Monday, December 4, 2017

Negotiating with Vendors

As I begin to dive into acquisitions and vendor relations, a recent article in Online Searcher appears to be well-timed and of potential benefit to others facing negotiations with vendors (see Michael L. Gruenberg, Five Key Questions for Negotiators to Ask, Online Searcher, Nov.-Dec. 2017, 44-47). In this article, Michael L. Gruenberg discusses key questions librarians repeatedly asked while he was promoting his book Buying and Selling Information. These topics are things we should, as negotiators for our institutions, be addressing with our sales representatives and vendors.

The questions Gruenberg addresses in this article:
  1. Should you ask for, and expect, a price sheet from your sales rep?
  2. Can the vendor defend the price?
  3. Can a library request a different representative be assigned?
  4. What is the standard renewal rate?
  5. Do I really need to create a negotiation plan?

If you’ve taken a Negotiations course in college or law school, you probably already know the answer to #5…

Gruenberg has some useful insight from his background in sales that can benefit us as negotiators for our organizations.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 DLF Forum and NDSA Digital Preservation

In October, I attended the 2017 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Digital Preservation conference for the first time. The core theme of the 2017 Digital Preservation conference is “Preservation is Political” but both events touch on the preservation of cultural heritage material and digital information through political changes and across boundaries.

Jason Eiseman wrote an excellent blog post on both affiliated events for the Law Librarians of New England (LLNE) blog so I will not provide another recap here. If you are also interested in viewing recordings, slides, notes, and photos from the events, in addition to keeping up with the latest Forum newsletter, the DLF has posted links to these resources in its November 22, 2017 Blog and News post, DLF Forum Recap and Working Group News. The post highlights Forum activities of all active DLF working groups. I will just highlight here the work of a few of those groups potentially of interest to TS members.

At the DLF Forum, I attended the Assessment Interest Group (AIG) meeting. This group is very welcoming and encourages anyone who is interested in getting involved to take part—there is no membership requirement. Of particular interest to TS members may be the AIG subgroup, Metadata Assessment Working Group. The Metadata group is currently working on developing a framework for assessing descriptive metadata, building a repository of metadata assessment tools, and creating a clearinghouse of metadata application profiles. More information about the group can be found on their wiki page and information on their current projects can be found on their toolkit page.

Another group of potential interest is the Government Records Transparency and Accountability Interest Group. During the group’s Forum working lunch meeting, members discussed planning for future projects and creating subgroups around issues related to sharing public information, education, advocacy, documentation, and potential special projects. The interest group will be making plans for its participation in the second annual Endangered Data Week.

Other groups of potential interest to TS librarians include the Linked Open Data Zotero Group and Born-Digital Access Group. DLF groups of interest to librarianship in general include the Digital Library Pedagogy Group, Technologies of Surveillance Group, Labor Working Group, and Project Managers Group. You can learn more about all working groups at the DLF Groups page.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Recommendations for Next Generation Repositories

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) has just released a report from their Next Generation Repositories Working Group: Behaviours and Technical Recommendations of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group. The recommendations in this report provide an interesting read about the potential for a much more interlinked and standardized repository front in the future.

The report states that ”many of the behaviors and recommendations for next generation repositories pertain to establishing links across repositories as a way to break down the silos and arrive at an environment characterized by interconnected networked ​repositories.”

We currently have a somewhat “under-regulated” system of repositories that may or may not play nice with each other. The suggested standards and protocols within this report would move towards a more standardized approach to repository content as well as the metadata backing these materials. If adopted globally these standards would provide the foundation for more interlinked data and materials by adopting, and then adapting, resources that are already available.


Acknowledging that technology is fluid, and in some cases the desired technology does not yet exist, the Working Group will soon be publishing their behaviors and technologies in a GitHub repository to support updates and engage the broader community. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Getting to Know TS Law Librarians: Jackie Magagnosc



1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
Jackie Magagnosc, Cataloging and Continuations Management Librarian at the Cornell Law Library

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
My job title was recently updated, so it’s pretty accurate. My position is relatively traditional. I am responsible for original and complex copy cataloging in all formats; I supervise the support staff in cataloging and continuations check in. 

