Our Cataloging Data: The Future of Sharing and Creating

Chris CatalfoMonday, 3:30 – 5:00

Suddenly our catalog records are hot commodities The Library of Congress wants out of its “alpha role” in providing cataloging. OCLC wants to clarify who may share contributed records with whom. Biblios.net and Open Library offer open access alternatives. RDS disseminates catalog records into web-based entities. Where is all this leading? How will our data be created and shared in the future? Chris Catalfo, programmer at LibraryThing.com, shares his thoughts on the future of cataloging data. The NETSL business meeting and reception are included.

Available tools: OCLC, Open Library (good for sharing with web users), Biblos.net (good for sharing between libraries), Hathi Trust (online digital hosting)

How are we doing?

  • Sharing: ineffectual. Mechanism are out-dated, not everyone can participate. Needs good software to support sharing and finding of records (OCLC does do this, but still not all libraries can afford it)
  • Z39.50 – permits standardized sharing, but dates to the 70’s so it is a bit old and is a barrier to non-librarian programmers who could help make our data more available
  • New/better protocols: OAI Protocol, SRW/U
  • Another issue is who owns the data and records? OCLC? The libraries? Can they be owned?
  • OPACs: need to embed metadata into html catalog page, using OpenURL COins, Zotero (Firefox plugin), Librarything for Libraries catalog plugin

Looking to the future, none of these tools quite meet all needs: sharing between libraries, easy to use for non-librarian web searchers. So how should we share in the future?

Sharing is important:

  • The more we share with each other, the cheaper it is for libraries
  • The easier the data is to find, the better for our patrons (and libraries, since we’re easier to find)

What do we need?

  • More modern protocol XML over HTTP?
  • Clear up the ownership question
  • A platform to share to

How do we create data, and how can we improve?

  • Copy catalog or original cataloging (then keep internally or share back with OCLC)
  • Non-libraries: Google Books data comes from publishers, libraries, OCR scans (this is not perfect); Amazon mostly comes from publishers; flickr and LibraryThing (the wider web world) mostly comes from users
  • Libraries can learn a little from each of these alternatives: users are not always accurate, but it is large volume, powerful and popular
  • Can cataloging rules be streamlined – AACR, Dublin Core – and give catalogers more time to focus on other things
  • Need to get past political arguments of today and work towards the betterment of the data

Questions and Answers

Where to publishers get their data?
They type it in, so we shouldn’t need to duplicate that effort?

Is there copyright issues if they are creating it?
-Not sure…
It is part of their marketing effort, so they want it out there. So you’d think they’d want it accurate, but that isn’t always the case – so we also need a shared maintenance system
-Yes, it’d be like open source software, where everyone has access to various versions

Does Librarything do data cleanup of contributed data?
LT staff doesn’t, but dedicated users do authority control of author cleanup and cross-references

Is it in our long-term best interest to consider record sharing by itself? OCLC isn’t just a source for records, it provides a service

Does LT have tag guidelines?
I don’t think LT does much (I work more with LTfL) – there was a tag combining feature, but it was turned off – so it’s all user-generated.

Tags have the great benefit of not just connecting users to books, but connects users to users, but it could benefit from standardization (“my sister” is subjective, not objective).
Right, tags should compliment a structured language, not used exclusively.

From Information to Intelligence: Using the Social Web to Transform Communities

Stephen Abram and Social Web and LibrariesMonday, 1:00 – 2:30

We know that libraries make a difference. A big difference. Can we challenge ourselves to move to the next plateau quickly? Can we do that in an era of restricted budgets and financial pressures? What strategies will work? What technologies show the most promise? Are our communities ready for this? Stephen Abram, VP Innovation at Sirsi Dynix, shows us some of the innovations that are working in libraryland and some opportunities for us to transform our communities.

Slides available [pdf] at Stephen’s Lighthouse

Start with Is Social Media a Fad? video

Do you pay attention to the ads you see? In this day, information (and ads) find you – Google ads change depend on what you’re searching for, Facebook ads change depend on what you ad/upload, geotagging can customize a message for different parts of the country.

DVDs make up a large percentage of our circs – what is our plan in 5 years when DVDs are outdated? YouTube? Hulu?

Does anyone have 100 million books in the library? Google books does (will). How do we compete?

