Professional Development

During November 2010...

Web-Scale Management Services Seminar

Thursday, November 18, 2010 1:36 pm

Tuesday I attended a workshop on OCLC’s WebScale service. The workshop was a joint offering from OCLC and Lyrasis held at the Durham Public Library. DPL, OCLC and Lyrasis were excellent hosts as we had wifi, coffee, and lunch (I chose a basil, tomato, mozzarella sandwich).


We started the day with an exploratory talk by Tim Rodgers about the ‘cloud.’ Tim talked about a number of interesting topics and touched on some key reasons why libraries are interested in cloud computing (Expertise & $$ were key reasons). These are compelling reasons for any institution but I was struck with a statistic that Tim used – there is a county library system in NC that only has a budget of $7.50 per resident as compared to a national average of ~$20 per resident. Combined with the fact that this county is small and sparsely populated and the expertise and money arguments become very compelling.

We spent most of the rest of our day learning about OCLC’s service, talking with our fellow workshop attendees, and seeing OCLC’s services in action. There were lots of interesting features but perhaps the most compelling image that I saw came from one of the presentation slides that drove home two key ideas: First, a key focus of their presentation was the integration of work-flows with external data. They demonstrated an Amazon ordering plug-in that used web-services to exchange data between the two systems. Second, the discussion emphasized the idea that running services on a combined database and in a shared environment enables new data services (content aggregation, discovery, analytics, testing, sharing).

The demo portion included some interesting questions about specific features and when they would be available. I will not try to comment on specific development cycles and feature availability but suffice it to say that while there are lots of features now, some of the stuff you need is still coming. Generally speaking Circ seemed to be a bit more complete than Acq but they had a vision for how the system would evolve over the next year.

It was an interesting day. I got to speak with folks from Lyrasis about hosting & open source systems, with folks from Elizabeth City State University about libraries and their IT needs and got to learn a lot about OCLC & their Web Scale Management Service system. If you are curious there are lots of links, presentations and videos on the OCLC site http://www.oclc.org/webscale/default.htm.

There will be a webinar on December 2nd with OCLC that includes a live demo of functionality.

Indiana Online Users Group

Thursday, November 18, 2010 1:26 pm

Indianapolis skyline:

On November 5th I had the chance to present at IOLUG as part of their fall symposium on Cloud computing. I spoke on both the ZSR experience in moving to the cloud and in how cloud computing impacts IT and libraries in general. If you are interested in what I said, you can see the slides right here:

The rest of the day included some very interesting presentations ranging from uses of Google Docs to analysis of cloud-based discovery services. I have included a few notes below:

Noah Brubaker and Serri Parker gave an interesting comparative analysis of discovery service providers (Summons, Primo, Aquabrowser, Ebsco discovery, Innovative Encore). In addition to using a thematically appropriate racing theme they differentiated the systems based on specific features (e.g. item availability service, harvesting/indexing process, interface, faceting). Their evaluation themes included User needs, Librarian expectations, service models (Web Service, API, local indexing).

Ultimately the consortium they discussed selected Primo, citing catalog and library service (link resolution, holds, requests) integration, FRBRization, and Find a Database integration, ability to influence relevance ranking, database facets. The WFU experience with previous federated search products was not always positive so it was interesting to see the developments of these systems and find out more about how these issues are viewed in a selection process.

The afternoon began with “Storage as a service: Library digital collections in the cloud” by Chip Dye at IUPUI. His system hosts 1TB of data and 15TB of digital objects. He gave an overview of the DuraCloud platform which includes replication, retrieval, transformation ,streaming and bit integrity checking services.

Chip also covered Dspace 1.7 feature – Arichival Information Packages which works with the Duracloud syncronization service which pushes the AIP contents to the cloud. DuraCloud also includes a restore tool to download content. He observed that storage is competitive, that bandwidth is costly, internet latency is high. Michael Will speculated about whether or not Dspace would support direct-to-cloud storage (which is a really neat idea)!

Following Lunch we heard form Bill Helling, Kathryn Mills and Emily Griffin on Google apps and how it can be used to foster collaboration. They talked about how they used Google Docs in a systematic way to collaborate, schedule and document work. They provided an interesting overview of features and limitations and demonstrated pitfalls (Issues with pptx files, gaps in editing and presentation mode). While we have some experience working with Google Docs here it was really interesting to see what a significant impact incidental use of Google Docs can have on our workflows and approach to data collection.

