Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
- Libraries must transform themselves to better support the mission of our institutions
- Innovation is an essential component for transformation
- Innovation comes in many varieties
- Successful innovation can not happen without effective people, processes, practices and technologies
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
CLIR Postdoctoral Fellows program
Several current and former CLIR Postdoctoral Fellows talked about their experience working in libraries for the first time. This program attempts to bring recent Ph.D. recipients into the library to work on innovative new ways of integrating academic libraries into the teaching and research roles of the university. Gabrielle Dean of the Sheridan Libraries talked about some of the practical benefits of the program for the fellows. These include:
- a chance to pursue a new career path
- interesting things to work on and further develop your CV
- interaction with other Fellows--this often becomes a long term association
- broader view of academia; scholars sometimes get so focused on their research that they don't see the bigger picture
Institutional Repository at UC
Catherine Mitchell from the University of California talked about their IR known as eScholarship. They have decided to stop focusing so much on having faculty submit their already-published work, and instead, to play a larger role in publishing. They recently formed a committee comprising faculty and librarians to gather data about the publishing landscape at UC. Some of the key points they found were:
- few faculty understood the term "open access" or "institutional repository"
- the university needs to play a larger role in publishing, not just access
- campus based journal and monograph publishing needs more support (peer review, distribution, etc.)
- multimedia publishing and data sets need support
- not calling themselves a "repository" any more
- they will focus on providing a compelling set of services for faculty rather than trying to get them on board with supporting open access or the institutional repository movement
- librarians need to learn how to speak to users in a way that will catch their interest
- eScholarship will be "rebranded" and focus on providing a publishing platform for faculty journals and monographs. This includes providing a clear distinction between peer-reviewed publications and others
- new services such as the ability to see a rendering of the PDF before downloading it and tracking item "views" as well as downloads
Monday, December 21, 2009
Here are few highlights from the CNI 2009 Fall Memebership Meeting:
- A team from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) presented about their work thus far on a framework for annotation of scholarly (and other) resources. Dubbed the Open Annotation Collaboration, the work has its foundations in the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) work, in which the principals were heavily involved. This framework will allow annotation for a wide variety of applications and will provide strong support for annotation of immutable objects.
- A team with members from LANL and Old Dominion University presented on Memento, a system for viewing the web of the past. The system takes advantage of OAI-ORE and a facility of Web Architecture known as content negotiation to provide more seamless interaction with services that provide archive versions of their content (e.g., Internet Archive, Wikipedia). In addition to the development of a new for describing the relationships between the different temporal versions of a resource, the project has developed an application programming interface (API) that allows the various archives to expose their archive content in a consistent manner.
- The meeting ended with a talk from Bernard Frischer, the Director of the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory at the University of Virginia. He talked about using new 3D tools to support the work of humanists. He argued that most humanists rely heavily on 2D objects (printed text on the page) and would benefit tremendously from the availability of two more dimensions -- the third spacial dimension and the temporal (or time) dimension -- to support their research, teaching, and learning. He showed various examples of new tools and how they might help. The last thing that he showed us was a 3D animation of gladiators fighting, from which it was clear that his work would benefit from engagement with the gaming industry. The kinds of animation he showed are already available in video games.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Brad Wheeler, CIO and VP for IT at Indiana University, gave one of the most interesting and challenging talks about collaboration that I've seen in a while. He opened by stating his view of the two core challenges facing DLF:
- Will the behaviors of DLF participants yield solutions that matter for higher education as well as our own campuses?
- Will DLF members collaborate, cooperate, or pontificate? (we aren't going to win the latter--there are many others in higher education with much more experience)
Wheeler reported that libraries "talk a good game" about collaboration, but that we have not stepped up as we should. You cannot engage in collaboration as a dabbling option--you have to really commit to it. He listed the following as collaboration essentials:
- goal alignment (you need to date before you get married)
- values alignment (commit to having the same outcome)
- temporal alignment (if you need something NOW, your collaborators have to agree)
- talent alignment
- governance clarity
- problem solving alignment
- elastic community
- lack of institutional support for innovation
- lock of goal alignment within the organization
- barriers to cross-departmental and cross-institutional collaboration
- organization focusing on solving yesterday's problems
- inability to prioritize
- hiatus between "digital library" and "traditional library services"
Friday, November 13, 2009
This was my first time at this conference, whose subtitle is "Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition." There is a day of pre-conferences followed by 2 1/2 days of regular conference.
Here's the program.
My morning pre-conference:
Ebrarians: Meeting the Challenges of E-resources Head On had new professionals, from small- to medium-sized schools, discussing their e-resource situations.
- Don't buy resources you can't keep (he told of a school with money who bought lots of expensive e-things but recently had to cancel them)
- Justify expenses with statistics, statistics, statistics
- All of the speakers' libraries have gone PPV (pay-per-view)
- Make sure all licenses specify "no changes without telling us in plenty of time!" (horror stories)
- Many places systematically reexamine licenses with each renewal
- Reading books on mobile devices is going to bypass external readers like Kindle and Sony
- COMMUNICATE with the IT department! Crucial!
- What we do, we have to do really well; e.g., buy fewer resources and handle them better
- We don't all have to own a print copy, but we need to have enough staff to keep tabs on who in the consortium DOES have the last print copy, as well as maintenance, etc.
- To get training for this kind of job: classes inadequate and books wrong; what's best are apprenticeships and actually working in Cataloging, IT, or Special Collections (to learn what to save)
My afternoon pre-conference:
Changing Face of Library Workflow Management: Open Source, Grid Computing, and Cloud Services
This one was fascinating. BTW, "cloud computing" is now at the top of Gartner's "hype cycle."
