Session 4

Session 4: Connecting with Different Partners in Society

Wednesday 26th June 2019 – 14:45 – 16:15

Chair: Émilie Barthet, University Jean Moulin Libraries Services, Lyon, France

4.1 Beyond Assisting Digital Humanities Scholars: 5 Years of Researchers in Residence at the National Library of The Netherlands

Martijn Kleppe, Lotte Wilms and Steven Claeyssens, National Library of The Netherlands, The Netherlands


The rise of the digital humanities has posed research libraries to new challenges. Since researchers’ demands and requests are changing, libraries need to adopt their services while staff members need to update their knowledge of new methodologies to become the research librarian of the future (Ekstrøm et al, 2016). To learn more about the changing needs of researchers, the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) has set up the Researcher-in-Residence Program five years ago. The program allows early-career researchers to spend six months at the KB’s Research Department to work on their research question together with technical support from one of KB’s Research Software Engineers, collections expertise from a digital curator and project support from a digital scholarship advisor while using KB’s digital collections (Wilms, 2017). Since 5 years, 11 researchers participated in the program, 7 tools have been built and 5 datasets were created and published on the KB Lab at

In this paper we will reflect on the lessons learned and benefits of the program for the KB after five years, both on the short as well as long term. Which user needs did we identify? How could research libraries adopt to these changing needs? And what more can research libraries gain from collaborating with researchers?

We will address these questions by first focusing on the short-term benefits. We will give an

overview of all the projects and the evaluation of the program done in 2017 by visiting researcher Michael Gasser. Second, we will share the long-term benefits of the program for the KB by highlighting two aspects: 1) The researcher-in-residence program creates ambassadors for the library as the researchers promote their work and therefore our collection and Lab to their community. 2) By hosting researchers at the offices of the KB, we were not only able to assist and learn from them but also got to know them and their supervisors better. This allowed us to increase our academic network, set-up several follow-up research projects and currently we are exploring the implementation of one of the projects’ outcomes in one of the KB’s services.

By showcasing a follow-up project, we follow the plea of Peter Leonard to ‘put TDM in the mainstream’ (2016). Similarly, Humphreys (2018) called for ‘Applied Digital Humanities’ just like Kleppe (2018) referred to ‘Libraries as incubators for DH Research Results’. It shows how research libraries can benefit in several ways of collaborating with Digital Humanities scholars: not only by assisting them but also by going beyond a service-oriented approach and acts as full research partner (Boekestein 2017; Ekstrøm et al, 2016).

Martijn Kleppe is Head of the Research Department of the National Library of the Netherlands (KB). Trained as historian, he wrote a dissertation on photographic iconic images by building and applying computational techniques. Before moving to the KB, he was a researcher in several European Digital Humanities research projects that focused on opening up (audio) visual and textual archives by using techniques from the National Language Processing Domain, speech recognition and computer vision. At the KB, he now leads the Research Department that covers topics such as digital preservation, copyright, public library research, digital scholarship and improving the usability and discoverability of digital content. He actively sets up research projects and consortia to stimulate the use of the digital collections of the KB and to implement the results within the organization in order for the general public to get better, richer and more innovative access to the national cultural treasures.

4.2 Students with Autism as Research Partners: Responding to Real World Trends in Society

Geraldine Fitzgerald and Siobhan Dunne, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland


In Ireland, there has been substantial progress at a policy level to support the rights of increasingly diverse groups; recent referenda on marriage equality and abortion and ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities exemplify how Irish society is changing to reflect its population’s diverse needs. As a more inclusive society, there is increased open discussion on mental wellbeing and disability. At an institutional level, “to be truly inclusive, the institutional environment must change to encourage diverse populations to thrive and to promote a sense of belonging” (Martinez-Acosta, 2015).

The focus of this paper is on a library collaboration with a ‘non-traditional’ group of students in Trinity College Dublin who have autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disability which is on the rise globally; average international estimates indicate that 1% of the population have the condition with US figures stating that one in sixty eight children have ASD (Van Hees, 2015). Being on the spectrum means that individuals “vary greatly in intellectual ability, extending from those with severe intellectual disabilities through to those who are intellectually gifted and talented” (Cho, 2018).

Over the past five years, the number of students with ASD registered with the Disability Service in Trinity College Dublin has increased six-fold; Trinity now has the highest number of students with ASD in Ireland. Even though much has been written on the ASD student experience in higher education there “is a dearth of scholarship on what librarians can do when working with these students” (ibid).

In this paper, we will elaborate on an innovative research approach that sought to plug this gap and describe how our collaboration resulted in a library video tool which is enhancing peer learning and encouraging greater library use.

The subjects of this research are students with intellectual disabilities (ID) on the Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice (ASIAP) certificate programme. The programme’s aims are far reaching both for the student and public society by fostering and developing skills and knowledge for advocacy, scholarship and employment.

In order to be faithful to the programme aims, the Library was keen to position the student at the heart of the research experience, as both participants and co researchers. A series of focus groups highlighted to librarians how students’ ways of understanding, thinking and sensing impacted on their engagement with library resources, services and staff. This paper will discuss how the active participation of students throughout all stages of this research, from classroom activities reflecting on their library experience, through to the drafting of scripts and acting in an orientation video, has empowered them to advocate for students with ID and ASD across the university community.