Unfortunately I had to head out early to catch a plane back to NC so I missed a presentation by Andrew Pace on Web-Scale Management Services, a new approach to library information systems. I did have the chance to attend a session a week later in Durham, NC (which is also a post in the pd blog!). Many thanks go out to Richard Bernier, Michael Witt and the entire IOLUG community for being such great hosts. The day was a really interesting event and I look forward to seeing what they have planned for the spring!

Carol at the Charleston Conference

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 4:47 pm

Honestly, they could’ve renamed this the “Patron-Driven Acquisitions Conference,” given the many talks on that topic.

Rick Anderson’s opening plenary promoted the opposite of the Big Deal: The Tiny Deal, or, single article purchases. He reported two surprises with his library’s Espresso Book Machine:

  • An interest in self-publishing, especially for family histories.
  • Demand for blank books paired with a cover image taken from their special collections.

I attended two of the patron-driven (PD) acquisitions sessions. One featured three librarians from BYU discussing their experience. Out of 18,000 records loaded, 326 books were purchased. That’s not much, especially when you factor in their FTE of about 30,000. They also used a 583 note on the purchased titles to distinguish them from non-purchased ones. Interesting idea or too much work? Since our current plans are to use distinct back-end location codes that will all show publicly as “Website,” I wonder if public service staff and liaisons need a way to tell one kind of e-book from another without using the Cataloging Module.

The other PD session featured a librarian, a publisher, a YBP rep, and an EBL rep. Becky Clark from Johns Hopkins UP reported on an AAUP survey about the impact of PD on publishing. 56% of respondents believe they will publish the same number of books, but 31% foresee a decline in publishing once PD matures. While Michael Levine-Clark from the University of Denver spoke, I was furiously doing math in the margins of my program. I was trying to calculate how much WFU would spend on a PD program if our usage pattern were like Denver’s. The EBL rep, David Swords, briefly flashed up data from multiple customers that I was salivating after until…

Meanwhile, back at the ZSR, Derrik was independently emailing questions to David, who suggested a quick Charleston meet-up. Derrik referred him to me. Since I now have a smartphone, I was checking my email between sessions, and I arranged to meet David that same afternoon. As a result of that meeting, he sent us the data I sought. Derrik, Lauren and I have used that information to help forecast what might happen when we start our own PD service.

I also heard our Duke colleagues talk about their experience lending Kindles and Nooks and buying content for them. Their approach was very similar to ours but, as you might expect, on a larger scale, with IIRC, 41 devices available. Although they sought out other alternatives, they had no better solution than maintaining a separate spreadsheet of which titles were on each device. [Not] paying taxes on the purchases has been a big hassle lately.

One Friday session featured Jon Orwant from Google Books. He spoke about their metadata challenges, what they’re doing to address these challenges, and research uses of the Google Books Corpus. His discussion of corpus linguistics uses was the highlight of the entire conference for me. Corpus linguistics is a methodology which uses computers to mine a large body (=corpus) of text and find out something interesting about language. He cited the verb ‘to sneak’ and the use of the irregular vs. regular past tense. (As in ‘she snuck/sneaked up on me.’) Researchers can mine the Google Books corpus to find out the frequency of each variation, how the frequency values have changed over time, etc. Google has also funded researchers who want to track the use of words like ‘labour’ across Victorian literature. The corpus can also be analyzed for phrases. Mr. Orwant showed a list of 3 word phrases (trigrams) that appear much more often in older books (like ‘vexation of spirit’) vs. newer books (‘health care professionals’).

Google came up again in the Saturday plenary sessions. Two lawyers discussed current cases that could have a high impact on our work. As we were updated on the status of the Google settlement, I recalled that the settlement was announced about a week before the conference two years ago and they still haven’t finalized it. I also heard updates on SkyRiver vs. OCLC and the Georgia State e-reserves case. Omega Watch vs. Costco was not a case I expected to hear about, but if Omega wins, some of our rights to circulate books and especially foreign-made videos could be threatened.

My final act on Saturday was participating as a panelist in a session moderated by Elisabeth Leonard and our Readex rep, Erin Luckett. The goal of the panel, “Straight Talk,” was better communication between vendors and librarians.

All in all a great conference. Stop by my office if you want to hear more details about the sessions or especially linguistics!

