovation. As a result, their opportunities and risks often remain in the fog. A discussion paper therefore made proposals for the expansion of existing indicators and the development of new ones. Still worth reading!

Wikidata and Open Science: A Model for Open Data Work (2021)?

Third-party Materials in Open Access Monographs: How Far-reaching is the Creative Commons Licence Really (2021)?

Tracking Science (2022): A modern saying goes: If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product. But how can libraries help to avoid tracking in science and thus protect the data of researchers and, in an idealistic sense, scientific freedom? In this interview, Felix Reda showed starting points and pitfalls.

The Weirdest Articles

The library, your online personal trainer (2015, German) ? You have probably never asked yourself this question, even though it no longer seems so far-fetched during a worldwide pandemic. Background: Personal training has been around for a long time – by 2015, some enterprising trainers had discovered it for themselves online. Whether it’s about losing weight or getting fitter, online personal training is supposed to help people achieve their goals. A model for libraries?

“Matchmaking” as a field of activity? Libraries and the Tinderisation (2015, German). Background: Apps like Tinder show how contact seekers can be brought together quickly. Even outside the dating world, providers use the principle for themselves and simply bring together people with matching interests, for example so that they can study together. Should libraries respond to the desire for “quick contacts”?

As a robot in the USA: A somewhat different conference participation (2016, German): How can you attend an on-site conference if you don’t want to travel long distances and incur large costs? Telepresence robots make it possible.

How do Predatory Journals work and how does it work to place a publication here? A group of researchers from the ZBW tested this on their own and reported on their experiences: self-experiment in fake science: The tricks of the predatory journals (2018).

Social Web

Photos squared: Libraries on Instagram (2015, German). Apart from the fact that photos have been joined by a lot of video content on Instagram over the years, this blog post has lost none of its relevance, as Ned Potter recently wrote: Instagram is the most used social media platform, and this is of great importance for libraries (2022).

More topical than ever: Digital Detox – mobile phone fasting by app, at camp or in the library? (2015, German). Background: Sometimes the noise becomes too much. Notifications from social networks, round-the-clock availability; the increasing digitalisation of our lives also has its downsides. Distraction-free, concentrated work is becoming a scarce commodity for many. Digital “withdrawal” promised a remedy – and possibly built on a core competence of libraries.

Emojis have become an integral part of communication for many mobile users. The widespread use of messaging apps also made their use in customer contact possible. Resourceful providers showed how emojis have become part of customer service (2017, German).

Benefit from Twitter as a Learning Tool: Learning in Social Networks (2017). The social network Twitter can be used for a wide variety of purposes – including as an educational platform. We presented a selection of possible approaches for learning with Twitter.

Scientific Tweets: Why less is more and when a tweet is perceived as scientific (2021).

Podcasts have moved us more often: Tips for Open Science Podcasts (2021); Podcasts and Libraries: Let’s Listen (2015, German) and Podcasts: Potential for Science and Continuing Education (2018). In 2020, the ZBW itself launched an Open Science podcast: The Future is Open Science (German). Missing a podcast? Send us an email to team@zbw-mediatalk.eu.

Brave New Library World

Libraries in the Shareconomy: Central Player or Outsider (2014, German)? Booksharing, carsharing, carpooling centres, co-housing centres, clothes swapping circles, toy swapping circles or the sharing of surplus food: the shareconomy seems to be booming. But why are libraries rarely mentioned in this context? And what role could the “sharing” trend play for them?

Visualisations Revolutionise Research: hitchhiking through literature (2015, German). Visualisations can significantly accelerate the entry into new knowledge domains. Automation options have since simplified their creation. Librarians can play an important role in this!

Robots can already solve individual tasks very well. There are reports of new robot developments every day. What can robots do today and is it conceivable that they will make even greater inroads into the “library” world of work? Robots: Our new colleagues (2016, German)?

Gamification in Libraries (2016, German)? The permeation of various areas of life with game elements has been observed for years and will probably continue to increase in the working world. What potential does this development offer for academic libraries? In 2022, there are already a few well-functioning concepts for research data in this respect: Horror Research Data Management: 4 Best Practice Examples for Successful Gamifications (2022).

Since 2014, library-related topics have been discussed monthly on Twitter under the hashtag #BIBchatDE. The @bibchatde team explained what it was all about: Bibchat – the Twitter Chat on Libraries (2017).

How the Library Becomes a Hub for Open Innovation and Science (2018). Merging Open Science and Open Innovation more strongly and thus setting new impulses was the focus of the Initiative for Open Science and Innovation of the Stifterverband (a donor´s association for the German science). A discussion paper published as a result contained initial recommendations for action. It considered the establishment of Open Innovation Hubs and the role of libraries.

What is the most efficient way to improve library services? And how can we make our users happiest? User experience in libraries is a multifaceted topic on which we started a whole series of contributions in 2020. Starting with the best methods and tools for beginners (2020), it has since become an international UX interview series with many best practices and interview guests from Estonia, Sweden, France and the Netherlands, for example.

Wikimedia 2030: With Libraries to the World’s Largest Knowledge Infrastructure (2020). The international Wikimedia movement, known primarily for Wikipedia, has set out for the year 2030 and defined strategies, values and goals. Nicole Ebber and Holger Plickert from Wikimedia Germany answered some questions about the transformation, how Wikimedia wants to become the largest knowledge infrastructure in the world and what connections they see with libraries.

Corona: The impact of the pandemic was a gigantic challenge for libraries, institutes and infrastructure facilities all over the world. We asked eight institutions of the international EconBiz Partner Network about “Digitisation in Libraries: To What Extent has Corona Given a Boost?” (2021). For those in a hurry, we have summarised our key learnings in this article: “5 Lessons from the Corona Crisis for the New Normal” (2021). We also asked ourselves how libraries should be after Corona: hybrid and participatory (2021)?

If you are not yet active on social media: Why Libraries Have to be Permanently Active on Social Media! 7 “Glorious” Reasons – 2021 Update (2021).

The Most Popular How-tos and Value-added Articles

How Deutsche Bahn Landed on Twitter: Ten Tips for Newcomers to the Social Web (2011, German). Background: This article was about the practical approaches and concrete procedures of the company, which other Twitter newcomers can also learn from. Basically, it’s always about the same question: How can I get closer to the customers with the service? In the article, we were interested in the process from decision to implementation, which in this case took around six months. Still exciting! And as we all know today, Deutsche Bahn’s Twitter channel is a success story with over 133,000 followers. And who of you hasn’t contacted Deutsche Bahn directly via Twitter – usually in an angry moment?

Guide to Libraries and Content Marketing: Who do we actually write stuff for on the web? (2013, German). Many institutions that are active on Facebook, Twitter or other networks have long since answered the question about their target group. This usually goes hand in hand with the definition of the goal: “What do we actually want to achieve with this?” is at the top – followed by “And who actually?“.

A pressing problem is waiting to be solved or ideas for the next big innovation project are becoming scarce? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to jump-start creativity with the push of a button? We took a look at apps that promise to do just that: Creativity Apps – Ideas at the Push of a Button (2015, German).

How do I organise a hackathon in a library (2015, German)? At the beginning of September 2014, a hackathon took place for the first time at the ZBW in the context of digital long-term archiving. What hurdles must be overcome in order to hold a successful hackathon in one’s own library?

10 Free Book Mockups for Photoshop (2015, German) – PSD mockups are clean, simple – and above all chic. Basically, they are predefined images on which certain elements can be replaced with the click of a mouse. Our selection of book mockups is perfect for announcing readings, introducing new acquisitions or reviewing books.

Digital Collaboration: Tips for Working Together Across Five Time Zones (2018). Digital collaboration across national borders benefits experts who share their specialised knowledge, and thus also the libraries in which they work.

Open Educational Resources: Guidelines & Tutorials – How to Create OER and OER in practice: How to promote an open textbook (both 2018). And a little later, our colleagues from the user services created an open educational resource themselves (2022).

Tool Collections: Choose the Right Tools for Digital Collaboration and Learning (2020). Which tools are suitable and meet my requirements? How can I find an alternative if I am not allowed to use a particular provider for data protection reasons? We presented some helpful collections of tools.

Previously, we had already dealt intensively with libraries and online events: (1) Planning tools for a successful event, (2) Running successful conferences and meetings and (3) How workshops encourage ideation and collaboration (all 2020).

Agile Working: Promoting Innovation and Open Science with Scrum or with Kanban (2020/2021).

Rethinking Events Digitally: ZBW Guide for Successful Online Events (2021): For this article, various ZBW event experts sat down together, discussed their most important learnings and combined their concentrated tips for successful digital events in this comprehensive collection.

ZBW Milestones

In 2011, BibCharts.eu was launched to give visibility to libraries that are active on social media. Why is this important? Platform presences allow libraries better accessibility, new distribution channels and intelligent marketing. Libraries on the Social Web: ZBW launches BibCharts.eu (2011, German). Anyone who is still missing from the list is welcome to contact us: info@bibcharts.eu.

In March 2013, we reported 50,000 full texts on the ZBW’s own Open Access server, EconStor (2013, German). The background: With EconStor, the ZBW has been offering a publication infrastructure for economic publications since 2006. All papers are offered digitally in Open Access and are also actively placed in various databases and search engines (e.g. RePEc, WorldCat or Google Scholar).

What started in 2015 as a small North German competition for pupils has since become an international success. We have followed the project “YES! Young Economic Summit” on the blog from the very beginning: YES! they can: Inspiring students for information literacy (2015, German). Background: How tomorrow’s decision-makers solve today’s problems – and learn something about information literacy, responsibility and economic thinking along the way. The ZBW reaches new users and teaches information literacy to students through the YES! competition.

“GO FAIR” first appeared on MediaTalk in 2017 and was a proposal for the practical implementation of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) through a federated approach that makes the most of existing initiatives and infrastructures in the participating member states. The project was funded until 2021. There were various events and internationally distributed GO FAIR offices, one of them in the ZBW.

Implementing Open Science: Research Data Projects at the ZBW (2017). Research data is a central topic in Open Science. In a series of research data projects, the ZBW dealt with their implementation. This article provides an overview of the activities at various levels.

How can libraries support researchers in expanding their research skills and knowledge in Open Science? The ZBW offers an Academic Career Kit. It covers the three areas of publishing, metrics and networking, and research data management. The three toolkits are available as reusable open educational resources (OER). The Academic Career Kit was introduced in this blog post: Open Educational Resources: How the EconBiz Academic Career Kit Trains Open Science Skills (2019).

FOLIO is an innovative Open Source library management system. In 2020, it has reached a maturity that makes a system change possible for more and more libraries. Felix Hemme reported on the organisation of the FOLIO project and the experiences of the ZBW in introducing it in productive operation: FOLIO: Open Source on its Way Into Everyday Library Life (2020).

