LITA Town Meeting Summary and Action Items

The following are the suggestions that came out of the LITA Town Meeting which focused on the education goal. (Thanks to Pat Ensor and Michelle Boule for their summaries on the LITA Blog.) The following is my summary along with action items discussed at the Spring meeting of the LITA Executive Committee. Many action items are already underway.

1. A LITA Wiki — to share expertise, what people are working on, what they’re familiar with, share the knowledge of LITA members, what products they work with.
2. It was noted that attendance at regional institutes had dropped. One idea was to plan some around other organizations’ conferences.
3. Webcasting seems like a good way to go — the kind of thing where someone can pay to receive a feed and have other people view/listen to it. This would be especially good for hot topics where quickly-produced, timely coverage is needed.
4. Tap into the educational needs of public library people. If someone started a Public Library Technology IG, they could have a focus for programming, education, liaison, etc. As a follow-up note, Mary Anne Van Cura is now working on this.
5. Use the blog as a vehicle to make LITA-L conversations, announcements more permanent.
6. LITA programming at conferences should have clearer audience indicators — maybe distinctive logos.
7. LITA needs to identify programming gaps from the top down. Our programming comes from the grass roots, which is great, but it means some important topics don’t get covered.
8. LITA does well at serving the library tech world, but we need to become more nimble and effective at reaching out to the tech world — those working in library technology who are not librarians. It was noted that maybe LITA should be LEAD-A.
9. LITA needs to use many forms of communication to find out what people need in the way of educational topics and programming.
10. LITA needs to educate technology beginners as well as advanced people.
11. LITA has 2 audiences (Techies and Money Folks/Administrators) and we have to figure out how to best reach them with our resources. Within ALA, LITA is seen as being for the techies only, ALA membership includes users of technology.
12. LITA should be providing feedback to library schools about what new librarians should know about technology.
13. LITA often has a silo effect with other groups in ALA who explore technology.
14. Members have time and travel fund limitations, we need to use podcasting and online services more for people who cannot attend conferences or relevant sessions at conferences.
15. LITA can teach on the novice level. We need more training type of programming and knowledge tools.
16. More face-to-face events like Happy Hour.
17. LITA is often the membrane that transfers technology to libraries. We should act as a larger buffer that pulls more technology into the library.
18. More plugs. At conferences and National Forum—more electrical outlets and wireless.
19. Communities. LITA should form partnerships with other groups interested in technology.
20. We need ALA to give us the ability to utilize more/better online tools.

Proposed Actions

1) Assessment and Research Task Force. The Board has voted to create an Assessment & Research Task Force to systematically gather member input and data to inform strategic direction and decisions. Members of the task force are currently being appointed.
2) Education Task Force. Create a working group of the 3 committee chairs that deal most with education programming (PPC, Regional Institutes, Education) that would investigate and propose new collaborations/partnerships and models for delivery of programs and identify improvements to current programming. Susan Logue, Regional Institutes Committee Chair, will lead this working group.
a. Investigate possible collaborations with other ALA divisions, EDUCAUSE, etc.
b. Propose online delivery of education programs. (podcasting, webcasting, ALA’s WebCT)
c. Evaluate status of Regional Institutes
3) BIGWIG. Ask BIGWIG to investigate launching a LITA Wiki. The LITA Blog has been great for reporting, but not effective, yet, as a means of collecting feedback.
4) Membership Development Committee. LITA has several membership recruiting and retention opportunities. Audiences we address need to feel that we are delivering programs that meet their needs that make the membership worthwhile.
a. We are losing many members who are moving up into administrative positions to EDUCAUSE. The Assessment and Research TF could help address this issue.
b. How do we attract the non-librarian library technologists or library systems staff?
c. People who attend conferences love the informal face-to-face networking like Happy Hour.
5) PLIG. Mary Taylor has been working on encouraging the creation of a Public Library Interest Group.
6) PPC. Program Planning Committee should look at clearer articulation of the targeted audience for programs and ensuring that programs are filling gaps wherever appropriate.
7) Discussions with ALA. Several items above probably need to be addressed with discussions with ALA units to improve LITA’s voice in these areas and offer LITA’s expertise on initiatives.
a. Discuss how LITA can partner in the technology direction of the organization.
b. Emphasize the importance of technology at conferences, especially wireless.

ALA President’s Program

ALA President’s Program
The Future of Our Profession: Educating Tomorrow’s Librarians

Sunday, January 22, 2006, 3:30-5:30 PM
Gonzalez Convention Center Theatre
Speakers: Michael Gorman, Bill Johnson, Andrei Codrescu

The program had four significant segments:

Part 1: Introductions and Bill Johnson

This important program had more than just a little schizophrenic feel to it. People obviously came to hear big name author and PBS commentator Andrei Codrescu, but his remarks had little to do with the title of the event, or with Michael Gorman’s focus on library education. That was as it should be (I’m sure no one came to hear Codrescu discuss education for librarians), but it divided the program focus quite dramatically creating an event with a marked split personality.

ALA President Michael Gorman led off by introducing his yearlong presidential focus on key issues in library education, expressing his desire to engage in a dialogue on the subject of education for librarianship.

  • Are students receiving the skills, knowledge and values they need?
  • Is the “L” in LIS receiving the attention it deserves?

