beers, a love story

"11 - beer festival" by Dave Morris
“11 – beer festival” by Dave Morris

I drink beer because I’m a librarian. Or, more accurately, I started drinking beers with my library school classmates in grad school. Mainly because bars in Lexington (Kentucky) didn’t carry wine coolers or Zima. Yeah. It was that bad.

I remember my first NASIG conference in 2002. We were staying in dorm rooms and meeting in classrooms at the College of William & Mary. Back then, NASIG had a tradition of having an evening social with snack food and buckets of iced beer (and probably wine, too, but I definitely wasn’t drinking that then). One of my sharpest memories from the conference is of fishing out a Corona Light because it was all that was left by the last night of the conference. And discovering Purple Haze with Bonnie at the Green Leafe Cafe.

The next year we were in Portland, Oregon. I was introduced to many craft beers, and my journey towards becoming a beer snob was set.

Three years in Washington state taught me to appreciate well-balanced hoppy beer, which was hard to find my first year back on the East Coast. But I soon discovered Mekong, and began my now four-year romance with Belgian beers.

Most recently, I’ve discovered that I do like sour beers, and I suspect that is part of the reason why I’m incorporating more wine into my beverage consumption. That, and maybe the semi-regular meetups with a friend (also a librarian) at Virginia wineries.

Librarians. Who knew they were such lushes?

NASIG 2009: ERMS Integration Strategies – Opportunity, Challenge, or Promise?

Speakers: Bob McQuillan (moderator), Karl Maria Fattig, Christine Stamison, and Rebecca Kemp

Many people have an ERM, some are implementing it, but few (in the room) are where they consider to be finished. ERMS present new opportunity and challenges with workflow and staffing, and the presenters intend to provide some insight for those in attendance.

At Fattig’s library, their budget for electronic is increasing as print is decreasing, and they are also running out of space for their physical collections. Their institution’s administration is not supportive of increasing space for materials, so they need to start thinking about how to stall or shrink their physical collection. In addition, they have had reductions in technical services staffing. Sound familiar?

At Kemp’s library, she notes that about 40% of her time is spent on access setup and troubleshooting, which is an indication of how much of their resources is allocated for electronic resources. Is it worth it? They know that many of their online resources are heavily used. Consorital “buying clubs” makes big deals possible, opening up access to more resources than they could afford on their own. Electronic is a good alternative to adding more volumes to already over-loaded shelves.

Stamison (SWETS) notes that they have seen a dramatic shift from print to electronic. At least two-thirds of the subscriptions they handle have an electronic component, and most libraries are going e-only when possible. Libraries tell them that they want their shelf space. Also, many libraries are going direct to publishers for the big deals, with agents getting involved only for EDI invoicing (cutting into the agent’s income). Agents are now investing in new technologies to assist libraries in managing e-collections, including implementing access.

Kemp’s library had a team of three to implement Innovative’s ERM. It took a change in workflow and incorporating additional tasks with existing positions, but everyone pulled through. Like libraries, Stamison notes that agents have had to change their workflow to handle electronic media, including extensive training. And, as libraries have more people working with all formats of serials, agents now have many different contacts within both libraries and publishers.

Fattig’s library also reorganized some positions. The systems librarian, acquisitions librarian, and serials & electronic resources coordinator all work with the ERMS, pulling from the Serials Solutions knowledge base. They have also contracted with someone in Oregon to manage their EZproxy database and WebBridge coverage load. Fattig notes that it takes a village to maintain an ERMS.

Agents with electronic gateway systems are working to become COUNTER compliant, and are heavily involved with developing SUSHI. Some are also providing services to gather those statistics for libraries.

Fattig comments that usage statistics are serials in themselves. At his library, they maintained a homegrown system for collecting usage statistics from 2000-07, then tried Serials Solutions Counter 360 for a year, but now are using an ERM/homegrown hybrid. They created their own script to clean up the files, because as we all know, COUNTER compliance means something different to each publisher. Fattig thinks that database searches are their most important statistics for evaluating platforms. They use their federated search statistics to weigh the statistics from those resources (will be broken out in COUNTER 3 compliance).

Kemp has not been able to import their use stats into ERM. One of their staff members goes in every month to download stats, and the rest come from ScholarlyStats. They are learning to make XML files out of their Excel files and hope to use the cost per use functionality in the future.

Fattig: “We haven’t gotten SUSHI to work in some of the places it’s supposed to.” Todd Carpenter from NISO notes that SUSHI compliance is a requirement of COUNTER 3.

For the next 12-18 months, Fattig expects that they will complete the creation of license and contact records, import all usage data, and implement SUSHI when they can. They will continue to work with their consorital tool, implement a discovery layer, and document everything. Plans to create a “cancellation ray gun and singalong blog” — a tool for taking criteria to generate suggested cancellation reports.

Like Fattig, Kemp plans to finish loading all of the data about license and contacts, also the coverage data. Looking forward to eliminating a legacy spreadsheet. Then, they hope to import COUNTER stats and run cost/use reports.

