Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ohio State University Thompson Library

Thompson Library at Ohio State University
After attending the USETDA conference in Columbus, OH, I took the opportunity to visit the main library at Ohio State University, which got a major award-winning renovation in 2009. It was a rainy day, so I came in from the Oval, the only entrance I knew, so my photo of the outside is not impressive. You can see the other side with the new addition on the ALA award site.

As I walked in there was a stand of plastic bags for umbrellas - a nice touch. When I walked into the very open space with visible stacks and various help stations and student study areas around me, I was happy to see a pillar with “Where is it?” and a “Welcome” sign. I was actually going to look for the bathrooms and hated to ask, so was happy that both signs explained where they were on each floor.

The first floor had (going counterclockwise from the entrance): Circulation and Reserves; Leisure Reading; Reference & Assistance (talked to the Ref. Librarian about the changes, they are at the desk for a few busiest hours each day); Copy, Scan, Assemble; Current Periodicals (not too many, but more than we have); Computer Lab, Multipurpose Room (had seating for about 50 for a presentation, but students were using it as study space); Media; Gallery; and Special Collections Displays. The lower level, which only covers half the footprint has group study rooms, the cafe and Buckeye Bar, which is there for IT support. They have group study rooms that can be reserved online throughout the building, but not as many as I would have expected, maybe because there is such a variety of study space available. The lower floors are meant for collaboration and the higher you go, the quieter it is supposed to get.

The second floor has a couple of huge reading rooms. The Grand Reading
is the traditional one with high ceilings, wood shelves around the perimeter with reference books (though the reference librarian said they were weeding those), and rows of wood tables with wood chairs. On the other side of the building as part of the new addition is the Buckeye Reading Room – also high ceiling and large windows, but tables and chairs on wheels. It started looking like a football to me and sure enough, I found the plaque that explained that athletics had paid part of the $109 million renovation bill.

The stacks are in the tower in the center of the building. What they did there was to open it up with glass walls, so you can literally see through from one side of the building to the other. Staff offices are along the edges of the building. One area was for subject librarians, another for copyright resources.

On the very top floor – the 11th, there was a wonderful wood paneled study space that is also used for special occasions with views of the Oval on one side and the stadium and medical center on the other. Since I worked at the OSU hospital for a year in the 1970’s, that was of more interest than the football stadium.

I liked their wall of presidential portraits. I know that we have Dwight B. Waldo, but there is more to our history. It would be nice to have all of them someplace. They even had photos of all the directors of the libraries. They do have 13 libraries, though some have been consolidated into Thompson and the 18th Avenue Library, which houses their latest renovation – a Research Commons. The day was just too nasty to go over there and I wanted to get on the road home. 

I picked up most of their brochures – the guide to the Thompson library, LC classification explained, printing at the library, Graduate Students and University Libraries, Fair Use, Copyright in Your Thesis or Dissertation, an extensive newsletter from Spring, Student Technology Resources (an IT publication), and an explanation of floor inlays and elevator etchings they call Foundation Stones. I noticed these interesting scripts or alphabets on the floor, turns out that there “are 49 metal tablets documenting forms of written communication from around the world”, and even more in the etchings on the elevator doors. Anything from Aztec to Etruscan to Rongorongo of Easter Island and the Elvish script invented by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Lots of ideas for consideration for our own renovation.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

University of Nevada Las Vegas - Leid Library

The last thing I did before leaving ALA in Las Vegas, was to visit the University of Nevada Las Vegas Leid Library. I had heard it was worth seeing. Built in 2001, it is interesting architecturally, and as always, I am looking for ideas that we could apply at our own library. It was 110 degrees outside, and the sun was bearing down on me, so I did not spend a lot of time finding the perfect angle from which to photograph the exterior, but it is visually interesting, with flaps, that must protect the highly windowed building from taking on too much sun, while still providing great vistas of the surrounding city and mountains in the background.

When you walk in the door, you enter a huge atrium, going up all five floors with computer stations and some comfortable seating in the center. The cafe is to your immediate left, the circulation desk to your right. Off from the central seating is reference - Research Assistance. There are also a couple of rooms for Research Consultation, which are meant for in depth research help, in case students don't feel comfortable going to your office, or your office is messy, this is a neutral space in which to help people. An escalator takes you up to the second floor, though the rest of the floors are accessed by stairs or elevator. The Honors College is housed on the third floor, and there are various sized conference rooms available.

