CodeYourFuture: how we embrace diversity in our coding school for refugees and asylum seekers

Mozafar Haider Ibrahim is an Edinburgh-based software developer and a CodeYourFuture mentor. He describes how the organisation celebrates, and benefits from, the diversity of all the people involved in it:


via Digital Scotland


The Informed Peer Recognition Award launched their new award scheme today:

informed award banner

The Informed team are excited to be announcing the launch of a new award, the Informed Peer Recognition Award. We thought it would be a useful addition to the range of awards currently available for information professionals in the UK.

Background to the development of the award

Elly O’Brien, Mobeena Khan and Jennie Findlay spent a significant amount of time drafting a nomination for a professional colleague for an award back in autumn 2014. The process of writing the nomination was particularly time consuming and demanding, taking the three of us many hours of our time. Once the nomination was submitted, there was no further contact from the organisers. We had no information or progress updates on the process of the award judging, or timescales for the outcome, and there was no communication with nominators about the final outcome of the process. To see whether our nominee had been recognised we had to guess the possible announcement date, and monitor the website daily for a month. Our nominee received no contact from the organisers at any point, and in the end, we decided to send them a copy of the nomination material we’d drafted, as the purpose of us nominating them was to demonstrate to them how valued their work was. In the end the only way we could do this was to give them that information directly. Overall, taking part in that awards process as a nominator was incredibly frustrating.

The Informed team response

We began to think more deeply about the difficulties of the nomination process we’d been through, and how it had been both a frustrating and impersonal experience. We wondered if there was a way that the Informed group of volunteers could create and run an award which would try and avoid these frustrations, and ensure that all those nominated would be able to see what work or activity they were being recognised for.

Elly, Mobeena and Jennie discussed and began to develop the initial idea about creating an award. We decided at an early stage that it could not be run by any of the various professional bodies, because we wanted it to be inclusive, and usually these groups are only able to offer awards to their own members. Due to other professional commitments, Elly had to step back from active involvement, and Laura Ennis took her place. Together we’ve endeavoured to create an award structure that we hope will work in a way that keeps nominators and nominees informed, and is flexible enough to allow for the efforts of a range of information sector workers who may be excluded from nomination for other awards to be recognised .


For easy reference, this is what we hope to achieve with this awards process:

  • Create an award that all UK information workers of all levels are eligible for.
  • Be as informative as possible for nominators submitting nominations – be open about the awards schedule, how quick a response the team will be able to give when contacted, and give nominators an idea of the timescales for each stage of the process.
  • Contact nominees to notify them that they have been nominated for an award, and tell them when the result is expected to be announced.
  • Ensure that judges are aware of the process and timescales involved when they volunteer to take part, to allow them to determine if the schedule will work with their personal commitments.
  • Publish the full content of all nominations on the Informed website, to enable the public recognition of nominees work that the nominators intend.


Member or non-member, CILIP wants your views!

CILIP are consulting library staff on a new approach to CILIP membership.

They’ve heard that membership needs to be more affordable, better value for money, be more open to everyone in the sector and provide clearer benefits.

Now they want to hear what you think.

Find out more and take the short survey on the CILIP website.



Data Management and Sharing MOOC – University of Edinburgh


I’ve done a couple of MOOCs with Coursera myself, and I think it’s an excellent service.

Announcing the Coursera Data Management and Sharing MOOC – Opening March 1st

The School of Information and Library Science and the Odum Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the MANTRA team at the University of Edinburgh are pleased to announce the forthcoming Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Research Data Management and Sharing.

This is a collaboration of the UNC-CH CRADLE team (Curating Research Assets and Data Using Lifecycle Education) and MANTRA.

CRADLE has been funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop training for both researchers and library professionals. MANTRA was designed as a prime resource for postgraduate training in research data management skills and is used by learners worldwide.

The MOOC uses the Coursera on-demand format to provide short, video-based lessons and assessments across a five-week period, but learners can proceed at their own pace. Although no formal credit is assigned for the MOOC, Statements of Accomplishment will be available to any learner who completes a course for a small fee.

The Research Data Management and Sharing MOOC will launch 1st March, 2016. Subjects covered in the 5-week course follow the stages of any research project. They are:

  • Understanding Research Data
  • Data Management Planning
  • Working with Data
  • Sharing Data
  • Archiving Data

Dr. Helen Tibbo from the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill delivers four of the five sets of lessons, and Sarah Jones, Digital Curation Centre, delivers the University of Edinburgh-developed content in Week 3, Working with Data. Quizzes and supplementary videos add to the learning experience, and assignments are peer reviewed by fellow learners, with questions and answers handled by peers and team teachers in the forum.

Staff from both organizations will monitor the learning forums and the peer-reviewed assignments to make sure learners are on the right track, and to watch for adjustments needed in course content.

The course is open to enrolment now, and will ‘go live’ on 1st March.