Gorman stated that the captioned text from the program would be posted on the ALA website after the conference, but warned that this process takes several weeks. (I could find no information about this on the ALA website on Feb. 1 while editing this posting from my notes.)

C-SPAN’s Book-TV filmed the event for later broadcast. The president’s web page on the ALA site will post the broadcast date when it becomes available.

Note: I can’t even locate an ALA President’s Page for Gorman on the ALA site using either the Google-based search engine, or following the site’s own hierarchy. Under “ALA Governance” one is linked to Gorman’s page at California State University, Fresno, much of which (including Gorman’s list of appearances) doesn’t appear to have been updated since August, 2005. Although the page on Gorman’s Forum on Education for Librarianship has been updated more recently, it contains no information about the Codrescu event.

Gorman recognized his Presidential Advisory Committee members. He then talked about New Orleans and ALA’s decision to honor “our commitment” to hold our next conference there. According to him, this will be the first major national conference held in New Orleans since Katrina.

Gorman introduced Bill Johnson, Director of the New Orleans Public Library, who spoke for a few minutes about the library situation there. He thanked the people of San Antonio and Texas for their response to the Katrina disaster, also people in the library community for bringing the ALA convention to New Orleans. He also expressed thanks to libraries around the country that helped.

What was it [Katrina] like? It was like having a massive heart attack and then having to get up and go to work the next day, said Johnson. Initially they opened 3 libraries with 19 people.

Johnson also stressed that ALA will be the first convention coming into the city, giving the library leverage with the city authorities. However, “You won’t be the first event because we’re going to have Mardi Gras!” said Johnson. “All the bugs will be worked out then. I’d like to see you all there!”

Gorman announced several programs ALA has undertaken to aid libraries in New Orleans including the “adopt a library” program. Thanks to donors, $270,000 has been raised for the Katrina library relief fund. New Orleans conference-goers will be able to volunteer for a full day either before or after the conference to help in rebuilding efforts via the “Libraries Build Communities” program.

Next Gorman requested that the audience stand for a moment of silence honoring the passing of Gerald Hodges. Hodges joined ALA staff in 1989 and served as Director of Member Services. He will be sorely missed, said Gorman.

Finally, Gorman introduced the featured speaker, Andrei Codrescu, mentioning his role as a weekly commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and as editor of The Exquisite Corpse. Recent efforts include a movie “Road Scholar,” and his latest book New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City, copies of which were available for purchase and signing by the author after the event.

Part 2: Andrei Codrescu

Blogger’s note: There is absolutely no way I can even pretend to do justice to Codrescu’s remarks here. I will only try to provide a small sampling of bons mots for your delectation.

Codrescu began by stating that he wished to add to what his fellow Louisianan (Bill Johnson) had told us, expressing his hope that his audience would all be in New Orleans for ALA. “If anything,” he quipped, “it will be less dangerous, since the criminals have left, gone to other places to practice their craft.”

(C. later took flack over that remark during the Q & A from someone who found it insensitive and insulting to N.O. residents. C. responded that only a small percentage of the N.O. population were criminals, just like everywhere else.)

Codrescu began, as many celebs do, by declaring his affinity for libraries and librarians. Librarians are some of his favorite people, he insisted. In his case, he backed it up by pointing to the prominent role of librarians in his published work. His work is “filled with librarians, keeping the flame of literacy flickering in these pixilated times.” In Casanova in Bohemia, an old man is a librarian. In Wakefield, the protagonist’s daughter (I think it was) is one.

C. hates repeating himself, which is why he’s not an actor. In preparing for this talk, C. had three questions he put to himself:

  1. How is a librarian better than a mouse click? A: Not much and much more. A machine doesn’t waste time thinking about the quality of the information it provides.
  2. What can library buildings do besides holding books? A: Libraries are cultural centers for those who don’t fall prey to television and video games.

    There are homeless and mentally ill people who think of libraries as their churches.

    In addition to being a poet, a social worker and a nurse, the modern librarian must maintain the library’s collections of esoteric literature.

    Libraries are useful for sheltering great numbers of people, even in a storm that rips the roof right off the poverty in our city.

    Take away the library, and what you have is a mindless shopping mall.

    Caveat: the bookshelves get in the way of things like poetry reading. This sometimes results in wine spillage.

    Libraries should promote circuses and music.

    Libraries should transform themselves into producers of culture, feeding back into Google, instead of turning people into Googleing gophers.

  3. What does Freedom to Read mean to ALA? Answer: “I became a writer because I read forbidden books.” He cited an elderly man in Romania who provided all the proscribed works of literature to the younger generation including C. He credited this “unofficial” librarian with his having become a writer.

C. referred to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and quoted from the Library Bill of Rights.

In what was undoubtedly the most controversial aspect of his speech, C. took ALA to task for not supporting the independent libraries and librarians that are being persecuted in Cuba. When he visited Cuba he was appalled by the lack of books. “Cuba today is the Romania of my growing up,” he said. “I hope the ALA will pass a resolution condemning Castro’s regime for flagrant violations of human rights.”

All three questions resolve into one question: Do we believe we can survive in the 20th century? Can we make a difference to people who forget to read and those who are forbidden to do so?