3. What are you reading right now?
For fun: The houseguest by Kim Brooks. Next in the queue is Radium girls by Kate Moore. For work/professional development: I have an epic “articles to read pile” on my desk, plus Practical ontologies for information professionals by David Stuart.

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
In my wildest dreams, I would be fun to work at a library or archive with a collection focusing on one of my personal interests, so gardening, fiber and textile arts, or history of dress.

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I’m currently trying to wrap my head around OpenRefine. I did a short workshop a while ago, and I’ve waded through a basic tutorial, but if you don’t use something it’s gone. In this fantasy scenario, everything would be clear and I would be able to apply OpenRefine to a project I have in mind.

Friday, November 17, 2017

NASIG updates strategic plan

NASIG, formerly the North American Serials Interest Group, recently announced availability of the NASIG Strategic Plan 2017-2011. This new strategic plan reflects NASIG's evolution from an organization primarily focused on serials management to one with a broader scope including electronic resources management and scholarly communications.

The details:

NASIG's vision, adopted November 10,2014, is to be:
an independent organization working to advance and transform the management of information resoures. Our ultimate goal is to facilitate and improve the distribution, acquisition, and long-term accessibility of information resources in all formats and business models.
The organization's mission includes three key components.
  1. Support of a community of professionals ... engaging in understanding of one another's perspectives and improving functionality throughout the information resources lifecycle ...
  2. Provision of a variety of conference and continuing education programming ...
  3. Promotion of the development and implementation of best practices and standards for the distribution, acquisition and long-term accessibility of information resources in all formats and business models throughout their lifecycle.
The strategic plan identifies five strategic directions for the organization.
  1. NASIG will revitalize its marketing approach to reflect is new mission and vision.
  2. NASIG will expand student outreach and mentoring.
  3. NASIG will find the optimum balance between paid staff and volunteer work.
  4. NASIG will be involved in creating new content to add to the body of scholarly work.
  5. NASIG will work to enhance benefits to all members with a particular emphasis on members from the commercial sector.
NASIG's 33rd annual meeting, with the theme Transforming the Information Community will be held in Atlanta, GA  Friday June 8 - Monday June 11, 2018.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NISO “Understanding Metadata” Primer

In a press release on January 18, 2017, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the release of Understanding Metadata, an update to NISO’s 2004 publication on the topic. The current release is the second document in NISO’s Primer Series on data management issues. The primer series began with the publication of Research Data Management in 2015 and will continue with a forthcoming publication on Linked Data for Cultural Institutions and additional guides in the future.

The 2017 primer is an expanded overview of structured metadata used in cultural heritage institutions, covering the latest developments in metadata practices, tools, standards, and languages. It provides a useful outline of the most common use cases for standard metadata types in information systems, covering a range of cultural resources management activities including description, discovery, display, interoperability, digital-object management, preservation, and object navigation. Subsequent sections provide a comprehensive overview of a.) How metadata is stored and shared through relational databases, XML documents, and Linked Data and RDF b.) The standardization of metadata through controlled vocabularies and content standards, and c.) Notable metadata languages used broadly and within cultural heritage institutions. As an introductory document, the 2017 Primer addresses the basic issues around, what is metadata, why we create metadata, and how we create, use, and share metadata.  

As a newbie to understanding metadata, I found it useful to read both NISO’s 2004 Understanding Metadata document and the 2017 Primer publication. However, the latter includes a few concepts that were not covered in the original document such as Linked Data, the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME), and CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC CRM). In other instances, the 2017 primer provides more substantive descriptions of concepts nominally covered in the 2004 publication, such as RDF (Resource Description Framework). 

The 2017 NISO Primer release, Understanding Metadata, is available as a free download at http://www.niso.org/publications/press/understanding_metadata.  



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

eBooks in the Law Library - Part 2

Law and Technology Resources for Legal Professionals, LLRX, continues its look at the current state of eBooks in law libraries. The second of their three-part series offers a great summary of the various pricing models that may be encountered during the acquisitions process. There are many ownership and subscription options for eBook acquisition and this article does an excellent job of explaining how the various plans work. It offers concise explanations for even the most confusing plans, such as non-linear lending and access to own. 

