Professional Development

During August 2013...

SAA, once more

Friday, August 30, 2013 5:12 pm

I too, was glad to attend the Society of American Archivists’ annual conference in New Orleans this year. As Craig, Rebecca and Tanya have already mentioned, it was a very informative and useful conference that touched on many pertinent topics that we deal with in archives on a daily basis. As always, it was helpful to hear about experiences from other institutions that let us know we are not the only place that has challenges with our collections, space, and resources. We also heard how other places have dealt with their challenges, giving us good ideas to bring back home and try.

New Orleans at night

New Orleans at night

 

 

Sessions that were particularly useful included:

*The Process of Processing

Presenters shared stories of how they dealt with huge backlogs of collections that had not been processed, or even accessioned in some cases. Jill Sweetapple of the Dekalb History Center told of club minutes that were held together with wooden clothes pins (with the year written on the pin in black ink, of course)! There were also labels falling off of folders, rusted paper clips, etc. which made it difficult and embarrassing to show researchers. Her advice was that even if your backlog it big, just start somewhere and make the materials useable. Don’t worry about detailed descriptions when a container list will work and let the researcher know what’s there. Christine de Catanzaro from Georgia Tech shared how they incorporate student workers and interns into their large projects lasting usually for at least a full semester. Betsy Pittman from UCONN discussed how 30-40% of their collection was in backlog when she arrived in the 1990′s, and that student processing was NOT working for them. Once students were fully trained, the graduated or left that job. So they reworked their workflow for students to do rehousing of materials and basic inventories of collections, but not detailed processing. Now more collections are accessible to researchers. Sarah Cunningham from the LBJ Library echoed similar themes, saying that you need to have a plan of attack for backlogs, and that it’s ok to challenge past practices that may not work now. Investing time and funds for staffing is important so that the collection can be properly maintained, and flexibility is necessary when deciding how to develop workflows. Striving for perfection only slows down the process, so focus on doing it well butdon’t get bogged down on details that aren’t important.

*Accessions Confessions

This lightning round featured archivists from multiple places including Yale, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, UCLA, Rockefeller Archives Center and others, who shared how they work with unprocessed and minimally processed accessions (new materials) and additions to existing collections. Most agreed that they do minimal processing and description, so they can gain physical control of what they have. Several places create a MARC records upon accessioning and at least can have the catalog record available online then. Many times, the accessioning IS the processing, so the person accessioning the materials will give a bit more detail in the description and that will serve as the finding aid. Box and folder lists are also used as finding aids, so that researchers can at least see what topics are included in a collection. One presenter said “action trumps anxiety”, so just jump in and see how things go with the “golden minimum” of accessioning.

*Digital Data Preservation for Small and Mid-Size Institutions

Speakers shared how they began developing a digital preservation plan and how it became a consortial effort. Several schools in Illinois created the POWRR consortium and told about how they started the project. They emphasized that it cannot be done by just one person, you must have a team. Collaboration means more stakeholders and more interest because of involvement. Constant education of faculty and administrators is important, so that they understand why we are trying to preserve digital materials. The speaker from Illinois Wesleyan reminds them of the great campus server crash several years ago when huge amounts of data were lost across the school, and people are then more willing to listen and consider participating. The speaker from Northern Illinois emphasized that it was tempting to just find a program or tool and grab it to start, but that buy-in and good information are more important at the start. Once the foundation is there, then you can look at the tools and find the best fit. Both speakers said that it is important to just begin somewhere and to “embrace good enough”, because there is no perfect plan or system. Something is better than nothing.

 

If anyone would like to talk about any of these topics, please feel free to stop by. I’ll be glad to share more details!

Fleur de Lys

Fleur de Lys

 

 

 

 

Culture Keepers VIII

Friday, August 30, 2013 11:57 am

Culture Keepers VIII: Challenges of the 21st Century – Empowering People, Changing Lives was the theme of this year’s conference of African American Librarians. The conference, sponsored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, was held August 7 – 11, in Covington, Kentucky. This conference, though probably not intentional on the planners, does more than inform and educate. It brings librarians of color together and magically fosters a spirit of acceptance, appreciation, collaboration and unity to those who attend. Many of the librarians in attendance come from institutions that have few folks who look like them within their staffing. At their state and local functions perhaps they’ll encounter a few others if they themselves attend. Of the speakers, we (librarians of color) are often thrilled if perhaps one of the keynoters is a minority, specifically an African American. So perhaps that helps you get just a glimmer of the pride I feel, and the motivation I get coming to this particular conference where at least 99% of the speakers and presenters are folks of color. Budgetary constraints, coupled with the host sight not being one of the popular let’s all go visit cities; attendance was lower than usual, around 215. Those low numbers however did not hamper at all the excitement you could see and hear throughout the convention center.

I volunteered for a community service project that involved supporting the local Kenton County Public Library which recently completed a 65,000 square foot, 12.5 million dollar renovation. The library has the largest genealogy collection in the country including a national Lieutenant Governor’s collection. Coincidentally this library was the first in the south to provide racially integrated service to all in their community. The volunteer project involved moving the children’s holiday collection from one sight to another. The books were already classed together by holiday, or so we thought. Our one dilemma occurred when we found books in the Christmas collection about Hanukkah shelved together with books on the Jewish Passover.

Dr. Melissa Harris Perry host of MSNBC’s weekend talk show was the opening keynoter. In a conversational styled interview, Melissa a Wake Forest University alumni, told the audience about her first library job here in the ZSR stacks, her steep learning curve as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, her life as a black college student, woman and mother, and her work with Michele Obama in Chicago prior to the Obama election as President. Melissa shared the story behind how she became the Obama political expert. There was one statement she made that took me by surprise. When asked about her work as a student of theology she replied, I am searching for an answer. How is it that a people who have never known anything but generational bondage and inequality, would think that God loves them? The answer Perry says is not addressed in moral academic channels. Thanks to my colleague Julius Jefferson, I was able to have this photo taken with Dr. Harris Perry.

Conference programming planners gave attendees about two choices of workshops per schedule segment. Sometimes my choices were somewhat limited and focused heavily on the value of preserving African American heritage, culture and people. Empowering the Past: Telling Your Stories, gave examples on how one could take on the role of historian by collecting photographs and archives from their families to document the family history. An historical genealogy might include the political, the social, the sports great, the arts and entertainment and any other oddities that may have had an impact on the family and the life choices they’ve made. The example the presenter used detailed the life of her step father, a black plumber who worked on the “Hill District” a one-time thriving black area in Pittsburgh. Her photos and archival documentation depicted him as an ordinary man, a slave descendent, living through the Jim Crow era, raised as a sharecropper son, a World War II veteran, a worker in the steel mills and a black plumber who made weekly trips to the local Union requesting permission to join.

