Speakers: Dawn McKinnon & Amy Buckland, McGill University
We have pretty good outward-facing communication and support, but internally, we’re not so polite or explanatory.
Always reply to an email if a reply is needed, even if it is to say you can’t do it right now (or ever). Use the same pleasantries you would with an external client.
One solution is to make everyone give a job talk, which helps everyone understand a little about what each other is doing. Another solution is to provide topical workshops and general updates to help everyone understand workflow and impact on other departments.
Committees that combine staff from different departments/areas can help make sure that all the bases are covered.
Communicate! You cannot communicate too much, especially if it is important. Email lists, blogs, weekly meetings with management, regular open office hours, bimonthly recorded talk with the Dean, etc.
Pitfalls to watch out for: spreading negative misinformation, public shaming, and shoveling crap (i.e. typical librarian passive-aggressiveness, or passing the buck).
Libraries are about community. Service levels should be the same for students, donors, colleagues… anyone who is part of the community!
“Educational Utility Computing: Perspectives on .edu and the Cloud”
Mark Ryland, Chief Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services
AWS has been a part of revolutionizing the start-up industries (i.e. Instagram, Pinterest) because they don’t have the cost of building server infrastructures in-house. Cloud computing in the AWS sense is utility computing — pay for what you use, easy to scale up and down, and local control of how your products work. In the traditional world, you have to pay for the capacity to meet your peak demand, but in the cloud computing world, you can level up and down based on what is needed at that moment.
Economies, efficiencies of scale in many ways. Some obvious: storage, computing, and networking equipment supply change; internet connectivity and electric power; and data center sitting, redundancy, etc. Less obvious: security and compliance best practices; datacenter internal innovations in networking, power, etc.
AWS and .EDU: EdX, Coursera, Texas Digital Library, Berkeley AMP Lab, Harvard Medical, University of Phoenix, and an increasing number of university/school public-facing websites.
Expects that we are heading toward cloud computing utilities to function much like the electric grid — just plug in and use it.
“Libraries in Transition”
Marshall Breeding, library systems expert
We’ve already seen the shift of print to electronic in academic journals, and we’re heading that way with books. Our users are changing in the way they expect interactions with libraries to be, and the library as space is evolving to meet that, along with library systems.
Web-based computing is better than client/server computing. We expect social computing to be integrated into the core infrastructure of a service, rather than add-ons and afterthoughts. Systems need to be flexible for all kinds of devices, not just particular types of desktops. Metadata needs to evolve from record-by-record creation to bulk management wherever possible. MARC is going to die, and die soon.
How are we going to help our researchers manage data? We need the infrastructure to help us with that as well. Semantic web — what systems will support it?
Cooperation and consolidation of library consortia; state-wide implementations of SaaS library systems. Our current legacy ILS are holding libraries back from being able to move forward and provide the services our users want and need.
A true cloud computing system comes with web-based interfaces, externally hosted, subscription OR utility pricing, highly abstracted computing model, provisioned on demand, scaled according to variable needs, elastic.
“Moving Up to the Cloud”
Mark Triest, President of Ex Libris North America
Currently, libraries are working with several different systems (ILS, ERMS, DRs, etc.), duplicating data and workflows, and not always very accurately or efficiently, but it was the only solution for handling different kinds of data and needs. Ex Libris started in 2007 to change this, beginning with conversations with librarians. Their solution is a single system with unified data and workflows.
They are working to lower the total cost of ownership by reducing IT needs, minimize administration time, and add new services to increase productivity. Right now there are 120+ institutions world-wide who are in the process of or have gone live with Alma.
Automated workflows allow staff to focus on the exceptions and reduce the steps involved.
Descriptive analytics are built into the system, with plans for predictive analytics to be incorporated in the future.
Future: collaborative collection development tools, like joint licensing and consortial ebook programs; infrastructure for ad-hoc collaboration
“Cloud Computing and Academic Libraries: Promise and Risk”
John Ulmschneider, Dean of Libraries at VCU
When they first looked at Alma, they had two motivations and two concerns. They were not planning or thinking about it until they were approached to join the early adopters. All academic libraries today are seeking to discover and exploit new efficiencies. The growth of cloud-resident systems and data requires academic libraries to reinvigorate their focus on core mission. Cloud-resident systems are creating massive change throughout out institutions. Managing and exploiting pervasive change is a serious challenge. Also, we need to deal with security and durability of data.
