Thursday, October 12, 2017

OCLC supports changing FAST terminology but says LCSH must take the lead

In Andrew Pace's OCLC Next post dated 14 September 2017, he addresses the discussion around changing the term "Illegal Aliens" in OCLC's Faceted Access to Subject Terminology (FAST). Pace is the Executive Director, Technical Research at OCLC. 

He states that OCLC supports the change in terminology but is committed to work with the Library of Congress (LC) and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) and will not be making any changes to terminology without LCSH changes. As puts he it, "FAST has no history of sweeping editorial changes in headings based on pervasive cultural change without first seeing those changes in the LCSH headings from which FAST is derived." After explaining the basics of FAST, he reiterates, "FAST has always been downstream of LCSH changes and the governance of headings that occurs through the PCC Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO)...We have no plans to establish a FAST governance model similar to SACO, nor an independent editorial group similar to that at the Library of Congress. FAST will follow LC’s lead."

As of October 2017, there has been no change in the heading but it is not likely this debate is over. As Pace points out, "Librarians are the most proactive professionals I have ever witnessed when it comes to identifying an opportunity for positive change and aggressively seeking a solution."

See the full article at: http://www.oclc.org/blog/main/lcsh-fast-and-the-governance-of-subject-terms/.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

eBooks in the Law Library

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed asked if medical schools still need books. The question of the role of eBooks in all types of libraries has been batted around in some form or another since the advent of eBooks. While the Inside Higher Ed article settles on familiar answers and case studies of paperless and hybrid libraries, it seems clear that all libraries are arcing slowly toward having eBooks as a substantial part of their collections.

Law and Technology Resources for Legal Professionals, LLRX, is addressing the state of eBooks in law libraries in a three-part series. The first part, published this week, gives a helpful overview of some the challenges and opportunities that come with adding eBooks to law library collections. Of particular interest to technical services librarians is the section on acquiring eBooks. Various platforms and modes of purchase are discussed. The article also briefly touches on issues related to integrating eBooks into the library's existing technological infrastructure.

The second article in the series promises to delve deeper into eBook acquisitions issues. The third part will present some case studies of how various law libraries have added eBooks to their collections.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Disaster Resources for Cultural Heritage

The fall brings us hurricane season and extended drought conditions have led to what feels like a never-ending wildfire season. But this year has brought us more than the natural disasters that we "expect." Earthquakes and flooding have also brought recent devastation to North America. In many places the recovery efforts are still focused on survival essentials. In the weeks since these disasters have hit there have been numerous resources shared for when efforts can turn towards our cultural heritage. Current President of the Society of American Archivists, Tanya Zanish-Belcher, has compiled a list of resources to assist in funding recovery project dealing with libraries and archives. Check out her blog post for more details. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Ajaye Bloomstone

1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
My name is Ajaye Bloomstone and I am the Acquisitions Librarian at the LSU Law Library in Baton Rouge, LA.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
It does in that I am responsible for all of the acquisitions responsibilities at the Law Library.  Since we are a DOCLINE library within the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, I am also responsible for generating DOCLINE requests for the Law Library’s community and filling requests when possible for other medical libraries participating in DOCLINE.  It’s not uncommon that law reviews and other legal resources will have information of a medico-legal nature needed by those in the medical professions. I work closely with our Law Center faculty, staff, and administration with regard to obtaining publications in all formats, such as review copies for professors and materials for Law Center programs: Apprenticeship Week, the Trial Advocacy Program, our Summer in France, and other programs developed to supplement the curriculum.

3. What are you reading right now?
Professionally I’m going through The Complete Guide to Acquisitions Management and Guide to Ethics in Acquisitions, and personally I’m reading through several industrial and organizational psychology texts given to me when our former HR manager retired (yes, really!)

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be?  Why?
While full time at the LSU Law Library, I also established and managed a one-person medical library in a specialty discipline for 14 years on a part-time basis, giving me an entre into the world of medical librarianship. I’d thought about becoming a veterinarian in high school and took the appropriate science courses, but during college, academic librarianship  and the MLS intervened. Long ago, I applied for a library position at the San Diego Zoo, my dream job at the time, and at some point I’d like to get my hand back into medical librarianship.

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
In conjunction with the Law Center’s realignment with our main campus, we recently adopted a new financial system. All of our coding information for financials has changed, so I’d like to spend more time to work on understanding  the system, isolating the specific new codes for use with the Library and Law Center’s purchases I generate, and become more familiar with the new ledger system to easily and quickly access the information that our Library needs.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

White paper released: A brave new (faceted) world

The ALCTS CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee has released a white paper by the Working Group on Full Implementation of Library of Congress Faceted Vocabularies, ALCTS/CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee, Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation, A brave new (faceted) world: towards full implementation of Library of Congress faceted vocabularies. The white paper summarizes the work over the past ten years to develop and promote these vocabularies, and provides detailed recommendations for their adoption in routine cataloging practice.

The vocabularies consist of: 
  • Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), a faceted thesaurus designed to describe what a work is, as opposed to what a work is about.
  • Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus (LCMPT) to describe the "medium of performance" (instrumentation, scoring, etc) for musical works/expressions.
  • Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (LCDGT) developed to capture the "category of persons who created or contributed to a work or expression and the intended audience for a resource".
The white paper provides detailed back ground on and recommendations for implementation of these vocabularies. Of particular interest to technical services law librarians is coverage of CSCAG's work around genre/form terms and discussion of application of LCGFT to bibliographic records for law resources. Catalogers on the Library of Congress's Law Team have been applying selected terms from the list since January 2011.

For each vocabulary, the document provides general and specific recommendations for implementation. For example, it is recommended that addition of LCGFT terms become a core requirement for PCC BIBCO records wherever appropriate; specific recommendations for updates to documentation and manuals is outlined.

Application of LCMPT, LCGFT, and LDCGT descriptive elements to authority records is explored. Addition of data from these vocabularies to authority records would enable the possibility of this data being entered once instead of repeated entry in records describing different manifestations.

In conclusion, the paper argues for full-scale implementation of these new vocabularies, with a recommended suite of actions:
  • Comprehensive faceted vocabulary training for catalogers working in shared environments
  • Routine creation of work-level authority records for works "embodied in or likely to be embodied in multiple manifestations"
  • Retrospective implementation of faceted vocabulary terms using algorithms
  • Display and granular indexing of all faceted data in bibliographic records (MARC 046, 370, 382, 385, 386, 388 and 655)
  • Display and granular indexing of authority data in specific fields.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Digital Libraries Do Not Mean Cheaper Libraries

In August 2017, The Chronicle of Higher Education reiterated a point already understand by library technical service departments: digital resources are not always easier and cheaper than physical ones. In the law library field, we often face an issue discussed in the article. "Publishers work with vendors who bundle digital products and market them to libraries; libraries and library consortia often find themselves paying a lot for bundles that contain some material they want, along with much that they don’t. Managing budgets in that environment can feel like squirming in a vise." Our library would prefer to purchase eBooks (over print) from a leading legal publisher. However, this means purchasing everything available through the platform even when we know books analyzing specific aspects of foreign law will not likely be used. 

Beyond the acquisitions aspect, e-resources can also face other labor intensive upkeep such as monitoring licensing, access issues, and discovery restrictions. Haipeng Li, library director of University of California at Merced mentions other expenses of his modern digital library, the "ever-rising journal prices, the costs of making detailed catalog records of materials that users access remotely, and upkeep of computer hardware and software."

This article also highlights the growing trend of libraries as "learning commons." Librarians roles are changing to include teaching and research responsibilities as well as "instructional design, information literacy, and specialized areas like digital humanities and research-data management." As a librarian involved in many facets of the library, I do not condemn these efforts but recognize that it often means increased costs.

The article states, "some academic libraries have been removing physical books, generally quite tentatively — and often controversially — when books are 'deaccessioned' because of scant use, but most commonly when digital equivalents take their place." It cannot be denied this is practice employed by all law libraries to some degree. A letter to the editor the following week titled Librarians Should Accept Fact That Most Books Aren’t Available In Digital Format responds to the article pointing out that many books (especially older and foreign ones) have not made the leap into digital format and "old doesn't necessarily mean 'out-of-date'" in certain subject areas. Old often means out-of-date for the law but with some resources unavailable in digital format, this argument is understandable. 

You can find the entire article at: http://www.chronicle.com/article/As-Libraries-Go-Digital-Costs/240858?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Wendy Moore




1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
Wendy Moore, Acquisitions Librarian

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Absolutely not.  While my job does include acquisitions, it expands beyond that to include working on electronic resource management, leading collection development, collaborating on budget planning, and supervising our Technical Services department (ordering, receiving, updating, cataloging, processing, ILS database maintenance, binding, withdrawing, FDLP documents, gifts).  The University recently changed its logo, so it is time for new business cards – I might use this as an opportunity to change my job title. 

3. What are you reading right now?
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Translators, Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky), because 2017 just seemed like a good time to revisit Soviet literature from the 1920’s & 1930’s.

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

While in college I minored in art history and interned at an art museum library that was open to the public.  How I loved the Thieme-Becker!  Even my library school Master’s thesis had an art history focus.  Part of me has always thought it would be fun to be an art librarian, but I never really pursued that option.  That early experience working at the art museum with a subject specific collection with both public users and academic researchers prepared me well for working in a law library.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Announcements from the Government Publishing Office

The Government Publishing Office's request for recommendations to modernize Title 44  has received a lot of attention recently, with multiple posts on https://freegovinfo.info/, a mention on LJ Infodocket, and most recently an article in Library journal.

Freegovinfo has endorsed the following recommendations designed to strengthen the Depository Library Program.
  1. Modernize the definition of "publications"
  2. Ensure Free Access
  3. Ensure Privacy
  4. Ensure Preservation
While the proposal to update Title 44 has been most visible, GPO has announced two initiatives that will enhance libraries' ability to facilitate public access to government information via our catalogs.

The Government Printing Office announced that they will start incorporating OCLC into their workflow for the Historic Shelflist Transcription effort. This should result in a larger portion of pre-1976 Federal documents being represented in OCLC, and therefore, more visible to the public.

GPO has also announced that starting in October 2017 the will begin making GPO cataloging records available via their github repository. This availability will replace the GPO Cataloging Data Subscription Service. A sample record set and readme file will be available October 3, 2017. The records will be available without charge.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Happy 1 billionth OCN!




On August 8, 2017, OCLC announced on the OCLC-CAT listserv that the OCLC Control Number (OCN) has reached 1 billion. The OCLC Control Number is a unique, sequentially assigned number when a new record is created or imported into WorldCat. The one billionth assigned OCN was for the record of a digitized image from Chiba University Library in Chiba, Japan.

Make sure your library system can handle the longer OCN. For more information check www.oclc.org/support/services/batchload/controlnumber/...


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.