Midwinter 2007 Reports

Volunteer Reporters Cover ALCTS Forums and Events in Seattle

ALCTS members who attended the ALA Midwinter Meeting 2007 in Seattle provided these summary reports. We thank the volunteers who covered a program or event sponsored by ALCTS or one of its units. Their efforts enable the rest of us to benefit from their presentations. We regret that volunteers were not available to report on all the forums.

Definitely Digital

Arlene Klair, University of Maryland Libraries

This sold-out, full day pre-conference was worthy of the first event celebrating the 50th anniversary of ALCTS. Looking at the changing relationship of libraries to information, publishers and users; the new sources of information users frequent; it pointed out successful ventures to meet users where they are and identified where libraries need to go next.

James Hilton, University of Virginia, addressed the changing nature of scholarship and publishing, beginning with two introductory statements “a healthy publishing environment is the medium through which we collaborate across time and place and is as necessary to scholarship as air is to life” and “if it is not online, it will not be read, but not necessarily online.” There are disruptive forces affecting scholarship. The publisher/vendor view that ideas are property is a roadblock to shared scholarship. Hilton predicted that if this view continues, it could be the undoing of the Open Source Initiative. Producer push versus demand/pull was explored. Although eighty percent of library use comes from twenty percent of titles owned, use can be driven down the “long tail” of collections by putting resources where users are located. The University of Michigan digitized and opened print on demand for the Making of America, imprints from the 1800’s. It receives four to five requests weekly. Ubiquitous access to collections via Amazon and Google means users do not realize when libraries are providing content. Libraries can put logos next to their titles in Amazon and Google. Hilton concluded that libraries need to make it as easy for users to get to content and services as Google and Amazon.

Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC, described new personal learning landscapes where a URL and the network are key concepts. How do libraries fit in when so much content has no URL? Libraries need to get into the users’ workflow and syndicate data out where the user lives. Libraries spend considerable energy on developing their websites but that is not where users are going. Institutions posting resources in places where users already visit, such as Facebook, MySpace and Flickr, find traffic driving back from those sites to other parts of their collections. Picture Australia, hosted by the National Library of Australia in Flickr, is an example. Users are returning to other parts of collections on the library site. Once users get to library sites, they need unified discovery tools that aggregate supply and demand following the example of Amazon, Google and eBay. If libraries achieve this they can drive traffic down the “long tail”—most of which they own. Users also are accustomed to and need more fulfillment options. To support these changes, libraries need to grow their structure to reflect how information is used now and may be used in the future.

Taking on the nature of the profession in the digital age, Meg Bellinger, Yale University, reviewed the themes of the JANUS and Taiga Conferences. Libraries are trying to maintain traditional services while adding new ones. Technology is not the elephant in the room, it IS the room. Libraries need to restructure to support how information is rather than how materials are processed. Committees are doing substantive work and leading change often because they transcend organizational borders. Describing the demographics of staff, the reduction in number of library school graduates, and increased number of staff at retirement age, Bellinger concludes that we need to be prepared to provide additional opportunities to more highly paid paraprofessionals and spend more time training staff. The skills needed for the future include: project management; the ability to lead innovation from any position; technology; quantitative research methodologies; as well as teaching, consultation and outreach.

Brian Schottlaender, University of California, San Diego, introduced the four controversial statements posted prior to the pre-conference on Digiblog ( http://blogs.ala.org/digiblog.php):

  • Due to the very high costs and rapid obsolescence of necessary equipment and the fact that the electronic medium is not archival, digital preservation is a concept which can only be embraced by the largest, most well-funded libraries with large IT staff resources.
  • As information resources go digital, the "units" of information discovery and delivery will become wildly variable and blended, making past patterns of collection development, acquisition, and cataloging inadequate and unscalable.
  • In the new information paradigm, there will be very little distinction between book vendors and subscription agencies, whose services will be very different than in the past.
  • In the rapidly evolving information environment, those staff who are not prepared for and able to cope with continuous learning and constant change will either become increasingly compartmentalized or be left behind altogether

Robert Wolven, Columbia University, tackling the topic of change in the units of information discovery and delivery, pointed to the iTunes phenomena to show the expectation of more granular access. Current library discovery tools do not usually drilling down to that level. It is also important to invest in the proper amount of access and preservation for the object at hand instead of the same level for everything. Our organizations are not structured for this kind of flexibility.

The need for staff engaged in continuous learning and change was explored by David Nuzzo, University of Buffalo. In order to meet the needs of new types of information, staff needs to be in an environment where creating innovation must be the norm. He believes if we do not change from task oriented to goal oriented we survive, but not thrive. Those who cannot change will be left behind.

