September 04, 2008

Registration Open for MINITEX/OCLC User Group Meeting

Registration is now open for the MINITEX/OCLC User Group meetings scheduled to be held in each of our 3 states this October. For the primary content, we have asked R2 Consulting, LLC, a firm specializing in workflow analysis and redesign for academic libraries, to present a workshop on Technical Services Workflow Analysis. We will also have time for MINITEX and OCLC updates and demos.

Register for the MINITEX/OCLC User Group Meeting

April 09, 2008

Thoughts on PLA 2008

I've never been to the Public Library Association's Annual Conference. This year, since it was in Minneapolis, I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn a little more about the public library world. I only attended one day of the conference, but it was well worth it! Below is a brief summary of one of the more thought provoking sessions I attended. Check out the pictures--notice the shape of their stacks! I also attached a document with a write-up of a couple of the sessions I attended as well.

Perhaps the most interesting session I attended at PLA was about the UK’s new IDEA stores. They’re not actual retail stores, they’re LIBRARIES. The first IDEA store opened in Tower Hamlets, the 4th most deprived area of the United Kingdom in 2002. The old library was getting little use and before plans to rebuild began, they realized they needed to survey their nonusers. They made house calls to talk with people who did not use the old library. The number one reason people did not visit the library was because it wasn’t located next to any other place they visited on a regular basis, like their grocery store. Another common reason those they surveyed did not come to the library was because of the physical condition of the building. It wasn’t a very welcoming place.

Those involved in this library revitalization project looked at the retail world as well, and based some of the services they now provide on that model. For example, all of the library staff at IDEA stores wear uniforms. When you walk in the door, the first thing you see is a coffee shop, with branded IDEA coffee mugs. IDEA stores are built next to other major stores (like supermarkets), and the IDEA stores stay open the same hours as the other retail stores. When the IDEA store is closed, they open them up for community events, like family sleepovers. The IDEA stores hire outside teachers/instructors and offer a wide range of classes.

Just by looking at the outside of an IDEA store, you would immediately recognize it as such. They’ve put a lot of effort into branding. Just take a look at the following photos:

Outside of an IDEA Store

Inside an IDEA Store

Here’s one interesting statistic: the IDEA Web site is in the top 2 for most visited Web sites in London (in the top 15 for the UK).

If you’re looking for more information, here’s a handout from the session.

Or, visit the IDEA Store Web site.

I would have liked to hear more about the inner workings of the library. How did the technical services dept. have to change to support the new IDEA Store? We just didn't have enough time in the session--and it was packed with people!! Anyone know any UK librarians?

March 03, 2008

Minnesota Library Association 2008 Annual Conference

Attention Minnesota Librarians!

Have you thought about submitting a program proposal for the Minnesota Library Association 2008 Annual Conference? The conference will be held November 19-21 at the Sheraton in Bloomington, MN. The theme of the Conference is: To Explore, To Evolve, To Excel…Together.

Even if you do not submit a session proposal, I welcome your suggestions for topics and/or speakers!

To submit a session proposal, please complete the Session Proposal Form with as much information as possible.

(1) submit it to by March 12 AND

(2) Please send a copy to me so I’m aware of what has been submitted and can advocate for the Technical Services programs at the Conference Planning Committee meetings. Although the final deadline is April 11, session proposals submitted by March 12 will be discussed at our March 14 meeting.

September 14, 2007

Fall Travel in the MINITEX Region

Here's an update on when and where you will see us in the coming months.

MINITEX staff will be presenting at State Library Association conferences in North Dakota (Sept. 26-28), South Dakota (Oct. 17-19), and Minnesota (Oct. 24-26). Bill DeJohn will present his “State of the MINITEX Region, A Review” session, and other staff will give updates on OCLC products and services, WebJunction, and more! See the link below to view a complete schedule. Come see us at your state conference or visit us at the MINITEX booth!

View a complete schedule of all MINITEX sessions

Though we know some of you very well from speaking on the phone, we do not get to see all of you in person as often as we would like. We try to schedule regular site visits to MINITEX participating libraries talk about any issues related to OCLC, resource sharing, or cataloging. Plus, we love visiting the physical library and hearing about all the new projects going on out there at each of your institutions. This fall we're targeting the northeast corner of Minnesota (and what better time to be on the road). We're starting to contact and schedule site visits in Duluth, Cloquet, Hibbing, and Chisholm. If you would like us to stop by on our fall tour, drop us a line.

We recently scheduled a number of in person and online training sessions. Check out our training calendar!

View currently offered training in the MINITEX region

May 04, 2007

Building Digital Collections

For me, spring is a time for conferences. I just spent the last three days in downtown Minneapolis at the School for Scanning: the A-Z of Creating Digital Projects. Why, oh why did I not bring my laptop so I could blog after each session?! This conference was jam packed with GREAT information, from faculty and experts all over the country. MINITEX does not have an archive to digitize, so the next best thing I can do is share what I learned with all of you. If you are thinking "what does this have to do with me as a librarian in technical services" I would have to answer that digitization will impact you, whether you are prepared or not. I heard from speakers who have completely transformed their technical services departments so that their catalogers are now describing digital objects and using metadata schemes other than MARC (more on that later...).

For now, here are a few notes from the opening keynote address, "Reading the Future," given by Roy Tennant. Roy discussed what he called Macy's digitization and Boutique digitization. If you've ever been asked by someone, "why do you need to digitize when Google can do it for you?" this may help give them the broader picture.

Google's mass digitization effort is one example of "Macy's digitization." The focus on these types of projects is speed, attracting eyes, and published works only.

"Boutique digitization" focuses on care of the materials, quality, education and preservation, and is done by cultural heritage institutions. The focus is on unpublished rare materials. Roy showed us examples of both types of digitization. We looked at the University of Michigan who offers a link to the Google digital copy, and their own copy of the digital object from their library catalog. If you look at the Google copy, within Google's interface, your search text is not highlighted on the page image (no exposed OCR - what makes text on an image machine readable and searchable). But, if you look at Michigan's own interface for viewing the Google copy, they have exposed the text on their page images so users can search on text and it is highlighted on the image (among other enhancements). Michigan's interface for viewing the Google book copies have enhanced the viewing capability for their users.

Other examples of "boutique digitization"

A customized K-12 interface to the California Digital Library.

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
They added a Java Image viewer for viewing maps, which you have to download to use. It is a really fast download and is worth it to see the zooming features!

Fine Art Museums of San Francisco
A user can actually see the brush strokes on paintings. Can you find the man reading the Declaration of Independence in this wood engraving?

Google's digitization project is focused on published works only, what unpublished gems do you have in your collections?"

March 12, 2007

Upcoming Conference: A to Z of Digital Projects

Recently I gave a CONTENTdm workshop up in Fargo at North Dakota State University. They are collaborating with Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and Prairie Public Television, Fargo to start their own digital projects. Prairie Public Television will be the first in the MINITEX region to digitize video on such a large scale. The group is currently working on developing their metadata standards, as each party involved will have very diverse digital collections! To help them get started, staff plan to attend the upcoming conference: School for Scanning: The A–Z of Creating Digital Collections.

The conference will be hosted in Minneapolis this year on May 1–3. It is sponsored by the Northeast Document Conservation Center. Along with keynote speaker Roy Tennant (California Digital Library), there will be break out sessions that address digitizing audio and video, documents, and images, and other sessions that address the broader issues surrounding digitization projects (selection, copyright, metadata). I plan on attending, and I hope to see some of you there!

Check out the Conference Schedule

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.