For the rest of Codrescu’s remarks, you’ll have to wait for the transcript (parts of which at least are apparently available on the ALACOUN list archives, and elsewhere), or wait for the Book-TV broadcast. There are also postings on other blogs, such as the PLA Blog.

Part 3: Michael Gorman

Once C. concluded his talk, Gorman took the podium, and in a particularly schizophrenic moment, read his prepared remarks, which were almost completely unrelated to Codrescu’s, but instead related to the program’s announced title: “The Future of Our Profession: Educating Tomorrow’s Librarians.”

There are 3 ways in which people learn, said Gorman:

  1. by experience
  2. by listening to people who are wiser and know more than they
  3. through interaction with the human record, i.e. by reading

This is a positive and affirming profession, said G.

Historically there have been 3 main reasons for restricting access to the human record:

  1. blasphemy
  2. indecency
  3. sedition

G. spoke against these kinds of restrictions by any government.

Some questions to ponder:

  • Can we as ALA define the elements of our profession in the 21st century so that they can be passed down to future generations?
  • Are we carrying out the duty of our profession to control our professional education?
  • Is ALA sufficiently responsible in relation to its professional education, as regards accreditation, curriculum, etc.?

The stakes are high and failure cannot be contemplated, said G.

Part 4: Q&A with Gorman and Codrescu

Index cards were handed out as people entered the theater. Questions for C or G were written on the cards and passed to Gorman by ALA volunteers.

Gorman began by attempting to respond to Codrescu’s attack on ALA for not denouncing the Cuban gov’t. He talked about the dispute over the activity, and whether the individuals in question are really librarians or not.

G: Having a book in your house and lending it to another person doesn’t mean you’re a librarian.

C: ALA should make a stronger statement of solidarity with these people. Cubans have nothing to read. ALA is already involved in all kinds of politics and should condemn the Cuban gov’t.

C. thinks ALA is one of the most articulate associations in the US in defending freedom of speech and should continue to do so.

A question was asked about China. Is the situation there as extreme as in Cuba? C. said no, because they can’t control the Internet, but that we should condemn restrictions on freedom to read there also.

A question asked if these kinds of political issues should be our [i.e. ALA’s] business. Certainly it’s your business, said C.

C. listed what he described as the two main propaganda points that have come from Cuba, and that used to come from the now defunct Eastern European communist regimes:

  • High literacy rates
  • Free medical care

Both of these were false he said. Regarding free medical care, yes, it’s free but there are no machines. Basically the level of care was so low as to be non-existent, or useless. Likewise, if there is nothing available to read, literacy rates are meaningless.

A question asked if we should support people who were paid to overthrow the Cuban government. Codrescu: “I think people should overthrow ALL governments.”

Gorman: I can can see the headlines now: “Anarchist Addresses Pinko Communist Librarians.”

Gorman: This will be televised, you know.

Codrescu: Good—we’ll be retiring soon.

Another question asked about the future of printed books. C: Book technology has lasted from the 16th to the 21st centuries. But he essentially said that books will probably go away fairly soon, preserved as historically relevant objects.

C: I may be the last writer.

Someone asked if C. remembered 20 years ago speaking to the NMRT for a small sum. Everyone loved him, so he (the person who arranged for C. to speak) would like to claim responsibility for C’s later success. C. did not remember the speaking engagement, but said that 20 years ago he was just beginning to live in and write about New Orleans.

G. responded to a question about library education by stating that we need at least a 2-year LIS curriculum, maybe more. How can we overcome the financial barriers to have a vibrant profession and a stream of new librarians coming into the profession he asked? You can’t graduate from medical school without a course in anatomy, or from law school without a course in contracts, but you CAN graduate from an LIS degree program without a course in cataloging.

Asked about his latest book, New Orleans, Mon Amour, C. described himself as a dybbuk, a genie or spirit, a local genius who inhabits a place. He stated that he didn’t revisit or revise the older pieces that went into the collection.

New Orleans, he said, has never quite been an American city. First of all, the French built it. New Orleans is characterized by laissez-faire, lassitude, leisure, not efficient things. America doesn’t like New Orleans. The culture of N.O. came from poverty, said C. Do we now recreate that poverty?

A question asked: What are you currently reading? C. cited Michael Harington (according to the posts on the ALACOUN list, he was apparently referring to Donald Harington. )

Gorman said he’d just finished a wonderful book by Francis Wheen: Idiot-Proof, which in the UK was released as How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World. Wheen also wrote a biography of Karl Marx, Gorman noted. Which led to another headline: “Pinko Librarian Praises Commie Author.”

After the session was over, Codrescu signed books in the theater lobby, and then attended the President’s Reception.

LITA Standards Interest Group Program

LITA Standards Interest Group Program
ALA Midwinter 2006
January 21, 2006 4:00PM – 5:40PM
Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center Room 008B
San Antonio, Texas

Table of Contents

Yan Han, Systems Librarian at The University of Arizona Libraries, Tucson, AZ and current chair of the LITA Standards IG introduced the program and the first speaker.

Note: LITA will post all presenter PowerPoint files on the LITA website, if they provide them for this purpose. Not all presenters used ppt, however.

