Professional Development

In the 'Webinar' Category...

By Far, A Cool Digital Imaging Webinar

Thursday, February 18, 2016 11:25 am

I had the opportunity to participate in a LYRASIS webinar last week entitled “Picture This: Introduction to Digital Imaging.” The program consisted of two sessions over the course of two days (February 9 & 10), which covered key best practices of digital imaging.

This was a great opportunity to expand my overall knowledge of digitization. I anticipated to learn some new and useful concepts that I could immediately apply to our digitization endeavors at ZSR.

Chelcie Rowell also took part in the sessions. Mary Beth Lock showed much interest in the webinar. “I’m always looking for ways that our work can overlap,” Mary Beth said. “And, this is clearly a growing area in librarianship.”But because of scheduling conflicts, she could not attend the live sessions. Fortunately the webinar furnished participants with access to the slides and both video recordings.

A few demographics of the other participants—some were from as close as Blacksburg, VA, and as far as Alberta, Canada. Their experience in digitization varied. One considered themself a novice. Another noted that they are relatively experienced, but needed a refresher.

The host was Leigh Grinstead, who has been working in the Digital Collections field since 2005. She has been with LYRASIS since 2009. When she is not hosting webinars, she consults with institutions across the nation on digital project planning.

Day 1
A key takeaway covered in the first session was understanding the concept of pixels—which is generally defined as the basic element of a digital image. The amount/size of pixels within a digital image will determine the resolution and quality of the image. This lead to the discussion of pixels per inch (ppi) vs. dots per inch (dpi), bit depth, how to calculate the spatial resolution of an image (ex. 3000 pixels / 10 inches = 300ppi), and the concept of resolution threshold.

Resolution threshold is the point at which adding more pixels to an image does nothing to enhance the image, but will needlessly increase the file size due to the additional pixels. So it is important to set the proper resolution on scanners and cameras. This is a concept that really stood out to me because—like most digitization labs–having enough drive space with a continually growing digital collection is always a factor.

We were also introduced to the CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices guide for image capture, presentation and storage. This is available on the LYRASIS website, and is a great resource for individuals who are new to the digital imaging field. I like that the creators of this guide wrote it in a way that is relatively easy for newcomers to digest.

Day 2
The second session lead with a great overview of tonal range (the amount of light and dark within an image). Setting the proper tonal range of a black & white image is important because it ensures all the information from the original image is captured. Leigh Grinstead demonstrated how tonal range can be determined by use of a histogram, which is commonly used in Adobe Photoshop.

In regards to color images, it was interesting to realize that there is not an industry-wide color standard when it comes to the calibration of scanners, monitors, digital cameras and printers. It varies by brand. This means that an image’s color displayed on a Mac monitor can be displayed differently on a PC monitor. Leigh Grinstead noted some solutions to this, such as including a color bar alongside the image of the digitized master file(s) when it is digitized.

I also liked how she provided images of digitization labs that are located at other academic institutions. Seeing the range of digital capture devices used in other digitization labs was insightful.

In closing
This was a very useful supplement to the training I have received from Chelcie—providing the opportunity to add to my overall knowledge of digital imaging. What I especially liked about the webinar was the interaction between the viewers and the host. She consistently kept the audience engaged by asking questions and seeking ongoing feedback from the information she provided.

It is also nice to have the ability to listen to the recordings and view the slides for future reference. I plan to refer to much of this content for the digitization of any upcoming photographs, maps, film negatives, artwork and born-digital files.

Surveys in Libraries: ACRL-ULS Webinar

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 11:24 am

Yesterday a group of us (Lauren C., Lauren S., Thomas, Roz, Mary Beth and Susan) participated in the Surveys in Libraries webinar presented by the ACRL-ULS Evidence Based Practices Discussion Group. One of the goals for this year’s Assessment Committee is to take advantage of any educational opportunities that might help guide our assessment efforts to be more effective.

This webinar focused on using surveys to learn about patron perceptions about whether their needs are being met by services. Well-designed surveys can be useful to gather this type of information. Poorly designed surveys are a waste of everyone’s time.

