Professional Development

In the 'ALA Annual 2013' Category...

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!

Steve at ALA Annual 2013 (and RDA Training at Winthrop University)

Friday, July 12, 2013 4:08 pm

Since this is an ALA re-cap from me, you probably know what’s coming-a lot of jabbering about RDA. But wait, this one includes even more jabbering about RDA, because right before leaving for Chicago, I went down to Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina for two full days of RDA training (I missed the final half day, because I had to fly to Chicago for ALA). The enterprising folks at Winthrop had somehow managed to wrangle an in-person training session taught by Jessalyn Zoom, a cataloger from the Library of Congress who specializes in cataloging training through her work with the PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging). In-person training by experts at her level is hard to come by, so Winthrop was very lucky to land her. Leslie and I went to the training, along with Alan Keeley from PCL and Mark McKone from Carpenter. We all agreed that the training was excellent and really deepened our understanding of the practical aspects of RDA cataloging.

The training sessions were so good they got me energized for ALA and the meetings of my two committees, the Continuing Resources Section Cataloging Committee (i.e. serials cataloging) and CC:DA, the Cataloging Committee for Description and Access (the committee that develops ALA’s position on RDA. I’m one of the seven voting members on this committee. I know in a previous post I wrote I was one of nine voting members, but I got the number wrong, it’s seven). CC:DA met for four hours on Saturday afternoon and three hours on Monday morning, so it’s a pretty big time commitment. I also attended the Bibframe Update Forum, the final RDA Update Forum and a session on RDA Implementation Stories. Because so much of the discussion from these various sessions overlapped, I think I’ll break my discussion of these sessions down thematically.

Day-to-Day RDA Stuff

The RDA Implementation Stories session was particularly useful. Erin Stahlberg, formerly of North Carolina State, now of Mounty Holyoke, discussed transitioning to RDA at a much smaller institution. She pointed out that acquisitions staff never really knew AACR2, or at least, never really had any formal training in AACR2. What they knew about cataloging came from on-the-job, local training. Similarly, copy catalogers have generally had no formal training in AACR2, beyond local training materials, which may be of variable quality. With the move to RDA, both acquisitions staff and especially copy catalogers need training. Stahlberg recommended skipping training in cataloging formats that you don’t collect in (for example, if you don’t have much of a map collection, don’t bother with map cataloging training). She recommended that staff consult with co-workers and colleagues. Acknowledge that everyone is trying to figure it out at the same time. Consult the rules, and don’t feel like you have to know it all immediately. Mistakes can be fixed, so don’t freak out. Also, admit that RDA may not be the most important priority at your library (heaven forbid!). But she also pointed out that training is necessary, and you need to get support from your library Administration for training resources. Stahlberg also said that you have to consider how much you want to encourage cataloger’s judgment, and be patient, because catalogers (both professional and paraprofessional) will be wrestling with issues they’ve never had to face before. She encouraged libraries to accept RDA copy, accept AACR2 copy, and learn to live with the ambiguity that comes from living through a code change.

Deborah Fritz of MARC of Quality echoed many of Stahlberg’s points, but she also emphasized that copy cataloging has never been as easy as some folks think it is, and that cataloging through a code change is particularly hard. She pointed out that we have many hybrid records that are coded part in AACR2 and part in RDA, and that we should just accept them. Fritz also pointed out that so many RDA records are being produced that small libraries who though they could avoid RDA implementation, now have to get RDA training to understand what’s in the new RDA copy records they are downloading. She also said to “embrace the chaos.”

Related to Fritz’s point about downloading RDA copy, during the RDA Forum, Glenn Patton of OCLC discussed OCLC’s policy on RDA records. OCLC is still accepting AACR2 coded records and is not requiring that all records be in RDA. Their policy is for WorldCat to be a master record database with one record per manifestation (edition) per language. The preference will be for an RDA record. So, if an AACR2 record is upgraded to RDA, that will be the new master record for that edition. As you can imagine, this will mean that the number of AACR2 records will gradually shrink in the OCLC database. There’s no requirement to upgrade to an AACR2 record to RDA, but if it happens, great.

