Professional Development

During October 2008...

Funnest archive ever

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5:52 pm

Today after general sessions ended I headed north to Ohio State University to the Cartoon Research Library where a group of ASIS&T visitors was given a tour by the library’s founding curator Lucy Caswell.

Lucy Caswell

The archive contains over 250,000 original cartoons and focuses primarily on printed cartoon art. Lucy was kind enough to take our group into the stacks and show us drawer after drawer of original cartoons, talked at length about their collections, and told the group all about their collection of Japanese Comics (manga).

Two things that she spoke about really connected with me. . ..First – she talked about the value that their biographical database and specialized metadata brings for their researchers. Second, when comparing her library against more traditional archives she said “we approach things a bit differently – we keep it all.” The picture below shows just how much they keep. There were rows of compact shelving, banks of vertical cabinets, and boxes upon boxes of newly acquired materials. . . If nothing else, this library gets the credit for most colorful stacks ever.

Institutional repositories, Second life , tagging, & social networks

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 1:40 pm

My apologies for posting a stream of consciousness list of topics but for the moment I have a good wifi signal :)

The second day of ASIS&T included a number of interesting presentations taht talked in broad strokes about many of the issues of current interest to lis realms. There was an interesting discussion on the approaches of using user-generated tags to create ontologies by inferring relationships in the morning session on tagging. It seems that hopes of ‘real-world’ applications in this are not quite grounded enough for traditional use but I did wonder how we could open our DF facets & use the resulting tags as enhancements to our ontological relationships.

On monday afternoon I attended a session which occured in both Second Life and in person. After a few minutes of technical difficulties, we listened to various speakers (both originating in person and in second life). I was struck with the extent to which the graphical experience of viewing slides and other participants in a MUVE enhanced a distributed session in the way that a simple teleconference or even real-world video feed would not have. My takeaway – still complicated & fraught with challenges and a possible time suck but every interesting.

Tuesday afternoon included a series of talks on the use of Institutional Repsitory implementations at various instutions. No action items from this talk were apparent but the discussion of the use of IRs to replace shared server space made me wonder to what extent we could use our own Dspace implementation to serve a collaborative file sharing space.

Perhaps the most interesting discussion at this conference occured for me in the Tuesday morning session on social networks and conference attendance. Given my experience with the SecondLife presentation yesterday I was curious to hear about other’s views regarding the persistent value in real-world conferences. As can be imagined there were a number of perspectives and the questions really centered more on how virtual social networks enahnce conference experiences rather than replace them. In any case, it was refreshing to attend a session that was run as a series of small focus groups rather than a long, multi-person lecture.

ASIS&T 2008 – Ohio bound

Monday, October 27, 2008 5:43 am

I found myself back in Ohio on Sunday, attending the American Society for Information Science & Technology 2008 conference. Columbus shares some interesting features with Cincinnatti including pro sports arenas, a winding river, impressive 20th century american architecture, and wide one-way streets.

Following the opening session, I went to a panel discussion on e-research and the provision of libary services. The panel surveyed some large scale projects in the UK and US and talked about issues of preservation, reseracher engagement, re-use of stored data, and the value that multi-instutitional funding brings to these large data repository projects. Not suprisingly, these are the same issues libraries have been disucssing in relation to building institutional repositories and I was interested to hear about a project at Purdue that works directly with Liaisons to connect with faculty and their research data.

Final Morning at LITA 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008 11:34 am

LITA goes until noon on Sunday, and since the only return direct flight to Greensboro after the close of the conference isn’t until 7:25 pm this evening (sigh), I’ll spend the time before the shuttle comes to take me to the airport to wrap up.

This morning began at a breakfast of this year’s and next year’s LITA National Forum Planning Committee. There were lively discussions about what worked this time around and what could be done better or differently next year in Salt Lake City. Everyone agreed that this has been a successful Forum, but there are always new ideas generated and feedback received from attendees that can be considered to make the next conference even better.

Poster sessions were presented this morning during the breakfast hour. Most of the topics were about projects that are familiar topics at ZSR, so it was interesting to see how other institutions had approached things like viral marketing, open source applications (see Erik’s post), Google Analytics and using as bookmarks to create virtual reference.

There was one final round of concurrent sessions, so I attended “Illogical Students: don’t Blame ‘Em, Game ‘Em,” where librarian Marsh Spiegelman and mathematics professor Richard Glass from Nassau Community College shared their combined effort to incorporate information literacy into math/computer science courses. They were doing some interesting things with blogs, wikis and Second Life. Some of their ideas are shared in their wiki.

