Professional Development

In the 'Future of Libraries' Category...

Lauren P @ Midwinter

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 12:28 am

Whew! Midwinter was busy, productive, and good this go around!

the capitol building

As you know I typically blog each event and pull the posts together into daily posts here. This time I quickly realized that I wouldn’t even have the time for that type of reporting, so I did daily posts over on my blog, and I’m pulling them together here into one conference post. If you want more details, here are the daily posts: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. If you want more details than that, let me know! I have lots of notes, but just didn’t have the time to process them into blog posts. Here’s the summary of what I’ve been up to (in alphabetical order and bulleted for easier reading):

Continuing Library Education Network and Exchange Round Table

Discussion Group on Staff Development

  • CLENE is a group that focuses on staff development
  • Some issues can be resolved with training and others can be resolved with strong supervision
  • Discussed merits of online training
  • Talked about the relationship of management and training
  • Discussed our perception of ourselves vs. our patron’s perceptions, and a lot of vocabulary issues.

Reception (hosted by Pat Wagner)

  • I just learned of and met Pat at this conference, but I am really impressed with her! She ran an exercise for the Emerging Leaders Town Hall, hosted this reception, and was an active participant of the CLENE discussion group.
  • This reception was an excellent introduction to CLENE, and I met one of my local Twitter friends face-to-face, Lori Reed!
  • I also ran into Peter Bromberg, so we followed up on some of the activities from earlier in the day, and I got some good advice on some of the areas I want to work on developing.

ACRL Women’s Studies Section

  • I’m a member of the Instruction Committee and we’re doing interesting work!
  • Rewriting the Information Literacy standards for Women’s Studies
  • The committee hopes to present on this topic at the National Women’s Studies Association conference

Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship

  • Every once in a while there is a question of the value of COSWL. We’ve done a good job over the last three years of keeping active and involved so those questions wouldn’t be asked. However, at this meeting there were only three members present (we were outnumbered by observers).
  • Discussed the nature of committees formed by presidential appointment
  • Considered possible partnerships
  • We agreed that all the virtual work the committee had been doing was a good thing, and we would continue doing so (including using the listserv to find a time that would fit more people’s schedules)
  • The second meeting is tomorrow, so I’m not posting the details here yet. I imagine it will be a continuation of the discussion we had earlier at the conference.

Emerging Leaders Town Hall

  • I figured I’d see what this meeting was like since I’m just one year out, and I was really impressed.
  • Leslie Burger, Maureen Sullivan, and Connie Paul ran the meeting as usual.
  • A number of useful (and not too stressful!) networking exercises
  • Feedback from participants on what ALA should look like in the future

LITA, general

Top Tech Trends

made it to #ttt09

  • Susan and I attended this together, but came from another session, so we got in about an hour into it
  • Standing room only, but it was interesting enough to merit standing for the hour we were there
  • While we were there, the discussed trends included: changing in publishing paradigm (for books and newspapers), the broadband divide, and changing displays. When asked how many in the audience have more than one monitor at their workspace, I was surprised that it seemed over half raised their hand. I wonder if it is the norm, or if a techy crowd would be more likely than a non-techy crowd.
  • If you’re interested, you can watch it here!
  • (Because what they did is so great, I’m cutting and pasting this bit straight from my blog): But the most important part of this year’s Top Tech Trends was the use of technology. It was amazing. Official tags allowed audience members (both in the room and across the country) to follow what was going on in various channels. Ustream surpassed 20 people. The FriendFeed room pulled everything together. This was exactly how it should be. LITA demonstrating how these tools can be applied to allow ALA to positively impact more people in the profession. It’s good for us as professionals looking to learn more, it’s good marketing (I knew we could still go to Top Tech Trends because of the Twitter messages I was getting in my breakfast session), and it’s good practice as information professionals. Kudos to Jason Griffey, BIGWIG, and TTT for showing how it can be done.