Giving Voice to Our Stories: Oral History as Integral to the Documentation and Preservation of African American History, was the title of the presentation given by Kelly Navies, Special Collections Librarian, District of Columbia Public Library. Her work focuses on collecting stories from the North Carolina Asheville area. Oral history is of particular importance to the African American community. It gives voices to members of the community who most would consider not worthy of historical documentation. We as Librarians are in a unique position with an opportunity to document gentrification and the closing of those schools valued by the African American community, racial profiling, return migration and incarceration. Generations of students will return again and again to hear these stories. They need to be captured. I regret not having my father tell me more about his service in World War II. I know he was stationed in Germany and that he was responsible for bringing ammunition to the troops, but little else. I seem to know more about the mistreatment he received upon his return to the United States. Perhaps that’s what stood out the most to him.

And yes there were numerous sessions on health and wellness efforts in the black community. One session encouraged attendees to pursue a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. Pursuing wellness is not only a personal benefit but also one that will advance and preserve a community of people. The author also addressed the implications of mental health and how it is responded to within the black church. Added stress levels which studies have shown have a direct correlation to cultural identity and all the “stuff” that comes with that. Documented incidents of invasive and horrendous treatment of African Americans and test subjects compel many African American to question the safety of clinical trials. A panelist of doctors shared insight coming from both angles. To see the worst of what can happen in clinical trials, check out this sight. http://www.holeinthehead.com/

To end on a much happier note, let me share how pleased I am about Lynn’s plan to implement the “Sutton Rule” (after the NFL’s Rooney Rule). As we search to fill future position vacancies, at least one of the candidates brought to campus must be a minority. I am very optimistic. It is so cool and worthy of duplication across the state within our North Carolina libraries. There we go again, leading by example!

 

Rebecca at SAA

Friday, August 23, 2013 4:55 pm

Last week, I traveled to New Orleans for the Society of American Archivists’ (SAA) Annual Conference. I found the conference to be a very valuable experience, one that I would like to try to highlight for y’all.

I started my conference by representing the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) at the Regional Associations Group Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to figure out how this group will be run, as we are just beginning to organize as a “regionals” group. “Regionals” include state associations like SNCA, regional associations like MARAC (Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference), or area associations like the Association of St. Louis Area Archivists. We are hopeful that this group will ensure more “cross-cultural” exchange that is often overlooked due to the size and scope of SAA.

I continued my first day with the Web Archiving Round Table meeting that Craig covered so well in his write up. The web is becoming more of a focus not only for the archives community, but my work specifically. I saw a lot of colleagues who attended CrawlCamp NYC in July and had a chance to talk with archivists who are really on the cutting edge of web archiving. As this is a new round table, I believe you will hear more about this group in SAA reports for years to come.

Here are some highlights from the conference (that have not been covered by other reports) listed by session title.

There Is No Going Back, Only Forward: Value-Added Processing in the Age of MPLP

Chaired by Linda Sellars of NC State, this session was packed with people looking for the balance between the revolutionary (at least to archivists) MPLP style of processing (that is “More Product, Less Process”) and ease of use and reference capabilities within collections. In an effort to decrease backlogs and create access, MPLP processed collections leave researchers and reference librarians wanting more. What this panel reinforced is the iterative process of processing collections along with the variable value of each individual collection. Depending on research value, size, and format, panelists put together a valid argument for processing more- but only if it was necessary. For many collections, or parts of collections, the bare minimum is just fine. This was an encouraging and informative session.

Professional Poster Pitch

A first at SAA, Craig and I had a chance to get up in front of an audience and “pitch” our poster before we actually presented it. You probably saw the beautiful poster Craig put together, but for our poster pitch we tried to prime the pump of curiosity with this image.

 

The Process of Processing: Management Strategies and Solutions

Another crowded session, managing processing is certainly something that applies to my everyday work. The panel of archivists discussed best practices and strategies to reduce backlogs, leveraging student workers to process more effectively, and how to get institutional buy-in on MPLP processing. This session was great in that it showed how to get through your backlog, but also showed that there are so many other institutions, big and small, that are going through the same everyday struggles as we are here.

Reference, Access and Outreach Section Marketplace

In the afternoon, I facilitated a discussion on “Strategies for Documenting Diversity” during the Reference, Access and Outreach Section Meeting. I must say this was a very rewarding conversation. I led 6 discussion groups for 15 minute intervals with about 20 people in each. I started by talking about our Documenting Diversity initiative last October, but the conversations went in many different directions including web archiving, embedded archivists in student life, and a variety of other ideas. I must say that this was my favorite part of the conference, and probably one of my most valuable experiences at a conference. Many people were inspired to plan programs like ours, and others were eager to tell me what strategies worked for them. Unlike a panel discussion, I felt that I connected with my audience and had a much more beneficial experience as both presenter and listener.

And many more!

Some other sessions I attended included “Building Better Bridges: Archivists Cross the Digital Divide”, “Accession Confessions: Exposing Accessions in the Era of Minimal Processing”, and “Advancing the Ask: Proactive Acquisitions for the Modern Age.” I must say that each and every session I attended was chock-a-block full of great ideas and brilliant archivists, information technologists, and students. I had a great time learning what others were doing and certainly felt humbled by the large scale (and small scale) projects that this group of people are completing on a daily basis.

I would love to talk about any or all of these sessions, our poster, or what I ate in New Orleans (yum!!!). Please let me know if you want more details. Thanks to the Dean’s office for the opportunity to attend.


 

Tanya at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA

Friday, August 23, 2013 11:30 am

I don’t know how I can possibly describe my 9 days in New Orleans, but I will certainly do my best!

I recently attended the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), held in New Orleans, in addition to other events tacked on at the beginning and the end of my travels. First off, I was part of a review team (with colleagues from the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University and the University of Iowa) who were asked to review the Newcomb Institute Women’s Archives, part of Tulane University. This is the first program review I have been involved in that was not for an academic program, academic department, or library. We met with the Institute’s archivist, Executive Director, staff, faculty, Tulane archivists, toured the Newcomb Archives, and reviewed documentation from the library and university. All in all, this was an interesting experience, and one I hope to write about in the future. Before SAA began, I was able to have a nice tour of the Garden District, visit the Ursuline Convent, and have dinner with some of my favorite archivist colleagues, including my sister-in-law, Stacy Belcher Gould. Stacy is the University Archivist at the University of Hong Kong and is not always able to come to SAA, so this was a big treat.

At the very beginning of the week, I attended SAA Council meetings as I was elected to a three-year term last year (2012-2015). Council oversees all budgetary and programmatic activities of the Society, and meets three times per year (twice in Chicago in January and May, and at the annual meeting). Council completed a number of tasks, including reorganizing the annual meeting structure, reviewing reports, and creating an Advocacy and Public Policy Committee. I have been working on advocacy projects in conjunction with SAA, the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), and I will also be assisting with the work of this committee. After the annual meeting actually started, my main responsibility was to update numerous groups on Council activities and ask for feedback. “My” groups include the Diversity Committee, the Government Affairs Working Group, the Latin American and Caribbean Heritage Archives Roundtable, the Native American Roundtable, the College and University Archives Section, and the Science, Technology and Healthcare Roundtable.

