Professional Development

During January 2009...

ALA Midwinter 2009, Denver, Lauren Corbett

Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:11 pm

ALA Midwinter 2009, Denver,Lauren Corbett


  • Committee work for Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) division of ALA :

oContinuing Resources Section (CRS)

oBudget & Finance Committee (B&F)

oAcquisitions Section (AS)

  • Time in the exhibits to meet with vendors, foreign in particular
  • Forum on WorldCat Records Transfer Policy and Guidelines

Fulfilling CRS and B&F Committee Responsibilities

For those who aren’t familiar, ALA has Divisions such as Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) and Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).Then within the ALCTS Division are numerous sections, including Continuing Resources Section (CRS) and Acquisitions Section (AS).Some committees operate on behalf of the entire division and members of such committees are designated from each section.I’m working with the Budget & Finance Committee (B&F), at the ALCTS Division level, liaising from and to the CRS.This work took the majority of my time.

The CRS meeting was information sharing about association activities and goals, supportingthe ALCTS Strategic Plan, and program/preconference planning for ALA Annual in 2010.Program planning for conferences begins 18 months in advance and includes the vetting of the program topics, coordination between different sections to eliminate overlapping content in programs and to make agreements to co-plan programs.

B&F meets two different times during the weekend in order to review the fiscal year that just closed (FY 2008), to examine the first quarter reports from the current fiscal year, and to vet and approve a budget plan for the next fiscal year (FY2010) to be presented to the ALCTS Board at their Monday meeting. We squint at lots of spreadsheets with tiny print since the level of access by the Executive Director of ALCTS doesn’t let him manipulate them.

Acquisitions Section and Becoming Chair

I also attended the All Committee meeting of the ALCTS Acquisitions Section, since I learned that I’m running unopposed for Chair of the section in the spring election.All committees of a section meet at the same time in a single room, allowing the section leaders to talk with each committee by moving from table to table.I took the opportunity to get acquainted with each committee in Acquisitions Section, since I have primarily worked with the CRS in the past.I learned that Bill Kane is the new Chair of the Policy and Planning Committee of the Acquisitions Section.

Unless a write-in campaign defeats me, I’ll serve as Vice Chair of ALCTS Acquisitions Section starting in July of 2009, which means in the fall I’ll be reviewing large numbers (I hope) of volunteer forms and try to make the best possible appointments to committees, replacing members who are rotating out.Then in July of 2010, I will become Chair and will plan and lead meetings of the Executive Committee of the section at Midwinter and Annual Conferences as well as attending ALCTS Board meetings.Being an ALCTS Board member and Chair of a section usually eliminates time for visiting vendors in the exhibits.

Meeting Foreign Vendors

Since I’m not yet on the ALCTS Board, I did schedule meetings with two vendors in direct response to inquiries from our faculty.First, Latin American Studies would benefit from a steady source of reliable information regarding new scholarly publications in Spanish that would be of interest to us.I met with a vendor to discuss starting an electronic notification service. Second, Romance Languages would benefit from an approval plan, which has been of interest to Spanish in particular for many years. I met with a European vendor to discuss parameters to start a notification plan.After refinement we may be able to arrange some automatic shipments for new academic publications and give firm order attention to more specialized items.The trick is to set very narrow parameters when working with a small amount of money.This is why it became very important to use the opportunity to discuss back and forth with the vendors in person.

Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records

I attended a forum early on Monday morning, which was advertised like this:

ALCTS Forum: Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data: the OCLC Record Use Policy and Libraries

In November, OCLC announced OCLC’s proposed “Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records.” This announcement was greeted with criticism and concern from the cataloguing and library communities. The main issue, among others, has been the “reasonable use” clause, seen as restricting the rights to use records, including ones libraries added. Karen Calhoun of OCLC, Brian Schottlaender, Peter Murray and John Mark Ockerbloom will discuss the background and implications of the change in relations to shared library data.

Library has already published a good summary ( ) but the three presenters have all posted content online and you can go to the primary sources, all linked from the last paragraph of the blog from Murray (aka the Disruptive Library Technology Jester) at

Briefly, Karen Calhoun of OCLC made a presentation clarifying the need and intent of the update to the Policy, the first update in 21 years, followed by presentations by two librarians who were concerned that the updated guidelines would stifle creative use.One primary impetus for the updated guidelines, protecting the WorldCat records as a financial asset of the Cooperative (OCLC members), was briefly touched upon in multiple presentations.Brian Schottlaender was not actually a presenter, but a facilitator and summarized the main points of the three speakers with some commentary and then facilitated questions and answers.Most of the librarians present, speakers and audience members alike, had a lot of questions about who really owns the records.