Books are found on floors 3 through 5, but they also have an automated storage and retrieval system for periodical runs and less used books - visible from a window on the first floor. Current periodicals have been reduced to one row of stacks, with six empty rows, that will be converted to student study space.

Silent study rooms
There are various types of study spaces, most still fairly traditional with carrels and tables. The third and fourth floor are designated as mostly quiet study areas, which are closed off from the rest of the library with glass walls and doors. There are also silent study areas on these two floors in rooms cantilevered over the atrium. In these there are to be no electronics (i.e. computers), talking or food. There are about five group study rooms on each of four floors, and I was told that is never enough.

My favorite space was the Graduate Commons. It has computer and scanning stations with printers and even one for printing posters, comfortable chairs, three presentation spaces divided up with white boards, a conference room and a kitchenette with refrigerator, sink and microwave. The graduate student organization makes it their home and it looked like it was staffed by one staff member and a student. 

Most of the library had traditional wood chairs, beautiful tables with a subtle design and electrical outlets, and some comfortable seating. But all the main computer areas had chairs on wheels and there were some booths in the back of the central seating area. 

The reference (Research Assistance) desk is still staffed by a librarian, though when that desk closes, questions are fielded by circulation. The reference collection is four low rows of bookshelves.  I had a delightful conversation with the librarian on the desk. Turns out she used to work for the state conservation office and could tell me some things about the complex water rights issues. Water usage was one of those things that upset me during my visit to Las Vegas. I found out that you cannot store rain water, as the soil really needs the little rain that they do get, and you can't recycle greywater, because they get credit for the water that goes back into the system, so they can draw more from Lake Mead. If I had more energy, I would research this, but suffice it to say - it is complicated. Things have already changed since 2001, so they have made changes to their library and plan on making more, as we all have to.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscript Library - Yale Univeristy

Years ago I had a date with a Yalie and he brought me into this magnificent library. Even though I had no thoughts of being a librarian back then, I remember being blown away by the translucent marble panels surrounding a glass cube of books. I have seen this library in lists of most amazing libraries, and I could say I had been there. 

I had the opportunity to visit it again during the Baltic and Scandinavian Studies Conference, though I got no closer to examining the many rare wonders held within it. The conference reception was held at Beinecke and it was fun to mingle with the conference attendees in this hallowed space with a couple of Gutenberg Bibles right there, and a couple of the huge Audubon books (I remember those at Cornell too).

The ground level is surrounded by normal windows letting in natural light, and you can see the first rare book shelves behind glass behind the security desk. Then as you walk up the stairs, you realize that this was just the bottom floor of a huge glass cube stretching up another five stories with the treasures of Yale on display. The only thing I have seen like this was at the British Library. I walked around feasting my eyes on centuries old bindings. Since I am no rare book expert, I had no idea what I was really looking at, but just as in the Swedish Royal Library, I felt in awe.

There is open space between the cube with the collection and the outer walls,
which are made of 1.25 inch thick grey-veined marble panels from Vermont. (See the Beinecke website) They let in some light, but not enough to damage the books. I was told that the best time to see the effect is when the panels are wet and the sun shines on them, but I thought the effect was impressive enough. Our reception was held in this glorious space surrounding the stacks.

I was busy with the conference, so did not have much time to explore the library, but I did go back one day to take more pictures and look at the exhibit. The exhibit was just called "Blue" and had on display a wide variety of items around the building including: blueprints, swatches of the color blue in design drawings, blue covered books, books that included "blue" in the title, Blue books (for gentlemen looking for certain types of entertainment), music albums with "blue" including one of my old favorites, Joni Mitchell's Blue, books, correspondence, posters and other items about blues singers and musicians, and art work from a few artists, whose connection with "blue" I did not explore.

I had to use the facilities and was allowed to go down to the lower level, which was reserved for researchers. Expanses of work tables were available behind glass walls. There was another security guard down there along with the reference staff. I have no idea what it entails to guard such a treasure.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yale Conference on Baltic and Scandinavian Studies 2014

Just got back from what I consider the AABS conference, but above you will see
it’s official title. I am again motivated to get back to work on my own research, so I think it is money well spent by me and my institution. This is the second time the Balts decided to have a combined conference with the Scandinavians, and though I see overlapping themes and some joint sessions, I am not sure this is the best for Baltic studies. There were close to 530 attendees from 22 countries and 39% were AABS members, so roughly 200 with interest in the Baltics. I don’t know how that compares with the last conference in Chicago, but there were a good number of grad students attending, so I feel Baltic studies are alive and well.

