Professional Development

Author Archive

Steve at 2015 LAUNC-CH Conference

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 5:51 pm

Once again, I have to apologize for being so late in posting about a conference that happened in March (the 13th, to be precise), but March and April really were the months that ate my life.

So, the 2015 LAUNC-CH Conference. I found the most interesting session was the opening keynote, “Fostering Digital Literacy in the 21st Century,” by Jeffrey Greene, a professor in the Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies program at UNC-CH. Greene argued that Marc Prensky’s conception of the digital native is false. Why? Because the digital divide is still a very real thing and poor kids without access to computers are not digital natives, even if they’re part of the same generational cohort. Also, human brains don’t really work any differently in a digital environment, except in the most superficial ways. Plus, he argues that genuine multi-tasking is not possible, at least one activity suffers during multi-tasking. And finally, and perhaps most controversially, he argues that learning styles are bunk. Research has shown that there’s really nothing to learning styles. While it is true that the more ways we encounter information, the better able we are to master that information, no single style works best for one person. Greene went on to state that digital literacy, among other things, involves the knowledge and skills to understand tasks, make plans, and to navigate, critique, and integrate multiple sources. For Greene, a digitally literate person would be able to understand tasks, make plans, enact strategies, monitor their progress, evaluate and adapt, and essentially self-regulate their digital world. A more advanced type of digital literacy would involve thinking like a scholar, which leads to extensive, targeted searching, critical evaluation of sources, better integration of information, and deeper understanding of information. He wants students to become effective curators of digital information. (He also said one of my favorite sentences I’ve ever heard at a conference, “You can’t be intrinsically motivated about everything. That’s a crazy person.”)

I also saw Ellen, Kaeley and Leslie give a great presentation on their LIB 250 class, I did not know my colleagues were such fantastic presenters! There was also a very interesting, if somewhat underdeveloped, lightning session by a UNC-CH SILS student, Jaci Paige WIlkinson, called “Beats That Collected Dust: Hip Hop Sampling & Academic Metadata,” which discussed how because hip hop is often based on sampling, the music is effectively an inter-related text, with references to earlier recordings. She argued that we could use linked data to link derivative works and original works to show where samples came from. There seemed to be a lot of steps missing from her argument, but I think the short time frame really worked against her. I’d definitely be interested in seeing what her more developed research finds.

Steve at the 2015 NC Serials Conference

Sunday, April 19, 2015 8:10 pm

Sorry, I’m so late in writing about a conference that happened on March 6th, but the month of March and the first half of April pretty much ate my life. Anyway, Chris, Derrik and I drove to the conference, which started late due to a weather delay caused by a slight ice event (remember how crazy this winter was)? I was going to the conference to attend, but also to present and to staff an exhibits table on behalf of NASIG, so I was wearing three hats.

The most memorable session was the opening keynote given by Katherine Skinner of Educopia. If you’ve never heard Katherine speak, you really should if you get the chance, she’s always fascinating. She’ll be speaking at the E-Books Freakout on Friday, April 24th, so you should come. Her talk at the NC Serials Conference was called “Taking Action in a Critical Moment: From Innovation to Impact.” Skinner argued that innovation (as in an invention) would not solve the problems of scholarly communication. She said that we need a change to the system, not to look for left-field innovation to provide a magic bullet to solve our problems. She argued that innovations don’t typically come from the center, they come from unexpected locations, while system-wide changes require system-wide involvement. The problems associated with scholarly communication are system-wide, not merely incidental to a specific location. She pointed out that we in higher education (and really everywhere) are good at focusing on the problems in our own institution, rather than the system as a whole. She also made the very salient point that the problems of scholarly communications has essentially become the sole burden of librarians, even though they shouldn’t be. But, she argued that situation may be changing, as the problems in scholarly communications have started hitting scholars themselves, particularly in states that have seen massive cuts to higher education like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. She argued forcefully that librarians need to work together with scholars and other parties involved in the scholarly communication process to to try to find systemic solutions to the problems we face in scholarly communication.

