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Digital Magic Preservation for a New Era

Posted by Editor on March 13, 2012

By Matthew Kirschenbaum

You don’t get to play with a whole lot of cool tools or toys when you’re an English professor. Fountain pens and Moleskine notebooks maybe, or a book light or fancy e-reader. Bibliographers—those savants who analyze the unique physical characteristics of manuscripts and printed books—get the best stuff: illuminated magnifying glasses and book weights, white gloves and padded forceps, and more exotic assemblages, such as the original Hinman collator, a contraption the size of a refrigerator whose flashing lights were reportedly capable of inducing epileptic seizure. (Newer collators fold and collapse into a briefcase for transport to distant libraries, and while they may induce headaches, are seizure-free.)

But now that literary materials are often stored and accessible only in electronic formats—manuscript drafts written with word processors, e-mail correspondence buried in hard drives—we may be able to get our hands on some nifty techno-biblio accessories that make data retrieval easier.

One such device is the inelegantly named FC5025 floppy controller card, 1 1/4-by- 3 3/4 inches and silicon-wafer thin. If you grew up in the 1980s when I did, and if your first computer was an Apple, Commodore, Atari, or TRS “Trash” 80, the FC5025 (or one of several gizmos like it) is the link to whatever frail trellises of data may still remain magnetically etched on the surface of the antique “floppies” that went with those machines. One end of the device anchors an old-school gray ribbon cable that connects to an actual 5 1/4-inch drive, scrounged from eBay or a friend (I got mine from a supply closet). The other end holds the familiar, comforting shape of a USB terminus. Sandwiched in between, embedded in the FC5025 controller board, is the software necessary to bridge the gap between a wheezing, groaning disk drive and any modern operating system.

The FC5025 allows me to move data off my old floppy disks in the form of a so-called image file, a virtual simulacrum of the original diskette. With the disk image, I can extract individual files or run it through an “emulator” (more on this later), where I can examine individual bytes and verify that not a single one has been altered in the transition. Read the rest of this entry »

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Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online

Posted by Editor on February 3, 2012

By Jennifer Howard

In academe, the game of how to win friends and influence people is serious business. Administrators and grant makers want proof that a researcher’s work has life beyond the library or the lab.

But the current system of measuring scholarly influence doesn’t reflect the way many researchers work in an environment driven more and more by the social Web. Research that used to take months or years to reach readers can now find them almost instantly via blogs and Twitter.

That kind of activity escapes traditional metrics like the impact factor, which indicates how often a journal is cited, not how its articles are really being consumed by readers.

An approach called altmetrics—short for alternative metrics—aims to measure Web-driven scholarly interactions, such as how often research is tweeted, blogged about, or bookmarked. “There’s a gold mine of data that hasn’t been harnessed yet about impact outside the traditional citation-based impact,” says Dario Taraborelli, a senior research analyst with the Strategy Team at the Wikimedia Foundation and a proponent of the idea. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 ways to make yourself indispensable at your workplace, Stephen Abram

Posted by Editor on January 31, 2012

From:  Information Outlook Column (Jan/Feb. issue), Due Dec. 28, 2011

By Stephen Abram

It doesn’t work 100% of the time but you’ve probably noticed that there are some people that seem to survive every organizational restructuring.  In this latest economic downturn we’re seeing layoffs and downsizing on a scale in all sectors that most of us have never seen.  As for me, I’ve been through too many to count – survived some and didn’t make it out the other side on others.  By some counts there have been over 14 downturns in my professional career since 1978.  These swings in the economy have burnished me and, ironically, made me less dependent on employers for my self-worth or finances.  The private sector reacts to protect the whole enterprise during the business cycle and, although we shouldn’t take downsizing personally, it’s hard not to!  The public sector is arguably experiencing a major downturn with extensive layoffs for the first time in memory for many.  I was inspired recently by an article that was shared with me (from Black Enterprise: “10 ways to make yourself indispensable at work”), so I’ve adapted its 10 points for library land, but the original can be read without translation too.

Is the grapevine working overtime in your business, industry, community library, school board or institution?  What do the water cooler conversations resemble in your sector – excitement about the future or doom and gloom?  Are you seeing terrible budget debates, revenue shortfalls, business disappointments, investment or trust fund losses, or shortfalls in taxation support?  What can you do to reduce your chances of layoff?  Barring situations of collective bargaining where the rules can be prescribed, there are things you can do and should do precisely when you don’t need it right away.