Oliver Pesch, EBSCO, covered the future roles of book vendors and subscription agencies. Both have two clients, libraries and publishers. Publishers are pushing for more online content because they can make it interactive. Vendors and subscription agencies need to do better in the areas of access and licensing, URL maintenance, IT issues, and usage rights. They also need to look at what is challenging clients and build services to address them. Agents should work with publishers to help automate that side so information feeds to agents and then to libraries, reducing duplication of effort.

Digital preservation was the topic for Tom Clareson, PALINET. Among his observations: both traditional and digital objects need preservation in order to not bob the “long tail”; preservation of digital cannot be left only to the largest libraries; collaborative efforts will be essential; not all entities engaged in digital preservation are truly prepared for it - lacking adequate staff, uniform application of standards, and appropriate policies and disaster recovery plans in place before projects begin.. The concluding observation was not everything should be digitized and not every institution should be digitizing.

With heads filled with the challenges libraries and their partners need to meet to address the needs of current and future users, attendees were provided a thoughtful foundation for the rest of the conference.

Disaster Recovery Forum

Virginia Taffurelli, Science, Industry and Business Library, New York Public Library

This forum was sponsored by the Preservation Discussion Group. Jeanne M. Drewes, chief of Binding and Collections Care in the Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress (LC), served as moderator. Drewes lead the discussion on the necessity for sustained disaster recovery based on lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and stressed the need for a Continuation of Operations Plan (COOP). Natural disasters are unpredictable, therefore timing is important. At least 78 percent of libraries do not have up-to-date disaster plans. Every day and a half, there is a fire in a library within the United States. Although collection needs are important, it is just as important to know what is needed to get up and running again. In times of disaster, libraries play an important role in providing access to information.

There is a wealth of information available on the Internet, although not all resources are accurate. The following resources were specifically mentioned as reliable.

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)

Received a grant in 2003 to develop a disaster plan template that would be available to any institution with collections worth saving. Plans should cover preventive measures, risk assessment, and emergency contact numbers. dPlan.org contains a template which can be used for developing a customize plan for your institution. About 175 institutions have already registered and entered information into the national database. Once your institution registers on this website, a semi-annual reminder will be sent to update the contact information.

California Preservation Program

This is a generic plan that can be customized and downloaded. The website offers disaster assistance, consultant services as well as programs and workshops.

San Diego/Imperial County Libraries Disaster Recovery Network (SILDRN)

This is a mutual aid agreement between several academic and public libraries in California funded by a grant from the California State Library. The Mutual Aid Agreement defines the participating libraries as a network of regional cooperative organizations. No one library is responsible for purchasing and storing a complete set of recovery supplies or for training staff in recovery. Member institutions send experienced staff to another member library to assist in disaster recovery.


The Preservation home page offers a list of emergency contacts as well as other resources. You can volunteer by registering on their database.

More information can be found at the SOLINET page (www.solinet.net/preservation/preservation_home.cfm)

Field Guide to Disaster Response

Prepared by the University of Virginia Libraries.

Community Emergency Response Team

Disaster Mitigation database

Developed by Michigan State University Libraries. This database can be downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet.

Drewes summed up by pointing out that today’s technology allows us to send the word out simultaneously to several people rather than trying to contact everyone individually. Many communities have a Community Alert System, or reverse 911, to contact first responders: police, fire, FEMA, etc. We need to work with our local communities to develop a plan to preserve and protect our cultural heritage. Other ALA divisions besides ALCTS have addressed the issue of disaster preparedness and recovery and we should consider collaboration and co-sponsorship of future programs on this topic.

Audience participation at this event was phenomenal, providing spontaneous comments on exactly what Drewes was planning to cover.

50th Anniversary Forum

Miriam Palm, Librarian Emerita, Stanford University Libraries

This program featured three past presidents of ALCTS and was moderated by current president Bruce Johnson. The participants were Karen Horny (1980/81), Judith Cannan (1986/87) and Janet Swan Hill (1997/98). Johnson first asked each to describe what the profession was like when they entered it. Cannan came to the United States from New Zealand in 1966 to learn more about automation; at the time, she imagined that all American libraries were fully automated! Horny described her first job at Northwestern University, working in the undergraduate library, “a glorified reserve room,” and using typewriters to produce catalog cards. She was active in Northwestern’s development of NOTIS in the early 1970s. Hill, who also worked at Northwestern, described an early distinction that catalogers created content and others tagged MARC records; systems were brought up “live” and there was little testing before production was implemented. All recalled banks of terminals rather than individual workstations, and tape loading of resource records.

