Professional Development

In the '2009 ALA Annual Chicago' Category...

Carolyn’s Sunday and Monday at ALA

Friday, July 17, 2009 7:12 am

Sunday at ALA was a busy day for me. It started off with me attending a program sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL titled “Chicago’s Ethnic Mosaic: Cultural Identity and Neighborhood Change”. Although I only stayed two of the four hours program, I heard and learned much on the history of European immigration and in-migration of African Americans and Mexican Americans to Chicago as well as the history of Chicago’s public housing.

Next, I went to the exhibits to attend Lauren Pressley’s book signing and to visit vendors’ booths to pick up any interesting free stuff. I stopped by the Library of Congress’ booth and picked up several informational booklets on MARC and FRBR records. Afterwards, I went to Au Bon Pain in the conference center to purchase something for lunch ($6 for a small bag of chips and a bottled water–outrageous) and spotted an escorted Judy Blume trying to make a decision about lunch. I loved her books as a young girl.

The afternoon session I attended was called “New Selectors and Selecting in New Subjects: Meeting the Challenges”. Linda Phillips, Head of Scholarly Communication at the University of Tennessee, began the panel session by likening selectors to entrepreneurs. We need to be client-centered in providing content and services to faculty and students. She said selectors must:

  • approach collection development in a digital library framework
  • take an active role in creating scholarly publications
  • assert professional principles for free and unbiased access to knowledge
  • understand and fully exploit the potential of the local and the immediate

She went on to say libraries need to complete the migration from print to electronic collections. Her library embarked on a reorganization where the emphasis is on liaisons and their academic departments, the expansion of unique local digital publications, and adding freely accessible web content to collection (e.g. Directory of Open Access Journals and OAIster). Her advice for new selectors is:

  • learn the library’s explicit and implied collection policies and practices
  • talk with colleagues
  • know the library’s budget and expectations; understand recordkeeping and encumbrances/expenditures for accountability
  • learn library’s strategy for managing cost increases
  • get to know clietele (i.e. faculty) and their search preferences; build trust; collaborate with faculty–this is the key to enhancing research and instruction on campus
  • get acquainted with vendor materials
  • be knowledgeable in intellectual property issues, creative commons, SPARC, NIH open access–this will increase your credibility with scholars
  • learn about your faculty’s discipline–how are they involving students
  • participate in at least two disciplinary related programs each semester
  • encourage researchers to consider open access publishing

Supervisors should lead discussions about research practices and discipline culture and encourage liaisons to include these things in yearly goals.

TRACE (Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange) is the University of Tennessee’s digital repository.

Arro Smith of the San Marcos Public Library spoke on and showed attendees resources on the ALCTS (Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) web site for new selectors. By clicking on “Conferences & Events” which appears on the lefthand side of the web page, one can discover webinars, workshops and web courses available. The Collection and Management and Development Section (CMDS) of ALCTS has recently started publishing a new series of monographs called the Sudden Selectors Guide and they are available through the ALA Store. These monographs are designed to address niche topics. Business resources is the only guide so far to be published. Mr. Smith said forthcoming discipline guides to be published include biology, English, art, chemistry and GLBITQ.

Next on the panel to speak was Jeff Kosokoff of Tufts University. He feels libraries shouldn’t take possession of things not needed. We should think about information in terms of having access not about having it sitting on shelves or owning it. Information, as a service, becomes ever more dominant from a user perspective and needs to be delivered in a way people would use it, otherwise it won’t be used.

My last session of the day was attending the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. At our meeting there was an Alexander Street Press representative who reported that the vendor is looking to develop a streaming video database of anthropology films that would be transcribed and text searchable. He was seeking input on what types of films should be included in the proposed database. One person suggested to the rep. that the product should be marketed to anthropology and area studies. Serials cancellations was another topic on the agenda. Several attendees said they were having to make decisions about cutting dual formats of journals and expressed concerns over how some electronic anthropological journals sometimes don’t contain illustrations that accompany the print format. From this discussion, I felt that Wake is ahead of the curve in eliminating dual formats of anthropological journal titles. I really enjoyed going to this session and talking with other anthropology librarians. I believe I was the only cataloger in the room.

