SLLG SWOP Networking, 25th January 2018

SLLG and SWOP leaflets (credit S. Wilson)

SLLG and SWOP leaflets (credit S. Wilson)

SLLG and SWOP held a joint networking event for their memberships.
Official Publication information, law librarianship and shared professionalism (and the crisps afterwards) were the topics of the day. Here is a summary of discussions.

17 attendees from SLLG and SWOP were welcomed to the SSC Library for a late afternoon of networking together. Based on the SLLG popular “speed” format, 6 questions were introduced to the tables: 1 every 6 minutes. When the bell rang for a question, those designated “Movers” moved to the next table to form new discussion groups.

1. Are people using anything for remote training, or creating training sessions for an intranet?

Regardless of it being “live” or remote, the delivery needs to be best suited to the training. Tailored personal training is best done in real time. For general “how to”, or inductions, pre-recorded content can work better.

Blogs, Google Docs, Totara, Blackboard, Jabber, Mentimeter, Captivate, Camtasia, YouTube, SharePoint, WebEx and Skype were all mentioned as platforms for remote training, so there’s no shortage of known options to consider.

Considerations of using those included:

  • IT requirements to access training (workplace access?)
  • How the training is best delivered (i.e. video, written, interactive…
  • Size / location of user group requiring training
  • Will it improve training for anyone with reduced mobility or with a condition such as autism?
  • Ways to keep the training current and reliable
  • How to monitor the training using feedback and follow ups to establish evidence of its worth and, crucially, develop it

MOOCS were mentioned as an area where information services could direct their users towards, albeit external, training.

The Scottish Government Library Blog was cited as a good example of the possibilities for remote training. The Scottish Courts Information Service is extending its training and considering online video tech to reach geographically distant service users.  SWOP, too, is looking to establish e-learning resouces for Official Publications through collaborating with public libraries.

2. What do you want from a professional organisation?

Those employed in law and government information sectors are fortunate to be able to look to a variety of professional organisations. A membership to one does not preclude the need or desire to be a member of one or two more.

Relevant networking, CPD potential and support are the most sought aspects in choosing a group.

Further specified aspects were:

  • Locality of events
  • “Goodwill” between members
  • Bursaries
  • Social media presence
  • Job vacancy news

There was some detailed discussion of particular groups.

SLLG was praised for holding events which allow networking and for enabling members to contact one another. As a smaller group, the SLLG is noted to offer good chances to get involved with committee participation and gain skills such as event planning and website administration.

SWOP offers great informality of no fixed membership. This creates a wider mix from sectors and innovative engagement of members.

CILIP is seen as the most “professional” group with advanced CPD structures covering the widest range of the information sector. Overall, CILIP can be seen as a high cost membership for its law sector members.

BIALL is viewed as having a lot of potential in the law librarianship sector, however is too England-centric for events and training.

A membership of any group is seen as positive. The ability to compare ideas, ask advice about services and gain confidence through peer support is vital for an information professional’s success.

3. What social media platforms do you use professionally and what are the benefits?

There has been a steady move to enthusiasm around the potential to be found in social media in the workplace. It is seen as a legitimate tool for collaboration and information sources.

Social media use for the workplace tends to be governed by workplace policy. Often this policy aims to restrict the media rather than promote how to use it well. Responsibility for a workplace social platform is sometimes given to a dedicated department or junior level employee. This underplays most benefits of having the platform.

From a professional output view point, reasons for social media:

  •  Users expect the information service to have a social media presence
  • Wider and closer engagement with service users and prospective users

From a professional input view point for social media:

  • Following academics and commentators to gain insights and trends
  • A means to ask questions and be part of events without physically attending (e.g. via hashtags)

Social media, used professionally, requires careful thought, planning and hard work.

Platforms have expanded beyond just one or two. Information users, likewise, have expanded to a presence on more platforms. The onus is on the information service to create access points on more of these platforms.

Key is finding suitable platforms for the information intended for the audience. Twitter is best for immediacy with regular engagement. Facebook is best for posting longer term information (events, opening times…) and users checking with only occasional frequency. Students are likely to jump between multiple platforms, expecting the information to be sent to them. Lawyers tend to visit one established platform and will ask for information when they need it.