In 2021, the ZBW launched the Open Economics Guide (OEG, German) to help economists get started with Open Science and to support their work with Open Science. The OEG was presented at MediaTalk in this article (2021).

But now we would like to say “thank you” for 11 years together:

  • the MediaTalk readers here on the blog,
  • our our newsletter subscribers,
  • the followers on Twitter and Facebook
  • and of course our international community of authors, from the content creators at the ZBW itself to our authors on the other side of the world!

We look forward to the next 11 years and are excited to see where the journey will take us in terms of Open Science, innovation and digital infrastructure. And if anyone has an article idea, please send an email to team@zbw-mediatalk.eu.

The post Happy Birthday, MediaTalk! Our Must-read List From 11 Years of Blogging 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.

Publishing Behaviour in Economics: Coronavirus Pandemic Turns out to Be a Temporary Shock

by Olaf Siegert

COVID-19 has not only had an important influence on daily life, but also on our professional work as researchers and service providers. Trends towards increasing digitisation of the entire research process, in particular through remote conferences and meetings, have changed the dynamics of how research teams interact. Changes in publishing models were also driven by the unique shock of the pandemic to the scientific system. But are there differences regarding changes in publication behaviour in different research disciplines, e.g. in Economics and Business Studies?

Based on these questions the ZBW organised a virtual workshop to highlight recent studies that address and inves-tigate these changes in publication behaviour in response to COVID-19. So, in September 2021 more than 50 participants came together to engage in a productive exchange of ideas.

The seven presentations of the workshop were grouped in two thematic sessions followed by an open discussion with all attendees. The first session focused on general trends in the publishing behaviour of researchers in Economics and Business Studies. The second session was mainly con-cerned with gender disparities in publication behaviour, i.e. the differences in the productivity of women and men during the corona crisis and how these relate to differences in pressures experi-enced by women and men (e.g. childcare during lockdown). The effects of COVID-19 on the role of Social Media and Peer Review in scholarly publishing and its overall impact on the academic reputa-tion system were discussed with all workshop participants at the end of the meeting.

General trends in publishing behaviour during the corona crisis

The first session started with a presentation by Klaus Wohlrabe (ifo Institute Munich) on „The in-fluence of Covid19 on the publication behaviour in economics – Bibliometric evidence from five working paper series (PDF). In his paper Wohlrabe analyses, how the pandemic influenced the publication behav-iour in the area of Economics. He considered articles published in five working paper series (NBER, CEPR, IZA, CESifo and MPRA) to answer questions like: „In what areas of economics were COVID-19-related studies published?“ or „Do COVID-19 papers have been downloaded more often com-pared to other economics papers?“.

The second presenter was Nicholas Fraser (ZBW) with a presentation of his paper „Publishing of working papers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a survey of economics researchers“. He compared repositories from different disciplines (e.g. SSRN, RePEc, BioRxiv and medRxiv) to analyse the changes in publication behaviour, e.g. regarding publication output.

After that Emilia Di Lorenzo (University of Naples Federico II, Italy), Gabriella Piscopo (University of Naples Federico II, Italy) and Marilena Sibillo (University of Salerno, Italy) talked about their paper „Economics and Business Studies during the pandemic and beyond: new research trends“ (PDF). They focused on the developments of research in the field of insurance sciences, based on a bibliometric analysis of the Web of Science database.

The last presenter in the first session, Kristin Biesenbender (ZBW) showcased first results from her PhD study „Publication behaviour of German economists in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic“ based on EconBiz data. The possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on publication formats, internationalisation, co-authorship and Open Access were presented. The focus was on whether it makes a difference whether a researcher is at the beginning of her : his scientific career or already established.

Gender disparities in publication behaviour during the pandemic

The first presentation in the second half of the workshop came from four researchers from the University of Cambridge, namely Noriko Amano-Patiño, Elisa Faraglia, Chryssi Giannitsarou and Zeina Hasna on “The Unequal Effects of Covid-19 on Economists’ Research Productivity”. They used data mainly from the NBER and CEPR working paper series to explore the patterns of working paper publica-tions. Among other things, they found that gender differences are particularly stark at the mid-career level.

The second presenter was Tatyana Deryugina (University of Illinois, USA) on “Gender Disparities and Covid-19”. She discovered in her survey of academics across various disciplines that female and male academics experienced a substantial increase in time spent on childcare and housework and that the increase was even larger for women. This also led to a reduction of time available for research when compared to men and to women without children.

Illustration from the Workshop “The Impact of Covid-19”, Detail, Helge Windisch

Simone Chinetti from the University of Salerno (Italy) showcased his recent paper „Academic productivity and pandemic – evidence from female economists during the COVID-19 crisis“. He investigated how the current pandemic affects the productivity of female economists, including the sudden increase in domestic work and childcare to be done by women due to school closures and social distanc-ing measures. His data sample came from SSRN papers published between January and November 2020. He found a decline regarding the number of uploaded papers from female economists com-pared to their male counterparts.

Discussion on the change of publishing behaviour in times of a pandemic

The third session of the workshop was an open discussion among participants chaired by Isabella Peters (ZBW). They discussed the following topics:

  • Are research results being shared more intensively via Social Media (e.g. Twitter) or via other online media (e.g. in blogs, news articles)?
  • What is the mode and role of Peer Review when publishing in a pandemic? Are there expe-riences with other formats of Peer Review (e.g. Rapid Reviews, Open Peer Reviews, Open Review Reports)?
  • How has the pandemic affected the scientific reputation system in Economics and Business Studies? What are positions and approaches from learned societies, universities or re-search funders?

To sum up, the workshop resulted in the following four core conclusions:

  1. COVID-19 has meanwhile led to a sharp increase in publication activity, which can be seen above all in the number of preprints published (mostly called “working papers” in Econom-ics). However, this was apparently a temporary effect, which was especially noticeable in spring / summer 2020 and has now subsided.
  2. The pandemic itself was a very strong topic in preprints in economics – around 15% of all publications that have been published since the beginning of the corona crisis also deal with it. Here, too, the effect was stronger in 2020 and is now slowly decreasing again. COVID-19-related papers were also used more, i.e. downloaded and cited.
  3. In relation to gender, a stronger publication activity was temporarily observed among men when compared to women. The slump among women was particularly evident in mothers of young children, who were particularly affected by lockdown and home schooling. Here, too, the effect now seems to be decreasing.
  4. With regard to the reputation system in Economics, COVID-19 does not seem to have any major effects. Above all, the pandemic has positively influenced the publication behaviour in the area of preprints – the importance of journal rankings and the submission behaviour in journals have changed little or not at all.

The detailed workshop programme including abstracts is available here.

This might also interest you:

Author: Olaf Siegert
Olaf Siegert is head of the Publication Services department and Open Access Representative of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. He is involved with open access as part of his work at the ZBW and is also active for the Leibniz Association, where he represents the Leibniz Open Access working group in external committees. He is involved in the Alliance of Science Organisations in the working group Scientific Publication System and at Science Europe for the Leibniz Association.

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Research Data Management: We Need to Pick Up the Pace

by Prof. Udo Kragl, Prof. Anne Lauber-Rönsberg, Prof. Klaus Tochtermann, Dr Oda Cordes and Dr Anna Maria Höfler

On the initiative of the North German Conference of Science Ministers (NWMK), the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern organised in cooperation with the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics the workshop “Shaping Research Data Management at North German Universities and Research Institutions Together” (German) on 15 October 2021. Three top-class panels and 200 virtually connected participants discussed strategic plans for campus-wide research data management at universities, future library services and legal aspects.

This article summarises the main results and is intended to further promote the processes and developments that have been initiated.

Research data is generated on a large scale worldwide, whereby the type and volume of data varies greatly depending on the discipline. The type of storage and, above all, the form of publication determine how and to what extent the data become known and usable within the scientific community, but also by the general public. In Germany, the foundations for comprehensive national research data management are being laid at federal and state level with the funding of consortia in various subject areas.

Strategic plans for campus-wide research data management at universities

In the panel on strategic plans for campus-wide research data management at universities, the existing range in dealing with research data was shown against the background that research data management is playing an increasingly important role in the acquisition of third-party funding. This spectrum ranges from “we don’t do that” to a self-image in dealing with research data. The associated orientation towards the FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) is embedded at national and international level in a more general discussion on the use of scientific results under the concept of Open Science: to treat data “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. For the paradigm shift required for this in the individual disciplines, there are a number of questions and prerequisites that need to be clarified, as the discussion in the panel showed. In the academic institutions, this process has been underway for some time in some places, while in others it is still in its infancy. There are also approaches to a holistic approach. In order to make greater progress in this area, the participants of the panel and the participants at home came up with the following recommendations for all stakeholders in the science system.

  1. Research data management must be included in the curriculum of higher education and thus in the study and examination regulations, so that the awareness of young scientists is raised at an early stage.
  2. Research data management requires the staffing of experts in research data management, both for university education and for the support of scientists at universities.
  3. Research data management requires cooperation between central institutions across universities in the interest of better coordination, including non-university research institutions. The importance of intensive cooperation between institutions with the same orientation at the same location, but also across different locations, was emphasised. In this way, resources can be used effectively and, above all, a contribution can be made to the development of common standards.

Future services offered by university libraries

During the panel on future services offered by university libraries, it was discussed which services university libraries could develop for research data management. These could include consultation formats for finding, citing and documenting research data, dealing with the FAIR principles, offers such as the allocation of persistent identifiers for research data or the role of university libraries in consortia of the National Research Data Infrastructure Germany (NFDI). In the discussion, procedures for the introduction of offers to support research data management by university libraries were exchanged in order to derive the following recommendations for all stakeholders in the science system:

  1. Training courses should be developed and offered that enable certified further training for library staff in the field of research data management. Training is also needed for researchers, for example, in the design of data management plans, the application of FAIR principles or persistent identifiers.
  2. The range of tasks of librarians must be expanded to include new services and advice on research data management. Against the backdrop of the efficient use of resources, the services and advice offered by the university libraries should be provided jointly in a complementary and networked manner.
  3. Cost-intensive and complex infrastructures, such as for the digital long-term archiving of research data, should be established and operated cooperatively, networked and across the borders of federal states.

Legal aspects of research data management

This panel showed that, in view of the complexity of the legal framework, researchers should be relieved as much as possible of the legal assessment of issues related to research data management. This can be achieved by creating legal support and advice services, such as general training and information services, which, however, cannot replace a legal examination of the individual case. Therefore, on the other hand, there should also be the possibility of qualified and comprehensive legal advice in complex cases.