On Monday, I attended “Resuscitating the Catalog: Next-Generation Strategies for Keeping the Catalog Relevant” which Kaeley has already summarized in her ALA Annual 2009 day 4 post. I also went to the ALCTS sponsored “President’s Program: Who owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage” in which James Cuno, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, discussed whether museums should return ancient artifacts to their country of origin. Mr. Cuno has written and published a book with the same title as his talk. At the conclusion of his talk, it was time to make my way to O’Hare Airport to go home.

Saturday at ALA with Carolyn

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 11:13 pm

On Saturday, I attended “Workflow Tools for Automating Metadata Creation and Maintenance” which was a panel discussion comprised of individuals who work on digital projects at their institutions.

Much of the talk was highly technical and I didn’t quite understand everything, but one of the most interesting projects discussed was by Brown University’s Ann Caldwell, Metadata Coordinator for the Center of Digital Initiatives, who spoke about their recent project in assisting the Engineering Department with its upcoming accreditation. Engineering professors wanted to digitize materials such as syllabi and assignments so that the accreditation team could have them in advance of their visit. The Center created an easy way for professors to put stuff into the repository by creating a very simple MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema) record form with required fields to fill in (e.g. date, title, genre) and providing an easy way for individuals to upload files (i.e. digital objects). Faculty decide how they want to set up folders for their stuff; they can dump everything in one folder or create multiple folders down to the micro-level. Faculty also determine who and what individuals can see. Because of the enormous amount of material being brought in to be digitized, the Center developed a tracking system. Due to the success of this project, the Engineering Department will continue digitizing their materials for future accreditations, and Ms. Caldwell indicated other departments were interested in doing the same.

In regards to metadata creation workflow, consistency, automation, streamlining and true interoperability between systems are of utmost importance. With the help of metadata tools, librarians can do their jobs better and more efficiently. Smart systems are possible and necessary. We need to pay attention to user interface design for cataloging tools because it is critical to the success of our data.

Next, I attended a four hour panel discussion titled “Look Before You Leap: Taking RDA for a Test-Drive.” Again, a highly technical presentation. RDA is the acronym for “resource description and access” and is a new cataloging tool to be utilized for the description of all types of resources and content. It is compatible with established principles, models, and standards and is adaptable to the needs of a wide range of resource description communities (i.e. museums, libraries, etc.) Tom Delsey began the session by comparing and contrasting AACR2 and RDA. Nanette Naught followed by previewing the RDA Toolkit which is currently in the alpha testing stage. Sally McCallum of the Library of Congress spoke on new fields developed for the MARC record in conjunction with RDA. John Espley, Director of Design at VTLS, gave attendees a preview of what an RDA record would like like in the ILS he represents. His presentation finally shed some light for me as to how an RDA cataloging record would appear in an online catalog. National Library of Medicine’s Barbara Bushman described the upcoming testing of RDA at 23 select institutions. The testing will occur in OCLC Connexion as well as in various ILS. Voyager being one. Once the RDA Online software is released sometime in November or December 2009, a preparation period which includes training for the testing institutions will occur in the months of January-March 2010. Formal testing will commence in April-June, followed in July-September with a formal assessment. October 2010 a final report will be shared with the U.S. library community.

If and when RDA is approved for use, training for catalogers will be the next step. Knowledge and training about RDA for all library staff will need to take place as well. People on the front lines working with patrons in catalog instruction will need to know the differences between a specific work and its possible multiple manifestations (work and manifestation being FRBR terminology).

For more information, one can visit the RDA web site.

Needless to say, after this session ended, I was ready to head back to my hotel for some rest. I will post more information on the rest of my conference experiences on Friday.

Lauren P. at ALA Part 2

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 11:02 am

A hurt neck kept me from lugging my laptop around combined with a lack of reasonably priced internet anywhere near my hotel kept me off the “real” internet for much of the conference. This was the first ALA I have attended where there were days that I didn’t carry a computer, and it made for a slightly different experience. I engaged in Twitter on my phone a bunch more, and I interacted on Facebook, took notes on paper, but I didn’t have hardly any opportunities to blog. Very strange for me! But instead of pushing out information about the conference, I feel that I participated in many more conversations, and that’s something I’d like to be sure to do at future conferences.

To pick up where I left off, Saturday was a real LITA day for me. I attended the BIGWIG meeting physically for the first time. This is a group of LITA that formed around blogs, interactive groups, and wikis (hence the name), but now mostly experiments with emerging social technologies and acts as a test bed to pilot new tools. Many of us were new to the meeting group, but have been participatory online, so it was nice to put some faces with some names and connect with people I’ve been following. (…both literally and figuratively!)

