July 28, 2009

In Memory of Bob

Our Bob (Robert Archer, October 7, 1944 - July 22, 2009) passed away last Wednesday. He had fought courageously with cancer for almost a year.
Bob earned his MSLS (1967) from Western Reserve University and JD (1973) from Northwestern University. He worked as a reference and acquisitions librarian in Southeast Missouri State College from 1968-1969, and as a government documents librarian at Northwestern University Law Library from 1971-1973.

Bob retired from the position of Vice-President and Managing Director of the Personal Trust Department of the U.S. Bank in Milwaukee in September, 2006.
After settling down in Duluth, Bob's long dormant passion for library work was rekindled. He contacted the UMD Library and volunteered to work in the Technical Services.
Bob started working at Technical Services on the afternoon of January 29, 2007. During the past two years and a half, Bob worked almost every weekday morning with us. He started with the Serial Item Clean-up project and later expanded his contributions in many other areas, including assisting with the mail, pulling periodicals for binding, arriving new periodical issues, organizing the sample and gift periodicals, and updating publishers' mailing lists.

Bob's work was of superior quality. His willingness to participate in teamwork was exceptional. His professionalism and friendliness made him a wonderful addition to the Technical Services. We were honored to have had Bob on our team and grateful to his contributions.

On the morning of July 27, Technical Services staff attended Bob's funeral services at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. We met Bob's wife (Nancy), daughter (Linda), and his partner (Gary). It is gratifying to learn from his family that Bob enjoyed his time at the UMD Library.

Bob will live in our memory.

Submitted by Shixing

June 29, 2009

SLA handouts

Many of the handouts at SLA were posted at:




June 25, 2009

Sunshine's Report from ELUNA

I'd like to thank the library for its continued support in sending me to ELUNA (Ex Libris Users of North America) 2009 in Richmond, VA in May.

This is an important conference for my day-to-day activities. It generates a lot of new ideas, helps fix persistent problems and allows me to continually improve our access to resources through SFX.

This year I stuck solely with the SFX track, as this is the Ex Libris product I primarily manage.

Some highlights of things I did and learned about:

  • I presented "The Biggest Bang for your Buck: Using SFX's Advanced Collection Tool to Help with Collection Development" during the first breakout session of the conference.

  • I now have more confidence in using the text monthly KB update reports (instead of the HTML versions) thanks to Sarah Miller from CARLI.

  • I learned more about bX, a new add on for SFX. If you haven't heard about it, check it out here: http://www.exlibrisgroup.com/category/bXOverview

  • I was inspired by Notre Dame's licensing display for ILL.

  • I learned about a really cool tool called Yahoo Pipes which can help you (although I don't think I'm techie enough to use it for the SFX API): http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/

  • I'm still confident we can get our print holdings into SFX, which would be great feature for our users.

  • Ulrich's can be used with SFX to create a "journal at a glance" box on the SFX service window. Seems easy to do, and on the short list of projects to work on in January.

April 28, 2009

Rory's Conference Report - Media in Transition 6

I attended the Media in Transition 6 conference in Cambridge, Mass. April 24-26. I want to thank the library for giving me the opportunity to attend.

The conference was an academic conference concerning new media of communication, and how they are changing society.

I attended sessions with papers and presentations on archives (especially digital archives), libraries, journalism, blogs, privacy, media effects, publishing, streaming television, and technology trends. I presented a paper about Walter Ong and his investigations in the cultural effects of the invention of alphabetic writing.

The abstracts to the papers and many of the actual papers are on the website at http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/mit6/ .

April 21, 2009

Sarah's ACRL Report

I recently attended and presented at the 14th biannual ACRL conference in Seattle, WA. I attended many interesting sessions and brought back ideas I’d like to explore further. I’ve highlighted a few notable sessions and have provided information about my presentation below. If you’d like more information on any of these sessions, please let me know.