Many universities, university libraries and non-university research institutions have already established advisory services on research data management. However, there is a need for clear regulation on the extent to which these should also provide legal advice. This goes hand in hand with the question of quality-assured training and further education offers and the creation of corresponding career paths and job profiles for the staff working there. In addition, sufficient legal resources should be available at universities and non-university research institutions to provide qualified and comprehensive legal advice. Furthermore, it was emphasised how important the exchange between the staff of advisory institutions on research data management and the legal offices and data protection officers of the universities and non-university research institutions is.

With regard to specific legal issues in the respective discipline, reference was made to the responsibility of the corresponding NFDI consortia. The panel discussion showed that with regard to (co-)decision-making powers on the handling of research data, arrangements and agreements made in advance or the definition of general framework specifications of the research institutions are particularly useful. Since research data management raises a large number of still unresolved legal issues, research funding organisations should take into account the time and effort required to clarify legal issues in funding lines for project proposals.

Recommendations for a future-oriented approach to research data

In summary, the following core statements can be derived from the panels, which apply as a mandate to all participants in the science system:

  • Sustainable structures – first and foremost sustainable, financial staffing – are needed to establish research data management in all subject cultures in the long term.
  • Measures for a paradigm shift – both in the mindset of (early career) researchers and among infrastructure service providers – must be expanded and promoted accordingly.
  • Both the competences at the level of the German federal states and nationally distributed competences and responsibilities must be made visible.

Ultimately, the introduction of research data management is both a task and an opportunity to make more sustainable use of the research results obtained and, above all, to be able to draw more far-reaching conclusions. With the workshop, the northern German states – according to Bettina Martin, Minister for Education, Science and Culture in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in her welcoming address – have set an active sign of scientific cooperation across borders. This will be continued to build upon, because there was broad consensus among the discussants about the topicality and necessity of dealing with this issue on an ongoing basis and, above all, of creating sustainable, viable structures with the involvement of science policy in order to establish effective research data management for researchers.

This text has been translated from German.

This might also interest you:

This text has been translated from German.

Authors:

Prof. Udo Kragl is currently Prorector for Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Rostock. His responsibilities there include research data and Open Science. He is chairman of the German Catalysis Society (GeCatS) and a DFG review board member for Technical Chemistry, where these topics are also currently being discussed intensively. He holds the chair of Technical Chemistry and is head of division at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis, Rostock.
Portraet: ITMZ University of Rostock©

Prof. Anne Lauber-Rönsberg is Professor of Civil Law, Intellectual Property Law, Media and Data Protection Law at TU Dresden. She led the BMBF-funded project “DataJus” on the legal framework of research data management and published a handbook on the subject with colleagues in 2021.
Portraet: Anne Lauber-Rönsberg©, photographer: J. Gilch

Prof. Klaus Tochtermann ist Direktor der ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft. Seit vielen Jahren engagiert er sich auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene für Open Science. Er ist Mitglied im Vorstand der EOSC Association (European Open Science Cloud).
Portraet: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied

Dr jur. Oda Cordes is a policy officer for research and research funding at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Portraet, photographer: Anne Jüngling©

Dr Anna Maria Höfler works as a Science Policy Coordinator at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics as part of the Open Science research group. She is mainly concerned with the topics of research data and Open Science.
Portraet, photographer: Rupert Pessl©

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Open Access Days 2021: Highlights and Most Interesting Topics

by Juliane Finger, Jochen Schirrwagen, Kristin Biesenbender, Ralf Flohr, Jens Lazarus, Claudia Sittner and Julia Wermelinger

Completely online again, the Open Access Days (German) took place from 27-29 September 2021. In ten sessions, five workshops, two keynotes and during a “Poster & Pitches” session, around 400 participants from Germany, Austria and Switzerland discussed online how the OA landscape has changed over the past year, how non-commercial publication initiatives and society in general can participate, and how to realise that less privileged countries also actively participate in the global academic discourse.

The formats of the Open Access Days organised by the open-access.network were as diverse as the topics, but in 2021 they were much more experienced on the digital event stage: On Zoom, miro and in gather.town there were speed-dating, coffee talk, round table discussions, Q&A sessions, a digital games evening, and the great relaunch party for the new open-access.network website (formerly Open-Access.net).

The Open Access Days see themselves as a central platform for the German-speaking Open Access and Open Science community. They are aimed at all those who would like to explore the diverse facets of scholarly publishing, such as employees of libraries and other institutions of the academic infrastructure and of publishing houses, as well as scientists and members of academic administrations.

We have asks some Open Access enthusiasts to recall their highlights, trends and the most interesting topics of the Open Access Days 2021 from their point of view.

Open Access Funding Models
Bxy Juliane Finger

Open Access for monographs is a topic which, in comparison to Open Access for journals, has only recently begun to attract attention. Now an entire session at the Open Access Days was dedicated to the issue of the financing of Open Access monographs. Two presentations explored the topic from very different perspectives.

Tobias Steiner introduced the project Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM). German: DOI COPIM is an international joint project which develops, in several work packages, an entire “ecosystem” for non-commercial publication initiatives for Open Access monographs. The project still has eighteen months to run and several points, such as the question of governance, still need to be clarified.

In the second presentation, Eloísa Deola Schennerlein reported on her practical experiences of the publication funds for Open Access monographs (German) at SLUB Dresden. German: DOI SLUB advocates more transparency on the part of the publishing houses. It only supports Open Access monographs if the publishing houses are willing to disclose their cost structures.

I found it positive that these funding requirements were widely accepted by the authors concerned. SLUB too is still in a pilot phase with its support fund. For all those who are involved with the funding of Open Access monographs, it will be interesting to see how the many open questions discussed in the session, will be solved.

  • Steiner, Tobias. (2021, September 28). Scaling small for a charitable scholar-led OA eco-system for book publications. Open Access Days 2021 (OATage21), online. Zenodo (German).
  • Deola Schennerlein, Eloísa. (2021, September 28). Funding of OA monographs – experiences at the SLUB Dresden. Zenodo (German).

Open Access as a Publication Model: Influencing Factors
and Interactions
By Jochen Schirrwagen

In the session on “Publication evaluations around Open Access” (German, three bibliometric studies from quantitative science research projects were presented, which, when considered together, once again make clear how complex structural, economic and science policy factors and interactions are on publication behaviour and on the impact of scientific publications.

Against the background of the contract cancellations with Elsevier in the DEAL project in Germany, Nicholas Fraser presented the effects of restricted access to Elsevier journals on the publishing and citation behaviour of authors in his contribution. German: DOI It was found that fewer authors have published in Elsevier journals since then, but that access to the publications has presumably been realised via shadow libraries as a substitute.

In her contribution, Fakhri Momeni presented the extent to which limitations inherent in common publication models (gold OA, hybrid, closed) have an influence on the scientific success of authors worldwide. German: DOI In addition to subject- and gender-specific factors, the economic situation also played a role. For example, authors from countries with low income levels are enabled to publish in gold Open Access journals by publishers such as Springer Nature granting so-called waiver policies. However, the study showed that this measure alone cannot adequately solve the challenge of equal publication conditions for all authors.

The fact that the implementation of the Open Access transformation at universities in Germany is taking place to varying degrees was the subject of the third contribution by Nils Taubert. Within the framework of the OAUNI project, research is being conducted here into corresponding factors and patterns that should explain the differences in Open Access profiles at universities in Germany.

Standards for Diamond Open Access Journals
By Kristin Biesenbender

“Collaboratively we can financially sustain and build capacity for a healthier and thriving, diverse, connected, scholar-led publishing ecosystem”, were the closing words spoken by Vanessa Proudman during her presentation at the Open Access Days 2021. German: DOI The topic was how to make Diamond Open Access journals more resilient and fit for the future. Staffing and financial capacities need to be developed for this to occur. It is essential that joint services or infrastructures are developed that benefit many. Standards are also required, in order to raise the visibility and quality of Diamond Open Access journals.

In their presentation (German) Isabella Meinecke and Tim Boxhammer declare that formal quality standards should be maintained, i.e. information on the concept of the journal, licence requirements or also persistent identifiers should be provided. German: DOI Digital standards such as an HTML display of articles, metrics or the display of quotations are important. Diamond Open Access journals should also meet Open Science standards. These include giving details of submission and publication data, the availability of research data and the disclosure of conflicts of interest or funding. Other standards include a modern article template, indexing and long-term archiving.

Standards are not an end in themselves, however, but have practical benefits, Xenia van Edig emphasises in her presentation. German: DOI It is important to support good and open scholarship, to create advantages for dissemination and re-use as well as simplifications for authors. Publishers and editors are therefore requested to take formal quality standards into consideration and implement them for Diamond Open Access journals.

Creative Commons Licences: German-language FAQs Online
By Ralf Flohr

The workshop carried out by Christoph Bruch (Helmholtz Association) and Fabian Rack (FIZ Karlsruhe) presented and discussed the newly designed website (German) of the German-language FAQs on Creative Commons licences. FAQs on CC licences previously only existed in English and French. The German-language FAQs are not merely a translation, however, because they also consider special issues adapted to the German legal system. The FAQs were compiled by members of the German Creative Commons group. The first version went online in June 2021 with ca. 130 questions and answers. The FAQs are a dynamic format which can be expanded and continually developed in the future.

The German FAQs thereby fulfil an important gap, because although the CC licences are widely used when publishing in Open Access, authors are not always sufficiently informed about the way they function..

The workshop discussion explored the most varied aspects of CC licences – such as questions on the existence of several different licence types in a text, to the relationship of quotation law and CC licence as well as the processing and sharing of chapters of a CC-licenced book. The group of participants also made suggestions about the further development of the format of the FAQs, e.g. with fact sheets in which the different perspectives of researchers and editors are taken into consideration.

Community-specific Open Access services: Blogs and OLECON
By Jens Lazarus

The world of academic publications is dominated by publishing houses. For a long time, specialist journals were closed events; for the annual subscription costs, one could also buy a middle-class car in individual cases. The massive transformation to Open Access is changing the situation. Publishing houses have adjusted their business models; however their services during the publication process seem to be indispensable. I was interested to explore alternative projects on publisher-independent services. In the session “Community-specific OA services” at the Open Access Days 2021, two examples showed that the freedom gained through scholar-led publication opens up new possibilities and new ideas for application.

For me the approach of quality-assured multi-author blogs (QMABs) in particular was new. During the session, two alternative routes to publication from the otherwise not particularly OA-savvy field of law were presented: the Verfassungsblog (a constitutional blog – a journalistic and academic forum of debate on topical events and developments in constitutional law and politics in Germany, the emerging common European constitutional space and beyond) and the Völkerrechtsblog (an international law and legal thought blog – an academic blog on all matters of international public law and international legal thought ) Both blogs address the specialist community and promote scientific discourse away from the usual publication paths. The quality assurance of the articles is central for their acceptance – this is realised via the peer review procedure. The open accessibility and format enable an important dissemination beyond academia, for example into the political sphere. The wide coverage and the usage figures prove the success of the QMABs.

