Professional Development

During July 2012...

Sarah at ALA in Anaheim

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 2:59 pm

Since I traveled to South Korea soon after ALA ended, I’ve had time to reflect on my time at ALA, which was rejuvenating for me. I was recently appointed to the ACRL-Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee, and we had our committee meeting on Saturday morning. It was also great to catch up with other academic science librarians at the ACRL-STS Member Meeting and Breakfast and the ACRL-STS Dinner. Based on the various STS programs that I attended at ALA, here are some highlights for further reading:

On Monday, I presented at the ACRL-Science & Technology Section Poster Session on “Expanding the Role of the Science Librarian to the Bioinformatics Domain.” My poster presentation highlighted the evolving, multifaceted aspects of my role in instruction and liaison work in bioinformatics in order to meet the needs of science students at the undergraduate and graduate level. My responsibilities have expanded in four directions: (1)Research interest, (2)Instruction, (3)Liaison work as an Embedded Librarian, and (4)Collection development for the Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program Proposal.
By advancing scientific knowledge through research and publication on bioinformatics, I was equipped to teach about data literacy in the following roles:

  • Instructor, LIB220 Science Research Sources and Strategies
  • Guest Lecturer, LIS612 Science and Technology Information Sources
  • Embedded Librarian in genetics and bioinformatics courses

I taught new trends in bioinformatics research to the following student populations:

  • Science majors in LIB220
  • Pre-health students in LIB220 & BIO213
  • Freshmen in Bioinformatics FYS
  • MLIS students in LIS612 at UNCG

Keeping at the forefront of bioinformatics research enabled me to offer innovative instruction and liaison work at the point of need to advance ZSR Library’s mission to help students and faculty succeed. Thanks to Lynn, Roz, and Hu for coming out to support my presentation.


The China Initiative – Conclusion

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 9:42 pm

I am writing this now from North Carolina, following our triumphant return from China. Recounting the last day:

On Sunday, we traveled back out to the Dulwich Shanghai campus to watch Peter Kairoff give a Master class in piano. The format of a Master class is that promising students are invited to play for the Master, who then gives them advice on technical components and interpretation, and sometimes demonstrates how to play certain passages. The students who played were two Wake Forest students from China who came in from their summer vacation to play for him. About 20 of us gathered in a circle onstage to watch the proceedings. It was fascinating! Peter offered kind, but strong and constructive critique and explained a lot about the composer’s original intentions as well as alternate ways to interpret and express those intentions. Perhaps the person who loved it the most was a five year old girl who came with her mother and grandmother. She paid close attention to everything, moving her fingers on her legs as she followed along. At the end of the class, Peter asked if she would like to play something on the piano. She jumped up and immediately played a simple, lovely selection to our great delight.

Our concluding banquet was originally intended as a simple get-together where we could all say good-bye, but the father of one of our WFU interns made arrangements to dine at his private club on the river and it proved to be spectacularly elegant and sumptuous. So we had another traditional night of ganbei and toasting.

Our final group activity was a night cruise on the Huangpu River, with brilliantly lit buildings on both sides of the river. It looked a lot like Vegas!

Looking back, I think the trip was very successful. We learned a lot about our present and future Chinese students and how to ensure their success in the future. We learned a lot about the culture and economic, political, and educational systems that make them want to come to American universities like Wake Forest. We established relationships that are likely to grow into fruitful partnerships for the university. We made new friends, both on and off campus. And we had a wonderfully good time doing it.


The China Initiative – Part IV

Sunday, July 15, 2012 12:03 am

Saturday was the big day for the China Initiative. It started out comically, as our bus was hopelessly stuck in a narrow passage with no way to turn around or back up until Jay Gentry ’89 from Edison Learning got out to stop traffic and saved the day. The first event was an Admissions panel session at the Shanghai campus of Dulwich College (which is actually a gorgeous and high tech high school complex) , similar to the one we did at Shi Xi High School. In fact, some of the same students came back to ask more questions. The main message I tried to get across was that the Library is dedicated to student success and we will help them in any way we can. Afterward, the Wake Forest contingent was available for questions by individual students and parents. Many students came up to ask me about the strange library that was open 24 hours and had a Starbucks in it. Most students were interested in business or science, but this shy young woman spoke to Dr. Claudia Kairoff about her love for English literature. Her father told me that he wanted her to do whatever she loved and was so happy to see her gain in confidence by talking to Claudia.

