Category Archives: Committees and Interest Groups

Major category for Committee and Interest Group business

LITA Guide: Improving the visibility and use of digital repositories through SEO

Recent OCLC surveys show that less than 2 percent of library users begin their search on a library website, which is why search engine optimization (SEO) is so crucial. And though a survey of faculty researchers at four major universities showed that most consider Google and Google Scholar amazingly effective for their research, low Google Scholar indexing ratios for library institutional repositories is widespread because it ignores common library metadata. Kenning Arlitsch and Patrick OBrien, who have presented and published widely on the topic, show how to ensure that high-value content is visible to researchers in their new book “Improving the Visibility and Use of Digital Repositories through SEO: A LITA Guide,” published by ALA TechSource. Drawing on their expertise in digital libraries and corporate marketing, they show how to mount a successful SEO strategy, including:

  • Recommended dashboards for increasing participation by sharing data;
  • Avoiding the four most common crawler errors that lead to low rankings;
  • How to effectively utilize the Google Keyword Tool;
  • The use of domain settings to generate unit-specific reports for special collections, institutional repositories and university presses.

Arlitsch is the dean of the library at Montana State University. Prior to his current position he was the associate dean for information technology services at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library. He is the founder of the Mountain West Digital Library and the Utah Digital Newspapers program, as well as co-founder of the Western Waters Digital Library and the Western Soundscape Archive.

OBrien is the Semantic Web research director at the Montana State University Library. Prior to his current position he was the SEO research manager at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library. He is an expert in Semantic Web technologies and their application for improving data integration quality, discovering new relationships, and turning diverse data stores into conceptual knowledge. OBrien has more than 15 years’ experience implementing data-driven marketing and risk management strategy within various industries.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or editionsmarketing (at) ala.org.

LITA Guide Available: Implementing virtual reference services

Social Web technologies present an often confusing array of options for answering library users’ reference questions. In “Implementing Virtual Reference Services: A LITA Guide,” published by ALA TechSource, editor Beth C. Thomsett-Scott applies 20 years’ experience as a reference librarian to sort through the clutter of tools and technologies in the industry. Contributors from across the field lay out how libraries are using vendor services such as LibraryH3lp, LibAnswers and Text a Librarian, as well as free tools like Twitter and Google Voice, for their reference needs. Practitioners offer details on virtual reference services such as Twitter Search, instant messaging (IM) services such as Google Voice and Chat and collaborative services such as My Info Quest.

Thomsett-Scott is currently the engineering librarian at the University of North Texas Libraries. In her previous role as reference unit manager, she assisted with establishing the libraries’ Meebo service, as well as their chat and text messaging services. She has served in various positions in professional associations, including ALA, the Special Library Association and the Texas Library Association. She has published in a variety of journals and presented conference sessions on the topics of website usability, mentoring and training reference staff and students and technology.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or editionsmarketing (at) ala.org.

Introduction to Python: Join Us in Chicago for a LITA Preconference

Are you ready to start coding? Have you made your ALA Annual travel plans yet?

The Library Code Year Interest Group (a joint ALCTS and LITA Interest Group) will be offering a full-day pre-conference workshop on Python before this year’s ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Attendees will learn the basics of the Python programming language with ample opportunities for hands-on, project-based practice. Using a curriculum based on the one developed by the Boston Python Workshop, we will teach attendees the syntax and key features of Python while providing them with an opportunity to work through practice exercises. During the second half of the day, attendees will have the opportunity to complete a short project in Python to use the skills they have learned. Experienced teaching staff will be on hand to provide support and feedback throughout the workshop.

While we’ll cover a lot of ground, this workshop does not assume any prior programming experience. We will provide a supportive environment and explain everything you need to know through a mix of lecture, self-paced hands-on exercises, and projects. By the end of the day, attendees will be ready to tackle new projects and will have ideas about how they can integrate Python into their work going forward. Whether you have never written a program in your life or you already have experience in other languages and want to add Python to your repertoire, this workshop will be perfect for you! Come to learn a new skills and to meet like-minded individuals in a fun, welcoming setting. While Division members get a discount, you need not be a Division member to attend; we’d love to see all kinds of library staff represented! If you have any questions about the workshop, please feel free to contact Carli Spina (cspina@law.harvard.edu) for additional information. Registration and Cost Information

Please note: Attendees will be asked to bring a laptop with them to the workshop and will need to set up a Python development environment on that computer in advance. The teaching staff will offer support throughout this process, including step-by-step instructions and virtual office hours. Depending on your experience level, this may take anywhere from half an hour to a few hours.

Can’t make it to Chicago for ALA this summer? Want to start learning today? Find out other library coding projects and educational opportunities in the Library Journal Digital Shift’s post Cracking the Code: Librarians Acquiring Essential Coding Skills

December issue of ITAL Available

The December issue of Information Technology and Libraries is available at:

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/issue/current

Issue contents are listed below. To receive automatic notifications of future issues, please subscribe to ITAL here:

https://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/notification/subscribeMailList.