Next up I had the LITA Web Coordinating Committee. I’m midway through my term in this group, and our charge is to work on the LITA website. As you might know, ALA recently went through a redesign, and LITA is following with a similar information architecture. It was especially interesting in light of the web group at ZSR, and gave me lots of food for thought.

After that, Kaeley and I met up with Susan at the Art Institute for the ProQuest VIP Reception and the Scholarship Bash. We ran into Debbie Nolan and were able to catch up a bit with her, we had some food, saw some art, and it was a good time. I was able to meet up with some of my online colleagues as well to hammer out a bit of business among the fun.

I didn’t go to my 7:30 breakfast on Sunday (trying to give my neck a little rest), and instead went to the exhibits at 9:00 to get a chance to see things before my signing. When I got to my booth I saw Sarah right away! Sarah, Carolyn, Lynn, Bill, Susan, Roz, and Kaeley were the ZSR crew that came by, and a few others, too. It was nice to get a chance to talk with Rory, my editor, now that the project is complete.

My next meeting was the Emerging Leaders Subcommittee. Assuming the HRDR committee chair decides to appoint me, I might have the opportunity to participate in this group to help make the Emerging Leaders program better. It was fascinating to hear the behind the scenes discussion, and I was pleased to hear the ’09 class had an improved experience over what much of the ’08 class remembers. I am hopeful that this program is one that improves each year.

I raced away from that meeting to meet Kaeley at the LITA President’s program. The program was about the Dutch Boys at DOK.

They’re a fascinating trio and I really recommend checking them out. They recently released a book on their USA library tour if you’re interested in more. The Twitter backchannel was particularly fun and lively throughout the session discussing (among other topics) can you train people to be innovative and how do you know if people you’re hiring will be innovative? Following the LITA session, Kaeley and I met up with Roz, her sister, Susan, Carolyn, and Sarah for a nice Italian ZSR Dinner.

Monday morning was my first day that wasn’t scheduled from start to finish. I was hoping for lots of serendipitous meetings and I wasn’t disappointed. My first session was to see Roz present her paper, but I got to the convention center pretty early. Luckily I ran into someone I know from the ’07 Emerging Leaders class who is also really involved in LITA. We swapped stories and found out more about what we both actually do and what our libraries are like. Our work is similar enough that I really hope that we’ll be able to collaborate on something sometime soon.

Roz’s paper was an interesting comparison of subject guide software. I found the ACRL geared presentation interesting in light of similar LITA discussions. The subject is the same, but the approach, perspective, and decision making is a little bit different. It was good stuff, and LibGuides is clearly a hot topic for a lot of libraries.

Susan, Roz, Kaeley, and I ended up at LITA’s Social Software Showcase next. This year was a bit different from years past. The program finally had a room big enough for the number of people interested in attending, but the furniture wasn’t set up particularly well for the interactive nature of the program. They rolled with it, and the overall responses were great. I was particularly glad to catch up with several online friends at the session, and we ended up having a surprise social software showcase of our own involving Google Voice, a “hackintosh,” and brainstorming about how the program could work.

Some of that group, Kaeley, and I found a little Italian/pizza place near the convention center, so we were able to grab something to eat and catch up before the Ultimate Debate program. This is the program that a few others have blogged about: David Lee King, Meredith Farkas, Michael Porter, and Cindi Trainor were on the panel and Roy Tennant moderated. It was a fun session and it’s always nice to get a chance to see everyone in real life and see folks actually interact.

One of my library/facebook friends was organizing a vegetarian dinner, so we had an adventure of a time finding a place and eventually ended up at the very yummy Chicago Diner. Of the six of us I hadn’t met any of of my fellow diners face to face before. One I interact with online (it was her birthday), two I knew of–and have been impressed with–from their online presence, and two were entirely new to me. It was great fun and really enjoyed the conversation. The day wrapped up with a great conversation on the walk back to the hotel and a bit of getting ready for the last day.

Sunday kicked off with my last meeting of the conference and my last meeting on the committee. I am finishing up my term on the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship with this conference. It’s been a wonderful committee to serve on and it’s hard to believe that it’s been four years. More than anything, I learned about how ALA actually functions from serving on this committee. We wrapped up some business, I helped out a little with the new ALA Connect, and with that my conference was over.