The main event of the trip was the concert by Dr. Peter Kairoff. A special Steinway Concert Grand D piano had been delivered to the hall that morning and it was a perfect match for Peter, who had just been named a Steinway Artist prior to the trip. Even for those with little knowledge of classical music, it was a magical experience. You could watch his hands delight in the keyboard, which was described as “soft as butter.” The master of Dulwich College Shanghai was so pleased that he purchased the grand piano on the spot, saying he could not bear to see it leave.

And finally, we had a traditional grand banquet in the Chinese style to thank our hosts for this wonderful experience. There were many greetings and speeches, and a wonderful tradition of ganbei where the hosts walk around the hall and give toasts to each table.

The whole day was a smash success and these two banquet ladies thoroughly enjoyed it (Dr. Ann Cunningham, Associate Professor of Education, and me).


The China Initiative – Part III

Friday, July 13, 2012 11:41 pm

Friday in the WFU China Initiative was a day trip out to Suzhou for a tour of the Dulwich College complex. Founded in London over 400 years ago by the British actor Edward Alleyn, Dulwich College is expanding rapidly on an international basis. In China, Dulwich has plans for all three models of Chinese education: top level state schools that emphasize studying for the Gaokao exam, international schools for ex-pats, and new international schools for Chinese students who want to attend college in the US, Canada or Britain. A whole new group of entrepreneurial international companies are forming alliances and partnerships, sometimes with US universities, to provide these educational opportunities. The focus at Dulwich is to provide a trusted, quality product by emphasizing academic excellence, leadership ability, English fluency, and assistance with college applications.

The Dulwich campus at Suzhou is quite impressive, with large cranes in place to construct the new Senior school next year. This is a picture of the Library that serves both Junior and Senior schools:

We returned to Shanghai for an alumni event at the Southern Belle. A small crowd of WFU alums were happy to gather and greet faculty and administrators from the campus. But the most dramatic event of the evening was when the Class of 2016 marched in together, having just had dinner together for the first time. Some had traveled from as far away as Japan to come to the Wake Forest events this weekend. What a happy, enthusiastic group of Demon Deacons. Meet the future:

The whole day was a study in our new global society, and was encapsulated perfectly by the band that showed up to play at the Southern Belle at the end of our party. The best mandolin player this side of Tony Williamson appeared on stage, a young man from Inner Mongolia, studied by way of University of California – Berkeley, along with a good ole boy from North Carolina:

Coming up Saturday: The Main Event!

The China Initiative – Part II

Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:15 pm

Thursday in Shanghai was a day of history and political lessons on Chinese culture from Dr. Yaohua Shi, WFU Chair of East Asian Languages and Literature. In the morning, Dr. Shi led us on a “rooftop” tour of Shanghai architecture, illustrating how the old/new Shanghai, composed of three separate cities (old, walled Chinese city; French Concession, International Settlement), was totally transformed by the cultural revolution and the economic reforms introduced byDeng Xiaoping. Here is a picture of the group from the Bund side, looking out to the modern skyscrapers across the Huangpu River, which were only built in the last 20 years:

We tried to tour the Anglican Cathedral and accompanying Cathedral School, site of the film Empire of the Sun (in the ZSR DVD collection) but it was under construction and unavailable.

Then we had lunch in a lovely American restaurant atop what used to be the Jockey Club of Shanghai (reflecting the former British influence), and could still see the outlines of the racetrack that was once below. Next, we toured the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, a truly marvelous museum, detailing the growth of Shanghai from an ancient fishing village to the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the world.

The day’s tour ended with a visit to the site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, notable in itself, but made even more interesting by the juxtaposition of high-end retail stores and restaurants at the site, reflecting the odd mixture of communism and capitalism that makes up the current Chinese culture.

Since food is such an important part of Chinese and Shanghainese culture, we ended the day with a fabulous restaurant that was renovated from a 1930’s slaughterhouse (I kid you not) and my new instant favorite, Jardin de Jade. Being vegetarian in China has not been a problem, as all food is exquisitely flavorful and delicious!


p.s. I gave Wake the Library t-shirts to all the Wake Forest students helping with the China Initiative. Here is Jenny Li, happy with her new shirt:

Tomorrow: Dulwich College.




