The Publishing Trap!

As part of the Open Access Week 2017, the Drill Hall Library hosted an event for researchers, based around playing the new game created by Chris Morrison and Jane Secker: The Publishing Trap. This game is designed to help inform researchers about the publishing process – each player or team takes the role of an academic and the game follows their career from finishing their PhD to their..erm…deaths and beyond. You can find out more about the game on the UK Copyright Literacy website. The event was open to researchers from all three universities based at the Medway campus, and there were research support staff from each university on hand to play the game with researchers and answer any tricky questions that might crop up.

Here are some pictures from the event:

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Shiny new game!

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Deep in thought…

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Cakes decorated by Jane

Some of us had played the game before, as a test run, when it was still a prototype, so it was very exciting to see the finished product. It is a really useful and entertaining way of learning, teaching and thinking about the publishing process, so I hope we can use it for researchers at CCCU in the near future.

Other useful links about The Publishing Trap:

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Medway Researchers Room opens

Last Friday I attended the opening of the Medway Researchers Room at the Drill Hall Library. This is a dedicated room on the first floor of the library (I didn’t realise how much space is actually up here). There is space for relaxation, group work or individual study, as well as a screen to practice presentations with. It’s a nice space, quite bright and comfy, so I hope it gets used to its full potential. There were a lot of people at the launch – probably about 50 (?), including lots of actual research students!  There is a big white board in the room which researchers were encouraged to write questions and suggestions on. The Drill Hall’s research support team) provided packs for all the researchers attending the opening:

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(There was also a notebook and pen, but a certain toddler took a shine to it!) I think it would be good if we could create something like this pack to give to new researchers – for example, when we deliver sessions as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

The opening of the room was a good opportunity for the researchers to get together over tea and cake – it seemed like a lot of them hadn’t met before and it was good to see everyone chatting and making new friends, and of course it was also useful for them to meet library staff. It was especially good for the researcher from CCCU as she hadn’t met any other research students until that point! The Drill Hall Research Support Team are hoping researchers will use their space for social as well as study purposes – this plan seems to be going well as they’ve already had a request to set up a researchers’ dating site!

Notes from the second meeting of the Kent Special Collections, Local Area Studies and Archives Forum

Yesterday, I attended the second meeting of Kent Special Collections, Local Area Studies and Archive Forum, which was held at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham. The meeting was preceded by a tour round the new galleries at the dockyard – Command of the Ocean, about the glory days of the British Navy and the ships that made these possible, including a ship whose remains were found buried underneath a floor at the dockyard. It was amazing to see those massive beams of wood lying there after all this time and to think about what adventures they must have seen and experienced as part of the ship. We then walked almost the length of the dockyard (quite a long way) to our meeting.

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The Dockyard Gate

This was my first time meeting most of the people present – there were representatives from the Drill Hall Library at the Universities at Medway campus, Medway Council Archives and Local Studies Centre, and the Historic Dockyard. It was really interesting to hear about what’s happening at other archives/special collections in the area, and useful to be able to talk about our struggles at [my place of work] because it turned out that some of the problems we experience are shared by other places. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised! One particular ‘problem shared’ is that we would like to promote and increase usage of our archives and special collections but at the moment they are not properly housed or cared for (we don’t have the resources in terms of place, human beings or expertise) so we are not really in a position to have people using them on a regular basis. I’m hoping that we will be able to at least try to tackle this problem in the near(ish) future, but it is a bit of a long-term goal at the moment.

Norma from Medway Council shared information about projects going on there: the archives and local studies collections are due to move next spring so they are in a bit of state of limbo at the moment, but they are still putting on exhibitions – the next one starts on 30th June and is about the ‘Men of the Medway Towns in World War One’, focussing on events that took place in 1916 – the Battles of Jutland and the Somme.

The meeting was an excellent way to get to know about other archives and special collections in the area, and we decided that it would be a good idea to perpetuate this knowledge by gathering together information about our archives and special collections into some sort of document, preferably one that be accessed online. Amelia from the Drill Hall Library is going to try to collate this information together and make it available. In addition, we all agreed that it would be good to share projects  – if we all happen to be working on the same topic we can try to work together and share resources so that we’re not duplicating ourselves.

The meeting was followed by a visit to the Dockyard’s archives and library and reading room, which was a lot bigger than I expected! It was a very interesting afternoon and really good to meet fellow special collections people. We are not alone!