The LITA Town Hall Breakfast

  • LITA Town Halls are planned by LITA’s Vice President and tend to focus on issues around what LITA is or should be and how to position the organization for the future.
  • This one was lead by a consultant that had small groups consider different aspects of LITA (competing organizations, what areas of IT LITA should address, how we can collaborate better, etc) and then share out to the group.
  • I got there a bit early and missed the formation of the Twittering/Google Docing/Live Blogging table, but felt like I was sitting there because of their awesome technology use. Though I was sitting with my group, I could follow along with a larger discussion (including with people across the country) in a number of ways. This is what was on my laptop:
    laurenpressley - twhirl 0.8.7
    The panel on the left is a live blog, and the columns on the right were for friendfeed and twitter. This is an example of an awesome use of technology, and a great way to get more voices heard. I’m not sure what will come of the brainstorming in the meeting, but at a minimum, this demonstration of how these tools can be used effectively was worth it.

LITA Distance Learning Interest Group

LITA Committee and Interest Group Chairs Joint Meeting

  • This meeting is for the chairs of all the LITA committees and interest groups.
  • This meeting gets all the LITA leadership into one room: board, chairs, staff, etc
  • Discussed transparency in scheduling and decided to use the LITA wiki for this purpose
  • LITA Forum will have amazing keynoters (David Weinberger, Liz Lawley, and Joan Lippincott) and is still accepting program proposals. (Man, I’ve got to get on that! Thanks for being part of this, Susan!!)
  • Walt Crawford started an interesting discussion on the similarities of “publications” and “communication” committees, and where are the lines of publishing for a group with print publications, electronic ones, a website, a blog, a wiki, a listserv, etc.

Distance Learning Interest Group Discussion

this year's nametag

  • (I’ll be posting real notes for this session on my blog, on the LITA blog, and on the DLIG blog.)
  • I chair this group, so this was my top priority of the conference.
  • I was a bit worried about the DLIG this conference. We don’thave a set membership and different people show up at the discussions at each conference, so it’s hard to know ahead of time how it will be. I thought with it being cold, in Denver, and with the budget issues so many people are facing we wouldn’t have hardly anyone. Instead we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 20.
  • We talked about text messaging, screencasting, and a little on embedded librarians and content management systems.
  • We’re establishing a discussion list and will hopefully be doing some exciting things in the near future.

LITA Web Coordinating Committee

  • This was my first meeting with the LITA Web Coordinating Committee.
  • I am starting this term as part of mycommitmentto LITA for their sponsorship of me in the Emerging Leaders program.
  • It takes a while to figure out the social dynamics of a committee, the charge, and what the committee is actually able to do. I’m still feeling it out.
  • It does look like there might be some changes to the site in the next year or so, though, so I’ll probably be around for that.

Programs

Alexander Street Press Breakfast

  • Susan and I attended the Alexander Street Press breakfast. It’s always a great event.
  • First, I really think Alexander Street Press understands where information is moving, and they’re leading edge thinkers about how to provide content for users now and in the future.
  • Perhaps even more exciting, they are figuring out ways to allow users to search through video content quickly and locate specific spots in the video the user needs. It’s amazing stuff.
  • Second, they always have a great speaker (and provide a great looking breakfast). So, for leading edge issues: they now have a database of graphic novel/comic materials.
  • As for their speaker, this year, because of the new database, they invited Art Spiegelman. He was an engaging speaker and gave me a lot to think about (in terms of conveying information in text and space, using images to cause people to think critically about culture, displacing norms)…. it was a great talk. He also helped me justify my recent interest in graphic novels

SPARC-ACRL Forum on Open Educational Resources

  • Panelist: Richard Baraniuk, an architect of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration and founder of Connexions
  • Panelist: David Wiley, also a leader of the Cape Town Declaration and Chief Openness Officer (cool, no?) for Flat World Knowledge
  • Panelist: Nicole Allen, leader of the Student PIRGs Make Textbooks Affordable campaign
  • Panelist: Mark Nelson,Digital Content Strategist for the National Association of College Stores, the trade association representing the higher education retail industry
  • This panel gave a great presentation and discussed interesting topics. Some practical issues were addressed (like getting started on your own campus) as well as more theoretical ones (do textbooks even make sense in a constructivist environment?)
  • The most striking point, to me, was if the government requires open access topubliclyfunded research, why don’t we require open access topubliclyfunded educational materials?