On Tuesday, I attended the Women’s Archives Symposium, sponsored by the Newcomb Institute and Archives. This program was organized to coincide with SAA’s publication of my newly edited book (with Anke Voss), Perspectives on Women’s Archives (Society of American Archivists, 2013). I gave introductory remarks and listened to panel presentations and discussions organized around themes we raised in our introductory essay. There were 60 attendees and one of the participants blogged about the day:
http://lori.birrell.us/2013/08/14/what-does-the-future-hold/

All in all, it was a satisfactory end to 7 years of hard work:
http://saa.archivists.org/store/perspectives-on-womens-archives/3334/

During the annual meeting, I did manage to hear interesting presentations on institutional repositories and advocacy efforts in Alabama (presented by my very first archives employer, the Alabama Department of Archives and History). I made time to stop by Rebecca and Craig’s poster on Clarence Herbert New, it really did look wonderful. On Friday, I gave a presentation on women in science and engineering, in honor of archivist Joan Warnow Blewitt (American Institute of Physics), to the Science, Technology and Healthcare Roundtable. This presentation described oral history projects at ISU and potential future plans for a similar project at Wake Forest.

Finally, at the end of the week, as a Steering Committee member for the Archives Leadership Institute, I attended meetings, hosted an ALI alumni dinner, trekked down Bourbon Street at 11:00 p.m. and finished up with a Sunday morning workshop. Thank goodness, they had some coffee for us.

SAA is always incredibly exciting, stimulating, and exhausting–there is nothing like having 1,600 archivists all in the same place! I am now happy (and a little relieved, to be truthful) to be back in Winston-Salem. I look forward to catching up and staying put for some time….

A belated ALA report

Thursday, August 22, 2013 4:52 pm

Somehow, writing a blog post about my ALA 2013 experience seems to have slipped through the cracks. Could have something to do with the 5 licenses I currently have up in the air, I suppose. So here’s my report, to the best of my (and my notes’) memory. I thought I had some pictures to add, but alas, I can’t find them now, so this may be a boring post.

E-book Data Evaluation

Two presenters, one from a public library system and one from a university library, talked about how they use e-book usage data. The public librarian said that it is difficult, and perhaps invalid, to compare usage of e-books to usage of print books. She pointed out such differences as different loan periods; wait time for holds (much longer for print); overdues (none for e); different user base; e-book collection has more current, frontlist titles, and very few children’s e-books. The university librarian spoke a fair bit about demand-driven acquisition (DDA), but it didn’t sound like his library had any better grasp of things than we do. The bottom lines: be skeptical of the data, and so far no clear patterns are emerging.

Electronic Resource Management Interest Group

Two presenters from university libraries spoke about electronic resource management in the context of multiple user access models. That is, our users are presented with multiple means of accessing data; in our context, we’re talking VuFind, Summon, LibGuides, individual databases, library website, etc. The first speaker pointed out how difficult it is for the average user to navigate between those multiple avenues: If a user links from Summon into VuFind, how easy is it to get back to where they were in Summon? Is it confusing when they suddenly find themselves in a different UI? She challenged us to think about ways to make this environment more user-friendly. The second presenter pointed out that in many cases, we are managing similar data in multiple places. He also encouraged everyone to study information architecture to better understand the searchers’ perspective. Quotable quotes from this session: “We don’t call it cataloging any more; now it’s ‘discovery enhancement’,” and “There is not enough time or resources in the universe to be fully on top of e-resources maintenance.”

BIBFRAME Update

Steve gave a good report of this session in his ALA post. As a reminder, BIBFRAME (short for “bibliographic framework”) is being developed as a way of encoding bibliographic data (simplified version: replacement for MARC). As Steve said, BIBFRAME is still a long way from taking any recognizable form, but Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira (company working on BIBFRAME), described what I would call the theory behind BIBFRAME. According to Miller, the goal is to “make interconnectedness commonplace.” He compared it to Legos-you can buy them in different sets, but all are interoperable, allowing small bits of data to be joined in interesting ways. They don’t have to tell you in advance what the building blocks will form, just give communities the blocks and allow them to recombine them in ways meaningful to them. Beyond that, most of this session got very technical and was pretty much over my head.

Meeting with publishers & vendors

As usual, a very valuable aspect of ALA is the opportunity to meet with various vendors and publishers and either learn more about what they’re planning, tell them what we want them to plan, or both.

At the Project MUSE User Group breakfast, I learned that Project MUSE will have Highwire manage their computer operations (or something like that) beginning sometime next year. They assured us that they don’t plan to change the user interface; it will stay the same, but with Highwire “under the hood.” The MUSE folks said they are also looking at altmetrics and trying to find ways to measure the “impact” of humanities content. Project MUSE has been offering e-books for a year or two now (from 83 university presses & rising). Their e-books are now available for single-title purchase via YBP. In the Q&A, I asked if they are planning to stick with PDF format, or if they’re thinking of branching out into EPUB or other e-book formats. Answer: PDF for now, but EPUB and “other formats” are “on the radar” with the transition to Highwire. (My translation: don’t hold your breath.)

I also attended ProQuest’s sponsored breakfast, where speaker Megan Oakleaf gave essentially the same talk she gave at NASIG earlier that month, on using data to demonstrate the library’s value, based on things the larger institution values. I did like one example she gave, suggesting we look at course readings listed in Sakai/course syllabi and try to determine how much those readings would cost the students if they had to purchase each article individually. We need to explicitly connect the dots. Following Dr. Oakleaf, a Summon representative talked about the upcoming Summon 2.0. Then Kari Paulson, formerly President of EBL and now head of ProQuest’s combined EBL/ebrary division, talked about her vision for their new e-book venture. I mostly like what she said-striving to give customers more options (i.e. various acquisition models), integration with other ProQuest products, basically take the best of both EBL and ebrary-but it’s difficult to tell at this point how much of that is marketing-speak. But I at least like the overall vision. In a lighter moment, as Paulson began her portion, she quipped, “I no longer have sleepless nights worrying about what ebrary is up to.”

In other vendor interactions, I had a good discussion over lunch with Gale sale rep Matt Hancox, who picked my brain about DDA (and how Gale might enter that arena), and who also gave me a heads up about their parent company Cengage filing for bankruptcy (they’re calling it “debt restructuring,” but it’s business as usual for Gale customers). I also got a chance to meet a couple of vendor e-mail contacts face-to-face. My notes say something about JSTOR’s e-books and DDA, but I don’t remember anything beyond that. And finally (not just last in my report but also last in my conference), I dropped by the Palgrave booth to complain about our stalled license negotiation. We had sent in our request for some changes to the license back in December, and all we had heard back since then was that it was in their lawyer’s queue. I mentioned this to the person standing in the Palgrave booth at ALA, and said that it give the impression that they don’t care about our business. Well, it turns out that the person I was speaking to was in their Marketing department, and she took me very seriously. She said she had a meeting with their Legal department in a couple of weeks and would bring up our conversation. A good way to end the conference, eh? About 3 weeks later I got an e-mail from our Palgrave contact saying that our license was being reviewed by Legal. Nice!

