IL2009: Connecting Through “Lights, Cameras & Action”

Speaker: Sean Robinson

Stories are essentially a contract between the author and the listener, and filmmaking is about storytelling. Before you start filming, have a story in mind, whether it’s a PSA or something more involved. Stories have beginnings, middles, and endings. You have three choices: comedy, tragedy, or drama — pick one or combine them.

Vade Mecum (take a book with you) was shot on a Canon PowerShot A570. 6,000 photos were shot and edited together with a soundtrack. You can do that with the stories you want to share.

Speakers: Michael Porter & David Lee King

Over 600 images were submitted from about 400 people. There are already over 1700 fans of the Facebook page.

The video looks really cool. I need to watch it again to read the words ’cause I was so focused on seeing all the photos. Go check out the website at Libraryman.com and watch it yourself. The point is, they think there are 101 resources and things that librarians should know. Add to it!

CIL 2009: Open Access: Green and Gold

Presenter: Shane Beers

Green open access (OA) is the practice of depositing and making available a document on the web. Most frequently, these are peer reviewed research and conference articles. This is not self-publishing! OA repositories allow institutions to store and showcase the research output of institutions, thus increasing their visibility within the academic community.

Institutional repositories are usually managed by either DSpace, Fedora, or EPrints, and there are third-party external options using these systems. There are also a few subject-specific repositories not affiliated with any particular institution.

The "serials crisis" results in most libraries not subscribing to every journal out there that their researchers need. OA eliminates this problem by making relevant research available to anyone who needs it, regardless of their economic barriers.

A 2008 study showed that less than 20% of all scientific articles published were made available in a green or gold OA repository. Self-archiving is at a low 15%, and incentives to do so increase it only by 30%. Researchers and their work habits are the greatest barriers that OA repository managers encounter. The only way to guarantee 100% self-archiving is with an institutional mandate.

Copyright complications are also barriers to adoption. Post-print archiving is the most problematic, particularly as publishers continue to resist OA and prohibit it in author contracts.

OA repositories are not self-sustaining. They require top-down dedication and support, not only for the project as a whole, but also the equipment/service and staff costs. A single "repository rat" model is rarely successful.

The future? More mandates, peer-reviewed green OA repositories, expanding repositories to encompass services, and integration of OA repositories into the workflow of researchers.

Presenter: Amy Buckland

Gold open access is about not having price or permission barriers. No embargos with immediate post-print archiving.

The Public Knowledge Project is an easy tool for creating an open journal that includes all the capabilities of online multi-media. For example, First Monday uses it.

Buckland wants libraries to become publishers of content by making the platforms available to the researchers. Editors and editorial boards can come from volunteers within the institution, and authors just need to do what they do.

Publication models are changing. May granting agencies are requiring OA components tied with funding. The best part: everyone in the world can see your institution’s output immediately!

Installation of the product is easy — it’s getting the word out that’s hard.

Libraries can make the MARC records freely available, and ensure that the journals are indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Doing this will build relationships between faculty and the library. Libraries become directly involved in the research output of faculty, which makes libraries more visible to administrators and budget decision-makers. University presses are struggling, but even though they are focused on revenue, OA journal publishing could enhance their visibility and status. Also, if you publish OA, the big G will find it (and other search engines).

NASIG 2008: Managing Divergence of Print and Online Journals

Presenters: Beth Weston and Deena Acton

The National Library of Medicine spent 2007 examined the impact of content differences between print and online journals on library operations and services. They then followed up on this in 2008. In evaluating the situation, the NLM team working on this project were tasked with locating the differences between print and online, noting them, and then determining their impact.

One thing that is worth noting here is that the NLM is an archival library, by which I mean they consider it a part of their mission to retain copies of everything they collect. And, their ILL service to other libraries is considered an essential function.

Because NLM is responsible for indexing content for MEDLINE, they were able to locate the differences through the indexing workflow. They have noticed that there is anecdotal evidence of an increase in online-only content. Aside from the indexing, which will be decreasing over time, differences between print and online are discovered by patrons and reference librarians, as well as interlibrary loan staff.

The working group recommends that publishers take responsibility for identifying the version of record, and develop and implement a standard for communicating that version to subscribers. However, that’s only a start. Libraries will then need to determine how they will note that in their records, as well as workflows for following up on it.

The set that the working group looked at included 149 titles from 58 publishers, in both print and online formats, but which had additional online-only content. Data was collected for a specific set of these journals on: number of complete articles in each edition, editorials, commentary/letters, book/media reviews, advertisements, announcements/calendar items, and continuing education materials. Notifications about new issues, author correspondence information, and other extraneous content that is format-specific was not considered.

Approximately 13% of the articles were online-only, and 18% of the articles contained article-level online-only supplementary materials. Based on the one year sampling, they estimate that 12,739 articles from these 149 titles could be online-only.

One reason why there may be an increase in the divergence is due to the volume of content publishers want to provide versus the cost of printing all of it. It is likely that as the cost of publishing ejournals decreases in relation to the cost of print publishing, we will see more of this divergence.

