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Multimedia, Information & Technology Group

MmITS is a Special Interest Group of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). MmITS aims to unite those members of CILIP Multimedia Information and Technology Group who are living and working in Scotland. Its members are engaged or interested in multimedia information and technology developments. MmITS enables communication and promotes professional interests across Scotland and across the library and information sectors.

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News and Events - Latest

Making Connections:  Some reflections on Tuesday 7th June 2016 at the CILIPS Conference, held at the Apex Hotel, Dundee

The CILIPS Conference is always jam packed with attendees, all contributing, by presenting, exhibiting, engaging and networking, from a diverse range of sectors from the  library and information world.   This year’s conference proved to be as lively as ever, with the apt theme of ‘Making Connections’. 

As I had arrived early I attended the optional workshop led by the Scottish Poetry Library.  The aim was not a challenge for each of us to produce a poem, but to look at various poems, recite some of the lines to each other, and in the process, to learn the importance of the power of words and language, and how important it is for all of us to take time out from our busy working lives, during each day for some quiet reflection – very therapeutic and sound advice for personal wellbeing! 

The CILIPS AGM, included presentation of Student Awards.  Most unexpectedly, along with several other CILIPS members, it was announced that we had received Honorary Memberships.  These awards will be presented at the CILIPS Autumn Gathering on 20th October 2016 in central Glasgow, so shall look forward to being there and to attend some more of the lively presentations. 

A Special General Meeting then followed, to change the legal form to an SCIO, and this was agreed unanimously by attendees. 

The programme included a mix of Keynote and Parallel break out sessions.  Highlights for me included Libraries: Making communities smarter through connections presented by Jan Holmquist, Assistant Library Director, Guldborgsund Libraries, who shared his experiences of his initiatives and involvement in various international projects, like the Buy India a Library project, and, by making personal connections with LIS professionals, through social media.   Jan encouraged us all to be globally inspired and then to translate this to a local basis, and to share and adapt ideas via this approach. 

Ross McCulloch, Director, Third Sector Lab, gave a very practical presentation on Thinking strategically about social media, and asked attendees to give a show of hands if we already had a social media policy and strategy in place.  The number of hands was on the low side so Ross stressed how important it is to have these in place, and he gave us plenty of useful links to resources we could use and adapt, rather than re- invent the wheel. 

Personal Learning Networks by Donald MacLean, College Librarian, Perth College UHI and the CILIP Virtual Learning Environment by Luke Stevens-Burt, Head of Business Development (Member Services), CILIP, was a very useful and practical session on the free online learning opportunities that are available to CILIP members, which contribute to CPD and to accreditation.

The closing Keynote from Stuart Hamilton, IFLA’s Deputy Secretary General, Libraries, development and the bigger picture: what will the post-2016 information environment look like for libraries?  was broad ranging, and  discussed how professionals and institutions can use the ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals to support and develop long-term sustainable information environments.

All the presentations are available via

Photos from the Conference are available at 

Recordings of the keynote sessions will be made available within the next month. 

Paulette Hill, Library Manager

Historic Environment Scotland

Could you be our new treasurer?

We're looking for someone with sound financial skills to keep our accounts in order. If you are a member CILIP and have good organisation and communication skills and are interested oin the work of MmITS then you could be our ideal candidate. Our friendly committee meet 3-4 times a year to plan our activities around technology in libraries. This is a fantastic opportunity to join an active community of library and information workers, contribute to our lively events calendar and develop your own skills. If you are interestd or would like to know more please drop us a line at

Post AGM event review - Ninjas in a Dojo with Sushi and scratch wasabi, fancy some Raspberry Pi? 

No we’re not talking about a mad hatter’s tea party, Japanese style. We’re talking about young people learning to create tech in a community setting using free open source software and inexpensive kit. There’s little doubt that digital skills are becoming integral to employability, and coding clubs are a fun and democratic way to open up the learning to everyone. 

Democracy, learning and employability – where better to locate coding clubs than in libraries?

And that’s what’s been happening recently in Glasgow Libraries who have engaged a Coder in Residence with funding from SLIC. As our after AGM speaker, Dr. Martin Goodfellow (@GlasgowCoder) provided an exhilarating tour of the coding landscape. He told us about the partnership between Glasgow Life, CoderDojo Scotland and Virgin Media to make the sessions happen in Glasgow; success stories of up-skilled staff in Glasgow libraries, and building in links with the city’s cultural calendar.

The cultural aspect of the presentation was very interesting because it highlighted the creative aspect of coding as well as the practical application to problem-solving and making things work.

