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- Defining the library ... reflexively (Thu, 21 Mar 2013 09:31:02 -0700)
It occurred to me recently that the library definitions I most like have a reflexive quality ... Dan Chudnov, for example, is admirably succinct and direct: My professional mission as a librarian is this: Help people build their own libraries. That's it. That's all I care about. [One big library] This is from 2006. Interestingly, in the interim we have seen big growth in the personal 'library' - think of Mendeley or Goodreads for example. Here are two from very different writers, each expressing the generative capacity of the library in a very pithy way ... People should think not so much of the books that have gone into the National Library but rather of the books that have come out of it. A library, after all, feeds the people that go in there. [Quoted in Kissane, Noel. 1994. Treasures from the National Library of Ireland. [Drogheda]: The Boyne Valley Honey Co.] This is Irish writer Se
- Twit-therapy .. a quick note (Sat, 16 Mar 2013 07:05:44 -0700)
I am reading Bedsit Disco Queen: how I grew up and tried to be a pop star, a memoir by Tracey Thorn. Here is a quick note to record what I thought was an interesting discussion about Twitter. Thorn writes about frustration with record company and producer, and goes on to say ... If I had a time machine and could go back in it, to this particular point, where the self-doubt and anxiety was beginning to set in and it felt like the walls were closing around us. I know exactly what I would do. I would invent Twitter. I firmly believe that Twitter might have been my salvation. For instance, I could have come home from that depressing meeting at the record-company office and tweeted about it and got it off my chest, and you would all have tweeted back at me with supportive comments, witty put-downs and descriptions of similar experiences in your own workplace. We would have bonded over it , and I would have felt less alone and more like there were people out there who understood what I was on about and wanted me to keep going on about it. Just laughing about it would have defused its corrosive potential. Twitter is the arena in which we share all the shit, and laughing it off, and are made stronger. .... [Bedsit Disco Queen, p.194] p.s. I am reading it in hardback as it is a book I would like to own and keep. And yes, as I discussed the other day, I do miss being able to highlight. p.p.s. I am surprised they kept 'bedsit' in the title for a US audience. The big hit on Jools .... Related entry: A note about Tracey Thorn ...
- A fragmented reading experience: locally and anecdotally speaking .. (Mon, 04 Mar 2013 14:38:25 -0800)
In February 2011 I noted ... A while ago I was interested to observe that I had begun to resist buying paperback novels. ... In thinking about it, I realised that I only wanted to buy the experience not the physical item. My bag and our house is already cluttered enough. I wanted the few hours entertainment the book provided, not the small burden of owning a bundle of paper to be shelved. [Buying books and/or experiences: a consumer view] In other cases I still wanted to buy a physical item. In the interim, the reconfiguration of publishing by the network continues. We are even more aware of the staggering impact of Amazon on the book industry, questions about the future of print 'n mortar stores are more stark, there is consolidation among publishers, publishing and reading options proliferate. While I am professionally aware day to day of that background, I have been interested in how my reading behaviors continue to shift. The pull of digital is stronger. The benefits of portability, availability, and search weigh heavier. However, my reading has become fragmented in ways that complicate my life as a consumer. It is fragmented in terms of actual reading experience (Kindle vs print vs other). It is fragmented in terms of collection, where what is on my shelves is joined by what is on my Kindle (in its various manifestations), or elsewhere. It is fragmented in terms of discoverability (store vs website). I often have to chose between grades of experience, and the choices involve tradeoffs (portability vs aesthetics, for example). Of course, it is also fragmented in terms of ownership, where my ability to resell, share or move an ebook is limited in various ways. This is a major issue, although it is not my main focus here. Here are some rather ordinary anecdotal examples ..... Anecdote 1: highlighting I was in the Acorn Bookshop, a used bookstore in Grandview, Ohio, a while ago (which incidentally, is the bookstore which features in the movie, Liberal Arts). I was pleased to find a Nicholas Blake novel, End of Chapter. Blake is the name under which Cecil Day Lewis, poet and father of Daniel, wrote mystery novels. I have wanted to read one of his novels for years, without having been quite motivated enough to go out and get one (he does not figure in the catalog of the Columbus Metropolitan Library). Coincidentally, I was able to buy another couple of Blake novels in Caveat Emptor Books on a trip to Bloomington, Indiana, around the same time. End of Chapter is set in a publishing house, and, as one might expect, is quite a nice read in a somewhat old-fashioned way. This meant that as I read I kept wanting to highlight sentences for saving to my Kindle space. Not being able to do so created a nagging friction as I read, which is a typical reaction now when I read an interesting book in print. I would always have been an inveterate maker of marginal pencil marks. Even if I rarely went back to them, they were there for future reference ... just in case. I now want to save highlights as I read. This requirement has also made cross-platform differences in the Kindle app a frustration. For a while highlighting was not possible in Cloud Reader, though it now is. The major issue I have with my Windows Phone - with which otherwise I am very happy - is that the Kindle app does not allow me to highlight text. This means that I don't read books during those interstitial reading moments on the phone. I can't bring myself to read an e-book which does not have the highlighting option. And highlighting is important - see Steven Johnson's interesting post from which this line jumped out ... This ability to capture important clips in real-time as I'm reading a book has probably been the single most important advance in my reading life since the Web came along. [Your outboard memory] Anecdote 2: choosing between benefits I was going to buy Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s by Diarmaid Ferriter when it came out last year. Although it is a bit dispiriting to realise that you are now old enough that the period in which you grew up is the topic of a major historical work. However, do I go with hardback or Kindle? I want the benefits of the digital, but there are also some pleasures of ownership associated with a physical book like this. These don't really have an analog in the current e-book environment. This pleasure is also in contrast to the poverty of the Kindle collection experience. It is unclear to me why they do not do a better job of allowing you to manage collections in a congenial way - this seems like a big miss, but presumably their data shows that this is not a big enough requirement to push aside other development needs? I am sure this will get better in the future. I would certainly lightly annotate a paper version of a book like this, but as I say above I would prefer to keep those passages online now. A couple of times I have expressed frustration on Twitter or Facebook about having to chose in this way, and in each case somebody responded with the example of music, where, if you buy Vinyl you can also download MP3s. I would be willing to pay extra to get digital and print for some types of books, ones like this one. This point was also made by Nicholas Carr ... There's a lesson here, I think, for book publishers. Readers today are forced to choose between buying a physical book or an ebook, but a lot of them would really like to have both on hand - so they'd be able, for instance, to curl up with the print edition while at home (and keep it on their shelves) but also be able to load the ebook onto their e-reader when they go on a trip. In fact, bundling a free electronic copy with a physical product would have a much bigger impact in the book business than in the music business. After all, in order to play vinyl you have to buy a turntable, and most people aren't going to do that. So vinyl may be a bright spot for record companies, but it's not likely to become an enormous bright spot. The only technology you need to read a print book is the eyes you were born with, and print continues, for the moment, to be the leading format for books. If you start giving away downloads with print copies, you shake things up in a pretty big way. [Rough Type] It seems unlikely that an e-version would be available with the hardback without some price increase. But I probably would not pay the premium that you pay for vinyl. I do not know what price point would persuade me, but I would certainly pay more. I now have several books where I have bought both print and e versions. My indecision meant I did not buy the Ferriter book when I first saw it - I did not know which way to go. As I write this, however, I went back and bought the hardback. Although, when I get around to reading it, I know that I will be thinking of how I miss the digital highlighting feature :-) And I definitely won't be reading it on a plane, as I won't want to carry a book of this size around with me. Anecdote 3: borrowing I bought Information wants to be shared by Joshua Gans last year. I bought it on the basis of a blog entry by John Naughton, who bought it on the basis of the Amazon abstract. On Amazon.com, it appears to be only available as an ebook. Now, normally for this type of item - which I would like to read, but not necessarily buy - I would suggest to the very fine folks at the OCLC Library that they acquire it. However, acquiring an ebook for lending from Amazon is not an option. So, as it was just $4.99, I went ahead and bought it. This touches on major policy and business issues, but as a consumer it is a way in which previous behaviors don't map onto current options. Of course, these may be the 'morbid symptoms' that accompany transition between orders. And we will always have choices. I just hope we have some better ones soon ... as the reconfiguration continues.