The 1st speaker (OCLC) said that we all agree that all the many pieces such as cataloging/acquisitions/licenses/ERM/metadata etc. should be in a single system, and that it would be great to be able to push it to a cloud. But if we agree on these things, why are libraries and library departments still fighting for control?
The next generation of library management services is going to be circ/acquisition/license management/workflow/etc. as cooperative intelligence -- not individually hard-coded systems, but a single networked presence.
The 2nd speaker discussed GALILEO in Georgia , an example of a network for the entire state.
Also, Georgia library consortia are served with an open source ILS called EVERGREEN (Georgia's own system is named PINES). In 1999, the libraries thrashed out a single policy (e.g., same fines, loan periods, etc.), and now anyone can get a library card at any library in the state and return books to any library in the state.
The bottom line of this session was: libraries need to control their own destinies.
THURSDAY started off with a B A N G ! If you've never heard David Lankes speak, you've missed out. Here is his keynote speech (streaming video). Treat yourself and listen to it!
In a nutshell: let's get off our butts, decide what our ideal future is, decide how to get there, and break that down into steps so we can get from today to there.
We have to know WHY we're doing what we do and not just keep doing the same thing. Let's not become the music business who wanted to keep control instead of taking musicians and music fans to paradise and allowing them to get anything they wanted from anywhere. The analogy for us is: do we want to acquire more stuff? Or do we want to provide access?
More inspirational talking, followed by: "We're not in jobs; we're on a mission to improve the world!!"
The Pricing Digital Journals session started with librarian David Stern trying once again to explain to vendors that "great deals don't matter anymore if libraries have to reduce costs."
- The vendors must understand that we are examining cost per use very closely, and having immediate access to tons of things doesn't matter when we don't have the flexibility to tailor the title lists.
- When a journal package has a high % of use, it would be more expensive to break it and do ILL instead. But when a package has a low % of use, it might be cheaper to break it to use ILL instead. But when we break it, the price cap goes away. So offer a few of the different ways to get "hybrid" models; e.g., different subject packages (e.g., philosophy, math) can have different access tiers.
The IoP guy made an announcement: as of 2010, they will finally offer e-only pricing! And this comment of his was interesting: they don't offer tiered pricing based on usage, because they're afraid that the libraries in China will limit usage in order to lower their prices.
I Hear The Train a-Comin' -- Greg Tananbaum writes a column for Against the Grain. His theme was that libraries should not compete with university presses but instead work together. During this past summer, lib-license had a thread about going from an approval model to a demand model, which would be a disaster for presses.
Instead, we should link to little-used books and open them up, and not just to PDF's. Let's link them to other things, too, and across disciplines. Presses must be a bigger online presence.
Physical infrastructure is no longer the libraries' area of value. E-books go direct to patrons. The U.S. government now has 97% of their publications online. Let's not become Blockbuster, who croaked to NetFlix, who is now croaking to the home DVR. Physical aspects have been eliminated.
So digital books is the Next Big Train. Books aren't like specialized journal articles just for academies; books are for everyone! When books go completely digital, everything will be different.
I was sick and missed the whole day on Friday :(
Here are the highlights from my Saturday morning session on Digital Historical Newspapers.
- Digital projects at libraries tend to be heavily image-based, which means QUALITY, not speed. Google Books is all about SPEED and their huge mass scanning often yields poor quality (like you can see fingers). Also, you get millions of hits for a book but you can only see some pages and not the whole book.
- The Bentley Historical Library at U. Michigan digitized their old vertical files, and now have an amazing online collection of local and other information not available anywhere else
- The way to have a successful collection of digital newspapers is: find an unmet information need, build consensus about it (e.g., they asked their history department what would be useful), identify important resources that match the need, and digitize them. Example: Birmingham Public Library's "Birmingham Iron Age" collection.
- The U. Florida speaker said RefWorks was the way they did theirs, although they had explored open-source methods (e.g., Zotero) because their Caribbean partners didn't have much of a budget. The project cost $4,000 -- one grad student brought in 600 titles, for 10 hours./week for 24 weeks. Here's their site.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
In the keynote address, John Willinsky talked about the importance of institutional repositories and how we have to do a better job getting faculty to deposit their research there. Researchers worldwide should be able to have access to all of the university's research, whether their institutions subscribe to expensive journals or not. He largely blamed the faculty for not taking the time to deposit their articles, but he also urged libraries to make things as easy as possible. He also talked about his work in building the Open Journal System to make it easier for faculty and nonprofit groups to publish their own journals.
Ms. Peters talked a bit about copyright law in the US, but most of her talk focused on the Google Books settlement. While she thinks that there are several positive outcomes from the proposed settlement, she is concerned that the settlement is actually trying to make an end-run around copyright law. The orphan works component of the settlement is something that Congress should be legislating rather than having it become de facto law because of a class action lawsuit settlement. She is also concerned about the anti-trust implications surrounding Google. Under the settlement Google would have broad powers to make orphaned works available without going through a rigorous search for copyright owners. They would also face no liability if a copyright owner stepped up later--Google would only be required to take down the material. There is a hearing scheduled for mid November on the settlement.
Professor Palfrey reported on some of the findings about "Digital Natives" from his book "Born Digital". Digital Natives are individuals born after 1980 that have access to more than one digital device (computer, phone, iPod, etc.) and are sophisticated users of such devices. Most of the Digital Natives have very different views about copyright and the use of copyrighted materials. Most understand that pirating music and other digital materials is illegal, but they continue to do so anyway. Reasons range from "everybody is doing it" to "I want to stick it to the man". Palfrey is interested in how we can encourage the good things that Digital Natives can do such as bringing new creativity into research while discouraging the bad things such as multitasking during lectures and pirating music.