I also gave a presentation at the NC Serials Conference, although I’m not nearly as good a public speaker as Katherine Skinner. I was invited to speak about the changes going on in NASIG over the last year or so (basically the time since I became NASIG president). In late 2013, the NASIG Executive Board decided to appoint a task force to revise the vision and mission statements of the organization. The old ones were too focused on phrases like “the serials information chain” and didn’t reflect the fact that NASIG is also quite involved with electronic resource management and scholarly communications. I campaigned on the idea of revising these statements, so I was totally on board with this process. I recruited a task force, including our own Lauren Corbett, to update our vision and mission statements. The membership approved them in November, 2014. Related to that, the Board also discussed changing our official name from the North American Serial Interest Group to just NASIG. The old name made folks think we’re only interested in print serials, and “interest group” made us sound like we’re a smaller part of a larger group. We proposed the name change and the membership approved the change to simply NASIG on Feb. 2nd, 2015. Also, in the spring of 2014, the list moderators of the SERIALST listserv came to the NASIG Executive Board to ask us to consider NASIG taking on the management of the listserv. The founder and lead moderator of the listserv, Birdie McLennon, tragically passed away early in 2014 and her institution wasn’t interested in keeping the listserv. So NASIG took on the management of the listserv and its archives, using a commercial service. We also started a task force to develop a set of core competencies for scholarly communications librarians (to go along with NASIG’s sets of core competencies for electronic resource librarians and print serials librarians). We developed a formal code of conduct for our conference and other NASIG events. We became a strategic affiliate of the Library Publishing Coalition. We also looked at the possibility of hiring office staff for the first time in our history. And we’re doing all this while planning for our 30th anniversary conference in Washington, DC in May, which will not only include a 30th anniversary celebration, but also a joint program with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. Plus, we’re proud sponsors of the Wake the E-Books Festival coming up on April 23rd and 24th. We’ve been kinda busy.

Upcoming State and Regional Conferences and Workshops

Sunday, March 1, 2015 2:34 pm

As part of the Mentoring Team I am on with Tanya, Leslie, Rebecca and Ellen M., we discussed involvement in professional organizations, and how difficult it might be for paraprofessionals or folks who have one problem or another with travelling long distances to attend conferences. So, I was picked to come up with a list of upcoming conferences and workshops that are in the state or the general geographic region. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of things, so feel free to add more in the comments section.

North Carolina Serials Conference (Chapel Hill, NC) – March 6

Library Association of UNC-Chapel Hill (LAUNC-CH) Conference (Chapel Hill, NC) – March 13

Metrolina Library Association Tech Summit (Charlotte, NC) – March 13

Southeastern Library Association (SELA) Joint Conference with the Alabama Library Association (Point Clear, AL) – April 7-10

TALA Paraprofessional Conference (High Point, NC) – May 13

NASIG Conference (including joint programming with the Society for Scholarly Publishing) (Washington, DC) – May 27-30

Metrolina Library Association Conference (Charlotte, NC) – June 11

North Carolina Library Association (NCLA) Conference (Greensboro, NC) – October 20-23

Steve at 2015 ALA Midwinter

Friday, February 6, 2015 4:23 pm

In honor of last Sunday’s Super Bowl, I considered beginning and ending this post with, “I’m only writing this blogpost so I won’t get fined,” but I might have a bit more to share. But only a bit, unfortunately, because this will be a shorter than usual conference post from me, because I spent much of my time in Chicago sick as a dog.

I flew into town on Friday, January 30th, with a cold and an ear infection, and feared I might have ruptured my right eardrum, but by Saturday morning, my hearing had returned, and I felt somewhat better and ready to tackle the day. First up, I went to the meeting of one of my two committees, the Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee. We were planning for our committee forum on Monday, which got thrown into turmoil because our primary speaker had to cancel. We brainstormed ideas for questions and topics in an open forum, and had a lively discussion.

