Professional Development

During October 2010...

Assessment in Libraries – day 2

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 12:30 am

Stephen Town, University Librarian at the University of York, UK, Tuesday’s opening keynoter, reminded librarians that library assessment has been mostly about quality and quantity, but not about value. However, libraries are under pressure to prove their value. Value he defined as the quality or fact of being excellent, useful or desirable. But what is value to libraries? Town felt that cost efficiency and cost effectiveness equal to value in the minds of many. Both concepts correspond to the two bottom lines that libraries have, one for being financial and the other for being academic. A new higher order framework for evaluation and performance measurement based on a values scorecard was suggested. Mission is the “what” for libraries and values is the “how.” In the question and answer follow up, Steven Bell asked if the “how” isn’t indeed the “why” that libraries also have struggle identifying.

“Assessing Organizational Effectiveness: the Role of Frameworks” given by Joseph Matthews, discussed the challenges associated with demonstrating organizational effectiveness. The real value of performance measures is when an organization goes through a planning process that identifies performance measures that are linked to the organization’s vision, goals and objectives.

Good performance measures are:

1. Balanced – include both financial and non financial measures

2. Aligned to the organization’s strategies

3. Flexible – can be changed as needed

4. Timely and accurate

5. Simple to understand

6. Focused on improvement

I attended three sessions under the organizational performance track on the use of Balanced Scorecards. The Balanced Scorecard is an organizational performance model that ties strategy to performance in four different areas. Those areas are finance, learning and growth, customers and internal processes. One session of particular interest was an initiative that ARL undertook with four libraries to explore the suitability of scorecards for academic research; to see if they would benefit from consultant expertise; to encourage cross collaboration and to see if common objectives would emerge. The four schools included in the project were the University of Richmond, the University of Washington, Johns Hospital University and McMaster University. When asked why they opted in on the study; one wanted to create a culture of assessment; one wanted to drive organizational change; one wanted to drive the conversation about the value of libraries and finally one wanted to create a framework for strategic planning. Twenty months into the pilot, a few commonalities surfaced. They were:

· Financial – securing funding for operation needs.

· Customer – provide productive and user centered spaces.

· Learning and growth – develop workforces that are productive, motivated and engaged.

· Internal process – promote library resources, services and value.

Making the scorecard understandable and making the time commitment were each listed as challenges to implementation. In conclusion this ARL quote was given. “Any tool that forces you to identify priorities, measure what matters, and engages staff about the future is valuable.”

The luncheon speaker was great. David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, warned librarians that failure to use the data generated by your library may be hazardous to your health. Presidents and provost throughout the country are bombarded with mandates to cut their budgets. Academic support services are first on their list. Libraries must show how their vision, mission and goals align with the university’s strategic initiatives. Data is being collected on campuses in almost every domain, but none of this data is being used to support the value of libraries. Retention rates, graduation rates, time to degree, national ranking of academic programs and the ability of faculty members to successfully obtain grant funding are all areas with data that could and should be used.

A later program analyzed data from the MISO Survey. ( This survey gathers input from faculty, staff, and students about the importance, use and satisfaction with campus library and computing services. For the presentation data was collected and analyzed from 38 colleges and smaller universities. The MISO survey team provided a look at relationships between services and trends in service popularity. The survey was sent to all faculty and staff and then a selective sampling of students. Findings suggested that faculty consider library research instruction, library liaisons, the library website and interlibrary loan as increasingly important, while faculty use of library catalogs, circulation services and library reference services are decreasingly less important. The cost to administer the survey and analyze the data currently runs about $1500 dollars.


Assessment in Libraries Conference

Monday, October 25, 2010 11:00 pm

The 2010 Library Assessment Conference themed, Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment, is the third in a series of planned conferences devoted to building an assessment culture and community within libraries. Held every two years, the conference is co-sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the University of Virginia and the University of Washington. This years’ conference attendance was capped at 460 with almost as many waitlisted. The 2012 conference will return back to the University of Virginia, home of the first conference.

This morning’s opening session featured Fred Heath from the University of Texas, who gave an overview of the major library assessment initiatives over the past century. From its chaotic beginnings to its adoption by ARL, assessment efforts continue to improve. Heath paid tribute to several pioneers, acknowledging significant contributions down through the years.

