Open Library Environment Project (OLE) ALA session

I attended this session on Saturday morning. For those not familiar with OLE it is a project to build an open ILS using service oriented architecture and business modelling. The presenters were Robert H. McDonald (Indiana Univ.), Carlen Ruschoff (Univ. of Maryland), Beth Forrest-Warner (Univ. of Kansas), and John Little (Duke Univ.). The project is just finishing its planning phase and its draft document can be accessed at their website While the end product hopes to be an open source ILS right now the project is formed as a community source entity – like an open source but with members that have made committments and thus formed a community dedicated to the project, unlike an open source where one main player hopes others will join in and form a community. It seems to me that the community source approach ensures something will come out of the project. Some of the basic concepts are that instead of having an ILS that has to get files of data downloaded from other systems on your campus – feeds from HR or the registrar or from Banner – it would just connect live to that data and read it, use it, confirm it and then provide the service you need the data for. This would make campus systems less redundant and have operations work in real time. It does use kuali as middleware and so those interested might want to check out The timetable for development is 30 months from now to having a product. Partners are still being sought and an advantage to partnering is having a say in the development schedule. Partners do have to commit money, time, some expertise, and make a committment to operate some part of the system. Right now the monetary cost per year at 7 partners would be $185K/yr but more partners would lower the cost for all.

Poster Sessions

LITA 2007 offers ten poster sessions covering a wide variety of topics. I will try to give you a glimpse of each of the offerings present. While ten were listed not all were present.

Take your online services to the next level: audio, video and more! By Michelle Jeske (Denver Public Library) really showed how you could add visual and audio interest to your library’s virtual presence. Virtual storytime with a children’s librarian reading the book while the illustrations are shown was especially interesting, as was the ability to put audio instructions for using the web site in either English or Spanish.

SFX usability testing at ASU by Tammy Allgood and Jenna Amani (Arizona
State University) showed immediate applications to improving their pages. They observed users going through set tasks and began making changes immediately based on what they learned, cleaning up the pages and converting to more natural language.

Converting technophobes into technophiles: empowering reluctant library staff by Nina McHale (Auraria Library, Denver, Colorado)

Adventures in digitization: a new librarian shares five hard-earned tips to avoid project management pitfalls by Cory Lampert (University of Nevada Libraries, Las Vegas). This really was a good presentation for someone in their first position from library school. Points stressed include planning, collaboration, metadata, using the system you have, completing the project and marketing the final result. And this digitization project focused on the costumes for Las Vegas showgirls. They have already been used by fashion designers, even a follow up call from Paris.

Bright ideas or squeaky wheels: defining a model for R&D resource allocation by Jennifer S. Jutzik and Don Albrecht (Colorado State University Libraries) took a very proactive stance in showing their need for more resources. Being a land grant institution, they surveyed other land grant institutions regarding their IT support. Then they could show where they were in comparison.

Using the access grid videoconferencing system for collaboration and training: an experiment with distributed personal interface grids (PIGs) by Sharon Dennis (Midcontinental Region of the National Library of Networks of Medicine) is certainly an improvement over some clunky delivery methods where there are delays which slow the discussions. While eventually it is hoped to use this with instruction, right now they are using it primarily for conferencing and collaboration among sites at a distance from each other.

Managing library IT projects with agility and innovation by Janetta Waterhouse (University of Kansas) was one I really was interested in seeing, but unfortunately was not there.

MySpace or Facebook – the social networking faceoff: what’s right for your library by Beth Evans (Brooklyn College Library) and Shannon Kealey (New York University’s Bobst Library). And the battle begins, not really. There are good points for both and either social networking tool will get you more in touch with your younger users. One difference to note is that MySpace allows an institution entity whereas Facebook now only allows individual entities. However, in Facebook, if people join your group, you can do mass emails to them.

Advanced optical character regognitions using a cheap point & shoot digital camera by Dimitar Poposki (Department for Translation and Interpretation, Republic of Macedonia) also seemed to be not present.

Reaching students outside of traditional library instruction: creating online tutorials to reach a new generation of information users by Cindy Craig and Curt Friehs (Wichita State University Libraries) use tools like Camtasia, a tool I recommend, to improve online instruction. They have created tutorials for individual online databases to help show how to navigate through using them. Camtasia allows the viewer of the tutorial to see the screen and watch the action of the searching take place.