Expanding your searches: two features of Library Search

You have used DMU’s Library Search to track down articles that could help with your research. By pure chance, or the wizardry of search engine algorithms, one article jumps out as being exactly what you were looking for. But how can you find more articles that are like, or better than, the one you just found? There are two new or underused features of Library Search that could help to do just that.

Take this sample search for peer-reviewed articles on “persistently crying babies“.

relatedSearchTo get this far I typed ‘persistently crying babies’ into the search box, and ticked ‘Peer-Review’ in the left hand navigation to focus the results. There are some differences in the way the first three results are presented. Articles 2 and 3 both have an extra link offering ‘Related Articles’ and citation counts from both Web Of Science and Scopus. But what do these features add?

Related Articles

Behind this link is a huge database of ‘people who read this also read that’ relationships. The usage data from millions of researchers worldwide (and not just this institution) has been mined to discover patterns that could help point you to articles that you might not otherwise have found. Clicking the link causes a set of related articles to appear in the right hand panel.

relatedSearchResultsThe ‘Related Articles’ link chosen is highlighted in grey so we do not lose track of which article we are working on. The results ‘suggested by bX Recommender‘ are those picked up by the data-mining. While the items that appear in the main panel are filtered to promote things that you can read online immediately, there is no such guarantee to the related articles. Still, they might be worth knowing about and available from other libraries one way or another.

Citation counts

Another easily overlooked feature of the display are the citation counts from Web of Science and Scopus. These are two databases that organise their results based on the number of times one article has been cited by the others that follow it. It goes beyond following which links researchers click on: this logs the items valued enough by researchers enough to include them in the references in the articles they publish.

Clicking on the ‘WEB OF SCIENCE℠‘ link takes you to a results page listing those citing articles, building on, or possibly disagreeing with, the original article.

wosThere is even a ‘Times Cited’ count for these articles too, so you can follow the tracks of academic influencers. The ‘Find it @ DMU’ button takes you back to our database of the journals to which we have access at De Montfort University.

 

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Library Search adds an ‘Open Access’ feature

Library Search has a new feature highlighting Open Access material. Articles and eBooks that appear in search results are sometimes marked with an Open Access icon to distinguish them from others where a username and password is required. There is also an option to restrict the search results to only those counted as ‘open access’.

Inside a university, for its current students and members of staff, this my not seem hugely relevant. After all the results presented for any searches are all either covered by existing library subscriptions or ‘free’ anyway.

For people outside the university: those who are hoping to come; those who have just left and those who may never have that opportunity, the position is very different. The paywalls that are part of the standard model for distributing academic research can be a real obstacle to the opportunities members of the public have to understand science.

Take the example of an area to which De Montfort University has made a key contribution through its research. When I used Library Search to find academic articles on ‘benefits of nature’, the first seven results (on 24 May 2017) were only available because they were covered by library subscriptions and would not be accessible directly to people outside the university.

Now if I had an interest in this field, I might want to find academic quality research that I would be able to read. Being able to refine my search to just open access material would focus the results on those which anyone, inside or out side of a university could explore. By clicking on the Open Access link in the Refine Your Search section I was able to find such material. I then used the ‘Peer-Review’ link to filter out articles that had not been quality-checked by other academics.

OAFacetsOne of the results asks “What are the benefits of interacting with nature?” and features research to which Katherine N. Irvine of DMU’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development.

At no point in this search have I been asked for a username or password or proof that I am a member of a Higher Educational Institution. Which means that this search option is open to anyone to use.

 

 

 

 

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Digging into Nineteenth Century newspapers

As a private project I have been researching the history of a small village in South Leicestershire. One of the most productive sources of stories to write about has been the collection of nineteenth century newspapers available to staff and students of De Montfort University. One thing that has struck me is how often the events in an otherwise forgotten village resonate with national events and debates at the time.

