21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Tackling the Reorganization Chart

August 31, 2006 at 7:05 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Tackling the Reorganization Chart

Ramona Metcalf, Electronic Acquisitions Librarian; and Serenity King, Reserves Coordinator, both from University of Texas at Dallas
Reported by Xan Arch  

Ramona Metcalf and Serenity King described the reorganization recently undertaken by the technical services Units of the University of Texas at Dallas. Going through the process step by step, they detailed ways in which the reorganization succeeded and aspects that could have been done better. 

The UTD library had Acquisitions and Cataloging Departments separated by a physical wall and suffering from a lack of clear communication. The reorganization removed this wall and merged these two departments into a single more efficient Technical Services Department.  

The first step in this process was telling the two departments about the change. The presenters suggested that this be done on the same day, so as to eliminate rumors and confusion. The next steps concentrated on streamlining practices. First, staff members explained their job duties to the group.  A consideration at this stage should be who performs each task, not just what tasks are performed.  After the move, staff will benefit from knowing who of their co-workers can be resources for which type of questions. Next, staff ranked the job duties according to importance, and the list was compared to the reference staff’s list of importance. This helped the units gain perspective on how much time and staffing should be allotted to each task. 

The next set of steps focused on the physical moving process. Staff members were asked to develop a desired floor plan for the new merged department. The presenters stressed that this brainstorming should be understood as a wish list, rather than a final blueprint, since some ideas may not be feasible. Next the departments worked on morale-boosting. Staff members were encouraged to graffiti the dividing wall while music played. Finally the demolition took place. At this stage, the presenters suggested managers watch for the health of the employees, because the demolition process can involve dust, debris, and loud noises.  

After the reorganization, the final step was to ask the library staff for feedback. A suggestion at this point is to offer the option for anonymous feedback, to encourage honesty. Some of the negative feedback came from the reference staff, who mentioned that they had a hard time finding out peoples’ new locations and duties. The presenters suggested that managers communicate effectively with other parts of the library while going through this type of change. The major successes of the reorganization were more streamlined practices, more efficient service, and the staff’s feeling that they had been included in the whole process.  

Overall, the presenters suggested that any department contemplating reorganization understand their staff and their environment, stay flexible, be prepared for complications throughout the process, and take time to listen to the needs of the people involved.


21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Linking the Library and Course Management System

August 31, 2006 at 6:58 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Linking the Library and Course Management System

Claire Dygert, Electronic Resources Unit Coordinator, American University Library
Reported by Valerie Bross 

With increasing pressure to “be where our users are,” this session could not have come at a better time. Claire Dygert is responsible for both the institutional repository and the integration of the library into the campus management system (CMS); she was the ideal person to present this topic. 

The specific CMS at American University is Blackboard; but many of the strategies and services that Dygert developed have broad applications. 

Key factors that affected Dygert’s approach were: (1) the organizational structure and personalities at AUL; (2) faculty/instructor familiarity with the library and with Blackboard; and (3) the strengths of the library staff. 

At AUL, Blackboard is administered by the campus Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), a group with little knowledge of library services and resources. The first step in integrating the library into Blackboard was remedying this gap.  Dygert has worked vigorously to overcome some of the barriers with CTE.  She educated the CTE staff about the numerous virtual services available through the library: e-reserves, virtual reference, online pathfinders, information literacy support, streaming audio/video, and copyright information. 

The next step was the creation of a library site within Blackboard which allowed faculty access to services which they could embed in their course pages. One of the most important of these services is LinkMaker, an open source program that creates proxied, persistent links to library content (except, for now, LexisNexis). Faculty can use an input form to create links that are stripped of session-specific information or other data that might result in invalid links. Resources linked by LinkMaker include: licensed e-resources; e-reserves chapters; and streaming audio or video files in the library’s e-collections.  

Another service is a page that instructors can copy into their assignments to link students to the “Contact a Librarian” service. Similarly, the Blackboard library site has instructions to assist faculty in linking from assignments to the Library Information Literacy modules. Yet another service is a segment of copyright resources, both FAQs developed by the campus and links to other resources. 

Finally, to demonstrate to the faculty how to use these library services, the library developed a sample course page with links to various types of resources from the “Contact a Librarian” service to the Information Literacy modules. 

Having a useful service is never enough; marketing the service is essential. Dygert recommended targeting specific faculty to help integrate resources into their courses, for example,  through Content Clinics, sending messages to adjunct faculty and graduate assistants through their email lists, partnering with the group that administers CMS to provide workshops, sending out postcards, working with library liaisons to promote the service and partnering with distance learning programs on campus.     

