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CTW MOA – IAT!  (Librarians love acronyms. )

CTW’ is short for the CTW Consortium, consisting of Connecticut College, Trinity College and Wesleyan University.  The consortium was established in 1987 so the three libraries could share the cost of an online library catalog—then a new-fangled replacement for the card catalog.  But we also began sharing our collections via a delivery service that ran between the three libraries with the library at University of Connecticut at Storrs thrown in for good measure.  The delivery service has worked well over the years and it has often been faster than requesting books through interlibrary loan.

The speed of CTW delivery, the increasing efficiency of interlibrary loan, and the shift to electronic resources have enabled us to think differently about our collections and services.  A few years ago CTW began to talk about how we might coordinate our collection building, to increase the number of books we provide access to, and do so in a more cost-effective way.  In 2007 CTW was awarded a Mellon grant to explore how we might share our collections more effectively.  We first analyzed our collections, separately and in combination, and compared them to the collections of peer liberal arts schools and some smaller research libraries.  We found that our combined CTW collection was strong, but could benefit from more coordination in collection development.

To that end, CTW successfully piloted a process to reduce duplicate orders for expensive print books that we might share through our delivery service.  We are also experimenting with consortial access to some ebook packages, using innovative pricing models.  The patron-driven acquisitions pricing model was intriguing—the consortium paid only for ebooks once they were accessed a second time by someone on our campuses—but was not ultimately less expensive per book.  CTW is now trying a short-term loan pricing model, in which the consortium pays a small price for the first 4 uses, and purchases the ebook on the fifth use.  We are tracking the use and costs of this experiment so we can assess it once the pilot is complete.

The grant project has ended, but CTW continues to work together to coordinate our collection management practices.  Both Wesleyan and Connecticut College are conducting significant weeding projects, and are using as one criterion for withdrawal candidates the existence of other copies in Connecticut and in U.S. libraries.  Faculty members have expressed concern that if the library withdraws a book and depends on other libraries for access, and those other libraries also weed their copies, the book will no longer be accessible or preserved as part of the scholarly record.

Libraries have been concerned about this as well, and are discussing at local, regional and national levels the importance of preserving and maintaining access to books and other materials.  Within CTW, Connecticut College—who began their weeding project the year after Wesleyan—removed from their withdrawal candidate lists any books that are also withdrawal candidates at Wesleyan.   But the consortium also wanted to formalize our commitment to preserve and maintain access to books and other materials in our collections.

This is where the ‘MOA’ comes in—a CTW Memorandum of Agreement on Final Copies.  By this agreement, If there is a single copy only of a book in our combined collection, the library that holds the copy will confer with the other two libraries before withdrawing it.  If one of them thinks the book should remain in the consortium, either the original library or the library wanting retention will keep the book.  Doris Kammradt, who is the Head Librarian for Collections and Bibliographic Services at Trinity College, drafted up the MOA along with a general policy to share collections within the consortium.  The CTW Consortium library directors approved these documents on Oct. 4 of this year.  Other library groups have expressed interest in this agreement as a model they may adopt.

Libraries—and library collections—are changing in radical ways.  But as a profession we remain true to our commitment to preserving the complete corpus of scholarly and creative works, and to making those works accessible to students, scholars and others in the most useful and usable formats.  CTW’s memorandum of agreement and those of other library groups are formalizing and documenting that commitment.

IAT’?   It’s About Time!

The pods are here …

AcEnergy Pod in Olintually, Wesleying has done a much better and faster job of covering this story, but I thought I’d give the official version.

Last Tuesday, the Science Library and Olin each took delivery of an Energy Pod.  The Energy Pod is a high-tech chair created by MetroNaps, designed to facilitate power naps at work or school for up to 20 minutes.  Companies such as Google, Cisco, Proctor & Gamble and AOL Huffington Post Media Group have installed Energy Pods in their offices as a way to boost employees’ productivity and alertness.

For $14 you can use an Energy Pod in the Empire State Building, but now you can take a high-tech nap for free right here at Wesleyan!  They’ve certainly gotten a lot of use in their first week (Olin’s pod didn’t have power for a time, but it is powered up now,) and there were many bemused comments from parents and alumni during Homecoming.