Higher Level RDA Stuff

A lot of my time at ALA was devoted to discussions of changes to RDA. In the Continuing Resources Section Cataloging Committee meeting, we discussed the problem of what level of cataloging the ISSN was associated with the Manifestation level or the Expression level (for translations). I realize that this may sound like the cataloging equivalent of debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin (if it doesn’t sound like flat-out gibberish), but trust me, there are actual discovery and access implications. In fact, I was very struck during this meeting and in both of my CC:DA meetings with the passion for helping patrons that was displayed by my fellow catalogers. I think a number of non-cataloging librarians suspect that catalogers prefer to develop arcane, impenetrable systems that only they can navigate, but I saw the exact opposite in these meetings. What I saw were people who were dedicated to helping patrons meet the four user tasks outlined by the FRBR principles (find, identify, select and obtain resources), and who even cited these principles in their arguments. The fact that they had disagreements over the best ways to help users meet these needs led to some fairly passionate arguments. One proposal that we approved in the CC:DA meetings that is pretty easy to explain is a change to the cataloging rules for treaties. RDA used to (well still does until the change is implemented) require catalogers to create an access point, or heading, for the country that comes first alphabetically that is a participant in a treaty. So, the catalog records for a lot of treaties have an access point for Afghanistan or Albania, just because they come first alphabetically, even if it’s a UN treaty that has 80 or 90 participant countries and Afghanistan or Albania aren’t major players in the treaty. The new rules we approved will require creating an access point for the preferred title of the treaty, with the option of adding an access point for any country you want to note (like if you would want to have an access point for the United States for every treaty we participate in). That’s just a taste of the kinds of rule changes we discussed, I’ll spare you the others, although I’d be happy to talk about them with you, if you’re interested.

One other high level RDA thing I learned that I think is worth sharing had to do with Library of Congress’s approach to the authority file. RDA has different rules for formulating authorized headings, so Library of Congress used programmatic methods to make changes to a fair number of their authority records. Last August, 436,000 authority records were changed automatically during phase 1 of their project, and in April of this year, another 371,000 records were changed in phase 2. To belabor the obvious, that’s a lot of changed authority records.

BIBFRAME

BIBFRAME is the name of a project to develop a new encoding format to replace MARC. Many non-catalogers confuse and conflate AACR2 (or RDA) and MARC. They are very different. RDA and AACR2 are content standards that tell you what data you need to record. MARC is an encoding standard that tells you where to put the data so the computer can read it. It’s rather like accounting (which admittedly, I know nothing about, but I looked up some stuff to help this metaphor). You can do accounting with the cash basis method or the accrual basis method. Those methods tell you what numbers you need to record and keep track of. But you can record those numbers in an Excel spreadsheet or a paper ledger or Quicken or whatever. RDA and AACR2 are like accounting methods and MARC is like an Excel spreadsheet.

Anyway, BIBFRAME is needed because, with RDA, we want to record data that is just too hard to fit anywhere in the MARC record. Chris Oliver elaborated a great metaphor to explain why BIBFRAME is needed. She compared RDA to TGV trains in France. These trains are very fast, but they need the right track to run at peak speeds. TGV trains will run on old-fashioned standard track, but they’ll run at regular speeds. RDA is like the TGV train. MARC is like standard track, and BIBFRAME is like the specialized TGV-compatible track. However, BIBFRAME is not being designed simply for RDA. BIBFRAME is expected to be content-standard agnostic, just as RDA is encoding standard-agnostic (go back to my accounting metaphor, you can do cash basis accounting in Excel or a paper ledger, or do accrual basis in Excel or a paper ledger).

BIBFRAME is still a long way away. Beecher Wiggins of Library of Congress gave a rough guess of the transition to BIBFRAME taking 2 to 5 years, but, from what I’ve seen, it’ll take even longer than that. Eric Miller of Zephira, one of the key players in the development of BIBFRAME said that it is still very much a work-in-progress and is very draft-y.

If anyone would like to get together and discuss RDA or BIBFRAME or any of these issues, just let me know, I’d be happy to gab about it. Conversely, if anyone would like to avoid hearing me talk about this stuff, I can be bribed to shut up about it.

Sarah at ALA Annual 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:52 pm

ALA Annual in Chicago was great this year, and I attended multiple programs sponsored by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the Association of College & Research Libraries Science & Technology Section (ACRL STS). APALA is an affiliate of ALA, and I met some of my fellow Executive Board members when I volunteered at the Association Options Fair as incoming Board Member-at-Large.

One of the best sessions that I attended was the annual Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Ceremony sponsored by APALA.

This year, the APALA President’s Program was co-sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) on “Pushing the Boundaries: LGBTQ Presentation and Representation of/by Asian/Pacific American Writers.” The panel was moderated by Mary Anne Mohanraj and included authors Malinda Lo, Dwight Okita, and MOONROOT zine collective members Sine Hwang Jensen and Linda Nguyen.

One of the highlights of ALA was attending the APALA Social at the Oak Park home of writer Mary Anne Mohanraj. Dr. Mohanraj is Professor of Fiction and Literature at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I enjoyed Sri Lankan cuisine and networking with other APALA members.

I am a member of the ACRL STS Continuing Education Committee, and over the last year I led the update of the STS Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science & Technology Librarians.

