Professional Development

During November 2008...

NCLA Library Instruction 2.0

Sunday, November 23, 2008 5:59 pm

On Monday and Tuesday I participated in the NCLA Library Instruction 2.0 Conference with Roz, Susan, and Giz. Roz, Susan, and I gave a panel presentation on Monday on the 2.0 techniques we teach with at ZSR.

We must be onto something at ZSR, because after the presentation I heard from several other librarians that they thought WFU must be a wonderful place to work and they were impressed with what we’re doing instructionally.

Roz, Giz, and I gave a workshop on Tuesday on using Google Docs, Reader, and Sites in teaching and other library work. It was a long session, but people appeared to stay engaged and the content was new to a lot of the audience.

Unfortunately, between the presentations, and teaching obligations back at ZSR, I didn’t attend many other sessions. I did get to hear Debra Gilchrist’s keynote, though. If you’re interested in my notes, you can find them in my blog.

North Carolina Preservation Consortium Annual Conference

Friday, November 21, 2008 3:36 pm

Friday Center, Chapel Hill

On Thursday, November 20, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium held it’s annual conference at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill, NC. The topic this year was “Cultural Respect in Preservation and Conservation”. There were four speakers at the conference, all from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

The first speaker was Michele Cloonan, Dean of the Library School at Simmons College in Boston. Cloonan has written extensively on preservation topics, and began the Preservation Program at Brown University. Her topic, “Preserving Collections with a “Respect More Tender, More Holy, and More Profound” focused broadly on respect for cultural property and especially library collections. She discussed the ideas of ethics and moral philosophy and how these affect our decision-making and the prioritization of our materials. She discussed the idea of a book: a book is an object, but it is also a living, breathing thing in the sense it is the embodiment of ideas-and ideas are alive. Cloonan believes preservation should extend broadly to both the book as object and to the ideas contained within it. Michele kept comparing the idea of preservation and cultural respect to the layers on an onion. She stated that preservation has power in it-like an onion has the power to bring tears- she mentioned the bombing of the Buddha in Afghanistan which brought a strong reaction, and some tears as well.

The following speaker was Marian Kamintz, Head of Conservation at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Kamintz spoke on the topic of “Conservation in Collaboration with Native American Communities”. Her main emphasis was on how the museum used collaboration to understand and interpret cultural layers of meaning. Often, Native American communities have individuals who possess traditional skills or knowledge. The museum meets with these individuals to understand materials in their collection, how and why these items were made, how to interpret them and sometimes, how to conserve or restore them. By using different ways of asking questions of native peoples in their consultations, the museum is able to understand their collection more fully-and as a result interpret these for the public. Kamintz focused on three major consultations over objects which garnered the museum much needed information: Siltez Dance regalia (Oregon), Passamaquoddy birch bark canoe (Maine) and a Hamsaml raven mask (Canada). In the case of the Siletz dance regalia, the museum was able to loan this item to the tribe for the first use of this item in an actual dance since it was outlawed in the 19th century.

After lunch, Karen Jefferson, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the Atlanta University Center spoke. Karen previously worked at the John Hope Franklin Research Center at Duke, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Howard University. Her talk was entitled: “Serving Many Masters: Legacy Collections in Archives. She spoke of the many entanglements which often arise as individuals or their families give materials to archives. Her library represents 5 universities in the Atlanta area, including Moorhouse College, which recently received the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The King papers are considered not only to be research materials, but ritual objects of veneration. Jefferson made the point that African-American women are often neglected by history while men are not. This is an issue Jefferson is not happy about. She said one of the intrinsic problems in collecting from African-American individuals is that often they don;t have “papers”. Civil Rights activists often don’t have a retirement-so their stuff IS their legacy and their only asset. This is difficult to sort out for archivists. For instance, for the MLK papers: the family holds the copyright, Moorhouse College owns the collection and Jefferson’s library is custodian of the collection.