Part 1: New Standards Update

NISO’s Strategic Direction

Patricia Stevens, Interim director of NISO, spoke first. She reported that the NISO Board has been involved in strategic planning over the past 18 months or so. As a part of this process, the NISO mission statement was revised as follows: “NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning.“

NISO works with intersecting communities of interest. The Mellon Foundation funded a blue-ribbon panel which said that NISO should work strategically rather than reactively. As a result, NISO has developed a strategic map.

Report of the NISO “Blue Ribbon” Strategic Planning Panel Presented to the NISO Board of Directors May 3, 2005

NISO Strategic Direction approved by the NISO Board of Directors, June 30, 2005

NISO works across the full life cycle of a standard from pre-standard activities right through until a standard becomes obsolete. Roy Tennant was commissioned by NISO as an independent agent to review the standards process. His report, released on Dec. 15, 2005, listed key recommendations to the NISO Board: NISO should

  • register members in their various areas of interest, and have members only vote on standards that come within the purview of those areas, rather than having all members vote on all standards as they do now, even if they individually aren’t knowledgeable in some areas.
  • create a standards path that anyone can follow.
  • hold a substantial annual meeting.
  • hire a standards coordinator (where will the funding come from?).
  • expand its patent policy.

The audience was encouraged to contribute to the NISO strategic planning process by communicating with the Board. Some of Tennant’s recommendations will be voted on by the entire NISO membership.

Pat encouraged interested parties to attend a program from 4-6 on Sunday which will provide an update on other standards.

SUSHI: the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative

Tim Jewell, Head of Collection Management Services, the University of Washington, spoke on SUSHI: the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative and the work of the NISO SUSHI Working Group. Providing a brief historical backdrop, he described the Digital Library Federation (DLF) Electronic Resource Management Initiative (ERMI) which sought to define what electronic resource management systems ought to do. ERMI didn’t tackle statistics because COUNTER was working on that and they wished to avoid duplication of effort. ERMI II involves license expression and data dictionary revision.

Tim also provided a brief recap of COUNTER and its Release 2 of the code of practice for journals and databases. Release 2 has four required reports as well as optional ones that focus on journals. There are 3 reports defined for databases, and 5 for books and reference works.

Some of the problems involved with usage data include

  • The expanding scope of e-resources
  • The resulting proliferation of data
  • COUNTER is helpful, but
  • There is a lack of standardized containers
  • It is time consuming to pull the data together from the many different sources

Tim listed the members of the working group, both the founding members, and the newer members. He presented a slide which provided a graphical illustration of how SUSHI should change the current manual collection of usage data into an automated process. For some of the technical details, he handed off to another member of the SUSHI working group, Ted Fons of Innovative Interfaces.

Ted mentioned that a small group of stakeholders has developed a client-server model in which a client can request information from the server (the database aggregator or producer, or publisher). COUNTER’s XML schema wraps the SUSHI data. The goal is to get the data into the ERM. SOAP is involved because these are designed as web services. They kept it simple and light-weight.

There is lots of information on the SUSHI web site. The Journal Report 1 prototype is finished. A security wrapper will be added, and they plan to test with live data soon.

Next steps include:

  • Publicize the effort, and push for its adoption by data providers
  • Write a NISO “draft standard for trial use”
  • Hold a stakeholder meeting in the spring
  • Gather input, revise the draft into a real standard
  • Expand the effort to encompass other COUNTER reports

License Expression Working Group

The next speaker was Nathan Robertson of the Maryland School of Law. He talked about the work of the License Expression Working Group. The Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), DLF and NISO are cosponsors. The goal is to create a way to communicate license information back and forth. Currently you have to manually encode license terms into your ERM. They are trying to automate this process. You could then, for example, send encoded versions back and forth during license negotiations. You could use the process to communicate with an open link resolver, to communicate license terms to the end user. They are working with ONIX on encoding license values.

Robertson wished to make it abundantly clear that the working group is NOT building a rights expression language that could be used for purposes of DRM. Those systems begin with NO rights, and then only allow those specific rights that the provider wishes to allow. They are NOT DOING THAT.

They are only attempting to express exactly what the licenses say. Silence [in regards to a given right or area] means absolutely nothing either positively or negatively. Their system cannot be used to enable machine language type enforcement.

Their system includes rights statements in ONIX format. It covers ERMI and other things, but will be more granular than ERMI. The working group is evaluating existing licenses and identifying ERMI and other elements and deciding which need to be rigidly encoded in XML and which can be handled by notes.

RFID standards and Issues Progress Report

The next speaker was Dr. Vinod Chachra, CEO VTLS Inc and Chairman of NISO’s working group on RFID standards.