If you really want to pursue one more perspective on this later, eventually there should be a post-conference report from an attendee in the ALCTS Online Newsletter (ANO) .

Denver airport around lunchtime on 1/26/09 — see how short the visibility range is?

Cincinnati airport midmorning on 1/27/09 — see how the snow followed me eastward?

Sarah at ALA Midwinter

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 1:29 pm

I arrived in Denver, CO on Friday afternoon.After I unloaded my luggage at the hotel, I had dinner with Susan, Lauren C., and a couple of our Elsevier reps.On my way to dinner, I was happy to find a Starbucks near my hotel. :)

On Saturday morning, I went to the ACRL-Science and Technology Section All-Committees meeting.I am a member of the Membership and Recruitment Committee, and we discussed plans to create an ACRL-STS New Members wiki page, which would provide helpful information for those who are interested in joining a committee or becoming a chair of a committee.We also discussed plans to organize the New Members Breakfast, which is held every year at the ALA Annual Conference.

On Saturday afternoon, I attended the ACRL-STS Hot Topics Discussion Group.We discussed Assessment in the context of instruction.This topic has been on my mind lately, as I am planning to teach my second semester of LIB220.I shared my experience teaching LIB220 with my colleagues, and we had a lively discussion about various assessment techniques. I’m happy to share if anyone is interested in hearing more about what we discussed.

Next, I attended a discussion group on Embedded Librarians sponsored by the ACRL Heads of Public Services Discussion Group. One of my colleagues made a good point that Embedded Librarianship can inform our collection management decisions. They also provided a selected bibliography of publications about Embedded Librarians, and I will be happy to share this bibliography with others if anyone is interested.

On Sunday, I went to the Exhibits before my second committee meeting.This year, I am serving as Chair of the Scholarship Committee of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA).Every year, the Scholarship Committee selects a librarian to be sponsored by APALA in the ALA Emerging Leaders Program and awards a $1,000 scholarship to a graduate student in library school.More information on the APALA Scholarship is available at I have served on the APALA Scholarship Committee since 2005, and I have really enjoyed working with my colleagues on this committee.

I stayed at the Curtis Hotel, which was a unique, fun hotel.It was great rooming with Lauren P. at the conference, and we were able to grab dinner a couple of nights.On Saturday night, I had dinner with Steve and Lauren P., and we also ran into Debbie Nolan after dinner. It was also nice seeing snow again this winter in Denver.Overall, it was an enjoyable, productive conference.

Lauren P @ Midwinter

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 12:28 am

Whew! Midwinter was busy, productive, and good this go around!

the capitol building

As you know I typically blog each event and pull the posts together into daily posts here. This time I quickly realized that I wouldn’t even have the time for that type of reporting, so I did daily posts over on my blog, and I’m pulling them together here into one conference post. If you want more details, here are the daily posts: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. If you want more details than that, let me know! I have lots of notes, but just didn’t have the time to process them into blog posts. Here’s the summary of what I’ve been up to (in alphabetical order and bulleted for easier reading):

Continuing Library Education Network and Exchange Round Table

Discussion Group on Staff Development

  • CLENE is a group that focuses on staff development
  • Some issues can be resolved with training and others can be resolved with strong supervision
  • Discussed merits of online training
  • Talked about the relationship of management and training
  • Discussed our perception of ourselves vs. our patron’s perceptions, and a lot of vocabulary issues.

Reception (hosted by Pat Wagner)

  • I just learned of and met Pat at this conference, but I am really impressed with her! She ran an exercise for the Emerging Leaders Town Hall, hosted this reception, and was an active participant of the CLENE discussion group.
  • This reception was an excellent introduction to CLENE, and I met one of my local Twitter friends face-to-face, Lori Reed!
  • I also ran into Peter Bromberg, so we followed up on some of the activities from earlier in the day, and I got some good advice on some of the areas I want to work on developing.

ACRL Women’s Studies Section

  • I’m a member of the Instruction Committee and we’re doing interesting work!
  • Rewriting the Information Literacy standards for Women’s Studies
  • The committee hopes to present on this topic at the National Women’s Studies Association conference

Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship

  • Every once in a while there is a question of the value of COSWL. We’ve done a good job over the last three years of keeping active and involved so those questions wouldn’t be asked. However, at this meeting there were only three members present (we were outnumbered by observers).
  • Discussed the nature of committees formed by presidential appointment
  • Considered possible partnerships
  • We agreed that all the virtual work the committee had been doing was a good thing, and we would continue doing so (including using the listserv to find a time that would fit more people’s schedules)
  • The second meeting is tomorrow, so I’m not posting the details here yet. I imagine it will be a continuation of the discussion we had earlier at the conference.

