Professional Development

During December 2008...

LAMS Workshop: More than Service

Thursday, December 18, 2008 5:12 pm

Renate, Mary, Ellen, Heather and Mary Beth attended the LAMS workshop entitled “More than Service…How Libraries are Transforming the Customer Experience” in Burlington, NC on December 11, 2008. This all day workshop was meant to help us learn how to put the customer experience at the center of the library’s strategies, operations, training and development and procedures. One oft repeated catch phrase in the workshop was reminiscent of Lauren Pressley’s blogging from the NCLA Leadership Institute: “It starts with you, but it’s not about you.” Mark Livingston and Kem Ellis were the presenters, and they also presided over the NCLA Leadership Institute.

A few of the memorable moments of the workshop include:

  • Sharing stories of excellent customer service and examples of those who went above and beyond to provide service.
  • Recognizing that services designed appropriately to not impede the users experience is only the starting point. Truly excelling at customer service requires a willingness to go beyond what is expected.
  • Nothing in our library can have a relationship with our customers except our staff, and therefore, the staff are at the heart of the success of any customer service experiences and their investment will allow the program to succeed or fail.
  • You will have created a loyal customer base when they know that you will watch their back.
  • What is the expectation of the experience that the libraries will provide. At the very least (they will be open) and at the very most (they will have helpful staff and the material I need.) What if every time we could go beyond what is expected? Then we will have achieved a loyal customer.
  • Are policies and procedures engineered in such a way to produce negative or positive results?

The afternoon of the workshop introduced the “Customer Experience Touch-Point Mapping” tool which allows for us to look at the touchpoints of a customers’ experiences in the libraries, from parking, to restrooms, to services, to collections, to lighting to emails, and examine them in detail to see where the customer experience might fail. Then implement strategies to eliminate failure.

  • Eliminate sacrifice
  • Engage senses
  • Ensure satisfaction
  • Elicit surprise
  • Evoke suspense

The goal is to build an “outside-in” service experience that starts with where the customer is, where their expectation is, and then provides service that meets them where they are, and exceeds what they expect.

We were given a 90 day challenge at the end of the workshop to have us “Step Up” and apply the tools we’d learned to the places where our patron’s (or the customer) connects with the facility, service, program or people related to the library. On the way home, we brainstormed a number of places that we could change our procedures to better meet the needs of our customers.

Blue sky topics from OLE discussion

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:01 pm

In the afternoon we broke up into 8 groups and brainstormed blue sky elements. Some of the key ideas that came out of the discussion were:

  • Decide what OLE is about – being an inventory system or adiscovery on teh web system
  • Powerful, automatable staff clients
  • Web localization – be a point of need service center, federated discovery
  • Distributed data model, self-documenting version control
  • Universal workflow ticketing module, dynamically configurable
  • Complex reporting, data manipulation, audit trail, rollback
  • License tracking and interpretation needs
  • ERMS in the ILS – format agnosticism with sophisticated functionality
  • Built-in OpenURL resolver
  • Need to better track relationships between entities (multiple hierarchies, complex business relationships)
  • The ILS as linked data
  • Should a new ILS have descriptive data in it?
  • Mesh with interoperable industry data standards
  • What impact do international users have on system design (Unicode)
  • Universal proxy control -
  • A re-examination of the core functionality that should be included in the next gen system and what should not be included.
  • A service management system that extends beyond the immediate functional needs of the ils

Charleston Conference 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:52 am

Lauren Corbett and Carol Cramer

Hot topics:

  • Weeding due to lack of space not only in the stacks but also in the storage facility (multiple people)
  • Library workers need to focus more on adding value and meeting users needs, not just storing content (see notes from Derek Law below)
  • Redundancy in library collections is going to shrink as libraries make cooperative agreements and focus on the content that makes them unique; Special Collections is the long tail (multiple people)
  • Google/publisher settlement (see notes from Pat Shroeder below)
  • More content will be pushed up to “the cloud” (such as the Google content); OCLC is working on this — having “web-scalable” access/operation (Andrew Pace)
  • E-books (see notes from Cherubini, Sugarman, Rausch, and Breaux below)

Pre-conference that Lauren C. attended:

Weeding, Offsite Storage, and Sustainable Collection Development: Library Space & Collections 30 Years After the Kent Study (by R2 Consulting)

In working recently with Jill Gremmels at Davidson College, R2 Consulting came up with the name “disapproval plan” for a weeding method. The idea is to have some basic guidelines, much like an approval profile works for acquiring materials, but for the purpose of removing materials that do not fit a library’s collection. Too many materials can make it difficult to find the very useful items, so weeding done well can result in a more “active collection.”

From 1969-1975, a common goal was to increase the size of an academic library’s collection, but now the focus is shifting to owning materials that get used in the main circulating collection.

