Professional Development

During January 2012...

Steve at 2012 ALA Midwinter

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:35 pm

So, if you read nothing else in my post about ALA Midwinter, please take away this fact: RDA is coming. At several sessions, representatives from the Library of Congress indicated that LC is moving forward with plans to adopt RDA early in 2013. When LC adopts RDA, the other libraries in the US will fall in line behind them, so it’s time to start preparing.

On Saturday, January 21, I attended a meeting of the Copy Cataloging Interest Group, where I heard Barbara Tillett, the Chief of the LC Policy and Standards Division, speak about how LC is training their copy catalogers in RDA with an eye toward a 2013 implementation. She said much of the copy cataloger training material is focused on teaching when it is appropriate to change an AACR2 record to an RDA record, and when it is appropriate to change a master record in OCLC. LC has developed a set of RDA data elements that should always be included in their records, which they call “LC core.” Tillett said that LC will adopt RDA no sooner than January 2013, contingent upon continued progress on the recommendations the National Libraries made this spring regarding changes to RDA. LC decided to return most of the catalogers who participated in the RDA test that wrapped up at the end of 2010 to cataloging using RDA in November, 2011, so that these catalogers could work on training, documentation, and further developing the RDA code itself. LC is making its work on RDA, including its copy cataloger training materials available on their website ( http://www.loc.gov/aba/rda ) The Library of Congress has begun releasing “LC Policy Statements” that explain LC interpretations of RDA rules, and which replace the old LC Rule Interpretations that explained LC decisions on AACR2 rules. The Policy Statements are available for free with RDA Toolkit. Regarding the ongoing development of RDA, Tillett said that there will be monthly minor corrections to RDA (typos and such), with more substantive major updates to RDA issued twice per year. Tillett also spoke of the Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative, which is working to develop a metadata schema to replace the MARC formats. This group released a background statement and general plan in November 2011. They are in the process of developing a funding proposal and of forming an advisory group with various players in the library metadata field.

On Sunday, January 22, I attended a meeting of the RDA Update Forum, and Beacher Wiggins of LC reaffirmed much of what Barbara Tillett said, but he stated more forcefully that the Library of Congress and the other national libraries are really intent on implementing RDA in 2013. However, he allowed for a little more flexibility in his timeline. He placed the date for RDA implementation in the first quarter of 2013, so anything from January 2 to March 31. Wiggins said that many of his colleagues are pushing for a January 2 date, but he said that, taking into account how deadlines can slip, he would be happy with March 31. Nevertheless, the message was clear, RDA is coming.

Also at the RDA Update Forum, I heard Linda Barnart from the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, who spoke about how the PCC is preparing for the implementation of RDA (she said the key decisions of the PCC can be found at http://www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc ). The PPC is busily developing materials related to the RDA implementation. They have developed a set of Post-RDA Test Guidelines as well as an RDA FAQ. They have been working on guidelines for what they are calling a Day One for RDA authority records, which will be a day (probably after LC adopts RDA) from which all new LC authority records created will be created according to RDA rules instead of AACR2 rules. PCC also has a Task Group on Hybrid Bibliographic Records which has prepared guidelines for harmonizing RDA bib records with pre-RDA bib records. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but with all of this infrastructure being built up, make no mistake-RDA is coming.

On to other topics, I also attended an interesting session of the Next Generation Catalog Interest Group, where I heard Jane Burke of Serials Solutions speak about a new product they are developing which is designed to replace the back-end ILS. Burke said that Serials Solutions is looking to separate the discovery aspect of catalogs from their management aspect. Summon, as we already know, is their discovery solution, which is designed to allow for a single search with a unified result set. Serials Solutions is working to develop a webscale management solution which they are calling Intota. Intota is an example of “software as a service” (Burke recommended looking it up in Wikipedia, which I did). Burke argued that the old ILS model was riddled with redundancy, with every library cataloging the same things and everybody doing duplicate data entry (from suppliers to the ILS to campus systems). Intota would be a cloud based service that would provide linked data and networked authority control (changes to LC authority headings would be changed for all member libraries, without the need to make local changes). It seems like an interesting model, and I look forward to hearing more about it.

