LSJ Editors' Blog: August 2006

30 August 2006

Live Googling in the classroom

At the ACRLog Steven is blogging about a new phenomenon: "Google Jockeys," asking if the concept could be applied to conference sessions. This is new to me, but apparently some professors have assistants who Google key terms and display the results in real time while they are giving a lecture or presentation. The idea is to show the class or audience what further resources are available and how to find them on the internet.

According to an Educause report:
The skill of the Google jockey has a considerable bearing on the usefulness of the exercise. Google jockeying teaches both the jockey and the audience about efficient, targeted Internet research, but a novice jockey can be a drag on the main presentation. Although many benefit from the educational component that Google jockeying adds, some students—and faculty—are not comfortable multitasking and will find the practice more distracting than helpful.

This report, by the way, is part of the EDUCAUSE "7 things you should know about" series, which provides a handy monthly primer on useful emerging technologies.
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22 August 2006

Interning at the LoC

The good people of LIS News found this story in AXcessNews about an intern at the Library of Congress and her interesting finds while digging through some uncataloged documents.

Among the thousands of documents she catalogued and mounted for display, Mueller said some of the more interesting items include a children's biblical board game and a poster from the New York theater owned by Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

Mueller said her favorite find is a collection of tobacco advertisements from the early 1870s that featured children smoking.

Items discovered by some of the other interns include blueprints for a proposed expansion of the White House, early photographs of baseball great Cy Young and a 1916 play script by composer Cole Porter and his college roommate.

Visit the LoC's Internships, Fellowships, and Volunteer Programs page if interested in doing something like this yourself. There are a number of opportunities available (and not all of them are unpaid!).
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10 August 2006

Kristin Yiotis at ALA, Part II

ALA Annual Conference, 2006, New Orleans: Part II
(The first installment can be read here)

The conference itself took place in the Morial Conference Center as well as in hotels throughout the downtown area of New Orleans. The Morial Center itself is reputed to be one mile long, so you do lots of walking. Free shuttle buses take participants from hotels to the conference center, leaving about every 15 minutes. Social and networking events including meet and greets, receptions, and division social hours, usually take place in hotel events rooms rather than the conference center.

ALA virtually moves its offices into the conference center for the duration. Every form of technology is made use of. An electronic message center enables communication with other conference goers. Cognotes, a daily newspaper that provides the latest conference updates is published on site. Internet Café, a bank of computers linked to the Web, allows for checking email and keeping in touch with home. At Placement Services prospective employers and employees meet for interviews usually arranged in advance. Here too is you can get your resume reviewed as part of the Resume Review Service, organized by NMRT. The ALA store sells ALA publications and promotional items. You can take your children and sign them up for Camp ALA while you attend the conference.

Then there’s The Stacks, a huge emporium of exhibitors and vendors of everything that caters to libraries and conference goers. I came across booths selling glycerin insoles for your aching feet and Navajo silver jewelry, vendors of library furniture, book publishers, computer hardware and software. Famous authors are on site for book signings, lots of promo materials is given away, gimmicks to attract attendees, like espresso coffee service, movie house-style popcorn machines, lots of candy, and the inevitable cloth sacks printed with the company logo. Visit the conference General Information page for more details.

The conference program book, 210 pages of events, session, and programs, is organized in various ways: by program track and subtrack, chronologically by day and time with extended descriptions of each program, and a quick check, daily schedule of events without descriptions. I decided to go for the division President’s Programs, the Speaker Series with featured guests such as Laura Bush, and the Opening and Closing Sessions with big names such as Cokie Roberts and Madeline Albright. Visit the Special Events page for more details.

You try to get to as many events as possible but the biggest problem is logistics. Is it worth it to go from the conference center to a hotel to catch a session if you have to get back to the conference center for the following session? Every morning, I walked the 20 minute hike to the conference center early to beat the heat and to get to the Internet Café for coffee and a chance to check my emails before conference sessions started at 8 am. I stayed all day at the conference center and in the evenings I headed back to the hotels where the socials were held.

As a library student I’m not always sure which program track to choose when planning which sessions to attend. Plus I’m still learning to decode the ALA division acronyms. What did I go to this year? I chose User Services, Reference and Outreach track and the Information Literacy subtrack. Most sessions are two hours. The best feature a panel of presenters, from four to eight people, who speak around a theme such as: Podcasting the Classroom, Doing Information Literacy Differently, Model Programs from the Immersion Experience (an annual information literacy immersion workshop sponsored by ACRL).

The Immersion Experience session focused on assessment tools and brought together the people from Kent State who developed the SAILS and TRAILS information literacy assessment and the people from Educational Testing Service (ETS) who developed the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Assessment. I was particularly interested in hearing Dr. Lesley Farmer, Cal State Long Beach, who discussed the ICT trial testing taking place throughout CSU system, including San Jose State.

