In der Zeit vom 29.08.2023 bis 31.08.2023 waren unsere Kolleg*innen Beáta Bellérová und Janette Guzmická von der Slovak Agricultural Library (SAL) im Rahmen des Erasmus+-Staff-Mobility-Programms zu Gast in der Universitätsbibliothek der Technischen Universität Hamburg. Im Nachgang haben Sie einen kurzen Erfahrungsbericht geschrieben, den wir offen über das Blogangebot der Bibliothek teilen dürfen. Weitere Informationen zur ERASMUS+ Fort- und Weiterbildung im Ausland finden sich auf den Webseiten der TUHH und des Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienstes (DAAD).
Erasmus staff mobility in the library
Erasmus mobilities are not only meaningful and useful for librarians, but also a very pleasant way of acquiring new knowledge. In Slovakia, librarians in academic libraries are eager to utilize this opportunity, albeit not as frequently as they would prefer, due to time constraints. The same situation occurs in the Slovak Agricultural Library at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra. Although our university actively supports librarian mobilities, the primary challenge lies in finding the time to plan and travel alongside regular work duties.
Challenges and motivation for international exchange
Our library has been facing several significant challenges recently. The most pressing issue is the deterioration of our financial possibilities (reduction of the budget of universities and subsequently libraries), followed by a significant reduction in the number of employees, deterioration of the age and qualification structure of employees. Nevertheless, we try our best to maintain the quality of services and especially to maintain the status of the library as an indispensable part of academic life. Without the library, scientists, teachers, and students would face significant difficulties.
To achieve this, we are actively monitoring trends and staying aware of the challenges that arise, although our capacity to respond may be limited at times. In recent years, our library (like many other libraries at universities) has been dealing with topics such as building digital collections and digital archives, access to electronic information resources or services connected to registration of publications. We monitor and support changes in scientific communication, especially Open Access and issues related to it, change the usual working procedures so that they reflect the change in the paradigm of library services. We are looking for new stimuli and inspiration, and this was also our goal when planning the visit at the University Library of the Hamburg University of Technology (TUB).
General impressions from the Erasmus+ stay at TUB
The Erasmus stay at the TUB far exceeded our expectations. We managed to choose an institution that is very strong in implementing ideas of openness. This was also reflected in the plan of the stay:
It is the Open Science (in our opinion) that fundamentally influences the emergence of new functions and services of academic libraries. We were really impressed by the complexity of open solutions at TUHH. In the environment of the university and its library, we could observe a functional and well-connected system. When we refer to a system, we don’t mean software, but an organization as a whole, consisting of parts that have links between them. The system, whose individual components work and communicate with each other.
Impressions of Folio, TORE and the people behind the scenes
We were also impressed by the number of thoughtful details in the systems as software solutions. For example, the rigorously elaborated and information-rich electronic information resources management in the FOLIO system as well as TORE, which serves as a combined system of research data repository, open access repository, and research information system. TORE facilitates the exchange of data sending it to platforms such as ORCID and OpenAire, while also retrieving data from Scopus.
Since almost run out of words to express all the positive impressions, let us list some of the things that impressed us in bullet points:
- Complete self-service of the library from the users‘ point of view.
- Librarian education system, especially the possibilities and conditions of lifelong learning.
- Maximum effort for openness – from the choice of open software, tools to support open publishing to the openness of people.
- Collaboration among the TUB with libraries and librarians at the national level in Germany.
- Collaboration within the TUHH and TUB, particularly focusing on cooperation efforts.
So if we are expected to summarize what impressed us the most, following three keywords would aptly describe it: Cooperation, openness and professionalism. Nevertheless, we must not forget the wonderful willingness of our colleagues, the librarians, to share their knowledge with us. This made our Erasmus stay a great experience, both professionally and personally.