Thursday, January 31, 2008

Job and occupational description for medical librarian, as listed at the American Medical Association website:

Quote from the page: "Medical librarians help improve the quality of patient care by helping health care professionals stay abreast of new developments and treatments. "
Please take the newest Pew Internet Project Survey!

The Pew Internet Project and Elon University are conducting an ongoing survey
of stakeholders about the future of the internet, and we would like to include
your views in our research.

This web-based survey about international concerns and the internet follows
two previous surveys of thousands of internet stakeholders that measured the
expected impact of the internet over the next decade (to see the results,
please go to

We hope you'll take 10 to 15 minutes to fill out our survey (to participate,
you must use Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari as your browser). You will
find the survey at:

The survey asks you to assess several potential scenarios tied to the future
of the internet and to contribute your own thoughts about what you believe
should or will happen by the year 2020. This is a confidential survey,
however, we encourage you to take credit for your thoughts. After each
question, you are invited to explain or expand on your views. Each elaboration
you provide will remain anonymous unless you put your name at the start of it.

When you begin the survey, please use this personal identification number
(PIN): 1001

The Pew Internet Project will issue a report based on this survey in the
spring; we expect the results to be useful to policy makers, scholars and
those in the information technology industry. Material from this survey will
be added to the Elon University/Pew Internet website, Imagining the Internet
( We will not use your name or email address for any
purpose other than this research project, and we will not share your
information with outside solicitors.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Thank you,
Lee Rainie
Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project
1615 L Street NW
Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20036

Friday, January 18, 2008

Our work is not yet done, folks. The British Library has a link to a report titled: Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future on their site: . Quote from the British Library press release:

"A new study overturns the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation' – youngsters born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most web-literate. The first ever virtual longitudinal study carried out by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web. "

The direct link to the report is: . You may have suspected such findings, if you have had any contact at all with students from elementary up to and including graduate level studies. As these are our future sources of revenue, be it taxes or direct pay, we as librarians need to evolve and adapt to them, or schedule one whale of a retraining effort. As for me, I am betting on adaptation and evolution.
(Thanks to Siobhan Champ-Blackwell at Creighton for calling this to my attention -th)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Check out the Design Thinking article by Steven J. Bell in the January/February 2008 issue of American Libraries. I found a link to the full-text of the article on the author's blog, if you don't subscribe to the journal:
The author reminds us to keep the user experience in mind, and uses the example of coffee (a commodity). By adding service and the experience (wireless access, live bands, gourmet food), the coffee turns into something that people will pay top price per cup just to get the entire user experience. Adding memorable service to the library experience could improve each user's experience. After all, sometimes we are still dispelling the bad memories of our patron's 2nd grade librarian, or their association of the library with term papers (and they hated term papers), or the last time they were in our library and didn't find what they were looking for, feeling ineffective and clumsy as they searched in vain.
"User experience" also fits what James Earl Jones was talking about as the character Terrance Mann in the movie, Field of Dreams, when he explains why people will line up and pay to come to a baseball field in Iowa: "Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray." I wonder if we could get Mr. Jones to recite that passage with some changes for the next PSA for libraries? Maybe something like: "...for it is money they have and information they lack..."
Going back to the coffee shop experience. I mentioned a new t-shirt idea for Library Week yesterday to a few of the librarians I work with and the circulation staff members, and received very different responses. The t-shirt would say in a great font: Barista of information. The librarians pretty much all disliked the idea, saying that we do so much more. But those that serve the patrons the most, the circulation staff, loved the idea, and said the patrons would "get it". Librarians outside academic libraries "got it", too. Interesting. Maybe since I started out in libraries as a work-study in the Circulation Dept., I liked the idea, seeing the phrase "barista of information" as a bridge, not an all-encompassing descriptor. I don't know if we will ever have one phrase that will show the length and breadth that we do as librarians - I can't even explain all of what I do to my relatives over the holiday visits. But 'barista of information' - it does have a ring to it.
(This is my 500th post on this blog. I hope they have all been valuable to you, and I look forward to posting more in the years ahead.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The book, "The Future of Ideas" is now free to download on a Creative Commons license:
This is most appropriate, as the book is about the shift of the Internet from creativity and innovation to "cable television on speed", controlled by "hoarders of copyrights". Since we deal on all sides of copyright, if you haven't read the book, you can now - free.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Keeping up with Congress has just become easier - "My Open Congress" networking site is described on this blog post: Users can track by senator, bill, representative, or issue. Please share this with those in your groups in charge of governmental affairs.
Survey invitation from Marcus Banks, Manager of Education and Information Services, UCSF Library in San Francisco:

If you regularly read blogs by and for health sciences librarians, but
have not yet taken a 5-10 minute survey about your experiences, please go
The survey will be up until Jan. 21. So far 202 people have completed it.
The data will inform an upcoming chapter meeting paper. Then I will report
it all--appropriately enough--on my blog:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wondering what electronic devices your students own, so you can offer services aimed at those devices? Check out the latest Snapshot from Campus Technology:

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Academic Librarians and Rank"
compares results from the 2006 survey of Ph.D. librarians by Todd Gillman and Thea Lindquist to the 1991 ARL survey.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Building the Center for Information Literacy at Illiniois State University: ISU-based center to help librarians train info consumers
From the article: "Teaching people to find, evaluate and use information effectively has always been part of a librarian's job..." Just had to repeat that point.

Some of the goals listed for the new center:
"-- Establish a Web site, or virtual clearinghouse, about the subject and its latest trends.

