Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Erica Nutzman



1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
Erica Nutzman, Head of Technical Services for the Minnesota State Law Library.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes, mostly, I do a number of things not usually considered technical services, like manage the special collection and archives, and oversee our online Briefs archive. I also oversee, and participate in, the traditional technical services, like acquisitions, cataloging, serials and general collection management. I have a team of 5 who do most of the day-to-day tasks so I spend most of my time working on projects or planning new initiatives. We are currently ramping up to start a systems migration, so I’ll be spending a lot of time working on that very soon.

3. What are you reading right now?
Personally I’m reading Winterlong, by Elizabeth Hand. I usually have multiple books going, but at the moment, just the one. Professionally, I’m reading Digital Library Programs for Libraries and Archives by Aaron D. Purcell.

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I love the library I’m working in now but I think it would be really interesting to work at an historical society or a library related to archaeology. My college major was anthropology/archaeology and I still follow the field. 

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I am working on a historical biographical research project and I’ve been busy lately and haven’t had time to work on it, so I’d like to spend some more time on that.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Negotiating with Vendors

As I begin to dive into acquisitions and vendor relations, a recent article in Online Searcher appears to be well-timed and of potential benefit to others facing negotiations with vendors (see Michael L. Gruenberg, Five Key Questions for Negotiators to Ask, Online Searcher, Nov.-Dec. 2017, 44-47). In this article, Michael L. Gruenberg discusses key questions librarians repeatedly asked while he was promoting his book Buying and Selling Information. These topics are things we should, as negotiators for our institutions, be addressing with our sales representatives and vendors.

The questions Gruenberg addresses in this article:
  1. Should you ask for, and expect, a price sheet from your sales rep?
  2. Can the vendor defend the price?
  3. Can a library request a different representative be assigned?
  4. What is the standard renewal rate?
  5. Do I really need to create a negotiation plan?

If you’ve taken a Negotiations course in college or law school, you probably already know the answer to #5…

Gruenberg has some useful insight from his background in sales that can benefit us as negotiators for our organizations.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 DLF Forum and NDSA Digital Preservation

In October, I attended the 2017 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Digital Preservation conference for the first time. The core theme of the 2017 Digital Preservation conference is “Preservation is Political” but both events touch on the preservation of cultural heritage material and digital information through political changes and across boundaries.

Jason Eiseman wrote an excellent blog post on both affiliated events for the Law Librarians of New England (LLNE) blog so I will not provide another recap here. If you are also interested in viewing recordings, slides, notes, and photos from the events, in addition to keeping up with the latest Forum newsletter, the DLF has posted links to these resources in its November 22, 2017 Blog and News post, DLF Forum Recap and Working Group News. The post highlights Forum activities of all active DLF working groups. I will just highlight here the work of a few of those groups potentially of interest to TS members.

At the DLF Forum, I attended the Assessment Interest Group (AIG) meeting. This group is very welcoming and encourages anyone who is interested in getting involved to take part—there is no membership requirement. Of particular interest to TS members may be the AIG subgroup, Metadata Assessment Working Group. The Metadata group is currently working on developing a framework for assessing descriptive metadata, building a repository of metadata assessment tools, and creating a clearinghouse of metadata application profiles. More information about the group can be found on their wiki page and information on their current projects can be found on their toolkit page.

Another group of potential interest is the Government Records Transparency and Accountability Interest Group. During the group’s Forum working lunch meeting, members discussed planning for future projects and creating subgroups around issues related to sharing public information, education, advocacy, documentation, and potential special projects. The interest group will be making plans for its participation in the second annual Endangered Data Week.

Other groups of potential interest to TS librarians include the Linked Open Data Zotero Group and Born-Digital Access Group. DLF groups of interest to librarianship in general include the Digital Library Pedagogy Group, Technologies of Surveillance Group, Labor Working Group, and Project Managers Group. You can learn more about all working groups at the DLF Groups page.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Recommendations for Next Generation Repositories

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) has just released a report from their Next Generation Repositories Working Group: Behaviours and Technical Recommendations of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group. The recommendations in this report provide an interesting read about the potential for a much more interlinked and standardized repository front in the future.

The report states that ”many of the behaviors and recommendations for next generation repositories pertain to establishing links across repositories as a way to break down the silos and arrive at an environment characterized by interconnected networked ​repositories.”

We currently have a somewhat “under-regulated” system of repositories that may or may not play nice with each other. The suggested standards and protocols within this report would move towards a more standardized approach to repository content as well as the metadata backing these materials. If adopted globally these standards would provide the foundation for more interlinked data and materials by adopting, and then adapting, resources that are already available.


Acknowledging that technology is fluid, and in some cases the desired technology does not yet exist, the Working Group will soon be publishing their behaviors and technologies in a GitHub repository to support updates and engage the broader community. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Getting to Know TS Law Librarians: Jackie Magagnosc



1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
Jackie Magagnosc, Cataloging and Continuations Management Librarian at the Cornell Law Library

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
My job title was recently updated, so it’s pretty accurate. My position is relatively traditional. I am responsible for original and complex copy cataloging in all formats; I supervise the support staff in cataloging and continuations check in. 

3. What are you reading right now?
For fun: The houseguest by Kim Brooks. Next in the queue is Radium girls by Kate Moore. For work/professional development: I have an epic “articles to read pile” on my desk, plus Practical ontologies for information professionals by David Stuart.

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
In my wildest dreams, I would be fun to work at a library or archive with a collection focusing on one of my personal interests, so gardening, fiber and textile arts, or history of dress.

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I’m currently trying to wrap my head around OpenRefine. I did a short workshop a while ago, and I’ve waded through a basic tutorial, but if you don’t use something it’s gone. In this fantasy scenario, everything would be clear and I would be able to apply OpenRefine to a project I have in mind.

Friday, November 17, 2017

NASIG updates strategic plan

NASIG, formerly the North American Serials Interest Group, recently announced availability of the NASIG Strategic Plan 2017-2011. This new strategic plan reflects NASIG's evolution from an organization primarily focused on serials management to one with a broader scope including electronic resources management and scholarly communications.

The details:

NASIG's vision, adopted November 10,2014, is to be:
an independent organization working to advance and transform the management of information resoures. Our ultimate goal is to facilitate and improve the distribution, acquisition, and long-term accessibility of information resources in all formats and business models.
The organization's mission includes three key components.
  1. Support of a community of professionals ... engaging in understanding of one another's perspectives and improving functionality throughout the information resources lifecycle ...
  2. Provision of a variety of conference and continuing education programming ...
  3. Promotion of the development and implementation of best practices and standards for the distribution, acquisition and long-term accessibility of information resources in all formats and business models throughout their lifecycle.
The strategic plan identifies five strategic directions for the organization.
  1. NASIG will revitalize its marketing approach to reflect is new mission and vision.
  2. NASIG will expand student outreach and mentoring.
  3. NASIG will find the optimum balance between paid staff and volunteer work.
  4. NASIG will be involved in creating new content to add to the body of scholarly work.
  5. NASIG will work to enhance benefits to all members with a particular emphasis on members from the commercial sector.
NASIG's 33rd annual meeting, with the theme Transforming the Information Community will be held in Atlanta, GA  Friday June 8 - Monday June 11, 2018.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NISO “Understanding Metadata” Primer

In a press release on January 18, 2017, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the release of Understanding Metadata, an update to NISO’s 2004 publication on the topic. The current release is the second document in NISO’s Primer Series on data management issues. The primer series began with the publication of Research Data Management in 2015 and will continue with a forthcoming publication on Linked Data for Cultural Institutions and additional guides in the future.

The 2017 primer is an expanded overview of structured metadata used in cultural heritage institutions, covering the latest developments in metadata practices, tools, standards, and languages. It provides a useful outline of the most common use cases for standard metadata types in information systems, covering a range of cultural resources management activities including description, discovery, display, interoperability, digital-object management, preservation, and object navigation. Subsequent sections provide a comprehensive overview of a.) How metadata is stored and shared through relational databases, XML documents, and Linked Data and RDF b.) The standardization of metadata through controlled vocabularies and content standards, and c.) Notable metadata languages used broadly and within cultural heritage institutions. As an introductory document, the 2017 Primer addresses the basic issues around, what is metadata, why we create metadata, and how we create, use, and share metadata.  

As a newbie to understanding metadata, I found it useful to read both NISO’s 2004 Understanding Metadata document and the 2017 Primer publication. However, the latter includes a few concepts that were not covered in the original document such as Linked Data, the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME), and CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC CRM). In other instances, the 2017 primer provides more substantive descriptions of concepts nominally covered in the 2004 publication, such as RDF (Resource Description Framework). 

The 2017 NISO Primer release, Understanding Metadata, is available as a free download at http://www.niso.org/publications/press/understanding_metadata.