Clifford Lynch talked about our struggle to reconcile the right to information versus the right to entertainment. That is, the notion of the right to information is a pretty easy sale, but we are more timid about the right to entertainment (novels, music, movies). However, what is viewed as "just entertainment" by some is seen as a subject of scholarly study to others. The lines are not nearly so black and white as some think. He also talked about the right to information access going beyond just making the digital files available. True freedom of access would include the skills and availability to act on the data by modeling it, transforming it, etc.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The common problem presented in this forum is dealing with data in and date out. Accessing and sharing enterprise data across systems are still difficult. The phrases frequently came up during the forum are “shared data”, “shared services”, “ leverage the network(the web)”.
Here are some highlights from the forum:
Ex Libris interviews with libraries and other stake holders globally starting in March 2008. The finds-out is:
• Meet users needs – provide a single interface for discovery and delivery of all library/institutional assets
• Do more with less by consolidating workflows, uniting traditional library functions with those of the “digital library”
• Support collaboration to increase productivity, leverage “network effect”, Support re-use of metadata
• Build future services with SOA-based interoperability, Network-based (SaaS) deployment option
• Collect and incorporate user-provided data
• Enable new type of services (To enable easy data “mash-up). Expand the reach (meet the users where they are).
(Toward Service-Oriented Librarianship, Oren Beit-Arie, Ex Libri)
HEFCE funded SCONUL Shared Services feasibility study at UK, the question is
What, if any, opportunities exist to develop a shared service response (possibly Open Source) within the current LMS landscape
Whether there is a viable business case and delivery model to support any such opportunities
Here are some highlights from the study:
• 92% interest in a shared service undertaking e-Journals licensing;
• 92% interest in a shared service undertaking e-Books licensing;
• 84% interest in a shared system for Electronic Resource Management;
• 77% interest in a shared service undertaking Electronic Resource Management.
• High level of readiness to consider Open Source software (30% with a further 45% neutral)
(Investing in a Time of Disruptive Change, Rachel Bruce, JISC)
Lorcan Dempsey has a blog post which has link and comment to the SCONUL Shared Services report (http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/001987.html)
“Open source systems so far seem to replicate the old systems.” (Library Domain Model workshop delegate - 19 June, 2009, JISC)
The three new paths at this point are:
1. OLE – Ready to launch 2-year build phase,
o Apply for membership in the Kuali foundation, which already has governance model established, levaging the shared service such as Rice and Fluide.
o Developing a final proposal to Mellon foundation for funding
o Jan 2011, develop URM data model and core services; Jan 2012, core partner institution replace existing ILS
2. URM -- (Ex libris)
o Commercially licensed open platform, SaaS model with local hosting option
o Decoupling metadata services(MMS) from URM and URD2(discovery and delivery)
3. OCLC WorldCat Local cooperative library management system -- Web-scale library automation
The question left after the forum is: Will networked ILS, shared data, shared index, shared service, be the solution? How to ensure agility and flexibility?
Some other note-worthy projects:
• XC user reserarch preliminary report
• KBART: knowledge base and related tools
• VIAF: The Virtual International Authority File, available as Linked Data
• Bibtip, and Bx: recommender service
• Project MESUR: project that looks at the definition and validation of a range of Usage-based metrics of scholarly impact
All the presentations quoted are available at:
Monday, October 19, 2009
Rather than providing users with disjointed discovery silos (e.g., catalog, eresources/link resolver, federated search, IR), libraries are looking for solutions that provide Web scale discovery/deep searching of content, necessitating consolidated pre-populated indexing such as provided by Summon, PrimoCentral, WorldCat Local, and Ebsco's Discovery Service. The discovery solution should search inside a book/journal full text, across library collections including harvested local repository collections, as well as across Google Library, Internet Archive content, and other high quality Web repositories. Bradley Daigle, University of Virginia, postulated that the true value of a library's content repository is that it's permanent, trustworthy, sustainable, and discoverable.
Next generation solutions will provide a single point of entry into all the content and services offered by the library. Our current legacy ILS systems force users and staff to shift in and out of multiple systems/modules. Also at this point, open source ILS are designed on traditional ILS module architecture.
Next generation solutions will use the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) model to allow independent software pieces to be brought together, interchanged/repurposed to create new back end services. SOA and enterprise integration will support more efficient sharing of services. Recombining services into a system that meets a library's workflow needs including unified fulfillment (circulation, ILL, consortial borrowing, and request management) are a goal for our next gen systems.
Each year the annual membership meeting of ARL closes with a Fall Forum. This year’s topic grew out of the recent report of the ARL Working Group on Special Collections. As the name suggests, the program focused on the impact of digital on collecting, preserving and providing access to rare or unique research collections. There were several recurring themes.
Cross-collection collaborations. Don Waters (Mellon Foundation) took issue with the idea that it is a library’s special collections that give it its distinction. This could lead to silos and keep collections separate. Instead the library community must work together to build the collections and services to our unique collections that our users demand and deserve. Susan Nutter (North Carolina State University) summed this up as: “Special Collections must be mainstreamed. We cannot afford to keep them separate and special.”
