Professional Development

During July 2010...

Basic Book Repair Workshop, UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library

Monday, July 26, 2010 11:53 am

Repair Workshop at UNC Charlotte

Repair Workshop at UNC Charlotte

On Friday, July 23, I taught a Basic book Repair Workshop at UNC Charlotte for 18 attendees from around the region. The attendees came from as far as Duke, Greensboro College, UNC-Charlotte, Johnson & Wales University, Rowan County Public Library and Central Piedmont Community College.
The workshop was hosted by my colleague Katie McCormick, Special Collections Librarian at the Atkins Library. We began the day with a discussion of terms, tools and supplies. I pointed out the key tools used in book repair: a bone folder, micro-spatula, PVA-the adhesive of choice for book repair, and good suppliers to obtain these materials. We didn’t go too deeply into terminology, but I did underscore the concept of using acid-free/archival supplies(pH neutral) in their work to ensure the longest life for the work they do with their books and other materials. We also passed around the ZSR Disaster Plan and talked about the importance of this in libraries. I mentioned some of the disasters we have experienced at ZSR and our response.
Before we actually began work, I also wanted to point out the usefulness of enclosures. For libraries with small budgets and no preservation staff, simply enclosing rare, old or brittle materials is a good way to lengthen their viability. We passed around a series of archival boxes, sleeves and envelopes.
I covered a series of simple repairs from the very basic: tipping-in a loose page to replacing a damaged spine. We also practiced repairing torn pages with heat-set tissue, repairing a broken hinge with Japanese paper, attaching loose signatures, tightening hinges and replacing end sheets.
This information is needed by every library and it is something that is hard to learn by reading a book or online tutorial. You really need someone to demonstrate these techniques. The class was very attentive, laughed politely at my feeble attempts at humor, and all seemed to be pleased at day’s end. The next book repair workshop is scheduled for Manteo in September.

ACRL Webcast: Marketing Ideas That Work in Academic Libraries

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 10:53 am

Yesterday a large group of ZSR staff gathered in LIB204 to watch an ACRL webcast on marketing ideas that work in academic libraries. The format was a ‘Pecha Kucha‘ presentation which is a Japanese word that essentially means the sound of conversation. The general idea of pecha kucha presentations is that several speakers talk for very short periods of time back-to-back – kind of like a lightening round. While I’m not sure the webcast was really a pecha kucha, it was nevertheless very valuable. Five speakers from five different academic libraries each spoke for about six and a half minutes and then took questions for 3 minutes and then we moved on to the next one.

I’m not going to go through item by item of what was discussed but here are some of the great ideas folks had done in their libraries. Many of these sparked the Marketing Committee to start thinking about what we could do in and around ZSR over the next years. If any of these sound like something you would like to be involved in let me know, even if you aren’t on the Marketing Committee!

  • Have students draw mental maps of the library – this can give you a good idea of the things they pay attention to and the places that are important to them. It can also tell you what they don’t know about or don’t see when they are in the building.
  • Include students in all areas of marketing – this was a theme of a couple of the presentations. Libraries had students conduct focus groups, develop marketing plans, do graphic design and even serve as ‘spokesmodels’ (more on that later). The upshot is that students know best what will get the attention of other students plus you can give them real-world experiences that can help them build resumes and/or portfolios.
  • Give mini-staplers as giveaways with your logo/website/catchphrase on them. Seeing how many big staplers walk away in this library each year, I actually think there is some merit in this – if we had a basket of mini staplers at the Reference Desk……
  • Host a reading/discussion program that includes books and documentary films. The library that did this focused theirs around sustainability and had good results. This would be a way to draw in participants from outside the campus as well.
  • Bring in ALA traveling book exhibits. I actually didn’t know you could do this, but you can. Some of them look very interesting. Personally, I think our students would love the Harry Potter one, don’t you??
  • Host a documentary film series. This is a given, I think, after the auditorium opens up.
  • Host a monthly ‘bookmobile’ on your campus. Bring books, films, etc. out of the library to a central campus location for check-out. The library that talked about it organized theirs around themes like Valentine’s Day, etc.
  • Have a week-long birthday celebration for your building. The library that did this was celebrating it’s 10th anniversary. They had cake one day, had a place where students could get their picture taken for their own ‘Read’ poster and hosted a wine/book pairing event. As the Wilson Wing turns 20 in the Spring, this is something we could do. Ideas welcome!
  • One library developed a tag line which was ‘Ask. Discover. Create.’ and they used it on all their branding and marketing materials. I’d like ours to be ‘You can do it. We can help.’ but don’t want Home Depot suing the pants off us…..
  • One of the favorite ideas presented was having students hold up signs with the word ASK on them and getting their pictures taken – the students signed waivers, and the library printed up the pictures on bookmarks and used them other places. They called the students who were photographed ‘spokesmodels’ and used them as a group to help market. They sent the link to the pictures to these folks who in turn posted them to Facebook, used them as profile pictures, etc.