As in all conferences, there were various tracks with presentations on minutiae that mostly interest specialists, but I found something interesting to attend in almost all the time slots. Only in the very first session I had no preference and chose a room, because it just looked cool with stained glass and had plenty of seats, so I could go through the program and choose what I was going to listen to throughout the conference. With one eye and ear I vaguely followed a session on Viking archeological digs. What I got out of it was that Vikings were buried with their horses, dogs and weapons, sometimes in boats. The keynote was also on Vikings, or more specifically – Beserkers – an especially crazy, violent form of Vikings. A renown Yale professor – Anders Winroth – started with the word “beserk” as used in newspapers and elsewhere in the last 100 years or so, went on to references of Beserkers in 12th century sagas, to various linguistic explanations of the word – weather it meant bare-skinned, or bear skin covered or chain mail covered. I enjoyed watching this man make his argument.

The reception was held in the Yale's Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscript Library. It was one of the few times where we could mingle with all of the conference attendees. I stood in a food line with a grad student who had always defined himself as The Viking, and was now disconcerted to be amongst so many Vikings. It was a pleasure to run into three delightful folks from the Herder Institute, who reminded me that the next European Baltic Studies conference will be held at their institution in September 2015. Wonder how I could get to that?

There was no bibliographic track and the only session I would categorize as
being library focused was on émigré Baltic Press, where Andris Straumanis had again done solid research looking at how the word “veclatvieši” or “old Latvians” had come about and how that first wave of Latvian emigrants was described in Latvia and in the émigré press. His paper was full of useful facts and numbers. Erick Zen (he actually has a much longer full name) surprised me by being from Rio de Janeiro and talking about Lithuanians in Argentina and Brazil. Violeta Kaledaite from Vytautas Magnus University discussed the publication Lituanus, one of the two scholarly publications on Lithuanian issues in English. My oldest acquaintance in the Lithuanian community, Ramune Kubilius had a very nice overview of current Lithuanian publications in English. I should ask her to contribute to my handbook.

I ran into Ivars Ijābs from the University of Latvia on the street and went to his
presentation on the evolution of Latvian nationalist thought through maps. I had never seen the early maps of Latvia that did not contain the Latgale region and had no distinct border at the north dividing it from Estonia. The first map that included what we now consider Latvia was printed in 1890 and the use of the term “Latvia” started in the 1860’s. It was fun to watch the Lithuanians squirm, when some of the maps took a broad sweep of Latvia that included Lithuania too.

There were many simultaneous sessions, but at least they were all in close proximity, and I would hop from one to the next, even within one session, so I only got to a part of the round table on BATUN, the Baltic Appeal to the United Nations. I heard Māra Lazda speak and she will be the next AABS president. This session led to some of the most useful discussions for me. First, I heard them ask the presenters, if they would be willing to share their presentations, and it was left up to people emailing each other. I just thought „Sheesh, if they were using our institutional repository platform, had the conference schedule up in that, they could just add their presentations, and they would be available to everybody.” The Administrative Executive Director of AABS, Irena Blekys, was there, so I started talking to her about this. Then it evolved into a conversation about how AABS and BATUN archives should be saved, organized, digitized, etc.  Irena asked me to write an article for the newsletter.

There was a whole series of sessions on the Singing Revolution theme. I wanted to hear Guntis Šmidchens speak, so I went to one of those sessions and got to also hear Janis Chakars, who will organize the next AABS conference in Philadelphia, and Bradley Woodworth, who heads the Baltic Studies program at Yale and was the main organizer of this conference. The Singing Revolution is an engaging topic raising questions on the role the Baltic States played in the fall of the Soviet Union, did they show how a David can slay Goliath, what role singing had in it, did the fact that choirs are inherently democratic have an effect, etc. At this session I also ran into Joseph Ellis from Wingate University in NC, who had taken his students to Estonia after teaching a class on the Singing Revolution. We presented at the same session in Chicago and he was recognized with a reward at the AABS meeting.

