SGUL’s Open Research New Year’s Resolutions

It’s 2022 and we have some New Year’s open research resolutions to help you find open services and make your research more findable and accessible. We shared them on Twitter throughout last week, and in case you missed any, we’ve collected them all together here to give you some ideas for what you could do to make your research more open in 2022. 

Ddecorative image, text reads

To make your research practices more open in 2022 you could… 

  1. look at this jargon busting poster on Open Research Demystified: 10 Things You Need to Know About Open Research. We presented this poster at Research Day in 2019 – did you see it there? 
  1. create records in the CRIS on acceptance for new publications and upload the accepted manuscripts. We’ll then be able to make your articles open access via SORA for anyone to access without needing to pay (publisher restrictions permitting). 
  1. read up on finding existing research data: here’s eleven quick tips for finding research data, published in PLoS Computation Biology, which will help you find and assess data to use in your own research. 
  1. install the CORE Discovery browser extension to help find open access copies of paywalled research articles. Haven’t heard of the largest aggregator of open access research papers? Here’s a short video about CORE
  1. get up to speed with The State of Open Data Report 2021 for perspectives from around the world on open data, data quality and curation, and more. 
  1. learn more about how open science is gaining global momentum. As a starting point, you could take a look at this post from cOAlition S welcoming the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.  
  1. link up your ORCID and Figshare accounts to connect your research outputs to your unique identifier: see Figshare’s help page on how to sync ORCID to find out how. (Don’t have an ORCID yet? Register here – it’s quick, easy and free!) 
  1. investigate the options for corresponding authors to publish open access at no direct cost. SGUL has signed up to a variety of publisher deals for free or reduced cost open access publication – for more details and to see which publishers are included, see our page on Paying Open Access Fees
  1. upload your supplementary data to the SGUL data repository. For help with this, see Figshare’s help article on publishing a dataset at the same time as the associated paper
  1. start a conversation with your colleagues and collaborators on how you can make our research practices more open. You could think about publishing via an open research platform (such as Wellcome Open Research), or consider what other types of research outputs you create and could make available (and get credit for), eg datasets, protocols, code, posters and presentations. 

And don’t forget to keep an eye on our twitter feed for information about open research events throughout the year. 

Any questions? Get in touch with us: 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant 

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian 

Liz Stovold, Research Data Support Manager 

Free training sessions January- March programme

Decorative image of a person using a laptop and mobile phone at a desk. There is a coffee cup and pair of glasses on the desk.

All of our online training sessions are completely free and open to NHS staff, academics, researchers and students as indicated.

Booking is easy- identify a time below you can attend and visit our calendar at https//sgul.libcal.com/calendar/infoskills to sign up. Or, to arrange a bespoke departmental, group or 1-2-1 session, email liaison@sgul.ac.uk

Finding the evidence (NHS staff and placement students)January: Tuesday 18th 11:30am – 1:00pm, Thursday 27th 12:00pm – 1:30pm  

February: Wednesday 9th 12:30pm – 2:00pm, Thursday 17th 1:00pm – 2:30pm  

March: Friday 11th12:00 – 1.30pm, Tuesday 29th 11:30am – 1:00pm
Introduction to Web of Science
(Students, academics or research staff)
March: Wednesday 9th 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Literature searching for your dissertation,
review or research project (Students, academics or research staff)  
January: Thursday 20th 11:00am – 12.30pm

February: Wednesday 23rd 11:00 – 12:30pm

March: Tuesday 22nd  11:00am – 12.30pm
NHS Library Induction
(NHS staff and placement students)
January: Thursday 20th 1:00pm – 1:30pm

February: Wednesday 16th 12:30pm – 1:00pm

March: Tuesday 22nd 12:00pm – 12:30pm
RefWorks (Students, academic or research staff)February: Thursday 24th  12:00pm – 1:00pm
March: Tuesday 15th 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Systematic reviews: finding
and managing the evidence (All)
January: Wednesday 19th 1:00pm – 3:00pm

February: Tuesday 22nd 11:00am – 1:00pm

March: Wednesday 23rd 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Visit https//sgul.libcal.com/calendar/infoskills to sign up to any of these sessions

Holiday Library Update

As more of our students start to drift away from St George’s for the winter break, we’ve put together a quick reminder of some of the resources and study support you can always access from the library, no matter where you are. (Of course, we hope you all get a well-earned break as well!)

