On the steps of the Harrogate International Centre in Yorkshire, Felix Haest and Floortje Flippo (Elsevier BV) on the left of the line-up next to (L to R) students Ian Hunter, Joseph Norwood, Zoe English and Catherine Hartley with UKSG Education Officer, Kate Price

Catherine described how stepping off the train at Harrogate into brilliant sunshine, she felt a mixture of excitement for the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things, but also nerves as she knew she would have to get up on stage in the morning with the other students to meet Felix Haest, their sponsor from Elsevier, and desperately hoped she wouldn't trip up!

We can report that none of the students tripped up, and all gracefully met their sponsor and found that their moment on stage proved to be useful as many delegates recognized them over the next few days and asked them about what they were studying and if they were enjoying the conference.

Catherine described the ‘Opening of the Conference’: “There was an air of anticipation in the auditorium as UKSG Chair Tony Kidd opened this year's conference by welcoming the 843 delegates from 27 countries, commenting that this was a ‘real achievement in the current climate’. After thanking the sponsors, exhibitors and delegates, he urged us all to engage in the challenging programme, networking, and of course, to enjoy the socials!”

Networking was an important opportunity for the students and Kate Price, UKSG Education Officer, encouraged them not to be shy and to keep asking people questions. The exhibition hall provided a great opportunity to put her advice into practice. Zoe said: “ If I were to offer a tip to future students attending the conference it would be to get business cards printed before you attend, it's a quick and professional way to pass on your contact details to the people you meet.”

The exhibition hall provided a great opportunity for networking

The students have provided us with the following reports on the sessions and events that they attended:

Plenary Sessions

Plenary 1: Future communications

William Gibson and the future of libraries – John Naughton

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

‘The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed.’ William Gibson's words laid the foundation for John Naughton's opening plenary session on the future of libraries. In John's future-gazing talk he asserted that we will only discover the future if we are willing to look for it. According to him, there is little evidence that we have yet understood the internet, and we are currently living in a state of ‘informed bewilderment’. The internet is like a wave, with both an exciting creative side and a terrible destructive side. Librarians and publishers have already begun to feel the effects of its destructive power, with disintermediation being one of the things left in its wake, and falling prices on the internet have made it harder for publishers to get away with daylight robbery! Comparing the information world to an ecosystem, John described the way in which large animals, such as big publishers, used to dominate in the old information ecosystem, but with the shrinking of information units and the increase of user-generated content, a new, more diverse ecosystem is emerging. This is a good thing because biodiversity increases productivity. In the old ecosystem librarians had a clearly defined role to curate collections but now, instead of users coming to them, they must move to where the action is. John suggested that in the new ecosystem, librarians can adapt their role to include preserving, collating and curating the avalanches of data being generated by science. Closing, he quoted Alan Kay: ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it’.

The future of the book – David ‘Skip’ Prichard

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Skip Prichard opened his talk with a whistle-stop tour of the history of the book, taking us from papyri to pop-up-books to e-books. His point was that to understand the future of the book we have to understand its past. Demonstrating that the written word has prevailed in a number of formats, Skip is convinced that the e-book will succeed too. According to him, ‘we are basking in the electronic sunshine’ and books are receiving more media attention than ever before. Thinking about the transition to electronic, Skip has identified a number of trends. He notes the shifting of markets from physical to online sales, generational shifts including the use of different technologies in education, the evolution of e-books to include enhanced features, and the coexistence of print and electronic. The reinvention of books will also reinvent libraries, with the future of physical books lying in print on demand. Services such as MyiLibrary are already using algorithms based on usage to suggest which of print or digital versions of particular titles will be more suitable for specific libraries to purchase. Convinced that books will survive in any format, Skip assured us that both the print and digital world offer new opportunities for everyone. This was a welcome and uplifting talk that I think many present needed to hear amid the doom and gloom of the recession and pessimistic forecasts for those in the information industry.

Joseph noted that the concept of print on demand “has not featured very much in my course, from what was said in the conference it sounds like it could have a big impact on my job once I get into librarianship. I enjoyed his ideas around how printed materials and e-materials can co-exist by making it possible for users to order a print-on-demand paper-book through the e-book. And I was surprised to hear that people are still asking whether e-books are a passing fad that we can wait out”.