- Systemwide organization - sourcing and scaling redux (Fri, 01 Feb 2013 01:02:52 -0800)
Libraries are increasingly taking a system-wide perspective of their roles and services. This can take different forms. Think of the close collaboration within the Orbis Cascade Alliance for example, where academic libraries in Washington and Oregon are moving to a shared systems infrastructure. Or think of the various initiatives looking at managing down individual print collections within a coordinated collective framework, WEST, for example. Or think of collaboratively sourced initiatives to tackle new service areas, Hathi Trust for example. Of course, in many countries there are publicly funded bodies who are charged with managing shared services, development work, or community R&D. Think of how union catalogs or license negotiations are provided in many countries, or the role in national provision of some national libraries, or the national work of educational organizations like JISC in the UK. At the same time, libraries are looking to simplify their infrastructure requirements through cloud-based approaches. Think of the wide deployment of Libguides for example, or of the growing adoption of discovery layer products, or of the move to cloud based systems infrastructure (resolver, ILS). In each of these cases, libraries are looking at different models of sourcing their needs - collaborative, public, and third party respectively. They are also looking at doing things at different scales - shared with a group (e.g. Orbis Cascade Alliance), at national or regional level (e.g. Libraries Australia), or working with a supplier at the institutional level (e.g. cloud-based discovery layers). Sourcing and scaling now pose interesting policy and service questions across library services. Recognizing the importance of these questions, OCLC Research has organized some of our activity in a new program area to address them: system-wide organization. Our early work in this area has focused on the collective print collection, mining our data to provide community intelligence to support decisions about the future configuration of print collections. The influential "Cloud Library" report (Cloud-sourcing Research Collections) provided a framing context for this work, and was followed up more recently with Print Management at 'Mega-scale', which is the first study of its kind, showing the geographic concentrations of collections. This work has been very purposefully connected with policy and organizational issues and we work closely with most of the major initiatives tackling this question. We have also carried out the largest study of circulation data to date, the OhioLINK Collection and Circulation Analysis, and are preparing a synthesis of those findings. Another strand of current activity is exploring through Worldcat how national literatures are represented in the global library resource, and a case study will be published soon. This focus continues our earlier work on mining Worldcat to reveal characteristics of the collective library collection (see for example our original analysis of the collections in libraries working with Google on digitization, or our analysis of the aggregate print book resource likely in copyright). While early work has focused on applying data analysis to policy and service questions, we are now working with individual libraries to think about the wider context of sourcing and scaling across the breadth of their work. Here is how we describe it on the theme's web pages: System-wide organization explores the shift from local provisioning of library collections and services to increased reliance on cooperative infrastructure, collective collections, shared technology platforms, and "above-the-institution" management strategies. At the same time, we examine the array of collections and services that are best provided at the level of the local institution. Our research agenda in system-wide organization aims to improve our understanding of the factors that guide institutions in their sourcing and scaling choices as they seek maximum impact and efficient provision of library collections and services. Libraries are embarked on a shift to greater engagement with the research, learning and development lives of their users, and reconfiguring space, services, expertise and infrastructure to facilitate this. Our agenda is being designed to provide examples and research findings which assist in this shift. Further Information: Related materials Constance Malpas. Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment Constance Malpas, Brian Lavoie and JD Shipengrover. Print Management at 'Mega-scale': a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America Brian Lavoie and Lorcan Dempsey. Beyond 1923: Characteristics of Potentially In-copyright Print Books in Library CollectionsBrian Lavoie, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, and Lorcan Dempsey. Anatomy of Aggregate Collections: The Example of Google Print for LibrariesBlog entriesSourcing and scalingUntangling the library systems environment (see discussion of scalar emphasis)Sourcing and scaling: the University of California OCLC Research Activity Pages System-wide Organization Managing the Collective Collection OhioLINK Collection and Circulation Analysis This entry adapts the introductory message in the OCLC Research Quarterly Highlights, Issue 7, October-December 2012.
