Tickets Available Now for SLIP Conference!

Tickets are now available for the first SLIP Student Conference! All tickets are free but limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. Check out the event here or book your place below.

Conference Submission Date Extended!

The deadline for submission for the First Annual SLIP Ireland Student Conference has been extended until Wednesday 6th January!

On the 10th of February, we want you to talk to a group of your peers for 2 or 5 minutes about the best thing you learned in library school. 

This could cover any topic in Library & Information studies from information literacy to cataloguing, cultural heritage to human-computer interaction. Maybe you found a really great collaborative tool while doing a group project and want to share it with the world. Maybe you learned something about learning itself when returning to college after a long break.

The conference is an informal meeting of minds where students, staff and professionals can discuss various issues in LIS through a student lens.

You can also make a poster for the conference about a topic in LIS of your choosing, details of poster requirements can be found here.

Group submissions will be considered.

Don't delay, download the submission form here or below and send us your 100 word abstract.

If you want something done, ask a busy person

If you want something done, ask a busy person, or so they say. However, what if that something is pursuing a MSc in Library and Information Management, or any masters degree? Is employment a drain on time and energy or does it focus the mind and improve efficiency as the proverb suggests?

In 2013 Ross carried out a cross-sectional survey on Australian undergraduates to measure the effects of juggling full-time study with part-time work. Three hypotheses were tested, with the objective of finding associations between paid employment in students and (H1) time spent on studies, (H2) levels of intrinsic motivation and (H3) levels of Information Literacy (IL) self-efficacy.

Initially, this study supported what one may intuitively assume; that working students spend less time outside of the formal schedule on study (13.7 hours per week for working students as opposed to 16.96 for non-working). Troublingly, a significant proportion of all students in this group (24.1% of working and 15.5% of non working students) were reported to spend 5 hours or fewer studying in a setting where 28 hours per week were recommended.

The second hypothesis was also supported. There was a significant difference between the groups in their motivation to gain knowledge for personal satisfaction; their intrinsic motivation. Working students displayed lower levels than their non-working counterparts.

Be that as it may, there was no distinctive difference between working and non-working students in their extrinsic motivation, i.e. desire to develop a career or to achieve status, or in their motivation. (Males showed more apathy compared to females, but no difference was evident between employed and unemployed students).

I would suggest that regardless of the type of motivation, be it career progression or achieving a more in-depth understanding of a subject, the same end goal may be achieved.

This survey measured IL self-efficacy and not actual IL skills. It is well documented in the literature that one’s abilities in IL can be quite significantly over estimated. Keeping this in mind it is unsurprising that there was no difference between working and non-working students in their estimations of their IL.

The third hypothesis tested for this treatise was unsupported:

“Apparently, among non-working students, time spent on their studies significantly improved their IL self-efficacy, but not, it would seem, for working students.” (Ross et al., 2013).

This occurrence is counterintuitive. Working students showed lower levels of intrinsic motivation, and reported equally well in IL self-efficacy. Meanwhile, a strong positive correlation was established between intrinsic motivation and IL self-efficacy!

Although the survey and its results were interesting in its choice of subject, it was somewhat limited in its remit. It is clear that there are many areas of further study to be investigated regarding student achievement, IL and employment. It is also evident that librarians and libraries are perfectly placed to carry out these studies to strive towards student engagement and sense of achievement.

Challenges of combining employment and study are made easier by honing IL skills; revision, reading and assignment work become more enjoyable, less taxing and grades can be improved. I feel that it is essential for librarians to reach out to scholars and tutors within all academic pursuits to champion this message.


Ross, M., Perkins, H., & Bodey, K. (2013). Information literacy self-efficacy: The effect of juggling work and study. Library and Information Science Research, 35279-287. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2013.04.008

Image courtesy of Damir Kotoric at Unsplash

Beth Whitney is an aspiring librarian. She is a part-time MSc Library and Information Management student at DBS. She has worked in the office at a veterinary hospital for the last eight years.

You can follow her @bwhitneybeth

Libraries in Second Life: Linking Collections, Clients, and Communities in a Virtual World

This article examines the purposes, users, collections and the community integration of different libraries which exist within second life. It attempts to address two questions: “What are the kinds of libraries which exist in Second Life” and “What are the best practices for designing libraries in Second Life?”

I think the authors made a thorough examination of the libraries which have emerged in Second Life and clearly identified the factors which have shaped their development such as the inherent flexibility of the Second Life platform. They covered seventy-five in total and categorized them based on purpose, users, the collections, the facilities offered and the creativity of the visual design of the library. Some of these were merely buildings designated as libraries to add detail to virtual towns/cities but offered no functionality whatsoever. Others acted as extensions of physical libraries, offering access to some of the physical library's collections. Others were used to demonstrate the creative potential of the Second Life platform, containing collections in imaginative structures that had no basis in the physical world.