The China Initiative – Part 1

Thursday, July 12, 2012 5:10 am

The Wake Forest University China Initiative has begun! A group of 16 (or so) individuals affiliated with Wake Forest are gathering in Shanghai July 6-16, 2012 to explore available options to further develop the University’s global programs. Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges, Office of the Provost for Global Affairs and Office of Undergraduate Admissions, has put together a diverse group of individuals representing many areas in the University.

The main event of the week will be a concert by Dr. Peter Kairoff as a way of thanking the parents here in China for entrusting their children to Wake Forest for their college education. Four WFU students who are here assisting us in Shanghai are Ms. Xizi Liao, Ms. Jenny Li, Ms. Grace Wang, and Mr. Jacob Blackwell.

China is 12 hours ahead of Winston-Salem, so it took all of us a day and one half to arrive. Most of us were here in time to begin with a day of sightseeing on Wednesday, led by WFU alum Monica Kitt ’10, who now lives and works in Shanghai. She led us on an active tour of the city, starting with the wonderful Yuyuan Garden,

followed by a delicious lunch of Shanghainese dumplings. After that, most of the afternoon was spent supporting the local economy, first at a nice fabric market, where many of us were fitted for custom-made traditional Chinese dresses to wear at the banquet following the concert on Saturday night. There were so many of us that we wore the poor tailor out! After a quick visit to the “fake market” (just what you would imagine), we re-grouped to give a 3 hour Admissions event at the local Shi Xi High School. The group of approximately 75 students and parents were a little overwhelmed but very interested and grateful at the size of the delegation from Wake Forest. Here is a picture of Dr. Bridges, assisted by WFU student Jenny Li, giving the first part of the presentation.

Thomas at ALA 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 4:42 pm

Thomas went to ALA in Anaheim also – he’s just slower than most about writing it up.

“Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?” or “All Your Metadata Are Belong To Us”

Maybe it was the looming shadow of the Disney overlords, or maybe it was the Ex Libris Alma webinar I attended the week before. Regardless, I thought I should check out the global domination plans of a couple of organizations with the potential to exert monolithic, or even monopolistic, control over data and metadata we depend on every day.

First up was a session on OCLC’s WorldShare Platform, about which you should know two things right off the bat. First, WorldShare is this year’s marketing term that either subsumes or replaces last year’s Webscale; both are intended to drive home the idea that their stuff works on a hugely bigger scale than, say, your local ILS. Second, OCLC will be using the word Platform a lot for the foreseeable future. Because having a massive database of cataloging and holdings data is okay, but it’s much more useful to make it a resource that clever programmers and developers can build thing on (hence “platform”). A couple of important points:

  • Data is equally available to everyone [where everyone is defined as “libraries with active subscriptions to one or more OCLC product”]
  • OCLC is creating an app store where everyone else will be able download the apps other libraries have created [following QC and approval by OCLC]

The result OCLC is hoping for is a robust set of mash-ups that doing interesting things with OCLC data and encourage more libraries to do development with the WorldShare APIs. The cynic in me points out that OCLC needs to make all their services mash-up-able anyway, as they continue to build a dis-integrated library system, so they might as well grab some developer street cred by making the APIs available.

I followed up my OCLC session with two Proquest/SerialsSolutions sessions. First was Summoncamp, an informal intro, update, and rap session about the Summon discovery service. A couple of eye openers for me: the Summon database now includes over 950 million items, about half of them newspaper articles. (You kids these days, with your billion-record databases. I remember when OCLC only had 10 million, and we counted ourselves lucky, dadgummit.) Also, the entire database is reindexed every night. I asked them to repeat that, because it just didn’t sound possible. Also, some new content sources and display options that some of us have already discussed in other forums, but seriously, they reindex 950M records every night.

After that I went to an InTota presentation. This is SerialsSolutions’ forthcoming “single, centrally provisioned solution that manages the entire resource lifecycle regardless of format.” My takeaways: First, any problems, inefficiencies, or duplication of effort in our current workflow are due to the fact that parts of it are not under the control of SerialsSolutions. Second, buzzwords aside, this is a new ILS (if the president of the company says, “We’ll know we succeeded when you unplug your current ILS”, it’s an ILS). Third, any vendor who wants to lock you into a product hosted on their server is now calling it a cloud solution.

