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Together24: The University of Manchester Library staff conference

Wednesday, 12 June 2024




Registration opens and coffee The Drum
09.15 Welcome by Professor Christopher Pressler Theatre A
09.30 3 x Lightning Talks and Q&A Theatre A
10.05 2 x Focus on... Talks and Q&A Theatre A
10.40 Break and refreshments The Drum

Lightning Talks

Primo Overview

Liam Sullivan, Systems Support Analyst (Library Systems)

A lightning overview of the integrations into Library Search/Primo that the Library Systems Team manage.

We will showcase how integrating other systems into Library Search elevates the research experience. Creating a centralised hub for accessing diverse scholarly resources, enhancing efficiency, and streamlining workflows.

We'll delve into the established interations we have with other University systems like Pure/Emu/Preservica, highlight some of the additions from the past two to three years such as the AIU Race Centre and Figshare and look forward to integrations we have in the pipeline: MDC and Pure Research outputs.

We will explain a little bit about how it works through OAI-PMH and Manual XML uploads, briefly mention normalization and why we need it, and look at what we have done to improve the process over the years through NERS/Ideas Exchange, the use of AI Tools and collaboration with other institutions.

Imagine2030 Ideas Accelerator

Ciaran Talbot, Associate Director: AI and Ideas Adoption

Imagine2030 Ideas Accelerator

Bridging Data Worlds: Mapping EMu Data to TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) for the Golden Mummies Collection

Christopher Wilson, Software Developer

Our lightning talk unveils the process behind mapping data from the EMu system to Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) files, fueling the Manchester Digital Collection website's dynamic display of the Golden Mummies collection. We'll navigate through the creation of tools and methodologies crafted to bridge these two data realms.

From parsing EMu's structured data to crafting TEI files that capture the essence of each artifact, we'll dissect the technical challenges encountered and the solutions devised. Attendees will gain insights into the relationship between data management systems and digital collections. This approach transforms raw data into narratives, enriching the digital experience for enthusiasts of ancient history and culture.

Focus on... Talks

‘The Secret Public’ Exhibition - How LGBTQ+ Performers Shaped Popular Culture

Mark-Taylor Hutchinson, Reader Services Assistant

Matthew Bancroft, Curator (British Pop Archive)

This talk introduces ‘The Secret Public’, the inaugural exhibition in the refurbished Rylands gallery space: opening in Spring 2025.

‘The Secret Public’ examines the profound influence of LGBTQ+ performers, artists and activists on mainstream pop culture. Using the ‘The Secret Public - How LGBTQ Performers Shaped Popular Culture 1955-1979’ book by Jon Savage as basis and influence, the exhibition utilises and presents key pieces from Savage’s extensive archive and research materials.

The exhibition pulls in supporting material from our Special Collections and further afield to present a story of queer culture moving from the margins to the mainstream and changing the face of global pop culture forever.

Academic Integrity and GenAI: a Cross-University Collaboration

Anna Theis, Assistant Teaching Learning and Students Manager

Jennie Blake, Head of Teaching and Learning Development

Recognised for its expertise, reliability and strengths in collaborative working and student partnerships the Library was approached by April McMahon, Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students at UoM, and the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy Group to lead the creation of a central, cross-University learning resource around academic integrity.

The resource will support students' understanding of the policy and guidance around academic integrity, covering all forms of malpractice, and will include guidance on use of GenAI tools.

We’ll outline how we’ve approached the project so far, from running consultation meetings with academic and professional services staff, to a student-led audit of existing support and co-creation of a content outline for a new resource to be completed by September. The presentation will really focus on the collaborative nature of this project and how that way of working strengthens broader strategic work linked to i2030.




Theatre A

Breakout sessions begin

Breakout rooms

  • TBA

    Keynote biography

    Keynote biography TBA

Breakout sessions

Digitisation and the Copyright Card Game

Shona Forbes, Teaching Collections Coordinator

Alison Dewhurst, Reading List Assistants

Introduction to digitsation and the issues faced at the British Library this year and how this impacts the team and the Library.

