June 27, 2006

Pictures at last

Boston & the Charles
Boston & the Charles,
originally uploaded by desertlibrarian.
I just added some pictures from my recent trip to Cambridge to the LISA V conference over on my Flickr account.

Currently 98° and ickily humid. (For us, that is; it's nowhere near what I experienced in Cambridge last week. Nor, for that matter, what they're experiencing this week!)

June 23, 2006

LISA V: E-Journal Swamp and the Changing Publishing Sector

The last session I was able to attend on Wednesday before dashing for the airport was on "The E-Journal Swamp and the Changing Publishing Sector". Very interesting things happening in Indian and Italian libraries these days! These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions.

E. Huyck: Same and Change in the Publishing Sector

From UCPress. Content management from the publisher’s POV. The e-journal revolution was pushed from the society and author’s side, not pushed on them by the publishers. The methods they use to edit and prepare manuscripts haven’t changed, but the tools have changed massively.

Currently undergoing a systemic review to see if better tools - better software solutions - are now available.

Introduction and review of current offerings, online options, etc. What’s new: geographics and data preservation.

Digital Data Preservation for Data Driven Scholarship - pilot project UCP is involved in now.

A. Gasperini: Astronomical Interlibrary Cooperation

Cooperation between Italian astronomical libraries; history of, discussion of current events, etc. Need for official recognition by the institutions, which finally happened in 2004.

Crux of the cooperation policy was journal acquisitions; many organizations were buying the same journals, so surely a better and more efficient way to share could be found. However, they ran into a lot of problems trying to implement changes as soon as 2005; it was too fast, and too drastic a chance. They’re still working all that out - as a result, a new organization of INAF was proposed and implemented, and they are now finding that things are working much better! But - there are still many questions, and some resistance; there is still much to do.

N. Anilkumar: Indian consortia models

Review of the characteristics of successful consortia, and how they are a natural outcome of locally-developed resource-sharing networks. Models of consortia (open and closed). FORSA - Forum for Resource Sharing in Astronomy & Astrophysics. Member listing; main objectives; consortium deals, including primary terms and conditions; savings realized. Lessons learned. Parallel initiatives of member organizations.

Recommendations: Larger groups should be formed at the national level (like PAM); government-funded national site licensing should be implemented.

T. Mahoney: Do e-publications really have a future?

The written and printed word did not replace speech, but complement it; shouldn’t then e-publishing complement print rather than replacing it? Let’s avoid the either/or and have both!

No argument that e-publishing is here to stay; the argument is with the product. Right now it’s just too fragile! (Needs storage, stability, continual readability, platform maintenance, etc)


LISA V: History of Astronomy & Astronomical Archives

Wednesday morning's first session was titled "History of Astronomy & Astronomical Archives". Some heartbreaking images of archives before they were cared for, and some wild things happening in history projects - all quite interesting! These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions.

L. Schiavone: Specola 2000

Overview of the project (to arrange and produce an inventory of the archives of the 12 Italian astronomical observatories). In this case, “archive” doesn’t mean a collection after-the-fact but the natural, organic development of the documents collection as the organization develops. These archives hold documents older than 40 years, and they must be arranged and held indefinitely. Items less than 40 years are held in a temporary repository until that time has passed, and they then are moved into the permanent archives.

Prior to the implementation of Specola 2000 some of the individual observatories had done partial archival projects; in 2002 all 12 individual observatories were merged into a National Observatory and the main project began. Each observatory now has a librarian responsible for supervising their section of the archival project, coordinating with a professional archivist.

4 phases:

1) Census of the archival materials held at each observatory
2) Arranging and producing an inventory of all records up to 1960
3) Make an inventory of the correspondence items
4) "Virtual" recovery of documents produced by the observatories but held by other institutions.

As a result of the project the inventories of 5 observatory archives are entirely or partially searchable on the web; more will come as they progress.

K. Moran: Astronomical Archives at ROE

Description of the archives held at ROE. 3 distinct yet related collections: Crawford Collection, Plate Library, and the Archives themselves (made up of materials from Calton Hill Observatory, Dun Echt Observatory, and Blackford Hill Observatory).

Examples of items in the collection (which is arranged chronologically and catalogued through 1937) and discussion of processes and progress on the digitization of the archives. Funding issues, increasing profiles, contributing to public events.