We found out about live-coding of music in night clubs with Sonic Pi and how this can be done using one of these:

Check this out:

With six months of his residency left, Martin feels that some libraries now have enough staff and volunteers to lead the sessions without his support. Another focus of the residency is pushing the movement into schools and this is already happening in Glasgow. During Martin’s presentation, a non-Glasgow school library tweeted to ask if MmITS and CILIPS could help arrange an introduction to coding for them. 

Cathy Kearney of CILIPS asked where the name ‘Dojo’ came from and Martin gave us a crash course in some of the lingo. Dojo is roughly speaking a ‘place of the way’ in which to learn, but one of our favourite terms was ‘sushi’ which is a laminated card that communicates a programming concept in a small bite-size chunk. Predictably, librarians ended the session thinking about their stomachs.

MmITS AGM and Coding in Libraries presentation

The CILIP Multimedia Information and Technology Group, Scotland invites members to attend the 13th Annual General Meeting and post-AGM presentation by Dr Martin Goodfellow, Coder in Residence at Glasgow Life, on Coding in Libraries. 

Venue:       The Old Glasgow Room, Mitchell Library, North St, Glasgow G3 7DN

Date/time:  Thursday 28th April 2016, 2.00pm – 4.00 pm. Registration is from 1.30pm.

DirectionsGetting to the Mitchell Library

Booking: This is a free event but please email to book your place. 

Refreshments (tea/coffee/biscuits will be available) 

Note: Non-members are welcome to attend the AGM but are not eligible to vote. 

Post-AGM Presentation, open to all

We are delighted to announce that Dr Martin Goodfellow, Coder in Residence at Glasgow Life, will talk about Coding in Libraries.

In an increasingly digital world, coding is becoming the fourth literacy.  It’s important that the so-called digital natives aren’t just digital consumers but also digital makers. This won’t only contribute to the future of technology but also help them in their future careers as technology is embraced in more and more areas of work. So what are libraries doing to support this? 

The MmITS committee looks forward to welcoming you on the 28th April in Glasgow.

Committee vacancies

We are looking for new members to join our friendly committee! If you are a member of CILIP and want to get involved in your profession, if you are interested in technology, we would love to hear from you. We are in particular looking to fill the roles of secretary and treasurer but anyone interested can join as ordinary member as well. Please let us know either in person on the 28th April or by responding to this email if you are interested.

Event Review: Introduction to Wikimedia (February 2016, Edinburgh)

Museums and Galleries Scotland's Wikimedian in Residence:Sara Thomas led an engaging hands-on workshop in how to contribute to the world's largest collaborative encyclopedia. Sara's knowledge of the wikipedia movement was only eclipsed by her passion and drive to get others involved in improving this increasingly authoritative resource. 

There can be little argument that Wikipedia has come a long way. I remember my own determination as a school librarian, some years ago now, trying to steer students away from the evil information upstart that would allow anyone to contribute their tuppence worth on a topic without any demonstrable qualification or expert knowledge. 

Time passed and I'd found myself surreptitiously dipping in to the wikipedia honey pot of facts from time to time when I had my first opportunity to speak with an actual wikimedian. Liam Wyatt was the inaugural Wikipedian in Residence from the British Museum's pilot 'wikipedian in residence' program in 2010. After listening to what Liam had to say about the GLAM-wiki Initiative which helps bring together resources from galleries, libraries, archives & museums with experienced wikipedia editors I was converted. Wikipedia was at last a valid place to do some initial information gathering.

Moving on, I thought it would be great to attend an event and find out how I could contribute myself. I work in a fantastic library after all - what a great excuse to go digging for information on a subject just because I find it interesting! Sara was the perfect guide to getting started. First, she made sure that the attendees had the tools to go ahead and create or expand an article themselves. Then she gave us free reign to choose our topics, staying on hand to help out and answer questions as we went. Apart from the practical skills to get on with some editing Sara infected us with the bug to get contributing. 

Kirsten McCormick


Mitchell Library, Glasgow

CILIPS Autumn Gathering - bursary winner reflects on the conference

Rachel Nimmo, winner of the MmITS bursary to attend the CILIPS Autumn Gathering that took place last November, has kindly written the following article about her experience of the conference and what she gained from it: Reflections on CILIPS Autumn Gathering

CPD Event Friday 26th February - Introduction to Wikimedia in a nutshell

 (Training will be provided by Museums and Galleries Scotland's Wikimedian in Residence:Sara Thomas)

Wikimedia UK (the collective responsible for projects including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote etc.) are working with cultural institutions including galleries, libraries, museums and archives (GLAM’s) to improve content and coverage of topics on Wikipedia.