Digging around this collection has also given me a better appreciation of the range of research areas in the University where stories in old newspapers can provide important insights. For example:

Epidemiology

In February 1828 two people from the neighbouring village of Arnesby died of the fever prevailing in that village. The newspaper noted a possible link with the sanitary conditions of such villages, highlighting the lack of outdoor conveniences in several of the houses where Shearsby’s poor lived. The resulting conditions, with myriads of insects being generated, were deplored as a disgrace in the centre of england, in the nineteenth century. It was suggested that the county magistrates should do something about these conditions.

Compare the anecdotal reports of 1828 with the detailed reports reaching the Rural Sanitary Authority meeting in Lutterworth Workhouse in January 1890.  Again Shearsby gets a mention as the Inspector had come across a case of scarlet fever there. He had supplied disinfectants and could report that there had been no further cases to his knowledge. The meeting heard reports from villages across South Leicestershire and parts of Warwickshire with a theme of overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. In fact, the same themes of fever, toilets and insects dominate, but there is an increased confidence that there was something that both could and was being done about such incidents.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, February 16, 1828

Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, January 25, 1890; pg. 6

Employment Law

In 1834 one of the Shearsby villagers took up a complaint about his employer stopping his wages on account of debts owed at the factory shop. A key part of his case was that he was obliged to take goods from that shop as part of his wages. This practice, known as Truck or, more popularly as ‘Tommy’ had been recently legislated against in the 1831 Anti-Truck Act. As the story unfolded over three weeks it illustrated the difficulties that working men encountered when trying to use the law to protect themselves from unscrupulous employers.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, October 25, 1834

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, November 01, 1834

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, November 08, 1834

Poetry

While looking for background material on Anti-Truck Movement (there is a letter to the editor of the Leicester Chronicle on paying labourer’s wages in goods instead of money in October 1829) I came across a poem by John Banim: The Ould Man at the Altar.

An ould man knelt at the altar,
His enemy’s hand to take-
And at first his faint voice did falter,
And his feeble hands did shake:

John Banim is, according to Wikipedia, sometimes called the “Scott of Ireland”. If you like to listen to the music of poetry you can follow the ‘f’ sounds: ‘faint, falter, feeble’ and how they relate to a final pair of ‘forgive’ and ‘foeman’. If you visualise the poetry you read you can watch the movement of those hands as they ‘clench’ and are eventually offered in friendship. The prompt for the poem was, a note explains, an attempt to end ‘the petty disputes between rival factions in Ireland’. That such a poem would be printed in a Midlands newspaper shows that the editors hoped to find it resonating with their readers, not least in the context of the Roman Catholic Relief Act (bringing about Catholic Emancipation) of that same year.

There is research going on at the British Library on how data-mining techniques can be used to uncover more verse from historic newspapers.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, October 24, 1829

Journalism

Most of the events that got reported in the newspapers relate to either death or bad behaviour by the villagers, most notably in the reporting of the arrest and trial of Hannah Read, accused of the murder of her husband in 1825. That accounts of her trial re-appear in various newspapers with identical wording show how newspapers depended upon each other. They also highlight the role of the court reporter who would have to sit through court sessions day after day before a prominent case would turn up.

Berrow’s Worcester Journal, 11 August 1825
Derby Mercury, August 10, 1825
Jackson’s Oxford Journal, August 13th, 1825
Ipswich Journal, August 13th, 1825

Sport History

But it is not all murder and mayhem. A friendly game of cricket was reported as having taken place at Shearsby with a team from neighbouring Bruntingthorpe in August 1868. Shearsby seem to have come out on top over two innings. The report lists the players and their scores and, to the village historian, show the familiar names of fellmongers, publicans and agricultural labourers at play.

The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, August 22, 1868

Searching for your own stories

Students at DMU can find their own stories through the 19th Century British Library newspapers collection, The Times Digital Archive (1785 – 2010) and the Proquest Historical Newspapers collection containing The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003). If you get really addicted to old newspapers you can also use the British Newspaper Archive, which is free to search but requires a subscription to view the newspapers themselves.

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How can university professional services staff help to develop ‘Smart Cities’?

The DMU Local site recently asked: “What does a ‘Smart City’ mean to you?” The deadline for the prize for best answer has passed, but the question remains. The university and the City Council are working to put together a strategy for making Leicester a Smart City, hoping that better use of technology would improve things for businesses and communities and make a difference in sectors like healthcare and transport.

