Professional Development

2013 ILLiad Conference

Thursday, April 4, 2013 4:08 pm

My 9th OCLC ILLiad conference got off to a rough start. On my way to Virginia Beach I got a speeding ticket – 76 in a 60 zone. I was NOT running late or in a hurry. I was just in the groove – new Richard Thompson on the stereo, sun roof open, southeastern Virginia lowlands wizzing by….(I don’t suppose I can submit the fine and subsequent increase in insurance premiums on the travel reimbursement form can I?)

ILLiad, in addition to being a misspelling of an epic poem, is the software package we use to handle interlibrary loan and document delivery requests. It also controls the requesting web pages. It is a complex piece of software that allows for copious amounts of customization. The ILLiad conference is a chance for 350+ users of this software to get together and show off, swap ideas and corner the software developers. It is also one of the few national conferences devoted to all things interlibrary loan. (more on that later.)

I enjoy this conference because I always learn something. Most things are very specific to ILLiad use and I won’t bore you with those. But I will share parts of my experience that might be of interest.

First, the conference came with its own smartphone app. Don’t laugh; this is a first for me. The app included my conference schedule, map of the hotel and twitter feed. The conference sponsors would push out announcements through the app to keep everyone informed. This included a message 3 days before the conference reminding me it was time to pack.

I found myself using the app mainly to follow the twitter feed. Tweeting (I think it should be called ‘twittering’) was rampant throughout the conference – a constant running commentary on presentations, poster sessions, restaurant choices, snow flurry sightings….etc. Imagine thought bubbles forming and popping constantly. I found it interesting to read what other people attending the same presentation found worth noting. Did it add to the conference experience? Yes. But it was also a distraction and I could comment on our constant need to be DOING when we should be LISTENING, but I won’t.

The keynote was by Liz Bishoff, longtime librarian turned consultant. Her talk, “Strategies for Sustainability: Resource Sharing in the Digital World” started off with a broad definition of sustainability – the capacity to endure. I like that. She then displayed this sustainability venn diagram.

I’ve never thought about sustainability in this way before. The rest of Ms. Bishoff’s talk consisted of a trip down interlibrary loan memory lane complete with requisite images of a card catalog, the NUC and an OCLC dedicated terminal. I think this was partly an educational exercise for the speaker – she admitted limited experience with interlibrary loan. While I found this part of the talk less useful, I do plan to delve deeper into this model of sustainability as it applies to libraries. Stay tuned…

One of my favorite sessions was on the current state of international interlibrary loan – “Borders without Barriers”. I see this as the last frontier of interlibrary loan. Borrowing and lending within the U.S. has gotten pretty standard and streamlined. But beyond that, it is a wilderness of customs and copyright and time zones and language. The session, while short on answers, did wet my appetite to get more involved with efforts to makes international interlibrary loan better.

The conference ended with something called an Unconference. At this point there were still about 200 people left. An organizer asked the room for topics of interest. These could be related to presentations or things not covered. I proposed privacy policies. Others topics included services to distance learners, cross-training students, database clean-up, statistical reports, scanning, troublesome faculty….about 20 in all.

Each topic was written on a table tent and placed on a table in the conference hall. Then we went to a table of interest and discussed the topic with the others there. Every 20 minutes, the organizer would prompt us to move to a different table if we wanted. This went on for 2 hours.

I learned that no one has an easy answer to the privacy issue; that many libraries of all sizes have combined their access services student work forces, and that no one is happy with their scanning situation.

A final thought on the importance of this conference as a venue for “all things interlibrary loan”. There are 2 pieces of information highlighted on the ILLiad conference name page. One is my institution’s OCLC symbol (EWF in case you were wondering.) The other is my first name. All kinds of cross institutional collaboration goes on in library land, but in interlibrary loan this happens tens of thousands of times a day. The ILLiad conference is a chance to put faces and names to OCLC symbols, hang out with kindred spirits and tell people in person how much you appreciate the support they give you every day. I really, really like that.

 

 

 

 

Ellen M. at 2012 ILLiad International Conference

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 3:30 pm

Braving a hail storm on our way, Anna Dulin and I attended the 2012 ILLiad International Conference in Virginia Beach, VA on Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23. The conference is held by Atlas Systems, the company responsible for ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery) and Ares (Course Reserves). This was their 15th anniversary so Wednesday evening there was a Birthday Bash complete with a conga line of librarians. (No worries about stray pictures on Facebook or Flickr, we abstained.)

