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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LexisNexis acquires case analytics firm Ravel Law

Data is the name of the game! And now Ravel, a legal research and litigation firm, has proved data is very profitable. LexisNexis has acquired the firm and plans to use its technology to enhance Lexis services. Ravel uses machine-learning techniques to analyze litigation records and predict the behavior of judges, firms, and courts. Ravel is also working to complete a project with Harvard University to digitize all case law in the school's library. Ravel Law chief executive Daniel Lewis says Lexis will support the effort in providing public access and expanding materials with APIs. 

This acquisition shows the further utility and adoption of artificial intelligence in analytics tools created for legal research. Find the entire article at http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lexisnexis_acquires_ravel_law

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

OCLC Works with Wikipedia to Link Citations to WorldCat

Sources are integral to verifying facts in articles, and OCLC has been working with Wikimedia’s Wikipedia Library to improve linking of citations to library materials in WorldCat. OCLC’s WorldCat Search API has been integrated into Wikimedia’s cite tool, an interface that “helps editors automatically generate and add citations that link back to resources represented in WorldCat.”

You can get more details in OCLC’s press release at http://www.oclc.org/en/news/releases/2017/201713dublin.html.

Monday, June 5, 2017

ALLStAR

We live in an increasingly data-driven world, and if you're anything like me you find playing with data and statistics fun, interesting, rewarding, and sometimes confusing and frustrating. It can also be time consuming - my colleagues and I spent more hours than I'd like to think about completing all the surveys to our reporting agencies this year. When there's a tool available to make all of this easier and less time-consuming, I'm immediately interested in learning more.

ALLStAR, the new tool created in partnership with NELLCO and Yale, is certainly fun to play with, and while it does have a learning curve, once you've spent a little time with it it can make your life easier.  It's preloaded with the last several years of survey data from the ABA, USNews, IPEDS, and other agencies, which gives us a jumping-off point for using the data. We've started to use it to benchmark things like collections spending, staffing levels, volumes and databases added, and records added to the catalog, but the possibilities don't stop there. If you're interested, I'd recommend checking out the link above, and attending the deep dive at the AALL Annual Meeting this year for a great hands-on workshop (we saw a version of it at NELLCO this year).

We've mostly been using it for these benchmarking tools from data preloaded from the major surveys; however, we're also going to start to use it to help us complete those surveys by setting up accounts for all of our staff to complete the ALLStAR Employee Questionnaire. ALLStAR talks to LibAnswers, which we use to track our reference statistics (and statistics from a variety of other library projects, like faculty requests and institutional repository work). After LibAnswers puts its data into the system, it should not be more onerous for staff to complete the Employee Questionnaire than it is for them to email the responses we need to complete the survey data. We are really hoping this cuts down on managerial time completing these surveys.

Finally, if enough schools begin to use ALLStAR, we could use it to define our own benchmarking and statistics that we want to keep. The information we send to various agencies (volume count, anyone?) is not necessarily useful for us. If we have the discretion to create our own tool from ALLStAR, we could begin to keep statistics that are truly meaningful - for internal tracking purposes, for reporting to stakeholders, and for benchmarking among ourselves.

ALLStAR has real possibilities to help us use statistics and data to our advantage. It will be even better if we use it as a community, especially if we decide to use it to track our own metrics as a group. I'd like to encourage everyone to take a look at it and see if we can really use this tool to make our lives easier.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Stephan Licitra


1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
Hi, my name is Stephan Licitra. I am the Technical Services Librarian for the State Law Library of Montana. I received my MLIS in 2015 and so this is my first professional position in libraries. Before I received my degree I worked and volunteered in public, academic and special libraries. Wherever I was, I greatly enjoyed learning about that library and what made it special. 

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes and no. I am charged with acquiring, processing, cataloging, discarding library materials, some reference, working with the ILS and vendors. Some pretty traditional stuff. But people not familiar with libraries associate Technical Services to mean computers, and programming; which I don’t do. 