- Discovery vs discoverability ... (Wed, 02 Jan 2013 16:53:30 -0800)
I have been interested in the different dynamics of the inside-out and outside-in library for a while (see here for example). One especially interesting characteristic is the quite different approach to discovery in each case, even though this distinction has not yet crystallized in clear service categories. I was struck by the distinction during a recent discussion of 'discoverability' in a publishing context, where the focus was on the active marketing of resources through a variety of channels. This is an emphasis that has not been common in a library environment, but, which, I argue here, is becoming more important. It is not enough simply to make resources available on the network; more active promotion is required if they are to be discovered. What do I mean by outside-in and inside-out? Throughout much of their existence, libraries have managed an outside-in range of resources: they have acquired books, journals, databases, and other materials from external sources and provided discovery systems for their local constituency over what they own or license. They aggregated scarce materials, services, and expertise close to their users. They provided a local gateway which was central to many of their users' information lives. The discovery focus was very much on improving a set of well-known systems that provide access to the collection (acknowledging that the library had in fact little direct influence over how access to the journal literature was presented). And this remains the main focus. This discovery apparatus has evolved, and now comprises catalog, A to Z lists, resource guides, maybe a discovery layer product, and other services. 'Discoverability' might be interpreted in the context of how well those systems served their users. However, in a digital and network world, there have been two major changes, which shift the focus towards inside-out. First, access and discovery have now scaled to the level of the network: they are web scale. If I want to know if a particular book exists I may look in Google Book Search or in Amazon, or in a social reading site, in a library aggregation like Worldcat, and so on. My options have multiplied and the breadth of interest of the local gateway is diminished: it provides access only to a part of what I am potentially interested in. As research and learning information resources have become abundant in this environment, the library collection and its discovery systems are no longer the necessary gateway for library users. While much of the discovery focus of the library is still on those destination or gateway systems which provide access to its collection, much of their users' discovery experience is in fact happening elsewhere. Second, the institution is also a producer of a range of information resources: digitized images or special collections, learning and research materials, research data, administrative records (website, prospectuses, etc.), faculty expertise and profile data, and so on. How effectively to disclose this material is of growing interest across libraries or across the institutions of which the library is a part. This presents an inside-out challenge, as here the library wants the material to be discovered by their own constituency but usually also by a general web population. These factors shift the discoverability challenge significantly. The challenge is not now only to improve local systems, it is to make library resources discoverable in other venues and systems, in the places where their users are having their discovery experiences.These include Google Scholar or Google Books, for example, or Goodreads, or Mendeley, or Amazon. It is also to promote institutionally created and managed resources to others. This involves more active engagement across a range of channels. Think of a couple of obvious examples. Libraries have worked to make their knowledge bases visible to Google Scholar because they want to link available library resources to their users' discovery experience. They want to make their resources discoverable in Scholar. Users should be able to access a copy of a resource the library has acquired wherever the discovery takes place. In fact, having an institutional resolver work with a variety of services (e.g. Mendeley, Pubmed Central) is increasingly important, and it would be very interesting to see some research which shows the balance between internally and externally generated resolver traffic across a group of libraries. Anecdotal evidence suggests the growing importance of external sources. Second, think of the recurrent discussion about the discoverability of institutional repository resources in Google and what steps should be taken to improve it (see for example the work by Kenning Arlitsch and colleagues [pdf]). We have not yet seen clear integrated library strategies emerge for the inside-out case, but various approaches have emerged .... Collection-specific interpretation and promotion through social media or other targeted activity - see here for some blogs about special collections and archives, for example. Syndication. While this term may not be generally understood I use it here to cover the idea of placing links, metadata or services in the flow of potential users. Syndication is a major activity of OCLC as Worldcat enables linking, for example, between Google Books and other services and individual library collections. Links. Adding links for relevant resources to Wikipedia, for example. Or to course pages, etc. Metadata. Providing metadata about collections to relevant aggregations (the University of Minnesota 'discoverability' reports do an interesting analysis of aggregations relevant to their collections). Adding RSS feeds where appropriate. Services. Adding 'share' buttons to resouces (to facilitate tweeting, pinning, etc). Creating widgets, mobile apps, toolbars, ... In some cases, providing protocol level access to resources. Search engine optimization. Working to ensure that crawling and indexing are as efficient as they can be. SEO is, effectively, promoting interoperability with search engines through use of good practices. There is growing interest in connecting the library's collections to external discovery environments so that the value of the library investment is actually released for those for whom it was made. There is also now a parallel interest in making institutional resources (research and learning materials, digitized special materials, faculty expertise, etc) more actively discoverable. In each case, there is a shift towards inside-out thinking, as the library thinks about promotion and visibility in external services. In our network environment, it is clear that 'discoverability' involves an array of changing, tactical responses, working across a range of services and approaches. This active attention will become a stronger focus for libraries. Related: Lorcan Dempsey. Thirteen Ways of Looking at Libraries, Discovery, and the Catalog: Scale, Workflow, Attention. Educause Review Online, December 10, 2012. Outside-in and inside-out redux Discoverability - a report that's worth a look
- The President, the election and big data (Sun, 11 Nov 2012 06:30:56 -0800)
A little over four years ago I wrote a post about the presidential primary results, suggesting that an important political threshold had been crossed. The network - and notably the use of social and mobile - was centrally influential. Whatever your political orientation, it is clear that Obama has been remarkably successful at mobilizing people and money through the network. .... the combination of social networking techniques and the diffusion of connectivity through mobile and other devices have allowed Obama's campaign to scale very effectively, both in terms of numbers participating and amount of funds raised. [Candidate 2.0 and crowdfunding] This year, we may have seen yet another important threshold crossed - as the data-driven campaign has been ushered in. Big data has come to the election. The Obama campaign approach is described in the widely observed article by Michael Scherer in Time Magazine. He describes a 'metric driven campaign' managed by a highly secretive analytics department. The "scientists" created regular briefings on their work for the President and top aides in the White House's Roosevelt Room, but public details were in short supply as the campaign guarded what it believed to be its biggest institutional advantage over Mitt Romney's campaign: its data. [Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win] The article describes how the team analysed data to identify donors, voters and efficient ad placements. Patterns in the data influenced which celebrities were asked to address which audiences and persuaded Obama to answer questions on Reddit. That data-driven decisionmaking played a huge role in creating a second term for the 44th President and will be one of the more closely studied elements of the 2012 cycle. It's another sign that the role of the campaign pros in Washington who make decisions on hunches and experience is rapidly dwindling, being replaced by the work of quants and computer coders who can crack massive data sets for insight. As one official put it, the time of "guys sitting in a back room smoking cigars, saying 'We always buy 60 Minutes'" is over. In politics, the era of big data has arrived. [Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win] Analytics is now a major activity, as transaction or 'intentional' data is aggregated and mined for insight .... and the Obama campaign appears to have relied heavily on 'campaign analytics'. Having collected a lot of data they used it as a strategic resource. One side-effect is to further embed the importance of quantitative methods in the popular consciousness. Increasingly, as we yield up data in more of our interactions it is mined to predict behaviors, to adapt systems, to improve services. Pandora, as I note in the blog entry above, does our listening for us. As more material is digital, as more business processes are automated, and as more activities shed usage data, organizations are manipulating larger amounts of relatively unstructured data and extracting value from it. We have become used to recommendations based on buying or navigation patterns. Within the library field, patterns of download, holdings or resolution are being mined to improve services. We are seeing the emergence of predictive analytics in education. Altmetrics based on user behaviors of various types are a topic of rich discussion. We are collecting data and making it work harder everywhere .... Coda: John Naughton has a nice column on the importance of data for the campaign and more generally. Related entries: Big data .. big trend Candidate 2.0 and crowd-fundingLibraries and the Informational Future: Some Notes Note: updated 11/12/12