Make a plan.  Assess your strengths.  Define your value, and, most importantly tend to your personal and professional network.

What tactics can you accomplish that will reduce your personal chances of layoff or prepare you better to shorten your period of unemployment?  Remember that this isn’t about protecting the ‘library’ but of communicating your value as a “librarian.”   There is a big difference!  Here are ten:

1. Take ownership of all your responsibilities by seeing your role in the context of the entire enterprise and community.  What would you increase as an activity and what would you decrease?  Employees that think strategically are more valuable than one-trick ponies.

2. Take personal responsibility for your professional development and career preparedness.  In difficult economic times no one else will quickly step up to protect you or guide your career. In times of transition, individuals must be proactive and not look to an employer to prepare them for their next job.  Indeed training and development budgets are usually one of the first to be reduced or eliminated. You might have to invest your own dollars and time in yourself for e-learning courses, training, association memberships and conferences but, still, fight to get your promised education reimbursements.  The enterprise is not your mother and bears no responsibility to your progress.   What key specific competency would make your more valuable to your current and prospective employers?   Develop it.

3. Maintain a visibly positive attitude while protecting your job.  It’s far easier for decision-makers to cut a Negative Nellie.  You aren’t the only one who’s stressed by the economy.  If you see others handling it better, model their behaviours.  No one wants to be constantly reminded of the fact that everyone is now doing 2 or 3 jobs and extended effort. . When things seem to pile up and you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath and think that this is better for your personal physical and mental health.  It’ll also allow you to keep wok relationships friendly and positive. Be the colleague people want to have lunch or a coffee with rather than avoid.

4. Become a Renaissance person.  Yes, this means taking on extra tasks or spending personal time on events that can be great for the office culture – parties, birthdays, charity events, etc.  Learn to do new things as other people leave.  You gain new skills and you clearly increase your long-term value.  You also gain a story about how you learn and adapt for interviews. Read the rest of this entry »

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Maricopa Library Council offers scholarship for new librarians

Posted by Editor on January 26, 2012

Download  PDF version of the application form.

Professional Conference Scholarship Program
Maricopa County Library Council
January, 2012

                       The Maricopa County Library Council (MCLC) sponsors a scholarship program for librarians who are in the first five years of their career. This program will provide financial support to tomorrow’s librarians as they develop the experience and skill set to lead our libraries and our profession

What does the scholarship program provide?

MCLC will award two (2), $1,500 scholarships for attendance at a professional library conference. Some examples are:

  • ALA, the American Library Association
  • ACRL, the Association of College & Research Libraries
  • MLA, the Medical Library Association
  • PLA, the Public Library Association
  • SLA, the Special Libraries Association

 Who is eligible?

Librarians who are in the first five years of their career and who are members of ALA, or another relevant professional association.   Applicants must have worked for their Library for at least six months and must have their library director’s permission to attend the conference.

Scholarship recipients’ responsibilities:

  • Attendance at a variety of programs and exhibits at the conference.
  • Written and verbal reports about the conference to MCLC at an upcoming meeting.
  • Written report to recipient’s supervisor and library director.

How to apply:

Complete the attached application and submit it to your library director for their approval.  Email application to jddoyle@email.arizona.edu Read the rest of this entry »

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Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries released by ARL

Posted by Editor on January 26, 2012

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) on Thursday released a “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.” According to ARL, it is “a clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education.” Fair use is a fuzzy legal doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the copyright holder.

http://tinyurl.com/7bgrf8w

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U.S. House Drafts SKILLS Act to Support School Librarians

Posted by Editor on January 25, 2012

By Lauren Barack, January 20, 2012 in School Library Journal

Three House lawmakers introduced legislation this week that could strengthen and ensure school librarians’ continued role as educators in the nation’s K-12 schools.

Drafted by U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ.) (left), Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), The Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act, is a companion bill to a measure introduced in July in the Senate. Under both bills, school librarians would be assured a continuing role in schools as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Several key provisions in the SKILLS Act strive to better define and strengthen the future role and federal funding for librarians who work in schools. One provision states that an “effective school library program,” is a program that’s staffed by a state-certified school librarian. The act also strengthens school librarians’ right to gain access to professional development funds under ESEA. In addition, the measure sets aside competitive grants to underserved schools and districts so they can work to develop effective library programs.

