Professional Development

During April 2012...

ASERL Spring 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:56 pm

The Spring meeting of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries was held in Charleston, SC April 11-12. Charleston is a favorite location for ASERL because it is easily accessible, beautiful, and has terrific food! Wednesday morning, I attended my first Executive Board meeting, as about-to-be-elected incoming President-Elect. I look forward to working with this forward-thinking Board in the three years of my term. The meeting itself started in the afternoon with the annual business meeting, which included the election. Since there is a single slate of candidates, the outcome was not a surprise!

The first presentation was by Karin Wittenborg at UVA who described the Digital Preservation Network (DPN) proposal that I previously described in my CNI post. Karin worked closely with UVA’s CIO, James Hilton, in forming this initiative and it was good to hear it described from the library perspective. DPN can be thought of as a huge insurance policy to protect the digital scholarly record. Karin said it was the most important work she has ever done, which says a lot. Next, Martha Sites from UVA described the Academic Preservation Trust, which is an effort by a number of ARL libraries to aggregate and preserve curated digital content. We will follow both of these movements carefully, as they complement the Hathi Trust, which we hope to join this spring. I see it as my job to monitor these kinds of national-level initiatives and identify how we at ZSR can contribute and participate. Each of these programs require an investment of around $20,000 in a pay-to-play situation, so they are commitments to consider carefully. The final presentation on digital preservation initiatives was by Tyler Walters of Virginia Tech. He has been working with the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, run out of the Library of Congress. Its mission is to preserve access to our national digital heritage through a community-based approach. Members include libraries, cultural heritage institutions, and content creators. In contrast to the other two, this organization has no fees, so we joined several months ago when Craig brought it to our attention. Digital preservation is definitely a hot topic in research libraries these days!

The next set of presentations was on the theme “Library as Publisher,” a topic of interest to me in light of our collaboration with Wake Forest’s new digital publishing program. Catherine Murray Rust from Georgia Tech was involved in the IMLS-funded project to study library publishing strategies and activities. Bill Garrison from University of South Florida gave a very practical presentation on their Scholar Commons program, focusing on how to remove institutional barriers and build campus partnerships to support library publishing initiatives. The last presentation on this theme was from Rebecca Kennison from Columbia’s Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, a unit of 15 people embedding themselves into the researcher workflow, with a full suite of services for repositories, conferences, publications, and video.

On Thursday morning, the Apple rep we had on campus several weeks ago gave the same presentation we heard at WFU on iBooks Author. This is an app that is currently limited to iPad but can be exported using PDF or epub. He said clearly that Apple is not in the business of library services, but they definitely see themselves in the content creation business. A number of WFU faculty attended the campus presentation and were interested in using this platform for multi-touch textbooks.

Judy Russel from the University of Florida gave an update on ASERL’s Centers of Excellence project in government documents. This project received the “Documents to the People” award from ALA’s Government Documents Round Table, which is fairly ironic since it has been severely challenged by the Government Printing Office. Under Roz’s leadership, ZSR has chosen one small agency as our means of participation in the Centers of Excellence project.

The last presentation I attended was from Russell Moy from the Southeastern Universities Research Association. SURA and ASERL are collaborating on a research data management initiative. Data management is definitely the next frontier for research libraries and this kind of collaboration is an excellent next step. Future possibilities include joint workshops, pilot projects, and even the dream of a huge joint data center in the Southeast. Molly is on the listserv that tracks data policy changes for this collaborative effort.

I had to leave the meeting a little early in order to get the Charleston Library Society, where I gave a talk on the future of books and libraries to the WFU alumni chapter in Charleston. We had about 15 people who came at noon and we had a delightful time musing together about what the future might bring. I had met an alum from Charleston at the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award event in February. One thing led to another and he invited me to talk to the group the next time I was in Charleston, which turned out to be the ASERL meeting in April. I love that kind of serendipity!



Rebecca at MARAC

Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:44 pm

I traveled to Cape May, New Jersey for theMARAC (Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference). Why am I at aMid-Atlantic Conference when Wake Forest is clearly not Mid-Atlantic you ask? Besides being a great regional association that is bigger than SNCA and smaller than SAA, I specifically wanted to come to the Omeka workshop that they were hosting on Thursday. Omeka is an open source software created by George Mason’s Roy Rosenwig Center for History and New Media for digital collections and exhibits that is specifically created to include Dublin Core metadata. We have been talking about hosting our own version of Omeka to highlight our digital collections and holdings better than our current system. Although only an introduction to Omeka, this workshop was most helpful in introducing me to the ins and out of Omeka. Rebecca Goldman of La Salle University led the workshop of 35 people. We had to do some pre-work establishing our own hosted Omeka site to play with and download some text files, images, and a csv file of metadata she had already arranged. Once in the workshop, Rebecca showed us how to create “items” that are files (images, pdfs, etc.) with accompanying metadata. She showed us how to batch import a CSV file with image urls if they are already available on the web. If not, you can import the metadata and attach files of whatever it is you are describing separately, etc. In addition to files, you can create collections and exhibits in Omeka. Rebecca walked us through the steps and although the internet connection was quite slow with 35 people simultaneously working on the same website, I found the navigation of the software to be quite easy. Playing around with the themes and plugins, Omeka is quite customizable. Plugins for csv files, exhibits, OAI, simplepages, LC subject headings, and many others exist and there are more being developed every day. During the Q and A, Rebecca mentioned that at Drexel, they have students use Omeka to create their own online exhibits. What an exciting idea that is full of possibilities for students to work with Special Collections in the future!