Emerging Leaders Town Hall

  • I figured I’d see what this meeting was like since I’m just one year out, and I was really impressed.
  • Leslie Burger, Maureen Sullivan, and Connie Paul ran the meeting as usual.
  • A number of useful (and not too stressful!) networking exercises
  • Feedback from participants on what ALA should look like in the future

LITA, general

Top Tech Trends

made it to #ttt09

  • Susan and I attended this together, but came from another session, so we got in about an hour into it
  • Standing room only, but it was interesting enough to merit standing for the hour we were there
  • While we were there, the discussed trends included: changing in publishing paradigm (for books and newspapers), the broadband divide, and changing displays. When asked how many in the audience have more than one monitor at their workspace, I was surprised that it seemed over half raised their hand. I wonder if it is the norm, or if a techy crowd would be more likely than a non-techy crowd.
  • If you’re interested, you can watch it here!
  • (Because what they did is so great, I’m cutting and pasting this bit straight from my blog): But the most important part of this year’s Top Tech Trends was the use of technology. It was amazing. Official tags allowed audience members (both in the room and across the country) to follow what was going on in various channels. Ustream surpassed 20 people. The FriendFeed room pulled everything together. This was exactly how it should be. LITA demonstrating how these tools can be applied to allow ALA to positively impact more people in the profession. It’s good for us as professionals looking to learn more, it’s good marketing (I knew we could still go to Top Tech Trends because of the Twitter messages I was getting in my breakfast session), and it’s good practice as information professionals. Kudos to Jason Griffey, BIGWIG, and TTT for showing how it can be done.

The LITA Town Hall Breakfast

  • LITA Town Halls are planned by LITA’s Vice President and tend to focus on issues around what LITA is or should be and how to position the organization for the future.
  • This one was lead by a consultant that had small groups consider different aspects of LITA (competing organizations, what areas of IT LITA should address, how we can collaborate better, etc) and then share out to the group.
  • I got there a bit early and missed the formation of the Twittering/Google Docing/Live Blogging table, but felt like I was sitting there because of their awesome technology use. Though I was sitting with my group, I could follow along with a larger discussion (including with people across the country) in a number of ways. This is what was on my laptop:
    laurenpressley - twhirl 0.8.7
    The panel on the left is a live blog, and the columns on the right were for friendfeed and twitter. This is an example of an awesome use of technology, and a great way to get more voices heard. I’m not sure what will come of the brainstorming in the meeting, but at a minimum, this demonstration of how these tools can be used effectively was worth it.

LITA Distance Learning Interest Group

LITA Committee and Interest Group Chairs Joint Meeting

  • This meeting is for the chairs of all the LITA committees and interest groups.
  • This meeting gets all the LITA leadership into one room: board, chairs, staff, etc
  • Discussed transparency in scheduling and decided to use the LITA wiki for this purpose
  • LITA Forum will have amazing keynoters (David Weinberger, Liz Lawley, and Joan Lippincott) and is still accepting program proposals. (Man, I’ve got to get on that! Thanks for being part of this, Susan!!)
  • Walt Crawford started an interesting discussion on the similarities of “publications” and “communication” committees, and where are the lines of publishing for a group with print publications, electronic ones, a website, a blog, a wiki, a listserv, etc.

Distance Learning Interest Group Discussion

this year's nametag

  • (I’ll be posting real notes for this session on my blog, on the LITA blog, and on the DLIG blog.)
  • I chair this group, so this was my top priority of the conference.
  • I was a bit worried about the DLIG this conference. We don’thave a set membership and different people show up at the discussions at each conference, so it’s hard to know ahead of time how it will be. I thought with it being cold, in Denver, and with the budget issues so many people are facing we wouldn’t have hardly anyone. Instead we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 20.
  • We talked about text messaging, screencasting, and a little on embedded librarians and content management systems.
  • We’re establishing a discussion list and will hopefully be doing some exciting things in the near future.

LITA Web Coordinating Committee

  • This was my first meeting with the LITA Web Coordinating Committee.
  • I am starting this term as part of mycommitmentto LITA for their sponsorship of me in the Emerging Leaders program.
  • It takes a while to figure out the social dynamics of a committee, the charge, and what the committee is actually able to do. I’m still feeling it out.
  • It does look like there might be some changes to the site in the next year or so, though, so I’ll probably be around for that.