The critical advantage of libraries is librarians. But our websites have no photos of staff, no videos, no bios – we don’t tell people why to use us – instead we hide. Professionals should not be anonymous (do you want to know your doctor’s name?). How can we use social media to push our critical competitive advantage?

What are libraries really for?

  • Economic impact: libraries are the only social service people use by choice (no one wants the police, or fire, or medical personal to show up at their door)
  • Equity: diminishing the digital and generational divides by integrating population growth and supporting the process of learning, not just facts
  • Student performance: schools with libraries have 25% increase in test scores – add 5% more for schools with close ties to the public library
  • Seek competitive advantage: we’re falling behind Canada, EC, India China, etc. We now know genes influence learning styles, so schools (and libraries) need to respond and cater
  • Social glue and democracy: the top two things people value in libraries are 1) community and 2) learning – we need to support these interactions

Need to combat the idea that Google can do everything – this is shallow thinking (eg: most laws are online – do you still need a lawyer?) Do you want a heart surgeon who has watch a how-to video on YouTube? Also, Search Engine Optimization can cause false information to rise to the surface (Where was Obama born?).

People trust the opinion of their peers, so social web tools that allow interaction (LibraryThing, Chili Fresh, Sopac, etc) are valuable.

People are online: Facebook, Twitter, etc. They choose to Friend who they want, not be pushed to. But if you’re not there, you’re not part of their life. This is especially when we lose kids – they come to the library when learning to read, then move away when they become social.

Computer technology can be a love/hate relationship, but it’s the direction of the 21st century (printing and publishing dates to the 16th century). Social media permits different learning styles – not just one-way, but has feedback, and lets you treat students like students and adults like adults (if they’re looking for information on divorce, they’re probably looking for different things).

Two stickiest things for websites: news and weather. Put them on your website! This is the IKEA method – put everything in one place, and let the patrons put it together. We filter resources for context and relevance to save the time of the patrons. Get their feedback (using Surveymonkey polls, et. al.) to build community by building relationships.

Most people use cell phone – if you don’t pay attention to them, you will miss them. That’s why Iowa polls for 2008 election were wrong – they only polled land line home phones, but most voters were young first-time voters, who have cell phones and not land lines.

Libraries exist at the intersection of community need and social trends. This is especially true for broadband – libraries often have best internet access in small communities, but Google is soon to offer broadband on old analog TV signals.

More videos for Social Media Trends

Program idea: instead of having an “internet safety” class (which only parents would come to), have a “pimp my myspace” page – kids will attend, and you can teach them internet safety in a context that matters ro them.

Google is designed to meet the needs of its customers – that is not you. If you use Google for free, you’re not a Google customer – everything Google does is catered to help their advertisers.

Is this a “journal world” or an “article world” – what good are bound periodicals:

What problem do you serve for your patrons? Patrons don’t want to search, they want to find. Context is King, not content.

The future is complex – where do libraries fit in?
Social Graph Platform Wars

Discussion Group: Boundaries in Reference Service

Reference Service Discussion PanelMonday, 9:00 – 10:00

The landscape of reference service has been changing. Library users with nontraditional needs and varying competencies are appearing in libraries faced with staffing and facility challenges. Discover how different types of libraries are adapting and setting new boundaries from Matthew Jaquith, Springfield (MA) City Library and Chris Bigelow and Sheri Sochrin from Babson Library at Springfield (MA) College.

Matthew Jaquith
Important terms:

  • Information literacy: where information and technology intersect
  • Life-long learning: helping people keep their skills up with the changing demands of our culture (especially informal training)
  • Teaching and training: one-on-one teaching, but more group instruction
  • Reference room as computer lab: where do we draw the line in helping people with tech support? Everyone expects it, and as ready ref decreases, this is an opportunity for us to meet a new need
  • Roving/roaming reference and field librarians: meet the need at the point of need, especially by going out into the community
  • Disintermediation: people are doing more for themselves, and we should provide tools that encourage this
  • Library 2.0: self-renewal of our institution is built into the services we offer, incorporating input/feedback from our community

Chris Bigelow
Ref librarians are finding we are spending less time at the desk, people are coming to the library less, our desk stats are going down. But use of electronic services are increasing.