-- Organize regional summits on the topic of teaching information literacy. Summits would be conducted throughout the state, but also be accessible through Web technology.

-- Create outreach groups for different librarian communities, such as school librarians, and others working in public library environments."

Friday, January 04, 2008

"Ten Tips for Technology Training", as posted to Tame the Web blog: The ten great training tips originally appeared in the May 2006 issue of Computers in Libraries magazine.

Mentioned in the tips: FD's Flickr Toys. Address for that wonderful site: .
What if your library received ad revenue from the pdf documents it supplied to users? This rhetorical question has been brought to you by the new Ads for Adobe service: .

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Research Committee of the Association of College and Research Libraries has released its 2007 Environmental Scan. It lists the top 10 assumptions for the future of academic libraries and librarians. Check it out at
"Having content vetted by people who understand information well makes a difference." That quote should get the journalist David A. Utter into a library hall of fame somewhere. He has my vote, for sure. The quote came from his article, "Wikia Schmikia: Try Out These Sites" at

In the article, he quotes Gary Price of Resource Shelf saying this about Wikia Search: "It’s going to be a bit sad to see this project get all sorts of media attention and library/librarian/scholar built and maintained tools with plenty of human editorial influence forgotten."

Michael Hart lists his predictions for the top inventions of 2008 . Among the items that Mr. Hart lists, he lists virtual reference as a great invention of 2008, predicting that libraries won't limit their reference emails to only residents in their service area. It would be so cool if this could be true everywhere. Unfortunately, the publishers site license agreements on most eresources specifically limit their use to a recognized collection of users. If someone emailed our library for a copy of a journal article, we would have to ask them to visit the library in person to get the copy - not allowed to copy and redistribute items outside of our recognized service population. Free stuff - can do and we do it all the time, and we would help anyone. Proprietary databases - can't do it, or can't do it easily, or suffer penalties and who knows what else.

Our library tried virtual reference way back in 2003, but found it was a hindrance to our users, rather than a help. A research article came out of our experiences: One Library's Experience With Virtual Reference . But maybe we need to revisit the concept?

Mr. Hart is the founder of Project Gutenberg, and (from the bottom of the article) "a cofounder of The World eBook Fair [], is credited with the cofounding of the Open Source movement as well as being a pioneer by example of how the Internet should be."
EPA libraries have been told to restore services by Congress. Jessymyn West posted a story on her blog about this yesterday: . She also links to a press release at the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility site: .

To quote Ms. West, who echoes many (I hope) citizens' feelings about the whole episode: "I don’t know about you but I find this so upsetting. Not that someone could be so shortsighted as to think you could close a bunch of libraries with practically unique information and replace them with a (shoddy, sorry) database, but that the whole idea of closing a LIBRARY isn’t seen as a last-ditch thing you only do when you need to, I don’t know, burn the books for fuel to keep from freezing to death."

Previous posts to the User Education blog about the EPA libraries: .
A great blog post by Richard Akerman
about the recent Association of Research Libraries' report: "Agenda for developing e-science in research libraries".
His distillation of the model principles that librarians should consider:

1. Open Access: Research libraries will support open access policies and practices regarding scientific knowledge and e-science.

2. Open Data: Access to open data is a movement supported by research libraries, taking into consideration the ethical treatment of human-subject data.

3. Collaboration: Research libraries will collaborate with multi-institutional, interdisciplinary
research projects by developing and supporting digital repositories for their research outputs,
data, and metadata.

4. Digital Stewardship & Preservation: Research libraries will have institutional repositories that meet international preservation and interoperability standards and practices.

5. Equitable Service and Support: Research libraries will work collectively to ensure that gaps do not develop in the levels of support provided across e-sciences.

6. Professional Development & Investment: Research libraries will develop the human capital to provide the range of knowledge management skills at the appropriate level needed by esciences.

7. Metadata Standards & Metadata Creation: Research libraries will spearhead initiatives to develop metadata standards supportive of scientific data.

8. There is no number 8.

9. Virtual Communities: Research libraries will contribute to the establishment of and
participate in virtual laboratories or organizations developed across e-sciences.

10. Sustainable Models: Research libraries will participate in the development of and contribute to sustainable business models for the resources and services essential to e-sciences.

11. Communication: Research libraries will participate in initiatives to increase wider
professional and public understanding of e-science contributions to knowledge and its
infrastructural requirements.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

To start the new year off right, I have revived the Comments feature on this blog. Your comments are very welcome. They will not be instantaneously published, but will first come to me to moderate. Please feel free to add your comments to any of the posts.
"The survey results challenge the assumption that libraries are losing relevance in the internet age." - how great is that for my quote of the day! This information about who is using our libraries is in the recent Pew Internet & American Life Project report. "Information Searches That Solve Problems"
Another article written about this report is on Yahoo News:

(Thanks to Dorothy Knee for sharing the Yahoo News article with me.)
Wonderful article on what librarians do, and the value of reaching out
to our constituents!

Rather charming piece on a NYPL librarian who helps writers with their
work... a nice article highlighting the benefits and fun of what we do!

(Courtesy of Siobhan Champ-Blackwell)
A good blog for us as library professionals to read: Conversation Agent

While I was reading through it, I had that back-of-the-neck feeling that these blog posts apply to our profession and business of getting the right information in the right form to the people that need it. One phrase jumped out at me, when Adam Salamon said about the younger generation:

"Metaphorically, we process the world with T1 connections, while everyone else is still stuck with dial-up. "

Another one of his that probably applies to our line of work:

"Consumers will bypass the dealers and get straight to the source "