Ms Abeer S. Al Kuwari

Ms Abeer S. Al Kuwari currently works as the Director of Research and Learning Services at the newly established Qatar National Library (QNL). While overseeing the operations of Public Services at QNL, Abeer supported the start-up of the Children and Young Adults Library and the Community and Outreach Units. Now the focus of Abeer’s work is on engaging the adults and researchers in the Qatari community. Abeer is a founding member of the Library and Information Association in Qatar (LIA-Q), which was established in 2013. She is also a Corresponding Member in the IFLA Metropolitan Section since 2016. She holds an MA in Library and Information Studies from the University College of London – Qatar.

Mr Alex Ball

Alex Ball is a research data librarian at the University of Bath. His current focus is on information systems, having previously specialised in guidance and training. Prior to this, he worked for ten years as a research officer at UKOLN with a focus on digital curation and research data management, and was a member of the UK Digital Curation Centre. He is co-chair of the Research Data Alliance Metadata Interest Group and Metadata Standards Catalog Working Group. He counts interactive fiction among his hobbies.


(Abstract for Alex Ball and Samuel Simango’s talk):

Serious gaming: creating a Research Data Management adventure

Faced with Research Data Management (RDM) requirements for the first time, it is all too easy for researchers to interpret them as another administrative barrier to completing their research. Advocacy is needed to convince them that RDM deals with genuine issues, and that addressing them brings tangible benefits to the researchers themselves as well as the wider academic community. Librarians at the University of Bath and Stellenbosch University are collaborating on a serious game aimed at doctoral research students that will introduce a variety of RDM topics and demonstrate the possible consequences of good and poor practice. It takes the form of a text adventure, a form of interactive fiction used by early computer games such as 'Colossal Cave' and 'Zork', and made popular in print by book series such as 'Choose Your Own Adventure' and 'Fighting Fantasy'. In the current game, the player takes the role of an early career researcher to whom RDM has been delegated by the principal investigator of a project. The player progresses through the RDM lifecycle from writing a Data Management Plan to publishing data underlying a journal article, encountering various challenges and setbacks on the way. As well as the narrative feedback for the player's actions, the game awards more points for better practice, and terminates early after particularly poor choices. The game will be used to introduce students to the range of RDM activities, advocate the need for RDM, and allow students to self-assess their understanding.

Mr Lars Binau

Mr Lars Binau's educational background is an MBA in Strategy, Organization and Leadership from Copenhagen Business School. He also has an associate degree in accounting from Quincy College, Massachusetts, USA. He completed LIBER’s Emerging Leaders International Development Programme for the leaders of tomorrow’s libraries in 2016 and in 2017 was enrolled in DTU Compute’s Big Data Business Innovation programme. Lars has been head of various departments within DTU Library at the Technical University of Denmark for the last 12 years, and is presently in charge of library facilities and stacks. He is especially dedicated to transforming the physical locations into state-of-the-art learning environments that enforce and reframe innovation at the Technical University of Denmark. Within the vision for this ongoing project, the strategic aim is to expand the DTU Media Lab and transform the library to a SMART Library – an indoor IOT living lab.


A library IOT living lab

DTU SMART Library is a concept initiated in 2013 when we started having increasing problems with the indoor climate in the library building. Together with the awareness of how much impact personal comfort has on learning, we started thinking in terms of personal comfort and how we could enhance our patrons’ possibility to adjust variables affecting their perception of comfort. Comfort can derive from many perspectives, such as heat, drafts, smell, light, sound, looks, people, furniture or even just feeling secure. 

Now SMART Library as a concept also integrates parameters such as indoor living lab, data management, big data, E-science, IOT LAB, Industry 4.0, facility management, data for decision making, and of course sustainability.

There are no new technologies as such, but the strength lies within combining many different data sources. We are a university library, at a technical university so we believe that building an IOT infrastructure that collects data from various sensors and makes these data available to students, teachers, researchers and the public somehow will create magic.

We are compelled to comply with EU data protection regulations. At first, we will only work with anonymous data, but as our legal advisers get accustomed with the new regulations, we will exploit how personal preferences can influence our services to the patrons in the library facilities and eventually on campus.  An example could be to suggest to a patron where to study, based on occupancy and previous preferences.