The pods were donated by Wesleyan alumni Christopher Lindholst ’97 and Arshad Chowdhury ’98, co-founders of MetroNaps.  We are extremely happy to have them, particularly as we approach the end of the semester when students are spending many hours studying in the library.  Sure, it is not as though people weren’t sleeping in the library before.  But having a place to go to sleep with the assurance of being awakened after 20 minutes is much better than falling asleep at a workstation and waking up to find the library dark and the doors locked …

Many thanks to Christopher Lindholst and Arshad Chowdhury for their generous donation, and to Mark Davis in University Relations for organizing everything!

 

It is hard to tell from this picture, but as of Saturday I have pink highlights in my hair.  Why?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and CitiHair Design Salon on Court Street is joining many other salons nationwide to collect funds for breast cancer research by offering pink highlights to their clients in exchange for a donation.

It is a great way to spread the word about the importance of regular screenings and research to understand the causes and find new treatments for breast cancer.

Go Pink!

XXX

Bringing Together People and Ideas for the Future of Russell Library

2 PUBLIC FORUMS:

Wednesday, October 10 at 6:00pm, and

Saturday, November 10 at 9:00am

Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Hubbard Room

XXX

XXX

Russell Library is Middletown’s public library, offering a wide variety of resources, services and programs to the city’s residents–including the Wesleyan community.  This fall Russell Library is developing a strategic plan, and Library Director Art Meyers is seeking input from the community:

When people and ideas come together this fall to participate in Russell Library’s planning project, good things will happen for the Library and for all of Middletown.   Everyone who cares about Middletown and Russell Library can be part of the Library’s planning project. You and your ideas are welcome because those ideas will shape the future.

The forums will be led by Alan Gray, a planning consultant with extensive experience in libraries, the business world, and in education.

In the coming weeks, Mr. Gray will be conducting public forums, focus groups, and interviews to learn how Russell Library can best serve the Middletown community in the coming years.   Plan to come to one of the Library’s two public forums, which are open to all. In addition, you can help in the planning effort by completing a brief survey that will be available in print and online.

Attached is the survey:  http://www.russelllibrary.org/news_events/future.html#survey

 

What did the library do last year?  Sometimes it is hard to remember it all, especially when one project—the library weeding project—dominated much of our time and thought.   But there was so much more:

Staff changes:  Assistant University Archivist Valerie Gillispie left Wesleyan in September 2011 to become University Archivist at Duke.  Val worked closely and effectively with faculty, students, administrators and others at Wesleyan, and it was hard to lose her.  We were fortunate to have Anne Ostendarp as Interim Assistant University Archivist through the academic year.  After a national search, Leith Johnson became University Archivist in May 2012.

Cataloging Assistant Linda DeRusha retired in January 2012 after 21 years at Wesleyan.   Linda was a dedicated member of the library staff and committed to serving her fellow union members as a steward.   In May, Linnea Benton was hired as Cataloging Assistant.  Linnea is experienced and knowledgeable in the cataloging of print and electronic books.

Kathy Stefanowicz, Interlibrary Loan Assistant, retired at the end of July after 21 years.  Kathy was a a great colleague, always cheerful no matter how much work there was to do.  And she was a member of a very busy department, processing an average of 24,000 interlibrary loan transactions each year. The library hopes to fill her position sometime this fall.

The library hired two people to help with the library weeding project:  Melissa Behney in February as project librarian, and Morain Miller in June as a library assistant.

Collections:  Scholarly journals and other serial publications continued to move from print to electronic format—over 93% of Wesleyan University s journal and serial subscriptions are now electronic.  The online journal format is well-established and easy to use.  Online books are in a much earlier stage of development, and there are a variety of legal and technical limitations that need to be resolved before they are as usable as e-journals are now.  The library now provides access to almost 400,000 e-books, and this collection will continue to grow.

xxx

Ebook questions, image by Lorraine Huddy

The CTW Consortium (Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University) made improvements to more effectively share both print and electronic books.  CTW instituted Saturday delivery of books requested between the three campuses, significantly cutting down on the time it takes to get a requested book over the weekend.  To build on its successful project to develop shared e-book collections, CTW is working with vendor EBL to provide access to e-books on a ‘short-term loan’ plan.

