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Following on from the JISC/SCONUL ‘Squeezed Middle’ workshop that I blogged about earlier. Paul Stainthorp has blogged about his experience and included the paper he presented on his blog here. Ben Showers, from JISC, has also blogged about the event here on the JISC Digital Infrastructure Team blog. Links to Ken Chad’s [update to the update: now available here] and David Kay’s provocations/presentations and Lorcan Dempsey’s video are also promised. There’s also a useful list of the priorities that came out of the workshop, put together by David Kay, here. This list sets out the priorities in five different areas: ebooks, non-traditional assets, end-user applications, library roles and above campus services.
New JISC call
One of the motivations behind the workshop was to help to inform (both JISC and the HE community) about a new JISC call (12/01) that includes a couple of LMS strands. One covers a project to create “a new vision for the future of library systems and a ‘roadmap’ for the delivery of that vision”. There certainly seems to be a lot more activity in the LMS systems area at the moment with new products, open source solutions and shared systems. The second strand covers a set of “pathfinder projects to investigate a broad range of potential new models and approaches to library systems and services”. The themes within this area cover Shared library systems, emerging tools and technologies and emerging library systems opportunities. There are quite a wide range of different aspects touched on in the call paper, ranging through reference management to data. A lot of potential for some interesting ideas to emerge.
I blogged nearly a month ago some reflections on our latest funding bid http://libwebrarian.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/reflections-on-our-latest-funding-bid/ and sitting at the FOTE conference yesterday an email popped up with the outcome of the bid. [I’m not sure why but I’m still not really used to the pervasive nature of modern email access. I suppose although there has been remote access to systems for a long time, through dial-in, VPN and suchlike, maybe there has always been a bit of a process involved in logging into the VPN or a website and then opening up an email client that seemed a bit laborious. Or at any rate laborious enough to be able to put off doing it. But with tablets and smartphones email setup, email just appears along with tweets and other messages. It just seems a bit easy now. I guess perhaps I’m still not used to the ease of working remotely now, something you take for granted. But sometimes when you think about it, it’s actually something pretty remarkable.]
Anyway, I was a bit surprised to hear about the outcome of the bid so quickly, but really pleased to hear that we were successful. So, something else new to do, that’s really exciting for us and I’m sure I’ll probably blog a bit about in the next few months as we get going on project MACON.
We finished off and submitted our latest funding bid earlier in the week. It’s something we’ve been putting together across the summer and that has been a bit more challenging than at other times. I must admit that having a funding call that we were very interested in, coming out on the Friday before I went on holiday wasn’t the best timing for us. Fortunately it had been flagged up in the future funding calls for a while so we’d already done some thinking about things we wanted to do.
Trying to do these sort of bids during the Summer presents some different challenges. Bids tend to be increasingly collaborative in their nature so we involve people from other units, on project boards for example and getting their feedback on bid documents. That means getting hold of all sorts of people, at a time when many academics are away for some time. So getting stuff looked at and commented on can be tricky and takes longer. And not everyone that you want to talk to is available.
Because we had been thinking about what we would want to do, we were able to get straight on with pulling the bid into shape. We had a short summary document already and while I was away on leave colleagues started putting it into the right format for the funding document. Having the document in the right format made it much easier to concentrate on filling in the gaps and getting people to contribute to it. So it didn’t take us too long to get to a draft that could be refined and tidied up.
Despite the time of year we managed to get everything together in time. But I do wonder if other people had the same problems about writing bids during the summer and whether it might impact on the number of bids the funding body gets this time round.