June 20, 2006

LISA V: The Creative Librarian

Second batch of sessions on the second day of LISA was on The Creative Librarian. These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions.

J. Holmquist: Resources for College Libraries

Brief history of RCL. Focus for this is undergraduates; it is different from the Core List of Astronomy Books, which has a more research-based focus. Quick review of most commonly used books in astro libraries (by survey). The new RCLweb will be available in September of this year, and is an updated version of the earlier RCL lists, now including e-resources. Introduction to the models of the new science library, currently under construction. (Looks like the Second Life library!)

F. Martines: Information Architecture and Library Webpages

Basic concepts of information architecture; review of components. (Reference “Information Architecture and the World Wide Web” by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville.) Brief review of astronomical observatories in Italy and how their web sites meet information architecture frameworks, looking at library catalogs, links to ADS, historical information, etc. Found a variety of results; information may have been consistent but findability, structure, labels, etc were very different across all the sites.

F. Brunetti: Astronomy for everyone!

Library of Arcetri Astrophysical Library and the public; how they are using information resources for public outreach. Astronomy is the most popular science in Italy; review of public outreach efforts (magazines, StarLab presentations), and then an introduction to the AAO library itself and its collaboration with LiBeR, a children’s science literacy program. At the end of 2004, they set up a new web page “Astronomy for the Public” with information for children, teachers, parents, etc including a bibliography of all children’s astronomy books in Italy. They then found that the astronomers had noticed the library’s outreach activities, and they all began working together on further children’s outreach programs. They now do a once-a-month event where astronomers read stories and poems about the stars to kids in StarLab planetariums, and the kids love them!

S. Ricketts: Changing perceptions of the astronomy library and its functions

Sandra is the librarian at the Anglo-Australian Observatory; she began with a review of the differences in her experience in 1996 and now; journals, preprints, email, user presence in the library, etc. Also a discussion of how the focus of AAO is changing, with the increase of instrumentation. Survey of patrons in 2002 and 2005 about library use; discussion of results. In most cases, usage of online resources increased between the two surveys almost across the board, but physical visits to the actual library remained about the same. She also found that most surveyed scientists felt that there should be library resources available at a telescope, although there were questions about cost; and that the same surveyed scientists did NOT feel a need for a departmental library at university. They would still like to find one, but don’t feel it necessary. The results of the question about hard-copy journals were split; they expected current ones online but older versions needed to be in hard-copy form. And did they still expect to find a librarian? Yes! And not just a body, but someone who could answer their questions and point them towards the answers they needed. They also liked having a library web page that provided links to the catalogs, journals, and services.


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