We are taking the opportunity of International Women’s Day to rename our Boardroom in Argyle House after Brenda Moon, the first woman to head up a research university library when she was Librarian here at the University of Edinburgh in the 1980s and 90s.
Brenda played a major role in bringing the University into the digital age, as Edinburgh became the first major university library in the UK to tackle and deliver a computer-based service.
Also on the day we will be hosting an ‘Edit-a-thon’ for staff, students and friends of the University to create Wikipedia entries for notable women currently missing from the encyclopaedia site, and a ‘Sketch-a-thon’ using images from the Centre for Research Collections’ Special Collections. All artistic abilities welcome!
Learn about the lives of some of the incredible women in the archives of the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh, while putting your creative side to use in a relaxed learning environment!
Advice from HR was not to call this job ‘Witchfinder General’. So we didn’t. But we wanted to.
University of Edinburgh has a database of Scottish Witches. It has been published as open data and we are looking for a Data and Visualisation Intern to work with our Wikimedian in Residence to help us develop a linked open-data set by:
Re-using pre-existing data and creating new data which allows geographical mapping of parts of the data set.
Developing other visualisations of the data which allow new, previously unknown, patterns in the data to be extracted and new stories and hypotheses about the data to be developed.
As our regular readers across the University will know, each issue of the Information Services Group BITS magazine has a theme. In this issue we have looked across all of our projects and services to highlight the ways in which we contribute to supporting the University values around equality, equity, inclusion and access.
As usual, our feature article showcases work across each of our groups and directorates which support learning, teaching, research and engagement.
Working within such a large institution, we are able to attract a wide range of staff to work with us in ISG. The richest source of new colleagues is our student community. Each year ISG hosts a large number of student workers and student interns. They bring fresh ideas and new thinking to our services. This issue of BITS magazine is designed by our Graphic Design Intern working alongside our established team.
When we did our gender survey staff told us that making equality real involved everyone. For this issue of BITS we asked staff to think about how their understanding of equality and diversity feeds into their day to day work. We got a lot of article submissions from across the organisation. It’s actually pretty impressive, and is a clear representation that equality and diversity, openness and accessibility are part of our values as an organisation. Many organisations are now choosing to recognise Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) expertise as a significant area of valuable knowledge which contributes to the business advantage and has a direct and significant positive impact on reputation.
Our back page features some of the many events that staff in ISG contribute to at the Edinburgh festivals over the summer. I hope you will be able to engage with and enjoy them.
If you would like to know more about any of the projects described in this magazine, or about the ways we aim to embed equality and diversity expertise which has a direct and significant positive impact on our organisation, please keep up to date with our celebrations and news via our websites, social media and events across the University.
19th-23rd March is #ResourcesListWeek in the University of Edinburgh.
I am often asked about the value of lecturing ( and lecture recording). In my day, I was always told that the purpose of a lecture was to send you to the Library. A good lecture, given by an academic colleague who is passionate about their subject and actively researching in the area will inspire you to go and find out more for yourself. Lectures were never designed to be the way to cover and transmit all the course content. The reading list is as valuable to students as the lectures.
In a research institution the Library holds collections way beyond the reading lists and provides an environment for individual exploration and discovery.
We send our students to the library clutching their reading lists. If you want the books to be there when they get there, you need a Resources List. Sending in your resources list causes your librarian to order-in what is needed.
If you think our library should hold more diverse authors, if you would like to liberate the curriculum, if you would prefer we used more open access resources, this is one way to drive that change.
The Librarians are ready and waiting, give them something to occupy their time.
Some of us are on strike. (I may have mentioned this before). Academic colleagues are holding ‘teach outs’. What kind of activity would be the learning technology version of a ‘teach out’? I’m thinking ‘making OER ‘and ‘wikimedia editathons’.
I’ve asked a guru and been told that a ‘teach-out’ takes place outside the walls, has an informal curriculum, is activist focused and free!
Open education and OER is all about ‘beyond walls’, it is about sharing, releasing openly, deliberately, resources which can be re-used by others for free. There are whole conferences about how this is informal, disruptive, beyond the curriculum and underpinned by activism for social change in HE. There are even Declarations about it. Wikimedia is the largest online open educational resources platform in the world. Wikimedia is an activist organisation whose members support and campaign for changes in copyright, access, freedoms and disruption of traditional knowledge publishing models. There is also a well known issue with gender bias in the content.
They show students that their teachers aren’t just putting their feet up. We care about students’ education and are willing to educate unpaid — just not to do the kind of educating we’re normally paid for.
We only go on strike when bad things are happening, but promoting the teach-out allows us to focus conversations on a positive activity. Attending allows students (and anyone else!) to show support for the strike.
The teach-outs also give members a communal, productive activity to do on strike days that builds ideas, capacity, and community — and reminds us what higher education is really all about.