With this conference, my terms on COSWL and the Women’s Studies Section Instruction Committee both end. I had later appointments to a few LITA groups, so that’s carrying me forward to the next conference. Over the last four years I’ve learned a lot about ALA from COSWL and WSS, but I have also learned that you have to really focus on one or two aspects of ALA if you want your energy to make an impact. I am choosing to focus my energy on LITA. I really feel that there is potential to make positive change there that can provide real-world examples to ALA about some of the changes that might make the larger association more relevant in the 21st century. (That’s my soapbox, at least. :) ) I might focus on Emerging Leaders as a secondary area since positive work there will influence people who will potentially be in positions to make change within the larger organization.

This ALA had been a particularly good on for me. It was great fun to room with Kaeley and to see so much of the ZSR group along the way. The preconference went really well, my discussion group had great conversations, and the booksigning wasn’t even too stressful! But even more importantly, it’s been filled with great conversation and great people and I’m feeling more reenergized than I have been in some time.

Tuesday @ ALA

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:34 pm

I made my way down to McCormick Place one more time to attend the closing session. The speaker was Steve Lopez, the author of the book, The Soloist, which was recently made into a motion picture with Jamie Fox and Robert Downey, Jr. I had only vague memories of hearing about the movie so the true story he told was new to me. Mr. Lopez is a columnist for the L.A. Times and about 5 years ago he was looking for a topic for his latest column. He happened to hear a homeless man playing a violin (with only 2 strings) and learned that the man had at one time attended Julliard. He went on to tell how he befriended the man and how that experience had touched his life. It was worth getting up for. He also mentioned that the Philadelphia Public Library is using the book for their One City/One Book program and have planned over 100 events involving The Soloist.

I then made one last run at the exhibits where I picked up some information about DVD security and entered a drawing to win an iPod. I didn’t win the iPod and now I’m outta here. Getting to go to the ALA Conference, in Chicago, with my sister….priceless.

Lauren Corbett at ALA Annual 2009, Chicago

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 4:01 pm

Redesigning Technical Services Workflows, Saturday morning, July 11, 2009:

Here are some brief highlights — please feel free to chat with me if you want to know more. Please note that these speakers are both from much larger libraries than ZSR.

Arlene Klair, Adaptive Cataloging & Database Mgmt Group Leader, University of Maryland Libraries

  • Original catalogers now primarily work on high value gifts and special collections since implementing shelf ready with the main domestic book vendor.
  • A product called OCLC Classify helps copy catalogers do “nasty cuttering” that was previously done by original catalogers. The product hyperlinks to other library catalogs that hold to the title to be able to see how they cuttered and then you can link to your own catalog to see how it fits your collection.
  • They use Connexion for batch loading, using save files on a shared drive.
  • They use a commercial service called Bibliographic Notification to upgrade bibs (especially CIP); an internal study conducted some time ago showed that the lag for the upgrades with this service was only about 3 months and Arlene suspects that now the lag might only be 2 months.

Rick Anderson, Associate Director for Scholarly Resources and Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

Rick indicated immediately that he was repeating much of his earlier talks in other venues, but I thought it was worth hearing again because he’s making good points for consideration. You’ll notice that he frequently repeated a couple of themes:

There are 4 areas where “Technical Services needs retooling.”

  1. Books
  2. Serials
  3. Cataloging
  4. Collection Development
  • Consolidation — put staff together for serials and monographs into one organizational unit [ZSR is already there in the sense he meant it.]
  • Simplification [of processes] — use shelf-ready, don’t examine every book, duplicate call numbers don’t cause the patron to fail in retrieving the right book
  • Simplification — drop check-in, binding, and claiming for print journals and focus on doing things that get the patron access when the patron needs it
  • Outsourcing routine items and redirecting in-house catalogers to special items — Marriott Library has all monographic purchases shipped to OCLC first to be cataloged and to make them shelf-ready; catalogers at the library now spend time on the library’s own digital and special collections.
  • Simplification — completeness and accuracy of the records in the OPAC is not the point; connection of the patron to the item is the point. The OPAC is now mainly the means of retrieving items instead of discovery. Look at your catalog logs and see if known item searches are the most frequent type of search
  • Use patron-driven selection. “Patrons know; librarians guess.” We now have tools and ability to supply the patron needs quickly instead of having to guess ahead of time. Pay the $20 for overnight Fed Ex of the $18 book in Amazon that was requested by a patron instead of spending the money on things that will never circulate. Circulation rate is down 53% and reshelving is down 73% since 1997, at U. of Utah. 50% of librarian-selected titles never circulated. (This was calculated with student enrollment factored in.) Purchase ILL requests instead of borrowing the items. Buy on-demand (as with e-books). Marriott Library purchased an Espresso Book Machine to do print on demand (through Baker & Taylor’s Lightning Source) and patrons have the option to buy a print-on-demand item to keep or the library will add it to the collection.