Luckily, my next big committee obligation, CC:DA (Catalog Committee: Description and Access) had a four-hour meeting scheduled in the same hotel, so I could just stay there. CC:DA, as I’ve mentioned before, develops ALA’s position on RDA. That means that we read and discuss proposed changes to RDA that come in from all sorts of constituencies. While it’s really interesting to see how the process works, it’s probably pretty boring to recount in too much detail here. I would like to briefly discuss one of the proposals we looked at, which was a proposal by the Task Force Machine-Actionable Data Elements to create a measurements element in RDA. The Task Force’s purpose is to develop data elements that are more easily understood and manipulated by computers. This measurements element sounds simple, but would actually represent a pretty radical re-thinking of how RDA works. The measurement element would have six sub-elements that would clearly define what was being measured and how. The six sub-elements are Measurement Type (thing like height, playing time, number of units, etc.), Measurement Unit (minutes, cm, cubic feet, etc.), Measurement Quantity (number of minutes, cm, etc.), Part Measured (when necessary), Measurement Qualifier (when necessary, especially for approximate measures), and Unstructured Measurement (a textual description of what is measured, if it can’t quite fit into the previous categories). This proposal is still in the early stages and has a long way to go before it will show up in actual changes to the RDA instructions, but it’s kind of interesting to know that this kind of thinking is going on. Or at least, it’s interesting to me.

After that meeting, I managed to scoot back to my hotel, where I was able to join a meeting of the Editorial Board of Serials Review (I’m a member) that was already in progress. I then went to an ALCTS reception, but started to feel very tired and bailed early. That night I felt my absolute worst of the trip, with chills and nausea. Jeff mentioned that he thought I was going to die. In truth, I asked him if he’d do me a favor and kill me.

After that night, the next day started very rough. I started to feel somewhat better by late Sunday morning and managed to do a little business in my role as president of NASIG. I went to a meeting with the rep from the publisher of the NASIG proceedings to talk about NASIG’s contract with them, as well as talking to some vendors on the exhibits floor to see if they’d be interested in exhibiting at the NASIG Conference in May.
On Monday morning, I went to the second, three-hour meeting of CC:DA. During the meeting, Mimi texted me to let me know that my 6 pm flight that day had been cancelled. I arranged to get on a 2:05 pm flight on standby, but had to leave the meeting a half-hour early to have any chance of making it. Luckily, I did, because I don’t know if I could have handled being stuck in Chicago another night.

Oddly enough, this actually wasn’t my worst-ever conference going experience. So at least there’s that.

Steve at 2014 ALA Annual

Monday, July 7, 2014 1:32 pm

As with the past few conferences, my experience at the 2014 ALA Annual conference was dominated by work on ALCTS committees. As such, most of the stuff I did was pretty deep in the cataloging weeds, so I’ll try to pick out the items that might be of interest to a more general audience. Much of my time (4.5 hours one afternoon and a follow-up 3 hours one morning) was devoted to CC:DA (Cataloging Committee: Description and Access), which develops ALA’s position on RDA. Proposals approved by CC:DA are sent up to the JSC (Joint Steering Committee), the international body that is the final arbiter of the content of RDA. We passed a proposal from the Audio-Visual and Music communities that loosens the rules for recording statements of responsibility, which is particularly important for A/V and music catalogers. The current RDA instructions require catalogers to record composers as the primary party responsible for a music recording, which works fine for most classical music, but is terribly confusing for popular music (do you really want to have Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” to be primarily credited to Bob Dylan, or is Hendrix the important name?). We’re hoping that this proposal will be approved by the JSC. CC:DA also got a bit closer to resolving the problem playfully known as “the cascading vortex of horror,” which is a situation where RDA can be interpreted to mean that catalogers are required to record up to four production statements, depending on the information provided on a published item (if there is no publication info, you have to record that there is no publication info, then if there is no distribution info, you have to record that there is no distribution info, then you have to record whether or not there is manufacturing info, then you have to record copyright info). The proposal would say that you only record the info you have, you don’t have to say what you don’t have, other than the publication info. The proposal was not passed, as a new issue was brought up as to whether or not we should even say we don’t have publication info.

My other committee work was on the Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee. We met to discuss the forum we had planned for later in the conference, as well as tossing around ideas for programming at Midwinter. We seem to be gravitating toward the idea of having something on Bibframe to both explain it in terms catalogers can understand and to relate Bibframe specifically to the concerns of continuing resources catalogers. The committee’s forum on Monday afternoon was the last business event I attended at the conference. It covered a lot of continuing resources/serials cataloging stuff that would be of no interest to anybody but me, but there was one bit of info that might be of general interest. Regina Reynolds from the Library of Congress said that the ISSN Center (the international agency that issues International Standard Serials Numbers to serial publications) is working to deal with publishers it deems to be predatory. By predatory they mean fly-by-night publishers who produce sub-standard material with titles and/or logos that are very similar to the titles and logos of highly respected publications, or titles that are otherwise deceptive and designed to cause confusion in the reader. If the ISSN Center deems a title to be predatory, they may revoke the title’s ISSN, making it much harder for the publisher to sell their publication.

