Category Archives: Information Management

A guest post from Tim Wales, author of ‘Business School Libraries in the 21st Century’

Tim WalesTim Wales recently joined the University of West London as Director of Library Services. He was previously Head of Library at the London Business School and Associate Director (E-Strategy) at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Business School Libraries in the 21st CenturyThis week sees the formal publication of my new book for Ashgate, Business School Libraries in the 21st Century. A lot has happened since I started writing and editing the book in August 2012 with my fellow contributors around the world, not least the fact that I changed jobs during its final gestation period and moved out of the business school library sector to take on a more general academic library leadership role at The University of West London.

This change has left me feeling somewhat conflicted about the book: depending on my frame of my mind, I see it serving as an effective “capstone” (to use MBA programme jargon) for my time spent leading a business school library with a nice piece of international collaboration to capture the common sets of issues business school libraries around the world are having to confront and deal with.

Or, alternatively, I see it as a “tombstone” for my time in charge at London Business School Library (LBS) – this is because the strategic planning exercise for the Library’s future that I describe in Chapter 12 will continue under the aegis of an interim Head of Library (currently being appointed) reporting to a senior Library Review group. I am not so vain to presume that the future scenarios for the Library that I came up with are the only possible variations and so I will be watching through my fingers as events play out in Regent’s Park in the next 12 months. Two predictions though: 1) the Library’s reporting line in the organisational structure will change from being part of IT (it is always fascinating to discover how many different variations Library reporting lines can throw up around the world) and 2) the Library team will move into the School’s new Sammy Ofer Centre on the Marylebone Road in some shape or form in 2017.

I should also say that I feel very proud to have published my first professional book just as I was proud to have published various professional articles in the past and written a chapter for another Ashgate book on academic libraries for my friend, fellow contributor and business library head, Andy Priestner. Not only do these publications give me ideal testing and demoing metadata for use with Library systems, citation databases and altmetrics, they give me the means to understand the publishing cycle and associated processes for the academic community I support. This in turn gives me a little more professional credibility at a senior level and, crucially, the opportunity to experience at first hand the issues wrapped up in my role as Director of Library Services: academic dissemination and visibility, publisher processes and agreements, open access publishing (OA) not to mention working remotely within a defined virtual subject community internationally to name just a few.

OA in relation to my own situation with this book deserves further brief comment. I remember having discussions with senior managers at LBS regarding how to handle publications of faculty who had since left the School. Should associated metadata and outputs be left in the publications database or not? The scenario did not extend to non-faculty staff who happened to publish as there was no tradition of including such staff in the publications database anyway (I’m deliberately not using the word “repository” by the way). So having carefully chosen a publisher like Ashgate that permits green OA chapter deposits in repositories, but with nowhere now to deposit them as I have left my associated institution, where can I deposit my chapters to fulfil my moral and ethical duties as a librarian? Thankfully, there is a OA refuge for nomadic authors like me in my situation, it’s called OpenDepot. By the way, my book includes a very interesting chapter on the OA situation in France by Agnès Melot and Sophie Forcadell from HEC Paris.

So would I edit such a book again? However good your contributors, it is undoubtedly hard work to keep an eye on all the details all of the times and and it is very easy to lose momentum and interest through the proofing stages. I don’t think I will be able to read the book myself for another two years as I am sick of the sight of the text but also afraid that I will uncover mistakes or omissions! At times, it was like an extension of the day job in terms of managing people over whom you have no formal control but require their co-operation in order to complete a task to a required degree of quality by a certain date. The worst part was having to gently encourage (by email) two prospective contributors to withdraw their draft chapter voluntarily and rewrite it e.g. as a journal article instead, without hurting their feelings or injuring their professional pride.This leads me to think that my next publication will be a sole author work in whatever shape or form.

Why should you read this book? Well, it collates (original) material together which you will not encounter elsewhere, including some primary research and original change management case studies for libraries in the USA, Europe and Asia (like all good MBA courses!) as well as some thought-provoking opinion pieces from respected librarians in the sector. And, as it is emphatically not a “how to be a business librarian” or “how to answer business queries” book, then it has general relevance for senior library professionals and managers working in tertiary education with English as a first or second language. It also has a very touching and personal foreword by the Dean of Harvard Business School, Nitin Nohria, about the importance of academic libraries in his own career which is eminently citable in its own right. Enjoy…

The author writes this blog post in a personal capacity.