Cloud solutions shift resources from supporting infrastructure to supporting innovation.
Efficiencies are not just nice things, they are absolutely necessary for academic libraries. We are obligated to upend long-held practice, if in doing so we gain assets for practice essential to our mission. We must focus recovered assets on the core library mission.
Agility is the new stability.
Libraries must push technology forward in areas that advance their core mission. Infuse technology evolution for libraries with the values needs of libraries. Libraries must invest assets as developers, development partners, and early adopters. Insist on discovery and management tools that are agnostic regarding data sources.
Managing the change process is daunting.. but we’re already well down the road. It’s not entirely new, but it does involve a change in culture to create a pervasive institutional agility for all staff.
Speakers: Ladd Brown, Andi Ogier, and Annette Bailey, Virginia Tech
Libraries are not about the collections anymore, they’re about space. The library is a place to connect to the university community. We are aggressively de-selecting, buying digital backfiles in the humanities to clear out the print collections.
Guess what? We still have our legacy workflows. They were built for processing physical items. Then eresources came along, and there were two parallel processes. Ebooks have the potential of becoming a third process.
Along with the legacy workflows, they have a new Dean, who is forward thinking. The Dean says it’s time to rip off the bandaid. (Titanic = old workflow; iceberg = eresources; people in life boats = technical resources team) Strategic plans are living documents kept on top of the desk and not in the drawer.
With all of this in mind, acquisitions leaders began meeting daily in a group called Eresources Workflow Weekly Work, planning the changes they needed to make. They did process mapping with sharpies, post-its, and incorporated everyone in the library that had anything to do with eresources. After lots of meetings, position descriptions began to emerge.
Electronic Resource Supervisor is the title of the former book and serials acquisitions heads. The rest — wasn’t clear from the description.
They had a MARC record service for ejournals, but after this reorganization process, they realized they needed the same for ebooks, and could be handled by the same folks.
Two person teams were formed based on who did what in the former parallel processes, and they reconfigured their workspace to make this more functional. The team cubes are together, and they have open collaboration spaces for other groupings.
They shifted focus from maintaining MARC records in their ILS to maintaining accurate title lists and data in their ERMS. They’re letting the data from the ERMS populate the ILS with appropriate MARC records.
They use some Python scripts to help move data from system to system, and more staff are being trained to support it. They’re also using the Google Apps portal for collaborative projects.
They wanted to take risks, make mistakes, fail quickly, but also see successes come quickly. They needed someplace to start, and to avoid reinventing the wheel, so they borrowed heavily from the work done by colleagues at James Madison University. They also hired Carl Grant as a consultant to ask questions and facilitate cross-departmental work.
Big thing to keep in mind: Administration needs to be prepared to allow staff to spend time learning new processes and not keeping up with everything they used to do at the same time. And, as they let go of the work they used to do, please tell them it was important or they won’t adopt the new work.
Moderator: Ann Coder, Library Services Manager, Brookhaven College
Speaker: Linda McCann, Director of Library Services, Bucks County Community College
Probably had something interesting to say, but her phone connection was so awful I tuned it out. Plus, I hate the “let me tell you useless stats about my institution” portion that for some reason people think is important to include in every presentation about something they did at their library.
In summary, they got rid of formats and collections that are no longer needed and converted the space into a popular (and apparently award winning) learning commons.
Speaker: Denise Repman, Dean of Library Services, Delgado Community College
Oy. Sound not much better on this one. Maybe it’s ALA’s connection? In summary: something something something new library buildings.
Speaker: Theresa C. Stanley, Library Director, Pima Community College
Still crappy sound. In summary: they had to reduce their collection by 30%, so they removed duplicates and content no longer relevant to their current programs. Kept notes in a wiki and used a shared calendar to schedule the project, which is probably a good idea.
The James E. Brooks Library faculty announce a graduate assistantship program for individuals who already have an MLS, or equivalent, and who desire a second subject master degree.
Graduate Assistantships Available
The James E. Brooks Library
Central Washington University
The James E. Brooks Library faculty announce a graduate assistantship program for individuals who already have an MLS, or equivalent, and who desire a second subject master degree. This unique two-year program allows an individual to study in any of eighteen graduate programs while gaining valuable professional experience in an academic library. Ideal for new or experienced tenure-seeking librarians, candidates must apply to the graduate school and be accepted into a program prior to being accepted as a paid library graduate assistant.
The assistantship is really two programs; an opportunity to gain valuable professional experience under the tutelage of professional librarians while getting that second, often necessary, advanced degree required at many academic libraries. For experienced librarians this assistantship is also two programs; a chance to advance by studying for an advanced degree while renewing and recharging one’s self during an extended leave of absence. Total benefits include a stipend of $7,120, plus paid tuition, medical insurance and health center fees equaling approximately $13,888 per academic year. Summer study and employment opportunities may also be available.
Opportunities are available for candidates to gain professional experience in reference, instruction, library technology and systems, technical services, outreach, archives and record management, government publications, maps, assessment and research.
Application and queries may be initiated by contacting Dr. Thomas M. Peischl, Dean of Library Services at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (509) 963-1901, or by mail at The James E. Brooks Library, 400 East University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926.
I was up bright and early Saturday morning. Despite having drifted off to sleep around 11pm, my body decided that it was time to wake up around 5am. We ended up compromising and I got up at 6am. This allowed me time to drop by the convention center and use the wifi for a bit before my 8am ALCTS Serials Section Acquisitions Committee meeting. The meeting was moderately productive and also happened to be my first ALA committee meeting (I’m an intern).
After that, I headed back to the convention center to meet with my Dean and a potential candidate for a position we have open at my library. It was a good meeting and I learned a lot about how these sorts of things work. Very useful information if/when I decide to go into library administration. We also met with another potential candidate in the afternoon, and that, too was a good and informative meeting.
I ended up skipping the CSA lunch, the Google Tips for Librarians session, and the III e-resources sessions that I had planned to attend over the next few hours. Instead, I lunched with my Dean and met up with some friends for further lunching (desert for me, lunch for them). In between that and the afternoon meeting, I wandered around the overwhelmingly large exhibit hall and talked to some vendors.
In the evening, I attended the NMRT social at the Elephant and Castle Pub, met a few folks I didn’t know, and ended up having and unexpectedly good time. My usual posse were off at other events, so it was a bit of a struggle to feel comfortable on my own and to meet new people. And I’m subscribing to the Young Librarian‘s blog.
On Sunday morning, I attended the Electronic Resources Breakfast hosted by Ebsco. It was an interesting discussion, much like what I encounter regularly at NASIG. It surprised me to learn that this sort of thing is uncommon for ALA events. That’s a pity.
I had intended to go to the ACRL presidential candidates forum lunch, but I ended up in the exhibit hall instead. After snagging a few more advance reader copies of interesting books, and picking up a bit more swag, I headed back to my hotel to unload everything. I also stopped at Rite Aid for some aspirin (the previous night’s events had left their mark in the form of a killer headache) and shoe inserts for my tired feet. This turned out to be a very good move, since according to my pedometer, I walked a little over six miles by the end of the day.
Refreshed, and carrying a much lighter load, I returned to the convention center for what I thought was a meeting there. Turns out WEST meant the Westin, but I didn’t find that out until after the Academic Librarians advocacy group was supposed to be meeting. I trekked down to the Westing in a rush, only to discover that either the meeting was canceled or moved or no one else had shown up. Disappointed, I returned to the convention center and chatted with a vendor until it was time for my backup meeting — ALCTS Serials Section Journal Costs in Libraries Discussion Group.
I stayed for about twenty minutes until it became apparent that the meeting was more about Selden Durgom Lamoureux and Judy Luther’s project to develop a standard “best practices” license agreement that publishers and libraries could choose to invoke rather than spending time and money on the license negotiation process. It’s a good idea, and at some point this week it should be up on the NISO website. I would have stayed longer, but I received a phone call and the session wasn’t what I was expecting it to be.