A case study from Portland State University was presented by Sarah Beasley. The project was large-scale and targeted “low-hanging fruit:” bound volumes of journals that were owned in electronic format, second copies, and pre-2000 imprint monographs that had not circulated in 20 years which also were held by three other libraries in a local consortium.

Notes from both Carol and Lauren:

Derek Law, discussing that a unifying theory of e-collections is missing, said that the “digital overlap strategy” is what we have now and it’s wrong. See Carol’s illustration –

Law shut down 4 floors at Strathclyde and used the savings from heating and other overhead to build collections. We should be adding value not just storing. Libraries need people who know how to throw things out, figure out the good stuff to keep, not only in print, but also with digital – he compared digital footprint to carbon footprint. While we know trusted repositories for print, we don’t know who it is for digital. He told of the 5 tests of the Maori (who pass info verbally and are killed if fail): 1. Receive the information with accuracy; 2. Store the information with integrity and beyond doubt; 3. Retrieve the information without ammendment; 4. Apply appropriate judgement in use of the information; 5. Pass the information on appropriately.

Pat Schroeder from AAP had a scheduled talk, but she deviated from her prepared remarks to discuss the Google settlement that had occurred the week before. Before launching into details of the settlement, Schroeder made 3 key points: 1) Quality and integrity of information is a common interest of publishers and librarians; 2) How do we survive when the public uses a commercial search engine? and 3) What is important and what is clutter? Schroeder characterized the settlement as a “win/win because 7 million books will be opened to people all over America.” Lynn has forwarded some documents to lib-l that explain the settlement in fuller detail, and Schroeder summarized the same information. Schroeder noted that a legislative solution is still desired for orphan works.

Some other quick bits from Carol:

Geoff Bilder from CrossRef advocated for a logo that would designate whether something was peer-reviewed. If developed, this logo would be in Google Scholar results, IRs, subscription databases, etc., and could be attached to XML metadata defining exactly what types of review were done (e.g. double-blind peer review, copy editing etc.).

Carol Tenopir and Michael Kurtz reported on research that demonstrates that faculty and others are reading more in the age of e-journals, even though other research may indicate that they’re citing less. For more information, you can read her blog.

A panel discussion on ONIX-PL was somewhat over my head technically, but the dream is this: publishers providing their licenses in a format that could be imported into an ERM without tedious mapping on the part of librarians.

Another panel on usability featured a speaker from EBSCO who described the various tests they conducted while developing the EBSCO 2.0 platform. Jody Condit Fagan, who has the intriguing job title of Content Interfaces Coordinator at JMU, also reported on some of the tests she has done. She has also done a lit review of usability of faceted catalogs like VuFInd. I think she’s doing important work, but the result is usually that one library benefits from an improved interface. What if the tested interface elements could become part of the turnkey product? Can we hope for that with an open source solution?

Another session reported on how students are using electronic textbooks. The study showed both “dip in/dip out” reading and whole book reading. The median session length was 12 minutes. Questions were raised as to whether the patterns they saw were new reading patterns, or if they were related to how people read in print.

A panel offered ideas for how to provide patrons with value so that our user experience will be better than Google’s. Suggestions included:

  • Embedded widgets, so for instance, patrons can search across the reference sources on the reference web page.
  • A customizable library page on university web portal (e.g. WIN) that is hooked into Registrar data. Sources pushed to the student would be connected to their majors and/or classes.
  • Articles pushed to faculty based on their publication histories.

More notes from Lauren:

From a panel session on e-books by Tim Cherubini, Tammy Sugarman (GSU), Greg Rausch (NCSU) and Ann-Marie Breaux (YBP): Georgia State (GSU) and NC State (NCSU) are both buying lots of e-books from various vendors via GOBI. GSU had some special funding to spend quickly, dedicated to e-books, and worked with YBP and liaisons to make it easy to do through GOBI, using approval slips. Sugarman noted that slips are currently the only option and Breaux explained that the hurdles of book instead of are timing of print and electronic publications

Brainstorming list of business processes from OLE workshop

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 7:32 am

One portion of the workshop today included a categorization of course library processes and related sub-processes. The following processes were gathered from some small group work & grouped and categorized during the morning session. The key areas were:

select, identify for acquisition, import data, manage funds, order, track, interoperate with external systems, interact with external purchasing systems, audit, license, account/weed/deacquire

Metadata services
Create, obtain, enhance, ingest, maintain, normalize, license, share, manage relationships (with internal/external systems)

Weeding, Prepare item for shelf, identify/manage location, confirm availability, audit trail for services, access/rights management, consortial issues


Policy applicaiton, user authentication, resource identification, fulfilment services, notification services, ILL, Delivery, Proxy (patron, access)


Browse, search, display, help, resource integration (multi-format), resource enhancement (external metadata), gather user input/feedback, user-type specific features, manipulate data, export data, import data


Export data, provide views, data warehousing, automation/scheduling, customization, export/migration


Version tracking, archiving, (ran out of time) :(

Overarching trends

Increase in electronic, importance of user authentication service, importance of enabling relationships between systems, variety of disovery services, ability to recombine/remix, better access to data, more connections/collaboration between data/users/institutions/libraries, need to push data to external systems, ability to represent/apply license terms, increase in serialization of resources, increase in interoperability/collaboration needs, debate between federation (local indexing – just in case), and meta-search ( distributed indexing – just in time).