Our first MmITS event this year is a practical workshop to help you understand more about the benefits of open knowledge in a cultural context and how to edit Wikipedia.

Under Sara’s guidance, you will have the opportunity to edit or even create new articles on Wikipedia and gain an insight to the potential benefits for library services of contributing directly to this massive free online encyclopedia.

All participants will be required to bring a laptop and some preparation is required. Please see details here:

The event will take place on Friday 26th February 2016, from 10am to 2pm at the George Washington-Brown Room, Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. There are only 20 places available so please book early to guarantee your place. Fees: £20

For payment details and to sign up please email your completed booking form to:



CILIPS Autumn Gathering 2015 - Delegate place winners

MmITS is pleased to announce the winners of two sponsorship awards to attend CILIPS Autumn Gathering 2015 at the Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre near Glasgow. 

Rachel Nimmo, Digital Access Assistant at the National Library of Scotland, and James Nock, Local Heritage Officer with Moray Libraries and Information Services, are our very deserving beneficiaries. They will each share their experiences by producing an article for the website and blog.

The conference themes this year are community wellbeing and professional engagement. A diverse programme of speakers and events promises to offer our winners a fantastic CPD opportunity. Details of the full programme are available here.

Congratulations and very well done to Rachel and James!

Follow news about the conference on Twitter using the hashtag #CILIPSAG15.

CILIPS Autumn Gathering 2015 - Sponsorship funding available 

Following successful sponsorship of one delegate place for CILIPS Autumn Gathering in 2014, MmITS are delighted to invite applications for two sponsored places this year. MmITS recognise the need for development opportunities at every level of information work. Therefore, for the first time, this offer is open to anyone currently working in a library or information role in Scotland and also to students currently enrolled on an information related course.

Sponsorship covers the cost of entrance to CILIPS Autumn Gathering and also the cost of travelling to the venue from an address in Scotland. 

Successful candidates must commit to writing a report for the MmITS page on CILIPS website and MmITS blog and/or propose another way of cascading the learning to MmITS members through technological means such as a short video; podcast; social media; webinar etc. 

Full details of application requirements can be found on the forms below:

Student Application Form

Library / Information Employee Application Form

The closing date for application is 31st August. Please send your completed forms to:


Event Review: MmITS 12th Annual AGM (May 2015, Glasgow)

The highlight of the 12th Annual General Meeting was Guest Speaker Gill Hamilton, the Digital Access Manager of the National Library of Scotland. In her talk, Hamilton revealed that the National Library is transferring a sizable number of its 24 million strong collections to the city of Glasgow. This will be the first time that the National Library will have a permanent base and presence in the west coast of Scotland and outside of the city of Edinburgh, so it is fitting that the collections will be housed in the West End’s iconic Kelvin Hall. Furthermore, the assimilation from being an oft-regarded Edinburgh institution to being part of the Glasgow fabric is more pertinent as the Kelvin Hall will be shared with Glasgow Life and The Hunterian Gallery and Museum. The initiative is part of a two phase development made possible with £4 million heritage lottery funding. This move to the West Coast is emblematic of the wider Strategy to distribute knowledge across Scotland and develop a significant presence out with Edinburgh.

Scheduled to open to the public in September 2016, the main attraction of the NLS Kelvin Hall will be its expansive Moving Images Collection, which will include the Scottish Screen Archive and the archives of the GFT, Edinburgh Film House and Edinburgh Festival. Betamax booths are being created to allow visitors the opportunity to watch films in their original format and artefacts like projectors and vintage film posters will also be on display. Their aim is to create a service that is ‘light but informative’ that can be ‘used by anyone’ with more emphasis on the curated items than the heavily written content that often accompanies artefacts. Other digital collections that will be housed in Kelvin Hall include the Electronic Legal Deposit Collection (which comprises of 600,000 articles and 12,000 eBooks), the License and Digital Collections (2.2 million digitised items and 7500 collections) and possibly a combined catalogue of Audio and Music collections. To enhance the immersive and multi-sensory sensibilities, video walls will be installed and the catalogue will be updated with a rating system. Hamilton’s talk was accompanied by a slideshow that displayed models of how the rooms will be designed and furnished.  

Sharing a building with NLS (and indeed the Hunterian/The University of Glasgow) is bound to open up a wealth of opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

Iona Murphy


Mitchell Library

NB. If you would like to read Gill's presentation for yourself, please click here.