Monday morning, I attended a program co-sponsored by ACRL STS and the Health Sciences Interest Group (HSIG) on “There’s an App for That: The Use of Mobile Devices, Apps and Resources for Health and Sci-Tech Librarians and Their Users.” The takeaway from the presentation is to start with learning outcomes and then think about which apps and technology to support the learning outcomes in instruction. Other related issues with using mobile apps in instruction are cost, device, function and usability, security and privacy, support, reliability, and access. I brought up the point that it would be a good idea to do a pre-course clicker survey to assess how many students have an iPhone, Android smartphone or neither.

Resources and further reading:

National Library of Medicine Gallery of Mobile Apps

MIT Libraries’ Apps for Academics

tabletsinlibraries.tumblr.com

stsmobileapps.tumblr.com

The Handheld Library: Mobile Technology and the Librarian by Thomas Peters and Lori Bell
Mobile Library Services: Best Practices edited by Charles Harmon and Michael Messina
Tablet Computers in the Academic Library edited by Rebecca Miller, Heather Moorefield-Lang, and Carolyn Meier

Monday afternoon, I attended a program on “Altmetrics, the Decoupled Journal, and the Future of Scholarly Publishing” by Jason Priem. Here are some highlights from his talk:

  • altmetrics is a new way of measuring impact
  • “Communication is the soul of science”, and librarians are the experts of scholarly communication (pun intended)
  • Philosophical Transactions was the first journal based on the available technology (printing press) to improve dissemination
  • Instead of moving paper-native products, creating web-native science
  • Favorite quote: “An article is a story about data”
  • Bibliometrics mined impact on the first scholarly web by measuring citations
  • The old way: counting citations but citations only tell part of the story
  • Impact has multiple dimensions: PDF views, discussion on scholarly blogs and Twitter, Mendeley and CiteULike saves, citations, and recommendation
  • ImpactStory is for researchers and is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Abstrac: “Your dynamic personal scientific journal”
  • nanoHUB.org “Online simulation and more for nanotechnology”

I also made time to talk to vendors on the Exhibits floor and met with the Proquest Vice President STEM and provided input on the development of new science information resources. My summer reading list has become longer as a result of ALA, and I am looking forward to serving on the APALA Executive Board.

 

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013 9:11 pm

My time at ALA was spent going to sessions on cataloging/technical services along with sessions and a committee meeting sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL. Below are recaps of some of the sessions I found most meaningful this ALA.

RDA & Audiovisual Cataloging was the first session I attended at ALA in Chicago. This particular session was sponsored by the ALCTS Copy Cataloging Interest Group. Susan Morris, Special Assistant to the Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access at Library of Congress (LC), reported about reductions in LC budgets and staff as well as RDA training for copy catalogers. Tricia Mackenzie, Metadata Librarian at George Mason University, explained and presented differences between cataloging AV materials using AACR2 vs. RDA. Ms. Mackenzie stated that the OLAC group (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) is currently working on best practices for DVD cataloging. Additionally, two librarians from Troy University spoke about their experiences cataloging AV materials in RDA for a multi-campus library and maintaining consistency in the process. Procedures were documented using a wiki. RDA training was provided not only to catalogers and acquisitions staff but to staff in public services because they are the ones who interact daily with patrons and will have to explain changes in the way resources are being displayed in the OPAC. Comparison documents of records cataloged in AACR2 and RDA were provided to help explain the differences.

Next-generation Technical Services: Improving Access and Discovery through Collaboration featured speakers from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and from the Orbis Cascade Alliance which is comprised of 37 universities, colleges, and community colleges in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Martha Hruska of UCSD briefly described UC’s ten campus system and its culture. She stated that funding cuts in the last five years averaged 20% and were not expected to be restored. Backlogs in cataloging and archival processing were growing (100,000+ items and 13.5 miles respectively), and for example in 2011, 1.8 trillion GB of data was created. The UC system needed to find a better, more efficient way to make their growing resources more discoverable as well as reduce work redundancy. In response to a question from the audience, the speaker indicated that centralization of services is not practiced in the UC culture, but collaboration is. Collaboration in collection development, technical services, and digital initiatives along with seeking financial and technical infrastructure for collaboration were established as goals by the UC system. Defining cataloging record standards served as the basis for collaborative cataloging work among campuses. Inventoried backlogs and examination of technical services staff members’ expertise helped in the development of a system-wide collections services staff. Building versus acquiring digital asset management systems software was investigated by members of the UC system. To accelerate processing of archival and manuscript collections, the Archivists’ Toolkit was deployed system-wide, minimal collection record specifications were defined, and “more product, less process” practices were implemented. Representatives from the Orbis Cascade Alliance discussed their experience with DDA ebooks collaboration. They identified challenges in the areas of workflow development, staffing, and levels of expertise. Foreign language materials catalogers provided assistance in cataloging select consortial libraries’ foreign language materials, but sustainability in this assistance was found to be problematic. Collaboration is slow and not always the answer. A safe environment is needed to expose one’s ignorance and allows others to query one’s processes.

