Professional Development

During April 2010...

Report on course materials symposium

Monday, April 26, 2010 3:45 pm

On Monday Molly, Barry and Erik attended the WFU symposium on the future of course materials at Wake Forest from the remote location in the ZSR library. The symposium was run using adobe connect and we were amazed when we saw our own Lynn Sutton introduce the espresso book printing machine.

There were lots of interesting sessions including on-demand publishing, open textbooks, and the future of e-book readers.

Steve at the 2010 North Carolina Serials Conference

Friday, April 23, 2010 4:29 pm

On April 15, Derrik, Chris and I (along with Janet Malliett of Winston-Salem State, and formerly of PCL) drove to Chapel Hill to attend the 19th North Carolina Serials Conference at the Friday Center.

The keynote address was delivered by Tim Rogers, Executive Director of NC LIVE. His address was called “Running in Packs: What Libraries Learned from Very Smart Animals,” and it used a series animal-based metaphors to argue for the utility of library consortia. By comparing libraries to packs of wolves and swarms of shorebirds, Rogers illustrated how consortia can help libraries conserve resources (especially funding), improve communication, and provide negotiating strength in numbers. As I’m already a strong believer in consortia, I found Rogers quite persuasive.

I then attended a breakout session called “Manipulating, Managing, and Making Your Case for Vendor Records,” presented by Jacquie Samples and Erin Stalberg of NC State. They gave a balanced presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of using vendor-supplied bibliographic records for electronic resources. On the plus side, you can get them into your system faster, saving staff time and effort, and there is no good reason to re-create data that has been created by someone else. On the minus side, they cost money. However, because in-house cataloging also costs money, the cost of vendor supplied records is often cheaper in the long run, but this money has to come from collection budgets rather than personnel budgets. Also, on the con side, when using vendor records there is a loss of quality control. As we have found here at Wake, when using vendor records, one has to be figure out what is acceptable in terms of quality and completeness of information.

Our next slot was a general session called “Today’s Technology Trends or ‘What Do I Do With That?’” presented by some woman named…uh…Laura Preston?…no, Lauren Pressley, that’s it. From Wake Forest. She was very good, I recommend you listen to her talk on technology some time.

I also attended a session on professional development for paraprofessional staff, which touched on many things that we do here, a lively round-table discussion (which wound up being a packed-room discussion) on electronic resources management, and a closing panel on collection development strategies for electronic and serial resources.

All in all, it was a good conference. In addition to the good company during the drive to and from the conference, I had the chance to catch up with former co-workers from UNC as well as friends and colleagues from NASIG.

Preserving Forsyth-Walkertown Workshop

Sunday, April 18, 2010 11:57 am

Audra Films Barry

On Saturday, April 17th, we sang the third stanza of a four verse hymn at the Walkertown Public Library. The title of the hymn is “Preserving Forsyth.” It is funded by an LSTA grant in which a small cadre from ZSR and the Forsyth County Public Library teaches preservation and digitization principles and techniques.

The group of about 15 participants was welcomed by Library Director and Wake alum, William Durham. Audra Eagle next described the project and what the day would bring in instruction. Audra had the great idea to have the attendees fill out interest cards before we began. This helped us know what their expectations were. Audra next discussed organization of collections. She mentioned the concept that no one knows what you have in your collection except you for small personal collections, and talked about basic archival principles. Audra mentioned two primary concepts in archives: “Original Order” (respect for the originator’s order) and “Provenance” (honoring the creator of a collection by making it separate from others). She also had lots of practical advice like making an inventory and “get it off the floor and put it in a box.”

Craig Demonstrates Repair Techniques
In the next portion, Craig discussed preservation principles. The key ideas of controlling light, an even, non-fluctuating temperature and Relative Humidity, and good air quality was stressed. He also covered the 1967 flood of the Arno River in Florence, Italy and how the gathering of librarians, archivists and curators to recover the works of art in Florence was the genesis of today’s preservation principles and best practices.