Closer to the familiar publication format is the project presented by Juliane Finger (ZBW). German: DOI, which is being realised within the framework of the ZBW’s special funding programme “Novel paths of digital literature provision”: Open Library Economics (OLECON) is a publisher-independent platform for Open Access journals in business and economics. OLECON is not limited to the technical framework that includes hosting in partnership with TIB Hannover; it also incorporates consulting services and the funding to convert journals to a publication model without publication fees (Diamant Open Access), thereby removing a major obstacle to Open Access publishing in the economic sciences. Financing will be organised via a consortium of different libraries in the medium term. This concept creates an alternative to commercial publishing houses for economic sciences journals and enables a direct science-driven approach.

Community-building in Specialist Repositories: Stakeholders
and Instruments
By Claudia Sittner

The workshop was initiated by Dietmar Kammerer and Kai Matuszkiewicz from the University of Marburg, who are working on Media/Rep/, an Open Access repository for media studies publications. They stress that when Open Access repositories are discussed, technical aspects tend to dominate the conversation, whereas the community idea is forgotten. “Repositories are more than a container,” says Kammerer. In their workshop “Community-building in Specialist Repositories”, they brought this aspect to the fore. Their key question: How can stakeholders be integrated into professional repositories in the course of community building in such a way that they set new impulses?

Media/Rep/ is active on twitter (mostly German) and plans to set up accounts on Facebook and Instagram, to reach students in particular. However they also regard their specialist repository as a tool for researchers, who could work with Media/Rep/’s (meta)data. After an impulse talk by the two on Media/Rep/, all workshop participants worked together on a miro board to identify the stakeholders for community building.

miro Board – Stakeholders for community building – Open-Access-Days©

Leading questions were: What forms of participation could and should specialist repositories offer for the different stakeholders? Who needs to be addressed in this context and how? How can these stakeholders be motivated to take part? As well as the expected groups of people such as researchers, students or postdocs, there were also surprises such as secretariats, conference organisers or even associations, to name just a few examples.

During the discussion, Matthias Fuchs from the portal for the mobility and transportation research FID move (German) emphasised that repositories act above all as service providers and in an advisory function. If more were involved, then this would primarily be a (personnel) capacity issue. Anke Butz of peDOCS, the specialist repository for educational science, pointed out that repositories do not take on the tasks of publishing companies but are responsible for the technical components. Instruments for community-building were then gathered on the second miro board:

miro Board – Instruments of community building, Open-Access-Days©

Subject specialists, personal success stories and curated content collections from OA pioneers were identified here as Open Access ambassadors for the specialist repository communities.

Q&A with Open Access Luminary Peter Suber
By Julia Wermelinger

My personal highlight of the Open Access Days 2021 was the Q&A session with Peter Suber. Peter Suber is a luminary of the Open Access movement: Co-founder of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, author of a fundamental text on OA and, not least, active contributor in the debates surrounding Open Access on social media, for example on Twitter.

With his clear and concise answers to the numerous questions from the OA community, he reminded us of the fundamentals of the Open Access aspirations by emphasising the significance of the so-called green path the secondary publication in public repositories. He was sceptical about the transformation of classic publishing houses and journals, and does not see any change happening as long as large APC sums are flowing. It is desirable to increase the OA volume in publishing. Although it is worth striving for an increase in OA capacity in the publishing industry, deploying Big Deals and Read & Publish contracts as well for example, this should not be achieved at any price.

Publikumsvoting in der Q&A-Session

A audience vote revealed that a majority of those present believe that the aims of the Budapest Initiative can be achieved in the future. The biggest obstacle to OA and participation in it was identified by the audience as the culture and habit within the sciences. Suber said that one could certainly work on this. This transformation is underway, thanks to the tireless dedication of all those involved; not only, but especially, the libraries.

More about the Open Access Days

Further reading for Open Access enthusiasts

The post Open Access Days 2021: Highlights and Most Interesting Topics first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

European Open Science Cloud: small projects, big plans and 1 billion EUR

by Claudia Sittner

Prof. Dr Klaus Tochtermann is Director of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Member of the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (RfII) and board member of the recently established European Open Science Cloud Association (EOSC Association). He was a member of the EOSC’s High Level Expert Group and the EOSC working group for sustainability for many years. He also founded, in 2012, the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science, the international Open Science Conference and the associated Barcamp Open Science.

Recently, he was interviewed by host Dr Doreen Siegfried (ZBW) in the ZBW podcast “The Future is Open Science” on the future of the European Open Science Cloud and the complexity of the landscape for research data. This blog post is a shortened version of the podcast episode “European Open Science Cloud – Internet of FAIR Data and Services” with Klaus Tochtermann. You can listen to the entire episode (35 minutes) here (German).

Why the name European Open Science Cloud never fitted

Something that will surprise many people: “The terminology of the EOSC was never appropriate – even in 2015”, according to Tochtermann. Back then – as the initial ideas for the EOSC were being developed and small projects were commencing – it was neither European, nor Open, nor Science nor a Cloud:

“It isn’t European – because research doesn’t stop at the regional borders of Europe, but instead many research groups are internationally networked. It isn’t open – because even in science there is data that requires protection such as patient data. It isn’t science – because many scientific research projects also use data from economy. And it isn’t cloud – because the point is not to deposit all data centrally in a cloud solution”, explains Klaus Tochtermann. The term was specified by the European Commission at the time and is now established. Among experts, the term “Internet of FAIR Data and Services” (IFDS) is preferred, says Tochtermann.

Preparatory phase 2015 to 2020

The EOSC started in 2015 with the aim “to provide European researchers, innovators, companies and citizens with a federated and open multi-disciplinary environment where they can publish, find and re-use data, tools and services for research, innovation and educational purposes.” (European Commission).

Since then, 320 million EUR have been deployed to fund 50 projects relating to research data management. These have however only shed light on individual aspects of the EOSC. “In fact, we are still a long way from being able to offer EOSC operationally in the scientific system”, says Tochtermann.

The funds were integrated into a research framework programme that only financed smaller projects at a time – this is owing to the way the European Commission functions and how it funds research. That’s why there was never one big EOSC project, but many small individual projects. These examined issues such as: “What would a search engine for research data look like? How can identifiers for research data be managed?”, explains the ZBW director.

Large projects EOSC Secretariat and EOSC Future

Then the EOSC went into the next phase with two large projects: EOSC Secretariat and EOSC Future. Running time: 30 months. Budget: 41 million EUR. Both are intended to bring together all previous projects in the direction of EOSC, i.e. to enable convergence and actually draw up a “System EOSC”. All puzzle parts from earlier small projects are now being put together to form a large EOSC blueprint.

Founding of the EOSC Association

The EOSC Association was founded in 2020. It is a formal institution and a foundation under Belgian law. It is headquartered in Brussels and will consolidate all activities. A board of directors has been appointed to coordinate the activities, made up of the president Karl Luyben and a further eight members, including Klaus Tochtermann.

In February 2021, the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA, PDF) laid down what the EOSC Association should achieve over the next few years. From now on, all EOSC projects must be orientated on these SRIA guidelines.

Initial time plan for the European Open Science Cloud

The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda anticipates various development stages with precisely defined timetables. Basis functionalities are classified as “EOSC Core”, a level that should be implemented by 2023. Here, elements such as search, storage/save or a log-in function will be realised. This will be followed by the launch of “EOSC Exchange”, which deals with more complex functionalities and services for special data analyses of research datasets.

Collaboration between the EOSC Association and the European Commission

On the question of how the European Open Science Cloud Association and the European Commission cooperate with each other, Tochtermann emphasises the good relationship to the Commission. The so called partnership model, which is new for everyone and first needs to be experienced, forms the framework for this. However, sometimes the time windows in which the Commission wants reactions from the EOSC Association are very narrow. “I’m glad we have a very strong president of the EOSC Association, who also has the backbone to ensure that we are not always confronted with such short time windows, where reactions are sometimes simply not possible because the subject matter is too complex. But overall it works well”, Tochtermann sums up.

Financing the EOSC Association: 1 billion EUR

For the next ten years, 1 billion EUR is being made available for the development of the EOSC – half from the European Commission and half by the 27 member states of the EU. This was negotiated between the European Commission and the EOSC Association from December 2020 to July 2021 and laid down in an agreement (PDF, the Memorandum of Understanding for the Co-progammed Euroepean Partnership on the European Open Science Cloud.

The EOSC Association also raises further funds through membership fees. According to Klaus Tochtermann: “Members are not individuals, but organisations such as the ZBW or the NFDI Association in Germany. (…) Members can choose between full membership, meaning they can take part in all votes and currently pay a contribution of 10,000 EUR per year. Or they can be an observer, where (…) they have a less active role and are not allowed to vote in the annual general meeting. As an observer, you pay 2,000 EUR.” The contributions of the 200 members currently generate a budget of around 1.5 million EUR for the EOSC Association. This is being utilised to build up staff in the office, among other things.

EOSC, NFDI and Gaia-X: a confusing mishmash?

As well as the EOSC, there are further projects in Germany and Europe aimed at implementing large research data infrastructures. The most well-known from a German perspective are the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) and Gaia-X. All three projects – EOSC, NFDI and Gaia-X are technically linked. They are all technical infrastructures. But how do they differ?

  • National Research Data Infrastructure

    As well as the European EOSC, there is the NFDI (German) in Germany, which was founded by the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (RfII).

    The NFDI – similarly to the EOSC – deals with the technical infrastructure for research data, but is also concerned with the networking people, i.e. the scientific community, says Tochtermann. The NFDI thereby focusses on individual disciplines such as economics, social sciences, material sciences or chemistry.

    The NFDI directorate, a central coordinating body, brings the individual NFDI initiatives together, so that they interact. This takes places through working groups and applies above all to cross-discipline or discipline-independent topics. Klaus Tochtermann gives the following examples:

    • digital long-term archiving of research data,
    • allocation of unique identifiers for a data set,
    • single login or single sign-in for the research data infrastructure NFDI,
    • interoperability of systems,
    • uniform metadata standards and
    • uniform protocols.
  • Gaia-X

    On the other hand, there is Gaia-X: “Gaia-X is an initiative which aims to offer companies in Germany and Europe a European infrastructure for the management, i.e. storage of their data, for example, because many of them opt for services from America or China”, explains Tochtermann. As well as in its target group (including industry, companies), Gaia-X also differs from the EOSC and the NFDI in relation to the major role that the topic of data sovereignty plays in the project. Klaus Tochtermann summarises this as follows: “Data sovereignty means that when I generate data, I can follow who is using my data for what purposes at any time. And if I don’t want this, then I can also say, ’I don’t want my data to go there.’”

How can you learn more about the EOSC?

