I used to have a sticker showing some books with the text "Weapons of Mass Instruction" on my laptop, but I think this example of a Weapon of Mass Instruction is better by far!
Barbara Fister has an interesting article in Library Journal in which she paints a happier-than-usual picture of what university administrators think of libraries and librarians. That's great, but what jumped out at me was down towards the bottom of the article where Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for academic planning and programs
at the University of California (UC) system, is quoted,
"Special collections will be very important," he states. These may be unique archival materials, rare historical items, or web archives, such as a special collection that captured the first draft of history on the Katrina disaster as it was being published in digital form (hurricanearchive.org). Libraries can turn their preservation and collection efforts toward conserving such ephemeral material that would otherwise be lost."
That jumped out because a few weeks ago the California Digital Library opened up their Web Archiving Service beyond the U of California system, which gives us all what appears to be a great tool to start collecting web archives. It's not exactly cheap, but I'm not aware of anything other than the Internet Archive that does anything similar to this (are you?).
From the site:
What if you could easily go back and compare your services and publications of five years ago to those same services today? Whether you are a small non-profit organization or a major University, even short-term management of your web content can be challenging, and keeping web content current is often a high priority. Very large, complex organizations may have equally complex web networks consisting of hundreds of related sites. Whether simple or complex, WAS provides tools to archive your web presence on a periodic, scheduled basis to preserve a record of your organization.
Neat stuff - check it out!
A couple of years ago the U of Calgary was among the first to embed an IM chat widget within its OPAC. What I've really wanted to do since then was also embed it within the bibliographic databases, where students spend even more time. I tried a couple of times with ezproxy's search and replace feature, but never got very far.
A couple of weeks ago we had a visit by our EBSCO rep, and on one of the slides he pointed out that they now allow just this feature! You can see some examples of embedded widgets at http://support.epnet.com/eds/widgets.html
and then scroll down towards the bottom and choose to Modify the Additional Resources section.
Once in there, you want to Add an Item, and then switch to the Custom HTML radio button. Then simply enter your embed code in the HTML box. I found that the optimal dimensions seem to be 175 pixels wide by 280 high, if you've entered 300 in that middle box (click for full size):
And the end result, depending on how many columns you have set for your EBSCO display, will put the chat widget in the lower right corner of your results pages:
I'll probably play with the skin of our Library H3lp widget in order to get that "UofC Library" to appear all on one line, but otherwise it's good to go. Eventually I'll start to explore our other databases again to see if ProQuest or others will allow this.
Registration is now open for Computers in Libraries 2010, to be held in Arlington, VA, April 12-14. I'll be reprising my Screencasting preconference workshop, and am looking forward to 1) incorporating feedback received from my last workshop at Internet Librarian, and 2) having a smoking-fast machine upon which to demonstrate this time :-). I haven't been to CIL since 1994 (my first and only visit), and am really looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!
This morning I received the following email from Susan at EBSCO Publishing (published with permission):
At ALA, EBSCO had a customer luncheon where we mentioned that our databases will have some newly unique content relative to other full-text database vendors. There are many unique full-text publications in our databases. These can be due to exclusive or semi-exclusive licenses (sometimes referred to as “preferred” partnerships), or they can be “de facto” exclusives where the publisher does not have a formal contract preventing them from working with others, but chooses not to do so. While EBSCO is not in a position to provide details of our contracts with any specific publishers, nor able to issue a press release, I would like to attempt to clear up some of the confusion that exists.
There have been numerous blog postings by librarians, including some with great detail, pertaining to the unique and soon-to-be-unique content in EBSCOhost full-text databases. I have actually been amazed by the specificity of these blogs, and although most of the information is correct, some of it is not. For example, Science has incorrectly been listed as unique to EBSCO full-text databases, but as far as I know, Science is not available via any full-text database, including any of EBSCO’s. There were also some generalizations made that are true for many, but not all, publishers of the content discussed. In addition, many unique or soon-to-be-unique publications were NOT listed in those blogs. We are not going to publish a list of unique magazines or journals, but we are willing to do customized comparisons for each library to show which publications would be gained (or retained) by adding (or keeping) EBSCO databases.
With regard to academic journals, EBSCO’s active full-text coverage is overwhelmingly superior to databases from other vendors and this is recognized by most libraries worldwide. The new discussion centers around general magazines, which is where many of the recent changes have taken place or are about to take place. As a company, we feel strongly that journals and magazines are among the most important sources for research and we have worked hard to ensure that our databases contain the best possible collections for our customers. Although a major investment, we believe our efforts and actions will preserve access to important publications for the majority of libraries worldwide and provide the best possible research experience for end users.
As part of my response I indicated that I had taken my list of journals that I had published earlier this week from a series of cruddy photos I snapped with my iPhone (crappy 3G camera), including this one, from which I took the title Science:
Susan wrote back to point out that Science in this case is the category of magazines being addressed on this page, and not the name of the publication, so I've removed Science from the list on my previous post and am now tracking down other bloggers who've reproduced my list to ask them to modify as well.