Open Access Investigates!: Exposing the Shady World of Predatory Publishers

Olivia Rye, Research Services Analyst

Abigail Harrison-Henshall, Research Services Analyst

Tristan Martin, Research Services Analyst

Occasionally The Open Access Team receives a request for Open Access funding for a journal that we think might be a bit… suspect. In this session we invite colleagues from across the library to don their deerstalker, and act as an Open Access Investigator, spotting the shady publishers and suspicious OA practices of predatory publishers.

We’ll cover what predatory publishing is, the ways we spot a problematic journal, and what behaviour and clues we look for to identify a non-reputable publisher. We’ll share our experiences of suspicious journals, and some of the Open Access publishing activity we encounter in the OA team that we consider dodgy. We’ll then give attendees the opportunity to use their newly acquired skills to follow the clues and identify the predatory publisher.

Bicentenary Bash

Grant Collier, Collections Assistant (Heritage)

Steven Hartshorne, Curator (Science, Technology and Medicine Printed Collections)

A fun, gameshow-style contest celebrating 200 year bicentenary, showcasing our amazing history and helping staff to become more familiar with our digital resources.

Attendees will be split into two teams competing for glory. They will have 20 minutes as a team to scour our heritage and special collections resources, including the new self-guided bicentenary tour, bicentenary way and special collections guides.

After this, each player in turn will draw from a hat containing significant events, people and ‘treasures’ of the University of Manchester. They must correctly place the event on a timeline to score a point. The team with the most points at the end of the session wins. There will also be ‘lifelines’ and bonus questions to keep things interesting!

EDI in the Library

Jane Gallagher, Head of Digital Special Collections and Services

Padma Inala, Teaching and Learning Librarian

Abi Harrison-Henshall, Research Services Analyst

Rachel Kirkwood, Collections Manager

Iqra Malik, Teaching, Learning and Students Administrator

Mehvish Ali, Stock Operations Co-ordinator

Megan Johnston, Reading List Assistant

This session will celebrate and promote EDI activities across the Library, through the EDI Working Group, and engage with colleagues to identify priority areas for reflection and action. The session will consist of a number of ‘in conversation’ breakout sessions (within the breakout) in which we’ll share various aspects of the work that’s been happening across the Library.

We will ask colleagues to share their reflections on EDI, their role and what kinds of support will ensure they feel that they Belong in the Library so that we can implement improvements to our ways of working.

Areas for ‘in conversation’ elements include: Multi-faith staff space pilot; inclusive recruitment toolkit; diverse reading lists; inclusive cataloguing; content warnings; training and networking for LGBTQ+ colleagues. Exact number of ‘in conversation’ sessions and timings to be confirmed once we know how many areas we’d like to cover.

Making a Real AI in an Hour

Peter Morris, Software Developer

In a world where everyone is talking about using AI, very few have actually made their own AI themselves. In this session we’ll use Python and Tensorflow to make a real AI model that learns to [TBC not decided yet].

We’ll look at what bizarre terms like 'loss' and 'feed forward' and 'weights' actually mean, and demystify a lot of what’s going on under the hood.

Please note: It will be very useful to have a basic understanding of Python or another programming language. If you want to make the AI yourself rather than just watch you will need to bring your own laptop.

A Tour Around the Collection Care Lab (Crawford House)

Mark Furness, Senior Conservator

Elisabeth Carr, Collection Care Manager

Laura Snow, Collection Care Team Leader

Paul Robinson, Conservator

Heather Garner, Conservator

Sophie Coulthard, Conservator

A tour around the Collection Care Lab space at Crawford House, showcasing the facilities and types of work carried out by the Collection Care team, with action stations that visitors can cycle between to observe equipment and treatments in process, whilst hearing from the conservators about their work.