Plenary 2: New approaches to research

Digital research, analogue publishing: one scientist's view – Philip E Bourne

(Report by Ian Hunter)

Having a science background meant I was particularly intrigued by Philip Bourne's propositions for the relationship between scientists and publishers. Whereas publishers currently only enter the process once research has been conducted, written up and finalized, Philip believes the two should converge and converse much earlier. The concept of open data, a key theme of the conference, was first mentioned here. The idea raised, that publishers should be allowed to manipulate data themselves – for example by creating their own visualizations to contribute to a published paper – is exciting but would require a huge leap of faith by scientists especially. Philip also suggested ideas he feels would increase citation counts. For example, the content of a paper might be ‘mashed’ with a video describing its experiments or of the experimental process itself; or podcasts might be integrated with online posters. Semantic linking of research through the use of automatic tagging would be a further leap still, but the idea that one could discover links between concepts that were previously assumed unrelated is exciting and I hope it is pursued. Unfortunately Philip sees little incentive yet for such ideas to be developed.

Skip Prichard (top) contemplates the future of the book, while Philip E Bourne, Cameron Neylon and Bill Russell (below) round off Monday's plenary session in expressive mode

[An article based on Philip E Bourne's presentation appears in full in this issue]

The gatekeeper is dead! Long live the gatekeeper! Or: What does filtering mean for scholarly communications in a web-based world? – Cameron Neylon

(Report by Ian Hunter)

Cameron Neylon reminded us that we are likely to be the last generation to remember the library as the definitive source of information. At the beginning of his PhD his notion of information retrieval was spending half a day per week in the library drowning in paper journals; five years later that notion had morphed into Google. The problem we have now is information overload, but Cameron doesn't believe, as librarians, we should be filtering information, as filters fail the readers by limiting their free access to information. Prior to the internet, filtering was unavoidable; someone had to make the choice due to money and shelving restrictions. Now filtering is unnecessary and won't work as information will reach its reader from one direction or another. Librarians in the digital age, said Cameron, should be helping to connect the right people with the right content and providing the platforms (social networks, RSS feeds, blogs) on which readers can create their own filters: enabling, not blocking.

Catherine is yet to be won over by this argument and said: “Although I can see where he's coming from, I'm still to be fully won over to his thinking. There's just too much rubbish out there!”

The research workflow revolution: the impact of Web 2.0 and emerging social networking tools on research workflow – Bill Russell

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Two key questions formed the basis of Bill Russell's presentation: Are social media impacting upon researcher workflows? And if so, how should publishers and librarians respond? Reporting on the findings of a major survey carried out in conjunction with CIBER at UCL, Bill revealed that social media has not yet made inroads into researcher workflows but that these tools are valuable at all points of the research lifecycle and are being used by some. Collaborative authoring, conferencing, scheduling and social networking are the most used social media, with mainstream services such as Skype, Wikipedia, Google Docs/ Calendar ruling. Bill highlighted the major benefits of using social media to support the research process, such as providing the opportunity to find collaborators, communicate internationally and disseminate information much faster. The survey found that social media complements both the research process and its dissemination, but that authors still want to be published in trusted journals. Bill left us with a shared challenge: librarians and publishers need to engage and support users as technologies and workflow evolve. We need to recognize social media's importance and develop our services accordingly. I think that libraries are doing a good job responding to emerging social media by engaging with Web 2.0, but as always, there's still so much that could be done.

A busy first day was followed by free time, when a popular Curry and Quiz Night was held. (Below: a bit of conferring going on)

Quizmaster Ed Pentz (inset) and the winning team ‘Brainiacs on Banjo’ in the spectacular Royal Hall

Plenary 3: Rethinking ‘content’

Open, social and linked – a ménage à trois of content exploitation – Andy Powell

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Andy Powell argued that we have tended to underplay the importance of social networks in our provision of library and academic publishing services, as well as in our development of digital library services. The focus needs to be on providing open and linked content. The web, as a social construct, is changing how we behave, and consequently research and learning are becoming increasingly social activities. Andy drew on David White's dichotomy of visitors and residents of the web. Visitors are people who use the web as a tool whenever a need arises whereas residents live a percentage of their life online. Andy argued that in digital libraries we have tended to focus on the visitors but in actual fact there are a growing number of residents who we need to cater for. The catchphrase of Andy's talk that reverberated around Twitter was that content should be ‘of’ the web rather than ‘on’ the web. We need to stop being controlling and become much more user-centric instead of content-centric. The focus needs to shift from a one-way flow of information to flow between people so that content can be reused and repurposed. Andy indicated that there is a desire for openness in the research community but currently not much is happening. What we can do to support openness and linked data is to harness the power of URIs that tell us what something is as opposed to where it is. By providing useful platforms for social interaction we will significantly enhance the process of content exploitation. Andy made some valid points that should inspire us to look more closely at the characteristics of our users and spur us into action to develop appropriate services where needed.

What Joseph especially liked about this presentation was that Andy Powell didn't categorize resident behaviour as more advanced or more important, nor did he claim that there was a generational gap between users. He did, however, make the point that university library systems should make more space for resident behaviour.

Buying by the bucketful: a comparative study of how e-book bundles are used – Terry Bucknell

(Report by Ian Hunter)

The standout presentation for me in this session was given by Terry Bucknell. He spoke very clearly about his analysis of the e-book purchasing policy of his library at the University of Liverpool. His findings are interesting and will be useful to other academic librarians looking to optimize their purchasing. Terry's study found that students generally have a high awareness of e-books' being available – more, in fact, than the university's academics – and the library catalogue is still the first place they go to look for resources. Furthermore, students still use a considerable amount of older content, though electronic content is being used enough that its cost per download is continually decreasing. I was especially interested in the comparison of different purchasing models (namely, patron-driven acquisition (PDA) and evidence-based purchasing), as this is an area in which I have very little knowledge or experience. Terry compared and contrasted the models and presented his ideal solution. He recommends that academic libraries should base their purchasing around e-book packages where they offer the best value, along with full-text databases to give a cheap critical mass. This foundation can be supplemented with single subscriptions and PDA to ‘fill the gaps’. Perhaps the most pertinent take-away message from this talk is that libraries move to an electronic-only model for books in the near future.

Opening up bibliographic data – Rufus Pollock

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Rufus Pollock of the Open Knowledge Foundation spoke about the explosion of open data in recent years and its many benefits. Defining ‘open’ as freedom for anyone to use, reuse and redistribute, Rufus went on to argue that bibliographic data should also be open for everyone to use since all content and metadata will one day be free anyway. There are several advantages to this, including facilitating the quality and sharing of records, and allowing space for innovation in bibliographic services. Data and content should be thought of as a platform on which to build, not a commodity to sell. As a community we can all make our contributions, thereby significantly enhancing bibliographic data. Rufus made the point that there are plenty of ways to make money without going closed, although who the money-makers are might well change! The JISC OpenBib project is an example of opening up bibliographic data, with three million records of the British Library's British National Bibliography being made into linked open data.

Plenary 4: Strategic directions in a constrained world

Brave New World: Rebooting UK HE – Sir John O'Reilly

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Sir John O'Reilly of Cranfield University spoke from the distinctive vantage of Vice Chancellor of the UK's only wholly postgraduate university, focusing on science, technology, engineering and management. Declaring that the Brave New World is one in which students pay considerable fees, Sir John made his concerns known over the state of postgraduate funding, particularly for taught postgraduates. While undergraduates can take advantage of the Student Loans Company, much of the funding for postgraduate education is under threat and this could have some unintended consequences. Sir John highlighted the symbiosis between teaching and research, and if these are weakened as a result of funding cuts, the innovative output of our universities will be lessened, and consequently, our economy weakened. Therefore, he urged us all to take care of these unintended consequences before they caused the country real problems. Using the story of the princess and the frog as a metaphor for knowledge transfer, Sir John concluded by asserting, ‘We are in the business of kissing frogs, to ensure that the future generation has its princes of wealth creation.’ The message of Sir John's talk was a little daunting but absolutely necessary. If we act now with foresight we can stop these unintended consequences becoming catastrophic consequences.

Three years and counting: the economic crisis is still with us but the muddling through is over – Charles B Lowry

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Charles B Lowry, Executive Director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), gave us a report of the survey of data on budgets among ARL members in Canada and the US, based on the beginning of year budget allocations from three fiscal years, 2008–2011. The report very much echoed the situation we have found ourselves in here in the UK: consecutive cuts and no sign of positive budget trends. Commenting that a serious crisis is more often than not a catalyst for change, Charles described the way in which many of the ARL member libraries are adapting to the research library model as a means of coping with the economic recession. There's a certain reassurance in knowing that we are not going through the recession alone. We are part of an international community that needs to stay connected, supportive and innovative to survive and thrive once more.

Plenary 5: Improving access

The dynamics of improving access to research papers – Mark Ware

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Mark Ware, a publishing consultant, presented the findings of the Research Information Network Project that he conducted in association with Cambridge Economic Policy Associates. The study focused on providing evidence of how to create better access to research papers and outlined five possible scenarios that could potentially improve access over a five-year period. These were (1) Open Access Journals (gold OA), (2) Open Access Repositories (green OA), (3) Delayed Access, (4) Extensions to Licensing, (5) Transactional solutions (such as pay-per-view). The study modelled and compared the costs and benefits associated with each scenario, as well as the drivers and mechanisms underlying the transitions to such scenarios. The findings revealed that the two open access models offer the best potential to improve access cost-effectively. However, Mark argued that the green OA model is not self-sustaining, as potential subscription cancellations risk the system. Therefore, the gold OA model is preferable, as it can expand on the use of existing repositories (green OA) but proceed with caution with regards to subscription cancellations. As for the other three scenarios, the evidence suggests that the delayed access model lacks plausibility, the transactional model would be much reduced in demand because of OA, and the cost-effectiveness of the licensing model would very much depend on price.

Hundreds of delegates sparkled at the conference reception, dinner and dance on Tuesday evening, but none more so than the fabulous prize-winning SPArklettes (pictured), the like of which had never been seen before in Harrogate SPA – though several faces may be familiar to regular ‘Serials’ readers … [More photos of this evening event appear at the end]

An interesting debate on open access

Barriers to an exclusively electronic journal environment – Laura Cox

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Laura Cox, a publishing consultant from Frontline GMS Ltd, took us on a whirlwind countdown of the 12 most significant barriers to an exclusively electronic journal environment, as found by a number of UK projects investigating transitions in scholarly communication. Starting with barriers of attitude such as the embedded print culture of libraries, the reluctance to engage with open access, the preference of print and entrenched scholarly culture, Laura moved on to consider technical and economic barriers such as changes in publishers and platforms, immediate and long-term access problems, preservation concerns, digital back-files availability and opt-in deals. She also stressed the significance of the cost borne by VAT on the purchase of electronic resources, and outlined a number of measures that publishers could take to ease this, including effecting a differential between print and online pricing sufficient to mitigate VAT. It came as no surprise that publishers' pricing policies came in at number one. Describing the current ‘chaotic pricing landscape’, Laura urged publishers to create online-only pricing that offsets VAT.

Ian said that he found this presentation “an eye-opening talk that led me to realize the e-journal field is more complex than I imagined”.

Access to scholarly content: gaps and barriers to access (key findings) – Ian Rowlands

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

Ian Rowlands, of the CIBER research group at UCL, presented the key findings of a study investigating the gaps and barriers of access to scholarly content experienced by those in universities and colleges, medical schools and health providers, industry and commerce and research institutes. The research sought to provide an evidenced assessment of the significance of those gaps and barriers and revealed some disconcerting findings. While improvement of access has been seen in all sectors over the last five years, especially in universities and colleges, industry and commerce appear to have a much more serious access problem, particularly in relation to journal access. Turning to the coping mechanisms across the sectors for lack of access, Ian revealed that while some approached the author directly, a significant number either gave up and looked for an article of similar content, or gave up altogether. This is a wasted opportunity for the publisher, the librarian and the user, who could have done great things had they had access! Once again, the importance of open access was discussed as a solution to the current chasm between potential users and vast amounts of valuable content.

[A detailed overview of the session on ‘Improving access’ appears in this issue]

Chaired debate between Steven Hall and Alma Swan

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

A good debate is always satisfying and I was particularly looking forward to this one because it provided an opportunity to sink our teeth into the meaty issue of open access (OA) that had been cropping up time and again in the plenary sessions. Alma Swan, a consultant in the field of scholarly communication, was first to take to the floor, sharing her vision of ‘immediate access to fully linked, reusable, repurposable, no-charge, full-text access to content’. She argued that OA is the way forward, increasing visibility and access of content, avoiding duplication of research and ultimately saving tax-payers money. In response, Stephen Hall of IOP Publishing maintained that green OA is unsustainable, underfunded and undermines the ability of publishers to offer other services. For him, gold OA is a much better solution but it will involve close collaboration between the research community, publishers and funders. While Alma agreed that scalability was the real challenge (we need to move down to article-level access), she argued that green OA is not underfunded given the costs of academic contribution. However, Stephen asserted that there is a world of difference between depositing a manuscript in a repository and the value added by academic publication. Alma brought up the issue of institutional mandates and declared that no university will mandate gold OA. However, Stephen remained resolute that gold OA was the only sustainable way forward and that publishers are quietly preparing for transitioning to gold, despite the significant costs involved.