The EOSC Portal is an information platform that gives details about the services that will be playing a role at the EOSC at a later date. These include services such as European research data repositories. It’s a good place to start if you want to find out more about the EOSC.

Take part in the development of the EOSC

Anyone who wants to get involved in the EOSC can do so in the Advisory Groups. Six of these have been set up initially, to explore topics such as curricula in the field of research data, FAIR data and metadata standards. There was an open call to participate in these groups, for which around 500 applications were received. Most of them came from France (18 percent) and Germany (17 percent) which shows how much the EOSC has already caught on in both countries, says Tochtermann. A selection from these 500 applications will now be used to fill the six working groups.

On the website of the EOSC Association, you will also find regular “Calls and Grants”, which people can apply for, or job applications https://www.eosc.eu/careers. For up-to-date information, you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter https://www.eosc.eu/newsletter or follow the EOSC Association on Twitter @eoscassociation.

This blogpost is a translation from German.

Related Links

This might also interest you:

  • Episode 12 of the ZBW podcast „The Future is Open Science“ with Prof. Dr Klaus Tochtermann on the European Open Science Cloud (German)
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    Open Economics Guide: New Open Science Support for Economics Researchers

    by Birgit Fingerle and Guido Scherp

    Open Science represents the best practice for academic work and is a toolkit for “good scientific practice”. In addition to the general benefits of Open Science for the scholarly system and society, Open Science offers many individual benefits for researchers. Among them are a higher visibility of research work and a greater impact in research and society.

    Nevertheless, many researchers in economics and business studies see hurdles and are discouraged from practicing Open Science: A lack of time and of appropriate support are the main reasons for their hesitation. This was revealed by the 2019/2020 study “Die Bedeutung von Open Science in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften – Ergebnisbericht einer Online-Befragung unter Forschenden der Wirtschaftswissenschaften an deutschen Hochschulen 2019” (“The Importance of Open Science in Economics – Result Report of an Online Survey among Researchers in Economics at German Universities 2019”) conducted by the ZBW. See our blog post Open Economics: Study on Open Science Principles and Practice in Economics reporting the studies main findings. Furthermore, the survey on which the study was based expressed a strong desire for support in the form of online materials, especially with regard to Open Science platforms, tools and applications.

    With the new Open Economics Guide (German), the ZBW aims to address these wishes and to support economics and business studies researchers in implementing open practices.

    Support for open science practice

    The Open Economics Guide addresses the challenges and support needs identified in the study. It is based on the perspective and the needs of economics and business studies researchers. It takes into account, for example, that for them lack of time is the top obstacle to Open Science. This is why the texts of the Guide are concise and clear. Therefore, the Open Economics Guide starts with concrete benefits for researchers, for example by recommending first steps for getting started with Open Science easily and quickly to implement.

    Accordingly, where necessary, the content reflects the specifics of economics and business studies research. The Open Economics Guide is also based on systematically reviewed existing content, which it picks up or refers to and recommends where necessary. Since the range of information, tutorials and tools related to Open Science is constantly growing, the Open Economics Guide offers good orientation for researchers and takes up current developments.

    The ZBW has thus designed the Open Economics Guide as the central entry point specifically for Open Science in economics and business studies, initially for German-speaking countries. In the Open Economics Guide, economists can discover how openness enriches their research and how they can benefit from the advantages of open research.

    Quick start, tool overview and knowledge base

    The Open Economics Guide supports economics and business studies researchers with practical tips, methods and tools to practice Open Science independently and successfully and thus to promote their academic career. To this end, the Guide contains, among other things:

    • easy-to-understand quick-start guides to Open Science topics (currently Open Science, Open Access, Open Data and Open Tools),
    • a comprehensive overview of more than 70 tools (German), subdivided by the phases of the research workflow,
    • a growing knowledge database with currently about 100 entries (German) with extensive background information and practical tips on how to proceed,
    • a clear glossary (German), which answers comprehension questions about the most important terms related to open research at a glance.

    Content under open license and further expansion

    The content of the Open Economics Guide is offered under an open license as far as possible. Thus, it can be reused in other contexts according to the principles of Open Science, for example by other libraries for their researchers.

    The Open Economics Guide will be continuously expanded and extended. For instance, further focal points, such as Open Educational Resources and Open Research Software, will be added. All aspects of Open Science relevant to economics and business studies research will be covered. In doing so, a close communication as well as a close cooperation with researchers of economics and business studies will be strived for, in order to develop new contents also jointly. In addition, the guide will aim at an international target group in the future.

    Visit the Open Economics Guide now

    Featured Image: Mockup created by freepik – www.freepik.com

    The post Open Economics Guide: New Open Science Support for Economics Researchers first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

    Libraries as a Place after Corona: Hybrid and Participatory?

    During the corona pandemic, libraries and their diverse functions have been “on hold” as analogue spaces. Users find information, advice and seminars digitally. But an exchange of ideas, networking and cooperative learning can hardly take place. What should libraries, as places of learning and event venues, look like for our users in the future? Is hybrid the new solution? Nicole Clasen and Alena Behrens from the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics are currently exploring these issues. The ZBW runs libraries in Kiel and Hamburg.

    Interview with Nicole Clasen and Alena Behrens

    The ZBW in Hamburg will be moving to a new building in a few years. For this reason, you have recently defined which spaces and room elements are needed for modern library operations in all their facets and which are not. What was important for you?

    It’s important for us to create an attractive place that inspires discussions and a sense of cooperative working and learning. This includes an open and modern architecture that makes the library an enticing place to enter.

    New building for the ZBW – Hamburg (exterior view) on the university campus. Photo credit: Andreas Heller Architects & Designers

    There will also be areas where the furnishings can be arranged flexibly. This can be done with chairs and tables on castors, or by selecting light furniture. The users can thereby design the working areas according to their needs at that time: Smaller or larger furniture sets can be created – group tables or arranged in a circle – depending on how one wants to work at that time.

    New building for the ZBW – Hamburg on the university campus. Photo credit: Andreas Heller Architects & Designers

    Good technical facilities are also fundamentally important. There will, naturally, be wall-to-wall WLAN and sufficient plugs at all workstations, to allow visitors to work with their own devices. We will also be offering various large computer screens to enable and to support collaborative working.

    New building for the ZBW – Hamburg on the university campus. Photo credit: Andreas Heller Architects & Designers

    How did you know what was important for the users of the ZBW?

    Since 2016, we have been carrying out studies annually with the User Experience (UX) methods. We introduced four best practice examples in this article. UX focuses above all on the actual behaviour of the users, and the results differ significantly from those of the classic questionnaire. Through this, we have a good idea of the working methods and desires of our users. Observation methods also examine the unconscious behaviour of users. These are things that could and should never be entered in a questionnaire in this form. In the post “User Experience for Libraries: The Best Tools and Methods for Beginners” we explain how libraries can start using User Experience. Our users are also participating in the further development of the library.

    User Journey Map, a method of user experience in which the feelings of users during certain tasks are visualised. (UX Libs Conference 2018)

    This is joined by the daily contact with users – whether at the service desk, the central contact point in the library, or via our digital advice services such as Chat or training sessions.

    Were there elements of the classic library that were no longer needed for the new building?

    One thing traditionally associated with libraries is the seemingly endless rows of shelves with books. We have not used open-access shelving for a long time for various reasons, and there will be no freely accessible shelves in the new building either. This means that we have more space for workspaces. All books are initially stored in the stack-room and are inaccessible to users. If someone orders a book, it is available within an hour. Moreover, during their research in EconBiz our users use analogue and digital inventories to the same extent.

    We will also be offering fewer computers. Users prefer to use their own devices and we will supplement these with computer screens only. Remote access gives users the ability to view licensed literature.

    We will also offer more group rooms instead of only group workplaces. In the rooms, users can meet up to work together. Having a closed area means that other groups are not disturbed and every group can have discussions and work in the way they want. This means that it is possible to work together using video tools from the library, without being disturbed by noise or by people walking around in the background.

    There will no longer be an extra consultation space at the service desk. We will of course continue to be available there if users have any questions and problems. More complex consultations regarding research will then take place digitally.

    Corona has taught us that it’s possible to do many things digitally. So do we even need libraries on site? For what? For whom? And who will be using libraries only digitally in the future?

    Libraries will still continue to be important places. They are one of the few places that you can visit without having to pay any money. What’s more, using libraries on-site gives them a decisive added value as a place of learning and an event venue.

    As a place of learning, libraries offer a meeting place where people can work together. It’s not always practical for people to meet at home, if there isn’t enough room in their apartment for several people to work together, or if they do not have equipment such as computer screens to make working more relaxed, for example. Students who live in flat shares or with their parents don’t always find the peace & quiet they need for concentrated individual work. The library offers space for all these different working needs.

    The library will continue to play a role as an event venue, as well as to exchange know-how and network.

    Library tours will take place more digitally in future. At the moment, we are offering these purely virtually via video tools. We intend to combine and extend this in the future. Even before corona we had started to develop a guided tour of the library with the help of augmented reality, which will extend the physical library through digital services. Other similar projects are feasible in the future. The participation of users is important for digital services like this. After all, they are supposed to take some knowledge away with them and learn something. Ideally, they should exchange ideas with each other.

    What were your positive examples for libraries as places? Which other (library) locations have inspired you? And why?

    We have been very inspired by the Scandinavian and Dutch libraries (German). Impressive new buildings have been built there in recent years that do not always correspond to the classic idea of a library as we imagine it in Germany. These countries have a conception of libraries that is more unconventional and modern. We wanted to incorporate elements of that here.

    The Dokk1 in Aarhus (Denmark) was a positive example. The uncomplicated interaction really impressed us. The students sit near the event space when studying; a few metres further you can find the kids’ space where the little ones can run around. Yet no group is disturbed by the others – the acoustics are controlled very effectively. The design of the library is very playful. Posters and other presentations illustrate the projects that the library is involved in and the topics that are currently being worked on.

    Utrecht University Library (Netherlands) is another inspiring library. It is an academic library and the university has an Open Science focus, meaning that it is comparable to the ZBW library in the requirements it must fulfil.

    At re:publica 2021 you recently organised a session on “Libraries as a place of learning – hybrid and participatory?” (German). What were your three most interesting insights? What are the concerns of the library community at the moment?

    • Library employees are very interested in getting to know their own users.
    • They actively wish to reshape the spaces and adapt them to the users’ needs.
    • We are all aware that changes will occur and that after corona we are not going to be able to continue exactly where we left off in March 2020.

    We have noticed that it’s important to discuss this topic. That’s why we will start a round-table discussion group on UX in libraries. Interested users will be able to exchange ideas and brainstorm on user research projects in order to disseminate these ideas more widely and accommodate the needs of the users better. Those who are interested in an exchange of ideas can get in touch with us via userservice@zbw.eu.

