LSJ Editors' Blog: June 2006

30 June 2006

Dissolution podcast

A big thanks to Jim Milles of the UB Law Library for dedicating a Check This Out podcast to the UB School of Informatics dissolution. A number of students-- Communications, Informatics, and MLS-- turned out tonight to voice their concerns. Jenn at Library Matters has posted her notes and Kevin Lim has even posted some pictures. But please do listen to the podcast and you can even phone in your own comments to Jim's Comments Line ((716) 989-4422 or Skype "jmilles").

I wont repeat what others have already said, but I will say it was interesting to get a perspective from the Informatics students, who feel especially abandoned by the decision and by the lack of communication. The future of their program seems very up-in-the-air at this point and the conspicuous silence from the provost is not helping the situation. It really is a pity, given the quality of students it is producing and the demand in the job market for students with their skills, that UB is failing to appreciate the potential.

I am, not to dwell on the past to much, still intrigued by the strange way the information was released. The first press release stated only that the Dean of the School had agreed to step down, followed a few days later by the explanation that the School was in fact being reorganized. My guess is that Tripathi had not been fully prepared to release the full story yet, but Dean Penniman was about to let the cat out of the bag so Tripathi beat him to it with that hasty second release. The Provost seemed to be caught totally off guard by the sudden media attention, and thus the best he could come up with was some vauge, meaningless management speak. Or maybe he is just really really bad at this sort of thing.

Next step for us is to meet with the Provost and try to get some answers. Maybe he's the sort that's more forthcoming in person.
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27 June 2006

Mashing Up the Library competition

While reading the blog at LibraryThing I found a post about the Mashing Up The Library competition being hosted by Talis. With a £1,000 first prize and a second prize of £500 there's some financial incentive (above and beyond the incentive of Mashing up the Library competition logodoing good things). Maybe a student will be able to defray some tuition costs!
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24 June 2006

Demise of a School

We're in a bit of a crisis here at the UB School of Informatics. Provost Satish K. Tripathi just announced that the decision has been made to "reorganize" (ie. dissolve) the School, putting the Department of Library and Information Studies in the School of Education. The official press release gives a rather uppeat view, but the real story is a bit more depressing. Alex Halvais explains a bit of the history behind the decision in this blog post (be sure to read the comments).

We're trying to stay positive, and in reality the department has far too much going for it to be held down by even a major step backward, but the decision is nonetheless very demoralizing. Overnight we have gone from innovative to marginalized; from a sense that we are poised to be one of the top LIS school in North America, to a sense that we have been abandoned to mediocrity by the administration.

And all from the unilateral decision of a single man. The decision was made with absolutely no student or faculty consultation. Why was the decision made? To save money? Because in Tripathi's world all LIS is education? Who knows. We're not being told why. It is a shock.

Tripathi has not even extended the courtesy of communicating the decisions to the students. We are learning of it from the newspaper and from the grapevine. Below is a selection comparing the spin of the provost and the real story as written in the Buffalo News...

From the UB news release:

Through the course of the natural evolution of the university we are always looking at the best way to align and integrate strategically our academic programs and academic support services to best fulfill the university's mission of teaching, research and public service...It is our expectation that not only will these academic programs continue in their current manifestation, but that they will progress and flourish, moving into the ranks of nationally recognized degree programs."
From the Buffalo News:

David Penniman, who was recruited as the school's dean in 2001 under former Provost Elizabeth D. Capalidi, said the move will make it nearly impossible to sustain the informatics program. It's a shared responsibility of two departments, which are now being placed under different leadership, he said.

He's also concerned the decision will cause some faculty to leave, particularly some of the younger members who came to be part of the innovative program.

"They were outraged," Penniman said, "not only at the decision, but the way the decision was made."

From the official UB press release:

Tripathi announced last week that after serving five years as dean of the School of Informatics, W. David Penniman had agreed to return to the faculty.

From the Buffalo News:

Penniman said he was forced to step down as the school's dean two weeks ago, after the provost told him he was looking for new leadership in the School of Informatics.

The removal of Penniman - who is expected to stay on as a faculty member for now, but is uncertain about his future at the university - is the latest in a series of administrative changes at UB since President John B. Simpson arrived in 2003.

"I was in shock I would be told I was an inadequate dean," Penniman said, "but then the greater shock is to destroy not just what I, but the faculty, have built over the past five years."

And the most insulting paragraph from the UB press release:

Administrative changes will not impact current or incoming students. The reorganization will be communicated to students in coming weeks.

In the coming weeks? Wont impact the students? Really, Tripathi, we deserve better. Tell us what is going on. Tell us in an open and honest way. And do it now.

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20 June 2006

Reviewers needed!

Interested in being a reviewer for Library Student Journal? We need peer-reviewers and we need book reviewers.

We are looking for volunteer reviewers to evaluate manuscripts submitted to the peer-reviewed section of the journal. Peer-reviewers should be students or chartership candidates. Every scholarly article published in LSJ will have been reviewed by at least 2 members of the Editorial Board and at least one outside reviewer.

Any member of the LIS community can be a book reviewer. The books will be recently or soon-to-be published books on LIS topics of interest to LIS students. Great way to get some free, and hopefully interesting, books!

More details on how to volunteer here. Hope to hear from you soon!
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19 June 2006

AADL selected as best large-library site

According to the AADL Director's Blog, the Ann Arbor District Library was selected by the ALA as this year's best library website for large libraries. The AADL site is incredibly easy to navigate, seamlessly incorporating things like RSS feeds and blogs for new material. According to the director's blog, the goal of a recent revamp project was to make the site "functional for all levels of computer proficiency, and...to use interactive tools to facilitate communication with our customers." Goal accomplished I'd say!
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16 June 2006

LSJ Community Forum up!