Other ALA Notes

The Corner Office

  • Sarah and I roomed (which was really nice!) at the Curtis Hotel (which was the funnest hotel I’ve ever stayed at!) Our room was on the 13th floor, which was horror themed. When the elevator stopped it said, “heeeere’s Johnny!” and there was a picture from The Shining right outside the door. It was great rooming with Sarah, we were able to eat a few meals together which was really nice.
  • I saw a bunch of ZSR folks! Sarah and I, obviously saw each other quite a bit. One evening we got dinner with Steve. I ran into Wanda in the convention center (though I was so in-my-own-head that I almost missed her!) Susan and I spent Sunday morning together and saw each other at the LITA happy hour. Steve, Sarah, and I ran into Debbie Nolan. She seemed to be doing well. I never saw Lauren, but I know Susan and Sarah did. It’s amazing how at such a large conference you can see so many people you know.
  • It was COLD. I mean WAY colder than the weather channel said it would be when I left Winston-Salem. I mean the type of weather where I don’t even own appropriate shoes.
    it keeps getting colder!!
  • That being said, this was a fabulously walkable conference. Our hotel was three blocks from the convention center, and there was a great free bus that ran through downtown.
  • Everyone was talking about Tough Economic Times. Attendance was way down. Every meeting I was in talked about the economy in terms of how it’s impacting the organization, libraries, and/or communities.
  • Blogs seemed to play less of a role at this conference, and Twitter/Liveblogging/streaming video played way more. It dawned on me at one point that I used to keep my RSS reader open throughout the conference to see what was going on. I barely cracked it on this trip, insteadincessantlyupdating and watching Twitter. I actually think this might be a move towards the positive. There were several meetings where people all over the country participated because of the real-time nature of Twitter.
  • I am gearing up to focus my energy on LITA. At this point I think LITA has the best chance at impacting ALA and making it a better organization. I also know that I need to focus my committee energy a bit more to be more effective. My WSS and COSWL terms are coming to an end at Annual, and I’m not going to seek out any replacements in areas non-LITA sections of ALA. WSS was incredibly welcoming to me as a new professional. COSWL gave me incredible insights into how ALA works and what we need to do to be effective, but spreading my time across ACRL, LITA, and the council committee meant that I couldn’t make a real impact in any one. It’s time to see what changes I can really make happen. :)

NCLA RTSS Spring Workshop

Monday, May 26, 2008 3:56 pm

RTSS 2008 – The Future of Bibliographic Control

At NCLA’s Resources & Technical Services Section’s Spring workshop, held this year on May 22 in Raleigh, the keynote speaker was Jose-Marie Griffiths, Dean of the Library School at Chapel Hill, and also a member of a working group charged by the Library of Congress to:

(1) Explore how bibliographic control (formerly known as cataloging, also including related activities) can support access to library materials in the web environment;

(2) Advise the Library of Congress on its future roles and priorities.

The group published its report, titled “The Future of Bibliographic Control”, in January of this year. It’s available on LC’s website: http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/

Concerning the web environment, Giffiths began by noting that many users nowadays turn first to Google or some other web browser for their information needs; that despite the number of web-based library catalogs, there are still many separate library databases that are not accessible by a web search; that, due to the web’s worldwide reach, our users are increasingly diverse, using multiple venues (vendors, databases, social networking, etc); also, that bibliographic data now comes from increasingly diverse sources via the web; and that, as a result, bibliographic control must be thought of as “dynamic, not static”, and that the “bibliographic universe,” traditionally controlled by libraries, will in future involve “a vast field of players” (including vendors, publishers, users, even authors/creators themselves).

As for LC’s role, the report reminds us that LC’s official mandate is to support the work of Congress. It has never been given any official mandate — and most importantly, the funding — to be a national library, providing the kinds of services (cataloging, authority control, standards) for the nation’s other libraries that national libraries typically do. Of course, over the years LC has become a de facto national library, providing all the above services, upon which not only American libraries but libraries worldwide rely heavily. As this unfunded mandate is rapidly becoming unsustainable, pressures are building to “identify areas where LC is no longer the sole provider” and create partnerships to distribute the responsibility for creating and maintaining bibliographic data more widely (among other libraries, vendors, publishers, etc.); also, to review current LC services to other libraries with an eye to economic viability, or “return on investment.”

To achieve these aims (exploiting the web environment, and sharing responsibility), the working group offers 5 recommendations:

(1) Increase efficiency in producing and maintaining bibliographic data. Griffiths noted that duplicated effort persists not so much in creating bib records nowadays (thanks to OCLC and other shared databases), but in the subsequent editing and maintaining of these records: many libraries do these tasks individually offline. Proposed solutions: recruit more libraries into the CCP (Cooperative Cataloging Program, those other large research libraries that contribute LC-quality records to OCLC). Convince OCLC to authorize more libraries to upgrade master records (the ones we see when we search) in the OCLC database. Also, exploit data from further upstream: Publishers and vendors create bib data before libraries do. Find more ways to import vendor data directly into library systems, without library catalogers having to re-transcribe it all. (This may cause some of us who’ve seen certain vendor records in OCLC to blanch; however, the Working Group’s report adds: “Demonstrate to publishers the business advantages of supplying complete and accurate metadata”[!]). Similarly, recruit authors, publishers, abstracting-and-indexing services, and other communities that have an interest in more precisely identifying the people, places, and things in their files, to collaborate in authority control. Team up with other national libraries to internationalize authority records.

(2/3) Position our technology, and the library community, for the (web-based) future. We need to “integrate library standards into the web environment.” Proposed solutions: Ditch the 40-year-old MARC format (only libraries use it), and develop a “more flexible, extensible metadata carrier [format]“, featuring “standard” “non-language-specific” “data identifiers” (tags, etc.) which would allow libraries’ bib data to happily roam the World Wide Web, and in turn enable libraries to import data from other web-based sources. Relax standards like ISBD (the punctuation traditionally used in library bib records) to further sharing of data from diverse sources. “Consistency of description within any single environment, such as the library catalog, is becoming less significant than the ability to make connections between environments, from Amazon to WorldCat to Google to PubMed to Wikipedia, with library holdings serving as but one node in this web of connectivity.” Incorporate user-contributed data (like we see in Amazon, LibraryThing, etc.) that helps users evaluate library resources. Take all those lists buried in library-standards documentation – language codes, geographical codes, format designators (GMDs), etc. – and put those out on the web for the rest of the world to use. Break up those long strings of carefully-coordinated subdivisions in LC subject headings (“Work — Social aspects — United States — History — 19th century”) so they’ll work in faceted systems (like NC State’s Endeca) that allow users to mix-and-match subdivisions on their own. (This is already generating howls of protests from the cataloging community, with counter-arguments that the pre-coordinated strings provide a logical overview of the topic — including those aspects the user didn’t think of on their own.) The Working Group supports development of FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, a proposed digital-friendly standard), but like many in the library community, remains skeptical of RDA (Resource Description and Access, another proposed standard meant to bring the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules into the digital age) until a better business case can be made for it: “The financial implications … of RDA adoption … may prove considerable. Meanwhile, the promised benefits of RDA — such as better accommodation of electronic materials, easier navigation, and more straightforward application — have not been discernible in the drafts seen to date…. Indeed, many of the arguments received by the Working Group for continuing RDA development unabated took the form of ‘We’ve gone too far to stop’ or ‘That horse has already left the barn,’ while very few asserted either improvements that RDA may bring or our need for it.”

(4) Strengthen the profession. Griffiths noted that in many areas we lack the comprehensive data we need for decision-making and for cost-benefit analysis. We need to build an evidence base, and “work to develop a stonger and more rigorous culture of formal evaluation, critique, and validation.”

(5) Finally, with the efficiencies gained from the above steps, LC and other libraries will be able to devote more resources to cataloging and digitizing their rare and unique materials. The Working Group feels that enhancing access to more of these “hidden materials” should be a priority.

Griffiths shared with us LC’s immediate reactions to the Working Group’s report. The concepts of shared responsibility, and of accepting data from multiple sources, were “expected.” More controversial were the shifting of priorities to rare materials; the relinquishing of the MARC format; and the focus on return-for-investment in assessing standards, such as RDA.

LC’s final decisions regarding the Working Group’s recommendations are expected to be announced this summer.

Roz at Loex: The Future of Libraries in Higher Education

Saturday, May 3, 2008 12:26 pm

This morning’s plenary panel on the future of libraries in HE was presented by Dr. Annette Haggray (Dean at College of DuPage), Lisa Hinchliffe (Head of UG Library at U of IL at Urbana-Champaign) and Christopher Stewart (Dean of Libraries at IL Institute of Technology).