Day 1: OLE Project, Durham, NC

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 6:52 am

Day 1: OLE Project, Duke University

On Monday, December 15, Lauren C., Erik and Mary Beth attended the OLE Project , Open Library Environment Regional Design Workshop held at Duke University

The OLE Project is funded by a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation and is meant to design an architecture for an open source ILS.Day 1 participants began to describe critical processes.We had pre conference homework which included thinking about:1. Which feature, currently available in the ILS would we not want to live without?2.What is the biggest frustration with the ILS?3.How would you describe what an ILS is?4.If you could design an ILS today, what would it look like and how would it function?There were 50 to 60 participants from all around the south east, most from academic libraries, and one from Forsyth County Public. (Interestingly, only a handful of people from Access Departments, many more from Systems, Acquisitions and Cataloging. No one was here representing Special Collections or Preservation.)

The group work today through breakout sessions and then in the larger group, was to identify the work that was core and broad enough to be flexibly build into the ILS.There was some healthy debate about what needed to be included in the “critical” category, as well as what was to be included as “high level” enough.We had a chance to try out a 4/6 presentation wherein one participant brought forth a burning issue and discussed it for 4 minutes, then the group was given 6 minutes to comment or question the presenter.The issue the participant brought forth was the importance of creating an ILS that will support consortia, and I thought how valuable that would be as we move forward with more TALA like agreements.The last lecture of the day was describing service oriented architecture and business process modeling.Then we had a chance to practice creating a model process that included creating a process map for checking out a book and all the decision points that go into that simple process.(It was more challenging than it sounds.)

Today we are going to be doing more business process modeling.

Forget a nextgen ILS – I want the chair

Monday, December 15, 2008 3:07 pm

Mary Beth, Lauren, and I are at a two day workshop at Duke on the OLE project and business process modeling. More info on the experience of that workshop is coming but during the first break, we took a guided tour of the Link, Duke’s recently remodeled teaching and learning center. We saw a lot of interesting things including floor to ceiling white boards, reconfigurable space, dual-boot mac/pcs and the most comfortable chairs of all time (from Link’s flickr site)

For more pics of the Link, you can see the duke_link photostream.

ZSR Library Journal Reading Group

Friday, December 5, 2008 10:17 pm

Last summer, ZSR Library staff started up a Journal Reading group and today was the final gathering of the fall semester. The idea was modeled along the lines of a book club, but with professional journal articles instead of books. Each month, a preselected article (chosen by a staff member) is read and then discussed and analyzed by all who attend the session. The group is open to all ZSR Library staff (librarian, exempt and non-exempt), and we hope to extend the invitation to the other WFU Libraries.

Each month, one of the group picks out the article for the next meeting. Everyone who attends that session reads the article and then spends an hour discussing the information and ideas presented in the article. Subjects covered during the first several months include:

  • The Information Age and the Printing Press
  • Academic Librarianship and the Digital Revolution
  • Librarians and the Faculty in Discussion
  • Why Professor Johnny Can’t Read: Understanding the Next Generation’s Texts
  • Critical Thinking and Library Anxiety
  • Library digitization Projects, Issues and Guidelines

There is a loyal group of “regulars” who make it a priority to attend each month to discuss issues important to our profession. As we head toward the new world of library faculty status, we know it is important to be conversant in the important issues of today’s academic library and higher education. This forum provides an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and become acquainted with trends and areas outside one’s area of expertise.

We would love to have a higher level of participation, beyond the core of 5-8 staff who now attend. This semeter, the session was scheduled on Thursdays at 11:00 to have it held at a time where there were no class conflicts. We would love to receive feedback from others on staff about when might be a time that more staff would be able to regularly attend. We would also love feedback from those who don’t attend on how we can adapt the program so that more of the staff might find it a “must do” in their monthly schedule. Send your comments to Susan, Erik or Giz and we will work to adjust the program to make it more vital to a larger number of our staff. We know all of us have intriguing interests in our profession that would be documented in the literature, and believe that sharing and discussing these ideas would benefit us all.

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