ALCTS Governance

The majority of my conference was confined to ALCTS governance.

I participated in my last ALCTS Budget & Finance (B&F) meetings and related Continuing Resource Section Executive Committee meeting. I was required to resign from this early since I won the election for Chair of Acquisitions Section. It looks like ALCTS is on track to end the Fiscal Year in the black. Some good decisions to steer towards webinars and online continuing education courses (such as the Fundamentals of Acquisitions and the Fundamentals of Electronic Resource Acquisitions) are paying off. Final figures will be late due to ALA Annual Conference being later than usual, which leaves some degree of uncertainty, but at least the budget is on track at this point. B&F discussed how to determine pricing for the electronic version of Library Resources and Technical Services (aka LRTS, the research journal of ALCTS) – discussion to be continued with expertise from the LRTS board and the Continuing Resources Section.

At the request of the current leaders of Acquisitions Section (AS), I stepped in ahead of my assumption of duties as Vice Chair/Chair Elect of AS and helped run the All Committee meeting on Saturday afternoon. I learned that the section doesn’t have many long-timers who know the ropes right now and that many people need to be helped with understanding their roles within the section. I started talking with section members who aren’t currently involved, hoping to get a head start on the appointment process. Starting in the fall and continuing through March, I’ll be learning where committee vacancies are and making appointments.

Big changes are happening in the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Division of ALA. ALCTS is introducing a New Members Interest Group for those who have been members 5 years or less to have an opportunity to learn more about participation in ALCTS. ALCTS will be doing strategic planning in synch with ALA and internally is interested in reorganizing to fit today’s needs. For example, there will now be a Continuing Education Committee (to instigate design of more courses like the Fundamentals of… mentioned above). These agenda items will impact the work in the individual sections in the coming year. For example, each section has an Education Committee that needs to realign it’s work to fit with having a Division-level Continuing Education Committee comprised of members-at-large instead of the chairs of the section committees. There was quite a bit of discussion about continuing to have a Midwinter Conference or not and the impacts if there were not a meeting in January.

Looks like I’m embarking on an interesting 3 year odyssey in the leadership of Acquisitions Section.

Sarah at ALA

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:37 am

On Saturday, I represented the ACRL-Science & Technology Section (STS) at the “ACRL 101″ orientation session. ACRL has more than 12,500 members, and three new interest groups were recently formed. I also attended the ACRL-STS Membership and Recruitment Committee meeting. Our committee is currently working on some interesting projects, including developing a wiki for new members of ACRL-STS and sending brochures about careers in science librarianship to various library schools.

On Sunday morning, I went to Lauren Pressley’s book signing and also ran into a few ZSR folks. Next, I went to the Exhibits and talked with various vendors. I stopped by the National Library of Medicine’s booth and learned that there are some upcoming changes to the MEDLINE database. On Sunday afternoon, I participated in a panel discussion on “Information Technology and Communities of Color: Issues and Opportunities in a Global Context.” There was one representative from each ethnic caucus of ALA on the panel, and I represented the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). We had a lively discussion about the information technology needs of our respective communities. On Sunday evening, I joined other ZSR folks and Roz’s sister for dinner at an Italian restaurant.

On Monday morning, I attended the ACRL-STS program on “Big Science, Little Science, E-Science: The Science Librarian’s Role in the Conversation.” John Saylor from Cornell University Libraries, George Djorgovski from California Institute of Technology, Melissa Cragin from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Chris Greer from the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development spoke about the role of science librarians with regards to E-Science. Djorgovski made a good point that “understanding complex phenomena requires complex data.” In addition, technology for information storage and access are evolving. Cragin also said that librarians need to be engaged with scientists during the research process. Next, I attended Roz’s presentation on the “Review of Web Guide Software for Libraries.” Roz spoke about LibGuides, and their presentation was informative. I was also able to attend the ACRL-STS Poster Session, which was focused on E-Science initiatives at various institutions.