Launching Defining Digital Humanities!

This is a guest post from Melissa Terras, one of the editors of Defining Digital Humanities (just published, December 2013). It originally appeared on the dedicated Defining Digital Humanities blog on the UCL website.

Defininf Digital HumanitiesWe’re really pleased – after two years of discussion, editing, and working with Ashgate, that Defining Digital Humanities is finally out in both print and ebook formats.

Given the growth in Digital Humanities centers and courses, we wanted to pull together core readings in our field – from both “Humanities Computing” and “Digital Humanities” – that would give the flavour of the various discussions that have occurred when people have tried to define Digital Humanities. Our editorial stance is not to define DH ourselves, but to present the core content that appear on various syllabi, in one handy print volume that can be used in class, or by those interested in understanding more about why the term Digital Humanities is so used, and so discussed.

As is the nature with a reader text, most of the content is available elsewhere: on this site we link to the online versions of the materials published in the book, although some of the content is behind paywalls.  We provide one major new chapter written by Edward Vanhoutte on the histories of Digital Humanities, which we make freely available on this site. We also hope to keep the further reading section on this site updated with newer blog posts, and journal articles, which add to the discussion of that it means to undertake Digital Humanities activities, and we’ll be adding additional content to the site as time goes on. The print volume also contains introductions to each featured article, and comments from most article authors, as well as a list of questions that can be used in a taught class to spark discussion.

We believe we’ve created a very useful compendium of texts which is a starting point when trying to understand the field which is now described as Digital Humanities. You can follow @DefiningDH on twitter, and please do let us know of other content that we should be including on this site.

New findings show museums can make you healthy and happy

This is a guest post by Helen J Chatterjee. It was originally published on the UCL Museums & Collections Blog.

There are now lots of examples of museums offering activities and programmes geared towards improving their audience’s health and wellbeing. From creative arts and museum object handling sessions through to talks, tours and knitting groups, museums offer a diverse array of ‘healthy’ activities. But what is the real impact of such activities on individual’s health and wellbeing?

Guy Noble from University College London Hospital and I have been collating, reviewing and analysing hundreds of projects, reports, publications and other evidence in our new book Museums, Health and Well-being, to find out if museums really can make you happier and healthier. The results are startling and impressive.

Museums Health and WellbeingThere is substantial anecdotal evidence regarding the value of museums-in-health, a new term coined in the book, and when considered along with the scholarly evidence it appears that museums benefit health and wellbeing in lots of ways, by providing:

  • positive social experiences, leading to reduced social isolation
  • opportunities for learning and acquiring news skills
  • calming experiences, leading to decreased anxiety
  • increased positive emotions, such as optimism, hope and enjoyment
  • increased self-esteem and a sense of identity and community
  • increased opportunities for meaning making
  • positive distraction from clinical environments
  • new experiences which may be novel, inspirational and meaningful
  • increased communication between families, carers and health professionals

(Taken from Museums, Health and Well-being, Ashgate, 2013)

Our own research investigated the value of museum object handling sessions in hospitals and care homes. We used various clinical measures of quality of life, psychological and subjective wellbeing, along with analysis of conversations from the handling sessions. The results showed highly significant improvements in positive emotion, wellbeing and happiness, improvements in patients’ perceptions of their own health and optimism about the role of museum object handling as a distraction from ward life that impacts positively on relationships among staff, patients and their carers.

This is the first time that the full variety of work going on in museums, and all of the associated evidence, have been brought together to demonstrate the impact of museums-in-health. The book reveals that when considered altogether, there is now substantial support which is backed up by a robust evidence base.

