Professional Development

During November 2011...

Advocating for Collection Preservation – NCPC Annual Conference

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:19 pm

NCPC Panel Discussion

Craig: On Friday, November 18, Vicki and I traveled to the Friday Center in Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC) Annual Conference. The theme this year was “Advocating for Collection Preservation”.

Vicki: We’ll share our thoughts and impressions to give you an idea of what we learned!

V: The first speaker was Ember Farber from the American Association of Museums. She spoke eloquently about ways to advocate for our work. As the Grassroots and Advocacy Manager of AAM, she often works with elected officials and shares her concerns and needs with them directly, hoping that they will use their influence to pass a bill or make legislation to benefit museums. Her department also issues alerts on legislation that impacts museums, either via email or social media.

While we in private academic libraries may not often get to lobby with elected officials, Ember did have strategies and tips to help anyone advocate for their collections:

*Activity begets activity- work on at least one project or contact at least one person who can help influence the powers that be to help preserve your collections

*Be ready with your list of “asks” at all times; you never know when you’ll cross paths with someone who can help advocate for you and your collections.

*Pick one advocacy activity or way to share the value of our work with the public. Get the word out about what you’re doing and how important it is.

We all then participated in a group activity. We had to come up with an “elevator speech” that would help “sell” our work and collections to an elected official or person of influence. We practiced on each other and will remember the point for future real life situations.

C: Julie Mosbo, Preservation Librarian at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale spoke on Preservation Week. Julie is the chair of the ALA Working Group for Preservation Week, which is a nascent program to focus attention of preservation issues and needs. Julie announced the birth of Preservation Week came from the Heritage Health Index, which identified a large number of library materials that needed preservation and very few staff to perform this needed work. Preservation Week is largely focused on individuals with personal collections who need help. The PW group uses all sorts of social media to get the word out (Facebook, Twitter) but also directs their outreach to ALA Sections and has an active blog. This year, the PW schedule has a theme for each day of the week, which focuses on audiovisual, textile or photographic preservation.

V: I was amazed to find that the Heritage Health Index report identified approximately 630 MILLION institutional items that need attention! It definitely helped me know that we aren’t alone as far as having many more items that the number of staff can address. It also made a lot of sense to me that if the Preservation Week effort can help to start conserving materials while they are still in peoples’ homes, the materials will be in better shape once they come to the archives, museums, etc. It was also encouraging to learn that participating in PW has increased. There have only been two PW’s so far, but in 2010 there were 63 known participating institutions, and in 2011 there were 100. Hopefully the numbers will continue to grow.

C: After a great lunch, there was a lightning round of speakers on several topics:
-David Goist, a painting conservator in private practice, spoke about the Collections Assessment Program (CAP). This program provides technical assistance for small to medium sized museums. The NEH Preservation Assistance Grants for Libraries mirrors the CAP program for the library world. These two programs can help assess collections and usually involves an on-site visit.
-Deborah Jakubs, Duke University Librarian, spoke about preservation advocacy. Deborah spoke about how much donors love their Preservation Lab and that is one of the first places she takes them. This gives donors the idea that we are both protecting the past and reaching for the future in our efforts, in a tangible way.
-Hal Keiner, the first head of the Traveling Archivist Program, spoke about his efforts as he travels North Carolina helping small institutions. Hal provides professional guidance to repositories holding special collections. This includes everything from and assessment to teaching metadata to providing materials housing. This impressive program is meeting these small programs where the rubber meets the road. Hal provides help with: storage, lighting, humidly/environment, finding aid creation and supplies.
-LeRae Umfleet, from the NC Department of Cultural Resources provides support for programs in the 950 cultural institutions across our state. The two programs she focused on was Connecting to Collections and NCEcho. These two programs provide training and advocacy.

V: The lightning rounds were very informative, and a bit longer than typical ones (15 minutes each)! So the speakers weren’t too rushed and shared good details. Of particular interest were:

*David Goist’s slides showing the Tobacco Farm Center and their facilities as well as the ways he helped them to better care for their materials

*Deborah Jakubs’ (director of Duke University libraries) talk about how committed she is to supporting special collections and preservation of materials. As Craig mentioned, she make the conservation lab a main stop on her tours for trustees, possible donors and any tour she gives. Donors then see how traditional functions and still important. She said that she advocates for preservation because it “enables access, enables scholarship, preserves cultural heritage and fulfills our mission of protecting information and collections”. She also stated that it is important to be aware of the limitations of technology and how they can affect access. She summed up her support of collections preservation saying, “We can’t lose sight of the basic function of preservation by focusing on the glitzy new trends… We have to convey the fragility of digital anything… Let’s not lose sight of the print world as we zoom into the digital future.”