Workshop Worked Wonderfully

Friday, November 12, 2010 7:55 pm


Everything went wonderfully smoothly at the Archivist Toolkit Workshop held in 204 today. I felt very proud to be part of an organization that could provide the impetus, the setting, the technology, the food and every other kind of support to host a learning event that addressed the needs of our own Special Collections and Archives staff and those of similarly placed professionals in other institutions throughout the state (and from even farther afield).
The Workshop provided a common baseline of knowledge for all in the Special Collections and Archives department and connected us with others in the profession with whom we can turn with our questions and quandries. Since, as a tool, Archivists’ Toolkit anticipates and addresses the range of functions each in our department performs, the Workshop created an experience that allowed us to see how our work inter-relates. It provided a framework for connection and coordination of individual activities (from accession to description) around shared goals (researcher satisfaction).

The heavy lifting for this successful event was carried by Audra Eagle, with significant assistance from Rebecca Petersen. Those of us who had the luxury of turning up and soaking it all in are tremendously grateful.

NCLA Archivists’ Toolkit Workshop at ZSR

Friday, November 12, 2010 4:55 pm

From 10 am this morning until 3 pm this afternoon, Z. Smith Reynolds Library was inhabited by 50 excited archivists and librarians (from across the state and as far away as Texas) to learn about Archivists’ Toolkit. The workshop, sponsored by the Round Table on Special Collections of the North Carolina Library Association and ZSR Library, included in-depth exploration and instruction about the modules of AT: names and subjects, accession records, resource records (finding aids), importing and exporting EAD/MARCXML, assessment records, and statistics.

Speakers Dawne Howard Lucas from Duke University and Kacy Guill of ECU incorporated practical explanations of concepts with hands-on demonstrations of the relational database desktop client. Katherine, Megan, Vicki, Julia, Rebecca, Beth, intern Leatha, and I all learned a great deal about some of the additional customizations and tools that will help Special Collections and Archives better describe, prioritize, and measure our archival collections. Some of the reports that AT generates will help us quantify our preservation and processing needs, as well as demonstrate the accomplishments of our department as we complete projects.

Thanks go out to Giz, Susan, and Roz for helping me with the room reservation, Rebecca for helping with setup, and also to Katherine for her warm welcome to the participants. Now that we all have a better understanding of how to use and customize Archivists’ Toolkit to our needs, we are better prepared for a collaborative, streamlined effort to make our archival resources even more accessible!

Mentoring Committe Journal Reading Group

Friday, November 12, 2010 3:46 pm

On Wednesday, Nov. 10th, I had the privilege of leading a discussion about two articles on Reverse Mentoring today. Our group discussed “How to Use Reverse Mentoring as a Retention Tool for Gen Y Employees” and “Reverse Mentoring Empowers Emerging and Established Leaders”. (links here:http://www.delawareemploymentlawblog.com/2008/10/how_to_use_reverse_mentoring_a.html and www.diversity-executive.com/article.php).

Reverse mentoring is when a younger employee is paired with an older, more seasoned employee and the younger employee is the mentor. To begin, we discussed the different generations and their general characteristics, and saw the connection between those and how some people respond to being mentored by someone who is younger or newer at the company. We shared our observations of what we see as the “typical” behavior for people in these groups. For clarity’s sake, here are the generations we focused on (and of course these are general descriptions and we know that not everyone fits the profile for the date they were born):

1925-1945 Silent Generation or Mature Generation: This is a description that appeared in a magazine article in 1951 describing this group; “Youth today is waiting for the hand of fate to fall on its shoulders, meanwhile working fairly hard and saying almost nothing. The most startling fact about the younger generation is its silence. With some rare exceptions, youth is nowhere near the rostrum. By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers & mothers, today’s younger generation is a still, small flame. It does not issue manifestos, make speeches or carry posters. It has been called the “Silent Generation.” ”

This group tends to be afraid or very skeptical of technology, seeing it as a short cut around the hard work that they had to do. They don’t embrace new gadgets or programs readily and may feel threatened that they will be “replaced by a machine”.

1946-1964 Baby Boomers: “This group is forced with the dilemma of adapting to new technology out of necessity, while at the same time being old dogs learning new tricks”. They like new gadgets and enjoy using them in a recreational way, but don’t enjoy being forced to learn things for fear of losing a job or because they may fall behind in work skills.

1965-1979: Generation X: These folks adapt well to new technologies, and learn them without much trouble. They aren’t afraid to use technology in new ways, but also don’t see it as a necessity for life. While they might want a new iPad or Blackberry, they know they don’t NEED it to survive. It’s part of day to day life, but life can go on without having the newest, shiniest gadgets.

1980-2000: Millennials or Generation Y: This group has always been around technology. They have grown up with access to computers and the Internet and aren’t afraid of new technology. They multi-task with ease. But with the easy access to so much technology, they almost take it for granted, and seem to value quantity over quality when finding information. The can get frustrated with people who don’t catch on to technology as quickly as they do.