After a hearty Mexican lunch and a spilled Diet Coke, the group reconvened. Craig demonstrated a variety of hands-on preservation techniques. These included repairing paper tears, tipping-in loose pages, text block consolidation and spine replacement. He also held a show and tell of various enclosure types. The group seemed very engaged. I should also mention that Barry has set up an ingenious system using video of the preservation repairs and projects, which he projects on a large screen. This makes the audience able to see clearly everything.

Barry Davis next discussed digitization and equipment use. Barry covered each piece of equipment: Epson flatbed scanner, Nikon slide Scanner, Ion Tape 2 PC and the Ion VCR 2 PC converters. He next went through the process of scanning and storing each digitized item: paper, slides, cassettes tapes and VHS tapes. I especially enjoyed the audio tape he converted as this was the Wake Forest Fight song…a few of us in the audience even clapped in time with the music!

We opened things up for questions at the end and each person informally talked with the attendees. In all, a great day. Thanks to Giz for the photos.

ZSR Goes Digital with its First E-book!

Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:48 am

The ZSR Library has joined the ever growing E-book craze by creating its very first (to my knowledge) E-book! Please stop by Wakespace — link removed — and give it a download to your favorite .epub reading device and check out a wonderful piece from our Rare Books Collection, A historic catalog of Irish pressed greeting cards published by Cuala.

This E-book is just the first step in a combined preservation/digitization project now underway in ZSR. Each card you see in our E-book will be removed from its current, worn out book, described, digitized, and remounted in a pristine and preservation-friendly new binding. We hope to produce digital copies of each individual card as well as the full final product, which will be made available as an E-book as well providing an interesting comparison between the original and the new, a before and after in the most literal sense.

Producing the E-book itself was remarkably easy in the often complex and frustrating world of digital formats. Our digitization students took overhead shots of each page of the original catalog, for use by the preservation team in metadata collection and as a base to begin restoration. We then (after a quick crop and some basic straightening) converted all of these photos into one PDF book.

Now comes the easy part, for once. Using a free software found online, Calibre E-book Management, we were able to convert this PDF file into a standard E-book format, .epub for use on any E-book reader that supports that format. ZSR’s own Giz Womack graciously tested this out on his new iPad, creating the following screenshots:

This is how the book looks in Giz’s library. As you probably guess, the worn blue cover is our book.

And this is an example of how one of the pages appears, almost like holding the original, just without the dust!

The conversion itself was rendered remarkably easy by the Calibre software. I simply imported the PDF file into my E-book library, clicked a dropdown menu, and started the conversion program. A few minutes of CPU grind later, and it spat out our E-book. I was then able to edit in any metadata I wished, including title, author, and the other necessities. For this test case, a title was sufficient, but we should be able to characterize our future projects very well, and have this information presented to everyone who reads our E-books upfront. All of this could have been done manually, since the .epub format is actually just a .zip file with a very specific file structure, and can be “built from scratch.” However, a simple to use and free software that does this work for you, and does it better and much faster is definitely the way to go, in my humble opinion.

Please take a moment to download our E-book to a device of your choice, or if you are interested in just looking at the greeting cards, the original PDF is also available online at –link removed.

PDC Workshop: Managing Upward

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:48 pm

When I saw the PDC posting for a seminar on “Managing Upward” I was attracted by the possibilities! In my position as Director of RITS, one of my most important responsibilities is to act as an advocate for my 14 team members and do my best to secure the resources they need to advance the mission of the library and to implement new ideas and programs. Often it is not only a question of “selling” to the Library Dean (AKA Lynn), but to influence other departments (for instance, IS) that an idea or proposal is desirable. The objectives of the workshop touched on some of the skills that are important to success in this area: identifying my influence style, finding how to leverage different types of “power”, how to build trust, and identifying tactics to align with my boss and enhance our working relationship.

