March 17, 2011

NAG conference 2011

In NAG’s 25th anniversary year, over 110 delegates and speakers attended our Conference 2011, which was held at the iconic Palace Hotel in Manchester on the 7th and 8th September. This beautiful building is in a central location, with good transport links


Here’s what some of our delegates said –

  • Thoroughly enjoyable. Good subject coverage for both academic and public libraries. Really enjoyed that it was forward thinking and innovative
  • I felt the overall standard to be very high. I particularly enjoyed the style of the presentations.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed Conference and found it a valuable information gathering exercise
  • ……..a very very successful, well organised & informative conference.
  • Well organised, thoroughly enjoyable, a breath of fresh air.


In these times of change there is still much uncertainty surrounding academic and public
libraries and this is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. The traditional image of a library is changing and will continue to change as we see developments in Library Management Systems, Changing Business Models, Use of Discovery Tools, EBooks and Etextbooks, The National Catalogue, and potentially Shared Services. With continued pressure on library budgets, the switch from print to e and the wealth of information resources now available in a variety of formats we all wonder what a library may look like in the coming years.

The theme of the 2011 NAG Conference was ‘Strategies for the Future’ and we looked at various developments and examined some of the strategies that are being put in place that will define the services offered by libraries going forward. We looked at themes and ideas that are applicable to both academic and public libraries and heard from speakers who have put some of these developments into practice, drawn from a wide variety of librarians and industry practitioners.

As always the conference included both workshops and plenary sessions from practitioners from a wide variety of backgrounds, who shared their experience in areas such as statistical analysis and shared catalogues, as well as looking at new developments in Library Management Systems, etextbooks, the latest resource discovery tools, and identifiers such as the ISNI. As in previous years, there were numerous opportunities to network with publishers and library suppliers, and colleagues in both public and academic libraries, as well as a chance for delegates to share their own knowledge and experience.

Briony Heyhoe-Pullar
Charlotte Lane
Conference Organisers


Keynote Address We were lucky enough to secure Ken Chad as our Keynote Speaker, and he launched the Conference after lunch on Wednesday 7th September.

Ken gained his MA from the Information Science Department at City University in London. He has over 20 years experience in the library software business and has worked with a wide range of academic, research, college, public, corporate and national libraries in the UK and throughout the world. His consulting activities include work on projects for
the UK’s JISC, SCONUL, and RIN as well as library system related projects for a range of
libraries. He has published articles and presented widely on library technology and the strategic impact of technology driven change.
Ken is a committee member of UKSG and MUDL: Managing and Understanding Data in
Libraries. He is a member of NAG.

And the subject of his Keynote Address – It’s time to look at strategy

Libraries in all sectors face the challenge of relentless, disruptive, technology-driven
change and tough economic times. Libraries are under pressure and there is a risk that decisions are made without an appreciation of their strategic importance. For example is charging for ebooks simply a sensible way to cover costs for a new service or is it a  fundamental challenge to the free public library? This is a good time then to look at some approaches to strategy, differentiating it from ‘mission’ and looking hard at alternative business models.

The first day continued as follows

Open source LMS – David Parkes (University of Staffordshire) & Nick Dimant (PTFS)

Resource Description and Access (RDA) – Gordon Dunsire (Consultant)

Workshops There was then a choice of 4 workshops –

  • E-formats in  public libraries – Luke Burton, Library and Information Officer,   Information and Digital Team, Newcastle Libraries
  • Library  Impact Data Project – Graham Stone, Information Resources Manager,University ofHuddersfield
  • Emerging  standards for identification of written works and creators – Andrew  MacEwan (Head of Collection Processing at the British Library) &
    Julian Sowa (Senior Manager, Nielsen Registration Services, responsible
    for the UK ISBN, SAN and ISTC registration agencies within Nielsen Book).
  • Resource  Description and Access (RDA) (this workshop follows on from Gordon’s earlier paper) – Gordon Dunsire (Consultant)

The day ended with a drinks reception for all delegates, followed by the three course conference dinner (with an element of a 25th birthday party!), presentation of the NAG
Excellence Award, and the return of the famous NAG conference quiz.


Discovery tools

The second day opened with a session on discovery tools, with the following
participants –

  • Summon Dave Pattern      (Library Systems Manager at the University
    of Huddersfield)
  • Primo Gurdish Sandhu   (UEL) & Alan Oliver (Ex Libris)
  • EDS Steve  Giannoni (Ebsco), with Debbie Morris & Julie Cleverley from Leeds Metropolitan University

And our conference continued with the
following papers –

Collaboratively building ‘Web-scale’ – imperatives for ensuring the future
relevance and use of libraries
– Robin Murray (Vice President, OCLC Global
Product Management)

The future of the e-textbook market – Paul Harwood (Deputy CEO of JISC

Shared services/shared building – ‘The Hive’ – Darren Taylor, (Worcester
University Library) & David Pearson (Worcestershire Libraries)

The future of the LMS – Paula Keogh, (Capita – formerly Talis)

This timetable was a little more compact than in previous years, starting immediately after an early lunch on Wednesday 7th, and it involved only one night’s stay for most delegates.

The cost for the full conference was held for the 4th consecutive year at £325 per delegate for NAG members and £375 per delegate for non-members, alternatively there was a daily rate of £125, or £200 for both days without the overnight stay.
The costs of the various sponsorship and advertising opportunities were also held at last year’s level.

The Conference papers are now available,  to NAG members only.

If you are a member, please log in if you haven’t already done so, and view the papers here.

If you have trouble logging in, please contact the NAG office at

If you attended the conference but are not a NAG member, please e-mail the NAG office at and we will e-mail the papers to you.

If you would like to find out more about NAG, please take a look at the rest of our website. You can join us here