Monday, June 22, 2009

Preservation Committee Yearly Summary

Outgoing Preservation Committee Chair Hermann has asked that I (as outgoing secretary of the committee) post a summary of the committee's activities over the past year.


Our main concern this past year was addressing the preservation issues brought on by recent policy changes, specifically 24/5 *and* allowing food in the library. Both of these together means much more trash is left in the library, especially on the weekends when we have no trash service. This could lead to bug and rodent infestation.

-Members of the preservation committee took photographs of the trash and recycling bins on a Sunday afternoon, and presented these photos as well as a summary of our concerns to Rosann, who agreed that our concerns were significant and asked that we work with Michael Crumpton, who is now a member of the preservation committee, to address them.

-Carolyn worked with Ben Kuka (Office of Waste Reduction & Recycling) to secure 20 new recycling bins for the tower. Each tower floor now has 3 commingled bins, plus bins for each group study space. Michael also ordered 20 lidded trashcans, to help keep the food garbage from the detection of hungry six-legged scavengers. We will have five additional trash cans for the library first floor when school starts.

-We brought up the need for library staff to be aware of food trash at the yearly library meeting, and thanks go to Melvina for her weekly trash removal reminder emails.

-We have also looked into weekend trash service and installing clean-up stations in the tower, but each of these items remains on hold due to budget/staffing/liability concerns.

-We have also begun planning a public relations campaign to encourage students to help us keep the library infestation-free. Stefani has designed bookmarks and table "tent" signs encouraging awareness of common preservation concerns, and a subcommittee led by Stacey is working on videos, including one featuring a giant cockroach and one for the theme of "your mother doesn't work here (but what if she did?)."


Additional points:

-The committee decided to do the HF Group tour every other year to benefit new members.

-We do not want to do another preservation self-assessment until after renovations have commenced, but we can make the existing completed worksheets available to the designer.

-"Book-friendlier" bookdrops are on hold until we have money for them, but our outdoor bookdrop relocation might help-- Audrey Sage will keep the committee informed.

-Drain flies in the basement women's restroom: housekeeping added "liquid live" treatment twice a week.



Anectdotal evidence shows that housekeeping likes having fewer small bins to empty and students support our efforts to be greener.


Moving forward:

Hermann and Michelle are rotating off the committee. Beth Ann Koelsch and Jennifer Motszko have joined. The new Committee Chair is Beth Ann, with Stacey Krim as Secretary.

Friday, June 19, 2009

4th Annual Metrolina Library Association Info Lit Conference

Yesterday, Lynda and I went to the Metrolina Library Association Info Lit conference in Charlotte. It's a great conference that always has interesting keynotes and sessions. Plus, it's at Johnson and Wales University, so the food is always good. Since most of you probably aren't terribly interested in IL, I'll just throw a few relevant points at ya.

1. She used the phrase "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood Syndrome". This means that every library thinks it's special and can't use anybody else's idea since it's so unique. Won't you be my neighbor?
2. Self-studies are good. We should probably do one to see what it is we're actually doing here.

Our session
1. Was awesome. You shoulda been there.
2. I don't have notes on it because I lived it.
3. Take a look at our powerpoint if you are bored!

Library Instruction 2.0
1. Led by a colleague of former intern Amanda Click at American University in Cairo.
2. Lots of discussion of different technologies
3. The Ref Desk at Perkins Library @ Duke Twitters. Cool!

Evidence-Based Librarianship
1. A good way to gather evidence to improve services
2. Cool open-access journal called Evidence Based Library and Information Practice
3. I need to learn more about this.

There were also poster sessions, one of which was from two recently graduated interns Keeley and Kathy. They represented the University Libraries well. Overall, it was an awesome conference and a chance for me to meet up with other instructionophiles from libraries across NC. And (note to self) I probably shouldn't write these posts on Friday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From the Staff Development Committee’s “Open House Sub-Committee”

Over the past year, many people in departments throughout the Jackson Library and the Music Library hosted “Open Houses” inviting peers into their realms to experience what each department does for our patrons and faculty.

Through the Staff Development Committee and organized by the Open House Sub-Committee, the University Libraries staff was invited to visit each department for an hour where brief tours were performed of the departments, snacks were shared, and most importantly staff were given a chance to meet or re-acquaint with the faces behind all the great accomplishments that are done daily.

Although it was fun to see the “aged” donut in Preservation Services and to get a look at the Music Library’s organ, the intent of each open house was to bring to light the individuals who bring the University Libraries to life each and every day. Interest was regularly high with attendance by 20-25 people for each open house. Also, departments added their own personal touch by providing snacks – many of which were homemade and amazing!

The departments that participated in the open house program were SCUA, Reference, Access Services, Music Library, ERIT, Preservation Services, Acquisitions and Cataloging. The Administration Office will have an open house in the fall of ’09.

Thank you to everyone who attended the open houses and also, of course, thank you to the hosts of each open house as they invited their peers into their workspaces! Watch for the Administration Office open house in the fall and for the next round of open houses sometime in the future.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Annual meeting of the Ohio Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association (OETDA) in Columbus, Ohio

On April 2nd and 3rd, I attended the annual meeting of the Ohio Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association (OETDA) in lovely Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Downtown Columbus, from )

Hosted by the Ohio State University, the conference was a veritable feast of information on every aspect of ETDs: cataloging, metadata conversion tools, embargoes, reviewing, preservation plans, repositories, file format standards, and more. (Photo: OSU campus)

Why Ohio? Aside from the fact that I have family there, this conference was worth the trip because Ohio has been a leader in the development of ETD programs and procedures. This leadership is the latest iteration of Ohio’s tradition of innovation in library automation, from the birth of OCLC in the 1960s to the 1996 debut of OhioLINK, the statewide, consortial online catalog.