- Two things prompted by a new website: space as a service and full library discovery (Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:32:57 -0700)
Drawn by a Tweet I looked at Stanford's very nice new library website just now. I only spent a few minutes there but I was immediately and strongly struck by two things. Each makes so much sense that I imagine they will become routine. The first was the foregrounding of library space as a service. The second was what I might call full library discovery, the ability to discover the full capacity of the library, not just the collections, with a single search. Library space as a service A shift is underway in library space, from being configured around collections to being configured around research, learning and related social behaviors. In this way, space is an important aspect of how a library engages with its users; it is a service in itself, not only part of the infrastructure to manage collections. This is recognized here in that two of the elements in the nice central navigation strip are about space, Library hours and Places to study. If you look at Library hours, it tells you what is open now, as you look at it. It is not just a static list of times and locations. If you look at the Places to study tab it opens out interestingly to allow you to filter by your requirement - for individual study, for quiet, for group study, for particular facilities, and so on. From 'full collection' to 'full library' discovery There has been a major focus on integrated discovery services in recent years, with the model of a cloud-based, central index over catalog, article and related data becoming common. The goal has been 'full collection discovery' delivered in a single search box. We are now seeing an extension of this ambition to cover 'full library' discovery where services, staff profiles and expertise, or other aspects of library provision are made discoverable alongside, and in the same search environment, as the collections. I have written before about the University of Michigan site, which is a good example. It works well to project the library on the web as a unified service. A central part of this is the integrated search over collections, library website, LibGuides and library staff profiles. The return of relevant subject specialists which match the query in a separate results pane is particularly interesting. And is in line with my view that if libraries wish to be seen as expert, then their expertise must be visible. The Stanford site offers a Search everything tab, with this amplifying tagline: "Not sure where to start? Try this.". What I like about it is that the examples searches shown emphasise the 'full library' aspect of what is on offer here: they are very deliberately pitching this at a broader level than books and articles. The example searches are 'renew books, dissertations, feminist studies, worldcat': they are about questions people may have when they come to the library website, not only about items they might find in the collection. Now, in practice results work better sometimes than others, but the general principle is good and you can see how it can be improved over time. In an accompanying blog description, Chris Bourg repeats Feminist studies as an example. Note the the staff profile pages returned in the library website search. As libraries move in this direction, several trends are apparent. One is the use of Drupal, Blacklight and other 'container' frameworks to deliver unified services. A second is a rethinking of how services, staff profiles and expertise, and other library activities are represented and indexed. The increased use of resource guides - in many cases Libguides - is one aspect of this, in particular as they are used as a simple content management framework for various type of information about the library, and not only for lists of information resources. Another is the 'Bento box' style results, as not only may it be difficult or confusing to rank results across different types of resources, but a tabular presentation like this may make more sense to users. For more information about Stanford design decisions and ambitions see the justifiably proud blog entries by Chris Bourg. Related entries: 3 stages of library web-sites ... The library website: a unified service? Discovery layers - Top Tech Trends 2 A web-siting at the University of Michigan People are entry points too ... redux
- The enterprising librarian ... (Sat, 30 Jun 2012 16:15:05 -0700)
I participated in an interesting event at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC a while ago. It was a symposium to consider the 'information professional' of 2050. Yes, that is 2050 :-) There was a mix of people. Some in LIS education; some in libraries; and some in industry. One word that was used a lot was 'entrepreneur'. It was used in two related ways. First was entrepreneur with a big 'E', where schools are preparing people with the skills and outlook to found or go into startups. Second was entrepreneur with a little 'e', where schools are preparing people to work flexibly in dynamic environments which value enterprise. I was interested in this theme as it chimed with a quote from Manuel Castells I had used in my written submission to the Symposium (these will be published later in the year). My focus was on libraries, not on the broader information field. Here is the Castells quote ... In a dynamic, evolutionary perspective there is a fundamental difference between two types of organizations: organizations for which the reproduction of their system of means becomes their main organizational goal; and organizations in which goals, and the change of goals, shape and endlessly reshape the structure of means. I call the first type of organizations bureaucracies; the second type, enterprises.[Castells, Manuel. The Rise of the Network Society. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.] This is quite dense, and needs to be unpicked a little in relation to libraries. Historically, libraries enjoyed stability and a shared understanding of goals. This in turn favored a focus on managing and improving the means towards those goals - building the collection, providing reference service, creating efficiencies in technical processing, and so on. This was the focus of professional practice and education. Much of this work is inherently bureaucratic. However, in an environment of change while overall mission and values may remain the same, new and shifting goals become the norm. Think of greater integration in the learning and research process through greater curriculum support, data curation, scholarly publishing, or support for grant writing or expertise profiles. Think of network based reading services, or jobseeking and homework support. As goals shift in a changing environment, so does the need to think about how to marshall the means to meet them. This may need reorganization, new staff skills, changing priorities, reallocation of staff and resources, and so on. It requires a shift from bureaucracy to enterprise, an adaptive organization that reviews and reshapes what it does in light of changing requirements. Now, just after I had written my submission I came across an interesting looking book by Bethan Ruddock: The new professional's toolkit. I was very taken with the table of contents and the OCLC Library kindly acquired a copy for me. Here is the table of contents: 1. Project management 2. Teaching, training & communicating 3. Meeting your users needs and measuring success 4. Marketing your service and engaging stakeholders 5. Using technologies 6. Getting and staying online 7. Generating funding and doing more with less 8. Managing money - budgets & negotiating 9. Information ethics and copyright 10. Up-skilling and professional development 11. Networking and promoting yourself 12. Professional involvement & career development Each chapter includes practioner case studies, some from her colleagues at Manchester. Readers will find some familiar names there, including for example Amanda Hill, Bohyun Kim, Lukas Koster, Jenica Rogers. An expanded table of contents with links to some of the case studies is on the book blog. I paste in the fuller list at the end of this entry for reference. Now, Bethan talks about information professionals broadly in the preface but this looks like a