Event Review: Future Libraries - The Next 125 Years (June 2015, Edinburgh)

“We trust that this Library is to grow in usefulness year after year, and prove one of the most potent agencies for the good of the people for all time to come” – said Andrew Carnegie, our benefactor, in 1890.

How do we make sure this holds true for the next 125 years?  Edinburgh City Libraries are celebrating their 125th birthday, beginning 8th June 2015. One of the events which I attended included a panel discussing what is happening and what the future holds for libraries, with speakers from various library and information sectors. 

The speakers taking part included John Scally, Chief Executive from the National Library of Scotland, Philippa Cochrane, Reader Development Manager, from the Scottish Book Trust, Hazel Hall, Professor of Social Informatics (Information sharing in online environments), from Napier University, and Duncan Wright,  Senior School Librarian at Stewart’s Melville College.  The event was chaired by Marion Sinclair, CEO Publishing Scotland and introduced by Martina McChrystal, Acting Library and Information Services Manager, City of Edinburgh Council.

Marion Sinclair welcomed us all and then referred to Ambition and opportunity: the first national strategy for public libraries in Scotland which had recently been published and said it was very positive about the role that libraries play.  The panel were then asked what they thought were the key strengths of libraries.  They were identified as access to knowledge and content in a democratic way, in a safe and trusted environment, in the community.  Technology may change but these fundamental principles should remain. 

The importance of making connections as well as looking after collections was also stressed.  For school pupils it was important to instil a love of reading and to develop information literacy and research skillsSharing the enjoyment of reading and imaginative text has a social role and assists in delivering stronger social benefits.

In the past one of the problems was in finding information and libraries assisted with this, whereas today, and in the future, with the explosion of information in both print and digital format, the emphasis is on helping library users find information of value and relevance.

The panel were then asked to consider why there have been negative stories about libraries in the press.  The response was that there were reports that in the Google era, and its offshoots such as Google Books there was no need for mediation via libraries and librarians.  However, this has been proved to be wrong and statistics prove that libraries in Scotland are very well usedRefurbishment of libraries and provision of relevant work and leisure spaces, provision of workshops, exhibitions etc. have proved to be very popular with the public but this message does not always get out to the media.  Although public support is high there is a need to get positive stories out much earlier.  The Love Letters to Libraries  initiative is a means whereby people can share their experiences with libraries and others to send out positive messages.

It was agreed that there is a need for libraries to market themselves and their services more strongly. Libraries should continue to ensure that both printed books and e-books are relevant and to offer to assist those with visual impairment.  Even with the rise of e-books there are still many more people read printed books and many still do not have access to the internet nor information in digital format so their needs must be catered for.

Attendees were then invited to put questions and comments to the panel.  The first comment was that self-issue of library items could be problematic and was impersonal and there was a personal preference that library staff should do this.  The panel’s response was that automation of routine tasks released library staffs’ time to work in areas such as assisting users in developing information literacy skills,  and that some library users preferred self-issue, but that library staff would always be on hand and willing to help users, where required. 

The issues of the exponential increase in book publishing, funding, and purchasing were raised; libraries can deal with this based on their knowledge and experience, and regular stock review and disposal policies.  There will be a need for closer partnership in the future between libraries from all sectors and in making digital content and catalogues more easily accessible. The National Library of Scotland is establishing such a new presence in the autumn at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow.  Legal deposit of e-collections raises new challenges as at present these can only be consulted within a legal deposit library. 

Concern was raised about the scarcity of training and fewer professional posts. The response was that there is a need for a core group of professional librarians combined with  other staff who can bring skills such as in technology and communications in order to enrich the services that libraries can offer.

It is estimated that over 20 million visits were made to libraries in Scotland in 2014 so the numbers are very healthy.  However, it is recognised there are various choices for people these days to find access to information.  A great initiative that libraries offer is Bookbug sessions for babies and their families which instil familiarity and usage of libraries from a very early age.  Success stories need to be emphasised. It was noted that 4 of the recent Bookseller Industry awards for library of the year are Scottish Public  Library services- Edinburgh, Dundee, Midlothian, and Orkney .  Edinburgh  have opened a brand new Central children’s library  and  built a new neighbourhood centre and library in Craigmillar.  Local needs are important and libraries and their services should be tailored accordingly.

A final question was asked about the priorities to be considered on budget expenditure.  The response was that the top priority should be on staffing, at the right level, with appropriate skills, then on content, of value and relevance, and finally on utilities, so this was challenging but fundamental to the key strengths of libraries.