Corine Wegener, Blue Shield

Corine Megener, US Committee for the Blue Shield

The final speaker, and the most compelling, was Corine Wegener, President of the US Committee for the Blue Shield. This group is like the Red Cross for cultural property. Wegener spoke on “The Looting of the Iraq Museum and Cultural Respect during Armed Conflict.” Wegener is a retired Major from the US Army and served 13 years as a Civil Affairs Officer, tasked with protecting cultural property in Bosnia, Africa and Iraq. She described getting permission to go to Iraq in 2003 to help protect materials from the Iraq National Museum which had been damaged in the looting. Since Iraq is the “cradle of civilization”, the items in the museum were historically unique and internationally important. The damage to the museum affected the building and contents, the collections and all the computers. Since all the museums computers were taken, there was no inventory to refer to. This made identifying lost objects difficult. Many objects, such as was cylinder seals, were small, not catalogs, and easy to remove in quantity. fortunately, much of the collection was hidden by curators before the looting began. Many of the items in the collection, however, are still missing-and some have been seized as far away as New York City. This presentation was fascinating. Wegener discussed going to a bombed Iraqui Secret Police building. The basement was flooded because the water pipes were destroyed in the bombing-and many Jewish books, apparently being held secretly in this basement, were submerged or floating. They immediately froze the books on a semi trailer from Jordan, and shipped them to the National Archives. Wegener stated the dilemma: you are not supposed to remove cultural property from it’s home country! The problem is there are no Jews left in Baghdad-the few remaining were removed during the 2003 invasion. So what do we do with this stuff that isn’t ours and has no home to return it to?

An amazing day of information and networking with peers across North Carolina. I was especially gratified to acknowledge 4 scholarship recipients to our conference. this gets our name in front of new professionals and lets them experience a preservation conference and meet leaders from across our state.

Craig Fansler

ASERL Meeting, November 19-20, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:31 pm

I don’t always blog my ASERL (Association of Southeast Research Libraries) meetings but this one had lots of interesting information in which people might be interested.

The meeting started with a round robin introduction and 1 minute summary of the local budget situation at each library.The range of responses varied from warnings like ours at Wake Forest to a 17% cut at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.About half of the directors who had budget cuts on their campus were being protected from the full impact in the library.North Carolina, in general, fared much better than some other states like Georgia and Alabama. Private institutions were more cushioned by their endowment than state schools who were feeling the impact more immediately.

A collaborative digitization project called “Intellectual Underpinnings of the American Civil War” was proposed and positively received by the membership.It is designed to be as broad and inclusive as possible – basically anything published or created between the years of 1850-1865 that could be construed in any way as relating to the war. It is hoped that every ASERL library will contribute to the project, with the goal of having 5,000 digital objects in place by 2011, not coincidentally the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War. Sharon and Susan have already begun to think of what we have to contribute. There is a call out for members of the Technical Committee who will work with the technical specs and metadata.

Mary Giunta from Columbia University was an invited guest to talk about how their library had departed from the traditional notion of an Information Commons and is in the process of setting up three subject-based Digital Centers in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Science/Technology. Notably, they sent their entire government documents and microform collections to remote storage in order to create space for the Social Sciences center. The emphasis is more on graduate student and faculty research processes, rather than on undergraduates.

I was particularly interested in a report by Lynne O’Brien on the OLE (Open Library Environment) project at Duke. Their goal is to design and build an open source integrated library system specifically designed for academic libraries.This is a goal shared by ZSR, so it makes sense for us to follow their work closely and join in as appropriate.The reasons they gave on why they thought an open source solution was necessary included: 1) current ILS products are woefully inadequate, 2) with industry consolidation, there are few commercial choices left, 3) the need for system interaction with other enterprise systems (Banner, Blackboard, etc), and 4) the desire to control one’s own destiny (though my husband says that is an oxymoron since destiny is by definition uncontrollable, but I digress).Since Duke put out the call, MANY libraries have shown interest and a small group is actively working on it with many more (like us) lurking and waiting in the wings.There is a strong commitment to avoid building a new system around old, legacy print processes.OLE’s guiding principles are as follows: provide for a wide range of resources; a system built, owned, and governed by the library community; a system developed using SOA (service-oriented-architecture) implemented with Web services; a system able to adapt and integrate with other enterprise systems (unlike other current open source systems like Evergreen and Koha which were not designed to meet the broader needs of academic research libraries).The vision is for a flexible, adaptable, community-developed software framework that will support core business practices.