*Hal Keiner’s (The Travelling Archivist) descriptions of “teachable moments” that he had when working with an historical site. He shared information with them about changing the UV filters on fluorescent tubes every 5 years, what kinds of proper storage enclosures to use, how to use drapes to cut down on the amount of light reaching a display, and how to use “fabulous fakes” (i.e. copies from a color copier) in the displays instead of originals.

*LeRae Umfleet’s enthusiastic presentation on suggestions from the NC Department of Cultural Resources on how to find support for collections. Some ideas include helping with exhibits on conservation, hosting presentations for family heirloom care, asking people to “adopt an artifact” so they will have a direct connection to helping preserve it, and having different “elevator pitches” ready to give to different people, depending on their interests and how they can help you.

C: Eryl Wentworth, the Executive Director of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) spoke about their advocacy and outreach efforts. Eryl said we are ‘at war with a mouse’ (Disney); at war with a disposable society (why save?) and at war with our economy (no funding). Wentworth said we are strongest when we collaborate. Eryl spoke about some of AIC’s efforts at outreach : CooL (Conservation online) and Her recommendations were to be mission driven; promote your strengths; always send a positive message; engage others by talking and listening; continually enlarge your circle of supporters and seek collaborations.

V: I appreciated Eryl’s recommendations, and was pleased to note that we are trying to follow several of those ideas in special collections currently. Her comments reinforced that we are on the right track as we move into the future.

It seems that when budgets are tight, libraries, museums, archives and historic sites become viewed as nice “extras”, but not as necessities. While I’m sure none of us at ZSR would agree with that, that sentiment is why we must continually advocate for what we do to preserve what we have; so that we can assure the long term survival of historic information and resources. We were glad to be part of this conference and hear from our colleagues that we are not alone in many of our struggles, and that there are resources to help us continue to do the best we can to preserve the materials entrusted to our care.

ASERL Nov 14-15, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011 12:33 am

On November 14-15, I attended the fall membership meeting of the Association of Southeast Research Libraries. I was all set to transcribe my notes when ASERL Executive Director, John Burger, posted this summary. It is just too tempting to use his summary, so forgive this shortcut. My supplementary comments appear in italics.

1)Journal Retention Program. Paula Sullenger (Auburn University) is Visiting Program Officer leading this program, through March 15, 2012. Development is proceeding very well: 22 ASERL libs are participating, 19 have signed MOUs for the program. Exceeded our goal of 3000 titles to be retained by libraries participating in the project. Currently 4,000+ titles are pledged, with more coming in. Issues around duplicate titles, filling gaps, and bibliographic disclosure of retention agreements still under examination. I chair the Committee governing this program and Carol has been very active in offering our Wake Forest titles. We have high hopes to coordinate our offsite collection with this initiative.


2)Collaborative Federal Depository Program/ASERL FDLP Guidelines. ASERL is in last year of $650K federal grant for CFDP program. Discussions with GPO about compliance issues underway; little progress to date. LOTS of time spent communicating ASERL’s viewpoints on this program with various audiences. ASERL is seeking a face-to-face meeting with GPO senior leadership, no response so far. Development of Centers of Excellence and roll-out of disposition tool continues at FDLP libraries in region. ASERL’s online petition has 116 signatories to date; other signers are welcome. (See to review/sign petition. See for latest petition summary.) Judy Russell, current Dean of Libraries at University of Florida and former Superintendent of Documents, is driving this effort.


3)Future Growth for ASERL. Broad discussion among membership regarding growth for ASERL. As noted above, ASERL’s IMLS grant for CFDP program will expire in 2012. Other grants under consideration, but competition for grant funding is increasingly difficult. To maintain momentum of program development, ASERL’s Board proposed ASERL members self-fund a 25-hour/week program coordinator. This will continue the current staffing level after grant runs out. Three members expressed concern about ASERL’s program focus and the sustainability of self-funded staffing. Vote to support this staffing level = 33 in support, 1 opposed, 1 abstention. ASERL does really good work, but it is tough to afford a significant increase in dues.