Plenary 6: Anticipating and managing change

Collections 2021: the future of the collection is not a collection – Rick Anderson

(Report by Ian Hunter)

Rick Anderson, of the University of Utah (pictured), offered an alternative perspective on the patron-driven acquisition model that Terry Bucknell advocated earlier. The message that underpinned Rick's talk was that libraries have changed. He argued that print is a ‘terrible’ way of distributing and searching for information, which has been superseded by Google and the web; the library used to be the sole information gatekeeper but the internet broke its monopoly. The way to address this change, then, is to see the library's purpose not as building a collection but as providing the right information to the right users. The problem with building a collection is that it is usually a ‘bad guess’ at what its users actually want. Instead we should adopting PDA, which makes sure users get the content they want, when they want it – as well as saving money by not wasting money on unwanted, unused books. Rick predicts that three types of library will eventually emerge: monuments to western civilization that house large collections; local research libraries that house small collections; and libraries that provide content ‘just in time’ rather than ‘just in case’. Publishers, stubborn librarians and potential competitors will undoubtedly resist such changes, but I think it is important that we adopt a more ‘just-in-time’ model to improve efficiency and service to customers in these times of economic austerity.

Unlocking the four doors to sustainable change – Brad R Meyer

(Report by Joseph Norwood)

Brad Meyer ended the conference by going back to one of the primary themes: that we should focus on function, rather than form. He told an anecdote from his childhood about a librarian helping him to find a new way to fuel a rocket when he couldn't use the one he had worked out. From this start, he talked about how we can bring about changes in institutions by helping members of staff to see what needs changing, how it will affect them, what they can do and by understanding your own relation to them. Given the amount of time that librarians seem to spend focusing on how to bring about user-driven services, I thought it was good to hear a method for applying a user-driven model to managing the needs of staff.

Breakout Sessions

Ian said: “The breakout sessions were most definitely conference highlights for me. I felt especially that by presenting in small rooms the speakers were able to engage more effectively with the small audiences.” The students certainly made the most of the opportunity and told us about the following sessions that they attended.

How to become a first-class citizen of the web – Adrian and Jane Stevenson

(Report by Joseph Norwood)

This was an especially interesting session because uniform resource identifiers (URIs) had been mentioned in the plenary sessions and sounded very important. Adrian and Jane Stevenson presented their work on a joint project to develop a series of linked data that can be used to generate connections with other files. I was especially interested in the notion that two URIs describing the same person, event, or relationship can be identified with each other based on similar connections.

A day in the life of a publisher/agent/librarian – Ruth Wells, Jo Connolly and Stephen Buck

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

As a naturally curious person (or maybe I should just say nosy!), I was really looking forward to hearing about other people's working lives. Having so far attended spoken presentations, Stephen Buck's audio presentation was a creative and welcome change. By listening in on his fictitious interactions with different people over the course of the day either by e-mail, phone or in person, you really got a feel for what his role as serials librarian involves. I particularly enjoyed his meeting with the vendor who gave him a 2GB USB in the shape of a camel. After Stephen, Jo Connolly of Swets talked about the changing role of the subscription agent. In the past they were order takers, claim handlers, payment facilitators and providers of print material. However, now their role has adapted in response to the digital revolution, with much more of their focus being on access provision, licence management and end-user contact point. In essence, their role has become much more complex and requires a lot more business intelligence. An entertaining game of ‘play your cards right’ gave us an interesting and surprising insight into the sheer number of accounts that Swets deal with.

Ian Hunter also attended this session and notes: “I was interested to hear how Ruth agrees with Skip Prichard that the future will see significant growth in additional features for e-books – such as links to lecture notes and exam questions; author annotations; and the ability to provide feedback – and considerable changes to the traditional bookshop. Suggestions for such changes include print-on-demand terminals, demonstrative whiteboards and perhaps even some coalescence with libraries”.

E-journal preservation: economics and practicalities at the LSE – Lisa Cardy and Bill Barker

(Report by Joseph Norwood)

This session discussed a project using Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) in the London School of Economics. Development of a decent system to preserve digital resources had been essential in pushing digital resources in the university's collection policy. While I have studied LOCKSS on a theoretical level it was great to hear about the practicalities of which groups provide technical support and how much work it takes to maintain a LOCKSS Box. Technical support is provided by EDINA for a price that is based on the JISC pricing bands, and much of the day-to-day work can be done by a trained assistant librarian.