The authors also identified a number of general aspects of these libraries that would be useful to note when it comes to establishing design practices. As mentioned above some of Second Life's libraries consist of very creative visual structures. Stanford's Virtual Libraries do not resemble the physical library but instead consists of a tower which contains various exhibits from the library's collections. Access to the library's spaces is provided by a miniature steam train which travels around the exhibits offering a novel way for visitors to see the available resources. The authors suggested that such exploitation of the immersive nature of Second Life did offer a more enjoyable user experience than simply accessing materials from a database. However they also noted that it was important that virtual libraries in Second Life were clearly identifiable as libraries. Even when the creative freedom of the platform was heavily exploited when designing the structure, visual cues such as a card catalogue were used to confirm the purpose of the structure.

Another design practice issue the authors noted concerned the formats in which the collections were available. Second Life offers three formats. The innate notecard format of the platform is easiest to use but a little awkward to read. Collections outside Second Life can be linked to but that raises the question of why go to all the trouble of using Second Life to access them in the first place? Finally materials can be displayed as attractive digital books but these take time to design and implement.
The authors conclude by stating there is no single model of best practice for designing Second Life libraries and list a number of general design practices for virtual libraries. I thought that these were too general and could be summarized as “It depends on the users.” Perhaps future work could refine the suggested practices into more detailed steps.


Gantt, J. T., & Woodland, J. R. (2013). Libraries in second life: Linking collections, clients, and communities in a virtual world. Journal of Web Librarianship, 7(2), 123-141. doi:10.1080/19322909.2013.780883

Eanna O'Keefe

Transcribing Oral History

Shopes article highlights the significance of the transcription process within oral history (specifically focused on interviews). In her article, she raises one important issue regarding the preservation of cultural heritage. She argues that transcription translates “one form of communication into another” ultimately causing the loss of particular “nuances of embodied expression” (2012, n.p.).

What is particularly strong about Shopes’ argument is her description of various solutions to ensure the process of transcription is carried out effectively, even in different contexts. However, she is also aware that there is currently no common solution for transcription across oral history projects (2012, n.p.).

While Shopes appears to view transcription positively as an indispensable process within oral history preservation, the Minnesota Historical Society offers a balanced argument. They argue that transcription falls under two categories: word-for-word transcription (possibly emphasising a preference for transcribed documents complimenting the original audio files) or leniency within the transcription process (highlighting a preference for original audio files as source material) (2001, p.1).

Of course, transcription plays a paramount role in access for service users, the aims of which are ultimately to facilitate users in their pursuit of information. As well as ensuring universal access to content for users with auditory impairments, full transcriptions can be beneficial (over other solutions, such as transcribing a certain percentage or simply providing a summary).

Shopes asserts that there cannot be a common solution for all oral history projects, since each one will differ greatly (2012, n.p.). The Minnesota Historical Society add to this argument stating that when it comes to transcribing specifically, each person (or even organisation) is fundamentally different (2001, p.1). These are notions that many practitioners in the field would be fully aware of.

As the argument proceeds, more issues regularly emerge, prompting in depth discussion and thought. Ultimately, there are three questions that will prompt this discussion: Should common standards be set across organisations to ensure that transcription fully compliments the original audio, while still allowing the original audio to stand on its own? Should we assert the authority that oral history should remain as so and only be heard, not read? If so, how do we allow universal access?

What do you think about the role of transcription? Let us know.


Minnesota Historical Society/Oral History Office. (2001). Transcribing, Editing and Processing Guidelines. Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 7th June, 2015, from

Shopes, L. (2012). Transcribing Oral History in the Digital Age. Oral History in the Digital Age. Retrieved 7th June, 2015, from

Image Downloaded 2008-02-03 from John Clark Ridpath, ed. (1897) The Standard American Encyclopedia, Vol.3, The Encyclopedia Publishing Co., New York, USA, p.1199, fig.1on Google Books