Alexander Street Press Breakfast

  • Susan and I attended the Alexander Street Press breakfast. It’s always a great event.
  • First, I really think Alexander Street Press understands where information is moving, and they’re leading edge thinkers about how to provide content for users now and in the future.
  • Perhaps even more exciting, they are figuring out ways to allow users to search through video content quickly and locate specific spots in the video the user needs. It’s amazing stuff.
  • Second, they always have a great speaker (and provide a great looking breakfast). So, for leading edge issues: they now have a database of graphic novel/comic materials.
  • As for their speaker, this year, because of the new database, they invited Art Spiegelman. He was an engaging speaker and gave me a lot to think about (in terms of conveying information in text and space, using images to cause people to think critically about culture, displacing norms)…. it was a great talk. He also helped me justify my recent interest in graphic novels

SPARC-ACRL Forum on Open Educational Resources

  • Panelist: Richard Baraniuk, an architect of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration and founder of Connexions
  • Panelist: David Wiley, also a leader of the Cape Town Declaration and Chief Openness Officer (cool, no?) for Flat World Knowledge
  • Panelist: Nicole Allen, leader of the Student PIRGs Make Textbooks Affordable campaign
  • Panelist: Mark Nelson,Digital Content Strategist for the National Association of College Stores, the trade association representing the higher education retail industry
  • This panel gave a great presentation and discussed interesting topics. Some practical issues were addressed (like getting started on your own campus) as well as more theoretical ones (do textbooks even make sense in a constructivist environment?)
  • The most striking point, to me, was if the government requires open access topubliclyfunded research, why don’t we require open access topubliclyfunded educational materials?

Other ALA Notes

The Corner Office

  • Sarah and I roomed (which was really nice!) at the Curtis Hotel (which was the funnest hotel I’ve ever stayed at!) Our room was on the 13th floor, which was horror themed. When the elevator stopped it said, “heeeere’s Johnny!” and there was a picture from The Shining right outside the door. It was great rooming with Sarah, we were able to eat a few meals together which was really nice.
  • I saw a bunch of ZSR folks! Sarah and I, obviously saw each other quite a bit. One evening we got dinner with Steve. I ran into Wanda in the convention center (though I was so in-my-own-head that I almost missed her!) Susan and I spent Sunday morning together and saw each other at the LITA happy hour. Steve, Sarah, and I ran into Debbie Nolan. She seemed to be doing well. I never saw Lauren, but I know Susan and Sarah did. It’s amazing how at such a large conference you can see so many people you know.
  • It was COLD. I mean WAY colder than the weather channel said it would be when I left Winston-Salem. I mean the type of weather where I don’t even own appropriate shoes.
    it keeps getting colder!!
  • That being said, this was a fabulously walkable conference. Our hotel was three blocks from the convention center, and there was a great free bus that ran through downtown.
  • Everyone was talking about Tough Economic Times. Attendance was way down. Every meeting I was in talked about the economy in terms of how it’s impacting the organization, libraries, and/or communities.
  • Blogs seemed to play less of a role at this conference, and Twitter/Liveblogging/streaming video played way more. It dawned on me at one point that I used to keep my RSS reader open throughout the conference to see what was going on. I barely cracked it on this trip, insteadincessantlyupdating and watching Twitter. I actually think this might be a move towards the positive. There were several meetings where people all over the country participated because of the real-time nature of Twitter.
  • I am gearing up to focus my energy on LITA. At this point I think LITA has the best chance at impacting ALA and making it a better organization. I also know that I need to focus my committee energy a bit more to be more effective. My WSS and COSWL terms are coming to an end at Annual, and I’m not going to seek out any replacements in areas non-LITA sections of ALA. WSS was incredibly welcoming to me as a new professional. COSWL gave me incredible insights into how ALA works and what we need to do to be effective, but spreading my time across ACRL, LITA, and the council committee meant that I couldn’t make a real impact in any one. It’s time to see what changes I can really make happen. :)

Wanda @ ALA

Monday, January 26, 2009 4:56 pm

On Thursday I arrived to a beautiful warm and sunny Denver. Immediately I thought I had goofed by bringing bulky sweaters and boots, but Friday morning proved we right with 30 degree temperatures and snow flurries. ALA began for me with a BCALA continental breakfast, new board member orientation and an extremely lively board meeting which lasted well into the afternoon. In addition to serving as immediate past president for BCALA, I also co-chair with Roberta Webb, South District Chief of the Chicago Public Library, planning for the 7th National Conference of African American Librarians, which is to be held in August of 2010 in the historic city of Birmingham, Alabama. Throughout the weekend we strategized, solicited potential committee members, reviewed application forms and met with local Birmingham librarians.