CTW also conducted a study of undergraduates’ discovery and use of e-books, interviewing students, recording their search strategies, and analyzing the results, then presenting their findings to librarians and to e-book vendors.

 

Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) digitized several popular collections, including ‘Student papers about Middletown’ and ‘Coeducation at Wesleyan, 1871-1912.’

With the number and variety of electronic resources proliferating, it can be very difficult for students and faculty to easily search them all.  In the past few years, a new type of system has been developed to facilitate this searching, called a web-scale discovery tool.  This past year we evaluated several tools and recommended a system well-suited to the demands of Wesleyan students and faculty.  We hope to obtain support to implement this system in the coming year.

Outreach and Instruction: The MyWesLibrarian program, in which each incoming student is paired with a librarian as their personal connection to the library, continued for a second year.  Science Librarian Andrew Klein worked with Division III Dean Ishita Mukerji to develop a for-credit course on information literacy in the sciences, which Andrew is teaching this fall.

Suzy Taraba worked with a several faculty members to develop class assignments using Special Collection & Archives materials, most intensively with Magda Teter for her seminar, “From Clay Tablet to the iPad: History of the Book in Intercultural Perspective.”  One session of Magda’s seminar was given over to a discussion of the future of the book, with librarians Helen Aiello, Lorraine Huddy, Diane Klare, Lori Stethers, Suzy Taraba, and Pat Tully.

In December 2011, Provost Rob Rosenthal re-established the Library-Faculty Advisory Committee (L-FAC).  The committee’s work in the spring centered around the controversial library weeding project, but in the coming year the library will consult with the committee on a wide variety of library issues and initiatives.

A Library PR/Outreach Task Force was created in the fall of 2011, to explore how the library can best communicate with students about library resources and services.  The task force used a variety of methods to gather data from students and based their recommendations on this data.  These recommendations have been incorporated into the library’s goals for this year.

Facilities & Space:  After recent incidents in the libraries, a Library Security Task Force was formed to recommend ways to improve the safety and security of people and collections in the libraries.   The task force surveyed library staff and worked closely with Public Safety and Physical Plant on recommendations to improve library security.  These recommendations have also been incorporated into the library’s goals for this year.

Although planning for the library weeding project began in early 2011, the library formally announced the project last fall.  The goal is to withdraw 60,000 books from the library’s collections by May of 2014.  To address faculty and student concerns, we conducted a semester-long campus discussion involving students and faculty, with topics ranging from the project itself to the evolving role of the library in an increasingly electronic environment.  These discussions resulted in a number of changes that improved the project and facilitated faculty participation.  The first round of faculty review ended on May 31, 2012 and the second round is underway.

One objective of the weeding project is to prepare for the move of the Art Library into Olin.  In the spring, as word of the move spread across campus, students and faculty expressed concerns that an Art space in Olin would not provide adequate facilities for working with large, heavily illustrated books, or the same ease of access to students using library materials in their studio work.  The Art Library provides atmosphere of seclusion and calm that is highly prized by many students.  In the spring of 2012 a committee of Art & Art History faculty developed a detailed proposal for an Art Library space that would provide students and faculty with the facilities they need to work and study.

Conclusion:  An increasing amount of the library’s time, staff, and money are going to providing content in electronic form.  What does this mean for the future of the library?  This question, often unspoken, underlay many of the discussions of the weeding project this past year.  Certainly the library as a storehouse of books is becoming less important, but the library has always been more than a storehouse.  It is where librarians and library staff select, organize, arrange and describe content and make it available for use—activity that is largely invisible but critical to library users.  Finding one book in a million takes organization, and this is even more important for electronic resources, since there are far more of these than print books in even the largest library.  Finally, the library is a place.  In the future, the library will be less of a physical monument to scholarship, but will remain a powerful symbol of it.  And the symbolic nature of the library produces a unique atmosphere for study, concentration, reflection and creation.

If you would like to read in full the library’s annual report for 2011-12, please contact me, Pat Tully, at 860-685-3887, or ptully@wesleyan.edu.  You can also find a link to the report on the library’s webpage: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/about/

Welcome to Wesleyan University!  I’m Pat Tully, University Librarian.  Here is some basic information about library resources and services.  If you have other questions you’d like to see answered on this blog or answered privately, please email me at ptully@wesleyan.edu, or call me at 860-685-3887.

