ScienceLeicester Team Blog

July 1, 2009


Filed under: Development, jiscri — Tags: , , , , — gazjjohnson @ 8:18 am

Well with the receipt of the feedback from JISC about their decline of our funding bid, SM@LL offically comes to an end.  In their words the key flaw in our bid was:

However, there was concern that the proposal was not specific enough about what it would actually be developing

On the other hand they did have some kind words for us:

Attendees thought that the proposal provided a good multidisciplinary balance in terms of learning, library and research staff.

Overall it was thought that although the bid focused on an interesting mix of people it was not a good fit to the Call.

This is not the end, I’d hasten to add, but only an end.  Behind the scenes the team are still talking about other things we could try, other funding revenue streams we could explore or other people we could collaborate on.  We’ll also continue to work on exploring and exploiting Web 2.0 (and 3.0) opportunities personally.

As this blog was set up specifically for the purposes of documenting this project, it’s life is at an end.  Rather than delete it, we’re going to leave it here for now.  In part so that others may stumble across it and learn from our experiences.  But with the hope that when (and I’d say it was a question of when not if) we start up a new SM@LL type project, that this will be the natural home for the blog discussions as we develop it.

In the meanwhile we will continue to discuss social networking and web 2.0, along with other library and information areas of interest over on the award nominated UoL Library Blog.  Come join us over there and help us celebrate our successes, rather than dwell upon our…less successful endeavours.


June 11, 2009

The Wake

Filed under: Design meeting, Development, dissemination, jisc, jiscri, SCRUM — Tags: , , , , , — gazjjohnson @ 10:55 am

As you’ll be aware if you’ve been following any of the team on twitter, sadly JISC decided that SM@LL wasn’t to be one of their funded projects.  I won’t say this wasn’t a bit disappointing as everyone of the team has put their heart and soul into this one, above and beyond the call of duty I would say. 

It hasn’t been in any respect a waste of our time, both work and real-life time has been spent engaging with this one, of that I am most sure.  The debates we’ve had over functionality over brand requirements were certainly illuminating and engaging.  I for one have especially enjoyed the close camaraderie I’ve formed with the project pigs.  I’m just sorry I won’t get to apply SCRUM methodology to our project, as I was looking forward to hanging a rubber chicken around someone’s neck.

It’s also seen us elevate the use of twitter to an art form (unlike most of the bids) embracing the concept of openness in our discussions on the blog and on twitter.  It proved a useful channel to discuss the issues not just with our project maters but the world at large.  It’s a shame we didn’t see that from more of the bidders, and indeed I’ll be interested to see which of the successful bids have really engaging with the community.  Actually I’ll be really interested to follow the progress of the other bids and their outputs.

I’ll be blogging again once I hear feedback from JISC, which after some delay we should be getting next week.  But in the meantime we are looking at carrying forward elements of the SM@LL project in some new form.  It will, by practical necessity, be a much smaller endeavour and spread across a longer period of time.  But hopefully if we’re approved to go ahead with it, should provide a very rich enhancement to the way we support research information at Leicester.

But that’s for the future, for now a moments electronic silence for the passing of a possibility.

May 23, 2009

Tag cloud design

Filed under: Development — Tags: , , , , — AJ Cann @ 9:40 am

tag clouds Juliette Culver pointed me at this excellent post: Tag Clouds Gallery: Examples And Good Practices.

This is your homework for the holiday weekend peeps ;-)

May 21, 2009

Metrics for Success

Filed under: Development — gazjjohnson @ 1:40 pm

Following a passing conversation with Sarah today, I’ve been thinking about success; principally the metrics by which we will judge SM@LL’s success/impact or otherwise.  In the bid we only very lightly touched on this, and I believe it’s an area that we the project team will need to think very carefully about in the run up to the kick off.

How do we define that project has succeed?

Certainly obtaining the bid is our first goal, and that is pretty clearly uppermost in our minds.  But that aside I continue to wonder how we will judge our progress.  Is simply getting the SM@LL website built our goal?  Are we looking to obtain a certain number of hits per day on it?  Are we hoping to build the definite research information tool?

I seriously doubt the last one, but would welcome the thoughts of the team (and anyone else reading) on this.

And with success what about failure – is failure defined as not even attempting to develop a project of this kind; in which case we’ve overcome it.  Or are there unlying hopes that could be dashed by circumstance, discovery or lack of progress that wait in the wings for us?  Enquiring minds need to know…

May 20, 2009

SM@LL Project Team – Gareth Johnson

Filed under: Biogs, jisc, jiscri — gazjjohnson @ 8:00 am


Continuing the introductions of the project team.

