Monday, July 03, 2006

ALA - Exhibits

I spent quite a few hours in the exhibits, including time getting a few signed books and picking up quite a few free galley proofs (the pile is in the Reference office for anyone to read, but please return them.) Below are notes on some things that were related to my work and may impact our library as a whole.

Russian/International/Multicultural materials
I’ll have to talk to Bettina on how we are developing our international and multi-cultural collection that supports various programs and could support internationalization across the curriculum.
East View – we can have a minimal selection plan with them. I will have to talk to Dasha Nisula, and maybe some of the local Russian community, what we should order.
Russia Online is another one of the major vendors for Russian materials. They had an interesting encyclopedia of Russian military equipment and tour books for Ukraine.
SpeakEasy provides a series of books called Survival Spanish. We have been talking in the International Ed. Council about the need for courses that teach a professional enough of a language, to be able deal with clients, without learning all about the grammar, etc. Speak Easy has been teaching courses to health care workers, bankers, construction folk, and many others. The course materials have evolved into books and CD’s. I’ve talked to Maria about this.
Multicultural Books and Videos (in Michigan!) – I picked up the main catalogs from this company, that covers Arabic, Chinese, Farsi/Persian, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hmong, Italian, Korean, Languages of India, Polish, Portugese, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Turkish, and Vietnamese, with dictionaries available in more languages, and contacts to get to materials in even more languages.

Other things to possibly order
PREP Publishing has a series of Real-Resumes for X (various different fields)
was an interesting American art database.
College Prowler
publishes guides and grades for 200 top colleges and some regional guides based on student evaluations. I think we should get a few, at least the ones for UofM, MSU, Chicago schools, Ivy League, Big 10.

Chat Reference
has an Ask a Librarian service that can work in tandem with our own – they would cover hours we were not available.
is still out there from OCLC to help provide 24/7 reference.

Audio Books
is a new system of listening. It works like an I-pod and all the controls are right on the book.
carries a lot of classics.

There were many vendors offering RFID services. I stopped to talk to just one of them. They showed me how a chip that looks like a regular paper sticker is inserted into each book – like our current bar codes, and is used for inventory purposes as well as much quicker check-out, allowing self-checkout. I saw the check-out stations and they reminded me of the self-ticketing machines in airports. I did not ask about price, because I knew it would be high, but this vendor said he had a library that found that their RFID system paid for itself in two years. (Must have been a small library.)
Koha, an open source ILS system? We have other experts here at ALA, and we probably have too much invested with Endeavor, but it was interesting to see an open source system available for library use. Plus, LibLime, the vendor helping people adapt Koha, is based in Athens, OH, an old stomping ground of mine.

Random items
Drop boxes – I asked a drop box vendor about students using it as a garbage bin, and was told that doesn’t occur very much. Some boxes even have slots for liquids or small objects to fall through in a separate space from the books. Prices from this one company ranged from $1700 - $6000 per drop box.
I asked MLA vendors to pass on my request for abstracts in their indexing. They seemed surprised and thought the esoteric subject headings they add were adequate.
Google had a much more substantial booth than last year – showing services to librarians that they could use. I learned more about their services like Book Search, Google Earth, Google News, etc. and I picked up a couple of CD’s with downloads of some of their services. I liked the way they had us fill out a quiz – to see if we knew the details of their services, and only after we had verified our answers with someone, we could get a prize.
I briefly talked to a representative from Family Search, one of the three large genealogy search services from Utah, but the only one that is free.
I stopped by at the Endeavor booth, but got an inexperienced rep. I just wanted to see where they have gone with their federated searching (now called Discovery: Finder). I know others are researching federated searching and ERM for us, so I didn’t dwell on it.
Rebuild New Orleans Public Library
– the most heart wrenching experience at a booth was talking to the people from the New Orleans Public Library. They do not expect to see NOPL back to “normal” during their work careers. There is no longer a tax base for them to get funding, and a small percentage of the staff (I think it was something like 40) are trying to run all current open branches. I bought a T-shirt and buttons to support them.

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