Johnson asked each panelist to describe her path to leadership. Cannan first worked in a small town, moved to Cornell and became involved in ISBD, was invited to speak at several ALA conferences, and then participated in AACR2 through the Cataloging and Classification Section of then-RTSD. She is presently on the staff at Library of Congress. Horny described her growing levels of responsibility at Northwestern, becoming Head of Technical Services and participating in Big Heads and the Association for Research Libraries, when few leaders at the time were women. Hill began her career as a map cataloger at Library of Congress, was an early member of CC:DA because of her specialty, and later served as ALA representative to the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR. Regarding changes within RTSD and ALCTS, Horny remarked that during her presidency, the Preservation Section was new, and she made all its appointments and many new connections to people and resources in this discipline. Other issues that consumed RTSD at the time were the implementation of AACR2 and the many regional institutes staged to provide training and outreach, and retrospective conversion of manual catalogs. During Cannan’s presidency, RTSD suffered serious budget deficits, and she was put in the unenviable position of having to cut $100,000 in expenses. The new ALA accounting procedures initiated at that time resulted in improved checks and balances. She described it as a “painful but quick recovery,” as she canceled programs and cut back on publications. Horny also described programming that exceeded resources and perhaps oversaturated the market. These days ALCTS makes no-go decisions based on revenue, to avoid financial losses. Hill stressed that we need to understand what is in the best interest of the organization, rather than make incorrect assumptions.

Regarding ALCTS’ role in the context of ALA, Hill encouraged our members to participate more broadly in the main organization, as knowledge of our specialties is often lacking during higher level discussions. Conversely, we need to better understand concerns such as intellectual freedom, and needs in other regions of librarianship. Horny said that ALCTS’ leaders’ next natural step is working in ALA as a whole. Cannan predicted that changes in the next fifty years will be even more dramatic; knowledge and information go hand in hand, and our role should be more proactive teaching and interacting with users. Horny described the rapid change over the past ten years, from having “a few” CDs to the great amount of full text now online. We should focus on efficient access to needed materials, connect our patrons to this information, and excite them. We are faced with overwhelming metadata issues at present. Hill urged us not to grieve for the past but to focus on our principles; past predictions have been wildly off base, and we should not blame library schools, but rather help them teach what current students need to know. As with many other careers, we face life-long learning, and we should better document changes, our history, and our thought processes.

Johnson pointed out the frequent collaboration between technical services and systems activities, and that we provide the ground work for delivering information. Cannan predicted that ALA will be transformed in fifty years and have a completely different organizational structure. There will be less specialization and much more crossover. She predicted reorganization by subject or language specialty. Hill concurred that the current structure of ALA reflects needs thirty years ago. Divisions may not be sustainable in the future; the time to discuss this and act is now. She mentioned a possible LITA-ALCTS alliance. Horny agreed that online systems have brought down previous walls between “territories.” The presentation concluded with the thought that while “the future is the past,” the past is instructive to inform the future but not direct it

Forum on Non-English Access

Sherab Chen, Ohio State University Libraries

Sixty-seven people gathered at the Sheraton Metropolitan B for the Forum on Non-English Access, on Saturday, January 20. The forum was co-sponsored by the ALCTS Task Force on Non-English Access and the Catalog Form and Function Interest Group. Wanda Pittman Jazayeri, chair of Cataloging Form and Function Interest Group, opened the forum by briefly introducing the task force chair, Beth Picknally Camden. Camden gave a presentation on the work of the Task Force and the current status of the report it released in October 2006. The Task Force was charged in October 2005 by the ALCTS Board of Directors to review past and current activities in providing access to materials in non-English languages, and to make recommendations for future actions by ALCTS and others. There were nine recommendations made by the Task Force in the report. The first, to convert the Task Force discussion list to an open list available to the library community in order to facilitate continuing discussion of non-English access issues, has been completed ( http://lists.ala.org/wws/info/nonenglishaccess). In Camden's words, "my sense is that there is no resounding rejection of any of these recommendations. So, I assume that we will go forward with these recommendations." The Task Force is currently preparing a summary of comments received with disposition of each comment, and anticipates a final version to fix all editorial errors and to implement changes that were required based on comments. Camden noted that the Task Force will try to make a coordinated effort to ensure that all comments from each different group can be followed up.

Camden's presentation was followed by a one-hour open discussion. Attendees raised questions such as whether there were plans to survey of all systems that are not in the United States, and whether there were solutions that we could use. Questions especially related with Romanization problems, difference in indexing entries in non-Latin or vernacular scripts, and Unicode issues were also raised and discussed.

Task force members who attended the forum included William Kopycki and Shi Deng, who were taking notes, and Glenn Patton, Director, WorldCat Quality Management of OCLC, who answered some questions. ALCTS President Bruce Johnson spoke at the forum and encouraged more people to participate in the open discussion list.

At the end of the forum there was a brief business meeting of the Cataloging Form and Function Interest Group to elect a new vice-chair. No further information has been announced by the time of this report.

