A year in the life of the Electronic Resources Librarian

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I cannot believe that it is just a few days before Christmas, and in less than two weeks, we will be welcoming the start of 2013. The library will be open until 9.00 p.m. tomorrow (unstaffed from 12 noon but self-service facilities will still be available). It will be open (unstaffed) on Saturday 22 December until Tuesday 1 January between 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. and between the same times from Thursday 3 January and Sunday 6 January. There will be no access at all on Wednesday 2 January due to essential electrical work. Our normal, 24-hour opening will re-commence on Monday 7 January at 8.45 a.m. In the meantime, don’t forget that our electronic resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so when you’ve had quite enough of the turkey, stuffing, Christmas cake and whatever tipple takes your fancy, you can still do research should you so desire!

Before I finish for the vacation, I thought I would give you a run-down of what’s been happening in the world of the Electronic Resources Librarian this year.

January was filled with the expectation that Santa may have read my plea from the end of 2011 to bring improvements in the ways we access electronic resources. It didn’t quite come to fruition, but we all need to have a little hope sometimes! Wikipedia went ‘dark’ for a whole day, prompting the media to suggest that students were having a terrible time conducting research, when of course, they should have been using alternative, perhaps more credible sources. I talked about finding and using the best of the web. And of course we had the usual problems with accessing resources! The theme of access problems continued in February. March was a quieter month, and I found the time to talk about online newspaper provision and recounted tales from my research days. And we celebrated World Book Day!

April saw an appeal for research for the University of Bolton Institutional Repository (UBIR). This online resource gathers, stores and preserves the intellectual output of the University of Bolton. We also started to investigate the usage and availability of electronic resource apps, as a number became available in 2012. In May, transcriptions of the journals of Queen Victoria were made freely available as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and demonstrated the wealth of incredibly fascinating material that has been made available online. The Olympic torch passed through Bolton, as did torrential rain… And I told you all about the interesting world (honestly, it really is!) of electronic resource statistics, and how we can look at resource usage to best understand the needs of our users and inform decisions for the future. June saw us say goodbye to the old ProQuest platform and say hello to the new one. It has proved very popular and we are delighted that we were able to bring this development to you this year. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time at the annual University of Bolton Research and Innovation Conference, where I saw first-hand the results of the research that we in the library support by providing electronic resources and assistance in how to use them.

In July, I believe there was some sort of sporting event somewhere down south. And a British chap by the name of Andy Murray reached the Wimbledon final for the first time in a very long while. August was a time of resource maintenance, while in the background there were plenty of preparation for the new academic year.

As we opened our doors to students new and returning in September, there were changes in place and more planned. The Subject Help Desk moved into the Welcome Zone, which we think has een of great benefit as we can devote the time to more in-depth queries. We hope you like it too! I told you all about how I ended up here. Most exciting of all, we prepared for the launch of our new 24-hour opening at the start of October. There were, however, a few access problems, most notably with OpenAthens, and the same can also be said for November. However, this month, there have been some changes to logging into resources that we hope will mean that the problems we have been having are significantly less. As ever, we thank you for your patience in these matters and appreciate you telling us when you have a problem: it really does help us to ensure that issues are addressed.

I would like to wish you all the very best for the festive season, whatever you may be doing, and hope that you have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

See you in 2013!

Sarah, Electronic Resources Librarian

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