Studying Ourselves: Libraries and the User Experience panel program was presented by ACRL’s ANSS in collaboration with the University Library Section. The room was packed with attendees. The first speaker was Dr. Andrew Abbott, sociology professor at the University of Chicago, who stated scholars do not use libraries the way librarians think they do or should do. “Aimless behavior” is the term he used, and librarians’ problem is to discover the logic in this behavior. What are the routines and strategies of researchers? Surveys have indicated that observation and interviews do not work, but self ethnography can be a discovery tool. He has taught classes in library methods in the social sciences. Moving away from exercises, the course is about project management, not in how to manage things. Library research is about finding something for which you ought to have been looking. Students are good at finding things, but they don’t know what to ignore. No student’s research project ends up being about the thing in which they came into the library to research initially. We (i.e. librarians) need to figure out how we do research in order to teach others. We should ethnographize ourselves and keep an accurate documented account of our habits. Expert library users don’t have an idea of how they do what they do. Having to think about and document our own processes would greatly assist in our teaching students how to conduct research and become expert researchers themselves. In 2011, Dr. Abbott published the article “Library research infrastructure for humanistic and social scientific scholarship in the twentieth century,” in Social Knowledge in the Making, Charles Camic et al., eds., University of Chicago Press.

Dr. Andrew Asher, Assessment Librarian at Indiana University, Bloomington, began his talk discussing how anthropological studies in libraries have expanded over the last several years. With most of the research being conducted in the 70′s, few books have been published on the studies of college students. Titles mentioned included:

  • Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture (1989) by Michael Moffatt
  • Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement, and College Culture (1990) by Dorothy Holland & Margaret Eisenhart
  • My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student (2005) by Rebekah Nathan
  • My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture (2009) by Susan Blum
  • Studying Students: the Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester (2007) edited by Nancy Foster and Susan Gibbons

And yes, ZSR has all in its collection!

Dr. Asher proceeded to discuss the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project (i.e ERIAL Project) that was conducted to determine how students find and use information for their academic assignments and to determine the social context of these assignments. Dr. Asher holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology and was the Lead Research Anthropologist for the project. Methods utilized include interviewing, observation, visual, and mapping (e.g. time use, drawing library maps). Filmed interviews were conducted for a research process assignment and revealed things that would likely not be assessed in an information literacy test. To discover the context of why people come to the library and spaces where they did work, students were asked to keep mapping diaries. Using a six-minute time frame, cognitive maps were drawn by students using three different colors of ink (red, blue, and green) with changes in ink color every two minutes. From the drawings it was discovered that librarians were invisible; students did not know where the librarians’ offices were located. In addition, books often didn’t appear in the maps, Books appeared to be secondary to other functions which the library serves. The library was seen as a social space. Results of the study were published in 2011 by the American Library Association in College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, edited by Dr. Asher and Lynda Duke. ZSR has this title too! A toolkit for doing an ethnographic research project in one’s library is available on the ERIAL Project web site.

Diane Wahl, User Experience Librarian at the University of North Texas, headed up an ethnographic research study at her university. She attended a CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) workshop conducted by Nancy Foster from the University of Rochester. She stated there was no charge for the workshop; her only expense was for travel. Following the workshop, Ms. Wahl reached out to her universities anthropology and sociology departments’ faculty because they are always looking for projects in which their students can be involved. Review of LibQual responses from dissatisfied online students, graduate students, and new faculty provided a starting point for the research study. Recruitment for student researchers was handled through various channels (i.e. Blackboard, announcements to faculty). Some faculty gave extra credit for participating students. Methods utilized in the study included observations, focus groups and interviews. The sampling of individuals studied was one of convenience and purposeful; Ms. Wahl specifically wanted to hear from a specific segment of the university student population. Challenges encountered during the study included time zones, non-traditional student schedules, and technology. From the data collected, she found that students wanted access to library services through Blackboard. Additionally from the perspectives shared by students with disabilities, the library now has a disability training awareness program for library employees along with a brochure listing available services for library users with disabilities.

This particular session was the most interesting of the ones I attended at this ALA. I now have several books to add to my professional reading list. One more thing to add about the greatness of this session, a Good Humor ice cream freezer with various treats was provided to attendees, and my favorite Good Humor treat was available: the Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bar. Yum yum!

 

 

 

Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2013, Chicago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:51 pm

I spent a lot of time talking to vendors about e-books and library systems; saw a cool DVD dispenser by PIKinc.; went to a discussion group on offsite storage; and heard The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie (Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project).

I agree with Wanda that the logistics for Chicago are not great, but that this was one of my best conferences; when I found that I could not get from one pertinent session to another quickly enough, half of my agenda went to the exhibits. (Freedom from committee obligations for the first time in years probably contributed to time spent with vendors too.)