Reinventing Research Guides: LibGuides at Two Academic Libraries
This session, given by librarians from Grand Valley State University (three of my former colleagues) and Boston College, presented the findings from a user survey of LibGuides at their respective institutions. They discussed the history, purpose and continuing evolution of research guides, the implementation of their LibGuides and the survey they conducted. For more information, including their survey and results, see http://libguides.gvsu.edu/content.php?pid=36651&sid=269663.

Reeling in the Faculty: Baiting the Information Literacy Hook
Librarians and a Sociology faculty member, all from IUPUI, collaborated and created Information Literacy Community of Practice to help integrate information literacy into the curriculum. They shared advice from the perspective of librarians and faculty on how to develop partnerships which increase information literacy awareness across disciplines. It was great to hear from a faculty point of view about what realistic steps librarians can take to integrate IL into curricula and make it possible for faculty members to easily include it in the classes they teach. Notable tips include:
• Provide information literacy-related teaching materials to faculty
• Have a non-stakeholder as your champion (i.e., faculty member outside the library)
• Focus on faculty concerns like not enough time, etc. (attend discipline-related conferences if possible)
• Publicize teaching tools and resources
For more information, see http://tiny.cc/v97Ps.

Solve It!: Challenging Students Through Puzzles
This session, presented by three MIT librarians, was my personal favorite at the conference. What began as an advertising campaign for the MIT libraries expanded to a very popular puzzle series aimed at MIT students. Each puzzle required students to use one or more library resources or services in order to solve it. Successful entries were entered in a drawing for prizes such as an iPod. The librarians found that the students were highly motivated to complete the puzzles and that this increased awareness and use of several library resources. The message I took away was the importance of knowing our library community and adapting this to what would work our own institutions.

For more information see http://libraries.mit.edu/about/puzzle/ and http://libstaff.mit.edu/communications/tools.html. This project got students engaged and familiarized them with important library services and resources.

Recasting the Role of Comprehensive University Libraries: Starting Points for Educating Librarians on the Issues of Scholarly Communication and Institutional Repositories
This is the session I co-presented with two former GVSU colleagues. We discussed the program that we designed and implemented to educate our library faculty on the issues of scholarly communication as the library implemented an institutional repository. We covered the importance of tailoring such a program to meet our institution’s needs, ways to sustain enthusiasm and strategies for communicating with faculty outside the library about these topics. Because many comprehensive universities, including Grand Valley State, do not have a person or department devoted solely to scholarly communication, the success of projects like institutional repositories rely heavily on relationships between liaison librarians and faculty throughout campus.

April 16, 2009

Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story

An exciting new political biography!
Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story

Presentation on Wednesday, April 22 at 2:00pm in the UMD Library Rotunda.

District Court Judge and author Mark Munger will discuss his most recent publication about Minnesota’s longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. He chronicles Representative Willard Munger’s determined struggle to preserve Minnesota’s natural environment as he narrates his story, from birth in a homesteader’s log cabin in Otter Tail County in 1911 to legendary journey from Minnesota to Washington DC to lobby FDR during the Great Depression.

Submitted by Jodi

April 8, 2009

All-Staff meeting - April 14 agenda

All-Staff meeting
Tuesday, April 14th

• Announcements (Bill)

• Changes to the FindIt Service Window (Sunshine)

• Minnesota Reflections (Pat M.)

• Facebook Page for the Library (Rory)

• LibGuides: More Than Just Research Guides (Sarah)

• Welcome for Sarah

An Ounce of Prevention: Health Reference Basics”

An Ounce of Prevention: Health Reference Basics”
Soaring to Excellence Teleconference

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009
Time: 11am-12:30pm
Room L410

Speaker: Debra J. Kakuk Smith

Rising health care costs, economic instability, and the proactive nature of today’s society are contributing to more and more individuals seeking out health information online and in print. Are you and your library ready to meet the diverse needs of these health information seekers? Are you effectively marketing your health-related services and resources?

This program will emphasize quality print and electronic resources as well as the roles and responsibilities of patients, library information professionals and health care professionals in the information seeking process. Join us in exploring various aspects of the health reference experience including the need to respect patient privacy, how to accommodate the cultural diversity of our clientele, matching the right types of resources to specific clients, and ways to successfully navigate tricky health reference situations. We’ll also look at ways to promote the health resources and services that you have to offer.