A very interesting session I attended was “Preservation and Conservation of Captured and Born Digital Materials” moderated by Jordan Steele of Johns Hopkins University. The first speaker was Isaiah Beard from Rutgers University Libraries who spoke of the need forstandards as illustrated in the Rutgers guidelines “Digital Data Curation: Understanding the Life Cycle of Born Digital Items.” He stressed the need to create standards and workflow practices, train staff on handling digital assets, and perform quality assurance. He suggests taking an active role in storage decisions, technical metadata, audit trails, and chain of custody. MAKE SURE that the hardware actually holds when breaking down!

An interesting point that Beard made was the idea that digital assets are easier to destroy and are more readily deleted than physical objects. Physical objects are typically stored, left behind, forgotten and rediscovered. But with digital objects, casual collectors typically delete what they don’t want when they are low on space or see no need to retain content. One keystroke, one unsaved item can be quickly deleted, whereas physical items tend to grow old gracefully. The iterative process of digital curation means constantly looking back at decisions and re-informing what is coming next. Start with the data, ask the creator how it was created, then ingest, preserve and curate. Often,we must accept that de facto industry standards become de facto preservation standards. Sometimes you have to adapt to the software even though it is not what you want to use. Establish a format guide and handling procedures. Document our decisions and rationale. Publish, share, and use the findings! Determine methods of access, how are we gonna share these digital assets. Above all, we do no harm. Do not do anything that will harm the preservation masters, make copies and then change them. Document these changes-make themtraceable, auditable, and reversible. When it comes to format migrations you must periodically reassess the relevant format, migrate, and continue to document.

As you can see, I thought Beard’s presentation was quite good. He made two points in the Q and A that I would like to mention. He said that when it comes to formats, they are not always great, but they are valuable. Even if a picture of a great event is snapped on an IPhone it does not make it less worthy of preservation. Another point that Isaiah brought up that really hit home is that fact that we are entering a digital dark age. Without archivists and institutions making an effort to capture and preserve the born digital assets, the record of our time will be lost forever. Some suggested,,

Next up was Tim Pyatt of Penn State, formerly at Duke. Tim addressed the presence of hybrid collections in the archives. Hybrid collections are analog collections with some portions that are digital. Because users are familiar with accessing analog collections in the reading room, born digital materials can be put in other platforms to provide access to more materials. Tim described a “quick and dirty” project that put some materials in flickr. According to analytics,digital content on flickr gets hit 8 times more than the digital content in ContentDM. Pyatt made the point that when scanned images and born digital items are together, users don’t care if it is a scan or the original.

Gretchen Geugen, UVA Digital Archivist, was the final speaker for this session and she was very encouraging to those of us who might feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to born digital. She discussed the AIMS project:AIMS Born Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship. This is a 2 year project to create a framework for stewardship of born digital archival records in collecting repositories. UVA, Yale, Stanford, University of Hull are all partners.

AIMS Framework:

Gretchen discussed the next steps that she is taking to tackle the born digital items within UVA’s collection. UVA is using the AIMS framework on Collection Development and Accessioning to make a program specific to their institution. She stressed that this is a work in progress!! The decisions they are making now are affecting the decisions that they will make in the future.

Some points Gretchen brought up:

  • #1 items to work on: Copyright, access, ownership. Realistically, the donor probably doesn’t have copyright or licensing. You must realize that access is different for different items. Perhaps items cannot be made available online right now, your institution can possibly provide online access in future. Gretchen discussed the changing world of ownership. How do you give someone your blog? With digital formats, if the donor still has the original-they can donate it to 10 other archives. Users don’t know what is the institution of record.
  • The idea of “Enhanced curation”-interviewing the creator about their digital habits. Documenting their file naming style or screen shots of how they use it might help when describing it. Digital materials are interactive and you need to know how the creator interacted with the materials.
  • Accessioning: Take file, create bit by bit copy as preservation master, move it to our own preservation secure network, extract some technical metadata, look for duplicates and don’t accession, triage and see if further processing is necessary, update accession records as appropriate. This seems logical but not easy! With ALL the formats, going forward with the accessioning and processing it is not as easy to do. Priority is to inventory, get data off of it, put it somewhere safe and findable. Tasks: inventory, triage, transfer. UVA has aForensic Workstation: FRED Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device. Bought with grant funding, this is a very expensive machine but can be put together piecemeal.

All in all, this was a very interesting session. The speakers all had great ideas and insights on a very challenging aspect of archives.

I heard other wonderful strategies for processing large collections, preservation, and a lot about the History of Cape May county. I am happy to talk about the conference with anyone who would like to hear more. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this conference and had a great time talking with other archivists.

Carol at ER&L

Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:09 pm

Impressions from the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference …

E-books and DDA

When CSU-Fullerton had a budget cut, they prioritized their DDA program and instead cut their approval plan. They skipped the intermediate step of an e-preferred approval profile.

In our own presentation, Derrik and I asserted that annual spending on DDA clusters around $4-$7 per FTE. Outrageous spending seen at other institutions might simply reflect a large FTE. With that thesis in mind (seeking confirmation bias?), we noted during other presentations that CSU-Fullerton is on track for $5/FTE. University of Denver spent $6/FTE.

An EBL rep reminded us to prepare for an increased percentage of triggered purchases each passing year as more infrequently-used books reach the trigger point.

A YBP rep mentioned that e-books now account for 10% of sales.

E-books vs. print books: The University of Denver examined usage in cases where they owned both the print and digital copies of the same book. High e-usage correlated with high print-usage (and vice versa), but without a clear causal link. Apparently, relevant content generates high use of both formats. About half of their presentation covered methodology – problems like separate ISBNs for each format made for a very time-consuming project.

E-journals and Big Deal alternatives

CSU-Fullerton used CCC’s Get It Now service to provide e-journals (with transactional payments) instead of ILL or subscribing. They did not anticipate that the same individual would sometimes download the same article multiple times. How to control for that in a patron-friendly way?