E. Bouton: Starting with nothing - Archives at NRAO

Until 3 years ago, there were no archives at NRAO! Many concerns, but no actions. (NRAO’s 50th anniversary is this November.) Convinced director to start a formal archives program starting in 2003; Ellen did a lot of research and held many discussions about creating an archival policy, and then did so from scratch.

What to define: What will be collected and preserved? What and where are the records? Where will they organize and store it? Who will do the work?

Get staff buy-in to help with administrative and managerial support.

They’re starting to mount web resources of digital projects on Nan Conklin, Grote Reber, John Findlay, Doc Ewen, and John Kraus (all pioneers in radio astronomy).

E. Bryson: Gathering the Forgotten Voices: An Oral History of CFHT's Early Years

Project origins in the LISA IV conference. Decision to capture the history of the observatory in video and audio formats, and then create and provide a DVD for all participants and employees (current and former).

Showed clips of how images from the physical archives will be incorporated into the video record, and how interviews etc were obtained (not just face-to-face but via Polycom, etc). All the interview transcripts will be available on the web site, as well.

B.Corbin: Etienne Leopold Trouvelot, the Artist and Astronomer

Introduction to the artist, who worked for the Harvard College Observatory in the mid- to late-1800s, and views of some of his work. He was not only a prolific artist but also an author (50 papers published) - but we remember him for another reason, he introduced the Gypsy Moth into the US environment.

Online exhibit of his art at NYPL -Heavens Above: Art & Actuality - check it out!


LISA V: O. Gingerich, Gutenberg’s gift to astronomical history

Second invited talk on Wednesday was AWESOME. Owen Gingerich showed physical examples (Real books! Old books! Beautiful items!) of early astronomical ephemerides and educational textbooks, shared some stories about how he obtained them, and discussed early printing practices. His collection is amazing, and we were not only treated to views of these historical items, we were even allowed to TOUCH them afterwards. (We were all darned careful!) Amazing!


LISA V: E. Owens, Long-term preservation of e-journals

Day 3 of LISA kicked off with a presentation from Evan Owens of Portico; a lively talk with some thought-provoking questions. These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions.

Long-term preservation of electronic journals, a survey of current initiatives

Going to talk instead about the larger context of the explosion of digital information…since he submitted his abstract CLIR has done a massive survey and he doesn’t want to duplicate.

Snippets of a 1996 article in “Serials Review” about visions of the future of journal publishing. Going to dive into some specific details as to what is still not known –

* Introduction to digital preservation
* Organizational components
* Technical components
* E-Journals and digital preservation
* More visions: past and future

Long term preservation = interoperability with the future

It’s everyone’s problem, but it isn’t the same problem for everyone!

Many, many varieties of preservation projects with varying degrees of control, metadata and formatting.

Really good resource for digital preservation: PADI (most resources discussed in this talk are linked there).

Auditing and certification is a hot topic now but has a long way to go.

Lots of questions at the higher layers of technological components…

Sample projects:

* JHOVE: JSTOR/Harvard Validation Environment
* GDFR: Global Digital Format Registry
* PREMIS: Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata (Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies)

Journals: Publishing models are evolving; practices and product vary widely (often have multiple manifestations of a single work). There is still a lot to do, and there are a lot of problems.

Persistent identifiers; versions & revisions; structured metadata.

This is so new; there are no standards or best practices yet, it’s all being developed right now. No agreement yet but they’re working on it….

Review of technical approaches (web harvesting, ingest and normalize publisher source files; HTML vs PDF…)

Portico’s archival strategy: source file archiving (preserve the components, not the rendition); preserving intellectual content, not ‘look and feel” of HTML; preserve only essential features of the user interface.

Will what we wish to preserve be preserved? (Can’t preserve everything.) Need standards, best practices, and diversity. But remember: Technology doesn’t always make things better!


June 21, 2006

LISA V: The Banquet

WHAT a party. The conference banquet was held at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and was a blast. Wow exhibits (the Glass Flowers were astonishing, and the fossils and Hall of Mammals were quite interesting) quite tasty food, and fabulous conversation. Congratulations, LISA LoC - what a great event! (I'm still recovering a bit!)

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.


LISA V: Beyond ADS and Google

First batch of sessions on the second day of LISA was discussing what was beyond ADS and Google. These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions.