Please note the the first volume of the Journal of Library Automation (JOLA), first published in 1968, is also now available online. JOLA was the predecessor to Information Technology and Libraries. Additional volumes will be published shortly.

Suggestions and feedback are always welcome: please send to Bob Gerrity, ITAL Editor, at gerrityr (at) gmail.com.

 

Information Technology and Libraries

Volume 31, Number 4 (December 2012)

CONTENTS

Editorials

 

Bob Gerrity

Editor’s Comments

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/article/view/3012

 

Ed Tallent

Editorial Board Thoughts: Technology and Mission: Reflections of a First-Year Library Director

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/article/view/3001

 

Articles

 

David Ward, Jim Hahn, Kirsten Feist

Autocomplete as a Research Tool: A Study on Providing Search Suggestions

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/view/1930

As the library website and on its online searching tools become the primary “branch” many users visit for their research, methods for providing automated, context-sensitive research assistance need to be developed to guide unmediated searching towards the most relevant results. This study examines one such method, the use of autocompletion in search interfaces, by conducting usability tests on its use in typical academic research scenarios. The study reports notable findings on user preference for autocomplete features, and suggests best practices for their implementation.

 

Susan Thompson

Student Use of Library Computers: Are Desktop Computers Still Relevant in Today’s Libraries?

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/view/2284

Academic libraries have traditionally provided computers for students to access their collections and, more recently, facilitate all aspects of studying. Recent changes in technology, particularly the increased presence of mobile devices, calls into question how libraries can best provide technology support and how it might impact the use of other library services. A two-year study conducted at California State University San Marcos library analyzed student use of the computers in the library, both the library’s own desktop computers and laptops owned by students. The results found that, despite the increased ownership of mobile technology by students, they still clearly preferred to use desktop computers in the library. It also showed that students who used computers in the library were more likely to use other library services and physical collections.

 

Victor Jesús Sosa-Sosa and Emigdio M. Hernandez-Ramirez

A File Storage Service on a Cloud Computing Environment for Digital Libraries

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/view/1844

This paper introduces a file storage service that is implemented on a private/hybrid cloud computing environment. The entire system was implemented using open source software. The characteristic of elasticity is supported by virtualization technologies allowing to increase and to decrease the computing and storage resources based on their demand. An evaluation of performance and resource consumption was made using several levels of data availability and fault tolerance. The set of modules included in this storage environment can be taken as a reference guide for IT staff that wants to have some experience building a modest cloud storage infrastructure.

 

Eun G. Park and Sam Oh

Examining Attributes of Open Standard File Formats for Long-term Preservation and Open Access

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/view/1946

This study examines the attributes that have been used to assess file formats in literature and compiles the most frequently used attributes of file formats in order to establish open standard file format selection criteria. A comprehensive review was undertaken to identify the current knowledge regarding file format selection criteria. The findings indicate that the most common criteria can be categorized into five major groups: functionality, metadata, openness, interoperability, and independence. These attributes appear to be closely related. Additional attributes include presentation, authenticity, adoption, protection, preservation, reference, and others.

Jump-starting a career as a digital librarian

The skills of digital librarianship are more crucial than ever, and these same skills are in high demand outside the field, from tech startups undertaking digitization projects to digital humanities centers bringing together professors, computer scientists and information technologists.  “Jump-Start Your Career As a Digital Librarian: A LITA Guide,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman, helps readers map out a career in this fast-growing field.

Editor Jane Monson gathers a full range of perspectives in this clear, concise overview of the core concepts and competencies of digital librarianship.  Twenty-one experienced practitioners from a variety of settings offer realistic views of today’s job market, typical project dynamics and employer expectations. New graduates just starting out as well as seasoned professionals transitioning from other areas will benefit from this book’s valuable coverage of topics such as:

  • Activities and roles of the digital librarian, including management of digital projects and collaboration;
  • Developing and using transferable skills;
  • Becoming familiar with metadata;
  • How digital librarians are re-shaping scholarly publishing;
  • The concept and framework of digital preservation best practices;
  • Technical competencies such as XML and content management systems.

Monson received her MLS from the University of Iowa and is digital initiatives librarian at the University of Northern Colorado. She was previously digital projects librarian at Truman State University in Missouri. She has been published in Computers in Libraries magazine, is a book reviewer for the Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship and serves on the Library and Information Technology Association’s (LITA)Publications Committee.

