Fiona Bradley

Tailoring the literature review

Writers of all stripes mostly talk about writers’ block, but what has been challenging lately is reading block – occasionally I find it hard to focus on reading from a laptop screen after work (I don’t print anything and work at night). What I need sometimes is a change of screen. Inspired by Kathryn I’ve set up my iPad mini for reading and annotating. Alas, I don’t have a fancy Pencil, but I do have a cheap stylus that does the job for quick PDF markup using Notability. Now I can read on the bus, and leave the laptop at home.

Another reason I’ve added the iPad into my workflow is that I’m now three months into the literature review, and need to work systematically as Raul Pacheco-Vega recommends in his [literature review matrix technique]( was previously taking long notes on each article and extracting passages from PDFs (via Zotero/ZotNote). Considering Patrick Dunleavy’s advice to be careful about how much reading you do that doesn’t make the cut in the final work, I also needed to adjust where to focus my reading. Raul’s guide on processing articles has proved to be valuable advice. Now I’m highlighting just the main points, adding my observations, and plotting these in a matrix. I then add these notes back into Scrivener for reference and to have to hand while writing.

Despite my best intentions, I’ve also ended up with a proliferation of notes, jottings, ideas, mindmaps, and fragments. With a paper notebook, mind mapping app, notes in Scrivener, iCloud, nvAlt, SimpleNote, and various to-do apps it was all starting to get a bit messy. As someone who is committed to open formats and data portability, I have also been frustrated by the lack of good, open, to-do and notetaking apps that sync across Mac/Windows/Android/iOS and wasting time looking for alternatives, going so far as to set up NextCloud. But, done is better than not done. It’s ok sometimes to choose tools that don’t sync to everything and that may not be open. So long as my work, data, and results are open in the end, that is more than enough.

Workflow, routines, and reference managers

It’s funny how fast routines can be established. In the month following my move to Sydney and starting formal PhD work I quickly settled into a daily working pattern at one of the city’s major university libraries before starting my new job. I arrived in the morning and stayed all day, sitting in the same seat most days. Many of the student faces around me were the same everyday. Tweets about #PhDlife #WritethatPhD emphasize writing everyday, setting small goals. Alongside this are frequent conversations about workflow, tools, and routines. No wonder so much of the discussion in research from libraries, publishers, and startups alike is about workflow. Once a tool becomes a trusted, reliable part of your workflow it makes it hard to switch.

One of the longest standing tools in my workflow is Zotero. Zotero has been a trusted friend for well over a decade now, I’ve used it to write numerous reports, articles, and conference presentations. Unfortunately, given the slightly different demands of PhD writing, I’ve hit a snag.

I do all my notetaking, drafting, and writing in Scrivener. It’s an incredibly flexible piece of software (more below). However getting referencing software to interact with Scrivener properly is a major headache.

Instead of native cite-as-you-write integration that you’d find in in LibreOffice or Word, to use a referencing tool with Scrivener you need to copy an unformatted version of your reference into Scrivener and translate it later. For Zotero, that looks something like: { | Ashwill, & Norton, 2015 | | |zu:13542:P8UMW7ID}.

Need to get text out of Scrivener to share with collaborators or supervisors? To convert Zotero references, you need to:
paste references as scannable cite -> Compile -> RDF/ODF scan -> convert to citations or makers -> open in LibreOffice -> change preferences -> save as bookmarks -> save as docx -> open in Word -> share.

This works more or less ok if you only need to do it once at the end of a project. The real pain begins if you want to incorporate comments or changes back into Scrivener. Scrivener copies track changes and comments from Word perfectly, but Zotero cannot convert references, once formatted, back into a scannable cite, the version needed to keep on writing in Scrivener. Even at this early writing stage I can see this becoming a major roadblock later on as it would require me to manually copy and paste reference details every single time the text leaves Scrivener. This could potentially introduce all sorts of errors.

So, reluctantly, this means adding another tool into my workflow. I will continue to use Zotero as my main tool for creating references, tagging and annotation for all my projects. Plugins like ZotFile help keep my PDFs organised, and extracting comments from PDFs is not perfect but functional.