Let’s see, what else? I attended a session on Schema.org that confused the heck out of me. I fear that it’s something that I’ll need to have explained to me three of four times before I start to get it (like with FRBR), although I had a follow-up conversation with Lauren Corbett that helped clear some of my confusion. I also talked with a rep from OCLC about their new KnowledgeBase and their Notification service. I’m particularly excited about the Notification service, because if we sign up for it, if a record we have our holdings attached to gets edited in the OCLC database (like say, if the record is upgraded from AACR2 cataloging to RDA cataloging), we would get sent the newly edited version of the record. With the bib records in OCLC changing so quickly these days, this service would be very useful. And it doesn’t cost anything extra, the price is included in our subscription. Now, when I hear a big company say that something doesn’t cost extra, that’s usually when I check to make sure my wallet is still there, but I grilled the guy from OCLC and it seems like it’s for real. Which was certainly nice to hear.

Steve at NASIG 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014 11:06 am

Since Chris and Derrik have already written their accounts of the 2014 NASIG Conference, I figure I better get on the ball. This was an unusual conference experience for me. As Vice President of NASIG, I was very involved with the planning of this conference, as well as having to do a lot of organizational business. That organizational business included planning for next year’s conference, which will not only have a special celebration for our 30th anniversary, but will also have NASIG’s first ever joint programming with another organization, the Society for Scholarly Publishing. With all the meeting and talking I had to do, I’ll confess that I didn’t attend as many conference sessions as I normally do, but those I did attend were very interesting.

Chris and Derrik have given nice descriptions of the three vision sessions, which were all quite good. I think the most interesting break-out session I attended was “Acquisitions and Management of Digital Collections at the Library of Congress,” given by Ted Westervelt from LC. I’ve known Ted for years, but didn’t know how truly impressive and cool his job is. He manages the eDeposit program at LC, which acquires e-resources for the Library of Congress’s permanent collection. The Copyright Deposit section at LC is charged with preserving material for the life of the Republic, which is quite a long-term commitment. Since 2009, the Copyright Deposit section has required publishers to present two copies of every source deposited, but an exception was made for electronic material. The exemption was eventually dropped and now electronic journals and electronic books have to be given to LC for the Copyright Deposit program. In addition to deposited material, the eDeposit section acquires material through purchase and gifts. They currently have 116 million unique files in inventory with 2.74 petabytes of content. They are also providing web archiving for 8.6 billion files. The digital material acquired includes historical newspapers, web sites, reference works, e-serials, e-books, GIS data, and more than 60 other flows. The section’s operating philosophy is that preservation=access, or, as Ted said, you can’t serve what isn’t preserved. To that end, LC has developed a set of format specifications for electronic materials to be preserved through the eDeposit program (LC has not officially released these specifications yet, but Ted gave us a sneak peak). LC uses a wide range of digital tools to store and manage their digital content. He said that the repository is being built in stages, and that it is important to think of repositories as a suite of tools and services. That is, a repository isn’t a single thing where you stick e-resources and then they’re preserved forever, a repository is a process that relies on a number of tools. Ted also emphasized that you need to think of the entire lifecycle of a resources in a repository, which I think is very important. He pointed out that LC has a system in place for taking in materials, but that they need to scale it. They need to develop more digital collection breadth and depth. LC is currently demanding 230 e-serials via eDeposit, but they will quadruple the number in the next few months. They need more capacity, both for storage and for processing of materials, and they need more standard and automated workflows. They also need to develop their collection development, preservation, metadata and access policies. Even though that work still needs to be done, I find the scale and ambition of this project to be truly amazing and I look forward to hearing more about this work in the future (I’ll certainly be grilling Ted about his work when I see him again).