On Saturday I attended the ALA Advocacy Committee for which I was appointed by ALA Past President Loriene Roy. The morning topic emphasized the need for libraries not to carelessly dismiss the consumer product safety reviews reportwhich speaks topossible lead filled children books from China and the potential impact it could have on library collections. Two new resources were introduced from the Advocacy University. Add It Up: Libraries Make the Difference in Youth Development and Education, offers research and statistics to assist advocates with making the case for libraries for youth development. The second resource, Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit, presents talking points and data to help with making the case for libraries and to generate additional support for them.

The 11th Annual Digital Libraries Symposium presented by Elsevier featured a group of panelists as well as Librarians from the audience sharing their views on the “Next Gen Librarians: Who They are & What They Want.” From the questions that surfaced from the audience, all pretty much had the same concerns. Work life balance, the need for variety, different expectations and adequate preparation for the profession were some of the traits surfacing for discussion. I actually applaud Elsevier for their attempts at partnering with the Library community, but even more because they showcased a most diverse staff.

I concluded the day by attending another ALA Advocacy committee sponsored event entitled “Building Statewide Coalitions for All Libraries in a Tough Economy.” During this session one panelist Ann Dutton Ewbank, retold the details surrounding the elimination of all teacher-librarians in the Mesa Public schools and efforts taken by the state librarians in their defense. ALA President, Jim Rettig discussed the notion that libraries home to multiple species with ever more complex relations could be compared to eco systems. This concept is to be explored further in relation to advocacy efforts and Rettig promises more to follow on this topic during his term in office.

On Sunday I decided to attend the ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers discussion group. This group also discussed the millennial generation workforce and explored ways to make our libraries millennial friendly. Orientation policies surfaced as the first area changed at a couple of libraries. When one respondent said they’d gone to checklist and group sessions, I knew we were on the right track. Do we need to change our environments? Most felt the answer to this was yes. Some attendees felt that the millennials get bored easily and need change, they opt to attend campus lectures and engage in frequent conversations with colleagues, therefore requiring supervisors to rethink their expectations. Telecommuting, working from home, was another topic of concern. It seemed that all in attendance have had to deal with these request. From child care reasons, to health related issues, to just having a desire to work at home, a wide range of reasons were assembled. Most represented libraries in attendance had policies that granted occasional opportunities on an informal basis and long term decisions approved only at the HR or provost level.

During a very nice lunch, EBSCO shared highlights of their new e-resource management system, ERM Essentials. They of course, believe who better than they to assist libraries with managing their collections. They plan to reduce the complexity of managing e-resources, eliminate the need to search multiple systems for information gathering, boost efficiency of tracking key tasks and all this while saving time.

The Organization Development discussion group of LAMA had the most relevant but also disheartening topic of the day, “leveraging budget-driven organizational change.” The room was filled with 30 or so librarians from all across the country faced with mandatory budget cuts, layoffs and frozen positions. Many felt this year reflects the trend expected to continue for the next three to five years. How do you keep your library focused on the important, often long-term, organizational changes during a period of economic difficulty? First and foremost is the need to have frequent and effective communication, next set priorities with those in management, get staff personally involved and responsible for and with their own future, have employee think of ways to contribute towards meeting the needs of areas not as well staffed, use statistical data to strategize ways to meet the needs of the community, the faculty, the staff, the students and don’t’ wait until the worst case happens start performing scenario planning now in advance.

I have the advocacy package and several handouts from the conference as well as the official President Obama inauguration program booklet. As always, I am happy to have conversations around any of the sessions I attended. I’m off now to visit the Blair Caldwell African Research Library here in Denver which according to their curator, holds a world wide collection of pictures taken of Obama during his journey to the White House. See you on Wednesday. -Wanda

Susan’s Sunday at ALA Midwinter

Monday, January 26, 2009 8:48 am

Denver's 16th Street at Night
A Cold Denver Night Scene

Sunday was a day full of meetings, presentations and networking for me that ran from 7:30 am to 11:00 pm (way past my usual bedtime!). Neither of my committees met, so I had the flexibility to pick and choose how to structure my day. The day was cold with snow flurries, which added a wintery dimension moving from location to location.