1. Find e-books and articles in Hunter

You don’t need to visit the library to use our resources; a large amount of what we offer is online in the form of e-books and electronic journal articles. You can find both through Hunter – if you’re offsite, you’ll just need your SGUL username and password to access them.

(See below to reset a forgotten or expired SGUL password.)

  • select Books and more from the dropdown menu to search for books and e-books. Then choose Online Resources on the left to limit your results to e-books only.
  • select Articles and more from the dropdown menu to search for e-journal articles. Find a specific article using the first few words from the article title, or use search terms to find all available articles on your topic.

Our short video shows you how to log in to access e-books and articles from offsite. There’s also help and a troubleshooting guide on our website.

View our video guide to Accessing resources offsite

Forgotten/expired password?

If you’ve forgotten your SGUL password or it’s expired, you can reset it here. (Please note, you’ll need to have registered an alternate email address to use this link – if you haven’t done this before, email studentlifecentre@sgul.ac.uk to set one up.)

If you’ve registered an alternate address but still can’t reset your password, email ITAV@sgul.ac.uk.

2. Discover online learning tools

Also accessible with your SGUL login are online learning tools – including BMJ Learning, JoVE Science Education, Acland’s Video Atlas of Anatomy and more – that use video, quizzes and other interactive features to enhance your study. Two of our newest resources are highlighted below, or you can view a full list here.

Complete Anatomy is a 3D anatomy app using models and videos, with an extensive library of structures and muscle movements.

Download the app to your device then activate it using the SGUL activation code – you’ll find full instructions in the SGUL Library Canvas module (requires login).


BMJ Learning features hundreds of accredited, peer-reviewed learning modules in text, video and audio formats.

On your first visit you’ll need to sign in with your SGUL login, then create a BMJ personal account. After this, signing in with your SGUL login will take you to your personalised BMJ Learning homepage. Find more information here.

3. Find help with assignments and referencing

If you’re working on an assignment, project or dissertation over the break, we have books that can help with the planning and writing process – including e-books that you can access from anywhere. Click on the Hunter searches below to see what’s available. (Use the Online Resources filter to the left of the results to see e-books only.)

You can also find help with referencing. For a quick overview, the Referencing section in your course-specific LibGuide is a good first stop – find the guide for your course in this list.

For more in-depth guidance on the Harvard referencing system used at St George’s, have a look at our Referencing LibGuide, or the Referencing Essentials Unit in the Library Module in Canvas (requires login). For Vancouver referencing, you can find guidance in the online version of Cite Them Right – just make sure to select Vancouver as you view the sections.

Your liaison librarians can also offer one-to-one advice on all your research and referencing queries. Email your query at any time to liaison@sgul.ac.uk. Even over the Christmas break we can respond to queries until 23rd December, and again from 4th January when the library reopens.

Hi! Who are you? Building trust through identity in scholarship online

How can you build trust online and promote yourself and your research? In a poster presented at the recent SGUL annual Research Day, we highlighted some commonly used tools to manage and curate your research profile online, along with some pros and cons of each one.

In this blog we give you some more background and things to think about when considering your scholarly and professional identity online, to help you pick the tools that are right for you, starting with the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID).

ORCID

ORCID is a unique persistent identifier for researchers. Signing up to ORCID helps to distinguish you from other researchers and connects you with your achievements. It is simple to sign up for an ORCID, although it is possible to run into difficulties.This blog post from UK ORCID Support outlines some of the weird and wonderful ways some researchers have used these IDs – and how to put things right, for instance if you have managed to register for more than one ID: ORCIDs in the Wild: A Field Guide to the Popular Persistent Identifier

There have been some recent updates to the ORCID interface, and SGUL researchers will be pleased to know that SGUL’s data repository hosted in Figshare, now has an integration with ORCID. When you create an item in Figsharea record will be automatically created in your ORCID account (if you have that function enabled – it’s opt-in).

In CRIS, you can confirm your ORCID ID (Menu > My Account > Data source search > Automatic claiming), so that publications will automatically be added to your publication list.

Twitter

Twitter can be a great place to form a community and develop relationships with other researchers, but it can take a lot of time and effort to build and maintain a profile there. As well as tweeting links to your research, you’ll need to spend time engaging with other researchers to establish your presence and build your relationships, as well as keeping abreast of community norms around things like hashtag usage. You’ll also need to be aware of the possibility of abuse and harassment: SGUL has recently provided some guidance on what to do if you’re the target of trolling. Twitter may not be a low effort medium, but it can allow you to make connections and have conversations that you might otherwise never have had the opportunity for.