 

Q:  What libraries make up Wesleyan University Library?

Olin Library is the main campus library, located at 252 Church Street between Clark Hall and the Public Affairs Center (commonly known as the PAC).   It houses collections in the humanities and social sciences, Scores & Recordings and the World Music Archives, and Special Collections & Archives.  The Reserve Desk/Office and Interlibrary Loan Office are also in Olin, as is the Office of the University Librarian.

 

The Art Library is in the Davison Art Center at 301 High Street.  It contains collections in art, architecture and photography.  Reserve services for most art classes are also provided in the Art Library.  Susanne Javorski is the Art Librarian.

 

The Science Library is in the Exley Science Center at 265 Church Street.  It contains collections in the sciences.  It also houses the video collection and compact storage on the ground floor with print science journals and older materials in all subject areas.   Andrew Klein is the Science Librarian.

 

 

Q:  How do I get to the library’s website?

Just go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/.  The library’s website has links to our online catalogonline indexes and databasesavailable journalsreference sources, and other information and services.

To search the library catalog using your smartphone, use this QR code to access our mobile site:

 

Q:  Where can I go for a detailed list of library services and information for faculty?

For everything you ever wanted to know about Wesleyan University Library services for faculty, go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/services/faculty.html

 

Q:  How do I put material on reserve for my class?

The library provides both physical and electronic reserves.  For more information about how to put material on reserve for your class, go to the Academic Course Reserve page or contact EunJoo Lee, Head of Access Services (phone: 860-685-3454).

 

Q: What kinds of primary sources are available at Wesleyan?

Wesleyan has a rich Special Collections & Archives department, including rare books, manuscript collections, university archives, and local history materials. These collections are frequently used by faculty across the disciplines for academic research and as integral parts of their course curricula. SC&A has a website that describes some of the holdings: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/schome/ and the staff is glad to answer any questions you might have about your research needs or class visits. Contact them at sca@wesleyan.edu or call (860) 685-3864.

 

Q: Where can I find information about Wesleyan’s collections of images, video and audio recordings?

The Other tab on the library’s web site has links to information about many collections, including imagesvideo, audiodataarchives, and WesScholar, our online archive for Wesleyan faculty and student work.  Many academic departments have departmental collections some of which are searchable using the Departmental Collections catalog.

 

Q:  How does the library teach students to find and use research sources for papers and projects?

Students can sign up for a Personal Research Session (PRS for short) with a librarian, who will work with them to find appropriate resources for their assignment.  Online Subject and Research Guides are also available with links to online resources specific to each discipline.   To arrange for a library instruction session for your class, or to explore creative ways to teach both course content and subject resources for research, contact the library liaison to your department or program.

 

Q:  How do I get material through interlibrary loan (ILL)?

To sign up for an ILL account, go to: https://wesleyan.hosts.atlas-sys.com/illiad/FirstTime.html

After filling out a brief form you will have an Illiad account and be able to submit online requests for material that is not locally accessible.

 

Q: If the library or our CTW partners do not have a book or other resource, how can I request that it be acquired?

To request that the library acquire a book, journal subscription or other resource, contact the liaison for your department.  You may also fill out the Request a Purchase form that is linked to the library web page.

 

Q:  What is the CTW Consortium?

The CTW Consortium consists of Connecticut CollegeTrinity College, and Wesleyan University, all liberal arts schools in Connecticut.   The libraries share an online catalog and collaborate on a number of system and collection-related initiatives.  We also share our collections, and students and faculty can request materials from other libraries in the consortium, which are shipped in 1-2 business days.   To do a search in the CTW catalog, go to:  http://ctwweb.wesleyan.edu:7003/

If Connecticut or Trinity have an item and Wesleyan does not, you can request the item by clicking on the Make a Request link in the record for the item.

 

Q: How do I get access to the library’s electronic resources from off-campus?

Current students, faculty and staff can get to most of the library’s electronic resources through the Wesleyan proxy server, by entering their Wesleyan email user name and password.

