Library Day in the Life 2013 – Wednesday

Here is my third Day in the Life post this week (see Tuesday’s post, and Monday’s post for some background).

I came in first thing to find a few emails from my boss in my inbox.  One was a reply to my request for a quote about our retiring Assistant Director, so I was able to add it in and publish that news item. Another was about the MRC’s new records management policy. This looks, er, interesting but not primarily my responsibility (or such is my hope).

In other emails I received the final draft of the OC blogpost I mentioned on Monday. It is looking good – just a minor amendment needed. Also I had a reminder about an unpaid invoice, so pushed that over to our finance people. I also had a reminder to approve an order for an open access payment.

Then I did my scan for research policy/news. Highlights today were a report of an Academy of Medical Sciences lecture about the pharmaceutical industry, something in The Scientist about evaluating peer reviewers, and something claiming that much pre-clinical animal research is flawed. I wasn’t sure about that last one – it is really about drug development rather than about fundamental research, but I figured people should know about it.

The main business of the morning though was to attend a meeting – something to do with our women in science team. My daily research policy scans often bring up news about women in science initiatives or opinions. The team want to spread such information in a more coordinated fashion,  so I was invited along to their meeting to advise. They agreed to contact our web manager to discuss setting something up on the intranet. I got out of the meeting relatively unscathed, though I am going to have to do some work later on. I made it clear that the team will have to do some of the work too.  Sometimes people think that you can magic up some coherent web pages out of thin air. The truth is that it is easy to conjure up awful web pages, but takes time and discussion (and skill) to create pages that fit in with everything else on the intranet and have just the right amount of information on. That’s why we have a web manager.

I had some feedback about the polyQ news item that I worked on yesterday.  I made a few changes, and it is now ready to be published as soon as the paper appears online.

I sent out a quick email reminder to one of our IT guys to find out what is happening about our plans to start using an ebook service. We want to use Shibboleth with this service (since no other authentication method seems to work for us – long story) but we need IT to do some initial setting up. Trouble is we/they have only recently got into Shibboleth so none of us are really sure how to go about things. I got a quick reply to my email, but it doesn’t sound as though things are moving along as quickly as I had hoped.

A request from another MRC library for some journal usage stats necessitated delving into Excel and extracting them. This publisher (one of my least favourite!) will not provide site-by-site stats, only for all MRC sites together. This causes difficulties when we’re trying to justify subscriptions, but it is one of those ‘must-have’ journals so I cannot imagine cancelling it anyway, and they know this.

I realised that this week is a “KfR” week.  We have a Library blog (internal only) but fear it does not get looked at all that much, so every couple of weeks we highlight posts from the blog in the Institute’s internal weekly newsletter, in a feature called “Knowledge for Research”. Hence we tend to focus our contributions to the Library blog when a KfR is due. I highlighted something about F1000Research wanting papers about software, a list of books people pretend to have read, a report about Wikipedia edit-a-thons at NLM and NIH and a couple of other things.

It’s interesting to see F1000Research progressing. I have arranged for them to come and give a short talk here in the autumn, along with Biorxiv, PeerJ, Frontiers and Open Biology. I hope it will be a useful round-up of some of the newer publishing ventures.

The MRC’s Head of Diversity and Equality then dropped off some materials for the Wikipedia workshop tomorrow and we had a quick chat about last-minute arrangements.   I also looked over a tip sheet that my colleague had prepared for tomorrow, about searching for biographical information (I try not to be an OCD micro-manager … but I fail).

In the afternoon I started writing up notes of a meeting held last week all to do with Library services in the future Institute.  Nothing is clear as yet but we had some interesting discussions on key issues. I broke the back of the notes, but still have one last section to write. I don’t mind this sort of thing, but it is difficult to make notes when you are also chairing, and you know that any actions noted down are going to have to be done by you.

I had a couple of slightly confusing and contradictory hints about the staffing situation, from different sources. I just hope I will know one way or the other soon.

Well, the to-do list is still long, and keeps nagging at me. Tomorrow is another day.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we move further from print to electronic resources to open research, and become more embedded in research workflows.
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