Friday, 6 March 2015

20 - Louise Harrington, Cardiff University

This week we hear from Louise, who works as a Repository Administrator for Cardiff University's Institutional Repository.

First confession: I fell into librarianship by accident! I started a PhD in English Literature at Cardiff University in 1999, and applied for a part-time evening post in the library to help pay my way. I worked Tuesday evenings and Saturdays in Trevithick Library, home of Computer Science, Engineering and Physics and Astronomy, for a number of years, while studying and teaching undergraduates part-time, and shelving Engineering tomes was often a welcome distraction. For a while after getting my doctorate, I balanced teaching at Cardiff University and what was then the University of Glamorgan, with working in the library, and gradually realized I preferred the latter to being an academic! I successfully applied for a maternity cover post in 2008, and have worked full-time for Cardiff University Library Service (ULS) ever since. I undertook a diploma in Library and Information Studies at Aberystwyth via Distance Learning between 2007 and 2012.

My librarian career has been varied to say the least – I’ve worked in Senghennydd Library, the Arts and Social Studies Library, Music, Science and Biomed, and as a Library Operations Manager, Senior Library Assistant, I-WIRE Project officer, Welsh Information Literacy Project Officer, (temporary) Subject Librarian and finally and permanently as Repository Administrator for Cardiff’s Institutional Repository, ORCA.

This was a brand new role when I was appointed in January 2012, which was both scary and invigorating as it meant I could (within reason obviously) carve my own path. On a normal day, I start by checking the general ORCA email, answering any queries and forwarding on any to my line manager and colleagues. Typical queries range from how to enter items into ORCA, how to change bibliographic data and how can they add full text. The task I do every day is to look at what data has been entered into the repositories review area, determine what needs to be prioritized and who should do it. A lot of time is also taken up with checking copyright and publisher policies to determine if the full text files we have been sent by researchers can be uploaded: it’s great when they can be, but really frustrating when the author doesn’t have the right version. The ORCA team are responsible for uploading the green full text, but we spend a lot of time liaising with colleagues in the Open Access team regarding gold full text compliance.

As most librarians know, open access and research support is a hugely relevant topic in academic libraries, especially with the HEFCE compliance requests for the next REF, and it is a very hot and ever-changing topic, so keeping up with developments in green and gold OA, repositories, not to mention altmetrics and bibliometrics is a full-time job in itself. A lot of my time is taken up reading mailing list posts and blogs, looking for ideas that we can implement in our team.

I also train other members of library staff in using ORCA so that they can help their schools deposit items, so I often hold large training sessions or individual consultations. We also provide training sessions to PhD students on submitting their theses to ORCA as all research theses must now be submitted electronically rather than in print.

I enjoy being involved in an area that is very dynamic, always changing, and one that involves talking to PhD students, academics, school administrators, and teams in the professional services division. Repositories and Open Access will be central to the next REF so it is good to feel part of that. Cardiff University will soon be implementing a CRIS (Current Research Information System) so getting involved in the nitty-gritty of that will be entertaining! I also like it when I can put a piece of full text on ORCA, as that is the whole point of open access repositories – my colleagues think I’m weird…

I’m also Chair of the Workplace Learning Working Group within ULS, which is all about finding opportunities for library staff to develop their skills by learning from colleagues. We run three programmes at the moment: a job shadowing scheme, where someone shadows a colleagues in a different or senior role; job rotation, where staff swap roles for a short period; and ‘Do Something Different Day’, where staff go to a different library or department for up to a day. This last one is really popular – we run it twice a year (May and December), and other libraries in the Cardiff area participate in the May event, which is excellent. I’m also part of Cardiff University’s Inspire Choir – I am by not stretch of the imagination a good singer, but it’s great fun!

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