They will be holding a series of regional workshops in the next few months (Erik, Lauren C. and Mary Beth will attend a two day session in Durham December 15-16).They will complete the design document by July 09, and Mellon has already invited them to submit another grant to build the designed system (when Mellon invites you to submit a grant, it pretty much means you will get it).Their goal is to have a working system by mid-2011, with a lot of work in between. They are looking for additional partners to join working groups on scope, workflow, project planning, governance, communications, connections, and also volunteers to test the system.This is a welcome and valuable addition to the library community and Susan, Erik and I will be working to figure out how to best incorporate this initiative into our plans for the future.

A secondary discussion took place as to whether Kudzu, the highly successful document delivery system sponsored by ASERL, should link with OLE to design and build an open source document delivery system independent from, but linking to, OCLC and ILLiad.40% of Kudzu transactions are initiated and filled within ASERL.Savings of $400,000 in OCLC transaction fees could be achieved under such a system.ASERL directors wanted more information before committing to such a development.

HBCU Exchange Experiences:the five libraries that participated in this year’s exchange program between HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) librarians and ASERL institutions shared their experiences.The benefits of networking and sharing best practice information were similar to ZSR’s experience with Iyanna Sims of North Carolina A&T twoyears ago.A third round of exchange is foreseen for the summer of 2010.

SOLINET merger with PALINET:Kate Nevins from SOLINET reported on the status of the merger. I am on SOLINET’s Joint Coordinating Board and have been privy to all the fascinating details of the merger, but I have been mostly sworn to silence up until now. I am happy to report what Kate told the ASERL group:both the SOLINET and PALINET Boards have voted for the merger and both organizations are preparing for a membership vote some time after the first of the year. The new (still unnamed) organization will be headquartered in Atlanta with a field office in Philadelphia, but the new organization will be chartered in Pennsylvania.Kate will serve as CEO for the first 18 months, with Kathy Wilt of PALINET in charge of research and innovation.After 18 months, the new Board will decide on continuing leadership.The new Board will initially be composed of 6 current SOLINET members, 6 current PALINET members and 3 non-librarians.One third of the Board will be replaced each year until there is a totally new Board, based on type of library.The membership vote will be electronic, but must be followed by an onsite meeting to comply with current bylaws.The merger has been a fascinating process, full of political intrigue, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The reasons for the merger are forward looking and compelling:1) a changing environment for OCLC networks; 2) desired new service models independent of geography, balanced by local touch where geography is important; 3) increased capacity for innovation in services; 4) access to Palinet services that SOLINET doesn’t have; 5) increased leverage with vendors; 6) cost control through consolidation.

Collaborative Federal Depository:Judy Russell (former Superintendent of Documents and current Dean of Libraries at the University of Florida) presented a Center of Excellence proposal to provide a new model of depository service for the Government Printing Office to consider.The program would identify which regional depositories have the strongest collections in given agencies and then can move materials from selective depositories into regional depositories to create complete collections. They are asking a two year commitment: $1000/regional, $750/selective. (ZSR is a selective depository) I admit to playing devil’s advocate on this issue as it seems a low priority/low demand issue when budgets are so tight.I asked why should we invest in an outdated model to move unused print materials around rather than digitize them.Judy said that GPO has issued an RFP for a “no-cost-to-the-government” proposal to digitize pre-1976 legacy collections.The Law Library Microform Consortium put in a proposal jointly with the Internet Archive along with one other unknown bidder.We should know the outcome in the spring.