I heard Vilis Inde talk about translating a Latvian classic – Rainis’ Zelta zirgs into Golden Horse. Inde first went on a tangent on the importance of having quality English translations on Latvian websites. He had spent months trying to convince the organizers and Latvian government to clean up the Riga 2014 site, meant for tourists who will visit Riga during its year as the European Capital of Culture. I found it interesting that he had translated the book for his nephews, so that they would have a point of connection with their grandparents, as that generation often does not read contemporary Latvian fiction.

I wanted to hear what the Latvian language teacher at University of Washington had to say about the difference of heritage and non-heritage language students, but stumbled into a great presentation on evaluating Lithuanian language skills through a natural context. I missed how she had set up these “interviews,” but she asked people whose first language was Italian, Russian, French, etc. and who had lived in Lithuania anywhere from under three years to over 15 years, to describe things, or give a recipe (for imperative forms), and then analyzed their language. She also asked them about their motivation to learn or not learn Lithuanian. Fascinating. Some were eager to learn, so they would fit in better, others felt no reason to and had not learned anything besides very basic courtesies in over 15 years. Iveta Grinberga, the Latvian instructor for UW had done a preliminary study with two students of different backgrounds. The non-heritage student had more difficulty with cases and tended to simplify the case system. The heritage student, who had at least heard the language in childhood, tended to do more code mixing – substituting English words for Latvian. Looking forward to more of her research.

Agita Misāne of the University of Latvia explained to us how the Namejs Ring became a tradition. Namejs was a political and military leader in the late 13th century, but there is no historical basis to connect him with any ring. Archeologists found a plaited ring, but in a different part of the country and from about 100 years earlier. Writer Aleksandrs Grīns wrote a book in 1928 titled Namejs Ring, though the ring he describes is different. Grīns story was eventually performed on stage and later someone presented the President Ulmanis a ring they called a Namejs, and painter Liberts painted the archeological ring on the finger of his fantasy portrait of Namejs. Later Ulmanis' connection to the ring was forgotten and it became a symbol of identity in the exile community and in Latvia, a symbol for supporters of Latvian independence.

I sat through a whole art session, where Anna Romanovska talked about
thinking of her past life in colors - dark ones for difficult parts of her life, bright yellow for shoes her mother had purchased for her abroad, etc. She had an amazing sketch where she had managed to display the lives of her family as intertwining colored timelines. I think this would be a fun way for displaying a family history. Mark Ian Jones from Australia talked about Swedish and Scandinavian design that was very popular 1950-70. Then my friend Mark Svede talked about the Latvian artist Andris Vitoliņš, making sense of things I would not have understood on my own. The session ended with Zivile Gimbutas talking about Lithuanian artists Ciurlionis, Vizgirda and Virkau. Mark suggested that we also listen to Alise Tifentale, who he considers the brightest new art historian for the Latvians. The title of her presentation had caught my eye: "Our Muddy Boots on Their Marble Floor..." She looked at artists Kaspars Podnieks and Krišs Salamanis at the 55th Venice Biennale in the Latvian Pavilion in 2013. Podnieks has done portraits of farmers that look simple, until you realize they are suspended a few meters off the ground. Salamanis had a large tree swinging upside down from the ceiling of the hall.

All in all a good conference. It was fun to walk the hallowed halls of Yale. The conference was bigger than they expected, so some rooms were quite crowded and there wasn't really any room to hang out, but Yale had nice simple wifi access for guests. And there were plenty of restaurants to eat at close by.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Michigan Academy 2014 at Oakland University

As usual, I really enjoyed my time at Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. This is a one day conference, where all the library sessions are in one room and we get to hear what everyone is doing. The topics are all over the place, but that is what I like. The Library & Information Sciences is one of the largest sections in the Academy with consistent attendance, so I continue to support this gathering of Michigan (and surrounding area) academic librarians.

I like visiting the different universities across the state, and had never been to Oakland University. It was founded in 1957 and is still expanding in its wide open territory (1444 acres!) in suburban Rochester. I always visit the libraries, but this time we ran late, it was very cold and I had an errand to run in Dearborn before returning home, so I will have to visit their library at another time.

Mike Unsworth from Michigan State talked about an interesting collection he is working with – the illustrations from the Chicago Tribune from the 1880’s to the 1940’s. The scans are much higher resolution and in color, than the ProQuest scans of newspaper microfilms. The illustrations include the usual photos, but also drawings, comics and advertising. Student workers have entered in the basic descriptions, but Unsworth is adding subject headings and other details to make this a really valuable resource for students and researchers.