I’m, well the name above really and currently I’m the Information Librarian for Physical & Biological Sciences and the LRAManager, and I’ve been at Leicester since Feb 08.  Prior to this I’ve been a Repository Development Officer working for JISC and SHERPA, a Research Innovation Officer and a plain old Subject Librarian too.  I’ve also been a pharmaceutical researcher, a kitchen assistant and an assistant sales manager.  Working for libraries is something I fell into, but it’s been kinda interesting over the years.  I’m a sought after conference speaker too, which is something I really relish doing.

As a trained biomedical technologist and part time computer geek I’m very keen to work on and with new software/hardware/systems; which is why this project is of particular interest to me.  As prospective Project Manager as well, it’ll be nice to focus my prior project running experiences in Open Access on the LIS sector more directly.  As well as overseeing the project, I’ll be very hands on involved in practically every aspect of it from week zero to 24, and beyond.

You can find me on various social media sites, but probably the most relevent one is twitter. A lot of the details of this project bid were thrashed out on twitter, and it continues to be the primary location for keeping the team connected.

May 19, 2009

First Word Cloud Attempt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — AJ Cann @ 2:06 pm


OK, based on the approximate staff numbers I’ve been able to generate (below), a first attempt is shown above for your comments.

Astronomy 90
Biochemistry 30
Biology 15
Cancer 33
Cardiovascular 59
Chemistry 27
Computer Science 20
Engineering 39
Genetics 28
Geography 29
Geology 19
HealthSciences 57
III 41
Mathematics 24
MedicalEducation 10
Physics 10
Physiology 18
Psychology 31

1. It seems to me we’re going to have to do some “banding” to equalize the sizes?  How many text sizes do we want?  Three?  Four?

2. Also, some of the names are tricky – III?  Maths?   Biology – should be Plant Science + Zoology (a bit politically tricky)? Should we include Medical Education? How many subpages do we want?

3. Colours?

4. And? ;-)

Another pre-project meeting

Filed under: Design meeting, SCRUM — gazjjohnson @ 11:08 am

Yesterday (Monday) Sarah, Selina, Alan and myself had another pre-project meeting, to talk through some more elements of site design.  I believe Jo B was there briefly, but as I was late coming from another meeting our paths didn’t cross!  It was a productive session, and we all came away with various elements to develop – Alan, Sarah and Selina mostly with technical and protyping related activities and myself with work towards the project management and case study parts of the project.

Whilst we don’t want to move too far ahead with aspects of the project until we hear about the funding, we are hopefully ensuring we’re in a postion to swing operations into full gear.

May 15, 2009

SM@ll Project Team – Sarah Whittaker

Filed under: Biogs, jisc — Tags: , — sarahw9 @ 7:00 am


Sarah Whittaker

Sarah Whittaker

Just to add to the introductions…

I’m Sarah Whittaker, since 2006 I’ve been the Information Librarian for Cardiovascular Sciences, Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, Physiotherapy, and one of a team that supports Leicester Medical School, based in the Clinical Sciences Library at Leicester University.  

In previous lives I originally did a degree and a masters in music and a variety of day jobs in between and after before settling in library land.  My first library qualified job was for PriceWaterhouseCoopers before coming to the University of Leicester to work on the (sadly no longer funded) Outreach Library Project for NHS staff in the community.

I’ve always preferred to be involved in the experimental side of things and in terms of web 2.0 I’ve recently been involved in an innovative project with Alan Cann in using web 2.0 to cultivate information literacy in a medical ethics course.  In the Medical School we’ve also been looking at ways to using wikis with our medical students during their information training with us.

During the SM@LL project I’m looking forward to finding out how we can customize ‘useful stuff’ (technical term) for our researchers, rather than providing lists of resources.  

You can find me online as Whittybus on Twitter and Delicious and I sometimes manage to blog on the UoL Libraryblog.

Thats enough for now.

May 12, 2009

SM@LL project team – Selina Lock

Filed under: jiscri — selinalock @ 11:18 am

I’ve  been an Information Librarian for the Sciences and involved in creating science resource web pages, since 2000. I was one of the project leaders who oversaw the creation and usability testing of the SirsiDynix Rooms Subject Portal at the University of Leicester, and you can read all about it here.

Selina Lock

I’m interested in information literacy, research support, teaching and learning, and the use of Web 2.0 technologies.  I’m part of the UoL Library blog team and can be found on twitter as STLock.  I liaise with, and support, the Departments of Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering.

Next #jiscriSMaLL team meeting

Filed under: jiscri — Tags: , , , , , , , , — AJ Cann @ 9:32 am

Coffee The next jiscriSM@LL team meeting will be at 10am on Monday 18th May in the GENIE meeting room (Ad 207e – same as last time). BYOC!

On the agenda:

1) Sneak preview of alpha 0.01! ;-)

2) The word/tag cloud.

3) And… (please add below, but don’t get carried away! ;-)

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