Friday, June 24, 2016

Building Bridges with Logs: Collaborative Conversations about Discovery across Library Departments

The process of implementing a discovery tool can be filled with questions, and even after its implementations, questions about its efficacy and the quality of search results can remain. This article describes an interesting approach used by librarians at Virginia Commonwealth University to evaluate their discovery tool.

According to the article’s abstract:

“This article describes the use of discovery system search logs as a vehicle for encouraging constructive conversations across departments in an academic library. The project focused on bringing together systems and teaching librarians to evaluate the results of anonymized patron searches in order to improve communication across departments, as well as to identify opportunities for improvement to the discovery system itself.”

The authors of the article conclude that, overall, the experience was a positive one for the staff members involved and that it led to some valuable insight into the quality of the search results retrieved by the discovery tool.

Jimmy Ghaphery, Emily Owens, Donna Coghill, Laura Gariepy, Megan Hodge, Thomas McNulty, Erin White. Code4Lib Journal, Issue 32, April 2016,

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Upcoming Joint Reception of the CS/OBS/RIPS/TS Special Interest Sections (AKA the "Alphabet Soup Reception")

Alphabet soup

Calling all CS, OBS, RIPS & TS-SISers - While in Chicago for AALL this year, please stop by and have some fun during the Joint Reception of the CS/OBS/RIPS/TS Special Interest Sections (AKA the "Alphabet Soup Reception").
Joint Reception of the CS/OBS/RIPS/TS Special Interest Sections (AKA the "Alphabet Soup Reception").
WHERE:  Hyatt-Crystal Ballroom B
WHEN:  Saturday, July 16 from 7pm to 9pm
WHAT: Hors D'oeuvres and Drinks with Old and New Colleagues

Special thanks to Innovative Interfaces for their generous support in making this joint reception happen!

See you there!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Preventing Digital Government Information from Falling Through the [Preservation] Cracks

In the analog world the preservation of government information has a clear flow. Content is created by a federal agency. When the need arises for distribution, it is sent to GPO (Government Publishing Office) and when the time comes to archive materials for the permanent record, they go to NARA (National Archives and Records Administration). Today this workflow is still effective for print materials, however much of the content produced by government agencies is no longer produced in an analog form, which means that the flow of content through GPO and NARA doesn’t happen in the same way, and potentially not at all.

To address these concerns, the Digital Preservation of Federal Information Summit was held in San Antonio in early April. This meeting looked at the need for cross-sector collaboration to preserve and provide access to digital government information that may be falling through the cracks without an updated workflow to address the temporariness of web-based content. The end result was a report that outlines the events’ sessions and outcomes including discussions about the need for an environmental scan, development for a coalition of interested institutions representing the public and private sectors, and the need for a common vocabulary. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

A taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organizations

Gross, Tina. "Naming and reframing: a taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organization," Knowledge organization, 42, no. 5 (2015): 263-268.

It seems like technical services departments, cataloging practitioners and the entire concept of knowledge organization are under continual attack. Technical services librarians and functions are portrayed as outdated, rigid and expensive. The work of providing bibliographic description and access to resources can be outsourced or done "automagically". Someone else can do it cheaper/better/faster, and everyone uses Google to find things anyway, so who cares!

Tina Gross, Catalog Librarian at St. Cloud State University, has devised a taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organization grounded in the idea that naming and defining a concept gives us the power.

The terms in the taxonomy are:

Embracing austerity
Advocating parasitism
Disregarding quality
Imputing pedantry
Vender mystification
Search technology mystification
Distorting user behavior
Change cudgeling

Each term is defined, variants and subcategories are identified and a brief narrative example given.

Explication of our shared experience of attacks on knowledge organization can help us think through the arguments that support our work to better counter attacks and defend our collective value. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FRBR Library Reference Model and Community Responses

In February of this year, IFLA released for world-wide review a draft of FRBR-Library Reference Model (FRBR-LRM), a model that, according to the blog post about its release, was developed “in response to the need to unify the three separately developed conceptual models (FRBR, FRAD, FRSAD) and consolidate them into a single, consistent model covering all aspects of bibliographic data.” Comments on the proposed model were invited, with a deadline of May 1, 2016. To aid in evaluation of the model, a Transition Mapping document, describing the differences between the old FRBR, FRAD, and FRSAD models and the new, unified FRBR-LRM.

Many prominent library communities and organizations, including the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), ALA’s Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA), and the National Library of Medicine, issued responses to the draft model. Their responses have been collected and are available for viewing. It is interesting to read these responses and ponder what effect the new FRBR model will have on cataloging in the future.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Is it cost-effective to purchase print books when the equivalent e-book is available?

The aim of this study was to analyze and compare print and electronic book usage for equivalent core clinical titles at the University of South Alabama Biomedical Library collection from 2010 to 2014 to determine format preference and if it would be necessary to purchase identical books in both electronic and print formats. The purpose of purchasing print books that are also available in electronic format is to meet the preferences of some users who prefer to read print format. Usage of 60 core books both in print and electronic formats was compared. Usage statistics were generated from the library’s integrated library system for the print books—both those used in the library and checked out of the library. Electronic usage statistics of the same titles were generated from COUNTER reports; then titles in both formats were compared to determine format preference and whether it is cost-effective to purchase books in both print and electronic formats.

Li, Jie, Journal of Hospital Librarianship, Volume 16 Issue 1, 2016

Creating solutions instead of solving problems: emerging roles for technical services departments

As library services shift from a transactional to a transformational approach, the role of technical services is also changing from problem solver to solution creator. Solution creators recognize patterns, anticipate needs, and focus on skill sets and ability. It is a holistic approach that emphasizes creativity and innovation. By focusing on “what if” and the open exchange of ideas, leaders create a learning environment that encourages a growth mindset with a belief in potential. Individuals have the freedom to explore, question, and seek alternative solutions. Solution creators possess a combination of soft skills and technical ability, who contribute to the library's role of content creator.

Gibson, Sally, Technical Services Quarterly, volume 33 issue 2, 2016