I talked about the importance of national libraries in the Baltics, thankful for the nudge to work on my research again. People seemed interested, as I think we don’t know enough about what libraries outside of the U.S. are doing.

Arjun Sabharwal from the University of Toledo talked about the impact of social networking on digital heritage collections. He talked about a network of institutions and repositories working together with the help of social curation to create virtual collections. He mentioned HASTAC (pronounced “haystack”), which has been mentioned in our digital humanities group; Changing Faces of Brooklyn - a crowd curated online collections at the Brooklyn Museum; and StoryCorps “Celebrating 10 years of listening to America.” His own site is Toledo’s Attic. He has integrated the site with Facebook, Twitter. Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, YouTube, and a wiki and a blog and people can contribute and comment. For example, he has gotten videos of Toledo from YouTube and put a selection on his site. Historical postcards of Toledo are on Pinterest. During the question period one of the medical librarians mentioned that there now is a PubMed commons. If you have something in PubMed, you can create an account and comment on articles. I liked the term “participatory archiving” – maybe something we can do in the Latvian community – or even at Western.

Karen Liston from Wayne State talked about graphic novels and information literacy for language learners and area studies. She told us about the fun, but also difficulties, she has had in finding and managing a graphic novel collection for the many languages in her liaison area. She has created a graphic novel page in her LibGuide for Modern LanguageStudies. She has found a graphic novel for each of her languages, though many are not found in her library. One interesting example was Boxers  and Saints, two graphic novels by Gene Luen Yang about the Boxer rebellion in China 1899-1901 – one from the internal view point, one from the Christian view point.

Chris Miko from Bowling Green State University talked about improving undergraduate information seeking practices. He talked about a learning community at his institution where librarians and teaching faculty met over a year to discuss the research practices of undergraduates.  It sounds like it was a valuable experience for all involved. They came to the conclusion that faculty don’t define research enough and don’t involve librarians in the process enough. They also looked at a survey of faculty and students, who answered the question what students found most difficult about the research process. Students themselves found the writing  most difficult, while faculty thought it was assessing sources. He is looking for ways to share this with the rest of his colleagues and continuing the discussion with faculty. There is a Bowling Green LibGuide on library basics.

Keith Engwall and Stephanie Swanberg are from the Oakland University Medical School that is in its third year with 223 students. Their medical library is mostly digital with a few print text books. The librarians are part of the School of Medicine faculty and are integrated in course development. All students have to do a research project over their four years and write a paper. What Keith and Stephanie experimented with was using chat to supplement class instruction. One of them would teach a class and the other sit in back monitoring a special Moodle chat session with the students in the class. The students needed prompting, like being asked to paste in a search strategy into chat, and then Keith could respond, though when everyone did it at once, he could not respond to all of them.

Todd Wiebe from Hope College had the most entertaining presentation titled:  “Who do they think they are? IL mastery or illusory competence of first year college students.” Wiebe scattered his presentation with witty and targeted quotes, such as the one from Darwin: “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (from The Descent of Man (1871) as found in Wikiquote by me). Wiebe went on to tell us how he tried to assess IL success of an introductory English class that all Hope students have to take.  He chose to go with the indirect method asking for self-perceptions of research skills and he predicted that freshmen would be realistic about what they don't know. He found that 70% thought they had good or excellent research skills. He started looking for studies done by others on inflated self-assessment by students and found that Kruger & Dunning had published a study in 1999 titled “Unskilled and unaware of it.” He mentioned other studies and suggested that we give students wake up calls earlier and that we don’t need to be as polite as we librarians tend to be. He has asked students to come in with two sources they think are good and then he critiques them and offers other sources.

Ed Eckel from Western Michigan University spoke about writing ethically and well and educating graduate students on proper writing practices through plagiarism workshops. Ed has found how hard it is for students to learn to write independently and not patch write, as is often the case. He has worked with the Graduate College to offer a series of plagiarism workshops that have been well received. This presentation was a catalyst for lots of lively discussion.

Julia Rodriguez from Oakland University shared how she has done open access training for library faculty, which she then hopes to expand to the rest of the university. She had an overview of all the recent changes that have happened to facilitate open access and listed all the new staff and faculty that have been added to the OU library. There were some good tips on training, such as having everyone write their elevator speech on open access and then voting on the best one. They used Padlet - for this – one more new app I didn’t know about. During the Open Access week they held a panel on the challenges of traditional publishing.