I was joined at the workshop by others from ZSR Library (Leslie, Steve and Chris) who had their own objectives for the morning, so you may hear a different take on some of the ideas presented and discussed.

The first part of the day was spent exploring the idea of influence. Influence was defined as “the power and ability to effect the actions, behavior and/or the opinions of others.” It is important to recognize your “natural” influencing style, but just as important to understand the type of style is preferred by those you need to influence! Four different types of influencing techniques were identified, each with different “buckets”:

  • Reasoning (buckets: Rational Persuasion, Legitimizing). Using logical arguments and evidence or using your authority can be useful when there is not a lot of time and there is need for quick decision making.
  • Participating (buckets: Collaboration, Consultation Building, Alliance Building). This is a technique that we use often in the library where we seek buy-in to move an initiative forward. It also is a viable approach when you don’t know the answer and need input, or when you have an idea but can’t pull it off alone!
  • Reciprocating (buckets: Exchange, Pressure). This one was described by a participant as the “carrot or stick” approach. You can exchange support for your needs by promising support for theirs. This approach is also the only where you can put pressure on through such techniques as persistent reminders.
  • Relating (buckets: Personal Appeal, Inspirational Appeal, Ingratiating). This the the type of influence where you appeal to loyalty, values and ideals, or use compliments to gain support.

Next, we talked briefly about bases of power that each person may have: Reward (Do you have the power to reward the person who you are trying to influence?), Coercive ( Do you have the ability to withhold from or punish the person?), Referent (Do you have the ability to influence based on your personal attributes?), Expert (Are you the subject expert?), and Legitimate (Is your ability to influence due to your formal role and responsibilities?). When talking about having personal power to influence, we are talking about referent power and it is based totally on trust.

How do we become trusted? The discussion of trust was broken down into two major components: personal capacity for trust and transactional trust. All of us have some kind of foundation for how we think about trust. It is usually shaped at an early age by such things as family stability, loss and feeling trusted by others. I might be a person who presumes trust until someone proves they don’t deserve it. Or I may be a skeptic who requires a person to prove they are trustworthy. This shapes how we think about trust but it’s helpful to understand how the people we want to influence feel personally about trust as well. Additionally, we build trust through transactions and every one of these transactions either builds or erodes trust. Transactional trust is broken into three areas and each of us has one that is our “trust” strength: communication, contractual and competence.

  • Communication Trust is fostered by openly sharing information, not surprising people at the last minute, being candid about your own feelings and asking or and being receptive to feedback without defensiveness.
  • Contractual Trust is fostered by making and keeping agreements, doing what you say you are going to do, not over-promising/under-delivering, making it right when you’re wrong, holding others accountable for their agreements and being willing to make a commitment.
  • Competence Trust is fostered by demonstrating respect for people’s skills, supporting acquisition of new skills, providing a safe place for people to learn from mistakes, not micro0managing, providing whole projects (not just tasks), and giving challenging assignments outside a person’s safe zone.

We were asked to pick which one of these was our natural tendency. Most of us chose “contractual” but I must report Steve’s strength was “communication” and Chris was the lone person to self-select “competence.” The interesting part of this exercise was the instructor’s premise that whichever of these is your primary strength is probably the one for which you set the highest standards for others. So if I am contractual and my boss isn’t, I will have difficulty if she doesn’t value meeting deadlines (no worries there!). Again, understanding how the people you want to influence value the different transactional trusts can help inform how you approach them.

Finally, we quickly covered the ways to align with your boss. These were all things that (in my opinion) are basic common sense things (but important):

  • Know what your boss cares about
  • Make the most of time with your boss
  • Help your boss be successful
  • Don’t surprise your boss (I can vouch for that one!)
  • Don’t approach your boss with only problems
  • Clarify mutual expectations early and often
  • Admit mistakes
  • Take 100% responsibility for the relationship with your boss

I found the workshop to be useful in that it validated many things I intrinsically know, but it was good reinforcement to hear it articulated in a formal presentation!


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