I am sure others will remember other ideas and I hope they share them in the comments. You never know what you will get with these WebCasts, but this time I think we got our money’s worth and more. Several folks who were there have mentioned how useful it was. Thanks to ACRL for hosting it!!

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 11:58 pm

Although the weather was hot and sweltering in DC during ALA, I still had a great time attending informative sessions on cataloging and metadata, going to socials, catching up with friends, and hanging out with Susan and Erik. I was one of the five who rode up and back in the library’s new van.

After dropping off our luggage in our hotel room, Susan, Erik and I walked to the convention center to pick up our conference materials. I tagged along with Susan and Erik to the LITA Happy Hour, the first of two socials that Friday evening. Following social number one, we all three then headed to the Capital City Brewing Company where the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) librarians were having their social.

On Saturday, I attended a session, “Converging Metadata Standards in Cultural Institutions: Apples and Oranges” where librarians from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Smithsonian discussed digital projects that their institutions have created. Daniele Plumer, Coordinator of the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative (THDI), discussed the necessity of educating metadata specialists who work in various institutions (i.e. libraries, archives, museums, state and local government agencies) on content standards, encoding syntaxes, project management and digital library systems and applications. In preparation of the THDI, Amigos Library Services held a series of workshops in five locations across the state as well as online. Some observations from this project by Ms. Plumer included most libraries chose Dublin Core instead of MARC as a metadata scheme, LC subject headings is the most commonly used controlled vocabulary, and overall metadata decisions are driven largely by the design of existing digital asset management systems. Ching-Hsien Wang spoke about the creation of a one-stop discovery center for the 4.6 million records and 445,000 images of the Smithsonian’s museum, archives, library and research holdings and collections. Ms. Wang described this database as a conjoined collaboration, not an individual silo of information. The database has various vocabulary features, facet types from controlled vocabularies, and sharing capability with social media options.

Next, I attended the Copy Cataloging Interest Group’s program where two librarians from the University of Colorado at Boulder described how they developed and implemented a FRBR and FRAD training program for all of their libraries’ professional and copy catalogers. Participants read the entire FRBR document, and at monthly cataloging meetings, discussed the readings and participated in group exercises to reinforce concepts learned. A blog was created for questions and comments on the readings. My last meeting of the day was the ALCTS CCS Recruitment and Mentoring Committee of which I am a member. We are looking into using Google Forms to create a questionnaire for interested mentor and mentee participants in the area of cataloging. Mentors and mentees will be paired based on the the information we collect.

“Cataloging and Beyond: the Year of Cataloging Research” was my first session on Sunday. It was a panel discussion and the room was packed and many were sitting on the floor in the back of the room, including myself. Panelists, one of which was Jane Greenburg, Erik’s Ph.D. advisor, discussed how the data catalogers create provides various areas of research for catalogers to explore. Catalogers’ research can impact and assist in making decisions about cataloging data and catalog design. Are we able and how can we measure usefulness? Per Ms. Greenburg, there are three areas that need researching: automatic metadata generation, creator or author generated metadata, and metadata theory.