L. Robbins: Astronomy & Astrophysics Resource Information Survey

Surveyed patrons at U. Toronto and U. Chicago to find out exactly what people were actually doing. Presented statistical results – unsurprising that most patrons used astro-ph and ADS to keep abreast of recent developments. What about for info older than 2 years? Most replied ADS. Observation vs. theory as a research focus showed very different results; while they use the same tools, they’re using them very differently. With the info that astro-ph is possibly going to be split into five different areas, it would be interesting to re-survey in the future.

G. Burkhardt: ARIBib – Where is it and where is it going?

ARIBib is an online database for astronomical bibliography in the reference format; Presentation on the history of ARIBib, and then the focus of their future work. ARIBib is the living online biography in astronomy for literature from ancient times until the first half of 2000…. ! Access is free for everyone. Very small staff working on this! Remember, though, these are only references, not original works. Tour of ARIBib’s web options, how it deals with accents in author names, etc.

M. Gomez: Evaluating ADS, ISI and SCOPUS in the context of two astronomy libraries in Spain

Why evaluate? Subscriptions expire at the end of 2006; must decide whether to re-subscribe or not. Does the ADS really cover their patrons’ needs? Can ISI or Scopus be complimentary, or do our patrons not even need them? They evaluated all three services looking for similarities, differences and search results, then they surveyed their patrons to see how they really used them. Results were interesting; ADS is clearly out ahead. They found that ISI and Scopus could be complimentary, but only for non-astronomical literature; for astronomical literature, ADS was the definite winner. The patron survey also had ADS coming out ahead, with most patrons using Google as their default search engine. The final results of the study were that ADS and Google were the keys to information for their patrons.

D. MacMillan: Making Space for Specialized Astronomy Resources

Studies online at library.ucalgary.ca/u.php?id=167

What are the students using? Google, E-journals, Scirus… natural language is very important. What should students be using/ ADS, Inspec or WoS, etc. Why? Comprehensive and retrospective coverage, transparency, advanced capabilities, etc. How do we get students to use what we feel they should be using? Instruction, assistance, web pages.


Rain in Cambridge...

...smells completely and totally unlike rain in Tucson. I know that's not a surprise, but it took a moment for my brain to process rain without the smell I usually associate with rain! At least now the humidity should break....

Currently 82° and - yes - raining!

LISA V: S. Abram, Web 2.0

Stephen Abram, all around library dude, gave the second invited talk for Tuesday. These are my notes on his talk, not detailed transcriptions (not that you can get a detailed transcript of such an energetic and entertaining speaker!). His talk will be online at his blog. General consensus amongst the folks I talked to at the coffee break right afterwards was who needs coffee after a kick like this talk!

Web 2.0: The Library 2.0 In Your Future

Overall perception, not the details… we’re facing another shift in the library world away from the technological details and back towards the service aspect. We can’t define ourselves in terms of the technology anymore, but in terms of our patrons. Also must stop investing our energy in “protecting the book” – there is no evidence that books are at risk. But we have to be more aware of the search engine optimization and the way it bends results.

MySpace, Facebook, etc and their impact. Game theory. Second Life. Open Croquet.

We need to stop building paths the way we think people should do things, and learn how the people want to do things and then design from there. Context and comfort are very important. Information density is NOT a bad thing!

Millenials are very, very different, and they approach things very differently…we need to adapt ourselves to understand how they learn, and provide them learning in those ways that are comfortable to them.

SirsiDynix is implementing SchoolRooms – VERY neat idea – across Ohio, and will be rolling out in other states and countries in the future. Also starting to roll out in universities. Check it out!

We need to stop teaching searching skills and start teaching finding skills –

Web 2.0 is not just happening to us – it’s happening across the board.

- Web as platform
- Harnessing collective intelligence
- Data valuable as functionality
- Boundaryless software

At what point do we realize it’s not about delivering information but putting ourselves back in the equation to help find the right question? We run the risk of letting the search engine optimizers decide what people will see….

Microsoft Live Academic, Google Scholar….

We have to look at the why’s of this 2.0 paradigm.

Academichi (Facebook for academics)… check it out!!

Grokker; OCLC open records; Don’t believe everyone learns from text-based learning methods! Social networks and socially driven content, social bookmarking; Cooperation!!!! Library 2.0 is about learning, research, productivity and collaboration. The smartphones are coming…be prepared.

Align services with the technologies the users are using.