4)Dues to Support Expanded Staffing. Board offered two models to support the staffing level that was approved by membership – a flat-rate option (all members pay the same amount) and a variable option (dues based in part on each member’s total library operations budget.) Strong support for flat-rate option. Assuming 40 members in ASERL, dues for FY 13 (i.e., starting July 1, 2012) would be $6375/library. Vote to support this level of dues = 32 support, 4 opposed, 1 abstention. Ditto.


5)Copyright & Fair Use Discussion. Peter Jaszi (American University) and Lisa Macklin (Emory University) discussed issues relating to recent limitations on fair use & copyright. Stressed that current practice is often an important factor when cases go to court. Peter and colleagues will produce a best practices tool kit and a “road show” to discuss/demonstrate its contents in early 2012. ASERL will consider venues for hosting a road show event to continue discussions on these issues and to foster implementation of best practices at member institutions. Peter was very good and we are very interested in his toolkit.


6)ASERL-SURA Data Policy Collaboration. Tyler Walters (Virginia Tech) described a new collaboration with Southeast Universities Research Association (SURA) to monitor changes in federal data management policies, offer models of local policies, discuss emerging issues, etc. ASERL’s Board has approved this concept. Collaboration will be via online tools, and first step in fostering more shared programming between ASERL and SURA. Several directors indicated they had staff who would like to participate. Tyler will work with John Burger to draft a formal charge for the group. A call for volunteers will be posted after Thanksgiving. Group will convene in early 2012. This is definitely a growth area for research libraries. We need to decide the extent to which we will become involved.


7)UF Recruitment Study. U-Florida, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and other universities are tracking their success rates & factors for staff recruitment processes, as well as diversity issues. Database is hosted at UF. Other participants are welcome. We may wish to participate, as the study has a diversity focus.


8)Update re Berlin 9 Convention. Many ASERL members had representatives at the recent Berlin 9 Convention in Bethesda. They are developing an OA journal to compete with Nature and Cell. Seeking additional signatories from US in support of “open access to knowledge in science and the humanities.” Several ASERL members noted some progress in signing-on at their home institutions, but stalls occurred when administrators wanted to see who else was signing. ASERL members unanimously voted to support Berlin Declaration as a means of creating momentum for gaining signatories at member institutions. John Burger will communicate with Max Planck Society & create publicity to foster additional support within ASERL institutions. Thanks to Molly’s efforts, Wake Forest will be added to the list of individual signatories!


9)Update re HathiTrust Constitutional Convention. Nine ASERL libraries are members of HathiTrust. There is interest in linking ASERL’s collection management programs with Hathi’s expanding array of programs. Hathi may also be exploring new models for membership/content providers – ASERL will continue to monitor these options. We hope to join Hathi Trust as a sustaining member sometime in the next fiscal year.


10)Next meeting is April 11-12, 2012. Can’t wait!


Beth: Assigning LC call numbers

Thursday, November 17, 2011 4:15 pm

Last week for 3 days I took a class on assigning LC call numbers. The class was one of the many OCLC offers throughout the year. This class was offered through them by the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services in Michigan. The instructor was Dawn Swanson, a technical services librarian at Kettering University. Because Kettering is largely a engineering & science university, many of the examples & exercises dealt with scientific title cataloging. I found this somewhat frustrating because special collections doesn’t have many titles in these area. There were about 15 of us in the class. Tuesday we covered the history of the LC classification system, the breakdown of the LC classes, the uses the Classification Web program, and the Cutter number table. Exercises at the end of the day included giving us a title & having us come up with the class number, the other exercise we did was to practice assigning the cutter number to authors & titles. Wednesday started off with exercises where we had to come up with the entire call number using classification web & OCLC authority records. This got somewhat frustrating for me because all the exercises were for scientific titles. While I understand that the philosophy is the same for cataloging all subjects, having some literature titles would have been more helpful to my work. Thursday we started working with corporate headings and did some exercises related to them. We also had some subject headings that we had to assign call numbers. We then used that exercise to help with using OCLC records & assigning numbers to specific records. These specific records didn’t have call numbers so we were to assign them using the previous exercise. I felt I did solid B work on all the exercises. While the exercises & examples might have been in subjects I wasn’t familiar with, I felt that I got a good understanding & grasp of the workings of call numbers. My main reason for taking the class was to learn how to create call numbers for some backlog titles. Some of the titles have OCLC records but because the only holding may be in an European library, they have no LC call number. After this class, I now feel confident that I can go through these titles & catalog them so they can be accessible.

