Professional Development

During February 2009...

code4lib – standards rule

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:47 am

Sebastian Hammer started out the second full day of Code4Lib with a discussion f the origin of open source software. After talking for a few minutes about the growing challenge for libraries to remain relevant in a changing informaiton economy, he bridged to the concept of builidng things not through api use but rather by standards based data and development approaches.

This keyed in to the ongoing discussion of linked data at this conference and what happens when the information is encoded using open standards rather than being made available through regulated APIs. The demos in freebase yesterday began to hint at this capability and it will be intersting to see how this theme develops during the rest of the conference.

Following the keynote, tim McGeary from the OLE project updated the room on the progress of OLE. In covering the timeline Tim talked a bit about the OLE reference model and took the time to pitch the development aspect to the room. In the last pre-break session of the morning, the folks from Blacklight discussed the development of their discovery platform. During their presentation they mentioned a service that they use to retrieve data on music for incorporation into their catalog.

code4lib – day 2

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 4:58 pm

The first full day at code4lib included a slew of 20 minute talks on various library and coding topics today. The opening speaker stefano mazzocchi pushed on the idea about how the change to digital will impact how we encode and transport information. The interesting angle on this discussion was the representation of the reduction in marginal costs o/f additional works and copies. His demo section included several examples from an open database paltform called freebase in which he showed some on the fly data mapping and re-use applications.

The day included lots of presentation on interesting ideas including

and a host of other neat topics.

The themes of linked data, rdf formatted data, and automated processing of information continue to be popular discussion topics. “Unified discovery” and “local indexing” were very popular products.

Information Commons 2.0 Webcast

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 3:18 pm

This afternoon 18+ folks gathered in LIB204 for a webcast from ACRL on Information Commons. The sections was led by Joan Lippencott. Here are the notes from the session – it will be available online from ACRL and I will post the link here when available.

She began by discussing the concepts of Information Commons and Learning Common.

  • Not just computer labs – need to incorporate the role of content and levels of service that computer labs don’t.
  • Many also make room for other campus services (writing center and Teaching and Learning Center)
  • Info Commons emphasize areas for groups, collaborations, food, art, etc. as opposed to quiet individual study
  • Need to provide an environment that engage learners
  • Most are in libraries, but some are in academic buildings or student centers

Vision and Goals

  • Who will conceptualize the vision and goals for your commons? Who other than library staff need to be involved? Encourages direct representation on committees by students.
  • How does your library serve the community?
  • Link your goals to the goals of the University as a whole.

For What Purpose

  • Convenience
  • Increase ability of students to work in groups
  • Make more technology available
  • Provide services efficiently and effectively
  • Provide new services
  • Promote a sense of community
  • Enhance learning — should be your primary focus

Linking the Info Commons to Learning

  • Deeper Learning
    • Social
    • Active
    • Contextual
    • Engaging
    • Student-Owned

Physical Space Slides showing examples of spaces from Info Commons

Collaborations and Partnership

Issue is do they become partners or just tenants? Not much leveraging of the physical proximity.

  • Co-location – adjacenct service points and opportunities for informal crossover staff contact
  • Cooperation
  • Collaboration – developing shared mission and goals, joint planning, pool expertise to develop new services, each contributes resources.
  • Dartmouth Center for Research, Writing and IT.
  • GA Tech Information Commons

Staffing Issues:

  • What will be the key uses of your commons?
  • What types of services do you anticipate?
  • Who will be your partner organizations?
  • Will services with other units be co-located?
  • What mix of professional, support, student staffing will be needed?
  • What kind of training is needed and who will provide it?


  • Gate counts
  • counts of use of workstations
  • use surveys
  • question counts
  • satisfaction surveys
  • quality perception surveys
  • Frame assessments in the context of your institutiton’s learning priorities
  • Partner with assessment experts on your campus
  • Communicate to staff what type of information would be valuable to administrators and funders
  • Assemble stakeholders to shape the assesment effort
  • consider both quantitative and qualitative measures

5 Ideas You Can Do Now

  • Form group spaces in open areas
  • Add inexpensive equipment to promote student collaborative learning
  • Improve promotion of content and services through signage and displays
  • Begin pertnerships and joint training with other units
  • Do needs assessments

Planning Issues

  • Develop a vision related to learning
  • Develop goals
  • Determine partners
  • define and gain resources
  • determine location
  • define what you want users to be able to do
  • define services
  • determine staff needs
  • Later you can work on the specifics

code4lib 2009 – Vufind

Monday, February 23, 2009 2:03 pm

This morning kicked off code4lib 2009 with a series of pre-conferences. Both Kevin and I attended the Vufind preconference session which included an overview of vufind, install exercise, and a q&a session on vufind features and issues.

I documented lots of notes & tips on our Vufind project page in the library wiki and once we get back to WS we will be able to make some good progress on ironing out some of the features that we are interested in implementing.

Following an interesting lunch with some folks from Equinox (and a cold walk back to the hotel) I am getting ready for the Linked Data session. . .