Students usually come to the library for group work, but not so much to come to the desk (unless specifically assigned). They prefer Google and self-searches. Faculty continue to assign the same work they’ve assigned for years, and continue to only look at the same few journals they’ve always read. We need to encourage both groups to use a wider spectrum of library services.

Three problems:

  • Outreach: get the word out. Get out of the building when possible – visit patrons where patrons are (especially to areas that are distant from library) – focus on “work” areas, not “social” areas
  • Ease of access (to librarians and services): Since they’re not coming in, we need to make it easy for them to contact us: email form, call, IM/chat (Pigeon and Libraryh3lp – doesn’t require patrons to have their own account), Text a Librarian (replies go right to students’ phones). Links to these services are all over the website, not just in one place (which might be hard to find)
  • Education: Students don’t know why using the library is important (and better than Google) – traditional bibliographic instruction, but embedded into every department’s curriculum via subject expert library liaisons

Sheri Sochrin
Library Liaisons: Slightly different when working with graduate students or adult learners, since they have jobs and families, generally are off-campus, often take weekend classes, many are “digital immigrants.”

Every patron group needs to be considered when evaluating print and online services – full-text online resources are convenient for most, but vital for this group. They are also heavy users of online reference services (chat and email). Make use of other organizational resources, such as video conferencing (not just the library’s, but available to the library) – it puts a human face on the library, so it’s not just a faceless institution.

Use communication channels – use email to send updates to handouts and other resources (make sure handouts are dated so you know when a student is using out-of-date material). Also using Elluminate conference software (as pilot) – web-based technology that supports traditional teach methods (feedback, breaking into small groups, push technology, etc). And if you can use it for classes, you can use it for one-on-one instruction (better they can see your screen instead of trying to explain a complex process to them over the phone). We are also staying open later (with reference assistants).

Questions and Answers
Do you have tutorial software?
-Chris: We have some: Searchpath (which is just linked static html) and some flash-based (created with Captivate), but they’re not getting much traffic, so we’re putting less focus on them. The thing that gets used the most is our small faq page.
-Matthew: SCL uses QuestionPoint co-browsing, and it turns out that’s not what patrons want.

How does text service work since you’re not available 24 hours a day?
Online form tells them we’re not online when we’re away, and refers them to other services.

Not sure, but if it were really expensive, we wouldn’t have it.

What about text-a-librarian?
They set up an account for us and handle the technical end, and all we do is advertise it and answer the questions.

How do you schedule your staff? We have small staff and one is always roaming, so it’s hard to do chat.
Chris: Chat staff is off-desk, but only available to patrons when staff is available to answer – questions go to everyone, and whoever can will “claim” it.
Matthew: We treat our chat as another desk, with scheduled hours. Email is done in-between questions.

How do you convince faculty to update assignments so library can support them?
Delicately: “your students are having trouble with this assignment…” – we also offer curriculum support, find out beforehand what they plan to do.

With so many communication methods, how do you track stats, and is it accurate?
We do once-a-semester reference count. The current chat system gives stat reports (vendor does it all).

Are other public libraries doing roving-only?
Hartford does this, Darien Library, use phone headsets/cordless phones, tablet PCs. Sometimes easier in smaller branches than main library.

How to encourage staff who resist boundary changes?
Matthew: Change is a part of our world, and rate is increasing, so this is often approached from an overall organizational point of view.

Yonkers(?) Library is letting people book reference appointments (especially for social service type questions)
But where do we draw the line? I do not handle patrons credit cards or make purchase decisions for them – can help with finding flights, but not buying flights. The line is drawn at financial outlay (taxes, purchasing, etc)
-Matthew: be sure to explain this to patron – you’re not refusing them service, it’s library policy to protect them.

OS Smackdown: This Time It’s Personal

Sunday: 4:00-5:00

See what all the excitement is as ITS panelists Wes “The Penguin” Hamilton, Scott “iEverything” Kehoe, and Rick “800-Pound Gorilla” Levine face off with demonstrations and discussions of the latest and greatest offerings in operating systems.

Rick Levine shows Windows 7Windows 7 (Rick Levine)
Anyone like Vista? Not so bad, but Windows 7 is better. Some of Win7’s best features are already in Vista, but Microsoft didn’t do a good job of letting us know.