As time was drawing to a close Marion Sinclair said that overall the outlook for the future of libraries is positive so she would finish on this note and encouraged us all to look at Ambition and opportunity: the first national strategy for public libraries in Scotland which emphasises this positivity.

Paulette M. Hill (CILIP, MmITS Treasurer)

12th June 2015



Library Camp 2014 – Winner of MmITS Sponsored Kindle Fire


Congratulations go to Anabel Marsh for organising the 2nd Library Camp Glasgow, which took place on Saturday 8th of November at the Mitchell Library.

MmITS had the honour of sponsoring the ‘MmITS Minute of Madness’, giving attendees the chance to rant eloquently and passionately on a library topic of their choice for a full 60 seconds!

The prize of a Kindle Fire went to Jennifer Higgins for her rant “Covering Gender Bias In Representations Of The Female Librarian – A Poetic Quip About The Perils (Or Should That Be Pearls?) Of Image Stereotypes”. Well done to Jennifer!

That was just part of the day, though, so please have a look at the links below for the full story:

Library Camp 2014 on Storify

Library Camp 2014 on GLTU

Event Write-Ups

We’re already looking forward to Library Camp 3!



MmITS Bursary Feedback - Clare Harrison

Clare Harrison, winner of the MmITS bursary to attend the Internet Librarian International Conference that took place in October, has kindly written the following article about her experience of the conference and what she gained from it.

'This year, thanks to MmITS, I was lucky enough to attend the Internet Librarian International Conference at Olympia in London. This was a fantastic opportunity both for my own personal development and for the continued development of the services we offer at the library of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow where I currently work as a librarian.

Our library is quite unique in that our patrons are based throughout the world. To ensure that we are able to offer the same level of service to these members as we do to those based more locally we are having to look more and more to technology and the internet. This is by no means a chore – it’s actually quite exciting to find out what is possible and we’re huge fans of open source and anything you can get for free!

We make use of social media (do follow us on twitter @RCPSGlibrary and our blog!) and have online exhibitions, interactive exhibitions, a digitisation programme, and are also starting to investigate ways of offering our information literacy courses online as part of the College’s new VLE platform.

Online resources are becoming a much larger part of my job, and whilst I have quite a good knowledge of this area, keeping abreast of the latest developments and ensuring we are getting the most out of the resources we use isn’t always easy.

I’ve been looking for some time for an appropriate course to attend but it can be difficult to find relevant/affordable personal development opportunities in this particular area (most seem to be aimed at beginners or are based outside of Scotland) and a 2 day conference down in London would not normally be something I could even consider, so I was delighted when I saw that MmITS were offering a bursary to attend the Internet Librarian International Conference. The programme for the conference looked really interesting and particularly relevant to the work I do here at the College, so I gave it a go and applied for the bursary – And I’m really glad I did!

The conference began with a keynote lecture from Michael Edson from the Smithsonian Institute, discussing the ‘Dark matter of the internet’ and how we are only just beginning to understand and take advantage of the full capabilities of the web. This was very much the theme for the conference – unlocking the whole potential of the web to engage more with new and existing users and open up access to information and, in particular, big data.

On day 2, Rachel Neaman from Go On UK, spoke about “Digital inclusion – the big mission” and how digital skills can empower people. Her keynote talk focused on the need to improve digital literacy skills (1 in 5 UK adults still lack basic digital skills) and how lifelong learning is becoming ever more important – It’s great having all this “stuff” online but we need to be able to use it AND find it.

The conference programme was split into 6 separate tracks over the two days and dealt with the themes of new blueprints for libraries, technology innovation and impact, content innovation, marketing and impact, search and discovery, and closer to communities and customers. It was really difficult to choose which talk to go along to (I could quite happily have gone to most of them) but I did have some particular ideas before I went of what would be most valuable and would fit in best with my personal objectives. I wanted to use this opportunity to explore ways of enhancing our outreach programme and developing ideas for online learning – Of particular interest were the talks on Meaningful social media, Co-creation, co-operation and communities which focused on two projects where the institution had worked closely with the local community, Innovative content (particularly useful as it looked specifically at two medical resources), and Driving digital destinies which looked at collaboration across the heritage sector.

I came back from the conference full of ideas and I think we’ll definitely be implementing some changes (probably only small ones, but ones which I think will help to improve our engagement with our users). It was also an invaluable opportunity to speak to and exchange ideas with fellow professionals – it’s good to hear that you often experience the same problems but also good to hear success stories, pinch a few ideas and even offer some advice.

