Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting to Know TS Law Librarians: Anna Lawless-Collins

1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
My name is Anna Lawless-Collins and I’m the Associate Director for Systems and Collection Services  at the Boston University School of Law Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not? 
My title is vague enough to encompass what I do.  I oversee the Collection Services department, which includes library systems.  I used to be the Collection Development Librarian and those duties rolled into this position as well.  I supervise the department staff and do the administrative work, and work with the library’s management team to guide the department and the library into the future, which is where the associate director duties come in.  I really depend on the strong team in the department to keep us moving and provide excellent service.

3. What are you reading right now? 
I like to have a few books going at the same time so I can change what I’m reading depending on my mood.  I’m currently reading Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers, Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, and LaFayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell.  

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I would love to be a children’s librarian.  I love helping kids connect with reading.  I used to sub in elementary school libraries and had such a great time, and the librarian in my hometown was a huge part of my own childhood.  For now I have to settle with talking about books with the kids in my own life.

Friday, October 21, 2016

ISNIs and ORCIDS - the impact of identifiers

A recent post in The Scholarly Kitchen, Why persistent identifiers deserve their own festival got me thinking about the use of identifiers and how these might transform traditional technical services tasks. A post by Karen Smith-Yoshimura in, Impact of identifiers on authority workflows, describes explicitly how the use of identifiers could simplify and enhance the process of associating works and creators. In fact, we are told that use of identifiers is essential to shifting bibliographic description out of MARC into a linked data environment. The implementation of personal identifiers is strongest in the sciences, but their use is expanding into the social sciences and humanities.

According to their website, ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) is an
ISO certified global standard number for identifying the millions of contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution, including researchers, inventors, writers, artists, visual creators, performers, producers, publishers, aggregators, and more. It is part of a family of international standard identifiers that includes identifiers of works, recordings, products and right holders in all repertoires.

NACO and OCLC plan to incorporate ISNIs in the 024  field of LC/NACO authority records as part of the long delayed RDA authority file conversion phase 3B.

ORCID  is a subset of ISNI - a block of identifiers reserved for authors and researchers. ORCID's mission is to provide
an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship, and innovation activities. We provide open tools that enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions, and affiliations. We provide this service to help people find information and to simplify reporting and analysis.
Author's and researchers can register with ORCID, then share their ORCID ID with their institution. My institution, Cornell University, is actively encouraging faculty in all fields to establish ORCID IDs. Use of identifiers makes it possible to precisely identify authors without the squishy ambiguity of parsing out character strings.

Curious about the persistent identifier festival? PIDapalooza is scheduled for November 9-10, 2016 in Reykjavík.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Project COUNTER Wants to Hear More from You about Hidden Metrics!

With the increasing diversity of scholarly communication systems providing us with a constant influx of new ways to share information with one another, search out content and access materials, traditional usage statistics may fall short in telling the story of the value of research and scholarship – from the perspective of those conducting the research and producing the scholarly pieces, those providing online access to these works, and those using the associated usage statistics to inform collection management decisions and calculating cost per use.

Publisher’s content can be scattered across multiple platforms, including institutional repositories and scholarly social network sites as well as aggregators such as EBSCO and ProQuest, so single platform usage metrics may be limiting.  Additionally, alternative metrics such as likes, shares, tweets and citations on Wikipedia can communicate important information to both consumers and providers.

In response to the landscape changes that result in increasingly hidden usage, COUNTER is working with Information Power Limited to undertake research into a new method of reporting called “Distributed Usage Logging” which enables publishers to provide reports on “total usage” regardless of where that usage happens. Such reports could also provide more details in the emerging altmetrics field, such as shares and tweets.

At this point, COUNTER needs your help!  They’d like to discover what additional data would be useful to YOU, as librarians, institutional repository managers, publishers and vendors.  So take a moment to fill out their survey and let your voice be heard. It consists of short question and should take no more than ten minutes to fill out.