  • Lets you customize to make user experience better (“don’t dim the desktop”)
  • Wordpad is new and improved, to the point it looks more like Word 2007 (with ribbons et. al.) – it still defaults to .rtf, but can also open and create .dotx
  • Other new/unknown items: gadgets aren’t stuck in the sidebar; no more My Documents: instead it’s all just in a user “library” (similar to Windows Media Player libraries to organize music – lets you organize into “categories” regardless of where it actually lives in the directory structure); actually helpful troubleshooters; just start typing in Start Menu to find things

Taskbar is very different – not quick Mac’s rollover/icon zoom thing, but more useful – rollover application, and it shows thumbnail of every window open in that application to make it easy to go right to a window. Things can also be pinned to taskbar or Start Menu – and pinned items stay in the same place on the taskbar, instead of icons being ordered by the order in which they were opened. Quickstart is gone, but pinning can sort of replace.

By the way, all of this needs good graphics card.

Alt-tab has fanicer applications scroll (two options).

Shortcuts: Peek = taskbar icon makes active windows transparent so you can see the desktop; Shake (just click/hold/shake active window minimizes all other windows; Snap: automatically snaps two windows side-by-side, without you having to resize both windows.

Compatibility mode: older windows let you pretend to run application in Vista as XP. Win7 actually creates a virtual machine so the applications really are running on that OS – only comes on some Win7 editions (maybe only the lowest doesn’t come with it) – Rick recommends getting Professional edition.

Wes Hamilton has fun with UbuntuUbuntu 9 on Linux (Wes Hamilton)
Ubuntu 9 is designed to fix a lot of problems from other distributions. Bootup should take no longer than 18 seconds.

Very easy to install – everything just worked. Designers tried to make a lot of decisions for users, by bringing together lots of software and combined it all together, polished it so it all works well together, and makes desktop very clean and simple. OS is an all-in-one system – includes Firefox, Open Office, and everything is up-to-date (don’t have to go to Windows Update six or seven times to get latest versions).

System has many notification alerts, to always let you know how things are working (or not working).

Some pieces are still missing – sound and video comes to mind. Sometimes it’s because proprietary systems are involved which prevents developers from including in install – but usually they are available.

Desktop is a “cube” so you have four desktop to flip through. OS is very keyboard-centric (Windows is usually mouse-centric).

Windows 7 is designed to be a replacement for WinXP, as computers will need to be replaced (Vista just did not cut it). Ubuntu is designed for people who can’t afford replace their computers – it will run just fine on older machines.

Soctt Kehoe gets to the PointSnow Leopard on Mac (Scott Kehoe)delicious links
Macs are good for libraries, because it’s what many kids use in school. And, no virus (which is why it’s good to have a mix of Windows, Linux and Macs, or at least be familiar with them, because this mix is not going to go away).

Only one version of OSX (no different editions like Windows) and no product keys (like Windows) so upgrade works with just one disk and reboot.

Scott’s favorite features:

  • Time machine: makes backup to external or network drives easy (can also be automated) – do it hourly, so you can almost always get deleted things back. It also self-manages, so it can delete old files when it runs out of room.
  • Exposé: show you everything you have open, using different numbers of finger combinations and button clicks
  • Hot corner: lets you have multiple desktops, easy to flip between them (including just by clicking that icon in the Dock) – this is a feature shared by all three OS’, so it is something to get used to
  • Finder: (heart of the Mac; Windows equivalent is Windows Explorer, but Finder is better) – when dragging and dropping into a folder, that folder opens up so you’re sure you’re putting it in the right place. It also gives you a thumbnail preview, which can be zoomed by clicking on spacebar
  • Spotlight: search for anything on the computer – not just file names, but also body of files, emails, and shows results in realtime (not like Windows that has to run search while you wait)
  • Built-in pdf support (including editor), so you don’t need Adobe Reader at all

For the Love of Books (and other materials)

Gregor Trinkaus-Randall on PreservationSunday, 1:15 – 2:45

Even (or especially) in tough budget times, libraries should maintain a preservation budget. Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Preservation Specialist for the MA Board of Library Commissioners, addresses preservation concerns for print, AV, and digital materials in active circulating collections and special collections. Learn about budget-minded training options, best practiced and archival materials.