I attended a number of other meetings, which will be of limited interest to a general audience, but something that was pretty cool was attending my first meeting as a member of the Editorial Board of Serials Review. After almost 20 years of working with serials, it was interesting to be on the other side of the process. We discussed the journal’s move to APA from Chicago style, a new formatting guide for the articles, future topics for articles, submission patterns, etc. It was very interesting.

As usual when I got ALA, I saw several former ZSRers. I roomed with Jim Galbraith, who is still at DePaul University in Chicago. I also visited with Jennifer Roper and Emily Stambaugh, both of whom are expecting baby boys in May (small world!).

Lauren P’s Midwinter: ALA Council

Monday, January 30, 2012 5:58 pm

I’m going to break up my ALA report into two posts centered around my two main responsibilities at Midwinter: ALA Council and LITA Board of Directors. This is the Council post. I’d only been to Dallas to visit with family before, so this was my first significant visit to downtown Dallas. The thing that surprised me most (but really shouldn’t have) was how it wasn’t particularly walkable. This hotel was just across the street from the convention center, but once I left the building, it was still a 20 minute walk to get there!

In Dallas for ALAMW12

But on to Council: this was a quiet meeting. When you’re on council you have three main meetings (one of which is scheduled for 4 hours), two evening meetings that are optional but highly recommended, and a number of other events that are a good idea to attend though not expected (such as the candidate’s forum for the upcoming ALA Presidential election). I was struck at this meeting that the three scheduled meetings went more quickly than I would have expected. Some of this is because significant discussion took place in other venues (the evening optional forums), but some of it was because people were focused on getting through the agenda. Several conversations seemed like they could have gone on a bit, but instead the conversation died out and then there was a vote. Here are the major items of news from ALA Midwinter 2012 Council meetings:

  • We had a brief discussion about whether it makes sense to continue having ALA-APA anymore. This is a significant issues, so discussion will continue through Annual.
  • There is a petition at Whitehouse.org to “Ensure thatevery child in America has access to an effective school library program.”Please consider signing it! They’re only looking for about 2000 more signatures! You do need to register with the site first, but it is really quick!
  • There is a new digital content working group that is looking into econtent issues. They just convened at Midwinter for the first time.
  • We voted in support of the programmatic priorities for the coming year. They are: diversity; equitable access to information and library services; education and lifelong learning; intellectual freedom; advocacy for libraries and the profession; literacy; organizational excellence; and transforming libraries.
  • We voted on honorary memberships–the highest honor ALA bestows. We also elected new Executive Board members.
  • We got an in-depth report from the ALA Treasurer on the Neal-Schuman acquisition. This was funded out of publishing rather than dues.
  • Membership is down, but is close to 60,000. We can also expect 1000 members or so a year to shift into continuing membership rather than active dues payers. To get this benefit one has to have been an ALA member for 25 years and be retired.
  • ALA is working on a planned giving campaign.
  • The Intellectual Freedom Committee proposed a resolution condemning the removal of educational materials in connectionwith the elimination of Mexican American Studies classes in the Tucson (AZ) Unified School District. This was one of the issues discussed at length in one of the evening meetings. After surprisingly little discussion on the floor, it passed:

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association:
1. Condemns the suppression of open inquiry and free expression caused by closure of ethnic and cultural studies programs on the basis of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
2. Condemns the confiscation and restriction of access to educational materials associated with ethnic and cultural studies programs.
3. Urges the Arizona legislature to pass HB 2654, “An Act Repealing Sections 15- 111 and 15-112, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to School Curriculum.”