Meanwhile, on the free-as-in-kittens front (and this is going to be a lot of kittens), the folks behind the open source Kuali OLE system gave a presentation. Kuali is an organization with ambitious plans, and some proven successes, in building open source software for higher ed. Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) is yet another forthcoming new ILS. Unlike other open source catalogs, it’s designed for academic libraries from the ground up. It’s really just starting to take shape: software version 0.6 came out just before ALA, version 0.8 is due out in October, and version 1.0 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2013. The University of Chicago and Lehigh University have already committed to starting to use it next year. What does it look like right now? Like a version 0.6 acquisitions module. But it has a lot of people committed to bringing this project off.

“You truly belong with us among the clouds” or “Look, I came here for an argument!”

This year’s Ultimate Debate program was, basically, “Which of our panelists can say the most sensible things about cloud computing?” I may not have that title exactly right, but in any case there was broad consensus (so… not a debate) that cloud computing is a mostly good thing but not a panacea, and that the overuse of “cloud” as a marketing term for any online service is making it meaningless, and you should really read the fine print before entrusting your mission-critical data to any third party.

“Well, this is depressing – how long till Battledecks?”

Three librarians from Arizona State University presented “Streaming Video – It Takes a Village,” about how they created their own streaming video server using open source tools. Unfortunately it came out as more of a cautionary tale than a success story: they counted up hundreds of person-hours for four or five staff members, determined that they needed a full time PHP developer, and ended up with a system that doesn’t support iPad users. They loaded a planned first batch of 40 videos (about 400GB of data) and have no plans to load any more into the system. They didn’t mention server, storage, or bandwidth costs. I’m sure we could implement a better solution with fewer headaches, but it’s still a depressing reminder of the real costs involved in supporting online media in any big way.

And in other depressing events, I am now chair of the LITA Publications Committee, which means I have to do real work at ALA from now on.

NCICU Assessment Conference

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:18 am

The 8th Annual NCICU Assessment conference was held at Methodist University back in May and was themed “Improving Institutions One Assessment at a Time.” Participants in attendance represented twenty-four of the thirty six North Carolina private colleges and universities with eleven of those there on behalf of their university library. The majority in attendance were from the Office of Institutional research. I always find this gathering enjoyable. It gives me not only the opportunity to hear assessment efforts from the larger university context, but also almost always there are some interesting library specific sessions.
Building a Better Graduate: the Development and Use of Assessment Tools for General Education,” was given by Carol Rowe, Barton College faculty member and their QEP Director, Kevin Pennington. The focus of this session was designing general education courses with embedded learning outcomes. The learning outcomes were based on soft skills surrounding written communication, oral communication and critical thinking. Faculty members took a deliberate intentional approach to creating a syllabus around these outcomes. The course discussed was a current affairs course, so students had a written assignment, oral projects as well as group discussions. Rubrics were used to provide targets for assignments and to provide consistency in assessment.
Brent Atwater and Nancy Elveen of Greensboro College discussed, “Using Assessment Results to Improve Internship Experiences.” This was a collaborative venture between their Career Services and their Office of Institutional Research. The expectations of the internship are clearly defined. What will the student gain by way of experiences? Here are some of the assessment questions asked at the end of the internship. We could possibly incorporate some of these in an effort to assess effectiveness of the internship opportunities we provide here at ZSR.
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in writing?
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in speaking clearly?
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in working effectively with others?
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in acquiring work related skills?
New Tools for Examining Library Impact on Student Learning,” was the most interesting and most relevant sessions of the day. Please view the slides from this joint project between Elon University Library and UNC- Chapel Hill Ph.D. student Derek Rodriquez. In particular note the slides that outline student use of library resources during a work task within their academic major. Check out slide 18 which list the top 15 uses within the library by the Elon University students.
My final session for the day was given by David Eubanks of Johnson C. Smith University on “Building and Using a General Education Assessment Dashboard.” The dashboard is a warehouse of liberal arts assessment data within the core learning outcomes of the university, critical thinking, effective writing and effective speaking. Students are assessed by faculty at the beginning of the course and then again at the end. Students are evaluated as being ready to graduate or not. Stats are also maintained regarding the amount of effort put towards obtaining any one particular skill. You can find out more about this model by searching for Eubanks work entitled “Assessing the Elephant.”
I have a notebook from the conference which has all the slides from each presenter. If you’d like to see them, just let me know.

