Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Bidding farewell to ATHENS

Due to changes in the way we access LRC electronic resources, we will not be issuing ATHENS usernames and passwords from the academic year 2009-2010. Existing accounts will remain valid until 30th September 2009 for students and 31st October 2009 for staff.

QMU will be moving to an authentication method using your institutional login rather than ATHENS accounts later this summer. During the week beginning 17th August all off-campus links will be directed to the 'Institutional login screen' on our subscribed database or e-journal homepages.

You may also find this called a Shibboleth or Federation login by our suppliers. At this page you should select "UK Federation" (where necessary) then "Queen Margaret University" from the drop-down list. This will take you to our login screen where you should enter your Institutional login details - i.e. the same one you use to login to the desktop or email.

More information about the changes can be found on the Intranet which is available from on campus or via the Remote Desktop.

Further information about the Remote Desktop is available here. Please remember that use of the Remote Desktop greatly reduces the need to use other usernames and password, this is the preferred route for access to all our resources.

If you have any queries about the changes please contact LRCHelp@qmu.ac.uk.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Moving spaces

We're busy at the moment making room for extra study spaces in the Academic Reserve Room. As you can see from the photo, the shelves in the centre of the room have gone to make way for more desk space. These desks will be for quiet study - with terminals and sockets to plug in your laptop.

The StudySkills collection is currently being moved from this room and by September will be amalgamated into the main lending stock in the East and West wings of the LRC. Books in the StudySkills collection will no longer have the prefix of 'STUDYSKILLS' before the shelfmark.
Please ask at the Service Desk if you can't find what you're looking for.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

We won!!!

This is just a quick note to let you all know that QMU won the Green ICT category last night at the Annual Green Gown awards for our Thin-Client project, further emphasising the leading edge work we have done in this area.

Unfortunately we just missed out the sustainable construction award but we came away with 'highly commended' in this category.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Feedback from the student survey: LRC Spaces

In the LRC User survey, we asked you which spaces you used in the LRC and this is how you responded:

Please tell us which learning spaces you have used within the Learning Resource Centre
Silent study room: 14.80% 86
Quiet study rooms: 19.28% 112
Quiet IT study rooms: 15.15% 88
Study carrels: 9.81% 57
Group study rooms: 21.17% 123
Post-graduate study rooms: 7.75% 45
Academic Reserve: 10.50% 61
Other (please specify): 1.55% 9

Some of the 'other' answers were:

computer workshops
Effective learning service
Far, far too few quiet study areas with PC access. This is a massive issue. I frequently come into uni at the weekend or wait until evening to get a quiet space to work, away from people laughing, shrieking etc
Group study areas, quiet comfy chairs
I have only used the carrel's once and I find they are claustrophobic, and there was no power point to plug the lap top into the bridge area

Our previous blog entry has dealt with quiet and silent study spaces, but we are also making some changes over the summer that we hope will make a difference and improve the service we provide.

We are reconfiguring the academic reserve room to become a quiet study space with 6 fixed terminals and power for using our loan laptops. Whilst the Short Loan collection and DVD collection will remain in this room, the Study Skills collection is being integrated into the main lending stock. Excess shelving has been relocated to the top of the LRC outside the post-grad room.

The LRC bridge area is being reconfigured as a mobile phone zone, so you can take and make phone calls in this area without having to leave the secure area of the LRC itself. Hopefully you will all use this rather than disturb those studying elsewhere. Please don't use your mobile phone anywhere else in the secure LRC as this really annoys everyone - staff will ask you to take your call elsewhere!

The IT labs which we piloted last semester as quiet IT labs when not in use for teaching will now officially be designated quiet areas.

We have requested that additional power points be installed in the study carrels with Estates and Facilities. Initial responses have indicated that this may be an expensive exercise but if it is affordable we will implement this.

There will be more terminals installed on the LRC terraces but we will also be providing one empty hexagonal desk per terrace for those that may want to study here without IT or who want to plug in their own laptop for using on our wireless network. We have also increased the number of printer/copiers on the terraces to 4 and they are now doubled up so that if one has a problem, the nearest device is immediately next to it. We know that this is important for 24/7 access when we may not be able to fix the device quickly.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Great Musselburgh Book Swap

In conjunction with the opening of the CILIP CoFHE conference on the 17th of June 2009, the LRC will be holding a community book swap event that we are calling The Great Musselburgh Book Swap in Food For Thought from 11am to 7pm.

It's a chance for you to pick up your summer read, get rid of those books you are not reading anymore and decrease the environmental burden of our voracious reading habit.