  • The ALA Committee on Legislation proposed a resolution opposing the Research Works Act and reaffirming support for the NIH public-access policy and it’s expansion to other federal agencies and departments. They also proposed a resolution on PIPA and SOPA and one on loss of government information. (Molly & Roz & anyone else who might be interested, I have the whereas statements if you’re interested.) All passed:

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association:

1. Urge the US Congress to reject the Research Works Act, H. R. 3699, because it not only threatens future public access to federally funded research, but also nullifies the public access already provided to NIH peer-reviewed journal manuscripts.
2. Reaffirm its support for the expansion of the NIH public-access policy to other federal agencies and departments.

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association:

1. Urge Congress to reject both the S. 968, PIPA bill int eh US Senate and HR 3261, SOPA bill in the US House of Representatives because they compromise such fundamental rights as free speech, intellectual freedom, and privacy in an attempt to target foreign websites and combat online infringement overseas.
2. Oppose any legislation that compromises ALA’s core principles and stifles the dynamic, innovative potential of the global Internet.

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association:

1. Urge US Congress to restore funding to ensure permanent no-fee public access to aggregated sources of government information.
2. Urge the establishment of a mandated process with adequate notification to include the opportunity for public notice and comment with consultation by librarians, researchers, small businesses and other appropriate stockholders before decisions are made to discontinue access to current or historical information resources when the federal government intimates, significantly modifies, or terminates information products.
3. Urge Congress to require that agencies discontinuing access to current or historical information resources transfer the content and related functionality to the US Government Printing Office or the republic institutions that can ensure continued no-fee digital access to this information.
4. Urge Congress to improve the federal government’s policies and capabilities for making government information available to the public in an open, timely, participatory, and transparent manner.

  • Councilors brought forth a Resolution on Publishers and Practices Which Discriminate Against Library Users. It also passed. I would like to list the resolved clauses, but there was a lot of discussion around the wording and it was changed a bit, and I am unable to find a passed version at this point in time. There was a fair bit of discussion around “discriminate” as well as if we want to oppose “the discriminatory policies” or “any discriminatory policies.” It’s not a perfect resolution, but I voted for it because I do not believe we can just sit by as we have for so long. A good thing that also came of this is: I’m hoping it will spur a colleague into writing a history of the discussion that would be very helpful to us all.

I forget between conferences how much I like serving on Council. It’s tedious, but it’s the big-picture work of the field. It requires keeping tabs on the general work of the profession, but also having detailed knowledge of current issues. I like the process and procedure for getting to decisions and the civilness of the discourse. If anyone has questions about running, let me know!

That’s all for now. More to come tomorrow on LITA Board!

 

ALA Midwinter Wrap-up

Friday, January 27, 2012 5:54 pm

I wanted to post just a few closing thoughts on my first ALA Midwinter. First, for me, the smaller format of meetings and discussion groups gave me the time to meet people and learn amount various committees. Spending time at a variety of LITA events while assisting with WebEx programs and serving on a committee gave me a chance to engage in a way that I had not felt possible at the ALA annual meetings I’ve attended. At the LITA Town Hall Meeting on Monday I was in a group, led by Jason Griffey, that discussed LITA’s role in Technology Instruction. It was a fascinating conversation that improved my understanding of LITA. Susan has been incredible in helping me get more involved with LITA and Roz, Mary Beth, Carolyn, Lauren and everyone else from ZSR helped me navigate my first Midwinter. While I’m sure some of these meetings could have occurred in an online format, for me, this smaller more focused event really helped me get more engaged. And, as Mary Beth mentioned, I won the ZSR Library a free year of the new database “Gay and Lesbian Thought and Culture” from Alexander Street Press!

From Disaster Planning to ILL e-book lending: ALA midwinter

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:35 pm

On Sunday, I attended the Alexander Street Press breakfast and it was great. All of us agree EBSCO can learn a thing or two about how to combine the message of your product while providing a meal to your attendees. The speaker, Lynn Novicki, the producer of three PBS series, Prohibition, Baseball: the Tenth Inning, and The War spoke about her most recent production Prohibition. I was so impressed, I bought all three sets of DVDs and got her to sign them. The parallels she drew between the mood and politics in the country in 1920 and today were startling and insightful.