Thinking about trying out Twitter? This article in PLoS: Computational Biology has ten tips for getting started.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash  

Publons

The Publons platform allows you to record, gain credit for, and promote your peer reviewing work, work which may have been hidden in the past. Your public profile shows your verified peer reviews as well as publications, and citation metrics, though be aware that the content is based on coverage in Web of Science and may not consider anything not indexed there. The Publons (now Web of Science) Academy offers free peer-review training.

Clarivate are also running a webinar next week on building online researcher identity and open peer review

Other platforms

ResearchGate: While sharing and networking sites such as ResearchGate provide services of value to many researchers, ResearchGate is not considered an open access repository, as you need to create an account to login.

Academia.edu, Impact Story, Kudos: These are other sites that can help you share and explore the online impact of your work. These allow you different options of how to sign in (eg Facebook, Twitter) and freemium use is limited to certain features.

The value of open repositories

 Bear in mind that commercially or privately owned companies could be taken over at any time1,2 and there is no certainty the content or services will be available on the same terms in future. ResearchGate recently had to take down, at the publishers’ request3, full text articles that researchers had posted which contravened copyright rules.

The sharing platforms that SGUL provides for our researchers, Figshare and SORA, structure the information about the works deposited, making this available in a machine-readable format so these can be more easily found. There are quality assurance and licence information checks before the records are made available.

Speakers at Research Day talked about the acceleration of the work around trials to speed up vaccine development (while maintaining rigour and safety), and about preprinting their research. (For more on preprints, see our blogpost on preprints in the biological, medical and health sciences).

More community driven and not for profit services and digital initiatives such as ORCID, institutional repositories and funder publishing platforms (such as Wellcome Open Research and NIHR Open Research), are helping to open up research and connect the research back to the researchers in a very visible way, allowing for wider scrutiny of the research and who and is communicating it. So it’s worth thinking about how you present yourself and your research online

Any questions? Get in touch with us

The SGUL Communications Team can also help you promote your research and reach a wider audience 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant 

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian 

Liz Stovold, Research Data Support Manager 


1 Elsevier Expands Footprint in Scholarly Workflow (2017) Inside Higher Ed https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/08/03/elsevier-makes-move-institutional-repositories-acquisition-bepress (Accessed 8/12/2021)

2 Wiley Acquires Open Access Innovator Knowledge Unlatched (2021) https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2021/Wiley-Acquires-Open-Access-Innovator-Knowledge-Unlatched/ (Accessed 8/12/2021)

3 A note on recent content takedowns (2021) https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/a-note-on-recent-content-takedowns (Accessed 8/12/2021)

‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’

This blogpost for Explore Your Archive week looks into the connection between a St George’s alumnus and a former Cuban slave in the 19th century. St George’s historical connections to slavery are being reviewed as part of the Institutional Review of Race Equality. Please note that this post contains language that may upset or offend readers. This has been included where necessary as used within the original sources for illustrative purposes. This blogpost is written by St George’s Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi.

The poet Juan Francisco Manzano (1797-1853/54) was born in enslavement on a sugar plantation in Cuba. Richard Robert Madden (1798-1888) was born in Ireland, the youngest of 21 children of a wealthy silk manufacturer, and an alumnus of St George’s.

How did the paths of these two men cross?

Title page of ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

Manzano’s parents, Sofia del Pilar Manzano and Toribio de Castro, were enslaved under Señora Beatriz de Justiz de Santa Ana. Sofia was the chief handmaid of Señora Beatriz, allegedly a relatively privileged position that meant Manzano was not allowed to play with the other slave children at the plantation, although it did not save him from various forms of mental and physical abuse. At some point, Manzano was sold to María de la Concepción, Marquesa del Prado Ameno, who by all accounts was particularly cruel and abusive.

Extract from ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

The accounts on how Manzano escaped slavery are vague and contradictory. Somehow, however, Manzano managed to buy his freedom in 1837, aged 40. Although he had had little power over his life, he had been taught to read and write in his childhood. In one version of the story, his literacy proved to be his salvation, and a group of Cuban reformists, including a plantation owner called Domingo Del Monte, were so impressed by the poetry he had been writing that they eventually bought his freedom.