publisher-encouraged widening of focus (I may be wrong :-). In the Introduction, she notes it is aimed at librarians and archivists. What struck me immediately about this list was how the focus was very much on generic skills applied in a library or archival context. And those skills are very much about managing an enterprise: many are explicitly about managing in a changing environment. Importantly, much of the material is about positioning oneself or one's organization in relation to other players, a theme that becomes more important in dynamic environments of multiple stakeholders. So, for example, there is material about budgets; but there is also material about negotiating, about raising money from other sources, about demonstrating value. There is little material here about management as such, which surely would have featured in an equivalent volume some years ago, but there is material on managing projects, on training and communication, and on assessing needs and evaluating services. There is also a strong emphasis on personal skills and positioning, with discussions of personal branding in a networked environment, skills development, and professional involvement. It is taken for granted that communication, marketing, assessment, promotion and brand management are central activities for the organization and the individual. For example ... It is not just your organization and services that need promoting: you also need to promote yourself and for many of the same reasons. This isn't about boasting about how great you are, but about making people aware of of your unique skills and expertise, so they can call on them as necessary. Just as your users won't know how your service can help them unless you specifically tell them, people won't know what you personally have to offer unless you make it obvious. In the workplace, you as a peson can inspire trust and reliance in a way that your library or archive as a service can never do. Your users are much more likely to connect with your pesonal expertise: 'The information service can do that. I read it on a leaflet' is a much less powerful message than: 'Bethan can do that. She was talking to me about it last week.' Your knowledge, expertise and personal skills can be a very valuable asset to your organization. This echoed a comment I have been using in presentations recently: "if the library wishes to be seen as expert, its expertise must be visible". The book does focus on the individual rather than the organization, so the technology chapters, for example, are somewhat impressionistic, but they do hand off to interesting and informative case studies. And one can look elsewhere for the detail. This 'toolkit' covers some of what I took to be entrepreneurial skills. Or in language I prefer in this context, it covers some of the skills the library enterprise needs to include, and the enterprising librarian needs to have. Here is the expanded list of contents. 1. Project management What is a project? Finding project work Case study: Librarian to Project Manager (Annette Earl) Methodologies and tools Case study: the Blyton project (Hannah Green) 2. Teaching, training & communicating Effective communication Teaching and training Case study: how to run training sessions (Lisa Jeskins | full version) Further qualifications (includes vignettes from Lynne Meehan | full version and Edith Speller | full version ) Case study: ALT games and learning (Rosie Jones) Case study: Rhymetime for everyone (Linsey Chrisman) Presenting to professional peers Case study: how to make your first presentation a winning one (Bronagh McCrudden) Case study: how to write for publication (Jo Alcock) 3. Meeting your users needs and measuring success Case study: the SLA Alignment Project (Amy Affelt) Case study: evaluating the impact of your library (David Streatfield) Encouraging user participation Evidence-gathering tools 4. Marketing your service and engaging stakeholders What is marketing? Plan your marketing Case study: identifying and working with stakeholders (Michael Stead) Case study: creating customer-friendly e-reader experiences (Alison Circle) Case study: embedded librarianship (Reece Dano) 5. Utilising technologies The move towards automationCase study: how to become a zen master of technology (Bohyun Kim)Case study: I, Shambrarian (Lukas Koster | full version)Technology for the non-technicalCase study: introduction to sustainable digital preservation (Beccy Shipman)Repositories 6. Getting and staying online Case study: interoperability and sustainability (Jane Stevenson)Case study: social media in the big city (Sue Lawson)Case study: Deseronto Archives (Amanda Hill)Social media tools 7. Generating funding and doing more with less Demonstrating valueFinding more fundingCase study: how to identify funding sources (Caroline Williams)Case study: the Big Lottery Award: Luton's experience (Fiona Marriott)Case study: Veria Public Library (Ioannis Trohopoulos, Dimitris Protopsaltou, and Dick Hartley) 8. Managing money - budgets & negotiating BudgetsCase study: how to manage your budget (Laura Wilkinson)NegotiatingCase study: consortia and negoatiating (Michael Stead) 9. Information ethics and copyright Case study: an introduction to information ethics (David McMenemy)Case study: how to start out in copyright (Emily Goodhand)Case study: copyright in archives (Tim Padfield) 10. Up-skilling and professional development Case study: how to assess yourself (Deborah Dalley | full version)Bodies of professional knowledge Case study: SLA's Competencies for Information Professionals of the 21st Century (Dee Magnoni)Case study: CPD on a shoestring (Laura Woods)Case study: how to get the most out of training and development (Gil Young)Case study: long-distance mentoring (Emily Hopkins)Case study: how to be a mentor (Jenica Rogers) 11. Networking and promoting yourself Case study: personal branding (Kathy Ennis)Case study: how to build your information professional brand (Ned Potter) Networking Case study: professional networking (Maria Cotera) Case study: solo librarian, Cafcass (Jo Wood) Case study: solo records manager, TWI (Lee Pretlove) 12. Professional involvement & career development Conferences Case study: how to write a successful conference proposal (Chris Rhodes) Case study: how to work an exhibition stand (Lisa Charnock) Case study: how to apply for awards (Laura Woods) Unconferences Case study: professional involvement for personal development (Lauren Smith) Case study: joining a professional organisation (Fiona Bradley) Other professional involvement (includes vignettes from Sarah Wachter | full version and Rebecca Goldman) Case study: tips for career planning success (Sarah Johnson) Top tips for CV and interview success (Suzanne Wheatley | full version) How did we get here? (includes vignettes from Maria Robertson | full version, Linda Butt | full version, and Aileen Marshall | full version)
- Making things of interest Discoverable, Referencable, Relatable, ... (Sun, 10 Jun 2012 09:23:27 -0700)
I came across the Ernest Hemingway phrase 'gradually, then suddenly' in an online discussion recently. Here is the context on the useful Goodreads quotable quote page. It seemed a statement appropriate to our times, and especially apt to a recent phenomenon: the growing importance of large-scale knowledge bases which collect data about entities and make relationships between them. Wikipedia is already an 'addressable knowledgebase', which creates huge value. DBpedia aims to add structure to this. Perhaps more importantly, Wikidata is an initiative to create a machine- and human-readable knowledge base of all the entities in Wikipedia and allow them to be augmented with further data and links. This is one of several examples, which although different in purpose, scope and sustainability model, collect and organize data about 'things'. These are important because they collect and organize data in ways that support answering questions, and are machine-processable. They make 'facts' or 'things' discoverable, referencable, relatable. They become reference points on the web, or support services that become reference points on the web. Freebase: "An entity graph of people, places and things". Freebase is now owned by Google and is a contributor to their newly publicized Knowledge Graph (more below). Alongside this, it is worth noting the strong interest in Schema.org, a way of adding descriptive markup to web pages. It is sponsered by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. An important role is that it allows search engines to harvest structured data. DBpedia/Wikipedia/Wikidata. "The DBpedia knowledge base currently describes more than 3.64 million things, out of which 1.83 million are classified in a consistent Ontology, including 416,000 persons, 526,000 places, 106,000 music albums, 60,000 films, 17,500 video games, 169,000 organisations, 183,000 species and 5,400 diseases." As mentioned above, Wikidata is an initiative of the Wikimedia Foundation which will create an editable knowledge base of entities in Wikipedia. This will allow structured data about those entities to be shared across Wikipedia and across different language versions of Wikipedia, and with others. It will show up in the 'info boxes' on Wikipedia. Factual: Aims to "1. Extract both unstructured and structured data from millions of sources. 