Michele Bass is a University Library Associate at the University of Michigan who talked about her apprenticeship at the Taubman Health Sciences Library being a good training program for her becoming an informationist. The Taubman library is being renovated, the library books are in storage, and the space is being developed more for use by users. Bass answered the question “What's an informationist?” by explaining that librarians do not just provide support services, but are partners actively contributing to the work of the university.

Steven Putt and James Van Loon from Wayne State University presented on developing research data services. We have been discussing this at our library on how we can participate more in the data intensive research process, especially in the sciences and business. The need for data management plans, digital curation of data is being mandated by funding agencies, but also facilitates research efficiency and interdisciplinary research. Subject librarians and libraries can be part of this process, not necessarily providing data storage space, but helping investigators formulate a data management plan and suggesting places for storage.

Merle Rosenzweig of the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of
Michigan described the implementation of Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) at her institution. ORCID is being used as a disambiguator of authors and being adopted by publishers, institutions, and funding agencies. When submitting articles, publishers are asking for and some are requiring ORCID numbers. U of M now has an agreement, which allows them to create ORCID numbers. Every medical school faculty member has to have a CV online and they are working with Mcommunity directory to have ORCID number included.

Arlene Weismantel and Jonah Magar of Michigan State University shared their insights on the academic library as publisher. In the recently published Library Publishing Directory - 110 libraries report that their institutional repositories are publishing journals, electronic theses and dissertations, and more. This Is a good way to disseminate and preserve materials, make rare and out of print materials more available. Most libraries don’t try to compete with publishers, just proved a service for publications that publishers won’t touch. The libraries at Michigan State collaborate with their university press to provide a publishing service. Magar works with the Espresso Book Machine  and acts as a guide to many self-publishers. They have compiled and reprinted books from MSU’s past. He will help proof copies and walk people through the self-publishing process. There are guidelines on the website and in a booklet they published – Publish Instantly: Submission Guidelines and Best Practices – that I find very useful. There is a catalog of 7 million books available on demand. They also work with the community. My greatest take-away was, that we could use them as our print-on-demand service, as we will not be purchasing the quarter million dollar Espresso machine anytime soon.

Kristina Eden from the University of Michigan looked very familiar and we figured out she had interned at my library years ago. She works with a Copyright Review Management System that collaborates with other institutions. For me it was a fascinating look into the back end work of the Hathi Trust. They are working through a portion of the 11 million volumes Google Books has digitized to see which ones can be made open access. It can be difficult to figure out if something is in the public domain. They have finished looking at books published in the United States between 1920-1963 and were able to make 105,000 of them open access. Their next focus will be on the U.K., Canada and Australia. This work is being done by various institutions funded by grants. A reviewer interface has been developed where you can put in the country, automatically look up when an author died, and follow a decision tree. To achieve legally reliable and consistent results, they have developed a centralized training system with videos that are followed by a one on one screen sharing session as trainer observes the trainee. Two people review each item and if they disagree, an expert adjudicator is called in to make the final decision.

Mike Hawthorne, Katrina Rouan, Alexandra Sarkozy and Nancy Wilmes from Wayne State shared their new model for patron services at the Science & Engineering Library. The decision was made to close this branch library as gate counts, circulation and reference questions had gone down steeply and much in science and engineering is available electronically. The building is still being used for two computer labs, and the books are remaining on the shelves, but are available only by paging. They did purchase a virtual shelf browsing program. The library staff have mostly moved to the grad college library, course reserves have been moved to the 24/7 undergraduate library. They did lose some study room space, but replaced them with larger study rooms in the undergrad library. Closing the library has had them look at their collections and for reference they have had to choose to pitch it, store it, or bring it over. Some high circulation monographs and remaining print journals were also moved. Most new purchases are electronic, and the new print materials go into the grad library. They have made a one-time purchase of various back files. The new model of patron services relies heavily on electronic access to journals, paging access to print, document delivery, phone and chat reference, though liaisons continue to provide instruction and research support. The library has saved a lot on operational costs. The transition has been fairly smooth, as communicating with the campus was a priority. Each department was visited and the academic senate, student association and other key committees were informed. The closing was postponed from August to December 2013 to allow everyone to understand the upcoming changes.