User-centric collaborations. Listening to what users want and building services to meet those needs was another theme. G. Wayne Clough (Smithsonian) gave many examples of how curators are rethinking how they present collections online by creating ways for the public to tell the Smithsonian what they think about the collections rather than just having sites where the curators tell people what they are seeing. Clough also cautioned the group against building websites that create a physical building online but instead use the digital environment to build virtual collections that cross institutional boundaries. Josh Greenberg (New York Public Library), Fred Heath (University of Texas) and Will Noel (Walters Art Museum) were just three of the speakers who talked about ways Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networking tools have been used to promote and provide access to Special Collections materials.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Really interesting conference put together by DeEtta Jones and the NYPL. NYPL has been going through a bit of a renaissance, their circulation is up, hours have increased, staff morale is up, yet their budget is down. Part of their transformation comes from a program they call LeadershipNow. The program is to get all staff to think about their future TOGETHER and how to bring the best of your staff out when they are tired. They also looked outside the Library world for examples.
The first morning speaker was Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table and the founder and CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group which runs some of New York's most beloved and highly acclaimed restaurants. His premise was that everyone has the same 5 stakeholders:
He believed it was important to water the flowers not just keep pulling the weeds - in other words discover what it is that is working right and really build on that rather than just keep trying to work on problems. In addition, he talked about the difference between service and hospitality. Service is what you do TO someone; hospitality is what you do FOR someone. Huge difference, huge. Service is a process that has to happen the same way every time. It is what is written in your service manual. Service is a monologue; hospitality is a dialogue.
6 key characteristics of someone with high HQ (hospitality quotient): kind, curious, high work ethic, empathy, integrity, and self awareness. You cannot expect your customers to have a good experience if your staff is not having a good experience working for you. Focusing on your staff helps you set up what Meyers calls a Virtuous Cycle, which you can find out about in his book. The other important thing is that all his senior leaders are subject to 360 evaluations.
The afternoon speaker was supposed to be Jeff Jarvis the author of What Would Google Do? Unfortunately Mr. Jarvis had health problems and had to withdraw. In his place Gary Wasdin, formerly at NYPL (and co-creator of the Leadership Now program with DeEtta) and now at U. Alabama let the group in a discussion on Re-Imagining Libraries: Putting Googley Ideas Into Practice. Some ideas include:
- Find one thing you control and relinquish it.
- Screw something up. If you are a manager or supervisor, make some mistakes and make sure people know about it.
- Disband AT LEAST one committee.
- Ask your manager or supervisor "If I told you I was leaving my job, how hard would you work to change my mind?"
- Take the Library Cyclone quiz...if every object and person in your library were to be blown out into the parking lot, what would you put back in place and what would you toss out?
- Post a large blank banner with markers in your library and ask your customers to share their ONE GOOD IDEA FOR THE LIBRARY. Act on as many as you can and publicize that you did. Do the same thing on your Web site.
- The customer is in charge. They may be always right, never right, or somewhere in between, but they are always in charge.
- There is no more mass market....there is now a mass of niche markets
- Your worst customer is your best friend
- Do what you do best, and link to the rest
- Middlemen are doomed
- Listen and accept what you hear
- Don't be evil
- There is an inverse relationship between control and trust
- Your best customer is your partner
- The most effective advertising will come from your customers
- "Free" is an excellent business model
- Be transparent
- Make excellent and visible mistakes
- Somethings should always be in beta
- Keep it simple
- Create platforms where communities and thrive.
He also asked the crowd a very simple question - what business are libraries in? I have to admit, I think most of the answers were pretty narrow - information literacy, books, instruction, providing information resources. Granted I don't think I have the perfect answer but, upon reflection I believe libraries are really about connections - connecting people to information, connecting disparate types of information together, connecting old knowledge with new knowledge, connecting.
The final presenter I want to mention is Michael Lascarides who is a User Analyst in the Digital Experience Group at NYPL. That group (note I said GROUP) is responsible for all user interfaces at NYPL except for a few (they are a III ILS library). He talked about how we need to stop thinking about the difference between digital and physical collections - they are not two separate things.
Drill bit analogy - remember no one wants a 1/2 inch drill bit they want a 1/2 inch hole. Our collections, any part of them, are NOT special - how the collection fills a specific need is what makes it special. I think this is what is THE MOST IMPORTANT fact libraries really need to understand as we move forward - what is great about libraries is not about us or our stuff, it is about how people use our stuff.
Things we can do today for FREE to understand our user:
- spend a day watching your users - keep your mouth shut and really observe
- Google Analytics - does about 90% for free what you pay big $$ for
- Twitter search for your library and see what people are tweeting about you
- Look what is on every screen of your site - remember that in the web world instructions are a sign of bad design
- send user feedback to your ILS or other software vendor - your patrons are not stupid
- INFOMAKI - open source software that allows you to set up one question surveys
- Decide what metrics constitute success - think about the stories you want to tell
- List the things that make your library unique
- write down 10 things your patrons are passionate about
- Audience, serve, words - ask your staff who is your audience, who do you serve, and what words do they use
- Start blogging
- Share content
- Play especially with the line between physical and virtual
- steal and idea
- look for stories in your search terms
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
This was the first year for the conference. It was organized under the leadership of Rosann Bazirjuan, Dean of University Libraries UNCG. Approximately 75-100 participants attended for the day and a half conference with 20 sessions.
It focused on how and why libraries are moving more toward becoming entrepreneurial in some way for sustainability. The workshops covered ways to be collaborative both internally and externally (i.e. consortia, partnerships, etc.) integrating the library into the overall university and not functioning in isolation. There were discussions on creating activities, processes, products and services for sustainability and some profitability, tying back into the mission and vision of your institution.