CUNY Graduate Center outlined how they eliminated a Big Deal. Essentially the content of that particular deal did not match current institutional strengths. By contrast, every time I’ve examined WFU use stats, the Big Deal for journals comes out ahead of the à-la-carte model.

Another presenter gave a sophisticated analysis of Big Deal journal usage for a consortium of libraries in the UK. He determined how much they would have to pay in Document Delivery or extra subscription charges if they left the Big Deal and returned to an à-la-carte model. In the end, the consortium renewed with both Big Deal publishers under consideration. The speaker’s model included a percentage use increase each year. He stated that use (i.e. journal article downloads) went up 14% each year. I’ve never thought to account for that before, but I could see whether that holds true for WFU. (If use does indeed go up, does it reflect enrollment growth or an increase in per-FTE consumption?)


Libraries (including ZSR) pay for hosting of the CLOCKSS archive at multiple sites worldwide. A speaker noted that the Japanese CLOCKSS site went down due to electric grid malfunctions in the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami. The site restored itself with data from the other CLOCKSS sites over the next several months thereafter.

Discovery Layer

A speaker from Oklahoma State University investigated a question that Lynn has asked me to look into: If you have a discovery service (like Summon), do you still need A&I databases? OSU examined one case where a low-use A&I database offered a huge price increase. Her methodology was:

  1. Find the overlap between the A&I database and Summon.
  2. For unique titles, determine whether the library has holdings, and whether the title is in English.

Her findings:

  • For the database at issue, OSU determined that about 92% of the titles were covered (at least partially) in Summon. Of the remaining 8%, OSU held 6% (or, 0.48% of the entire list), and those holdings were generally both fragmentary and old.
  • About 75% of the unique titles were non-English. They also examined ILL requests for the unique titles, and discovered there had been none over the past two years.

Ultimately, they cancelled two A&I Databases using this methodology. At WFU, the true duds among our A&I databases have been cancelled already (unless bundled with something else). Therefore, I wouldn’t want to replicate this approach unless (as at OSU) the database is already low-use, budget pressures apply, and a faction protests the cancellation by playing the “unique content” card.


One of the keynote addresses introduced the ARL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. This booklet covers scenarios like

  • reproducing portions of special collections items for the purpose of exhibit
  • e-reserves,
  • and many more.

Derrik at ER&L 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:35 am

I had a very good conference experience with the 2012 Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) conference. It’s almost overwhelming just to look at all the notes I took! ER&L really packs a lot into a 2.5-day conference, averaging 8 sessions a day. And if that’s not enough going on, you can follow even more sessions via Twitter.

My two main areas of focus for this conference were e-resource management systems (ERMS) and demand-driven acquisition (DDA).

ERMS. The first set of breakout sessions included a panel of 8 librarians representing a total of 5 ERM systems. I was one of two CORAL users on the panel. For those of you who are wondering, an ERMS helps Resource Services personnel keep track of databases and licenses-things like license terms, user limits, vendor contact information, etc. The panel discussion used a “buffet” metaphor, and the idea was for audience members to get a sampling of the different ERMS options. The format was fast-moving, even with a two-hour time slot. It was interesting how different sites use the same product differently, and see different strengths & weaknesses of that product. Common themes that emerged in the discussion included using the ERMS for internal communication, desires for better usage statistics management, and Interlibrary Loan permission as the only license term that anyone outside of e-resource management really cares about. And I discovered I’m not the only one who thinks CORAL should include subject headings for databases.

ERMS buffet

At the CORAL user group meeting (my first as an actual user), I learned more about the new CORAL Steering Committee. As I have described in previous blog posts, CORAL was developed by librarians at Notre Dame. But as adoption has increased, Notre Dame’s capacity to develop the product has been diminished. So they have formed a Steering Committee, with librarians from Texas A&M, Duke Medical Library, and the College of New Jersey. The committee will make product decisions and actively develop fixes and enhancements. As always, other libraries are also allowed to contribute code.

On a more general ERMS note, I attended a presentation by Tim Jewell, who has chaired a NISO working group on ERM Data Standards and Best Practices <>, a successor to the ERMI data initiative. Among other things, ERMI defined standards for what data elements should be tracked by an ERMS and has given direction to the development of other e-resource management standards such as SUSHI (usage statistics) and ONIX-PL (communication of license terms). The working group released a report in January (available at the website). The report (and Jewell’s presentation) recognizes that other standards initiatives, many of which have grown out of ERMI, provide greater granularity than ERMI. Thus the working group recommended that NISO not continue to develop the ERMI data dictionary, but instead continue to support these more targeted initiatives.

Sorry for the ERM geek-out; I hope I didn’t overwhelm you too much. Moving on…

DDA. Based on this conference, it seems like demand-driven acquisition is moving out of the pilot phase and is moving toward becoming a more accepted practice. Carol and I presented stats and findings from ZSR’s first year of DDA. We also saw data from the University of Denver’s DDA program, and it appears that they spent about $6 per FTE during fiscal year 2011, close to ZSR’s per-FTE spend of $5. But librarians from Calif. State Fullerton said that their DDA expenditure increased significantly in the second year-something for us to keep an eye on. We also learned that NISO is reviewing a proposal to develop best practices for DDA.

One question about DDA that was brought up a couple of times was planning for removal of titles. As the number of available titles increases, is there a need to “weed” outdated ones? If so, how would this be accomplished? No one offered any answers, just raising the question.

Publishers and vendors are also coming to grips with DDA. DDA is forcing them to re-think their sales models, moving from the predictability of Approval sales to the unpredictable volume and timing of patron-driven sales. Oxford Univ. Press is investing more heavily in discoverability, trying to make all Oxford content cross-searchable. Matt Nauman, from YBP, described their DDA service, and said that YBP is seeing a need to develop an e-book collection management service rather than relying strictly on sales.

