Friday, August 11, 2017

Ebook collection analysis

Two publications recently came across my desk: the May/June 2017 Library Technology Reports called Applying Quantitative Methods to E-Book Collections by Melissa J. Goertzen, and the June 2017 issue of Computers in Libraries called Ebooks Revisited. This suggests that as ebooks continue to be a large collection issue for libraries on various levels (platforms, pricing, patron-drive acquisition (PDA) and demand-driven acquisition (DDA), discovery records, etc.) we are reaching a point where we can more fully evaluate the long-term impact they are having on our patrons and our budgets. I was particularly interested in the Computers in Libraries article called Ebook ROI: A Longitudinal STudy of Patron-Driven Acquisition Models by Yin Zhang and Kay Downey. The authors work at Kent State University Libraries and have been using a PDA program for five years now; they were able to use this long-term data to evaluate the usefulness of short term loans, determine if PDA purchases continue to be used after the purchase is triggered, and and analyze what books from various publication years and subject areas are purchased under their PDA profile. I found this study inspiring; we have only had our DDA program for less than one year, but I hope to conduct a similar analysis after a full year of the program and regularly thereafter so we can be sure our patrons are finding the program useful.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What can we learn from IT project management?

The implementation of educational technology is common practice for academic and firm librarians but rarely is there a tightly organized framework developed for an implementation similar to those in Information Technology. What could librarians learn about IT project management?

Jennifer Vinopal, Associate Director for Information Technology for University Libraries at Ohio State University, was the keynote speaker at DEVCONNECT, OCLC's conference for library developers and she speaks to the importance of harmonizing library and IT initiatives. You can watch her speech and read the full article on OCLC NEXT: http://www.oclc.org/blog/main/treat-it-projects-as-library-projects-and-vice-versa/.


Getting to Know TS Librarians: Jesse Lambertson


1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
My name is Jesse Lambertson and I'm the Head of Cataloging & Metadata at Georgetown Law Library in Washington, DC.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes in that I am in charge of all workflows & procedures related to Marc-based cataloging & processing of, mostly print, but also loading records from ebook vendors too. In addition, because we also work collaboratively with Special Collections and Digital Initiatives, we also work with Dublin Core and EAD finding aids with cross-walking - this function of my work is likely to increase. But in addition to actual cataloging & metadata, there are also a lot of meetings on completely different topics such as requirement gathering for ILS migration - but engagement in the Georgetown Law Library community is one of the great joys. 

3. What are you reading right now?
I am reviewing Intrepreneurship for Librarians for Library Quarterly (having just submitted a book review about style guides for the internet to Library Journal) and have just started Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler for a book club I run a couple times per year on a local internet radio station.

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
It would be amazing to work in a academic law library wherein we focus on law and the work of Franz Kafka - because, lets face it, Kafka is one of the most famous lawyers in literary history. Literary thinking can represent some of the best humanistic thinking around. Wouldn't that be fun? :)

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I believe I would study scripting in python with an eye on mastery. This is an amazingly powerful language, highly customizable for different contexts and librarians should all embrace coding in their day-to-day work - no matter if they are in public services or technical (IMHO). :) I would do this in order to automate a few things as well as look for research opportunities in which python could be used to gather data. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Proxy Servers for Electronic Resources

As I recently struggled with Wolters Kluwer to get our CCH Intelliconnect service to work properly through EZProxy, this topic turned out to be rather timely. Many of our libraries already subscribe to a number of databases and other electronic services, and for law libraries our most popular services such as Lexis and Westlaw require individual logins and accounts. Managing those accounts can be time consuming, but for the user they typically ensure uniform access to the resource from on- or off-campus.

For many of our electronic resources, however, we tend to push for IP authentication instead of user accounts. IP authentication means that we set up the service to recognize the IP addresses (the numeric address of a ‘computer’ on the Internet) for our library or university campus. When a user connects to the service from the library, they are magically (in their eyes) identified to be a legitimate subscriber and granted access. But what about our patrons that are not actually in the library at the moment? One of the benefits of these services is supposed to be 24/7 access…

This is where proxy servers can be a key addition to your service! Basically, a proxy server (such as EZProxy from OCLC) acts as an intermediary for the electronic resource. Users connect to the proxy server, that server authenticates the user in some way, then the proxy server actually connects to the resource. The user never connects directly to the resource, so the only IP address the service sees is that of the proxy server.

In some institutions, proxy servers may also be used for on-campus access as well, simplifying the overall setup and allowing tighter control over who can access the services. Proxy servers might be set up on local servers as hosted services, depending on an institution’s size and resources. It's not always simple to configure or troubleshoot problems, as my recent experiences with Wolters Kluwer can illustrate, but the benefits of a proxy server can be many.

To learn more, visit Library Technology Launchpad’s recent post at http://libtechlaunchpad.com/2017/04/25/proxy-servers-basics-and-resources/

Monday, July 3, 2017

Project management software

In the most recent issue of Computers in Libraries, Li Chen and Xueying Chen wrote about using a free software called Trello for project management. (Li Chen & Xueying Chen, How to Manage Library Projects with Trello, Computers in Libr., May 2017, at 19.) Project management software can be incredibly helpful for technical services departments - we are so workflow-dependent and we often manage large projects with several moving parts and lots of detail to track. At Boston University, we use the University-licensed SharePoint program to manage our projects, but recognize that there are lots of great options out there. It looks like Trello has the advantage of more visual tools, but SharePoint integrates with other Microsoft products we are already using; each library needs to consider what is important to them when evaluating these programs. Moving to project management software has helped us with projects like getting an institutional repository off the ground and managing our subscription agent renewal reviews. Does anyone have project management software they love? What makes it so great? I'm curious to hear about it in the comments.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Dana Deseck-Piazzon



1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
Hi! I am Dana Deseck-Piazzon, Librarian at the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes, as the solo librarian I have my hands in a little bit of everything from original cataloging, managing electronic subscriptions, and managing undergraduate interns in our library transformation project. This next year I will commence a metadata audit of our digital library called the eCollection , which requires knowledge of metadata schemes and an investment in metadata! As an employee in Knowledge and Information Services (KIS), I just completed my three – week residential phase of the Institute for Court Management Fellows Program. Next year after I complete my court project, which is the metadata audit I will graduate at the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. What are you reading right now?
I also usually read two books simultaneously. For my new project at work (metadata audit), I am reading Metadata in Practice and (soon I will read Information Resource Description: Creating and Managing Metadata.). For pleasure, I am reading Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun. Her books continue to amaze and entertain me!

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I would like to work at the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) Library for a month! It’s called the Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library and it’s closely associated with the McCraw Foundation for Asian Art. I just love visiting the SAM, and I’ve also toured the library when I attended the University of Washington. I would really love to become more familiar with their collections and celebrate the Puget Sound region’s gems, especially the Porcelain Room that contains “vast quantities of translucent, elegantly decorated white-bodied porcelain from China and Japan”.  To be immersed in art, art history, and assisting art enthusiasts would be intriguing! The SAM’s collections encompass European, Asian, and Native American art. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lean Library Browser Extension



A colleague recently called my attention to a new library discovery product, the Lean Library browser extension. While a library who wishes to make this browser extension available to users must pay to get in configured to work with their electronic resources, library users who install the extension will get seamless access to the electronic resources licensed by their libraries, without requiring them to go to a library’s web site first. According to the Lean Library web site:


“It makes library services available right in the users workflow – where and when they are needed. One of those services is off campus access: the Lean Library browser extension simplifies the process of getting access to the e-resources that the library subscribes to. The browser extension works autonomously. Installing it requires a 'once only' installation process of two mouse clicks. The extension functions without the user having to subscribe, or register for an account. When used to simplify the process of getting access to licensed e-resources, it does not somehow provide 'free' access: users need to be affiliated with an academic or research institution that subscribes to those e-resources." 


The browser extension works with librarians to provide access to e-resources without making library users jump through all the usual hoops. They do not have to be in the library itself to access the resources through IP address authentication, and they do not have to remember their login information to access resources through a proxy server when they are away from the library.


In addition to its main purpose of simplifying access to licensed e-resources, there are some other features of Lean Library. It can be used to provide analytics about e-resource use. Also, if a user is trying to access an article that is not licensed through their library, Lean Library can re-direct them to an open access version, if it exists.


 More information about Lean Library can be found in this blog post on Musings About Librarianship.