Somehow, writing a blog post about my ALA 2013 experience seems to have slipped through the cracks. Could have something to do with the 5 licenses I currently have up in the air, I suppose. So here’s my report, to the best of my (and my notes’) memory. I thought I had some pictures to add, but alas, I can’t find them now, so this will probably be a boring post.

E-book Data Evaluation

Two presenters, one from a public library system and one from a university library, talked about how they use e-book usage data. The public librarian said that it is difficult, and perhaps invalid, to compare usage of e-books to usage of print books. She pointed out such differences as different loan periods; wait time for holds (much longer for print); overdues (none for e); different user base; e-book collection has more current, frontlist titles, and very few children’s e-books. The university librarian spoke a fair bit about demand-driven acquisition (DDA), but it didn’t sound like his library had any better grasp of things than we do. The bottom lines: be skeptical of the data, and so far no clear patterns are emerging.

Electronic Resource Management Interest Group

Two presenters from university libraries spoke about electronic resource management in the context of multiple user access models. That is, our users are presented with multiple means of accessing data; in our context, we’re talking VuFind, Summon, LibGuides, individual databases, library website, etc. The first speaker pointed out how difficult it is for the average user to navigate between those multiple avenues: If a user links from Summon into VuFind, how easy is it to get back to where they were in Summon? Is it confusing when they suddenly find themselves in a different UI? She challenged us to think about ways to make this environment more user-friendly. The second presenter pointed out that in many cases, we are managing similar data in multiple places. He also encouraged everyone to study information architecture to better understand the searchers’ perspective. Quotable quotes from this session: “We don’t call it cataloging any more; now it’s ‘discovery enhancement’,” and “There is not enough time or resources in the universe to be fully on top of e-resources maintenance.”

BIBFRAME Update

Steve gave a good report of this session in his ALA post [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/07/12/steve-at-ala-annual-2013-and-rda-training-at-winthrop-university/]. As a reminder, BIBFRAME (short for “bibliographic framework”) is being developed as a way of encoding bibliographic data (simplified version: replacement for MARC). As Steve said, BIBFRAME is still a long way from taking any recognizable form, but Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira (company working on BIBFRAME), described what I would call the theory behind BIBFRAME. According to Miller, the goal of BIBFRAME is to “make interconnectedness commonplace.” He compared it to Legos-you can buy them in different sets, but all are interoperable, allowing small bits of data to be joined in interesting ways. They don’t have to tell you in advance what the building blocks will form, just give communities the blocks and allow them to recombine them in ways meaningful to them. Beyond that, most of this session got very technical and was pretty much over my head.

Meeting with publishers & vendors

As usual, a very valuable aspect of ALA is the opportunity to meet with various vendors and publishers and either learn more about what they’re planning, tell them what we want them to plan, or both.

At the Project MUSE User Group breakfast, I learned that Project MUSE will have Highwire manage their computer operations (or something like that) beginning sometime next year. They assured us that they don’t plan to change the user interface; it will stay the same, but with Highwire “under the hood.” The MUSE folks said they are also looking at almetrics and trying to find ways to measure the “impact” of humanities content. Project MUSE has been offering e-books for a year or two now (from 83 university presses & rising). Their e-books are now available for single-title purchase via YBP. In the Q&A, I asked if they are planning to stick with PDF format, or if they’re thinking of branching out into EPUB or other e-book formats. Answer: PDF for now, but EPUB and “other formats” are “on the radar” with the transition to Highwire. (My translation: don’t hold your breath.)

I also attended ProQuest’s sponsored breakfast, where speaker Megan Oakleaf gave essentially the same talk she gave at NASIG earlier that month [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/06/26/nasig-2013/], on using data to demonstrate the library’s value, based on things the larger institution values. I did like one example she gave, suggesting we look at course readings listed in Sakai/course syllabi and try to determine how much those readings would cost the students if they had to purchase each article individually. We need to explicitly connect the dots. Following Dr. Oakleaf, a Summon representative talked about the upcoming Summon 2.0. Then Kari Paulson, formerly President of EBL and now head of ProQuest’s combined EBL/ebrary division, talked about her vision for their new e-book venture. I mostly like what she said-striving to give customers more options (i.e. various acquisition models), integration with other ProQuest products, basically take the best of both EBL and ebrary-but it’s difficult to tell at this point how much of that is marketing-speak. But I at least like the overall vision. In a lighter moment, as she began her portion, Paulson quipped, “I no longer have sleepless nights worrying about what ebrary is up to.”

In other vendor interactions, I had a good discussion over lunch with Gale sale rep Matt Hancox, who picked my brain about DDA (and how Gale might get a piece of that pie), and who also gave me a heads up about Cengage filing for bankruptcy (they’re calling it “debt restructuring,” but it’s business as usual for Gale customers). I also got a chance to meet a couple of vendor e-mail contacts face-to-face. My notes say something about JSTOR’s e-books and DDA, but I don’t remember anything beyond that. And finally (not just last in my report but also last in my conference), I dropped by the Palgrave booth to complain about our stalled license negotiation. We had sent in our request for some changes to the license back in December, and all we had heard back since then was that it was in their lawyer’s queue. I mentioned this to the person standing in the Palgrave booth at ALA, and said that it give the impression that they don’t care about our business. Well, it turns out that the person I was speaking to was in their Marketing department, and she took me very seriously. She said she had a meeting with their Legal department in a couple of weeks and would bring up our conversation. A good way to end the conference, eh? About 3 weeks later I got an e-mail from our Palgrave contact saying that our license was (finally) being reviewed by Legal!Somehow, writing a blog post about my ALA 2013 experience seems to have slipped through the cracks. Could have something to do with the 5 licenses I currently have up in the air, I suppose. So here’s my report, to the best of my (and my notes’) memory. I thought I had some pictures to add, but alas, I can’t find them now, so this will probably be a boring post.

E-book Data Evaluation

Two presenters, one from a public library system and one from a university library, talked about how they use e-book usage data. The public librarian said that it is difficult, and perhaps invalid, to compare usage of e-books to usage of print books. She pointed out such differences as different loan periods; wait time for holds (much longer for print); overdues (none for e); different user base; e-book collection has more current, frontlist titles, and very few children’s e-books. The university librarian spoke a fair bit about demand-driven acquisition (DDA), but it didn’t sound like his library had any better grasp of things than we do. The bottom lines: be skeptical of the data, and so far no clear patterns are emerging.