This link will provide an overview of the conference’s presentations. http://blog.zsr.wfu.edu/iic/program/
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Another interesting session was on the addition of a Z39.50 connector for the existing Citations List helper for the Sakai Resources tool, presented by Mame Awa Diop and Jean-Yves Côté from HEC Montréal. There are many libraries who do not have metasearch capabilities, and this connector allows them to use the Citations List functionality with catalogs and other services which support the Z39.50 protocol. The development team at HEC will contribute this code back to the community.
Two other library sessions were offered; one was a pre-conference workshop on library integration focused on small schools, conducted by Jezmynne Dene, Cheryl Cramer, Mike Osterman and Michael Spalti. Another panel session brought library professionals from four different institutions to discuss details of library integration with Sakai at their respective schools. Susan Hollar, Jezmynne Dene, Kalee Sprague and John Dunn presented this panel.
I offered a session on multi-repository integration with Sakai, focusing on local needs we anticipate having with repository integration in the near future, and how changes in the architecture of the next generation of Sakai will require the use of different methods from the current version. Strategies and technical information about current work from a couple of new projects in this area were discussed, with an eye toward how these technologies might be used to present a single standard repository interface to several disparate data sources. Slides are available at http://www.slideshare.net/jrmdkc/sakai09-repo-case-study.
These were just the library-related talks. There were many other interesting sessions related to pedagogy etc. which were of great interest. If you are would like to check out more presentations, have a look at slides from some of the presentations at http://www.slideshare.net - search for the tag Sakai09.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Washington D.C., June 13-17, 2009
Notes from Jim Gillispie
As you might guess, my activities at the SLA Conference focused on the programs of the Social Sciences Division, Legal Division, and Government Information Division. By far the best program this year was “Census 2010: Not your Grandmother’s Census. “ The 2010 census is a significant milestone for academic folks as it marks the replacement of census long form data with the American Community Survey (ACS). For many years the census long form has been used to by government agencies and academics to measure the health and well being of communities by benchmarking their social economic characteristics. Aggregated data from the long form included statistics on education, occupation, commuting, income, and housing structures. The down side of the census long form is:
- Data is only collected every 10 years
- The long form questionnaire is time consuming for citizens to complete and expensive for the Census Bureau to follow-up on when individual forms are not returned.
An ongoing solution to the decennial census long form is the American Community Survey (ACS). In 1996 testing for the ACS illustrated that a continuous survey could provide data that was once only captured every ten years. The ACS has been timed to first release small geography data at roughly the same time as the 2010 decennial census – now with just a short form incouding questions on age, race, Hispanic origin and household relationships. A positive aspect of ACS is that data will be available for small geographies (i.e. census tracts and block groups) for every year after 2010. The annual information will represent information that is more like a three year average then data from a single point in time. This will be a new concept for readers to understand and see how it applies to their specific research.
The 2010 census and ACS represents an exciting time for the availability of new information for library readers. I’m looking forward to sharing this information, and teaching reader how to use the data.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
One of the most interesting presentations to me was Melanie Schlosser's “Whose Stuff Is It, Anyway? A Study of Copyright Statements on DLF-Member Digital Library Collections”. Schlosser did a survey of copyright statements presented on items in library digital materials, and found that most libraries were presenting incomplete, inaccurate, or mis-leading copyright statements, leaving users un- or mis-informed about their legal rights to use the materials. Schlosser suggested that libraries missions required us to do a better job of providing information on particular items we 'publish' online, as well as using it as an opportunity to educate users about their rights under copyright in general.
This forum for the first time (as far as I'm aware) featured something taken from smaller and more informal conferences: "Lightning Talks." Short 5 minute talks any attendees can sign up to give right at the conference. I gave a presentation on Umlaut, the open source software we use to power our Find It service, explaining why i think this is an important innovative building block to a powerful user-centered library infrastructure. I am always trying to stir up more interest in Umlaut, because I think the more libraries adopt and contribute to it, the safer our own resource investment in the open source product is.
Another session that got a lot of 'buzz' was Clay Redding from LC's presentation about the new http://id.loc.gov service. In addition to providing a simple free online interface to the LC subject authorities (which is in some ways arguably easier for finding subjects for assignment than the for-fee Catalogers Desktop I used in library school), what's especially exciting about id.loc.gov is that it provides machine-access to the same information, theoretically supporting seamless (and free) integration of live LC subject authorities lookup into other third party software, any other software whose developers are interested in making use of it. There are still a few quirks to the service, and a few parts of the original LC subject authority records not represented in the id.loc.gov service. It's just the beginning of a work in progress (at least we hope LC keeps it progressing). But it's this kind of service that will bring library metadata into the internet era, in my opinion. For another similar work-in-progress service (although not presented on at DLF) for name authorities, see also the VIAF project at http://viaf.org.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
I presented at a seminar called "Finding Common Ground: CLIR Postdoctoral Fellows on Scholarly Engagement with Hidden Special Collections and Archives." Our aim was to show the value of "scholarly engagement": the value of holdings are increased and research becomes more efficient and exciting when librarians and scholars colloborate. Specifically we focused on the opportunities that arise on the "common ground" of special collections for conversation. What do librarians learn about their holdings when they talk with scholars, and what do scholars learn about their research areas when they talk with librarians? We presented several "case studies" that demonstrated the potential of the special collections conversation to lead to new knowledge. But because the session was a seminar, we were also really interested in hearing about the experiences of session attendees. People told many wonderful stories about special collections interactions that led to concrete outcomes like publications and performances, but also less tangible outcomes like creating excitement for primary source research among high school students. Out of these stories, we drew up a list of ideas about how to encourage meaningful, productive conversations in the special collections environment.