Future of Cataloging Forum

Virginia Taffurelli, Science, Industry and Business Library, New York Public Library

This forum was sponsored by the Cataloging and Classification Section. David Miller, Curry College, served as moderator. The speakers were Casey Bisson, Plymouth State University; Ana Lupe Cristán, Library of Congress; Tamera Hanken, Tacoma Community College; Daniel Joudrey, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science; Sally Smith, King County Library System; Mary Charles Lasater, Vanderbilt University.

In July 2006, the Cataloging and Classification Section Executive Committee was charged to develop a “series of recommendations or discussion points for the next steps that ALCTS should take to enhance its leadership position with respect to the changing nature of bibliographic control.” The result of this charge is posted on the ALCTS website at www.ala.org/ala/alctscontent/alctspubsbucket/bibcontrol/NextSteps2006.pdf

In a room packed to capacity, Miller opened the discussion of the seven values with a quote, “The future is the next moment of the present.” Each of the panelists then discussed one of these core values in depth.

ALCTS serves libraries of all types and sizes.

Smith addressed this value by stating, “We must think globally but act locally.” Not all libraries can support conference attendance, so we must not pit the “haves” (large libraries) against the “have-nots” (smaller libraries). Libraries of all types and sizes need to collaborate in order to secure jobs for the next thirty to forty years.

ALCTS understands and respects the most diverse needs of all types of library users for all types of materials.

Library users run the gamut from computer illiterate to sophisticated researchers. Lasater asked, “Why are catalogers trying to change/lower standards?” Precision makes discovery easier; metadata is just good cataloging. Although digitization of legacy materials adds value, it does not mean that the original print version is of lesser value; scholars may still need to consult the original. Digital materials are subject to down-time and slow responses and microformats are not user friendly.

In the realm of advanced digital applications, we are interested in collaboration, not competition.

Bisson reminded us that we have access to more information than ever before thanks to cell phones, text messages and other methods of instant communication. Patterns of behavior are driven by technology. Social networking has become extremely popular, particularly among the young. The Internet is defining how people get information and has eliminated the need for middle-men. Libraries need to collaborate with search engines, not compete with them. Library holdings should be linked through Amazon and Google. Eighty percent of today’s Internet users trust the information they find in search engines; librarians judge the information. This can be a matter of life and death, such as when searching for information on cancer cures. Good cataloging is more important than ever. We need systems that are open to search engines and easy linking. Catalogs should support social tagging and networking.

Budgets are the outcomes of political processes; budget decisions have ethical and moral implications.

In an environment where technical service divisions are being downsized due to the budget process, Hanken stated that we need to collaborate with other divisions, such as Collections Development, and delegate some tasks to other divisions. Workflow needs to be reevaluated and activities need to be streamlined while keeping staff motivated to create a better working environment. We need to empower staff to contribute to decision processes.

Librarianship is an international profession; technical services specializations have become globalized.

Cristán discussed LC’s commitment to training and cooperation in an international community by offering internships to students and translating cataloging tools to other languages. LC recognizes the world-wide use of catalogs and cataloging rules, plays a major role in the development of RDA and actively participates in IFLA international conferences. It is Cristán’s hope that LC will continue its global role.

The future is longer than the past.

The future is influenced by the past. Joudrey reminded us that bibliographies have been created for over two thousand years. The Alexandria Library catalog contained author and subject access as well as cross-references. Current cataloging rules are based on past rules. Today’s standards may be more sophisticated but are really not much different. We should be proud of our legacy and embrace it. Does technology replace catalogers? Electronic resources still need to be organized, and who better to do this than catalogers? The fact that this room was filled with catalogers proves the point that catalogers are still ubiquitous. Although catalogs and OPACS are difficult to use, search engines are inadequate for in-depth scholarly research. The future of scholarship is endangered by user-driven subject searches (keyword) versus controlled vocabulary. Joudrey closed his comments by saying, “Let us learn from where we have been.” This concept was echoed many times throughout the rest of the conference.

The formal panel discussion was followed by thoughtful comments from the audience. Decisions we make today will influence the future. We need to break down the barriers between Technical Services and Information Services. Standards need to be passed so that all library catalogs look the same so patrons can go from one catalog to another. Problems lie in how the ILS displays the records, not with the actual cataloging. Do not change the rules, just the way they are displayed. Miller wrapped up the session by reminding us that we need to address both the future of cataloging and the future of catalogs.

Publisher - Vendor - Library Relations Interest Group Open Forum

Katharine Treptow Farrell, Princeton University Library

This was the second of two forums devoted to the state of the university press, hosted by the ALCTS PVLR Interest Group. Continuing the theme from the panel discussion begun at ALA Annual in New Orleans, three speakers Terry Ehling, Director, Center for Innovative Publishing, Office of Scholarly Communications and Collections Development, Cornell University Library; Alex Holzman, Director, Temple University Press and Monica McCormick, Director of Digital Publishing, NCSU Libraries, North Carolina State University, formed a panel moderated by October Ivins, publishing industry consultant, Ivins e-Content Solutions.

