A little news from the world of Collection Development and Acquisitions - just received word that Baker & Taylor (YBP) has acquired BNA! Also as part of the deal, Blackwell U.K. will acquire Baker & Taylor's Lindsay and Croft business in the U.K. Full press release.
Earlier this week a vendor flew a few folks involved with IT for the Taylor Family Digital Library out to Vancouver to see some cutting edge stuff. One of the stops was the Headquarters of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) where we spent about a half hour with the VP for IT, about 40 minutes with the Manager of Photographic Services, and had lunch with the webmaster for the 2010 Olympic website. While much of what we saw may not be directly applicable to our new library building, it was truly humbling to have the time of these people, and I'm really looking forward to the Olympics now so I can watch all this stuff succeed.
Much of the technology happening behind the scenes is in partnership with Atos Origin, a France-based global IT company I'd never heard of, but which is apparently huge. Their colourful logo was everywhere throughout the HQ building.
Fascinating photography stuff. Nick has built custom sleds that can be hooked up wirelessly to the fibre-optic cable that's been installed on the ski hills which will allow photographers to send their shots down the hill to their editors even before the skier has reached the bottom of the hill. Folks aren't going to appreciate this because we're all so used to live video, but to get pro still shots from remote venues that quickly is really a huge technical achievement.
IT is really in tune with social media and user-generated content, and rather than fight a losing battle, will be collecting user-generated content (muchly from YouTube) in a "best of the web" portion of the site. And of course you can become a fan on Facebook, or follow the Olympic Torch Relay on Twitter. I learned a new word as they described how the licensing around video rights work: Coopetition. I like it :-) The website is built on the CoreMedia CMS and should prove to be mobile friendly. They mentioned that by far the majority of their mobile traffic so far has come from iPhone or iPods, followed by various BlackBerry devices. They said something about the Samsung Omnia as well, but I didn't note what.
One of the neatest things we saw all day was a sneak peek at a data-visualization tool they've built called the Medal Wheel. In addition to the traditional tabular format displaying medalists, they'll be using an application built in JavaFX to allow users to dynamically drill through both historical and current medal results, slicing and dicing by country, gender, and sport as you go.
We learned about their simulation runs to ensure everything works well when the games begin. They know things will go wrong, but think they're ready to handle anything that comes up. Simulations include unplugging random machines, thowing a #2 person into a leadership position (your boss just went to the hospital), and similar, etc. All servers are set up on site, then shrink-wrapped and sent out to the venues, where they're set up and should prove good to go. There's a LOT of redundancy too.
Lots of neat multimedia stuff in the downtown Commerce and Media Centres at UBC Robson Square.
Final stop of the day was unrelated to the Olympics, but to talk about an installation of SunRay2 virtual client displays (aka thin clients). I'm intrigued; they seem pretty good, but I would love to hear from any of you who have practical experience with these things - what are your thoughts please?
So that's how I spent my Tuesday. The rest of the week has been quite a bit more low-key ;-)
The other week I pointed to a graphic showing newspaper circulation over the last two decades. Stephen Abram has uncovered a similar graphic showing circulation revenue for a few of the big general news magazines. Theme song: Free Falling, by Tom Petty.
This is a guest post written by two librarians at the U of Calgary about the proposed name change for the Special Libraries Association. In November the membership will be voting whether to change the name of their organization to ASKPro (Association of Strategic Knowledge Professionals). I have no stake in the matter, but Justine Wheeler and John Wright are heavily invested as the Directory of the Business Library and the Head of the Military Museums Library here at the UofC.
I’ve been reading the discussion about the SLA proposed name change with great interest. I must admit when I first heard Association of Strategic Knowledge Professionals (ASKPro), I was hesitant. My main reservation being that the moniker “librarian” is a strong, identifiable brand that is working quite well in academic special libraries – at least in my opinion. Nonetheless, the profession is moving and *needs* to move to a more inclusive understanding of knowledge work.
I thought I’d ask a student assistant in our library what she thought of the name. She thought it sounded “haughty”. Hmmm. Are we trying to put on ‘airs’ or over value ourselves, or is this yet another perfect example of how we and others devalue and misunderstand our work?