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012 7:29 pm

Early Saturday morning, I attended a 4 hour panel discussion on linked data (LD) and next generation catalogs. I wanted to gain a better understanding of what exactly linked data is since that term is batted about frequently in the literature. I will try to explain it to the best of my ability, but I still have much to learn. So here it goes.

Uniform resource identifiers (URI) is a string of characters used to identify names for “things”. Specifically, HTTP URIs should be used so that people are able to look up those names. Useful information should be provided with URIs, as well as, links to other URIs so that individuals can discover even more useful things.Per Corey Harper, NYU’s Metadata Services Librarian, we need to start thinking about metadata as a graph instead of string based as is most of our data currently. Typed “things” are named by URIs, and relationships between “things” are also built on URIs. LD allows users to move back and forth between information sources where the focus is on identification rather than description.

Mr. Harper provided several examples of LD sites available on the Web, some of which individuals and institutions may contribute data. Google owned Freebase is a community curated collection of RDF data of about 21 million “things”. Freebase provides a link to Google Refine that allows individuals to dump their metadata, clean it up, and then link it back to Freebase. Thinkbase displays the contents of Freebase utilizing mindmap to explore millions of interconnected topics.

Phil Schreur, who is the head of the Metadata Department for Stanford University libraries, talked about shattering the catalog, freeing the data, and linking the pieces. Today’s library catalogs are experiencing increased stressors such as:

  • Pressure to be inclusive–the more is better approach as seen with Google
  • Loss of cataloging–the acceptance and use of vendor bulk records; by genericizing our catalogs, we are weakening our ties to our user/collection community
  • Variations in metadata quality
  • Supplementary data–should the catalog just be an endless supply of links
  • Bibliographic records–catalogers spend lots of time tinkering with them
  • Need for a relational database for discovery–catalogs are domain silos that are unlinked to anything else
  • Missing or hidden metadata–universities are data creation powerhouses (e.g. reading lists, course descriptions, student research/data sets, faculty collaborations/lectures); these are often left out of catalog, and it would be costly to include them

Linked open data is the solution along with some reasons why:

  • It puts information on the Web and eliminates Google as our users’ first choice
  • Expands discoverability
  • Opens opportunities for creative innovation
  • Continuous improvement of data
  • Creates a store of machine-actionable data–semantic meaning in MARC record is unintelligible to machines
  • Breaks down silos
  • Provides direct access to data based in statements and not in records–less maintenance of catalog records
  • Frees ourselves from a parochial metadata model to a more universal one

Schreur proceeded to discuss 4 paradigm shifts involving data.

  1. Data is something that is shared and is built upon, not commodified. Move to open data, not restricted records.
  2. Move from bibliographic records to statements linked by RDF. One can reach into documents at chapter and document level.
  3. Capture data at point of creation. The model of creating individual bibliographic records cannot stand. New means of automated data will need to be developed.
  4. Manage triplestores; not adding more records to catalog. The amount of data is overwhelming. Applications will need to be developed to bring in data.

He closed by stating the notion of authoritative is going to get turned on its head. The Web is already doing that. Sometimes Joe Blow knows more than the national library. This may prove difficult for librarians and catalogers to accept since our work has revolved around authoritative sources and data.

OCLC’s Ted Fons spoke about”s June 20, 2012 adoption of descriptive mark-up to its database. is a collaboration between Bing, Google, Yahoo, and Russian search index Yandex and is an agreed ontology for harvesting structured data from the web. The reasons behind doing this includes:

  • Makes library data appear more relevant in search engine results
  • Gain position of authority in data modeling in a post-MARC era
  • Promote internal efficiency and new services

Jennifer Bowen, Chair of the eXtensible Catalog Organization, believes LD can help libraries assist and fulfill new roles in the information needs of our users. Scholars want their research to be findable by others, and they want to connect with others. Libraries are being bypassed not only by Google and the Web, but users are also going to tailored desktops, mobile, and Web apps. Libraries need to push their collections to mobile apps and LD allows us to do just that. Hands-on experience with LD to understand its potential and to develop LD best practices is needed. We need to create LD for our local resources (e.g. Institutional Repository) to showcase special collections. Vendors need to be encouraged to implement LD now! Opportunities for creative innovation in digital scholarship and participation can be fostered by utilizing LD.