A Person of Interest webinar

Thursday, November 17, 2011 3:10 pm

Yesterday afternoon, Scott Adair, Anna Dulin and I spent an hour and a half thinking about the sorts of security situations one would rather not think about. The webinar, “A Person of Interest: Safety and Security in the Library” presented by LLAMA (the Library Leadership and Management Association) focused on getting library employees to prepare for security situations before they occur. The recording of the webinar is available here.

The webinar covered many circumstances, from nuisance patrons (ie chatty), challenging patrons (ie requesting unreasonable service or those that are odiferous), delusional or threatening patrons, etc and also covered medical emergencies and criminal situations. The first webinar leader, Nancy Relaford from UC San Diego explained that staff training for these events are critical because they are so likely to occur at some point, and that your training should include thinking through scenarios. Having a scenario to react to will give people the necessary practice to get it right, and will allow the participants to weave into their thought process any local practices that are unique to their building or situation. It will also allow them to get past the “startle response” and on to doing whatever is necessary to handle the situation in an actual emergency.

Two people from Queens Borough Public Library in NYC, Lambert Shell and Michael Daly discussed the policy and procedural training programs they’ve got in place to handle incidents, but also identified programs they have in place to minimize the incidents from happening. They have created social spaces to engage teens and tweens who might otherwise be a group prone to causing trouble. They have also engaged help from teachers, counselors, police, social workers and parents in the community keeping lines of communication open and utilizing all of the expertise in the area to help solve any problems.
Handouts are also available here. The webinar was interesting and sensitized me to the need to have some dialog about how we might handle such situations in ZSR. Living as we do in this beautiful academic setting, it’s easy to be lulled into complacency. This webinar along with the presentations offered by the CARE team will help us to begin the process of setting down guidelines that will be useful in such situations when the “persons of interest” come into our library.

Mary Beth at Access Services Conference

Saturday, November 12, 2011 7:53 pm

I spent Thursday and Friday at the Access Services Conference: Unlocking the 21st Century Library in Atlanta. While this is the first time I attended the conference, it was the third time the conference was held. I found it an interesting conference filled with 500 (not surprisingly) like minded individuals.

The keynote was delivered on Thursday morning by Julie Zimmerman who is Dean of Libraries at Florida State University. (Her bio says she also used to be here, at WFU, so perhaps some of you know her.) She set the tone for the conference talking about the challenges for Libraries and the changes we’ve witnessed from being the “big box” of information right in the center of campus, where people were lucky if they found stuff, to the struggle we face to be relevant as we compete with the internet as the primary source for today’s information. She said that in order to remain relevant, libraries need to align priorities with institutional goals (check!), test assumptions and talk to our users (check!), commit to service that goes beyond the traditional (check!). Her talk was interesting but mostly because I felt like she was telling me we were on the right track. She also discussed the need to refocus our services to meet user needs, (using the example of checking out equipment, which we also do) and liberalize loan policies, utilize delivery services and encourage patron driven acquisition. So, as I said, we are really doing all right here.

I attended several sessions that had similar themes including:

  • Cross training staff to be flexible and respond to needs.
  • Simplify the user experience
  • Combining service desks and the challenges and successes that come from that action
  • Aligning staff skills, job descriptions and performance reviews
  • Doing more with less (More service, less budget)

Marvin Tillman, from Duke’s Library Service Center, (their Offsite Storage) and I co-presented on a session on called “Shall we go offsite?” We discussed the reasons why libraries should consider this action including:

  • better use of library space
  • better service
  • better security of the collection
  • better preservation
  • cost less per volume to store in off site vs. storing in the library

We had our session at 2:30 in the afternoon, and it was well received. About half of the attendees had already implemented an offsite storage facility, and maybe another third was considering it. It was a lively discussion, and we didn’t get through all of our slides, but both Marvin and I were approached by about a dozen people asking questions afterward, and saw several people the rest of the evening and next day who had more questions! We seemed to find a touchstone.

