Friday, May 22, 2015

Open Access Journals

Open access publications can be viewed as a partial way to ease library serial budget woes. There are many high quality open access publications, but predatory open-access publishers present a continuing issue. Predatory open access journals are defined as journals that exist for the sole purpose of profit. They can misrepresent their review process/board, location and/or affiliations.

Jeffery Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado-Denver, maintains a blacklist of predatory publishers ("Beall's List").  The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) maintains a "white-list" of OA journals meeting base line criteria, such as being chiefly scholarly, providing quality control through an editor, editorial board or peer review, and having a registered ISSN. Another organization maintaining a white-list is the Open Access Scholarly Publisher's Association. Publishers must apply and pledge to adhere to a code of conduct to become members.

As librarians, we can take an advisory role, assisting our patrons as they navigate the OA landscape.

The following articles provide a more detailed, but still quick, overview of the issues surrounding OA publishing.

Berger, Monica and Cirasella, Jill, Beyond Beall's list: better understanding predatory publishers. College and research libraries news 76, no. 3 (March 2015)

Directory of Open Access Journals introduces new standards to help community address quality concerns. SPARC blog, March 5, 2015

Heller, Margaret, Educating your campus about predatory publishers. ACRL TechConnect, April 13, 2013

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Linked Data URIs and Libraries: The Story So Far

The linked data movement is a relatively new trend on the web that, among other things, enables diverse data providers to publish their content in an interoperable, machine-understandable way. Libraries around the world appear to be embracing linked data technologies that render their content more accessible to both humans and computers. This paper focuses on linked data URIs that refer to authority data.  The specific MARC fields that are capable of hosting linked data information are identified. Additionally, seven major national libraries are examined to determine to what degree they have adopted the fundamental linked data principles.

D-Lib Magazine, May/June 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Fans of the RDA Toolkit index, rejoice!

There's good news for those who were dismayed at the removal of the index in the latest update of the RDA Toolkit. It was announced today on the RDA Toolkit blog ( that the RDA print index has been reinstated! As stated in the blog post:

"In the weeks that followed the April 14 release to RDA Toolkit, we heard from a number of users who were unhappy about the removal of the index from the Toolkit. In response to that feedback, we have added a PDF of the RDA Print index to the Tools tab of RDA Toolkit. This PDF file contains the index that will be part of the 2015 revision of RDA in print. The index has been revised and updated to reflect the changes to the RDA standard that were made since the April 2014 release and through the April 2015 release. The PDF is not hyperlinked, but it is downloadable and may be printed for personal use."

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Highlights of the RDA Toolkit update published April 14, 2015

An update to the RDA Toolkit was published on April 14, 2015. LC issued a 10-page summary of the changes, available at:  A list of changes made to LC-PCC policy statements is available at:

Below are some changes that may be of particular interest.

What some of us refer to fondly as the "cascading vortex of horror" has been done away with! That is, "[t]he distribution statement and its sub-elements are no longer required, even if [X of publication not identified] is recorded in one of the sub-elements of the publication statement" (RDA 2.9). Furthermore, "[t]he manufacture statement and its sub-elements are no longer required, even if [X of publication not identified] is recorded in one of the sub-elements of the publication statement, and distribution information is not recorded" (RDA 2.10). The distribution and manufacture statements may be included at the cataloger's discretion.

RDA (Title of the person) has been revised to include abbreviations indicating academic degrees or organizational memberships as "other terms indicative of rank, honour, or office." An example has been added at the renumbered instruction (Other Term of Rank, Honour, or Office; formerly illustrating the use of "Ph. D." as part of the authorized access point for a person.

RDA (formerly "Place Names for Jurisdictions") has been renamed "Terms Indicating Type of Jurisdiction" and sub-instructions and (relating to place names that indicate a type of jurisdiction) have been deleted. This change is characterized as a "clarification" that does not constitute a change in LC/PCC practice.

There is a brand new chapter 23, "General Guidelines on Recording Relationships Between Works and Subjects." This is a short chapter that documents what most libraries already do. There is also the new Appendix M, "Relationship Designators: Subject Relationships." Descriptive relationship terms formerly found in Appendix J (e.g., "Commentary on") have been relocated to Appendix M.

The RDA Index is no longer available in the Toolkit; it was considered too "burdensome" to maintain. Toolkit users will also notice that deleted instructions have been replaced with text that says, "[This instruction has been deleted as a revision to RDA. For further information, see 6JSC/LC/27/Sec final.]." The idea behind using this so-called "deprecated" text instead of actually deleting instructions is to avoid extensive renumbering of the instructions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Emergency Preparedness

In 2005, not long after a series of strong hurricanes struck the gulf coast, the Heritage Health Index, a National Collections Care Survey, reported that few of the institutions they surveyed have disasters plans. Even when an institution did have a disaster plan in place, it was often out of date. In response to that the Society of American Archivists (SAA) supports the idea of MayDay, a grassroots effort to save archives celebrated annually on May 1.

However, archives are not the only institutions that need to have a current disaster plan on file. Natural disasters as well as equipment failures can lead to a loss of materials in the library. To help any institution prepare for a disaster SAA provides a list of ideas for MayDay activities, though it’s important to remember that these activities don’t have to take place only on May 1. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The law library in an information age: it is time to do away with the local online catalog and focus on research guides and digital content

An SSRN paper by Jonathan E. Germann

His premise: It is time libraries stop investing in a local public online catalog, a century old device used to facilitate access to physical holdings within a library. Instead, it is time for libraries to become experts at helping patrons navigate the world of the anti-library by creating original content in the form of subject guides. It is also time for libraries to focus on owning digital resources that can be manipulated by computer algorithms.

Read the paper at

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Preservation Week 2015

Preservation Week is quickly approaching, this year it is the week of April 26 - May 2. Sometimes the preservation activities of an institution are not visible to the users of the library's materials, so this week is a great time to promote the activities your institution is undertaking to ensure continued access to its collections - both analog and digital. 

It's also a great time to take advantage of preservation training. This year ALA is sponsoring 3 FREE webinars on different preservation topics:
  • Moving Image Preservation 101
  • Digital Preservation for Individuals and Small Groups
  • Disaster Response Q&A
There are additional preservation videos available on the ALCTS Preservation play list.