April 3, 2009

Paul's Report on Library Technology Conference 2009

I attended the 2009 Library Technology Conference. The conference was held at Macalester College, St. Paul. It occurred on Wednesday and Thursday, March 18 and 19, 2009. The following are sessions that I attended:

Amazon’s Kindle Wireless Reading Device: Is It the Future of Inter-Library Loan?
This session explained the value of using an electronic reading device to satisfy some of the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) borrowing requests from the campus community. One positive aspect of this device is the ability to acquire a book electronically within a day. An ILL borrower could get a requested book much faster than with the traditional ILL borrowing process. One of the main negative qualities of an electronic reading device is the eye strain that occurs when using such a device. Here is the website:

Minnesota Digital Library – Where We Are
This session explained the purpose, policies and procedures of the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL). Here is the MDL description of its purpose: The Minnesota Digital Library Coalition (MDLC)—professionals from libraries, archives, historical societies and museums across Minnesota—is creating a digital collection of the state's unique resources and special collections. The Minnesota Digital Library supports education, scholarship and enrichment through Internet access to this collection. The MDLC provides a server and database environment and imaging support that is the technical foundation for current and future digitization activities. Here is the website: http://www.mndigital.org/

VuFind: The MnPALS Experience
This session demonstrated the functions and purpose of VuFind. Here is the VuFind description of its purpose: VuFind is a library resource portal designed and developed for libraries by libraries. The goal of VuFind is to enable your users to search and browse through all of your library's resources by replacing the traditional OPAC. VuFind is similar to Primo. Here is the website: http://www.vufind.org/

Discussing “Next Generation” Library Catalogs
This session featured and exchange of thoughts and ideas from both the presenter, Eric Lease Morgan, Head of the Digital Access and Information Architecture Department of the University Libraries of Notre Dame, and the audience. Methods for setting up search engines beneficial to libraries was primarily discussed.

Using an Audience Response System in Library Instruction
This session covered the basics of using an audience response system for library instruction. The system described in this session is the same one that the UMD Library uses, which is Turningpoint Technologies. Here are a couple of websites that may be of interest:

Please feel free to ask me questions.

April 1, 2009

Doreen's Report "2009 Library Technology Conference"

I attended the 2009 Library Technology Conference at Macalester College and presented at a poster session with Rory Litwin on March 18-19. The poster was entitled “Widgets to Integrate Library Resources Into Faculty Web Pages.” We showed four of our widgets that users can customize and create code to insert into web pages and Moodle sites, including a search of the library catalog, a search of the E-Journal Locator, a gadget that lets the user create their own custom drop-down menu of favorite links to library resources, and a portable assignment calculator.

Keynote #1 was entitled “Applying the Information Commons Concept in Your Library” by Stacey Greenwell, Head of the Information Commons (called the Hub) at the University of Kentucky. She gave numerous examples of how to bring this concept into any library. View a public blog (looks like a transcript) here: http://tinyurl.com/ctg8oy

Keynote #2 was entitled “Technology Trends and Libraries: So many opportunities” by Eric Lease Morgan, Head of the Digital Access and Information Architecture Department at the University Libraries of Notre Dame. He believes opportunities abound in libraries now with all the computerization, as people’s expectations increase for accessing information and data. View his talk here: http://tinyurl.com/ch7y2v
Some of the sessions I attended were:

Virtual Life, the Metaverse and Everything

This was a hands-on session about the increasingly popular 3D network called SECOND LIFE – (http://secondlife.com) where you create a username and avatar, and live in a virtual world where inhabitants build houses, build businesses, hold jobs, own land, use currency, attend school, play sports – just about everything we do in “real life” or “RL” as they call it. “SL” is not considered a game. It seems to be very serious (at least to our trainer). It’s popular for anonymous support groups, discussions, as well as education. Education is one of the most progressive fields in SL. Lots of universities provide their students with lectures and seminars held within SL. Distance education is especially fitting for this venue. To attend a course, you “teleport” to it at a certain time in a real 3D environment. You see the other “people” arrive and walk or fly around or sit down. You can talk and interact either by microphone or by typing. Meetings are being held virtually now as a way to save travel costs.