R. David Lankes, from the Information Institute of Syracuse and professor at the School of Information Studies, gave the final keynote presentation. His topic was “Obligation of Leadership.” He talked about the mentors in his life and what they taught him that applies to our profession:

  • We can’t wait for leaders.
  • We can’t wait for change.
  • We must serve society through stewardship.

He was an inspiring speaker and was passionate as he urged the audience that “We can do better.”

Lankes believes:

  • Knowledge is created through conversation.
  • Libraries are in the Knowledge Business.
  • Therefore, libraries are in the conversation business.

He sees librarianship as a noble profession, one where our power is not in the size of our collections, or forged by the items we catalog, but in our impact on the communities and societies we serve. And this power happens through our facilitation of the conversations taking place by our patrons and our communities.

It was a good send off after 3 days of interesting programs!

Lita 2008 – Open Access, Open Source, & Grid Storage

Sunday, October 19, 2008 8:54 am

Today saw some interesting presentations. In the morning I went to a panel on institutional repositories which included a presentation by Tabatha Becker on the University of Colorado’s work in publishing an Undergraduate Research Journal using an open source platform. As we talk about libraries re-examining their roles it is interesting to see someone taking on the elements of review and editorship in order to produce and preserve undergraduate research.

The last session of the day for me included a presentation on the Chronopolis, a grid-based digital object preservation system. The presenter, Robert McDonald, talked also more generally about the role that grid services and cloud computing can play in library services during the question and answer section. Chronopolis is a good example of the type of service that libraries really cannot implement on their own and it made me wonder about the impact of cloud based services on leveling the playing field for libraries. On the heels of a presentation about managing IT departments which clearly demonstrated how large and complex technology is getting in libraries, it made me wonder about the impact that cloud/grid based services would have on closing the gap between the technology services that libraries need and the capacity they have to manage them.

The sunday morning poster sessions included a common theme on ‘library 2.0′ and ‘web 2.0′ concepts. Perhaps most interesting of the posters was a discussion by Bobby Goff at Mississippi State University about the beginning of the library’s work in releasing open source software.

Saturday: Presentation Day at LITA for Erik & Susan

Saturday, October 18, 2008 9:21 pm

Today was the day for our presentation of a case study of our facebook LIB100 class last spring. We had submitted a proposal to do this way back in December, even before the class had taken place (Caroline was a collaborator, we were sorry she couldn’t be with us, as she was an important part of the project). We were allotted 70 minutes to share our findings, so were able to provide a fairly in-depth exploration of the history of the ZSR Library Information Literacy Program, the theoretical basis for designing the class the way we did, a detailed discussion of the actual components of the course and a summary of student reactions and perceptions.

We were pleased when we had over 70 people attend the session (which immediately followed a buffet lunch) and see them stay engaged with a high level of interest in our topic.

My other big event of the day was a meeting with the 2009 LITA National Forum Planning Committee. I’ll be working with a stellar group of colleagues to put together the conference that will be held next Oct. 1-4 in Salt Lake City. This will be my first experience in this type of committee and I look forward to the involvement.

Cincinnati Skyline at Night

The day had a great ending, with Erik leading the way to Mt. Adams which he discovered early this morning on a run. It was a quaint little town high above the city with shops and restaurants and a magnificent view of the Cincinnati skyline. The little town was bustling with activity and we found an excellent Thai restaurant to dine in.

Friday at LITA in Cincinnati

Saturday, October 18, 2008 5:57 am

Condo Tower in Covington, Kentucky

An early direct flight (who knew they still exist?) landed Erik and me in Cincinnati before breakfast. The trip began with a most interesting shuttle trip from the airport where the driver (who was about 80), immediately took us off the interstate onto a scenic mountainous, winding, trecherous road that followed the Ohio River on the Kentucky side. We traveled through 5 different little river towns, and were treated to a running travelogue, complete with jokes. The conference didn’t start until after lunch, and neither of our rooms were ready, so we set off to explore the downtown Cincinnati area. We found a suspension bridge designed by the engineer who used it as a prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge, an unusually shaped condominum building designed by Daniel Libeskind, the architect doing the World Trade Center, and a very lovely riverfront park at Sawyer Point.

After lunch, it was down to business, however, it was a bit disorienting to be at a techie conference that doesn’t provide any wireless options, free or otherwise. For the LITA bloggers they had a table set up at the rear of the room that was hard wired!