Still not sure what model would work best for your particular budget? The article also offers numerous helpful tips for keeping eBook costs down while growing a collection. 

The article concludes with a list of questions that should be addressed before selecting any eBook package. For example; making sure the technical requirements match the resources of your library and its users, examining the content and scope of the eBook package to make sure you're meeting your user's needs, and inquiring about user interface and other functions such as printing and copy/pasting from the eBook titles. 

This is an excellent primer for any librarian looking to add eBooks to their collection. The next article in the series will include a case study of how the author's library has built its eBook collection.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Getting to Know TS Law Librarians: Jennifer Noga



1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
Jennifer Noga, Technical Services Librarian at Wake Forest University School of Law

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes and no. I’m responsible for some functions that are traditionally technical services-oriented; maintenance of the physical collection, serials, and some cataloging. However, some of my work is outside that realm; things like systems-oriented activities and data and statistics management. 

3. What are you reading right now?
I usually have several books going at once. Currently, I’m reading: a biography of Georgia O’Keefe by Roxana Robinson, The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, and Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson. At work, I’m slowly but surely working through Javascript & JQuery by Jon Duckett.

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be?  Why?
While working on my MLIS, I was in a class that visited numerous special libraries. One of those was in Asheville at the Biltmore House, a famous mansion in the mountains of North Carolina. Their foundation maintained an on-site archive of the history of the house and the Biltmore family. The space where the archive was located was an enclosed sleeping porch on an upper floor that looked out over the beautiful grounds and the Blue Ridge Mountains. I always thought how wonderful it must be to be an archivist working in such a setting; digging through the old papers and history of that amazing place.

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I’d start trying to decipher the API documentation for our ILS. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

OCLC supports changing FAST terminology but says LCSH must take the lead

In Andrew Pace's OCLC Next post dated 14 September 2017, he addresses the discussion around changing the term "Illegal Aliens" in OCLC's Faceted Access to Subject Terminology (FAST). Pace is the Executive Director, Technical Research at OCLC. 

He states that OCLC supports the change in terminology but is committed to work with the Library of Congress (LC) and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) and will not be making any changes to terminology without LCSH changes. As puts he it, "FAST has no history of sweeping editorial changes in headings based on pervasive cultural change without first seeing those changes in the LCSH headings from which FAST is derived." After explaining the basics of FAST, he reiterates, "FAST has always been downstream of LCSH changes and the governance of headings that occurs through the PCC Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO)...We have no plans to establish a FAST governance model similar to SACO, nor an independent editorial group similar to that at the Library of Congress. FAST will follow LC’s lead."

As of October 2017, there has been no change in the heading but it is not likely this debate is over. As Pace points out, "Librarians are the most proactive professionals I have ever witnessed when it comes to identifying an opportunity for positive change and aggressively seeking a solution."

See the full article at: http://www.oclc.org/blog/main/lcsh-fast-and-the-governance-of-subject-terms/.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

eBooks in the Law Library

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed asked if medical schools still need books. The question of the role of eBooks in all types of libraries has been batted around in some form or another since the advent of eBooks. While the Inside Higher Ed article settles on familiar answers and case studies of paperless and hybrid libraries, it seems clear that all libraries are arcing slowly toward having eBooks as a substantial part of their collections.

Law and Technology Resources for Legal Professionals, LLRX, is addressing the state of eBooks in law libraries in a three-part series. The first part, published this week, gives a helpful overview of some the challenges and opportunities that come with adding eBooks to law library collections. Of particular interest to technical services librarians is the section on acquiring eBooks. Various platforms and modes of purchase are discussed. The article also briefly touches on issues related to integrating eBooks into the library's existing technological infrastructure.