The objective of the working group is to look at RFID standards as used in the United States in regard to the following issues:

  1. Interoperability
  2. Isolation
  3. Privacy concerns
  4. Cost considerations (affordability)

  1. Interoperability: the goal would be to have an RFID tag for a book in one library work in another library, regardless of the vendor(s) or ILS involved.
  2. Isolation: application isolation is what they’re interested in; library tags should not set off alarms in the grocery or video store, or vice versa. Application “family” identifiers are used to tell the software what kind of place (library, grocery store, pharmacy) the tags belong to. Further, there are 2 zones: public and private. ISO groups are setting up 2 family identifiers for libraries, one for items that are checked out, and one for those that are not, since it is important to know which class any given item is in. Another way of handling this piece is to use a specific bit setting instead of separate family identifiers. But if some vendors do it one way, some the other, then there goes your interoperability.
  3. Privacy concerns: what content should be on the RFID tag, or on the bar code? Some privacy concerns are clearly exaggerated; others are real. RFID tags operating at 13.5 mhz can only be read 2-4 inches away from the item, so the idea that someone walking down the street can determine what book you’re reading is exaggerated, and not realistic. The privacy concerns that are valid may apply equally to today’s bar codes, but just haven’t been that much of a concern in the past. The heightened privacy concerns surrounding RFID have made issues that were ignored in the past seemingly more relevant today, and has forced RFID developers to address concerns that have been ignored with bar codes. The working group is working to identify the REAL privacy issues and suggest solutions.
  4. Cost considerations: some groups want more information stored on the RFID tag, such as location info, which would make automatic sorting mechanisms more feasible, and which could aid inventory functions; determining which books are misshelved, etc. The group is looking at which data elements to include while keeping cost down. The more data elements, the more costly the system. The group is attempting to work out compromises in order to make a recommendation.

The Europeans have already done a lot of work in this area. Rather than reinvent the wheel, the group is taking the Danish model and using it as a basis for their work.

Web Services and Practices

Candy Zemon, Senior Product Strategist at Polaris Library Systems and a member of the NISO Web Services and Practices Working Group, spoke about web services interoperability. She defined the problem:

  • The goal is cross-vendor cross-language cross-platform limited purpose communication
  • There are a large variety of web-based and non-web-based methods
  • Do we need standards?
  • Is there time to develop them?

Zemon described VIEWS (Vendor Initiative for Enabling Web Services) which did a lot of work in 2004-5. See The NISO Web Services and Practices (WSP) Working Group kind of took over this effort from VIEWS. There are both a working group and an interest group (which is larger). The missions are different. NISO is trying to define best practices. Whether or not to produce a standard is not a done deal:

  • These services develop rapidly and readily
  • W3C is also working on it
  • These services are very narrow individually and can be used for lots of stuff

The WSP is charged with producing a best practices document which will

  • ID web services used in the library world
  • Group these services into categories
  • Define best practices for them


Part 2: ISBN-13 Transition

The second section of the program was devoted to the ISBN-13 transition, and featured three speakers.

ISBN-13 ILS Challenges

Theodore “Ted” Fons, Senior Product Manager at Innovative spoke on ISBN-13 ILS challenges.

The ISBN number is scheduled to change from the current 10-digit format to a 13-digit format on Jan. 1, 2007. Fons addressed challenges for

  1. Cataloging
    • Indexing
    • User searching
    • Matching

    For cataloging, you have to deal with two kinds of numbers: the old 10-digit ISBNs and the new 13-digit ones. For previously published numbers, you calculate the 13-digit number from the 10-digit one.

  2. Acquisitions
  3. EDI
    • BISAC: no further work is being done on BISAC (fixed digit)
  4. Timing of interface changes with book vendors
  5. Documentation
    • Industry guides
    • Vendor-provided documentation

ISBN-13 implementations should observe this rule: the burden is always on the system to interpret the number that the user supplies, and respond appropriately, regardless of whether the supplied number is 10 or 13 digits.

Timing is important: the transition period is 1/1/2006 to 12/31/2006. In EDIFACT messages, PIA segments carry 10-digit numbers, LIN segments carry 13-digit numbers. During the transition period, systems should read either type of segment; after the sunrise date, only LIN segments should be read.

For additional information, Google ISBN-13. Some useful sources include:

ISBN-13 and LC

David Williamson, a Cataloging Automation Specialist at the Library of Congress, spoke on the topic of ISBN-13 and LC. LC has developed an implementation plan for ISBN-13 . OCLC’s implementation date was Oct. 1, 2004. LC has been recording ISBNs in pairs for the same manifestation, using separate 020 fields (because subfield a is not a repeatable field). The 13-digit ISBN first, followed by the 10-digit one.

For CIP data they made some exceptions. They provide a maximum of 2 pairs per CIP record; this relates to multi-volume works which would have multiple pairs. All the ISBNs would appear in the cataloging record, just not in the CIP data, as publishers don’t have space for long CIP records.

Back cover EANs (bar code UPC numbers) will not be treated as ISBNs by LC, even though the number could be an ISBN.

LC has put up a handy-dandy ISBN converter which converts in both directions, with or without hyphens.

Currently LC is processing 2000 ISBN-13s per month. 25% of CIP records now include ISBN-13s. It has been an easy translation at LC. They’ve encountered no real problems. The biggest problem has been partners that can’t handle the 13-digit ISBNs, which leads to work-arounds.

Send questions about the presentation to (the speaker’s e-mail address).

ISBN-13 and OCLC

The final speaker was Glenn Patton, Director of the OCLC WorldCat Management Division. OCLC moved WorldCat onto a new platform during the transition period which complicated issues. They didn’t want to waste coding on the old system that was about to become obsolete. Some of Patton’s points:

  • The ISBN is one of the highest-used searches in WorldCat
  • It is a primary matching point for
    1. record loading,
    2. with vendors,
    3. for linking to evaluative content (book covers, tables of content, etc.) in FirstSearch WorldCat.

OCLC’s interim solution (until they moved to the new platform):

  • They told member libraries to put ISBN-13s in the 024 field for now, and code them as EANs (this posed problems for LC, as they were putting them in 020)
  • They converted incoming 13s to 024
  • They recommended searching using the “standard number” field, not ISBN fields

OCLC’s plans include:

  • They may convert all WorldCat 10-digit ISBNs to 13-digit ones, or they may convert only the more recent ones
  • They will inform members on how and when to get their interim records replaced with final corrected ones

So, what *could* we do with the dues increase revenue?

Here’s what I heard, in my capacity of (physically-present) electronic member of the ALA Membership Committee, from several days ago with vendor receptions and copious lack of sleep in between the hearing and the recall…

Some of what will happen with an approved dues increase:

ALA Staffing improvements

-filling the staff positions that have been “held open” — some of which are development positions tasked with raising non-dues revenue
-Administrivia (salaries, etc for ALA staff – not a whole lot of this, though)

Several identified improvements that require $3,000 – $7,000 each (which have been needed for a long time but were impossible due to lack of funds)

-website and improvements
-streamlining several member benefits processes
-better Round Table and Divisional support
-improved legislative advocacy support (the research portions of this are mostly grant funded, btw)

Currently ALA generates $4 for every $1 generated from dues, plans for some revenue from the raised dues are targeted at generating an additional $2 for each extra $1 from dues.

My impressions for what *won’t* happen if we choose to not increase dues:

Important pieces of ALA 2010, which was developed with input from a large majority of ALA members will fail, possibly spectacularly – depending on which fail.

-Development will fall off
-Legislative Advocacy (including research as the ground support withers) will suffer
-Intra-Association communication will not systematically improve

In short, from my exalted view (not *in* my exalted view -grin-) of the larger ALA organization on the Membership Committee, the organization needs a dues increase (in my apparently unpopular opinion, we are not making a large enough increase and we should just do it rather than attempt to ease the pain over a few years).

I urge you to review the ALA 2010 site. Read what we, the members, told ALA staff they ought to work toward for us. There should be a stream of Keith Fiels making the presentation he made to many ALA and Divisional Committee meetings at MidWinter at some point in the near future.

For the record I understand, and sympathize with many, arguments put forward opposing this increase. However, we are at a critical juncture – both within and outside our profession and our professional association. If we fail to stand for the broad ideals which underpin what we do (and live) we will have done a vast disservice to our future.

If you’re wondering, I will be voting for the increase – it is a minor burden on my home budget (one extra family dinner out per year for three years), but I feel we cannot afford to mark time and lose the ground we have maintained and gained in recent years.

Copyright and mass digitization

This session was well-buried in the programming and meeting announcements, but the room was still full for an interesting discussion of copyright issues in the dawning era of mass digitization. The session was sponsored by the OITP Advisory committee and moderated by Clifford Lynch, who was introduced by saying that he needed no introduction to this crowd, rather than to say he is a “force for good.”

Panel participants included Jonathan Band, Esq., a copyright attorney; Liz Bishoff, Executive Director, Colorado Digitization Project; and, Dan Greenstein, University Librarian for Systemwide Planning and the California Digital Library.

Clifford Lynch gave a short introductory statement laying out the context for the discussion at hand: large-scale digitzation and its implications for libraries and other cultural memory institutions, such as museums, historical societies, and even public broadcasting. The Google program has captured the most press recently, but it is not the first and it won’t be the last large-scale digitization program. Since 1971, Project Gutenberg has been making out-of-copyright works of literature and social science available online. It has been going systematically for 30+ years, with tens of thousands of works. A great deal of digitization is going on within libraries as well. Major examples are American Memory and NYPL’s image library as well as numerous projects that go on with grant funding or local funding. We are moving into a period where massive collections will be available. How do these relate to library collections? What does it mean to make the material available? What is appropriate to make available, beyond just in/out of copyright? Example of criteria for American Memory. What technically does it mean to make these things available?

The three panelists then shared short statements on the subject at hand.

Jonathan Band:
Jonathan’s goal was to lay out four different approaches to the problem of copyright and mass digitization that various projects have adopted. The first is to digitize only works in the public domain, for example, the Microsoft deal with the British Library to digitize 100,000 books. This is a valid approach, but limited, since only about 20% of the world’s books are now public domain, and that number is not likely to grow anytime in the near future. The copyright terms keep getting extended, perhaps indefinitely, and there is no way to know when a large portion of these will become available under public domain.

Another approach is to digitize works with the permission of authors and to use tools such as creative commons licensing. Google and Amazon both do this with their publisher programs.

The third approach is best exemplified by Google’s library project, and is the most controversial. This approach relies on the Fair Use argument to assert that the copying of entire works is legal since only “snippets” are ever displayed to users.

