NASIG 2010: Serials Management in the Next-Generation Library Environment

Panelists: Jonathan Blackburn, OCLC; Bob Bloom (?), Innovative Interfaces, Inc.; Robert McDonald, Kuali OLE Project/Indiana University

Moderator: Clint Chamberlain, University of Texas, Arlington

What do we really mean when we are talking about a “next-generation ILS”?

It is a system that will need to be flexible enough to accommodate increasingly changing and complex workflows. Things are changing so fast that systems can’t wait several years to release updates.

It also means different things to different stakeholders. The underlying thing is being flexible enough to manage both print and electronic, as well as better reporting tools.

How are “next-generation ILS” interrelated to cloud computing?

Most of them have components in the cloud, and traditional ILS systems are partially there, too. Networking brings benefits (shared workloads).

What challenges are facing libraries today that could be helped by the emerging products you are working on?

Serials is one of the more mature items in the ILS. Automation as a result of standardization of data from all information sources is going to keep improving.

One of the key challenges is to deal with things holistically. We get bogged down in the details sometimes. We need to be looking at things on the collection/consortia level.

We are all trying to do more with less funding. Improving flexibility and automation will offer better services for the users and allow libraries to shift their staff assets to more important (less repetitive) work.

We need better tools to demonstrate the value of the library to our stakeholders. We need ways of assessing resource beyond comparing costs.

Any examples of how next-gen ILS will improve workflow?

Libraries are increasing spending on electronic resources, and many are nearly eliminating their print serials spending. Next gen systems need reporting tools that not only provide data about electronic use/cost, but also print formats, all in one place.

A lot of workflow comes from a print-centric perspective. Many libraries still haven’t figured out how to adjust that to include electronic without saddling all of that on one person (or a handful). [One of the issues is that the staff may not be ready/willing/able to handle the complexities of electronic.]

Every purchase should be looked at independently of format and more on the cost/process for acquiring and making it available to the stakeholders.

[Not taking as many notes from this point on. Listening for something that isn’t fluffy pie in the sky. Want some sold direction that isn’t pretty words to make librarians happy.]

ER&L 2010: Opening Keynote – Librarians in the Wild: Thinking About Security, Privacy, and Digital Information

Speaker: Lance Hayden, Assistant Instructor, School of Information – University of Texas

He spent six years with the CIA, after that he attended the UT iSchool, which was followed by working with Cisco Systems on computer security issues. The team he works with does “ethical hacking” – companies hire them to break into their systems to find the holes that need to be filled so that the real bad guys can’t get in.

Many of us are not scared enough. We do things online that we wouldn’t do in the real world. We should be more aware of our digital surroundings and security.

In computer security, “the wild” refers to things that happen in the real world (as opposed to the lab). In cyberspace, the wild and civilization are not separate – the are co-located. Civilization is confidentiality, integrity, and availability. We think that our online communities are entirely civilized, but we are too trusting.

The point is, if you’re not careful about keeping your virtual houses secure, then you’re leaving yourself open to anyone coming in through the windows or the basement door you never lock.

Large herds attract big predators. As more people are connected to a network or virtual house, the motivation to hit it goes up. Part of why Macs seem more secure than Windows machines is because there is a higher ROI for attacking Windows due to the higher number of users. Hacking has gone from kids leaving graffiti to organized crime exploiting users.

Structures decay quickly. The online houses we have built out of software that lives on real-world machines. There are people every day finding vulnerabilities they can exploit. Sometimes they tell the manufacturers/vendors, sometimes they don’t. We keep adding more things to the infrastructure that increases the possibility of exposing more. The software or systems that we use are not monolithic entities – they are constructed with millions of lines of code. Trying to find the mistake in the line of code is like trying to find a misplaced semicolon in War and Peace. It’s more complex than “XYZ program has a problem.”

Protective spells can backfire. Your protective programs and security systems need to be kept up to date or they can backfire. Make sure that your magic is tight. Online shopping isn’t any less safe, because the vulnerabilities are more about what the vendor has in their system (which can be hacked) than about the connection. Your physical vendor has the same information, often on computer systems that can be hacked.

Knowledge is the best survival trait (or, ignorance can get you eaten). Passwords have been the bane of security professionals since the invention of the computer. When every single person in an institution has a password that is a variation on a template, it’s easy to hack. [side note: The Help Desk manager at MPOW recommends using a personalized template and just increasing the number at the end every time they have the required password change. D’oh!] The nature of passwords is that you can’t pick one that is completely secure. What you’re trying to do is to have secure enough of a password to dissuade most people except the most persistent. Hayden suggests phrases and then replace characters with numbers, and make it longer because it increases the number of possible characters required to hack it.

Zuckerberg says that people don’t care about privacy anymore, so don’t blame Facebook, but to a certain extent, Facebook is responsible for changing those norms. Do companies like Google have any responsibility to protect your information? Hayden’s students think that because Google gives them things for free, they don’t care about the privacy of their information and in fact expect that Google will use it for whatever they want.

An Interview with Susan Werner

“I believe that we can be a diverse society of extraordinary creativity and innovation and vitality and freedom, and those things are the best things that we can be.”

Susan Werner, PatriotMy introduction to the music of Susan Werner was in the fall of 1999 when a friend who produced a local acoustic music radio show lent me copies of Time Between Trains and Last of the Good Straight Girls. I was instantly enchanted with the sincerity and wit that Werner brings to her music. Her last album was a thematic collection of songs that sound like they are from the 20s and 30s, but are all orginal and new. Recently, Werner made available for download a song she describes as an alternative national anthem. “This is a song that takes the National Anthem and turns it on his head,” says Werner. “It’s Francis Scott Key meets Arlo Guthrie.” I had the pleasure of speaking with Werner about the song a few weeks ago.

Continue reading “An Interview with Susan Werner”

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.

GWB’s national guard service

Where was GWB from May 1972 to May 1973? Why was he allowed to end his commitment to the Texas Air National Guard eight months early to go to the Harvard Business School while the Vietnam War still raged on?

A friend just sent me a timeline that was published in the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of Mother Jones that examines GW’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. That’s right folks; this was published over a year ago. I was hearing rumors a couple of years ago about GW having gone AWOL from the Guard during the Vietnam War, but only just recently has media attention become so hot that GW has needed to dig up proof of his service. I would be interested in knowing if certain events in this timeline are true, such as:

Spring 1971:
Hired by Texas agricultural importer, Bush uses F-102 to shuttle tropical plants from Florida.

and

October 1, 1973:
The Air National Guard relieves Bush from commitment eight months early, allowing him to attend Harvard Business School.

I wonder, how many enlisted soldiers who served in the Vietnam War were allowed to end their commitments early to attend school while the war was still being fought? I’m also currious to know what happened to GW’s records?

I hope that the media will give this enough attention so that someone with power can get this investigated.

bloodsuckers respond

Response to Elsevier’s spin doctor.

“It’s also unfortunate that they’re coming up now, when budgets are under pressure,” he said. “But not all universities are poor, and these certainly aren’t.”
–Eric Merkel-Sobotta, global director for corporate communications at Elsevier

Open Access News pointed to this article in Monday’s issue of Information World Review where the above quote came from. Merkel-Sobotta is referring to the decisions made by some major US higher education institutions to cancel Elsevier journal titles for 2004. He also downplayed what he called hype over these cancellations, saying that “The vast majority of this is about getting rid of duplicates, moving from paper to electronic editions only.” Mmm-hmm. Right. If you tell yourself that often enough, Eric, you might actually come to believe it.

My institution has had serious budget cuts for the past two years, and we’ve slashed our print subscriptions down to under 2,000 titles and reduced our book budget as far as it can go. When I looked into the pricing of online v. print subscriptions from Elsevier, there was no savings to go online only. They tout that on their website, but when we got into negotiations with them, we discovered that the online discount is almost exactly the amount they tack on for an electronic access fee. With our budget in shreds, we had no choice but to cancel some of our most expensive and under-used journal titles. Coincidentally, many of those happen to be Elsevier titles.

I think what ticks me off most about the above quote is the assumption that if a university has money, it would want to throw a disproportionate amount of it at one publisher. Any serious look at library literature on the topic of Elsevier and subscription pricing would reveal that more money goes to that publisher than any of its competitors. I applaud institutions like Cornell University and the University of California for standing up and saying to the Dutch Pirates, “No more!”

What do we want? PEACE! When do we want it? NOW!

Yesterday, I participated in my first anti-war protest. I’ve wanted to do something over the past year and half since it became obvious that Bush & Co. want to bomb the hell outta somebody so no one will pay attention to the things that really matter, such as the failing economy and political/corporate corruption. So far, most of the reports on the demonstration (a part of the nation-wide Books Not Bombs student strike) have spent more time talking about the anti-anti-war protestors and how the protest didn’t get across the message that anti-war does not mean that the demonstrators hate people in the military. Of all the people involved in this political smoke screen, it’s the 18-year-old military recruits who are going to get screwed the most. They’re going to be the one’s risking their lives for Pappy Bush and Uncle Cheney.

Is there a case for war in Iraq? Personally, I believe that all war is immoral, but most of the world doesn’t agree with me. So, if you need more than that, take a look at these 13 myths about the case for war in Iraq.

Watch what you wear in public – you might be a target for discrimination.

Bush is out of control. Am I next?

I first started to examine what I believe about war when I was in ninth grade, attending a Mennonite high school. The Mennonite Church USA has put together a nice website for peace advocates, including a section specifically on Iraq.