2. Clean, standardize, and canonicalize the data. 3. Merge, de-dupe, and map entities across multiple sources." Wolfram Alpha "..a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links." Think of two important recent developments: Siri and Google's inclusion of Knowledge Graph data in its results. Siri created a splash when it appeared. Among the sources it uses to provide answers are Yelp and Wolfram Alpha. Here is a results page from Google. The panel on the right shows the Knowledge Graph data ... And here is how Google describes the rationale of the knowledge graph: But we all know that [taj mahal] has a much richer meaning. You might think of one of the world's most beautiful monuments, or a Grammy Award-winning musician, or possibly even a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Or, depending on when you last ate, the nearest Indian restaurant. It's why we've been working on an intelligent model--in geek-speak, a "graph"--that understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings. The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about--landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more--and instantly get information that's relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do. Google's Knowledge Graph isn't just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. It's also augmented at a much larger scale--because we're focused on comprehensive breadth and depth. It currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. And it's tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web. [Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings] The phrase 'things, not strings' is telling. One of the added values of library descriptive practice has been that it provides structured data about the 'things' of interest in a body of literature: authors, works, illustrators, places, subjects, and so on. A major motivation for library linked data is to more widely release that value and to make those 'things' more discoverable, referencable, and relatable on the web - in ways in which other services can build on. An important aspect of this is to link the 'things' established in library resources to 'things' established in these emerging webscale knowledgebases. If this does not happen, library resources will be less valuable and the library contribution may be overlooked. Viaf is an example here. It synthesises data about people - their names and bibliographic contexts - from multiple national libraries and makes it available in a way that makes an identity readily referencable: Paul Muldoon We provide a lot of contextual data, including links to different names, creations, and so on. And we relate it in various ways to other resources, including Worldcat, Wikipedia, some national library authority files, and so on. And links to Viaf are appearing in other places, including Freebase. We hope that this 'relatedness' will become richer, but also that applications will begin to exploit the referencability and relatability we and the participating national libraries are providing. Related entries: Linking not typing ... knowledge organization at the network level Wikipedia again: an addressable knowledge base
- Big data .. big trend (Sat, 04 Feb 2012 12:31:56 -0800)
[I spoke at the Lita Top Technology Trends at Dallas. I had a trend in reserve - big data - but did not use it. Here is something along the lines of what I might have said ...] Big Data is a big trend, but as with expressions for other newly forming areas, it may evoke different things for different people. A few years ago, academic libraries might have thought of scientific or biomedical data when they heard the expression 'big data'. In particular, the publication of The Fourth Paradigm: data-intensive scientific discovery helped crystallise awareness of developments in scientific practice. More recently, however, big data has become a much more general term, across various domains. Indeed, it is now common to read about big data in the general business press. One comes across it in government and medicine, and in education. For example, a recent article in Inside Higher Ed talks about 'big data' and 'predictive analytics' in relation to course data and student retention. There are two interesting aspects of this, one, the data, and, two, the management environment ... The rise of webscale services which handle large amounts of users, transactions and data has made the management of big data a more visible issue. At the same time, as more material is digital, as more business processes are automated, and as more activities shed usage data, organizations are having to cope with greater volume and variety of relatively unstructured data. Analytics, the extraction of intelligence from usage data has become a major activity. Here is a helpful characterization by Edd Dumbill on O'Reilly Radar. As a catch-all term, "big data" can be pretty nebulous, in the same way that the term "cloud" covers diverse technologies. Input data to big data systems could be chatter from social networks, web server logs, traffic flow sensors, satellite imagery, broadcast audio streams, banking transactions, MP3s of rock music, the content of web pages, scans of government documents, GPS trails, telemetry from automobiles, financial market data, the list goes on. Are these all really the same thing? [What is big data?] In a brief discussion of big data as a possible trend on FaceBook, Leslie Johnston provided an interesting perspective on issues from the Library of Congress. Our collections are not just discovered by people and looked at, they are discovered by processes and analyzed using increasingly sophisticated tools in the hands of individual researchers, using just laptops. And we not only have TB/PB of digital collections, we will have billions of items, so fully manual processing/cataloging is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Leslie expanded on some of the actual data ... 5 million newspaper pages, images with OCR, available via API, used in NSF digging into data project for data mining, combined with other collections used in new visualizations, and in an image analysis project. 5 billion files of all types in a single institutional web archive - researchers do not search for and view individual archived sites, they analyze sites over time, and characterize entire corpuses, such as campaign web sites over 10 years. Extreme example: over 50 billion tweets: many research requests received to do linguistic analysis, graph analysis, track geographic spread of news stories, etc. Collection of 100s of thousands of electronic journal articles, which require article-level discovery: they don't all come with metadata and no one can afford to create it manually. The remark about manual creation of metadata is one example where current processing methods do not scale. Leslie also notes: And we cannot do manual individual file QA for mass digitization or catalog web archives or tweets without automated extraction. And when we start talking about video and audio, it all requires automated extraction or processing. I know of one request that we process a video to produce an audio-only track so that a transcript could then be automatically generated. LC has 20 PB of video and audio. Can you imagine what it would take to provide that level of service? Researchers started asking a few years ago to get files so they could do it themselves. The Library of Congress may be a special case, but other organizations are facing similar issues. We are familiar with discussions about research data curation in university settings. Referring to the university challenge, Leslie then points to another interesting example. I hear this from research libraries, but also from archives, especially state archives that are mandated to take in all state records, physical and electronic. Email archives are already Big Data for a lot of state archives. Indeed, national or state institutions with responsibility for public records are reconfiguring organizations and systems to manage large volumes of e-records. My colleague Jackie Dooley pointed me at the recent Presidential Mandate on Managing Government Records which has implications for agencies and NARA. In this context, it is not surprising that we are seeing a growing interest in data mining across domains (Leslie mentions the 'digging into data' challenge). The term 'data scientist' is cropping up in job ads and position titles. A couple of years ago, Hal Varian's comments on the importance of data and the skills required to analyse it were widely noticed. The ability to take data - to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it's going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades, not only at the professional level but even at the educational level for elementary school kids, for high school kids, for college kids. Because now we really do have essentially free and ubiquitous data. So the complementary scarce factor is the ability to understand that data and extract value from it. [Hal Varian on how the web challenges managers - reg required] It is clear from this discussion that existing systems are not well suited to manage and analyse these types of data, and this introduces the second topic, the management environment. Indeed, for Dumbill, this is the defining characteristic of big data: Big data is data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems. The data is too big, moves too fast, or doesn't fit the strictures of your database architectures. To gain value from this data, you must choose an alternative way to process it. And alternative ways have been emerging, assisted by the webscale companies who had to face these challenges early on. Google provided MapReduce, described by Edd Dumbill as follows: The important innovation of MapReduce is the ability to take a query over a dataset, divide it, and