It was also great roomming with Carolyn while at ALA Annual, and we were able to grab dinner a few evenings. The summer weather in Chicago was also nice. Overall, ALA Annual was busy yet productive and very informative this year.

Monday at ALA

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 12:38 am

This morning I had another opportunity to browse the exhibits. Either I’m getting bolder or they were giving more “stuff” away as I managed to pick up some more bags and books. I also checked out the Summons product from Serial Solutions to see if it could help in ILL. Since she does most of the lending, I’m quite sure Cristina will want to look at it when she returns. Next I took a shuttle up State St. for lunch to escape the captive market lunch prices at McCormick Place.

After lunch I attended a technology session called “Has Library 2.0 Fulfilled its Promise?”. One of the panelists admitted that Library 2.0 hadn’t “promised” anything but he thought it was a catchy title. The panelists were Meredith Farkas, Cindi Trainor, David Lee King and Michael Porter(aka Libraryman). Starting with a question of how they would define Library 2.0 panelists suggested it is a space that ‘invites collaboration” and is “user focused”. Michael Porter said that users of Lib 2.0 care more about functionality than brand names.

While this was supposed to be a lively discussion of opposing voices, there was little dissent among the panelist when they were asked what qualifies as a Library 2.0 technology.Meredith Farkas suggested that it was technology that builds community. David Lee King emphasized that it needs to be technology that is understandable to the non-professional users. Cindi Trainor pointed out that all those who work in libraries are empowered to engage in sharing with Library 2.0 technology.

Barriers that were identified included faculty and staff that are reluctant to learn these tools, lack of time to learn how to use them, a lack of people that are willing/able to be in charge of the use of the applications, and administration that does not value the use of the tools enough to allot time to learn them.

At the end of the panel discussion the panelists were asked to emphasize one point each. David Lee King encouraged library managers to let their staff”go with it”. He suggested that failures would still be educational. Meredith Farkas reminded us that these technologies are not a”magic wand”. If a technology does not fit the culture of your library, stick with what works. Michael Porter said the library should focus on their present mission but look at it in light of new technologies. Cindi Trainor recommended a program such as “23 Things” to help library staff become aware of the options available. (I was instrumental in adapting this program for the PCL. While the program fizzled, I learned a LOT while setting it up.)

After the program ended I visited Grant Park and the silver bean. The evening was finished off with fish & chips at the Emerald Loop Bar & Grill and a visit to Ghirardelli’s by Water Tower Place.

ALA with Lynn (Part IV)

Monday, July 13, 2009 6:21 pm

This will be my last post, since tomorrow will be limited to staying in the hotel room to finish up Jill’s version of the ZSR Annual Report before leaving for the airport. So, finishing up on Sunday… The first program of the afternoon was “Information Technology and Communities of Color:Issues and Opportunities in a Global Context,” where our own Sarah Jeong was selected to represent the Asian/Pacific American Library Association on the panel that included all five ethnic caucuses of ALA.Sarah spoke eloquently on how Asian/Pacific American communities are divided in terms of language and technology proficiency – often along generational lines.

Perhaps the best session I attended all conference was “Improving User Services through Open Source Solutions,” which Wanda attended also.For my money, Joe Lucia is one of the most clear-thinking library leaders in the profession today.His library produced VuFind, which we are about to implement this fall (I hope) as a discovery layer to our online catalog. He tends to speak his mind and pull no punches, though he said he had toned down his rhetoric somewhat from previous speeches.Basically, he said that the time is now for open source in libraries.Libraries are a noble part of the “Commons” as intellectual and physical space that is shared by all and consumed (used up, not just used)by none. Open source software is similarly congruent with the commons philosophy, in that it can be shared by all and consumed by none. Joe bluntly said that it is not an option to continue to wait for open source to get traction.There are many roadblocks to progress, chief among them timid leadership (he gently chided ARL libraries for failing to take bold leadership and moving in group-think) and a self-destructive addiction to legacy data and standards. What we can do is take up our courage and contribute to an open source community, investing resources formerly devoted to our (detested) legacy systems. He foresees that in three years, 30% of libraries will be invested in open source development. Other speakers in the panel included my former colleague Randy Dykhuis of the Michigan Library Consortium who worked with Equinox to provide affordable automation services with the Evergreen system.Another speaker from the WALDO group of academic libraries in the greater New York metropolitan area described working with LibLime to adapt Koha. The final speaker was from a small public library in Pennsylvania who has been using open source for 10 years. It occurred to me that there were two separate models represented in the panel:those who contributed code directly to the open source product and those who worked with a vendor to support them. There is probably room within the movement for both.