 

The first session of Sunday was the most valuable of all that I attended at ALA midwinter. The LLAMA Library Storage Discussion Group’s session was entitled “Recovering from Disaster” and I anticipated that it would be similar to the session I attended at annual where the topic was all about offsite storage recovery. But this was actually about how to prepare and recover your library from disaster. The two libraries represented had survived tornadoes, fires and flooding. June DeWeese, of the University of Missouri-Columbia had suffered a tornado in 1998 and an arsonists attack in 2011. Nancy Kraft, University of Iowa shared the story of the flooding in her library and community in 2008. The thing that made this a most valuable session was that, while telling their stories and sharing best practices, they also provided actual recommendations for preparation, a bibliography and checklists. One of the most memorable moments was when June said, “When someone is recovering from an arsonist, they are the victim. Treat them as such and don’t say things like ‘well at least that’s one way to get your library remodeled’ or ‘what a way to avoid cleaning out your office.’” Later, Nancy explained how important it is to have a good plan, but also to recognize that very early on, you will “go off script.” I think we can use much of what we received from them to update and improve our own disaster plans.

 

In the afternoon, I attended the RUSA MARS Creative Learning Commons Discussion Forum with Giz, Roz, and Susan. It was a good thing that we all were there because the large group divided up into 4 smaller groups to discuss, form and function; direction and discovery; collaboration and motivation; and collections and connections. I assigned myself to collaboration and motivation and was sitting next to librarians who were all in different stages of implementing a “learning commons” or an “information commons.” One librarian who started this5 years ago said that there continued to be some problems overcoming cultural and training differences with combining the desks and functions. Having a clear delineation of duties and open communication is essential and ongoing.

 

Monday morning brought an ILL/Vendor discussion group where open discussion gave librarians a chance to share with publishers and vendors how difficult it is to navigate the license agreements for e-journals and how we wrestle with the idea of lending e-books. The conversation was frank and open. Not much was resolved, but publishers did ask of the audience of ILL librarians “give me some ammunition that I can take back to my management to indicate why we shouldn’t be wary of this new trend, or why we shouldn’t treat it differently.” Among the answers were a librarian who was a former faculty member who said that if a faculty member needs material for research that is discovered through ILL, he or she will buy it! Another point discussed was the careful attention that collection development pays to ILL transactions and once a threshold is passed, a purchase will result. This was all eye opening to the publishers and aggregators in the room. OCLC and Ingram are creating a service that will allow for short term loans or “buy it now” options. The conversation about e-materials ranged from video, to audio, ebook and ejournal. Things are certainly in flux for all parties involved.

A Few Last Notes (and a bit of a theme): Roz at ALA MW

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:51 am

So as I was pondering a theme for my ALA Midwinter, the best I could come up with was ‘skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.’ Many of my sessions, from Info Commons, to supporting distance learners, to planning building space to the vendor floor had me thinking about looking for what we want our students to be doing in our libraries and with our materials in five years and planning for that. The problem is that there is a good deal of uncertainty about what exactly we will be in five years. A new provost, capital campaign success, changing student demographics (and locations) all play into the calculations. So perhaps the best we can do is keep thinking about things and be vigilant in hearing our students out about what they want.

A couple of notes from the vendor floor. By far the sexiest thing I saw was a new (like not even available until April) machine for checking out iPads. Called MediaSurfer, it not only charges iPads between use, but it reloads them, too. Connects with your ILS for check-outs, too. Wickedly cool and sexy, also wickedly expensive ($25,000 for a 16-unit station AND you provide the iPads yourself). But still, something to keep an eye on as it does take a time-consuming task (charging and reloading iPads) and remove staff time. I worry that it is so very tied to a particular product, but I suspect the company will figure out how to do ereaders eventually.