A tool that will enable libraries to move from its legacy data to LD is needed. The eXtensible Catalog (XC) is open source software for libraries and provides a discovery system and set of tools available for download. It provides a platform for risk-free experimentation with metadata transformation/reuse. RDF/XML, RDFa, and SPARQL are 3 methods of bulk creating metadata. XC converts MARC data to FRBR entities and enables us to produce more meaningful LD. Reasons to use FRBR for LD include:

  • User research shows that users want to see the relationships between resources, etc. Users care about relationships.
  • Allows scholars to create LD statements as part of the scholarly process. Vocabularies are created and managed. Scholars’ works become more discoverable.
  • Augments metadata.

The old model of bibliographic data creation will continue for some time. We are at the beginning of the age of data, and the amount of work is crushing. Skills in cataloging is what is needed in this new age, but a recasting of what we do and use is required. We are no longer the Cataloging Department but the Metadata Department. The tools needed to create data and make libraries’ unique collections available on the Web will change, and catalogers should start caring more about the context and curation of metadata and learning LD vocabulary.

While this was my second visit to Anaheim, CA to attend ALA’s Annual Conference, it was my first time ever presenting at a national conference. On Sunday morning starting at 8 am, Erik Mitchell and I hosted and convened the panel discussion, Current Research on and Use of FRBR in Libraries. The title of our individual presentation was FRBRizing Mark Twain.

We began the session with a quick exploration of some of the metadata issues that libraries are encountering as we explore new models including FRBR and linked open data. Erik and I discussed our research which explored metadata quality issues that arose when we applied the FRBR model to a selected set of records in ZSR’s catalog. The questions to our research were two-fold:

  1. What metadata quality problems arise in application of FRBRization algorithms?
  2. How do computational and expert approaches compare with regards to FRBRization?

So in a nutshell, this is how we did it:

  1. Erik extracted 848 catalog records on books either by or about Mark Twain.
  2. He extracted data from the record set and normalized text keys from elements of the metadata.
  3. Data was written to a spreadsheet and loaded into Google Refine to assist with analysis.
  4. Carolyn grouped records into work-sets and created a matrix of unique identifiers.
  5. Because of metadata variation, Carolyn performed a secondary analysis using book-in-hand approach for 5 titles (approx. 100 books).
  6. Expert review found 410 records grouped in 147 work-sets with 2 or more expressions and 420 records grouped into 420 single expression work sets. Lost/missing or checked out books were not looked at and account for the numbers not adding up to the 848 records in the record set.
  7. Metadata issues encountered included the need to represent whole/part or manifestation to multiple work relationships, metadata inconsistency (i.e. differences in record length, composition, invalid unique identifiers), and determining work boundaries.
  8. Utilizing algorithms, Erik performed a computational assessment to identify and group work-sets.
  9. Computational and expert assessments were compared to each other.

Erik and I were really excited to see that computational techniques were largely as successful as expert techniques. We found, for example, that normalized author/title strings created highly accurate keys for identifying unique works. On the other hand, we also found that MARC metadata did not always contain the metadata needed to identify works entirely. Our detailed findings will be presented at the ASIS&T conference in October. Here are our slides:

Current Research on and Use of FRBR in Libraries

Our other invited speakers included:

  • OCLC’s Chief Scientist Thom Hickey who spoke about clustering at the FRBR entity 1 work level OCLC’s database, which is under 300 million records, and clustering within work-sets by expression using algorithm keys; FRBR algorithm creation and development; and the fall release of GLIMIR which attempts to cluster WorldCat’s records and holdings for the same work at the manifestation level.
  • Kent State’s School of Information and Library Science professors Drs. Athena Salaba and Yin Zhang discussed their IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) funded project, a FRBR prototype catalog. Library of Congress cataloging records were extracted from WorldCat to create a FRBRized catalog. Users were tested to see if they could complete a set of user tasks in the library’s current catalog and in the prototype.
  • Jennifer Bowen, Chair of XC organization and Assistant Dean for Information Management Services at the University of Rochester, demonstrated the XC catalog to the audience. The XC project didn’t set out to see if people liked FRBR, but what are our users trying to do with the catalog’s data. According to Ms. Bowen, libraries are/should be moving away from thinking we know what users need to what do users need to do in their research. How do users keep current in their field? In regards to library data, we need to ask our users, “What would they do with a magic wand?” and continue to ponder “What will the user needs of the future be?