Librarian 2.0 plays more!


LISA V: A. Wolpert, Convergence

Ann Wolpert, Director of the MIT Libraries, gave the first invited talk for Tuesday. These are my notes on her talk, not detailed transcriptions. I quite enjoyed her talk!

Convergence: How Information Technology Blurs Boundaries and Creates New Opportunities

Convergence describes a business or service environment that is transformed when previously unrelated technologies combine. Powerful driver of innovation, but you need the right kinds of things to combine and the right social and economic factors as well.

Info Technology is the convergence of many things – has driven extensive convergence innovations. Initially we saw it in finance and entertainment, but also in a whole variety of other areas, including science and libraries. (Not to mention the explosion of the Internet!)

Cell phones are even starting to impact library use! (Students and researchers taking cell-photos of computer screens, archival materials, etc)

Newer IT tools are radically changing the research methods; students are no longer trained in research methodologies, but by the environment of the Web and the Internet (Wikipedia, Flickr, Amazon, etc).

Wow map of wireless action on the MIT campus at 3am – heavy use and activity! Dang.

The nature and norms of information are changing, both in the “social life” and the “technical life”.

Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think”, Atlantic Monthly, 1945. Predicted the need for continually extended, stored, protected and consulted data, and described a fast, responsive, easy-to-use desktop system for information search, retrieval and management. (Based on microfiche technology!) He’d be pleased with the technological advances today, but not with the researcher’s ability to freely consult, store, manipulate and use their data (publisher’s rights, intellectual property laws, etc).

Libraries and researchers are awakening to these convergences.

The “Library as Place” is also changing; the networked environment is turning it more into “Place as Library”. Add in the nature of information and the Library is a whole new entity… but one that definitely will continue to be important as a place. However, the other side of the coin is that wherever a researcher is, the library will also be there.


Just too damn cool.

Talking with Stephen Abram this morning (he remembered me! How cool!) and he mentioned a recent discovery of light moving so fast it went backwards, and what an astonishing discovery it was. Of course, I had to go look for it - and he's right! WOW. Check it out: Light So Fast It Actually Goes Backwards. The implications are staggering.

Yesterday was disgustingly hot and muggy here in Boston, but today seems cooler. Of course, they're expecting torrential thunderstorms tonight.... ah well, guess I get to see a wide range of New England weather!

June 19, 2006

LISA V: Open Access

The third session was on Open Access. These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions. Some very interesting stuff in here!

H. Joseph – Open Access: the promise and the practice

“Open access = immediate free electronic availability of research that scholars produce without expectation of payment”

Potential usage is maximized

Access model NOT a business model, i.e. does NOT equal “author pays”; that’s only one possible way to support open access.

Lessons learned
- Get the science out to the scientists. Member-driven organizations; listen to your members
- Technology provides opportunity for advancement
- Collaboration is key
- All publishing ventures do NOT share the same operating philosophy.
- Common drivers are emerging in the digital environment

Core challenge: use technology to maximize distribution without jeopardizing financial foundation; direct the charge of scholarly publishing and academic resource coalition.

C. Birdie – Open Access Repository in Astronomy – case study of IIA

Analyzed IIA publications and their availability in ADS in answer to the question “If it’s all available OA in ADS do we need to provide our own repository?” The answer was that ADS did *not* have all IIA publications in full text available on the site, so the library moved forward with an OA repository of all IIA papers. Sounds like a huge but very worthwhile job!

S. Barve – Managing digital archives using open source tools

Once they created a digital archive (by scanning a huge amount of historical material!) they were faced with how to manage it all. After evaluating commercial systems and not finding anything that supported digital collection organization, they looked for new solutions and found an open source tool that worked (LAMP system). The library staff ended up taking on the administration and maintenance of the LAMP system and it became very easy for them to manage their digital collection.

Everything is sorted by Communities / Collections / Items using DSpace, which is the digital repository OA software IIA settled on. (www.dspace.org)

A. Pepe – Protocols for scholarly communication

Brief introduction to CERN. Overview of scholarly output (lots and lots!)… leads into the ongoing projects of long-term preservation and dissemination.

CERN Document Server is the institutional library catalog and the institutional preprint repository….acquired and disseminated by the OAI-PMH (open access institute’s protocol for metadata harvesting). They are pushing for mandated self-archiving in the future (right now they’re about 50% fulltext, but 100% metadata) as well as publishing in OA journals.