run it in parallel over multiple nodes. Distributing the computation solves the issue of data too large to fit onto a single machine. Combine this technique with commodity Linux servers and you have a cost-effective alternative to massive computing arrays. [What is Apache Hadoop] MapReduce is a central part of Hadoop, whose development was supported by Yahoo, and whose further development is now supported within the Apache Software Foundation. Hadoop brings the ability to cheaply process large amounts of data, regardless of its structure. By large, we mean from 10-100 gigabytes and above. How is this different from what went before?Existing enterprise data warehouses and relational databases excel at processing structured data and can store massive amounts of data, though at a cost: This requirement for structure restricts the kinds of data that can be processed, and it imposes an inertia that makes data warehouses unsuited for agile exploration of massive heterogenous data. The amount of effort required to warehouse data often means that valuable data sources in organizations are never mined. This is where Hadoop can make a big difference. [What is Apache Hadoop] The availability of the Hadoop family of technologies (again, nicely described by Dumbill) and cheap commodity hardware has made processing of large amounts of data more accessible. Cloud options are also emerging, from Amazon, Microsoft and others. Uptake has been rapid. So, while Hadoop and related technologies have emerged in the context of the Big Data requirements of webscale companies, they are becoming more widely deployed. Their scalability, coupled with lower cost, have made them an attractive option across a range of data processing tasks. They may be used with 'big data' and not so big data. In this way, my big data trend may more realistically be two trends. We are indeed having to process greater volume and variety of data. The description of data management at the Library of Congress provides some nice examples. Several technologies, notably the Hadoop framework, have emerged as a result of such challenges. However, these are now also finding more broad adoption as they reduce costs and provide greater flexibility. Coda: In OCLC research we have been using MapReduce for several years and more recently have been using Hadoop. We have been also working with colleagues elsewhere in OCLC as we look at where and how Hadoop might provide benefits.
- Linking not typing ... knowledge organization at the network level (Sun, 01 Jan 2012 10:19:04 -0800)
'Knowledge organization' seems a slightly quaint term now, but we don't have a better in general use. Take the catalogue. This has been a knowledge organization tool. When an item is added, the goal is that it is related to the network of knowledge that is represented in the catalogue. In theory, this is achieved through 'adjacency' and cross reference, notably with reference to authors, subjects and works. In practice this has worked variably well. In parallel with bibliographic data, the library community, notably national libraries, have developed 'authorities' for authors and subjects to facilitate this structure. From our current vantage point, I think we can see three stages in the development of these tools. 1. Label. In the first, subject and name authorities provide lists from which values for relevant fields were chosen. Effectively, they constrain the range and format of subject or name data, providing an agreed text label for a concept or name. Examples are LCSH, Dewey, and the Library of Congress Name Authority File. These provide some structuring devices for local catalogues, but those systems do not exploit the full structure of the authority systems from which the values are taken. Think of what is done, or not done, with classification for example. The classification system may not be used to provide interesting navigation options in the local system, and more than likely is not connected back to the fuller structure of the source scheme. That said, having a consistent label is an advantage, and facilitates matching within and between systems. 2. Data. The second stage is that these authority systems are being considered as resources in themselves, and not just as sources of controlled values for bibliographic description. So, we are seeing the Library of Congress, for example, making LCSH and the Name Authority File available as linked data. OCLC is working with a group of national libraries to synthesize name authority files and make them available as an integrated resource in the VIAF service. FAST has recently been made available in this way. The Digital Author Identifier, a national Dutch system for identifying researchers, is interesting in this context. In this arrangement, there is collaboration between the apparatus for uniquely identifying researchers and the national authority file. 3. Network. In a third stage, as these network-level resources become more richly linkable and as local environments exploit that linking ability it becomes possible to do more. This type of linking has only just begun though, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. In this context, a URI is added to the label, making it actionable and globally unique. As an example, think again of the catalogue. The structuring devices we employ are about structuring relationships *within* the catalogue. This would be turned inside out if we not only imported values, but also linked those labels to those external resources. In this way, the item represented could be re-placed in the broad network of knowledge established by the authority file from which it comes. Of course, alongside this, they may also link to, or draw data from, other navigational, contextual, identifying or structuring resources such as DBpedia, MusicBrainz or Geonames. These and other reference points are likely to be important webscale identity and knowledge organization services. In a sense, more generally, this has already happened, as people orient themselves by links to Wikipedia, MusicBrainz, IMDB and other network level resources. As in other areas of our activity, we need to think about how activities whose natural level was once local are now moving up to the network level. And once they are at the network level, they have to live alongside other approaches. If this were to become more common, there are some implications ... From records to entities ... we ship data around in 'records', bundles about individual items, and our systems are structured around managing these records. We do not tend to manage data about other things of interest to us to the same extent: authors, places, people, concepts, works, and so on, the types of things we have in authority files. What would happen if we more clearly described an item by linking it to these files? More generally, we can see stronger interest emerging in some of these other entities, personal names especially. Think for example of how Amazon has created people pages or the growing interest in researcher identification. Or of places, as geolocation services take hold. Freebase is creating an 'entity graph' giving IDs to millions of entities (people, places and things). Much of the library linked data discussion has been about making that local record-based data available in different ways. As interesting is the discussion about what key resources libraries will want to link to, and how they might be sustained. An important question for national libraries and others who manage some of the schemes mentioned above is how to move into this third phase. What would this mean for library systems or for library data of this type? What resources are important? How should they be sustained? To make this concrete, are the name authority files maintained by national libraries fit for purpose in a network world? Does it make sense to limit their scope to authors identified in a particular library workflow, cataloging, and exclude other authors (of articles, for example)? Does it make sense to limit their creation to a restricted group of specialist librarians? And so on ... Finally, as knowledge organization moves to the network level how do library resource relate to others. Can other services leverage the accumulated investment of the library community, or does it fade. The organized relationship between the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and Wikipedia in Germany is an interesting example here, where the German Wikipedia explicitly takes advantage of the structuring work done by the DNB. Wikipedia itself is very interesting in this regard, as it has effectively become an 'addressible knowledgebase'. If I want to tell you about a new concept or movement, or refer you to a place, or mention a person, I can send you a Wikipedia link. What would be required for Wikipedia to take advantage of 'knowledge organization' approaches developed in the library community? Related entry: Nostalgia, the Dublin Irish Festival and variant forms of names
- End of the digest .... (Thu, 13 Oct 2011 18:47:49 -0700)
For almost as long as this blog has been going we have had an associated digest. This has gone out to over 800 people. The frequency of the digest has changed as the frequency of posting has gone down. We have decided that it is now time to turn off the digest. While the blog continues, it has become more a venue for occasional comment than a steady stream. Thank you to all those who have subscribed to the digest, and I hope you continue to read entries in the future. And, as a reminder, I am on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/LorcanD.