I believe that many libraries eventually and automatically will become SMART. New buildings will become SMART and SMART technology will in a few years be off-the-shelf products that any library can install. But understanding data – how to collect, refine, analyse and visualise it - will be competencies that are needed in order to optimize the use of a library and maybe also securing the vision of open science and the library as a democratic institution. 

Mr Jesse Blank

Jesse Blank is the Senior Director of UX Strategy, Design & Research at EBSCO Information Systems. Recently joining 6 months ago, Jesse is leading the redesign of the EBSCO product User Experiences through user persona & customer-centric design practices and evolving methods of UX research. He brings over 20 years of experience spanning brand, product strategy and digital experience for many of the world’s top brands and digital products such as Trip Advisor, Sprint, Spalding and SONY electronics.

Most recently, as Head of Digital Experience at Liberty Mutual, Jesse led award-winning digital product UX design resulting in over $2 billion in online policy sales and tripling customer satisfaction of online self-service experiences.

Dr Clara M. Chu

Dr. Clara M. Chu is the Director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and Mortenson Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign. She specializes in the social construction of library and information use, practices, and systems that impact access and collective memory in multicultural communities. She has published in leading journals and presented at conferences around the world in English and Spanish. Active in national and international library and information associations, she is Co-Chair of the IFLA Building Strong LIS Education Working Group and 2018-19 President-Elect of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T).


Inserting diversity in User Experience research: Smarter libraries by design

The conference website notes that “User Experience (UX) design is based on the idea that products and services should be designed with the user in mind,…[creating] a more efficient and personal experience for users.” In academic libraries, and for that matter, any library, how do we design products and services with diverse and underserved users in mind? Are we attending to and how do we attend to the user experience of students who are the first in their family to attend university, researchers who are challenged to find the history and culture of minorities in the collection, or users who encounter stereotypes or biased accounts of minority groups. UX research in libraries have not intentionally attempted to understand the experiences of minority users, whether students, researchers or instructors.  The design of products and services, inclusive or targeted to underserved community has not been “personal” because it hasn’t been by design.  In short, there is a dearth of UX research that aims to understand underserved academic library users. Informed by Keren Dali and Nadia Caidi’s concept of "Diversity by Design” (2017), this presentation will explore challenges in studying the behaviors of underserved academic library users, propose research methods appropriate in studying such users with the aim of being inclusive, and consider research on the information needs of Southeast Asian refugee undergraduates as a real world case.   

Dr Elsje-Márie Geldenhuys

Fresh out of school, Elsje-Márie enrolled for a BSc. Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in 2007, completing the degree in 2009. In 2010, she moved to Tygerberg Campus to pursue a career in medical sciences and enrolled for an Honours degree in Morphological Sciences (Anatomy and Histology). She graduated cum laude at the end of the year. In 2011, she continued with a Master’s degree in the same field (Morphological Sciences) and successfully upgraded her project “A Morphological Assessment of the Health Status of a Cadaver Population at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, with Special Reference to Tuberculosis Lesion Distribution” to a PhD degree. She graduated in December 2014. In the same time she was accepted to enrol for an MB.ChB degree in the following year (2015). She has a keen interest in surgery, especially trauma and paediatric surgery and would like to return after internship and community service years to pursue an MMed degree in surgery.



Ms Loretta Parham

Loretta Parham is CEO & Library Director of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., www.auctr.edu , an independent entity operating as the single library shared by its four member institutions—Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College.  Under her leadership the library was awarded the ACRL 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.  With more than 30 years in the profession her experience includes: Director of the Hampton University Library, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pa., District Chief of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) and other professional positions with the Chicago Public Schools.

An active leader, scholar and engaging speaker, Parham was named the ACRL 2017 Academic Research Librarian of the Year, the 2016 Distinguished Alumna of the University of Michigan School of Information Sciences, a2004 “Mover & Shaker” by the industry publication Library Journal, has authored articles on HBCU libraries and archives, and is co-editor of the book, Achieving Diversity: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. She has been a featured speaker for programs of the IMLS, Digital Library Federation, University of Tennessee Libraries, Georgia Public Library Services, University of Northern Colorado Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, the Heritage Preservation’s National Institute for Conservation, OCLC, the Georgia Society of Archivists, and more.

Parham is a member of the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors, the EDUCOPIA Board, a member of the University of Michigan Information School Alumni Advisory Board, Chair of the ALA Committee on Accreditation, and a former trustee of OCLC, Inc.