 

Q: How can I keep up with library news—changes in hours, improved services, new resources, and library events and exhibits?

You can find out what is going on at the library in a variety of ways.  WesLibNews is the library’s Twitter feed; we also have a Facebook page.  You can check the Of Note section of the library’s web page.  Or you can call us at 860-685-2660 or send an email: reference@wesleyan.edu.

 

We look forward to meeting and working with you.  Best wishes for the coming year!

Welcome to Wesleyan University!  Here are some links to useful pages about library resources and services.

Q:  What libraries make up Wesleyan University Library?

Wesleyan University Library is made up of three libraries.  Olin Library is the main campus library, on Church Street between Clark Hall and the Public Affairs Center (commonly known as the PAC).   It houses collections in the humanities and social sciences, Scores & Recordings and the World Music Archives, and Special Collections & Archives.  The Reserve Desk and Office and Interlibrary Loan Office are also in Olin.

 

The Art Library is in the Davison Art Center at 301 High Street.  It contains collections in art, architecture and photography.  Reserve services for most art classes are also provided in the Art Library.  Susanne Javorski is the Art Librarian.

 

The Science Library (commonly known as SciLi, pronounced sci’li) is in the Exley Science Center at 265 Church Street.  It contains collections in the sciences.  It also houses the DVD collection and compact storage on the ground floor with print science journals and older materials in all subject areas.   Andrew Klein is the Science Librarian.

 

Q:  How do I get to the library’s website?

Just go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/.  The library’s website has links to our online catalogonline indexes and databasesavailable journalsreference sources, and other information and services.

 

Q:  Where can I go for a detailed list of library services and information for students?

If you are an undergraduate, go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/services/undergraduates.html

If you are a graduate student, go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/services/graduates.html

 

Q:  What is the ‘My Personal Librarian’ link in my portfolio?

Each incoming first-year and transfer student is assigned their own personal librarian to answer questions about library services and resources.

Your personal librarian will be able to help you navigate the catalog so you can find books, journal articles, and even DVDs.  They can also point you in the direction of a librarian subject specialist, who can meet with you regarding a specific assignment using the library’s Personal Research Session service.

To find out who your personal librarian is, including information on how to contact him or her, just go into your student portfolio and look for the ‘My Personal Librarian’ link under “Library Services.”  It’s that simple!

 

Q:  How do I get to material that is on reserve for my class?

The library provides both physical and electronic reserves, available shortly before classes start.  To find print or other physical materials on reserve for your class, go to the Course Reserve search page.  You can search by instructor, course number, or course name.  Most physical reserve items are available at the Olin Library Reserve Desk on the first floor.  The Art Library has some reserve material for courses in the arts.

To find materials on electronic reserve, go to the E-Res page.   Again, you can search by instructor, course number, or course name.   Once you have entered the password your instructor gives you, you will come to a list of links to materials on electronic reserve.

 

Q: What kinds of primary sources are available at Wesleyan?

Wesleyan has a rich Special Collections & Archives department, including rare books, manuscript collections, university archives, and local history materials. These collections are frequently used by faculty across the disciplines for academic research and as integral parts of their course curricula. SC&A has a website that describes some of the holdings: http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/schome/ and the staff are glad to answer any questions you might have about your research needs or class visits. Contact them at sca@wesleyan.edu or call (860) 685-3864.

 

Q: Where can I find information about Wesleyan’s collections of images, video and audio recordings?

The Other tab on the library’s web site has links to information about many collections, including imagesvideo, audiodataarchives, and WesScholar, the online archive to the work of Wesleyan faculty and students.  Many academic departments have departmental collections some of which are searchable using the Departmental Collections catalog.

 

Q:  What help does the library offer in finding and using research sources for papers and projects?

You can sign up for a Personal Research Session (PRS for short) with a librarian, who will work with you to find appropriate resources for your assignment.  Online Subject and Research Guides are also available with links to online resources specific to each discipline.

You can also come to the Olin Library Reference Desk on the first floor for in-person help, call the reference desk at x3873, chat online using Reference Live Help, email or text us: (860) 415-4205.

 

Q:  How do I look for books in the library?