Electronic Resource Management Interest Group

Two presenters from university libraries spoke about electronic resource management in the context of multiple user access models. That is, our users are presented with multiple means of accessing data; in our context, we’re talking VuFind, Summon, LibGuides, individual databases, library website, etc. The first speaker pointed out how difficult it is for the average user to navigate between those multiple avenues: If a user links from Summon into VuFind, how easy is it to get back to where they were in Summon? Is it confusing when they suddenly find themselves in a different UI? She challenged us to think about ways to make this environment more user-friendly. The second presenter pointed out that in many cases, we are managing similar data in multiple places. He also encouraged everyone to study information architecture to better understand the searchers’ perspective. Quotable quotes from this session: “We don’t call it cataloging any more; now it’s ‘discovery enhancement’,” and “There is not enough time or resources in the universe to be fully on top of e-resources maintenance.”

BIBFRAME Update

Steve gave a good report of this session in his ALA post [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/07/12/steve-at-ala-annual-2013-and-rda-training-at-winthrop-university/]. As a reminder, BIBFRAME (short for “bibliographic framework”) is being developed as a way of encoding bibliographic data (simplified version: replacement for MARC). As Steve said, BIBFRAME is still a long way from taking any recognizable form, but Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira (company working on BIBFRAME), described what I would call the theory behind BIBFRAME. According to Miller, the goal of BIBFRAME is to “make interconnectedness commonplace.” He compared it to Legos-you can buy them in different sets, but all are interoperable, allowing small bits of data to be joined in interesting ways. They don’t have to tell you in advance what the building blocks will form, just give communities the blocks and allow them to recombine them in ways meaningful to them. Beyond that, most of this session got very technical and was pretty much over my head.

Meeting with publishers & vendors

As usual, a very valuable aspect of ALA is the opportunity to meet with various vendors and publishers and either learn more about what they’re planning, tell them what we want them to plan, or both.

At the Project MUSE User Group breakfast, I learned that Project MUSE will have Highwire manage their computer operations (or something like that) beginning sometime next year. They assured us that they don’t plan to change the user interface; it will stay the same, but with Highwire “under the hood.” The MUSE folks said they are also looking at almetrics and trying to find ways to measure the “impact” of humanities content. Project MUSE has been offering e-books for a year or two now (from 83 university presses & rising). Their e-books are now available for single-title purchase via YBP. In the Q&A, I asked if they are planning to stick with PDF format, or if they’re thinking of branching out into EPUB or other e-book formats. Answer: PDF for now, but EPUB and “other formats” are “on the radar” with the transition to Highwire. (My translation: don’t hold your breath.)

I also attended ProQuest’s sponsored breakfast, where speaker Megan Oakleaf gave essentially the same talk she gave at NASIG earlier that month [http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/pd/2013/06/26/nasig-2013/], on using data to demonstrate the library’s value, based on things the larger institution values. I did like one example she gave, suggesting we look at course readings listed in Sakai/course syllabi and try to determine how much those readings would cost the students if they had to purchase each article individually. We need to explicitly connect the dots. Following Dr. Oakleaf, a Summon representative talked about the upcoming Summon 2.0. Then Kari Paulson, formerly President of EBL and now head of ProQuest’s combined EBL/ebrary division, talked about her vision for their new e-book venture. I mostly like what she said-striving to give customers more options (i.e. various acquisition models), integration with other ProQuest products, basically take the best of both EBL and ebrary-but it’s difficult to tell at this point how much of that is marketing-speak. But I at least like the overall vision. In a lighter moment, as she began her portion, Paulson quipped, “I no longer have sleepless nights worrying about what ebrary is up to.”

In other vendor interactions, I had a good discussion over lunch with Gale sale rep Matt Hancox, who picked my brain about DDA (and how Gale might get a piece of that pie), and who also gave me a heads up about Cengage filing for bankruptcy (they’re calling it “debt restructuring,” but it’s business as usual for Gale customers). I also got a chance to meet a couple of vendor e-mail contacts face-to-face. My notes say something about JSTOR’s e-books and DDA, but I don’t remember anything beyond that. And finally (not just last in my report but also last in my conference), I dropped by the Palgrave booth to complain about our stalled license negotiation. We had sent in our request for some changes to the license back in December, and all we had heard back since then was that it was in their lawyer’s queue. I mentioned this to the person standing in the Palgrave booth at ALA, and said that it give the impression that they don’t care about our business. Well, it turns out that the person I was speaking to was in their Marketing department, and she took me very seriously. She said she had a meeting with their Legal department in a couple of weeks and would bring up our conversation. A good way to end the conference, eh? About 3 weeks later I got an e-mail from our Palgrave contact saying that our license was (finally) being reviewed by Legal!

Teaching and Learning Conference at Elon University

Thursday, August 22, 2013 9:17 am

On August 15th, I attended the Teaching and Learning Conference at Elon University. This is an excellent, free conference that I have attended for 3 years. I attended many concurrent sessions including strategies for collaboration, which emphasized the importance of respect among group members. I also attended a concurrent session on data in the classroom and the presentation slides are here.

The session on flipping the classroom was very informative. Flipping is an instructional strategy where lessons become homework and homework becomes classwork. As a result, higher-order thinking can occur where students can receive more feedback from the instructor.

Elements of flipped instruction:
1. skill to be successful in the course
2. first exposure outside of class
3. incentive outside of class work (e.g., low stakes assessment)
4. application activities in class so students can receive immediate feedback

The keynote session focus on the “Intercultural Dimensions to Teaching and Learning” was excellent and resonated with me on many levels since I encounter intercultural communication every day. Here are some highlights of his inspiring talk:

  • Individuals have differences in perspectives, behaviors, and communication styles
  • Monocultural mindset –> Intercultural mindset
  • Intercultural competency is the shift of one’s frame of reference to understanding the meaning and importance of culture in people’s lives
  • Intercultural communication is the interaction between persons and groups from different cultural communities
  • Intercultural perspective incorporates culture into our analyses of how people interact, communicate, make meaning, and exercise power with other persons and groups
  • Notably, the keynote speaker challenges his students to explore new relationships across cultural boundaries

ASERL Summertime Summit 2013: “Liaison Roles in Open Access & Data Management: Equal Parts Inspiration & Perspiration”

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:06 pm

On Monday, August 5, Carol, Lauren C., Molly, and Sarah loaded up the ZSR Library van for a quick trip down to Atlanta for the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Summertime Summit. The Tuesday six-hour Summit at Georgia Tech involved an opening keynote, a morning breakout session, an afternoon breakout session, and a closing keynote, with plenty of networking opportunities afforded during breaks and lunch. Between the four of us, we managed to attend the seven different breakout sessions (one was a repeat). Below are our individual takeaways.