Just Doing IT Yourself: simple recipes for the rest of us – Tony Hirst

(Report by Ian Hunter)

This was my favourite talk from any of the three days. Tony Hirst's definitions of ‘shambrarians’ and ‘undeveloper’ really struck a chord with me, since I feel just like I am pretending to be a librarian and a developer. Tony mentioned many more tips, tricks, applications and websites than I can mention here, each of which I could see as being applicable to my academic and personal lives. I saw an immediate use for the GraphViz web application in an assignment I am currently working on, while I foresee OpenEtherpad being very useful in future. An interesting aside on OpenEtherpad is that, although collaborative documents on it are technically open to the public, they are effectively ‘private by obscurity’ since each document has a complex URL unknown to anyone but its owners. Other tricks Tony introduced were quite technical, but I look forward to having a go with them in my free time. Using Yahoo Pipes and Google Fusion tables to manipulate data, for example by creating an interactive map from tables on external websites (in this case Wikipedia) looks incredibly useful in a wide variety of applications.

So much data, so few connections – Lori Carlin

(Report by Joseph Norwood)

Lori talked about a project she had been part of to create a system for linking data collected by AIR publishing together. Given Adrian and Jane Stevenson's earlier breakout session, I found it interesting to hear how somewhat similar problems were being faced in a different type of organization. What most stuck in my mind from it is that once data was accumulated, users found that they wanted more. This meant that the project went from collecting data for three years to collecting it for five. Another important point for me that came from this was that “it's okay to play”. Carlin admitted that the product had not been perfectly polished, but it had become useful to her organization before it was even out of the testing phase. She was completely happy with how the project had gone, and it sounds like she has every reason to be.

Turn off that phone! Mobile technologies in the library – James Clay

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

The talk began and instead of the usual plea to turn off phones, James Clay invited all of us to turn on our mobile devices! Yes, on! For James, mobiles have great potential in the learning environment that we should be harnessing, especially in libraries. In groups we discussed our problems and frustrations with the use of mobiles in libraries and concluded that most of the disruption caused came from a lack of respect from the library user, not from the phone itself. James highlighted the way in which we have created a ‘culture of no’, with our copious ‘do not…’ signs littering our libraries. Instead, he argued, we should be creating a ‘culture of yes’ that builds relationships with library users and fosters their respect. If we do this we will then be able to exploit the power of the mobile without disruption. Exploring some of the potential opportunities to enhance library services, in addition to the ability to access the OPAC and e-resources remotely, James introduced us to tools such as QR codes, Near Field Communication (NFC), Augmented Reality (AR) and Google Goggles, to name but a few. Of course, there will be stumbling blocks, including ‘the innovation prevention department’ i.e. Finance or IT, the digital divide, connectivity and staff development but these can be overcome. I came away both excited and challenged by this session, determined to start building a ‘culture of yes’ and to rip down a poster or two!

[Watch out for the mobile technology supplement to the November issue, in which your Eds plan to include an article by James Clay]

Project management for everyone – David Sommer

(Report by Catherine Hartley)

After a comical but ever so slightly disconcerting start when we discovered that we were locked into the seminar room and the door couldn't be opened from inside or out, David Sommer, cool, calm and collected in the face of adversity, began introducing us to the One Page Project Manager (OPPM) tool. The OPPM was created by Clark Campbell and is freely available for download (oppmi.com). It takes the fundamental building blocks of projects (the who, when, what and how much) and creates 12 simple steps that give clarity on the project objectives and constraints. According to David, its absence of precision is its key strength. With all the essential information on one page, project progress can easily be updated and monitored. I found this session incredibly useful and can definitely see the advantages of having such a concise management tool. I'll certainly be giving it a go on my next project!


The students enjoyed the social aspects of the conference, finding them an opportunity to meet new people and have a fantastic time. Ian particularly found the quiz and curry on Monday night highly enjoyable, despite his team coming a lowly ninth! Catherine joined a table of strangers and by the end of the evening felt like she had known them for years! The conference dinner in the Barcélo Harrogate Majestic Hotel really did surpass their expectations and they found the band The Nightjars brilliant. Catherine though admitted to a pang of guilt on arriving and spotting several sparkly people and a beautifully decorated venue, and wished she had made more of an effort with the SPArkle.

In summing up their experience, Joseph said: “As someone with little experience of professional librarianship, my sponsored place at UKSG was a real opportunity to see how librarians act, think and develop projects in a practical way. The conference's various talks provided some really valuable insights into the future of the profession, and I found the discussions that took place between them through face-to-face conversations and Twitter to be equally valuable”.

Videos, slides and blogged items are available for most of the plenary presentations on the UKSG website at http://www.uksg.org/event/conference11