On Friday morning I attended a session caled “Google Model Innovation” and was led by the Director of Access Services at Yale Law Library who talked about an experiment he had with using a Google Model to allow the staff to bring him any wild idea that they wanted to implement. Then, if he liked it, and it aligned with their job, he’d give them one day (20%) of their time to implement it. It has now devolved to 10% of their time, but they still have a half day a week to devote to innovations that they really want to see implemented. Two noteworthy things that they’ve implemented as a result of this is 1. Increased digitization of collections and 2. a green team who devote their time to implementing “green” ideas.

One especially interesting session discussed how the library at University of California at Santa Cruz managed to continue to provide service after library hours and staff were cut after a significant (1.9 million dollar) budget cut in 2009. The students reacted with sit ins, “study ins” and protests. Negotiating with the students, creating policies, instituting procedures to protect staff, collections and buildings, all resulted from a very connected leadership who were trying to manage through the difficult time.

I’m happy that I attended the conference. I had a chance to catch up with some colleagues from Michigan, and met with many new people from all across the nation. About 60% of the attendees were from outside of the south, so this really is gaining traction as a national conference.

Lauren P. at ALAO

Thursday, November 10, 2011 8:12 pm

Last week, in the middle of this crazy semester, I took a few days to present at ALAO. I’m still catching up, but it was also nice to have a bit of a breather! :)

ALAO is the Academic Library Association of Ohio. They hold an annual one-day conference on issues related to academic libraries, and had a really strong lineup of programs. Everyone affiliated with the conference was so friendly and helpful, and I just can’t say enough about what a nice event it (and how nice the organization) was.

I participated in the preconference. ALAO doesn’t always hold a preconference, but as this one took place in Toledo (as far north as you can go and still be in the state if you’re not familiar with the area. ALAO organized a preconference the day before to give people something to do the day before if they needed to travel to get there. The preconference consisted of lunch, a keynote, and a panel.

I spoke on Change & Opportunities for Today’s Academic Libraries, one of my favorite themes. The arc of the talk was that as we’ve moved from a read to a read/write environment, librarians have transitioned (or are transitioning, or have partially transitioned) from servant to supporter, and that as the information environment continues to shift, we can position ourselves to be more collaborators, partnering with faculty and bringing our specific expertise to the discussions that are happening on campus about digital collections, finding and creating information in today’s environment, and teaching students using these tools. Can you tell I’ve completely bought into the discussions we’ve had around faculty status? :)

If you’re interested in my slides, here they are:

Change & Opportunities for Today's Academic Libraries from Lauren Pressley

Following my presentation, a panel moderated by John Burke, Director, Gardner-Harvey Library, Miami University Middletown spoke onACRL’s The Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report. ThePanelists were Sara Bushong, Dean of Libraries, Bowling Green State University,Susan Scott, Director of the Library, Ohio State University – Newark Campus,Kathleen Webb, Dean of University Libraries, University of Dayton, andAl Zavar, Director, West Campus Library, Cuyahoga Community College. The report is fascinating. It’s full of information that can both inform what we do but also what research we could pursue. I recommend checking it out. This panel was particularly nice because each speaker was a leader from a different type of library. This gave a much wider perspective on the report and insight in how it might be adapted for different settings.

The next morning I was able to hear Steven Bell speak, which I always appreciate. Steven is both clear leader in the field, an innovator, and someone who I found particularly welcoming when I was just getting started. His talk, as always, was spot on and engaging. As part of his talk he showed part of a video of IDEO working on improving the shopping cart. (I hope this is the same video!)