I was pleased to discover that the issues our group addressed were also addressed--somewhat differently--in several other sessions. One in particular that seemed to represent, perhaps, the conference's high point was "Public Services and 'Un-Hidden' Collections: What We Know and What We Need to Know," with Shannon Bowen from the University of Wyoming; Jennifer Schaffner of OCLC Research; and Victoria Steele of the New York Public Library (but until recently, head of special collections at UCLA). After presenting evidence of the impact of the "More Product, Less Process" approach to processing backlogs, the presenters made the case that this shift has led to more pressures on public services. Ie, as more finding aids and even container lists have become available to researchers, especially online, reference requests, copy orders and other kinds of research services have increased to the point that many libraries are finding it difficult to both process and service special collections. It was recommended that special collections staff need to keep careful statistics to show their impact quantitatively, but also that other kinds of evidence needs to be amassed. (Hence the connection to my group's "scholarly engagement" session.) A call also went out for a sexier name for "public services"! If anyone has any good suggestions, let me know and I'll pass them along.
Biomedical and Life Sciences Division Contributed Papers Breakfast – A) Excellent presentation on the implementation and use of Vivo, an open source expert database technology, developed at Cornell and being implemented at University of Florida. B) The second presentation focused on an evaluation of a broad range of e-book platforms at the University of Toronto. Interesting findings were shared including the discovery that students prefer Springer over eBrary because they could save single chapters (verses being restricted to only viewing 5 pages at a time.)
ROI 2.0 Corporate Librarians – This session was led by George Scotti from Springer. He highlighted key studies that have looked at how to measure ROI (Return on Investment) in libraries specifically considering key measures in usages, time saved, and impact on decision making. From this research they came up with the following model for measuring ROI:
% of Needs Met X Time saved (in dollars) X Value of service (dollars that would have been spent outsourcing service) X Cost of operating library
Diversity in Leadership: Generation X – The Changing Paradigm in Knowledge-based Society – I came into the discussion part of this session which was quite lively and reminded me of a session I attended at the JHU Diversity Conference. Baby boomers were eagerly asking Gen Xers about how they could work better together. The single most compelling quote in the conversation was a Xer observing the following about Millenials, “We (Xers) are all about work life balance but Millenials are about work life integration.”
Translational Medicine Meets the Semantic Web – Oliver Bodenredier of Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications at NLM spoke on this compelling topic to a completely packed room. He shared an interesting HCLS mash-up on neuroscience resources and went on to explain that you can link data through key resources and shared identifiers. They have developed a system where they identify “triplets” in the data across public datasets that allow the data to all connect providing bridges across these datasets and a robust view. He noted there are billions of triplets to be found across distributed repositories in the “data cloud” and shared the following demo site: http://skr3.nlm.nih.gov/SemMedDemo/index.jsp
Another session which drew a standing room only crowd was “The New Face of the Special Librarian: Embedded Librarians”. Mary Talley Garcia, currently conducting research into embedded librarianship, defined embedded librarianship as: a) librarian who drives interactions with customers, b) hearing unasked questions, c) generating work. She spoke about the need to reframe skills, do more analysis, upscale end work products, and impact the bottom line. Josh Duberman of the NIH Library went on to share with us their informationist model. Informationists are embedded into both physical and virtual research teams. They do rounds, develop protocols, handle individual instruction, analysis the literature, manage current awareness, help with publication preparation, conduct bibiometric analysis, competitive intelligence, complete research for policy decisions, etc. They view themselves as internal consultants. Lessons learned include: have high level of subject expertise, find mentor, be visible, and be flexible. A nice quote at the end of the presentation in response to questions about being virtually embedded was “Embedded-ness is a state of mind. You don’t need a library to be an embedded librarian.” The final speaker was a solo librarian from Suncor who shared how the librarian was embedded into the continuing education and training group. I followed up with Mary Talley Garcia after the meeting and she sent the following link to her second presentation highlighting in greater depth their research: http://embeddedlibrarian.wordpress.com/
60 Sites in 60 Seconds – Too many sites covered in this fast paced session to list here but interesting ones to check out are:
Citebite.com – Paste in a piece of text and a url and go right to that selection in an article.
Drop.io.com – A neat collaboration and file sharing service.
Mashable.com – Biggest blog on social media sites.
Practical Strategies for Improving ROI – This panel of four shared some very specific strategies and examples of how they have communicated the value of their libraries to management. The first speaker, Karen Reczek of the Bureau Veritas, rescued her library by preparing a detailed account of all her services, the impact of these services on the organization, and clarifying if anyone in the organization could take them over if the library closed. Her advice was to a) reach out and make sure that there’s at least one service that upper management uses in the library, b) be flexible and willing to drop services if they are no longer a priority, c) figure out what information will affect the business of your organization. Steve Lastres of Debevoise & Plimpton manages an integrated Knowledge Management Center and Library in a large law firm. He recommended the library be canvassing for opportunities to provide information.
In addition I had numerous conversations with vendors about new products and services and networked with many different librarians, uncovering more than can be squeezed into this posting! Again feel free to get in touch with me if there's anything that is of particular interest.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
For related tweets on Twitter, search tag #OAI6 or visit this link.