In the workshop we teleported to a replica of the Sistine Chapel – evidently this is a meeting place for art students.
There are many other virtual reality environments, including Google’s Lively, Vivaty, Hipihi, and dozens of others. Second Life currently has the best technology, but there is a move to Open Sim, Wonderland, and other open source platforms that have great potential for education.
Sussex has been a virtual campus in SL for a year now: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/press_office/media/media673.shtml

Other Universities on SL:
Harvard University
New York University
San Diego State University
Stanford University
Texas State University
Top 20 educational locations in SL: http://tinyurl.com/y33xfa

A random PowerPoint about SL if you want to see what it looks like

Gartner (a leading information technology research and advisory company) says 80 percent of active internet users will have a "Second Life" in the virtual world by the end of 2011.

A Beginner's Guide to InDesign Publishing Software
Adobe PageMaker became Adobe Indesign a few years ago, with its primary purpose for creative design and layout of posters, newsletters, cards, banners, newspapers, and such. I had a chance to use Indesign CS2 in a hands-on workshop to create a brochure with images. CS4 is the current version and has several new features. Microsoft Publisher is known for its easier learning curve, but Indesign is usually recommended for commercial/professional work. One reason for this is it works with the CMYK (print) color model, unlike Microsoft Publisher which works in the RGB color model.

User-Friendly Multimedia Authoring with Pachyderm
Pachyderm is a free web-based multimedia authoring tool for creating interactive learning via the web. It is great for those with limited technical skills. The University of Minnesota Libraries are using this to exhibit special collections, rare books, and manuscripts. They demonstrated the process of using Pachyderm; logging in, picking a template, importing files, adding metadata, building the presentation, and publishing. They shared the pros and cons within each step, and concluded that this is best suited for smaller collections. Building the presentation is fairly quick, but collecting the media, scanning, and saving images takes the most time, as well as the conceptual mapping (they suggest to do entirely on paper first). Finished presentations can be run from a flash drive as well.
Some of their digitization projects:
YMCA in America History Timeline
Becoming Minnesota Sesquicentennial Exhibit
Otto F. Ege Manuscript Collection

More Pachyderm Resources:
The Pachyderm Website
Pachyderm Open Source Community
Minnesota Digital Library Pachyderm Project

What Is Cooking in the Lab: Update on UofM Digital Library Development Lab Projects
This very fast paced session was about the new developments at the UofM with the Rich Media Initiative to help visual and audio learners, their new Assignment Calculator, an the latest upgrade of UThink blogs, and more. They talked about digital conservancy – long-term preservation.

Other topics covered:
Using DLXS for finding aids in Archives and special collections
Fedora to store finding aids as XML
Rich Media with Drupal layer on top
Solar for indexing
Assignment Calculator: (new version) https://tools.lib.umn.edu/ac/
Assignment Calculator: (new version) video: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/jveldof/calculator/
Xserver APIs for Aleph, Primo and Metalib
This got very technical – if you have questions I have notes.

Drupal at the University of Minnesota: A Case Study
The U of MN Bio-Medical Library recreated their site with Drupal in 2006, and later, the libraries decided to use Drupal as well. Drupal (http://drupal.org/) is one of many “Content Management Systems” (CMS’s) available. Drupal is free and open-source and seems to be popular in the library world. The benefit of a CMS like Drupal is the built-in web 2.0 functionality and skins that are ready-to-use out of the box (well, not really) They stressed that it does have a learning curve and the documentation isn’t polished, like most open-source products, but there are myriads of support groups for users delving into it. They said that Wordpress is easy, Joomla is somewhere in the middle and Drupal has a long learning process. This session was very fast-paced and covered the technicalities about the modules of Drupal, which are mandatory and which are not, and so-on.

