Sadly the Library Day in the Life project has ended. It provided a chance twice a year for librarians round the world to explain what they did each working day for a week. I took part twice, in 2011 and 2012. The project ended earlier this year – it had grown quite large with many participants and its originator realised that it needed new goals and better focus. Sadly she felt she was not able to devote time to refocusing it so she decided to close it, though the archive is still on the original site.
On a whim this morning I decided I would do my own Library Day in the Life each day this week.
My first task on arriving was to put together a few words about the retirement of our Assistant Director after 45 years’ service. Yes: 45 years. There was a party for him on Friday evening and I made some notes from the speeches. I decided on Friday that it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and write something after a few glasses of champagne and wine, so had to do it first thing today. I sent it off to the editor of the MRC’s internal news magazine in good time before the deadline.
Then I carried out my regular scan looking for news about science policy and related things. The best piece today was from James Wilsdon about Demos, but I also liked the Labguru piece on motivating your lab team.
The next task was to assemble a short news item about a recent paper from one of our PIs. This is to go onto our external website. Mostly I just rearrange words from the abstract, introduction and discussion, trying to make a single story emerge. I don’t have the skill or time to write a lay-friendly piece, but our website is mainly aimed at scientists not the general public. It took a couple of hours, with various interruptions from visitors, phone calls and emails. Happily the PI liked what I had done so I made it live after lunch.
Many of those interruptions were open access queries. One postdoc was submitting a paper to a journal that apparently required that a licence to publish be signed at the time of submission. That seemed unusual. Eventually she decided to submit to a PLOS journal instead. A divisional administrator (DA) asked me for help as one of her PIs wanted to make several of his articles open access, going back to 2009. The publisher of the articles in question did not have a paid OA option, so the PI would need to deposit the accepted manuscripts into PubMedCentral (PMC). The DA is going to come back to me once she has checked if a) he still has the manuscripts b) he knows his PMC username and password. Someone else also wanted to make a recent paper OA and wanted to know how to deposit into PMC.
I envisage this level of enquiries on OA will continue. The Director has just sent out a message (written by me) to all staff advising them that we need to improve our OA compliance.
Another interruption was about the renewal of a key database product. The rep who called me is trying to persuade us to add on some additional products to our basic subscription (almost no chance). The subscription is not due to expire until end of September, but may be a bit complicated so it’s good to start thinking about it now. The cheapest option is the three-year renewal, but that takes us well into 2016, by which point this Institute will have ceased to exist and will be part of the Crick. We have only just begun to discuss arrangements at the new Institute for online resources. Hence this apparently simple renewal raises all kinds of questions, not the least of which is how the new JISC banding arrangements will apply.
I delved into Twitter occasionally throughout the day, for light relief. I noted some adverse comments on David Cameron’s plans to filter the Internet, and was intrigued to see something called Radical Library Camp being planned for September. I am not really a radical, but I do find radical ideas stimulating – they shake me out of my tendency to cosy complacency. Definitely considering going along to that event.
Right after lunch I was supposed to have a meeting with someone about transition plans. This was to discuss some documents but as we hadn’t prepared the documents yet I suspected it would not be a productive meeting. Then it turned out that he wasn’t actually in work today, so that settled that. It was a relief to have a bit more time, but I do really need to sort out our transition plans soon.
Next job was to finish off my contribution to a piece for Occam’s Corner. This is in connection with Thursday’s Wikipedia event, so I won’t say more here. The main event is fully booked, but I am still getting some requests for extra people to come.
Finally, I just need to figure out what I am going to say to our School Essay Competition winners, who are visiting tomorrow. My task is to give them a quick overview of the Institute and its history, plus an introduction to the Library. I can do that in my sleep, but I just need to plan it out a little.
See you tomorrow!