Hashtag: #RDMSmooc

A preview of one of the supplementary videos is now available on Youtube:

Please join us in this data adventure. -Helen


Dr. Helen R. Tibbo, Alumni Distinguished Professor President, 2010-2011 & Fellow, Society of American Archivists School of Information and Library Science

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill



Scotland on Screen website upgraded and re-launched!

Film education website is upgraded and re-launched

The Scotland on Screen website has re-launched with improved capabilities. This educational website, built in partnership with Education Scotland and Creative Scotland, can now be viewed on all platforms including tablets and smartphones. Containing hundreds of free-to-watch short films and clips from our Moving Image Archive, the website also has guidance on how to use archive film in school projects and lessons.

View the Scotland on Screen website

Scottish Ornithologists’ Club library, Aberlady

Karen Bidgood is Librarian at the Scottish Ornithologists Club’s George Waterston Library. Karen has kindly taken the time to write a post about her library for ELISA. It sounds like a lovely place and I look forward to visiting!


The George Waterston Library at Waterston House, SOC Headquarters
The library is now in its tenth year at Waterston House. George Waterston, co-founder of the SOC, was instrumental in forming the collection by begging books from various sources. Many books in the Club’s collection were formally part of his and his wife’s library, alongside donations made by others in the early 1930’s.

With an outlook over Aberlady bay, the library offers a calm and tranquil environment to sit and read. It is open to all-researchers, birdwatchers of all levels, artists and historians, seven days a week during HQ’s normal opening hours. There is also an area specifically tailored to young visitors with comfy seating, activity sheets and children’s books on offer.

As the largest ornithology library in Scotland and one of the top collections of its kind in Britain, the facility contains over 5,000 books, around 130 different journals and houses a unique and distinctive archive. The library aims, as far as possible, to be a complete repository of all material on Scottish ornithology. As such, it has a collection not just of books but of some fascinating diaries, photographs and letters from eminent Scottish ornithologists.

This wonderful resource also contains a range of non-Scottish ornithology titles including standard works on avifauna of all parts of the world, handbooks on identification, and works on bird behaviour and methodology.

The library has complete runs of the key British journals, all the main international periodicals and all the bird reports from Scotland, neighbouring English counties, Wales and Ireland.

The library receives many of the latest natural history books, sent by publishers in exchange for a review in the Club’s journal. See opposite for the latest titles available to borrow.

A large number of books are also donated to the library from people who wish to tidy up their book shelves and attics, or collections have been received as part of a legacy. Any duplicates are offered for sale in our second-hand bookshop at Waterston House, to support the continuing charitable work of the Club.

SOC members can borrow books!
Club members can borrow up to two books at a time for a maximum of two months, subject to availability and borrowing terms and conditions (see Smaller books can be posted (p&p charges apply) or passed on to members via conferences/meetings/events, so distance from Waterston House should not be a hurdle to borrowing. There is also the facility for Headquarters to scan and email, or photocopy and post pages to you (p&p charges apply), subject to copyright conditions.

For more information and to view an up-to-date library catalogue, please visit the Club’s website.

SOC2Karen is a keen birdwatcher and walker with a particular interest in Iceland where she has spent many holidays with her family. Previously she worked in microbiology and taught Science to younger children.

To contact Karen, email:

Instructions for library staff – a trip back in time – part 2

"art students"
“art students”

As promised, Tales from one city have posted more crazy instructions for library staff of the past. These posts paint the library staff as a bunch of odd, mistrustful kill-joys… a very far cry from the jolly folk of today! Still – it’s fun to laugh at the quaint ways of yore – so you can view the full post here.

Instructions for library staff – a trip back in time

Tales of one city have unearthed a crazy old volume of instructions to library staff. This first instalment contains some odd stuff. These are my favourites so far:

They say “Look out for more historic staff instructions soon, including guidance on dealing with young people. And ‘foreigners’.” – I’m looking forward to that!

Edinburgh Libraries helping children with dyslexia discover the joy of reading

via: Tales of One City


How we help children with dyslexia discover the joy of reading

“R had a ball and was buzzing all the way home. It was lovely to see her so excited about books again. School has been hard this year and she had lost her confidence in reading.”

“Thanks for letting B join the group, for the few months we have been in Edinburgh. It is the first time we have seen him interact with others and be enthusiastic about coming to a social activity.”

Our Chatterbooks group for children with dyslexia offer a friendly, supportive and caring environment for children to meet and discover the fun of words.

And as the parents’ comments above show, it works.

Dyslexia Chatterbooks Group at the Central Children's Library

We spend some time ‘paired reading’ in small groups, use music, drama, poetry, oral storytelling, games and other activities that engage children with reading. The staff team consists of two experienced library folk and four very committed volunteers.

If you think your child (primary 4 – primary 7) would benefit, email

National Libraries Day 2015 in Scotland – Storify

Our friend Anabel Marsh has Storifyd National Libraries Day 2015, so we don’t have to:

CILIP Scotland did one too: