singing with the Ellensburg Women’s Chorus in the 2005
Some of you may know that I enjoy singing in choirs/choruses/chorales these days, even doing a solo every now and then, but I’ll bet few of you know that I was too shy to sing in front of most people until my second year of college. Most of my college friends could sing pretty well, and many of them were in the university chorale or the chamber choir. I loved singing, but I was too nervous and shy to audition, as much as I wanted to. Somehow, they convinced me to take a voice class. Not private lessons, but with a small group of students and one teacher, all at once.
This was safe for me to start out in. We sang everything together, until our final, and that was the first time I’d sung for real, alone, in front of anyone. It was terrifying! But it also gave me the courage to go through the audition process the next year, and I was in the chorale for the second half of my college career.
Since then, I’ve sung with Sacred Harp groups, church choirs, community women’s choruses, and a university women’s chorus (I still sing with two groups that fit in the last two categories). It’s been an amazing learning experience, and I sometimes marvel at how a person who was too shy to sing in front of a handfull of friends can now stand on stage and sing in front of hundreds of strangers.
In college, I was obsessed with singing low. I was proud to sing the alto part, and one of my fellow altos and I would frequently try to hide with the basses until our director made us go back to our section. For me, alto meant harmony and something interesting. Soprano seemed, well, boring.
These days, I sing first alto or second soprano, depending on the group and the arrangement. And the strange thing is, I’m finding that the low notes aren’t as much fun anymore, and sometimes are rather uncomfortable to sing. My voice, as women’s voices do, has been changing and maturing over the years. When I moved over to the second soprano section in my community women’s chorus last year, it was the first time I acknowledge that shift to anyone, including myself. It was a bit of an identity crisis at first, but I’ve come to embrace it.
Back in that voice class in college, my instructor called me a “chicken soprano,” and she was right. I could sing higher than I was willing to (or brave enough to) back then. Now I know I can, and I have quite often. The strange thing is, I can feel my voice changing. I started noticing this on octave leaps that would take me up to the C above middle-C, and beyond. They didn’t feel strained anymore — I just thought it, and then sang it with confidence.
My ear is much better. I have a good sense of certain notes and placement and intervals, although I couldn’t tell you what a perfect fourth or a major seventh sounded like to save my life. Those names never stuck with me. But, I can sight read pretty well, if you give me a starting point, and back in the day I had to hear it a few times before I could follow along.
So, I’m moving into my upper range, and it feels fine. But also weird. Sometimes, I can’t trust my sense of place anymore, because what feels like a G may be something else entirely now. My voice breaks are shifting, or maybe I’m just not as aware of them anymore.
This makes me feel less certain. Unbalanced. And it doesn’t help that I’m turning 37 this year.
Back to that voice class and the instructor who told me I was a chicken soprano… she also told us that women’s voices hit their peak maturity around age 37. To my 19-year-old mind, that seemed like a future so distant I couldn’t even imagine it, and now I’m here. Or nearly there.
People talk about how turning 30 wasn’t as big of a deal as turning 31. I get that. For me, as a woman and a singer, I think this 37th birthday is going to be more significant than either of those previous milestones. I’m just not sure if I’m ready for that to happen yet. Luckily, I have about six months to figure it out.
“Hanging On” by Nic C
Speaker: Rachel Frick, Digital Library Federation
Sees herself as a community builder for the greater benefit of the profession as a whole.
There is a lot going on in libraries, and it can be overwhelming. At the same time, it’s an exciting time to be a librarian. If we embrace the challenge of the change and see the opportunities, we will be okay.
We are at “the incunabula period of the digital age.” -T. Scott Plutchak
The network changes everything. See also: Networked by Lee Raine & Barry Wellman
This can be good, or it can be bad (see also: Google Buzz). We have the opportunity to reach beyond our home institutions to have a broader impact.
Data has many different facets. We are talking about data-driven decision making, research data, data curation, linked (open) data, and library collections as data.
When we started digitizing our collections, we had a very library/museum portal view that was very proscribed. The DPLA wanted to avoid this, letting folks pull data through APIs and display it however they want. When we start freeing our stuff from the containers, we start seeing some new research questions and scholarship.
“Local collections are the dark matter of a linked data world.” -Susan Hildreth, Director of IMLS
Catalog and pay attention to the unique things that are at your institution. We need original catalogers back. This is the golden age for catalogers. We need to reinvent the way we process the hard and difficult things to describe. It’s about the services, not the stuff.
If the car was developed in the library, it would have been called the e-horse. Please don’t hire a data curation librarian or eresearch librarian or … data and local content is everyone’s job. The silos have to come down in our services, too. By silo-ing off the jobs, we’re not harnessing the power of the network.
Print-based societies needed the buildings, but in the digital society, it’s more about the connections. We should talk about what librarians do, not what libraries do. Do we want to serve our buildings or serve our communities? We cannot allow the care and feeding of our buildings to define us. The mission is what defines us.
Our mission is greater than our job. “Our mission is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” (R. David Lankes) If this isn’t why you show up every day, then maybe it’s time to reassess your life and career choice.
We are a community, with permeable borders, and room at the table for everyone. But, this causes a lot of fear and anxiety, and can raise the spectre of the snark. This is detrimental to open community development.
Snark: “I really wish the DPLA would do ___.”
Frick: “The DPLA is you! Show up!”
If we come with our 10lb hammer to smack down every new idea, we will not be able to move forward.
Vulnerability is “the courage to show up and allow ourselves to be seen.” (Dr. Brene Brown) Be open to feedback — it is a function of respect. Admitting a vulnerability builds strength and trust, and a culture of shared struggle/experience.
We need to hang out with not the usual suspects. If this is the 10th time in a row that you’ve attended a particular conference, maybe you need to try something new. We need to think of librarianship outside of our normal communities.
The hacker epistemology says to adopt a problem-solving mindset, and the truth is what works. Our “always” of doing things will not translate to the networked world. The #ideadrop house was a wild success. People wanted to share their ideas with librarians!
Jason Griffey created the library boxes — small hard drives with wifi capability that allow anyone to access and download the content. They put them everywhere at SXSW — pedicabs, volunteers carrying them around, etc.
How do you communicate your ideas to people outside of your community?
In this world of networked individualism, our success is up to us. We have to have a personal responsibility to the longevity and success of our profession. This golden moment for librarianship is brief, so we have to act now. Be engaged. Be there.
How do you lead? Leadership is not being an AUL or head of a department. We lead by example, no matter where you are.
The stuff that’s easy to count really isn’t important. We need to have a national holiday from performance metrics.
Dare a little. Be more open. Take more risks, even if they’re small. Be easy on yourself.
“X-Factor” by Andy Rennie
Speaker: Stefanie Buck (Oregon State University)
It’s safe to say that discovery products have not received a positive response from the librarians who are expected to use them. We always talk about the users, and we forget that librarians are users, and are probably in them more than the typical freshman. They are new, and new things can be scary.
OSU has Summon, which they brought up in 2010. She thinks that even though this is mostly about her experience with Summon, it can be applied to other discovery tools and libraries. They had a federated search from 2003-2010, but toward the latter years, librarians had stopped teaching it, so when discovery services came along, they went that way.
Initially, librarians had a negative view of the one search box because of their negative experience with federated searching. Through the process of the implementation, they gathered feedback from the librarians, and the librarians were hopeful that this might live up to the promise that federated search did not. They also surveyed librarians outside of OSU, and found a broad range from love it to not over my dead body, but most lived in the middle, where it depended on the context.
Most librarians think they will use a discovery tool in teaching lower division undergraduates, but it depends if it’s appropriate or not. The promise of a discovery tool is that librarians don’t have to spend so much time teaching different tools, so they could spend more time talking about evaluating sources and the iterative process of research. Some think they actually will do that, but for now, they have simply added the discovery tool to the mix.
Participation in the implementation process is key for getting folks on board. When librarians are told “you must,” it doesn’t go over very well. Providing training and instruction is essential. There might be some negative feedback from the students until they get used to it, and librarians need to be prepared for that. Librarians need to understand how it works and where the limitations fall. Don’t underestimate the abilities of librarians to work around you.
These tools are always changing. Make sure that folks know that it has improved if they don’t like it at first. Make fun (and useful) tools, and that the librarians know how to create scoped tools that they can use for specific courses. If you have a “not over my dead body,” team teaching might be a good approach to show them that it could be useful.
Speaker: Leslie Moyo & Tracy Gilmore (Virginia Tech)
Initially there were mixed perceptions, but more are starting to incorporate it into their instruction. With so many products out there, we really need to move away from teaching all of them and spending more time on good research/search skills.
Students “get” discovery services faster if it is introduced as the Google of library stuff.
Move away from teaching sources and towards teaching the process. Enhance the power of boolean searching with faceted searching. Shift from deliberate format searching (book, article, etc.) toward mixed format results that are most relevant to the search.
“Space Shuttle Discovery Landing At Washington DC” by Glyn Lowe
Moderator: Dan Tonkery
Panel: Roger Schonfeld (ITHAKA S + R), Jon Law (ProQuest), Amira Aaron (Northeastern University), Brian Duncan (EBSCO), & Susan Stearns (Ex Libris)
What features of discovery services do students prefer? What ones do they dislike?
Law: The search box is intuitive and familiar, and their expectations of speed are set by web search engines. Being able to quickly scan the abstract to see if it is relevant, and then quickly retrieve the content when they want it.
Stearns: Needs to be flexible and reflective of different user types and the environment they are in. Contextual searching based on who they are and how they look for information. Students also expect to access related content about their relationship with libraries (i.e. materials checked out, notices).
Duncan: Finding the results on the first page, and at least the second page. Metadata and relevancy are important.
What impact is open access having on discovery?
Aaron: Depends on the model of OA. Not really sure if it has an impact on discovery systems yet. It has and will have an impact on discovery in general, but not sure if it’s impacting library discovery systems any more or less than open web searches.
Law: Our customers are turning OA links on in the discovery service.
Stearns: It’s easy to make the OA content available, but are you managing it? How does this impact back-office workflows?
Will discovery services replace the online catalog?
Stearns: It’s been painful for some libraries, but yes. There is no OPAC in next generation library systems, it’s all about discovery. And we need to get over it. Discovery services need to have the functionality of the OPAC (things librarians like). This is an opportunity to rethink workflows and what you do with metadata in a discovery environment.
What are the advantages of selling both a family of databases and a discovery service?
Duncan: Users have automatic full-text because it’s built into the system and doesn’t need to go through OpenURL. Thinking a lot about how to make this simpler for students and integrating high-quality metadata from A&I sources along with the full-text.
Aaron: That’s fine for the vendor, but it takes away the choice for the librarian as to where to send the user. It’s taking away choice.
Law: We want our discovery service to be content-provider neutral.
What impact can libraries reasonably expect discovery services to have on traffic patterns?
Schonfeld: We see the majority of traffic coming from Google and Google Scholar, at least for JSTOR. If the objective is to change where users are starting their research, then we need different ways of measuring that and determining success.
Stearns: Our customers are thinking about not only having the one search box on the web page, but also where else can you embed linking and making sure the connections work, particularly when users come in from different sources.
Aaron: Success is not measured by how many people come to your website and start there, it’s how they get to the content from wherever they go.
What metrics do librarians expect from discovery services?
Aaron: Search statistics aren’t very meaningful in the context of discovery services. Click-through, content sources — those are the important metrics.
Schonfeld: This is not just a new product – it replaces old products, so we need to think about it differently. Libraries might want to know what share of their users is coming from what sources (i.e. discovery services, Wikipedia, Google, etc.). It’s still early days to be able to come to any strong conclusions.
Duncan: Need to measure searches that don’t result in any click-throughs as well.
Does your discovery product provide title-level information to the user community and how often is it updated?
Law: How do you measure your collection? We need some definition around this in order to know how to tell libraries how much of it is indexed in our discovery service. We are starting to do more collection analysis for libraries.
Duncan: The title list doesn’t equate to the deep metadata of an A&I database. If we don’t have the deep metadata, we don’t say we have the same coverage as that database. Full text searching is not a replacement for controlled vocabulary and metadata, it’s just a component of it.
Stearns: We also want to make sure the collections we expose are actually the ones the users access, by looking at historical usage information.
Aaron: It’s important to have the deep metadata, and it’s troubling that the content providers aren’t playing well together. I should be able to display content we purchase to our users in whatever interface I want. If I can’t, I may not continue to purchase or lease that content. It’s the same problem we had with link resolvers years ago. If you really care about the user and libraries, then start playing together.
[Missed the last question because I was still flying high from Aaron's call-out, but it was something dull about how much customization is available in the discovery system, or something like that. Couldn't tell from the responses. Go read product information for the answers.]
“Kali, Avatar of the eBook” by Javier Candeira
Speaker: Deborah Lenares, Wellesley College
Libraries have been relatively quietly collecting ebooks for years, but it wasn’t until the Kindle came out that public interest in ebooks was aroused. Users exposure and expectations for ebooks has been raised, with notable impact on academic libraries. From 2010-2011, the number of ebooks in academic libraries doubled.
Wellesley is platform agnostic — they look for the best deal with the best content. Locally, they have seen an overall increase in unique titles viewed, a dramatic increase in pages viewed, a modest decrease in pages printed, and a dramatic increase in downloads.
In February 2012, they sent a survey to all of their users, with incentives (iPad, gift cards, etc.) and a platform (Zoomerang) provided by Springer. They had a 57% response rate (likely iPad-influenced), and 71% have used ebooks (51% used ebooks from the Wellesley College Library). If the survey respondent had not used ebooks, they were skipped to the end of the survey, because they were only interested in data from those who have used ebooks.
A high percent of the non-library ebooks were from free sources like Google Books, Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, etc. Most of the respondents ranked search within the text and offline reading or download to device among the most important functionality aspects, even higher than printing.
Most of the faculty respondents found ebooks to be an acceptable option, but prefer to use print. Fewer students found ebooks an acceptable option, and preferred print more than faculty. There is a reason that will be aparent later in the talk.
The sciences preferred ebooks more than other areas, and found them generally more acceptable than other areas, but the difference is slight. Nearly all faculty who used ebooks would continue to, ranging from preferring them to reluctant acceptance.
Whether they love or hate ebooks, most users skimmed/search and read a small number of consecutive pages or a full chapter. However, ebooks haters almost never read an entire book, and most of the others infrequently did so. Nearly everyone read ebooks on a computer/laptop. Ebook lovers used devices, and ebook haters were more likely to have printed it out. Most would prefer to not use their computer/laptop, and the ebook lovers would rather use their devices.
Faculty are more likely to own or plan to purchase a device than students, which may be why faculty find ebooks more acceptable than students. Maybe providing devices to them would be helpful?
For further research:
- How does the robustness of ebook collections effect use and attitudes?
- Is there a correlation between tablet/device use and attitudes?
- Are attitudes toward shared ebooks (library) different from attitudes toward personal ebooks?
The full text of the white paper is available from Springer.