Universities are also challenged in the post-Brexit political environment to re-assert their relevance to the communities whose taxes pay for their continued existence. Finding ways of taking the university’s expertise out of its ‘Ivory Towers’ and into those communities is likely to prove important.

My own answer to the question about what Smart Cities mean would have focussed on Open Data. I would have assumed that planners have long used data to make decisions. The flow of traffic is governed by factors like distance between traffic lights, average speed of vehicles and the timing of stop signs. A smart city would open its processes in two ways:

  1. Make the data available for anyone curious to use.
  2. Be open to learning from citizen explorations into this data

People might start with a frustration: “Why can’t I get out of my industrial estate in the evening rush hour?” and use the data and modelling systems to explore the effect of more frequent or longer gaps between the traffic light changes.

And this is not just for traffic issues. A Smart City would also be involving people in learning and improving healthcare, public safety, education and training and other areas.

What do we need? Open Data and Equipped People

Key to this vision would be curating a collection of data sets relevant to how a city operates and developing the skills within the population be able to work with the data and learn from it.

How can professional services help?

Hosting hackathons

The university could host events where citizens from outside the university with an interest in a sector, like healthcare could meet up with staff from inside the university to explore the data and learn from each other about the skills required to analyse and make recommendations.

Curate collections

Making the data ‘Open’ involves more than just sticking files up ‘on the cloud’. The ingest processes and development of associated metadata are areas where information professionals, like librarians, already have experience to contribute. Data about any one city cannot be understood in isolation from other nodes. Sourcing data from outside to enable comparisons between Leicester and Oslo, for example, requires knowledge of the Open Data landscape.

Share skills

Professional services staff across the range of directorates are involved in analysing data and could share those skills with each other and the city. There is a movement of ‘Data Carpentry’ events which would provide a format for such learning encounters.

Data collection

The university could install air pollution monitors along the line of the Oxford Road buildings and the river to compare air quality in different environments around the campus.

App development

Apps could be designed built on Open Data and shared with the community to enable citizens to benefit from professional services expertise. For example a local congestion app could help people decide on the best routes home

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LOCKSS as a source for journal articles

In a post I wrote yesterday ‘LOCKSS and Library Search‘ I looked at how users encountered material held in the university’s LOCKSS Archive if they were starting from the E-Resources Portal. This portal lists all the e-Journals and e-Books available through the DMU Library. My guess is that it would be mostly (but not wholly) librarians who would take that route. They would be interested to know which journals their students had access to and which were actively being looked after in LOCKSS.

Students themselves would encounter material when searching for individual articles. Fortunately for them, the process is much simpler. Take, for example, this search for a known article: ‘Wishing on a Star: Promoting and Personifying Designer Collections and Fashion Brands’.

Screenshot from 2015-02-18 14:25:49Clicking on the title link for the top search result takes the user to the publisher’s version of the article. But there is also a Sidebar Helper Frame which offers alternative sources for the article if there are any available.

Screenshot from 2015-02-18 14:26:45In the ‘Try a Different Source’ dropdown list LOCKSS appears as an option. In this case the user is taken to an HTML version of the required article.

Screenshot from 2015-02-18 14:48:54That would be useful if all other sources of this article had been lost. With a little more tweaking it may be possible to get Summon to link instead to the menu page for the article offering both PDF and HTML formats.

 

 

 

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LOCKSS and Library Search

During February 2015 I have been working on making the collected and preserved material in De Montfort University’s LOCKSS Archive visible to Library Search users. Over 400 titles have now been activated on Intota (our Electronic Resources Management system). These are journals that the library cares about and has taken steps to ensure that their content is continuously available to over the long-term.

Library users are starting to notice material stored in LOCKSS when looking through our journal holdings or for individual articles. For example our E-Resources Portal shows LOCKSS as among the possible sources for ‘Accounting, auditing & accountability journal‘.

Accounting, auditing & accountability journalWhilst the Emerald Management link goes to the version available from the publisher, the LOCKSS link instead accesses content via a proxy server that runs inside the university. Should the content for any reason ‘go missing’ from the publisher we could rely on being able to use the LOCKSS version instead.

This may not be as pretty or straight-forward as you might expect, but it does work. First the user has to negotiate some of the LOCKSS mechanism. There is a menu page listing the stored content by volume.

LOCKSS-Menu1
This is followed by a better looking menu page with the issues available for the selected volume:

LOCKSS-Menu1Things are looking more familiar with the Issue contents page:

LOCKSS Manifest pageFrom this page a PDF or HTML version of the required article can be selected.

That, at least, is the route for people starting with the title of a journal. If you had a citation with an OpenURL link instead, the route to the content would be more direct.

Making the digitally preserved LOCKSS journals so visible helps to show just what efforts the Library has been making to guarantee continuing access to electronic resources. Research published at the end of last year (Klein M, 2014) indicates that a high percentage of published and peer-reviewed articles suffer from broken links in their references to other journals. Klein mentions LOCKSS as a possible measure protecting against link rot. Making the LOCKSS holdings visible for members of De Montfort University shows just how far, or how limited, this protection extends.

LOCKSS does have a further role in the background helping to maintain access to electronic content. It is also working as part of the infrastructure behind Library Search, along with EZproxy, enabling access to content. In the example of the accounting journal above, LOCKSS comes into play whether the user selects LOCKSS or Emerald as the source.

Klein M, Van de Sompel H, Sanderson R, Shankar H, Balakireva L, et al. (2014) Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115253

 

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Counting Previously Cancelled titles in a LOCKSS Archive

The 2014 SCONUL Statistical Return asks a question about Digital Preservation and Post-Cancellation Access to Electronic Journals. In this post I will try to outline our attempt to answer that question.

Perhaps it is best to start with the question itself. It is a part of question 3.4.3 on the number of serial titles purchases in electronic form only and asks for a count of:

Previously cancelled titles for which hosting fees have been paid in the current year either to the publisher or to another provider such as Portico or LOCKSS.

The question does apply to De Montfort University (but not to all UK Higher Education Institutions) because:

  1. We are members of the UK LOCKSS Alliance and have paid our subscription fee for the current year;
  2. But we are not subscribers to Portico, which at least makes this exercise easier;
  3. We select journals to be archived in LOCKSS that match our subscriptions or interests and some of these titles will have been cancelled as the Institution’s journal requirements changed.
  4. LOCKSS is a key part of the Library’s infrastructure enabling access to electronic resources, being, along with EZproxy, a component enabling access to the articles and books found in our Summon discovery service  ‘Library Search‘ [Login required].
  5. Library Search was introduced in September 2014, outside this SCONUL reporting period. Before that LOCKSS was an optional source of content in our SFX OpenURL Resolver.

Answering the question is not straight-forward, however, as:

  1. The question does not ask for a count of all the journals we have successfully collected in our LOCKSS Archive. De Montfort University’s answer here would be 793.
  2. The question does not ask from how many different journals did LOCKSS supply archived articles (where the articles is either identical to the publisher version or not available from the publisher at all). For January 2014 – July 2014 that total would be 93 for DMU.
  3. It does not want to know about the titles we are collecting now as a precaution against them being cancelled or otherwise unavailable in the future;
  4. It is not interested in the archived Open Access journals to which we may have contributed Article Processing Charges.

That does help with some boundaries, however. The answer for SCONUL cannot be greater than 793. If there are post-cancellation journals archived in LOCKSS, some of them will be among the 93 titles where LOCKSS is involved in serving the content.

LOCKSS does provide COUNTER reports that provide evidence on how the archive is being used. There are reports for both journals and electronic books available in two versions:  Type 1 and 5 relate to JR1 and JR5 reports counting only those items served from the LOCKSS Archive itself. Types 1L and 5L include all the requests passing through the LOCKSS box whether the content was eventually served from the publisher or from LOCKSS.