Molly

In addition to the two keynotes, I attended the “Practical Data Management Tools – Step-By-Step Guide, DMPTool, DataBib” morning breakout session. I jumped between two afternoon breakout sessions, “Library Staffing/Responsibility Models for Data Management and Open Access” and “The Wheat from the Chaff: Locating High Quality Open Access Resources.” I also caught up with several Scholarly Communications librarians from around the Southeast, and had lively conversations about ETD embargoes over lunch.

Although I didn’t hear anything earth-shattering at the Summit (which really is a reassurance that I’m up-to-speed on the pertinent issues), several key points stood out in aggregate from across the day:

  • IRs were thought of as individual systems when launched by institutions, not as points in a shared infrastructure, which has hampered their usefulness somewhat;
  • don’t try to generate demand for data management services if it isn’t already there from faculty;
  • be knowledgeable and prepared, but don’t launch a service without adequate need and planning;
  • researchers won’t change behavior because of technological changes but because of social/cultural changes (we’re seeing this with Federal agency mandates);
  • humanists do have data, they just don’t call it data;
  • data support must be bigger than the library;
  • engagement is often uneven;
  • if you’ve been doing something the same way, rethink it.

Carol

The opening keynote focus was “Data Management is important” and the closing keynote focus was “Libraries must change.”The breakout session I attended by myself was “Marketing Data Management Tools and Services to Faculty.” The first thing I learned in the session is that I’m behind in my knowledge of Data Management mandates or even just what it is. (Contrast to Molly’s experience!) However, I was very comfortable with the descriptions of marketing activities that took place at Georgia State and Emory: LibGuides, newsletter articles, library blog, use of the University News Center (think: Inside WFU), surveys to determine needs, focus groups, town-hall-style meetings. In fact, I recommend scanning the GSU LibGuide if you need a one-minute introduction to Data Management and mandates.

One overall impression was a tension between having a designated person to handle Open Access and Data Management issues vs. having every liaison do some of it. We see this over and over with other kinds of library services, so no surprise there. (I keep thinking of it as the “Center of Excellence” vs. the “Across the Curriculum” model.) In my breakout session, one of the libraries (GSU, I think) was currently using a team to handle actual requests for help with Data Management Plans. They’re concerned that this approach will not scale, but they also think that the first, say, anthropologist will come to the library, but the second anthropologist will just ask the first anthropologist so the need for the team may fade over time.

Sarah

I attended the opening and closing keynotes, the morning breakout session on “Marketing Open Access Services & Tools to Faculty”, and the afternoon breakout session on “Follow-Up Activities from ARL’s E- Science Institutes”. It was great to meet science librarians from other universities such as Johns Hopkins, Emory, etc.

  • In the first breakout session, I realized that we are on target in promoting open access on campus thanks to outreach efforts by Molly and liaisons. Interestingly, other universities have added faculty and student research posters in their institutional repositories. Download reports can provide meaningful information for dissertations and theses in institutional repositories.
  • In the afternoon breakout session, librarians shared their experiences at the Duraspace/ARL/DLF E-Science Institute. Despite its title, the ARL E-Science Institute facilitates the development of a strategic agenda (priorities and ambitions, opportunities and partnerships, and challenges and weaknesses of your E-Research support program) by helping you “examine your local E-Research landscape, to consider the relationship between your institution as a whole and your library in terms of E-Research, to identify key players in E-Science and E-Research at your institution, and to conduct interviews of some of them to better understand their roles.”
  • The difference between E-Science and E-Research:
    • Examples of E-Science include data mining and statistical exploration of genome structures
    • “E-Research encompasses computation and E-Science, cyberinfrastructure, and data curation…E-Research could include studies of large linguistic corpuses in the humanities, or integrated social policy analyses in the social sciences.”
  • There is no “one size fits all” model for supporting data management among liaisons and data management librarians.
  • As Lauren mentions (below), some libraries use ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research)
  • The Long Term Ecological Research Network is another data sharing resource.

Lauren

Overall, I realized that many libraries are still struggling in playing the right role with open access and data management. My first three highlights are from Sayeed Choudhury’s (Johns Hopkins University) opening keynote address:

  • Retrospective figuring out provenance of electronic data is very difficult so try to document along the way how tools were built or where they came from as well as documenting the source of the data itself.
  • Ask the researchers “what are you trying to do” and then try to help them. “You care about [fill in the blank], and if we do [fill in the blank], it could enable you to do [fill in the blank].”
  • Metadata has to be done as a combo of human and automated to be able to scale up.

At the breakout session on “Funding Models for Open Access Cost” I took note during the discussion when Catherine Murray-Rust, Dean of Libraries at Georgia Tech, said:

  • Funding agencies requiring OA will change things. (Europe publishes more in STEM and is doing this.)

These last two key points are aggregated, heard in various expressions in keynote and breakout sessions both:

  • To promote open access, take advantage of any type of communication channel that a liaison normally uses in order to connect faculty with the Scholarly Communications Librarian: e.g. the liaison and SC Librarian may attend a faculty meeting together or the liaison may simply make an introduction via email. We as liaisons don’t have to have all the info and answers on OA or data management, we just need to be willing to listen and help find the expertise like we always have.
  • The best role for the library in data management is to steer faculty to existing resources (such as ICPSR) and to provide support in making data management plans, including serving as the repository for all the data management plans of the campus. From what I heard, it would be overwhelming for a library to try to take on being a university’s data manager and it is difficult just to collect plans from faculty.

 

Craig at SAA, New Orleans

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:39 am

Joan of Arc Monument- NOLA
Joan of Arc Monument given by the people of France to the people of New Orleans

One of the most important reasons for attending a conference is hearing new voices and leaders in the field. Another advantage is making contacts with other professionals. SAA gave me that opportunity. I spent some real quality time with members of the Preservation Section, learning about them, their background and expertise. I enjoyed these discussions as much as any of the sessions and it will help me immensely in my work with the SAA Preservation Section and here at ZSR.

Web Archiving Roundtable
This is a new group in SAA, and it was an enlightening session because I really think Rebecca and I both realized that our web archiving is not only in good shape, but ahead of the curve. We heard short presentations from BYU, Stanford, Northwestern and Colby Sawyer College. One of the primary issues we discussed was: do you notify an institution or organization that you are archiving their site? BYU uses the ARL standard for fair use in web collecting , which suggests libraries have the right to collect web material for research value and as a continuation of their area of research interest. Some web archivists do ask permission to archive sites, but it is very early and there are really no established best practices yet. While some institutions archive sites on the web by seeing this as Fair Use, others follow the advice of their legal counsel. These institutions think they should ask permission for anyone who is not officially part of the university. Some attorneys also thought it may violate terms of service for social media sites if they archived the content without asking permission (to get around this, some institutions take screenshots or create pdf versions of sites.

