Friday, January 29, 2010

Open Access Monographs

As Rollins develops an open access policy for faculty publications, questions arise form other scholars who tend to publish books rather than articles. Here is a notice of an interesting session called The Ebook Transition: Collaboration and Innovations Behind Open Access Monographs from SPARC/ACRL at ALA Midwinter.

The proposed policy will not include monographs, just scholarly articles, book chapters, and published conference proceedings.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book a Year Reception

Every year the Olin Library holds a reception to thank the donors to our Book a Year program because, frankly, without them we would have no book budget! This year the reception will be on April 16th, just one day shy of the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Olin Library building in 1985, and obviously this year is the 125th anniversary of the College, so this will be a special one.

Every year we give our guests a small gift, usually a package of notecards with an illustration that reminds them of the library (perhaps an image from a beautiful book in Special Collections, a reproduction of an elegant book plate, or a historic image of the library.) This year we have a group of images we have to chose from. My vote goes for this one.

I think we should use the others as big posters, blown up and hung from the ceiling in the library, or as banners on the outside of the library entrance celebrating our 25th, because they are so dramatic. What do you think?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

ALA Midwinter 2010 Sunday

Over the stultifying proceedings of the ACRL Chapter Council we shall draw a veil. I did my duty.

With YBP's acquisition of Blackwell we have to transition from one to another. Edna, Darla, and Mary have recommended we go with YBP after investigating Amazon's more limited offerings. Amazon could really own this marketplace if they wanted to. They have the materials, the price, they have the technology, and they have the name recognition amongst our users. If they just step up to the plate and put a few things in place (basically physical processing and institutional customer service.) But for the moment, we are happy to go with YBP. I met with Mike Walmsley here and we agreed on a date to up with full processing etc. of April 1st, so that we can have a couple of months of experience before our fiscal year ends on 5/31. Next steps: complete a transition template with dates and responsibilities and a conference call with our staff and YBP.

Then the afternoon was all about ACRL and the Government Relations Committee. I am the outgoing chair and Marilyn Ochoa is the vice-chair and doing a great job. We have to find a way to grow the number of advocates from around 50 (in 26 states) to one in every congressional district. We are hoping we can get targeted lists of ACRL members and colleges and universities in strategic congressional districts that committee members can call (the ACRL members, and other colleagues and friends they know at institutions in those districts.)
We worked on the draft of the ACRL legislative agenda. No surprise that FRPAA and public access to federally funded research is at the top, but it is interesting to see orphan works rising (as we approach the Google Book Settlement) and possibly section 108 as well.
I was also delighted to see that all the committee members at the meeting are planning on attending the Advocacy Day on the Tuesday after ALA National in Washington. I hope you will be there too!

I had dinner with friends who wanted to pick my brains about Summon. I made a statement that I hoped would get challenged because I think it is worth thinking about, so let me know what your response would be. We now live in an age of information super-abundance. While there are still cases in which comprehensive search and retrieval are necessary, increasingly users do not need and cannot effectively use the overwhelming results of comprehensive searches. This super-abundance also means that many users are satisfied (and rightly so) with "good enough" results. The extra time and effort necessary to get the "best"results is wasted. Therefore some librarians' concerns that relevancy searching of unified discovery services like Summon will not result in comprehensive searches and not necessarily retrieve the best results are misplaced. User searching before such systems was not comprehensive or very well constructed. A large system with a good selection of resources, combined with a good search engine will result in better overall results for the user. Am I kidding myself?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ALA Midwinter 2010 Saturday

Went to the Ebrary breakfast to be underwhelmed by their new DASH product. Basically you get to add pdf's to your Ebrary account. This means you get to take advantage of the great Ebrary search and info management features, but the documents you load aren't openly available on the web, just to your users. I suppose if a library had an Ebrary account but not an institutional repository then it might be helpful, but it feels like a solution in search of a problem. It is hardly difficult to find ways to load and make pdf's available to campus these days.

Then a session on getting librarians involved in legislative advocacy. Like most of these events, the panel told lots of war stories to the sparse audience about how much fun and how easy this is. I am not convinced these help others get involved. I am thinking about ways to organize Marilyn Ochoa's and my session at FLA in April (see page 7 of the preliminary program) to be more productive. Role playing? Actual calling and e-mailing from the session? Detailed, specific information for participants?

I spent some time at this conference looking at other players in the developing unified discovery service marketplace. Primo from Ex Libris clearly grows out of the company's ILS roots, just as Summon grows out of Serials Solutions' e-journal roots. Ex Libris are very proud of their known item searching, because they are listening to their customers (librarians) not the end user. EBSCO's contender is based on database, rather than article, searching (perhaps a distinction without a difference.) It has all the great features of EBSCO host searching, and is using federated searching to get to stuff they cannot get permission to pre-index. These resources are presented in the bottom right. It is a sensible, if unfortunate, solution. You can get WorldCat records this way (presumably they use the WorldCat API) quite cheaply, or they can be pre-indexed for beaucoup bucks. This could be a fall back position for Summon if they get serious about putting WorldCat in their service.