Next to Zotero, I’ll add Endnote for citations only. Endnote does not have a problem with formatting and unformatting references in Word, which means I can quickly switch referencing formats when I need to move text back into Scrivener. Sorted. But there are other challenges that arise from switching or using multiple reference managers:

  • Zotero can export references as RIS, for import into Endnote. However, this does not preserve Zotero’s folder structure or any links to full text.
  • You can manually edit the RIS files to point to the correct file location, but if you use Endnote Online to sync your references, the sync process will immediately delete the links. I have 1500 references in my library. This would mean manually exporting every folder/collection from Zotero separately, and reattaching every PDF reference by reference. No thanks.
  • Zotero and Endnote deal with organisational author names in different ways, and these too all need to be manually edited (eg OECD is imported as Oecd by Endnote. Just. Why).
  • Endnote also lacks the ability to extract annotations from PDFs.

I’d rather be writing than spending my evenings fixing this stuff. One benefit of using both though is that Endnote should be slightly zippier without managing PDFs and notes etc as well. And, I’ll still have access to Zotero after I graduate, with all my notes and tags and folders, unlike Endnote.

Another task I’ve been working on is cleaning up metadata imported from Google Scholar, usually by going back to the publisher’s website now that I have institutional access. Like many students, I only had access to open access content while I was preparing my application. Ponder that when you consider the challenges of getting into graduate school in the first place – not having access to all the works you need to prepare a strong proposal. Thankfully, I got most of what I needed via open access, but a lot of the metadata left much to be desired. Records can and do disappear from Google Scholar more often than you’d think. However, sometimes the metadata on publishers’ websites is more detailed than reference managers expect. They can’t parse this sort of thing and often leaves a blank since they can’t figure out what year to include:

Issue Online
21 February 2017
Version of Record online:
03 February 2016

The reason I’m willing to persist with switching to a hybrid Zotero-Endnote approach is that for better or worse, my discipline is still oriented around Word/Endnote, and because Scrivener is now central to my workflow. I keep all of the summaries of articles I read in Scrivener, copies of emails exchanged with my supervisor, and my drafts. I can create new versions in the same file with a click, roll back if needed, and move around bits of text and storyboard whenever needed. I can add keywords and references to other documents to each file, meaning that if I want to write up a chapter around say, compliance or China, I need only to search and everything I need will be right there. If I need to go back to the source, ZotFile creates hyperlinks when it extracts annotations from PDFs, and clicking on those takes me directly to the annotation on the file. I was dragging PDFs into Scrivener for a while, but now just type notes directly into a floating scratchpad. I do still need to export out of Scrivener to share work with journals or supervisors, but that’s an easy step to compile the work right at the end.

For those working with Scrivener in more detail and curious about setup, here’s how my binder is organised:

  • Chapter outline
    • Intro
    • Literature Review
    • etc – remainder of chapters
  • Chapter 1 CURRENT DRAFT (this is what I’m currently working on)
    • Intro
    • Research Questions
    • Scope
    • Literature review
    • etc
  • Summaries
    • Nye (2012)
    • Wendt (1992)
    • Easterley (2006)
    • etc – as noted above every article/book gets a separate page. I then add the Endnote reference at the top so I’m sure which work I’m referring to.
  • Ideas
    • Lots of pages with points to pursue, data sources and so on
  • Quotes
    • Compelling finds along the way
  • Feedback and comments
    • copy and paste of correspondence with supervisors so I can track progress and how I’ve responded
  • Admin
    • University guidelines, my bio, forms etc

What’s so amazing about really deep thoughts?

As she so often manages to do, Meredith Farkas has written a must-read post, this time about social media, identity, and ownership.

I thought of her post today, when a colleague said they were so glad that RSS was no longer a thing. I, on the other hand, still think the death of Reader was one of Google’s worst decisions. But we knew then and we knew why they killed it: because there was no money, no (well, less) tracking, in RSS. I use the Old Reader now. It’s great.

I posted about some of the reasons why I restarted this blog a couple of months back (with a note about some life changes). A sense of ownership and control over my identity is among them. I had the opportunity to work on policy and advocacy around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) before leaving the UK, which made me keenly aware of the ways in which many companies did not give us choices about what they collect and how, until they were forced to. I contributed to the debate about ‘fake news’, before that discussion very abruptly turned from concerns about over-regulation and stifling of innovation to dismay at deals done by companies with no oversight.

Evgeny Morozov’s for some time seemed overly gloomy and pessimistic about the future of the Internet, but his latest piece noting that the world will likely no longer accept a US-led order in pursuit of a global, open, Internet seems striking and logical in this context. Everything is politicised now: standards, technology, trade. The AI race. Witness too the debates over intellectual property.