Sarah at the Lilly Conference: Saturday and Sunday

Monday, February 23, 2009 12:14 pm

On Saturday, I attended three helpful sessions at the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching.First, I attended “Active Learning: Shared Experiences across Science Classrooms and Strategies for Matching Tools and Techniques to Courses and Course Objectives.” There were six presenters from Furman University: Dennis Haney, Mike Winiski, Min-Ken Liao, Brian Goess, Wes Dripps, and Brannon Andersen.I learned about the latest teaching strategies used by these faculty members at Furman University, including concept maps, low-stakes writing, case studies, clickers, and wikis.We also discussed other factors to consider when designing activities in our classes, such as students’ previous background knowledge, multiple learning styles, and how to foster higher levels of learning.

Next, I attended “Expanding the Use of Case Studies to Encourage Collaborative Learning and Integrate Classroom Theory with Clinical Practice” presented by Alfreda Harper-Harrison and Debra Benbow from Winston-Salem State University.Dr. Harper-Harrison and Dr. Benbow incorporated case studies into their courses.Students were assigned a case study, compared and contrasted the information gathered from the client with research literature, and presented their findings at the end of the course.I think that their teaching approach of using case studies combined with finding research literature and incorporating discussion is very interesting.

Third, I attended “Teaching Who We Are or Who We Want to Be: Creating a Teaching Philosophy through Personal Narrative” presented by Vicki McCready, Louise Raleigh, and Jane Harris from UNC-Greensboro.This was a very helpful session on how to develop your own teaching philosophy through self-reflection.They also covered the components of a teaching philosophy, which should include the following:

  • your view of teaching and learning
  • a description of your teaching approach
  • justification for your teaching approach

They also shared three books with different perspectives: The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer, How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, MD, and A Life in School by Jane Tompkins.

On Sunday, I attended the Closing Session led by Louis Schmier from Valdosta State University and Todd Zakrajsek from UNC-Chapel Hill.Dr. Schmier reminded us that it is important for teachers to connect with their students.He also asked the participants to think about what we want our students to remember from our teaching five years later.I am still pondering his question as I am thinking about my next LIB220 course.

Overall, the Lilly Conference was great and has encouraged me to think and reflect on my own teaching approach.I feel that I have gained deeper insight into teaching, and I plan to apply what I’ve learned into my own teaching strategies. If you would like to discuss any of the sessions that I attended, just let me know!

Sarah at the Lilly Conference: Thursday & Friday

Friday, February 20, 2009 11:21 pm

Yesterday, I attended a very informative pre-conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) at the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching in Greensboro.The pre-conference was led by Scott Simkins, Director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning at N.C. A&T State University and Karen Hornsby from the History Dept. at N.C. A&T State University. The presenters gave each participant a book entitled, Inquiry in the College Classroom: A Journey toward Scholarly Teaching by Paul Savory, Amy Nelson Burnett, and Amy Goodburn; I’m really looking forward to reading it!

Four core practices include the following:

  • Framing questions
  • Compiling evidence
  • Implementing and refining new insights in the classroom
  • Publicly sharing what is learned with others

Each participant applied the SoTL research model to their own course, and everyone commented on others’ ideas for projects.I also received a selected reading list on SoTL, and I’m happy to share it with those who are interested.

On Friday morning, I attended “Active Learning, Constructivism, and the Millennial Student: A Comfortable Marriage,” by Maria Yon from UNC-Charlotte. The constructivist approach provides students with experiences to build on prior knowledge. I agreed with her point that “the teacher is a facilitator and coach rather than a transmitter of knowledge.” In addition, active learning stems from constructivist learning. The rationale behind active learning is that “learning is by nature an active endeavor.” She also shared the characteristics of the Millennial generation:

  • need for relevance (e.g., Why is this lesson important?)
  • enjoy the challenge of problem-solving
  • learn by doing

Next, I attended “Classrooms as Knowledge-Building Communities: A Cross-Cultural Competence and Inquiry Approach” by Maria Stallions from Roanoke College.I agreed with a quote that she shared during her presentation: “Culturally competent educators are aware and respectful of the importance of the values, beliefs, traditions, customs, of students and…are also aware of the impact of their own culture on their interactions with others” (National Association of School Psychologists).She emphasized the need to understand cross-cultural interactions with students.

Friday afternoon, I attended “Millennial Learning: Teacher Communication and our Classroom Environments” by Kim Cuny and Erik Lytle from the University Speaking Center at UNC-Greensboro. This session was very informative and provided tips to enhance communication with students and also addressed how the classroom environment can inhibit communication. Factors that can hinder communication include inappropriately lit rooms, room temperature, classroom design/architecture, and seating arrangement.

On Friday evening, I gave my poster presentation entitled, “Teaching Scientific Scholarly Communication in the Open Access Era.” I shared my teaching approach with LIB220 last semester on Scientific Scholarly Communication, Open Access, and Zotero, and I received great feedback from others. Zotero was incorporated into the final project of LIB220 students, who created bibliographies of articles from Open Access journals as well as traditional subscription-based journals.