3. What are you reading right now?
Currently, I am reading William Durante’s, "The Renaissance."

4. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I would spend the day tiding up the catalog records. As we are part of a larger consortium there are always more that can be done when it comes to data quality. Having good, consistent data will make it possible for great functionality in the future. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Preservation of Electronic Government Information Project (PEGI)

A recent article in Against the grain highlights PEGI - the Preservation of Electronic Government Information Project.  This project is a two year initiative designed to address the growing awareness of the "serious ongoing loss of government information that is electronic in nature." Participants include the Center for Research Libraries, the Government Publishing Office, the University of North Texas, the University of Missouri, and Stanford University.

Historically, the print production workflow for government information helped insure that content was sent to NARA, GPO and depository libraries for preservation. Now that most government information is disseminated digitally, production workflows are variable, resulting in a larger volume of  "fugitive" publications.

According to the PEGI project narrative, the focus of of the project is "at-risk government digital information of long term historical significance." The project proposes focusing on "activities of triage, drilling down into agency workflows ... and undertaking advocacy and outreach efforts to raise awareness of the importance of preserving digital government information."  The project intends to undertake a comprehensive environmental scan, provide recommendations for information creators, and create and educational awareness and advocacy program.

A final goal is to create a PEGI Collaborative Agenda to identify collaborative actions to "make more electronic government information public, preservable, and preserved in multiple environments that include distributed sites in academic libraries and other heterogeneous locations that are indexed, contextualized and usable."

Library of Congress Releases Digital Catalog Records

The Library of Congress announced is making 25 million records from its online catalog available for free bulk download. This is the largest such release in the Library's history. The records can be found at loc.gov/cds/products/marcDist.php, and they are also available at data.gov.

From the Library's announcement:

“The Library of Congress is our nation’s monument to knowledge and we need to make sure the doors are open wide for everyone, not just physically but digitally too,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Unlocking the rich data in the Library’s online catalog is a great step forward. I’m excited to see how people will put this information to use.”

The new, free service will operate in parallel with the Library’s fee-based MARC Distribution Service, which is used extensively by large commercial customers and libraries.  All records use the MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging Records) format, which is the international standard maintained by the Library of Congress with participation and support of libraries and librarians worldwide for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form.

The data covers a wide range of Library items including books, serials, computer files, manuscripts, maps, music and visual materials.  The free data sets cover more than 45 years, ranging from 1968, during the early years of MARC, to 2014.  Each record provides standardized information about an item, including the title, author, publication date, subject headings, genre, related names, summary and other notes.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Library Systems Report 2017

The Library Systems Report by Marshall Breeding was released earlier this month.  This report "documents ongoing investments of libraries in strategic technology products made in 2016." It lists any mergers and buyouts for 2016 as well as a look into open source ILS products.  This report was written from a survey requesting details about vendor's organization, sales performance, and narrative explanations of accomplishments. It also includes information taken from press releases, news articles, and other publicly available information.  Breeding sums up the overview of the report in his first paragraph:
"The library technology industry has entered a new phase: business consolidation and technology innovation. Development of products and services to support the increasingly complex work of libraries remains in an ever-decreasing number of hands. Not only have technology-focused companies consolidated themselves, they have become subsumed within higher-level organizations with broad portfolios of diverse business activities. The survivors of this transformed industry now bear responsibility to deliver innovation from their amassed capacity. Modern web-based systems delivering traditional library automation and discovery capabilities are now merely table stakes. Real progress depends on building out these platforms to support the new areas of service emerging within each type of library."
The full report can be read here: https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2017/05/01/library-systems-report-2017/.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Open Access Legal Research Repository, LawArXiv, Launched

The movement toward open access continues in legal research with the launch of LawArXiv.  LawArXiv will provide provide open source, open access archives for legal research. This non-profit venture seeks to provide platform that is owned and controlled by the scholarly legal community. LawArXiv will accept preprints and post prints where the author has the copyright on their work.

The LawArXiv repository was developed jointly by the Legal Information Preservation Alliance, the Mid-American Law Library Consortium, NELLCO, and the Cornell Law Library, with the Center for Open Science providing the technological infrastructure via its Open Source Framework. The COS platform also serves as a preprint service, allowing organizations to control their branding, licensing requirements and taxonomy.