I also stopped by the ProQuest booth twice. Once for an update on a really cool new feature of Summon that is coming – the ability to create (using a simple web form) custom searches based on discipline. These can then be embedded in LibGuides, web sites, etc. A really nice new feature that should be emerging in the next month. Come see me if you want more details. Then I stopped back by to play around with ProQuest’s new Vogue Digital Archive. A digital version of Vogue that indexes down to the image contents – so if you want to see a picture of all dresses in Vogue in 1945 you can regardless of where they appeared in the magazine – cover, ad or story. It too, is wickedly cool and wickedly expensive (maybe that should have been my theme) but there is a lower subscription fee that might be worth looking into.

Finally I had a long conversation and demo of LibAnswers and LibAnalytics from our friends at Springshare, who bring us LibGuides. I am beginning to think we need this kind of robust repository for Reference transactions as we begin to plan for online students and expanded online support we will need to provide for them. Just like LibGuides, it is an easy to use interface (provides TXT and soon Chat reference features, too) and exceptionally reasonably priced (see – that would blow the wickedly expensive theme). I will be talking to the RIS team about its potential in the coming months, but it would also be useful for Circulation and Special Collections for tracking patron interactions, etc.

All in all it was a good conference, but Dallas has a LONG way to go before people begin to look forward to going back there for a conference. The best that can be said is that January weather in Dallas does not stink. Oh, and if you want to hear about the coolest museum exhibition ever, come talk to Giz, Mary S. or I about the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. Beyond spectacular!!

ALA Midwinter, Pt. II – Lynn

Monday, January 23, 2012 12:56 pm

You can see from all the posts that ZSR is well represented in Dallas. Now where did I leave off? Saturday afternoon, I think. I went to a session entitled “Do I Own These E-books or Not?” and the answer, unfortunately, is not really, or not without a fight. State Librarian of Kansas, Jo Budler, told her story of trying to keep rights to her books by moving them from one platform to another by writing to each publisher to ask permission. Blah. Hate that. Then I caught a bit of the SPARC forum previously reported by Molly. I am very interested in the Georgia State case and am looking forward to its resolution (if it comes out our way, that is).

Like others, I started Sunday with the Alexander Street breakfast. I have never attended before, but have heard good things and it did not disappoint. Next up was LITA’s Top Tech Trends, ably reported by Susan. I particularly liked hearing of the imminent demise of the legacy ILS, though that has been predicted for about 10 years now. Can’t come too soon.

My main reason for coming to Midwinter was my responsibility as co-chair of the Cyber Zed Shed Commitee for the 2013 ACRL Conference in Indianapolis. The Coordinating Committee met Sunday afternoon and it was the first time I met all of the other chairs. It is quite a feat to pull off these conferences and an awful lot of work. My committee’s work doesn’t really begin until next fall, but other committees are already selecting Keynote and Invited Paper speakers. Some people worried about Indianapolis not being an attraction but someone else said, “yes, that’s what we thought about Detroit, but that turned out to be a FABULOUS conference (which made me feel good because I worked on local arrangements for that one).

I skipped the ProQuest Vogue Archive dinner Sunday night in favor of getting together with Bill’s former Alibris colleagues. So now it is Monday morning and I am catching up on work and getting ready to go to the airport. I am determined to take the train/bus public transportation option because the high cab fare has long made me mad when traveling to/from Dallas. Wish me luck!

Final thought about Midwinter: it seems obvious it is fading, if not dying. The meeting rooms, corridors and buses were more than half empty. I suspect that in the next few years when MW returns to the cold weather cities of Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago, and more committee work is done virtually, it will be even more empty. That’s a problem for ALA. I hope good minds, like Lauren’s on Council, are figuring that out…

 

Getting Ready for Distance Learners – Roz at ALAMW

Monday, January 23, 2012 10:07 am

So one of the reasons I’m at Midwinter this year is to begin to get ZSR prepared to support distance learners. With the impending arrival of the fully online Masters in Counseling program coming at some point in the next six months or so, we need to be sure we are ready for them. So several of us went on Saturday evening to the social event for the Distance Learning Section (DLS) of ACRL. Giz and I spent a long time talking to librarians from ECU and National University in California. Both support thousands of distance learners. We talked about how they handled reference. Neither provide 24/7 reference help, but both have librarians/full-time reference staff at their service points and answering chats/emails for longer hours than we do, especially late night and weekends.