That report pointed us to publishers where LOCKSS was involved in serving content and that therefore there might be post-cancellation titles among those archived. We could also obtain reports from our electronic journals  management tools (we have Proquest’s 360 service) for those publishers. Checking the overlap between journals archived in LOCKSS and titles in 360 where our subscriptions have ceased enabled us to identify:

  • 17 titles published by Sage where we have post-cancellation access assisted by LOCKSS;
  • Other publishers, OUP and Emerald among them, where there may be other post-cancellation titles.
  • Journals where we have collected material in LOCKSS, but not made this content available to our users. These could also be post-cancellation journals where our access rights would otherwise have been lost.

The checking process also enabled us to check for uncollected volumes of journals to which we have continuing subscriptions.

Access to post-cancellation electronic journals and how to evaluate the success of digital preservation initiatives are both developing areas where ‘best practise’ is yet to be identified. Our attempt to answer SCONUL’s question about our activity in this area does indicate that De Montfort University is taking the challenge seriously and making a difference with the steps taken so far to ensure continuing access to the electronic content that we care about.

 Archived Post-Cancellation Journals in 2014

  1. Action Research; Sage 2003-2012
  2. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education; Sage 2005-2008
  3. British Educational Research Journal; Taylor & Francis 2007-2010
  4. Child Language Teaching and Therapy; Sage 2007
  5. Current Sociology; Sage 2005-2012
  6. differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies; Duke UP 2002-2013
  7. Diplomatic History; OUP 2009
  8. Economic and Industrial Democracy; Sage 2005-2009
  9. Environment and behavior; Sage 2005-2008
  10. Feminist Theory; Sage 2005-2012
  11. Health Policy and Planning; OUP 2005-2012
  12. Human Reproduction; OUP 2005-2012
  13. International and Comparative Law Quarterly; OUP 2005-2007
  14. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media; Intellect 2006-2013
  15. International Journal of Refugee Law; OUP 2005-2012
  16. Journal of Architecture; Taylor & Francis 1996
  17. Journal of Crime and Justice; Taylor & Francis 2011
  18. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management; Emerald 2001-2012
  19. Journal of Gender Studies; Taylor & Francis 2011
  20. Journal of Humanistic Psychology; Sage 2005-2012
  21. Journal of Learning Disabilities; Sage 2010-2012
  22. Journal of Management Education; Sage 2005-2012
  23. Journal of Material Culture; Sage 2005-2011
  24. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency; Sage 2005, 2009-2012
  25. Journal of Sport & Social Issues; Sage 2007-2012
  26. Journal of Sports Economics; Sage 2006, 2009
  27. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science; Springer 1997-2011
  28. Nucleic Acids Research; OUP 2005-2012
  29. Organization & Environment; Sage 2009-2012
  30. Planning Practice and Research; Taylor & Francis 2005-2012
  31. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management; Emerald 2006-2009
  32. Services Marketing Quarterly; Taylor & Francis 2010-2012
  33. Statute Law Review; OUP 2005-2010
  34. The British Journal of Aesthetics; OUP 2005
  35. VLDB Journal; Springer 1997-2010

 

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LOCKSS and the DOAJ at DMU

I looked recently at the overlap between the Open Access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals and De Montfort University’s LOCKSS Digital Preservation system. It is timely to look at this again as the results of the DOAJ Publisher’s Spring Survey have just come out.

This survey included a question about long-term preservation and availability: Were the publishers involved or interested in schemes for achieving long-term access? Of the 942 bodies answering the question only 99 responded positively. 20 of these were already involved in LOCKSS and others cited were CLOCKSS, Portico, PMC and SABER (though low numbers for each of these). Other long-term access schemes mentioned, more vaguely, were journal archives and repositories.

One of the ‘key actions’ recommended by the Finch Report was to develop the Open Access Journal infrastructure, including digital preservation. The report noted that: “we are still some way from a position where there are robust arrangements in place for the long term preservation of digital copies of all issues of all journal titles so that they remain accessible for future generations“.

De Montfort University’s LOCKSS service is a part of that Open Access journal preservation effort. Each institution will have its own collection development policy for building its journal archive, but at DMU 194 DOAJ listed journals have been selected for local preservation. That figure represents 25.9% of the the journals selected, but only 2% of the titles listed in the DOAJ.