“Are They Learning? Are We? Learning Outcomes & the Academic Library,” was the selected topic given by the second opening keynoter, Megan Oakleaf. According to Oakleaf, librarians face a new assessment challenge. We must demonstrate the impact of academic libraries on student learning. Librarians should begin the process with a list of desired outcomes. These outcomes should describe what they want students to learn and then how this intersects with institutional and departmental goals. Oakleaf suggest the following six questions are most relevant to the assessment challenges faced by librarians today. 1) How committed are librarians to student learning? 2) What do librarians want students to learn? 3) How do librarians document student learning? 4) How committed are librarians to their learning? 5) What do librarians need to learn? 6) How can librarians document their own learning?

The afternoon sessions were ninety minutes long and featured three different presenters, each giving brief overviews. The first of these shared a focus on the use of rubrics in the assessment process. UNCG’s Kathy Crowe used a rubric to score worksheets used within a Communication Studies upper level course. This department had a long standing relationship with the library, but faculty members continued to be frustrated with the quality or resources selected and the student’s poor citation skills. As a result of the worksheet scores, changes were implemented that resulted in dramatically improved performance.

The third session entitled “But What Did They Learn? What Classroom Assessment Can Tell You about Student Learning,” compared typical course evaluations with a classroom assessment technique called the “minute paper.” Common techniques tend to reveal if students are satisfied with the classroom instruction, but rarely do they reveal what the student learned. The “minute paper” approach asks two questions. 1) Name one useful thing you learned? 2) Name one thing you’re still confused on?

The second parallel session I attended focused more on general academic library assessment. I was most impressed with the University of Mississippi’s campus wide assessment program. This program required all campus units to submit biannual reports which have to include at least three objectives with multiple means of assessment for each objective. The program also requires that the campus unit develop changes to their operations based on the assessment. The program specifically prohibits lack of funding as a rationale for not making necessary improvements.

Unlike most conferences, planners carved out tonight for dinner and poster sharing. I found this approach very nice. I was able to view the eighty plus posters with ease, have several meaningful conversations with colleagues and enjoy a splendid dinner buffet. I’ll share more later.


Achieving Strategic Change in Research Libraries II

Thursday, October 21, 2010 11:18 pm

2CUL: A Transformative Research Library Partnership

Jim Neal, Columbia University, Anne Kenney, Cornell University

Neal and Kenney described a radical partnership between two ARL libraries. Cornell and Columbia have similarities in that they are both private Ivy League institutions, ranked in the top 10 of the Association of Research Libraries, and are located in New York State. However, they also have very different cultures. Funded by a Mellon grant, they hired the Ithaka organization as consultants to facilitate their goals of increased productivity, innovation and reduction of duplication. The context for their partnership describes the current academic library environment: rapidly shifting user behavior and expectations, redundant and inefficient library operations, aging service paradigms, ATM expectations on the part of users, an emphasis on unique resources, the need to achieve scale and network effects through aggregation, a permanent beta state of mind, advanced open architecture, mandate for systemic change, acceleration of collection and a new economic context. New roles for libraries may come as consumers, intermediaries, aggregators, publishers, educators, r&d organizations, entrepreneurs, and policy advocates. New arenas for collaboration include centers of excellence, mass production, new infrastructures, new initiatives, meaning essentially Quality, Productivity, Innovation.

Best soundbite of the day: “Discovery is the new black.”

Cloud Sourcing Research Collections

Constance Malpas, OCLC and John Wilkin, University of Michigan

This presentation was worth the cost of registration all by itself. Malpas gave an absolutely brilliant analysis of the feasibility of using shared digital and print repositories as a service delivery model for academic libraries. 2010 marked the year that expenditures for electronic materials outstripped print in US academic libraries, but monographs remain the driver in terms of life cycle costs for print storage. Monographs have been the most resistant to change, at least until the advent of Google and the Hathi Trust.