Sites built with Drupal:

Links they mentioned:
http://acquia.com/blog (they sell a more ready-to-use and tweaked up version of Drupal)
http://www.drupaldojo.com/ (Train yourself)
http://www.drupal4lib.com/ (Listserv)
http://www.lullabot.com/ (consulting and training for Drupal)
http://drupal.org/handbook (Drupal handbook)
http://drupal.org/handbook/site-recipes (Drupal site recipes)

They mentioned that you have to custom create your own code to get outside systems integrated, like Libdata for example.

March 27, 2009

Jodi's Report from ACRL

Hi All,

I was able to attend the Annual Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference –“Pushing the Edge: Explore, Engage, Extend” in Seattle, WA, March 12-15.

This conference had much to offer and I was able to attend many different sessions.

I attended a pre-conference on Thursday called “Assessment Baristas: Can we start a Rubric for you?” This was part lecture and part workshop gave a good overview about rubrics construction, how they can be simple to complex, rubrics can also assist in the preparation for a class, especially if you need to do some type assessment.

Some highlights from Friday--
“We’re Not Playing around: Gaming Literate Librarians=Information Literate Students”— Chick out the Blog http://www.informationgames.info/blog/?page_id=118

“Data Literacy for Reference Librarians; or How to win at Statistical Jeopardy” was a good overview of how statistics are collected and what to look at so they can work for you.

Some librarians from MIT had a program called “Solve it!: Challenging Students Through Puzzles” This started with a library PR project that found its way to Puzzles because of the climate at MIT. Check out the communications program at http://libstaff.mit.edu/communications/tools.html and the archive of the puzzles http://libraries.mit.edu/about/puzzle/.

Friday’s session ended with the keynote speaker Sherman Alexie, which was very entertaining. (http://www.fallsapart.com/)

Highlights from Saturday—
“Creating Instruction “to go”: Maximizing Resources, Maximizing Impact”

“Finding the Fish in the Sea: Identifying, collaborating, and Sustaining Partnerships with Student Service Programs”
This panel discussion had some success working with student groups on their campus and they spoke about how they did it and how they are now sustaining the partnerships.

The All Conference Reception was held at the Experience Music Project/ Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (http://www.empsfm.org/)
This was a cool museum that included the guitars of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobian and some unique science fiction items.

Sunday Highlights
This invited paper was presented Robin Chase who was a cofounder and former CEO for Zipcar (http://www.zipcar.com/) Currently she is the CEO of GoLoco (http://www.goloco.org/greetings/guest)
Since this conference had an underlying theme of going green this was an appropriate speaker and she related what she does with what libraries do for their users.

The last presentation I attend was “If Fish Markets Can Do It so can We: Designing Memorable Library Experiences for Students and Faculty”
This panel presentation was very good. It gave some good ideas of users perspectives and how to meet their needs.

Some of the blogs the presenters maintain include:
Designing Better Libraries: http://dbl.lishost.org/blog/
Brain Matthews: http://theubiquitouslibrarian.typepad.com/

The closing keynote was Ira Glass from This American Life gave his keynote as if he was doing one of his radio programs and he talked about the process of the show and how they do research. (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/)

If you have any questions please let me know.
Thank you

March 26, 2009

Doreen's Report on "Intro to JavaScript" class

I'd like to thank the library for the opportunity to take an 8-week online class about programming, “Intro to JavaScript” through the HTML Writer’s Guild. This was a class where we did readings from two books and weekly online homework (see http://tinyurl.com/c7neeg ) This just shows a tip of the iceberg regarding what Javascript is capable of.

The purpose of Javascript is to add interactivity to web pages. A good example would be our Group Study Room page at http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/gsr/index.htm. Javascript has been around for a long time, but there was an era not too long ago where it was somewhat avoided due to security concerns, but it’s made a comeback with the better browsers of today.