Attendees will be invited to reflect on their own experience and understanding of library users with ASD and to learn more about the inclusive practice of involving students with intellectual disabilities and ASD in research programmes. Finally we will share our experiences of co-authoring a peer reviewed journal article with these students.

Geraldine Fitzgerald is Subject Librarian for the School of Education and the School of Psychology in Trinity College Dublin. Prior to working in TCD, Geraldine worked in a number of special, corporate and academic libraries in Ireland and Sweden. Geraldine is passionate about improving the user experience of students and has developed a number of digital resources including tutorials and floor plans to aid wayfinding. She is presently collaborating with a colleague in the School of Education to establish a new online journal in the area of Inclusive Education.

Siobhán Dunne is Head of Teaching, Research and User Experience at the Library of Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin (TCD). Prior to this, she held the roles of Research Support and Humanities Librarian at Dublin City University and Library and Information Manager at the National Disability Authority. Siobhán is a passionate advocate for Open Scholarship; she is a member of the TCD Open Scholarship Taskforce and an Almetric Ambassador. She recently completed an MSc in Education and Training Leadership at Dublin City University; her thesis was an ethnographic study of the undergraduate research journey. Other research interests include virtual and augmented reality, the future academic e book and lifelong learning.


4.3 Beyond the Usual Suspects: Building a 21st Century Reading Community in Scotland

Ines Byrne, National Library of Scotland, United Kingdom


In the context of the development of national and international digital scholarship communities and the emergence of text and data mining (TDM) tools, library labs, and library carpentry services, there is growing research capacity with regard to digital scholarship in academic institutions. However, there is no comparable forum in Scotland that brings together other key stakeholder groups, such as digital industry; the wider gallery, library, archive and museum (GLAM) community; and, perhaps most crucially, independent researchers, creatives, and practitioners.

In preparation for the appointment of its first dedicated Digital Scholarship Librarian in early 2019, the National Library of Scotland found itself in the fortunate position of being able to learn from other digital scholarship services, while at the same time seeking to ensure that its efforts and services remain relevant to more than just the ‘usual suspects’, by aiming to expand beyond the traditional digital scholarship link between libraries and academic scholars.

Home to circa 5 million digital collection items (growing by hundreds of thousands every year), the Library therefore decided to address this lack of cross-sector connection by running a year-long engagement programme of “21st century reading” workshops on TDM skills throughout 2018. The fundamental position upon which these workshops were based was the understanding that collaboration is essential so that researchers, developers, GLAMs, and independent innovators are able to discover what they can offer each other, what they need from each other, and what they can potentially achieve together.

The intention of the series, which was run in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and with funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, was to bring the four stakeholder groups (academia, GLAM, industry, and independents) together to query the current state of awareness and ability regarding TDM within Scotland, to explore the potential for wider communities to make use of these approaches to knowledge and data, and to investigate how massive text collections of cultural heritage organisations can be exposed to researchers both outside, as well as within academic institutions.

Based on findings from the workshop series, this paper will outline the often underrepresented stakeholder-diversity driven approach to setting up a dedicated large-scale digital scholarship programme at a national institution, and discuss the impact such an approach can have on the different stakeholder groups. It will give an insight into the successes and challenges faced throughout the workshop series, as well as the consequent lessons learned.

[This paper would be of interest to those at a similar or earlier stage of digital scholarship development, to hear about lessons learned regarding the stakeholder-diversity approach taken by the National Library of Scotland.]

Ines Byrne

With a background in digitisation and project management, Ines Byrne has worked with digital collections at the National Library of Scotland for the past 10 years. Starting out as project manager for the Library’s mass digitisation service in 2009, Ines has worked as the Digital Collections Specialist for 5 years before being appointed as the Digital Transition Manager in 2017. In this role she defines, leads and supports the delivery of the Library’s strategic goal to have a third of its collections in digital format by 2025. This includes responsibility for developing approaches for growing the born-digital and digitised collections, overseeing digital assets management activities, and steering the development of new service models for digital scholarship and digital humanities to exploit the Library’s digital collections.

Lightning talk

Dementia and Memory Institutions

Nick Barratt, Senate House Library, United Kingdom


A thought piece exploring the potential for research libraries to contribute to wider societal infrastructure – physical and digital – to support people living with dementia, drawing on case studies from the UK. The paper extends beyond the HE research library community, but shows how LIBER organisations might deliver meaningful community outreach, engagement and impact whilst fulfilling their wider academic mission.

Dr Nick Barratt is the Director of Senate House Library, University of London as well as an author, broadcaster and historian best known for his work on BBC’s TV series Who Do You Think You Are. He is also an honorary associate professor of public history at the University of Nottingham, a teaching fellow at the University of Dundee, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His most recent publication The Restless Kings explores the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John. He is currently the President of the Federation of Family History Societies and sits on the Executive Committee of the Community Archives and Heritage Group.

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