The panelists were asked to address five questions posed by the moderator.

(1) “Publishers are about the future – libraries are about the past.

” University presses and libraries have fundamentally different missions (libraries addressing the needs of the local community, university presses addressing a wider, external community). If these distinctions are valid, how do these differing orientations translate into collaboration?

Ms. Ehling commented that publishers acquire and commodify scholarship--libraries consume it and make it available locally. Ms. McCormick noted that the two have the same mission, but fulfill it differently. Publishers face outward to the larger community of scholars, whereas the library faces inward toward the campus community. Mr. Holzman agreed that the two entities had much in common; the same corporate parent, the mandate to serve scholarship and to represent the university to the community. He does not agree with the past/future analogy, noting that roles are overlapping with publishers needing to archive their content and libraries becoming publishers. Discussion followed with the audience, pointing out that collaboration between the two is increasing and they can learn from each other, there is a natural alliance. Project Muse (Johns Hopkins University) and CIAO (Columbia University) are two notable examples of cooperation. Libraries can be more innovative; they are not profit driven and can afford to take risks that publishers cannot, but often libraries do not know how to sustain their initiative.

(2) “Cooperation is one of the core competencies of the twenty-first century,” says Thomas Freidman.

Libraries and university presses operate with different business and fiscal models. Do these have to change for cooperation to work?

Mr. Holzman pointed out that libraries are not set up to think about marketing, and university presses do not understand the [very small] library market. Ms. McCormick noted that publishers are busy defending their present business models, and need to instead think about what is possible. She noted that book and journal publishing industries have very different business models. There is risk in publishing that libraries do not easily understand. Ms. Ehling concurred that there is not much shared vocabulary between the two-- publishers are have a revenue model, libraries are a cost center. Subsequent discussion agreed that current models are not sustainable, and that both the university press and the library have a role to play in helping the university to understand the centrality of scholarly publishing. Some wondered about the effectiveness of the press reporting to the library. Mr. Holzman, who cited experience with both models, did not favor this relationship noting that the two needed to be on an equal footing with the university. Historically university presses grew from university printing offices. Several in the audience noted that there were examples of such a reporting relationship being fruitful. Penn Sate Press now reports to the library, and is finding this relationship to be an improvement over complete autonomy. Sarah Pritchard, Northwestern University, noted that having the same reporting lines is not the same as a merger and the two units can benefit from synergy. Mr. Holzman pointed out that at both New York University and at Stanford the press reports to the library. Ms. Ivins noted that the two have different orientations; libraries focus most of the budget on journals and databases, primarily in the sciences, while university presses focus on monographs, largely in the humanities. Linda Miller, Library of Congress, suggested that repositories are an area where libraries and presses can collaborate productively.

(3) This is a time of great technological change in the area of scholarly communication—the Internet, open access, digital repositories, etc.

Is this a threat or an opportunity for university presses and libraries? What are your predictions on the prospects of collaboration in this space?

Ms. Ehling stated that we had been primarily discussion traditional content, and we need to think about new content types. She pointed out that the library views the academy as a user environment while the press sees it as an authoring environment. She offered the example of scraping the Web for grey content and then adding value and commodifying it. The audience offered the example of collaboration between the California Digital Library and university presses in the UC system for preserving digital publishing. Tony Sanfilippo noted that Penn State was considering production of local conference proceedings, particularly in new fields. Ms. Ehling pointed out that there is considerable indigenous content in the academy and wondered if the press and the library can collaborate on publishing and preserving this content. Ms. McCormick cautioned that there is a difference between an audience for content and a market. Publishers do still need to consider a bottom line whereas libraries do not. Mr. Holzman suggested a number of areas for cooperation between presses and libraries: repositories, open access initiatives. He also noted that universities without their own press depend on other presses to fuel the tenure process and then buy back the results of the scholarship produced at their own institution. Open access is an opportunity to change this dynamic. University IT and academic computing are other components needed for this collaborative effort. Comments from the audience included mention of the D-Pubs project, funded by Mellon with participation Cornell and Penn State, to develop a set of open source tools for managing the editorial process and deliver of content. The content piece is in place now; the editorial piece should be available by summer 2007. The audience asked the panelists think about a business model that would allow adding more content from the academy citing the SPARC model for sharing publishing. The response was that transforming scholarly communication will require an enterprise level commitment. Libraries need to evaluate the quality of decisions they make; they need to be more rigorous in order to divert resources to new initiatives.

