Moving on and looking back
After six and a half years at my current workplace, I’m making a change and moving into health librarianship/knowledge management for the local NHS hospitals trust. Although this was my choice and I’m excited about the new challenge, the move was also driven by major changes to library services at the institute. The current plan is to pretty much remove dedicated library provision for students and staff (though students will still have access to the main university library), while pursuing external funding for selected international/online projects and digitisation. The fate of most of the unique collection is still unknown.
This makes me angry and sad* but I hope that the achievements of the library team will be recognised and built on, whatever the future brings. On a personal level (and please forgive the vanity) I’m using this post to remember some of my own achievements and highlights of the past few years: the projects I’ve worked on, and the presentations and papers that have come out of them:
- The Robert Chambers Archive – the first digital repository project I oversaw from start to finish. It contains over 400 items, which have been downloaded over 150,000 times to date.
- The BLDS Digital Library – a collaboration with 20+ research institutes in Africa and Asia, who have contributed over 4000 publications for digitisation and online access under a Creative Commons license. I’ve delivered 3 conference papers and written 1 journal article about this project:
Grey literature, green open access: the BLDS Digital Library – for Open Repositories 2014
The BLDS Digital Library: open access to African research – for ASAUK 2014
Unhiding African collections at the British Library for Development Studies – for African Research and Documentation no.121 (2013)
- In January 2015 the OpenDocs repository (including the above collections) reached one million downloads and IDS published this web story to celebrate the achievement: Improving access to development research from IDS and beyond
- At around the same time I was finishing another project – a piece of horizon scanning research led by a team from the library on knowledge sharing in a digital age. Our main output from this was an evidence report, The Future of Knowledge Sharing in a Digital Age: Impacts and Policy Implications for Development [pdf]. There’s also a short policy briefing [pdf] and a piece I wrote for the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog.
- In the meantime I’ve been engaged in open access advocacy across the institute and internationally, and written on the subject for the Impact and Learning blog and the TTI PEC programme [pdf briefing paper].
I think it’s been an amazing few years, for BLDS, for repositories and open access generally, and for me. I don’t know if I’ll carry on blogging or not once I start my new job, but I’ve enjoyed being the toast in the machine and I’m sure I’ll continue making crumbs somewhere, whatever happens 🙂
* this is the short and diplomatic version of how I actually feel after 2 years of reviews, consultancies, cuts and conflict, but that’s maybe for a different blog post…