Not all members are willing or able to be involved in picketing, but are happy to participate in teach-outs, broadening the possibilities for activism on a strike day.
Organising teach-outs is very easy! Almost everyone in UCU organises conferences, open days, meetings and talks professionally. Moreover, it’s in the nature of teach-outs that they’re ad hoc, a bit improvised, even carnivalesque. So basically, it’s about doing what we’re good at, yet no-one minds if it goes wrong “
This is exactly the kind of thing we encourage through our OER activities and wikimedia editathon events. It is #openeducationweek as well as #internationalwomensday and #ussstrikes. The best thing you can do is join a ‘tech-out’. You don’t have to cross a picketline, Wikipedia is definitely outside our walls, but conveniently adjacent, and differently owned, like a local pub or community hall. You can learn how to do OER from our handy guides. You can join our wikimedia editathon remotely with our helpful videos.
If you want a communal, productive activity to do on strike days that builds ideas, capacity and community, and reminds us what higher education is really all about, Comrades, join me in Open Education.
EqualBITE: Gender equality in higher education is an open access book to which I contributed a chapter. My chapter is about the positive power of wikipedia editathons, but the book contains a full range of ideas and responses to tackling the real lived experience of inequality in higher education.
The piece I wrote I wrote a long time ago, before we even had a wikimedian in residence and before the Playfair Steps had really got going. The book has taken a while to come to fruition. It began as an idea to develop a set of ‘recipies’, with each of the contributions having a witty pun-laden title styled as instructions, method and ingredients. I thought that was a cute idea, but seemingly the author team lost their resolve for this, decided that recipies were too girly and decided to adopt a more formal style.
The result is still good though.
It’s free to download, or you could buy it.
It would make a lovely Christmas present.
University of Edinburgh Library and Collections has a huge number of image collections with a wide range of art, science, portraits, people, cartoons and photographs. We would like to open up some of these images to make them more discoverable and usable as images of role models, women in science, women in medicine, diverse groups and positive representations.
Your project will be to search our collections for striking, inspirational and engaging images and work with curators to describe, digitise, publish and share them in a way which makes them easy to find and reuse. Your work will be supervised by our collection curators and archivists who will help you to describe and interpret what you find.
This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services Group as we celebrate the diversity of our collections. Your work will be the starting point for future projects and give us vital information to help us plan new ways of working. This is an exciting opportunity to work with some of the UK’s most interesting collections and your work will have immediate and visible impact.
Working hours are 6 hours per week. Flexible conditions (working pattern to be negotiated with the successful applicant).
•You will work closely with our archivists and curators to identify where in our collections there may be images (particularly of women and women scientists) which can be found, shared and re-used.
•You will take high quality scans and photographs of the images, create descriptive metadata, store files in line with agreed workflows
and regularly add the images with their stories to a library-hosted blog.
•You will work with our other interns to ensure that the images you find are quickly used.
•You will work under supervision, but on your own initiative to use your investigative, research and search skills to discover images with
stories and visual impact.
•Throughout the term of the internship you will find and share a steady stream of content that can be easily re-used in presentations and displays around the university.
•You will gain new skill in researching collections, understanding metadata, intellectual property rights and copyright, as well as using digital scanners and digital images.
•You will work as part of a large team and independently, managing your own work projects and time, reporting on progress, publishing your findings and attendingmeetings and presentations.
•You will gain a unique insight into the library andcollections and equality and diversity issues in that context.
•You will challenge us with new ideas and summarise these in an end-of-project report.
•A current PhD University of Edinburgh student (this post is designated for the purposes of student employment, therefore you must be a matriculated student for the duration of your employment).
•A background in a relevant subject area such as gender studies, art, sociology, information studies, literature, journalism, photography, science, engineering, education, humanities, library studies, archiving, curation, human resources, management or any other relevant discipline.
•You will have a keen eye for detail, be patient and accurate and understand the
importance, beauty and power of metadata.
•Experience of searching, researching and finding things.
•Initiative and judgment to resolve many day-to-day problems independently.
•An enquiring mind and an eye for detail.
•Strong written and oral presentation skills.
•Good IT skills for using social media, working with data and targeted communications.
•Ability to set, meet, manage and monitor progress against targets.
•An engaging interpersonal style and experience of successfully persuading and influencing colleagues.
•Ability to handle irreplaceable documents and objects with care.
•Understanding of relevant equality and diversity themes as they relate to equality in theworkplace and the importance of visible role models and positive representations.
•Experience of researching a topic in detail.
•An understanding of how cultural heritage collections can support learning and research at universities.
•This internship would suit someone with a background in equality or gender studies,change management or human resources or someone with a particular interest inpolicies and practicalities of gender issues in library, technology or STEM workplaces.