The Hathi Trust is the sexiest concept in librarianship today. John Wilkin described its origin and growth. Hathi (hah-tee) is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal highly regarded for its memory, wisdom, and strength. Starting with the content digitized by Google, the members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (Big Ten libraries) and the University of California system decided early in the project to share their digital files as a trust for future researchers. While only 23% is currently out of copyright and available (at least until an expected Google Book settlement), the goal is long term access and preservation. There will be 8 million digital volumes at the end of 2010 and 14 million by 2012. The goals of the Hathi Trust go far beyond Google digitization, their first order of business is long term preservation of digital content – with access. This will be a game changer for all academic libraries. Malpas predicts in 5-10 years, a small number of shared print repositories can suffice or low use monographs – providing that service models are built to facilitate access. An immediate question for ZSR is should we continue to store monographs that are in the public domain and digitally available through the Hathi Trust? And that is only the beginning of the questions we need to ask.

Models for Organizational Realignment

David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States; Carla Stoffle, University of Arizona; Vivan Lewis, McMaster University, Canada

Each of these speakers described planned organizational change in their libraries. Arizona and McMaster engaged in intentional repeated changes every couple of years. Ferriero used President Obama’s principles of open government to change the culture at the National Archives and Records Administration. After perhaps trying to do too much, too quickly, McMaster used the Balanced Scorecard to focus on the most important organizational priorities. Arizona has had four major reorganization since they invented the team structure (that we still use here) in the mid-1990’s. They do this with a relentless focus on the customer.

I very much enjoyed the ARL/CNI Forum. ARL members understand their responsibility to use their resources and scale to achieve the systemic change that will set the model for academic libraries in this country. It is fun to watch them do it.

Achieving Strategic Change in Research Libraries I

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:06 pm

Last Thursday and Friday I attended a seminar in Washington DC sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and Coalition for Networked Information called Achieving Strategic Change in Research Libraries. In my experience, ARL programming is first-rate and I was not disappointed.

The opening keynote was by David Shulenberger, formerly Provost at Kansas and now with the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. He is sort of the godfather of the scholarly communication/open access movement but his talk here was a rather sobering assessment of the future of research universities. He sees them as threatened (as are their libraries) by a shift in national and state priorities away from research support and toward short-term job growth through community college education. He says the U.S. risks a decline in global competitiveness compared to China and India unless this is reversed. Depressing.

The first session on Friday was by Joan Gallos of the University of Missouri-Kansas City but best known to librarians for her work with the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute. Her talk was entitled, “Library Leadership and the Courage to Learn: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” The room was full of library leaders in the twilight of their careers who took that news with a big sigh. Her basic message was that leadership is at its best when we embrace the human side. Transformational leadership is deeply personal and demands both the head and heart. Here is good advice for any leader:

Think multiple moves ahead AND relish the unexpected.

Be strategically clear and focused AND open to opportunity.

Deeply self-engage AND deeply engage others.

Be both measured in action AND audacious.

You can be tough and demanding AND compassionate, forgiving, and nurturing.

We were all asked to do some self-reflection and place ourselves on the head-heart continuum. I rated myself 60% head and 40% heart. Don’t know if my ZSR colleagues would agree with that, but it does get you thinking!

Part II later.

GBW Standards of Excellence- Presentations

Monday, October 18, 2010 12:05 pm

I attended three sessions this year and was delighted that these focused on binding and books.


Martha Little spoke on “Evidence of Structure and Procedure in Books.” Martha has been the Head Conservator at the University of Michigan Libraries and Book Conservator at Yale. Her presentation was a kind of deconstruction of the historical book. It was partly taking books apart to understand them and partly examining stains, sewing and even pest damage. She literally took historic structures apart to understand them. This included a two-volume set of Homer which had been sewn together and a new leather cover applied to hide the fact. She told how two book scholars (Roger Powell and Berthe van Regemorter) examined an identical Ethiopian binding and came to very different conclusions about how it was made. Little made models of both these books to show us who was likely more correct in their theory (Powell). Martha tested adhesives using the reagent potassium iodide to show the presence of starch adhesives. She also made cord using linen thread which she plied together using a hand drill to make a heavy cord that could be used to sew signatures onto. Martha also examined how books were put together and successively re-sewn over time. She did this using a guide developed in England at Trinity College, by mapping sewing holes, saw kerfs, and tackets on the text block and book boards. Martha made a diagram from the sewing holes which showed the binding and re-sewing over time. A real lesson in book construction history!