Herbert Van de Sompel (LANL) opened our session and the meeting with an excellent overview of scholarly communications landscape. The presentation is ripe with useful references and I urge you to take a look if you are interested in this topic. [Link]
In the same session, Rob Sanderson (University of Liverpool, soon to be LANL) introduced us to some impressive, yet simple tools to visualize ORE Resource Maps. These tools were developed as part of the Foresite Project and are available as open source for reuse. [Link]
Also in the same session, I talked about our application of ORE to simplify publishing workflows in our project to capture and link data with publications. [Link]
Later in the program, Johan Bollen (LANL, soon to be UI Bloomington) described the work done by himself, Herbert Van de Sompel, and others to perform quantitative analysis and assessment of article and journal value. The system they developed, called MESUR, looks at a variety of facets, not just impact factor. In fact, the work that they have done seems to show that impact factor is not a good indicator of a journals usefulness. [Link]
Thursday, June 18, 2009
In the interests of brevity, here are the most significant and/or interesting things that I learned. If you'd like to know more, please call or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Branding -- More publishers are offering branding; that is, the ability to put a JHU or MSEL logo on their pages. My opinion is that we should brand everything possible.
- Beilstein -- The name "Beilstein" is going away. If/when we renew in January 2010, we will be purchasing access to something called "reaxys" ("re-AX-is"), which is basically the continuation of Beilstein. (Yes, I gave Elsevier some grief about the stupid name.)
- Patents -- Another way to get patents -- Free Patent Fetcher (I haven't tried it out yet.)
- Morgan and Claypool, from whom we get the "Synthesis" series of online short e-books, now has a similar series in life sciences, called "Colloquium." These are research-oriented, not clinical. They have free downloadable MARC records.
- SCOAP3 -- Attended a talk by Salvatore Mele of CERN, who visited JHU early last year. They're up to 63% of the commitments they need.
- The Future of Print -- SIAM (Soc. Industrial Applied Math) will henceforth produce all new journals e- only.
- Discount -- SPIE is giving a 10% price rollback in 2010, and fees will freeze at 2009 rate. If we get a 3-year contract ('10 - '12), the price for all three years will be that of 2010.
- E-books -- SIAM is launching them, SPIE is launching them,
- Open Access -- ROARMAP shows which countries have or are considering OA policies, and links to them. Harvard's OA person spoke and said that faculty must *regularly* be reminded of how much things cost. Most faculty are unaware of the copyright rights they do have, but they also self-archive without caring whether or not they're allowed to. She mentioned Sally Morris's 2009 article "Journal authors' rights: perception and reality." She had many talks with publishers about OA; watch PLoS1 (Public Lib of Science) for an article about "which publishers make it easy." Also, around September 1, some other Ivy Leagues will begin underwriting fees.
- Inst. Repositories -- Harvard now has DASH, "Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard." They had about 40 undergrads doing the grunt work of entering metadata and other data into their repository.
- Blog Rankings -- Kent Anderson, who edits the "The Scholarly Kitchen" blog, said that if your blog is on typepad or wordpress (like SLA's and like ours), you don't get authority for it. That is, "popularity ranking" engines will attribute traffic on our sites to typepad and wordpress rather than to SLA and MSEL. This speaker encouraged everyone to spend the time and the $35 to have blogs moved to our own domains. Also, this is the blog that wrote the phony article for Bentham Science and then blew the whistle when it was accepted.
[Speaking of poor peer review, I have a handout listing peer-reviewed chemistry journals which accepted articles using Wikipedia in their reference lists.]
- Web 2.0 - Google is now the web's library; Twitter and Facebook are its coffeeshops. More and more things are "out there." Example: an article about diabetes type 1 appeared in NEJM and a diabetic blogger twittered about it; a physician wrote to ask her if she had read the whole article and she said yes, because NEJM made it free; the doc said he would have sent the article to her if she couldn't get to it herself. Another example: Lance Armstrong twitters, so all his followers -- basically the whole cycling world -- now knows about what's going on with him at the same time "Cycling News" does.
- Data.gov -- Several sessions mentioned data.gov. It's just what it sounds like; check it out.
- Citation Info -- Great session about WoS, Scopus, and Google Scholar and their citation info. WoS ruled until 2004, and in late '04, both the others started. There were lots of interesting comparison stats, which are supposed to be available somewhere and I'll find them. Note: Scopus lists patents but does not follow who the patents cited. Also, Scopus records go back to 1823, but their citation info goes back only to 1996. Scopus just added 1,450 new arts and humanties journals last month.
WoS now has Conference Proceedings Citation Index fully integrated. AND they now capture funding and grant data! Lots more new stuff about WoS, too; they're feeling the Scopus heat.
They did mention Quosa, saying that you can download 50 articles at a time with it. (We have Quosa.)
- Facebook -- Fascinating Wash Post reporter, who won Pulitzer for her coverage of VA Tech shootings, explained how to use Facebook etc. for doing research. I was riveted.
- "Summon" -- ProQuest has a new tool they think is the best completely seamless way of getting at all the library's stuff. Here's a picture of what the search pages look like.
Okay, there's more, but you must be tired of reading by now. So much is going on in our world !!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Clay Redding gave a very interesting presentation describing how the Library of Congress is building linked data services for authorities and controlled vocabularies. The first data to be made available through this mechanism is the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). The idea behind the linked data approach is to provide information that can be acted on by both humans and machines. This is done by creating identifiers for each term and using a consistent knowledge representation to describe it. Additionally, each collection and concept has its own URI, making it a resource. These resources can be related to other URIs or terms using RDF. With this framework in place, existing semantic web tools can be brought to bear, including inferencing and visualization. While LCSH is first out of the gate, LC plans to release many more resources using this approach.