ZSR and EBL e-books

I made some advance appointments to discuss ZSR business regarding e-books while at ALA and those went well. I attended a closed session on EBL’s different models for e-books with consortia and discovered that a new model is about to be tried out by Novanet and NY3Rs. Present from ASERL and participating in the discussion: John Burger, Executive Director of ASERL; Nancy Gibbs, Duke University; and me. Tom Sanville from Lyrasis was also present. Publishers, vendors and libraries are still trying to find a model that works well for all. In one consortium where not every member participates in the group e-book arrangement, but the consortium has a shared catalog, they were trying to come up with a way to allow the non-participating libraries to have short-term loan access at least and the method for payment is a stumbling block. ILL was mentioned as a way to deal with that, maybe with a credit card payment option since ILL already makes purchases with credit cards. I also attended a presentation by David Whitehair from OCLC and a representative from VIVA about OCLC Worldshare Metadata Collection Manager. This is what EBL is going to use for managing DDA files of adds/updates/deletes so I was glad to gain a better understanding. (I wondered if this tool would help Carolyn with the Archivist’s Toolkit cataloging since OCLC said that records don’t have to be in MARC — the institutional knowledge base (kb) can handle Dublin Core and MODS as well.) This is included with our cataloging subscription, so no extra cost for us to implement the kb.

WorldShare Metadata Collection Manager allows you to define and configure your e-book and other electronic collections in one place, and automatically receive initial and updated customized WorldCat MARC records for all e-titles from one source, providing your users access to the titles and content from within the local library catalog or other discovery interface.

Library Systems: Kuali, Ex Libris, OCLC

I had a real awakening on the rapid changes with the commercial ILS vendors. I’ve been following Kuali OLE developments and was disappointed to learn in a session that they are still working towards release 1.0. Jim Mouw announced that University of Chicago (a development partner) will cut completely over to OLE in July of 2014, so they are getting closer. Between now and then, Chicago will also switch from Aquabrowser to VuFind.

The University of Windsor is switching from Evergreen (an open source ILS that many public libraries adopted) to Alma, the next-generation system from Ex Libris. At the Ex Libris booth, I got a custom demo and peppered them with a lot of questions. Then I went to the OCLC booth and did the same thing. I heard a lot of similarities in the way those two systems are supposed to operate and here are two key pieces:

  • no more logging in to different modules — you log into the system once and what you’re allowed to interact with is based on the permissions that have been set
  • pushing and pulling big batches of data and updates to data is facilitated through lots of APIs

The real question is how well they will work in the variety of library environments. For instance, a salesman told me that MARCedit would be unnecessary and demonstrated how to edit the 856|z, but upon questioning, he thought it was record by record, not global editing for a batch. Case in point, right? OCLC has just over 100 libraries using their product right now with a couple hundred more signed (according to our sales rep) and Ex Libris is not far behind in gaining contracts for Alma. I think the next couple of years of library migrations will expose the weaknesses and result in upgrades to better fit real world practices. Meanwhile OLE and Intota from Proquest will need to be pushing hard to catch up and prove why they might be better in the long run.

Library Storage Discussion Group (LLAMA)

The main thing I learned that may be useful to us is that if you weed from an offsite storage facility, even if you have AIMS, “you have to re-tray” because trying to fill the hole later doesn’t work well. I saw colleagues from Georgia and learned that Emory and Georgia Tech are moving to a joint storage facility. (This type of private/public cooperation was only a dream when I left Emory and it is cool to learn that it really is going to happen, 5 years later.) I had the opportunity to explain about the role of the storage facility for the ASERL journal retention program, now branded Scholar’s Trust. (BTW, Carol Cramer helped with the naming process.)

The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project,shared some interesting highlights from surveying about public libraries and while the link to the recording is above, you can login to ALA Connect for the slides which he said would also be posted to Pew.org eventually. These are my highlights from his talk:

  • Public library patrons are people who like the old services and don’t want changes and people who love the new, both — so libraries and other companies are dealing with the pain of not being able to do everything and are not able to meet all desires.
  • Parents are the best public library lovers — everything is wonderful.
  • Of those who seek the help of librarian, half are in households with an income of under $30,000 and are African American.
  • Young people appreciate a quiet place to sit and study or listen to music.
  • Only 13% use the library’s website.
  • Scarcity and abundance flipped: Time is the new scarcity, not the info. There is a gap between being predisposed to be affectionate and being affectionate — save the patrons’ time and they will love the library. Online learning and online reference are desirable.

Last Hurrah

I rarely have found time at conferences to do much touring and have always wished to see “the Bean” (a sculpture really called Cloud Gate) at Millennium Park. When I learned on Monday that it was only 2 blocks from the restaurant where I was having lunch, I decided to see it, even if it meant I was a little close for comfort in getting to the airport.