Ms. Ehling noted that this is a mature industry, commercial publishers will continue to merge, but that makes them more brittle, they cannot compete, but they can be disruptive. Societies are not solving the problem; it is hard for a society to maintain independence. Commercial publishers are the risk takers, but they still are concerned about revenue. Commercial publishers’ interests are counter to those of the university and the library. Ms. McCormick points out that the pace of change is glacial. The university press is inherently a deficit publisher, and she believes the books model is doomed. Holzman reminded the group that university presses were founded specifically to publish material that had no commercial viability. Print on demand has helped contain costs by limiting the amount tied up in inventory. Note that Penn State has revived a monograph series by moving to electronic format and print on demand.

(4) Collaboration starts with people.

From your experience and knowledge of university press/library personnel relationships, can you identify and models of best or better practice for staff in libraries and presses working together?

Ms. Ehling stated that the nexus of any effort is collection development, that technology should not drive the content creation, rather the other way around. Ms. McCormick cited the example of the California University Presses and the California Digital Library directors who had been meeting regularly for years as they grapple with the issues and learn context. She noted that reference librarians would be a useful inclusion to inform how presses present content for user consumption. Mr. Holzman pointed out that personalities matter as well. The ability of administrators to work together effectively is important, but there also needs to be contact at all levels of the organization. He recommended collaboration in other areas, such as lectures by press authors as a way to engage the other.

(5) Libraries are buying fewer and fewer university press monographs.

How does this impact working relationships, and where do presses turn now?

Mr. Holzman noted again that sale of monographs to libraries is a very small portion of the presses. He suspects that soon university presses will be publishing monographs only as e-books, not in print, and will print only on demand. He reminded the audience that even in an electronic environment editorial and marketing costs will continue to be real. Presses are doing publishing for the parent institution in creating course related materials. They have also turned to text book publishing as a source of revenue.

The discussion might have continued, had not Amy McColl, chair of the interest group, reminded the audience that time had run out. She thanked the moderator and panelists and facilitated two announcements. Norman Medeiros pointed out that the DLF/ERMI2 white paper on acquisitions requirements for the electronic resource management system was posted and available for comment. www.haverford.edu/library/DLV_ERMI2/ACQ_ERMS_white_paper.pdf.

Kate Harcourt announced that the Task Group on Vendor Records commissioned by the PCC was submitting a proposal to MARBI for a change in the scope of the 534 field pursuant to recommendations from the report of that group submitted last September. The report is available at http://platinum.ohiolink.edu/dms/frevrfinalreportbecky.pdf.

RDA Forum

Ngoc-My Guidarelli, Virginia Commonwealth University

The forum began with a presentation by Mr. Beacher Wiggins, senior officer at the Library of Congress (LC) and a member of the Committee of Principals that is made up of representatives of the British Library, the Library and Archives of Canada, LC, and three major library associations. Mr. Wiggins expressed four main concerns: acceptance of RDA, ease of adoption of the new rules, facility of use, and a fixed timeline. He insisted on providing “orientation” rather than “training” and on following a shorter timeline for implementation to reduce costs. LC will offer guidance and a pared down documentation that will be shared by all the cataloging communities.

Ms. Marjorie Bloss, manager of the RDA Project, was the second speaker. RDA as a product is scheduled to be released at the end of the first quarter of 2009. As the coordinator of the Project, she is also in communication with various stakeholders. A prototype of RDA can be consulted at: www.rdaonline.org. The pricing structure has yet to be determined and it will not be a “one size fits all.” A whole suite of products is planned after the release of the online version. Focus groups will be held at ALA Annual 2007 in order to obtain input from users. A plan to map AACR2 to RDA is under consideration. Beta testing of RDA Online will be available the fourth quarter of 2008, and RDA Online will be released the first quarter of 2009. RDA’s impact on current cataloging will be slight.

Ms. Jennifer Bowen, Head of Cataloging at the University of Rochester, discussed the development process from the American Library Association perspective. She defined RDA as a “new standard for resource description and access designed for the digital environment.” Description makes up the first part of RDA or Part A. Part B deals with access points. There is also a new RDA terminology. For instance, headings are called access points, and authorized headings, preferred access points. There is ongoing work to address mode of issuance, persistent identifiers and URLs, capitalization, and initials. RDA’s relationship with other standards such as ONIX was also discussed. ALA does not want RDA to be based solely on AACR2. A schedule for the RDA draft review of various chapters was offered. RDA drafts are available at: www.collectionscanada.ca/jsc/rda.html.

A question and answer session followed. Issues such as the possible elimination of LCRIs, the integration of RDA into Cataloger’s Desktop, the encoding of RDA using MARC, mapping between MARC and FRBR, the continued application of ISBD, and communication with vendors, were raised.

Subscribe to RDA-L to follow the discussion. ALCTS has made comment forms available on the ALCTS website. All presentations are available at www.collectionscanada.ca/jsc/rda.html.