I also attended an interesting session by Rachel Erb of Colorado State University, who talked about how her library’s Technical Services department used NASIG’s recently published list of Core Competencies for Electronic Resources Librarians as a guide for reorganizing their department. Essentially they found that they had too few people working on electronic resources and that there were needed skills that the department was lacking. Using the Core Competencies as a guide, they were able to justify changing job descriptions (a hard task at their school) and to craft a justification for a new position to bring in the skills they needed. And I saw Richard Wallis from OCLC discuss linked data. The main thrust of his presentation was that libraries need to expose their data to the wider world, which is where linked data comes in. He used the pithy phrase, people want “things not strings.” That is they don’t just want entries, they want entities, entire data sets about a topic.

In addition to the sessions, I did a lot of great networking, and had good conversations about developments in the world of cataloging, serials management, and the future of NASIG. Speaking of the future of NASIG, we’ve got some exciting projects in the works that I can’t quite talk about yet, but I’ll share when I can. Oh, and at this conference I was inaugurated as president of NASIG, and I confirmed the fact that, despite my tendency to be a chatterbox in private conversation, I am the world’s worst public speaker. Ah well, they didn’t elect me to give speeches.

Steve at 2014 North Carolina Serials Conference

Friday, March 21, 2014 4:51 pm

I attended the 2014 North Carolina Serials Conference last week, with quite a crew from ZSR. Ellen has already discussed the all-conference sessions, so I think I’ll write a bit about the break-out sessions I attended. The update session on RDA had some bits of news that might be of interest to folks outside of cataloging: namely that OCLC has announced that General Material Designators (or GMDs) will remain in legacy records (that is, records cataloged according to AACR2 rules) through March 2016. GMDs are those notes in square brackets next to titles in the catalog that say what kind of resource it is (for example, [computer resource]). OCLC is planning to add certain RDA-related fields to their legacy records, including 33X fields that indicate carrier information, over the next few years. In addition to these announcements, Kurt Blythe from UNC-Chapel Hill shared some RDA-related changes to serials cataloging. It was pretty inside-baseball stuff (info on how to code provider neutral online records in the 040 field, how to use indicators in 588 fields, the fact that parallel titles are considered core in CONSER cataloging, etc.), but it was interesting and useful to me. The other speaker at the session, Christee Pascale discussed NCSU’s RDA implementation. She said that most of the RDA training they gave to staff focused on how RDA is different from AACR2. A lot of it boiled down to if you do X in AACR2, then you do Y in RDA. Pascale argued that this actually sold the staff short, because they didn’t look enough at the conceptual underpinnings of RDA, especially the FRBR model. She argued that staff really need to have a solid grasp on the FRBR entities and the relationships between these entities, and that this will become a much more important issue when we begin to make the transition from MARC to BIBFRAME.

The other break-out session I attended was a presentation by Virginia Bacon and Ginny Boyer of ECU, who described how ECU merged the discovery services of their main library, medical library and (unofficial) music library. It was a long process, with a lot of discussion, a lot of persuasion and a lot of compromise. Eventually, they consolidated their web presence into a unified catalog, as well as a unified ILLiad presence, a unified Book Recall feature, a unified Ask a Librarian function, and a single WorldCat Local instance. The process has involved a number of roll-out stages, and constant marketing efforts to re-brand the separate main and medical libraries into a single ECU Libraries brand.

One last thing, in recent years, the NC Serials Conference has started having an expo, with tables for sponsoring companies and organizations to pass out literature and talk to conference attendees. NASIG is a regular sponsor of the conference, and, as the current Vice President of NASIG, I got to represent our organization. It was kind of fun to talk to folks about the joys of membership in NASIG.