The Education Committee is planning a summer summit on information literacy 2.0 with the HBCU group and is looking for names for a planning committee. George Mason University issued a proposal on a training program for liaison librarians.There might be a possibility of working with the HBCU Alliance to get it into their Mellon grant. This topic is of great interest to us here at ZSR.

SCOAP3: an international coalition of physics scholars is looking for “non-binding, revenue-neutral” support to achieve open access for seven High Energy Physics journals. We should investigate this issue and possibly sign the proposal.

Association of Research Libraries: Charles Lowery, Interim Executive Director, gave a brief presentation on ARL’s emphases in their strategic plan: scholarly communication, public policy governing information issues, and the research process, as well as the enabling capabilities of diversity and assessment.Regional consortia like ASERL, CIC, BLC, NERL, and GWLA add an operational element to the higher end initiatives of ARL.

The last presentation of the meeting was the University of Tennessee’s Newfound Press.It was described as a digital scholarly publishing demonstration. It was founded in 2005 with the purpose of taking control of publishing, and lowering the cost of scholarship.Goals are to increase access to scholarly works and collaborate with faculty on new forms of communication. The editorial board consists of UT faculty who provide peer review.Their output includes books, one e-journal, conference proceedings, and multimedia. They have a business plan for 2008-11, and hope to stay in business long after that.This is a creative and practical way to be proactive in the scholarly communications process and is something we might hope to emulate some day at Wake Forest.

The next ASERL meeting will be held at the end of April in Williamsburg. Whew.

NCLA Library 2.0 Instruction Conference

Thursday, November 20, 2008 10:36 am

On Tuesday, November 18th, Roz Tedford, Lauren Pressley and I led a workshop on “Getting the Most Out of Google” at the Library 2.0 Instruction Conference at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill NC. The day before, Susan Smith, Roz Tedford and Lauren Pressley gave a presentation called “Teaching Them (2.0) to Fish: Web 2.0 as Subject and Method in Information Literacy Instruction.” The conference was sponsored by The North Carolina Library Association College and University Section and the Community and Junior College Libraries Section. The Friday Center was an excellent venue for this conference with ubiquitous Wi-Fi, large well-lit classrooms and plenty of coffee for those of us who hit the road very early to be there!

In our two hours time slot, Roz, Lauren and I introduced our 24 attendees (many of whom brought their own laptops in order to play along) to the wonders of Google Docs, Google Groups, Google Reader, Google Calendar and finally Google Sites. It was a fast-paced workshop with no break, but the attendees didn’t mind, they seemed far more hungry for information on Google Tools than for snacks in the lobby. Roz covered a Herculean amount of content on Google Docs and our participants were most impressed with the collaboration it offered! Lauren got everyone up to speed on managing RSS with Google Reader and I wrapped up the session with an introduction to Google Sites. Everyone who had managed a website with Dreamweaver was excited to see the ease of managing a website with Google Sites.

I often feel like Santa Claus when teaching Google Tools. It is like giving someone a present, only in this case, the gift is free! Add to that the chance to present with Roz and Lauren and it was a great experience all around!

SPARC wrap-up

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 4:44 am

For me, this conference touched some big ideas including the implications of complex objects and data sets, the need to redefine what ‘publishing’ and information access means, and how to, on a large scale basis, create and deploy systems to enable collection, collaboration, and dissemination of these resources. It was interesting to attend a conference that, while being focused on very specific issues (Institutional Repositories and Open Access), naturally found itself examining these large ideas. The theme of Open Access seems to be the battle cry of the participants – I heard the concept “information wants to be free” in many different forms over the few days.

It was also interesting to note that, while the presenters talked about large scale projects, the conversations I had with people often centered on more basic issues (how to run an IR, how to get buy-in, how to negotiate support with organizational IT). Still – there was an enthusiasm in the discussions that signaled to me how important this area of librarianship will be in the coming years. It was also encouraging to see the a community committed to finding answers to these very large questions within the philosophical context of open source and open access.