Ripped from the Headlines: An ALCTS Forum

Mary Beth Weber, Rutgers University

Two speakers provided different perspectives on the “headlines”: “Libraries weed collections, offer electronic access only—users in an uproar” and “New library facilities no longer needed as resources are digitized.” M. Dina Giambi, University of Delaware Library, introduced the speakers and served as the moderator for the second part of the program.

Mary Abdoney, Science Librarian, Robert Lee Telford Science Library, Washington and Lee University, discussed the withdrawal project of print titles from her library. Her presentation was titled “Finite Spaces: JSTOR versus Print at Washington and Lee University” ( http://library.wlu.edu/abdoney/midwinter2007/). When Abdoney began her current position, the old issue of the need for space still existed. Her first job was to evaluate the collection in the science library. There was no possibility of remodeling the library, which is a historic building.

Abdoney compared JSTOR and print journals to determine where duplication existed. The JSTOR journals were often of better quality than the print (the print copies were falling apart and in poor condition). The faculty, particularly those in the sciences, preferred the JSTOR journals. However, older faculty members were more likely to use the print journals and did not like the idea of discarding them. Abdoney estimated that 275 feet of shelf space could be saved by one phase of weeding. In order to gain faculty support for her proposed project, Abdoney pitched it as a positive: “This is a great opportunity,” rather than “We are running out of space.”

Communication was a crucial aspect of the project. Abdoney wanted the process to be transparent and to keep the faculty involved at every stage of the project. She took faculty concerns into account, and did not discard certain titles. To facilitate communication, she introduced social technology, and created a blog for the project titled “Science Library Weeding Update” ( http://bloggery.wlu.edu/sciweed/). The blog was useful both to communicate to faculty and as a means to monitor her progress. Abdoney felt that a blog was a more stable way to document her progress than a Word document, which would require constant updating. She emailed faculty as the blog was updated. The science library home page included a link to the blog for easy access.

Open communication was a key factor in the project’s success. JSTOR uses a “moving wall,” which is the time period between the last available issue and the most recently published issue of a title. The moving wall can range from zero to ten years. The moving wall allowed faculty to read their favorite journals, which was a relief to them.

Abdoney reported that the University Librarian has been supportive of the project. There has been discussion of using this process for weeding the main library at her institution, and noted it will be a hard sell for the humanities.

The discarded journals were offered to regional groups. Unwanted journals were recycled using a local recycling firm. Abdoney had considered offering the discarded titles to a Third World institution but ruled out that idea since the journals were in such poor condition. Abdoney’s staff now shift volumes often and they have room to grow. Portico has been used as an “insurance policy” in case JSTOR folds.

Richard AmRhein, Dean of Library Services, Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources, Valparaiso University, offered insights into a successful campaign for a new library, which was recently featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Libraries Beckon, But Stacks of Books Aren’t Part of the Pitch.”

AmRhein highlighted some of the challenges he faced in building a new library. The goal was to have all the “normal” resources available, and nothing was discarded. With a goal of raising $33 million, AmRhein noted that it is difficult to convince donors to contribute funds for what they consider a “regular” library. He explained how we, as librarians, see libraries in one way while donors often do not consider libraries at all when it comes to donating. Donors frequently were not big library users as college students, and are not an easy sell. Getting them excited about donating was a challenge.

Today’s students are multi-taskers and other things needed to be incorporated into the concept for the library. AmRhein also considered what could be partnered with other services to attract users and to make them comfortable. Space is often the last reason for a new library and there was a concern raised about how all the resources would be housed. An automated storage and retrieval system allowed better use of space. There is now less crunch in the open stacks. Materials in storage are available through the OPAC and can be retrieved in about five seconds.

AmRhein stated that one important point in designing a new library is to forget longstanding perceptions about libraries. This translates into: What can be better handled by other parties outside the library? Dining services handles all the food and drinks (the library houses a café and provides vending machines). Parties outside the library handle all IT operations.

The library is a matter of shared space and not an administrative structure. Spaces were designed both for multi-tasking and noise as well as for quiet study. There are also no study carrels, which were not used in the old library building. Lounge chairs were always in demand, and the new library has more lounge chairs, and group study areas with diner style booths. There are computer clusters throughout the building and the entire building is referred to as an information commons. There are three public entrances to the library. They moved away from the concept of one way in, one way out. The library also includes a 4,000 foot community room that has hosted Bach concerts as well as a 300 seat dinner. The idea of permitting food and drinks through the library was a battle with the provost. The reality is that carpet tile was installed with the idea that it could be replaced. To date, none of the carpet has been replaced.

