Monday, June 22, 2009

SLA 2009

Highlights of some of the SLA 2009 sessions I attended follow. If you’re interested in additional details or specifics from these and other sessions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at

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:

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:

60 Sites in 60 Seconds – Too many sites covered in this fast paced session to list here but interesting ones to check out are: – Paste in a piece of text and a url and go right to that selection in an article. – A neat collaboration and file sharing service. – 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.

1 comment:

  1. At any rate, I liked some of the NIH cartoons on VADLO search engine!