Here are the rest of the shots I took; if only the Science one had been as clear :-( Sorry about that, EBSCO and readers.
update: Feb 5, 2010: A publisher has requested I don't show the cover images w/o explicit permission, so I have blurred the cover images in the shots above.
Late last year I was invited to become an inaugural member of the Summon Advisory Board, and yesterday here in Boston we held our first meeting. What a rush! It's days like that that remind me just how much I love my job. The day was filled with stimulating conversation, and I got to meet colleagues from around the world who are struggling with the same issues we are at the U of Calgary, and spend the day with representatives of the Summon team who are equally passionate about making their product the best that it can be.
In the interest of full disclosure, Serials Solutions paid our way to Boston for this all-day meeting. That said, I wanted to share some of the highlights of the day. There were 14 Summon customers in the room, and half that many more representing various sides of the Summon team. Summon now has 51 customers around the world, and a whole lotta content! The numbers have always sounded impressive to me, but the following pie chart was shown that really hit home for me - this type of product really is a new ballgame:
We learned that they've turned on a new back end that greatly increases the speed of the product, with 80% of all searches being fully returned in 1 second or less. Go ahead and try it with the U of Calgary implementation. Don't like a hosted URL? Check out what the U of Virgina has done with the Summon API for their mobile interface! (dear UVA, I'll be in touch when I'm back in the office next week).
We had a fair bit of discussion about overlap of content within and between traditional library databases, and helping our librarians wrap their heads around the fact that it probably doesn't matter that 100% of database X isn't fully indexed. There's a lot of long-tail stuff out there. One of the content managers pointed out that the average academic library holds 24% of Ulrich's Core Journals, and Summon has 40%.
I'm really revitalized over this project, and will be heading back to Calgary with an aim towards cleaning up our metadata in order to really leverage Summon. Lots of good stuff coming in the next few months. Really eager to see what EBSCO's got to show at the convention centre tomorrow - competition is good :-)
This ought to be up the alley of quite a few of you:
Editors of the forthcoming ACRL publications book Embedded Librarians: Moving beyond one-shot instruction, to be published late 2010, seek proposals for chapters from skilled librarians who have researched and/or implemented an embedded librarian program. The book will provide an overview of embedded librarianship within higher education. Chapters are sought about strategies for and experiences of creating a long-term embedded presence in multiple non-library settings, both online and in-person.
Potential topics include:
Prospective authors should email a brief CV, a writing sample, and a one-page proposal for their chapter to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals are due by January 30, 2010.
In a recent issue of The Readex Report, Benjamin L. Carp, Assistant Professor of History at Tufts University gives us five reasons why, despite his love for digitized resources, he still loves and wants libraries:
Seems a little early, but The Alberta Library (TAL) has put our a Call For Proposals for Netspeed 2010, to be held October 20-22, 2010 in Edmonton, AB. Here's the call:
The Alberta Library (TAL) invites proposals for conference sessions at Netspeed 2010, to be held October 20-22, 2010, in Edmonton, AB.Netspeed is a conference for librarians and library technical staff that serves to highlight new technologies. Sessions cover a variety of topics including emerging tech trends, newly implemented technology, tech “how to’s” and the impact these have on the library community. Are you testing out a new technology? Using an old technology in a new way? Share with us your successes and your not-quite successes!
Proposals for conference and pre-conference sessions are welcome, as are suggestions for speakers and topics. All submissions must be received by February 5, 2010.
Session proposals should include:
Please e-mail session proposals and ideas by February 5, 2010 to email@example.com.
- Session title.
- Brief abstract (max 250 words).
- Brief summary of speaker's experience with the topic.
- Contact information for all speakers.
Thank you for considering being part of Netspeed 2010!
One more find by Stephen Abram; a Campus Technology report indicating that by 2014, the number of US students taking at least some of their courses online will rise from 10.65 million in 2009 to 18.65 million. If true, there should remain plenty of opportunities for librarians supporting distance or blended learners!
"Working with academics, libraries and copyright monitors from across the world, Copyright Watch brings together the most recent copies of laws from as many countries as we could find. And with that global team, we'll be tracking new proposals, consultations, and freshly passed regulations: finding the promising changes, and highlighting the spectacularly bad ideas hopefully before they can take hold."
Aw crap, I just read in the latest issue of TL Infobits that Carolyn Kotlas's position at UNC Chapel Hill has been eliminated, and as a result Infobits is folding as well. From the editor's note:
This will be the next to the last issue of TL Infobits. My position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been eliminated, and I will leave employment here in December. Since its beginning in 1993, Infobits has always been a one-person endeavor, and so with my departure, Infobits will leave the ITS Teaching and Learning division as well.
It has been my privilege and pleasure to provide this service to my readers over the years. The newsletter has given me a chance to reach out to the academic community on and beyond my own campus. It has enabled me to take my information hunting and gathering skills beyond just satisfying my own curiosity, thus sharing my interests in IT for academics with others. And, not least, I have been able to meet, although only virtually, many dedicated, interesting people who have encouraged my work with their kind comments.
In the event that Infobits resurfaces in a new home, there will be more information in the November issue.
-- Carolyn Kotlas, Infobits Editor