The fourth approach tries to take up the question of orphaned works. These are the works that are technically still within copyright, but whose owners cannot be located for whatever reason. These tend to be works of high cultural but low economic value. The ALA Copyright Office is expected to come out with proposal on how to deal with orphaned works at the end of this month. Will deliver recommendation, which hopefully will go to legislation. The recommendation would be that we should encourage the use and reuse of these works of cultural value that have limited economic value. There would potentially be some kind of agreement in the legislation that if the owner reappeared and claimed their copyright, the library could take the items down with no damages owed (currently minimum fines for copyright infringement could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for, say, a collection of photographs from the 1930s, a major disincentive to a historical society or other institution thinking of digitizing them).

Liz Bishoff:
Liz wanted to turn attention not only to the legal and ethical issues, but to the pragmantic issues of mass digitization. We have moved into a transition time in which the question is no longer “can we digitize on a massive scale,” but can we do it on a massive scale that is economical. We have proven that it can be done technically. Now we have to find ways of working with publishers, as well as ways of building interfaces to make the collections usable.

In a landscape of digitization that includes parties outside of cultural heritage institutions, we need to build on our expertise to provide what other institutions and corporations cannot. We need to bring our archives and special collections out of the catacombs where we have preserved them for 100 years to our users. Staff need to be retrained, redirected. We need new funding and digital assets management to deliver these collections.

Liz pointed out that these archival collections must be drawn together with the products being created by students and faculty, by the members of the community, to establish open access strategies and build institutional repositories. We can’t believe that the library catalog is the gateway to all knowledge anymore.

As for what this means to ALA, the association needs to address this issue in education above all. The digital library curriculum needs to be taken up in earnest in our graduate programs–no one is talking about it. We also need legislation at the federal level that will make mass digitization by cultural institutions easier. Most of all, ALA needs to develop policy statements on these issues so that we do not have to leave it to the President to make statements that are his own “personal view and not the association’s.”

Dan Greenstein:
Dan rounded off the panel by taking up the question of what all this means to libraries. He made the case that libraries need to be much smarter about how we manage our collections and how we allocate resources in light of the potential of mass digital collections. His points were strong and well-reasoned. While not many librarians would argue with his points, we have yet to come close to putting any of it into practice.

We need to stop renting content (Dan wanted to be clear that he was purposely using the term “renting” instead of “licensing”, since “license” gives some impression that we own the content) to realize substantial annual savings. There are major opportunities in collection management if we do this right. OCLC indicates that over 26 million items are held by 10 institutions or more. At the 8 University of California government repositories, 93% of government content is redundant. This could represent huge savings in shelf space and money. Looking at the early JSTOR titles alone (23,000 copies), the UC libraries hold 5 copies of each between them. This small collection alone could represent 3.8 million dollars in savings.

Digitally reformatting collections means we can do less “care and feeding” of physical collections and realize substantial savings. The goal of keeping large physical collections on site has always been access, but with digital copies we can save huge amounts of money that we pour into the housing, climage control, etc, needed to provide physical access. We also get the opportunity to provide richer service environments to our users by taking content that OCA, Google, and others are putting out there and building a customized layer of services on top of it for our users.

Dan identified four major issues for libraries in approaching mass digitization: 1) Massively digitized collections need to exist at a third party repository in perpetuity. It’s not good enough for vendors or institutions to say, “we don’t preserve it, we just host it.” Individual libraries should not be in the business of massive data archiving; our expertise should be building services for delivering the data to users. 2) Collections need to be built in a way that supports repurposing the presentation and configuration for local communities. 3) The terms and conditions of access in formatting and developing collections needs to be transparent. As an institution building services on top of data, I need to know the underpinnings, the standards, etc. 4) Money. Do we really need new money? If we’re not pouring money into online rental, if we’re saving on collection management, if we don’t have to support the backend digital management process, we can make a fundamental change in how we allocate our resources.

The program closed with a round of Q&A, which, though stimulating, I will spare the blog since this post is growing long.

Internet Resources Interest Group Meeting

Chair Laura Cohen summarized the purpose and mission of this interest group and reviewed the programs it has presented at ALA Annual Conferences in recent years.

Plans for the 2006 Annual Conference program were reviewed. This program will be in debate format. Program title: “The Ultimate Debate: Who Controls the Future of Search?” The roster of panelists is complete: Roy Tennant, moderator, with Stephen Abrams and Joe Janes, debaters.

The IG has coordinated its plans with the LITA Program Planning Committee (PPC), which has been very helpful in shaping the program. Holly Yu, Vice-Chair, will attend the PPC meeting at this conference to give the committee an update on our plans.

The debate will be guided by a series of questions posted to the panelists by the moderator. The panel will prepare the questions beforehand. It was suggested that these questions be posted on the LITA blog in advance of the conference program.

Given the potential appeal of this program to people outside of LITA, it was suggested that we promote the program to such ALA groups as RUSA and the Instruction Section of ACRL. It was also suggested that we distribute flyers publicizing this interest group at the program.

The attendees discussed possible program topics for the 2007 ALA Annual Conference. A number of potential topics were proposed. Should the interest group decide to sponsor a program in 2007, a topic must be identified at the 2006 Annual Conference.

The Chair and Vice-Chair asked the attendees to consider a possible name change for this interest group. The phrase “Internet Resources” has positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, it can encompass a wide range of program topics and might ensure longevity for this group. On the negative side, its general nature does not attract people interested in specific topics such as blogs, electronic resources management, etc.