The second article in the series promises to delve deeper into eBook acquisitions issues. The third part will present some case studies of how various law libraries have added eBooks to their collections.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Disaster Resources for Cultural Heritage

The fall brings us hurricane season and extended drought conditions have led to what feels like a never-ending wildfire season. But this year has brought us more than the natural disasters that we "expect." Earthquakes and flooding have also brought recent devastation to North America. In many places the recovery efforts are still focused on survival essentials. In the weeks since these disasters have hit there have been numerous resources shared for when efforts can turn towards our cultural heritage. Current President of the Society of American Archivists, Tanya Zanish-Belcher, has compiled a list of resources to assist in funding recovery project dealing with libraries and archives. Check out her blog post for more details. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Ajaye Bloomstone

1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
My name is Ajaye Bloomstone and I am the Acquisitions Librarian at the LSU Law Library in Baton Rouge, LA.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
It does in that I am responsible for all of the acquisitions responsibilities at the Law Library.  Since we are a DOCLINE library within the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, I am also responsible for generating DOCLINE requests for the Law Library’s community and filling requests when possible for other medical libraries participating in DOCLINE.  It’s not uncommon that law reviews and other legal resources will have information of a medico-legal nature needed by those in the medical professions. I work closely with our Law Center faculty, staff, and administration with regard to obtaining publications in all formats, such as review copies for professors and materials for Law Center programs: Apprenticeship Week, the Trial Advocacy Program, our Summer in France, and other programs developed to supplement the curriculum.

3. What are you reading right now?
Professionally I’m going through The Complete Guide to Acquisitions Management and Guide to Ethics in Acquisitions, and personally I’m reading through several industrial and organizational psychology texts given to me when our former HR manager retired (yes, really!)

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be?  Why?
While full time at the LSU Law Library, I also established and managed a one-person medical library in a specialty discipline for 14 years on a part-time basis, giving me an entre into the world of medical librarianship. I’d thought about becoming a veterinarian in high school and took the appropriate science courses, but during college, academic librarianship  and the MLS intervened. Long ago, I applied for a library position at the San Diego Zoo, my dream job at the time, and at some point I’d like to get my hand back into medical librarianship.

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
In conjunction with the Law Center’s realignment with our main campus, we recently adopted a new financial system. All of our coding information for financials has changed, so I’d like to spend more time to work on understanding  the system, isolating the specific new codes for use with the Library and Law Center’s purchases I generate, and become more familiar with the new ledger system to easily and quickly access the information that our Library needs.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

White paper released: A brave new (faceted) world

The ALCTS CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee has released a white paper by the Working Group on Full Implementation of Library of Congress Faceted Vocabularies, ALCTS/CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee, Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation, A brave new (faceted) world: towards full implementation of Library of Congress faceted vocabularies. The white paper summarizes the work over the past ten years to develop and promote these vocabularies, and provides detailed recommendations for their adoption in routine cataloging practice.

The vocabularies consist of: 
  • Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), a faceted thesaurus designed to describe what a work is, as opposed to what a work is about.
  • Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus (LCMPT) to describe the "medium of performance" (instrumentation, scoring, etc) for musical works/expressions.
  • Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (LCDGT) developed to capture the "category of persons who created or contributed to a work or expression and the intended audience for a resource".
The white paper provides detailed back ground on and recommendations for implementation of these vocabularies. Of particular interest to technical services law librarians is coverage of CSCAG's work around genre/form terms and discussion of application of LCGFT to bibliographic records for law resources. Catalogers on the Library of Congress's Law Team have been applying selected terms from the list since January 2011.

For each vocabulary, the document provides general and specific recommendations for implementation. For example, it is recommended that addition of LCGFT terms become a core requirement for PCC BIBCO records wherever appropriate; specific recommendations for updates to documentation and manuals is outlined.

Application of LCMPT, LCGFT, and LDCGT descriptive elements to authority records is explored. Addition of data from these vocabularies to authority records would enable the possibility of this data being entered once instead of repeated entry in records describing different manifestations.

In conclusion, the paper argues for full-scale implementation of these new vocabularies, with a recommended suite of actions:
  • Comprehensive faceted vocabulary training for catalogers working in shared environments
  • Routine creation of work-level authority records for works "embodied in or likely to be embodied in multiple manifestations"
  • Retrospective implementation of faceted vocabulary terms using algorithms
  • Display and granular indexing of all faceted data in bibliographic records (MARC 046, 370, 382, 385, 386, 388 and 655)
  • Display and granular indexing of authority data in specific fields.