I reached out to Lorraine Estelle, Director of COUNTER, and she provided me with some background information about the project as well as a link to the following slideshow presented at the Fall SSP Seminar on September 16, 2015 at Washington DC:

CrossRef Distributed Usage Logging Pilot from Victoria Rao, MS

For additional information about hidden usage and metrics from a law librarian perspective, check out what some of our AALL colleagues have to say:

Be sure to respond to the COUNTER survey by October 15th!  

Your responses will help formulate developments in this area of work, and results will be shared in summary format on the COUNTER website.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Getting to Know TS Law Librarians: Travis Spence

1. Introduce yourself (name & position).
Travis Spence. Head of Technical Services at the Cracchiolo Library of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
I think it does, however, the description  of what is “Technical Services” changes as the profession evolves. I still work in some of the traditional roles and methods of acquisitions and cataloging, but also need to stay aware of how technology is changing what I do. Adaptability is key, as Technical Services takes on more data management and online access responsibilities. Technical Services can mean a lot of different things now. 

3. What are you reading right now?
For nonfiction, I’ve been reading, Letting Go of Legacy Services: Library Cases Studies, edited by Mary Evangeliste and Katherine Furlong. It has a lot of thought-provoking stories about libraries that have given up practices that were once indispensable but can now drain resources and prevent libraries from adapting to users' new needs.

For fiction, I’ve just started Farthing, by Jo Walton, a murder mystery set in an alternate history where the UK backed out of World War II after making peace with Germany.If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I think I'd enjoy managing a completely online library someday. I'm intrigued by the challenges of providing users with seamless access to curated resources and research services, no matter where they are or when they need information.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

NISO Launches New Project to Create a Flexible API Framework for E-Content in Libraries

On August 25, 2016, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced a new project relating to APIs and data about electronic content in libraries.

Full text of the NISO announcement:

Voting Members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved a new project to modernize library-vendor technical interoperability to improve the access of digital library content and electronic books. Building upon a set of API (Application Programming Interface) Requirements developed by Queens Library, a new NISO Working Group will create a foundational API set that the library community can build on. This set will fulfill an array of user and library needs, including quicker response times, flexible item discovery and delivery options, improved resource availability, and more seamless integration of electronic and physical resources.

Library patrons should expect an excellent user experience and requisite level of convenience should be built into all customer-facing tools that service library patrons. This project is being undertaken to bring patrons' library experiences in line with the modern tools and technologies-especially mobile technologies-they are accustomed to using in other areas of their lives. Currently, libraries use varied technologies, some of which rely on outdated and slow communication protocols, to provide services to users. By establishing standards on RESTful Web services APIs as well as standard mobile extensions, the library industry will leave many archaic, difficult-to-use tool sets behind, and allow libraries more flexibility in meeting local needs.

"11.2 million patrons visited the Queens Library in 2015," says Kelvin Watson, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President, Queens Library. "It's imperative that we keep them coming back by providing fast, efficient service that rivals what they experience in the commercial world. Queens Library, which serves one of the five most diverse counties in the United States, has a vested interest in undertaking this work to customize library operations for specialized local needs. We are excited to have initiated this project at NISO and we look forward to working with other participants to actualize our draft framework."

Volunteer working group members will deliver a foundational framework, in the form of a NISO Recommended Practice, that will communicate an understanding of how libraries should provide and receive data. These library-related communications and functions could include customized genre or category views for browse, search, and discovery of collections; user authentication; transmission of account information; management of barcodes; check out and return of items, streaming of online material, and other requirements as determined by stakeholders. Work will also include the creation of several proof-of-concept services that use the proposed approach to deliver services and a registry to enable supporting data providers and system vendors to communicate their support of the framework. The full work item approved by NISO Voting Members is available on the NISO website.

NISO's Associate Director of Programs, Nettie Lagace, comments, "NISO is eager to begin this work to improve library-patron interactions. Advancing vendor-library communication processes through consensus discussions and agreement is a natural fit in our portfolio of work. NISO's mission is to streamline the work of libraries and other information providers to get content into the hands of consumers." Lagace continues, "We encourage working group participation from libraries, library system providers, providers and distributors of e-books, recorded books, and other forms of digital content and media. We are looking forward to hearing from interested volunteers who can dedicate their technical talents to this important effort." Those who are interested in participating in the E-Content API Framework working group should contact Lagace at

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

OCLC Research announces Faceted Controlled Vocabularies List

OCLC Research has announced a new electronic discussion list focused on faceted controlled vocabularies. As technical services librarians, we are most familiar with FAST and LCGFT.