JSTOR. John Lenahan from ITHAKA described some of the results of JSTOR user data analysis, and some of the projects they are working on as a result. JSTOR has found that a major portion of their users are coming to JSTOR from outside the library (mostly via Google), resulting in a high number of unnecessary turnaways. So JSTOR is developing some really cool features to address this. First of all, JSTOR has made all journal content published prior to 1923 free to anyone. The are also working on a “Register to Read” function, where a user can “borrow” up to 3 articles at a time. What’s really cool, though, is the “Institutional Finder,” which will prompt the user saying “You are not logged in from an affiliated institution,” and will allow the user to select their university and log in via the proxy server. Finally, they are building an integration with discovery services, providing the user with a link to re-do their JSTOR search on their library’s Summon instance.

Turnover. I attended a session on reducing information loss when there’s staff turnover, thinking of all the information stored in an individual’s memory, e-mail account, hard drive, etc. Strategies suggested included using an ERMS, wikis &/or LibGuides, and project management tools. The speaker also suggested using a checklist for departing personnel. One tip I liked was to create a generic institutional e-mail account to list with vendors so that when a person leaves you can just redirect that account rather than having to contact all those vendors.

AR. I learned about a project at the University of Manchester, where they have developed Augmented Reality (AR) apps in conjunction with Special Collections exhibits. For example, a student might point their smartphone camera at a 200-year-old printing press, or a copy of Dante’s Inferno, and can tap certain areas of their screen to get more information. The externally-funded project represented cooperation among software developers, tech support, librarians, and academic departments. They found it to be most meaningful for 1st- and 2nd-year undergraduates, less so for experienced students and researchers. In case you’re wondering (like I was), their Special Collections dept. has iPads available for checkout for patrons who don’t have a smartphone. More about the project is available at .

ER&L is a great conference to follow on Twitter. There are quite a few attendees (including yours truly) who tweet during sessions, and with only three or four concurrent sessions, the conversations are fairly easy to follow. The conference organizers tried something new this year–in addition to the conference hashtag, they assigned a separate hashtag for each session. It was a good idea (IMHO), but apparently wasn’t publicized very well and had only moderate uptake. It will probably work better next year.

Finally, here are some miscellaneous sound bytes either from my notes or from the conference Twitter stream:
@AnAnarchivist: “Accepting other people’s opinions is an expectation, we want other’s opinions, and expect our opinions to be welcome. #erl12 #millennials”
“Unlikely you’ll ever be down to 1 tool” for managing e-resources – Heidi Zuniga, University of Colorado medical campus
“IP addresses are not an identity” – Thomas Blood, Naval Postgraduate School
@library_chic: “print books were all shareable across consortia. ebooks are, in most cases, not shareable #consortia #erl12″
@annacreech: “What a cataloger thinks a title is and what a vendor thinks a title is are two different things. #ebookpbook #erl12″
@tmvogel: “UDenver: Going through data fast, but it looks like they saw higher per title usage for the titles in both formats #erl12 #ebookpbook”

Lauren P. at Reynolda House

Sunday, April 22, 2012 3:06 pm

I love getting the chance to speak with non-library audiences about what libraries do, and was fortunate to have the opportunity to do just that a little over a week ago. I was invited to speak on a panel for a National Advisory Council meeting of the Reynolda House Museum of American Art about how libraries are responding to the online world.

I was able to go a little bit early and learn about the outstanding cataloging project that they’ve been working on, and I can’t wait until that is available online to browse. I also learned about the vision for the Reynolda House website, and I’m really excited about it. It’s a really forward-thinking approach, and I am certain there will be people from all over who will use the website regularly even if they never make it to the physical museum.

The panel was moderated by Reynolda House’s Sarah Smith and included (telephoned in) Deborah Howes, the Director of Digital Learning from MOMA and (physically there)Tim Songer, the President of Interactive Knowledge.

My section was entitled “This Library Is Not a Place” and focused on how libraries have been thinking for some time about how we should define ourselves as e-resources become more common and as people turn to other places (in addition to libraries!) for information. My argument was that libraries are about more than just where they’re located: it’s the services, the varied information containers, the collaboration that make us what we are and that it is possible to use the web to do a lot of that work. I also tried to be clear that all of our online services don’t replaces the physical experience, but they can enhance it and in the best cases make it even better. Here are my slides:

This Library is Not a Place
View more PowerPoint from Lauren Pressley

I also really, really enjoyed the opportunity to hear my fellow panelists. I took a lot of notes, but will mostly focus on a few projects that were highlighted here.

Deborah Howes

Tim Songer
  • Interactive Knowledge started out creating digital learning tools for libraries but has since shifted to focus on not for profit organizations and filmmakers that are informal educators
  • The company is not trying to sell products, but rather trying to solve problems. They’re trying to create sites that completely immerse the user in the content.
  • American Sabor is a parallel website to a traveling physical exhibit about Latino music. The website changed the physical exhibit to take advantage of some of the work they did online.
  • Flight and Rescue provides a cinematic way of telling the story of WWII Jewish refugees that fled to Asia for a temporary exhibit at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. This website allows people to continue to have access to the information from the exhibit,supported with a database that includes objects and oral history

Thanks to Emily Santillo and Sarah Smith for inviting me, I had a great time! (And particularly enjoyed being referred to as “the librarian” during the Q&A!)

Chris at the 2012 North Carolina Serials Conference

Friday, April 20, 2012 1:38 pm

The 2012 North Carolina Serials Conference took place on March 16, 2012 at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The theme for this year’s conference was “Déjà Vu: All Over Again: Familiar Problems, New Solutions”, and in the serials corner of Library Land this is often the case. As more libraries have made the transition from print to electronic, the process to find new and stable workflows has been an ongoing concern. As a testament to their resilience, however, libraries have integrated new lines of thought to manage continuing resources. Three of these ideas stood out to me during the day’s events.

