Posts Tagged ‘ traveling ’

Summary: Trends, Ideas, Looking Ahead #erl14


ER&L 2014 did not disappoint.  The three great keynote speakers offered a good frame for describing the breadth of topic the conference typically offers. Opening keynote, Barbara Fister, reminded us that where the issue of the 90s was ownership to access, today the issue is toll access to open access.  Fister approached her topic by challenging the passive language that predominates library missions and our somewhat hypocritical promotion of “lifelong learning” when it comes to providing access.twittererl14_chris
Fister encouraged us to find more activist methods that connect us and our patrons to the open access and scholarly publishing issues, including devoting portions of budget and staff time to OA projects. (Check.)  Expanding our neighborhood. (Check.) And beyond that, finding and offering solutions to problems. “Do more than negotiate favorable terms; provide alternatives to market driven economy that is eroding our mission.”  Sarah Dutton shared her research and consulting practice in resilience, addressing the negative biological effects of constant disruptive change and the potential solutions that personal practices of resilience can offer.  Soundbites include: “Embrace vulnerability, failure, resilience through connection.  Pay attention to “being” in addition to “doing” in our work” (Durant, Red Sage consulting).  Will maybe begin exploring possibilities for bringing her in for future organizational development related programming in my library.
Finally, Brent Hecht shared some brilliant applications of data mined from open information sources, primarily Wikipedia. With this data he showed how English language bias could be found in Wikipedia and how that led to better shared knowledge applications using alternative data visualization models.  You might check out some of other wiki-applications in the Resources at the end, as well as a great summary of this closing keynote by eclectic librarian, Anna Creech.
The concepts the keynote speakers offered echoed across multiple presentations I attended revealing several trends in each of these areas  and leading to some key ideas for actions, areas to begin looking ahead and keep in mind, and useful resources to refer back to.


Pulling these ideas into areas specific to e-resources, one constant refrain was how to maintain agility and resilience when e-resources continues as an increasing portion of budget and a small portion of organizational staffing resources.  While there is justified need for increased staffing or addressing staffing to e-resources, it remains perhaps most problematic that a majority library workflows remain predominantly centered on print — not just technical services workflows, but also content development and access services.  (ALL SESSIONS, but #erl14humanterms specifically addressing collection development, #nexuserm specifically to Access Services)
    How organizations understand and begin to address this revealed an interesting interplay, debate maybe, between e-resources=”someone(s)” vs. e-resources=”everyone”.  There were many different approaches to workflow and reorganization based on how you conceive of e-resources management in these two ways.  Those who divide by format, aka the e-resources=someone(s), see it as a way to address the problem they see that the continuously changing nature of e-resources requires staff to devote more focused time in e, not divided time in both p and e (MIT).  Alternatively, the everyone does e-resources model argues that it can’t possibly be focused or siloed in this way and requires on-going communication, coordination, check-in, training, and evaluation.  The questions I was left with was, “which one best supports your organizational or staffing strengths?” (ALL SESSIONS, #erl14humanterms specifically “e should be our core”, #nexuserm).
    Both TERMS and NASIG Core Competencies for E-resources [in] Librari[es]  popped up in various context, including addressing organizational analyses of e-resources workflow interdependencies. (#nexuserm, TERMS workshop). Both were also mentioned as a way to advocate for staffing and to frame team development and training (#erl14humanterms).  This lead me to the idea of using TERMS as a workflow checklist, or a documentation tool in my department. But perhaps more broadly, and following the “e-resources everyone” model, why not  make a survey where people can identify whether they feel certain activities/workflows (TERMS) and competencies/skills (NASIG CC for E) fall within their responsibility?
    Workflow analysis and restructuring was prevalent, and approaches had some commonalities such as positions and workflows re-aligning with libraries strategic plans, including many creating digitization programs to manage OA resources and born digital assets.  Key points repeated about these workflow analyses efforts emphasize:
  1. it will take time (years!)
  2. it will be painful
  3. it will require concerted attention to information management.
    Information management also stood out as a critically important goal and ongoing activity in its own right, with repeated emphasis on visualization/process maps, and with common sets of success measures, including:
  1. reduce reliance upon email and human memory,
  2. automate hand-offs and notifications,
  3. promote ease of access to existing documentation,
  4. improve visibility of (and to those responsible within) the entire life cycle. (Duke, MIT, TERMS).
    Related both to information management and shared/open knowledge, using wiki as a conceptual model, specifically for workflow and procedures documentation was mentioned frequently, as were various perspectives on the readiness (or lack of) on the part of new ILS systems to address our key  information management needs.  I still agree with the vendor who said at ALA Midwinter, and I repeated in a session at ER&L: “You can’t tell [vendors] soon enough that you are considering ILS migration”.  However, given all this,  I began to admit and come a little bit closer to acceptance with (kind of) the point that these new ILS systems are not quite ready for what we really need. But, what are we supposed to do in the meantime that is NOT EMAIL!
    Other bits here and there related to nagging e-resources needs to address include: needs in usability, navigation, mobile access, DRM & Licensing, E-books (#nexuserm).  Perpetual access problems to solve include the problems with providing proof of payment, whether license language should be specific or vague,  and the fact that even new ILS systems still rely on outdated DLF standards, not covering all fields that are needed.