Good conference!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Michigan State University Library

I am embarrassed to admit that I have never visited the MSU Library. I have come to Lansing numerous times while I have lived in Michigan, but it has always been for some specific purpose that did not bring me near the library. I have visited the Library of Michigan at least three or four times, I used to come to Michigan Library Consortium events, but for whatever reason, did not visit MSU. I am amazed that at many conferences where librarians meet, I see no curiosity in visiting the local libraries. At Michigan Academy I find that I am often the only librarian who chose to visit the host institution's library and talk to their staff. This time I was in Lansing for the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference and was forced to come to the MSU library as I had to pick up the key of the house I was staying in from someone that worked in the library. It was my intention to visit the  MSU library anyway, so this just gave me the extra incentive.

When I asked where I could park, my friend suggested the stadium parking lot. I have to admit the Spartan Stadium felt massive compared to Waldo Stadium, but I remember in my brief time working with the Ohio State women's volleyball team, that the Ohio State stadium was also overbearing.

The library itself is the typical older academic library. Someone at the conference asked me why Western didn't have a new library, when Eastern, Central and others had built new library buildings recently. I explained that we had just gotten a new Education Library and Archives, and that the Waldo renovation was not that long ago. I am fine with our building in general, it is that we have not reorganized our space since that renovation to fit the new needs of our patrons. My main purpose in visiting other libraries is to get ideas for changes in our own library. 

The MSU library has five floors in two wings that are connected only on the bottom two floors. One wing is the "quiet wing" that holds most of the LC classified books and has mostly individual carrels for studying. The other wing has more of the group study rooms and spaces, conference rooms, government documents, maps, current periodicals, the copy center and reserves, fine arts collection (art and music) and the Digital and Multimedia Center.

I asked the reference librarian about their groups study rooms and she said they did not have enough. They have six Collaborative Technology Labs, which have to be reserved (online) and about as many simple group study rooms. I saw places that were just divided off with office room dividers for group use. There was a large fairly loud group working together right in front of the reference desk and the librarian said they had no rooms to accommodate a group of that size.

As in every other library I have visited recently, there was a cafe, the Cyber Cafe, serving high quality coffee - by that I mean having the fancy machines to make espresso, cappuccino, etc. with flavors, etc. They offered snacks like chips and candy, and had one display cooler of more substantial food like sandwiches and salads. There was a fairly large area beyond the counter with tables for eating, socializing and studying.

The first floor had various special collections on display, such as the faculty book collection, Cesar Chavez Collection, browsing collection and new books. The Writing Center had a space not far from the reference area, that they staff Sunday through Thursday 5-10 pm. They said that they had satellite writing centers throughout campus. The reference collection has once again been pared down to a small used section with low shelves, maybe the size of our index shelf area that we are cleaning out.

They have a combined copy center and reserves and on a wall near-by they listed the services this area provides: printing and copying, poster printing and laminating, scanning and faxing, supplies, course reserves, course materials program, and an Espresso book machine for printing on demand.

They have a Digital and Multimedia Center, which also includes the Vincent Voice Library and Technology Labs. My understanding is that this is where they keep all their audio and video recordings and the equipment to listen to and view them. There are staff that can help students create multimedia materials, and I heard someone refer to this area as being the place where things are digitized. This is also the area that contains the ONLY GUEST access computer. There is a table of computers for using the catalog and library resources by the reference desk, but to look at email and Facebook and surf the Web, there is only ONE computer for non-MSU folks. I did not ask about wireless access.

One last comment on signage. It has been noted that it is difficult to find one's way around big academic libraries. MSU's solution is to provide signs and colored tape lines to lead people to the correct areas. They do not have carpeted flooring, so the tape probably works better on their tiled floors, but it is an idea. It also assumes that things will stay in place for a long time, as I can't imagine redoing the tape for every shelf shift.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Digital Commons Great Lakes User Group Meeting

August 8-9, 2013, held at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL

Jacklyn Rander & Sarah Beaubien of GVSU, Sarah Shreeves
of Univ. of IL Champaign-Urbana and Stephanie
Davis-Kahl of Illinois Wesleyan University
About 30 Digital Commons users from eight states gathered in the Ames Library for this useful exchange of ideas. Dave Stout, our area sales manager from bepress was there to greet us as one of the most active groups of DC users. There are now 322 DC customers, up from 50 six years ago, with 69 new sites in 2012. There are 1.3 items in all the repositories, with almost 70% full text that have been downloaded 145 million times with an average download of 162 times per object.