    Why will media technology in libraries play an important role in the future in this context?

    Media technology is a criterion that adds value to libraries. If users can find media in libraries that they cannot access at home, it makes their visit even more appealing. This could be large computer screens for working together on presentations and projects. But also the makerspaces in many public libraries. These offer many things that people don’t have at home and therefore become attractive for new target groups.

    Good hardware and software are also important for library employees, to be able to implement digital services appropriately. A digital Coffee Lecture (German) should be able to take place with good sound, image and without the screen freezing due to poor internet quality. And even allegedly small details, such as image stabilising aids for cameras, help to improve video quality.

    The importance of media technology in libraries can be seen in the fact that it is now included in the (practical) training curriculum. Apprentices training to be specialists for media and information services and university students are thereby prepared better for their everyday working lives.

    Will hybrid become the new normality in libraries? What could that look like?

    Libraries will have many hybrid elements in the future. They will be a physical space for getting together, learning together and exchanging ideas.

    The literature, however, will primarily be available digitally. Similarly, services, training courses and workshops will increasingly be offered digitally.

    Even before corona, we were considering designing these services more digitally. But at that time, there were still many uncertainties and doubts as to how this would function and should be implemented. Nicole Clasen talks about this in the podcast “Experiencing a digital library” (German). The past few months, during which there were few other opportunities and so we simply gave it a try, have shown that it is possible. The pandemic has brought new dynamics and possibilities to the field.

    We spoke with Nicole Clasen and Alena Behrens.

    You may also find this interesting

    The post Libraries as a Place after Corona: Hybrid and Participatory? first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

    Digitalisation in Libraries: 5 Lessons from the Corona Crisis for the New Normal

    by Doreen Siegfried

    What innovative push towards digitalisation in libraries worldwide has been ushered in by the coronavirus? What was digitalisation status at the beginning of the corona pandemic? What were the biggest challenges for infrastructure institutions? How were they solved? What were the “highlights” of the employees? What was the biggest “life hack” that an institution picked up from the corona crisis in the field of digitalisation? And what have you learned from it?

    We recently put these and other questions to our partners in the international EconBiz network. In a detailed overview, eight infrastructure institutions from Singapore, France, Germany, the USA, Denmark, Malaysia and Turkey described their experiences and the most important lessons learned from the pandemic: Digitalisation in Libraries – To What Extent has Corona Given a Boost? In a short report we now introduce the five most important trends and lessons from the network, which are sure to be reflected all over the world as well.

    Lesson #1: Virtual collaboration facilitates cross-location cooperation

    Digital communication technologies have fundamentally changed teamwork in academic libraries. New patterns of behaviour have been created worldwide. Virtual meetings, break-out sessions, discussions with courtesy breaks, chats and working at a distance have been learned and are now part of the standard repertoire of collaboration in libraries.

    The Aarhus University Library / The Royal Danish Library, for example, with its 900 employees spread across different locations in Denmark, has sustainably reduced the social distance between branches through digital tools. Thanks to virtual working with video conference systems, employees have grown together and will continue to use their new work tools. Susanne Dalsgaard Krag, library manager, writes:

    „The pandemic has taught us to work together across departments and across the country in a way we would never have imagined. You can mention a lot of different things, we have learned during the pandemic, but I guess this is one of the biggest advantages, and something we will carry into the post pandemic world, which we all look forward to welcome.“

    Lesson #2: Investing in human resource development pays off

    What has become clear for all EconBiz partners throughout the globe is: We are living in new times. There will be no going back to a pre-corona era. Working according to prefabricated workflows was yesterday. What propelled the libraries forward were creative employees with the ability to adapt rapidly to continually new parameters and to accept this state of fluctuation. This awareness for working and living in a VUCA world – in other words a world determined by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – will also define personnel management in academic libraries in the post-corona era.

    Rajen Munoo, Head of Learning and Engagement at Singapore Management University Libraries, stresses:

    „Our biggest ‘life hack’ was upskilling – to ensure that all staff were ‘vaccinated’ with digital skills to be resilient and agile by providing them with opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn through continuing professional development opportunities in this VUCA world.“

    Corey Seeman, USA, University of Michigan, Kresge Library Services, summarises:

    „Libraries will have a choice on the other end of this pandemic to keep the changes that have been implemented or revert back to their previous normal ways. The path forward will likely be a combination of these both, but it is important to embrace these changes as a way to a more modern library.“

    Lesson #3: Good networks are crucial for fast and stable solutions

    Since the outbreak of the pandemic, infrastructure institutions have had to continually develop new solutions in order to keep hygiene regulations and health and safety measures. They therefore enter a dialogue not only with the authorities but also with other institutions on the campus or in the wider world. Those who are well connected here, can easily find common solutions. Rajen Munoo from the Singapore Management University Libraries, suggests:

    „With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-changing directives from various agencies, our priority was collaborating with campus partners in order to comply with the health and safety protocols“.

    Lesson #4: Empathy for users promotes creativity

    Those who deal with the needs and wishes of users in an empathic way will also find creative solutions. This is suggested by a study from the University of Cambridge. The experiences of the EconBiz partners also reveal that creative solutions are found wherever libraries show empathy for the fears and insecurities of students – no matter whether they are freshers or advanced students. In Singapore, for example, the libraries use “peer advisors” to dispel the fears of the new students taking part in an online semester for the first time with a peer-to-peer learning programme.

    Christine Okret-Manville from the Université Paris Dauphine-PSL Bibliothèque in France writes:

    „To help our readers make the most of all these resources, we put a series of tutorials for self-training online (bilingual). We quickly put up virtual training sessions. […] In this difficult period, we had to show an especially supportive behaviour towards one another to manage adapting quickly to unusual work conditions. Yet it gave us an opportunity to increase and diversify our services, introducing virtuality where we didn’t use it enough or at all yet, and giving us new leads to expand our activity.“

    And also Corey Seeman from the Kresge Library Services in Michigan can gain something from new digital solutions beyond the current lockdown:

    „Library instruction and consultations via Zoom will likely continue. One of the challenges we would have is finding a space that could work for meetings. By using Zoom, the need for space mostly goes away.“

    In an international online poster session organised by Koç University (Turkey), many ideas were presented on how to stay in touch with employees but also with students – from motivational emails to online pet therapy with various animals.

    Lesson #5: Digital first is measurably worth it

    Many libraries from the EconBiz partner network had already made a large quantity of electronic resources accessible even before lockdown. Propelled by COVID-19, they once again improved their digital services and found solutions for even more accessible e-media. Christine Okret-Manville from Paris:

    „Our priority has been to extend the size and availability of our electronic collection: we offered remote access to the financial databases which were only available on site, tested new textbook databases and other sources. We dedicated a section of our website to resources publishers could open freely during that time.“

    Vasiliki Mole from Koç University in Turkey also reports on the considerable efforts – both to enable students to access electronic media as well as to create enthusiasm for new possibilities.

    „Sometimes, the comfort zone of years’ old practices is hard to overcome, as it creates a somewhat stiff acceptance of a new perspective. A rather difficult issue we have finally come to a point to change, has been the traditional print textbooks and their replacement with online publications.“
    Deborah Wallace from the Harvard Business School’s Baker Library (USA) emphasises that the effort pays off in very clear indicators:

    „As a result, almost every one of our services and information product use volumes have increased. For example, Baker Library website use by MBA students +73% and alumni +43%, database use +76%, Working Knowledge, readership +51%, and Books@Baker participants +90%.“

    You can read about the experiences of the individual EconBiz partners in detail here: Digitalisation in Libraries: To What Extent has Corona Given a Boost?

    About the EconBiz partner network:

    The EconBiz partner network is an international network of libraries and research institutions focusing on economics studies. Its mission is to enable top research in economics and business studies through easy access to quality subject information in combination with state-of-the art search-features. The network promotes the transfer of knowledge and cooperation among members worldwide. Its mission is to enable top research in economics and business studies through easy access to quality subject information in combination with state-of-the art search-features. The network helps to promote the service on an international level and to enhance the visibility of research output and conferences in all partner countries. It also provides a forum for the discussion of topics relevant to the partners. Answers to questions as well as partners for joint projects can be found through the network.

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    Further articles by Doreen Siegfried

    This article also appeared in the 2020 ZBW Annual Review “Open” (PDF) that highlights developments at the ZBW, among other things: Research Data Management, Open Science and organised knowledge.

    This text has been translated from German.

    The post Digitalisation in Libraries: 5 Lessons from the Corona Crisis for the New Normal first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

    Third-Party Material in Open Access Monographs: How Far-Reaching is the Creative Commons Licence Really?

    by Ralf Flohr, Stefanie Richter and Olaf Siegert

    Background to Open Access monographs

    Open Access monographs are playing an increasingly important role in the Open Access transformation of the publication system: Specialist publishers have reacted to this development and come up with new business models for the publication of books in Open Access (OA). Organisations that promote research and research institutions themselves have established publication funds and provide the financial resources for Open Access publications. Libraries are archiving Open Access publications on their in-house publication servers, making them accessible to the public and ensuring both their visibility and long-term availability.

    Use of the Creative Commons licence

    The question of who is allowed to use an Open Access publication and how is usually regulated with a Creative Commons licence (CC licence) linked to every document. This opens up, for example, depending on how it is structured and under certain conditions, the right to copy, store, archive, redistribute the publication and make it publicly accessible, without having to ask the respective rights holder for consent. Libraries also use the CC licences in this way to incorporate Open Access publications into their stocks and disseminate them. Creative Commons licences thus make barrier-free access to scientific publications possible in the first place.

    Problems with OA monographs containing third-party material

    However, there are problems with the implementation here, particularly regarding the Open Access monographs. Things becomes particularly difficult if third-party material which is subject to another licence is used. The third-party material can mean illustrations, photographs, charts, tables and other diagrams, for example.

    If the authors are unable to invoke citation law, they need to get the approval of the rights holder before incorporating this material in their monograph. In many cases, the third-party material is not subject to the Creative Commons licence applicable to the monograph. Authors are much more likely to use third-party material on the basis of another licence that does not confer the same usage possibilities as the CC licence. The principle of ‘all rights reserved’ usually applies to this material. Detailed guidance on handling thirdparty materials can also be found in the OA Books Toolkit from Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN).
    In the Quality standards for getting started with Open Access provision of books (PDF) published by the National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE, the following is stated on the inclusion of third-party materials under the point rights and licences:

    “The rights for illustrations and other external material in the books are clarified, clearly stated and do not hinder the provision of the entire work under a Creative Commons licence.”

    Unfortunately, this is often not the case in practice, because some academic publishers furnish the Creative Commons licences of Open Access monographs with restrictions for third-party material. Here are two examples:

    Example 1

    Schettler, Leon Valentin: Socializing Development, transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, 2020.