Finally, a huge thank you to MmITS for providing the bursary, I really did gain a lot from attending the conference.'

Clare Harrison

You can read more about the Internet Librarian International Conference on their website


MmITS Bursary Feedback - Lynsey Sampson

The winner of our recent training / conference bursary chose to use the funds for the ECDL Advanced course, a certificate often sought after by LIS employers. Here, Lynsey talks about why she has chosen this course and what she hopes to gain from it.

'I am about to begin the Advanced ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) through the University of Strathclyde which I have been given the opportunity to do through being the successful applicant of the 2nd MMITS bursary.

I chose the advanced ECDL because I believe it will enhance my current work practices and boost my personal development in the academic library environment. I opted for the advanced option as I consider myself to hold an understanding of the essentials within Microsoft Office.

Through the advanced ECDL, I will enhance my understanding which will in turn aid my competence and confidence in using Microsoft Office. I will share my new found knowledge with my colleagues. Lastly, I am looking forward to starting and hope I will discover new Microsoft Office functions that will enable me to carry out tasks and functions more efficiently within each package – Word, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint. I will update MmITS members on my progress after completing each module.'

Lynsey Sampson

We wish Lynsey every success with her course and look forward to hearing of her progress. Please keep an eye out on the website and blog for future MmITS sponsorships if you would like to benefit from similar opportunities.


13th Annual eBooks Conference - Happily Ever After?

Friday 5th September 2014 – Some reflections

For 12 years, a joint working group with members from SCURL/CILIPS/MmITS organised the popular Scottish annual eBooks Conference, normally held in October, and rotating alternately between the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.  However, due to an organisational change this responsibility was transferred to SLIC, SCURL and JISC for 2014.  A free delegate place was offered to MmITS Committee members to attend this year’s conference, as a kind gesture from the new organisers of MmITS’ involvement over the years.  Due to work and other commitments the majority of our committee were unable to attend so I jumped at the chance as I was available on the date!

Prior to the conference the full programme and a delegates’ list were emailed out to all attendees so this gave me a good idea of the flavour of the day, which looked to be both cross-sectoral and international in its appeal.  After a smooth and fast train journey from Edinburgh, I found the venue easily as it was located in central Glasgow, close to George Square, in the University of Strathclyde, Graham Hills building and received a warm welcome from the organising committee, was handed a delegate pack in free eco-bag, and shown where to go – lecture theatre, exhibition hall, comfort facilities etc., so all needs were catered to.  There was time to have coffee prior to the start of the proceedings and to network with fellow delegates, both well-kent, and new, which was very welcome.   

The programme was packed with eight presentations from twelve speakers, concluding with a panel discussion, but there was still ample opportunity for a question and answer session at the end of each session, and time to speak to the exhibitors, speakers, and fellow delegates, in the refreshment and lunch breaks.  With over a hundred attendees there was a buzz and lively atmosphere and plenty of interactivity!  I will just pick out some of the sessions that were highlights for me.  All the presentations can be found on the SLIC website at:  13th Annual e-books Conference presentations

The keynote opening presentation was on the Right to e-read Campaign, an excellent and interesting presentation given by Gerald Leitner, of  EBLIDA,  from Austria.  His aim was to look at the entire ecosystem of e-books and e-reading, not just for libraries, but for the entire reading, publishing and distribution chain.  The content of e-books is rapidly changing so that it includes images, videos, music and can be made available by streaming.  This poses challenges for libraries in terms of cataloguing and management, in an ever-changing format.  Other challenges to access posed included publishers who were struggling to find a cost-effective business model for both print and e-books, with some refusing to sell e-books to libraries.  Most work on a licensing model and there is a danger that publishers are developing a collection building policy rather than libraries, which is a threat to democracy.  IFLA and EBLIDA are deeply concerned about this issue and the general public is largely unaware of this, so he urged that libraries need to advocate for access to e-books.  There is a need for libraries to negotiate and collaborate with publishers, although this will probably never provide a complete solution. 

Christopher Gibson, a PhD student, from the University of Strathclyde gave a statistics-packed presentation on the survey he had conducted ,  from late 2011 to early 2012, on  e-book provision in public libraries for his thesis, covering 204 UK libraries, with 32 public libraries lending e-books in Scotland.  Some interesting facts emerged during this period, with a continuing increase in e-book provision, the main aggregator, Overdrive, being the clear market leader.  The majority of libraries at the start of the survey did not have e-book content integrated into their websites but now most of them do.  One library in England charged for e-book lending and 9 others were considering it, but most were against this.  Around 10% offered training at that time, including drop-ins.  At that period none of the libraries offered loans of e-book readers; some do now to special groups of readers.  Over 70% of the libraries lent e-books or audiobooks online.  Only very few public libraries had done impact assessments regarding equality and access issues.  Chris conducted some interviews with both librarians and assistants.  Common challenges included the lack of e-book titles, difficulties in accessing them, and encouraging staff ‘buy-in’.  Chris thinks that the delivery of e-book content should be more homogenous and there was a need for increased lobbying to publishers and authors and more contact with library users.  Wales has a consortium for e-books and Chris advocates  that there should be a national consortium.