After some discussion, it was decided to change the name of this group to the Internet Resources and Services Interest Group. The term “Services” can encompass Web services as well as a range of library services delivered over the Web. Matt Calsada, Interest Group Coordinator, was in attendance and agreed to bring this proposal forward to the LITA office. The group agreed that it would be a good idea to post this meeting summary on the LITA blog as well as the IG’s page on the LITA site. The Chair agreed to follow up.

The floor was opened to volunteers for the next Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of this interest group. Two individuals came forward. It was agreed that one individual will become chair if another LITA position for which he applied does not materialize. If the position does comes through, the other individual will step forward as chair.

LITA/OCLC and LITA/LSSI Minority Scholarship Committee Meeting

Sunday, January 22nd, 8 – 9 am, Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 206B

Four committee members and Valerie Emonds-Merritt, ALA staff liaison, attended the meeting. Debra Kurtz, Committee Chair, explained the selection procedures, with the additional notes from the previous chair, Adriene Lim, and Valerie. Debra distributed selection criteria, which are grouped into four categories. She also passed a timetable for this year’s process. Deadline for the applications is March 1st. The Committee members will start receiving application materials in March and will conduct the selection via e-mail and conference calls. The winner will be announced prior to ALA Annual.

IG Chairs Meeting

The meeting started with introductions. There were 21 people in attendance representing 13 IG’s.

Margaret Kelly from Bylaws and Organization spoke briefly about IG renewals. IG’s now have a new renewal form. Any IG that is up for renewal should have already been contacted by Margaret. Matt Calsada, the IG Coordinator will be posting a list to the LITA website of IG’s and their respective renewal years after the midwinter meeting.

Gail Clement from the Program Planning Committee distributed a handy guide to LITA programming which will be posted to the IG’s web page under Resources for IG Chairs. Gail urged chairs to discuss their future plans for managed discussions with the PPC. The only way to have something tracked in the conference handbook is by going to the PPC to discuss your discussion. The PPC can also help with fine tuning a program or discussion and also aid in finding guest speakers.

Laura Cohen, IG Web Coordinator, passed around contact information for getting content posted to the LITA website. If IG’s want to post future agenda’s, program handouts or other items, they should contact Laura. Laura will be serving as IG Web Coordinator through Annual 2006.

Holley Long, liaison to ALCTS NRMIG (Networked Resources and Metadata Interest Group), discussed possible partnership opportunities. If any IG Chair thinks they would like to co-sponsor a program or discussion they should contact Holley. Holley will also help to promote IG’s in the NRMIG meetings.

Clara Ruttenberg, Vice-Chair of BIGWIG, announced that IG’s are welcome to use the LITA Blog and should contact Michelle Boule if they need an account.

There was a discussion about notification of a new IG approval. Kitty Canepi, Vice-Chair of Electronic Resource Management, said they were not officially notified that their IG was approved. They did not find out until they saw it on the LITA Website. Matt Calsada will follow up with LITA Board members to find out where that road block is occurring and see if we can get a more efficient way of notifying new IG Chairs that their petition for a new IG was approved by the LITA Board.

Some IG Chairs mentioned that they were not on the COMCHAIR list. Matt will follow up with LITA staff to see what can be done about this problem. In the mean time, agenda’s for the IG Chairs meeting will be disseminated to a wider audience to make sure chairs know about the meeting.

OCLC Symposium – Part 4

I really saved the very best for last.

Antony Brewerton from Oxford Brookes University Library, UK
(not only does he have a delightful accent, but he has a great sense of humor and keeps the audience laughing)

We need to change the perspective of libraries and reach people from different backgrounds at a local level.

Antony spends a lot of time looking at particular comments in the OCLC study to highlight the fact that people think libraries are only about books and they may not use our other resources because of that belief.

Libraries are different things to different people and we should market to them all accordingly. He then says something that seems to be the advice of the day: We should be customer oriented not product oriented.

At Oxford Brookes, they have a team in the library whose primary function is marketing. Their marketing was informaed by their strategic documents and the four essentials of marketing by M.J.Baker: start with the customer, have a long run perspective, wield full use of resources, and be innovative.

Antony then went on to show the audience the most brilliant marketing run in a library that I have ever seen. All of their posters and ads are based on a plain white poster with a bright picture of an item in the middle, a short slogan underneath the picture, and a few smaller lines after that.

For example: Their signs to discourage cell phone use in the library had a picture of a vinyl record with the words “hanging on the telephone” (Blondie) beneath the record.

Get rid of jargon and bring them in with slogans that solve their problems – “come for an hour and improve your grades!”

One of their most popular campaigns involved posters with various pictures of mixed drinks.
A picture of a beer said “get ahead”
A shot said “fancy a swift one?”
They printed coasters (beer mats) that promote the URL – satisfy your thirst for knowledge with the library

Another campaign involved the slogan “finding information can be a piece of cake” with pictures of cakes, bars, and cookies.

With $650 to promote the library’s URL, they used the slogan “Be Inspired,” put it on posters with an apple, they gave away apples around campus, and handed out apple stickers with the library URL on them. Over the next few months, their website went from 65,192 hits a month to 228,201.

After you develop a campaign that works, promote your success to your local and library community. Write articles and give talks to get people thinking about libraries in different ways.