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Showing posts from September, 2014

Fighting for access

This is a follow up to my post on Open Access in May.

A few times recently in work, I've been asked if there's a publicly accessible version of an academic article available. This wasn't because we wanted to get a hold of a copy of the articles: we already had them through our subscription services, and the solicitors had read them. What the solicitors were wanting was a free, public version of the article, which they could direct clients and other contacts to, saying "read this, it's important/relevant/well written". They wanted to highlight that the content of the article was useful, and that the author was a reliable and authoritative source.

Sadly, I wasn't able to get a hold of a copy of any of these articles, because the authors hadn't deposited a copy of their work into their institutional repositories. That meant that the solicitors couldn't direct their clients and contacts to read the useful materials written by those authors, and the au…

Taking the fun out of LinkedIn

I think it's almost standard now that most types of professionals these days have a LinkedIn profile. It effectively works as an online CV, allowing contacts to easily review your skills and experience, and lets you gather many disparate facts about you into one place, such as your non-work skills and experience.

One element of the LinkedIn offering is that colleagues and contacts can "endorse" your skills, allowing you to build up a list of your abilities that have been verified by others. On the face of it, this is a handy option - people who know you and your skills are able to vouch for you, and allow others to get an unbiased view of what you can actually do. Skills would be selected from a pre-approved range of options. It all sounds sensible, and useful.

However, the reality was a little different in practice. It turned out, those pre-defined options were actually quite wide ranging. And in some cases, somewhat odd. I've attached a screenshot of the current en…

The Referendum experience

I don't know if you've noticed, but something big is happening in Scotland at the moment. A long-promised referendum is happening on the 18th of September, asking one question of the populace: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Now, I've made my decision, and I've voted already (the joys of a postal vote), so I can watch things ramp up in the last week or so of campaigning with a certain level of detachment. I'm a voter - I've always voted, and always will, as too many people fought too hard for me to gain that basic right of self determination for me to give it up because of silly issues like the polling station being inconveniently located, or because it's raining. But there's something different about this referendum, that sets it apart from all the previous elections of all types that I've voted in.

The difference is, that people now seem to think they have a right to know what your choice has been, and it's not the peopl…

Time flies when you're having....a lot of stuff going on!

Phew, it's been a long time between blog posts here, huh?

Mainly, this has been because I've been super busy at work, between settling in to my role, and working hard with our intake of summer students. Settling in, and having people get to know me (made much easier now by the fact that the Information Services team and our Library have been located on one of the main office floors since mid April, so we're far more visible to staff) means that the fee earners have become more comfortable with asking me for research help, and passing research tasks to me to deal with, so my day-to-day workload has been picking up. Plus I've been checking over and altering the training materials I inherited from my predecessor...and testing them out on the Summer Law School students!

The Summer Law School at my current workplace is partially similar to the one which was run by my old employer, but it's also substantially more involved. Unlike the previous 2-sets-of-students, 4-weeks…