The opening keynote, by Tim Spaulding from LibraryThing was interesting mainly because I have never used or explored it. He has taken his product to a high level social experience with social cataloging. He told the audience that LibraryThing is now larger than LOC, but allowed that LOC doesn’t have 256 different JK Rowling titles (which is a prime example of the outcome of democracy of social cataloging to me). He spent quite awhile discussing the tagging in LibraryThing. There are 41 million tags now. There are tag mirrors (which shows what tags other people have placed on the books in your catalog), Tag Mash (which combines individual tags for a most exact hit on the meaning: ie romance zombies), and a common knowledge feature that captures things a tradition catalog wouldn’t: who are the most important characters in the book).

The first concurrent session I attended was given by two women (Gretchen Gueguen and Ann Hanlon) who worked with the digitization initiatives at University of Maryland (and knew Jennifer Roper). Neither is still at UMd and one of them (Gretchen) is now at East Carolina. Their talk was “Crowdsourcing Digitization: Harnessing Workflow to Increase Ouput.” They talked about the issues they faced getting Maryland’s large scale, decentralized scanning initiatives under control. They faced many of the types of decisions that we have been faced with in our Digital Forsyth project. The “crowdsourcing” idea speaks to their decision to go with the “wisdom of crowds”, in this case that of patrons and co-wokers. Utimately, they moved to a user driven model to direct their selection of what to digitize rather than preselecting “trophy” collections to showcase. This means they are digitizing those materials that are requested by patron researchers rather than digitizing and then hoping folks will use what they digitize. Now that Gretchen has moved to East Carolina, they are doing the same approach. She showed a screenshot of Joyner’s forthcoming newest collection that contains many of the same features you see in Digital Forsyth including tag clouds and facets. It would be worthwhile to plan a field trip to exchange ideas, don’t you all think?

I joined Erik for the second concurrent session on “Reswizzling the IT Enterprise for the Next Generation” where NC State’s Maurice York talked about how they have restructured their IT operation to be more effective to their customers (over 250 staff with over 700 computers to manage, plus all the servers, services etc. you might expect from NC State). We were both tickled to hear Maurice talk about instituting Service Level Agreements, much like our WFU friends in IS are doing. I wish him luck with that one. The main value of this session for me was that it affirmed that, even on our smaller scale operation, we face the same complexities and challenges to properly serve all of our customers and manage your expectations. There were some good ideas that Erik and his group might try as more and more projects and technologies come our way!

The day ended with a “vendor showcase” reception. LITA has a very small vendor presence compared to many other conferences (maybe 6-8 tables), but there was good conversation between colleagues and roasted veggies, mashed potatoes (a strange addition to an appetizer type party) and other good food.

Today, our presentation is right after lunch, so we’ll report back this evening on how that went!

LITA 2008 – Day 1

Saturday, October 18, 2008 4:05 am

Lita 2008 started off with a interesting set of presentations on Friday. The opening keynote by Tim Spalding on LibraryThing contained an interesting lookat the data that LibraryThing is beginning to aggregate on books. Tim suggested that the use of a FRBResque model to link book editions along with user-supplied topical tags yields good prototypical models of things. Second, Tim talked about his concept of social cataloging and really demonstrated how rich some of the data in LibraryThing is getting as users contribute to the site. One particularly effective demonstration showed how topical analysis combined with aggregation of user libraries helped generate automatic reading lists and suggest ‘primary topicality’ of resources in at a much more granular and current level than LC. A good example of this is Neuormancer by William Gibson. I have to admit that I left the presentation wondering how far LibraryThing could go towards replacing traditional bibliographic description as a primary representation of books.

The last session of the day was a fascinating presentation by Maurice York from NCSU about managing IT departments in libraries. His talk included a model for balancing support for core systems and introducing innovative development to support library services. It was interesting to see how a larger IT department approached technology service management and made me wonder how smaller organizations could use those models to standardize and improve service.

ONIX for Serials Webinar

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:09 pm

On September 25, I took part in an hour-long webinar that detailed the new ONIX for Serials standard (ONIX is an abbreviation for ONline Information eXchange). It is a joint project developed by EDItEUR from the UK and the NISO from the United States, and is the latest in a series of standards to create a uniform method of information exchange. Earlier standards, such as ONIX for Books, have been well received by participants across the industry.

ONIX for Serials is a new metadata standard that was designed for communications regarding serials subscriptions between all or some of the following: libraries, publishers, subscription agents, hosting servers, consortia, aggregators, content providers (Serials Solutions, for example), and link resolvers. Based on the ONIX for Books standard, it relates information dealing with subscription data and all of its sources and formats and presents it in an XML message that would be readable across these control systems.