Kyle at ALA Annual in Chicago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 4:20 pm

I learned lots of things at ALA, but one thing I learned almost right away: bring numerous pairs of comfortable shoes. I had heard people say that, and my standard-issue brown slip-ons are *kind of* comfortable (and hey! they go with everything! I only have to pack one pair!), so I mostly ignored all of the advice. After walking all over downtown Chicago, around the massive McCormick Place conference center, and from the conference center back to my hotel on one ill-advised 3.5 mile afternoon stroll, my blisters became a constant reminder of my hubris.

Here are my top three things from #ala2013, in no particular order:

ACRL Immersion Teaching with Technology

You may have heard of (or even participated in) the ACRL Immersion program for information literacy instructors. Usually, participants stay together in one place for a few days in an intensive workshop environment. I’m lucky enough to have been selected as part of the inaugural class of the Immersion Teaching with Technology (TwT) track, run by Immersion faculty Char Booth and Tiffini Travis. TwT is a whole new model: the 60 or so of us spent all day Friday engaged in a rather intense face-to-face workshop, but we’ll be spending the next five weeks in an online community as we design projects for our libraries. The idea is to instill in us a design mindset when it comes to instruction, instructional technologies, and accessibility, and to connect us to a greater community of practice. The first day was awesome–I connected with some amazing librarians who are doing some really cool stuff. My project will be to create an online course (in this case, the Parents Online Learning Community we’ve been talking about) using Char’s USER model of instructional design. Excited isn’t the word.

Talks about MOOCs and Online Learning

As you might expect, I’m very interested in the library’s role in massive open online learning. Literally no one was talking about MOOCs at ALA last year. This year, I heard of at least five sessions (my poster (PDF) and discussion group being two of them) talking explicitly about MOOCs, but I’m sure there were plenty of others. I heard some really interesting thoughts, the best of which, in my opinion, came from Kevin Smith at Duke. In a SPARC discussion group that Molly dragged me to (thanks, Molly!), Kevin countered the arguments of those who claim MOOCs are too expensive and offer too little return on investment, when he challenged us to think of MOOCs not as potential revenue streams so much as doing research on pedagogy. Viewed in this light, MOOCs are cheap when compared to other research fields.

Connecting with People

I have a really bad record when it comes to picking sessions, but I somehow manage to bat 1.000 when connecting to new people. And I connected (or reconnected) to lots of really amazing people. There’s Bill Marino, the elearning librarian at Eastern Michigan University, who is building an online course for graduate students that’s almost exactly what Molly and I want to build in a project we’re just staring to work on. There’s Tasha Bergson-Michelson, a search educator at Google, who has to have one of the coolest jobs in the world, and who was really jazzed to hear about ZSRx. And there’s Laura White, an LIS student at UT-Austin and former student employee at the University of Missouri Libraries, who credits me with inspiring her to go to library school when I was her student supervisor.

That last part made the blisters worth it.

Anna at ALA 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:27 pm

My [second] ALA Annual conference commenced on Friday afternoon, as I attempted to catch the #5 shuttle bus bound for McCormick Place, only to find myself (and other librarians, too, but this is the “all about me” show) stuck in rush hour traffic. Despite my best efforts to arrive in time for the Opening General Session, I arrived at McCormick Place about ¾ of the way through Steven Levitt’s speech. So, I did what any other bibliophile/book hoarder would do : I headed for the exhibits. A glass of bubbly, three tote bags, and ten advanced reading copies later, I escaped the crowds and headed back to my hotel to prepare for Saturday (read: sleep).

On Saturday morning, I headed to McCormick Place for one of my annual staples: the Interlibrary Loan Discussion Group. Lars Leon spoke about some of the issues facing ILL and how the librarians (and the service) will evolve. Of course, there were concerns about the future of both the STARS group and the service, but I think ILL is uniquely positioned to identify discovery issues, provide behind-the-scenes reference assistance, and locate and provide access to “hard-to-get” publications (i.e. conference proceedings, white papers, patents, et al). I was also fascinated to hear that, while some ILL librarians/departments are being fused with Acquisitions and Reference, some are morphing into Metadata specialists (and I think this speaks to the multi-faceted environment that ILL truly is).

After eating (and running) at an EBSCO luncheon, I made my way to “The Guide on the Side: A Transformation in Database Instruction.” As many of you probably know, the University of Arizona created this tool to assist in distance database instruction, and the tool was awarded the 2013 Association of College and Research Libraries’ Instruction Section Innovation of the Year Award, as well as the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy 21st Century Cutting Edge Service Award (whew, that’s a mouthful). As I demo’d a tutorial a couple months ago, I was familiar with the JSTOR module, but not Guide on the Side’s many iterations, including staff-only versions, which University of Arizona uses to train new Reference staff and students. U of A has also developed a module for evaluating websites using the Guide on the Side, and I can see how it would be an exceptional activity within a class (active learning + built-in assessment + immediate feedback = awesome!).

