Professional Development

Molly at ALA Las Vegas

Friday, July 11, 2014 11:28 am

We all know the adage, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? Well, there are some things from Vegas that certainly can stay: the noise, the lights, the heat, the scuzzy hotel bathroom (shudder), the overwhelming BIGNESS of it all. But other things shouldn’t stay; they should be shared, which is the whole point of conference going!

This was an unusual ALA for me, with very uneven experiences with the conference itself. My meetings were great—my sessions, less so. The first great meeting was Friday afternoon when the ACRL Scholarly Communications Roadshow faculty presenters convened. In May, we welcomed three new presenters to our group, and bid farewell to another. Two of the three new presenters were able to join us in Vegas for our meeting, and I am excited about the expertise and energy they are bringing to our group. It’s hard to believe that this is our 6th season offering the Roadshow. For this season, we issued the call for applications several months earlier, which stretched out our season from February to July (our last Roadshow this year is next Friday, down in Mississippi). This expanded timeframe was much easier to accommodate with the presenters’ schedules, so we will once again issue the call for the 2015 Roadshows in mid-fall. We are also going to revise the first module of the Roadshow, as we are finding that some of the basics we cover—defining scholarly communication, open access, etc.—are no longer new concepts for the majority of our participants. Instead, we are going to develop a handout defining common terms and issues for those who do still need some grounding. Related to the Roadshow, later this summer, I will be co-presenting an ACRL webcast, Cultivating Creators: Copyright in the Information Literacy Classroom, as an extension of our programming. Both the ACRL Board and the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee (of which I’m a member) have encouraged us to develop supplementary web content for several years now, so I am excited that I am working with a fellow Roadshow faculty member to finally launch this aspect of our program.

My second great meeting was the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee (ReSEC) meeting Sunday morning. In addition to discussing our own ongoing business, which includes programming for the SPARC/ACRL Forums, advising the Roadshow, and maintaining the ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit (which will be migrating platforms soon), we also heard updates from the ACRL Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy Task Force, ARL, SPARC, and the Library Publishing Coalition. One big piece of news from SPARC is that, as of August 1, they will be an independent association. This move will allow both SPARC and it’s former parent association, ARL, to exercise greater leverage in lobbying Congress on legislation furthering open access to research and openness in education. One new work area for ReSEC this year has been our partnership with the ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group to address the need for ACRL to provide training on data management. Through discussions at Midwinter and a late winter conference call, a proposal for a data management preconference at the 2015 ACRL National Conference was developed. The Board approved the preconference, and planning is currently underway. I have joined the planning group for the preconference as a dual liaison from ReSEC and the Roadshow, and am lending expertise on how to structure daylong workshops, advising on scheduling, activities and exercises, and general planning. This new role is exciting, as I have much to learn about data management. The hope is that this preconference might itself turn into a Roadshow program.

As I mentioned above, my session attendance this conference was, on the whole, disappointing. The one good session I attended was also attended by Lynn—”Libraries in the Publishing Game”—and I concur with her assessment. The other sessions I attended did not present any information that was new to me (which, in some ways, is reassuring, in that I hadn’t missed anything big), nor did the Q&A reveal any innovative opinions or approaches. The one session that might have been excellent was too far to get to, given my previous timeslot’s meeting location, which was a frustration. However, I used that time to attend an Emerging Leaders program, where I saw Lauren P., Kyle, and several librarians from my EL cohort, so the time was not lost.

My official ALA time ended Monday morning at the ALCTS President’s Program on introverts as leaders, about which many of our colleagues have already reported. Fortunately, my Vegas sightseeing ended on a high note, as I busted out of Vegas proper with four of our colleagues for an afternoon excursion to Hoover Dam, which was impressive (and HOT at 119!!!).

Of all my ALAs, this was the one I enjoyed the least, which might have been due, in part, to my ambivalence about being in Las Vegas. But I had productive meetings, and capitalized on multiple networking opportunities over lunches and dinners, so I can say I “won” in Vegas!

Sarah at ALA Annual 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014 1:30 pm

I had a busy year on the Executive Board of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), which is a non-profit affiliate of ALA. I organized two APALA events in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference including a fundraising event with a tour of Zappos corporate headquarters and the community-focused Downtown Project. Over 30 people attended including Hu Womack, who wrote a great summary! I also organized the venue for the Asian/Pacific American Literature Awards Banquet, which had over 50 attendees. The 2013-2014 APALA Literature Award recipients are the following:

Picture Book Winner: Ji-li Jiang. Red Kite, Blue Kite. Disney/Hyperion.

Picture Book Honor: Marissa Moss. Barbed Wire Baseball, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. Abrams.

Children’s Literature Winner: Cynthia Kadohata. The Thing About Luck. Atheneum Books.

Children’s Literature Honor: Josanne La Valley. The Vine Basket. Clarion Books.

Young Adult Literature: Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani. Jet Black and the Ninja Wind. Tuttle Publishing.

Young Adult Literature Honor: Suzanne Kamata. Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible. GemmaMedia.

Adult Fiction Winner: Ruth Ozeki. A Tale for the Time Being. Viking.

Adult Fiction Honor: Jennifer Cody Epstein. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. W. W. Norton.

Adult Non-Fiction Winner: Cindy I-Fen Cheng. Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War. New York University Press.

Adult Non-Fiction Honor Book: Cecilia M. Tsu. Garden of the World: Asian Immigrants and the Making of Agriculture in California’s Santa Clara Valley. Oxford University Press.

I’ve also been active in the ACRL Science & Technology Section since 2004, and was reappointed to the STS Continuing Education Committee for another 2-year term. This committee coordinates the STS Mentoring Program, and I manage the Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science Librarians. The best science program that I attended was hosted by the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group, and I shared about my work in bioinformatics. I received encouragement from my fellow STS colleagues about my efforts in the bioinformatics area. I’m also grateful to an STS colleague who encouraged me to become a conference organizer of the first Science Boot Camp Southeast, which is next week!

We can’t stop here, this is Kyle’s ALA14!

Thursday, July 10, 2014 11:38 am

I’ll spare you the Vegas commentary, as you’ve already heard it from my desert-dwelling colleagues, but I will say that I quite enjoyed Vegas as a conference destination–easy to get around, lots to see and do, and a far cry from the humidity we’re so used to here. I also now have lots of ideas for ridiculous uses of space–reproduction of a Venice canal in the atrium, anyone?

Kyle's Emerging Leaders Team

Kyle’s Emerging Leaders Team

If you remember from my post from Midwinter, I’ve been working for the past six months on a project for ALCTS as part of the 2014 class of ALA Emerging Leaders. The Emerging Leaders poster session at Annual marked the conclusion of our projects and the beginning of our time as “emerged” leaders. My phenomenal team did a tremendous amount of research for our project, which was to evaluate the social media practices of ALCTS and to come up with recommendations for how that division can use social media to increase its membership. We put together a survey of tech services professionals that was designed to give us a better idea of how those in that segment of librarianship use social media and what they expect out of the social media presence of organizations like ALCTS. We received more than 850 responses and were able to make some pretty well-supported recommendations, if I do say so myself. Feel free to check out our project’s website (and the poster) if you’re interested.

Lots of people were really excited to see Stan Lee (I was, too, but was turned away–grr), but I was more excited to see Jane McGonigal during the opening session. If you’ve not heard of Jane McGonigal, her thing is leveraging gaming and game design to solve real-world problems. Check out her TED Talk to get the gist of what she said in her opening session. It’s always refreshing to hear someone who is completely sold on an inspiring idea and has the data to back it up. If you’re at all into gaming, check her out.

On Saturday, I presented as part of a panel sponsored jointly by the ACRL Distance Learning and University Libraries Sections. We spoke about “Leading from the Side,” or how we’re working toward positions of influence on our campuses (especially regarding distance and online education) without being in positions of leadership. This session was very well attended, we received many great questions, and I made one very important contact in co-panelist Jade Winn, who works with the online MSW program at USC, which is developed by 2U, a company WFU was, until very recently, also working with.

As seems to be a pattern with ALA Annual, my batting average with picking sessions was pretty terrible. I was shut out of a SRO session on online information literacy instruction, ducked out of a session on what I thought was going to be about connectivist learning theory, but was really about makerspaces in public libraries (again), and then had to make the impossible choice between three sessions that all promised to be amazing. LITA’s Top Tech Trends won out, and I had some excellent conversation on the back-end as some of the panelists made some provocative predictions. TTT is always a good choice.

Aside from that, I helped out during the first LITA Board meeting (welcome, Thomas!), saw and hung out with a lot of my Camp ALA friends, and managed to sneak away to see the Hoover Dam, which was breathtaking.

Such concrete. So majesty. Wow.

Such concrete. So majesty. Wow.

Great conference. Looking forward to San Francisco next year!

Derrik’s ALA roundup

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 4:43 pm

I’ve sorted my 2014 ALA Annual Conference experience into 3 categories–Committee work, Vendor chats, and Sessions.

Committee work

The ALCTS Standards Committee was formed last fall to promote member involvement in and education about the development of information standards. Part of my assignment on that committee is to act as liaison to the ALCTS Continuing Resources Section (CRS), which means I got to go to two sets of committee meetings for the price of one! Saturday morning I traveled to Paris (i.e. Paris Las Vegas) where CRS was holding its “all committees” meeting. I met with the CRS Standards Committee, Cataloging Committee, Committee on Holdings Information, and the CRS Executive Committee to discuss the division-level committee’s charge and the best way for me to liaise with CRS. Then Sunday afternoon at the ALCTS division-level “all committees” meeting, we discussed reports from the 5 sections of ALCTS. We are still trying to pin down the best ways to carry out our charge. We are looking for ways to foster collaboration between the sections, and trying to determine the best way to interact with external standards organizations.

Vendor chats

With all the committee meetings and sessions I needed to attend, I wasn’t sure I would have enough time in the vendor exhibit hall. As I look at my results, I’m still not sure how I packed all this in. I won’t give details here, but feel free to follow up with me if you want to know more about any of these.

I had some fairly long, productive discussions with
JSTOR – ebooks & DDA
YBP – DDA profile management (deletions) & more
NYTimes – academic site license
EBSCO – Usage Consolidation questions
Kanopy – DDA
ProQuest/EBL – STL pricing, e-books in Summon, Academic Complete & DDA, etc.

Lauren, Jeff, and I attended a ProQuest-sponsored discussion about DDA, with librarians and publishers participating. Basically, everybody is struggling to adapt.

I had shorter discussions with
Wiley – new article interface coming
Data-Planet – new Java-free interface for Statistical Datasets coming
CLCD – we’re trying to get their author-title catalog lookup to work
Project MUSE – e-books, DDA (which they aren’t doing), & evidence-based acquisition (which they’re working on)
Taylor & Francis – e-book STL pricing
ProQuest – brief Intota demo
McFarland – thanked them for participating in NC LIVE’s Home Grown e-books pilot
BrowZine – now has an iPhone app
and the New York Philharmonic Archives, a free resource I had been unaware of – do you know what they played at their first concert?

And several others, of course. I met some sales reps that I had previously only corresponded with by e-mail (Alexander Street, SAGE, Taylor & Francis, and Euromonitor). I even managed to find a few book signings with no lines!

Sessions

Michael Levine Clark gave an e-book usage report, very similar to the one I attended at Midwinter last January. The basic (unanswered) question is “What constitutes meaningful use of an e-book?” (Or from a more practical standpoint, what type(s) of e-book use should we be measuring?) At one point, Clark suggested that an e-book being downloaded may be an indicator of significant use, but ZSR’s early data seemed to indicate that a download was usually an indicator of the user’s unfamiliarity with the platform. Answering an audience question about user preference, Clark said that if you ask users “Do you prefer print books or e-books?” most of them will select a preference, but if your questions are more nuanced-Which do you prefer for looking up a fact? Which do you prefer for immersive reading? If you could get an e-book immediately but had to wait 5 minutes for a print book, which would you prefer?-then no clear preference emerges, at least in the research he has done. Clark’s presentation slides are available at www.slideshare.net/MichaelLevineClark

In the CRS Standards Forum, presenter Aron Wolf, a ProQuest software developer, spoke about the NISO Recommended Practice called IOTA (“Improving OpenURL Through Analytics”). IOTA, released in 2013, came out of a 4-year research project to produce a standard way for link resolver vendors (think of the WFU Full Text Options button) to measure & describe how well their product works. Wolf, who was part of the working group for IOTA, said they concluded that there was not an objective, cross-vendor metric, so IOTA instead recommends a methodology for testing a link resolver against itself. At that point he either lost me in the technical details or else I understood it so well I didn’t think I needed to take any notes. One future possibility he suggested was that it may become possible for reports to check accuracy within a matter of hours, enabling link resolvers to respond much more quickly when publishers change linking formats.

The last session I attended at ALA was about “articles on demand,” also called pay-per-view (PPV), which is essentially DDA for journal articles. First, Beth Bernhardt from UNCG talked about their experience dropping PPV about 9 years ago in favor of “big deal” journal subscription bundles, and now having to reconsider PPV in light of ongoing budget cuts. Susanna Bossenga from Northeastern Illinois University explained her library’s on-demand article delivery, which they currently provide using the Copyright Clearance Center’s Get It Now service. Article requests are mediated and processed by their ILL department. Finally, Mark England from the University of Utah described their implementation of ReadCube Access. When authenticated users come across un-owned articles, ReadCube Access presents them with options to rent for 48 hours, download, or get a “cloud” copy (online reading only, with no time limit). The library pays, of course, with each access option costing a different amount–$4 to rent, $10 for the cloud option, or $25 for a downloadable PDF.

 

That summarizes my conference, and may help explain why I still feel jet-lagged a week later. Speaking of jets, my flight home left Las Vegas 10 minutes before a National Weather Service Excessive Heat Warning went into effect. I must say that if the heat over the weekend wasn’t “excessive” (Monday’s high was 111°), I’m really glad I got out when I did.

 

Chelcie at the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 4:23 pm

During the two weeks preceding the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, I attended the inaugural Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) at Loyola Marymount University in L.A.

2014 Institute for Research Design in Librarianship Scholars, Instructors, and PIs

Above: 2014 Institute for Research Design in Librarianship Scholars, Instructors, and PIs.

The purpose of the institute is to lower barriers for librarians to conduct research—such as unfamiliarity with the research process or research methods, lack of support (both moral and monetary), and lack of confidence. Selection for participation was based primarily on the promise of an original research proposal submitted during the application process.

The Institute’s nine-day curriculum was designed around components of the research process from question formation and strategy of inquiry (qualitative or quantitative, exploratory or experimental) to sampling design and strategizing for publication. In addition to a methods bootcamp, the Institute also offered participants the opportunity to consult with instructors and each other as we continued to revise and refine our research proposals.

In addition to the luxury of focusing all my attention for two weeks on understanding methods and revising my proposal, I loved getting to know librarians whom I might never have met if not for IRDL. Another aim of the Institute was to enable us to construct a personal learning network of possible collaborators for future research projects, and already I am benefitting from an expanded network. We have formed topical Zotero groups and exchanged drafts of research proposals and brainstormed future research projects and (of course) hung out at ALA.

William H. Hannon  Library Exterior

Above: The William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University provided a beautiful setting (inside and out) for the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship.

My research proposal is motivated by the desire to gather evidence for organizational decision-making. As a member of the newly formed Digital Scholarship Unit, I am interested in identifying potential research data management services for ZSR to consider providing to researchers at Wake Forest University. In order to do this, I plan to look outward to service models of libraries at peer institutions as well as inward to data practices of researchers at Wake Forest University. Currently, the discussion about research data management services is dominated by ARL or R1 libraries, but as the policy environment continues to evolve, more and more researchers in more and more disciplines will be impacted. Consequently, a broader range of research libraries than ARL libraries will grapple withthe question of what is the library’s role in advancing the research mission of the university.

If you’d like to know more about my research proposal, I’d be delighted to chat. But fair warning—I will make you look at my color-coded infographic of my research objectives, research questions, and data collection processes!

Bob at EBSLG in St. Petersburg, Russia

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 2:16 pm

In my role as chair of the (North American) Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD) group, I was invited to attend the annual meeting of the European Business School Librarians Group (EBSLG), held at the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University in Russia. Thanks to ABLD funding of the rather expensive airfare, I was able to attend the meeting from June 15-19.

Both ABLD and EBSLG are rather small, informal organizations composed of business school librarians representing the top 50 business schools on each continent. The two organizations have held joint meetings on four occasions, twice in Europe and twice in the United States. The most recent joint meeting, which also included representatives from the Asia-Pacific Business School Librarians Group (APBSLG), was at Stanford Business School in May, 2012.

Several years ago, the two groups established the tradition of having the leader of each group attend the annual meeting of the other group. This practice helps maintain and strengthen the bond between the two groups and helps to facilitate the planning of future joint meetings.

Planning my trip to St. Petersburg was a little more complicated than usual, mainly because I had to obtain a visa to enter Russia. However, I used a private visa agency to expedite the process and that helped a lot. I received my visa in about three weeks. The trip to Russia was a long one, requiring a change of planes in Washington, DC and Frankfurt, Germany. About 20 hours after I left home, I landed in St. Petersburg, eight time zones and 5,000+ miles away.

Mid-June is an ideal time to visit St. Petersburg, because it is the time of the White Nights. During the four days I was there, the sun rose at about 4:30 AM and set at about 11:30 PM, though it never seemed to get completely dark at any time of night. For example, I took this photo at 10:25 PM during our group cruise on the Neva River

Neva River Cruise 10:25PM June 18

The conference began Monday evening, June 16 with a reception and buffet dinner at the Finnish-owned Sokos Hotel next door to the School of Business building. After dinner we went on a late-evening bus tour of the city. We stopped at some of the major sights around the city and got out of the bus for a better view. Our guide, Victoria, gave us a good introduction to the city, its history and some of its famous rulers including the city founder, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, one of Peter’s successors.

Statue of Peter the Great, commissioned by Catherine the Great.

Two days of formal meetings began Tuesday morning, June 17. The theme of the conference was “Library Redesign for the Next User Generation.” As the theme suggests, business school librarians in Europe are facing the same kind of challenges we have, i.e., how to reconfigure, redesign and/or repurpose library space in a time when the most important business information resources are online and many business schools are reluctant to devote much space to a traditional library with a substantial print collection. I gave an updated version of my presentation about the story of establishing the Business Information Commons.

We also had presentations from European representatives of business information vendors such as ProQuest, EBSCO and the Financial Times, and from a couple representatives of the library community of Russia. For me the most interesting presentation was by Ms. Irina Lynden, Deputy Director General for International Relations (retired), National Library of Russia. She gave a fascinating and frank overview of the history of libraries in the Soviet Union and Russia from the time of the beginning of the Russian Revolution (1917) to the present day.

Ms. Irina Lynden

The highlight of the conference was the final night when we enjoyed an excellent dinner (thanks to the generosity of the vendors) at the historic Astoria Hotel and a sightseeing cruise on the Neva River. A river cruise is the best way to see the city, because when Peter the Great chose the location for his new capital of Russia in 1703, it was the river and access to the Baltic Sea that determined the location of the city.

Neva River, St. Petersburg

In sum, my trip to St. Petersburg was rewarding both professionally and personally. I was impressed with the School of Management and the school’s library and its staff. I loved the city, its sights and its people, all of whom that I encountered were friendly and welcoming to foreign guests. If you have ever wanted to visit this part of the world but not yet done so, then I recommend it highly.

Here are a couple additional photos:

Graduate School of Management Library.

EBSLG meeting room.

 

2014 ALA Annual in Las Vegas

Monday, July 7, 2014 4:31 pm

This year’s ALA Annual meeting marked my first visit to the very hot, colorful, and sensory-overloaded city of Las Vegas. After arriving Friday afternoon, I headed to the Las Vegas Hotel to attend an OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) meeting to hear about the upcoming publication of best practices for DVD-Blu ray cataloging. While I have yet to catalog many Blu-ray discs, I know this information will come in handy the next time I do so. Afterwards, I met up with Hu at the convention center to hear Jane McGonigal, game designer and opening keynote speaker, talk about the power and positive aspects of games/gaming. I am really excited about the prospect of working with Hu in hosting McGonigal’s game creation, “Find the Future”, at ZSR. Following the talk, Hu and I attended the ANSS social at Tamba Indian Cuisine.

On Saturday, I attended a session on international developments in library linked data that featured a panel of 3 speakers: Richard Wallis, Technology Evangelist at OCLC; Jodi Schneider of the Centre de Recherche, and Neil Wilson, Head of Collection Metadata at the British Library. Linked data is a popular conference topic and one that I need to study more in depth. Per, Mr. Wallis discussed the importance of using structured data on the web using markup as seen on schema.org. Schema.org tries to infer meaning from strings of data. In April 2014, WorldCat Entities was released. It is a database of 197+ million linked Work descriptions (i.e. a high-level description of a resource that contains information such as author, name, descriptions, subjects, etc., common to all editions of a work) and URIs (uniform resource identifier). Linked data:

  • takes one across the web and is navigated by a graph of knowledge
  • is standard on the web
  • identifies and links resources on the web
  • is a technology (i.e. entity based data architecture powered by linked data).

Wallis used the phrase “syndication of libraries.” Unlike the web, libraries don’t want to sell stuff, we want people to use our stuff. Libraries’ information is aggregated to a central site (e.g. National Library, consortia, WorldCat) and the details are then published to syndicate partners (e.g. Google). Syndication moves to linking users back directly to libraries. Individual libraries publish resource data. Utilizing linked data from authoritative hubs (e.g. Library of Congress, WorldCat Works, VIAF) in our records assists in the discovery of these resources as it makes them recognizable and identifiable on the web. Users will then be referred to available library resources.

What can libraries/librarians do in the area of linked data?

  1. Contribute to WorldCat.
  2. Apply schema.org across one’s library’s web site.
  3. Select systems that will link to entities on the web. We are “on the cusp of a wave”, says Wallis.
  4. Add URIs to cataloging records. The web will aggregate like information.

Jodi Schneider’s talk focused on linked data developments from Europe (i.e. Belgium, Norway, Ireland and France). The British Library’s Neil Wilson stated that better web integration of library resources increases a libraries’ visibility to new groups which can bring about wider utility and relevance libraries. During the Q&A, an individual posed a question about the stability of URIs, a topic that has come up in a recent ZSR discussion of which I was a part. The panel responded that URI stability depends upon who’s publishing them. An organization does saddle itself with the responsibility of making sure that URIs are persistent. It’s up to the reputation of organizations creating URIs to make sure they remain persistent. Libraries can add authority to URIs. One needs to realize that some outlying sources may go away, and for this very reason, preservation of linked data is becoming an emerging issue.

In addition to the session on linked data, I attended the following sessions:

  • becoming a community-engaged academic library which was co-sponsored by ANSS and EBSS
  • meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee which I will be chairing 2014-2015
  • consulting and collaborating with faculty, staff, and students about metadata used in Digital Humanities projects
  • e-book backlogs
  • anthropology librarians discussion group
  • “Quiet Strengths of Introverts”

All in all, it was a great conference. I went to a couple of vendor parties, visited the Hoover Dam in 119 degree heat, and enjoyed a wonderful meal at Oscar’s with my coworkers, but I was very eager to get back home and in a quiet environment.

Steve at 2014 ALA Annual

Monday, July 7, 2014 1:32 pm

As with the past few conferences, my experience at the 2014 ALA Annual conference was dominated by work on ALCTS committees. As such, most of the stuff I did was pretty deep in the cataloging weeds, so I’ll try to pick out the items that might be of interest to a more general audience. Much of my time (4.5 hours one afternoon and a follow-up 3 hours one morning) was devoted to CC:DA (Cataloging Committee: Description and Access), which develops ALA’s position on RDA. Proposals approved by CC:DA are sent up to the JSC (Joint Steering Committee), the international body that is the final arbiter of the content of RDA. We passed a proposal from the Audio-Visual and Music communities that loosens the rules for recording statements of responsibility, which is particularly important for A/V and music catalogers. The current RDA instructions require catalogers to record composers as the primary party responsible for a music recording, which works fine for most classical music, but is terribly confusing for popular music (do you really want to have Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” to be primarily credited to Bob Dylan, or is Hendrix the important name?). We’re hoping that this proposal will be approved by the JSC. CC:DA also got a bit closer to resolving the problem playfully known as “the cascading vortex of horror,” which is a situation where RDA can be interpreted to mean that catalogers are required to record up to four production statements, depending on the information provided on a published item (if there is no publication info, you have to record that there is no publication info, then if there is no distribution info, you have to record that there is no distribution info, then you have to record whether or not there is manufacturing info, then you have to record copyright info). The proposal would say that you only record the info you have, you don’t have to say what you don’t have, other than the publication info. The proposal was not passed, as a new issue was brought up as to whether or not we should even say we don’t have publication info.

My other committee work was on the Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee. We met to discuss the forum we had planned for later in the conference, as well as tossing around ideas for programming at Midwinter. We seem to be gravitating toward the idea of having something on Bibframe to both explain it in terms catalogers can understand and to relate Bibframe specifically to the concerns of continuing resources catalogers. The committee’s forum on Monday afternoon was the last business event I attended at the conference. It covered a lot of continuing resources/serials cataloging stuff that would be of no interest to anybody but me, but there was one bit of info that might be of general interest. Regina Reynolds from the Library of Congress said that the ISSN Center (the international agency that issues International Standard Serials Numbers to serial publications) is working to deal with publishers it deems to be predatory. By predatory they mean fly-by-night publishers who produce sub-standard material with titles and/or logos that are very similar to the titles and logos of highly respected publications, or titles that are otherwise deceptive and designed to cause confusion in the reader. If the ISSN Center deems a title to be predatory, they may revoke the title’s ISSN, making it much harder for the publisher to sell their publication.

Let’s see, what else? I attended a session on Schema.org that confused the heck out of me. I fear that it’s something that I’ll need to have explained to me three of four times before I start to get it (like with FRBR), although I had a follow-up conversation with Lauren Corbett that helped clear some of my confusion. I also talked with a rep from OCLC about their new KnowledgeBase and their Notification service. I’m particularly excited about the Notification service, because if we sign up for it, if a record we have our holdings attached to gets edited in the OCLC database (like say, if the record is upgraded from AACR2 cataloging to RDA cataloging), we would get sent the newly edited version of the record. With the bib records in OCLC changing so quickly these days, this service would be very useful. And it doesn’t cost anything extra, the price is included in our subscription. Now, when I hear a big company say that something doesn’t cost extra, that’s usually when I check to make sure my wallet is still there, but I grilled the guy from OCLC and it seems like it’s for real. Which was certainly nice to hear.

Reduced to Space Debris at ALA

Monday, July 7, 2014 9:28 am

ALA 2014, Las Vegas: I have never experienced heat like that in my life. A stroll down the street felt like reentry into the atmosphere; except in reverse, in that you are exiting terra firma in favor of somewhere surreal and inhospitable to human life…yet oddly fascinating. ALA 2014 will remain memorable for me on multiple fronts.

Number one, it was my first. While ALA is bigger than AALL (the annual law librarian conference), one doesn’t so much perceive it. The exhibit hall must have been larger, and I enjoyed meeting reps from several of our vendors. There was an entire aisle devoted to comic book/graphic novel publishers, which was pretty cool, and certainly very un-law-like. The variety in subject matter represented by the various vendors was impressive, and fun. One could spend the whole conference in there.

Without my exactly planning it, a central theme of my conference program schedule ended up being ebooks: their rising cost, challenges in managing them, and, unmistakably, their importance. At a program on the rapidly rising cost of DDA short-term loans, representatives from ProQuest, Wiley, and Oxford took the stage alongside librarian Alison Scott from UC-Riverside and attempted to explain recent and upcoming hikes in short-term loan rates. They emphasized that we have all essentially been in a pilot period during which the ebook market was shaking out, and what publishers have found is that present DDA models give away too much access for too little money in return. In other words they aren’t profitable enough to counterbalance reduced print book sales and cover costs. It’s a tough sell to librarians, to be sure, but I do respect the publishers’ willingness to try.

How are libraries supposed to afford such substantially higher STL prices? There we come to an impasse. Ms. Scott referred to this as a “moment of evolutionary punctuation” and disequilibrium not only in library budgeting but in the academic library’s mission at large. However, we as customers do have the somewhat weird advantage (if you can call it that) of a relationship of mutual dependence with the publishers and vendors in question. At the same time I was struck by the fundamental opposition of interests between the two sides. It’s an interesting predicament, and one that I do believe will have to resolve itself, both at the broader ebook market level and the local library budgetary level. We can’t cut everything; but if necessary we can cut some things. That is me bravely standing my ground, cautiously. (I actually believe we’ll be alright.)

I sat in on the meeting of the ALCTS Acquisitions Organization and Management Committee, which I am on as of 7/1. (I’ve also joined the ALCTS Planning Committee, but I couldn’t make that meeting.) I’m excited to be involved with ALA at this level. It’s a way for me to meet colleagues at other institutions; a chance to broaden my awareness and affect the profession; and an excuse to attend Midwinter, which next year is in my home state of Illinois (Chicago). The OMC discussed programming ideas ranging from the highly relevant to the yeah-let’s-not-do-that, as well as a short webinar series. I was glad that Lauren suggested I attend this meeting even though I wasn’t officially yet a member; it allowed me the opportunity to put in my two cents.

To sum up the rest: I attended sessions on RDA enrichment of existing AACR2 records (which we at ZSR will be doing too, via Backstage); Kanopy’s streaming video PDA service and its potential for high return on investment of video funds; with Carolyn, ebook workflow and the importance of the handoff from acquisitions to cataloging as well as a clear line for reporting access problems; and others. I know several of us went to the talk “The Quiet Strength of Introverts” by Jennifer Kahnweiler. Given that many back here in Resource Services would likely call themselves introverts (as did most librarians in the lecture hall by a show of hands), this seemed like a fitting last-day session for the conference. Ms. Kahnweiler used the example of Fred Rogers as a quiet influencer; I can’t think of a better person to emulate. Introverts are red-hot right now. I’ve also seen a Ted Talk on the same subject, and there are books. We seem to be having our day in the sun, whether we sought it or not.

Finally, I can’t not mention the fact that I intentionally ate jellyfish. Perhaps I had become disoriented by the heat.

My Last ALA

Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:11 pm

I attended my first ALA in 1977 in Detroit, where I got my heel stuck in the escalator at the Renaissance Center. My last ALA turned out to be Las Vegas this past week, and there has been a large slice of Americana in between. For the first time in many years, I had no committee meetings and no required appearances so I had the luxury of going to the programs I wanted to attend. As others have mentioned, because of the extreme heat and long distances to walk, it sometimes made sense to conserve energy and stay in one location – most often the Convention Center.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and intended to go to UNLV for a tour of their library but it took an hour to check into the hotel and an hour to go through the pre-registration line, so I only had time to make dinner with our former colleague Lauren Pressley. She is very happy and it was a pleasure to talk to her! Highlights from the weekend include [I will spare you the duds]:

I have been exercising with Jane Fonda since the 80′s, so I couldn’t miss her talk. She showed some real insights on adolescent behavior in her newest book. The highlight was when someone in the audience asked her to consider writing a book for pre-teens and after pausing a moment, she said, “alright, I will!”

Another talk was “Libraries in the Publishing Game,” a topic that I follow with personal interest. Speakers from Columbia and the California Digital Library described big-library programs that are not very realistic for us. However, Cyril Oberlander from SUNY Geneseo has shown a great deal of creativity in a library smaller than ours. I like that.

The EBSCO luncheon featured some fascinating observations from a qualitative study of student behavior. Here are some pearls about millennials that I tweeted:

Google is their mother. Google is their oxygen.

Skimming and scanning as forms of speed reading. We are no longer linear readers. [Including me]

Students say: It’s about me. Not you. Me. [Sound familiar, ZSR?]

I was happy to attend the program by our friends at Forsyth County Public Library on “People Experiencing Homelessness.” Elizabeth Skinner of FCPL and Raye Oldham from the State Library spoke.They demonstrated that reading is of critical importance to people experiencing homelessness and that libraries can make a difference. It is such a noble program and made me proud of Winston-Salem. We might want to invite Elizabeth to a future staff meeting to talk about it.

One of the best programs was one on diversity residencies at Penn State, Tennessee, and UNC-Greensboro. One of my biggest regrets at ZSR was not being able to establish a diversity residency. Some of their observations are that a cohort of 2 or 3 is better than a single person and that two years is better than one. Collaborative relationships and strong mentoring are key.

I also met up with former colleagues and friends from around the country. In an amazing coincidence, two of them chose the same restaurant for dinner on consecutive nights. There must be a thousand restaurants in Vegas and I had dinner at the same place Saturday and Sunday nights! View on the walk home:

And thus ends my ALA career!

 


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