- Collections are library assets (Wed, 31 Aug 2011 13:48:37 -0700)
I quite like using the word 'assets' with reference to library collections. We tend to think of assets in positive terms, as things that are valuable. More of that later. I was interested to see Rick Anderson remark on the vocabulary used by my colleague Constance Malpas a while ago. This was in the context of a generous note about Constance's "Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment." [pdf]. I confess that I giggle and shudder simultaneously at the thought of referring publicly to books in our collection as "inventory that is increasingly devalued as an institutional asset." That kind of business-school-flavored language will, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly freak out significant segments of any university faculty, not to mention library staff. [The Scholarly Kitchen] The 'business' reference is apt, and I confess that my sense of 'asset' in general conversation has indeed been subtly transformed by the narrower acounting sense. For example in the glossary to Robert C Higgins' Analysis for financial management* we read that an asset is 'Anything with value in exchange'. And turning, as one does, to Wikipedia, I read an accounting definition: 'An asset is a resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the entity'. What is relevant here is the idea that assets are things from which you release value. You expect a return. But assets are not ends in themselves. They are means towards creating value. Of course, this is important because assets have associated costs. Managing collections, for example, is not cost-free. I remember being struck by some sentences about assets in Higgins' book when I read them first a few years ago: Some newcomers to finance believe assets are a good thing: the more the better. The reality is just the opposite: Unless a company is about to go out of business, its value is in the income stream it generates, and its assets are simply a necessary means to this end. Indeed, the ideal company would be one that produced income without any assets; then no investment would be required, and returns would be infinite. Yes, financial metrics lend clarity here, but are not relevent to libraries for whom the question of value is different and less susceptible to measurement. However, it has been interesting see the growing debate about print 'assets' in libraries. As the pressure to repurpose space grows and as the print collection releases progressively less value in research and learning, there is a growing interest in managing down print assets. Not unexpectedly, this is in parallel with an emerging interest in securing system-wide preservation of the collective print record. (I provide some examples in the related entries listed below.) It is clear that research libraries no longer see collections as ends in themselves, or they do not necessarily equate the size of the collection with the value of the library. More is not necessarily better. They also recognise the opportunity costs of managing large print collections. As we rethink collections, I think we are seeing them more as assets in the sense I have discussed here, as investment is driven by a stronger sense of how they will be used to generate value in research and learning. Of course, some libraries have thought this way for longer: think of how a busy public library manages its collection. And of course, some libraries will continue to have a mission-driven responsibility to collect significant portions of the scholarly record, although we will probably see more collective approaches here. Anyway, to get a sense of what I mean, Rick Anderson's presentations might help ... Related entries: The service turn The collections shift Managing down collections We're not going anywhere ... Ok, we lied ... * It is always a pleasure to read something that is well written. This is a very nice example of fine technical writing.
- The ILS, the digital library and the research library (Wed, 17 Aug 2011 18:43:37 -0700)
Job adverts are interesting for a variety of reasons. They give a sense of skills and attributes in demand. They say something about how the hiring institution wants to present itself. And they can indicate trends. I have been interested to see three research libraries look for senior digital library posts in recent months. Associate Director for Digital Library Programmes and Information Technologies, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Associate Vice President for Digital Programs and Technology Services, Columbia University Libraries/Information Services. Head of Digital Library, Information Services, The University of Edinburgh. Note: given the nature of these resources, the links may not continue to work indefinitely. Now, these are different posts in different institutions but there is the common ground that you might expect as research libraries look at creating digital infrastructure, engage with research data needs, explore new modes of scholarly communication, and so on. Each is challenging and interesting and offers a wonderful opportunity to be centrally involved in advancing how libraries support changing research and learning practices. However, I was struck by something else they have in common. Responsibility for the integrated library system (or library management system) appears to be a part of each post, yet it is not foregrounded in the position description. For these libraries, maybe, the ILS is a necessary part of doing business, but is not the site of major development. Designing and developing digital infrastructure now includes the ILS but is no longer led by it. Or maybe there is some other reason .... ? Now, considerable time and effort goes into these systems, and they will be reconfigured in coming years. Picking up on my opening remarks though, it is interesting to see where the adverts place the emphasis.
- Preserving musical heritage ... (Sun, 14 Aug 2011 13:40:26 -0700)
One of the casualties of the London riots last week was a Sony distribution warehouse. The building, owned by Sony DADC, was also the main HQ for the UK's biggest distributor of independent music, Pias. [More than 1.5m CDs destroyed in Sony warehouse fire] Interestingly, Sony looked after the stock of more than 150 record labels at the warehouse. According to the BBC story quoted above "As well as CDs, the 20,000 sq m (215,000 sq ft) centre was used to store DVDs, Blu-ray discs and discs used for PlayStation Portable games." It was depressing reading about the impact on the affected independent labels and artists and the music stores who depend on them (see, for example this NME blog entry and this Guardian article). Several support initiatives have been set up to work with the labels through this difficulty. I immediately thought about the heightened awareness about distribution, supply chain management and risk following the Japanese earthquakes earlier this year (see this NYT story for example). One of the consequences of the arson is that some of the labels may not re-issue physical formats of the music. It will only be available to consumers online in digital format. See this note on the Buzzin' Fly label, for example: 09.08.11 Buzzin' Fly stock goes up in flames in warehouse fire during London riots London, 13h33 , temperature 21