Steve at 2014 LAUNC-CH Conference

Friday, March 21, 2014 2:52 pm

Last week I attended the 2014 LAUNC-CH Conference in Chapel Hill, with Sarah and Jeff. This year’s theme was “Every Step of the Way: Supporting Student and Faculty Research,” and there was a lot of talk about data sets and making research publically available. Jeff has already admirably covered Nancy Fried Foster’s keynote address, so I’ll talk a bit about the concurrent sessions. The most interesting one to me was a session by Michael Crumpton and Kathryn Crowe of UNC-G called “Defining the Libraries’ Role in Research: A Needs Assessment Case Study.” They talked about how the UNC-G libraries surveyed researchers in 2013 to find out how they store and manage data. The survey (which had a 13% response rate) found out that only 16% of researchers automatically generate back-ups. Furthermore, 75% of the researchers surveyed reported that they did not anticipate sharing their research data. The reasons were a mix of that they didn’t want to share their data and that they didn’t expect to share their data (so either data hoarding or thinking that nobody else would even want to see it). Analyzing the survey they found a number of barriers to researchers sharing their data, including the large size of data sets, copyright concerns about sharing data, and simply not knowing how to share data. They found that faculty weren’t using best practices in managing their data, and they need much more help in backing up their data. The survey found that many faculty were not even aware of the data management requirements of their university and of their funding agencies. To deal with these problems, the libraries at UNC-G have decided to initiate new education efforts, including expanding the time departmental liaisons have to work with their departments on data management issues. They had planned on hiring a new librarian to specialize in managing research data, but budget concerns killed the plan and forced them to re-direct their efforts into their existing liaison program.

Several of the other programs I attended discussed similar matters, but I found Kathy’s and Mike’s discussion to be the most fully developed. One interesting note, was that Debbie Curry and Mohan Ramaswamy of NCSU discussed how their library recruited data ambassadors, who are either members of or liaisons to departments. These data ambassadors take a hands-on role on teaching faculty about how to properly back-up, store and manage their data. One other interesting item I picked up at the conference came from one of their afternoon lightning talks, where Ann Cooper of UNC-Chapel Hill talked about efforts at UNC’s Wilson archives to preserve born-digital legacy media by converting material in outdated media formats to current formats. As a big music collector, I’m very interested in the process of converting material from outdated formats to usable formats.

Steve at 2014 ALA Midwinter

Monday, February 10, 2014 5:42 pm

Well, it looks like I’m bringing up the rear on reporting on my experience at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Conference, which is somewhat ironic, because I think I was the first person from ZSR to fly up to Philly. I had to get in town two days earlier than I normally would, so I could attend an all-day meeting of the NASIG Executive Board. NASIG isn’t affiliated with ALA, so we met off the conference grid, at the main library of the University of Pennsylvania. I can’t talk much about what we discussed because much of the material is confidential, but I can say that we discussed plans for our 2015 conference in Washington, D.C. The 2015 conference will feature NASIG’s first joint programming with another organization, namely the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). It will also be NASIG’s 30th conference, which will require a special celebration. And it’ll be the year that I’m serving as NASIG’s President, so I’ll get to be right in the thick of planning it.

As for ALA Midwinter proper, much of my involvement revolved around committee meetings. My big committee responsibility is CC:DA (Catalog Committee: Description and Access), which develops ALA’s position on RDA. That means that we read and discuss proposed changes to RDA that come in from all sorts of constituencies. It’s been really interesting to see how the process works. I won’t bore you all by describing it in detail here, but I’d be happy to talk about it with anyone who is interested. CC:DA met for 4.5 hours on one day and 3 hours on another day, which is kind of a lot. We voted and an approved a couple of proposals (which will now move up to the Joint Steering Committee, which is the final arbiter of RDA), and had vigorous debate about several other proposals, including one on how to record the duration of recordings and one on a problem that has the colorfully melodramatic nickname “the cascading vortex of horror.” The committee also saw a presentation on the RDA/ONIX Framework, which would radically change how resource content and resource carriers are described. The RDA/ONIX Framework is years away from implementation (consensus needs to be developed among the relevant constituencies), but it promises to enormously facilitate the machine processing of catalog data (including things like natural language searching), by providing a means to record very specific, very granular data. For example, the Framework allows for recording the sensory mode used to access a resource (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell), the dimensionality of the resource (2-dimensional, 3-dimensional), and the movement of an image (still, moving). That’s just a taste of the level of detail that it would be possible to record if the Framework were adopted. It’s pretty complex and dense stuff, and I know I only grasped a portion of it. On the more practical level, I have volunteered to serve on a CC:DA task force that has been working for a year or two on developing a list of personal relationship designators (things like father-son, teacher-student, etc.) for RDA.