Those interested in learning more about how American University Library integrated services into Blackboard are invited to visit the AUL site at: http://blackboard.american.edu (username: libguest; password: libguest).

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Electronic Resource Management

August 31, 2006 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Electronic Resource Management

Janet Chisman, Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian; and Greg Matthews, Catalog Librarian, both from Washington State University
Reported by Virginia A. Rumph 

Janet Chisman and Greg Matthews shared what they had learned in implementing an Electronic Resource Management system at Washington State University.  Rather than analyze a specific system, they examined what worked and what did not work for them.  Chisman said before they implemented their ERM they relied on many different data sources.  Their goal was the ERM resource information contained in Resource Records and License Records with fields that could be modified by the library staff.  That information is then readily available to the public and the staff.  The system should have the flexibility to meet each library’s needs. 

The data sources used to load electronic journal information included publisher lists, the SFX KnowledgeBase, a home-grown ejournals list, and Serials Solutions for dynamic resources such as DOAJ and Lexis-Nexis titles.  This process gave the staff an opportunity to clean up records for a more accurate result.  Since the ERM implementation, only the home-grown ejournals list has been dropped in favor of a list generated from the SFX KnowledgeBase. 

Cooperation, communication, and collaboration proved vital to the success of the project, both within each unit and between units.  They found that there was a need for continual interaction, whether in formal meetings or informal discussions.  A shared virtual space was the result.  A workflow database was also created using MSAccess to track initial loads for the Serials Unit and for the project manager’s use.  It was most useful in balancing workloads and checking individual staff progress.  However, it proved very time consuming, as much of the data could have been transferred directly into the ERM system.  The ERM helps achieve the Serials Unit’s goal of getting holdings dates into the catalog without delays. 

Greg Matthews next described the impact the ERM implementation had on the Cataloging Department.  They began by identifying cataloging issues such as changing workflows and the need to change or create new policies.  Staff also needed to be assigned for the project and they discovered that experience in cataloging did not necessarily equal ability in the ERM environment, so training was needed.  A major cataloging issue was the use of a single or a multiple record approach.  The single record allows for multiple access options, and also achieves the goal of vendor neutrality.  Another question was whether call numbers should be assigned, and if so, to all e-resources or only subscribed ones.  They decided to do so to maintain consistency, and for quality control. 

Matthews found that the ERM project brings a library face to face with the history of its catalog.  Past cataloging practices are preserved.  An ERM system challenges traditional cataloging decisions.  As a result, there were several staffing outcomes.  The breadth of duties had to be examined; what determines the boundaries?  Cataloging started with few people involved and needed to expand their involvement.  However, Serials started with lots of people, then contracted and reorganized.  Chisman and Matthews concluded that the ERM project involved an enormous amount of work, but the end result was worth all the effort.

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: To Train or Not to Train

August 31, 2006 at 6:29 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


To Train or Not to Train

Rick Anderson, University of Nevada-Reno; and Kittie Henderson, EBSCO Information Services
Reported by Danielle Williams 

Training is an integral part of purchasing any new library technology.  However, vendors solicit meetings with librarians for other reasons aside from simply training personnel on new systems.  Rick Anderson presented several useful tips regarding what should be taken into account when a sales representative wishes to hold a meeting.  First and foremost, who would gain the most from attending the meeting?  In addition, it is important to consider whether the lost staff time would be worth the time spent in the meeting.  Is it necessary for all staff to attend the session?  Are the tasks that are not being done more important than the knowledge acquired at the meeting?   

It is also important to prioritize the types of meetings that are being held.  Ranking meetings with vendors can lend assistance to choosing who attends meetings. The most important type of meeting is obviously a straightforward training session.  Any staff that will be using the new interface will need to attend the meeting.  Second in importance is end-user training, although Anderson was quick to point out that library personnel receiving the training are not always the end-user and if the end-user needs training to use the system, there is something wrong with the product.  The least important meeting is the sales pitch.  While sales pitches can be interesting and necessary, it is never necessary for the entire library staff to attend the meeting.  On the other hand, a good representation of the library personnel is essential. 

Kittie Henderson presented the vendor’s point of view.  Just as it is important for librarians to consider whether a meeting with a vendor representative is necessary for all staff personnel to attend, it is also essential for the vendor to be clear about the type of meeting they are offering and to let the library know what type of audience they would like to address.  The vendor should not force themselves on their clients and should listen to their clients’ needs.  Any meeting between librarians and vendors is a meeting between professionals and should be treated as such.  Meetings are just as expensive, if not more so, for the vendor as for the library.  While the vendor’s job may be more of a numbers game, it is also important to remember that they deserve the respect of any professional for a job well done. 

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: The Shape of Things to Come: Resource Description and Access (RDA)

August 31, 2006 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


The Shape of Things to Come: Resource Description and Access (RDA)

Ed Jones, National University
Reported by Mavis Molto 

Ed Jones began the session with an overview of the history of recent catalog codes and events that have laid the groundwork for current code development.  Key events have been the development of AACR2 in 1978 and FRBR, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, in 1997, along with the meeting of the International Conference on the Future of AACR2 in Toronto in 1997, and more recently, the International Meetings of Experts for an International Cataloguing Code.  As work began on AACR3, the cataloging community said it did not go far enough in incorporating FRBR principles, providing for digital materials, and solving GMD problems.  Work has thus begun on a totally new code, Resource Description and Access (RDA). 

RDA has a structure more aligned with FRBR and a more “user friendly” layout and formatting of instructions.  The code will incorporate the FRBR objectives of allowing users to find, identify, select, and obtain resources.  The relationship to access is perhaps one of the biggest changes from AACR2.  RDA deals only with elements; ISBD punctuation guidelines have been moved to an appendix.  Other features are: AACR2 compatibility, consistency, compatibility with international principles, and usability outside the library community.   

The structure of RDA will differ from AACR2, with the rules presented in three parts (as of May 5, 2006).  Part I, on resource description, will be organized by user tasks; Part II will cover relationships, and Part III will cover access point control, including a chapter on names of families taken from the archives community.  For the first time, drafts of the new code are being posted to the web for comment.  The goal is to publish RDA in 2008.  The code will be optimized for online use, using English-language conventions. 

A description of RDA’s relationship with other standards, including FRBR, ISBD and MARC21, was provided.  FRBR, an entity-relationship model, is part of RDA’s “conceptual foundation,” with relationships in the code based on the FRBR Group 1 entities: work, expression, manifestation, and item.  RDA and MARC will be compatible, but not tied specifically to one another.  RDA will also be compatible with the draft “Statement of International Cataloguing Principles” (SICP), which states that bibliographic records should typically reflect manifestations and that the description should be based on international standards, currently the International Standard Bibliographic Descriptions. 

Some of the new features of RDA include: 

1. No ISBD punctuation in the examples.
2. Different meanings for some terms (e.g., mode of issuance, and intended termination).
3. Minimal level of detail, equating with Level 1 in AACR2 plus series title/numbering. 
4. Statement of responsibility as a transcription or, optionally, a controlled access point. 
5. The “rule of 3” made optional for the statement of responsibility.
6. Inaccuracies transcribed as is, with corrections given in notes.
7. Additional publishers displayed as a second 260 field and/or a note.
9. Use of the English phrases “place of publication unknown” and “publisher unknown,” instead of the Latin abbreviations “S.l.” and “s.n.”

Topics that came up for discussion included:  sources for serials description in RDA; implementation schedule for RDA; the concepts of “integrating resources” and “continuing resources” in RDA; and provisions for RDA use in non-English languages.

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Old Is New Again: Using Established Workflows to Handle Electronic Resources

August 31, 2006 at 6:02 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Old Is New Again: Using Established Workflows to Handle Electronic Resources

Amanda Yesilbas, Assistant Serials Librarian, Florida Atlantic University
Reported by Janet Aracand 

Amanda Yesilbas, Field Specialist at Florida Center for Library Automation, was formerly Serials Librarian at Florida Atlantic University. She gave a presentation on how the staff at FAU proactively handle electronic journal subscription problems by modifying the check-in workflow for print serials issues and applying it to create a check-in process for electronic journals.   

This new workflow was designed after FAU staff realized they were not receiving all of the journals to which their library had subscribed in a large publisher journal package.  A systematic process was created to handle check-in for approximately 1600 paid online subscriptions.  The number of titles and their expected issues for the year were calculated and split up according to the number of workdays in the year.  Only 25 to 30 titles need to be checked for receipt in the course of a workday.  Issues are checked-in on statements in the NOTIS OPR record.  The check-in activity enables staff to find problems in terms of access, renewals, license terms, and URL or publisher changes.  

The log of the check-in statements is useful for problem-solving, since it indicates the last time access had been successfully ascertained by FAU staff.  Since the number of print subscriptions had declined, there was sufficient staff time to accomplish this new activity. This task was implemented in February 2005.  It is notable that the statistics of reported access problems was significantly lower in February 2006 than it had been in the two previous years.  February had traditionally been the month in which problems with electronic renewals manifested themselves, but it is possible that this calendar trend is shifting later due to publishers extending grace periods. FAU is in the process of converting to a new LMS, and will be making decisions on how to handle this workflow in the ALEPH system.

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Climbing Peaks and Navigating Valleys: Managing Personnel from High Altitude

August 31, 2006 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Climbing Peaks and Navigating Valleys: Managing Personnel from High Altitude

Jeff Slagell, Interim Director of Library Services, Delta State University
Reported by Peter Fletcher 

Jeff Slagell, Director of Library Services at Delta State University, warned managers to expect the unexpected, never underestimate people, and be able to adapt. He continued by emphasizing that in managing people one needs varied abilities and to create a positive environment. In addition, managers should be aware of their management style, of which there are various types.  For example, management styles include: indecisive, no rush to judgment; micromanager; taskmaster, a sense of urgency and deadlines; abrasive, bad temper and a tendency to belittle; political, self-promotion; and participative, sharing. Slagell indicated the importance of knowing your good and bad traits and of being aware of your environment.  He also pointed out that job descriptions must be kept up to date, expectations of employees should be established and that one must set the tone for new employees. Mentoring employees is important, he continued, especially new folks, either formal or informal, via professional development, release time, and so on. A good manager should also establish a flexible policy that will not affect work negatively.  Slagell pointed out that, in his opinion, communication is the single biggest problem seen in libraries, both between administration and departments and between departments. It is important to try to be transparent in management, have meetings to share information, and use email for brief FYI notes.   

In discussing the assessment of employees, he stressed that evaluations can be both formal and informal; performance should be frequently indicated to avoid surprises and there should be a structure that allows feedback. Furthermore, standards must be known, agreed upon, and consistent across departments—the absence of consistency is demoralizing to employees. In continuing, Slagell also emphasized that documentation is important in disciplinary actions: verbal warnings are followed by written warnings—with a witness present—and the written warning must clearly indicate how to improve, must be legally defendable, and consistent with campus/University policy. 

In conclusion, Slagell had several survival techniques he wanted to impart to the audience. He suggested using various survival techniques such as having a sense of humor; do not over extend yourself, be able to say no; do not over-schedule yourself, do not schedule meetings back to back; be honest about your lack of knowledge; be in control of meetings, time limit, agenda; know your strengths and weaknesses; and delegate and get help as necessary. Finally, he could not overestimate the importance of being nice to secretaries.

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts: Social Software in the Library

August 31, 2006 at 5:50 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts:  Social Software in the Library

Abigail Bordeaux, Binghamton University Libraries
Reported by Danielle Williams 

Abigail Bordeaux began her session with a brief overview of social software, using the Wikipedia definition:  “Social software enables people to rendezvous, connect or collaborate through computer-mediated communication to form online communities.”  While libraries have embraced nearly every form of technology for library service, only a handful of libraries have added blogs, wikis and podcasts to their offered services. 

Short for weblog, blogs have become a very popular form of communication for anyone comfortable with the Internet.  They are incredibly easy to use, and yet are under utilized in the library community.  Whether they are limited to updates by library staff or allow for comments from the public, blogs are an excellent way to promote library services, relate library news to patrons, or to share information with other libraries.  RSS feeds allow interested parties to subscribe to blogs and receive updates whenever the blog is updated.  RSS feeds are very easy to set up, can help provide a ready reference to the number of people interested in information about the library, and allow patrons to get automatic updates whenever the blog is updated. 

Wikis also provide numerous opportunities for use in libraries.  As of May 2, 2006, the Wikipedia definition of a wiki stated that it is “…a type of website that allows users to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit all content, very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration.”  A wiki can be edited numerous times and content can be added without the need to email the document or to meet and discuss possible changes to the document, making it a perfect venue for librarians to share information with each other about a variety of topics, including reference information.  As with most software, there is no need for experience using HTML code.  Blogs and wikis are very easy to use and both contain features that allow easy editing and replying to posts.  Ms. Bordeaux ran out of time before she could discuss podcasts, but her presentation is available online at http://library.lib.binghamton.edu/presentations/index.html.  In addition to information about blogs, wikis and podcasts, Ms. Bordeaux also provides several links to examples of several libraries that have set up and are using social software.

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Crawling Out of the Web: Alternative Citation Sources

August 31, 2006 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Crawling Out of the Web: Alternative Citation Sources

Deborah Lee, Coordinator of the Library Instructional Services Department, Mississippi State University
Reported by Ellen Barrow 

Citation searching, analysis and sources are of crucial importance to faculty seeking promotion and students conducting research.  The focus of Dr. Deborah Lee’s presentation was exploring the unique nature of citation analysis, various resources used and the pitfalls of citation analysis.   This session was born out of Dr. Lee’s workshops for faculty at Mississippi State University Library.  The faculty was using traditional approaches for citation searching and analysis such as Google Scholar and traditional sources such as the Web of Science.  Dr. Lee stated that citation analysis was a “hot topic” in academia.  Scholars are looking at how ideas are transferred and need to know how to look at citation sources.  Dr. Lee explained the different electronic sources and their value in citation analysis for students and faculty. 

She talked about the Web of Science and how one can examine citation patterns of different fields. Citation alerts can be created and are quite prevalent in citation analysis.  There are other options for citation searches, such as EBSCO and Google Scholar.  EBSCO offers a more esoteric approach to citation analysis rather than a pragmatic one but it is an option.  Google Scholar, on the other hand, offers hefty, but not comprehensive coverage of citations.  Dr. Lee recommended “playing” with advanced search to see what can be accomplished in citation searching. However, Google Scholar offers no name authority and no cataloging.   

In conclusion, “Crawling Out of the Web: Alternative Citation Sources” was an excellent overview of the why and how of citation analysis and its importance to faculty seeking promotion.  Faculty need to collect and analyze their contributions to the knowledge base and research faculty need to seek citations according to their preferences and usage. Citation analysis is just one facet of serials management that is making a strong emergence in the field of academic promotion and research. Citations are the backbone of what makes serials management and access so important.

21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: E-Resources = E-Opportunity: Connecting Systems, Technical Services and Patrons

August 31, 2006 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


E-Resources = E-Opportunity: Connecting Systems, Technical Services and Patrons

Betty Landesman, Head, Collection Management Team, NIH Library; and Sharon Wiles-Young, Director, Library Access Services, Lehigh University
Reported by Xan Arch 

The two presenters discussed the growing number of electronic resources in their libraries and the different solutions employed to manage the resulting changes in staffing and workflow. Betty Landesman began the presentation by explaining that the National Institutes of Health Library provides electronic access to 91% of the journals in their catalog and 50% of the visits to their website are to e-resources. To manage this large collection of electronic resources, the library at first created an electronic resources’ team that included staff from reference, acquisitions, and serials. This team was responsible for selection, acquisition, and maintenance of e-resources in the online catalog. Meanwhile the public services department maintained an alpha list of e-resources in an SQL database. However, this duplication led to many inconsistencies between the catalog and the database.  

In 2004, the NIH Library launched a new Website and decided to move all electronic management responsibilities to the Collection Management Team in order to minimize inconsistency and streamline practices. Other changes to accommodate e-resources included an email list to report access problems, the use of approval plan classifications to assign consistent subject headings to e-resources, and the implementation of such new technologies as online approval slips to streamline processes.  

There is still work to be done at the NIH Library, including the implementation of an ERM module in 2006 and easing staff adjustment to the decrease in print resources. The most important goal for the Collection Management Team is the development of a way to output data from the library’s ILS (or possibly the ERM) into the SQL database, in order to eliminate duplicate keying.  

Sharon Wiles-Young, the second presenter, works at Lehigh University. The university has faced many of the same issues with electronic resources workflow and staffing as NIH, but has found different solutions due to the different needs of their patrons.  

Like NIH, Lehigh provides access to e-resources through the catalog but was able to use Microsoft Access and the OPAC to dynamically create an alpha list for the library’s webpage. The academic environment meant that patrons were very interested in subject- and major-specific lists of electronic resources and initially the subject librarians were responsible for creating and maintaining web pages for these lists. However, this resulted in pages of varying quality. An opportunity arose when Lehigh implemented a portal solution for the campus; the library was able to implement MyLibrary, a library-specific portal that appeared as a tab in the main campus web environment. Using this software, patrons have quick access to subject-specific electronic resources on an editable page that is customized for each major, including undeclared.  

Ongoing concerns for Lehigh’s library include training staff in SFX and the future implementation of an ERM, as well as keeping current with new technology that will further aid patrons’ searching and discovery of electronic resources.

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