Stop phubbing and grow a Forest

I love my phone. It feeds me news, connects me to my family and friends and allows me to search and find any relevant information 24/7. My phone is my camera, calculator, calendar, watch, health coach, weather man, TV and radio. But checking something on my phone sometimes takes more time than I want. While checking my mail, I casually click on Facebook or Instagram, just for fun or out of curiosity. Does this sound familiar? There’s even a word for it: phubbing.

Forest is an app on your phone that keeps you from seeking distraction. When you want to concentrate, you can plant a virtual tree and while you stay away from apps other than Forest, your tree will grow and prosper. It sounds like a simple reward, but somehow the gamification is just right and it works! So next time you need to make your deadline, try to keep focussed with Forest. It is available for iOS and Android.

https://www.forestapp.cc

Forest app

Open Access: the Dutch Consortium – publishers deal

From Science Guide I found out that, as more contracts of the Dutch Consortium with their publishers were made public by Leo Waaijers in 2016, the resistance put up by Elsevier and Springer to the exposure of their individual contracts raised a question mark about their real intentions, especially related to the Open Access policy.

Two weeks ago, due to the leak of Elsevier’s contract, the publisher came under scrutiny because of the terms of its three years Open Access pilot (2016-2018) that seems set up to fail.

Image from Science Guide’s article “Leaked Elsevier contract reveals pushback”

Science Guide says that the deal shows restrictions imposed to the researchers, the raise of collective fees and the short range of publications from their portfolio where the researchers could publish Open Access – a rather “disheartening picture of the so called ‘Golden deal’ reached by the Dutch universities with their major publisher: Elsevier” [1].

Still, one has to look at a broader picture: the business case for these deals and the win-win situation for both universities and publishers.

The contracts’ descriptions are available – for anyone interested – on the openaccess website where, for every publisher, one can find listed the Terms & Conditions of their deal, links to the publishers’ websites with More information and, in four cases, details over their Workflow [2].

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Snapshot: A Cambridge user experience (UX) study

Snapshot is a very interesting and highly detailed user experience (UX) study conducted by Andy Priestner and David Marshall from the Futurelib innovation programme at the Cambridge University Library. The main objective of this project was to explore and uncover the research and information behavior of the postdocs and PhD students. The team used a ‘cultural probe’ as preferred UX technique for this study. During the two week long research period the participants were asked to complete a lot of different interactive and creative tasks like for example – completing a daily research diary, photo study, cognitive mapping and more.
This approach helped the Futurelib team to get better, holistic view of how the participants accessed information, about their routines, the choices they made and most importantly, what opportunities there were to improve their experience of library services.

Some of the key findings the team discovered were for example: the importance of immediate peer community and inter-disciplinary collaboration for the participants. Another important discovery was the need for better visibility of the library online services but also the type of support, expertise and assistance that the library staff can offer to the researchers.

This May, Andy will help bring existing UX practices to the next level at the TU Delft Library together with the Library R&D team.

You can read the full rapport here: http://bit.ly/thesnapshotreport

Source: Futurelib blog, Snapshot rapport