They’re looking to develop some archive-based library services that will attract the authors more and induce them to self-archive in the repository. Working on collaborative tools (like adding a review to a paper entry) and looking at usage and citation analysis, all to provide added value to the end users to encourage them to add their papers to the repository.


LISA V: Citation Analysis for Astronomy

The second session was on Citation Analysis for Astronomy. These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions.

A. Accomazzi – Creation and use of citations in ADS

How ADS creates and uses the citation bibcodes. Citations only exist in ADF if both referencing and referenced papers are in ADS.

Examples of how to find various things in ADS using their filters and sorting options….very powerful tools and options, be sure to go browse them and start using them! Also set up a myADS account – could be very useful for keeping track of papers about ATST etc. BUT bear in mind that citations are NOT complete – coverage is good for astronomy and OK for physics but poor for everything else.

U. Grothkopf – The H-index in telescope statistics

Telescope statistics are used as a facility assessment (among other things); they use # of pubs, # of citations, and contributions to high-impact favors. H-index = a researcher’s h-index means they have h papers with at least h citations. How to find it – list of all papers ranked by citation count, so h = # citations = rank.

Applying H to observatories: collected data on papers using observatory data and then checked H ranking. Warning: It’s impossible to completely compare; different apertures, wavelengths, etc etc – Used M number – h divided by number of years of operation of the observatory (helps compensate for length of time in operation).

Philosophically: be aware of comparing statistics. They can be meaningless…

(Not sure what the H and M indices are good for.)

J. Madrid – Measuring the scientific output of HST

Interesting stuff but maybe being presented a tad too fast? Some slides were up and gone so fast I didn’t even get a chance to register what they were….

High-Impact Papers: 200 most cited papers in a given year (citation ranking from ADS 1.5 years after publication).

M. Kurtz – Future of Technical Libraries

First a definition of technical libraries (mine is exactly it) and a review of the past; current situation is dire; technical libraries are having real problems and facing huge changes. Then a preview of the future; there will be no “real” libraries, but all the digital interactions between journals, data centers, ADS, etc etc will be the “future libraries”. (Not sure I agree with that at all….)


LISA V: Libraries and the Virtual Observatory

The first session was on Libraries and the Virtual Observatory. These are my notes, not detailed transcriptions, and may include my own opinions.

R. Hanisch - Digital Data Preservation at STScI

Discussion of the NVO. The VO is not a centralized data repository but is about data discovery, access, and integration. Introduction to ADIL, Astronomy Digital Image Library…. A repository but it is not connected to the generating data in any way.

VOStore – “local” storage space that the VO knows about; if you can get, say, the image or FITS file from an ApJ paper, you can save the file to your VOSpace and get more information on the area in question.

They’re trying a prototype project using astro scholarly publications as a testbed, to investigate operational costs, support, policies for preservation of peer-reviewed journal content and associated supporting data. Require digital data availability as requirement for publication?

Many tasks ahead, i.e. metadata definition, CMS, physical storage and archiving, etc. Working with NVO and many journals (AAS, UCPress, etc); support is committed or promised from a number of sources, and they’re looking at starting development in fall 2006.

F. Woelfel – Content of the EDS

Simbad (astronomical objects & bib references), Vizier (catalogues), Aladin (atlas), InfoIDIC (dictionary of nomenclature). The purpose is to collect, distribute and preserve information via these tools; the CDS team includes specialized librarians, astronomers, and computer engineers.

G. Eichhorn – Connectivity in the ADS

Review of what’s in the ADS, how it’s connected, how to connect to it. Permanent linking…. Data set identifiers and data centers, centralized through ADS. (Data centers are just coming online.)

More info on the Data Set Linking System at vo.ads.harvard.edu

A. Holl – Observations and publications in the VO: is the VO only for Big Science?

Little Science is just as important for a wide variety of reasons.


LISA V: J. Huchra, Science Libraries in the Information Age

John Huchra of Harvard gave the keynote. What an entertaining speaker! My notes; not guaranteed to be an accurate transcription.

Science Libraries in the Information Age

We’re undergoing a huge paradigm shift, not just in the sciences but in the world in general. 500 years ago the printing press changed everything; we’re undergoing a similar change now.