On Thursday morning, the keynote speaker was Jay Jordon, President and CEO of OCLC. He has been president since 1998 and gave an overview of the history of the growth of OCLC. I myself started working in ILL in 1999 so I could relate to the stages of development and how the OCLC interface has changed. On the subject of change, he gave examples of corporations that were not able to quickly adapt such as Kodak and Polaroid. He spoke about taking risks and quoted Wayne Gretzky saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Citing the book, “The Age of the Platform” by Phil Simon, Mr. Jordon introduced OCLC’s next big venture, the WorldShare Platfom. The book tells how Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have entered into partnerships with companies that could be perceived as competitors. Mr. Jordan described the concept as coopetition. The WorldShare Platform will incorporate an “App Gallery” of applications built by OCLC, libraries and OCLC partners (EBSCO, Ex Libris, Google Books, etc.) with the web services, databases and infrastructure of OCLC. Overall, it was an interesting perspective of where Mr. Jordan plans to take OCLC.

Next, I attended a session about the development of Harvard’s electronic document delivery program, “Scan & Deliver”. Because Harvard has so many libraries, they decided to create a program that would provide scanned articles and chapters to their patrons rather than sending books between libraries. Requests are placed through a “Scan & Deliver” link that appears in their combined OPAC next to eligible items. (Eligible items would include those items not checked out and not on hold for course reserves.) Clicking on the link opens a pre-populated form that is then sent to the appropriate library through ILLiad. They use the borrowing feature in ILLiad as opposed to document delivery because each Harvard library has its own OCLC symbol. The article/chapter is then delivered directly to their patron via e-mail. While many of the features of this program are similar to what we do here at ZSR the main differences are that the link is located right next to the item so the correlation and option is obvious, the service is available to students as well as faculty and staff, and they do not charge for the service.

After lunch we attended, “Taking Cloud-based Delivery to New Heights: The future of delivery from OCLC,” which was presented by Katie Birch who oversees WorldCat Resource Sharing at OCLC. Following up on the keynote presentation and with Jay Jordan in the audience, Ms. Birch solicited ideas for the WorldShare Platform App Gallery. There were many “wish-list” suggestions. One of the apps that has already been submitted maps the location of a book in your stacks guiding you there with a line to show the path to take. Another one compares your library holdings to the NY Times Best Seller List and then creates an Amazon order for missing books. It was an interesting glimpse of the possibilities of the App Gallery.

The last session I attended was, “Juggling the 3-Ring Circus of Student Employees”. Dianne Davenport of Brigham Young University spoke about her experience supervising student employees in an ILL department. While much of the advice was common sense it was good to be reminded that taking extra time to train the students well, ultimately saves time. She recommended 3 “main ingredients” to having effective student employees. 1) Quality training. 2) Feeling empowered. 3) Supervisor follow up.

On Friday we had the privilege of presenting a program outlining the communication efforts between Interlibrary Loan and Special Collections & Archives here at ZSR. Our program was entitled, Preserving and Sharing: Bridging the Gap Between ILL and Special Collections. We were pleased with the audience engagement and hope our presentation was an encouragement to other ILL departments.

Web-Scale Management Services Seminar

Thursday, November 18, 2010 1:36 pm

Tuesday I attended a workshop on OCLC’s WebScale service. The workshop was a joint offering from OCLC and Lyrasis held at the Durham Public Library. DPL, OCLC and Lyrasis were excellent hosts as we had wifi, coffee, and lunch (I chose a basil, tomato, mozzarella sandwich).


We started the day with an exploratory talk by Tim Rodgers about the ‘cloud.’ Tim talked about a number of interesting topics and touched on some key reasons why libraries are interested in cloud computing (Expertise & $$ were key reasons). These are compelling reasons for any institution but I was struck with a statistic that Tim used – there is a county library system in NC that only has a budget of $7.50 per resident as compared to a national average of ~$20 per resident. Combined with the fact that this county is small and sparsely populated and the expertise and money arguments become very compelling.

