Archive for November, 2012

Our training session today was on e-resources at Oxford and it was a great insight in to what resources Oxford has, what we produce, what we buy, how we allow users to access the resources and the current state of play with regard to open access.  Talks were given by Michael Popham (Head of Oxford Digital Library), Jonathan McAslan (Electronic Resources Manager), and Sally Rumsey (ORA Service and Development Manager).  They were all incredibly informative and fascinating to listen to but there were a few points that stuck out for me:

  • Accessibility: As a large proportion of the e-resources accessed are done so from outside Oxford this implies lots of people needing to use the resources of the university are unable to come directly in to the university (or are unable to).  This raises interesting challenges for how many more resources are going to be required online and the increasing demand on each resource.
  • Funding of digitisation projects: Universities have little funding themselves to be able to fund digitisation projects but there are still a lot happening due to external people/companies coming up with the cash to fund specific projects.  Problems can arise when the cash runs out but as long as Oxford still owns the original images there is a lot we can do with them.
  • Journal access: Jonathan raised some interesting issues that I certainly wasn’t aware of, such as the phenomenal cost of journals, the negotiation that goes on to buy access, and the VAT that is payable on e-journals.  This has certainly put journals in to an entirely new light for me.
  • Open Access:  Sally’s talk was fantastic and gave us all a lot to think about with regards to open access to research and data.  This seems like sure a lively and progressive area that is fast moving at the moment in terms of rule changes and new budgets.

All of these talks certainly highlighted for anyone still in any doubt that digital assets are a vital resource that a university has and this will only become more the case in future years.  The overall impression I got from this session is that Oxford is committed to providing it’s vast resources to meet the needs to the users, in a format which they need it.  It also seems focused on providing access to the fantastic research that is done here in a fair and open way to any one who wishes to view it, and as far as I’m concerned that can only be a good thing.

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Hello everyone, I’m Sophie, this year’s Graduate Trainee at the Bodleian Library. I’ve been in Oxford for just over two months now, and have really enjoyed my time here so far. As part of the Reader Services department I’m based mainly at the reserve desks, the first point of contact for readers. My main duties are to assist library users with book orders and photocopying, answering any queries they might have, as well as processing the incoming books from the regular deliveries throughout the day. Thankfully the first three weeks were relatively quiet, so I was able to get the hang of the computer system and practice answering the most common queries before the rush of term! In between readers there are plenty of tasks to be getting on with such as shelving, tagging and stamping new journals, and helping out with the major book moves that have been taking place throughout the library.Image

Unlike the majority of staff in the Bodleian, as part of my role I regularly move around the library and work in various reading rooms. This has been great so far, if initially confusing, as I’ve been able to experience a wide variety of tasks, find my way around more easily, and work closely with a large number of staff. I move between the reading rooms in the Old Bodleian and the Radcliffe Camera, which are quite different working environments – there are usually more queries in the Camera due to the higher proportion of undergraduate readers and the fact that it is a lending library, unlike the Bodleian. It has been really interesting to work in both libraries and to experience the differences in day-to-day practices.  I have also been spending a lot of time at the Main Enquiry Desk, answering enquiries over the phone and by email, which was nerve-wracking at first but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. The number of weird and wonderful questions we get asked is amazing!

A little more information about me: I’ve just graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in American Studies, and worked in various retail and customer service roles alongside my studies. I also volunteered in a small theological library last summer, an experience I enjoyed immensely, and which inspired me to pursue librarianship as a possible career. Overall, my experience of the Bodleian so far has been exciting and eye-opening. I have loved meeting my fellow trainees and exploring this beautiful city, and can’t wait to discover what the coming year will bring.

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