This is pared down, but here is a sample of what we covered. We learned about creating variables, functions, “for” and “while” loops, switches, conditional statements, prompting for input, making alert and confirm boxes, doing validation, debugging scripts, converting between strings and numbers, creating things like timers, rollovers, resizable window popups, and time converters. Other important concepts were:

* Functions, arrays, and objects
* Events and event handlers
* Browser Object Model and Document Object Model
* Graceful degradation
* Importance of separating structure, presentation, and behavior

Here is another example of a made-with-Javascript tool. I do use this color-picker gadget a lot when I need to see what color a particular code represents. Firefox has an add-on called Colorzilla that's good too, but I still find myself using this simple little picker.

Many of the online converters and calculators you see online would be Javascript based.

March 23, 2009

Rory's 2009 Library Technology Conference Report

I attended the 2009 Library Technology Conference at Macalester College on March 18th and 19th.

Doreen Hansen and I participated in the poster session with a poster about the library's new widgets. The poster had a good number of viewers who read the text and nodded appreciatively. We answered some questions.

I attended some very interesting sessions at the conference.

One interesting session was about "distributed reference," which in this case meant reference service provided remotely by part time librarians in different parts of the country, supporting students in a private, for-profit, online university. There was a certain sense that what these librarians were doing is a trail-blazing model for reference, in that online education is a growing trend. I found it interesting that this university has 31,000 students and provides access to only 14,000 e-books, and no physical books whatsoever, and no ILL access to physical books whatsoever. And the vast majority of their students are in Masters and Doctoral programs. Some things about what they are doing do not compute. They seem very understaffed to support so many students, and they agree that they are. Their presentation had the quality of a dystopian sci-fi novel in some respects.

Another interesting session was called "Reading for Digital Natives," and it was presented by a school librarian who has studied a lot of education and looked at a lot of brain research. The focus of her talk was on how the younger generation has developed their brains differently because of so much exposure to video games and other new media, resulting in difficulty reading and concentrating. Like many people who talk about how the new generation is different, she seemed a little bit conflicted about whether educators should adapt to the new generation's differences, or find new ways (try harder) to teach them to think as educators have traditionally expected to think.

I attended other presentations that were interesting, including a good presentation on copyright and another one on the basics of InDesign.

Submitted by Rory

Martha's ACRL Report

I attended ACRL in Seattle, Washington from March 11-15. The opening keynote speaker was Rushworth Kidder who discussed ethical decisions. He stated in October, 2008 we became corrupted and irresponsible. There are four types of dilemmas regarding ethics: truth telling vs loyalty; industry vs commercial; short term vs long term; and justice vs mercy (expectations vs exceptions). He discussed moral courage to do what’s right in spite of consequences. An example provided was a boy who distributed pamphlets during World War II on what was really happening from information from BBC and Voice of America. Ethics often is a choice between right and right. Decisions must by based on honesty, fairness, responsibility, respect and compassion.

Several of the sessions I attend dealt with library/subject guides. LibGuides were shown including the fact that you could enter your proxy url and check a box so that the url will be added to all the links in the guide. In addition, RSS feeds, widgets, polls, and video can be added to the guide. Another resource mentioned for library guides, was Library ala Carte which was developed by Oregon State University and is open source. More information regarding Library ala Carte is available at: http://alacarte.library.oregonstate.edu/. This software also allows you to add chat, RSS feeds, videos, as well as links to library resources.

Meg Scharf, Associate Director for Public Services, University of Central Florida Libraries gave an interesting talk on assessment results on academic library web sites. She graded 250 academic library web sites on whether it was possible to find the assessment results on the web page. 5% received an A, 16% received a B or C, and 73% received an F with no results. Examples of In Library Use Surveys: University of Washington Libraries Assessment (http://lib.washington.edu/assessment/surveys/ILU2005/default.html). The University of Southern California survey were mentioned as excellent since it mentioned users concern and the action taken. (http://www.usc.edu/libraries/about/libqual/index.php).

I appreciate the library providing the opportunity to attend this conference and I picked up some ideas I would like to try.


February 6, 2009

Black History Month: Black Americans in Congress

There is a new UMD Library display in the red concourse. The display is titled:

Black History Month: Black Americans in Congress

Nine past and current members of Congress are highlighted.

All books and audio books in the display case can be checked out at the UMD Library. Please inquire at the circulation desk.