Closure Report

Project Summary

To explain the project: the Resource Lists service enables course organisers to make their reading lists available online, while ensuring that the Library holds sufficient numbers of copies of materials being taught. The service is of use to course organisers and students through the convenience and consistency it offers, and important to the Library as it provides oversight of what is being taught across the University. This academic year (2018/19), resource lists account for 30% of reading lists at the University, and consist of approximately 30,000 titles used across a total of 100,000 citations.

While Resource Lists is primarily a teaching and learning service, there are exciting opportunities for the underlying data to be used in research, the findings of which can then inform curriculum discussions and decisions. This is particularly timely, given the UK-wide movement for diversifying and decolonising the curriculum.

This is an opportunity to begin to understand resource lists data in more detail: producing data visualisations of a number of broad themes enables the Library – and researchers – to gain an overview of course reading material at the University, and presents opportunities for more detailed future analysis.

Our intention was to produce aesthetically-pleasing visualisations of this data, initially looking at gender, but subsequently at geographical demographics and relationships of cross-list texts also. We are conscious of the sensitivities around these findings, and resultantly nothing is public until review from Library Committee.

Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 21 days

Staff Usage Actual: 23 days

Other Resource Estimate: £28

Other Resource Actual: £28

Other Resource Variance: 0%


Technical outputs

Justin created excellent visualisations, using R, as per the project plan:

D1 Visualisation- author genders


Justin Ho

D2 Visualisation- no of times a resource/author is cited


Justin Ho

D3 Visualisation- relationships of texts across courses


Justin Ho

D4 Visualisation- geographical analysis


Justin Ho


These can be found in the git repository , but this is locked down until we have agreement that this can be made public, given the sensitivity around the findings.

Had there been time, we would have investigated a reusable platform for the purpose of running visualisations as required, but there was not enough time to enact this.

Investigation, documentation and reporting

Justin documented using markdown as he went. This is all captured in the above git repository, using git issues, and we can extract this.

Justin's findings will be shown to Library Committee in October, and a blogpost will follow on.


No specific training was undertaken, but invaluable meetings with key project stakeholders broadened Justin's understanding of the area in which he was working.

Explanation for variance

Justin Ho, our intern, was initially contracted till July 19th- we were able to extend by 2 full days to July 31. We spent a total of 5 payments to at approx £7 per month. I've marked 2 of those as being in July as the August payment came out.

Key Learning Points

Justin felt, above all, that the concrete objective of the project was really positive. He has undertaken many projects where it hasn't been clear what he should work towards, and to have a well-described set of output visualisations and general findings to reach was a real help. 

Justin was also pleased to work on a project where he found himself really interested, actually caring about the outcomes. He found it satisfying and rewarding, and it piqued his curiosity. He also said it was a pleasant diversion from PhD work.

Justin was happy to work within the team project structures. He worked off a timesheet which Justin updated as he progressed, and thus there was minimal need to come into Argyle House- he could work in his own office alongside his PhD.

The bigger meetings were also deemed successful- having content experts Sarah, Hannah and Angela present was very useful, and the suggestions and ideas from Kirsty and Melissa were invaluable.

Outstanding Issues

Justin to present to Library Committee in October

Justin to write blogpost after that

Project Info

Visualising the curriculum
Innovation Programme 2018/19
Management Office
Project Manager
Scott Renton
Project Sponsor
Gavin McLachlan
Current Stage
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Overall Priority