Astronomy is generating terabytes of data nightly. How do we store it for use now, and preserve it for use in the future? MEGACAM, HECTOSPEC, etc. Petabytes a night is coming…. How do we manage it? And how do we manage rapid access to these datasets?

Ejournals etc are the wave of the present; what do we need for the future? What are the needs of the new science community? What roles can we play to meet these needs?
  • Searchable Content. (Periodicals, e-pubs, books, ADS, arXiv, etc)
  • Curation (access, storage – one stop shopping for databases. It helps to be local!)
  • Our own data (Source for NVO++, etc) and provenance (source for publications?)
  • Education!
  • Intellectual Property – retaining the right to content for research and teaching.
Libraries are the first line of defense!


LISA V: N. Cline, Navigating Dark Matter

Nancy Cline of Harvard College gave the opening invited talk at LISA V; these are my notes, not guaranteed to be a transcript of her talk!

Navigating Dark Matter: Libraries Look to the Future

Large-scale, paradigm-shifting change in libraries. Who are our patrons now? Everyone – everyone’s crossing “traditional boundaries” that are becoming more amorphous now. So how do we stay up with all the changes? Physical trips to the library may have declined, the librarians are working harder than ever...

Critical issues: collecting, availability, and preservation.

Collections have radically changed from the traditional mode; methodologies vary as to what is collected, how it’s made available, and how long it remains. Research these days are producing volumes and volumes of data that needs to live long past the bracket of the research grant; but investing in infrastructure lags investment in research. How do we provide access to all this data, and to people perhaps outside the original intended audience? What kinds of resources should be converted to digital resources? Who decides? Can we work together to define print repositories?

Access. There are lots of limits in different parts of the world, not just to the network but also incomplete cataloging, poor keynote identification, or unlined resources. Key tools for access will vary from one discipline to another but the overall purpose and structure of basic reference resources require both an understanding of the field to be served as well as the data to be presented. How and where do users interact with the information?

Intellectual property rights typically layered and very complex, and vary from country to country. We need to stay on top of those rights.

Preservation. It’s important! How do we ensure that data will be accessible over the long term? Who should worry about digital heritage issues? Who’s responsible for the indexing schemes that should endure while the digital item itself migrates? How will we know if corruption has occurred?

It’s important that we not only find ways to survive in the rapid changes, but that we find ways to thrive on the changes that are happening. Where are libraries going? It’s hard to predict where the libraries are going, but librarians are going forward! We are vital partners in the research enterprise and bring skills to the team that others do not have. Our job is to make sure today’s research is usable by future generations and beyond.

I quite liked her talk, and what she had to say. Good opening to the conference!


LISA V: Opening Reception

The opening reception of the LISA V conference at the MIT museum was really cool. Thomson sponsored some really great eats, and I can't recommend the niftiness that is the MIT Museum enough. The displays on the robotics and artificial intelligence labs were very cool, and the kinetic art gallery was wild! ("Brownian Rice" was a bit.... odd, though.... maybe it was the wine.)


June 16, 2006

Denver's Keynote Speaker...

....will be Scott Adams, Dilbert's creator! How fun! Dilbert always did have a special place in his heart for librarians. Should be a great keynote.... although IMHO nothing will beat the 2001 double-feature of Dave Barry and Molly Ivins.

Currently a balmy 97°.

SLA 2006

Wow, what a week. It kicked off with a hotel mix-up about my room, then continued with a lovely bout of food poisoning. Plus, we all apparently overloaded the hotel's wireless capabilities, and I never did get logged in while I was staying there.

On the up side, the conference itself was great! Summaries of the sessions I attended can be found on the PAMblog site (all posted June 16th, the first chance I had to blog!). I'm looking forward to reading posts on other sessions I wasn't able to attend.

In addition to conference photos, I took a few fun photos of my time in Baltimore, and they can be seen at my Flickr page under the SLA2006 tag.

The weather was also lovely; Monday it actually rained! What a nice change for me. Now I'm back in the desert; can't complain much, though, as it's currently only 90°.

June 13, 2006

SLA 2006 - It's a start

So, this is the first chance I've had to get at a computer with an Internet connection since I arrived - apparently there are so many of us connected librarians staying at my hotel we've overloaded their Internet service and noone can log in! As always, the cybercafe is packed; I'm about to run out of my 10 minutes. Think I'll take my laptop to the nearby Starbucks and use their WiFi to get some posts done!