Following this session, I attended another panel discussion on the “Strategic Future of Print Collections in Research Libraries.” Print on demand, the impact of scanning on physical books, and preservation were discussed in this session. My final meeting for this ALA was attending the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. I always learn much from attending this session. Topics included print and online bibliographic tools for Africa for which I collected several useful handouts that were distributed. It was proposed to request the ANSS Committee develop a list of core academic library journals for anthropology.

Sunday was also a day for catching up with friends. Lauren C. and I had lunch with a graduate school classmate who is the business and economics reference librarian at Clemson. As mentioned in one of Susan’s posts, she, Erik and I had a lovely dinner with Waits and Christian.

It’s been awhile since I attended a conference with both Susan and Erik. Hanging out with them at conferences, I am assured of three things occurring: exploring the sites of the city, exercising (i.e. a lot of walking around) and having fun.

The Future of Cataloging – Steve at ALA

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 1:49 pm

It’s not often that you go to a conference and have a major realization about the need to re-organize how you do your work and how your library functions, but I did at this year’s ALA. Through the course of several sessions on RDA, the new cataloging code that is slated to replace AACR2, I came to realize that we very much need to implement and maintain authority control at ZSR. This is not easy to say, as it will necessarily involve some expense and a great deal of time and effort, but without proper authority control of our bibliographic database, our catalog will suffer an ever-diminishing quality of service, frustrating patrons and hindering our efficiency.

You may ask, what is authority control? It’s the process whereby catalogers guarantee that the access points (authors, subjects, titles) in a bibliographic record use the proper or authorized form. Subject headings change, authors may have the same or similar names, and without controlling the vocabulary used, users can be confused, retrieving the wrong author or not retrieving all of the works on a given subject.

Here at ZSR we have historically had no authority maintenance to speak of. Our catalog records were sent out to a company to have the authorities cleaned up some time shortly before I started working here, and I started working here eight years ago this month. I have long thought that it was a problem that we have no authority control system, however, it did not seem to be a crisis. However, that was until RDA came along.

RDA (or Resource Description and Access) is, as you probably know by now, the new cataloging code that is supposed to replace AACR2. AACR2 focuses on the forms of items cataloged, whether the item is a book, a computer file, an audio recording, etc. The description gives you plenty of information about the item, the number of pages, the publisher, etc. If you do not have authority control (as we don’t), you may have a book with a similar title to another book, but you can distinguish it by saying, the book I need has 327 pages, with 8 pages of color prints, it’s 23 cm. high and it was published by Statler & Waldorf in 1998. In RDA, the focus is on points of access and in identifying works. Say you have a novel (a work) that has been published as a print book, as an audio book, and as an electronic book (by three different publishers on three different platforms). With RDA, you want to create a record to identify the work, the novel as an abstract concept, not the specific physical (or electronic) form that the novel takes. It’s not as easy to resort to the physical description (as with AACR2), because there may be no physical entity to describe at all. In that case, who wrote the book, the exact title of the book, and the subjects of the book become of paramount importance for identifying a work. RDA essentially cannot function without proper authority control (I had realized this fact during the course of the presentations I attended, but on my last day, a speaker’s first conclusion about preparing for RDA was “Increase authority control.”).

RDA is still being implemented, and the Library of Congress is currently undergoing a test to decide by March 2011 if they will adopt RDA. However, that test period seems a mere formality. There appears to be considerable momentum for the adoption of RDA, and I believe it will be adopted, even if many catalogers do have reservations about it. We may have another year to two-years before the momentum will force us to move to RDA, but in the meantime, I believe we need to get some sort of authority control system in place.

The advantages of authority control will be felt almost immediately in our catalog. The use of facets in VuFind will be far more efficient if the underlying data in the subject headings is in proper order. Also, as we move to implement WakeSpace, which will make us in essence publishers of material, we will need to make sure that we have our authors properly identified and distinguished from others (we need to make sure that our David Smith is the one we’ve got listed as opposed to another David Smith). Also, should we ever attempt to harvest the works of our university authors in an automated way to place them in WakeSpace, we will need to make sure that we are identifying the proper authors. The only way to do that is through authority control.