Martha Little’s models of Ethiopian binding



Jeff Peachey gave a great presentation on Late 18th century French binding structures. Peachey is a book conservator in NYC and the inventor of several machines for binding and also makes a variety of well-respected leather paring knives. Jeff is also a book conservator of the first order-hence, his project was bolstered by historical research and hands-on knowledge of binding. Peachey conducted research of the Diderot Encyclopedie (we have a complete set in our collection) to determine how bindings were constructed in 18th century France. The Diderot is not a traditional encyclopedia, but a how-to manual complete with diagrams and illustrations of various processes. During his session, Jeff demonstrated how to construct one of these bindings taken from the pages of Diderot. He used demonstrations and pre-made models to do this, along with illutrations from the pages of Diderot. It was fascinating to see Jeff, demonstrate binding, tool sharpening, ploughing (plowing) and leather paring, as well as his model of 18th century binding.


Michael Burke presented the third session on Byzantine Binding. Michael currently teaches binding in England, but has also been involved in the San Francisco Center for the Book. His presentation used historic books from the Byzantine period (circa 300-1200 AD) to construct a model of this style of binding. The book has wooden boards, quarter-sawn and drilled. The text block is sewn up in halves and then joined together. This style of binding is beautiful, but and Michael was unsure why it was sewn in halves-no doubt a question lost to history.


I had several meals with Tony Gardner, President of the GBW California Chapter and former Head of Special Collections at Cal State, Northridge. Tony has experience working with his library development officer and shared how his institution conducted outreach using their collection.

I also had the opportunity to meet several suppliers:
Marge Salik and her daughter from Talas.

Nancy Morains from Colophon Book Arts Supply.

All in all, I attended a great series of sessions on book structure and history, made a number of good contacts and had some invaluable discussions with other professionals interested in binding.

RITS Annual Team Retreat 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010 7:42 pm

This year, the RITS (Research, Instruction & Technology Services) team stayed in Winston-Salem for our annual team retreat. We reserved the President’s Garage which is close to campus but is perfect space for a daylong retreat. We typically aim for the Friday of fall break as our team is comprised of many public service/instruction library faculty/staff, so it’s one day that we can get away from the semester’s obligations!

This year I decided to incorporate a few of the types of activities I’ve been experiencing in the Career Development for Women Leadership program and in my leadership class at UNCG. Universal topics address teamwork and communication. With the level of changes and increased number of projects and service demands, I thought it would be a good idea to spend some time talking about these important issues.

I borrowed one of the team building exercises that I did recently. It involves having the team work together to untie knots in two connected ropes. The metaphor here is that the knots are “problems”. The team needs to analyze how to address the problem and solve it together. As I cheered the group on, they worked together to figure out how to remove all the knots and disconnect the two ropes. Following the successful completion of the exercise, we discussed what sort of teamwork qualities were important in being successful. Here is a short video of the end of the 15 minute exercise:

Then we spent the majority of the morning discussing communication. I discovered an assessment “What’s My Communication Style?” that had been used successfully by another department on campus. I acted as facilitator and the rest of team completed the 10 minute survey that identified their predominant style of communication:

  • direct (gets to the bottom line, maintains eye contact, presents positions strongly, prefers to be in control, thrives on competition)
  • spirited (persuasive, a good storyteller, works at a face pace, generates enthusiasm)
  • considerate (listens well, builds trust, values relationships, team player)
  • systematic (precise, seeks information, organized, makes decisions based on facts)

Of course, often people exhibit aspects of each style, and that enables them to switch between styles when they are relating with people whose styles differ from theirs. We learned how to spot what style other people might be so that you can flex your style to suit the particular situation. As a group, we agreed that there might be value to have others at ZSR do this assessment to establish their styles. We discussed how these styles might play into committee assignments both of members and of chairs, as well as other scenarios where understanding communication styles might help us reach our goals more efficiently.

Communication Assessment

The next communication assessment we completed concerned assessing how we tend to have crucial conversations under stress.

Finally, we turned to issues specific to RITS and ZSR Library. We reviewed our progress on this year’s team goals and made sure we were on track for the upcoming budget requests before we broke for lunch.

Roz was the “chef” for lunch, having shopped for a variety of salads at Whole Foods and by baking vegan cupcakes to celebrate Lauren Pressley’s birthday which was today.