Parham is co-founder and past chair of the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance.  www.hbculibraries.org


Space and Generation Z

In this presentation the speaker will consider the influencing characteristics of users and how the design and use of library space may be impacted.  A contrast of the millennial versus the Generation Z student will be provided.  While there is not necessarily one type of audience for any library, the academic library will more likely experience the impact of each generation at the start of an academic year when most of the students entering will have been born within the same one or two years of one another.  Understanding the needs of the Generation Z and preparing programs for library space redesign are essential.  Ways of engaging and involving these stakeholders in design thinking activities will also be discussed.  The speaker will share the Delta/Plus, (what went right/what could have been improved) of the major renovation completed at the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library. 

Mr Ned Potter

Ned Potter is an Academic Liaison Librarian at the University of York, where he plays a key role in the UX Steering Group. He is a Trainer for various organisations including the Bodleian and the British Library, and his book The Library Marketing Toolkit was published by Facet in 2012. Ned can be found online at ned-potter.com and on Twitter at @ned_potter.


UX at York: embedding ethnography and design

Ned will be discussing a timeline of the major UX projects undertaken at the University of York, including the techniques used and the changes made to the service as a result. He will look at the steering and strategy involved in truly embedding User Experience as part of the culture of an organisation, and the training and support required to involve a wider pool of staff. Finally he will suggest a path towards making ethnography and design a more integral part of ‘business as usual’ in academic libraries.


Mr Roelof Rabe

Roelof Rabe is a Professional Architect and is also the founding member of Roelof Rabe Argitekte. He studied at the Academy of Building Art in Amsterdam. He still carries the certification in the Netherlands which is no small feat considering that originally, Roelof came from a Civil Engineering background and left that for the love of Architecture. He started Roelof Rabe Argitekte as a one-man-show ten years ago and grew the company from strength to strength. The firm of 12 now boasts with 3 directors and 4 professional architects. Roelof has been involved with many visionary projects, has extensive experience with the University of Stellenbosch and has also been invited by the University of Pretoria as a keynote speaker at the HEFMA conference.


Libraries of the Future: Changing our Species

This talk will take a short journey through history (approximately 600 Million years back), looking at the various dominant species and extrapolating this journey into the future. It explores the accelerated evolution of specifically the human species and its impact on its environment. How do we design now for the species of the future? The talk ends with a short presentation of the Medicine and Health Sciences Library project at the Stellenbosch University Tygerberg Campus.

Ms Marli Ritter

Marli Ritter is a UX Specialist and Web Accessibility evangelist who started off as a basic web designer in the ‘90s. Creating websites, she recognized the critical link between branding and design early on and continued to explore the many facets that contribute to creating digital products. This constant search for synergy between branding, design, development and the end user is ultimately where her love affair with UX started. Her passion for the field is driven further by her interest in cultural anthropology, psychology and human behaviour, as well as her need to understand users’ behaviour when interacting with digital products.


Does SMART technology mean SMART UX?

SMART technology has taken the tech world by storm the last couple of years. Internet-connected devices are being used in innovative ways to improve quality of life and effective service delivery. It potentially offers a revolutionary, fully accessible and “smart” world by improving interaction between objects, their environment and people. What does this mean for UX? Will we move to “SMART UX”? While the main focus of SMART technology is to make the world smarter, it can only be achieved if the right information is accessible at the right time. The core principles of these futuristic technologies are buried in the history of UX and by going back to the basics, we can create a “smarter” new world.

Dr Tamar Sadeh

VP, Teaching and Learning Solutions, Ex Libris

With a degree in computer science and mathematics, Tamar Sadeh began her career developing search engines for structured and unstructured data. At Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, Tamar has taken an active role in the definition and marketing of the company’s various technologies since she joined in 1999. In the past few years, she has been leading the Company’s initiatives around teaching and learning.

Tamar holds a doctorate from City University London’s School of Informatics. In parallel to her work at Ex Libris, Tamar is a narrator for audiobooks at the Central Library for the Blind.


Embedding the library User Experience in a learning management system for improving student onboarding

Using an academic library is one of the greatest challenges for new students who have been exposed to only a high-school or public library. The challenge is not limited to searching; it also relates to evaluating materials, obtaining them (physically or electronically), and processing them. In most cases, students first consume scholarly materials in the context of course assignments, in which case the students are directed to very specific items. Only at a later stage do students start using the library for their own research.