On to other topics, Carolyn has already done an admirable job of recounting the Authority Control Interest Group meeting, so I will mention the Cataloging & Classification Research Interest Group session. We saw a presentation about an interesting project called the ProMusic Database, which is trying to make it easier to track the identity and roles of musicians, which can be tricky when you look at what a person did on a particular record. The example used was Quincy Jones, who is a composer, a performer and a producer. The ProMusic Database makes it easier to figure out what role or roles Quincy played with a given record. It is a joint project that involves the extensive databases of musician unions, music companies, etc. These professional organizations have a great interest in tracking this data, so they can track things like royalty payments to musicians.

I ended my Midwinter by attending the Update Forum of the Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee (which is another committee that I belong to). Much of it was inside baseball that would be of no interest to anyone but me, but one very interesting thing is that the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) Centers are going to start assigning ISSNs to institutional repositories. So IRs are starting to be thought of as default continuing resources. Go figure.

Steve at NCLA 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013 5:27 pm

So, as you all know, the NCLA Conference was held here in Winston-Salem last week. Here’s what I did at it.

I served as a consultant to the Exhibits Committee this year, rather than chairing it, which was a big relief. I shared all the information with them that I could beforehand and visited Amy Harris and the rest of the Exhibits Committee often during the conference to see how things were going, be available for questions, and generally commiserate about what is a fairly tough job. They did fantastic work, in my opinion.

Since I could actually attend sessions at an NCLA Conference for the first time since 2003, not being tied down to managing the Exhibits or the Conference Store, I decided to focus my attention on seeing presentations by my fellow ZSR librarians.

I saw Roz’s presentation “‘New Research Shows’ – Or Does It? Using Junk Science in Information Literacy Instruction,” where Roz spoke about having students compare popular news reports of scientific studies to the studies themselves. Most popular reports of scientific studies get much if not most of the information wrong, from basic stuff like the number of study participants to the actual conclusions drawn by the study. In fact, many popular reports will say that a study concludes the exact opposite of what it actually says. Roz uses this exercise as a jumping off point for discussing the peer review process with students and well as the politics of publishing. The crowd was very enthusiastic about the presentation, with one audience member saying flat out that she’s copying the idea herself.

I also saw Hu’s presentation “‘Big Games’ in Academic Libraries.” I finally understood what happened to the video game nights we used to have a few years back. Turns out they were rather expensive and the attendance wasn’t so great, so they’ve been supplanted by Capture the Flag and Humans vs. Zombies. Hu talked about the good features of these two games, including that they are cheap to stage, popular, and get students into the library in a fun setting. His repeated statement that he has “the best library dean in the world” caused my friend from an institution that shall not be named to whisper to me jealously, “I hate you.” The crowd loved Hu’s presentation.

I saw Mary Beth’s presentation with the wonderful Marvin Tillman called “Two Roads to Offsite Storage: Duke and Wake Forest.” The audience, while somewhat small, was riveted and paid very close attention. These folks meant business and really wanted to hear about offsite storage options, in detail. Mary Beth and Marvin provided them with great detail. It was very interesting to get the perspective from two very different ends of the size scale, with Duke’s massive operation for their own enormous collections as well as storage from UNC-Chapel Hill, to our own more modestly-sized storage operation.

I also saw Megan’s presentation with Matt Reynolds of ECU, called “Stuff In Dusty Boxes: Connecting Undergraduates With Special Collections Holdings.” Megan spoke about her undergraduate history of the book class and its development, including how she was the one who initiated it. She spoke about the challenges involved in developing a new class, including getting approval from the curriculum committee, making logistical arrangements, recruiting students, and especially, course planning (she couldn’t find any other undergraduate history of the book classes to model hers on). Megan was enthusiastic about the class and drew lessons from the experience that included: be prepared, design the class around your collection strengths, keep your expectations realistic for undergrads, and have fun. The crowd really appreciated her presentation.

Unfortunately, my NCLA was cut a bit short by a cold that I was fighting all week, which led me to stay home of Friday, so I can’t speak about the last day’s activities.


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2007 ACRL Baltimore
2007 ALA Annual
2007 ALA Gaming Symposium
2007 ALA Midwinter
2007 ASERL New Age of Discovery
2007 Charleston Conference
2007 ECU Gaming Presentation
2007 ELUNA
2007 Evidence Based Librarianship
2007 Innovations in Instruction
2007 Kilgour Symposium
2007 LAUNC-CH Conference
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