COS has established a preservation fund of $250,000 to ensure the archive will survive for at least 50 years should the COS be forced to curtail its operations.

For more information, see the COS press release or visit the  LawArXiv site.

Friday, May 5, 2017

UXF: User Experience Friction at the Library

A recent post on Designing Better Libraries takes aim at user experience friction. According to the definition from The Pfeiffer Report, UX friction is “basically anything which separates the device we use from that ideal user experience,” and “is the slow-down … that occurs when the user experience of a device deviates from our expectation or knowledge.” (http://www.pfeifferreport.com/v2/essays/understanding-user-experience-friction/)

UXF is often seen in web page designs where unnecessary steps have been added, or where poor or specialized verbiage is used. This latter example is often seen in library catalogs and discovery systems where specialized terminology is used to indicate material statuses (e.g., “in transit”). Additionally, customers seeking materials for current use typically need to wade through listings of materials of varying availability, and these customers may not realize that a physical item is not actually available in their current location until after they’ve sought it out on the shelf.

Basic steps to reduce friction include:
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Removing avoidable steps
  • Mitigating context switching

To read the full post, visit http://dbl.lishost.org/blog/2017/03/22/uxf-wheres-the-friction-at-your-library/

Monday, May 1, 2017

Measure the Future

Many of us are familiar with the myriad needs for statistics - reporting to outside agencies; making the case for more staff/space/money to our administrators; making the case for retaining the staff/space/money we have to our administrators; internal space, service, and collection planning ... the list goes on.  We are also familiar with the limitations of our current statistical gathering methods.  That's one of the reasons I was excited to learn about Measure the Future, a project from Jason Griffey, It will allow us to place sensors in various places around the library to measure the volume and flow of traffic while protecting patron privacy.  The sensors are ours once purchased and the project has a strong open-source ethos.  We plan to start using it soon and I hope others are able to take advantage of it as well.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who's Responsible for Digital Preservation?

Many libraries are currently being restructured and rethought to support new campus goals, in response to concerns, or as staffing levels change. That doesn't mean that our core functions change - we're still here to describe materials, provide access to items in a variety of formats, and assist or manage the preservation of materials. What is less clear as we move forward is who is really responsible for what, especially when it comes to digital preservation. Should that the library handle it or should it fall under the realm of the IT department, a different department within your institution, or even an external department or company? These questions are hard enough to answer, but as we take on new roles, both comfortable and unfamiliar, finding the solution has become even more challenging.

To help answer the questions Harvard Library's Digital Repository Service (DRS) has recently produced and shared documentation of how the management of digital assets is being handled. There is a blog post available describing the process of developing documentation and the full document is available on the DRS wiki.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Joni Cassidy



1. Introduce yourself.
Joni Lynn Cassidy, President, Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
My job title doesn't really describe my work.  I design and oversee all the projects we work on for the various libraries and institutions we provide cataloguing and technical services support for.  Every day, I meet with the members of my staff to discuss the details of their assignments, along with being responsible for new client development and the general direction our company is going.

3. What are you reading right now?
I love mysteries and am presently reading "The Detective's Secret" by Lesley Thomson.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or specific one), what would it be? Why?
If I could work anywhere, I would be cataloging the books in the two libraries in Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA.  This is an elegant place, and at lunchtime I would find a place to sit where I could watch the ocean.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Idealis, An Open-Access Journal for Library and Information Science Research


"High-quality, library-related scholarly communication research has been historically difficult to discover. The Idealis aims to fix that."
New open-access journal, The Idealis, has this statement under the heading Liberating Research on the homepage of their website. Founding editors, Stacy Konkiel, Nicky Agate, and Lily Troia, gather the "very best scholarly communication literature from across the Web, working with authors to make their research available, ensuring that librarians are connected to excellent research that’s relevant to their work" (from About section).