LITA, a division of ALA, educates, serves and reaches out to its members, other ALA members and divisions, and the entire library and information community through its publications, programs and other activities designed to promote, develop, and aid in the implementation of library and information technology. LITA also hosts its own Job Site focused on library technology jobs across the country. Updates are posted every Wednesday.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. Founded in 1976 by Patricia Glass Schuman and John Vincent Neal, ALA Neal-Schuman, now an imprint of ALAPublishing, publishes professional books for librarians, archivists, and knowledge managers. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or editionsmarketing@ala.org.

Want to serve in ALA? Volunteer by November 2

One of my duties as LITA VP is to participate in the Committee on Appointments, which recommends names for appointment to several ALA-level committees.  The deadline for volunteering for an appointment that will begin after Annual Conference 2013 is November 2.  Appointments are generally for two years, but there are some exceptions.

Please also note that these are ALA-level, and NOT LITA committees, though you can volunteer for LITA committees using the same form, and of course, I urge you to! :) These are also not the Committees of the ALA Council.

Click the name of each committee below to read its complete charge and current roster, or view all Committees of the Association.

Committee on Accreditation
“To be responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA, and to develop and formulate standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of council.”

American Libraries Advisory Committee
“To review and recommend editorial policies for American Libraries and to provide oversight for the implementation of those policies. To communicate with, and operate within, the frameworks established by the ALA Publishing Committee. To serve as a channel for member communication regarding the scope and coverage of American Libraries.”

Awards Committee
(a very long charge, including administering the “ALA General Awards”)  View all ALA awards, scholarships and grants.  Recognize the hard work of your fellow librarians!

Chapter Relations
“To develop and recognize chapters as integral components of ALA. To encourage discussion, activities and programs that support the mutual interests of ALA and the chapters.”  (and more!)

Conference
The charge involves policy work regarding conferences, but perhaps more interestingly: “To review recommendations of specific sites and dates prior to their presentation by conference services to the ALA executive board; and To recommend to council and to ALA staff a means for communications with the membership to hear their concerns about conference and meeting procedures and policies.”

Constitution and Bylaws
“To consider amendments to the constitution and bylaws; to review and draft rules for the conduct of council and membership meetings; to review and draft rules for the preparation of resolutions, memorials, and tributes; and to make recommendations to the association in accordance with the provisions of articles xi and xii of the constitution.”

Election
“To monitor ALA elections for association officers, councilors, and constitution and bylaws.” Importantly: “To consist of six ALA members who agree to travel to ALA headquarters at no cost to the association.”

Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory Committee
“To advise the Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (formerly Office for Library Personnel Resources, OLPR) on activities, problems, and procedures related to library concerns in such areas as recruitment, utilization, education and training, and staff welfare….”

Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee
“To advise the Office for Information Technology Policy on priorities, policies and strategies for the Association that promote the development and utilization of electronic access to information.  To provide an ongoing channel for member communication, working closely with other units, committees and officers of the Association in matters touching information technology.”

Committee on Literacy
“To develop and recommend the association’s policies related to the promotion of literacy…”

Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory Committee
“To offer policy guidance to the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services; to advise and assist the Office in establishing programs and priorities; to examine and assist in coordinating the various relevant programs and activities with ALA; to recommend new programs; to provide a channel through which membership may make recommendations; to issue reports; and to promote any other activities that will improve the quality of library services to the rural and urban poor and to ethnic minority groups.”

Membership Committee
To establish general policies, programs, and procedures to secure new members; to be responsible for the implementation of these programs; to coordinate membership promotion activities of all units and chapters of the association; to coordinate the ALA committee internship program; to make recommendations concerning membership dues; and to serve the association as a sounding board on membership”

Membership Meetings Committee
To plan the agenda for the membership meetings specified in ALA policy 7.4.10; to identify potential discussion topics for the membership meetings; to educate the membership about the purposes of the membership meeting and the opportunities it offers members; to identify and recommend incentives for attendance; to advise staff on logistics for membership meetings; to oversee publicity plans for membership meetings; to assess the effectiveness of the membership meetings in addressing the ALA membership’s needs; and to recommend changes in light of that assessment.

Public and Cultural Programs Advisory
“To serve as an advisory committee to the ALA Public Programs Office. To promote excellence in cultural programming; to assist library staff to become more effective providers of cultural programming; to identify and disseminate resources for cultural programming; and to promote the cultural communities fund.”

Research and Statistics
“To facilitate research and related activities in all units of the association, especially activities related to library statistics; to advise the ALA council and executive board on programs, policy, and priorities regarding research and related activities;” and much more!

Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee
“To review issues and challenges facing rural, native and tribal libraries of all kinds; to collaborate with other ALA units addressing the needs of rural communities; and to serve as an advocate for and partner with libraries serving rural, tribal and native populations.”