Full text of OCLC Research announcement:

We are pleased to announce the debut of a new electronic discussion list hosted by OCLC.
FACETVOC-L (Faceted Controlled Vocabularies discussion list) is a discussion list focused on faceted controlled vocabularies used in libraries, archives and museums. This includes vocabularies such as FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology), AAT (Art and Architecture Thesaurus) and LCGFT (Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms). The list will a be a point of focus for discussion and exchange among librarians, archivists, museum professionals, controlled vocabulary specialists and other professionals engaged in the creation, maintenance, study, and—especially—the application of faceted vocabularies in a variety of contexts including as part of cataloging and metadata editing work and/or deployment in information retrieval and discovery systems.
The FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) team at OCLC will monitor and participate in the list. OCLC extends a special invitation to other agencies responsible for publishing faceted vocabularies to join FACETVOC-L to monitor and participate in FACETVOC-L discussions.
To subscribe to FACETVOC-L, go to  and click on the “join or leave the list (or change settings)” link. Once your subscription request has been approved, you will receive a welcome message.
To send messages to FACETVOC-L, go to  and click on the “post to the list” link, or email the post to: (note: you must be a subscriber to post to the list)
To search the FACETVOC-L list archives (available to subscribers only), go to and click on the “search the archives” link.
OCLC Research extends a special thanks to the ALCTS CaMMS Faceted Subject Access Interest Group (a unit of the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association) for encouraging OCLC to establish FACETVOC-L.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Watch the Librarian of Congress Ceremony Live Tomorrow!

14th Librarian of Congress Incumbent, Carla Hayden
Image from Wikipedia
The Library of Congress (LC) will stream Carla Hayden’s swearing-in on its YouTube channel on Sept. 14 at noon EDT. Hayden, who will become the 14th Librarian of Congress, will take the oath using the Lincoln Bible from the LC’s collection. The video will have closed captioning.

This historic ceremony marks not one, but two milestones: Hayden is both the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Librarian of Congress.  

Want to learn more about the journey?  Check out this round-up of resources from the past few years:

·        Carla Hayden Swearing-In to Be Broadcast on YouTube – September 2, 2016
Library of Congress on the upcoming event

·        What the ‘First Black Woman’ Librarian of Congress Means – July 18, 2016
Time magazine on the milestone firsts of Hayden’s confirmation

·        Five Things to Know about Carla Hayden, America’s First Black, Female Librarian of Congress – July 13, 2016 offers a few interesting facts about Hayden and what her appointment means

·        The Library of Congress Gets a History-Making New Leader – July 13, 2016
The Atlantic’s take on Hayden’s confirmation

·        Senate Confirms First Black Female Librarian of Congress – July 13, 2016
The Hill’s take on Hayden’s confirmation 

·        “No” on Nomination of Carla Hayden to Be Librarian of Congress – July 13, 2016
Heritage Action for America takes issue with the president’s nomination

·        Obama Taps Baltimore Library Chief Carla Hayden to Lead Library of Congress – February 24, 2016
NBC News on Carla Hayden’s nomination by President Barack Obama

·        What Law Librarian Want to See in the Next Librarian of Congress – August 3, 2015
3 Geeks and a Law Blog on what the American Association of Law Libraries hopes to see in their next Librarian of Congress

·        Finding a Librarian of Congress for the Digital Age – June 23, 2015
Information Today’s take on James Billington’s retirement and the skills and expertise desired in his future replacement

·        Nation’s Librarian Champions Digital Age – December 23, 2014
Learn more about James H. Billington and his tenure at the Library of Congress

Prefer to watch instead of read?  Take a moment to meet President Obama’s Nominee for Librarian of Congress through this short video, posted on The White House’s YouTube channel in February of 2016.