Open Access

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 4:28 am

Day 2 of SPARC began with a discussion of Open Access polices. Presenters included representatives from Europe, Japan, and the US and in all 3 cases demonstrated that this is still a developing area. In conversations with attendees I have heard two themes emerge relating to OA – first, that OA is a tangential concept to institutional repositories that can often cloud the issue if you are trying to build faculty and institutional interest in a repository and second, that OA requires support at the institutional, governmental, funding agency, and faculty body level in order to be successful.

The discussion around OA was not nearly as focused as the ideas for generating interest and garnering support for IRs and it seemed that while everyone at the conference values OA that there is not yet a clear cut plan. The presentation by Bonnie Klein regarding the requirement of OA for federally supported projects demonstrated how variable these requirements are even for federally funded projects. She discussed issues of policy, priority, and infrastructure as being influential in driving OA requirements from federal agencies. Data sets were cited as being a complicating factor for OA. Few organizations/agencies have the infrastructure in place to handle the archiving and distribution of this information.

During Q&A the interest in the implications on publishing and concerns about what OA means for publishers was a recurring theme. Common concerns included the impact of a changing publishing model has on sustainability/profit and the impact on peer-review and scholarship. The lack of peer review in OA was seen as a disruptive that has implication for faculty/tenure, ongoing scholarship, and institutional support for OA publications. Oxford UP was cited as an example of a publisher working to add value to publications and to change their subscription models for publications that went OA.

Digital Licensing Course

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:32 am

From September to November, I was involved in a self-paced course called “Digital Licensing Online.” The course consisted of 27 lessons that were delivered three times a week via email. The course discussed broad topics like why licensing is important, as well as specific clauses and terms found in licenses. The last several lessons focused on negotiating tips. There was also a course blog where we could interact with other students and the instructor.

One suggestion from the course was to document your library’s context and licensing standards. Lauren C. and I have already begun to do this in the wiki, and we hope to do more before the new Electronic Resources Librarian arrives.

I think this type of instruction was well-suited for my learning style. Each lesson was fairly short, so I could work it into my day fairly easily. The segmented approach also was effective in keeping me engaged in the material. Once we hire our new Electronic Resources Librarian, I hope he or she will be able to take this course or something like it.

Institutional Repository Services

Monday, November 17, 2008 3:02 pm

This afternoon there was a set of presentations about services that are developed and offered for Institutional Repositories. I have tried to aggregate & summarize the services below from the work of Joan Giesecke , Paul Royster, Hideki Uchijima, and Norbert Lossau:

  • Permissioning – figuring out for faculty what the access permissions on their publications are. Working with them to archive their materials in accordance with copyright and contracts
  • Hunting and Gathering – using Romeo and Sherpa websites, find archivable articles. Contact faculty and ask them if you can archive their publications. Lead with “I recently saw your article on …” :)
  • Scanning – Digitize stuff that is in print
  • Typesetting – Provide an IR specific, professional layout for articles. Ensures consistency of IR items, looks good for authors, looks good for library. Pay attention to layout, pagination, etc.
  • Metadata – Provide good description for the items archived.
  • Uplodad/Post – Take what the faculty can give you, do the heavy lifting for them.
  • Usage Reporting – Give them feedback on how much their work is being accessed – “Your article was downloaded x times…” Paul Royster reported that on a monthly basis over 75% of their open access content was downloaded at least once.
  • Promoting – post on wikipedia, online books page, worldcat, subject/discipline based websites
  • Inclusion of IR in open URL services
  • Faculty profile page – Provide automated faculty profile page including selected works, summary of research, profile, etc. This gives them visibility and allows them to forward requests for documents to a single place
  • Aggregate – More of an institutional/research service – make your repository open for harvesting, use OAI services to find like content and create a search interface to other repositories.
  • Access – Make your repository available to your institution’s Open URL resolver

Of note was the fact that the provision of these services and the growth of the IRs in the presentations resulted in a decrease in ILL requests for non-returnable items, presumably through increased access of articles online. This came from Hideki Uchijima’s presentation and it appears that the implementation of IRs in Japan has been much more widespread than it is in the US (I wonder what the NIH mandate may do for this).