We devoted the afternoon to “future talk.” In addition to exploring the future direction of Lib 100/200, we asked: what do we think is important and how do we establish priorities? How do we spend the right amount of time on the right things? And, how do we assess these and report them up the chain so that everyone knows what our team is accomplishing? It was a spirited conversation and we established a few concrete action goals to get us started. We will start working on ways to simplify grading in our information literacy courses without sacrificing quality assessment and we are going to start leveraging our top student assistants to work on some of the projects (like updating toolkit videos) we think are important, but for which we don’t have the time to do. The Tech Team will investigate the feasibility of introducing SCRUM to improve response and productivity with our technology goals.

To see some pictures from our day, check out my Flickr site collection.

Guild of Bookworkers Standards of Excellence Seminar- Tucson

Friday, October 15, 2010 4:46 pm

What, you may ask is the Guild of Bookworkers? Founded in 1906, it promotes hand binding and all the fields surrounding it. As their statement says: “The Guild still believes, as did its founders, that there is a responsibility among civilized people to sustain the crafts involved with the production of fine books.” They also have a blog! This is the 29th Standards of Excellence Seminar seminar. These are lectures and demonstrations by people in the craft who are at the peak of their abilities. Among them are: Jeff Altepeter, Bookbinding teacher at the North Bennett Street School in ; Ann Frellsen, Preservation Librarian at Emory and former colleague of Lauren Corbett; James Reid-Cunnngham, Chief conservator at the Boston Athenaeum Library; Bill Minter, who invented the ultrasonic encapsulating machine; Dominck Riley, an accomplished English binder, who has also made films on the subject which ZSR has in our collections; and Jesse Meyer Pergamena Parchment, who has appeared on the TV show “Dirtiest Jobs.”

On our first day, we visited a 18th century mission, San Xavier.

This mission was built in the late 1700’s and is currently undergoing a huge restoration. We were able to see a restorer artwork on the altar of the church, which is covered with paintings from the 18th century-painted like frescoes-on the walls.


It was hot, so many like Richard Spelker, from California, donned appropriate attire.

During the evening, we were guests of the University of Arizona Library Special Collections.

The Special Collections unit has a large space Lynn (and the entire ZSR Special Collections Team) would love.

There is a large meeting room, a gallery and a secured reading room with controlled access and several separate consulting/research spaces. I met the director and had a nice discussion around the Philip Smith binding of James Joyces’ Ulysses.
The Special Collections Reading room was decked out with prize bindings, each with a printed catalog record.

What follows is a few images of these bindings from U of A Special Collections:





2010 NCLA RTSS Fall Workshop: Navigating the New Frontier

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 1:58 pm

2010 NCLA RTSS Fall Workshop: Navigating the New Frontier

The keynote address was given by Bradford Eden, AUL for Technical Services & Scholarly Communications at UC Santa Barbara. The topic was “The New Information Landscape: Technical Services Future”.

Questions posed by Mr. Eden to the attendees were: What has changed our perspectives of libraries and how we gather information; what lies within our control and what is out of our control; and where does Technical Services go from here?
Mr. Eden also stressed the importance of media literacy for librarians. Obtaining information has changed greatly due to video (YouTube), social networking and the amount of information that is accessed with our mobile devices. What is out of our control is the economy, state support for higher education and the impact of the Google digitization project. These digitized collections will not be cheap and will greatly impact library budgets.
For academic libraries, providing access to our special and unique collections will play an important role in our future. Collaborations with other lending institutions will require moving to a network level. This could help free up collection space and relieve some budgetary constraints.
If you are interested in his entire presentation, it will be posted on the NCLA website in the RTSS section. It is well worth the read!
Linda Ziglar

Purchase on Demand

Purchase on Demand (POD) for print and electronic books is a hot topic and a relatively new patron service offered in libraries today. Librarians from three universities (East Carolina, NC State, and UNCG) discussed the incorporation of this service in their respective libraries. UNCG only purchases e-books, while NC State and East Carolina purchase only print books. Used print books are not bought because the state of North Carolina frowns upon it. There are several POD models from which libraries can choose to incorporate and customize. Requests come from patrons via ILL, Circulation, Reference, Acquisitions, or through a subject liaison. POD supplements approval plans, standing order plans, and firm orders.