    Example 2

    Teske, Sven (ed.): Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals, Springer Nature, Cham, 2020.

    Publishers cover their backs with blanket policy

    The Open Access use of the entire work is actually impeded in practice when external material is included, if this material is not subject to the Creative Commons licence as well. In their imprints, the publishers often point out – as standard practice – that further usage rights must be obtained from the respective rights holder for the reuse of this material, even if no such third-party material appears in the monograph in question. This restriction also applies to laws of use which would be covered by the Creative Commons licence per se, for example the permission to disseminate. With the blanket restrictions in the imprint information, the publishers protect themselves in the event that conflicts arise with the rights holders in the further use of the publications. This thereby severely restricts the opportunities that actually arise from the CC licence and creates major challenges for those who would like to reuse the works according to the principles of Creative Commons.

    Difficult Open Access use in practice

    This practice of blanket restrictions is problematic for the dissemination of Open Access publications, particularly for monographs. Obtaining permission for further use, by people who operate repositories for example, is often difficult, representing a hurdle for free dissemination. This means that the monographs cannot be used comprehensively according to the principles of Open Access. Possible usage scenarios, such as publication in scientific and social networks such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu, and use as Open Educational Resources (OER) are also made more difficult.

    Then again, from a scientific perspective, it would not make sense to disseminate the monographs without the third-party material they contain. Strictly speaking, such monographs can therefore no longer be described as Open Access publications according to the principles of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Rather, it is a form of free Open Access that essentially provides read-only access. A further problem occurs if these documents with machine-readable data are declared to be Creative Commons publications and documented in the relevant search engines, but then cannot be comprehensively used as such.

    Recommended actions for stakeholders

    On the basis of the aspects mentioned above, we believe that this practice of restricted CC licences has a detrimental effect on the development of Open Access. The question is how to prevent this practice in the future, or how to ensure that Open Access publications are provided with unrestricted CC licences. To this end, we have put together some recommendations for the various stakeholders.

    What authors and publishers can do:

    • Clarify the rights of third-party material in advance so that comprehensive use according to the principles of Open Access is possible. Third-party material should be incorporated into the work according to the principles of the citation law.
    • If this is not possible, licence-free third-party material should be used, or third-party material for which a compatible Creative Commons licence can be agreed with the rights holders.
    • Publishers should refrain from making blanket restrictions if no third-party material is even used in the work.

    What Open Access commissioners, libraries and promotion funds can do:

    • A decisive factor is explaining the legal consequences of using third-party material in Open Access monographs to authors and advising them.
    • Organisations that promote Open Access monographs should ideally only fund those works which contain no restrictions of the Creative Commons licence.

    This might also interest you:

  • Legal Compendium on Open Science: Guideline answers Legal Questions
  • Promoting OER: How to create an open textbook
  • Open Access for Monographs: Small Steps along a difficult Path
  • This text has been translated from German.

    The post Third-Party Material in Open Access Monographs: How Far-Reaching is the Creative Commons Licence Really? first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

    Digitisation in Libraries: To What Extent has Corona Given a Boost?

    by Susanne Daalsgaard Krag, Aida Maria Ismail, Vasiliki Mole, Rajen Munoo, Christine Okret-Manville, Tamara Pianos, Corey Seeman, Claudia Sittner, Klaus Tochtermann, and Deb Wallace

    Together with the partners from the EconBiz network, we set out to find the effects of the corona pandemic on digitisation in (digital infrastructure) institutes, libraries and workplaces around the world. The international EconBiz partner network started in 2012 and has 40 partners in many different countries.

    So, how did the institutes from across the globe experience the changes? Are there differences across regions, countries and continents? To find out we asked the partners from the network: What innovation push towards digitisation has the coronavirus triggered in your institution? What was the state of digitisation in your institution at the beginning of the corona pandemic? What was your highlight? What was the biggest challenge? How did you solve it? What was your biggest learning? What is the biggest “life hack” that your institution has taken away from the corona crisis in the area of digitisation?

    The result is an exciting wealth of experience from partner institutes from Singapure, France, Germany, the USA, Denmark, Malaysia and Turkey. Thanks to their shared experiences, it becomes possible to look beyond our own corona plates and shows which creative solutions have been found in other parts of the world.

    COVID-19 learnings at AU Library / The Royal Danish Library
    by Susanne Dalsgaard Krag, Denmark

    COVID-19 learnings at AU Library / The Royal Danish Library

    by Susanne Dalsgaard Krag, Denmark

    COVID-19 came like a thief in the night, and changed all our lives. From one day to another, all the libraries closed down, including The Royal Danish Library. We all needed to find other ways to do things. It has been an exciting voyage and looking back at almost a year of corona pandemic, one can see the results of a true disruption.

    Denmark is a highly digitised country. Almost 99% of the population have access to internet connection, which showed to be a very great advantage during the shut downs. At the university libraries we have been preparing for the digital change in quite a while, but in March 2020 we were forced to take a huge step into the digital age, like the rest of the world.

    Up to the pandemic we had been training skills in edu-it and virtual meetings, but without the big break through. Now suddenly these skills came into use, and most of the staff are now fully comfortable in online teaching and guidance, and a very big number of digital learning objects have been prepared and published on the homepage. The creativity has been exceptional. We have learned to use the virtual environment to compensate for the social distance, and we can make break out rooms, change virtual background, chat and raise hands in Zoom and Teams. We learned a lot about, what works, and what doesn’t.

    The Royal Danish Library has 800 to 900 staff members spread all over the country, and the pandemic has taught us to work together across departments and across the country in a way we would never have imagined. You can mention a lot of different things, we have learned during the pandemic, but I guess this is one of the biggest advantages, and something we will carry into the post pandemic world, which we all look forward to welcome.

    More Online Meetings and Events, online-connectedness
    and future café at the ZBW
    by Klaus Tochtermann, Germany

    More Online Meetings and Events, online-connectedness and future café at the ZBW

    by Klaus Tochtermann, Germany

    Digitisation and digital skills were important topics and working from home was an option for many colleagues at ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics long before the corona pandemic. Nonetheless, there was still a huge push towards using more digital tools and platforms during the first months of the pandemic. In March 2020, many employees got Zoom-accounts and were able to organise virtual events for up to 300 people. This option was used widely for many different kinds of events. By the end of October, all 270 ZBW-employees were entitled to get WebEx-accounts to organise their own virtual meetings and to use WebEx-Teams for chats etc.

    Huge conferences organised by the ZBW were quickly moved to online formats and had even more participants from more countries than in previous years (for example the SWIB – Semantic Web in Libraries, the YES! – Young Economic Summit or the upcoming Open Science Conference).

    In order to support social interaction of the employees an internal platform is used to share experiences in dealing with the situation from life-hacks, instructions on keeping your neck-muscles in shape to uplifting thoughts and new hobbies. Since many ZBW-employees mostly worked from home, it was feared that the feeling of connectedness and common purpose might suffer. In order to battle this, the directors launched a 30 minute “future café” which is offered every other week – talking about a specific topic with a question and answers section. Many people from both ZBW-locations in Kiel and Hamburg attend these short meetings – which would be difficult to achieve with on-site-events.

    During the first shutdown – when the library was closed for a couple of weeks – students were supported with motivational letters up to five times a week. ZBW services offer special corona-related pages on information access or research or a topic page within the EconBiz Author Profiles.

    Since teaching at the universities had to be moved online within a couple of weeks as well, professors asked for support in online instruction methods, so the ZBW organised two online panels and gathered some best practice solutions (German).

    The pandemic was and is very challenging for many people but it also opened a number of new opportunities and boosted creative online solutions.

    Pandemic Pains Pivots Possibilities at Singapore Management University Libraries
    by Rajen Munoo, Singapore

    Pandemic Pains Pivots Possibilities at Singapore Management University Libraries

    by Rajen Munoo, Singapore

    I am currently Head, Learning and Engagement at Singapore Management University Libraries (SMU) – comprising the Li Ka Shing and Kwa Geok Choo Law Libraries. The Libraries serve six schools with an enrolment of around 10,000 undergraduates and postgraduates. Being a city campus where space is prime, SMU Libraries always had a digital first approach where over 90% of our collections and resources are digital. A robust systems infrastructure of various online applications supports the research, teaching and learning needs of the community.

    With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-changing directives from various agencies, our priority was collaborating with campus partners in order to comply with the health and safety protocols. To meet this challenge we put in place a business continuity plan that pivoted our digital strategy and also became a catalyst for change.

    Our highlights were the various creative ideas implemented by the SMU Libraries team such as:

    • pick-up-and-go access service, quickly sourcing e-textbooks and Open Educational Resources (OER) and reaching out to faculty to navigate copyright compliance;
    • a knowledge portal of the gratis access to databases provided by vendors during the pandemic;
    • redeploying student assistants to extend the virtual “Ask Library” chat service beyond normal library hours to optimise the value-add of library staff and continue to provide work opportunities for students with the physical libraries closure.
    • Our Library Peer Advisors also stepped forward when the freshmen orientation moved online to curate Online Learning is Different! Succeed in Online Learning a peer-to-peer learning programme that comprised workshops and hacks to help quell the anxiety of new students across the university taking an online semester for the first time!

      Stakeholder involvement and communication to ensure no one was left behind, was the biggest learning for the leadership team especially in a service-oriented profession.

      Our biggest “life hack” was upskilling – to ensure that all staff were “vaccinated” with digital skills to be resilient and agile by providing them with opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn through continuing professional development opportunities in this VUCA.

      Onward in the spirit of #OneSMULibraries …

    COVID-19 and Dauphine-PSL library: Pushing electronic resources
    and self-training to the fore
    by Christine Okret-Manville, France

    COVID-19 and Dauphine-PSL library: Pushing electronic resources and self-training to the fore

    by Christine Okret-Manville, France

    In the library of Université Paris Dauphine-PSL, we had already gathered a large amount of electronic resources in pre-coronavirus times. But the lockdown forced us to pause and think, to come up with ideas to improve our virtual services.

    Our priority has been to extend the size and availability of our electronic collection: we offered remote access to the financial databases which were only available on site, tested new textbook databases and other sources. We dedicated a section of our website to resources publishers could open freely during that time.

    To help our readers make the most of all these resources, we put a series of tutorials for self-training online (bilingual). We quickly put up virtual training sessions. We promoted our questions and answers module to maintain contact with our readers. Eventually, through Twitter, Facebook, internal mailing lists and the website, we fed our followers with a regular flow of information.

    In this difficult period, we had to show an especially supportive behaviour towards one another to manage adapting quickly to unusual work conditions. Yet it gave us an opportunity to increase and diversify our services, introducing virtuality where we didn’t use it enough or at all yet, and giving us new leads to expand our activity.