The Guide on the Side presentation and discussion served as the perfect segue into the RUSA MARS Virtual Reference Discussion Group. I really like MARS – they were the most energetic and welcoming group during the RUSA 101 session I attended last year in Anaheim – and their sessions garner seasoned Reference professionals, new professionals, and many LIS students, too. I sat at a table with representation from all of these groups, so our discussion ranged from the basics (i.e. “Which virtual reference tool(s) do you use?” and “How effective are they?”) to the more complex (“How do you conduct assessment and determine if a virtual reference session is successful?”). Almost all of the librarians at my table used the Springshare platform, so it was nice to hear not only the pros and cons of the service, but how they manipulated it to do other things (like assessment).

From MARS, I landed at the ILL Hot Topics Group, though not without consulting every convention center employee for directions to the room. I do love the camaraderie that is intrinsically part of the ILL club; whenever I attend one of these sessions, I seem to know at least one person (which can be very exciting if you’re like me (an ALA newb) and aren’t involved with committees). As I arrived just a few moments before the session began, I didn’t have a lot of time for networking before the meeting came to order. One of the hottest topics, and a primary concern for ILL departments, is the practice of paying publishers for ePub articles. In most cases, these ePubs are indexed, so our patrons find them in database searches; however, they can’t access them (even if we subscribe to the print journal). Purchasing them can be an expensive practice; to give you some perspective, Wiley tends to charge $35-$40 per article, ProQuest charges $37-75, and Bentham usually charges a minimum of $65. Cost aside, ILL librarians prefer paying our lending partners – rather than the publishers – but we don’t have that option for ePubs; if we subscribe to the print journal and can’t access the ePubs, then other libraries likely have the same restrictions. This practice presents a major philosophical problem, as it undermines our ability to support our fellow resource sharing colleagues, our internal and external patrons’ research needs, and our mission (sharing IS caring).

Another topic of concern is MOOCs and their impact on resource sharing. Many public libraries are feeling the burden of requesting MOOC-related textbooks through ILL, but academic libraries may soon feel the burden of requesting and supplying the materials. (I envision a cancellation notice that reads something like, “Unfortunately, ILL is unable to supply this book, because 40,000 of your closest friends have requested the same title.”) What are our options for supplying these textbooks and course materials to our internal patrons? Maybe libraries could have a MOOC collection, perhaps as part of our textbook collection that stayed with course reserves and was accessible by all. It seems like a cool way to provide access to critical information while keeping the costs down for our own patrons. Of course, it increases costs for us (but we might end up buying it anyway if a patron requests it through ILL, and no one will lend). (As an aside: I’ll be very interested to see how Georgia Tech provides ILL – and reserves – services to students enrolled in their Master of Science in Computer Science MOOC. Maybe it will be similar to traditional distance learning ILL, maybe not.)

On Sunday morning, I stepped out of my comfort zone to attend the RUSA-BRASS Business Reference Services committee meeting and discussion group, where we discussed the use of web conferencing tools to assist in virtual committee meetings, as well as in the reference interview or personal research session. Through this session, I gained a bit more knowledge on how to locate patents, both in the U.S. and worldwide; this was especially helpful, as we receive a number of ILL requests for patents, and finding them can be challenging.

After making a final round by the big publishers and collecting even more schwag, I made my way to “Lessons for the Librarian: 10 Tips for Teaching the One-Shot Instruction Session.” The opening “act” sang a few lines from “Moon River,” which immediately got my attention, and the speakers were articulate and inspiring, and the audience was engaged (no pity laughs from us – I actually guffawed). I also love an instruction session that begins by listing learning outcomes. For those who are interested, the tips are as follows:

  1. Less is more (unless you’re me, and you’re blogging. In that case, MORE is more, amiright?!)
  2. Some students learn like you. Most don’t.
  3. If you’re not assessing, you’re not teaching.
  4. Have a lesson plan.
  5. Go with evidence, not your gut.
  6. You should not be tired.
  7. Your enthusiasm is contagious.
  8. Faculty are your friends.
  9. Integrated, not separated (i.e. deepen partnerships with faculty by weaving information literacy instruction throughout a course)
  10. Your teaching matters to your institution.

This was, by far, the BEST session I’ve ever attended (ALA or otherwise), and it was the perfect [academic] ending to my conference!