He talked about design thinking and processes in libraries (again, something that’s particularly relevant to me) and threw out so many quick ideas that I had a hard time jotting them down.The one I’m still thinking about, though, is about textbooks. He talked about how we all know there’s a problem with the cost of textbooks and no clear solution. He pointed to that as an example of what we should be looking for: a common pain that isn’t being addressed. In this case, he discussed an idea from Temple to give faculty grants to pull together custom resources for a course rather than use a textbook. That’s exactly where we need to be! It positions the library in the familiar space of providing academic resources, but also shifts us to being more partners and enablers for faculty willing to try something new. It also opens the doors for all kinds of copyright and publishing related questions. Love it! Anyway, I have a list of those types of ideas if anyone is interested. :)

So, it was a lovely time. A great event, friendly people, informative and inspirational sessions, and I even managed to catch up with a few folks I only see at ALAs. And now, it’s back to my class! :)

Development for Deans and Academic Leaders

Thursday, November 10, 2011 6:46 pm

Last week, I was finally able to attend the Development for Deans seminar put on by CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education). I had tried at least twice in the past, but life events got in the way. The Fall 2011 session was in Atlanta on November 2-4. It was a very full conference, seemingly oversubscribed, as every session was standing room only. The speakers were all long-time professional fundraisers with a lifetime of experiences on which to draw.

The first session was called the Art and Soul of Development. The speaker tried to convince the audience (made up mostly of academic deans) that raising money for a good cause is a noble profession. Philanthropy means the love of humankind; there is nothing more noble than that. He also made the point that while deans may feel beleaguered at home, donors are honored and enthusiastic about meeting “the Dean.” People give because they believe in your mission and it makes them feel good.

Roles for Deans in Development: Deans are leader figures that need to develop a shared vision, set priorities for BIG ideas, articulate the case for support, facilitate partnerships, make the ask or assist in making the ask, and go overboard in thanking and recognizing donors.

Creating Joyful Givers: I liked the approach in this session. The speaker tried to make us ordinary people understand the process from the side of the donor. They are not ordinary people. They know why you are making friends with them and as long as they are respected, they are willing partners in the process. She said, “it is impossible to sneak up on rich people and impossible to keep them in a relationship they don’t want to be in.” She advised doing more listening than telling, looking for overlap of interests, and purposeful conversations. When they say, “how can I help?” is the time to move beyond cultivation to the ask.

Advisory Boards: we do not have a separate library board (and listening to advice from people I respect most, that is probably for the best) but I do participate in various other boards in the University. Boards are tricky in balancing interests of the participants and the institution. The message here is to be clear in expectations on both sides, otherwise there is much spinning of wheels that frequently ends in frustration.

Planning for Development: The norm is for a dean to spend at least 50% of his/her time on development. If I keep to that, it will make a huge difference in the culture/operations of ZSR. Often a dean with new development responsibilities needs to add staff to the dean’s office. (Fortunately, we have already done that with the addition of Susan as a second Associate Dean.) A dean’s job is to envision the future and then plan how to get there. Donors can help us get there. It is essential to work with, not against, central development staff and demonstrate your willingness to do what it takes.

Dream Team: a lunchtime program explored the relationship of a successful dean and her development team. Of course, she had a staff of five in her academic development unit (not a library) so it really did seem like a dream.

Campaign Essentials: this session confirmed that our own WFU Advancement team knows what they are doing in structuring a campaign. Everything we have done here is according to well-established principles. In a typical timeline of 7 years, there is a planning phase of 1-2 years, a quiet phase of 2-3 years (which we are in now) where 30-50% of the goal will be raised, and then the public phase of 3-4 years where there is broad engagement of all members of the community. The institutional vision and priority-setting is all important to the campaign; without it, nothing will work. It is my job to make sure ZSR is in that vision and priority for Wake Forest.

This seminar reinforced what I have been learning and absorbing at the ALADN (library fundraising) conferences over the past 7 years. So, now is the time: next week I travel to meet with potential donors and try to interest them in ZSR and its programs.

Wish me luck!


Three Themes & Some Miscellaneous Ideas from Charleston

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 2:01 pm

Acquiring Datasets: Two speakers from the U. of Illinois (one a “Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian”) described a pilot project managed by a Data Services Committee. Purchased datasets are stored on a section of the library’s webserver and linked in the catalog. In the long run, current processes may not be scalable and may demand too much of IT resources. The presenters expressed hope that third-party vendors may move into this arena as it becomes more mainstream. As universities become increasingly dependent on grant funding, datasets will become even more important to faculty research.