Each library represented had their own criteria and procedures for POD requests. UNCG utilizes YBP, Coutts, and MyiLibrary for e-book purchasing for the following disciplines: Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Nursing, and Public Health. Cataloging records for e-book titles are downloaded via FTP site and are dumped into the online catalog. Once a book has been used twice by a patron, only then is the library charged for that particular title and these purchases are charged back to a departmental fund code. The library is invoiced monthly for second use books, and it hopes to eventually make this service available to all disciplines. The other two libraries established their own individual selection criterion that is adhered to when purchasing POD books. Factors considered when purchasing POD requests include age (i.e. published within the last two years), shipping, language, cost ($100 limit for NC State, $125 for East Carolina). For theses/dissertation requests, East Carolina patrons access ProQuest full-text database for these items. Requests for series/sets, audio/visual, juvenile fiction, textbooks, manuals, and guidebooks are excluded from purchasing. East Carolina’s ILL-centered POD service handles their requests in a unique way. ILL purchases items online with a credit card and then notifies Acquisitions by sending them a purchase notice. POD shipments are received by ILL, and these items are treated as ILL loans. Cataloging and new book processing occur after the patron has returned the title. NC State fully processes their POD purchases before handing them over to patrons.

Some drawbacks of ILL-centered POD as reported by East Carolina’s librarian:
• Lines of authority and responsibility are blurred.
• Collection Development loses some control of collection.
• ILL emails have been overlooked by Acquisitions.
• Duplicates have arrived by liaisons and approval plan.
• Patrons cannot place holds for on-order items.
• Many ILL offices cannot get a credit card.
• POD takes time away from regular ILLs.
• ILL pays more in shipping and does not get discounts.
• It can bolster unrealistic patron expectations.
Carolyn McCallum

E-Readers in Libraries

This session was entitle “Pioneering E-book Reader Lending at a Public Library, University Library, and Community College Library” and the presenters were David Woodbury, Kimberly Balcos, and Ruth Ann Copley.

In this session three different libraries discussed their E-Readers programs. The first library that presented was North Carolina State’s David Woodbury. When they started programs they had 6 Kindles, Nooks, Sony and some iPads. When these devises went online the usage went crazy. The Kindle is the main device they use at this time. The purchase titles for the Kindle are patron driven. They purchase books that are in high demand or are not available any other way. Sony is loaded with public domain titles; one Sony is loaded with E-Reserves and magazines and is placed behind the circulation desk. As of the day of the conference they had hundreds of iPads and Kindles on order and were waiting for them to come in. There next step is to create a porthole on the main web page that will link a patron to all the e-reader books and devices.

Central Piedmont Community Colleges Kimberly Balcos discussed her 39 week study that allowed only faculty to check out the 4 e-readers. The e-readers only had popular browsing titles loaded. They kept one in house for trouble shooting problems. The patron had to sign a borrower’s agreement. They had a positive response, but the majority of the borrowers wanted more titles.

The final presenter was Ruth Ann Copley from Davidson County Public Library. Their program uses the Sony e-readers and the Kobo. They choose these readers because they worked with the NC Digital library program. They load many free e-book titles. In Davidson County each branch has one e-reader. When they loan the reader they do not allow the cord to be loaned. They also have a borrower’s agreement.
Patty Strickland

Diagnosing Damaged Books

This session was titled “Recycle, Repair, or Rebind: Diagnosing Damaged Books”, and was the presenter was Krisan Gregson.

Deciding whether to discard, repair, or rebind a damaged book in your collection is not an easy or intuitive act. In or to make the choice to repair a book, we need to look at all parts of the books. The different steps were shown on repairing a book. She said that best and most economical way to repair your books is to have someone with-in the institution that has the knowledge to keep up with the repairs in-house.
Doris Jones

Closing Session

The closing session was titled “Technical Services Today: Living with the New Normal.” Heads from three area libraries presented.

Perhaps the most dramatic case was that of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Linda Raymond, Collection Management and Materials Manager, has had her materials budget halved. In response, the Library has outsourced its tech services staff to the branches (with the incidental benefit of freeing space in the main building for re-purposing); centralized selection (four selectors in the main library now select for the branches); and cut spending on reference materials (a step Raymond took with much reluctance, but cites evidence that users haven’t really noticed the change!). Raymond also introduced the concept of the “floating collection”: allowing materials to reside in whichever branch users return them to, instead of assigning them fixed locations. This places materials where they are in greatest demand, and also gives the public the impression that you have plenty of resources, even when you aren’t buying many new ones.