Their current focus is limited to academic librarians interested in scholarly communication but the journal intends to broaden the scope to other areas of librarianship as well.  In their Discover section, they offer a long list of essays and articles with wide ranging topics including Orcid annual report, humanities and social science creative commons, evolution of scientific communication, social media, and others.  They plan to expand past articles to "create a carefully curated journal full of research that is relevant first and foremost to the needs of library practitioners" with "difficult to access research in all forms–articles, books, code, data sets, presentations, white papers, and more."  You can subscribe for new research alerts, submit library-related research, or apply to be an editor

Full post can be found at Chronicle of Higher Education


*Picture taken from home page of the website.

Monday, April 10, 2017

NMC 2017 Horizon Report

The New Media Consortium recently released the 2017 Horizon Report for libraries. The report identifies trends, challenges, and developments in information technology, related to academic libraries. While much of the report is geared toward traditional research institutions, there are some relevant takeaways for academic law libraries.

One of the more relevant identified trends for academic law libraries is the rethinking of library spaces. As students rely less and less on physical holdings for research, libraries are opening areas for active learning and collaboration. While this trend is nothing new in academic libraries, it continues to accelerate across all libraries.

Other identified trends include:
  • Cross-institution collaboration
  • Evolving nature of the scholarly record 
  • Patrons as creators 
  • Research data management 
  • Valuing the user experience
One of the challenges identified facing information technology in libraries is adapting organizational structure and workflows to the new technological realities.  The rapid pace of technology changes often leads to steep learning curves from staff and a resistance to keep up. Other challenges listed in the report are:
  • Accessibility of library services and resources
  • Improving digital literacy 
  • Maintaining ongoing integration, interoperability, and collaborative projects
  • Political and economic pressures 
The full report can be found at the NMC web site

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Supporting other law school departments with the ILS

Brian T. Johnstone has an article in the March 2017 Computers in Libraries about setting up his ILS, SirsiDynix, to support lending from the art department at his university.  It isn't a directly applicable situation but it certainly got me thinking about ways we can support other law school departments.  He was able to create a "mini library" using his ILS; one obvious challenge to overcome is setting up the resources so they don't get lost or become clutter in your discovery layer.

As we think about ways to collaborate with other law school or organization departments, ideas like this keep our creativity going.  We just need to be careful with how we go about it so it's actually useful to the new group without making life more difficult for our existing patrons.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Chrome Browser Extensions for Librarians

Google’s Chrome browser has gained immensely in popularity, with more than half of the global browser market according to W3Counter (https://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php). Browser extensions that allow users to add functionality to their browsing experiences are readily available from the Chrome Web Store (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions), and most of these extensions are free.

Library Technology Launchpad has identified six Chrome extensions that will be of particular interest to librarians:

  1. Adobe Acrobat (convert webpages to PDF)
  2. DOI Resolver (access resources via a DOI)
  3. Google Scholar Button
  4. Grammarly for Chrome
  5. Library Extension (to find books in a local library)
  6. Wayback Machine (automatically access a cached page from a 404 error)

Of particular interest to Technical Services librarians, the DOI Resolver and Google Scholar extensions may help in accessing article or ebook content for cataloging or acquisitions purposes, while the Wayback Machine is useful for locating those helpful cheat-sheet sites that have suddenly vaporized.

The full post can be found at http://libtechlaunchpad.com/2017/02/21/6-chrome-browser-extensions-every-librarian-needs/

Monday, March 27, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: (Renee Chapman Award Winner) Jean Pajerek


1. Introduce yourself.
I'm Jean Pajerek and I am the Director for Information Management at Cornell Law Library.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?

My title used to be “Head of Technical Services.” This conveys something to people who work in libraries, but many people outside of libraries think (understandably) that it means I’m the head of IT. Quite a few years ago, we realized that tech services staff were involved in activities beyond traditional tech services work; for example, I am the administrator for our institutional repository. We think “Information Management” is more inclusive while also being sufficiently vague so that people still do not know exactly what it is we do!

3. What are you reading right now?
For recreational reading, I am just finishing up Louise Penny’s “How the Light Gets In,” which I really enjoyed. Louise Penny writes mysteries set in Quebec, a place I love visiting. For work, I am reading “Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist,” by Allemang and Hendler.

4. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
If I suddenly had a free day at work, I would want to spend it working on my upcoming Deep Dive program for AALL in Austin, Linked Data on Your Laptop. I want to provide a really eye-opening learning experience for the program participants, and that’s going to take a lot of work!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Librarians

The CaMMS Competencies and Education for a Career in Cataloging Interest Group presented Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians at ALA Midwinter in Atlanta. The document supplements the American Library Association's Core Competencies in Librarianship. The document outlines Knowledge, Skill & Ability, and Behavioral Competencies and is meant to define a "baseline of core competencies for LIS professionals in the cataloging and metadata field."

Knowledge competencies are those providing understanding of conceptual models upon which cataloging standards are based. Skill & ability competencies include not just the application of particular skills and frameworks, but the also the ability to "synthesize these principles and skills to create cohesive, compliant bibliographic data that function within local and international metadata ecosystems. Behavioral competencies are those "personal attributes that contribute to success in the profession and ways of thinking that can be developed through coursework and employment experience."

Of particular note is emphasis on cultural awareness in the introductory section.  "Metadata creators must possess awareness of their own historical, cultural, racial, gendered, and religious worldviews ... Understanding inherent bias in metadata standards is considered a core competency for all metadata work."

Full text of the competencies document is available via ALA's institutional repository. Slides from the presentation at ALA Midwinter are also available.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Linked Data Catalog at Oslo Public Library

The Oslo Public Library, Deichmanske bibliotek, has developed a library services platform based on linked data. It can be seen in action at the library's website, and the source code is available on GitHub.

The platform uses a work-based model for its public-facing catalog; for an example of this "FRBR-ized" interface, see the display for the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The display provides prominently positioned work-level information, and then shows information for two different DVD versions of the movie, as well as a Blu-Ray version. It also very nicely highlights the film's position in the Harry Potter series, by providing "continues" and "continued in" links to the appropriate films. It also includes a "based on" link to the book of the same name. Following this link brings you to an even more impressive display of various print and audiobook holdings for this title.

More information about the behind-the-scenes cataloging work can be found in this post from 2014 on the library's blog.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New BIBFRAME Components Available from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has made available new BIBFRAME 2.0 components. Developed during the Library of Congress' own MARC to BIBFRAME conversion project, these components are being released for public use to assist other libraries with their own BIBFRAME projects.

The new components include:

  • BIBFRAME 2.0 Vocabulary Update
    The BIBFRAME Vocabulary has been updated to meet the needs of the Library of Congress project. It also includes suggestions from other members of the BIBFRAME community. Other new elements were added for testing and possible permanent inclusion.  
  • MARC to BIBFRAME 2.0 Specifications 
    Written from the MARC side so that all MARC tags are considered for inclusion in BIBFRAME, this specification consists of series of spreadsheets covering each MARC tag field group. MS Word explanatory documents are also included on the site.
  • MARC to BIBFRAME Conversion Programs
    Developed by Index Data for the Library of Congress, these conversion programs will be updated as the BIBFRAME projrect progresses. 

For more details, see the full Library of Congress press release.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Top IT Challenges for Higher Education

In January of 2017, EDUCAUSE released its Top 10 IT Issues report for 2017. This year’s report focuses on issues that affect student success at higher education institutions. Academic IT organizations support a wide array of users with drastically varying demands and needs. As colleges and universities are increasingly forced to do more with less, student success is a key indicator to measure the cost and value of higher education. The top IT issues identified were broken into four separate themes: (1) IT foundations; (2) data foundations; (3) effective leadership; and (4) successful students. The full list of issues and their descriptions are posted below:

  1. Information Security: Developing a holistic, agile approach to reduce institutional exposure to information security threats
  2. Student Success and Completion: Effectively applying data and predictive analytics to improve student success and completion
  3. Data-Informed Decision Making: Ensuring that business intelligence, reporting, and analytics are relevant, convenient, and used by administrators, faculty, and students
  4. Strategic Leadership: Repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as a strategic partner with institutional leadership
  5. Sustainable Funding: Developing IT funding models that sustain core services, support innovation, and facilitate growth
  6. Data Management and Governance: Improving the management of institutional data through data standards, integration, protection, and governance
  7. Higher Education Affordability: Prioritizing IT investments and resources in the context of increasing demand and limited resources
  8. Sustainable Staffing: Ensuring adequate staffing capacity and staff retention as budgets shrink or remain flat and as external competition grows
  9. Next-Gen Enterprise IT: Developing and implementing enterprise IT applications, architectures, and sourcing strategies to achieve agility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and effective analytics
  10. Digital Transformation of Learning: Collaborating with faculty and academic leadership to apply technology to teaching and learning in ways that reflect innovations in pedagogy and the institutional mission

The EDUCAUSE “Top 10 IT Issues” website can be found at https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/research/top-10-it-issues. The full article is available at http://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/1/top-10-it-issues-2017-foundations-for-student-success.

Monday, March 6, 2017

ALCTS Webinar Series: Re-envisioning Technical Services

I've been watching the webinar series from ALA's ALCTS, "Re-envisioning Technical Services," for the last few weeks.  As a manager of a technical services department, I've come to realize that skills are vital and difficult at the same time: I have to ensure the people I hire have the right skills, keep up with skills training for the department, and maintain my own skillset while functioning as a manager.  In the second webinar, "New Resources on Staff and Leadership Development in Technical Services,"  Cory Tucker discussed a survey he had done with colleagues that included information about what skills are most needed for essential technical services functions, and whether new graduates are coming out of library school with those skills.  Overall, the findings indicated that new hires did have the skills necessary to work in technical services; however, there are always areas in which people can improve.  The next webinar, "Case studies: residencies, peer training, and succession planning" offered concrete suggestions for skills training.  The residency model is intriguing but probably not practical for many libraries.  In this model, recent graduates spend a year as a "resident" working on discrete projects.  Peer to peer training is more practical and probably already happening, at least informally, at most libraries.  We use it at Boston University to help train our public services staff on back end systems so they can see more information about resources; we also use it to help staff who are currently in library school learn more about different library functions.

It isn't too late to register for this webinar series and I would recommend it to anyone trying to think strategically about their technical services departments.  As presenter Jacob Nadal noted, technical services managers need to be managers, experts in our fields, and inspiring leaders.  This webinar series is one way to help with that.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Getting to Know TS Law Librarians: Karen Selden



1. Introduce yourself.

I’m Karen Selden, the Metadata Services Librarian at the University of Colorado’s William A. Wise Law Library.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?

When I joined the University of Colorado’s Law Library in 1998, my job title was Catalog Librarian. However, in 2013 I changed my title to Metadata Services Librarian to better reflect my work with both traditional cataloging and creating metadata for digital collections. From a librarians’ viewpoint, I think my updated title accurately reflects my primary job duties: responsible for the cataloging, classification, and metadata creation for all library materials and digital collections created by the library; responsible for authority control and database maintenance; participate in creating the library's digital archives collections; and supervise the Metadata Services Assistant. However, I suspect that the average patron might not agree that my job title is very descriptive or intuitive. 

3. What are you reading right now?

I belong to a book group in the small town that I live in, and I love it for many reasons. I’m a slow reader, so the monthly meetings give me a target date to finish a book (or at least giving it a good try  J ). I also like the variety of nonfiction and fiction books that my group chooses to read; I’ve been introduced to many good books I wouldn’t have selected or discovered on my own. And, of course, I love the great discussions that we have and friendships that I’ve made. I’m currently reading my book group’s February selection, Mink River by Brian Doyle, as well as American Absurd by Pierre Schlag. Pierre is a long-time faculty member at the University of Colorado Law School, and this is his first novel. He’ll attend a book group meeting this fall to discuss his book with us.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?

I started my library career (nearly 30 year ago!) as a paraprofessional in a public library. Last summer I was recruited to work very part-time (2-5 hours most Saturdays) in the tiny, spunky, positive, enthusiastic, and fun public library in my small town of Lyons, Colorado. While my detail-oriented, academic law library job suits me well, I’ve rediscovered how much fun it is to see and hear both kids and adults exploring and enjoying books and reading. Even though I’m not ready to retire from my full-time job, when that time comes, I think I’d like to continue working part-time in a small public library.