As I’ve been mulling this over, I keep coming back to an experience I had at the beginning of the semester. I was asked to present at a PhD orientation. I was given a short amount of time to discuss the library services and resources available to help PhDs conduct their research. When the Associate Dean Research introduced me she said something pretty close to: “the people at the Business Library are so great, we think of them as colleagues not librarians”. Hmmm. At the end of the session one of the PhD students asked me: “what is your background, you seem to know so much about business”? Hmmm again. I had after all been speaking on the topic of business research not business theory. Was it that surprising a business librarian could speak authoritatively on researching business topics? Whatever marketing plan we as a profession have had, it just doesn’t seem to be working. There remains a disconnect between what we do and how we are perceived.
So where am I now? I love the title librarian and I love being a librarian but I believe we do have to take a different approach to promoting our value and what we do. By encouraging those with different skill sets into our association we can expand our own skills, gain exposure to new ideas and create much needed collaboration in the information and knowledge field. By aligning ourselves with those who are, or should be, our colleagues and collaborators we might even be able to raise our profile and change how we are perceived - thereby strengthening, not weakening, our "brand". Doesn’t sound too bad…think I'll vote yes.
John counters with:
I disagree completely - I think being a librarian engenders tremendous goodwill and political capital that can be leveraged. Changing the name just seems to be running from a series of identity issues without resolving them. If anything it makes things more nebulous and waters down who we are as a profession (with standards) and as a function for an organization even more. I think of what happened in the Canadian and US public services and think this would accelerate a diminishing of the profession by a major employment group. The UK Charter model would be a better step, IMHO. I think we need to own librarianship and update the word, and in that I agree with the underlying motives for the name change, if not agreeing either with the name or the imperative to change the name. In short, we do need to own what we do differently - I completely agree with you; I just don't think this is the way.
Want to chime in? Please do!
An emerging list of the top 100 tools for learning in 2009, as picked by 202 learning professionals (and possibly you!). Pleased to note that I was aware of 87 of them, with most of the new-to-me ones being related to animation and course authoring systems. I found it particularly interesting to note the changes between 2007-2009, with some obvious risers like Twitter and Slideshare, but some interesting fallers, such as Facebook drifting from 17 in 2007, to 24 last year, to 33 this year, Microsoft Word dropping from 10 to 22 to 42 this year, and Bloglines falling from 12 to 30 to 73 this year!
Well worth a few minutes to look over the list to see what might be useful to you.
I've mentioned MCM before. He's the author of The Pig and the Box, and a true innovator in the world of independent publishing. I've been fascinated reading his blog posts over the past year as he explores one interesting idea after another for publishing via crowd sourcing, PDF, print, epub, donations, sponsorship, releasing work under Creative Commons, etc.
And now's he's back for season two of his excellent cartoon, Rollbots. Rollbots has been available in Canada for about a year (viewing season), and now it's about to debut in the US on Saturdays at 8 AM on CW4Kids.
So what? You don't watch cartoons? But check out what will happen if you do! If enough of you watch it, MCM will donate nearly $10,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Go read the post, and watch the cartoon on Saturday, it's for a good cause!
BTW, this is not a sponsored post; I love the guy's work, and really enjoy the cartoon too!
Some miscellaneous links you may find of interest:
If you're going to ALA in Chicago this year, here's a session you may want to attend:
ACRL Distance Learning Section
ALA Annual Conference Meeting Invitation
Please join us in Chicago for the presentation of the ACRL/DLS Haworth Press Distance Learning Librarian Conference Sponsorship Award to this year's recipient Jack Fritts, immediately followed by a lively open discussion on Future Distance Learning Section Programs, Poster Sessions and Research
Date: Sunday, July 12, 2009
Time: 10:00 am - Noon
Location: Hilton, Northwest 2
Another winning episode of the CBC Spark podcast. Episode 79 talks with Seamus Ross, Dean of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto about digital preservation, and I also learned about the interrobang (‽).
Here's a goofy non-library example of the importance of digital preservation:
The National Research Council of Canada has decided to privatize their journals and services.
(Thanks for the pointer, Dani)
A couple of quick things to note. Teleread points to an ebook price comparison website: http://www.ebookprice.info/. Doesn't look terribly comprehensive, and it's only US sources, but a good idea. Couldn't find Outliers, for example. But the second thing to note is that I did notice Outliers is now selling for only $4.88 on Shortcovers, vs $19.09 when the site launched a month ago!