Three primary formats have been developed for the ONIX for Serials standard.

  1. SPS (Serials Products and Subscriptions). These are standard messages to help distribute information to evaluate packages, titles a library is currently receiving in its catalog, and product lists from publishers and agents.
  2. SOH (Serials Online Holdings). This standard pushes information about available issues directly into library systems without using link resolvers, populates A-Z lists, and generates online holdings for consortia arrangements.
  3. SRN (Serials Release Notification). This format can become a method to know when issues are published for e-journals in the catalog and link resolvers; to remove doubt about delays in print issue delivery; and to announce the publication of an article before their respective journals are completely published.

In addition, there is an ONIX Serials Coverage Statement that displays complete enumeration and chronology data for all serial formats, regardless of format or type. Because of its nature, this is a complex data set.

As each format of ONIX for Serials has become available, they have been incorporated into the regular processes of various companies. Early adopters of the SOH format have been TDNet, Serials Solutions, EBSCO, Innovative and OCLC. The SPS and SRN formats are currently in the pilot stage, and compatibility with companies like SirsiDynix and Ex Libris are still on the proverbial drawing board. Further, compatibility with open source catalogs has not yet been addressed, but the nature of open source could change this in the near future.

ONIX for Serials could have tremendous implications across the library community. The key to expanding its growth, mentioned by the webinar’s presenters, was to encourage more companies to sign on as partners.

Please visit for more information.

Open Access Day, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:05 pm

Have you heard of open access? Do you know what it is? If you’re a clinician, do you think it has something to do with free clinic hours? Do you already know that it is a movement to change the often restrictive nature of scholarly publishing? Even if you do know about open access, there’s likely more you could know – and do!

In honor of the first Open Access Day, sponsored by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Research Coalition, Students for Free Culture and the Public Library of Science (an open access publisher), the WFU Libraries want to bring your attention to the open access movement, how open access is affecting the Wake Forest community, and what resources you have available to support personal open access pursuits.

Open access is a movement to remove the price and permission barriers for accessing and reusing scholarly research publications. The open access movement does not work against the fundamentals of copyright or peer review. Rather it aims to work with the necessary features of established scholarly publishing, albeit with major changes to subscriptions and accessibility.

There are two main routes to open access – gold and green. Gold open access is open access publishing: rather than have the subscribers pay to access the content, limiting distribution to only those institutions and individuals who are able to afford access, open access publishing shifts the cost of distribution to the content providers, the authors. Many authors have funds available from either institutions or awards to cover costs, with the end result being wider distribution and access to their scholarly output, as access to these publications are not limited to the pool of subscribers. Green open access is open access archiving: authors place copies of their articles in an institutional or subject-based digital archive or repository where they are freely accessible, usually after an embargo period specified by the publishers. Many publishers already give authors permission to archive the pre-print (pre-peer review version) or post-print (post-peer review version incorporating changes from peer review but not yet formatted for final publication), and some even grant permission to archive the final published version.

Although green open access removes price barriers, it does not necessarily remove permission barriers. Gold open access publishing removes permission barriers by granting in advance the rights to reuse and redistribute articles for non-commercial uses, and occasionally even commercially. Sometimes even derivative works are allowed. There is great flexibility within the various open access options to meet authors’ needs and comfort-levels regarding distribution and reuse of their works. For more information on open access, see Peter Suber’s Open Access Overview.

Here at Wake Forest, the WFU Libraries are working to raise awareness of open access among faculty, students and staff. Both the Z. Smith Reynolds Library and the Coy C. Carpenter Medical Library have resource pages on scholarly communication issues (ZSR, Carpenter) and open access (ZSR, Carpenter). A group of librarians, with input from faculty and research administrators, are working to build an institutional repository for Wake Forest that will enable us to better collect, highlight and disseminate the world-class research conducted at our University. Faculty members from both campuses are already publishing in open access journals and hybrid access journals (traditional journals with article-by-article optional open access), and submitting to subject-based repositories, such as PubMed Central. Through compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy, many faculty researchers are realizing that they are able to retain many of their rights as copyright owners in their works when seeking publication, without forfeiting the opportunity to be published in premiere journals.

For more information on open access and what you can do, talk to your librarians at ZSR and Carpenter Libraries. And stay tuned for more news about the WFU Libraries’ growing support for open access pursuits at Wake Forest!

–By Molly Keener, WFUBMC Library

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