Del Monte asked him to write down the narrative of his life, although it seems unlikely he was paid for the work. The book could not, however, be published in Cuba or in other Spanish colonies, even after the end of the Spanish rule in 1898 – Cuban economy depended on slave labour on the sugar plantations to such an extent that any accounts that might have a negative impact were banned. It was finally published in 1937 in Cuba, having been passed to the National Library in Havana by Del Monte’s estate.

English translation of Manzano’s poem ‘Mis treinta años’ (‘Thirty years’). Translation by Madden.

Madden, in the meanwhile, had moved to London in 1828, following several years in Italy and the Middle East. He had received £220 for accompanying a tuberculosis patient to England; this money he spent to further his medical studies at St George’s.

Advertisements for lectures at the School of Anatomy and Medicine adjoining St George’s Hospital, 1835. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

He settled down to practice medicine in London, having married Harriet Elmslie, the youngest daughter of a West India merchant and slave owner John Elmslie. In London he joined the Anti-Slavery Society, and eventually gave up the practice of medicine, becoming instead a government civil servant.

He had been educated in Dublin, Paris and London, including at St George’s where he studied at two occasions. The student registers show he enrolled first in 1823 for six months, and returned to St George’s in 1828. On both occasions, Benjamin Brodie was his tutor.

The entry for Richard Robert Madden in St George’s Medical School student register, 1828. SGHMS/4/1/16, Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

In 1833 he travelled to Jamaica to work as a special magistrate for the British Colonial Office: his role was to help resolve disputes between ‘apprentices’, as former enslaved people were known as, and the slave owners, also known as planters. His account describing his experiences was published in 1835 as ‘A Twelvemonth’s Residence in the West Indies, During the Transition from Slavery to Apprenticeship’. Allegedly he visited a plantation owned by his uncle, where he discovered ‘two mulatto cousins’ and learned that another cousin of his had been sold as a slave. In his book and in evidence given to a British parliamentary select committee he denounced the apprenticeship system.

In 1836 Madden was appointed commissioner of liberated slaves in Havana, Cuba, a Spanish colony beholden to Britain since 1814: it is likely in this role that he first met Manzano through Domingo del Monte, who occupied a powerful position as a plantation owner (and hence probably an enslaver as well) in the society.

He took it upon himself to translate Manzano’s account into English. The resulting book was published in Britain in 1840, and was called ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated: Translated from the Spanish by R.R. Madden, with the History of the early Life of the Negro Poet Written by Himself’. Madden himself writes that the text

‘was presented to me in the year 1838 by a gentleman at Havana, a Creole […] some of these pieces had fortunately found their way to Havana, and attracted the attention of the literary people there, while the poor author was in slavery […] The gentleman to whom I have alluded […] redeemed this poor fellow from slavery […] [and] induced him to write his story’

Part of the glossary in ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

Although slavery had officially been abolished in Britain and the British colonies in 1833 by the Slavery Abolition Act (following the Slave Trade Act of 1807 prohibiting slave trade), the transitional concept of ‘apprenticeship’ however in many ways was simply a continuation of slavery. Nor did the market for sugar and other goods produced with slave labour cease, and Britain continued to trade with countries such as Cuba, where slavery was not abolished until 1886.

In 1840, Madden spoke at first  World Anti-Slavery Convention, delivering a report on Cuban slavery. He had stated as his aim in publishing Manzano’s work to ‘vindicate in some degree the character of the negro intellect, at least the attempt affords me an opportunity of recording my conviction, that the blessings of education and good government are only wanting to make the Natives of Africa, intellectually and morally, equal to any people on the surface of the globe’.

Both Del Monte and Madden appropriated Manzano’s work for their own purposes, which for Del Monte may have included using abolitionism as a means of ensuring that the numbers of black Africans in Cuba would not surpass the number of white Europeans. Madden tailored his translation to his British audience, who wanted to distance themselves from slavery: it was easier to read about atrocities committed by other nations, in an exotic location and via a translated text from another language. His edition omitted certain details, including names, places and dates, as well as instances of brutality.

By highlighting his own role in the edition (where the title does not even include Manzano’s name) Madden placed himself in the position of authority and power: as a white saviour. Moreover, in the book he first presents two of his own poems, ‘The Slave Trade Merchant’ and ‘The Sugar Estate’, turning himself into the author in the process. From the perspective of a British abolitionist, it is almost as if British slavery never existed.