Then on Sunday I attended the DLS discussion group on providing document delivery services for distance learners. The discussion was enlightening to me as I realize that there are issues we have not even considered about supporting distance learners. One of the issues was how you define a distance learner. Is it the program they are in or the place where they live? And how do you identify them in your system. Can you tell when a student logs in to your ILL system what there status is? If someone is in your city but in a distance program do you make them come in and get a book, or do you send it to them? How far away is too far away to live for that requirement? What about military students stationed overseas? ECU says in-county students must come to campus but out of county ones do not. Other places send the materials to you no matter what if you are enrolled in a distance program. But as more distance programs exist at your campus the line between who is ‘online’ and who is not is harder to define.

Another thread of the wide-ranging conversation is how to get your IT department to understand the unique characteristics of distance students. Many will NEVER come to your campus, so if you require a wired Internet connection for your students to do something (like change a password) then plans need to be made for the distance students. Downtime for systems is also a HUGE concern. Your on-campus students may not be on Sakai on Saturday mornings, but your distance ones may be flooding it on the weekends, so if your scheduled downtime for systems critical to distance learners is Saturday, you need to rethink it. Do you require an ID# for any of your systems (I’m thinking of you, Voyager)? If so, are your distance learners getting an ID?? If not, how are they told what their ID# is?

Another thread was how to market the services your library does offer to your distance learners. When I mentioned that we have been tasked with developing a mandatory library orientation module for our program, there was some envy from the group. This is not, apparently, a common practice. They mentioned that often the faculty and the advisers for the online students are the best way to get information out to distance students. One librarian does a live online introduction to the library several times a semester and has seen the numbers grow each semester. She also records it and makes it available asynchronously.

I could go on and on about the issues this discussion raised, but I’ll end it here and begin writing my vendor floor post (note: LOTS of cool things). What these discussions did make clear to me is that we still have a lot of learning and thinking to do to be out ahead of distance programs and not struggling to play catch up.

Wanda in the Big D.

Monday, January 23, 2012 9:40 am

My midwinter adventure began with a 5:30 departure from Greensboro. This required a 3:20 alarm and resulted in a long, really tiring first day in Dallas. With BCALA meetings for most of Friday, I soon decided this had not been a wise decision. Saturday was off to a much better start. The ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers Discussion Group had a very rich and full agenda. An update on the ongoing ARL Annual Statistics Survey indicated that discussions were underway considering the removal of some of these collecting categories; microforms, computer files, cartographic materials, audio materials, film and video. One of the recommendations under reference was to add ‘technical assistance” as a category under the types of reference transactions. The Salary survey is considering merging together the various reference specialist positions and also creating a series of titles with a “digital” component. At least it looks like revisions may be on the horizon.

A proposed ARL job bank of position descriptions would be a welcomed resource. It is most common for personnel folk to share position descriptions. It was not clear during the discussion if non-ARL libraries would have access. The University of Florida gave an update on its’ Academic Libraries Recruitment study. The study included recruitment data from 13 submitting libraries with 77 open searches. Hiring results showed women as the clear majority with 37 white, 4 Black, 3 Asian, and 2 Latinos. Males hired were 20 white and 3 Asian. The study also has data on advertising venues. I have a copy of the report if you are interested in reading more.
“Empowering Diverse Voices” is an initiative of ALA President Molly Raphael. This program invited “Champions” within the field to spend an afternoon on a speed dating style interviewing session. I received an invitation to serve as a champion. I met with five “champion seekers” in an effort to build connections, find out about their interest and what their immediate needs are. The group was totally energized, yet a little on the uncertain side. I tried to work through this and offered advise where appropriate. I remained in the room for the SPARC/ACRL Forum that Molly talked about in her ALA recap. It was refreshing to hear the passionate speakers address an area of librarianship of which I was somewhat less informed.