Andrea Bellamonte

IL In An Information Literate World

The reading which I decided to focus on for this post is Susanna  M. Cowan’s  2014 article Information Literacy: The Battle We Won That We Lost? in which Cowan discusses the future of information literacy (IL) and also its history as a programmatic concept created, coveted, and disseminated in libraries, by librarians. The article is formulated around the question posited in its title, have librarians lost the battle for IL? 
Cowan’s article is inspired by the work of Sharon A. Weiner who calls for the institutionalization of information literacy, with a strategy of integration into the organizational structure of the educational institution. After comprehensively outlining the history of IL dating back to Paul Zurkowskis formative work in the 1970s, Cowan precedes to explore the outdated nature of these original theories, and the current issues surrounding the libraries possessiveness of IL. Zurkowski emphasised the programmatic nature of IL along with the necessity of the library at its core. While this theory was perfectly salient in the era in which it was first present, over 40 years on we are still clinging to this original definition.  Cowen goes on to outline the impact of technology on IL with the wider dissemination of information quickly leaving this original idea of IL behind until the establishment of the ACRL Competency Standards in 2000. 
The velocity at which technology has continued to develop since the millennium has played no small part in the current ‘battle’ of IL. With access to almost unlimited information at a young age, research has become a daily activity, no longer confined to the library where beneath the watchful eye of the library it could be ensured that correct research methods were used. With the development of bibliographic instruction, and the pervasive nature of technology, the instruction of IL seems almost to be an interruption in the continuous research of our daily lives. Is there in fact a need for IL to be taught at university level or is it already too late to instil good research methods?
It has become increasingly apparent through personal experience and conversation with colleagues that the need for IL instruction must take place at a far earlier stage of a student’s academic career. At the age of 18 or 19 a student has already been involved in research for at least 4 years with Googling a topic, item, food, or event, more natural than opening a book to some. If IL is to remain current it is necessary for its instruction to be carried out at a second level institution, not third, where the foundations can be built upon. However the elephant in the room is the unwillingness of the library to give up this grand icon of purpose that is IL tuition, if the library hands over the reins, will it be able to continue to prove its viability in a practical and visible way? Is the departure of IL from the domain of the library a precursor to that of the teaching librarian?

Cowen quotes the TED prize winner Zugata Mitra  who challenged librarians and educators to “let it happen”, in response to which Cowen posits the notion of standing back and, to me however, this conjures an image of the traditional librarian, cowering and quaking, no longer able to validate its purpose in this new information literate world. 

Cowan, S. M. (2014). Information literacy: The battle we won that we lost?.portal: Libraries and the Academy14(1), 23-32.
Image Credit: Brenau University 

Julie O'Connor

Spotlight on Cregan Library, St. Patrick's College

  St. Patrick’s College opened in 1875 to meet the teacher training needs of a denominational primary school system but over the years it has grown to include post-graduate and doctoral programmes and established humanities programmes which have led to a holistic approach to education.

The library has existed in some form or another as far back as 1884! The last version of the library was built in the 1980s and was in need of a revamp for some years before we moved into a new four-story library building earlier this year. Lots of planning and work went into the move – for example we integrated the collections of our ‘Resource Centre’ into the library and RFID tagged over 160,000 items in preparation for self-issue kiosks.

In February of 2015 the new, improved library opened and currently provides seating to just under 400 people.  


Flexible library space

I work in the information service and moving into the bright, colourful new building has been a great boost for staff morale, as students and College staff have given lots of positive feedback about what a nice place the library is to study and meet in. It provides a variety of seating to facilitate various types of learners; from a bookable group study room, egg-shaped lounge-chairs in the lobby, and individual study booths, to (of course) bean-bags for relaxing in! There are quiet areas and louder areas so that people can have a chat and coffee on the ground floor, but must engage in silent study on the top floor.

Archive room

We have several special collections which are now housed in a purpose-built, temperature-controlled archive room. These special collections have been built up over the long history of the library, and reflect a rich tradition in education and Irish children’s literature, as well as Irish history. They include (but are not limited to!): a schools text book collection, Junior special collections (Padraic Colum, Patricia Lynch) and P.W.Joyce and Henry Morris collections.

Accessing the Library

The library is open to staff and students of the College during term-time from 9am- 10pm Mon-Thurs & 5pm on Fri. We open from 10am- 1pm on Saturdays. During the Summer months we open office hours Mon-Fri.

The ground floor of the library is open to the public, and tours for interested groups/individuals can be arranged on request (email This year on Culture Night (Friday 18th September) the entire Library will be open to the public and feature special events and exhibitions.  For more info keep an eye on the Culture Night website and our own website/social media accounts, below.

Location: Drumcondra Road, Dublin 9.
Twitter: @LibraryStPats

About the Author

Genevieve Larkin

Library assistant (Síol information and research support/distance service co-ordinator) 

Genevieve started working in St. Patrick's College Library in 2008 while studying in DCU and later completed an M.LIS from RGU. Prior to joining the College she worked for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown co/co in public libraries. Genevieve is currently the secretary of the LAI Career Development Group and her professional interests include the use of emerging technologies in libraries and archives, continuing professional development for librarians, information and digital literacies, and library advocacy.

Phone: (01) 8842175
Twitter: @Genevievela