The Library Student Journal Community Forum is now up and running.

Is there an upcoming event you think we should know about? Have a question you think someone in LIS land might know the answer to? Been to a conference lately and want to share what you learned?

The forum is a discussion board for the entire Library and Information Science community worldwide to share ideas and information, serious or funny...there really are no rules.

See you there!
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12 June 2006

SSP 2006 meeting

I'm just back from a very interesting Society for Scholarly Publishing Meeting in Arlington, VA. The meeting concentrated on the need for scholarly publishers to adapt to new developments on the Web and to changes in reader expectations. Of particular focus was the Open Access movement, the impact of new search technologies, the rise of institutional repositories and the need for journals to foster "community." A quick summary of the highlights...

Keynote speaker Marshall Keys discussed the aspects of scholarly journals that need to be modernized to survive in the current world--a world far different than the one for which traditional scholarly journals were created. As one example of the how libraries and scholarly journals need to evolve to meet the needs of the modern reader, he suggested online journals should be formatted to be easily read on handheld devices. To survive, he argues, journals will facilitate discovery, will be portable and convenient, will tell the reader what other readers are looking at and will facilitate community. Keys spoke from the library perspective, which made the speech especially interesting to me. He made clear that scholarly publishers and libraries should work closely together--they are in the same boat in many ways and their end goals are the same.

David Meerman Scott
, an expert in online marketing, stressed the need to tailor marketing strategies for the online environment. A successful campaign on the Web can be worth millions of dollars of traditional marketing. Establishing a journal blog, he points out, is essentuial if for no other reason than to increase the likelihood of search engine hits. (Check.) And for subscription journals, one of the best ways to gain paying readers is to offer at least some free content.

Geoffrey Bilder, from Scholarly Information Services, and Roy Tennant, from the University of California's California Digital Library (and owner of the Web4Lib list), emphasized the importance of developing journal websites that take into account the fact that most readers enter the site at the article level through a google or yahoo search, not through the homepage. All the bells and whistles in which journals invest time, money and energy are often completely bypassed. Tennant stressed the need to have an online journal that enables "ubiquitous discovery," and he spoke for the need for publishers and librarians to further develop and implement protocols like OpenURL and OAI-PMH. Bilder used the metaphor that journals should invest in building the "tunnels under Disneyland" rather than the "Disneyland Experience" itself. First and foremost, readers want convenience; they do not, Bilder stressed, want to make decisions.

Steve Borostyan, of Public Library of Science, Abel Packer of Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), and Martin Richardson, of Oxford University Press, discussed the various Open Access options available to scholarly publishers. There are more OA models than I had realized, with variations on each model. Some journals now allow authors to purchase Open Access rights as an extra option (in the example Richardson gave, the cost to the author was $1500/$2800 depending on whether the affiliated institution held a subscription)-- the benefit being greater potential for impact. In a sponsored OA model, a sponsor covers the cost of publishing so submissions are free for authors (this is the model LSJ uses). The most prevalent model seems to be the Full OA model, in which authors are charged a set fee per submission (in Richardson's example, the fee was $1900 and 54% of authors paid this fee from research grant funds). There is generally a fee waiver option for authors not able to afford the fee, but according to Borostyan, in his experience 95% pay the fee (Richardson seconded this figure). One attendee noted in the questions and answer period that in her experience the percentage of authors claiming the waiver goes steadily up over time so it becomes increasingly important to develop strict standards regarding the waiver. It was nice to get some specific dollar figures from other journal--I never realized the cost to authors was so high in the non-sponsored journals.

Microsoft had a big presence at the meeting, offering free specialty coffee to attendees and rather nice Nalgene water bottles in promotion of its Windows Livesearch to compete with Google Scholar. The consensus inside the seminar rooms, however, seemed to be rather anti-Windows-and-Google. One attendee spoke out against the willingness of some to compromise their journals in order to adapt them specifically for Google searching and against Microsoft's seeming need to challenge everything Google does with its own version (he was not swayed, apparently, by the Microsoft coffee bar at which I saw him queuing no less than five times in two days). Perhaps "anti" isn't the right word--let's say there is a reluctant acceptance that Google, et al. are now a big part of the sholarly communiciation process so we'd better adapt to it.

Many thanks to the SSP for the travel grant! It was great to meet other librarians and publishers, and get some practical advice as we get our little journal going here. And nice to meet Von from the LSJ editorial board--he's in Baltimore now blogging the SLA conference if anyone wants the inside scoop on the happenings there.
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05 June 2006

LSJ call for papers

I'm happy to announce that our Editorial Board is now in place and we are accepting submissions.

Note that while submissions to the peer-reviewed section of LSJ are only for scholarly articles in which a student is the primary and corresponding author, we are welcoming editorials, letters, reviews and essays from students, faculty and practitioners alike. Please pay close attention to the details of the submission guidelines before submitting as improperly submitted manuscripts may be returned without consideration.

We look forward to reading some great papers!
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03 June 2006

Google Trends

Google has introduced a cool new feature: Google Trends allows you to examine and compare search terms by their frequency of use in various cities and regions around the world. According to Google:

Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. We then show you a graph with the results -- our search-volume graph -- plotted on a linear scale....Google Trends makes it possible to find overarching trends in search and news. Our graphs are based on aggregated data from millions of searches done on Google over time. The results that Google Trends displays are produced entirely by an automated formula - you can rest assured that no one is reviewing your personal info. As an additional measure, Google Trends will only return results for those terms that have received a significant amount of search traffic.



You can examine a single search term.













Or you can compare search terms.
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