Following our session, I attended a packed room of librarians eager to hear more about Library of Congress’ (LC) Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative (BFI) which is looking to translate the MARC21 format, a 40 year old standard, to a LD model. LC has contracted with Zepheira to help accelerate the launch of BFI. By August/September, an LD working draft will hopefully be ready to present to the broader library community.

Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2012, Anaheim

Monday, July 9, 2012 5:18 pm

Lauren C’s top three from ALA: 1) everyone is still figuring out how to deal with the issues surrounding e-books 2) but editors want to hear about how patrons are using e-books instead of libraries solving the problems with them 3) and librarians (public and academic) are still talking about budget woes, but instead of eye-popping cuts, the talk this year is about sustaining collections and services with permanently smaller budgets. That’s my highest level view.

Here’s a little more detail, or the mid-level view:

In two different sessions I heard about experimentation with large-scale collaborative purchasing of e-books. In one meeting, our own ASERL initiative was one of the experiments discussed. We have a negotiated pricing model based on when multiple libraries purchase the same title in an ad hoc manner, so it is a little different from several others. No one (among librarians, publishers, aggregators) seems entirely satisfied at this point. I also heard about platform proliferation and the negative impact on the “user experience,” something Carol and I have been concerned about for years now. We’d all like for e-books to “just work” the same way that e-journals on different platforms “just work.”

Chris posted earlier in his NASIG report about a trend towards meeting user needs now, which matched things I heard in a session called “Transforming Collections.” Public library, small college library, and large ARL library perspectives were each represented. The overall message was to make decisions based on what is closest to home.

Here are other detailed snippets from that session that I found interesting:

Jamie Larue, Director, Douglas County Libraries in speaking about e-books:

  • The user experience is getting sacrificed to platform proliferation.
  • His library is not buying anymore e-books if their terms are not met. (LEC local note : One-user-at-a-time was disastrous last semester here with an assigned reading when many students were trying to do it simultaneously! At the June Admin Council we agreed to suppress NetLibrary e-books from the catalog.)
  • Need the EPUB standard to be used (LEC comment: a standard that Kindle doesn’t handle, but there are workarounds)

Bob Kieft, College Librarian at Occidental College:

  • He gave a shoutout to Emily Stambaugh amongst others as influencing his views on collection development.
  • Differences between small colleges and big universities but institutions are similar within their category.
  • No core curriculum anymore really and thus no core collection.
  • Colleges are slower to change (than universities).
  • Students clinging to print first. Librarians at colleges will store all they can as long as they can while awaiting culture change. Harder to remove old books than to fail to buy new ones. Users see the library as an archive/research collection.
  • Won’t mass digitize. Will sign onto Google Books when legal questions resolved. Also Hathi Trust.
  • Resource sharing is high. Purchasing decisions are based on the holdings of other libraries, without formal arrangements.
  • For students, collections is just _part_ of the purpose of the library — the library is there to help them succeed.

Bob Wolven, AUL, Columbia University:

  • Format obsolescence (VHS, LP, etc.) Replace some, forget some. Is PDF next? Science community uses hyperlinked text.
  • E -archives (e -versions of personal papers).
  • If everything were available on the web for free, then what would we collect? Who is responsible for open access collecting? Scale of collecting is immense. Right now only
    15-20% of e-journal titles are being preserved. How we collect commercially published electronic content is different because we’re not in control when we don’t own it. Archiving the web? If it is free people do not want to support it (like classic game theory).
  • Ultimately have to base actions on academic mission.

Here are just a few of the tips on writing offered by Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and OSU Press Director, Oregon State University) and by Lisa German, Dean for Collections, Information and Access Services, The Pennsylvania State University Libraries:

  • Remember to check author guidelines
  • Lit review is important to set context
  • Push back on copyright contract (easier if not on promotion/tenure track)
  • Must carve out weekly couple of hours for writing. Has to be sacred. (LEC: I think this has to be the hardest of these!)

I have more detailed notes on e-books, and I can elaborate more (over coffee?) if your interest is piqued!


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