Professional Development

Sarah presents at AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Annual Meeting

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 2:49 pm

Thanks to financial support from my Summer Technology Exploration (STEP) Grant and AAAS first-time librarian attendee free registration, I attended and presented at my first scientific society conference, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in February. AAAS is the world’s largest scientific society and publishes Science magazine as well as other scientific journals. One of the perks of attending this conference is participating in the closed beta period testing of Trellis, a new AAAS digital collaboration platform.

“Flipping a Science Information Literacy Course” presentation

I gave a presentation on redesigning and flipping my LIB 220 Science Research Sources and Strategies course to over 30 librarians at the ACRL science librarians round table hosted by AAAS. I’ve worked over the last year with the Teaching and Learning Center’s Faculty Course Redesign Program and the STEP Grant program sponsored by the Provost’s Office to convert a lecture-based course into a learner-centered flipped course to enhance student engagement and metacognition. The theme of this year’s AAAS Meeting was Global Science Engagement, and the theme of my LIB220 course will be global science/global health in alignment with the QEP on Global Wake Forest. I will give a presentation at the upcoming WFU TechXploration event on April 5th in the Benson Center, if you’d like to hear more about it.

I attended many sessions ranging from neuroscience to global astronomy to astroparticle physics.

Neuroscience

This 8am session was very interesting to me as the library liaison to neuroscience faculty and students. The most compelling research result was “dendritic atrophy” in stress-related brain regions.

Global Astronomy

I also attended astronomy sessions, and this session on the international collaboration of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) was fascinating. The map below highlights which areas of the world are involved in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which maps the universe on different scales.

Astroparticle Physics

This image during a presentation on particle physics clarified the significance of Higgs’ and Englert’s theory and their 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. The gist of this presentation and future research is summarized poignantly below:

“Even though it is a great achievement to have found the Higgs particle — the missing piece in the Standard Model puzzle — the Standard Model is not the final piece in the cosmic puzzle…Another reason is that the model only describes visible matter, which only accounts for one fifth of all matter in the cosmos. To find the mysterious dark matter is one of the objectives as scientists continue the chase of unknown particles at CERN.” – Nobelprize.org

I’m thankful for the opportunity to go to this excellent conference, and I’m happy to report that my airplane landed safely in the snow at Greensboro PTI Airport upon my return on Valentine’s Day. I’m excited to begin teaching my newly redesigned course next week!

 

Joy at WISE Conference: Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement

Thursday, February 18, 2016 4:13 pm

On Thursday February 4, I had the opportunity to attend the eighth annual Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement and Conference hosted by Wake Forest University held at the Winston-Salem Marriott in beautiful downtown Winston-Salem. Because of my recent appointment to the newly formed Arrive@Wake Board (part of Wake’s Quality Enhancement Plan), Leigh Stanfield encouraged me to attend. This conference had attendees from study abroad programs in colleges and universities across the United States.

It was a delight to be able to participate in a conference outside the world of libraries! The first person I met when I walked in the door of the Marriott was Niki McInteer, who is the WFU Associate Dean International Admissions. We introduced ourselves to each other and quickly figured out that we were both on the Arrive@Wake Board. It was wonderful to meet her and to learn that so far, Wake has 1,300 international student applicants (a record!).

The keynote speaker for the Opening Plenary was James Pellow, President and CEO of the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE). According to their website, they are “the world leader in international education and exchange.” One of the main points of his speech focused on the needed for increased intercultural competency. He presented the findings from a study that found that employees in the global market desire intercultural communication skills above all other skills, even above language skills (which was second in the survey).

The first breakout session I attended was titled “Micro-Practices to Develop Intercultural Competencies” led by Adriana Medina at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It was perhaps the best breakout session I have ever attended at any conference. She gave seven competences crucial for a successful study abroad experience: description, observation, ability to ask questions, flexibility, adaptation, keeping an open mind, and engaging in ambiguity. For each competency, she had group activities to demonstrate these concepts, all of which could be easily adapted to teach students preparing for study abroad.

The next breakout session I attended was titled “Demystifying Intercultural Outcomes Assessment and the Changing Assessment Paradigm” led by Darla Deardorff at Duke University. This session was theoretical with no examples given of what authentic assessment looks like. I can tell you some things I learned: Pre/Post tests are insufficient assessments, a standardized tool does not sufficiently assess, and outcome assessment is different from program assessment. We are to move to learner centered assessment, find authentic evidence, assess from multiple perspectives, use a holistic approach, and it should be about the process (not numbers). By the end of the session, it was very clear to me that I like concrete examples in presentations.

Overall, it was a wonderful day and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to participate. I have already been able to use many of the concepts I learned in my position on the Arrive@Wake Board.

By the way, the logistics for this conference were all top notch–delicious, abundant, and beautiful food. The picture was from lunch held in the Garden Room of the Embassy Suites. At my table were people from UNC-G, Amsterdam, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. My respect for the WFU Center for Global Programs & Studies has grown immensely and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this conference.

 

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.

Steve at ALA Midwinter 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016 5:48 pm

I know that it can be kind of difficult to read these conference entries thoroughly, especially when they discuss areas of librarianship that aren’t in your bailiwick, so I’ll give the headline for my Midwinter 2016 (with more details to follow, if you’re interested): the governance of RDA is changing, and the bibliographic models that underlay RDA are changing, and nobody is really sure how either of these developments will shake out.

First, let’s talk about the governance changes. I’m one of eight voting members of CC:DA (Cataloging Committee: Description and Access, the committee that develops ALA’s position on RDA), and at our Saturday meeting, we heard a presentation from Kathy Glennan, the ALA representative to the RSC (RDA Steering Committee), the body that ultimately determines the content of the RDA code, about changes to the structure and membership of the RSC (which was called the Joint Steering Committee, or JSC, until last November). The JSC had representatives from constituencies who use RDA, including ALA, the Library of Congress, the Canadian Committee on Cataloguing, the British Library, etc. The new structure, which will be fully in place by 2019, limits the membership of JSC to one representative each from six regional groups (North America, Latin America & the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania). The North American group will consist of just the U.S. and Canada. Mexico will be in the Latin America & Caribbean group, while other potential members of the North American group (Bermuda, Saint Pierre and Miquelon (had to look that one up!), and Greenland) have not yet adopted RDA. So, the United States and Canada will go from having three representatives on the RSC (two for the U.S., one for Canada) to only one representative for both countries. How this will be worked out is still being discussed. One idea proposed was to create a small committee (perhaps with the three reps who used to go to the RSC) that would function like a tiny RSC for North America, with one of the members of this group attending the actual RSC on behalf of North America. This proposed group has the suggested name of NARDAC (North American RDA Committee), which, when pronounced, sounds like the name of a villain from a 1970’s episode of “Doctor Who.”

The other major change to RDA was discussed in our second CC:DA meeting by Gordon Dunsire, the Chair of the RSC. Gordon is a brilliant guy, who usually talks about a mile over my head, but I think I got the basic gist of his presentation. As a re-cap, RDA is based on the FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) model. If you’ve ever heard us catalogers talk about the distinction between Works, Expressions, Manifestations and Items, that’s what we’re talking about. FRBR not only models bibliographic entities, it also models people (as individuals and groups) and subjects. Well, the FRBR models are being revised. The new model FRBR-LRM (FRBR-Library Reference Model) is expected to be published during the first quarter of 2016. It will describe new entities including Place, Timespan, and Collective Agent. What FRBR-LRM will look like after it is vetted, revised and finally accepted is obviously unknown as of yet. But, once FRBR-LRM is in place, it will most likely mean that there will be new entities that need to be described by RDA, which will mean a revision of the code. The changes could be minor or they could be enormous, there’s really no way to tell quite yet.

Stay tuned for more developments.

 

International Data Privacy Day

Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:07 am

Happy International Data Privacy Day!

January 28 is an international holiday* focused on raising awareness about the importance of online data privacy. This year, the Electronic Freedom Frontier is emphasizing the need to protect student privacy, most notably in a Google Apps for Education environment (which includes us). Google has been especially criticized for how they handle data from K-12 students, but it’s worth reviewing what they say for college students also and anyone else who uses Google apps.

If you haven’t done so, it’s worth a few minutes of your time to run through the Google Privacy Checkup. This will present options for what profile information other people can see about you, what settings apply to Google sites like Photos and You Tube, and whether Google will use what they know about your interest to tailor ads for you (you can turn off that tailoring, but not the ads themselves – at least not without something like AdBlock Plus).

Google has grown into a massive set of applications that know a lot about you. To their credit, the My Account site does a pretty good job of offering and explaining options for how that data gets collected and used.

Mozilla.org has also posted some information for Data Privacy Day. Their message boils down to: update your software. Time and again, malware that mines your private data gets in through security holes in outdated software that have already been patched in the current version. In other words, if you’re currently ignoring an alert to upgrade to Firefox 44, you should upgrade to Firefox 44.

Some other good places to check privacy settings:

Anyone who knows the Apple ecosystem, feel free to add comments for iTunes, etc.

NC-LITe at UNC-CH, December 2015

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 12:02 pm

On Wednesday, December 16 Sarah Jeong, Kyle Denlinger, Amanda Foster, Meghan Webb, and Joy Gambill traveled to beautiful UNC-Chapel Hill to attend NC-LITe, the twice-annual mini-conference loosely focused on instructional technology in libraries. NC-LITe is always an awesome conference and this was no exception! Our day began in the Undergraduate Library where we checked in and spent time informally meeting and greeting colleagues from 15 institutions across the state. After the check-in, we made our way over to the historic Wilson Library where the program began in earnest.

The beauty of NCLITe is its small size and each time we meet, we begin with a check-in to hear what is happening at each institution represented. These updates are always interesting and it is where we learn things such as which campus has a new library dean (WFU!) and the fact that Canvas is being launched as the Learning Management System for several NC institutions.

After hearing updates from each campus, Jonathan McMichael (UNC-CH Undergraduate Experience Librarian) led a design thinking activity (based on Stanford d.school’s method). The design thinking process is unique in that it focuses on needfinding, understanding and empathy first, and then the designer and user work together to define, ideate, prototype and test solutions. Also, one of the fundamental concepts at the core of this process is a bias towards action and creation: by creating and testing something, you can continue to learn and improve upon your initial ideas.

One of the highlights of the day was touring one of UNC’s newest (and by that I mean re-modeled) active-learning classrooms. The classroom use to be a 150-seat lecture hall. It was transformed into an active learning space (seen below) that featured around 100 rolling Steelcase “Node” desks and several projection screens.

The classroom was inspiring, to say the least. We had some definite classroom envy. Naturally, there is a high demand from instructors to use the classroom. Instructors must apply to use the room and show that they have plans to use the room for active-learning. which has challenged instructors who teach sections with 100+ students to re-think their teaching. Overall, its first semester has been a success and almost all the instructors asked to teach in the classroom again.

If the library gets another instruction classroom, I (Amanda) think we could definitely use some of the ideas featured here for ourselves. It definitely inspired us to think creatively!

Image Credit: UNC Center For Faculty Excellence – Interactive Classrooms at UNC-CH

After the classroom tour, we heard four lightning round talks including two from our own Sarah and Kyle! Kyle taught us how to use Voice Thread.

Sarah talked about her 2015 Summer Technology Exploration Grant from Wake Forest University Provost’s Office, that she used to convert a lecture-based course, LIB 220 Science Research Sources and Strategies, into a learner­-centered, flipped course. Her talk highlighted the redesign process to incorporate student reflections using Blogger as a core component of the course to enhance metacognition in learning outcomes.

 

After the wonderful lightning talks, we went to lunch on Franklin Street and spent more time catching up with NCLITe colleagues. Please note that this post was a collaborative effort by Meghan, Sarah, Kyle, Amanda, and Joy!

ZSR on the cover of Library Resources & Technical Services

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 7:16 am

Following quickly upon the heels of an item from ZSR’s Special Collections & Archives appearing on the cover of Archival Outlook, the January 2015 issue of Library Resources & Technical Services (LRTS) features an image from our digital collections.

Library Resources & Technical Services, January 2016

Cover image for the January 2016 issues of Library Resources & Technical Services.

LRTS (pronounced “lerts”) is the official journal of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association. The image selected for this month’s cover, EXTRA! EXTRA!!, appears in one of our earliest digital collections, the Duke Tobacco Company Cigarette Cards, which was created in 2004.

Chelcie at ALA Midwinter 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016 9:44 pm

For me the central happening of ALA Midwinter 2016 was kicking off my participation in ALA’s Emerging Leaders program. As part of this program, I’ll glimpse the sizable architecture of ALA, network with awesome people, and work together with members of a small team to solve a problem framed by one of ALA’s divisions or round tables.

Chelcie's 2016 Emerging Leaders team

Obligatory Emerging Leaders team selfie! From left to right: Melissa Stoner, Project Specialist for UNLV’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program; me; Harriet Wintermute, Metadata Librarian at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Craig Boman, responsible for the care and feeding of the ILS at the University of Dayton.

My team is AWESOME. We are tasked with developing an archiving policy for the Maps & Geospatial Information Round Table to deposit their materials with ALA’s Institutional Repository. (Sidebar — did you know that ALA has an institutional repository? We didn’t either!) We’ll figure out things such as roles & responsibilities (whose job it is to deposit materials), selection criteria, descriptive practices, documentation, and instructional materials for the deposit process. It’s an achievable and interesting project, and I look forward to working with my team members between now and ALA Annual in Orlando.

This Midwinter Meeting also offered strong programming on digital scholarship topics, notably the meetings of ACRL’s Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group and Digital Humanities Interest Group. The meeting of the Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group (newly formed under the leadership of Merinda Kaye Hensley and Steven Bell) centered around the research done by Alix Keener, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Michigan, on collaborative research relationships between librarians and (digital) humanists. You can learn more about her findings in her article in Digital Humanities Quarterly, The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities. Even if digital scholarship isn’t your bag, I highly recommend Alix’s article because it speaks to many tensions and opportunities librarians and scholars are embracing as the collaborative structures of the research process are re-negotiated. It’s an especially good companion read to Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists, now an open access monograph.

The meeting of the Digital Humanities Interest Group brought together a panel to discuss their experiences building DH communities of practice within their institutions (Amherst, Northeastern, and Boston University) and their region (the greater Boston area). I find the Five Colleges Digital Humanities model particularly intriguing for us here at Wake Forest because of its focus on undergraduate learning & research. Among other initiatives, they offer digital humanities micro-grants to undergraduate students and hire undergraduate fellows and post-bacs in digital humanities.

Some excellent programs, plus opportunities to catch up with some favorite colleagues and friends and compare notes about our work — my 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston was everything you could ask of a conference.

Midwinter 2016: A False Memoir?

Thursday, January 14, 2016 10:03 am

This year’s Midwinter was a bit unusual for me in that I didn’t find as many programs of obvious interest as I usually do, which led to my attending some sessions that I normally wouldn’t have. About this I have no complaints. It was fun, as was this outdoor section of the Brattle Book Shop (est. 1825):

The Role of the Professional in Technical Services Interest Group put on a program about the changing landscape of tech services (in our case Resource Services) departments as silos surrounding different functional areas continue to break down and collaboration and outsourcing of work to vendors become more common. Sally Gibson from Illinois State talked about “solution creators” as a distinct role within TS departments; these individuals excel at recognizing patterns and redundancies and at thinking creatively about workflows. Her emphasis on attitudes and behaviors (as opposed to technical skill sets) as essential traits is something we’re hearing more about lately in ALCTS-land.

After the meeting of my ALCTS-AS Organization and Management Committee got out early, having bravely crossed a windswept bridge leading away from the sea, I wandered into YALSA’s 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee’s annual review of YA fiction. This was not my usual scene. A lengthy procession of super-earnest Boston-area youths (some in middle and some in high school, I gathered) took the podium to provide one- to three-minute reviews of new works of YA fiction, recommending whether they ought to make YALSA’s final list of recommended books. What kind of kid wants to go present at a conference for librarians? The answer: good kids. Their enthusiasm and sincerity were infectious; I found myself remembering that protocol-obsessed adolescents were my favorite patrons in my early days working at the circ desk of a public library. I will always miss that.

On Sunday I learned a bit about the rise of the online scientific megajournal, a phenomenon about which I previously knew little. Two representatives from publishers of such journals (Springer Nature and Elsevier) as well as one from AIP led a very participatory discussion of the value of these online journals, which publish several thousand articles per year and have been accused of causing a proliferation of lower-quality scientific publishing. From the perspective of authors, the journals sometimes function as a backup plan to publication in the more prestigious traditional journals. Audience members expressed concern about the extent to which megajournals depend for their profits on Article Processing Charges (ACPs) paid by authors. This would seem a valid concern. The publishers make the case that their journals provide an important service by bringing more scientific findings out of the gray literature and into the main scientific corpus. “This can only be a good thing,” said one. My sense is that some commentators would disagree.

I enjoyed a presentation by two librarians from the coolest combination of colleges possible – Nurhak Tuncer from the City College of Chicago’s Malcolm X College and Reed David from the University of Alaska Anchorage – in which the challenge of cataloging self-published ebooks was discussed. This is something Carolyn has worked on here, cataloging the ebooks published by Bill Kane’s in-house Library Partners Press. The main emphasis of the presentation was on decisions the cataloger must make about Publisher, Place of publication, etc. In the same session, Karen Snow from Dominican University talked about ethical decisions involved in cataloging and/or re-cataloging “false memoirs” – books presented as fact but later shown to be largely fictional (think A Million Little Pieces, The Education of Little Tree). Some libraries choose to re-class and move these books to fiction; others leave them where they are with the addition of notes. Practices vary, and the right decision for an academic library might not be right for a public one. Ms. Snow encouraged establishing a consistent policy. I think I disagree: to me these need to be treated on a case-by-case basis.

We are nearing the end. At my ALCTS Planning Committee meeting, we discussed strategies for requiring more accountability from various ALCTS committees with regards to the alignment of their activities to the Strategic Plan we adopted last year. Expect a new reporting form, people! Finally, on Monday morning, Nancy Lorimer, Head of Metadata Services at Stanford, presented on her library’s participation in the Linked Data for Production project, in which attempts are being made at coming up with real-world workflows that incorporate linked data, for instance, the insertion of URIs into legacy MARC bib records and authority records. As entities (a somewhat far-ranging concept) become more important in a linked data environment, authority control becomes a central concern. The fact that we’re on top of this at ZSR is good to know. Thanks, Steve.

And now, the aforementioned earnest young adults:

Thomas – Hither and Yon

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 3:40 pm
Geographically, the weighted average location of Midwinter is a field northwest of Springfield, Missouri.

Histogram of TPD’s attendance at Midwinter. Geographically, the weighted average location of my Midwinter is a field northwest of Springfield, Missouri.

 

I’ve done so much travel recently, I must be just about as developed as Charles Atlas, but only professionally developed, which looks a little different on the outside. I’ll summarize, as each of these meetings had one or two “price of admission” moments.

I’ve also had oddly charmed weather karma, as noted below.

LITA Forum, November in Minneapolis

Light jacket weather.

LITA had one of its best forums in years, and it was great to see good attendance for such good programs. [The 2016 Forum will be great also and you should all come! Its secret location will be revealed Real Soon Now.]

There were two sessions in particular I wanted to highlight. One of the keynotes was from Mark Matienzo, Director of Technology at the Digital Public Library of America. No one quite knew what was coming, but his talk, To Hell With Good Intentions: Linked Data, Community, and the Power to Name was a surprising and eye-opening look at social just aspects of metadata. I’d rather not even try to summarize—the session was recorded and will be posted within a week or two—but just to describe the major theme: The act of naming something has a power dynamic which, through maliciousness, ignorance, or indifference, can have a harmful effect on the people being named. This includes naming conventions like call numbers, controlled vocabularies, and authority files. I really invite you to watch this one when the LITA office can get it posted (they’re incredibly busy people).

The hands-down funniest session I can remember at any meeting was Does Anyone Even Click on That? by Bill Dueber from the University of Michigan. Aside from being outrageous and a little in-your-face—and energizing—it talked about some important points. Our capacity to do software development, web design, and UX studies (and bug fixes) is always a bottleneck in developing library services. Bill talked about assessment-based analysis of development priorities so that you can eventually say, “We’re going to fix problems A, B, and C, but problem D would take up more resources than it’s worth, so we’re just not going to fix it.” It’s an eye-opening response to a problem that otherwise just piles more and more to-do items on top of overworked tech staff.

CNI, Washington in December

Shirtsleeves and lunch outside.

This meeting has just plain outgrown its schedule, and there’s no way to see everything you’d like in the 26 hours from start to finish. Tim P. has posted about it. I’ll just say that he wanted to take in as much as he could about space planning and I wanted to hit the sessions on public and collaborative tech. We kept sitting together because there was a distinct theme of “space planning for public collaboration spaces.”

Aside from that, the winner for me was a session titles How Much Does $17 Billion Buy? Four presenters from UCLA tackled this question: journal publishers ask us to pay for published versions of an article even when open access pre-prints are freely available. Ostensibly, we should do this because the journal’s professional publishing staff add value to the final version in the form of proofreading, graphics, citation checking, etc, and this value is worth the subscription cost. So, does that hold true?

No.

This early report on research compared over a million articles by University of California authors that appear in both the OA physics repository arXiv.org and in commercial journals. Many details on how to do the harvesting, matching, and text comparison (fun for coding geeks). The big takeaway is that there is very little difference between the OA and published version of most of these articles.

However, there’s some sample bias here, that the researcher acknowledge and are working to correct. 96% of the articles they could retrieve from commercial publishers came from just one (Elsevier), and a disproportionate number of those came from one journal, Physics Letters B. This journal’s purpose is rapid turnaround of current research reports, so they emphasize speed over meticulous proof reading.

But still. If you’re paying a gazillion dollars for journals (or $17B for the University of California system), having essentially identical versions available for free might make you think about alternatives.

ALA Midwinter, Boston in January

One day of heavy rain and wind, but mostly unseasonably mild.

A little rummaging around in the twin disorders of my memory and ALA’s web site turns up this fact: this was my 25th Midwinter. From sea to shining sea, from the sun of San Antonio and San Diego to the day-long twilight of winter in Seattle, to some really impressive blizzards, and the fun of re-routing around earthquake damaged buildings and highways in L.A.

As with the last couple of ALA meetings, I got to attend very little in the way of programming, with the exception of Top Tech Trends, which others have covered. Just remember, even though the conference published the hash tag [https://twitter.com/hashtag/alattt]#alattt, this event comes from the good people of LITA.

Other than that…meetings. Eight hours on information policy, two hours on running effective meetings, a committee of committee chairs, and a committee of divisional presidents. And the five and a half hours of LITA Board meetings I presided over. And yet it all seemed like a very productive conference (okay, maybe the information policy meeting didn’t need the whole eight hours).


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