Musicians on the street- NOLA Street Musicians

Plenary Session

I like the opening session for some reason. I guess it officially gets me in the groove at SAA. There was the usual stuff: new SAA Fellows were announced followed by an address by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. By far, the best part of the Plenary Session was the award given to the Georgia State Archives for advocacy. Most everyone read and was upset at the proposed closing of the Georgia State Archives last year. This group rallied support and kept the archives open. The place exploded with applause and cheers when the award was given. Moving!

Following this was a discussion of the revitalization of New Orleans following Katrina and Rita by Bob Brown and Helen Regis. They discussed the changes in New Orleans along with demographic changes like young kids with college degrees have moved into neighborhoods causing a unique mixing of cultures.

Hurricane Katrina: Disaster Recovery and Documentation on Archival Collections

This session featured a variety of archives and their experiences after Katrina. Lee McWhite described the affect to the Tulane Archives which were flooded. Tulane had 3000 documents affected by water. Belfor washed and cleaned their documents, but many of these collections were unprocessed and were returned from Belfor in mixed order. The archives also had some conflict with the librarians who were managing the recovery in order to maintain archival principles and order. Tulane lost some photographs which we’re not separated out for treatment. Lee’s best quote about Katrina: “There are some disasters that are so large that normal disaster plans do not apply.” Sheila Brennan, from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media described their online collection of stories from Katrina.

Following this session, Rebecca Petersen and I gave a 5 minute “Poster Pitch” for our poster on Clarence Herbert New.

Protecting Our Heritage: Holdings Protection for Your Institution

This session was a sort of tale of loss, horrors and misfortune. Robert Dine, from the National Archives, stated that 90 per cent of NARA’s loss of materials come from insiders through theft or unintended damage. Every NARA staff member is responsible for securing holdings they are working with and must report the compromise of holdings storage areas or damaged or missing items.

Melissa Salazar, of the New Mexico Archives described their pre-colonial Spanish documents from 1521. Much of the archive was removed by territorial managers and later, the Library of Congress. Their records were eventually returned and they now have a modern records center with state of the art environmental monitoring, cameras in the reference room. They use a holdings protection team for their collections. One of their methods is to use colored copy paper to easily help identify originals from copies. Their patrons sign a document on handling materials.

Eben Davis, Maryland Historical Society, described the notorious theft at the Maryland Historical Society by Barry Landau and an accomplice. Their huge collection includes the original draft of Francis Scott Keys’ Star Spangled Banner. The thief, Landau, did enough research to know that volunteers worked Saturday with no staff present. He also brought in cupcakes and used various diversions to distract the staff. Fortunately, the Maryland Historical Society had a damn good volunteer, who noticed the suspicious activity and called the police and caught Landau with 79 documents. The FBI put 2.5 millions dollars on the amount of materials they found in Landau’s New York City apartment.

Rebecca and I presented our poster formally following this session and enjoyed meeting colleagues and hearing positive comments.

CHNew-poster

On Friday morning, I worked the sales desk selling our fundraiser item-a Grab and Go disaster Bag. the sales of these go to the SAA Disaster Relief Fund which was started after Hurricane Katrina.

The Web of Sites: Creating Effective Web Archiving Appraisal and Collection Development Policies

This web archiving session was a great follow up to my earlier one. Olga Virakhovskaya from University of Michigan Bentley Library discussed how they archive the web. They establish priority collection areas and archive areas of their historical interest, including: ethnic and religious sites. They look for sites with original content.

Jennifer Wright, Smithsonian Institution Archives discussed their web arching of the 19 museums in their organization. Archiving is governed by their archives policy and the social media policy. They consider a website the public face of their institution and think of it as a publication. They have a total of 257 websites, 89 blogs and 578 social media accounts to archive. The Smithsonian is worried about crawling social media because it is protected and they could lose their accounts. Their counsel is worried that social media may be considered private communication. Intranets are controlled because of individual content. Social media accounts are captured once to show how it looks and are not made available so as to not violate terms of service. Any social media capture must link to the Smithsonian terms of use.

Rachel Taketa, of the University of California, San Francisco, discussed web archiving of tobacco advertising for the California Tobacco Control Archive. They agressively grab web content because they feel the tobacco companies will try to hide this content. Some of the content they archive is used for a California cancer research project documenting local smoking restriction campaigns (Prop 29). They take everything the tobacco companies put out. They collect original or unique content…blogs, multi media, interviews, groups, and stop collecting a site after there are no updates for a year.

Preservation Section Meeting

Unfortunately, our chair was unable to attend because of sequestration. Gina Minks, Amigos and incoming chair, welcomed everyone for Aimee Primeaux. Gina mentioned the e-poster I designed for Preservation Week which was made available through the SAA web site.

Beth Joffrian remembered Jane Long

Our program was entitled: Preservation in the Cloud

Dennis Meisner, Minnesota Historical Society presented on Digital Preservation and Cloud Services. Dennis stated that escalating digital content of unique collection materials and insufficient storage space was driving cloud storage. He wanted to see how cloud storage could contribute to the Pservation strategy. They used Instrumental, a company in St. Paul. Instrumental used analysis to study their needs and requirements and decided to use Enterprise tape storage. Meisner felt that cloud storage provides an important level of preservation backup and redundancy

Mark Evans, Tessella Archival Solutions also presented on Digital Preservation in the Cloud. Evans defined digital preservation as providing continued access to an authentic electronic record in perpetuity. This is more than storage and backup…it is to provide continued access.The integrity of content and authenticity of a wide variety of formats is important to prevent the obsolescence of media, format and technologies.

Virtual Libraries and Digital Preservation in Alabama: The Role of Archives and Special Collections

This session provided the opposite view of preservation in the cloud. Folks in Alabama have banded together to create a low cost network that helps everyone.
It is called Alabama Mosaic. This digital repository of archival and cultural materials from Alabama is helping many institutions make they collections accessible and preserve them at the same time. Individual institutions join the Alabama Digital Preservation Network in order to have their materials hosted through Alabama Mosaic. These institutions want their electronic materials accessible as well as provide the long term preservation of historical records. This network does not depend on third party vendors or solutions, like the cloud. It is simple, has low maintenance and is predictable.

In the evening, we had the All Attendee Reception at the National World War II Museum.

WWII Bomber Jacket
World War II Bomber Jacket

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About: Oral History in the Digital Age

This Saturday session offered a lightening round of presenters who had created online oral history projects. These included American Folklife Center StoryCorps project, Queens Library, NYC and the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
These individuals described the complications and rewards of launching these projects. The University of Miami conducted interviews in Spanish with Cuban exiles; and Rice University conducted interviews with Asian-Americans.

SAA provided a great opportunity to engage with professionals across the country who are tackling many of the same issues we are and to make real connections.

Sunset over Jackson Square
Sunset over Jackson Square

Thomas at USETDA

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 9:44 am

The week before last, I attended (and spoke at) the US ETD Association annual conference, in Claremont, California. This is an organization that works to improve the policies and practices involved in managing electronic theses and dissertations.

