Thursday, September 14, 2017

Digital Libraries Do Not Mean Cheaper Libraries

In August 2017, The Chronicle of Higher Education reiterated a point already understand by library technical service departments: digital resources are not always easier and cheaper than physical ones. In the law library field, we often face an issue discussed in the article. "Publishers work with vendors who bundle digital products and market them to libraries; libraries and library consortia often find themselves paying a lot for bundles that contain some material they want, along with much that they don’t. Managing budgets in that environment can feel like squirming in a vise." Our library would prefer to purchase eBooks (over print) from a leading legal publisher. However, this means purchasing everything available through the platform even when we know books analyzing specific aspects of foreign law will not likely be used. 

Beyond the acquisitions aspect, e-resources can also face other labor intensive upkeep such as monitoring licensing, access issues, and discovery restrictions. Haipeng Li, library director of University of California at Merced mentions other expenses of his modern digital library, the "ever-rising journal prices, the costs of making detailed catalog records of materials that users access remotely, and upkeep of computer hardware and software."

This article also highlights the growing trend of libraries as "learning commons." Librarians roles are changing to include teaching and research responsibilities as well as "instructional design, information literacy, and specialized areas like digital humanities and research-data management." As a librarian involved in many facets of the library, I do not condemn these efforts but recognize that it often means increased costs.

The article states, "some academic libraries have been removing physical books, generally quite tentatively — and often controversially — when books are 'deaccessioned' because of scant use, but most commonly when digital equivalents take their place." It cannot be denied this is practice employed by all law libraries to some degree. A letter to the editor the following week titled Librarians Should Accept Fact That Most Books Aren’t Available In Digital Format responds to the article pointing out that many books (especially older and foreign ones) have not made the leap into digital format and "old doesn't necessarily mean 'out-of-date'" in certain subject areas. Old often means out-of-date for the law but with some resources unavailable in digital format, this argument is understandable. 

You can find the entire article at: http://www.chronicle.com/article/As-Libraries-Go-Digital-Costs/240858?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Wendy Moore




1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
Wendy Moore, Acquisitions Librarian

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Absolutely not.  While my job does include acquisitions, it expands beyond that to include working on electronic resource management, leading collection development, collaborating on budget planning, and supervising our Technical Services department (ordering, receiving, updating, cataloging, processing, ILS database maintenance, binding, withdrawing, FDLP documents, gifts).  The University recently changed its logo, so it is time for new business cards – I might use this as an opportunity to change my job title. 

3. What are you reading right now?
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Translators, Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky), because 2017 just seemed like a good time to revisit Soviet literature from the 1920’s & 1930’s.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be?  Why?

While in college I minored in art history and interned at an art museum library that was open to the public.  How I loved the Thieme-Becker!  Even my library school Master’s thesis had an art history focus.  Part of me has always thought it would be fun to be an art librarian, but I never really pursued that option.  That early experience working at the art museum with a subject specific collection with both public users and academic researchers prepared me well for working in a law library.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Announcements from the Government Publishing Office

The Government Publishing Office's request for recommendations to modernize Title 44  has received a lot of attention recently, with multiple posts on https://freegovinfo.info/, a mention on LJ Infodocket, and most recently an article in Library journal.

Freegovinfo has endorsed the following recommendations designed to strengthen the Depository Library Program.
  1. Modernize the definition of "publications"
  2. Ensure Free Access
  3. Ensure Privacy
  4. Ensure Preservation
While the proposal to update Title 44 has been most visible, GPO has announced two initiatives that will enhance libraries' ability to facilitate public access to government information via our catalogs.

The Government Printing Office announced that they will start incorporating OCLC into their workflow for the Historic Shelflist Transcription effort. This should result in a larger portion of pre-1976 Federal documents being represented in OCLC, and therefore, more visible to the public.

GPO has also announced that starting in October 2017 the will begin making GPO cataloging records available via their github repository. This availability will replace the GPO Cataloging Data Subscription Service. A sample record set and readme file will be available October 3, 2017. The records will be available without charge.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Happy 1 billionth OCN!




On August 8, 2017, OCLC announced on the OCLC-CAT listserv that the OCLC Control Number (OCN) has reached 1 billion. The OCLC Control Number is a unique, sequentially assigned number when a new record is created or imported into WorldCat. The one billionth assigned OCN was for the record of a digitized image from Chiba University Library in Chiba, Japan.

Make sure your library system can handle the longer OCN. For more information check www.oclc.org/support/services/batchload/controlnumber/...


Friday, August 11, 2017

Ebook collection analysis

Two publications recently came across my desk: the May/June 2017 Library Technology Reports called Applying Quantitative Methods to E-Book Collections by Melissa J. Goertzen, and the June 2017 issue of Computers in Libraries called Ebooks Revisited. This suggests that as ebooks continue to be a large collection issue for libraries on various levels (platforms, pricing, patron-drive acquisition (PDA) and demand-driven acquisition (DDA), discovery records, etc.) we are reaching a point where we can more fully evaluate the long-term impact they are having on our patrons and our budgets. I was particularly interested in the Computers in Libraries article called Ebook ROI: A Longitudinal STudy of Patron-Driven Acquisition Models by Yin Zhang and Kay Downey. The authors work at Kent State University Libraries and have been using a PDA program for five years now; they were able to use this long-term data to evaluate the usefulness of short term loans, determine if PDA purchases continue to be used after the purchase is triggered, and and analyze what books from various publication years and subject areas are purchased under their PDA profile. I found this study inspiring; we have only had our DDA program for less than one year, but I hope to conduct a similar analysis after a full year of the program and regularly thereafter so we can be sure our patrons are finding the program useful.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What can we learn from IT project management?

The implementation of educational technology is common practice for academic and firm librarians but rarely is there a tightly organized framework developed for an implementation similar to those in Information Technology. What could librarians learn about IT project management?

Jennifer Vinopal, Associate Director for Information Technology for University Libraries at Ohio State University, was the keynote speaker at DEVCONNECT, OCLC's conference for library developers and she speaks to the importance of harmonizing library and IT initiatives. You can watch her speech and read the full article on OCLC NEXT: http://www.oclc.org/blog/main/treat-it-projects-as-library-projects-and-vice-versa/.


Getting to Know TS Librarians: Jesse Lambertson


1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
My name is Jesse Lambertson and I'm the Head of Cataloging & Metadata at Georgetown Law Library in Washington, DC.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes in that I am in charge of all workflows & procedures related to Marc-based cataloging & processing of, mostly print, but also loading records from ebook vendors too. In addition, because we also work collaboratively with Special Collections and Digital Initiatives, we also work with Dublin Core and EAD finding aids with cross-walking - this function of my work is likely to increase. But in addition to actual cataloging & metadata, there are also a lot of meetings on completely different topics such as requirement gathering for ILS migration - but engagement in the Georgetown Law Library community is one of the great joys. 

3. What are you reading right now?
I am reviewing Intrepreneurship for Librarians for Library Quarterly (having just submitted a book review about style guides for the internet to Library Journal) and have just started Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler for a book club I run a couple times per year on a local internet radio station.

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
It would be amazing to work in a academic law library wherein we focus on law and the work of Franz Kafka - because, lets face it, Kafka is one of the most famous lawyers in literary history. Literary thinking can represent some of the best humanistic thinking around. Wouldn't that be fun? :)

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I believe I would study scripting in python with an eye on mastery. This is an amazingly powerful language, highly customizable for different contexts and librarians should all embrace coding in their day-to-day work - no matter if they are in public services or technical (IMHO). :) I would do this in order to automate a few things as well as look for research opportunities in which python could be used to gather data.