After sharing our impressions of the generations and their typical traits, we moved into a discussion about the benefits of pairing younger employees with older ones to share information, especially about technology. We all felt that it is important to being open to learning new ideas and processes, from whomever is the best teacher. Age isn’t a factor, as long as both parties approach the relationship with an open mind. The younger can share expertise on technology, while the older can share the nuances of the institution and the way it works, as well as best practices for employees. It can be a symbiotic arrangement!

By entrusting younger, especially Gen Y employees, with the responsibility of mentoring another, it helps to meet their desire to “make a difference” and use the tech knowledge that is second nature to them. And if you have more satisfied employees, they are more likely to stay with the institution for a longer time. The arrangement also benefits older employees by taking the anxiety off of them to learn new technology; they don’t have to work on it on their own time with no one to answer questions. It has been arranged and approved by the institution for them to learn from a co-worker, at work, and they can see how the technology applies directly to their job and their responsibilities.

Our group also noted some distressing behaviors among some Gen Y’s that the older employee can help address and give advice on to help them assimilate better into work life. Specifically, things like email etiquette, professional relationships, appropriate interactions with others, and social skills can be honed with help from the older/more experienced employee.

We all agreed that a mentoring relationship, whether reverse or traditional, can greatly benefit both parties if they enter it willingly, with an open mind, and devote time to meeting and communicating with each other. We all have something to learn, and we all have something to teach.

Sarah at the Charleston Conference

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 11:20 am

Last Friday, Nov. 5th, I attended the Charleston Conference in Charleston, SC and presented my paper which I am co-authoring with Dr. Seong-Tae Kim on “Core Resources on Time Series Analysis for Academic Libraries: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography.” Here are the slides from my presentation:

I also attended the morning plenary session on “What Can Our Readers Teach Us?” by John Sack, Associate Publisher and Director, Highwire Press, Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources. Highwire interviewed 25 researchers, mostly scientists and some postdocs. However, clinicians were not interviewed. Sack presented the results of their study. Users read articles to keep up with what they already know and use PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar; Google is used at the end of scholar discovery to catch things at the edge. Users read books for unfamiliar topics and use Amazon and GoogleBooks. In order to keep current, email alerts in PubMed and Web of Science and emailed Table of Contents of journals are utilized. However, discovery, browsing, and serendipity are missing. Sack posed the question, “What’s the iTunes for research literature?”

In the afternoon, I attended the session on “Next Generation Science Journals: Challenges and Opportunities” by Moshe Pritsker, Co-founder, JoVE: Journal of Visualized Experiments, which is a journal that recently became accessible to ZSR Library. JoVE covers Neuroscience, Immunology, Developmental Biology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Plant Biology, Psychology, Medicine, and other subjects. It is the first and only video journal accepted for indexing in PubMed. Most video articles come from scientists at Harvard, MIT, Yale, NIH, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, etc. JoVE has also set up a videographer network in the U.S.

Janet Carter, Collection Coordinator from UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, provided a librarian’s perspective on next-generation science journals. Factors considered in deciding to license journals include the following:

  • New journal indexed by PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus
  • Faculty and/or student recommendations v. direct mass marketing strategies by the publisher/vendor
  • ILL borrowing history
  • Costs-can our budget support the subscription?
  • Licensing agreement elements

Renewal issues:

  • Faculty serving on Editorial Boards
  • Faculty publishing in journals
  • Usage statistics
  • Impact Factor, SNIP, Eigenfactor
  • Business model changes
  • Faculty input

Recommended Practices for the Presentation and Identification of E-journals

Hawkins, L. (2009). Best Practices for Presentation of E-journal Titles on Provider Web Sites and in Other E-content Products. Serials Review, 35(3), 168-169.

I also attended the afternoon plenary session on “I Hear the Train a Comin’”, which compiled insights from scholarly communication experts on the future of publishing, libraries, and academic technology. Joseph Esposito’s presentation was enlightening and here are some highlights. Esposito quoted Niels Bohr: “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” New trends in publishing include publishers seeking growth in new territories in Asia, Eastern Europe, new classes of accounts (government) and direct to individuals. Supply-side publishing represents the evolution of Open Access, which is responsive to the need to make research results available. Public Library of Science, BioMedCentral, and Hindawi’s authors-pay models are successful. Demand-side publishing is the traditional model where the user pays. New methods include direct marketing to consumer (D2C) and collecting customer data, which is a privacy minefield. Attention publishing is borrowing from cable TV and Netflix, where publishers don’t sell books, but monopolize attention. Essentially, it’s the “Big deal” for consumers.