Report from Susan’s Favorite ALA Annual Conference Site

Monday, July 1, 2013 7:27 am

ALA Annual Conference at McCormick Place

ALA Annual Conference 2013 @ McCormick Place, Chicago

I always prided myself (not sure why, but that’s probably just another of my issues) on staying on top of daily conference posts on this professional development blog. I find that I am better able to relay information in short spurts (hmm, maybe it’s my newspaper background in play?). And, I will admit to all of you who know me well, that I experienced some small sense of failure when I saw Hu’s Saturday conference post and read Lynn’s comment “you win the prize for the first ALA post”! I think I have fallen victim to the pervasiveness of social media that makes it so simple to snap a photo while sitting in a session or visiting the exhibit hall and then posting it immediately to Facebook with a very short explanation. I have been much more active on Facebook this weekend in capturing what I’ve been up to.

As you know from Hu’s and Thomas’ posts, we jumped right into action Friday afternoon by attending the LITA 101 program. Even though I’ve been active in LITA for many years, this was my first time at this session which is designed to introduce people to LITA. Usually, my plane doesn’t arrive in time to attend, but we had an early direct flight on Friday so were able to be there. It was very well attended and lots of good information was provided to new attendees.

If I had to pick my “themes” for this conference, they would be renovating spaces and assessment. I focused on these types of programs because we are trying to hone in on how to make our 5 year building plan a reality. Part of this has to do with learning as much as possible about how our spaces might be imagined. Another important component of enhancing the probability of making progress on this plan comes with assessment. We need to figure out what data will best support our plan and then how to use that data the most effective way. Since I will be on the ZSR Assessment Committee this coming year, it was useful to sit in on sessions that dealt with that.

Renovating Spaces: I attended an session with the interesting title “The Culture House.” This is a term used to describe the expansion of libraries beyond their original purpose: “in response to a world that is increasingly interconnected, and at the same time, limited in its resources, libraries are being combined with complementary, or even seemingly disparate, functions.” The speakers talked about their particular projects/libraries. My favorite project was the Bozeman Pubic Library and Scupture Garden that was a superfund site because the building renovated was an old asbestos filled train depot. It was the first LEED building in Montana and it was designed to be very integrated with the community through its exterior space that includes a sculpture garden and an outdoor plaza that is used for community events. They also have an active art collection that has 112 museum quality pieces that rotate. Their website has a great interactive map that shows their artwork locations. Another interesting project came from the Pike’s Peak Library System that is located in a 100,000 square foot building. The library only needed 30,000 SF so they found innovative ways to fill the space including creation labs (maker spaces), performance spaces and business incubation spaces.

I attended two LLAMA/BES sessions: the first was a panel discuss by previous winners of the biennial ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award that recognizes projects that “demonstrate excellence in aesthetics, design, creativity, function, and satisfaction of the client’s objective.” The libraries in this program were Fleet Library at RISD (the 2008 winner for historical renovation; Office dA, Inc.),the Robert Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center (2012 winner of single space, here a learning commons; Shepley Bulfinch) and the Anacostia Public Library (Public Libraries under 30,000 sf). This project was done by Freelon, the architectural group that is working with us on our new atrium floor.

The second session was about planning digital collaborative spaces. I particularly liked Jeff Vredevoogd’s (Director, Herman Miller Education) presentation. He talked about an interesting term that is used by Herman Miller – hub zones. These are what they call collaborative spaces and they do research to determine what makes a space “hubbable.” In research to determine what types of learning, working and socializing needs are driving the need for hub zones, they found this breakdown:

  • 72% collaboration group work
  • 36% individual work
  • 36% interactions /socializing
  • 33% computer/technology access
  • 26% meeting space

They also do an annual student video contest and last year’s question for the contest was “where’s your hub?” This year’s question is a really interesting one: “What makes a great learning space? You have 5 minutes with the president. What would you tell him?” (No comment on the fact the speaker used “he” when referencing the president…). He closed by offering the audience his insights on planning for collaborative spaces:

  • One size does not fit all
  • Focus on the user
  • Test small, think big
  • Right mix of technology and furniture
  • Learn from others
  • Next big thing may not be for you.
  • Blurring lines with corporate spaces
  • Think differently about specialty spaces
  • When you can…future proof.

Assessment: I am already way beyond my self imposed posting length limit, so I am going to skip discussing my assessment theme. I’ll save all that information (which would make some eyes glaze over anyway) and share it with this year’s Assessment Committee. I got several good ideas for approaches we might want to take. OK I’ll just mention one, which was a methodology that was new to me: VOC (Voice of the Customer). A group at Emory used this method to ‘deep dive’, in other words to get in-depth information more than you might get from some other methods. They also found that these individual interviews were easier to schedule than trying to form a focus group.

Finally, as usual, I also carved out a bit of time to check out the exhibit hall (which continues to inhibit me with its very vastness).

Riding the Escalators at McCormick Place

Conference attendees at McCormick Place with Exhibit Hall in the background

 


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