13.00 Lunch

The Market Place

14.00 Breakout sessions begin

Breakout rooms

Breakout sessions

'So, I have an idea': Ideas Sprint

Martin O'Dwyer, Digital Support Services Manager

  • Is there a long standing problem in your area you'd like help solving? 
  • Do you have an idea for improving a service? 
  • Or maybe there is a completely new idea you would like to share? 

Join colleagues from the newly formed AI and Ideas Adoption directorate to run through an Ideas Sprint session and help us work on how we can innovate more, and at speed, in future.  

Could You Work in Customer Services?

Paul Ralphs, Assistant Customer Services Manager (Training)

To work in Customer Services, you need a broad range of knowledge across the whole spectrum of Library teams and services (and beyond). We ensure staff have the opportunity to develop this through our Training and Activity programme. The session will begin with an introduction to how the programme is structured and explain the benefits for staff and managing their training and development.

The main part of the session will be a 'pub quiz' style event where attendees will have the opportunity to test their library knowledge by answering questions collated from short quizzes used in the Customer Services induction.

We intend for this to be a fun, interactive session, which highlights our approach to staff training and the range of knowledge required to work in Customer Services.

Ten Years of the Student Team

Michael Roughley, Teaching, Learning and Students Co-ordinator

This year, the Student Team celebrated ten successful years at the Library by organising a cross-university symposium where they facilitated discussions linked to student partnership.

Following on from this event, we would not like to invite Library staff to reflect on their own practices and think about new ways in which we can embed student voices into all the work that we do at the Library.

In this breakout session, our Student Team will facilitate small group discussion around three overarching themes linked to student partnership: student voice, learning experience and accessibility.

Artificial Intelligence, Democracy and Research panel

Bonnie McGill, Learning Developer

Bean Sharp, eLearning Support Officer

Ciaran Talbot, Associate Director: AI and Ideas Adoption

Tim Calvert, Teaching and Learning Librarian

This session will open with four provocations from the four panellists on ideas connected to Artificial Intelligence, Democracy and Research, outlining possible considerations for Libraries, Researchers, Teaching Staff and Students.

The aim of the session is to explore what we, as custodians of information, teaching and research practices, should be thinking about and aware of in relation to Artificial Intelligence and our own daily practices. Following the provocations, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the provocations in groups and reply to the panellists.

The session will follow Chatham House Rules to encourage debate among libraries colleagues in a frank and open space. The hope of this session is that the responses and considerations aired can go towards providing the Library with a framework of principles which encapsulates our stance on Artificial Intelligence and Research Practices, as well as to bring together different expertise and thinking in relation to AI.

Library’s Strategic Support for Open Access Monographs

Emma Booth, Metadata Manager for Content Management

Des Coyle, Acquisitions Manager

Lucy May, Research Services Manager

Steve Carlton, Research Services Coordinator

Research Services and Collections Strategies joint Operational Project on the Library’s strategic support for Open Access Monographs.

This session will provide some background on the Open Access Monographs Project, including a summary of the rationale for the project (UKRI and REF policies); we will then present the outputs of Work Package 4 of this project: 'Strategy – developing an OA monograph strategic acquisitions policy to inform how we support schemes and initiatives that aim to provide routes to OA for authors publishing long-form outputs.'


15.00 Break and refreshments

The Drum

15.20 2 x Focus on... Talks

Theatre A

Focus on... Talks

I30 Summary and New Content

Dominic Hunt, Head of Projects and Business Analysis

Michelle Sharples, Head of Engagement

I30 Summary and New Content

Incunabula Cataloguing Project

John Gandy, Incunabula Cataloguer

A look at the Incunabula Cataloguing Project, an ongoing project to fully catalogue for the first time ever the John Rylands Library's world-class collection of 15th century printed books.


15.55 'The Rylands' Awards Ceremony

Theatre A 

16.55 Closing Remarks by Professor Christopher Pressler

Theatre A

17.00 Refreshments