In 2001 OhioLINK opened its ETD Center, a freely accessible database or shared institutional repository for scholarship from Ohio colleges and universities. The ETD Center utilizes the Open Access Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to enable retrieval of ETD metadata in any one of three formats: Dublin Core (DC), a customized DC known as ETD Metadata Standard (ETD-MS), and now also MARCXML, the web-transmissible format for MARC catalog records.

The first morning’s program was billed as a “Cataloger’s Showcase.” We heard from Michael Farmer, head of cataloging at Ohio University, who catalogs each of their 300 ETDs per year and estimates he has now done about 5,000 of them. Michael Kreyche and Sevim McCutcheon, Systems Librarian and Catalog Librarian, described Kent State’s ETD cataloging process. Kreyche discussed the OhioLINK ETD MARC Cataloging Interface, which he recently designed to generate MARC records for ETDs. McCutcheon talked us through Kent State’s ETD cataloging process, reminding us that OCLC guidelines say “digital originals should be treated as published items,” so ETDs (unlike their paper predecessors) are considered published items rather than manuscripts. We also heard from Susan Banoun, cataloging head at the University of Cincinnati, and Rocki Strader, who catalogs ETDs at the Ohio State University.

That afternoon, Thomas Dowling talked about developments at the OhioLINK ETD Center, where he is Assistant Director of Library Services. He provided some fascinating statistical tidbits, such as the nations originating the greatest number of downloads (India and China, after the US) and which files are most often or widely downloaded. This year’s “winner” for the most downloads (9633) is “Characterization of Vertical Interconnects in 3-D Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (3-D MMIC)” by Qinghua (George) Kang, and with 2788 unique download locations, the most widely accessed ETD is “Flutists’ Family Tree: In Search of the American Flute School” by Demetra Baferos Fair.

The first day’s session concluded with the enthusiastic John Hagen, Manager of West Virginia University’s Institutional Repository, providing updates on the ETD 2009 annual conference of the Networked Digital Libraries of Thesis and Dissertation (NDLTD), which I will attend next week in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo: downtown Pittsburgh.)

After a great dinner at the Faculty Club, I enjoyed another night’s stay at the luxurious Blackwell Inn, “the only on-campus hotel and conference center at The Ohio State University.”

The following day’s program began with a talk by Kristy Webber, Survey Director at the Survey of Earned Doctorates, with updates and information on data collection and processing issues. She was followed by Angela McCutcheon, Director of ETD at Ohio University, who shared their methods for assuring manuscripts are placed online accurately, reducing rework, and establishing procedures and policies for highly functional ETD operations. The next presenter was a ProQuest/UMI representative who described the process used to handle and review thesis/dissertation documents, and the conference concluded with an Adobe representative who did his utmost to persuade us of our need for the latest version of Acrobat.

Once again, the OETDA conference (my second) provided useful and timely information, great networking, and a generally pleasant experience. If you want to know even more, many presentation materials are available online!

Friday, June 5, 2009

There are other geeks like me!!

I adore a good librarian-focused conference like ALA or ACRL, but I often have to explain my position to other attendees—“No, I’m not a metadata cataloger. No, I don’t work in the IT department with servers.” Public service oriented data librarians are becoming a more common breed in smaller libraries and are able to ban together in a professional organization just for them and other data professionals. This organization is IASSIST, the International Association for Social Science Information Service & Technology. IASSIST’s membership is wide-ranging—from data librarians in reference departments to data archivists to data producers. The common interest is data—numeric, spatial and otherwise.

Because IASSIST is an international organization, the site for its annual conference rotates between the United States, Canada, and other countries throughout the world (usually in Europe). The 35th annual conference was held in Tampere, Finland and was hosted by the Finnish Social Science Data Archive, which was celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Tampere is 2 hours north of Helsinki, Finland. I will write a separate post in Jackson Leaks about the trip.

The annual conference always covers a wide range of topics from statistical literacy to different data sources to metadata standards for datasets.Often the sessions will present new projects and projects under development at various libraries and data archives. Below is a sampling of projects and presentations:
  • Ryan Womack at Rutgers University has been using Captivate to create video tutorials on various data sources. Check out his blog for more information. I have been doing a similar thing with a free software called Jing, but the cool thing about Captivate is that it allows for direct export to YouTube. His video on World Development Indicators has had more hits than the official WorldBank videos!
  • Moscow State University unveiled its University Information System that provides access to socioeconomic data from the Russian National Statistics Office. Students can graph, map and create timelines of available data. The site is currently in Russian, but they plan to create an English version in the future.
  • The International Household Survey Network is a network of international organizations including the World Bank that work to improve the quality and use of survey data in developing countries. They currently provide lots of data collection and analysis guides and recommendations. They are creating a Question Bank that will be a repository for questions, indicators and more where users will be able to find sample questions and get assistance. It will hopefully launch in September 2009. I can’t wait to see it!
  • Michael Batty from the University College of London Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) gave our final plenary. He discussed their efforts to present data visually using a wide range of web technologies. A major project is MapTube which allows sharing and mashing of maps and features a new map daily. CASA is doing some really cool stuff. I would check out their website for some visualization fun!
Overall, this was the most useful conference I attended this year. I expect grand things from my IASSIST peeps and they always deliver!