Flexibility is still important. One of the most interesting sessions I attended examined the parallels between journal publishers and the music industry. When Napster became a dominant technology in the late 1990s, users were able to (albeit illegally) swap songs through online file sharing. The RIAA moved to shut down the technology, but the concept was successfully incorporated in to Apple’s iTunes platform several years later and the record industry was changed forever. Journal publishers have reached a similar crossroads, as users have begun to focus on journal articles to support their research rather than reading an entire journal. The speaker made the case that publishers should recognize this change and adapt to the needs of their users, which the music industry was unable to do effectively. The question of access to the content over the container continues.

The Big Deal is no longer the only solution. For almost twenty years, libraries have purchased electronic journal packages that included former print subscriptions as well as journals that they could not have afforded previously. The Big Deal, as it came to be known, was an opportunity for many libraries to greatly increase the numbers of journals for their users to access. However, as journal costs have escalated and library budgets have remained stagnant, libraries have reexamined these packages and decided that they are no longer feasible and withdrawn from them. Some have even returned to the a la carte approach, where journal subscriptions are purchased on a title-by-title basis rather than as a bundle. Regardless of the approach, it has become clear that a re-evaluation is in order. Numerous options such as pay-per-view and demand driven acquisition may take hold in the world of journal publishing, changing both publishing and collecting as a whole.

Ebooks, ebooks, ebooks. The final vision session was from Kevin Guthrie, President of Ithaka (providers of library services like JSTOR), and he spoke about “Will Books Be Different?” Books, he argued, would take a similar path as print journals into the electronic environment but with a few key differences. Ebook readers, such as the Kindle and Nook, will expand into a manageable form of delivery for a variety of users and their needs. Google and Amazon will expand into the market of being long term providers of ebooks, but they will be faced with the needs of preservation and access that have become part of the manageability of electronic journals. He also made three additional points:

  • With ebooks as a whole, libraries are still ahead of a majority of their users: where some users still have a cautious viewpoint of them, libraries have gone forward with offering access.
  • Publishers are still adapting their services: in terms of maintenance and a solid business model, publishers have seen ebooks as a work in progress.
  • Just like electronic journals, universal adoption cannot be expected: some areas of study will be slower to adopt ebooks on a large scale, but as service and technology improve the tipping pint may be reached.

In all, this year’s Serials Conference was a stimulating for ideas and concepts. As librarians attempt to provide the best service for their patrons, it’s always interesting how the new can be viewed by- and not necessarily against- what has gone before.


Roz at DLS – a Theme Emerges

Friday, April 20, 2012 12:48 pm

I am in Memphis this week attending the 15th Annual Distance Library Services Conference sponsored by Central Michigan University Libraries. This biennial conference (held on the alternate years from ACRL), has been around since the 1980s – which tells you how long libraries have been talking about supporting distance users. The focus of this group has broadened from supporting remote users at satellite campuses (which MANY here still do) to also supporting online students who may never have any contact with a building or campus at all. But a theme I’m hearing this year (and you know I love themes) is that it is no longer easy, possible or desirable to differentiate between ‘distance’ and ‘on-campus’ students. If they are using the web to interact with you, they are all distant students/faculty/staff at least some of the time. In other words, even your students and faculty that spend the most time in your library building, checking out your print materials and working one on one in person with reference librarians, are also accessing your materials and services online. So libraries need to intentional in how we craft ALL of our content, our services, our support online to be sure it can support any student or faculty, not just those that are totally online.

This is actually comforting to me in many ways, because it means we don’t have to reinvent what we do just to serve this new (to WFU) population of fully online students. We need to be thinking about all of our services, support and content that we provide via our Internet presence(s) to be sure it works for ALL of our community members. The goal should be to have self-service help information AND clear ways to get in touch with us virtually or in-person. We can and should have multiple ways to interact with our services and content that suits multiple access methods and preferences. So it is with that framework that I’ll discuss a few of the sessions/topics I found enlightening.

I attended two sessions that discussed Discovery Services (one was Ebsco Discovery, the other Summon). Both sessions were looking at being sure you get your investments worth out of these useful, but expensive services. The first looked at integrating instruction on the services into virtual reference sessions via pre-recorded screencasts of common issues. The other, more interesting one (to me) was a user survey of distance students to see if and how they used a discovery service. They found that 42% of their respondents started their research with Google or Google Scholar, 26% started with library databases (this group primarly came from those who got their library instruction before Summon was available) and 22% started with Summon. But they also found that 81% said they used other sources besides the place they started. When asked to rank as useful or essential, students ranked Google results as useful, but Summon results as essential. 61% said that Summon improved their ability to research effectively. The take-away here I think is that if discovery services are here to stay (and I think they are at least for a while), then we need to do our best to provide self-service and on the spot assistance in using them efficiently and effectively so they are useful to our students and might stand a chance of becoming the starting point for them the next time they begin a research project. This goes for online AND on-campus students equally.

One of the more interesting sessions I attended was one on creating a sense of library as place for online users from folks at Bucks Community College. They went with Boopsie, a company that creates branded mobile apps for libraries. They have a lovely app (called Bucks Mobile) that is a nice one-stop place for doing many of the things a mobile user might want. But after their presentation, the discussion came around to the pros and cons of going with an app or with a mobile web site. With an app, you have to rely on people to download the app. With a mobile web site they can use their browser, BUT you have to have web design expertise if you are going to design a mobile site that can provide users with as many options as an app can. There are times and places that either option would be the right choice, but what came out in the discussion that it is critical to have a mobile presence of some sort if we are really going to meet our users where they are with the devices they have with them. This, again, is true no matter if you students are fully online, or fully on-campus. The mobile device is their constant companion.