This issue will require some research and study before we can move forward with implementing authority control and maintenance. We will need some training for our current catalogers (definitely including me), we will need to have our current database’s authorities “cleaned up,” and we will have to institute a way to maintain our authorities, possibly including the hiring of new staff. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be cheap, but if our catalog is to function in an acceptable manner, I think it’s absolutely necessary.

Needless to say, I’ll be happy to talk about this with anyone who wants to.

Derrik at ALA 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010 4:00 pm

This was my first ALA Annual. As I prepared for the conference, I was amazed (and a little disconcerted) at the amount of relevant programming. Every slot seemed to have multiple programs that looked good; one time slot had at least 6 programs of interest. Plus I knew I needed time to visit the vendor exhibits. This was bound to be a good conference.

Three of the sessions I attended dealt specifically with e-resources:

  • Sue Polanka of Wright State Univ. spoke about e-book formats and freeing e-books from DRM. She recommended that librarians urge e-book publishers to use the ePUB standard. Polanka also talked somewhat about electronic textbooks and problems such as ADA compliance and increased demand for bandwidth.
  • In another session, four presenters spoke about usage statistics. One common theme was the need for more content providers to use the COUNTER standard. One speaker described how her library had used usage statistics to communicate value to the university administration, comparing their ScienceDirect payment to what it would have cost to pay for individual downloads.
  • Another presentation dealt specifically with measuring e-book usage, and featured my former department chair, Tom Wright of BYU. He noted that the apparent low use of e-books seems to parallel print; about 50% of print books purchased by his library from 2000 to 2010 have never circulated. BYU is currently working on devising a way to integrate patron-driven acquisition with an approval profile, an intriguing idea which an audience member from Univ. of Iowa said had worked fairly well for them.

I also saw a demo of Notre Dame’s new ERM system, CORAL, which I originally saw last February at the ER&L Conference. CORAL is a fairly simple, open-source system for managing e-resource licenses and acquisitions. The libraries at Stanford and at Duke’s Medical Center have recently implemented CORAL, and Emma Cryer at Duke said that she is “a big fan.” She said it took their programmer an hour to get it set up! I’ll definitely be taking a closer look.

As I said, I knew I would need to spend time in the exhibit hall. What I didn’t anticipate was how productive that time would be; as Susan put it, I had work to do! In my first half-hour visit to the exhibits, I discovered a new full-text Latin American periodicals database. Then a Saturday afternoon program got out early so I spent another half hour in the exhibit hall and learned about a new web-scale discovery product called Deep Web (or something like that), which I’ll be following up on soon. In other visits to the exhibit hall I checked up on upcoming platform changes to ProQuest, SpringerLink, and Wiley Journals, I told Alexander Street Press that we wanted a la carte purchasing &/or customized collections (they’re coming), and spent some time talking with ebrary about their proprietary reader and their web-based reader.

Finally, I’ll add my voice to Lauren’s comment about the iPad with 3G. The instant-on feature is great; if I’d had to wait for it to boot up, I’m not sure I would have used it at all, at least not for taking notes. And the 3G access was important since very few of the places I went had free wi-fi access. Very nice tool; thank you to those responsible!

Lauren C. At ALA Annual 2010: iPad, e-books, video experiments

Monday, July 5, 2010 1:49 pm

The iPad with 3G is an amazing productivity tool at a conference! Quick intros from Barry and JP were extremely helpful in getting me started — thanks, guys! The 3G was absolutely key, because wifi in the convention center was spotty and the added mobility created opportunities. For example, I showed info to a new committee member on the Gale shuttle bus, which I wouldn’t have done with my ThinkPad.

Most of my conference was spent in governance meetings, either with the ALCTS Acquisitions Section committees or with the transition to being on the ALCTS Board. Topics the Board will grapple with during my term as section chair: meeting at Midwinter (or not), shifting more ALCTS publications to electronic instead of print, developing more continuing education webinars, “reshaping” the ALCTS organizational structure, and possibly changing the meeting schedule so that a person could possibly attend all meetings organized by a given section.