Stephanie Davis-Kahl was the local organizer (I met her at the repository manager certification), while Sarah Beaubian of Grand Valley had organized the program. Stephanie mentioned a great list of things that had happened with open access this year alone, including the federal and other funding agencies requiring open access to work done with their monies and the White House Open Data Policy.

Since next year’s focus for ScholarWorks will be on faculty publications, my new ScholarWorks grad assitant and I were happy to see sessions that focused on getting faculty publications into the repository. Margaret Heller form Loyala University in Chicago talked about searching for current faculty article publications, importing them into RefWorks, exporting the file into Excel, using OpenRefine and JSON to check Sherpa Romeo, and getting liaisons to help contact faculty to get permissions and post-prints. I like the idea of concentrating on most recent publications across campus. I did a quick search of WMU publications in Web of Science in 2013 and came up with 155 hits. Margaret also suggested using OpenRefine and JSON on CV’s. I am not familiar with these tools, but it looks like they can save a lot of time. Looks like even book chapters can be posted, if the right permission is received. Another interesting idea was to celebrate faculty publications with a wine and cheese event at the library.

Joshua Neds-Fox and Damecia Donahue of Wayne State University had some great ideas on working with faculty, understanding their hesitations, concerns and misunderstandings about open access, showing them the impact of open access in their field. We talked about the fact that open access differs across disciplines, but in general the impact is positive, as OA leads to more readers and more potential citers of one’s work. They also made the distinction very clear between gold and green open access - gold OA is given by the publisher, who may charge an author a fee, while green OA is given post publication by the copyright holder. The presenters felt that green OA was the better way to go, as long as you can get your hands on the post prints, but that is easier, if it becomes part of the publishing flow. They took us through a four step process that they use when talking with departments: 1) Research the OA advantage in the field, 2) Get a list of high impact journals in the field, 3) Run the journals through Sherpa Romeo (usually a high percentage allow post-prints or publisher PDFs), and 4) Present these findings to faculty with graphs and pie charts and citations to articles proving your point. Wayne State also uses the „do it for me” argument, where faculty love to hear that you will do something for them. They encourage faculty to add an author addendum to the agreements they sign with publishers, allowing for the right to deposit their article in the IR.

I was interested in hearing Kim Myers from The College at Brockport (SUNY), as I had seen her impressive annual report and project management workflow at a previous training session. She is not a librarian, but comes from business, so has more of a „return on investment” approach to her IR. She talked about the importance of a communication plan that is a project management document, looks at the different stakeholders and what needs to be communicated to each group. Kim talked of various tools such as software to create infographics, which can communicate numbers effectively; using emails to communicate with authors about their posted works; and using annual reports as a tool. She mentioned various ways to tell if the IR has had an impact and to show that it helps to enchance the reputation of the college, attracts students and funding, etc. She has been able to engage 65% of the library staff in the repository.

I had the opportunity to ask Dave Stout from bepress about the relationship between Digital Commons and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses before I had to lead the round table discussion about ETDs. ProQuest used to market Digital Commons and as an added benefit, they offered schools a way of importing ETDs from ProQuest to their DC repository. The schools that came on board during this era have that feature grandfathered in. Now you have to purchase the backfiles from ProQuest (I heard a huge range of prices) and then do some coding to bring the metadata and files into your own DC repository. Iowa State University offered to help with the coding. At the round table discussion we shared ideas, practices and frustrations. Some no longer submit to ProQuest and just have their ETDs in the IR. Others are already using the ProQuest ETD Administrator, where students submit directly to ProQuest. Not everyone has a centralized grad college that acts as a gateway for their ETDs, and some have to beg each department for the work of their students. I believe everyone I talked to had moved away from print copies, some even liquidating their print copies. One comment heard was that they were unhappy with the quality of the digitized copies received from ProQuest of older materials, which were probably digitized versions of the microfilms.

The last session of the user group meeting was especially valuable to me, as it was about providing data management planning services, presented by Sarah Shreeves from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With all the funding agencies now asking for data management plans, as they want to see data reused, verified, replicated for a broader impact. Almost all of the sites and tools shown by Sarah were unfamiliar to me. Here are a few:

Sarah was encouraging all of us liaisons to become familiar with the data management world, so we can properly advise our faculty. We need to be aware of options available on campus, security issues, open access, DOIs and to be involved with the conversation on campus that includes OVPR, the Graduate College, and departments. We need to help people to cite data sources properly.