“This is what we’re working for,” says Jeffrey Kratz, assistant director of the Washington, D.C. office of the American Library Association (ALA). Read the rest of this entry »

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The Public Library as an Incubator for the Arts

Posted by Editor on January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012 | 9:58 AM | By 

Arguably, those who believe a public library is simply a repository of print books haven’t been to a public library lately. Here at MindShift, we’ve been covering the ways in which the library is evolving to change the demands of digital technologies and of its patrons: libraries are becoming learning labsinnovation centers, and makerspaces.

Of course, the public library has always been a community center as much as a place to go to check out books to read, so the new extensions of the library’s service may not be so far afield from the institution’s mission to provide access to information. Even so, much of the emphasis has been on literacy — reading and writing, digital and analog — and not on other forms of creativity.

But three graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies have launched a project that points to another important way in which libraries play a key role in their communities. The Library as Incubator Project highlights some of the ways in which libraries and local artists can work together.

I spoke with Erinn Batykefer, Laura Damon-Moore, and Christina Endres about the project.

Q. What was the inspiration for the Library as Incubator Project? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Library Management, library promotion, Thinking Long Term | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Be a solutions provider not just an ingredients supplier

Posted by Editor on January 6, 2012

Recommending that librarians should provide different levels of service to community members is right up there with advocating for the end of reference desks or a future dominated by bookless libraries. It can be volatile subject matter for discussion. The library is a commons that is owned by each community member, and each of those members is equally eligible to receive all the benefits and services and access all the resources to which he or she is entitled. In an age of heightened customer expectations, does the “everyone is equal” approach still work or should librarians be more customer centric.

What does it mean to be customer centric? That is the subject of a new book by Peter Fader, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In this new book titled Customer Centricity, Fader promotes the idea that successful organizations will wisely segment their customers, and create special services for the most valued customers – services that might be unavailable to other customers. Being customer centric means more than just giving community members everything they want. As he explains in an interview:

Too many people think that being customer centric means doing everything that your customers want, and that’s not the case. Being friendly and offering good service are a part of customer centricity, but they are not the whole thing. Customer centricity means that you’re going to be friendly, provide good service and develop new products and services for the special focal customers — the ones who provide a lot of value for you — but not necessarily for the other ones. You need to pick and choose. Some customers deserve the special treatment, and if others want to buy from you, that’s great, but they are not going to be treated the same.

While the goal of customer centricity may be unthinkable to some librarians, when we honestly assess how we treat community members, we already make distinctions between them and offer special treatment to some and not others. In academic libraries we certainly treat faculty members differently than students. We may offer faculty a book delivery service while everyone else has to come to the library. A faculty member’s research question is typically prioritized. Not fair perhaps, but it’s critical to build a good relationship with the faculty. It’s part of what we do to keep them satisfied; our funding might depend on it. Read the rest of this entry »

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New InfoGraphic – Top Technology Trends

Posted by Editor on January 4, 2012

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LJ Virtual Tech Summit Explores How Libraries Use Tech To Connect with Patrons

Posted by Editor on December 16, 2011

By David Rapp

LJ’s Virtual Tech Summit on December 8, “Power to the Patron: From Systems to Services,” brought together sharp minds from across the country, addressing a range of cutting-edge technologies in the library world—from mobile apps to print-on-demand to patron-driven ebook acquisition to the future of data access. But with all the wide-ranging discussion, the focus remained on patrons, and how libraries can best use tech to provide them with the best services. [The summit archives are now available online for registrants.] Platinum sponsors for the event were SirsiDynix and Comprise Technologies.

The future of digital storytelling
Keynoting the day-long event was by Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, who took a wide view on technology trends and how technology affects interactions with patrons.

Alexander is a member of the advisory board for the New Media Consortium’s and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s Horizon Report, the annual report on technology trends in higher education. He touched on trends highlighted in the most recent report. Among these are augmented-reality software applications (by tying “digital data to the surface of the earth” using location services like Google Maps, he said, such apps can create “a new way of reinterpreting and re-experiencing the world”) and game-based learning (as motion-control game interfaces, for example, are “already beginning to shake up everything we do”), both of which he said will likely become more mainstream within the next few years. He also noted the rise of ebooks, and particularly mobile apps and social networking, which he said have made many people “storytellers.”

But where do libraries fit into such future technological trends? In the post-keynote Q&A moderated by Lisa Carlucci Thomas, director of library consultancy design think do and Virtual Tech Summit project lead, Alexander noted that librarians are the professionals “best equipped to help us with a lot of the challenges around [digital] storytelling,” such as questions regarding copyright issues. He also said that technologies that most people don’t already have, such as large display screens, might make inroads in library spaces. Read the rest of this entry »

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