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. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Proxy Servers for Electronic Resources

As I recently struggled with Wolters Kluwer to get our CCH Intelliconnect service to work properly through EZProxy, this topic turned out to be rather timely. Many of our libraries already subscribe to a number of databases and other electronic services, and for law libraries our most popular services such as Lexis and Westlaw require individual logins and accounts. Managing those accounts can be time consuming, but for the user they typically ensure uniform access to the resource from on- or off-campus.

For many of our electronic resources, however, we tend to push for IP authentication instead of user accounts. IP authentication means that we set up the service to recognize the IP addresses (the numeric address of a ‘computer’ on the Internet) for our library or university campus. When a user connects to the service from the library, they are magically (in their eyes) identified to be a legitimate subscriber and granted access. But what about our patrons that are not actually in the library at the moment? One of the benefits of these services is supposed to be 24/7 access…

This is where proxy servers can be a key addition to your service! Basically, a proxy server (such as EZProxy from OCLC) acts as an intermediary for the electronic resource. Users connect to the proxy server, that server authenticates the user in some way, then the proxy server actually connects to the resource. The user never connects directly to the resource, so the only IP address the service sees is that of the proxy server.

In some institutions, proxy servers may also be used for on-campus access as well, simplifying the overall setup and allowing tighter control over who can access the services. Proxy servers might be set up on local servers as hosted services, depending on an institution’s size and resources. It's not always simple to configure or troubleshoot problems, as my recent experiences with Wolters Kluwer can illustrate, but the benefits of a proxy server can be many.

To learn more, visit Library Technology Launchpad’s recent post at http://libtechlaunchpad.com/2017/04/25/proxy-servers-basics-and-resources/

Monday, July 3, 2017

Project management software

In the most recent issue of Computers in Libraries, Li Chen and Xueying Chen wrote about using a free software called Trello for project management. (Li Chen & Xueying Chen, How to Manage Library Projects with Trello, Computers in Libr., May 2017, at 19.) Project management software can be incredibly helpful for technical services departments - we are so workflow-dependent and we often manage large projects with several moving parts and lots of detail to track. At Boston University, we use the University-licensed SharePoint program to manage our projects, but recognize that there are lots of great options out there. It looks like Trello has the advantage of more visual tools, but SharePoint integrates with other Microsoft products we are already using; each library needs to consider what is important to them when evaluating these programs. Moving to project management software has helped us with projects like getting an institutional repository off the ground and managing our subscription agent renewal reviews. Does anyone have project management software they love? What makes it so great? I'm curious to hear about it in the comments.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Dana Deseck-Piazzon



1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
Hi! I am Dana Deseck-Piazzon, Librarian at the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes, as the solo librarian I have my hands in a little bit of everything from original cataloging, managing electronic subscriptions, and managing undergraduate interns in our library transformation project. This next year I will commence a metadata audit of our digital library called the eCollection , which requires knowledge of metadata schemes and an investment in metadata! As an employee in Knowledge and Information Services (KIS), I just completed my three – week residential phase of the Institute for Court Management Fellows Program. Next year after I complete my court project, which is the metadata audit I will graduate at the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. What are you reading right now?
I also usually read two books simultaneously. For my new project at work (metadata audit), I am reading Metadata in Practice and (soon I will read Information Resource Description: Creating and Managing Metadata.). For pleasure, I am reading Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun. Her books continue to amaze and entertain me!

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I would like to work at the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) Library for a month! It’s called the Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library and it’s closely associated with the McCraw Foundation for Asian Art. I just love visiting the SAM, and I’ve also toured the library when I attended the University of Washington. I would really love to become more familiar with their collections and celebrate the Puget Sound region’s gems, especially the Porcelain Room that contains “vast quantities of translucent, elegantly decorated white-bodied porcelain from China and Japan”.  To be immersed in art, art history, and assisting art enthusiasts would be intriguing! The SAM’s collections encompass European, Asian, and Native American art.