There is content to give thought to. A social platform can lose the identity of the service as quickly as it enhances it. A library’s staff might be friendly in person but have a social media which is distant and non-responsive. An account might post views a service should not have an opinion on or, worse, oppose the values of the service. Advice is – where possible – be friendly, engaged and give good information in context and try to bring a personality through which reflects the service.

Privacy is an issue. Although social media is good for discovering more about a workplace, it is also a means to do this prior to an interview or meeting. Could the account possibly create unhelpful or unwanted preconceptions? Be careful of how the work environment and colleagues are perceived in posts.

To check how your workplace twitter account may be perceived, try the tool Analyze Words for a bit fun.

The SLLG Twitter account was commended as a good example of social media.

4. What benefits and disadvantages of digital only government information?

The Scottish Government opted to only publish born digital material from 2007. As part of this decision, an agreement was reached with the National Library of Scotland (NLS) to be a mirror depository for government publications. In this way both the Scottish Government and NLS are access points to obtain this material.

Negatives:

  • If the link is broken, the document is not available
  • Material no longer requires an ISBN, removing a unique access point
  • There is no reliable contact for help
  • No curated material into logical bundles of associated papers (thereby not taking advantage of the new digital format)
  • Each document needs searched for individually
  • If an item is not in the database, there is no way of knowing if lost or never created
  • Documents not any easier to find if they were in print
  • No legacy links to previous department names, so knowledge of name changes and when occurred can be vital
  • Accessibility – should be accessible to all, but online requires connection to the internet and IT literacy to mine for the information.

Archiving of documents is a worry. Although the most current material coverage is good, there is little commercial incentive to maintain a robust archive. The result is archive material often difficult to obtain.

Positives:

  • Full-text searching, including Google search
  • Corporate users want online format flexibility
  • Reduced cost and storage requirements
  • Added security of information through NLS
  • Accessibility –  those interested in the material no longer need to travel to a building

It appears born digital materials from the Scottish Government still have some way to go to persuade us that they are better than in paper.

5. Best practice for libraries importing Official Publications metadata?

The NLS has an agreement to record and make available material deposited by the Scottish Government within one week of publication. There is a long term plan to batch publically available records linking back to the NLS server. These can be imported into a library catalogue.

There were some implications for those looking to import /create record data.

  • Users need to know they are linking to the authoritative Official Publication
  • Variance in standards and quality of records to an in-house catalogue is almost inventible
  • Outsourced catalogues mean a loss of control for the library

Although some libraries have removed the need for cataloguers by outsourcing, there was an acknowledgment of the importance of good and consistent records to find materials.

Some potential best practices were:

  • Improve access by adapting imported records into house style to help with user familiarity
  • Redirect users searching for Official Publications to the NLS OPAC

Faith in records being searched, imported or created, was the main ambition for library staff.

6. Using BREXT as an example, what are the best resources and ways for efficient and up-to-date Current Awareness (CA)?

CA comes in so many options, there is no single aggregator which has everything. It is crucial to find a compromise of expectation. Some service users are happy with the daily newspapers, others expect something more complex.

There is a feeling law firms are more in need of tailored CA than in other law practices. Solicitors market themselves as cutting edge and their clients need impact assessments based on latest and future business and legal developments. Academic, and lawyers “higher up” (such as sheriffs and judges), tend not to demand so much of this information or knowledge.

With reference to the example in the question, BREXT has been monetised by some commercial CA providers. However, no one at the networking had purchased such a package.

SPICe bulltins and the Scottish Government Library newsfeed were cited as good sources of BREXIT information. Publishers (e.g. Thomson Reuters) have resources such as BREXT trackers. Blogs and mainstream media were also cited.

Twitter, RSS feeds, mailing lists and a library page of resource links were ideas for efficient ways to keep up to date with CA and BREXIT.

There was debate if the intellectual work required to sort forecast commentary and irrelevant editorials from only authoritative materials brought into departmental “round-ups” was simply too much for too little value.

Although CA is time consuming to put together and deliver, whatever the method, it will hopefully achieve the aim of reducing the amount of times users will resort to Google and reading inaccurate information. Which is probably the aim for all our services across the board, really.

DING-DING!

And with this the round-table-round-up is over. Now, if only we could re-enact the eating of crisps and cocktail sausages and have a glass or two of wine.

Both sets of group members really enjoyed the discussions and format of the event. As you can see, a lot of ground can be covered by librarians in just 6 minutes.

The committee would very much like to thank Christine Macleod (SLLG)  and Sharron Wilson (SWOP) for working together in organising the event. The committee also thanks Christine Wilcox for the use of the SSC Library. Finally, on behalf of both SLLG and SWOP, we would like to thank all those who attended and contributed to make an excellent event.

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Understanding the General Data Protection Regulations – FutureLearn course

A discussion of data protection and the course that taught it, by Christine Macleod.

I have just completed the free online course on Understanding of the General Data Protection Regulations course presented by FutureLearn. This was a self-paced, four week course, taking approximately 3 hours per week. The GDPR course is compiled and presented by staff at the University of Groningen.

I was interested in doing this course for three reasons.

  1. The SLLG committee needs to know how to apply these regulations to the SLLG membership data.
  2. As a member of the public (a data subject) I was curious as to what my rights are, and how to protect my privacy.
  3. How does the GDPR apply to my professional work

I completed a previous FutureLearn course on Genealogy by Strathclyde University, so knew roughly what the format would be – articles, videos, interactive comments, quizzes and exercises. There are also additional resources – links and articles you can read on particular topics if you want to research a topic in more depth. After each section you tick a box to confirm you have completed it so you know exactly where you are and how much more you have to do.

The course is interactive and it asks you to write comments on specific questions, like what do you think about privacy and data security. You can read comments from others on the course, and they can “Like” your comments etc. so discussions can start up. Throughout the course there are links to the regulations themselves if you want to read the actual documents or relate the concepts to the particular articles within the regulations.

The new GDPR come into force on 25 May 2018 and any company or organisation (governments, councils universities etc) in the EU that collects and stores data on individuals will have to be compliant with these Regulations by then. It also affects companies outside the EU if they hold data on EU resident data.cloud-3017392__340

The course covers a variety of topics, from basic GDPR concepts, to processing principles, rights of data subjects, obligations for controllers and processors, enforcement mechanisms and liability and sanctions. Each section in explained in articles and videos with reference to supporting materials

Week 1 Is an introduction and is designed to make you think about why and what you need to know about the new regulations and the processing of personal data e.g. What are privacy and data protection? It uses the Google case as an example which I found interesting it connects you to a real case, and goes back to the case throughout to provide a live example.

It then outlined the basic fundamentals of GDPR, Data protection principles, consent and minors, including definitions and the different roles – controllers, processors and subjects, data protection officers DPOs – the basics of what you need to understand to make sense of the regulations.

There are 6 main data protection principles which form the basis for privacy of information and data protection. I have listed them here as they are the backbone to the regulations, so are important to learn and understand.

  1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
  2. Purpose limitation
  3. Data minimisation
  4. Accuracy
  5. Storage limitation
  6. Integrity and confidentiality

These principles are held together by the principle of Accountancy. The Controller shall be responsible for compliance with the principles

Week 2 was all about the rights of data subjects which I found very interesting. It looked at transparency and modalities (the mode in which something is experienced eg – written, spoken, email, by phone etc) and how information about you is held, what is done to it and how to complain; the need for transparent, understandable, language, and any processes must be simple to undertake.

The sections went through the various rights and their exceptions

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The Rights to :-

  • access and rectification
  • object and restrict processing
  • erasure (without undue delay) (except for public interest/health, legal claims etc.)
  • data portability (copy supplied is in a readable format
  • how to complain even/especially if data is processed automatically
  • judicial remedies
  • to be represented
  • compensation for material or non-material damages

These are all rights which we as individuals will have, and I feel it is important that we know what our rights are. Many of the comments in the discussions were about how you are asked by your phone to allow access to your emails, photos, location etc. and how there seems little option but to comply.

Week 3 covered the obligations of controllers and processors – who these groups are, where they overlap, what they are accountable for and to whom. It also looked at the appointment of Data Protection Offices and Data Protection Impact Assessments,

Part of the Controllers obligations include achieving data protection by design and by default. By design – data protection has to be built into systems from the start. By Default – data collections must only contain the minimum amount of data required for specific purposes, and only for a specified amount of time.

Week 4 was about GDPR enforcement and compliance, which looked at the co-ordination, powers and roles of the various authorities, such as the National Supervisory Authorities and the European Data Protection Board. It also looked at the tools available to companies and organisation to help them comply, such as certification mechanisms, codes of conduct, and binding corporate rules. It touched on cross-border data transfers, and finally the liabilities, responsibilities and penalties and sanctions of data controllers and processors are subject to if they do not comply.

Through-out the course you are asked to think about how these concepts apply, what impact they have on you personally, whether you think sanctions will actually work. This method involves you and keeps you interested and engaged, and helps you learn. I do feel I now understand what the GDPR is about and how it applies to me in my life and in my work. I have also been asked to share my new found knowledge with my colleagues.

I found the course great at presenting the information, starting from the general to the specific.  It was stimulating, interesting and very pertinent to me both as an individual, and as a SLLG committee member. It made me aware of how I can protect and access my personal data. It also made me think about what the SLLG committee needs to do to protect members’ data. It was in-depth enough to generate more questions (How will the right to be forgotten be applied? Can we have privacy and protect national security?), and stimulated an appreciation of the issues surrounding data protection and privacy in today’s society which is so steeped in social media.

There are lots more interesting courses available on FutureLearn, including several legal subjects eg. “Law for non-Lawyers” and “Maritime Law” , courses useful to chartership “Learning online: reflecting and sharing”, and just interesting subjects like geology and moons – go look and learn!

Law Librarians Explained, a Law School Toolbox blog post

Link: Law Librarians Explained: Everything a 1L Should Know 

Although the context is for American law students, this is a good little introductory blog about law librarians.

Respect your law librarian—they are not just there to reshelf your books

John Passmore’s post includes quotable lines which are worth taking away for any of us explaining our law information service.

….don’t doubt a law librarian’s ability to dig just a little deeper and search just a little more precisely than you can

Even if it might have mentioned loose-leaf updating a bit more, it’s only an introduction to all the amazing stuff we do, after all, so I suppose not everything could fit in it.

Having a highly educated and experienced legal information professional in your corner is huge

If anyone has a comment on the Toolbox blog post or has one (or more!) blog posts they’d also like to share with the group, please let us know.

The Advocates Library: telling our stories through infographics

As a contribution to #librariesweek, Helen and Jane from the Advocates Library write about their use of infographics for highlighting library workings to service users.

There is always a need for libraries, of any sort, to look at ways to raise their profile and remind users of the value they offer.

Back in the spring Helen was thinking about ways to raise the profile of the library. As a result of a 3am light bulb moment she came into work with infographics on her mind. Co-incidentally Jane had also been looking into this method of communicating information in a gorgeous and eye-catching manner. We got quite excited.

As it is Libraries Week we thought we would share our recent experience of using infographics to promote Advocates Library services to our members. Two of our recent infographics are featured below. Save the images to view them larger.

Heart of the Advocates Library

The librarians at the heart of the Advocates Library

Helen saw infographics as an opportunity for marketing and raising awareness of the Advocates Library services with a method of displaying content in ways that would catch and hold our members’ attention. It was not going to present new or particularly complex information as such. It was felt best suited to information that can be given in a bite-sized form, wrapped in pretty packaging.

Jane assessed various infographic sites at the start but has settled on piktochart.com which provides an incredible level of content and functionality for free (more is available with a subscription). Piktochart offers a variety of templates but she tends to start from scratch with a blank page and build up our story for the month.

Each month Helen comes up with a theme idea. As it is discussed, a ‘story’ evolves about the message we are trying to convey. While Helen gathers statistics and information on the theme from departments within the Advocates Library, Jane lets the story develop in her mind.

By the time Helen has a factual outline of the infographic, Jane can get to work with a clear idea of what imagery she wants to create with it.

When Helen and Jane are happy with the result, the new infographic is disseminated as part of the Library news ebulletin and printed out for display at the main Enquiry Desk and remote library rooms.

The industry of the library

The industry behind answering an enquiry in the Advocates Library

Our member feedback has been very positive about the infographic series. We hope that on some level this approach to marketing our library services will improve their understanding of the “library” work done by library staff, much of which is undertaken behind the scenes and probably otherwise unawares by our members.

Libraries are always looking at ways to promote their services. For us, working in quite a traditional environment, we have found doing something relatively unexpected quite effective. We have had a chance to use our latent creative skills and think about alternative ways of communicating with our members. It has been a rewarding experience. We have ideas for the next few months but our challenge will be to keep telling our Library stories in interesting and attractive infographics in the months beyond.

Helen Robinson, Reader Services Librarian & Jane A Condie, Reader Services Assistant,
Advocates Library.