Maggie Boyd from Leicestershire Library Services gave an interesting presentation, Beyond vanity: Libraries, e-books and self-published author, about the processes they have developed in getting works from self-published authors into their libraries.   Due to declining library budgets and the pressure to maintain and increase loans of printed books, the e-books sector does not have a very high priority at the moment.  However, to encourage the self-published author,  the library produces hints and tips sheets for authors about publishing, and offers them the opportunity of talks, signing and low key launches, and an author enterprise day.  Maggie suggested several steps for an author to get their book into a library – relevance, quality, appeal, trust, respect, determination, local interest.   She envisaged the way forward as increasing community engagement, with libraries developing as community and digital hubs, and involved in social and creative enterprise.

Continuing on the theme of self-publishing, Rachel Gregory, the e-book Programming Manager from Troubador Publishing, gave a presentation on The rise of the self-publishing author.   The company produces quality self-published e-books and strives to assist authors.  This allows authors more freedom and creativity as the company is willing to take more risks on less mainstream titles; these include titles such as plumbing for women, engineering text books, children’s books.  Rachel does quality control assessments on work submitted and has to reject a considerable amount if the quality or format is not up to scratch, although sometimes the author is advised to publish the work as a printed book.  In-house facilities such as photoshop ensure that images are sharp and attractive book covers can be produced.  The books are available via retailers and libraries.  Although 1 in 4 of all books sold now are e-books the figures stocked by libraries are still very low as the majority use Gardners and Overdrive  which offer more mainstream titles.   A plea was made to libraries to be more open to self-published books.  The pricing for libraries is the same as for e-books as for print books.  Talks have been held at libraries and there is a need for an increase in negotiation and collaboration.  The company offer a net gallery which can be used as a reviewing tool.  The app can be downloaded and reviewers can give feedback.  This is important as there has been a massive increase in creative writing over the past few years.

Alistair McNaught, from Jisc Tech Dis gave a very practical and entertaining presentation on Accessible e-book platforms, using a metaphor of dietary needs and navigating his way via the ingredients.    Although there are various standards that cover digital text the e-book promise could be a good or not so good experience depending upon the tools used. Various free tools can be downloaded to assist in magnification, navigation, colour-changing, automatic scrolling. website has a useful section on accessibility.  Alistair’s final advice was to use standards with caution, know your users,  and investigate the tools and calculate costs carefully before installation.

The afternoon concluded with a lively panel discussion, chaired by Marion Sinclair from Publishing Scotland, on The changing face of reading, to which speakers and attendees contributed  fully.   The good news is that people are still reading but in a different way, such as in the daytime, maybe browsing for short periods and then moving on to other forms of interaction such as tweeting and emailing,  but then at quieter periods, or in the evening, in pursuing more concentrated reading.   It was noted that Florida had an e-books only library!  The quality of the words and text, images, and music used in e-books is very important and both readers and reviewers need to be critical to ensure standards are maintained.  Finally, all agreed that e-book pricing for libraries is still too high and that a fairer system needs to be implemented.

The theme of the 13th Annual  eBooks Conference was Happily ever after? and the presentations and discussions which took place demonstrated that there are still plenty of challenges to be met for libraries, staff, readers, reviewers, authors, publishers, distributors, and all involved in the e-books ecosystem, but I found the message overall to be positive and upbeat.   I wish to thank the organisers and speakers, attendees,  and all involved, who helped to make the conference such an interesting and enjoyable event, and shall look forward to hearing of any future e-book conferences.


Paulette M. Hill, Library Manager (CILIP, MmITS Treasurer)

Historic Scotland



News Items - Archive

MmITS 11th Annual General Meeting
7th May 2014 

Many thanks to all who joined us for our 11th AGM at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. Particular thanks to Dr Nicky Imrie for her fascinating talk on the challenges she experienced in identifying Mackintosh architectural work and developing an online resource for the Mackintosh Architecture Project. The end result of the project will be a web–based resource due to be launched in July along with a major exhibition at the Hunterian 2014. This will provide a catalogue of all projects by or associated with Mackintosh and will include full project descriptions, related drawings and archived documents and information on associated contractors. The resource also includes interesting background information on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and will feature a series of essays.