Like Giz, I also enjoyed the Alexander Street breakfast and speaker. Afterwards, I had planned to attend the second day meeting of the Personnel group; however I had promised our NCLA ALA chapter representative that I would come to Council where state presidents were to be introduced. While waiting, I attended a session entitled; “OCLC the Evolution of a Classic: A Sneak Peak of First Search and the Future of Discovery.” It’s been quite a while since I’ve done this type session. It looks like 2012 will bring changes to World Cat Local as they continue to look for ways to present as much relevant information upfront as possible.
I’ll share more of ALA Big D. in part 2. Stay tuned.

Sunday’s ALA Midwinter Roundup from Susan

Monday, January 23, 2012 9:08 am

Top Technology Trends Discussion

Top Technology Trends Panel Discussion: Lorcan, Demsey, Sue Polanka, Marshall Breeding, Nina McHale, Stephen Abram

Sunday was a day of sessions for me with the major one being the Top Tech Trends program. But it came after a day that began at a breakfast session sponsored by Sage (where our former colleague and friend Elisabeth Leonard was the moderator). The event was a big improvement over Saturday’s Ebsco *sales* event – Sage gave us an excellent hot breakfast and then put on a panel program that addressed various issues surrounding discoverability. They did it through a lens of the “scholarly ecosystem” that includes authors, publishers, librarians, and vendors. The panelists were Joseph Esposito (Publishing Consultant), John Sack (Hirewire), Barbara Schnader (University of California, Riverside), Mary Somerville (University of Colorado, Denver), and John Law (Serials Solution). Discussions covered broad topics including “what is discoverabiity?”, “who has the biggest stake in discovery?”, “how should each segment of the ecosystem contribute to discovery?” “are there good metrics for measuring discoverability?” and “what is the cost of discovery?” As you might imagine, there were different perspectives between the panelists but the topic that really seemed to get the highest level of attention was that everyone agreed there is a great need to improve the metrics. Where vendors look at metrics to drive traffic, libraries look at them to determine value. There was consensus that currently there is great difficulty pulling together data so that it tells a story that can help with decision-making.

The bulk of Sunday morning was devoted to helping make sure that things were set for the Top Tech Trends program. The venue was in the far reaches of the convention center in the oldest section of the building (built in the 1950s). When the AV wasn’t set up right, my assignment was to find the AV people and bring them to the room. So I wandered around until I saw a guy with a cart and grabbed him. They got everything fixed so the program was only a few minutes late getting started. Giz shadowed Maurice York who set up the streaming for the event (so that he can replicate it for National Forum this fall). I took notes so that we can provide folks with brief bullet points on the trends discussed (for those who won’t have the time or inclination to watch the 90 minute video that will be archived on Ustream). Each panelist brought two trends that they presented (in two rounds). Round one trends included frictionless access (smartphone technology that provides unfettered access to services without user interaction), the advent of “enterprise IT staff” for libraries (bringing in professional programmers rather than librarians who like programming), the impending demise of the ILS, the trend toward self-service (mentioned a rack to manage iPad loans including re-imaging!), and the rise of personal institutional curation services (library created guides was an example). Round two trends were: on-demand (printing including 3D, CD-burning, a hybrid model to provide the physical experience), web analytics, reintegration of discovery with the backend systems, technologies that take instruction in a different direction (eg touch screens) and the platform wars in consumer space (a library concern with interoperability). I’ll be pulling together more in-depth (well maybe a few sentences for each topic) information for posting onto the LITA blog next week, but this will give you the idea. I thought the session was one of the most successful in recent memory. There were good trends and interesting interchanges among the panelists that made the session’s 90 minutes fly by!

Texas School Book Depository

Texas School Book Depository (now a museum)

After a good lunch visiting with a group that Elisaeth Leonard invited to lunch (thank you Sage for my second free meal of the day), Mary Beth and I took an hour and toured the JFK museum at the Texas School Book Depository. It was very moving, and brought back a flood of memories from that watershed event in America’s history. Photos weren’t allowed (you know that was tough for me!), so afterward we strolled outside where they have two X’s on the street where the shots hit and have a big ugly yellow banner sign proclaiming “grassy knoll.”