Univ of Illinois:

  • RESEARCH is primary
  • 11 million vols in Library
  • how do we reposition ourselves in an era when having a lot of print stuff is not what makes a great research institution -
  • 10,000 graduate students!
  • how do the research libraries serve the undergraduate student?
  • how do we connect with student habits, traditions, patterns?
  • Put the library where the students will ‘stumble’ over it
  • Best thing about being a librarian is helping students reach their dreams

College of DuPage

  • Community College (largest in IL – top 4 in country)
  • multiple missions – education, workforce development, community outreach, economic stimulation,
  • Deeply embedded in community -
  • many non-traditional students, online, experiential learning,
  • Library helps faculty with instructional development and design
  • increasing number of students who are underprepared or unprepared and of non-native speaking students – library will have a growing role in both of these

Illinois Institute of Technology

  • known for science, technology, engineering and architecture
  • Mies Van der Rohe designed the campus – library is a knock off ;)
  • Libraries 1.8 million volumes; 30,000 digital journal titles
  • Flashpoint of financial tsunami that is affecting libraries — all of their research areas are the expensive titles…..
  • Information Literacy is a bit different for science and technology libraries — much more reliant on a primarily online environment for their research — they will be the ones building our buildings, bridges, schools, airplanes — VERY important that they know how to do good research

Question to panelists: Where will we be in the future?

  • What will the value of the university be in 10 years? What are the President and Provost reading? Quality, measurement, regulations, value, markets, prestige (not related to quality), efficiency will all impact IHEs — where does the library fit in with all of these things — has the library become part of the problem or part of the solution to addressing these issues?
  • Are we going to be an institute of the future or the past? Given the way funding, regulation, student as consumer model are going – do we answer in what we were in the past or what we need to be in the future. What does pursuing quality aggressively mean?
  • Do we have the courage to bring in and welcome the new librarians seeking to come in and work with us and take us in future-looking directions or will we drive them away to other more future-looking professions
  • Library does not ‘OWN’ information literacy — we bring IL to the table and ask faculty ‘how will you work with us on this?’ — we need to address how to define it collectively and collaboratively within the disciplines.
  • Market share of for-profit institutions is growing — neither faculty nor librarians own the curriculum – they have addressed efficiency in the educational enterprise — Univ. of Phoenix now has 300,000 students
  • Illinois State study on how they got such great results integrating IL into the curriculum — librarians were on the committees, volunteered for the jobs others didn’t want (like policy writing) and did the work they said they were going to do….had a profound impact on the policies and the speed at which they were created and adopted
  • Offer the library up as a solution to problems on campus – space, services, events, etc.

Question to Panelists: How do we market libraries?

  • Marketing is about your brand – get students to connect your brand with learning – not just with stuff or with a place
  • Marketing potential exists in EVERY transaction within the library
  • Make sure the marketing is in line with the institutional brand – let the institution print your marketing materials
  • Staff (not librarians) often have more transactions with our patrons than librarians do (student workers even more) — be sure you include them in any discussion of marketing
  • Reconceptualize the job of the student workers — customer service model — so many barriers between a student and a librarian – make sure ALL their interactions are positive and service-oriented
  • Market Librarians’ office hours –

Question to Panelists: How do we create a welcoming environment?

  • Don’t make assumptions about your students and how they expect to be treated in your enviroment
  • New or renovated spaces bring in more people
  • Library should be the symbolic starting place on campus
  • Library is the only place where it is socially acceptable to be alone (never thought of that!)
  • Libraries should start to think of multi-use possibilities — writing center/writing lab; eating/drinking;
  • Part of the reason we get space based on books is because that is how we have sold the need for more space — we need to discuss the need for space for collaboration, student study, staff connecting with students, etc. Change the sales pitch!
  • Career counseling, campus help desk, academic advising, wellness center all have on-site hours in the library — don’t have to bring the office into the building – just the services — set up a consultation desk — have organization schedule time at the consultation desk
  • Prioritize your space for your people, not your books. Let books be off-site and let students connect with the librarians
  • University of Chicago is doing the opposite –new space coming — all monographic titles would be browsable in the new building — only moved journals off-site. Gathering in all of their monographs to one location.

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