From a user experience perspective, a course resource list embedded in the institution’s learning management system is an ideal way to introduce students to the academic library. Such a list, designed as a library tool that exposes students to library resources, jargon, and services, paves the way for students to understand the value of the library and the way in which it can help them achieve their goals. Furthermore, with the usage analytics that course resource lists provide, academic staff can develop more effective lists and fine-tune them, the library can address course needs in a better way, and the institution can identify students at risk, long before it is too late.

This session focuses on the UX principles that were used for the development of the Ex Libris Leganto™ resource list tool and the impact that the tool has had on students’ academic on-boarding experience at numerous institutions, as shown from user surveys and usage analytics.

Mr Samuel Simango

Samuel Simango studied at Rhodes University where he obtained a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree, a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB), a Postgraduate Diploma in Taxation and a Master of Commerce in Accounting degree (specialising in the Law of Taxation). In addition to this he also obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Library and Information Studies from the University of Cape Town.

Whilst pursuing his master’s degree he worked at the Rhodes University library as a library assistant and as the acting Law Faculty librarian. He then went on to pursue a career in library and information sciences. He worked as Law Librarian at  Stellenbosch University from 2014 until 2017 and then moved into the field of research data management. He is currently the manager of Research Data Services at Stellenbosch University’s library.

Ms Laila Vahed

Laila Vahed is the Director of Library and Information Services at the University of Zululand, a position she has held since 2003. She holds a Master’s Degree in Information Studies from the University of Natal (UKZN), awarded in 1995.

Currently Laila is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the South African Library and information Consortium (SANLiC), a position she has held since 2006. Laila also held portfolios in various other library structures over the years, including the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) and the National Council for Library and Information Services (NCLIS). She also co-chaired the IFLA WLIC National Committee for the 2007 congress.

Laila is well known in LIASA circles and has become renowned for having served the organisation several times as its Electoral Officer, as well as assisting with constitutional matters for LIASA and other organisations. She was awarded the title of LIASA Librarian of the Year at the LIASA conference in October 2016.


Experimenting with UX letters at UNIZULU

The University of Zululand (UNIZULU) is situated in KwaDlangezwa which is in the northern part of the province of KwaZuluNatal. UNIZULU Library and Information Services serves a student population of 17 946 at two campuses, one in KwaDlangezwa and a smaller campus in Richards Bay.

The presenter does not consider herself an expert in UX, but rather as a novice who has taken a keen interest in the topic since listening to Andy Priestner at the 2017 LIASA conference, and then attending the UX in Libraries conference in Sheffield, UK earlier this year. Love letters and break-up letters are just one of several UX methods, which were thought to be an ideal soft start to introducing the concept of UX at UNIZULU. The experiment involved asking Information Librarians at the KwaDlangezwa campus to invite their audiences during LIS training workshops to write “a love letter” or a “break-up letter” to the Library which related to any aspect of the LIS. Invitations to write letters were also advertised within the Library.

Ms Jenny Walker

Jenny Walker is an independent consultant based in Cape Town. For the past 2 years she has led the corporate pilot project for an important STM/NISO initiative, Resource Access for the 21st Century (RA21). Jenny is a member of the RA21 Steering Committee.

Jenny has many years’ experience in the information industry and before starting as an independent consultant in 2008 held senior positions in Product Management, Marketing and Business Development with SilverPlatter, Ex Libris and Credo Reference. She has also played an active part in the development of NISO standards, working in the areas of SFX/ OpenURL, MetaSearch and Discovery.


RA21 -  Improving Access to Scholarly Resources, from Anywhere, on Any Device

Researchers are frustrated by a myriad of protocols when accessing scholarly resources. Libraries, publishers and vendors are challenged to deliver a better user experience in order to keep users engaged on their platforms and to facilitate access. A principle goal of the RA21 project (Resource Access in the 21st Century) has been to improve the user experience (UX) when accessing scholarly content regardless of the user’s workflow or location.  Building on CNI’s Report on the Authentication and Authorization Survey conducted in 2016, the STM Association and NISO have been engaging with the research community to develop a set of guidelines to improve the user experience and to provide a more seamless access methodology, while also providing greater control and more granular analytics. This session will briefly review the drivers for the transition away from IP authentication towards federated access and single user sign-on for research libraries; it will highlight the emerging RA21 recommendations and will include a demonstration of the work in progress towards a new and improved login at the publisher sites.