After a bit, I met up with Karen Schneider and a friend, and the three of us went to the Seattle Public Library for the GLBTRT social. The room was packed and I felt very out of place, for some reason. I ended up exploring the library, mostly on my own, instead of staying in the room for very long. When I get home, I’ll upload the pictures I took.
I snagged a cab instead of walking the mile or so to the Space Needle, and my feet thanked me. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the dessert tables at the III dessert reception, but I was so overwhelmed by the array of decadent chocolate (and other) desserts that it completely slipped my mind. This would also be the reason why I didn’t take pictures from the tower, either. By the end of the night, the sugar and wine combined to make me feel so exhausted I was almost ill. Yet another thing that was fun while it lasted, but the after-effects left much to be desired. Next time I won’t have the glass of wine.
My Monday morning meeting was canceled, which allowed me to sleep in (yay!) and sit here writing all this up. All I have left is a CMDS forum on collecting e-resources use, and then I go catch the shuttle home.
I feel like it’s been worthwhile for me to be here, but I’m also frustrated that so many of the things I would have attended conflicted with things I had to attend, and that there were a lot of gaps of nothing in between that could have been filled with meetings and sessions. I realize that ALA is a large organization and that scheduling is difficult under the circumstances, but it sure would be nice if some of the sessions and discussions were scheduled later in the day rather than at the same time as scheduled committee meetings. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that everything I’m interested in will be covered at NASIG, so I guess should just approach midwinter as a business meeting rather than professional development.
In the August 2006 issue of Library Journal, Roy Tennant writes about the gender gap in digital librarianship. It’s a concern that I have been pondering on a more personal level for quite some time. I totally geek out over the shiny toys being pumped out by the Library 2.0 geniuses, but when it comes to creating my own contributions, I falter. Even just writing about them makes me nervous. Who am I to pretend to know something about these things? I’m just the person who pays the bills.
This is not entirely an accurate picture of my work, but a great deal of it does involve managing budgets, as well as staff. Occasionally my Dean will discuss my scholarship direction and interest in library technology, and inevitably the phrase, “but I’m not an expert on that!” will come out of my mouth. He wants me to publish, and I find myself floundering around trying to find something – anything – that I might know more about than the average librarian. The problem is that I am the average librarian.
I’m not Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine, jetting off to here and there to bring the wonders of Library 2.0 to the commoners. I’m not Sarah Houghton with my hands buried up to my elbows in library technology. I’m just a normal person with some HTML skills and an interest in technology. I’ll never be a Mover and Shaker.
This is the mental block that gets thrown up every time I think about my role in digital librarianship. I’m always going to be on the second or third wave of folks implementing new technology in libraries.
What I need are the tools to become more technologically savvy. I’ve looked into some of the options offered at my university, but aside from seeming rather intimidating, I worry that they will be too broad for my needs. What I would really like to see are some training sessions like what Michael and Jenny have been doing, but at a higher level. For example, how about something for folks who already know about RSS feeds but don’t have the skills or tools to use them in more creative ways? That would be very useful. Or maybe a crash course in MySQL databases with PHP interfaces. I can think of a lot of uses for that just in my daily job.
Some of us are lucky enough to live relatively close to Library Science programs. If the iSchool at the University of Washington offered a day or two long continuing education course on MySQL and PHP in the library setting, I would attend.
Maybe that’s something that Tennant and his posse should consider. We can’t wait for a new generation of women to grow up encouraged to be interested in technology. We need to do something for the women who are currently in the profession, as well.
Howard Dean for America – we want our country back!
I mentioned earlier that there is a petition to nominate Howard Dean as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Today I ran across a petition to draft Dean for 2008. Sign if you want a doctor in the house.
We will not be controlled by our fear.
We will believe in what you said, and have hope for this country.
We will believe that it all can change if we fight hard enough.
We will have hope and faith that we will win, so long as we have the right person to lead us.
We ask that you announce your candidacy for President of the United States.
We the people of the Democratic Party of the United States of America and/or members of Democracy For America and it’s state groups do herby advocate for the election of Howard Dean to the position of Chairman of the Democratic National Commitee.