I attended the ACRL’s President Program, a debate on the usefulness of information literacy instruction called: “The emperor has no clothes: Be it resolved that information literacy is a fad and waste of librarians’ time and talent.” The outcome of the debate, in which the audience participated, was decidedly against the motion. Visit the Programs and Sessions page for more details.

Networking is a big part of conference going. I met librarians from all over, met current students and graduates from my own school. I had my resume reviewed and in general attended sessions that were informative and hugely motivational. When you’re sitting in a football stadium-sized hall and it is filled with librarians, you get a sense of the strength and power of ALA! You realize that these people have a voice and are used to using it. We welcomed Madeline Albright, Mayor Radin of New Orleans, the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, First Lady Laura Bush, California Librarian Kevin Starr, news correspondents Cokie Roberts and Andrew Cooper.

This year I registered in advance for the Conference within a Conference called Empowerment 2006: Taking Charge of a Sea of Change, a separate, specially-priced, educational opportunity for library support staff. For a reduced price, library tech people can attend any conference session during the two days of their Conference plus a Saturday Breakfast Kickoff and a Sunday Luncheon. When I registered, I didn’t have to pay anything in addition to the $55 advance student registration fee.

Am I attending ALA Annual Conference 2007, Washington D.C.? Absolutely!!! Hope to see you there.

Kristin is a graduate student in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University and a member of the LSJ Editorial Board. Her research interest is in open archives institutional repositories, particularly electronic theses and dissertation repositories (ETDs). Her published articles are based on student writing awards sponsored by LITA/Endeavor (2005), "The Open Access Initiative," and the SLA Information Technology Division (2005), "The Open Archives Initiative and Eprints repositories".
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09 August 2006

Jade Alburo at the RBMS Conference, Part 1

I recently attended the 47th Annual Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) Preconference in Austin, Texas. Here are my notes and thoughts…

Day 1: June 20, 2006

I arrived in Austin in the afternoon and, at 5 p.m., I attended the conference orientation and introduction to RBMS at one of the conference venues, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin located downtown. As a first-time attendee (and scholarship recipient), I had signed up for a conference buddy. I was paired up with Libby Chenault, rare book librarian at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. While this is a rather intimate conference (this year, with over 350 attendees, is the largest), it helped tremendously to have a veteran RBMS member and preconference attendee at my side. She introduced me to many people before the orientation and at the opening reception that followed (though I was beginning to think that most of the attendees were from North Carolina, since many of the people to whom Libby introduced me had North Carolina connections). I also talked to a few people on my own, mostly other first-time attendees (we could spot each other from our “first-time attendee” ribbons).

At the orientation/introduction itself, conference organizers and section leaders gave some background on RBMS (e.g., it is the largest section within the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is itself the largest division of ALA); the preconference in general (e.g., it called a preconference because it is held the few days prior to ALA’s annual conference); and this year’s preconference specifically (e.g., schedules and activities). Members were encouraged to become more involved in the section by joining committees, RBMS discussion list, and specific discussion groups, as well as attending section meetings at ALA Annual Conferences and Mid-Winter Meetings.

Day 2: June 21, 2006

This was a very long day. It was the first actual day of sessions. In the morning, plenary sessions for everyone to attend were held at the InterContinental. In the afternoon, smaller seminars were held at the other venue, the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) at The University of Texas at Austin. We started early at 8:30 a.m. with welcome and introductory remarks, which focused on this year’s theme: “Libraries, Archives, and Museums in the Twenty-First Century: Intersecting Missions, Converging Futures?”

Plenary I. Setting the Stage: Cultural Roles of Libraries, Archives, and Museums.

Lawrence Pijeaux, President and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), talked about some of his organization’s collaborative endeavors. The Teachers’ Domain Civil Rights Special Collection, produced in partnership with WGBH Boston and Washington University in St. Louis, is a digital resource for teachers and students that includes lesson plans and oral histories. This is one way that BCRI is maximizing access to its materials. The Birmingham Cultural Alliance Partnership is an after school enrichment program involving eight cultural institutions. It is designed to enhance student learning, promote parent involvement, and improve test scores and student involvement. BCRI is, thus, not only educating people about the civil rights movement but also playing an active role in improving the communities it serves. Pijeaux recommended that institutions research all potential projects thoroughly, use all available technologies for greater access, engage in win-win collaborations, involve parents and communities to be served, have a diverse board and staff, and be prepared for the long haul (since successful programs take a while to develop).

James Michalko, President and CEO of RLG, spoke about libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) being memory institutions. As such, they have an impact on other parts of civilization, but they also tend to be slow in changing. According to Michalko, institutions cannot do it alone; in order to be visible and to make people care, they have to create scale. They also cannot do it alone with current cost structures. Michalko urged the audience to have the courage to use different approaches and reminded us that access is the hallmark of what we do, in addition to (not instead of) acquisitions.