Fundamental Problems

  • We have lots of material that deteriorate: print, microfilm, magnetic tape, etc.
  • Material with inherent vice (they self-destruct over time)
  • Brittle paper is a major problem (33% of materials are already brittle – fold a paper 4x – if it breaks apart, it is brittle)

Inherent Vice: weakness in the chemicals or physical makeup of an object introduced during it’s manufacture
Extrinsic Vice: (or “agents of destruction”): heat, light, and humidity; pollution, pests, disasters, poor storage materials and furnishing; rough handling, etc.

Why is preservation important?
It is our professional responsibility to care for the collections in our care. But it's a dual responsibility, balancing care/preservation with access.

Administrative Oversight

  • Preservation needs to be coordinated from a collection-overview point of view
  • Need to prioritize what to collect: don’t collect what you can’t save, get best value for dollar, work to minimize damage but still accessible, encourage cooperative collections (local, state-wide, etc), seek grant funding)

Who is responsible?

  • Short answer: everyone involved
  • Much can be done by collection managers, curators, librarians, archivists, town clerks, etc, guided by published resources and advice
  • Preservation must be an integral part of the organization to be effective
    • Acquisition means purchasing quality materials and use library bindings
    • Have (and know) a disaster plan – look to dPlan or dPlan lite
    • Shelve materials properly: oversize books flat or spine-down; proper bookends to keep books upright
    • Processing materials: non-damaging spine labels; proper attachment of dust jackets; manuscripts require special handing, description, folding, boxing and storage (attend New England Archivists workshops to learn how)
    • Photocopying with an “edge” copier (allows books to hang off edge while copying, instead of being forced flat
    • Exhibit materials, but do so properly (don’t use scotch tape, inadequate book stands, limit to 2-3 months at a time to limit light)

What can you do?

  • Go to workshops
  • Document deterioration and show damage materials to others to raise awareness
  • Share preservation information with others
  • Conduct a preservation survey as part of a formal preservation plan
  • Monitor the environment: the facility, environmental controls, security/fire protection, housekeeping, pest management, storage materials, staff/user education
  • Collection cart: reformat to preserve information (microfilm), basic repairs and conservation to preserve item (save conservation for most valuable materials)

Preservation Planning
Identify problems and goals so you can outline plan and course of action (both things you can do and things you can’t do).

  • Preservation Survey: identify problems, analyze causes, and suggest actions. Address general state of collection/facility (sometimes the building is part of the problem, sometimes it is part of the collection), and the survey should provide rationale for actions
  • Using a consultant is beneficial because they are impartial experts and more aware out outside available resources (sometimes an outside person can also say something a staff person can’t say, and lend credibility to the obvious) – also, this frees staff to work on their normal jobs, instead of trying to also squeeze in preservation work too. But it costs money, and consultant needs time to learn the collection
  • Long-Range Plan: provides framework for goals, priorities and actions (determined by survey); serve as a working tool to lead project over time (even though staff turnover); must dovetail with rest of organization and collections (even non-preserved collections), and show that administration are behind it so that staff will commit to it (public service staff, tech staff, janitorial staff, managers, etc)

Preservation Long-Range Plan
Make it as short as possible, but still be effective. Include three important sections:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Action plan and timetable
  3. List of accomplishments to date

Have a non-involved person read it, to make sure it is clear.

Other sections: Table of contents, Introduction/Mission statement, Description of collections (summary of the collections’ condition, needs and actions, value, amount of time to be held)

Prioritizing Actions
Resources are always limited, so create phases. Identify the most important collections, then decide what is feasible and what’s not, which might mean the first few priorities cannot be done at present (but at least you’ve identified them so you’ll be ready in the future). Look for Impact (actions that will improve the collection or save time of the users and staff), Urgency of Action (does something need to be done now so that material is not lost?), how/how often is material used?, condition and value of materials (especially value to community)

Impact vs. Feasibility Matrix

Feasibility High easily accomplished and will have significant impact accomplish little but may be worthwhile because they are easy to do
Low difficult but warrant consideration little achieved and great effort
  High Low

Emergency Preparedness
The best way to mitigate problems is to be prepared for them. Planning helps you avoid problems, but also to know what to do when they do happen.