ETD people tend to be strong supporters of open access, so there was a lot of discussion of the American Historical Association’s July 19 Statement on Policies Regarding the Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations, which “strongly encourages” universities to offer a six-year embargo on history PhD Dissertations. [And if your professional association says you should have that option, they're sending a strong message that you should take that option.] Phrases describing the AHA statement at USETDA included “conservative”, “myopic”, “enforcing the status quo”, and a good old barnyard epithet starting with “bull____” (this by a historian, in the middle of his plenary talk). IMO it is at the very least a narrow, outdated view of what History PhDs might want to do in life (get tenure as history professors) and how they might accomplish that (slap a glossy binding on their warmed-over dissertation and call it a book). Mostly thoughtful comments on both sides of the issue at #AHAgate.

That plenary was the highlight of the conference for me. Char Miller, director of the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College, talked with great feeling about a sea change in both the nature and evaluation of undergraduate pedagogy, strongly de-emphasizing what faculty teach and emphasizing what students learn (so, measuring–and accrediting–based on outcomes rather than inputs). This makes it vital to have access to student works, including their theses. Miller talked in particular about undergraduate theses, and contrasted the situation at Pomona today with his experience: two [print] copies of his undergraduate thesis existed once, but other than a vague suggestion that one is in the Pomona archives, somewhere, no one has ever read it or could currently lay their hands on it. By contrast, one of his recent advisees called him, excited that her senior thesis has been downloaded hundreds of times.

Other highlights: what you have to consider if you’re serious about giving your ETDs (or any electronic documents) a lifespan of, say, 100 years; using a private LOCKSS network for archiving locally created content; and results of a survey of book and journal publishers that helps to refute some of the FUD propagated by people like the AHA. In an interesting bit of finger pointing, some publishers say they won’t touch a book based on an OA dissertation because libraries won’t buy them. Which really translates as: in the face of shrinking monograph budgets, a lot of libraries decline to buy based-on-dissertation books automatically on approval, because, well, they’re based on a dissertation, not because the dissertation is open access.

Oh, and Yrs Trly presented on OATD, the harvested finding tool for OA ETDs around the world.

————-

BTW, the slides for my presentation are at http://goo.gl/IphQw. My major points:

  • Making ETDs discoverable is an essential component of the ETD publication process (else, why bother?).
  • The ETD discovery tools we rely on either point to for-pay closed access ETDs when free, open access copies are avaialble, or have major user interface issues. This makes open access ETDs less discoverable than they should be, at a time when academic libraries are making incredible investments of time, energy, and money into increasing the discoverability of almost every other type of scholarly literature. OATD attempts to address these concerns, and is also intended to follow a community-driven enhancement path (other ETD search services a take-it-or-leave-it vendor solutions).
  • OATD harvests metadata from repositories using the OAI-PMH standard. OAI-PMH has major advantages over Googlebot-style web crawling for distributing metadata: it is more precise, puts less of a load on servers, and is already built in to all major repository platforms. I gave a very brief, very non-technical overview of OAI-PMH and how it makes a collection’s metadata avaialble.
  • In addition to harvested metadata, OATD uses a very lightweight web crawler to pull full text files. These are used to show highlight search terms in context and to pull sample images into search results.
  • A tool for sharing high-quality metadata really benefits from having high-quality metadata to work with. Improviing metadata quality and sharing it via OAI-PMH takes a little attention to detail, but pays off by better articulating what is in your collection and how it can be used, and by anticipating questions a researcher is likely to need answers to. (I was told I sounded like a cataloger, which I will take as a compliment.)

Bob at ABLD 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013 3:27 pm

I attended the annual meeting of the Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD) group in Montreal, Canada May 12-15.

Part of the ABLD group in Montreal

Part of the ABLD group in Montreal

ABLD is a relatively small and informal association of business school librarians in the U.S. and Canada. The members serve as either the director of a separate library serving a graduate business school or work in a main library and have primary responsibility for serving the students and faculty of a graduate business school. It is made up of librarians from schools that rank among the top 50 graduate business schools in North America (as determined by Business Week, U.S. News or The Economist).

ABLD meets annually in the spring on the campus of a member school. This year’s meeting was hosted jointly by the McGill University School of Business and HEC Business School, a well-known francophone school in Montreal. Meetings usually consist of a few tours and social events along with presentations by ABLD members or invited speakers (often including a business school professor or library administrator from the host school). Sometimes we invite a limited number of vendors to the meeting, but this year’s meeting was vendor-free. At the end of each conference, ABLD holds its annual business meeting

The small size and scope of ABLD means that all the members know each other personally and we all have a lot in common. Even though there are differences in the size and nature of the libraries in which we work, we find that the challenges and issues we face are similar. For example, presentations on this year’s schedule included topics such as serving students in remote locations, e-books, the effects of social media on the research process, embedded librarianship and changes in business library spaces.

One of the benefits of holding each conference on the campus of a member school is that we get to see and experience the physical facilities available to each member library and business school. Over the years I have been fortunate to visit the business schools and the libraries that serve them at many schools, including Stanford, UCLA, Michigan, Alabama, Virginia, Babson, Vanderbilt, Duke, Dartmouth and Washington. We get to use the business school facilities such as classrooms and meeting rooms and sometimes we are able to stay in a hotel that serves a business school’s corporate education center. In 1997 I hosted the annual ABLD conference at Wake Forest in the Worrell Professional Center.

Another valuable aspect of ABLD is our relationship with two similar organizations in other parts of the world–the European Business School Librarians Group (EBSLG) and the Asia-Pacific Business School Librarians Group (APBSLG). Both groups are similar to ABLD in that they are small and informal and composed of librarians from business schools that are highly ranked both internationally and within their regions of the world. Every three to four years there is a joint international meeting of librarians from the three groups. These meetings have taken place in 2000 at INSEAD Business School in France, in 2004 at the University of Virginia, in 2007 at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark and in 2012 at Stanford.

Not surprisingly, the members of ABLD find that we have much in common with our international colleagues. Graduate business education, like many industries these days, is a global endeavor. Our next international joint meeting is tentatively planned for Singapore in 2015. ABLD’s next annual meeting is at the University of Chicago in May, 2014.

I have been an active member of ABLD since coming to Wake Forest in 1992. This year I was elected by my colleagues as 2013 chair-elect of ABLD. I will be responsible along with next year’s host for planning the schedule for the 2014 meeting. I will become chair at the end of next year’s meeting. I also serve as the webmaster of ABLD and the unofficial photographer for the group.

HEC professor Christian Dussart talks to ABLD group in Montreal

HEC professor Christian Dussart talks to ABLD group in Montreal

While large professional associations such as ALA and SLA are important to the health and welling-being of the profession of librarianship, small informal groups like ABLD are equally important. Our annual meetings are a great way to share information, learn new things and maintain personal relationships among colleagues who have much in common.

 

 


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