The Lilly Conference has been great so far, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions.

Erik, Leslie, Linda E attend Change management workshop

Thursday, February 12, 2009 4:01 pm

This morning, Leslie, Linda E. and Erik attended a change management workshop offered through the professional development center. The workshop touched on a variety of issues surrounding approaching change, managing change in work settings, and working with colleagues to address issues surrounding change in the workplace.

From the initial discussion of participants it was clear that change is a popular theme at Wake Forest right now and we spent a considerable amount of time talking about seeing an organization through both anticipated and unanticipated change.

A few of the strategies included bringing more people into the process of analyzing and problem solving, using extensive communication to make sure that everyone is informed about what is going on, anticipating reactions to change and planning for alternatives, and making sure that everyone had a shared concept of the ‘big picture.’

Steve at ALA Midwinter

Friday, February 6, 2009 6:00 pm

Sorry this is so late, but at least the info included is not time-sensitive.Like several other folks here, I went to the ALA Midwinter Conference in Denver in late-January.I stayed at the apartment of our former colleague Jim Galbraith, who is now living in Denver and working for NetLibrary as a Product Manager.Jim sends his greetings to all.If you get out to Denver within the next year, you should look him up.Of course, by this time next year, it’s anybody’s guess as to what town he’ll be living in.

I got to Denver a little early so I could attend a meeting of the NASIG Executive Board before the conference began, in my role as co-chair of the Conference Planning Committee for the upcoming 2009 NASIG Conference in Asheville.I was only able to stick around for the first two days of the conference, but I managed to attend a few good sessions, which I’ll now discuss.

Actually, the first session I would like to mention is one that wasn’t held.The CC:DA (Cataloging Committee: Description and Access) was supposed to hold a four hour meeting on Friday, Jan. 23 to discuss RDA (Resource Description and Access), the proposed new cataloging code which is intended to replace AACR2.However, due to a lack of responses, the entire meeting was cancelled.That told me that we are quite a way from actually implementing RDA.

That is not to say that there was no discussion of RDA at the conference.That Friday afternoon I attended a meeting of the CCS Forum, which was focused on RDA specifically.The meeting discussed RDA in general terms and the expected benefits of the new standard, but without getting into the nuts and bolts of the standard itself. In her presentation, Barbara Tillett, the Chief of the Policy and Standards Division at the Library of Congress, claimed that RDA is a content standard for the digital age, but one that can be used for all other formats, and that is flexible enough to accommodate future formats.RDA is not an encoding or presentation standard, but is preparing the infrastructure to build for the future, by taking into account user tasks, content standards and conceptual models (particularly the big buzz-word model FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), which space will not allow me to describe here-if you would like to know more about FRBR, please ask me, I will be happy to explain).We currently do not have the systems to deliver the content that RDA allows for.A MARC/RDA Task Group is looking at changes needed to the MARC standard to accommodate RDA, which would require very fine granularity of data to fully implement.Tillett argued that the first release of RDA carries over a lot of AACR2 practice and “case law” (as it were), because library administrators pushed for this continuity to make the transition to RDA less traumatic and extreme for catalogers.She argued that future revisions of RDA would move further from AACR2.Tillett also said that training materials must be developed to help catalogers make the transition from AACR2 to RDA.So, to sum up, the RDA standard has been developed, but we still don’t have a MARC format that can implement the standard, catalog systems that can implement the standard, or training materials to teach catalogers to use the standard.As I said above, I think we’re years away from implementation.

On Saturday, Jan. 24, I attended a session of the CCS Copy Cataloging Interest Group.Joseph Kiegel of the University of Washington discussed their experience as the first library to implement OCLC’s WorldCat Local.WorldCat Local (WCL) is a tool for using bibliographic records directly from OCLC’s database rather than downloading records from OCLC to load into a local system.Instead, the local system contains holdings information and other local information that is fed up to WCL.WCL has driven ILL and consortial borrowing through the roof at U of W.The major drawback to using WorldCat Local is that a library must use the records available on OCLC as they are, even if they have errors, unless the library has Enhance authorization from OCLC, which allows the library to edit the master record.Library staff must go through extensive training to get Enhance authorization in a given format from OCLC.There are six bib record formats, and, of the 232 Enhance authorized libraries in the country, none are authorized to edit all six formats.Indiana University has five formats, and twelve other libraries have four formats.This suggests that WCL is a workable option only for fairly large libraries, with large staffs that can absorb the high levels of training and specialization.In order to address this problem, UCLA is beginning an experimental program with OCLC to loosen OCLC’s current restrictions on the editing of master bib records.The training for the experiment is to begin in February.

I also attended a session with some interesting discussion of holdings records for e-serials, but I think I’ll spare you all those particular musings, considering the current length of this entry.If anyone wants to discuss any of the stuff I’ve written about here, please get in touch.

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online course
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Society of North Carolina Archivists
Southeast Music Library Association
Sun Webinar Series
TALA Conference
UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference
University Libraries Group
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
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