AmRhein stated that the bottom line is that the library is a focal point for learning and not a warehouse for materials. Library usage increased by 433 percent within the first year that the new building opened. Interlibrary loan increased by 27 percent and circulation by 10 percent. The building is a comfortable venue that makes it possible to use the library in a greater way than is possible with a traditional structure. He added that they were committed to making staff spaces, particularly in technical services which is often located basements or other unpleasant places, as comfortable and attractive as the public spaces.

There was opportunity for questions after both presentations. After the question and answer sessions, Ms. Giambi posted the four controversial statements used on Digiblog in preparation for “Definitely Digital” symposium. She asked the group to rate them and discussion followed.

Those statements are:

  1. Due to the very high costs and rapid obsolescence of necessary equipment and the fact that the electronic medium is not archival, digital preservation is a concept which can only be embraced by the largest, most well-funded libraries with large IT staff resources.
  2. As information resources go digital, the "units" of information discovery and delivery will become wildly variable and blended, making past patterns of collection development, acquisition, and cataloging inadequate and unscalable.
  3. In the new information paradigm, there will be very little distinction between book vendors and subscription agencies, whose services will be very different than in the past.
  4. In the rapidly evolving information environment, those staff who are not prepared for and able to cope with continuous learning and constant change will either become increasingly compartmentalized or be left behind altogether.

The group rated the forth statement as the most controversial. Comments made during the discussion included:

  • Libraries are sometimes giving digital resources to faculty and staff rather than adding them to the collection and research reports were cited as an example.
  • Data sets lack good standards for classification. Providing access to them is also difficult. One institution is giving them to faculty to use on their desktops.
  • Is there a need to classify electronic resources, particularly since they are not in a physical location? An analogy was made between electronic resources and closed stacks. Subject headings do not facilitate resource discovery in the manner provided by classification systems.
  • This is an opportunity to consider what we do in the context of the reality of the digital world. The challenge is whether what we are doing is in sync with what is happening. We might be limited by our own skill sets.

Controversial statement one was rated next. Comments included:

  • Some book and subscription agents are already the same.
  • Do we need subscription agents in the digital age? Yes, since librarians are individuals not companies and it is a big time commitment to get things up and running.

Controversial statement two was rated as third. Comments included:

  • Technical services in part may have dug themselves into a hole. We have less qualified staff and apply vanilla cataloging treatment to our resources. We can get out of the hole but need to plan for training. The culture is set up for librarians, not staff.
  • Training involves a trade-off. Librarians receiving training are not providing other services.
  • There are opportunities to create new partnerships to help us cope. We need to provide more outreach on our part and to collaborate with our user communities.

Controversial statement three was rated as fourth. Comments included:

  • All libraries are doing some sort of digital preservation which also means digital attention.
  • Technology will make it possible for all libraries to develop ways to digitize resources.

Forum on Library Education

Elaine Yontz, Valdosta State University

The 2007 Forum on Library Education was held on January 19, 2007 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. The Forum was sponsored by the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), ALA, and the ALA Committee on Education (COE). Dan O’Connor, chair of ALA COE, moderated.

John Budd, Immediate Past President of ALISE and professor in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri-Columbia, articulated five essential foundations for the professional of librarianship: “organization of information based on formal, descriptive taxonomies; services based on the cognitive and social aspects of inquirers; access to information for particular communities that have particular linguistic, cultural, educational, political, religious, and social characteristics; management of complex organizations that exist to serve communities by means of the first three foundations; and ethics of professional praxis, encompassing a set of liberties and responsibilities.”

ALA President Leslie Berger proposed appointing a task force with broad membership to pull together the outcomes of other efforts and to paint a picture of how librarian education should look going forward. She invited anyone interested in being on the task force to contact her. Berger urged an “honest conversation” that would include consideration of controversial topics such as whether non-managerial librarians should be educated at the Bachelors rather than the Masters degree level.

Loriene Roy, President-Elect of ALA, described her presidential focus on Supporting LIS Education through Practice. Roy also mentioned interest in creating a Library Camp for youth.

Thomas W. Leonhardt, chair of the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA), announced that Proposed Updates to the Accreditation Standards have been created with wide input. The Proposed Updates are online, and comments are encouraged before March 15, 2007. The proposed changes were discussed in an open Town Hall Meeting sponsored by COA at the 2007 Annual Conference on Monday, June 25. Renee McKinney of the ALA Office for Accreditation has done research that shows that 94.6 percent of ALA-accredited programs offer courses that address all of the core competencies in ALA’s latest draft of proposed core competencies. McKinney’s research report is online on the Office for Accreditation website.

Michael Gorman, Immediate Past President of ALA, has concluded that the proposed revised standards emphasize process instead of substance and that the revisions do not address concerns raised by the profession. Gorman believes that “� control of the education of would-be members of a profession is the hallmark of an effective professional body and that ALA should do everything within its power to regain that control.”