Another unexpected highlight was finding a Korean restaurant called Mama Kim’s in Charleston. Overall, it was a great conference to gain perspective on the bigger picture of publishing, libraries, and collection management.

Preserving Objects and Artifacts: Conservation Science, Collection Care and Outreach

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 4:47 pm

On Friday, November 5, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium held it’s annual conference at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The theme was centered around the preservation care of objects and outreach efforts to enlighten viewers about these efforts.

The first speaker was Chris Petersen, a volunteer at Winterthur Museum’s Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory. What kind of person volunteers at a lab? In this case, a PhD in Organic Chemistry retired from Dupont. Chris showed analysis of various objects which helps with dating and dating these objects. Most of these objects, had a big question associated with them like the composition of the Liberty Bell or the date of manufacture of a Meissen (Germany) soup tureen. His explanations using organic chemistry diagrams were convincing, although puzzling to a non-chemist. He also had the comical duty of verifying a “Vampire Killing Kit” sent to him. All the Twilight and True Blood people’s ears perked up and a chill went through the crowd as he discussed this convincing fraud.

Jane Klinger, Chief Conservator at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC followed. As Chief Conservator, Jane is responsible of the conservation and preservation management of the museum, archives and library collections. Interestingly, Jane started by saying the materials in their collection have little real value-but these materials are invaluable for Holocaust denial and evidence for verifying historic events. Jane used a series of objects from the Holocaust to tell her story of the multiple issues involved in preserving these materials. She began with Selma Scharzwald and her teddy bear. Selma, who went by the name “Sophie” named her teddy bear “Refugee” and kept it with her throughout the war as she and her mother took an assumed identity to escape persecution. This teddy bear became so popular that efforts were made to protect it from being ‘loved’ to death. Now, reproductions can be purchased in the museum shop. Other unique items, like “Schindler’s Violin” and the Lodz Ghetto model were removed from exhibition to protect them from the elements such as humidity and dust. Klinger described lots of give and take as they tried to balance their patrons desires to see artifacts with conservation needs.

Emily Williams, Conservator of Archeological Materials at Colonial Williamsburg described her project: Conservation : Where Art and Science Meet. This exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg describes the process conservators use to preserve objects and attempts to explain the how’s and why’s of their process. The video and podcast backup the ideas in this exhibit of identifying the issues in conservation, treating conservators as heroes and using case studies of objects.

The final presentation was by Christina Cole, the Andrew W. Mellon Conservation Fellow at the University of Delaware Art Conservation Program. Cristina explained the “three-legged stool” concept of art conservation: 1. Art History, 2. Studio Art and 3. Chemistry to educate their students. Graduates from their program are working in the best museums around the world.

This was a great conference-as usual-and well worth the trip to experience, learn and network.

NSF and Data Management webinar at UNC

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 2:41 pm

Today Molly, Susan and Erik attended an open webinar offered by the Odum institute at UNC. The content of the webinar focused on the recently introduced requirement to have a data management plan for all National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. The requirement, which goes into effect January 18, 2011, has created quite a buzz in the library world as it adds new dimensions to the world of scholarly communications.

My favorite phrase “The codebook from your research is the metadata on your project.” There was a fair amount of interest (with over 60 people online in addition to in-room participants) and the question and answer period focused on wide ranging issues such as technical problems, IRB questions and UNC and non-UNC solutions.

Interestingly, UNC has taken the steps to support both in-process and end-of-grant data archiving using a combination of services. One service mentioned in particular was iRODS, a data sharing and archiving platform developed by the Dice program now housed at UNC.

Representatives from ZSR have been talking with ORSP about how to support WFU NSF researchers.

Ares E-reserve Online Seminar

Friday, November 5, 2010 11:47 am

On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, Ellen M. and I participated in the first Online Ares Seminar sponsored by Atlas Systems. It was a series of presentations on various Ares and E-reserve related subjects. Presenters included David Larsen from the University of Chicago, Crystal Hester from Case Western, Dru Zuretti from the CCC, Angela Mott from the University of Florida, as well as Stephanie Spires and Genie Powell from Atlas Systems.

Some of the seminar seemed geared to prospective customers but it was good to review the system and all that it offers. Two sessions stood out. The session on Copyright, presented by Zuretti, was thorough and well organized and an excellent review. The last session, “Getting the Word Out,” presented by Angela Mott, was the most informative of the seminar. Ellen and I are excited about marketing our Course Reserves and using some of Mott’s suggestions.


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