There was also a presentation on a new set of IR services called DRIVER (http://www.driver-repository.eu/Driver-About/About-DRIVER.html). The DRIVER software was particularly interesting because it focused on the provision of distributed IR services through an open SOA model. The services DRIVER defines and supports are:

  • User Services – Search, Collect, Profile, Recommend
  • Collective Services – Aggregate, Index, Browser
  • Presentation Services – User Interface, OAI-PMH
  • Enabling Services – Authentication/Authorization, Manager, Information

During the disucssion, some other intersting services that came up were:

  • Transformation – providing the ability to represent and re-represent IR documents in different formats
  • Version differentiation – how/or do we need to educate our end users on the implications of what a document in an IR is versus what that same intellectual content might be in a proprietary database.

There were some interesting services that did not get mentioned – Nothing about social software (contribute, stream, tag, comment, annotate, link), nothing about preservation (except perhaps transformation), nothing about learning or instructional services.

SPARC-DR – It’s all about (meta)data and services

Monday, November 17, 2008 2:05 pm

The morning session of the SPARC DR conference were very interesting. I was thoroughly enjoying the discussion of open access and the implications that access restrictions have on data by John Wilbanks when out of the blue he started talking about the semantic web (one of my favorite topics)! Wilbanks cited several examples of how semantic web principles could be used to unify the data located in multiple IRs into a single unsearchable web of data. More information on his work can be found at http://sciencecommons.org .

It has been interesting to be at three conferences over the month, all of which had different but complementary discussions on the connection between open source and open access, the changing nature of popular document models, and the necessity of forming partnerships with faculty and other organizations for libraries. The top ideas that bubbled out of the morning sessions for me were:

  • Archiving and storage of documents/data, regardless of document model, but with emphasis on the value added to the participating researcher is more important than ever
  • Provision of innovative services on top of back-end institutional repositories will help grow market share. There was an interesting list of outreach marketing attempts by Shawn Martin at UPenn. He discussed reasons that they often give faculty for participating in an IR including increased page rank in Google, provision of both open and closed access repository services, and scholarly website management
  • Institutional repositories are an example of the wider discussion of data management, metadata, and service oriented architecture that is gaining momentum in the library and Information Science world. I have seen parralel discussions in the Duke OLE project and in the current popular movements in Next Generation Catalogs. Ideas of linking, interoperability, and service provision are the emerging direction of Institutional Repositories.

At lunch I had a chance to catch up with (our very own) Debbie Nolan. Among other interesting things (including an embedded liaison program at her library) we had a chance to talk with Charles Watkinson about what managing publishing and repositories in the field of Archaeology is like. One of the themes that emerged in this discussion was how to encourage the submission of undergraduate generated non-traditional content into IRs. Some examples included electronic or print newsletters/magazines, undergraduate research, student-driven open access journals, and student group websites. We could not come to consensus on what would encourage a student to submit this content or what goals students have in relation to publishing and archiving but it was an interesting idea . .

That’s it for now – this afternoon is more about value added services and innovation in IRs. . .

SPARC Digital repositories in B-more

Monday, November 17, 2008 5:36 am

After an early morning drive to the airport and an unexpected re-route to Detroit (where yes. . .it is already winter), I wound up in Baltimore MD for a two day conference on digital repositories and scholarly publishing. Since I will probably spend the rest of my time here tirelessly ‘conferencing’, I decided to take my pre-conference post time to show you a few (blurry) shots from the day:

The Detroit airport monorail

Baltimore city harbor

Baltimore Harbor

The International school of trapeze artists

Trapeze school


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