We spent most of the rest of our day learning about OCLC’s service, talking with our fellow workshop attendees, and seeing OCLC’s services in action. There were lots of interesting features but perhaps the most compelling image that I saw came from one of the presentation slides that drove home two key ideas: First, a key focus of their presentation was the integration of work-flows with external data. They demonstrated an Amazon ordering plug-in that used web-services to exchange data between the two systems. Second, the discussion emphasized the idea that running services on a combined database and in a shared environment enables new data services (content aggregation, discovery, analytics, testing, sharing).

The demo portion included some interesting questions about specific features and when they would be available. I will not try to comment on specific development cycles and feature availability but suffice it to say that while there are lots of features now, some of the stuff you need is still coming. Generally speaking Circ seemed to be a bit more complete than Acq but they had a vision for how the system would evolve over the next year.

It was an interesting day. I got to speak with folks from Lyrasis about hosting & open source systems, with folks from Elizabeth City State University about libraries and their IT needs and got to learn a lot about OCLC & their Web Scale Management Service system. If you are curious there are lots of links, presentations and videos on the OCLC site http://www.oclc.org/webscale/default.htm.

There will be a webinar on December 2nd with OCLC that includes a live demo of functionality.

Webinar: RDA and OCLC

Friday, October 30, 2009 4:09 pm

On Oct. 30, Leslie attended a webinar hosted by OCLC, detailing OCLC’s preparations for the soon-to-be-released new cataloging rules, RDA (Resource Description and Access), which will succeed AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules), the standard that has been in place for the last 30 or so years.

A poll of webinar attendees, posing the question “How is your institution responding to RDA?”, produced the following responses: 200+ are presently reading material and attending sessions on RDA; 85 are waiting to see how others proceed; 3 are currently changing their cataloging practices; and a small number do not plan to implement RDA.

An attendee asked: Will libraries be forced (by OCLC) to adopt RDA? The answer: No, we can continue to enter data in AACR2 for the forseeable future. The presenters noted that, while RDA has proven controversial in the United States, it has been received more positively in the UK and Australia — prompting OCLC to proceed early with RDA development, to meet the demand of its international clientele.

The planned release date of the RDA online manual is November of 2009 (http://www.rdaonline.org/). In the six months following the manual’s release, a project to test the new rules will be conducted by the three U.S. national libraries (LC, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agriculture Library). A group of test participants, representing libraries and archives of all types, as well as cataloging agencies (firms that provide cataloging for other institutions), will work with a core set of materials, representing all the major categories, plus other materials usual to the participating institutions, cataloging them in both AACR2 and RDA. Qualitative and quantitative feedback will be solicited, and the test results will be made public. OCLC presenters noted that, since the testers will be working in OCLC’s live production mode, we will see RDA records contributed to OCLC products such as WorldCat.

Catalogers will no doubt already be aware of the planned changes to the MARC21 record format, in preparation for RDA (http://www.loc.gov/marc/formatchanges-RDA.html). OCLC plans to make the new fields, codes, etc. available in Connexion (OCLC’s input interface for catalogers) before the testing period. Connexion users will be alerted in a future Technical Bulletin.

A webinar attendee asked if OCLC would be providing a new data-input template for RDA. While OCLC is currently working on an interface that incorporates RDA’s controlled vocabulary, the presenters noted that participants in the testing project would be working primarily with MARC21 records, and that “most of us will be working with MARC for some time to come.” They recommend that we follow the test reports, and wait for the results, before jumping in and implementing RDA.

A recording of the webinar will be posted on OCLC’s website (http://www.oclc.org/us/en/default.htm).

ALA Midwinter 2009, Denver, Lauren Corbett

Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:11 pm

ALA Midwinter 2009, Denver,Lauren Corbett

CONTENTS

  • Committee work for Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) division of ALA :

oContinuing Resources Section (CRS)

oBudget & Finance Committee (B&F)

oAcquisitions Section (AS)

  • Time in the exhibits to meet with vendors, foreign in particular
  • Forum on WorldCat Records Transfer Policy and Guidelines

Fulfilling CRS and B&F Committee Responsibilities

For those who aren’t familiar, ALA has Divisions such as Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) and Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).Then within the ALCTS Division are numerous sections, including Continuing Resources Section (CRS) and Acquisitions Section (AS).Some committees operate on behalf of the entire division and members of such committees are designated from each section.I’m working with the Budget & Finance Committee (B&F), at the ALCTS Division level, liaising from and to the CRS.This work took the majority of my time.

The CRS meeting was information sharing about association activities and goals, supportingthe ALCTS Strategic Plan, and program/preconference planning for ALA Annual in 2010.Program planning for conferences begins 18 months in advance and includes the vetting of the program topics, coordination between different sections to eliminate overlapping content in programs and to make agreements to co-plan programs.

B&F meets two different times during the weekend in order to review the fiscal year that just closed (FY 2008), to examine the first quarter reports from the current fiscal year, and to vet and approve a budget plan for the next fiscal year (FY2010) to be presented to the ALCTS Board at their Monday meeting. We squint at lots of spreadsheets with tiny print since the level of access by the Executive Director of ALCTS doesn’t let him manipulate them.

Acquisitions Section and Becoming Chair

I also attended the All Committee meeting of the ALCTS Acquisitions Section, since I learned that I’m running unopposed for Chair of the section in the spring election.All committees of a section meet at the same time in a single room, allowing the section leaders to talk with each committee by moving from table to table.I took the opportunity to get acquainted with each committee in Acquisitions Section, since I have primarily worked with the CRS in the past.I learned that Bill Kane is the new Chair of the Policy and Planning Committee of the Acquisitions Section.

Unless a write-in campaign defeats me, I’ll serve as Vice Chair of ALCTS Acquisitions Section starting in July of 2009, which means in the fall I’ll be reviewing large numbers (I hope) of volunteer forms and try to make the best possible appointments to committees, replacing members who are rotating out.Then in July of 2010, I will become Chair and will plan and lead meetings of the Executive Committee of the section at Midwinter and Annual Conferences as well as attending ALCTS Board meetings.Being an ALCTS Board member and Chair of a section usually eliminates time for visiting vendors in the exhibits.

Meeting Foreign Vendors

Since I’m not yet on the ALCTS Board, I did schedule meetings with two vendors in direct response to inquiries from our faculty.First, Latin American Studies would benefit from a steady source of reliable information regarding new scholarly publications in Spanish that would be of interest to us.I met with a vendor to discuss starting an electronic notification service. Second, Romance Languages would benefit from an approval plan, which has been of interest to Spanish in particular for many years. I met with a European vendor to discuss parameters to start a notification plan.After refinement we may be able to arrange some automatic shipments for new academic publications and give firm order attention to more specialized items.The trick is to set very narrow parameters when working with a small amount of money.This is why it became very important to use the opportunity to discuss back and forth with the vendors in person.

Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records

I attended a forum early on Monday morning, which was advertised like this:

ALCTS Forum: Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data: the OCLC Record Use Policy and Libraries

In November, OCLC announced OCLC’s proposed “Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records.” This announcement was greeted with criticism and concern from the cataloguing and library communities. The main issue, among others, has been the “reasonable use” clause, seen as restricting the rights to use records, including ones libraries added. Karen Calhoun of OCLC, Brian Schottlaender, Peter Murray and John Mark Ockerbloom will discuss the background and implications of the change in relations to shared library data.

Library Journal.com has already published a good summary ( http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6632413.html ) but the three presenters have all posted content online and you can go to the primary sources, all linked from the last paragraph of the blog from Murray (aka the Disruptive Library Technology Jester) at http://dltj.org/article/oclc-records-use-policy-2/.

Briefly, Karen Calhoun of OCLC made a presentation clarifying the need and intent of the update to the Policy, the first update in 21 years, followed by presentations by two librarians who were concerned that the updated guidelines would stifle creative use.One primary impetus for the updated guidelines, protecting the WorldCat records as a financial asset of the Cooperative (OCLC members), was briefly touched upon in multiple presentations.Brian Schottlaender was not actually a presenter, but a facilitator and summarized the main points of the three speakers with some commentary and then facilitated questions and answers.Most of the librarians present, speakers and audience members alike, had a lot of questions about who really owns the records.

If you really want to pursue one more perspective on this later, eventually there should be a post-conference report from an attendee in the ALCTS Online Newsletter (ANO) http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alcts/resources/ano/index.cfm .

Denver airport around lunchtime on 1/26/09 — see how short the visibility range is?

Cincinnati airport midmorning on 1/27/09 — see how the snow followed me eastward?


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