Don't forget to read our review of Dr Imrie's presentation on the MmITS blog and on Anabel Marsh's blog. Anabel has been inspired to take photographs of buildings in Dowanhill and Jordanhill based on their 'Mack Factor', so it's a highly recommended read.

MmITS Visit to the BFI Mediatheque at Bridgeton Library
26th February 2014

Many thanks to all who joined us for the CILIP MmITS visit to the fantastic new BFI Mediatheque at Bridgeton Library. This is a hidden gem, unique to Scotland, and housed within the newly renovated Olympia Cinema site. During the tour, we were able to access a specially commissioned collection of Scottish film and television, entitled ‘Scottish Reels’, covering more than a century of Scottish life and culture drawn from the BFI National Archive and the Scottish Screen Archive. The bespoke viewing stations also gave us the chance to search more than 2,000 clips ranging from home movies and adverts, to children’s television and documentaries, many of which have not been seen since they were first broadcast.

To find out more about our experience of the BFI Mediatheque and the extended tour of the wider library facilities provided by the excellent Bridgeton Library team, read Lynda Robertson’s article on the MmITS blog and Anabel Marsh’s account of the day on Anabel’s blog. Celia Jenkins has also written a post-visit blog post giving a really good insight into the facility.

Sincere thanks to the Bridgeton Library team for making this event possible and keep checking back for details of the next MmITS event!


MmITS @ Library Camp, October 2013

Following Anabel Marsh's announcement at our AGM in May that Scotland's first ever Library Camp would take place in October, the event proved to be a great success for all those in attendance at Glasgow's Mitchel Library on Saturday 26th of October. Two of our intrepid committee members, Louise Morrison and Lynda Robertson, took part in the day's activities by pitching a session on business information. To find out more about their experiences and what they had to say, go to the MmITS blog and read their post-Library Camp report. A range of topics were covered during these sessions, and the pitch put forward by Library Camp founder Anabel Marsh and CILIP's Policy and Digital Officer Sean McNamara focussed on ideas for the next National Libraries day. Go here to read further and get involved if you can!


10th Annual General Meeting, 9th May 2013

Many thanks to all who joined us at the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow for our 10th AGM on the 9th of May, and in particular to our wonderful speaker, Anabel Marsh, for her very insightful talk focussing on the development, success, challenges and future of the Glasgow Library Tweetups. Click here to learn more about the GLTU and to get involved. Look out also for the Scottish Library Camp, a fantastic new event that Anabel announced is being planning for October 2013 at the Mitchell Library.

Many thanks also to Marjory Stewart, Librarian at the Royal Faculty of Procurators, for allowing us to tour the library facilites.

UPDATE: Read an in-depth review of the AGM by Louise Morrison on the MmITS Blog.


12th Annual Scottish Ebooks Conference Reports

MmITS was proud to sponsor 2 delegates to attend the 12th Annual Scottish Ebooks Conference, which took place on the 25th of October 2012 at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh:

Jenny Ridout of Preston College is currently working towards her Chartership. Follow Jenny on Twitter @jennyridout and her blog at Jenny's Cabinet of Curiosities. Go here to read Jenny's first-hand experiences of the conference.


Penny Andrews, Graduate Trainee at Leeds Metropolitan University and one of the organisers of Library Camp. Follow Penny's blog at Penny Binary. Penny's conference report was printed in the November edition of Information Scotland.


MmITS Survey Results 

Many thanks to all who took the time to give us your thoughts for the MmITS Survey.

The findings of the survey can now be accessed here on the MmITS blog, so please feel free to read and comment on the results.

The feedback we received has been very useful and we intend to develop the ideas and comments received in order to ensure that the MmITS group offers the best value for its members.

Thank you for your interest and support. 


9th Annual General Meeting, 24th April 2012

Many thanks to all who joined us at Glasgow University Library for our 9th AGM on the 24th of April, and in particular to our wonderful speaker, Mr Stewart Bain, Library Assistant Extraordinaire and Twitter icon, for his very entertaining and insightful talk focussing on social media.

Click here to discover some of the tips we learned for the successful use of Twitter and Facebook to promote services based on the work done by Stewart at Orkney Library and Archive Services.


Twitter and Blog - Latest

Follow the latest Twitter and Blog discussions with our live feeds. Click to find out more and to join in!