18 Apr UKSG Conference 2016
Last week I attended the 39th UKSG Conference and Exhibition, held in Bournemouth. For those who don’t know, UKSG is an organisation that brings together all stakeholders involved in provided resources to users; it was initially the UK Serials Group but has since expanded to incorporate all types of resources (largely electronic). The conferences include both librarians and publishers, as well as others such as consultants and researchers, and it’s one of the most mixed conferences I’ve attended in terms of representation from publishers and suppliers as well as librarians. It also has a number of international attendees. I have attended once UKSG Conference before (in 2013) but this time I’m more involved in the community as I support both JUSP and IRUS-UK services (Jisc-funded usage statistics services for UK institutions). I was co-presenting a breakout session so presented on two days with my co-presenters Jo Lambert (Jisc) and Graham Stone (University of Huddersfield). I used this opportunity to practice my story telling, and will reflect on this aspect more in a separate post. For now though I wanted to share some initial thoughts about the conference.
I really enjoyed the conference – even more so than I was hoping to. Although I support JUSP and IRUS-UK, my role is one of evaluation and user support so I don’t work with electronic resources or open access directly. Despite this, there was a lot I took of value from the conference. Some of it was incredibly thought-provoking (e.g. Ann Rossiter’s plenary where she outlined the reasons why publishers need to embrace open access publishing, Dave Parkes’ breakout session on the Psychogeography of Libraries, and Emma Mulqueeny’s plenary on those born in 1997 or later); some of it was useful to me in my current role (e.g. Hugh Murphy’s breakout on metrics in academic libraries); and some of it got me thinking about things I’d love to do more of in future (e.g. Donna Lanclos’ plenary on ethnographic approaches, Dr Sarah Pittaway’s plenary on student engagement, and Sarah Roughley and Sarah Bull’s breakout session on market research in libraries). I also really enjoyed visiting the exhibition stands, catching up with professional contacts, and meeting new people.
Whilst I was there, I made daily video reflections. I’d watched Jess Haigh’s videos from LILAC Conference and really enjoyed them so decided I’d like to give it a go. My videoing definitely needs some refinement (one thing for sure is that I need to make shorter videos so they’re not such a hassle to upload and easier to watch!), but I enjoyed reflecting in this way. I even managed to do this whilst taking time out for fresh air on days 2 and 3 (the gorgeous weather helped!) and I particularly enjoyed doing that – I didn’t even mind the fact that I got some very strange looks from those who saw me (I did attract some video bombing on the pier!). I tend to take time out at conferences to reflect anyway, so recording it just made me think things through a little more comprehensively which was useful. I hope it might be of interest to some people who weren’t able to attend too. If you’re interested, here are my videos…
Overall, I was really impressed with the UKSG Conference. The event was extremely well organised; there was plenty of time between sessions and in the breaks and lunches which always helps. I had some fascinating conversations and am sure many of them will continue long after the conference. I’m planning to think about ways I can take forward some of the things I found particularly interesting (largely around research in libraries and enabling others to do research in libraries), and will be looking out for opportunities to get involved. I’d also like to attend UKSG in future and will definitely look out for ways to support the event. I enjoyed presenting a breakout session so will definitely consider this conference in future if I have things I think attendees would be interesting in learning about.