In addition to a few ideas in workflow and information management, I jotted down some other, perhaps less thought-out, ideas to consider working on here at home.
  • Working with external vendors and user services office (in our case the Centers?) to establish training and promotion of e-resources.
  • Establishing paid fellowships/apprenticeships to deal with staffing issues and practical learning opportunities for graduate students. (#erl14humanterms)
  • Standards vs API and open source: should move toward outcomes based partnerships and work. (Playing Nicely)
  • How can we apply “dogfooding” in the library organization: internal customer service as you would external customer service. (Playing Nicely)
  • Access Services is demand driven, E-resources Management is workflow based, challenge or opportunity? (#nexuserm)
  • E-resources troubleshooting as Access Services function, could benefit from merged service desk, merged tracking tools. (#nexuserm)
  • Information Mgmt: consolidate storage places for title list spreadsheets with the licenses (Duke)
    Looking ahead to some specific e-resources trends on a more immediate horizon, I noted some takeaways from the presentation on Streaming Video is an E-resource — both commercial and digitization of local assets.  I also paid attention to a bit I overheard from publishers that the short-term loan model for demand driven acquisition is problematic, unsustainable (#niso #dda).
   Also, on the more hazy horizon, the concept of how we support OA resources management in our organization came up, as this is strategic priority in my library.  But, we still don’t exactly have clear answers.  Jill Emery & Graham Stone, who lead the TERMS project for e-resources management, are building on that approach for a new project, Open Access Workflows in Academic LIbraries (OAWAL) to gather collective techniques and workflow approaches for open access resources management. Other OA projects mentioned for which to keep on the look out include: Bluejar (like Knowledge Unlatched, crowd-sourced funding for making books open access) and Pivots (not monographs, but shorter e-bits of content — of interest for online learning).

RESOURCES to Read, Explore

– (Lightening Talk)
– OpenStreetMap, Omnipedia, Atlasisfy (Closing Keynote)
– Catalog 2.0 by Sally Chambers (2013) recommended reading for thinking of transitioning ILS. (Playing Nicely)

motown philly yall #alamw14

Just realized while traveling that this might be my very first ALA Midwinter.  I attended a midwinter pre-conference ages ago, but I don’t think I have ever attended a full midwinter conference.  I always conceived of it so much smaller than annual — it’s just a bunch of meetings — but I find my schedule already jam-packed with interesting sessions and worrying how to fit in everyone else I want to see.  Part of this is that I arranged to bring husband along, making this a trip for work and pleasure, because otherwise who in their summer-loving mind would go Philadelphia in the middle of winter?!Image

We spent a long 6 hours of travel yesterday, flying in and out of Chicago, where husband threatened to deplane and have me pick him up on the way back.  But we settled for a birds-eye view of his favorite city as we continued the last leg.  It was a long final descent into Philly, much cloudier, and with much more snow.  Although the anticipation nearly drove me bonkers, it was pretty cool to see ever closer snapshots of the snow-covered quarries, rivers, and neighborhoods between each cloudy whiteout.


Unfortunately, except for the blessed view of the basilica right out our window, our room is a bit “meh”, mostly because there was either a mix up, or else simply no single king rooms available, despite my two and a half month advance registration.  So husband I are making due with doubles.  We may try to spice it up by taking advantage of separate beds tonight.  We’ll probably sleep soundly, regardless, after taking the mid-day today to walk around Philly within a brisk 3 hours.

Image   christs church

IMG_4129[1]  IMG_4144[1]   IMG_4146[1]

We took an early lunch at Reading Terminal Market where we chose Old City Coffee and a large slice of brick oven pizza. Then we walked ourselves down to Old City District where we saw a few Benjamin Franklins and his bridge, Christ Church and its cemetery, and the very quaint (even in January) Elfreth’s Alleyway.  The sunshine and all this walking made the bitter cold bearable until husband lost his hat somewhere in the ALA registration area.  So we made a final stop back at the Reading Terminal market for another coffee and some Pennsylvania Dutch treats before high tailing it back to the hotel.  I chose Pineapple Upside-down Pie (brilliant!) and you can see for yourself in the obligatory foodie shot how delicious it was!   Such pleasure has prepared me well for the work that will come early tomorrow.



Yes, this is the post where I point out with embarrassment that it’s been half a year since my last post.  I blame becoming a librarian, excuse me, truthbrarian.  Truly, I felt only just today the first feeling of accomplishment towards real research opportunities.  One should never go so long between mulling and sharing ideas.  It makes the mind and confidence a bit mushy.   I’ve not much to say again yet, other than a toast:

To 2011 and setting BIG goals:

1) IFLA Puerto Rico — which, if proposal passses muster, will either mean a schweet vacay with my hubs or girls gone wild with my co-presenters. [update: International Conference on the Book: Toronto Canada — Proposal accepted!]

2) Keep up with an even more complex online presence than this one — Twitter, flickr, and maybe go live and Google searchable with the blog(s)?

3) And the biggest one of all:  Let go…


ala dc – day one

Traveling Lesson #1:  Don’t read books that make you cry. You’re sitting next to strangers in a small metal box flying high in the air.  It’s just  not a good idea.  I made it only to page 23 of  Ellen Fitzpatrick’s  Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation before my eyes blurred over with too many tears to make out any more text. And I was holding back under the circumstances!  Come to think of it, where does one find an appropriate spot to sob through a book?

I start my conferencing tomorrow with a pre-conference.  I hope that having left my badge somewhere back home will be of minor consequence and that I will successfully haggle a new one from the registration desk.  I did remember to bring more clothes than I’ll need, more books than I’ll read, and a swimsuit that I will probably not have occasion for. It’s ok to laugh at me.

I anticipate having a sight-seeing lesson to share tomorrow as I attempt to visit 2 Smithsonian Museums and the Lincoln Memorial via a stroll through the National Mall after my pre-conference lets out.

Wish me luck and energy!

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