The local collection development policy is largely driven by subject librarians. From our holdings it can be seen that there is a desire to assure our community that access to articles in DOAJ Journals can be relied upon for the long-term. We are still waiting for many of the publishers, however, to take up their side of this challenge.

 

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Login to library resources change: Summer 2013

The process of logging into library resources like Science Direct has recently changed. You are now asked to login with a lower case version of your username. If you always used to type in a lowercase username, then this change will make no difference to you, but that is not the case for everyone. The change is small and the differences subtle, but worth exploring.

Before the change you could login as, say,  ‘fbloggs123’ or ‘FBloggs123’ and the form itself did not object. Behind the scenes the username gets encrypted before being sent on the the Service Provider (e.g. Elsevier who run Science Direct). It was kind of nice not to have to remember exactly how you typed in the username last time, the system would still let you in, but once in you might find disadvantages:

  1. Any Saved Searches, Alerts or other Personalised Features made for one encrypted form of you username would not be present for you, and it would not be clear why.
  2. The Service Provider would not know how many individuals were using their service. This may affect their pricing structure and in turn the range of services available to the university.

Both of these disadvantages were removed by having the form insist on lower case user names. However, there have been reports of negative consequences too. So here are ways of getting round them:

Browser insisting on upper case form of Username

Most users reporting this issue have been using Firefox. It appears that Firefox offers to remember usernames for some sites and even if you type in a lower case username will automatically replace your input with its stored uppercase form. The way round this is to delete the stored username in the browser:

  1. Go to the Options item on the Tools menu;
  2. Select the Security tab;
  3. Check out the Exceptions button on the ‘Remember passwords for sites’ section;
  4. Delete any lines with uppercase usernames where these might have caused problems.

Missing profile in RefWorks

If a profile in RefWorks has been created for the uppercase version of your username, this will not be available if you login with the lower case form. It does not mean that the collected references are lost, just that you can’t connect to them. It will require assistance from RefWorks to be re-united with your references. You can call the library for help with this or contact RefWorks directly, email them at support@refworks.com.

Other missing alerts, searches and profiles

You may have other alerts, saved searches or personalisation features on sites like Scopus, Zetoc or Digimap. The best option here would be to contact the library, email justask@dmu.ac.uk, and we will either raise a call for you or put you in touch with the relevant helpdesk to transfer such features to your new profile on each site.

 

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Towards a Vision of Excellence in Diversity #1

For my sins I get to be the DMU UNISON Representative on the University’s Equality and Diversity Committee. This week I was involved in helping the group plan its strategy, considering what it was hoping to achieve and how it might get there. Obviously we are not the only institution thinking about such issues, so I was interested to read a blog post in the Inclusion Solution site which addressed the same discussion, though in more exuberantly american tones.

What would it look like?

What would a university look like if it aimed for and achieved excellence in equality and diversity? One example that came to my mind was how the various sporting groups in the university might have responded to this year’s theme of ‘Racism and Sport‘ for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Sporting groups might meet to talk through how they could respond to this theme; asking themselves if they were missing a trick by not being as diverse as they could be. March is also the month for the Varsity series of local matches with the neighbouring university, so there would be an opportunity for bringing this theme to the attention of a wide range of spectators too.

How would we get there?

Neither of the above quite happened, as far as I know, in 2013. What was missing was an activist group prepared and equipped to prompt things like that into being. You do not need many activists to achieve stuff like this, but they do need to be well informed and well connected. In fact, the Equality and Diversity Committee is well placed to take on this role. It includes people with an interest in this area, spans various parts of the institution, has expertise and connections. Granted, everyone involved also has ‘a day job’ to distract them, but that could also prove a strength if each took on the role of being a Diversity Champion wherever they went.

How far have we got?

There are already examples where glimpses of this vision can be seen. Events like the Religion and Belief Showcase in January 2013 did not just happen, but also set up or refined a template for further events. There are other things going on that I would like to highlight in further posts. In the mean time I would be interested in hearing of your visions of what an institution excellent in celebrating diversity would look like.

What do you think?

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