Then I went to listen to the big guys' take on the future role of academic libraries at the Elsevier 12th Digital Libraries Symposium: The New Role and Image of Academic Libraries (sorry it is not online yet, but will probably be here when it is.) Wendy Lougee (Minnesota) talked about their study of how their libraries fit into the research process and how that is changing (she talked about the "diffuse library", a somewhat old idea but a great phrase, and the libraries providing expertise, process, sensemaking and consultation), William Tabb (John Hopkins) gave a "how we done it good in my library" talk but made it sound important as only an ARL director can, and Carol Tenopir (Tennessee) talked about her study of the value research libraries provide in the grant money acquisition process (for research intensive institutions they provide great ROI, for teaching intensive ones they don't: big surprise. I am simplifying, but she based this on library materials cited in grant proposals and the value the grant writer/researcher placed on them. It would be more interesting to know how the grant reviewer to office valued them and if you could control for other variables and look at change in grants monies and library materials funding over time.)

Perhaps the most useful thing I picked up there was this issue of their Connect newsletter, all about libraries and mobile technology.

Friday, January 15, 2010

ALA Midwinter First day

I spent the morning in the Gardner Museum. Bethany loves this place, but I am less impressed. I think I would have enjoyed the Institute of Contemporary Arts more.

The afternoon was the ACRL Leadership Council, not much to say there. Now I am in my hotel room with a cold.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ALA MIdwinter 2010

Just as the temperature begins to rise in Florida, I am off to Boston for the Midwinter. Oh, the horror! The major things for this conference are the inaugural meeting of the Summon Advisory Board, lots of SPARC open access and ACRL Government Relations stuff, meetings with Bepress about our upcoming institutional repository "Rollins Scholarship Online", and with YBP as we transition from Blackwell to Gobi. What I really hope happens is I see and hear something new and meet up with some old friends.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Building Relationships with Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct faculty members can be tough to connect with, they can can feel like nomads on campus, no place to gather their thoughts, meet with a student, or check e-mail.

So I was delighted when the public services librarians suggested that we use the space that had been a reference workroom and ILL office as an Adjunct Faculty Lounge.

This is just an experiment at this stage, but we hope that creating this space right in the middle of the librarians offices will encourage more contact between these faculty and the librarians and thus lead to more instruction and a heightened awareness of how the library might help support their teaching. The room has a PC and printer as well as some comfortable seating, art on the walls, and soothing lights.

The printer is the networked printer that supports the librarians, so we hope they will be in and out all day as well; leading to all kinds of serendipidous opportunities for relationship building.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Donna Cohen 1943-2010

This is a terribly sad way to start the new year, but I have to report that Donna Cohen, my predecessor as Director of the Olin Library at Rollins College, died on January 2nd, after suffering a stroke on December 30th, 2009 while on vacation with her family in New Mexico. Her husband, Dr. Ed Cohen also of Rollins College, was with her. A private funeral will be held in Washington, D.C. I understand a memorial service will be held at Rollins later in the spring.

Donna received her BA from the University of Maryland in 1964, her Masters in Education from Rollins in 1972, and her MSLS from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1982. She became Acquisitions Librarian at Rollins College in 1986. She became Library Director in 1999 and served until her retirement in 2006. She was a valued member of the Rollins senior leadership team and was elevated to emeritus status on her retirement. Donna was active in numerous professional associations including the American Library Association, the Florida Library Association, the Association of Central Florida Librarians, and the Beta Phi Mu International Honor Society. She published in the areas of acquisitions and the history of Carnegie libraries. Her publications include:

"Andrew Carnegie and Academic Library Philanthropy: The Case of Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida," Libraries & Culture, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Summer 2000), pp. 389-413.

"Endowed Book Funds: The Book-A-Year Fund at Rollins College," Acquisitions Librarian, No. 22 (1999), pp. 171-177.

"Serials Review as a Collection Development and Acquisitions Tool," Issues in Collection Management: Librarians, Bookseller, Publishers, ed. by Murray S. Martin, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1995, pp. 57-63.

"The Role of the Acquisitions Librarian in the Accreditation of Academic Libraries," Acquisitions Librarian, 12 (1994): pp. 27-35.

"The Present State of Education for Acquisitions Librarianship," Library Acquisitions: Practice & Theory, Vol. 15 (1991), pp 359-364.

"A Recent History of the Library Criterion of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools," Southeastern Librarian 39 (1989), pp. 9-12.

Amongst many other achievements in her career Donna was responsible for revitalizing the library's Book a Year program and for opening the Bookmark Cafe in the Olin Library, but I think the greatest professional impact she had was as a mentor to librarians and staff both within and beyond Rollins.

On a more personal note, I could not have wished for a better predecessor as a director. Donna was unfailingly supportive and discrete. It is never easy to watch someone else take the reins of an organization you have directed, but Donna found the right balance between withdrawing to let the library grow and develop and being supportive and available to answer questions and provide information. Even though I did not have the privilege of knowing Donna for long I will miss her and I know many others in the library, who enjoyed knowing Donna and working with her for decades, will miss her greatly.

Since the program was so important to Donna, it seems only fitting that we set up a Book a Year memorial in her name. Contributions to this fund should be marked "Book a Year, Donna Cohen" and sent to

Erin Hodge
Rollins College
1000 Holt Avenue - 2750
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 647-1196

Contributions can also be made to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.

Friday, January 01, 2010

BBC and BL together to build a digital archive.

This memorandum of understanding sounds like it could be pretty cool. There are lots of interesting digitization efforts underway in Europe.