Reflections from SCONUL Deputies Group A meet up

The second meet up of the SCONUL Deputies Group A happened today at the lovely Hartley Library at the University of Southampton. The deputies group consists of people who usually report to the Director of the Library or the University Librarian position. A lot of the discussion we have in this group is confidential, and we act within a strict code of conduct. The following are a few bullet points from my reflections on the meeting that should be ok to share. The group consists of incredibly talented people. I have not done this much learning from sharing of experiences for quite some time, and I found this very beneficial. We are mostly but not entirely in the same boat. Culture change is an issue regardless of the organisation you work in. A successful culture change takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, a lot of perseverance and a lot of knowledge of what makes people tick. We are all learning that over time. We are all leaders already and want to become more established leaders. Being an established leader mean that you continuously learn and tweak your leadership style without compromising on your core values. We are

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Inspiring and Motivating Individuals

Team work

During the Bonington leadership programme, one of the key exercises we did was on the topic of identifying our values and being authentic to them. A key value of mine is endless intellectual curiosity and a hunger for constant learning. Hence, I am now doing an online “Leading People and Teams” specialisation through Coursera, taught by University of Michigan Ross School of Business. The specialisation consists of five individual courses which are: Inspiring and Motivating Individuals; Managing Talent; Influencing People; Leading Teams; and a Leading People and Teams Capstone. I have just finished the first of these courses on the topic of “Inspiring and Motivating Individuals” and in this post, I will summarise my key learning from this course. Shared vision and purpose To inspire and motivate individuals, they need a shared vision and a mission to work. Leaders can get obsessed with developing concepts that are intensively future focussed, not bringing the team along with them, causing a feeling of loss, discontentment and not being valued in their team. It is important that leaders develop a vision that is both forward-looking and realistic, a vision that is clear to understand. A clear vision can create a sense of energy

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Creative leadership – qualities and attributes

Bowness - view from our walk

The theme of the Bonington annual retreat for the 2016 cohort was “creative leadership”. Throughout the retreat, we questioned, discussed and explored what creative leadership is, how we define it in higher education institutions, how we can become creative leaders ourselves, and how we can embark on creative leadership across the organisation. Creative leadership has become a necessity to work in the fragile and uncertain higher education environment around us. Based on our workshop and in my opinion, here are the five qualities/attributes/skills that creative leaders need to have in higher education environments. These are: Braveness One of the discussion points during Bonington was whether creative leaders are always brave or rule pushers/breakers. Upon further pondering and reading, I have come to the realisation that this may not necessarily be true. Creative leaders are often better-informed leaders with a self-belief in their own and organisation’s destination. For this reason, they can keep their own and organisation’s focus, take hard decisions, and move forward together with others. They continuously strive to remain informed and instil the same values in their team and organisation. They are more aware of the consequences of the decisions they will make during their journey, making it

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IGeLU 2016 conference – Initial thoughts and perspectives

I am on my way back from IGeLU 2016 conference and developers day which was held in beautiful Trondheim, Norway. For those of you who are not familiar with IGeLU conference, it is the largest conference of Ex Libris users in the world (apart from North America) with almost 500 participants from around the world. I was representing Lancaster University Library along with my colleagues John Krug (who is the coordinator of the Analytics SIG and our Systems and Analytics Manager) and Liz Hartley (Assistant Librarian – User Services). In my opinion, there was a definite shift in the focus of IGeLU this year. There were a lot more sessions on Alma, Leganto, campusM and Primo (especially on the new Primo User Interface) and far fewer on Aleph, Voyager, SFX and other products. This also highlights the direction in which Ex Libris wants to move forward and it was clear that Ex Libris has intentions to be a stakeholder in almost all institutional activities related to teaching and learning, research and user engagement. The next area of interest for them is research data management and open access which is an area close to my heart too. At this time, Ex

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Leadership – how it all started for me!

Some of you may know that I am currently involved in a leadership program at Lancaster University called the Bonington Programme. The programme intends to enhance performance and develop potential, establishing future leaders for the University and only a handful of people are selected on the programme every year. Being part of this programme made me realise that I have never truly captured my own leadership journey and this is what I will attempt to do in several blog posts. In my opinion, moving up the leadership ladder is a very personal journey. Thinking about it, if I jump back 8 years in this journey, I used to question myself whether leadership is ever right for me? My thinking at the time was leadership comes naturally, you are born with it, I am not sure I am ready for it and importantly, I really enjoy what I do currently. I would have classified myself as a self proclaimed geek, developing library systems, enjoying my job. Development of systems and services can be a challenging role. For me, it was enjoyable yet frustrating. The frustrations often came from not being able to make a difference or change at a strategic level.

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IGeLU 2012 – A brief perspective

The 2012 International Group of Ex Libris Users Conference (IGeLU 2012) was hosted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH, Zurich) from the 11th to the 13th of September 2012. I had the pleasure of attending the conference, the pre-conference meetings, and the post-conference PWG meeting. During the hectic schedule of these meetings, I also had two talks to give, for details, see the Talks page. The conference itself was very useful, both from a personal and professional growth point of view. It clarified to us Ex Libris’s vision, the direction they are heading towards as a company, and how Oxford systems fit in their vision. It also gave us the opportunity to see Alma in action, speak to people who are moving towards Alma, and understand what we need to work on to have a smooth transition to Alma when the time comes for it. The other great thing about the conference was that I finally got to meet a lot of people in person that I knew virtually before. Another great component of IGeLU 2012 were the excellent talks given by numerous people. This included the excellent keynote speeches and the individual presentations on different topics. One of the things

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Primo Central – Oxford’s Experience

Many of us working on the library systems side already know about Primo Central index. For those who don’t, here is an excerpt from Ex Libris’s official site. The Primo Central index is a mega-aggregation of hundreds of millions of scholarly e-resources of global and regional importance. These include journal articles, e-books, reviews, legal documents and more that are harvested from primary and secondary publishers and aggregators, and from open-access repositories. Ex Libris works with the world’s leading providers of global and regional information to benefit its customer community. The Primo Central index fully exploits the richness of the underlying data to facilitate fast and easy search. Oxford went live with Primo Central in September 2010. We made Primo Central index part of our resource discovery platform SOLO based on Ex Libris’s Primo, and introduced it as a new tab called “Journal Articles (beta) [Now called Articles & More]” . We tagged it as beta, because we still believe that there are areas where Primo Central is not as comprehensive as it could be, e.g. Law resources. We also provided a brief description of the limitations and the advantages of Primo Central on SOLO’s home page so that people don’t think

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