It's been a good conference so far, aside from the food poisoning.... some great PAM events so far, and a good session on archiving Web resources. I'll post more - including pictures from the PAM Business Meeting - when I have more time.

In Baltimore, it's a lovely 70° and the air feels quite silky! (It's all that humidity they have here.)

June 9, 2006

Turbocharge it, baby

Buy this book! Even if you don't want to turbocharge your own car, I bet someone in your neighborhood, library or special-interest group would want to, and this is a clear instruction manual on how to do it.

Street Turbocharging : Design, Fabrication, Installation, and Tuning of High-Performance Street Turbocharging Systems by Mark Warner.

(I suppose I should admit that Mark's a friend of mine. So there, now you know.)

Still 100°.

Catching Up

Finally, I can get back into Blogger!

Some random things that have crossed my mind this week:

* Digital archiving. It's all "woo hoo" but what about preservation issues? Paper, properly cared for, lasts for centuries. I have files from within my current career, a short 15 years ago, that can't be accessed; the software to do it is no longer around. How are we all going to handle this? The History News Network has an article out about fragile digital data that's worth a read.

* SLA. Getting ready to leave for it; it's gonna be a good one! I have so many conflicting sessions, I don't know what I'm going to do - but whether I attend "New Web Tools" or "Accessibility and Universal Design" I'm bound to learn something new. Yay! Watch this space and the PAMblog for new entries; there's no access from the convention center (boo hoo) but there's free WiFi at my hotel (yay!).

* LISA V. My poster is done, and off to the reviewers. (I hope they like it, it's too late to change it now!) Am really looking forward to seeing what other librarians are doing with their information services and systems.

* Frappr. I set up a FrapprMap for my high school alumni site (which I run); what a nifty way to show where we all ended up! In the first three days after posting a link to it on the site, there were 18 new flags on it; I can't wait to see how it spreads!

* Wikis. Our software group is using TWiki for internal documentation needs. I keep trying to figure out what I can do with it.... I'm sure something will come to me sooner or later!

Currently 100° and muggy!

June 6, 2006


Holding a sick child at 3am, whose little body is racked with a fever you've done all you know to do for, is frightening. You can read about how this is normal, and hear from folks whose kids have gone through it, but it's still scary.

Thank you to both moms (sometimes even a mom needs reassurance from her mommy) and our pediatrician for their words of comfort; my son is doing much better today.

Currently 104° and sunny. Very, very sunny.

June 1, 2006

Conferences on the horizon

So, it's only a week or so until SLA 2006, followed by LISA V - I'm getting excited! Hopefully there'll be some new usable information at SLA this year, and LISA always sounds great - I'm glad I finally get to go to one of them. Plus, I get to see old friends and new ones, and travel around a couple of new places, which is always fun.

I'll be blogging SLA on the PAMblog site, and will probably blog LISA here. My first conference blogs! Woo hoo!

I also hope that if I bump into a biblioblogosphere A-lister, I do more this time around than go "Hey! Blue highways!" (My memorable, to me at least, greeting to Karen Schneider at IL last year. It was pretty pathetic.)

Currently 100.8°.

Disaster Preparedness

I was just talking with a colleague who works in New Orleans about disaster preparedness plans. As you may imagine, her library (nay, her entire workplace) has a rather detailed plan in place these days, and they've all just registered with GMail accounts to keep in touch should they be dispersed again.

It got me to thinking about MPOW - we do not, that I am aware of, have any disaster preparedness plans other than exit signs and clearly-marked fire extinguishers. We don't face the same kinds of natural disasters a lot of other places do (no earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or blizzards, and very rarely do we face flooding), so I began to wonder about what other kinds of disasters should we be planning for.

After going through dust storms, locusts, and a plague of tourists I realized, hello, we're right next to a large Air Force base, and the largest repository of combat aircraft in the nation. We're also a stone's throw from the border. Instead of planning for hurricanes or earthquakes, should we be planning for terrorist attacks? What about a pandemic - what will we do if that happens?

It's made me rather nervous (then again, maybe it's the coffee today) - but I'm determined to find out if there is, in fact, a plan in place here at MPOW. If there is, I should darned well know about it, and if there isn't, maybe there should be?

Do you have disaster preparedness plans? Are you setting up some way to keep in touch with your people should something happen?

Currently 96° and hummingbird-y. (I love having a window.)