What to do? Meredith asks what a supportive social media ecosystem would look like. Given the muted response to Facebook’s data issues (almost no one deleted their account) I’m not sure a new entrant is possible at this stage but I still think social media has some redeeming benefits. I get a lot of my up to date research from Twitter, and expert hot takes on everything from North Korea to what’s going on at the Internet Governance Forum. But I think it has marginal utility in helping people connect, despite Facebook’s motto.

For me there’s still power in curation. I still visit Arts & Letters Daily on a regular basis. It hasn’t changed in forever. I still read newspapers and magazines like The New Yorker and Foreign Affairs, though I switched to digital editions. As noted above, I still use RSS. And I mostly use Twitter for news. Perhaps the ideal ecosystem for me is a super aggregator.

Or perhaps just pretending to use the Internet like it’s still 2007.

Beginning the PhD Journey

This week I commenced a PhD in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia. Like Stuart Lawson, I hope to document my journey over the next 5+ years through this blog.

Starting a PhD has always been a question of when, not if, for me. Many programs are naturally oriented towards those seeking an academic career, are offered full-time only, and assign students to a pre-determined topic to obtain studentships (especially in the UK). At this stage in my career, I see a PhD as something in parallel to my career that will enhance my existing practice and advocacy work, extend my research and writing skills, but not necessarily lead to a career change.

Compared to Europe and some institutions in the US, fewer academic librarians in Australia pursue PhDs. Those with them overseas typically obtained them before entering a library career. It’s not and shouldn’t be necessary to have a PhD for career advancement in libraries, so why bother? There’s been plenty of research on that point in libraries over the years, but primarily considering why librarians should do a PhD in LIS. I can and already have researched and published. But what I am seeking now is a framework to explore new methods, disciplines, and ideas. And for me that is best achieved in a discipline outside LIS.

My research will be centred on human rights, access to information, and how norms are contested and adopted. My interest in this topic arose when I was working at IFLA, advocating for the inclusion of access to information in the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. I documented this process in research published in 2016. It was not an easy ask. Often, we heard comments to the effect of, this problem will solve itself. Helen Clark, then the head of UNDP commented at the 2013 Open Government Partnership summit that “everyone has a mobile phone”. Anyone who works in libraries or advocates for access to the Internet knows this is far from reality. Billions of people are offline. So why the assumption otherwise? Since 2015 and particularly since the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the US and Kenyan elections, and crises in Myanmar amongst other issues, we have seen what happens when we fail to pay enough attention to media, access, and how we understand information. We saw the rise of misinformation, disinformation, categorised as ‘fake news’. We saw a rise in internet shutdowns as governments struggled to control their citizens. These are just some of the issues at the tip of the iceberg, and I’m looking forward to questioning more deeply.

When we make the case for libraries and information, it is to people outside our profession. When training librarians to be advocates, I stressed the importance of understanding their priorities and language, whether they were representing other NGOs, researchers, or government officials. By situating my work in International Relations, I am looking forward to having my own assumptions challenged, and strengthened.

A note on tools and methods

Over the past year, I’ve been working on a draft proposal and setting up a workflow for reading and writing. This has been a very interesting process given that my day job was also focused on understanding researcher behaviours, and the role of Open Access. As I’ve always found it useful to read how others have set themselves up, some notes on my own tools and methods:

Referencing: During my MA, I kept several printed binders full of articles, much like academics had filing cabinets full of key papers. This time around I’m entirely digital. I keep all my references in Zotero. You can see what I’m reading.

Notetaking and writing: Scrivener. All my notes, ideas, quotes, and writing is in Scrivener. It’s a little clunky, but you can include references using Scannable Cite in Scrivener then export the file to LibreOffice to share with supervisors and colleagues. Having everything in one app where I can easily tag, chunk, move around bits of text, and create new versions is great.

Thinking: I have a paper notebook where I scribble down ideas and thoughts. Sometimes I just need paper and pen. But I also use XMind (the free version) for more elaborate mind mapping.

Planning: OmniFocus. But open source projects like GanttProject are also just fine for setting deadlines and timelines.

Statistics: There’s no getting around it. The statistical turn in political science is here to stay. I’m brushing up my stats knowledge and learning R. I’m spending lots of time in Rstudio.

Finding articles: Patrick Dunleavy is right: Google Scholar is just easier. I spent 8 years without access to subscription databases, relying on Open Access only (and no, I have never used Sci-Hub). Learning to use databases again, even though I used to teach students how to use them, has been a big learning curve. The interfaces and pathways to access articles are frankly still terrible. Unpaywall is genius.

Dissemination: ORCiD, Zenodo are amongst the services I already use.

No surprises for guessing that I track largely along an Open Science workflow. The Open movement has come a little slower to political science and in my opinion was set back by the acquisition of SSRN by Elsevier. But it is encouraging to see a growing number of datasets and Open Access articles available.

Can libraries thrive in a young democracy? Considering Myanmar

Late last year, my research on libraries in Myanmar, democratic reforms, and the role of information in development was published, Myanmar Libraries after the Opening Up. The working title was “Portrait in time”, which seems ever more appropriate given what happened immediately before, and after, the article was published.

I worked on a development project with Myanmar Library Association between 2013 and 2016, and had been hoping to return this year to participate in the CONSAL conference but the timing of my relocation to Australia meant that wasn’t possible. Each of the projects I managed as part of the Building Strong Library Associations programme was fascinating in its own way, but Myanmar was intended to be perhaps a little more ambitious – here was a country that was undergoing democratisation under our feet, and the watching eyes of so many sectors seeking investment and development agencies. My research traced the recent development of libraries and efforts to build the sector’s capacity leading up to and after the first democratic elections held in the country in nearly 50 years, at the end of 2015. During visits to the country, I learned about the impact of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 that led to national legal and policy reforms, and a gradual ‘opening up’ of the country. When we arrived in 2013, we found a library sector in need of modernisation, networking, and professional skills, yet with a solid foundation of nearly 5000 libraries across the country to build on. My mobile phone did not work on my first trip, and by 2016 everyone around me was on Facebook and Skype. The promise of change, democracy, and development during those years was enormous.

Yet, as it so often happens, history and politics intervened in 2017, and much of the promise remains unfulfilled. The attention on Myanmar now is frequently for the wrong reasons, as unrealistic expectations are reckoned with and serious human rights failings are challenged. Just a few months on, the research feels like a snapshot in time of what could still be, if Myanmar can overcome backsliding on national reforms, and make significant investments in infrastructure and skills. These are especially critical when people are targeted by misinformation and haven’t had the chance to develop the ability to appraise information spread through social media. Libraries must still be transformed to meet the changing needs of information users in a young democracy.

“Valuing truth in the age of fake” Plenary at London Info International

I was invited to deliver a plenary at the London Info International conference on 5 December 2017, a copy of my remarks is below: 

Today I’m going to talk with you about ‘fake news’ and why using that term is problematic, but also why we must pay attention to the ways our norms about how we access and use information are changing, and what we can do about it.

Although it’s been in the headlines for more than a year, no one has been able to definitively define ‘fake news’, although two dictionaries have declared it their ‘word of the year’:

Collins dictionary: “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”

Macquarie dictionary: “disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic” and “the incorrect information being passed along by social media”

Earlier this year, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) launched an inquiry into ‘fake news’. The fact that DCMS put the term fake news in quotes to me signified that lack of consensus about what it means. Research Libraries UK was one of the organisations that responded to the inquiry. In our response, we stated that attempting to define ‘fake news’ should be avoided because there could be unintended consequences or a chilling effect[1] on the media, libraries, publishers, and others that provide access to information. Trying to define fake news is like trying to nail jelly to a wall: whatever it means changes depending on who is speaking.

What we need to do instead is to think about what fake news represents. We need to distinguish between clickbait and misinformation[2].


If you’ve ever read a celebrity news site, listicles on Buzzfeed, or filled out a quiz on Facebook, you know all about clickbait. There’s so much clickbait now that the satirical newspaper, The Onion, has branched out and created a satirical clickbait website ClickHole[3]: Psychologists have found that the reason many of us love these sites so much is because they play to our emotions, and our curiosity, triggering a dopamine response[4].

A lot of the time, these sites are harmless fun. But clickbait can be harmful too. Entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe, for example, are making huge amounts of money from sites that churn out political clickbait stories[5]. It doesn’t matter to them whether the stories are true or false. Some of these started appearing around the time of the 2016 US election. The is where clickbait can potentially turn into something that we should worry about – misinformation, and disinformation.

Misinformation and disinformation

So misinformation too, can initially seem harmless. You might have seen this picture circulating on Twitter in September. It claims to show a shark swimming down the freeway, after Hurricane Harvey in the US. Yet Buzzfeed reporter Jane Lytvynenko found that the same shark has turned up during many storms over the years[6]. That shark sure can swim! But why do some tweets about a shark matter? On social media, it’s incredibly easy to manipulate or misattribute photos, making them appear as something other than what they are. Sometimes this is completely innocent, for fun or the result of a mistake, and other times it can be very harmful.

When misinformation – or disinformation – is deliberate, it can have real impact on our institutions, our trust in government, and the media. We should all be worried that press freedom is declining around the world[7].

In recent months, there have been many reports about attempts by individuals and organisations, with a range of motivations, to influence the referendum on exiting the European Union[8], elections around the world[9], the independence referendum in Catalonia[10], and opinions about Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar[11] through social media. When such efforts are state sponsored, it crosses the line and can become a form of psychological warfare. Rick Stengel, a former managing editor of Time Magazine, commented in December last year that the information and infrastructure developed by the US played an important role in the Berlin Wall coming down, and this is a lesson other countries are now learning from. He concludes by observing, “you don’t have to invade a country if you control its information space.” Access to knowledge has been transformative for our societies and our lives, but we must also remember that it represents significant power as well.

The challenge of regulation

Recognising these challenges, governments are looking for ways to regulate the internet and internet companies. In the DCMS inquiry on ‘fake news’ the Department wanted to know whether and how the major internet intermediaries including Facebook, Google and Twitter should be regulated. Because the general election was called, DCMS closed the inquiry, but has continued to talk regularly in the months since with Facebook and others. Some of these discussions have included a call to ban encryption, and reclassify Facebook and Google as publishers[12]. These discussions have also been greatly influenced by the horrific terrorist attacks in the UK this year and the need to remove extremist material quickly. However, outlawing encryption for everyone would break the internet, as it would make it impossible to shop online, or do internet banking. There are also troubling examples where freedom of speech has been curtailed in other countries. Courtney Radsch from the Committee to Protect Journalists said, and I quote:

“Many authoritarian countries criminalise the publication of what they commonly call false news, censoring content, shuttering news outlets, and jailing journalists on the charge, which is often levied against information critical of or unwanted by those in power” Courtney Radsch, CPJ Advocacy Director[13]

Regulation is a very challenging balance. On one hand excessive regulation should be resisted, but on the other, technology is moving so quickly that the law cannot keep up. Intermediaries are self-regulating, relying on community editors, handbooks that are not open, private algorithms, and therefore making decisions that can have wide ranging and immediate effects[14]:

Facebook has been criticised for the worrying impact on democracy of its “downright Orwellian” decision to run an experiment seeing professional media removed from the main news feed in six countries.

The experiment, which began 19 October and is still ongoing, involves limiting the core element of Facebook’s social network to only personal posts and paid adverts.

So-called public posts, such as those from media organisation Facebook pages, are being moved to a separate “explore” feed timeline. As a result, media organisations in the six countries containing 1% of the world’s population – Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cambodia, Serbia and Slovakia – have had one of their most important publishing platforms removed overnight[15].

Again you might ask, why does this matter? It matters because in many countries, Facebook IS the internet, because Internet users don’t have to buy data to access Facebook. This is called ‘zero-rating’, and Facebook’s version of it is called “Facebook Basics”. Millions of people never access any internet content outside of the platform. And in every country, more and more of us get our news from Facebook. How Facebook and other platforms are regulated is therefore critically important.

Furthermore, technological approaches that are increasingly being used to decide what information to show us, such as algorithms, risk replicating human biases and errors, are not open to scrutiny, and don’t help people to critically evaluate the information they use.

What can we do about it?

It is a truism that a functioning democracy relies on an educated and well-informed populace (Kuklinski, Quirk, Jerit, Schwieder, & Rich, 2000)[16].

What we need are ways to help people understand and use what they see. Being able to critically evaluate information is a key skill for everyone, and something libraries have supported for many years. Information literacy, and increasingly digital literacy, are ways to put information in context. Libraries are trusted and valued by the public, in all age groups, as places where they can get training and advice[17]. [fake news infographic slide]

But we must do more. Techniques that focus on how to judge the reliability of information based on whether webpages have a name attached to them, date, domain URL[18] (eg does it end in .org or .gov) may no longer be sufficient in helping us to critically evaluate the credibility of information. We must know who is behind the content – who funds it, and why did they create it. The need to increase investment in ensuring everyone has information literacy skills has never been greater.

Libraries have professional standards and guidelines to draw from, including the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Global Assessment Framework[19] which encompasses learning, critical thinking and interpretative skills across educational and societal boundaries, and all types of media. In the UK organisations like SCONUL have developed the Seven Pillars of Information Literacy[20], that defines core abilities in higher education. We can also look to national frameworks such as the Welsh National Literacy Framework[21]. The UK government has also identified the need for digital skills, as outlined in a green paper for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released in January 2017 that noted the need for everyone to have literacy, digital, and lifelong learning skills, including those that don’t have the opportunity to go to university[22]. Libraries have a large reach in helping people to gain these skills – RLUK’s member libraries alone delivered 17,446 hours of instruction on these skills to users in 2015[23].

This brings me to scholarly publishing. We now acknowledge funding sources in journal articles, so that any potential biases from author affiliations can be identified. We have developed technologies and standards to link together identities and works, such as ORCiD, and institutional repositories. We encourage researchers to share their expertise by building profiles, and they do so including on networking sites like ResearchGate and Academia. Codes of practice are in place to deal with fraudulent research. But there is more we need to do: in my opinion ‘fake news’ is another motivation to support open access to research outputs and data. Open access includes permissive licences from publishers that allow authors to make available open copies of their work, or the creation of new, quality open access journals and books.

Why does open access matter in this context? Consider this: making available research open access makes scientific discoveries, facts, and new knowledge discoverable by anyone. It makes more research available to be cited, to be reviewed, and to be replicated. This speeds up and strengthens science and research. It also means that when academic research is cited in the media or someone wants to learn more, they can access the research. While having access to research alone won’t solve the challenges of misinformation or ‘fake news’, it will help when people want to find out more behind the headlines or an article they find on Wikipedia.

We must also ensure that the record of contemporary history, science, and culture is preserved for current and future generations to ensure accurate use, citation, verification, and reproducibility.  Libraries have an essential stewardship role through our research and national libraries, and archives. This issue is especially urgent in the case of digital content, where we guard against the ephemeral nature of the internet that can result in deliberate or accidental revisions or deletions of materials. Here too, there are many initiatives I could point to, including web archiving at the British Library, digital preservation standards[24], programmes to preserve access to subscribed content in libraries[25] and the UNESCO Persist programme[26] in collaboration with government and industry to secure ongoing access to digital information. Digital collections preserve and share the story of major events in the UK, such as the National Library of Scotland’s Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 Collection.[27] What will the story of the referendum on the EU look like, when we include all the social media, campaigns, and the official reporting?

We can’t get rid of all misinformation, because technology is constantly changing, and because we must constantly strive to protect freedom of expression and access to information. There is no easy way to solve ‘fake news’, but with a combination of skills, openness, and preservation we can make more informed decisions about the effect it has on us.



















[19] UNESCO. “Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework: Country Readiness and Competencies,” 2013.

[20] SCONUL. “Seven Pillars of Information Literacy.”

[21] Welsh Information Literacy Project. “Information Literacy Framework for Wales,” 2011.

[22] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. “Building Our Industrial Strategy: Green Paper,” January 2017.

[23] Reader instruction: user hours 2014-2015, mean of RLUK institutions, 26 institutions responding. SCONUL Annual Library Statistics 2014-2015

[24] Digital Preservation Coalition, 2017. Ongoing projects

[25] Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe, Controlled LOCKSS

[26] UNESCO Persist Programme

[27] National Library of Scotland. Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 Collection

All change

20 years into the post-Soviet era, Ukraine continues to transition to new attitudes and practices. Libraries are not immune to the massive impact this change has had on every aspect of life in the country. Some still look to the state to solve every perceived problem. Others described how laws and regulations make it difficult for libraries to buy books, not to mention the restrictions on buying econtent which means people are already turning to downloading unauthorized copies of books in massive numbers because the titles they want aren’t readily available for sale or loan at libraries. Where the law fails to keep up, people will find a way to get what they want. Political ideologies also play a role here: Julia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister who is now in jail, is supported by some librarians because she approved a law to raise librarian salaries while she was in office.

Yet, there are many examples of innovation at libraries across the country, showcased at the Library Innovation Fair on Monday. A great number of these examples were from beyond Kyiv. The association, too, has worked hard to increase activity in the regions across the country and to form new chapters and groups beyond the capital. In a country as large as Ukraine, that’s essential.

Generational change is a major issue. A great number of librarians are on the cusp of retirement, yet the number of new professionals entering is small. Add to this generational differences from those who lived and worked during different times, and those who grew up after it, and there is a great divide to be bridged.

Yesterday, we met with a group of new young (and they were all young!) librarians and asked them about their vision for the future. They talked about campaigns for libraries, using radio to communicate with uses, reading promotion, film making and using social media. Their ideas are forward thinking, but realistic. I hope they will have the opportunity to put them into practice.

Originally published on the blog