    Jaws: how Koç University Suna K?raç Library fought against the pandemic
    and managed to hunt the beast down
    by Vasiliki Mole, Turkey

    Jaws: how Koç University Suna K?raç Library fought against the pandemic and managed to hunt the beast down

    by Vasiliki Mole, Turkey

    Koç University (KU) is one of the leading universities in Turkey, distinguished by notable contributions to the elevation of education, knowledge and service both domestically and beyond. Suna K?raç Library, the main University library embraces and follows closely and consistently the University’s efforts to advance knowledge.

    Koç University Suna K?raç Library has fought COVID-19 investing long working hours and determination to turn the situation into an opportunity to develop distant access solutions for its users. Among the highlights of the previous year are

    The biggest challenge for us has been to see our efforts and adaptations having a positive result to the community. Sometimes, the comfort zone of years’ old practices is hard to overcome, as it creates a somewhat stiff acceptance of a new perspective. A rather difficult issue we have finally come to a point to change, has been the traditional print textbooks and their replacement with online publications.

    Academia brings together the advantage of continuous improvement which benefits all related stakeholders, including the libraries. The current global state dictates that we should always keep our eyes open to new opportunities that will strengthen our profile and consequently will help us accomplish our primary goal: serving our users the best way!

    Kresge Library Services and the Great Flip of 2020: Innovation & COVID-19
    by Corey Seeman, USA

    Kresge Library Services and the Great Flip of 2020: Innovation & COVID-19

    by Corey Seeman, USA

    Kresge Library Services supports the business information needs of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Back in 2013, we were a fairly traditional business library, with 70,000 volumes, seating for nearly 700 students, and over 100 service hours a week. During a large construction project at the Ross School of Business (2014-2016), the library space for print volumes and student study were removed completely. So we reinvented itselves as a digital only library (or as we call it – the ethereal library). From the time we moved out of our old library space, we were a mostly digital library and (though we did not know it at the time), very well suited for the challenges of a pandemic.

    While our collections were virtually all electronic, we had a few in-person services only performed at the library. These included our exam and assignment review and handback service for Ross classes and course material pickup (for printed versions of cases and required readings). In March 2020, with the move to virtual classes, we pivoted easily to meet these new dynamics. We shut down the services that were in-person because there was no way to complete them effectively in a remote fashion.

    We developed a number of hacks and changes that will likely be a part of our library from here on out:

    • We have long advocated for flexible scheduling, but we were able to expand our coverage by allowing people to work at different times. Giving flexibility to your team can lead to expanded hours of service for your patrons.
    • Meetings via Zoom will continue when normalcy returns! Typically, we would try to schedule team meetings for days when everyone can be in the office, but now we can be more flexible.
    • Library instruction and consultations via Zoom will likely continue. One of the challenges we would have is finding a space that could work for meetings. By using Zoom, the need for space mostly goes away.

    Libraries will have a choice on the other end of this pandemic to keep the changes that have been implemented or revert back to their previous normal ways. The path forward will likely be a combination of these both, but it is important to embrace these changes as a way to a more modern library.

    COVID-19 Inspired Innovation at Harvard Business School’s Baker Library
    by Deb Wallace, USA

    COVID-19 Inspired Innovation at Harvard Business School’s Baker Library

    by Deb Wallace, USA

    Baker Library sits at the scholastic, physical, and emotional “heart” of the Harvard Business School (HBS) campus. When the decision to move the majority of the School’s activities to online platforms was implemented on March 18, 2020, Baker Library leveraged its decade-long investment in staff capability development, digital collections, semantic search, and a content management/publishing platform to enable continued pursuit of the School’s mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world.

    To meet the research, teaching, and learning needs of our community of students, faculty, alumni, and staff, we repositioned services and created new self-service information products, including components of an internal information portal to enable just-in-time decision-making and the HBS COVID-19 Business Impact Center, an external-facing repository and newsletter that provides the latest research and insights from HBS faculty.

    In addition to creating new products, we expanded our virtual reference and digital content delivery services, published 10,000+ digital surrogates of unique materials, and increased access to licensed databases and digital alternatives to print resources. We also created the HBS COVID-19 Community Archive to chronicle the experience and launched a collecting strategy to document this unprecedented time in American business through company records and websites.

    As a result, almost every one of our services and information product use volumes have increased. For example, Baker Library website use by MBA students +73% and alumni +43%, database use +76%, Working Knowledge, readership +51%, and Books@Baker participants +90%.

    Our greatest challenges are prioritising work, allocating limited resources, and sustaining our teams as they juggled remote work, child and eldercare, and related issues to the growing racial and political strife and healthcare crisis that the US continues to experience. I am indebted to the staff’s commitment to our goals, passion for our work, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial spirit. They are certainly the “secret sauce” of our ability to remain relevant to our community!

    Students support SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic
    by Aida Maria Ismail, Malaysia

    Students support SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic

    by Aida Maria Ismail, Malaysia

    The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia resulted in an unprecedented slump in economic activity. Businesses adopted digital measures to make up for the shortfall in traditional sources of revenue. As more business establishments digitalise, firms that are left out of this digital revolution will struggle to survive, let alone thrive. Although the prevailing wisdom is that COVID-19 has ushered in a pivot to digitalisation, there remain many challenges that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face in doing so. Digitalisation is increasingly useful for SMEs to improve efficiency and competitiveness; despite they perform relatively poorly in digitalisation. Government and policy interventions can facilitate this process, and the university can assist in supporting SMEs digitalisation and survivalist.

    The Malaysian education framework direction and way forward addresses the local community needs and issues. Through the ‘Service-Learning Malaysia – University for Society’ (SULAM) which was initiated by the Ministry of Education, students participate in a structured service activity that meets identified community needs. It is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience. SULAM pedagogy supports humanistic and value-driven education as a key to strengthening the education system by integrating love, happiness and mutual respect.

    Four classes of final semester students, Bachelor of Accountancy (Hons) from the Faculty of Accountancy Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor involved in SULAM, in helping four SMEs’, managing the impact of the pandemic on business sustainability. In order to ensure businesses, remain resilient during this pandemic, students conducted a comprehensive business analysis in order to advise on sustainable strategy and mechanism. Elements of digitalisation were incorporated in the sustainability strategy and mechanism since this will ensure businesses remain competitive. Business model canvases (BMC) and business plans were among the documents prepared by students in helping SMEs getting assistance from the government economic stimulus package. According to the new standard, 90% of the implementation of SULAM took place via a digital platform.

    As an advisor to this project, it was a valuable experience since I was able to see how students engage in activities that address community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning. It is capable of enhancing the sense of social responsibility, religious and racial tolerance as well as developing skills such as the ability to work well with others, critical thinking skills and creative, leadership and communication skills.

    How the corona pandemic has advanced digitisation in libraries

    The corona crisis caught us all cold. When suddenly all libraries and institutes more or less closed their on-site services, the first thing to do was to take stock. The result: many institutes had long since made the leap into digitisation or had almost done so. The staff had been trained and had the necessary skills to do their jobs digitally. Now the task was to apply the knowledge they had learned and to improve services that were not yet sufficiently digitalised.

    Many libraries created extra websites with corona information and made collections accessible online that were normally only accessible on site. Communication with staff and users took on an important role, which in many places was solved with great personal commitment and creativity. Websites became more dynamic and social media and newsletters were perceived as even more important. The staff was the “secret ingredient” that made so much possible during the pandemic.

    To compensate for the lack of social interaction, to keep teams together and motivated, and to keep personal contact with users online, tools such as Zoom or Teams were made available across the board and learned almost overnight.

    The group of (often quite young) students was especially supported with a lot of understanding and compassion in the EconBiz partner institutes all over the world, for example with extended chat consultation hours, longer online opening hours or “corona letters” of encouragement. Self-training for a wide range of online and learning skills has been developed and offered to users.

    In addition to all the challenges, the crisis was also recognised in many places as an opportunity to make a leap into the possibilities of digitalisation. And even if everyone is longing for a new normality right now, much of what was established and cherished during the corona period will certainly remain part of this new working world.

    Note: Originally, another EconBiz partner institution wanted to share their experiences as well. Since they were under a ransomware attack they had more pressing issues than this blogpost. This may happen to any service we provide and shows how fragile digital services can be and that we all have to face many digital challenges in the future. When things work, we sometimes tend to forget.

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    About the authors:

    Dr Tamara Pianos studied Geography and English literature. After completing her doctorate in Canadian Studies and a traineeship as an academic librarian she worked at the TIB in Hanover. Since 2005, she has been working at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, where she is now head of Information Provision and Access. She is the product manager of the EconBiz portal and is responsible for information literacy topics.

    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. Part time she works as a freelance travel blogger, speaker and author.

    Prof 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).

    Rajen Munoo has been employed at the Singapore Management University (SMU) Libraries for over 13 years now primarily in the role of working with a team of Research Librarians to design, develop and deliver learning programmes including information literacy classes and workshops for their respective Schools and the wider SMU community. His areas of interest are information and digital literacies, continuing professional development of library and information workers and pedagogy and instructional design.

    Christine Okret-Manville has a PhD in History, a degree in Political Science and an Archivist-Palaeographer Diploma (Archive and Library Science). She holds the position of Deputy Director of the Université Paris Dauphine-PSL Library and is also in charge of the library services for researchers, and the management of the university repository BIRD.

    Vasiliki Mole is a librarian with a B.A. in Library Science and Information Systems and an M.A. in Cultural Management. She has worked in Academic Libraries, mainly as an Instruction and Reference Librarian focusing on Information Literacy, Outreach and Research support. She is currently serving as the Head Librarian of the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) Library.

    Corey Seeman (personal website) is the director of Kresge Library Services (Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). Corey has written and presented on customer service and change management within libraries, especially academic ones.

    Deb Wallace is the Executive Director of Knowledge and Library Services and is a member of the HBS Senior Leadership Team. She manages a team of library, archival, technical, and research professionals in providing innovative products and services to meet the needs of the HBS and Harvard University communities.

    Aida Maria Ismail PhD is Senior lecturer at the Faculty of Accountancy, University Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Selangor Malaysia. Her responsibility covers from teaching & learning activities, supervising research students, conducting research, publication and consultancy. Her area of expertise is ethics, governance and sustainability.

    References Portraits:
    Susanne Dalsgaard Krag© | Klaus Tochtermann: Sven Wied/ZBW© | Rajen Munoo© | Christine Okret-Manville: Patrick Dardinier© | Vasiliki Mole© | Corey Seeman: Bob Hebert/Wake Forest University Library© | Deb Wallace© | Aida Maria Ismail©.

    The post Digitisation in Libraries: To What Extent has Corona Given a Boost? first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.The post Digitisation in Libraries: To What Extent has Corona Given a Boost? first appeared on Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science.