Table of contents of ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

What happened to Manzano and Madden after this?

Madden went on to work for the British Colonial Office, first as a special commissioner of inquiry in the British colonies on the western coast of Africa on Gambia River and the Gold Coast (hub for slave trade since the 17th century), and then as colonial secretary in Western Australia. He published several more books on a variety of subjects, including burial practices and the United Irishmen. In 1849 he returned to Dublin, where he spent the rest of his life as the secretary of the Loan Fund Board at the Dublin Castle: he never appears to have returned to medical practice. He died in 1886, aged 87.

We know much less of what happened to Manzano. A play written by him, Zafira, was published in 1842. He was married, twice, first to Marcelina Campos, then, in 1835, to María del Rosario, whose family, according to some sources, disapproved of the marriage due to Manzano’s status as an enslaved person and his dark skin colour. He was arrested in 1844 and jailed for about a year, along with thousands of others, suspected of involvement in a revolutionary conspiracy. He died in 1853 or 1854. Although much has been written about Manzano, these accounts tend to focus on his writing and not on his life, and details of his later life are difficult to find.

Sources and further reading:

Almeida, Joselyn. 2011. ‘Translating a Slave’s Life: Richard Robert Madden and the Post-Abolition Trafficking of Juan Manzano’s Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba’. Romantic Circles.

Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery. ‘John Elmslie senior’.

Encyclopedia.com. ‘Manzano, Juan Francisco’

Engle, Margarita. 2006. ‘Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano’

Manzano, Juan Francisco and Madden, Richard Robert. 1840. ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated: Translated from the Spanish by R.R. Madden, with the History of the early Life of the Negro Poet Written by Himself’.

Molloy, Sylvia. 1989. ‘From Serf to Self: The Autobiography of Juan Francisco Manzano’. MLN 104(2): 393-417.

Miller, Marilyn Grace, 2010. ‘Reading Juan Francisco Manzano in the wake of Alexander von Humboldt’. Atlantic Studies 7(2):163-189.

Moore, Raymond. 2012. Edited by Laurel Howard, Austin Arminio, W.J. Shepherd, 2018.  ‘Richard Robert Madden: An inventory of the Richard Robert Madden Papers at the Special Collections of the University Libraries at the Catholic University of America’. The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C

Murray, David R. 1972. ‘Richard Robert Madden: His Career as a Slavery Abolitionist’. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 61(241):41-53.

Salama, Carmen. 2020. ‘Between Subject and Object: The Identity of a Slave in Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiography’. Journal of Global Initiatives 15 (1):6-15

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), San Francisco. ‘Juan Francisco Manzano’.

Wikipedia. ‘Juan Francisco Manzano’

— ‘Richard Robert Madden’

Woods, C.J. 2009. ‘Madden, Richard Robert’. Dictionary of Irish Biography.

What is Microsoft Teams?

This blogpost was written by Fiona Graham, IT trainer at St George’s, University of London.

Microsoft Teams also known aa Teams is a collaboration web application that supports online communication and teamwork, using the Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome (recommended) browsers on any device.  

Teams is integrated into the Office 365 group of apps and is designed to provide users with a workspace that is equipped with the tools to get any project completed with team members.  

Decorative image of people sitting around a table, working and talking with laptops and phones.

Teams has a wealth of features with several advantages that enables you to engage with your team: 

  • Share content allows you to share your device screen to deliver presentations or give demonstrations 
  • Make calls using someone’s email address and send private messages 
  • Co-edit and share files during and after meetings 
  • Video record meetings and automatically produce transcriptions 
  • Hold interactive webinars for 300 people and live events for up to 10,000 attendees 
  • Share OneNote or Whiteboard during and after meetings 
  • Create, upload files and folders 
  • Catch up on missed discussions and view discussions between other group members 

Microsoft Teams Apps 

There are three apps you can use: the online app, the desktop app, and the mobile app. This allows you to attend meetings no matter where you are or what device you are using if you have an internet connection.  

Microsoft Teams logo.

Teams  

The main purpose of Microsoft Teams is to allow users to create or join groups known as teams where you can communicate and collaborate.  

Channels 

A channel is automatically set up when you create your team and is named General. There are two types of channels. Private channels are only accessible to specific members of the team. Standard channels can be accessed by the whole team. They are like subfolders within a folder to ensure all your files remain in one space. Channels provide a place for the team to have discussions, upload and share files about a specific subject.  