David Ruddy of Cornell also gave a talk about a novel approach to linking resources using OpenURL. The approach employed both institutional- and domain-based OpenURL resolvers, with the idea that the domain-specific resolvers could fill in needed data before passing requests on to the institutional resolvers. While still fairly adherent to the OpenURL 0.1 approach, it is heartening to see work like this that starts to move us toward a more sophisticated approach. I would like to see more applications take fuller advantage of the 2004 NISO OpenURL framework, as has the Djatoka service being developed at LANL and presented at Open Repositories 2009 by Ryan Chute.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
There were a number of really good speakers that day. Here are some highlights from key points from my perspective.
From Steve Hiller - UWashington
We live in a competitive world. Even in academe there is competition. Key questions we need to ask ourselves:
- What do we need to know about our customers to succeed?
- What do our stakeholders need to know?
- How do we measure our services, programs, resources to fill our customers needs and stakeholders expectations?
Back to competition. If you take the libraries budget - say $25M over ten years that is a quarter of a billion dollars. What kind of return did the university get on that investment? What other things could it have invested in that it didn't?
As an organization we need to be measuring:
- Libraries contribution to teaching and research
- The value of the library to the community
- Changes in library use and what that means to the community
- Our organizational effectiveness
- Our collaborations
Ideas for new metrics:
- Uniqueness of collections
- Value of consortia
- Efficiencies of administration and budget
- Data access, organization, and preservation
- Contribution to faculty research
- Generating new knowledge
- Student outcomes and student learning
- Libraries glorious past as the "heart" of the campus is not our future.
- For the library, there are competing interest at the university level and we need to be articulating the value we are providing.
- We need both qualitative and quantitative data.
- The largeness of the collection does not equal its effectiveness or how it makes a difference.
- Assessment is a shared responsibility throughout the organization. We need to build a culture that values assessment and is customer centric. Assessment has to be local.
- By the time something is a trend we are too late.
- They actually walk around occasionally and document how stuff is being used.
- They have inserted the library into a number of "non-library" areas. The library is part of the writing program and is part of Student Services where librarians become advisers.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I should note that Sayeed Choudhury and Elliot Metsger also attended this meeting and have already blogged about it.
Data Curation, Archiving, and Preservation
Because of the Data Conservancy (our DataNet project currently in the start-up phase) and our DataPub project currently underway, curation of and long-term access to data is of key importance to the Digital Research & Curation Center (DRCC) and the Sheridan Libraries in general. Many of the presentations covered issues of interest in this area. I'll highlight a few of them below.
As Sayeed mentioned in his post, Michael Witt of Purdue spoke about research into the development of data curation profiles. This work is a collaboration between Purdue and UIUC's Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Their approach is based on discussions with researchers and employs an initial unstructured interview to get the conversion started. One of the most interesting findings thus far relates to issues of the data sharing (with whom, after what activities. Michael presented an earlier version of this work at a Sun Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) meeting. More information can be found on the project site.
John Kunze of the California Digital Library and our own Sayeed Choudhury both spoke in a session devoted to the recommended NSF DataNet projects. John spoke about the Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) project, led by University of New Mexico. Sayeed spoke about our project, the Data Conservancy. My focus was on the IT and data frameworks of the two projects. The approaches are different in many ways and it will be interesting to work together to establish the kinds of data management partnerships envisioned by NSF in the creation of the DataNet program.
In addition to the talks, Sayeed and I pulled together a birds of a feather session, which he was unfortunately unable to attend. I was there to represent the Data Conservancy's process and approach. John Kunze and Stephen Abrams, both of whom I was fortunate enough to wrangle at the last minute, represented the perspective and approach of DataONE.
Simple Web Service Offering Repository Deposit (SWORD) and the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE, or ORE for short) are two relatively recent developments meant to, respectively, reduce the burden of content deposit and improve the description and exchange of resource aggregations (think compound/complex objects) on the Web. We are employing both of these technologies in our DataPub (curating published data) project. Elliot has done a nice job of highlighting some of the ORE presentations in his post, so I will just add a few comments about the SWORD talks.
Pablo Fernicola gave a presentation describing work on an authoring add-in for Microsoft Word on the Windows platform. The add-in, currently in beta, will support ORE, SWORD, and the Publishing tagset of the NLM DTD. We have been working with Pablo on the ORE components of the add-in. This technology will allow an author to create a document, link it with data and rich media, describe the relationships of this components, and submit the package to a repository -- all without leaving Microsoft Word. While other approaches will be needed for other authoring environments (e.g., LaTeX), these tools go a long way to lowering the barriers to contributing and reusing content.
Adrian Stevenson and Julie Allinson shared a talk describing ongoing work in the second phase of development (SWORD2) and some of the history behind the development of the original SWORD protocol specification and implementations. It is now possible to deposit content into a properly configured Fedora, DSpace, or Eprints repository through Facebook, a web client, and a desktop client (among others). As I mentioned previously, the Microsoft Word will soon support SWORD deposit via an add-in.
The Repository Challenge started last year at the Southampton Open Repositories meeting and was organized by David Flanders, then of the JISC-funded Common Repositories Interface Group, with the goal of getting "developers working in small teams to try to quickly pull together established platforms and services to demonstrate how to achieve real-life, user-relevant scenarios and services."
This year's Challenge was again organized by Flanders, now of JISC proper.
The runner-up, Rebecca Sutton Koesar of Emory, created FedoraFS, which combined a Fedora Commons repository with FUSE (Filesystem in User Space) to support access to repository content as if it were in regular files. For example, a PDF file stored as a datastream within a Fedora digital object could be accessed with a standard desktop PDF viewer. Her entry video is available on vimeo.