Streaming Video: Two sessions addressed streaming video. NCSU negotiates directly for streaming rights and then mounts the content locally. WSU-Vancouver sticks labels on video boxes to indicate rights levels (e.g. PPR included, streaming prohibited), and they also include such notes in catalog records. Furthermore a local copyright LibGuide includes a streaming media tab. We once hoped that streaming video would resolve the problem of continually buying the same film over and over again as VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-ray…. The industry seems to have figured this out, as some newer pricing models allow only a three-year lease.

Perpetual Access and the Big Deal: Concordia University (MontrĂ©al) spearheaded a huge project that closely evaluated the usage of subscribed and bonus titles in the ScienceDirect Freedom collection. After the project was over, they only swapped out five titles. Why so few? The high-use bonus titles were frequently in topics that had a short shelf life, whereas some of the low-use subscribed titles might have more staying power. In the end, they decided that they could “break-up” with the concept of perpetual access. I wondered about opportunity cost, since all this swapping only has an effect if you ever decide to cancel the Freedom Collection. At a school like ours, this would only happen after an Open Access revolution or a budget apocalypse.) Furthermore, three of the pseudo-canceled titles were in Math. If we followed a similar path, would there be opposition here? (During another session, I received external confirmation of what our Math faculty have been telling us for years: Math faculty use journal articles differently than other disciplines in ways that make their usage stats look low.)

Miscellaneous Ideas:

  • Should services like Summon adopt personalization like Google does? Or is that too creepy?
  • Much has been said about the role of journals in branding scholarship as worthwhile and the related career implications for authors. I began wondering about the implications for readers if journals went away and articles stood alone. How do we as readers filter the good stuff?
  • Should we stop binding journal issues that will be in JSTOR five years from now?

Charleston Conference 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011 7:01 pm

Just a bulleted list of highlights while I’m minimizing strain on a broken wrist, but call or ask me for more info if desired:

  • Lots of questions (regarding inconsistencies, navigation, and discoverability to name a few) centered on data sets and other types of supplemental material to publications — publishers as well as libraries and faculty are grappling with this. NISO-NFAIS is working on standards — see Some of these slides were shown in Charleston.
  • To stream media in-house requires: adequate labor in various parts of the library (and university too) to do the license negotiation, track the titles licensed, digitize the materials (at 2 quality levels — low and high bandwidth); plus storage space and software tools to serve the material; and the university must have adequate bandwidth so that core services (like email) don’t crash. (Presentation from James Madison University)
  • Heard updates on the hot legal cases and “nothing new” was the update on Google Settlement.
  • Heard a summary report on TRLN’s Mellon grant to figure out how to buy e-books as a consortium, include demand-driven purchasing. See summary at and details at
  • Two items of a more personal nature: for the first time ever, I got to watch — instead of perform in — the skit and I was interviewed by Jack Montgomery and Katina Strauch about the ZSR Library and what helped us win the ACRL Excellence Award.

Digital Forsyth: There is Still Interest Out There!

Friday, November 4, 2011 5:17 pm

During the past two days the North Carolina State Archives and the State Historical Records Advisory Board sponsored a conference in Raleigh: “From Theory to Practice: Accessing and Preserving Electronic Records and Digital Materials.” Originally, Audra was lined up to talk about Digital Forsyth in the cultural repositories track session on “Economics: The True Costs of Managing a Digital Project.” When she headed west, she asked me to step in for her, which I was happy to do, having managed this grant budget for the three years of the project. Here is my presentation if you are interested:

Digital Forsyth: A Partnership/Budgeting in a Collaborative Grant from Susan Smith

Unfortunately, between ZSR obligations and school commitments, I wasn’t able to take advantage and attend the conference except for the session where I was presenting. I did share the session with Jane Blackburn, who is director of Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount. She talked about a project they started 9 years ago that involved a very unique collection of 500,000 photographic negatives (from 1948-2001) by a local photographer (Charles Killebrew). The images span his career as a photographer and primarily were taken in Nash and Edgecombe counties of North Carolina. Her presentation was a cautionary tale, as they took it on without a plan, a budget or staff and in spite of local politics, restrictions from the donor and no funding. However, the collection was in danger of being lost through improper storage and preservation. To date, they have successfully digitized and described over 100o of the images and you can tell how fabulous the Killebrew Collection is. Now that the donor (Killebrew) has died, the gift stipulations that were in place are removed and they can finally look for the right grant to move the digitization forward.

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