And the good news doesn’t stop there. It is extremely timely to think about a new ‘public health’ role for museums. In 2012 the UK government introduced The Health and Social Care Act. The new Act is bringing about major changes to the way health and social care services will be delivered in the future. A key part of these health reforms sees a shift towards the idea that ‘prevention is better than cure’, within a framework which will require a multi-agency approach with an increased reliance on third sector organisations such as charities, voluntary and community organisations. Part of the reason for the health reforms is the realisation that individuals are living longer but with unhealthier lifestyles, with a significant increase in age- and lifestyle-related diseases, such as dementia and diabetes; this places added pressure on health services (including the NHS) and social services. It has also been shown that there is a ‘social gradient’ in relation to health, whereby individuals from poorer socio-economic backgrounds experience reduced health, wellbeing and social resilience.

With over 2500 museums in the UK alone, many of which are free, museums offer a largely untapped resource as places which can support public health. Museums, however, are very well placed to address issues such as social isolation, physical and mental ill-health and evidence discussed in our book suggests that museums can help to build social capital and resilience, and improve health and wellbeing.

Given the benefits described above from engaging in museums, it is easy to see how museums could fit into this new era of health commissioning. There are already lots of great examples of museums-in-health initiatives, as discussed in the book. Our findings show that several museums are targeting older adults, mental health service users, children with learning difficulties and promoting public health education.

We hope that before too long all museums will adapt their access plans to consider health and wellbeing benefits by targeting specific groups such as those people who are vulnerable, socially isolated, lonely or unemployed, older adults in care, and other health and social care service users such as people with physical or cognitive disabilities. If you are a museum and you want to benefit your community’s health and wellbeing check out Museums, Health and Well-being to find out how!

Author: Dr Helen Chatterjee is Head of Research and Teaching at UCL Museums and a Senior Lecturer in Biology at University College London. Guy Noble is Head of Arts at University College London NHS Foundation Trust.

Helen and Guy’s book Museums, Health and Well-being is published by Ashgate and is available now from http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409425816

Visit the Touch and Wellbeing project website for further information about the research.

Ashgate at the KL International Book Fair 2013

Posted by Richard Dowling, Sales Director

Ashgate attended the Kuala Lumpur Book Fair this year for the 9th year in a row. The Fair runs for nine days, and it’s an opportunity for us to meet with our library customers and showcase our new books. The sales reps from the library suppliers we work with bring librarians to our stand to look at the books we have on display and at our catalogues, and to place orders.

Richard at the KL Book Fair 2013We took around 390 books this year which is on a par with previous years. Gower Business & Management titles proved the most popular overall, with Politics coming in second and then Islamic Studies third. Catalogues are still important and around 10% of the total orders were for titles that were not on display.

Popular titles at the Fair:

ARC to International Trade PolicyThe Ashgate Research Companion to International Trade Policy (Edited by Kenneth Heydon and Stephen Woolcock)

Energy Access Poverty and DevelopmentEnergy Access, Poverty, and Development (Benjamin K. Sovacool and Ira Martina Drupady)

Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (Edited by Daphne Halkias and Paul W. Thurman)

Islam and Sustainable Development (Odeh Rashed Al Jayyousi)

University Libraries and Space in the Digital World Personalising Library Services in Higher EducationPersonalising Library Services in Higher Education (Edited by Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley)

Qualitative Research Skills for Social Work (Malcolm Carey)

University Libraries and Space in the Digital World (Edited by Graham Matthews and Graham Walton)

Willard McCarty – “the Obi-Wan Kenobi” of Digital Humanities – wins the 2013 Busa Award

We are delighted to learn that Willard McCarty has won the 2013 Busa Award. The announcement was made on behalf of Matthew Jockers, chairman of the Busa Award committee, at the recent Digital Humanities conference in Hamburg.

The Busa Award is “named in honour of Father Roberto Busa and is given to recognise outstanding lifetime achievement in the application of information technology to humanistic research”.

From Matthew Jockers’ announcement:

“The winner of the 2013 Busa Award is a man of legendary kindness and generosity. His contributions to the growth and prominence of Digital Humanities will be familiar to us all. He is a gentleman, a scholar, a philosopher, and a long time fighter for the cause. He is, by one colleague’s accounting, the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” of Digital Humanities. And I must concur that “the force” is strong with this one. Please join me in congratulating Willard McCarty on his selection for the 2013 Busa Award. ”

Willard McCarty is Professor of Humanities Computing, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, and Professor, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney, Australia.