Finally, one particularly interesting session was about using a knowledge base as a way to support your users when you aren’t available. The presentation was short because the presenters realized they had more questions than answers about the topic, so there was a really great discussion period. There was A LOT of love in the room for LibAnswers, a product we are looking at, and a general recognition that no matter what product you choose, you have to commit to keep it up to date but that we may worry a bit too much about perfection in a knowledge base, when our students are used to knowledge bases (like Microsoft, Apple, etc.) where perfection isn’t the standard. One BIG benefit of having a knowledge base is that it does allow for self-service help for patrons (if yours is publicly searchable) any time of the day or night. The LibAnswers product also allows for a public questions, so you can benefit from the immense knowledge of other librarians. Do we all need to create our own MLA or APA questions and answers on our sites? Probably not but together we can probably create a really strong Q&A set for all of our students.

Of course, at any conference, some of the best discussions come between the sessions when you get to meet people and hear about what they are doing. What is comforting to hear is that we are not all that far behind in our thinking about supporting online students, because we give such good attention to supporting our on-campus students. Still, there will a lot for our new eLearning Librarian to consider and help us plan!! Now on to Graceland!!

There’s no crying in archives! Or is there?

Thursday, April 12, 2012 6:00 pm

On March 29th and 30th, I attended the annual conference of the Society of North Carolina Archivists or SNCA (along with Rebecca and Craig). We were fortunate that it was held at UNC-Greensboro this year, making it an easy drive. Being on the planning committee, I knew that there were more people registered for this conference than ever before, so I looked forward to being part of it. (Plus I was in charge of making name tags and wanted to put faces with all of the 160 names I had printed out)!

The experience did not disappoint, and there was a good crowd from all over the state as well as some out-of-staters. Since Craig and Rebecca have already done a great job summarizing much of the conference, I will recount what I thought were highlights of the sessions and what I took away from them.


Plenary speaker- Kate Theimer

Kate is the author of the blog ArchivesNext. She discussed the 6 trends that will or already are affecting archives and asked us to think about how we’ll deal with them. The trends are:

*Participatory Culture

*Changes in how people document themselves

*Changes in scholarly practice

*Expanding Digitization

*Popularization of history

*Blurring of organizational roles

All of these are external forces that we can’t control, so we have to adapt. While there isn’t one answer that will work for everyone, Kate suggested that we step back, look at new technologies, look at other cool projects that are being done, and watch the new trends in history scholarship. Using this information we can adjust our own institutions in the ways that will best help us to be productive and responsive to researchers. As Kate was talking about what our mission is as archivists (preserving the past), she teared up and had to stop talking for a minute. Why, you ask? Because it is such and IMPORTANT job!

**Stepping on soapbox now** The job of keeping stories alive, of being the institutional memory, of preserving that information that someone will need to see again in 20 years… it really does matter! I know that many people think that we in Special Collections are a bit obsessive about “keeping stuff” and that we should just throw things away because most things are online now. But that fact is that we aren’t and they aren’t. To give a voice to those who have gone before us and to have things available that you can really “touch”, we have to be a little obsessive about making sure that important things don’t get tossed in the trash can (ask Beth about a book that belonged to Charles Dickens). When Dr. Hatch’s office needed a photo of a distinguished alumni, we had it. When a display needed an original King James Bible, we had it. When a professor needed to see Dr. Tribble’s original correspondence and notes to write a book, we had it. When Tom Hayes needed to see page after page of his father’s (Harold Hayes) hand-written notes and manuscripts for a documentary, we had it. If we hadn’t saved these things, huge pieces of history would have been lost.

We have no problems with digitizing things and sharing them online, but it’s also important to keep the original items as well. It’s just not the same to see a letter signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., online as it is to actually hold it. It’s a direct connection to the past. And even if something is saved digitally, there is no guarantee that you’ll always have the technology available to access it, i.e. floppy discs and reel to reel tapes. That’s why paper hard copies are still pretty useful. ** Stepping off soapbox now**

So, to sum up, Kate Theimer is a strong believer in adapting to change and making history appealing to the public. But she is also keenly aware of the huge task that belongs to archivists which is to keep primary sources and make them accessible to researchers both in person and on the web. Her ideas and observations about archives were thought-provoking and I’m glad I got to hear her speak.


-The presentation that followed discussed how to successfully Crowdsource projects and get good results!

*Lisa Gregory from the NC Department of Cultural Resources described how they used Flickr Uplodr to have volunteers help transcribe documents from their collections. They promote the project, North Carolina Family Records Online, through Facebook, Twitter and their blogs. Their volunteers have done great work, and are very meticulous about their projects. Lisa said they give personal thanks to their volunteers often, and also give them recognition for their help.

*Lynn Richardson of the Durham County Public Library North Carolina Room told about the Durham Civil Rights Heritage Project. Library workers and volunteers held “collection days” in different parts of the city, when private individuals and local professional photographers could bring in pictures as well as have their stories recorded, telling the the history of the civil rights movement in Durham. The library staff scanned the photos and shot negatives of them as well. The photos were then given back to the owners, along with a “thank you scan” of it. They had good turn out at each location, and more collection days are planned for the future.

*Michelle Czaikowski from the State Library of North Carolina talked about NCpedia. The target audiences as possible contributors for this site area subject specialists, writers and history enthusiasts. If you’d like to contribute, here is what to do

Anyone interested in contributing is encouraged to peruse the NCpedia’s at and contact Steve Case or Michelle Czaikowski, Digital Projects Manager for the State Library with the topic on which you are interested in writing, even if the topic is still listed on our list of “Topics Needed.” This will insure there is no duplication. (We don’t want anyone to go through the effort of writing an article on a topic already fully covered!) Please also include a target date for completing the entry. Entries may vary in length between 500 – 2000 words depending on the topic”.