Last ALA, Lauren P. introduced me to the Alexander Street Press customer appreciation breakfast. Not only do they provide a good substantial meal, they also bring in an excellent speaker. It’s a popular function and this time there were about 550 attendees. The speaker was Pulitzer prize winner Art Spiegelman, a comic artist best known for his graphic novel Maus. In his talk, he was very passionate in advocating for the medium of comics as one that gives a full texture of experience. I am a unabashed daily comics reader, but have never really studied the art of comics. After listening to Mr Spiegelman talk about his art, I think I have found a new interest to dig into.

At ALA, there are always competing events, and LITA’s “Top Technology Trends” meeting began during the breakfast time slot. But Lauren and I were able to arrive in time to hear the final hour, which was when the panelists share their pick for the current top trends. I’m sure Lauren will give us a full report on the meeting, so I’ll leave the details for her! The technologies they used to chronicle the meeting was the most advanced to date, including a live blog.

Afterward, I met with my ALA Editions editor for preliminary discussion on perhaps doing a 3rd edition of my book (seems promising). I ran into our former colleague Emily Stambaugh and had an early lunch while we caught up on what we’ve been up to since she went west (4 years ago, how time flies). She’s now at the California Digital Library managing their shared print program.

For my afternoon session, I chose a discussion event: “Teaching 2.0: What are the Pedagogical Implications of Social Technologies?” It must be a hot topic, as over 200 people showed up to a room sized for about half that many. Each table discussed how 2.0 technologies inform our teaching in the framework of David Wiley’s changes in the world that compare then/now: analog-print/digital; closed/open; tethered/mobile; isolated/connected; generic/personal; consumption/participation. We concentrated on four “teaching 2.0″ qualities: openess, connectivity, personalization and participation. After talking and sharing, I came away with a good feeling about what we are doing with our IL program at ZSR. We seem to be ahead of the curve compared to other programs because of our instructors’ enthusiasm for exploring ways to incorporate active learning and participatory pedagogy with the 2.0 technologies.

I wrapped my day up with a series of social/networking events, a departure from my usual “one evening function” approach. I attended a reunion of Harvard Leadership Institute alumni which was hosted by ACRL. Then I headed out in the COLD night air (single digit) to meet Bill for dinner and good conversation. My final destination (again through the cold) was to an Elsevier reception where Lauren C. introduced me to many of her friends and colleagues from her ALA work and Emory days.

This morning I’ll wrap up my conference with one last meeting, then head off to the airport for the long trip home. All-in-all, I vote this a successful conference experience.

Susan at ALA Midwinter: Day 2

Saturday, January 24, 2009 11:08 pm

Denver's Big Blue Bear
Lawrence Argent’s “I See What You Mean,” at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

This year I am on two committees and both met today. The first one started at 8 am, which wasn’t a problem since the 2 hours time difference had me wide awake by 4 am (MST). This was my new committee, LLAMA’s BES LIFE (Library Interiors, Furnishings and Equipment). The group of people on the committee seem very knowledgeable about renovations and repurposing of space. A few of the members are architects. (One of the other new members is a new colleague from UNCG, Mike Crumpton, who is working with our folks on the Entrepreneurial Conference. He had color flyers that he distributed). The major goal of this group is planning programming on LIFE topics for ALA Annual. There are three programs set for this summer in Chicago. But it isn’t simply a matter of deciding what program to do. The committee chair must present the program proposals to other ALA Conference Planning groups for approval a year in advance. So, we spent most of the morning brainstorming for ideas of programs to develop for ALA Annual in 2010. These will need to be formulated by this June for initial program proposal. I found it to be very fascinating to learn about the very formal process involved in putting together programs for ALA conferences.

After this initial meeting, I headed for the exhibits, where I looked up Bill at the Alibris booth. He and I concurred that it seems that attendance is down this time around. Then I ran into Elisabeth Leonard, and we caught up over coffee.

The early afternoon session I chose to attend was an Elsevier sponsored symposium on “New Gen Librarians: Who are They & What Do They Want?” The panelists were two fairly “new” librarians, a second-year library school student and Gary Strong, UCLA University Librarian. After each talked about their “story” for 5-10 minutes each, the audience held group discussions to come up with questions to pose to the panel. The questions covered such things as today’s library school curriculum and whether it prepares new librarians for the job market, the issues in management style for different generations of professionals, and how current practitioners can effectively recruit new librarians into our profession. Wanda also attended and asked a good question about how administrators can participate in the education process so that new graduates bring the skills that we need to the job. It was an interesting discussion that demonstrated to me that new and seasoned librarians aren’t actually on opposite ends of the spectrum in regard to their expectations and goals.