Plenary II. Library, Archives, and Museum Collaborations: Audience and Access Issues.

Merrilee Proffitt, Program Officer at RLG, talked about how LAMs used to be undifferentiated; people collected all sorts of materials resulting in a “cabinet of curiosities.” As collections grew larger, they became more specialized, since it is easier to manage similar things. However, users today are leaning towards the undifferentiated, as long as they are available at their fingertips. Günter Waibel, also a Program Officer at RLG, described the difference in audience experiences at LAMs. People have an autonomous experience in libraries, a curated view in museums, and a mediated (under staff supervision) experience in archives. However, in virtual spaces, people’s experiences are not differentiated as in physical spaces.

According to Deborah Wythe, Head of Digital Collections & Services at the Brooklyn Museum, cultural heritage organizations share central core tenets, including embracing technologies for access. Museums, though, rarely talk about access; they refer to visitors rather than users. They provide a guided context—interpretation, not just mediation. There are several online tools that can be used to make the most of collections and make them available to a wider audience, such as image tagging (e.g., Flickr), blogging, My Museum, and e-commerce. Wythe said that organizations can converge for more visibility.

Michelle Doucet is the Director General for Services of Library and Archives Canada (LAC), which was established in 2004 by a parliamentary act and combined the former National Library of Canada and National Archives of Canada. She said that the merger made sense since LAC now has both published and unpublished documentary heritage materials of all mediums. Access is LAC’s key driver; there is a clear focus on the clients and on the breadth and depth of materials. However, there are some issues, including digital divide, physical vs. virtual, mediated vs. unmediated, interpretive vs. non-interpretive, funding, and space management. According to Doucet, when institutions merge, players have to buy into the convergence and their roles in it.

Marcia Reed, Head of Collection Development at the Getty Research Institute, pointed out the distance viewing of materials in museums and close reading in libraries and archives before mentioning that collections in LAMs are becoming more inclusive. She said that collaborations and exhibits presenting LAM materials bring these resources to a new audience.

Seminar C. Developing a Collaborative Model for Researching 19th-Century Books and Presenting Them to a Larger Audience: Issues and Prospects.

Jessica Lacher-Feldman, Public Outreach Coordinator at the University of Alabama, talked about Publishers’ Bindings Online 1815-1930: the Art of Books (PBO), a searchable database featuring over 10,000 images of up to 5,000 book bindings. It looks at the book as art/object/historical artifact, as opposed to a bibliographic identity. PBO, a collaborative project between the University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has such value-added content as tutorials, online project manual, searchable glossary, lesson plans, etc.

Sid Huttner, Head of Special Collections at the University of Iowa, discussed The Lucile Project, which traces the publishing history of Owen Meredith’s 19th-century book, Lucile. Since Lucile was often part of a series, presenting descriptions and images of its various editions could help to date other 19th-century books.

Seminar D. Cataloging Artists’ Books: Challenges and Solutions.

Nina Schneider, Cataloger for the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, began her presentation by showing examples of artist books, or books that are also pieces of art. She said that the biggest problem is that artists’ books are often classified as a subject rather than a genre, which then puts them in the same category as books about artists. Schneider offered the following short-term solutions: a) fuller descriptions and transcription, b) controlled vocabulary, c) in-house written policy for cataloging artists’ books, d) inclusive indexing, and e) defining the genre. She also suggested that, in the long term, there should be: a) national standards (for description and access), b) a specific thesaurus (for intellectual and physical characteristics), and c) catalogs that include digital images. [See for full text of presentation.]

Johanna Drucker, Book Artist and Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, talked about Artists’ Books Online (ABO), an online collection of artists’ books and related materials. For this project, they created controlled vocabulary for many of the fields and used MARC as basis but went way beyond it.

According to Daniel Starr, Manager of Bibliographic Operations at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, catalogers can add an 856 field, linking to artists’ or publishers’ sites. These sites might be able to provide more information about the artist books, including images. Information from these sites can also be used to fill out other fields.

When the afternoon’s sessions ended, there was a reception in the HRC’s lobby. We were treated to delicious cross-cultural aperitifs, chocolates, and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), as well as a zydeco (I think) band, while we mingled. This also gave us an opportunity to view HRC’s exhibits.

Jade is an MLS student at the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park and a CIRLA Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Originally from the Philippines and currently living in Washington, D.C., she holds an M.A. in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a B.A. in English and Religious Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include: ethnic (especially Filipino/Filipino American) identities and traditions, immigration/diaspora, and multicultural children's/young adult literature.
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08 August 2006

Skills for the 21st Century Librarian

Hey all! I'm looking to collect some feedback from people in the library student community regarding the status of education in our professional programs. What areas of coursework do you feel are being served best and worst in your institutions? What skills do you feel you're equipped with, and what do you feel needs to be augmented?

This post over on Information Wants to Be Free has been around since mid-July, but it, and its comments, are important reading for library students now and in the future: Skills for the 21st Century Librarian. Here's a supplemental post she put up after the comments poured in: Further Thoughts. And here's a related post on Goblin in the Library: Teaching New Tricks.

Just looking to spur some discussion...what do you students think?

P.S. - I'm also posting this on the Library Student Community Forum.
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07 August 2006

A meeting with The Provost

Two weeks ago five student representatives met with Provost Tripathi and Dr. Lucinda M. Finley, Interim Dean of School of Informatics, to discuss the decision to dissolve the School of Informatics. Washtub Librarian and LSJ webmaster Ben Hockenberry has a good synopsis of the meeting, so I don't feel like I need to go into much detail here. The five of us have had trouble after the fact coming to a consensus about how well the meeting went (which is why we have all been slow to communicate its outcome).

I was probably the most sceptical going into the meeting, but came out of it the most reassured; others went in with positive attitudes, but came out much more sceptical. I thought the mood was rather relaxed and friendly; others thought it was quite tense. So, there you go.

My main points:
  • Tripathi assured us a number of times that all necessary resources will be made available to ensure the requirements of our provisional accreditation are met.
  • Both Finley and Tripathi assured us that the techological resources of the department would not only be continued in our new home but if anything would be increased.
  • We had been warned before the meeting to focus on student issues and stay away from faculty issues, but I am of the belief that faculty recruitment and retention is the number one student issue so stressed this concern nonetheless. Tripathi seemed genuinly concerned about faculty retention and recruitment and agreed that this was the most important issue. I found it reassuring that he did not try to offer false promises on this point.
  • Most exciting for me was to hear the commitment of The Provost and Interim Dean to creating a PhD program for the Department of Library and Information Studies, a dream that had stalled in the School of Informatics, and a subject that they brought up themselves without prompting from us.
  • Finley is planning a couple open meetings in the future to discuss issues of the reorganization with concerned students. I stressed that we wanted student representation in all future decision making, not just a couple of informational meetings. I think we'll get a couple informational meetings.
  • The meeting closed with Tripathi and Finley saying that their doors are always open if all or any of us would like to meet with them again to discuss the issue further.
So, in conclusion, I'm feeling now like the DLIS will be okay in the end. Unless we were completely lied to, which isn't impossible.
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01 August 2006

In lieu of a loo, an itty bitty IT

I don't want to cause unnecessary alarm, but from the Worthington Herald comes this news...

Worthing Borough Council are closing the public toilets, and the space will become a new IT computer suite in the library.

The improvements will take place over the next few months after the Borough Council agreed the library, in Mulberry Lane, needed the extra space.

The toilets will close from August 4.

"This is part of an ongoing programme of improvements: refurbishment and re-shelving of the children's library in the autumn," said Mike Coleman, Deputy Leader of West Sussex County Council, who has responsibility for Libraries.

He said: "We are also redecorating and carrying out minor improvements in the adult library. We expect to finish the work in the autumn, and the Library will stay open while the IT suite is being built."

For anyone feeling inconvenienced, the nearest available public toilets are those situated at the Sea Lane Cafe.
Sounds harmless enough, right? Usual story: local library finally gets priorities straight, local pub comes to the rescue, right? Not quite. In a related story from the Goring News...
Stuck in the loo
On Friday evening a lady got suck in the ladies at the Sea Lane Cafe. The man who locks up gave the traditional shout, being too discrete to look inside, and not hearing any reply closed the gates. So there was the trapped lady, clutching the bars like a scene from a horror movie crying "I'm not a celebrity, but get me out of here!". We found the man with the key who luckily had not yet gone home for the night.
I think my library visits will be quite short next time I'm in Worthing! And if that's not enough...

Late night fracas at Sea Lane Cafe
Peter Attwood, the head chef and part owner of the Sea Lane Cafe in Goring turned out on Friday night accompanied by a friend, because there was a rowdy party near the Cafe where there has recently been a lot of vandalism. Unfortunately he brought a baseball bat, and one of the kids apparently says he got hit. So Peter was taken off to the police station and was released after a couple of hours with a caution for carrying an offensive weapon, and now has a criminal record. The police stayed at the cafe until the party had disbursed and there were no other arrests. It seems that bottles and beer cans are not counted as offensive weapons, and apparently there is nothing wrong with leaving broken glass all over the place.


(For the record, my headline is much better than the Worthing Herald headline: "Goring library's information techno-loo-gy boost." C'mon Worthing Herald, we deserve better. The Sea Lane motto, on the other hand--"Open 8 days. Nine-day license applied for"--is spot on.)

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