LSJ Editors' Blog: November 2006

30 November 2006

November Issue of LSJ

The November Issue of Library Student Journal is now available. I am happy to introduce what I think is a very interesting and diverse issue. There should be something in here for just about everyone!

Leah Larson gives us a delightful Christmas story, "A Cataloging Carol", with original illustrations by Jane Littlefield. Carrie Netzer Wajda discusses deaccessioning and the public image of information professionals. And Allyson Mower gives us an insider's look at a developing Institutional Repository.

We have two peer-reviewed articles this month. Iva Seto looks at the organization of knowledge and the hyperlink through the Eco's The Name of the Rose and Borges' The Library of Babel. And Ann Dixon takes us on a tour of children's poetry as it has developed through the years.

An editorial by Louise Cooke responds to two papers on Internet filtering published in the September LSJ, and Mary Francis argues for a reconsideration of reference terminology.

Two book reviews this month: Eric Brust reviews Administration of the Public Library, by Alice Gertzog and Edwin Beckerman, and Deborah Hicks reviews The Librarian's Career Guidebook, edited by Priscilla K. Shontz.

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16 November 2006

An interview with the ALA president

Left to right: Provost Tripathi, President Burger, Interim Dean Finley. Photos courtesy of Jennifer Potter. Click for more.

Jennifer Potter, president of the University at Buffalo chapter of ALA, had a chance to ask Leslie Burger, President of ALA, about her meeting with Provost Satish Tripathi and Interim Dean Lucinda M. Finley, in which they discussed the controversial decision to close the School of Informatics. In this recorded interview, Leslie reports a productive meeting that promised a bright future for the UB MLS program.

It has become clear that the Provost is willing to explore new options, reconsidering his initial decision that placed the Department of Library and Information Studies in the Graduate School of Education. It looks increasingly likely that our new home will be the College of Arts and Sciences. As in a previous meeting with student representatives, the Provost discussed his desire to establish a PhD component.

Leslie also gives this advice to soon-to-graduate students: "Students need to be passionate about what they want to do. They need to create the change they want to see."

Jennifer Potter presents a gift to Leslie Burger.

Thanks again to Leslie for visiting and to Jennifer and the other UB students who made it happen.

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14 November 2006

Leslie Burger's 10 tips for librarians

ALA President Leslie Burger visited the University at Buffalo recently, giving an inspiring talk titled "Be a Transformative Librarian."

Photo at left courtesy of Jenn Graham. Click for more.

Her positive and forward-thinking attitude were wonderfully refreshing. The usual doom and gloom was conspicuously absent as she reminded us that libraries can and are still having a positive influence on their communities. Her examples of ways various libraries are maintaining relevance and using technology to their advantage were spot on. And I especially liked her focus on ACTIVE involvement in community discussion: at her own library, the Princeton Public Library, for instance, they stayed open late on election night to follow the results, and had a political expert on hand to answer questions; and at Salt Lake City Public Library they host a Freedom Forum series to lead discussions on hot button issues.

Jenn at Jennimi has a very good description of the event so I wont rehash here. Burger's ten tips for librarians, as summarized by Jenn is below:

10 Tips for Librarians:

  1. Be passionate! Be a cheerleader for libraries!
  2. Think “all community all the time”
  3. Walk on the wild side (take risks) - challenge the status quo, ask why? give someone in your organization the title of Chief Innovator (how do we apply?? Mark, you in?)
  4. “400,000 smiling faces”. Hire for attitude as well as skills
  5. Develop leadership at every level – it’s everybody’s job (not just Provost, Dean, Chair, but everybody!)
  6. Become an activist
  7. Embrace change – change is the one thing in life that’s constant
  8. Invest in the basics (2nd most important according to Ms. Burger) – need GREAT websites, catalogs that make sense - that look like how people want them to look! Need buildings that work!!!!! Patrons can go to Barnes and Noble and have coffee, why not the library? Need great collections, need funding that matters! can’t allow ourselves to be victimized by our vendors anymore
  9. Play well together – collaborateinvolve all key stake holders – this takes a lot of work
  10. “Keep everlastingly at it” (John Cotton Dana)
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11 November 2006

Ben Hockenberry at ASIS&T 2006

Benjamin Hockenberry, LSJ Production Editor and Webmaster, recently returned from the ASIS&T 2006 Annual Meeting: Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future for All. Part 1 of his conference blog is now posted, in which he discusses the SIG/CR Preconference: "Social Classification: Panacea or Pandora?" Sounds like a really interesting conference so far Ben!
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07 November 2006

Buffalo Museum of Science Research Library Online!

Congratulations to the Buffalo Museum of Science on the recent completion of a library automation project. Jean Linn, collections manager (and LSJ editorial assistant), sends this news:
The Research Library has some very exciting and long-awaited news…we now have an online catalog! You can now search our holdings from home (and pick out your next reading material).
It was a long road getting to this point, and an interesting story (if you find library automation interesting). Here's some background (the short version): The BMS did at one point in the 1990s have a searchable catalog through the WNYLRC Union Catalog, but when WNYLRC moved to a decentralized system several years ago the BMS Research Library could no longer take part, not having the resources to maintain their own server and ILS. It was discovered that WNYLRC no longer had those BMS MARC records (or if they did the floppies on which they were stored are now useless), but OCLC came to the rescue. OCLC not only had record of what records the BMS catalogers had downloaded all those years ago, but also had copies of those records complete with local notes and any other changes made. This service - OCLC calls it Local Database Creation - is for just such an occasion when large amounts of data are lost or corrupted. It was, then, a (relatively!) simple and cost-effective matter to download the records again into BMS' new Sagebrush InfoCentre system. Sagebrush, recently bought by Follett, took over Winnebago in 1999 and has been selling its own Athena product side by side with Winnegabo's Spectrum system since then. InfoCentre is a sort of best-of-both response to the problem of owning two competing systems. Sagebrush is still supporting both of the old systems for now it seems, but new customers are pushed to InfoCentre.

It is a distinguished collection with a long history - one of the best small libraries in Western New York. Highlights of the collection and more information about the library itself are on the website.

Kudos to Kathy Leacock, former collections manager and a recent grad of the University at Buffalo MLS program, for recognizing the benefits to the local science community of having this catalog online. And kudos also to Jean Linn, a current UB MLS student, for seeing it through. It looks great!
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01 November 2006

October Poll results

Our October Poll ended with just under 200 readers finishing the sentence "Internet filtering in libraries is...," and the winner by a narrow margin is: "...never a good idea" (35%). Following closely is "...sometimes a good idea" (28.5%) and then not far behind, "...up to the local community" (19.3%) and " overblown issue" (12.2%).

Our September issue included two papers on the topic and our November issue will include another. All recognize that this is not an issue with easy answers. Support for filtering accepts that some legitimate resources will be made unavailable; rejection of filtering accepts that some illegal or inappropriate activity might occur. Given the anti-censorship history of the field, it is unsurprising that many would reject filtering altogether. It is far from clear, however, if this can be viewed as censorship or if it is simply an acquisitions decision to select only websites that contain material appropriate to all patrons.

Our November Poll asks: Web 2.o is...
  • a big step forward, but underutilized.
  • a small step forward. When is 3.0 coming out?
  • what?
  • all hype. Enough already!
  • exactly what we need!
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OEDb: online courses and the invisible web

From the Online Education Database (OEDb), 10 Advantages to Taking Online Classes:

  1. Degree Programs and Classes Offered
  2. Lower Costs
  3. No Sitting in a Classroom
  4. Choosing Study Times
  5. Flexibility in Completing Assignments
  6. Options when Returning to the Workplace
  7. Balance a Job and Class
  8. Avoid Adverse Weather Conditions
  9. Specialized Degree Programs
  10. Transfer Credits

And OEDb founder Jimmy Atkinson has just published an article warning that the visible web is but the tip of the iceberg, explaining:
Google, the largest search database on the planet, currently has around eight billion web pages indexed. That's a lot of information. But it's nothing compared to what else is out there. Google can only index the visible web, or searchable web. But the invisible web, or deep web, is estimated to be 500 times bigger than the searchable web. The invisible web comprises databases and results of specialty search engines that the popular search engines simply are not able to index.

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