My second committee meeting was in the late afternoon. This is the LITA National Forum 2009 Planning Committee. With the conference scheduled for this fall, there is already a great deal accomplished and even more to be done.The committee has been making good progress through virtual means, but it was very helpful to have a face-to-face meeting to go over details and organize assignments for all the things that remain to be decided. The conference will be in Salt Lake City.

Susan at ALA Midwinter in Denver: Day1

Saturday, January 24, 2009 12:12 am

Today has been a long one, full of travel, a symposium, a happy hour and a lovely dinner. It’s time for ALA Midwinter once again. This time it’s being held in Denver, one of my favorite cities to visit. The day started with an early flight, designed to get me here in time to attend a symposium in the afternoon. It didn’t get off to a good start when I checked in my baggage (a $15 charge now), only to find out it was ONE LB. overweight. I either could pay a $50 surcharge OR remove a pound of stuff from the bag. So I removed one running shoe and had to carry it in my backpack all day. Is this what travel has come to?… Then the flight was delayed due to a fog delay in Atlanta, so I had to rush to catch my connection to Denver. But the flights were smooth, and even with the delay, I arrived at my downtown hotel by noon. By coincidence, I am in the same hotel that I stayed in at LITA 2007. It’s not the “conference hotel” but it’s convenient to the convention center and some sessions are being held here.

While I’m talking about coincidences…..When I arrived at PTI this morning, I discovered that Lauren C. was traveling on the same flights as I was. Lauren was kind enough to include me (and Sarah J.) in a dinner this evening with our Elsevier reps. As we headed out at the end of dinner, we discovered we are staying at the same hotel (keep in mind there are 14 different hotels you could be assigned to). As we arrived at the hotel, we discovered we are both on the 4th floor (there are 17 or 18 floors). As we got off the elevator, we discovered that we are two doors away from each other…….Small ALA world!

My main event for this first day was the OCLC Symposium that was held this afternoon. It was titled “From Linking to Thinking: How we’ll Live When Information Surrounds Us.” There were two dynamic speakers: David Weinberger (author of Everything is Miscellaneous) and Nova Spivack, CEO and founder of Radar Networks (which runs and Semantic Web pioneer. Themes included the evolution of the web to one of inconnections that result in an abundance of digitized data, the nature of metadata, the democratization of the Web, the move toward “good enough” data, the future (Web 3.0 (Semantic Web) and 4.0 (Intelligent Web)). It was a fascinating discussion which garnered spirited discussion between the speakers and the audience on the value of libraries and librarians in light of both Weinberger’s and Spivack’s vision that their preferred future will be one where everything will be digitized, freely available and will be easily accessible to everyone through technologies that will remove today’s search barriers through automated solutions. It was one of the most engaging sessions I’ve attended at ALA and was timely as they also discussed many of the technologies cited in the just released 2009 Horizon Report.

Following the symposium, I put on my social face and attended the LITA Happy Hour, followed by the dinner I mentioned earlier.

Tomorrow will start early with a meeting of my new committee assignment (to LLAMA’s BES Interiors, Furnishings and Equipment Committee. I can’t wait as yet I have no idea about what this committee’s charge is as it relates to any deliverables.

Preserving Oral Histories

Monday, January 19, 2009 10:11 am

Preserving Oral Histories

Tim Mitchell and I attended a webinar presented by Solinet on January 15, 2009 entitled: Preserving Oral Histories. This workshop was a discussion about the primary issues of preserving oral histories.

The activity of processing oral histories was covered first.The most important issue when processing is to prevent audio from being erased (either audio cassettes or CD’s).The processor should conduct a condition assessment to check for damage and if possible, play and listen to the material.A strong odor detected at this point would indicate deterioration.The items should then be labeled, re-housed; and new reformatted preservation copies made.

There are several free tools available for surveying oral history collections:

FACET (Field Audio Collection evaluation Tool) is a survey tool which is an open-sourced database that allows for recordinginformation about materials.

Preservation Tool for Audio and Moving Image Collections- Columbia University Libraries has developed and tested a tool to inventory and assess the physical condition of audio and moving image materials.

Damage to audio materials

Magnetic tape damage is usually referred to as “Sticky shed syndrome” and is the deterioration of audio material.

