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 Technical services librarians and functions are portrayed as outdated, rigid and expensive.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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

6 Tech Tools That Can Help You Keep Your Cool This Summer

The always changing face of tech tools and increasing number of methods for virtual communication and connection with others occasionally makes my head spin. But I also can’t deny that I oooh and aaaah at certain things which come across my virtual desk through the work weeks - technology is pretty cool sometimes, you know? 

I thought with the summer heat moving in fast, it’d be a good time to pull out a few of my recent “cool” saves and share them with you:

First up is The Sheepinator, a game that lets you zap negative tweets and turn them into something a little less offensive – in this case, sheep.  With a super simple user interface and the ability to search for specific topics to blast, this game is surprisingly addictive.

Speaking of tweets – did you ever notice that ideas which come from those with influence tend to be shared more often, regardless of the quality of the idea? With Blind Twitter, which keeps tweet authors as well as like/retweet counts hidden from your view, you finally get to decide the quality of the tweet without being swayed by built-in biases and pressures.

In a ‘there’s an app for that’ world, we’ve got apps popping up every day to help ease pretty much any task we can dream up. For instance, UX Recipe for iPhone is a checklist app where you can discover, choose and estimate your next UX project tools and techniques, as well as explore curated recommendations and resources for each design tool.  As a potential bonus to those who appreciate such things, its interface is full of gentle cooking puns.

Writing email copy for announcements and communication with your patrons can be a somewhat painful task at times. But in a world where everything’s kind of already been said before, crowdsourcing and curation is a powerful tool. Take a look at Just Good Copy, a site that allows you to search and browse quality email copy from other companies based off of keywords such as subscription renewal, email confirmation, and account update. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration there next time you’re tasked with drafting up another school or firm wide email.

I always enjoy reading people’s Twitter and website bios – the more absurd conglomeration of buzzwords and hipster lingo, the better. Just for fun, create your own ‘designer bio’ using the Designer Bio Generator.  It described me as a ‘Ukulelist and Eames fan who is performing at the sweet spot between simplicity and elegance to save the world from bad design.”

And finally, how strong is your website?  Plug it in to the Website Grader, powered by HubSpot, to find out your scores in the categories of performance optimization, mobile traffic, SEO, and security. Your site report also offers links to additional resources on the HubSpot blog that can help you increase your scores or at the very least, understand more about them.

Feel free to share some of your own cool tech tools for summer below!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

LD4L (Linked Data for Libraries)

To follow up on Emily’s post on the Linked Data Exploratorium, the Linked Data for Libraries (LD4L) project is a joint endeavor between Cornell, Harvard, and Stanford University libraries that seeks to dramatically improve the experience of users in information/data discovery. These three institutions have developed unique, local projects that work with linked data and saw the power of employing linked open data (in this case, library data) within the semantic web. This collaborative project has enabled them to work toward the ultimate goal of public access to a collection of software, ontologies, and user-facing services that are “capable of representing, discovering, and integrating human knowledge currently outside the confines of traditional library catalogs, web pages, and online information services.” As we look towards a replacement for MARC, be it BIBFRAME or otherwise, having a toolkit that can manipulate current descriptive formats to make resources more accessible should allow us to sleep a little better.

LD4L was funded in 2014 on a two year grant from the Mellon Foundation. Recently, two additional related projects have received funding: LD4L Labs project (headed by Cornell) and the LD4P project (headed by Stanford). It will be exciting to watch these projects and see where they can take linked data libraries over the next two years. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

BIBFRAME vocabulary 2.0 available

The Library of Congress recently announced availability of BIBFRAME vocabulary 2.0. This new version of the vocabulary incorporates a broad range of community input and the LC’s own experience with their BIBFRAME 1.0 pilot. The definitions of “work”, “instance”, and “item” have been refined, plus three additional concepts, “agent”, “subjects”, and “events” have been defined. Specifications documents provide detailed explanations for each area plus examples of their use.

LC plans to experiment with this revised vocabulary later this year.