We have invited members of the local community to come along to the event. So, do join us on the day. Any books left over from the swap will be donated to the charity Book Donors.

If you would like to contribute books to the event, please feel free to drop them off at the LRC Service Desk.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Trial access to Stress

We have arranged access for a 30 day trial period to the journal Stress: the International Journal on the Biology of Stress. The title can be accessed on campus via our ejournals web page or off campus by first logging in to the Remote Desktop.

The trial is set to end on the 10th July and as always feedback on the trial would be much appreciated.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Feedback from the Student Survey: Longer hours and 24 hour opening

In the LRC user survey, 65% of respondents thought our term-time opening was just right, however 28% thought they were too short. You also commented that we should be open 24 hours and longer at weekends. A greater percentage - 75% - thought our vacation hours were about right, with only 14% saying they were too short. Some respondents didn’t know what the vacation hours were and some said that they should be the same as term-time.

So what's happening with 24/7 access to the main, secure area of the LRC? As you will know, we have our LRC terraces with IT access available at all times but the secure area of the LRC - through the speedgates - remains inaccessible. Despite being designed to be available at all times, with automated systems to issue and return resources and hi-tech security, we remain at the mercy of health and safety, the local authority and the fire service who remain reluctant to have such a large area without fire marshal cover. We are working closely with colleagues in Estates and Facilities to resolve this and rest assured it remains at the top of our priorities.

When we ultimately implement 24-hour opening, then you will be able to access all our printed resources as well as borrow and return items but the LRC will still not be staffed, as usage simply could not justify the expenditure which we think is better spent on additional physical resources. In the meantime, 24-hour access is still available on the terraces which contain terminals and printing/copying facilities. We have increased the number of multi-function devices on the top terrace to provide resilience during the night. Security are able to open all three terraced areas if demand is high. Catering have also installed a multi-vend machine which is accessible during the night and we are working with them to look at drinking water supply.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Feedback from the student survey: Quiet and silent study spaces

In our recent student survey, when asked how they use the different spaces available in the LRC, 61% had used the Group Study rooms, and 56% the Quiet Study rooms. Comments included that there were too few quiet study areas, and a note that the study carrels were claustrophobic. With regard to noise levels, 58% were either fairly or very dissatisfied.

We have occasionally received requests from students to make the entire LRC a quiet area, like our old libraries at Corstorphine and Leith. We don't think that this would be a viable solution as the LRC is designed to facilitate all types of learning, including group and social study, which will inevitably create noise. What we have done is give you a large number of quiet, silent and individual study spaces. In addition, further quiet space is being created in the Academic Reserve area over the summer months.

Before the survey was launched we undertook a headcount survey of the usage of our 4 quiet study rooms and the silent study room, over 2 one-week periods. The results of this are below:

Week commencing 6 April 2009

Week commencing 20 April 2009

We would like to encourage all our students to make more use of rooms 1093 - 1096 and 1128. Remember that you can borrow a laptop from the Service Desk to use in the former but no IT is to be used in 1128. It goes without saying that mobiles should be on silent and all calls taken outside the LRC or in the new phone zone but more on that later.....

Thursday, 4 June 2009

We've got 'The Lancet Specialty Collections' on trial

We're offering free trial access to TheLancet.com Speciality Collections via our Trial Databases web page.

The Lancet Specialty Collections allow targeted access to selected articles within 15 areas of clinical practice and public health. Most of these collections are also clustered into a total of 96 topics to allow more focused browsing. The collection or topic provides a convenient, single, entry point to the original research, expert comment, and authoritative review articles published since January, 2006 in the four Lancet journals - The Lancet, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Lancet Neurology, and Lancet Oncology.

From the link on the trial database page select the collection you require, then click on the Free Trial button at the right of the screen and follow instructions from there.

The trial lasts until 30th June and any feedback would be much appreciated.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Feedback from the student survey

Many thanks to all of you who completed the LRC User survey 2009. The 10 prize-winners will be announced here shortly.

All our feedback and analysis this year will be reported back through the blog only, so do check back regularly. It's easy to subscribe to our RSS feed or become a fan of our Facebook page.

To start the ball rolling, here are some statistics:

There were a total of 201 respondents -

88.8% are students
88.6% are full time

Just under 50% are from the School of Health Sciences but only 4% were from DCI.
The majority of respondents come in to the LRC to either borrow or renew books (57%) or to use a terminal (44%). 30% asked a question at the desk and 30% used an MFD.