Monday, October 31, 2011

Persistence Pays Off for Mobile Site.

Paul Gindlesperger has been working for weeks to find a way to automatically redirect visitors using mobile devices who come to our regular site to our mobile site. This should not be difficult, but our CMS made it so. He finally did it (with an assist from Bill Svitavsky.) So, give it a whirl. Go to from your mobile phone or iPad and let me know what you think.

I will be interested to see if this results in a bump in traffic from mobile users.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CLIR Symposium : Collaboration with untraditional partners (Sam Demas.)

People had some great ideas for collaboration:

Participating in art gallery crawls
Local history collaboratives
Information literacy in community engagement and service learning.
Gaming nights
Rock bands in the library (how about tiny reference desk concerts?)
Flash lectures (advertised on Twitter.)
Social tagging of archival images
 (evidently the new version of Contentdm will allow this.)
A mobile library (on a bike!) to take to event son campus with a laptop for check out.

CLIR Symposium (Chuck Henry, President of CLIR)

This was a really interesting session in which we really began to think about what kind of futures we might have (if any.) Chuck introduced a series of what he called "deep collaboration" projects:

Hidden Collections
Digging into Data
Digital Public Library of America
Data Curation:building a new profession
Linked Data
Federated Research and Educational Depository System (secure digital preservation. Can't find a link for this.)
Centers for Digital Humanities and the Liberal Arts (no link for this either.)
Medical Heritage Digital Collaborative
National Humanities Press (sorry, no link.)
CLIR/Mellon Fellowships: Dissertations in Original Sources

"From a strategic vantage point, there is no ambiguity: the future of academic libraries and higher education rests on the ability to reconceive ourselves holistically, with the various components of scholarly information-- discovering, reconstituting, publishing, and sharing knowledge, and keeping its various manifestations securely preserved and accessible -- understood as interrelated and interdependent. The inherited norms, customs, traditions, and institutions that have structured research and teaching now need to be constructively challenged, redefined, and subsequently reassembled."

So what is the role of librarians at liberal arts colleges in this environment? Are we ready to connect our faculty and students to such macro solutions?

CLIR Symposium: the Future of the Liberal Arts College Library (Victor Ferrall.)

I am in Milwaukee at this symposium with about fifty other college librarians worrying about whether we have a future or not. Victor Ferrall, author of Liberal Arts at the Brink is giving the keynote.
  • We fail to recognize that there has never been much demand for liberal education.
  • Single biggest change in US higher ed. was post war opening up to first generation students who were looking for a practical degree.
  • Are we selling education, or buying students?
  • Competition for students raises costs and cuts revenue. It is the tragedy of the commons.
  • Vocational education focuses the student on the utility of the knowledge they acquire. Liberal education focuses them on the utility of acquiring knowledge.
What does the move away form liberal arts education mean for libraries (specifically collection use)?
  • Vocational majors  are likely to read more manuals, with more focus, and read less widely.
  • Since they read for answers, this will emphasize online information.
  • More pressure to support the curriculum, and less to support scholarship in general.
Move from liberal arts to vocation is a trend not a cycle, we need to cooperate not compete.So here is my question:

Librarians are good at cooperating, yet we still have a library at each liberal arts college. What if we had one library for all liberal arts colleges, with librarians available to each campus and all students? Would we save money and improve services? 
It turns out Victor Ferrall is specifically thinking about cooperation in marketing liberal arts education, but he is not getting much traction form other presidents.

    Friday, October 07, 2011

    Oberlin Group 2011 day One.

    The day started with a discussion about organizational change in our libraries. While there are some common themes -- refocusing staff away from traditional cataloging and acquisitions and towards digital services, focusing our librarians outward to the faculty and students -- but what is really striking is our distinct this discussion on each campus. My colleagues have problems I had not even imagined, and vice versa.

    Then I moderated a discussion of e-books and open access. Joanne Schneider discussed progress towards the Digital Public Library of America, Ray English discussed the Open Library's digital lending library, Neil McElroy discussed the Hathi Trust and finally Bryn Geffert discussed the proposed Liberal Arts Open Access Scholarly Publishing Project (which has no website yet.)

    We had a tour of the impressive Woodruff Library at the Atlanta University Center (you will find my idiosyncratic photos from the tour in this folder.)

    Then it was open mic: at Neil McElroy at Lafayette gave iPads to the members of their Library Advisory Council to get them thinking about mobile technologies, Deb Dancik at Willamette is further along with records management than we are, Terri Fishel at Macalester organized a reading group for librarians and staff around Char Booth's book Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning that seems to transformed their teaching, and lots, lots more.

    The final session was about digital archives and repositories. Richard Fyffe just mentioned DataVerse, sounds interesting. Deb Dancik just mentioned Pachyderm. Willamette has developed a Contentdm/Pachyderm plugin (open source) and is using it to help students incorporate institutional repository images into presentations. She also mentioned Islandora. Rick Provine also mentioned ArtSTOR's Shared Shelf.