Here are a few helpful insights I gained from the session:

  • Actionable surveys are those that ask the right questions, are focused and are designed to gather data that can lead to action to improve processes.
  • An Action Gap Survey might be a useful tool for us. In this type of survey you might select 10 services that we offer. Then you ask the participants to choose the 3 services they think we do well, the 3 that they think need to be improved and finally, ask which 3 are the most important. This can show if what we do well is important to them, and whether our efforts need to be directed at improvement if the service in question isn’t important.
  • Surveys should be simple and focused. There was no *real* ideal number of questions, but the speakers agreed that less is better.
  • Longer surveys tend to have a higher drop rate (think the long version of LibQual+). People get frustrated and/or bored when there are too many questions.
  • There was agreement that when using the Likert scale (is that pronounced Like-ert or Lik-ert?, look it up in OED), the ideal number of values is 5 (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree).

One speaker addressed the use of commercial survey products (Counting Opinions and LibQual), another talked about adding library questions into campus-wide surveys (which we have had a little success with to date). My take away on commercial versus home grown surveys is that they both have a place in our assessment efforts. The commercial ones allow us to compare our services against other academic library peers/aspirationals, while locally developed surveys can help us dig down to the actionable level.

If you are interested in viewing the webinar, it is available here.

Intro to Digital Preservation #1 — Steps to Identify and Select Content

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 2:10 pm

Today, Vicki, Patty, Mary Beth, Steve, Susan, Rebecca, and Molly sat in on the ASERL webinar Intro to Digital Preservation #1–Steps to Identify and Select Content, facilitated by Jody DeRidder, Head of Digital Services, University of Alabama Libraries. John Burger of ASERL said that more than 150 people were registered to listen in on this session. This is the first of three sessions on digital preservation.

The content of this webinar comes from the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Modules. This consist of 6 modules covering: identify, select, store, protect, manage and provide. The goal is to provide a collaborative network to enable us to work together and face the challenges ahead.

This Intro #1 covered the “Identify” and “Select” aspects of the 6 parts. In order to identify materials for digital preservation, DeRidder suggests identifying the scope of materials eligible by creating an inventory. She suggested that “good preservation decisions are based on an understanding of content to be preserved.” Content categories include institutional records, special collections, scholarly content, research data, web content, and digitized collections. She stressed that the content of these materials is more important than format, but the format may make preservation more of a challenge. An inventory should be simple in format that is general with reiterations that become more focused on details.Inventory results should be: documented, usable, available, scalable, current (incorporated into current workflows). Sorting by content and file type will help prioritize equipment, planning, and future priorities. The process of selecting involves these steps:review the potential digital content, define and apply selection criteria, document and preserve, implement. Thinking about the mission of the institution, the collection development policy, the priorities, the uniqueness will allow the selection process to conform with the rest of the institutional standards. DeRidder stressed that this process is facilitated by open communication and knowledge withe incoming collections and donors. Starting the dialog early with potential digital contributors will allow you to block any incoming materials that do not warrant digital preservation. In the case of materials that are already in one’s holdings, selection for digital preservation begs the questions:does it have value? fit your scope? can you do it?

This webinar focused on the importance of putting a structure in place with the right people, clear policies and procedures, and organization. Open communication with the digital curator will answer the questions :does the content have value? Does it fit your scope? Whereas a conversation with an IT person will allow you to know ifit is feasible for you to preserve the content? Or is it possible to make content available?

DeRidder made a clear outline of how to go about identifying and selecting materials for digital preservation, but the prospect of actually implementing these steps is daunting. I am looking forward to the next to two webinars.


A Person of Interest webinar

Thursday, November 17, 2011 3:10 pm

Yesterday afternoon, Scott Adair, Anna Dulin and I spent an hour and a half thinking about the sorts of security situations one would rather not think about. The webinar, “A Person of Interest: Safety and Security in the Library” presented by LLAMA (the Library Leadership and Management Association) focused on getting library employees to prepare for security situations before they occur. The recording of the webinar is available here.

The webinar covered many circumstances, from nuisance patrons (ie chatty), challenging patrons (ie requesting unreasonable service or those that are odiferous), delusional or threatening patrons, etc and also covered medical emergencies and criminal situations. The first webinar leader, Nancy Relaford from UC San Diego explained that staff training for these events are critical because they are so likely to occur at some point, and that your training should include thinking through scenarios. Having a scenario to react to will give people the necessary practice to get it right, and will allow the participants to weave into their thought process any local practices that are unique to their building or situation. It will also allow them to get past the “startle response” and on to doing whatever is necessary to handle the situation in an actual emergency.

Two people from Queens Borough Public Library in NYC, Lambert Shell and Michael Daly discussed the policy and procedural training programs they’ve got in place to handle incidents, but also identified programs they have in place to minimize the incidents from happening. They have created social spaces to engage teens and tweens who might otherwise be a group prone to causing trouble. They have also engaged help from teachers, counselors, police, social workers and parents in the community keeping lines of communication open and utilizing all of the expertise in the area to help solve any problems.
Handouts are also available here. The webinar was interesting and sensitized me to the need to have some dialog about how we might handle such situations in ZSR. Living as we do in this beautiful academic setting, it’s easy to be lulled into complacency. This webinar along with the presentations offered by the CARE team will help us to begin the process of setting down guidelines that will be useful in such situations when the “persons of interest” come into our library.

Digitizing Hidden Collections: Success Stories from Small and Medium-sized Digitization projects

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 3:26 pm

Today, Vicki, Craig, and I sat in on an ALA Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP) webinar on the topic of digitizing hidden collections. Each of the four presenters discussedinteresting and uniquedigitization projects.

Erin Kinney, the Digital Initiatives Librarian at Wyoming State Library, spoke about the Wyoming Newspaper Project. Besides having a great logo, the project has attempted to digitize all Wyoming newspapers from 1849-1922. The project has aimed for newspapers already on microfilm, but some poor quality or unavailable microfilm forced them to resort to paper copies (sounds suspiciously like the Biblical Recorder project). Although the project planners originally applied for a National Digital Newspaper Program Grant, they did manage to get a CLIR grant and state funding for $940,000 to complete the digitization. Outsourcing the digitization, hiring metadata workers, massive storage requirements, and a variety of other factors played a role in this project, but they have managed to create a great interface and a successful browse hierarchy for access to this important and highly used collection.

Larry Carey of the Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca, NY took the local history collection (similar to the North Carolina Room at our own Forsyth Public Library) and sought out copyright permission for almost 300 books and publications including city directories, local histories, and a variety of other sources. The learning curve regarding copyright and technical expertise was mentioned numerous times. Carey did reference Peter Hirtle’s Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums as a valuable tool when working towards obtaining copyright clearance for the digital project. I must say, we were impressed with the time and dedication this small public library staff put in to making these materials available online. The benefit, however, is that the site gets approximately 1,500 visits a month.

Devra Dragos, of the Nebraska Memories Project,explained the statewide project to digitize archival materials excluding newspapers. Using ContentDM as their repository, libraries, historical societies, and other cultural heritage institutions across the state of Nebraska digitized, created metadata, and contributed what they could to this project. Each contributor must sign off that they have copyright for materials and the metadata is standardized. Devra did mention that contributors tend to add information to the metadata that is not standard but is very useful and otherwise potentially lost information.

The final presenter was Natalie Milbrodt of the Queens Memory Project. This is a fascinating project attempting to gather oral histories of the changing landscape and cultural makeup of the borough of Queens while supplementing these oral histories with archival materials. Highly collaborative, innovative, and supported, the Queens Memory Project is only just getting started but it is quite an exciting and interesting effort.

These speakers were highly enthusiastic and had some great projects and ideas. It is always good to hear that other institutions face the same challenges as we do when completing digital projects. What was great was the effort put in to making these projects happen. Smaller libraries with less support technically have manged to make collections accessible to those who seek them out. These are great models for what can be done when a need is realized.

eBooks Summit

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 7:21 pm

Today, in the screening room, people drifted in and out to watch parts of the Digital Shift‘s eBook Summit, Ebooks: The New Normal. The event was cosponsored by Library Journal and School Library Journal and was an all-day conference.

We heard the opening keynote, and then followed the academic library track. This track included a session on DDA as well as a session on marketing ebooks to students. The content was good, the conversation those of us in the room had was good, and it was nice to get a lay of the land for ebooks in academic libraries.

I was particularly struck by the venue. The event was set up to feel like a “real” conference. You entered into a plaza, that looked like a large foyer in a convention center. The hallways were labeled with “auditorium,” “exhibits,” “help desk,” etc, and if you clicked through you were directed to the webcasting software that ran the particular room you were in. It seemed like a likely bridge technology to help people feel comfortable with webinars who have never attended before. That being said, we weren’t able to get the slides to run during the presentations, so we paged through ourselves as people spoke. In one of the lulls between talks I spent some time in the exhibits. You literally clicked on the booth you wanted to attend, could talk to the people in the booth, enter drawings, and get demos. It was a lot like a real vendor floor. (…though less stressful for me!)

We’ll have the ability to log in later to view the recordings. Let me know if you’re interested!

ALCTS Webinar- Archival 101: Dealing with Suppliers of Archival Products

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 3:24 pm

As part of the first Preservation Week (May 9-15) I attended a webinar hosted by the ALCTS (Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) Section of ALA. Preservation Week was held by ALA to encourage preserving personal, family and community collections. The title of this webinar was: Archival 101: Dealing with Suppliers of Archival Products.

Peter Verheyen, Head of Preservation and Conservation, at Syracuse University presented this workshop. Peter runs The Bonefolder, an online book arts journal and The Book Arts Web, an online resource for bookbinders and book artists. He spent time discussing ambiguous terms such as ‘archival’ and ‘acid-free.’ Verheyn says that “archival” is a hard to define term- it refers to the materials, the adhesive and the binding structure of a book. However, it is largely a marketing term. It can refer to almost any paper material. The primary issues in paper preservation are poor environment, poor storage methods, rough handling that leads to damage, disaster preparedness issues and the quality of the artifacts themselves. To solve these preservation issues, proper storage (binders, enclosures, boxes, etc.), the proper environment and proper repairs help materials last. One of the most common terms is “acid-free.” This means the paper and board has a near neutral pH level. In addition to using acid-free materials, boxes protect materials from light and dust and from handling damage. Buffered materials have an agent in them with keeps them near pH neutral (7.0). These materials will eventually absorb acid from air and dust and will become acidic over time. Lignin is a part of plant material used to make paper. Lignin is what accelerates the aging of newsprint and some other paper materials and makes them acidic. Lignin should be avoided in paper based materials.

Tapes and Glue Sticks should be avoided. Use Filmoplast tape if you have to-it has a buffered paper carrier and an acrylic adhesive and is pH neutral. Archival photo corners or strips are preferable to tapes.

How long will objects last in archival containers? This is a hard question to answer. Most archival materials are made to last 500 years. Handling and environmental conditions apply to the longevity of materials. PAT-The Photo Activity Test is performed on many materials to see if it is safe to use with photographs. This is one way to judge materials that can help when selecting enclosures. Why are these materials so expensive? Archival materials cost more to produce because there is a higher/purer grade of raw materials used to make them. Market forces also affect cost of archival materials. Some archival materials are now cheaper because they have entered the mainstream, such as copier paper (now acid free).

Many vendors have practical guides to help when purchasing archival materials (Gaylord, University products). When purchasing archival materials, compare prices for like items. Be flexible and combine products to get a creative result that meets your needs. Customer service departments at vendors can help answer preservation questions. In addition to Vendor Guides and Customer Service, one can always consult with Lyrasis.

Univ of California Publishing Services (UCPUbS) webinar

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 2:39 pm

UC has launched UCPubS as “a suite of publishing services and tools includign oa, digital an dprint publishign tools to UC centers, institutes, deparmtnets that produce scholarly books.” This service combines the efforts of UCPubS, eScholarship, and UC organizations to provide review, archive, distribution, and print services for UC scholarship.

Some services each aspect of the system include:

UCPubS – sales, fulfilment, distribution of print, online marketing, print on demand

Departments & UC partners – selection of content, peer review, manuscript management/composition

eScholarship – Open access publishing, peer review, and preservation services.

The focus of UCPubS is on working with partners to build a sustainable aggregate/archive/publish/market model. An example of a partner is the Global, Area and international Archive. They indicated that GAIA used UCPubS to help re-frame scholarly publishing in their field.

Other comments from other attendees?

Educause Webinar – “What Happened to the Computer Lab?”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:12 pm

Last week among all of the closings and delayed openings I was able to attend a webinar entitled “What Happened to the Computer Lab?” Our presenter was Beth Schaefer, Associate Director in Client Services and University Information Technology Services, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her discussion centered on changes the university computer labs have taken over the past year. With an enrollment of over 30,000 students the campus has 6 campus computer labs housing around 450 computers running Windows XP or Mac OSX. Along with the 450 computers there are also 130 SunRay Kiosks scattered across the campus that the students can use for web base applications such as twitter, checking in on facebook, or checking their email. Computer ownership among the students run about 49% desktop and 83% laptops. She said that the percentage of students using their labs was 19%. Using a program called Lab Stats they are able to tell how many users log into the machines and what applications are launched. Last year they averaged 62,000 total users with over 578,000 total logins and an average of close to 1600 logins a day.

The Student Union lab went through a few changes in the past year. To make it more open, enclosure walls were brought down. It also saw expanded hours and became more food friendly. Several of the labs have also become unstaffed and now contain security cameras and have security guards walking through periodically. In the past year they also closed a 24/7 lab and opened a 24/5 (Sunday thru Thursday) lab in the Library Learning Commons. The Library Learning Commons now houses 200 computers, made up of both PCs and MACs and is staffed by library staff, IT staff, and students. The Library Learning Commons also houses several Classroom/Teaching labs and group study rooms. In the past year they also saw the addition of a coffee bar. A couple of projects they are looking at for the future are a quick print release station and virtual desktop computing.

Her conclusion was that university computer labs aren’t going away any time soon and I tend to agree. Even though our students are given a laptop they continue to come to the library and use our labs. Many sit at a station using both desktop and their laptop. Like at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the biggest draw for our students seems to be printing and the software available on the desktops, along with the collaborative space available here in the library.

ONIX for Serials Webinar

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:09 pm

On September 25, I took part in an hour-long webinar that detailed the new ONIX for Serials standard (ONIX is an abbreviation for ONline Information eXchange). It is a joint project developed by EDItEUR from the UK and the NISO from the United States, and is the latest in a series of standards to create a uniform method of information exchange. Earlier standards, such as ONIX for Books, have been well received by participants across the industry.

ONIX for Serials is a new metadata standard that was designed for communications regarding serials subscriptions between all or some of the following: libraries, publishers, subscription agents, hosting servers, consortia, aggregators, content providers (Serials Solutions, for example), and link resolvers. Based on the ONIX for Books standard, it relates information dealing with subscription data and all of its sources and formats and presents it in an XML message that would be readable across these control systems.

Three primary formats have been developed for the ONIX for Serials standard.

  1. SPS (Serials Products and Subscriptions). These are standard messages to help distribute information to evaluate packages, titles a library is currently receiving in its catalog, and product lists from publishers and agents.
  2. SOH (Serials Online Holdings). This standard pushes information about available issues directly into library systems without using link resolvers, populates A-Z lists, and generates online holdings for consortia arrangements.
  3. SRN (Serials Release Notification). This format can become a method to know when issues are published for e-journals in the catalog and link resolvers; to remove doubt about delays in print issue delivery; and to announce the publication of an article before their respective journals are completely published.

In addition, there is an ONIX Serials Coverage Statement that displays complete enumeration and chronology data for all serial formats, regardless of format or type. Because of its nature, this is a complex data set.

As each format of ONIX for Serials has become available, they have been incorporated into the regular processes of various companies. Early adopters of the SOH format have been TDNet, Serials Solutions, EBSCO, Innovative and OCLC. The SPS and SRN formats are currently in the pilot stage, and compatibility with companies like SirsiDynix and Ex Libris are still on the proverbial drawing board. Further, compatibility with open source catalogs has not yet been addressed, but the nature of open source could change this in the near future.

ONIX for Serials could have tremendous implications across the library community. The key to expanding its growth, mentioned by the webinar’s presenters, was to encourage more companies to sign on as partners.

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