After that, it was back to the conference where I joined Roz, Giz and Mary Beth in an Information Commons discussion session. I’ll let one of them report on that, as I am talked out now and have to get ready for a full morning of LITA meetings before we head back to NC this afternoon!

A Midwinter Weekend in Dallas

Monday, January 23, 2012 1:27 am

As you might imagine, my Midwinter weekend in Dallas continued Saturday with more scholarly communication-related meetings. First up yesterday morning (and by first up, I mean at a lovely 10:30am start time!) was the ALCTS Scholarly Communication Interest Group, addressing “Identifiers, Citation & Linked Data as Part of the Scholarly Communication System.” Three panelists from California Digital Library, Biodiversity Heritage Library (not an actual library, but a consortium), and the Smithsonian Institutes Libraries addressed the reasons we need to care about linked open data, and the myriad challenges bad, closed data presents. Very interesting projects were highlighted, and as I was walking from the session to the EBSCO lunch, my head was buzzing with thoughts about all the data we produce at ZSR and related implications.

After a pleasant, if long, EBSCO lunch with lots of ZSR folks, I grabbed a couch in the Omni and took a break for a bit before hitting the exhibit floor. From the exhibits I walked to Timbuktu (aka, the far end of the convention center) for the SPARC/ACRL Forum. The Forum theme was “Getting the Rights Right,” and the five panelists represented a broad range of views, from librarians in the UK and US to a technologist using open data to Creative Commons to a large Holland-based publisher. Each speaker had varying and interesting perspectives on rights issues, but I felt that the overarching theme was a tad lost this time, as the speakers’ messages didn’t weave together in a clear manner. Apparently, the audience (which included Wanda on the far side of the room!) also felt as I, as there were very few questions put forward. Nonetheless, there was good information shared.

Sunday started bright and early with the ACRL Scholarly Communication Committee meeting, which is a marathon 4-hour meeting. Fortunately, we’re a fun group, and our meeting not only ran ahead of schedule, but was punctuated with lots of laughter. It was also an incredibly productive, encouraging meeting, with good news on a number of fronts: work that’s happening on the intersection of scholarly communication and information literacy (ZSR’s LIB 100 program is primed for this!!!); the future of the Road Show program I’m part of and the success of our expanded preconference test drive; updates from ARL, SPARC, and SCOAP3; and discussion around the future direction of the committee. You may have heard that the ACRL Board is looking to restructure and realign committees to better fit the new Plan for Excellence, and under the current proposal (to be voted on by the Board on Monday), the Scholarly Communication Committee will have a slightly revised charge and new name, the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee. This was my first meeting as a committee member, and I am excited to see where we go!

My Midwinter wrapped up Sunday afternoon with the ACRL Scholarly Communication Discussion Group, which featured two of the panelists from Saturday’s SPARC/ACRL Forum: Lisa Macklin and David Prosser. Both Lisa and David recapped what they shared at the Forum (GSU copyright case and UK copyright & Research Works Act, respectively), then opened the floor for questions. Fewer people attend this session, so the group was able to truly have a discussion, which touched on numerous topics: the GSU case; data management and ownership; the benefits and drawbacks of using CC licenses with noncommercial restrictions; and implementation strategies for OA policies. I heard two things at this session that concern me, though. First, the Copyright Clearance Center, which is not a plaintiff but is paying for the GSU copyright trial, is soliciting faculty to join focus groups, with the presumed ulterior motive of sussing out infringing activities. And second, Harvard faculty have received direct, targeted email from publishers spreading FUD about the various OA policies adopted by Harvard faculties (there’s more than one, oddly). Both of these moves are stealthy and known only through happenstance, and deeply concern me.

While my final official Midwinter session did not end on as positive a note as I might wish, this has been an insightful conference and I’m heading back to ZSR with lots of food for thought!


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