[Side note: I really wish we would move away from the “presenting the data from my study” sessions to “here’s how I applied the data from my study” sessions.]

#16

This young adult science fiction novel is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys tales of personal growth.

My review of the revised edition of Sylvia Louise Engdahl’s book Journey Between Worlds has been published on Blogcritics.org. I have been meaning to read the book and write the review for some time, but eventually it became one of those things that was easy to procrastinate on. But, this weekend I had other more significant things to procrastinate over, so I read the book instead. Not the best reason to read a book, but as it turns out, I’m very glad I finally read it, because it’s something I think most everyone would find interesting.

The author dwells less on the technology and shiny gadgetry of space travel and planetary colonization, and more on the human aspect thereof. This results in a very accessible story for readers who are interested in space colonization as well as readers who enjoy stories about personal growth and relationships.

#5

Puss ‘n Cahoots: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown

Meh. I’ve been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy series from book one, and this is the first to disappoint me. The author spent more time describing the setting and the technical elements of saddlebred horse shows than on character development or suspense. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem because most of the rest of the books take place in one area (Crozet, Virginia) and with some of the same characters throughout.

Brown usually has only a handful of newcomers to introduce and maybe one or two new locations. However, this time all of the action takes place in Kentucky, and the only constant characters are Harry, Fair, Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tee Tucker. Everyone else is new, and frankly by the end of the story I could care less about what happens to them.

I guess this is one problem with long-running book series — there is an expectation that each book will be as good as or better than the last one, but sometimes the author can’t deliver on that promise.

pity the ____

One of my recent webcomic finds (besides Questionable Content — sorry, Benjamin) is Sheldon. I can’t quite explain why I like it so much, I just know that in the past couple of months, it’s been one of my regular must-reads. The comic has an RSS feed that includes both the strips and the author’s … Continue reading “pity the ____”

One of my recent webcomic finds (besides Questionable Content — sorry, Benjamin) is Sheldon. I can’t quite explain why I like it so much, I just know that in the past couple of months, it’s been one of my regular must-reads.

The comic has an RSS feed that includes both the strips and the author’s blog entries. Today he highlighted an archive strip that he ran across while going through the process of tagging each strip for the search engine. It made me giggle and reminded me I probably should blog about it so that other folks can enjoy it, too.

ala midwinter seattle day one

How much swag is too much swag?

I arrived in Seattle yesterday around noon, thankfully without incident. I opted for taking the shuttle rather than taking my chances that the pass would be okay both going and returning. Plus there’s the whole finding and affording parking in downtown Seattle.

After getting checked into my hotel room, I went up to the convention center and picket up my badge holder and packet. ALA has got this conference thing down to a science, it seems. I haven’t been to an ALA conference since 2002, and I had forgotten how organized it is. The signage is very helpful and well placed.

My first official event was the Innovative Users Group meeting. The first part was all about the upcoming IUG meeting in Chicago, which I’m not attending, so it wasn’t of much interest. I took that time to make use of the free wifi and catch up on email. After that, Dinah Sanders did a presentation about III’s upcoming “discovery services platform” called Encore. It looks really good – lots of Library/Web 2.0 widgets done in a helpful and tasteful way. It’s not meant to be a replacement for the OPAC, just a different layer for delivering resources for basic information needs. Seems like something public and undergraduate libraries would find very useful, if they can afford to purchase the product. Knowing the pricing that tends to come with these things, it may take a while for it to catch on, no matter how cool (and useful) it may be.

After that, I attended the author’s forum. It featured three science fiction and fantasy authors talking about the rise of sf/f since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They all agreed that the premise of the talk is a bit off, since sf/f was already on the rise when that happened, but that world events leading to the attacks and the rise in popularity of sf/f are linked. Two good reasons are that sf/f presents a relatively non-threatening way of discussing current problems and possible solutions, and that readers are able to escape (in a good way) for a little while to a world where at some point there will be a resolution of something. Of course, depending on the series and author (*cough*Robert Jordan*cough*) that resolution may not come at the end of the book.

The grand opening of the vendor hall followed the author’s forum. This was yet another ALA conference — specifically ALA midwinter conference — event that I was not prepared for. Apparently this is a free-for-all get as much swag as you can while chowing down on the finger food event. I now know to leave the laptop in my room along with my heavy winter coat before embarking on that quest. By the time my group was ready to go to dinner, I was dragging from the weight in my bag, and I really didn’t take much of the swag.

#2

This book tries to be funny about librarians and libraries, but it has not aged well.

Last year, a fellow bookcrosser sent me a copy of Betty Vogel’s self-published attempt at library humor entitled A Librarian Is To Read. This copy is being passed around to librarians, and since I’ll be convening with quite a few of them at ALA Midwinter, I figured I’d better get it read and ready to pass off to someone else.

The book did not impress me. There were moments of genuine humor, but most of the book seemed to be a mixture of negativity and sarcasm. The age of the book did not assist it, either. While it might have been more applicable (and funny) at the time it was written, libraries and librarians have changed enough since then to make it less of an inside joke and more of a glimpse into a different time. Perhaps librarians who were active in the profession around the same time as the author would enjoy it more than I.

frazzled

Some days I wish I only had to work a half-day. Usually when I do work a half-day, I remember why I don’t do it very often. I find myself feeling very rushed and flustered trying to cram in everything I need to cram in before leaving work. Then there is the reason why I … Continue reading “frazzled”

Some days I wish I only had to work a half-day. Usually when I do work a half-day, I remember why I don’t do it very often. I find myself feeling very rushed and flustered trying to cram in everything I need to cram in before leaving work.

Then there is the reason why I am working a half-day. Almost always it’s because I’m going out of town for something, and inevitably I’ve left the packing or the one last errand to be done as soon as I leave work. I end up harried and annoyed with myself because it takes me longer to get it all done than I planned for.

Eventually, I’m in my car and cruising down the interstate just a bit over the speed limit in order to make up for the extra time spent getting ready to go. This time I was heading towards Seattle with forty-eight hours of a local science fiction convention ahead of me.

Foolscap is in its eighth year of existence. The con focuses on flat media, which is mainly books and artwork, as opposed to the more general conventions one usually hears about (ie WorldCon, Dragon*Con, Norwescon, etc.). Each year the con features one author and one artist, and this year it was C. J. Cherryh and Mark Ferrari, respectively. I was not familiar with either of them before attending the con, and they weren’t the reason why I went. I just wanted geek out all weekend with a bunch of people who enjoy reading similar stuff and talking about it.

By the time I found the hotel in Bellevue, got checked in, and parked my car, my brain was nearly fried. I get that way when I travel, and the events listed above didn’t help that much. Dragging my suitcase along behind me, I headed towards the elevators where I saw two older women getting on. Quickening my pace, I was able to get in before the doors shut.

I notice they were both wearing name tags, and in my befuddled state, I asked the one standing directly across from me if she knew where the registration desk was located. She told me where it was on the first floor, and somehow I managed to retain that information, despite my embarrassment at realizing that I had just asked the Guest of Honor, C. J. Cherryh, for directions.

D’oh.

The next time I go to a con, I’m going to do my homework and make sure I can recognize the GoH’s on sight.

stay away from innocence (#19)

Book-on-demand with potential ISO editor for some red pen action or more.

by Duane Simolke

It took author Duane Simolke over twenty years to turn his short story idea into a novel. Let us hope that it does not take that long for it to evolve into a good novel. The Return of Innocence is desperately in need of an editor.

The story told in the book is fairly simple and has all the elements of a decent fantasy novel. Sasha Varov and her family are exiled from their home country of Jaan because her father tried to stop an evil wizard from doing what evil wizards do. Several years later, Sasha sneaks into Jaan on a simple mission of buying seeds. While there, she winds up killing the evil wizard and then returning home.

Unbeknownst to her, that act has made her a hero among the general populace of Jaan, although it opened the way for the evil wizard’s even more evil brother to step in and take his place. One year later, Sasha must return to Jaan for more seeds, but on the way her plans are altered and instead she decides to assist a group of rebels seeking to rid Jaan of the wizard.

There are dragons, demons, and plenty of sword fights to make a fantasy reader happy, but in the end it’s still too much work to get past the stilted writing and abrupt scene changes. In addition, the author’s attempts at humor are incongruous and uncomfortable. Take this exchange on pages 25-26:

“I—” Her fear and confusion increased when she finally recognized her captor as Wuhrlock’s brother, Tay-lii. She had seen him once, during their journey to the Tarran Isles. He was sitting on his horse, surrounded by his soldiers and staring at the exiles. But now he stood right in front of her. “Why don’t you kill him?” she finally asked.

Men can’t kill sorcerers. I learned that fact years ago. It must be a woman, and she must have been born within the territory that the sorcerer has claimed. Women are naturally rooted in the powers of Theln’s ground, because the ground absorbed Erran’s powers when she fell into it and became the first human.”

“Sounds kind of far-fetched, like a convenient plot device in a book,” Sasha stated, but then realized she probably shouldn’t start a debate during such a time.

It is a convenient plot device, and one of many that are not used well. The author is too busy throwing in a dash of mysticism here and a smattering of romance there to really develop anything fully, or even explain what is there. When it is apparent that a scene was added in order to flesh out the story into a book, one almost wishes that it had been left as it was because all it does is detract from what could be an engaging story.

The author frequently has the character tell the reader what the character is thinking or feeling, rather than giving that role to a non-entity narrator. It is usually jarring and throws off the flow of the prose. This is yet another element of the book that could be improved with editing and refinement.

The ending of the book is anti-climactic and contrived. All along the reader can anticipate the eventual outcome, and the tools for that outcome appear six scenes prior. Despite all that, certain plot points are never fully explained. The whole thing is wrapped up with a little too much “and they lived happily ever after.”

The Return of Innocence might be worth reading once it has been put through the ministrations of a reputable editor and publisher, but until then it is best left on the shelf, unless the reader is a masochist.