Mary Rose Adkins, Head of Technical Services at Atkins Library, UNCC, recounted, with much humor, views commonly held by library administrators on tech services operations: that traditional in-house cataloging is time-consuming, makes no difference to users, and that with the new discovery capabilities of latest-generation ILS’s the extra references and access points in-house catalogers supply are less important. Likewise, physical processing of materials is viewed as time-consuming, requiring extra staff, costly (in both supplies and staff time), and questionable as to whether the materials really need the attention. Adkins reported a recent UNCC decision that reflects future trends: its tech services staff will be cataloging only unique materials in-house, in non-MARC metadata schemes. She recommended a metadata course offered by University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gloria Kelley, from CPCC, has the relatively rare background of being a head of technical services before becoming a library dean. In her presentation, she reflected on the delicate balance she finds herself having to maintain, in her current role as an administrator, between her sympathies for tech services needs and contributions, and keeping in sight the library’s overall interests. She pointed out that the oft-chorused view “technical services is dead” is a “myth” that has been around since the 1970s, when libraries first began automating and outsourcing!
Leslie McCall

ILL Direct Request for Articles

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 1:55 pm

Yesterday, I participated in the webinar, “The Shortest Distance Between Two Clicks: From Users to Article in No Time Flat,” sponsored by OCLC.

It is ILL Direct Request for Articles, basically. WorldCat knowledge base is the impetus for making this new feature a possibility. To get started, the participating library has to upload information regarding their ejournals, such as holdings and licensing for the Knowledge base. Once that’s complete, when an ILL article request is received, the license management tool will indicate if it is available fulltext and if a copy needs to be printed out before scanning to send to the borrowing library. If one’s own patron puts in an ILL request for something available fulltext in house, the ILL staff will catch it before it goes out to the lending library and with a click of the link, the article can be downloaded and the patron be notified. The turnaround time will definitely be reduced for both ILL lending and borrowing.

This all sounds fantastic, but the best part is that it is FREE! So far, about thirty libraries are participating in this program. But I believe it will grow, because it fits the trend in the library world to streamline work flow and provide the most efficient and expeditious service to our patrons, either in-house or external libraries.

Kevin at LITA National Forum

Friday, October 8, 2010 9:46 am

Here are a few notes from my first LITA National Forum:

  • Subjective perceptions. From the opening keynote (an epistemological discussion of Wikipedia), a couple questions resonated with me – one in particular. How do we know how to resolve conflict when we don’t really agree on reality?
  • Legitimate peripheral participation. “Through peripheral activities, novices become acquainted with the tasks, vocabulary, and organizing principles of the community.” [1] Growth depends on access to experts, on observing their practices and, through time, understanding the broader context of effort and community.
  • Interface design. Small changes in user interface can equal big changes in user behavior.
  • Cloud computing. From Saturday’s General Session, Roy Tennant discussed how the cost of innovation is approaching zero, that the model “easy-come-easy-go” enables a greater flexibility and lower risk to experiment, and cited Erik and his Code4Lib article.
  • Scrum. An iterative, incremental methodology for project management and software development. You work in a timeboxed sprint with a focus on speed and flexibility as part of your development process.

Of course, Erik, Jean-Paul, and I presented on our move to the cloud. As others have said, it went very well. Erik gave an introduction and overview of the project and service models, JP talked about the opportunities and challenges of cloud computing, Erik discussed IT service management, and I finished with our migration and production process and lessons learned. There was an exciting amount of interest following the talk. Overall, a great conference – small in size, big in ideas.

ALA Annual
ALA Midwinter
Career Development for Women Leaders
Carolina Consortium
CASE Conference
Celebration: Entrepreneurial Conference
Charleston Conference
Coalition for Networked Information
Digital Forsyth
Electronic Resources and Libraries
Elon Teaching and Learning Conference
Entrepreneurial Conference
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP)
Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA)
First-Year Experience Conference
Handheld Librarian
ILLiad Conference
Innovative Library Classroom Conference
Journal reading group
Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
Library Assessment Conference
Lilly Conference
LITA National Forum
Mentoring Committee
Music Library Association
NCCU Conference on Digital Libraries
North Carolina Serials Conference
online course
Online Learning Summit
Open Repositories
Professional Development Center
Site Visits and Tours
Society of American Archivists
Society of North Carolina Archivists
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