Acetate tape deterioration is the formation of acetic acid on the tape which is called “Vinegar Syndrome” because of the smell it gives.This material should be isolated in cold storage.The Image Permanence Institute has A-D strips to test for acetate decay.

Labeling Oral Histories- Guidelines for future users should be created that uses a consistency of format.Water-based markers (sold in specialty shops) or pencils should be used for marking on the material itself.CD’s should be marked on the inner hub.

Preserving Originals

-use highest quality format available

-make a copy of the original and use that copy for reformatting-put the original away in storage

-only use the master for making usable copies

-keep original hardware and software if possible


-use best quality materials

-arrange by material type or by format

-store the master separately

Paper/Board-use material that conforms with NISO Z39 standards

Plastics-use inert plastics-avoid PVC (polyester is a good inert plastic)

Temperature-the best temperature for audio materials is 50 degrees, 30-50 Relative Humidity

Avoid electromagnetic fields or UV radiation


-shelve vertically, except 16mm/35m which should be stored horizontally

-keep in a dust free environment

Storage-Magnetic media

-for optical media (CD-R), avoid light


-use acid free paper

-for electronic transcriptions, store in multiple formats


-RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)- a technology that employs the simultaneous use of two or more hard disk drives to achieve greater levels of performance and reliability.

-LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe)- based at Stanford University Libraries, is an international community initiative that provides libraries with digital preservation tools and support so that they can easily and inexpensively collect and preserve their own copies of authorized e-content.

-Dark Archives- a collection of materials preserved for future use but with no current access.This is associated with collections of online serial publications and databases that are held by an organization other than the publisher.

Preferred Digital Formats


.wav- considered the standard for audio archives

.bmv-broad cast wave- an open format with the inclusion of metadata

.mp3-a small file size, compressed file format that


.MJ2 (Motion Jpeg 2000)- used by the Library of Congress as the standard format

.MXF- open source format that allows metadata inclusion

.AVI-Audio Video Interleave used primarily for video on the web

Audio Digitization Standards-the recommended rate for voice recordings:

Human Voice-sample rate- 96 kHz; bit depth- 24 bit

This workshop was thorough and illustrated that preservation issues for audio oral histories are unique and the housing materials, methods, and survey tools for them are specific to this audio material.

Craig Fansler

Preserving Oral Histories

Friday, January 16, 2009 4:51 pm

Yesterday Craig and I attended the online class “Preserving Oral Histories” offered through Solinet.The class provided information on preserving existing and future oral histories and what challenges involved with reformatting and digitizing projects.

The instructor, Karen McClurken, started out my emphasizing the most obvious first; prevent your oral history from being erased. She then went into how to assess the condition of your existing oral histories. She showed three free Audiovisual surveys that can be used rank collections based on condition, level of existing deterioration, and risk of future deterioration associated with different formats. Next she covered caring for the master recording. She emphasized using the highest quality available for your original master and to use that master only to make new dubbing masters. Be sure to store the masters separately from the copies and master dubs and label oral histories consistently among the different formats. She covered methods for housing and storing the different format types and talked about what to consider when digitizing. A few things to consider when digitizing are compressed versus uncompressed, different audio and video formats, sample rates, and bit-depth. And of course there is always the digital rights permission you have to worry about.

The last 30 minutes Karen talk about what to think about for new oral histories.

· Will it be audio, video, or both? Audio will have less equipment while video there is lighting along with sound quality to consider.

· How much can you spend? Again, get the highest quality equipment you can afford. What equipment is needed will depend on the format that is chosen.

· What feature are most important and what format best help meet them?

· Can interviewer effectively use equipment? This is important so if the interviewer is uncomfortable with the equipment some training may be needed.

Overall the online class was interesting and I left with ideas that I hadn’t thought about or considered.

Erik and Roz attend PDC sponsored management class

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 9:07 pm

Today, Roz and I attended a management class offered through the Professional Development Center titled “Moving from Boss to Coach.” The session provided an interesting overview of the perspectives typically associated with “bosses” versus “coaches” and discussed the utility of these perspectives in different environments.

During the course, many of us got to share an experience which we considered to be a particularly good example of coaching. Hearing these stories really underscored for me the role that we all play in both our work and academic roles here at the univeristy. While the course offered some interesting content, perhaps the most interesting thing for me was the wide range of people in attendance. The session included folks from the library, facilities, information systems, and a host of other departments.

The facilitator was very good and if you have interest and opportunity I would encourage you to sign up for one of the upcoming sessions.

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