Caleb, the Wesleyan University Library catalog, is the place to start.  In Caleb, you can do a search by title, author, subject or a keyword search that will search all these at once.  Once you’ve found the book you want, write down the location and call number. (If you have a smartphone, you can also text yourself the call number using the Text me this Call  Number link on the right side of the screen.)

Once you have a location and call number, you can find the book using the Finding Materials By Call Number page.

— To do a catalog search from your smartphone, go to our mobile catalog.

 

Q:  The library doesn’t have the article or book I need.  How do I get material through interlibrary loan (ILL)?

To sign up for an ILL account, go to: https://wesleyan.hosts.atlas-sys.com/illiad/FirstTime.html

After filling out a brief form you will have an Illiad account and be able to submit online requests for materials that the library does not provide access to locally.  You will be notified when the item is available.

 

Q:  What is the CTW Consortium?

The CTW Consortium consists of Connecticut CollegeTrinity College, and Wesleyan University, all liberal arts schools in Connecticut.   The libraries share an online catalog and collaborate on a number of system and collection-related initiatives.  We also share our collections, and students and faculty can request materials from other libraries in the consortium, which are shipped in 1-2 business days.   To do a search in the CTW catalog, go to: http://ctwsearch.wesleyan.edu/vufind/

If Connecticut or Trinity have an item and Wesleyan does not, you can request the item by clicking on the Make a Request link in the record for the item.

 

Q: How can I access online resources when I’m not in the library?

Students, faculty and current Wesleyan staff can get to most of the library’s electronic resources through the Wesleyan proxy server, by entering their Wesleyan email user name and password.

 

Q: How can I keep up with library news—changes in hours, improved services, new resources, and library events and exhibits?

You can find out what is going on at the library in a variety of ways.  WesLibNews is the library’s Twitter feed; we also have a Facebook page.  You can check the Of Note section of the library’s web page.  Or you can call us at 860-685-2660 or send an email: reference@wesleyan.edu.

We look forward to meeting and working with you.  Best wishes for the coming year!

The second and last day of the Oberlin Group of 17 meeting last Friday was even more productive than the first:

Digital humanities:  Bryn Mawr, Amherst and Middlebury are partnering with several research universities on a joint CLIR/NITLE experiment in scholarly digital publishing.    Anvil Academic is a digital, non-profit publisher of scholarly works in the humanities.  From CLIR’s announcement:  “The jointly developed title production system [i.e., Anvil] will be available for use by both organizations’ members, who will be able to use Anvil Academic to publish under their own imprints, contributing nothing more than editorial work. … It will take advantage of digital technology, particularly portable electronic reading/writing devices, to disseminate both traditionally conceived scholarship (such as articles and monographs) and innovative forms of argument that make use of the full range of digital tools available to the contemporary scholar.”

The term ‘digital humanities’ may be useful in some conversations, but in an environment that is increasingly interdisciplinary the term is too restrictive.  ‘Digital scholarship’ is inclusive of not only work within a discipline or division, but interdisciplinary work as well.

What suite of services do faculty and students need from libraries and IT departments to support digital scholarship?  The preservation and long-term access to digital works are two that spring to mind.  Could this be done collaboratively to share expertise and save money?  The Oberlin Group will continue to explore the possibilities of shared digital storage and access.

Next generation library system:  The integrated library systems that most libraries now use have been updated and expanded, but they are still basically online versions of a card catalog.  The online catalog provides efficient access to books and other single items in a variety of formats, but it is not effective for finding and getting to the entire range of scholarly resources.

The Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) Project, funded by several large research institutions and by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, is working to develop an academic library system that manages and delivers the full range of intellectual content.  The emphasis is on a system that will provide efficient, comprehensive access, that can be linked to other campus systems, and that can be searched in combination with similar systems on other campuses.  The schools in the Oberlin Group will be keeping an eye on this project – it may be the future of the library catalog!

Journal prices:  For several decades journal subscription prices have increased an average of 6% – 8% a year.  The situation with electronic journals is much more complicated because of some publishers’ complex pricing structures and practices such as ‘bundling’ large numbers of journals into a single subscription.  When possible and cost-effective, some libraries are switching to a ‘pay-per-view’ option, in which the library pays only for the articles that are viewed by their patrons.  In recent years, the ‘pay-per-view’ cost has gone up steeply.

Some large research libraries and library consortia have boyotted publishers whose pricing practices seem predatory.  But how to determine which practices are in fact predatory?  Publishers do add value with the peer-review process and in developing, updating and maintaining systems for finding and accessing articles online.  Is it possible to develop a metric for measuring the ‘reasonableness’ of journal prices?   And how to have the conversation about journal prices with faculty?  Many faculty are outraged about the cost of scholarly journals, but would be reluctant to lose access to the articles within them.

The full Oberlin Group will be talking more about this in its fall 2012 meeting at Vassar College and Bard College.

Stanford is piloting an innovative system, SIPX, to provide course materials via a print/publish-on-demand system that includes paying for copyright.

Weeding:  I described Wesleyan’s weeding project, which is just completing its first year.  Although Wesleyan has done a number of projects to withdraw additional copies of books and bound volumes of journals now available electronically, this is the first time in 40 or so years we have withdrawn the last copies of selected books in our collection.  Wesleyan students and faculty are very concerned that they will have reduced access to books that are not yet in a usable electronic form.  We have spent several months in an intensive campus conversation about this and about how libraries are changing.  Despite the delay in the project, this has been a valuable examination of the role of the library in an increasingly electronic scholarly environment.

There was some question about the efficiency of spending so much time talking to faculty and students about weeding when in 10 or 20 years most scholarly work is going to be fully digital.  Why not just move books into a storage facility and then quietly withdraw them when electronic books are as usable as electronic journal articles are now?  It is a good question and might be a workable solution on some campuses. But it does mean spending a significant amount of money on creating and maintaining a storage facility (or paying to put materials in someone else’s facility), and then paying to provide access to the stored materials.  This is money that could be used to create new study areas and improve library services.

The conversation we’ve been having at Wesleyan, however difficult at times, has given us a chance to talk about how libraries have changed.  Academic libraries are powerfully iconic to many faculty and students.  The library, and particularly the collection, is an outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual values of the scholarly enterprise.  This expression of faith in learning and reason is not in itself unreasonable or without value.  The trick is to develop a similarly powerful symbol of academic values  in a scholarly environment with fewer and fewer tangible resources.  The library can and should be a part of this, but how?

Records management:  Some of us have campus records management policies in place for print materials, but far fewer of us have tackled the management of electronic records.  Mount Holyoke has developed an in-house system for harvesting electronic records from some of their administrative offices, which has many of us intrigued!  Ravi Ravishanker will talk with NERCOMP about having a workshop on records management.  Ideally the workshop would feature presentations by people who have developed comprehensive records management policies and processes in a liberal arts environment—or if no one has yet done this, presentations to explore the technical and other issues that must be resolved in a comprehensive records management process.

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The Oberlin Group and Group of 17 meetings are the most instructive and useful meetings I attend all year–and the most fun!  Thanks to Mike Roy, Terry Simpkins and everyone from Middlebury College for their hospitality and for sharing their beautiful campus with us.  It was a great way to start the summer.

Yesterday I traveled up to Middlebury, Vermont, for a meeting of the Oberlin Group of 17.  The Oberlin Group consists of about 80 liberal arts college libraries from around the country, and the Oberlin Group of 17 is a subset of this, with CIOs and library directors from the Northeast and eastern Pennsylvania.  The Group of 17 gets together each spring to share what we are doing in our institutions, to talk through issues of concern, and to explore ways to collaborate.

Mike Roy, CIO at Middlebury College, is our host and has done a great job of keeping us on task and on schedule.  Yesterday we talked in general about what we’re doing in our libraries, including:

– Several schools are beginning to use Islandora as their open source institutional repository.  Islandora combines the best features of two other open software repositories, Drupal and Fedora, into a promising new application to manage digital assets.

– The open access discussion is happening among the faculty at many schools.  The question is how we can facilitate this discussion of open access as a viable scholarly publishing model.  Faculty champions are essential—in the cases where faculty have (or are close to) approving a formal resolution to publish in open access journals, there have been a few faculty members who believe passionately and loudly in the open access publishing model.

– The future of the library—what is it?  What should it be?  And how can we communicate this vision to our faculty, students and administrators?  We had a lively discussion of what libraries are now and what they could be in the future—the consensus is that we just don’t know.  Williams College is resuming work on a new library building and in a short video President Adam Falk speaks about why the new library is important: http://newsawyerlibrary.williams.edu/

– How might we collaborate in the future?  Possibilities include sharing a repository of print reference or other materials, to preserve items not likely to be digitized (like old directories with valuable historical information), and shared storage of large, locally-produced data sets.

In the evening we had a wonderful dinner at Fire and Ice.  Our Bowdoin colleague, Sherrie Bergman, is retiring this summer, and Gene Wiemers led the group in thanking Sherrie for her help, advice, and good fellowship through the years and wishing her all the best as she begins her new life!

This morning we will break into small groups to talk about several issues in depth—more on that tomorrow.

Summer in the library

Summer is almost here!  Here’s what we will be doing in the library over the next three months:

1. Providing services:  Of course, the library provides services and access to the Wesleyan community throughout the summer, both on and off campus, and to participants in a variety of summer programs.  If you are on campus or in the Middletown area this summer, check out our summer hours.  If you are away from campus, access most of the library’s electronic resources remotely using your Wesleyan user name and password.

2. Getting oriented:  Leith Johnson has been University Archivist since May 14, and Linnea Benton started work as Cataloging Assistant on May 21. We are very happy to have them on board!  They will be spending the summer getting acclimated to their new jobs and preparing for the fall semester.  Leith steps into a position that was redefined after Assistant University Archivist Val Gillispie went to Duke in September, 2011.  Linnea replaces Linda DeRusha, who retired in January after 21 years in the Cataloging Department.

3. Consorting with our partners:  The CTW Consortium, in which Wesleyan is a partner with Connecticut College and Trinity College, shares the costs of an online catalog as well as print collections and, more recently, some electronic books.  CTW is always looking for new ways to work together and make library services better and more cost-effective.  This summer librarians and staff from all three schools will get together at two CTW meetings, one at Connecticut College and the other here at Wesleyan.  Each meeting will look at different types of services, to explore ways we can leverage the power of the consortium to improve library services.

4. Retreating:  Each summer, everyone in the library gets together for a day-long retreat to learn about new trends in libraries, to discuss issues at Wesleyan that affect (or are affected by) the library, and to plan for the coming year.  At the library retreat this July we will review the results of the MISO survey that Wesleyan students, faculty and staff participated in this past semester.  The MISO survey measures the relative importance and satisfaction levels with library and IT services.  What is the library doing well?  What could we be doing better?  How can we maximize our contribution to the University’s strategic goals?  We will be using the MISO survey results to guide our discussion of these questions and to set library goals for the coming year. (We will also post a summary of the survey results online for anyone who is interested.)

5. Advancing–the weeding project:  The library will be continuing the weeding project over the summer, finalizing the Round 1 list of books to be withdrawn and pulling the books from the shelves.  For more details about the weeding project, go to the WesWeeding  blog.

6. Evaluating Web-scale discovery systems:  What are web-scale discovery systems?  Thereby hangs a tale …

Many library resources are now in electronic format, but library searching is still analogous to the days of print.  You search the online catalog for books, CDs, DVDs, and other single works, Google Books to find information within books, and online indexes and databases for journal articles.  However, Google and other search engines offer a tantalizing vision of combining these searches into a single, simple search that would provide results from all kinds of library resources.

Library vendors have worked for several years on a single-search solution, and a variety of systems are now on the market.  These systems are called Web-scale discovery tools, because they have the capability to search not only library resources but also selected campus resources and resources on the open Web.  They do not replace the online catalog, but provide a way for library users to do a single search that yields results from a wide variety of resources, grouped in such a way to make it easy to review and select among them.

This spring we have looked at five such systems, and this summer a library task force will complete their evaluation and recommend one for implementation at Wesleyan.  Once in place, Wesleyan students and faculty will be able to more quickly and comprehensively search for the information they need for their assignments and research.

So those are our summer plans …

Our best wishes to everyone for a productive, relaxing summer, and congratulations to the Class of 2012!

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