This morning (Monday), a group of us attended Roz’s presentation on LibGuides and other web guide software for libraries. They did a great job and it’s too bad more people weren’t in attendance. From there, I attended the session, “Pay Attention to Your Users! Conducting Qualitative Research to Reinvent Library Services.”The points were reassuringly familiar, as I learned how to do qualitative research in my doctoral work and then applied it in our joint study with UNCG, all in the interest of influencing library services.Good stuff.

After lunch with my good friend Toni Garvey from the Phoenix Public Library (where she had to cut her system budget by 30%) I attended the ACRL President’s Program.It was advertised as a four hour program (scary) on advocacy, but at least it was in my hotel. The facilitator was very, very good (known as the Advocacy Guru) and made an intimidating subject seem doable. I’ve never approached a member of Congress but she makes it sound possible.

I’ll close with a shot of my favorite building in the Chicago skyline, the red CNA Center. Don’t know why, but I’ve always liked it best, followed closely by the building first known as Standard Oil, then Amoco, now Aon.

Susan’s Monday Morning at ALA

Monday, July 13, 2009 2:26 pm

The meeting for my second ALA committee (LLAMA BES/LIFE=Library Leadership, Administration & Management Association, Building & Equipment Section/Library Interiors, Furnishings and Equipment Committee, whew!) took place this morning. The sole purpose of this committee is to generate programs for ALA Annual. Program planning takes about 18 months from conception to execution and has to go through much vetting. Since my first experience with this committee at midwinter, there has been no activity on my part as one or two committee members will take on a proposal and shepherd it through the process. I was glad this morning to finally get a chance to volunteer to assist one of the in-process programs being developed. That will be the best way to learn how things work in this bureaucratic organization, and make myself useful in the process.

I finally had to give in and take a taxi to ensure that I arrived at McCormick Place in time to see Roz’s panel juried paper presentation on Reviews of Web Guide Software for Libraries. It was an intimate presentation due to lack of marketing by ALA, but was very informative, as you would expect!

Next stop (luckily, still in McCormick Place) was BIGWIG’s Social Software Showcase, where we broke into small groups and heard lightening round discussions of a variety of social software applications and technologies including cloud computing, Google Wave, mobile, drupel, mashups and facebook pages. The presentations are available on the BigWig site and tweets about the sessions can be found through the hashtag #sss09.

After a shuttle bus ride back to the same hotel where my first meeting was this morning, I’m heading into an interest group session on Scholarly Communication. So more later!

Susan’s ALA Sunday

Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:42 pm

As Lynn mentioned, I had an early start to the day by joining in on Bill’s Alibris morning run. It was a beautiful Chicago day and it was nice to be outside and running through Grant Park and along Lake Michigan. After I earned my t-shirt and trophy (which looks amazingly like the ones for quiz bowl!), I ran straight to Lynn’s award breakfast and took a few pictures to document the occasion. It made me very proud to be part of the ZSR team and to have our dean recognized for all that she did to right-size all of our salaries and guide us through to our new library faculty status. This video clip shows Lynn receiving her award:

After a little clean-up effort (read shower and change of attire), I headed down to McCormick to Lauren P’s book signing. I ran into Roz in the exhibit hall and had to admire her focus on working the hall. I still find myself wandering aimlessly up and down the endless aisles….

The bulk of my afternoon was spent attending the semi-annual Top Technology Trends program. This program marked the 10th anniversary of the Top Trends. Trends identified this time around included mobile devices, cloud computing, green computing, rapid trending and tough economic times. The audience was invited to tweet about their reactions throughout the program, the hashtags are #ttt09 and #toptech. The program affirmed in my mind that we are thinking about the right things in regards to our technology planning over the next few years.

We had a pleasant dinner at the Italian Village with some of the ZSR folks and Roz’s sister. But it’s an early evening for me tonight, so I’ll be ready for my last day of committee meetings and sessions.


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