Visit these Microsot training pages for First things to know about teams and channels and to get a Overview of Teams and Channels

For more information about Microsoft Teams and the training available to both staff and students, please email Fiona Graham.  

Managing your career with Explore Plan Apply – setting and reaching your goals

This blogpost was written by Emma-Marie Fry, Careers Consultant at St George’s, University of London.

Decorative Careers service banner

It’s that time of the year where graduate schemes, Masters courses, placements and internships are being advertised for September 2022, with closing dates fast approaching. Perhaps you are turning your attention to your future career and want a steer, especially if you are in the last few months of your degree, or postgraduate study.

The Careers Service (based in the St George’s Library) can support you whatever stage you are at in your career thinking and planning.

You can book an appointment with a specialist careers consultant. We offer 30 minutes one to one careers guidance appointments and 20 minutes application appointment to get feedback on your CV, application, personal statement or covering letter, or simply discuss how to approach an application. If your application is successful and you secure an interview, we can give you the opportunity to practice in a mock interview, and that is for any industry whether within healthcare or not. Appointments can virtual or in person.

There is also a wide range of resources on our Canvas Careers pages to take you through each step of Explore, Plan and Apply.

Explore, Plan, Apply

Explore – this is the first step in career planning and is constantly evolving – and it can take a lot of time. Exploring is about knowing yourself (skills, attributes, interests, values), getting to know the options (jobs, sectors, further study, training)  and making decisions on what to take forward. Check out the tools and advice on our Canvas pages to give your career plan strong foundations.

Plan – Planning is about the action that you take to move closer to your goals, testing out ideas and getting more information. How will you reach your goals? What route will you take? How can you secure work experience? Get extra training? How and why should you build your professional network of likeminded people (and alumni of SGUL)? Should you consider further study?

Apply – How can you put a strong application together for a job or course? Is your CV up to scratch? How can you make the best of an interview opportunity? The support is there so make the most of each and every job opportunity that appeals to you.

In addition, we have dedicated sections on the Canvas Careers pages for Disability and Disclosure, and for International students.

Decorative jobs board banner

On the Careers Service Jobsboard, we are currently advertising 1500 jobs in a range of areas.

It is worth noting that Explore Plan Apply is not just relevant to students and graduates but is how we all make decisions and move forward throughout our professional lives. St George’s Careers Service can support you for up to two years after you graduate but in the meantime, we hope you enjoy exploring, planning and applying to secure the future you want.


Book an appointment with us or contact us by emailing careers@sgul.ac.uk.

Breaking Down Barriers: Harnessing the power of our people

The World Digital Preservation Day theme for 2021 is ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ and focuses on how digital preservation supports digital connections, unlocks potential and creates lasting value.  In this post we’ll look at the work we’ve been doing to identify areas in the university holding records of interest for long-term preservation.  By connecting with people and areas of the university who previously were not involved in the project we are unlocking the potential of the records and creating lasting value.  

This blogpost has been written by St George’s Records Manager Kirsten Hylan, Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi, Records Manager Kirsten Hylan and Research Data Support Manager Elizabeth Stovold. You can engage with the day and find out more about our work on the Museum and Archives Twitter account, and using the hashtags #WDPD2021 and #SGULwdpd2021.

Logo of World Digital Preservation Day with text in Finnish.
World Digital Preservation Day, organised by Digital Preservation Coalition, an international event to highlight the importance of digital preservation. The text displayed here is in Finnish.

Breaking down barriers

St George’s, University of London (SGUL), is a specialist health and medical sciences university in South-West London.  Since 2016 the Archivist, Research Data Support Manager, and Records Manager have worked together to advocate for digital preservation, successfully winning funds for a system, and identifying areas that hold records that require a long-term storage solution. 

But how do we reach people outside our networks to broaden the digital preservation conversation and demonstrate how it has relevance to those people who hold the records?  And how do we identify records for preservation in areas that previously held none? 