He is co-editor, with Marilyn Deegan, of Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, a book which celebrates the contributions of Harold Short to the Digital Humanities field.

New series – Ashgate Studies in Technical Communication, Rhetoric, and Culture

Ashgate Studies in Technical Communication, Rhetoric, and Culture is a new series, aimed at promoting innovative, interdisciplinary research in the theory and practice of technical communication, broadly conceived as including business, scientific, and health communication.

Technical communication has an extensive impact on our world and our lives, yet the venues for long-format research in the field are few. This series serves as an outlet for scholars engaged with the theoretical, practical, rhetorical, and cultural implications of this burgeoning field.

The series is edited by Professor Miles A. Kimball, from Texas Tech University.

We welcome proposals for book-length studies and edited collections involving qualitative and quantitative research and theoretical inquiry into technical communication and associated fields and topics, including:

  • user-centered design
  • information design
  • intercultural communication
  • risk communication
  • new media
  • social media
  • visual communication and rhetoric
  • disability/accessibility issues
  • communication ethics
  • health communication
  • applied rhetoric
  • the history and current practice of technical, business, and scientific communication

For more information on how to submit a proposal to this series please contact Ann Donahue, Publisher for Literary Studies.

Digital humanities

Ashgate’s new Digital Humanities 2012 leaflet is now available to browse online or download. Highlights include: Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, edited by Marilyn Deegan and Willard McCarty, and the latest books in the Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities series edited by Marilyn Deegan, Lorna Hughes, Andrew Prescott, and Harold Short.

Ashgate will be attending Digital Humanities 2012 in Hamburg, 16-20th July and the Digital Humanities Congress in Sheffield, 6-8th September. If you have an idea for a book proposal please get in touch and arrange a meeting with our publisher, Dymphna Evans.

The IALL International Handbook of Legal Information Management, edited by Richard A. Danner and Jules Winterton, receives the Joseph L. Andrews Bibliographical Award

Posted by Nora Weber, Senior Marketing Co-ordinator

Ashgate is honored that editors Richard A. Danner and Jules Winterton will receive the Joseph L. Andrews Bibliographical Award for The IALL International Handbook of Legal Information Management. The awards will be presented July 24 at the Association Luncheon during the Annual Association of American Law Schools (AALL) Meeting in Boston.

This International Handbook describes the legal environments in which librarians work and policy issues with which they need to engage. It provides resources, analysis, and considered studies for seasoned international law librarians, those about to enter the field, and anyone interested in the evolution of legal information in the twenty-first century.

Visit Ashgate’s website for more information about this award-winning book…

Harold Short speaking about collaborative scholarship in the digital humanities at the University of Melbourne

At a special seminar being held this Friday at the University of Melbourne, Professor Harold Short of the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, will talk about researching the humanities and social sciences in the digital age.

Drawing on the twenty years’ experience in multidisciplinary research projects of the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, Harold Short will present some reflections on the challenges faced in large collaborative projects and possible approaches to meeting those challenges. Particular emphasis will be given to the points of stress, the continuing areas of difficulty and the problems faced by collaborative research in the arts and humanities in a wider academic culture that is slow to change.

Harold Short is Professor of Humanities Computing at King’s College London, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Western Sydney in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics. At King’s, Professor Short founded and directed the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, now the Department of Digital Humanities, of which he was the Head until his retirement in 2010. He is a former Chair of both the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing, and is a general editor of the Ashgate series Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities.

We have a new Librarians page on our website

We recently added a dedicated section on the Ashgate website for Librarians.

The page brings together information which we hope will be particularly useful for librarians, and links on the page include:

  • Special offers
  • Ebooks
  • Information about series, reference books and research companions
  • Recent Choice Outstanding Academic Titles
  • Yankee Book Peddler Core Academic Titles
  • Baker & Taylor ‘Research Essential’ titles
  • Download a catalogue or stocklist
  • Sign up for our new all-subjects librarians’ monthly new title update

Visit ashgate.com/librarians to take a look…