I squeezed in a few other events around my Vice-Chair duties and here are three highlights:

  • JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) is a brilliant concept. This peer-reviewed journal is the brain-child of a man with a PhD in stem cell biology, Moshe Pritsker, CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of JoVE. As a grad student, Pritsker was unable to successfully replicate a published experiment by following complex written steps, so grant money had to be used to send him from the US to Edinburgh, UK to see the experiment performed. Because of this experience, Pritsker started a journal that not only publishes the steps but also has the video. According to Pritsker, JoVE had to be a journal, not videos on YouTube, to be successful: authors are motivated to publish in the framework that fits current tenure and recognition processes, and scientists turn to journals for their info. JoVe started as an open access journal but had to go to a subscription model to continue. It is the only video journal indexed in PubMed. Derrik, Carol and I are trying to figure out how we could get this innovative journal since several faculty have already expressed interest.
  • Interest in patron-driven acquisitions of e-books using EBL and eBrary seems to be on the rise. Nancy Gibbs, of Duke University, reported out on a test and someone from Rice University in the audience said they are testing right now too, but on a smaller scale than Duke. I also just found a conference report on a blog for a session I couldn’t attend:
  • I spent some time at the Spacesaver booth working on storage planning jointly with Paul Rittelmeyer from University of Virgina (UVA) and the sales rep. UVA is replacing static shelving with the mobile shelving (Xtend) from Spacesaver; UVA’s project is running about 8 months behind ours, but there was utility in exchanging questions. For example, I learned that we need to communicate shelf “elevation” planning data to Spacesaver now — in other words we need to let the company know the heights of our books so they can hang the shelves to fit our collection size.

An Archivist at ALA Annual 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:48 am

After completing my project as a 2009 Emerging Leader (updating the wiki and resources of the Joint Committee on Archives, Libraries, and Museums, also known as CALM) I was nominated to join the Emerging Leaders subcommittee, which is a big reason why I participated in ALA Annual 2010.

On Friday, June 25, I attended the 2010 Emerging Leader poster session, which included excellent reports from this year’s EL cohort. Final projects have been posted to ALAConnect. The 2010 EL group assigned to CALM created a podcast that included an interview with the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. After the poster session, I joined the hush of librarians that waited patiently for the Exhibit Hall to open.

On Saturday, June 26, a session entitled “Developing a Sustainable Digitization Workflow” was canceled, so I wandered over to the professional poster sessions and discovered a relevant and interesting poster by Melanie Griffin and Barbara Lewis of the University of South Florida’s Special & Digital Collections department. Entitled “Transforming Special Collections: A (Lib) Guide to Innovation,” the poster detailed the department’s creative use of LibGuides to create special collections guides that unify digital objects and EAD into one interactive interface. Here is an example of a guide to graphic arts materials, with a specific collection tab selected. Their MARC (via Fedora) and EAD (via Archon) is displayed in LibGuide boxes using script created by their systems librarian. Perhaps the most interesting result of the experimental project is that statistics show higher hits to collections that were displayed as LibGuides. I am in touch with Melanie and Barbara, who continue their project and are working to create a new stylesheet for their EAD as well.

After lunch, I attended the Emerging Leaders summit, which was a discussion led by current and past Emerging Leaders to reflect on the process and experience of the EL program. I gathered feedback to bring to the EL subcommittee meeting. On Sunday, June 27, I participated in the EL subcommittee meeting (my first experience with ALA committee work). We discussed the EL mentor experience and project development, as well as assessment and managing expectations from both the EL and mentor/sponsor perspective.

After lunch with Atlas Systems regarding the Aeon archives management program, I attended the LITA Top Tech Trends forum. This was my first time at TTT, which Erik explores in greater detail in an earlier post. Cindi Trainor brought up a topic that I thought I would hear only at an archivists’ gathering: after declaring the end of the era of physical copy scarcity, she asked “what will the future scarce commodities be” in libraries. Of course, my ears heard “what will future special collections and archives be?” For the first time, I started thinking that as an archivist, I should be part of LITA.

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