They are also looking for images to use in NCpedia. Have some you’d like to share? Then read this:

NCpedia is currently seeking images for Flickr slideshows for NCpedia’s county profiles.

Do you have digital photographs of places in North Carolina? Do you use Flickr? Would you like your Flickr photos featured in NCpedia’s county profiles?

Contributing them is an easy two-step process.

First, let Flickr know you are okay with sharing your photos with us. To do this, go to the “Privacy & Permissions” settings on your account to make sure the answers to the following questions are as follows:

  • “Allow others to share your stuff?” Yes
  • “Allow your stuff to be added to a gallery?” Yes
  • “Hide your stuff from public searches?” No

Second, add the following tags to the photos you would like to appear in NCpedia:

  • ncpedia
  • the county name, as one word. For example: wakecounty, pendercounty, cravencounty

So far response has been great, and they are always looking for new information and pictures!


*Tom Flynn from Winston-Salem Sate shared about the efforts he’s making to increase the photo collections there. He literally goes to events and holds up a sign that says “send your pictures to this address” which is set up to go to and archives account that is set up on their SnapCrowd (cloud storage) account. Response has been good so far, and they hope to produce QR codes for the yearbook eventually as well as stream the videos at the sporting event, in the student center and in the archives. He also mentioned that there they do some screening to weed out inappropriate photos or video, but so far there haven’t been any problems.


-A presentation on Copyright for Digital Collections highlighted just how difficult it really can be, and is many times, to get permission to provide online access to materials. Lynn Eaton from Duke, Kristy Dixon from UNC- Charlotte, and Maggie Dickson from UNC-Chapel Hill all recounted the long, involved process of researching who holds copyright for various materials, what to ask when you send a letter to get permission to put materials online, and what the Fair Use Provision of the Copyright Act of 1976 says. (Fair Use) Duke is working with advertising materials from a large number of companies, UNC-Charlotte is working with the Payne Editorial Cartoon Collection and UNC-Chapel Hill is working with city directories. Needless to say, very few things were cut and dried for these projects, but they are all moving ahead without any problems so far.

-Craig, Rebecca and I enjoyed hearing about the projects that are going on at NC State in their Special Collections Research Center, but I must admit we were more than a little envious of their resources and number of staff.

*Kristen Merryman, Digital Projects Librarian, described how they have been identifying potential users for their agricultural collections. Going by professors’ offices, spreading the word through student employees and doing departmental outreach has helped them connect with departments that didn’t know what resources were available in Special Collections.

*Emily Walters, Project Librarian with the architectural and design school, discussed the grant-funded project, Changing the Landscape, that helped them process 1200 linear feet of over 40,000 original drawings and project files. They refined their processing procedures and were able to make the materials available for use. They actually take the materials to the students in the design library and have had good response.

*Genya O’Gara, Project Librarian for Student Leadership Initiative, told of the Red, White and Black project which celebrates the African American student experience at NCSU. It is a guided walking tour around campus that lets use familiar technology to hear a speaker tell what happened at a certain place or see a picture of how things “used to be”. Response has been very positive, overwhelmingly so, and there are plans to continue to expand the information included in it.


After a great lunch at Jack’s Corner, Rebecca and I made sure things were ready for our presentation on digitizing the Biblical Recorder from our NC Baptist Collection. While we didn’t bring the audience to tears, all went well and there were some good questions for us at the end. Our co-presenter, Gwen Gosney Erickson, described how Guilford College’s Historical Collection, along with other Quaker schools, had partnered with to have many of their church record holdings put online and be available to researchers. Their project isn’t complete yet, but should be within the year. Closing out our session was LeRae Umfleet from the NC Department of Cultural Resources. She discussed how they have used social media to share many of the resources they have about the Civil War. What she thought would encompass writing 2-3 blog posts a week morphed into 2-3 blog posts a day! She went through multiple diaries and letters and has found a corresponding entry for each day of the Civil War. She calls that job security for the next 3 years! There are many loyal followers of the blog, and they are anxious to hear what happens each day.


It’s always great to talk with other archivists and find out what they are doing and get new ideas from them. The 2012 SNCA conference was a place to do just that and I look forward to the next conference!









CNI Part Two

Monday, April 9, 2012 10:01 pm

Here is summary information on the othercontributedsessions I attended at CNI last week. The organization will post fuller descriptions and some video shortly.

“Competing Priorities: Sustainability, Growth, and Innovation in Digital Collections,” Jenny Riley, Head, Carolina Digital Library and Archives, UNC-CH. The room was full to overflowing so it was apparent that many felt the same as the speaker that the growth of digital collections in libraries has been somewhat unplanned, haphazard, and siloed. The goal at UNC is to move from project to program with their digital collections, using a modular approach to interoperable systems. They are currently trying to decide if they should move forward with their Omeka pilot. An overall goal is to bring the content and the technology together (an admirable goal for us all, and somewhat comforting to learn that we are not the only ones who have not found the solution yet).

“Open Source Sustainability: A DuraSpace Update,” Jonathan Markow, DuraSpace. DuraSpace is the not-for-profit organization that provides both D-Space and Fedora. I attended this session because last year we were approached byDuraSpace to become a “sponsoring” member, though we have not taken action on it yet. The speaker reviewed different governance models for open source projects, as they become more widespread. Sustainability is the big issue. Both DSpace and Fedora have great depth and breadth globally and are still growing. Kuali was mentioned several times as being a pay-to-play model, which we have seen with the Ole project. Also heard parenthetically that Sakai will be merging with Jasig. I was interested in the DuraCloud service, as I have always thought there is a market for a trusted brokered service provider for the cloud. Even with a mature organization like DuraSpace, they are still seeking the right management model at a price the market can bear.