Agents are working with ONIX-PL to assist libraries in populating their ERMS with license terms. They are also working with CORE to assist libraries with populating acquisitions data. Stamison notes that agents are working to continue to be liaisons between publishers, libraries, and system vendors.

Dan Tonkery notes that he’s been listening to these conversations for years. No one is serving libraries very well. Libraries are working harder to get these things implemented, while also maintaining legacy systems and workarounds. “It’s too much work for something that should be simple.” Char Simser notes that we need to convince our administrations to move more staff into managing eresources as our budgets are shifting more towards them.

Another audience member notes that his main frustration is the lack of cooperation between vendors/products. We need a shared knowledge base like we have a shared repository for our catalog records. This gets tricky with different package holdings and license terms.

Audience question: When will the ERM become integrated into the ILS? Response: System vendors are listening, and the development cycle is dependent on customer input. Every library approaches their record keeping in different ways.

this land is your land

A geographic meme, courtesy of Sorcha. Also, places where US paper currency I have spent in the past four and a half years have gone.

bold the states you’ve been to, underline the states you’ve lived in and italicize the state you’re in now…

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

old friends

Mourning the loss of contact with old friends…

On Thursday and Friday of last week, I attended the ACRL Oregon and ACRL Washington Joint Fall Conference. One of the first persons I ran into at the conference was a college acquaintance I had not seen in over seven years. For some people, this may not be unusual. However, this is this first time I have ever run into someone from my undergraduate school outside of a context related to that university. I attended a small, liberal arts university in Virginia, and this conference took place in Oregon. As far as I knew, this old acquaintance had no relationship with libraries or librarianship, which as I discovered was true until recently when she began the distance MLIS program through the University of Washington. Go figure.

I’ve been thinking about old friends lately that I have lost contact with. Some of this was inspired by having recently gotten a great deal on a minidisc recorder/player and finally being able to listen to live recordings I made of a singer/songwriter friend in 1999-2001. For a while, it seemed that Thea Zumwalt was working towards doing music full-time, but her website has disappeared and none of the email addresses I have are working anymore.

One of the many recordings of Thea at the Artful Dodger in my collection makes reference to another old friend, Adi Raz. The last time I tried to email Adi, the message was returned undeliverable. I guess I shouldn’t have let over two years go by without communication. Now I can’t find any contact information for her, which is both sad and frustrating.

For over ten years I have been trying to get in touch with a childhood friend, Katie (Kate, Kathryn) Connolly. About eight years ago, or so, I got her address through her mother and a teacher at the high school where we would have both attended had I not moved the year before. She never wrote back, and the last time I tried, the letter was returned. Our friendship ended on a bitter note, sharply contrasting the sweetness of the friendship to that point. All I’ve wanted since then was to make up for that heartache, but I suspect she’s long forgotten me.

I’ve moved so much in my life that there are countless other people that I occasionally wonder about. People like Susan, my friend who lived down the street with whom I saw (and was frightened by) Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Joanna Mullins — my first serious crush in junior high school. Dan Nietz — my best friend in high school with whom I lost contact after he got married (although my Dad says he’s seen him around town and gave him my email address… not going to hold my breath, though). And there are and will be others.

I used to be very good at writing letters and keeping in contact with everyone, but as I’ve grown older and busier, my life has become too full to keep up with those who are not a part of my routine. Maybe letting go and moving on is a part of what makes us mature adults, or at the very least, numbs the pain of the loss. I guess I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet.

i want my country back!

I just read Howard Dean’s new book….

Some friends generously gave me a gift certificate to Powell’s Books for my birthday this year, and this weekend I had the opportunity to visit that giant independent bookstore in Portland. I used their gift to purchase a copy of Howard Dean’s new book, You Have the Power, which I just finished reading tonight. It is both educational and inspiring, with the right mix between his reflections on his presidential race and his vision for the revitalization of the Democratic Party. On assuming that Democrats have the African-American vote, Dean writes,

“The truth is

KY to WA – day four

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over.

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over. Part of my depression was in knowing that we would not be in Ellensburg that night, having decided to get a motel room in Yakima instead (all of the rooms in the Super 8 in Ellensburg were booked, and I didn’t know of any other motels that would allow a cat). The other part was that this was the morning of yet another long day of driving.

We stopped at a bagel bakery for breakfast, and then a quick visit to the next door Barnes & Noble cafe for a picture with the Starbucks travel bug and my mocha frappucino. Then it was on to the scenic overlook on the edge of town. It was breathtaking and surreal. I took many pictures.

The landscape of Idaho and Oregon and Washington was stunning, of course, but most of the rest of the day the miles flew by without my hardly noticing the world around me. I was numb to the beauty of the earth, and there is only so much stunning and beautiful landscape one can see before the brain stops assimilating it.

Around two in the afternoon, we stopped in Baker City to find some lunch. We ended up in the downtown area purely by accident, but it was a fortunate accident. The historic downtown is a vibrant commercial area; a throwback to twenty or thirty years ago. We had several lunch options and settled on the historic Geyser Grand Hotel. The food was quite good and inexpensive. The decor was as grand as the name implied. I felt a bit like a character in an Agatha Christie novel, staying at a 1930’s hotel on holiday.

On our way down a mountain near Pendleton, we pulled over for a scenic overlook. It was a little hazy, so we couldn’t see much, but what we could see was quite beautiful. Again, I took several pictures. I wish I had taken more pictures in the early part of the trip. Not too long after that we crossed over into Washington.

Yakima was probably the dullest stop on the journey. The motel was definitely the dingiest, and the food options weren’t particularly enticing. We were both so exhausted we could hardly move enough to explore the town, but we did stop at a Starbucks for another picture with the travel bug. The barristas gave us the sympathy we craved after we told them how far and how long we had been traveling.

what has anna been up to lately?

You may be wondering why all of a sudden this blog got rather quiet. Or not. In any case, I’m going to tell you if you decide to keep on reading this entry.

You may be wondering why all of a sudden this blog got rather quiet. Or not. In any case, I’m going to tell you if you decide to keep on reading this entry. I have wanted to write this entry for three weeks, but since it’s a long story, I haven’t had the time to do so (or the energy when I had the time). Most likely, by the time I actually get to writing it out, it will be much shorter than all of the mental versions of the story and then I’ll feel silly for not having written it already. Speaking of which…

I have a new job at Central Washington University that starts September 7th!!!!

Oh, there I went and gave away the ending. Silly me.

This whole thing came about rather quickly and unexpectedly, and I am still having trouble adjusting to the idea (and the work) of moving across the country to a place I have never lived and where I know virtually no-one. If you told me a year ago that I would be leaving Kentucky for the Pacific Northwest I would have laughed in your face. Heck, if you told me that six months ago, I would have done the same. Lucky for you that you are not a gabby psychic.

Last spring, some friends in Oregon told me about the job opening for the Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian at CWU and encouraged me to apply for it. I did so, but with the expectation that I would never hear from them and that would be the end of it. I was wrong. They not only wanted me for the position, they also made me an offer I couldn

NASIG 2004

I’m going to NASIG!

Today I finally registered for the NASIG 2004 conference in Milwaukee. I get reimbursed by my library after the conference, but coming up with the chunk of change needed to register before the deadline is always a bit tricky. I have my flight booked and my room reserved. Now I just need to figure out how to get from Milwaukee to Midway in Chicago on that Sunday, and I need to find a roommate, although I have a few options there.

I’m really looking forward to this conference. As a serialist, it’s probably the best conference I could attend. There are quite a few sessions on issues relating to electronic resource management, which I am very interested in. Beyond the conference program and the networking, the people that I see at the conference make NASIG special to me. I met some wonderful folks my first year attending the conference, and we’ve had lots of fun together ever since. Although in recent years, there has been a bit of a convergence in Oregon, most of us do not live in the same state. The conference is the only time we see each other, and we do a pretty good job of making up for the time and distance in between.

McMenamins

McMenamins on the Savvy Traveler.

I just caught the last bit of story on The Savvy Traveler about Oregon as a travel destination. They mentioned the fabulous brewery/brewpubs of McMenamins. I was in Portland this past summer for the NASIG meeting and that was when I was introduced to the best fruit ale I have ever tasted. It’s called Ruby. It’s a raspberry ale that looks like a glass of iced Lipton tea and goes down very smooth. Unfortunately, the only place where one can buy bottles is at the brewpubs themselves, and they’re only located in Oregon.

conference presentation

Musings about my presentation at KLA last week.

I gave my first conference presentation last week at KLA, and I haven’t really had the time to sit down and write out my thoughts about it. The topic was my library’s implementation of SFX, an OpenURL linking software. My library is the first in the state to go with this particular company, and possible the first to make use of the technology at all. I had two co-presenters who provided perspectives from other areas of the library (public service and systems administration) to balance the presentation.

We were very prepared with the material. I wanted us to make sure we weren’t using PowerPoint as a crutch, so we limited its use to slides that contained screen shots of our SFX setup. Turns out that was a good thing, since our antiquated projector was so weak that even with most of the lights turned out it was difficult to see. Despite our efforts to encourage attendees to move towards the front, most stayed in the back few rows. Later, we received comments about the dim, small images. Gee, no kidding.

Other than the technical glitches, everything went well. I fielded quite a few questions on the fly that I hadn’t expected, but thanks to my improv theatre experience, I think I handled them pretty well. Attendance was smaller than I had hoped for, but there were a lot of other conflicts at that time. Still, 20+ attended and about 17 actually filled out the feedback slips. It seemed to me that most everyone who was there was interested in the product and our experience with it. I think we’ll be writing up the presentation for publication in Kentucky Libraries, since the feedback indicated that would be desired. Also, a friend in Oregon has talked me into submitting a proposal for Online Northwest on this topic. I plan to modify the presentation from not so much of how we did it but why other comprehensive universities should do it and how it has effected the usage of our A&I databases.

I’m still stunned that anyone would want to hear what I have to say about something in my profession.