Two approaches have so far helped us broaden our scope:

  • Our Covid-19 story and the Executive Board. During the pandemic we have attempted to collect all Covid-19 material produced by SGUL, including communications, social media, governance records, and research.  However, to date we were conscious that we weren’t capturing or having sight of all the material produced.  Our Executive Board has oversight of strategic and operational matters at SGUL.  In May we took a paper regarding our work to the Executive Board and as result several members of the Board highlighted areas in the university generating education, equality, diversity, and inclusion, and REF submission records that should be considered for permanent preservation.  The move to online education, for instance, has been a huge change and the records documenting the transition should be preserved.
  • We expanded our project board to include representatives from External Relations, Communications and Marketing and from Joint Research and Enterprise Services.  By inviting new voices on the board we obtain different perspectives and reach across barriers. 

Reaching out to people has led to new insights, for us and hopefully also for those we have spoken with. We have for instance had conversations about how the use and the perceived value of records can change over time. Depending on circumstances, records that may not be considered of archival significance actually have consequence beyond their normal lifecycle and are of lasting value to the university.

We have demonstrated this in our time capsule – another idea that came about from our lovely new board members. We hold records in the archives in various formats: there are manuscripts, printed books, typescript minutes, photographs, audio cassettes, LP records, microfilm, floppy disks, emails, as well as various digital renditions of each of these as .pdf, .jpeg and .wav files. Often it is easier to see the value of an old manuscript letter, but it is equally important to take steps to preserve emails, tweets, and any other digital material we now create. The time capsule showcases records throughout the history of St George’s, from a letter from Edward Jenner and minute books discussing Victorian remote communication systems to tweets and Teams meetings.

Bringing it all together

People and the knowledge they hold of an organisation and what makes it functions and the issue it cares about can be seen as key to making connections and identifying digital content for preservation ultimately unlocking the potential of the records.  Digital preservation should not be seen as a record keeping issue or an information technology challenge.  Instead, we need to create a community working together to highlight digital objects for preservation to the preservation team. 

We continue to look forward for advocacy and outreach opportunities to promote digital preservation and chances to work with areas of the universities we haven’t had an opportunity to work with previously. 

If you are interested in learning more about digital preservation at St George’s, or would like to get involved, please contact digpres@sgul.ac.uk.

Keep informed (but not overwhelmed) with KnowledgeShare for NHS staff

KnowledgeShare logo

Information overload is common within the NHS 1, where an overwhelming plethora of  healthcare evidence is created and shared daily.  

KnowledgeShare,  a new evidence updating service available to St George’s Trust staff, can help filter out all the noise and connect you with targeted publications relevant to your role. 

By setting up a KnowledgeShare profile, you’ll receive an email alerting you to targeted reports, guidelines and research articles from curated, high-quality, high-level sources. 

It’s an easy way of keeping up-to-date with new publications without being overloaded with information thus saving you time in keeping your practice and delivery up-to-date,  improving the quality of the care and service you deliver every day, helping you  provide the right care, every time. 

Here’s what other NHS staff have said about KnowledgeShare:

“Thank you so much for this really relevant and something inspiring to read in my inbox!”

– Clinical Psychologist

“I must say this is a brilliant service I read these briefly on the way to the train station; a great method of CPD. Much appreciated”

– Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Acute Hospital Trust.

To see what KnowledgeShare can do for you, sign-up today and let us know your interests such as:

  • conditions or risk factors 
  • setting of interest 
  • non-clinical professional interest such as education, patient safety, manpower management etc 
  • patient population groups such as children or adults 

Once we’ve received your form, we’ll send you emails with the latest guidelines, reports and high-level research on conditions and treatment options and improved methods of service delivery. 

Many of the papers highlighted in KnowledgeShare will be available in full text via OpenAthens, or simply available password-free on the web. For anything else try our NHS Article Request service, and where possible we will send you a PDF or details on how to request it via our interlibrary loan service.

KnowledgeShare is currently available to St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust employees. We hope you find KnowledgeShare will invigorate your practice, service delivery and CPD: we welcome your feedback

Getting further help. 

For more information visit the KnowledgeShare website 

KnowledgeShare – Welcome to KnowledgeShare 

Or contact:

Karen John-Pierre, NHS and liaison manager, St George’s Library 

kjohn@sgul.ac.uk 

References 

1. Sbaffi L, Walton J, Blenkinsopp J, Walton G. Information Overload in Emergency Medicine Physicians: A Multisite Case Study Exploring the Causes, Impact, and Solutions in Four North England National Health Service Trusts. J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jul 27;22(7):e19126. doi: 10.2196/19126. PMID: 32716313; PMCID: PMC7418008.