“DMPTool,” Todd Grappone, UCLA. DMP=Data Management Plan Tool. Data management is a very hot topic in research libraries. A group of libraries formed a partnership to develop a web-based solution that acts as a guided template for data management plan development. Most of the session was spent by the speaker asking the audience how much they would pay for such a tool. They are looking for the right governance model (pay-to-play, volunteer, etc.) It seems to me a curious strategy to ask the user community to come up with a price and model without offering up something first.

“Interoperating Requirements for a Media Specific Repository: ARTstor,” Representatives from Harvard and UVA described how they used Shared Shelf, a cloud-based cataloging and image management repository built by ARTstor. Both institutions have a large number of images across the campus that need a specific solution. The best thing about this presentation was that William Yin, Chief Information Officer for ARTstor, has a son who is a first year student at Wake Forest and he promised to come visit ZSR when he is on campus next.

“Open Source Content Management for Digital Archives,” Eric Weig, University of Kentucky. I have heard Weig speak before and he is doing very good things at Kentucky. He has found a way to automate the connection of metadata to objects from mass digitization. They take a finding aid and drop it into this tool which generates a directory tree for digitized objects. They have four programmers working on this project.

The final keynote speaker was Phillip Long from the University of Queensland and his topic was “Key Trends in Teaching and Learning: Aligning What we Know about Learning to Today’s Learners.” This talk started with an overview of the Horizon Report and then went on to describe and illustrate some gee-whiz technologies that may (or may not) prove themselves to be disruptive, defined as technology that tends to separate things that were previously thought to be inseparable.

Overall, I was very glad we made the investment in CNI and I look forward to the next session in December!

Craig at SNCA

Monday, April 9, 2012 3:18 pm

This was my first time attending the Society of North Carolina Archivists Conference as a attendee, although a few years ago, Audra and I, along with Rachel Hoff presented in Pinehurst about Protecting Forsyth’s Past.

The conference was amazingly well organized and run. The signage was great and parking was available nearby. I have already reported on the paper mending workshop I took before the start of the conference. Rebecca also did a great job of covering the conference and so I’ll try not to repeat.

On Thursday morning, I took the tour of the UNCG Special Collections hosted by UNCG Archivist, Erin Lawrimore. Keith Gorman, Assistant Head of Special Collections and Archives, led my group. They have gone with one service point, as we have at ZSR. It was interesting to talk with Keith about their outreach to faculty where they do ‘cold calls’ during office hours and reach out to departments to get faculty interested in using Special Collections. The Plenary Luncheon speaker, Kate Theimer, was great. I especially liked two sources she mentioned in her talk: Handmade Librarian is a blog by Jessica Pigza, who combines being a librarian with the sources she oversees in her work as a Rare Books Librarian at New York Public Library. Jessica also writes a Handmade blog fro NYPL. The other source mentioned by Kate Thimer was Ben Brumfield who is using crowd-sourcing to get volunteers to help with transcription and annotation on digitization projects. It has to be a challenge to work with volunteers to transcribe letters and diaries for these projects-I think this idea is innovative and inspiring.

Vicki, Rebecca and Gwen at SNCA

The other session I’d like to report on was “Keeping the Faith and Sharing it Too” presented by two of ZSR’s finest: Vicki Johnson and Rebecca Peterson. Vicki and Rebecca reported on the the now infamous Biblical Recorder project.

Vicki at SNCA

The Biblical Recorder was founded by Thomas Meredith, a Baptist minister and founder of Meredith College in Raleigh. The BR began in 1833, and ZSR has what is probably the most complete run. The BR represents a get historical look into products and events of the Civil War. Vicki’s lead into the talk was a slide from the film A River Runs Through It where she described Rev. Maclean (played by Tom Skerritt) as saying that “Methodists were Baptists who could read” got a laugh from the audience. Vicki then used the BR as a way to show Baptists could certainly read…and write! She then explained how we got permission to digitize the BR from the Editor and Board, and received a grant to digitize the papers from 1834-1970.

Rebecca at SNCA

Rebecca covered the challenges of this project: poor quality microfilm; dis-binding of all the original papers for scanning, boxing and shipping to Quebec; the time period of the grant; and personnel turnover at the vendor-Olive. For the vendor, Olive-they do not provide analytics and we cannot edit any of the material. The benefits are enormous: keyword searching of the BR for the first time and users benefit from having the ability to search without travel or looking through original papers. Vicki and Rebecca did a remarkable job and I was more than a little proud to be their colleague.

Gwen Erikson from Guilford College, reported on a collaborative project to connect four ‘Friends’ Colleges: Guilford, Bryn Mawr, Earlham and Haverford. This project attempted to find better ways to connect people and historic Quaker church records, some dating to 1680. Using conference calls with each college, they ended up partnering with, who wanted to work with these Quaker schools partly because Quaker records have unique information in them. For permissions, they faced more opposition from their attorneys at Guilford than anywhere else because their attorneys wanted to protect Guilford. Guilford used the 1972 census rule of confidentiality as a guide.

LeeRae Umfleet, from the NC Department of Cultural Resources spoke about the Civil War project she has undertaken. Each day, sometimes several times a day, she posts about events that took place 150 years ago on that same day in the Civil War, via their twitter feed. UNC-CH also has a Civil War Day-by-Day blog which uses their resources to document the war. Anyone who has heard LeeRae will appreciate her enthusiasm for this work, which involves lots of transcription.

I enjoyed SNCA: hearing about the work of archivists in North Carolina, meeting new people, seeing old friends and hearing Vicki and Rebecca.

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