Scholarships and Study Grants Committee
“To make recommendations to the executive board and the ALA council on all policies relating to ALA scholarships, study grants, conference sponsorships or research grants to be made or sponsored by ALA and its units. It shall administer the general scholarships, study grants, conference sponsorships, and research grants presented in the name of the American Library Association, known as ‘ALA general scholarships and study grants.’ all ALA general scholarships and study grants shall exist to advance study or knowledge in library science.” …and much more!

Training, Orientation, and Leadership Development Committee
“To plan and coordinate training, orientation, and leadership development for member leaders at all levels across the association. To inventory training and orientation modules in divisions, round tables, and other association groups. To coordinate the ALA committee internship training program.”

Website Advisory Committee
“To develop, review and recommend to council association policies for the ALA website. To recommend editorial or structural guidelines for the ALA website,” and much more!

Next up: LITA Committees.

Questions? Please do ask. You are welcome to comment here, or you can find my contact information on my Connect page.

It begins…

When I decided to write about my time as LITA Vice-President/President-Elect, I knew I would be writing about LITA committees and making appointments to them, about LITA Forum and my experience there, and about my experience with the LITA Board in general.  I’m delighted to learn that there are other responsibilities of the Vice-President, and my hope is that by writing about them, I might help others who are interested in division leadership, be it LITA or not.

My first phone call with Mary Taylor, LITA’s Executive Director (ALA Staff) earlier this year was very pleasant.  She called to deliver the news that I had won the election, and that my term as Vice-President/President-Elect would start after the Annual conference in Anaheim.  She was clearly excited about the upcoming year, and reminded me of these Vice-Presidential duties:

  1. Attend training that would help Mary and me establish a working relationship.
  2. Attend two CNI meetings as LITA’s representative.
  3. Appoint members to LITA’s committees.
  4. Appoint LITA representatives to a few ALA committees.
  5. Plan and run the LITA Town Meeting at the Midwinter meeting in Seattle.

Some of these I already knew about, and some were new to me.  I actually have already attended the training (which I have yet to write about, boo), and I had my first conference call as LITA’s representative to the ALA Committee on Appointments, which is the official way of stating #4.

I have been LITA VP for a month and a half now, and things are really starting to ramp up.  Stay tuned here to learn what I’m doing, and I hope, to learn more about what LITA and ALA are all about.

Questions?  Please ask!

New ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee

LITA and the Association for Library Collections &Technical Services (ALCTS) , with the support of Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), divisions of the American Library Association, are pleased to announce the formation of the ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee.

The ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee will play a leadership role in the creation and development of metadata standards for bibliographic information. The Committee will review and evaluate proposed standards; recommend approval of standards in conformity with ALA policy; establish a mechanism for the continuing review of standards (including the monitoring of further development); provide commentary on the content of various implementations of standards to concerned agencies; and maintain liaison with concerned units within ALA and relevant outside agencies.

The Metadata Standards Committee will begin its work at the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association, January 2013. While composition of the committee is still under discussion, membership will likely include equal numbers of voting members appointed by ALCTS and LITA and a voting liaison member appointed by RUSA. The committee will actively seek input from many groups and communities of practice in its work.

Having formed this new committee to spearhead participation in developing a wide range of applicable metadata standards, the three ALA divisions have also voted to disband the ALCTS/LITA/RUSA Machine-Readable Bibliographic Information (MARBI) Committee, as of June 30, 2013. After June 2013, the MARC Advisory Committee (MAC) (http://www.loc.gov/marc/marbi/advisory2.html) is expected to continue to advise the Library of Congress on MARC development. While there will no longer be MARBI involvement with MAC, other ALA representatives and liaisons as noted on the MAC roster will continue to advise LC about MARC. If a major issue related to MARC requires the attention of a voting ALA body, the issue may be brought to the new ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee. MARC, however, is not expected to be the prevailing focus of the new ALCTS/LITA committee.

For the past several decades, MARBI has played a critical role in improving library metadata, particularly the MARC formats. ALCTS, LITA, and RUSA thank all those who have contributed to MARBI’s many accomplishments. We look forward to working with the metadata community broadly in developing and monitoring current and emerging metadata standards.

Zoe Stewart-Marshall

LITA President 2012/13

LITA at ALA Annual 2011

By now you’re probably wondering where that fabulous BIGWIG LITA gCalendar is and why it is not already embedded on LITAblog. That’s a fair question.
In my opinion, the gCal has been surpassed by the new Conference Scheduler.

Have you taken a look at the LITA Conference Schedule in ALA Connect?
I know the display isn’t in Calendar grid format, but the new Conference Scheduler offers a complete listing of LITA programs, a way to indicate (and rank!) the various programs which interest you, and a way to export your “My Schedule” selections in iCal or other formats for importing into your regular calendar.

Check it out (and let me know if you agree! (or disagree))

Update: After some feedback, I generated an iCal of all LITA events (Search for LITA and then click the iCal button at the top right corner), and imprted it into the BIGWIG LITA Calendar: