Friday, April 20, 2007

WAAL 2007: NMUmaniTies: an interdisciplinary blog for liaisons

"Tying together Art & Design, Communication & Performance Studies, and Modern Languages & Literature"
Krista Clumpner

At NMU Librarians are faculty and serve as liaisons. Krista has Art & Design, CAPS, and Modern Languages.

Goal: Communication
-- between library liaison (Krista) and departments
-- among faculty and staff within and across the departments

Art & Design (31 facstaff)
-- studio arts
-- arts ed
-- art history

Communication and Performance Studies (24 facstaff)

Modern Languages (14 facstaff)

The departments are spread out geographically all over campus in three different buildings. Since NMU is on "the balmy southern shore of Lake Superior," walking across campus can be a challenge for much of the year.

How to improve communication? Try a blog...

See Feb 2007 CiL article by Judy Hauser on Web2.0 tools

Why a Blog?
-- Quick
-- Easy
-- Cheap
-- Everyone can participate

How quick?
Depends on how much you want to put into it...

How easy?
To quote: "Easy as 1-2-3"

How cheap?
If you have a computer and internet, it's "just" your time and energy...

Authors and Viewers --> readers and commenters --> dialog
Viewers becoming Authors
promoting dialog between faculty --> interdisc. activities

What's she posting?
-- announcements
-- new acquisitions
-- "book of the week"
-- netlibrary stats
-- etc.

What's next?
Dialog, we hope
-- asking questions to promote responses

-- email announcements
-- promote to students (laptop university)
-- personal communication in the fall

Add graphics
-- book covers

Move to local server (maybe)

If this works to promote faculty communication, Krista gets "two gold stars"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

WAAL 2007: Understanding, Courting, and Educating the Next Generation Subject Specialists

Louise Robbins and Phoebe Chiu

There were supposed to be two other panelists for this program (Diane Barlow and Pat Fisher) but only Louise and Phoebe were able to attend. Fortunately, they're Louise and Phoebe and so, did an outstanding job all by themselves.

My random, quickly typed notes are below. You should look at the website above to get the real story.

UMd and UW got a 3-yr grant from IMLS to study...
Research Objectives
  • To answer questions regarding the supply and demand of subject specialists in academic and research libraries;
  • To discover successful approaches to recruiting subject specialists in various academic disciplines in university;
  • To craft and test a curricular structure that is responsive to the future needs of libraries and librarians.
They used interviews, focus groups, and content analysis of job descriptions and job ads.

ARL demand for subjspec:
sciences, esp. engineering and phys.sci.

projected demands in 2010
science, esp. biology, then physical sci, then humanities

versatility and adaptability in professional practice
knowledge of scholars and researchers in the field
versatility and adaptability in intellectual work
fluency in the language...

attraction to librarianship?
intellectually rich environment
experience of working in lib
nature of lib work

courting:- develop targeted recruitment brochures- issue of subspecialties- include joint/dual/minor degree opportunities- include testimonials
curricula- need for group projects- practica

- shortage of potential subject specialists in certain areas (sciences)
- agreement on the most important curricular aspects
- need for flexible masters curriculum which requires core as well as practica
- value of internship
- consensus on importance of versatility and flexibility
- attractiveness of librarianship as a career path for people who enjoy the academic world -- phds in some areas "have nowhere to go" -- but scientists tend not to use libraries so they don't have the warm feelings...
- difficulty of raising awareness of librarianship as a career

learning how to learn the structure of a discipline -- then you can punt...

Larry Jacobsen example: english major who became a world figure in primatology...

Questions for further consideration...
- generalists vs specialists
- educational programs for holders of advanced degrees
- workplace culture issues
- differentiated career ladder?

Limitations of the study:
- Out of 56 programs, they got 30 responses
- Student info protected by FERPA
- Many LIS programs don't collect info on students with other advanced degrees

Still got 500 responses from students

Title 6 centers required to have subject bibliographers

Many subject bibliographers move from job to job within a limited number of space

Most apps to SLIS from english and history majors

Undergraduate degree specialties tracking into MLS programs? how can we get scientists onto the track?

How do you get a raise in our economy? take your expertise and go elsewhere...

Spousal hiring? In two academic couples, it can be an advantage for one of the pair to have a library degree

It helps to get faculty in phd programs to direct new doctorates to librarianship...

There are several joint/double/dual degree programs (all mean different things) that could be attractive to people with subject specialties...

WAAL 2007: DataFerrett!

Virtual Processing of Govt Data Files
Mike Watkins

Mike, the govdocs guy at UW-Oshkosh, gave us a whirlwind tour of
DataFerrett ( , a very cool tool for
dealing with some government statistical datasets. This would be very
powerful for students and faculty working in a variety of fields,
including political science, public policy, health care, economics,

Below are my "scribbled" notes from Mike's PPT. They in no way reflect
the depth of Mike's knowledge about DataFerrett...

FERRETT: Federated Electronic Research, Review, Extraction and
Tabulation Tool

  • extracts and tabulates data from "small" data sets
  • first release was a collaboration between BLS and Census Bureau; now
    Census and CDC
  • applet and/or application which must be downloaded -- can be a problem
    on restricted computers


  • microdata
  • aggregate data
  • time series data
  • longitudinal data


  • small samples taken from surveys
  • scientific sampling techniques
  • decennial census 1% and 5% samples
  • small sample means large geographic areas: smallest is the MSA

Public Use Microdata Raw Data

  • Presents students and researchers with data to actually manipulate -->
    you may be aggregating a unique dataset

American Community Survey

  • Most current information -- may eventually replace the decennial census

Many datasets available, from ACS to FHWAR... Some of it is getting
kinda old, but some is pretty current.

Demo: veterans educational attainment
select census dataset
select variables --> Education
select required (geographic) variable --> Wisconsin --> Appleton-Oshkosh
MSA, etc.
select variables --> Military Service

Some tips:

* keep tabulations simple by limiting geog. area and overall number
of variables
* you can download the file if online can't process it -- in a
variety of formats: SPSS, xls, etc.
* fewer categories can make the data much easier to read and
manipulate -- recode variables
* can save final tables in a variety of formats too, including PDF...

Tutorials and user guide are pretty good and take about 45 minutes to

Other tips for finding stats:

* find "like" stats in StatAb and go to source...
* USAGov
* Google Gov

Books, Our Brand! E-Books, Our Future?

Our brand transformed?
  • 69% of College Students associate "library" with physical books.
  • Google plans for over 30 million books in the next ten years.
  • What does this all mean?
Task force on the Integration of e-Books
  • Created in September 2006 - report to Members Council in May 2007
  • Had a short time frame for an OCLC task force - sense of urgency?
  • Current Landscape - lots of uncertainty
    • Business & Service Models
      • Different expectations b/w publishers (fear - loss of sales?) and libraries (as easy to use as e-journals, please)
      • Slow adoption - less than 5% of books are electronic
      • Different ways to manage "books"
    • Barriers to Use
      • No common standards
      • DRM & Incompatibility - can't download a NetLibrary book to my Sony e-Book Reader
      • Learning curve - not as easy as e-journals
      • Readability - take a computer to bed to read?
      • Electronic workspace - can we make it convenient to use multiple books at the same time?
    • Case Studies
      • Local environment - large impact on e-book decisions
      • Many see as a natural extension to e-journals
      • Cooperative purchasing is very popular.
      • Soft money - grant funds, endowment funds, gifts
      • Price sensitive - if prices go up, people stop buying them
      • OPAC - increase goes up when records are in online catalogs
      • Various future directions - stop until favorable pricing models, etc.
    • Pieces need to come together
      • E-resource management - make them easier for libraries to handle
      • Easier discovery
      • Easier access
      • More usable
      • Content must be improved - publishers must stop worrying about impact to print sales and make everything available electronically.
      • Vendor relations
Mass Digitization is here. How do we deal? ignore or integrate?
  • Why do the Google-13 want to participate?
    • Part of Mission - part of the Wisconsin Idea
    • Economics - no other way to get so much digitized
    • Enhance current, local digital efforts - these libraries are already leaders in digitization
  • What are they going to do with these digital copies?
    • Different places - some are in planning stages, some have sophisticated private practices (University of Michigan)
    • Cooperative efforts - preservation, access, and discovery
    • NYPL hires a Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship
  • OCLC eContent Synchronization Program - synchronize WorldCat
    • Increase visibility and access at point of need
    • Make all "copies" available
    • Pilot project - August 2007 - what if we could search WorldCat for full-text only?
Your ideas about e-books
  • Transforming traditional library?
  • Key observations or recommendations for OCLC? (suggestions from audience)
    • Compatibility issues - get to them and read them w/o installing software, etc.
    • Google is scale and speed - what about the content that is getting left out? where are our archival digital products?
    • Let's not build systems that count on Google - we need to focus on access, usability from the perspective of libraries
    • Focus on content not the container - how is the nature of the book itself going to change as we fully utilize digital technology?
    • Publishers are in business to make money - is it smart to move from ownership to leasing? How much can we afford to pay?
    • Is it an online journal or an online delivery system? -almost everyone prints them out.
    • Resistance in students? "I can't sit here and read this all day." Do we really know how people are using our collections?
    • JISC- Joint Information Systems Committee - Starting national e-books observatory in UK?

Tail of the Dog: Re-envisioning Virtual Reference

The WAAL fun continued throughout Wednesday in the Dells. Four UW-Madison librarians (Nancy McClements, Bob Sessions, Kelli Keclik, and Steven Frye) took us through the re-envisioning reference process undertaken at that campus in 2006. The process ultimately led to a "blended" virtual reference service that allows patrons to "Ask a Librarian" by chatting or using their instant messaging client. The Reference Service Task Force started out by identifying 6 key expectations, defining their reference vision, and then their virtual reference vision. The virtual reference (VR) vision:
Real-time chat is a common and expected form of communication;
VR barriers should be minimized for users and staff;
VR is a general reference service and a local service; it is readily available at time of need and at point of need; VR should be known to all; it should change and improve with user demand and technological innovations. VR should be a centrally coordinated service.

Velaro runs the chat service; Trillian runs the IM service. In Fall 2006, they had a 300% increase in VR use over the busiest semester under the old chat system. About 75% of the calls are using chat, with the remainder over IM. Fifty-five percent of users found out about the service through the library website; 67% report being very satisfied with the service received, and 21% said they were satisfied.

About 40 staff members staff the service, and 88% report that providing the new VR service has been a positive experience. It does add to the stress level, since so much is going on at once, both in person and with the VR service, but the shared responsibility is a plus.

An interesting side topic, addressed by a poster session as well, was the marketing of the program. A "retro" librarian with an index finger to the lips was deemed too stereotypical by many, although some described her as saucy or even pensive. I liked (paraphrasing here) "when you can't ask your mother" or "we specialize in stupid questions" as well as "we'll tell you where to go".

I scored three "mood pencils" at the poster session that say "Ask a Librarian" and the URL for the service - very, very cool.

Lesson Study: An Experience in Collaborative Inquiry

What is Lesson Study?
a small group of teachers collaboratively plan, teach, observe, revise, and report on a single class lesson.

Fall of 2004, librarians attended a lesson study workshop and formed a group of interested librarians.
Murphy librarians teach over 2000 CST110 students each year through a one-shot information literacy class

Teaching Goals
incorporate more collaboartive learning experiences
create a lesson that all librarians could use
build a lesson around what we thought were best practices and observe students inrteracting with the lesson.

Learning Goals
Choose appropriate database
efficiently search the database
understand how to use information
discern credibility of sources
format APA-style citations

Lesson Design
Two instructional methods:
lecture segments and small group work
Include questions in lecture segment - ask questions instead of telling - increase student involvement
Small group work encouraged collaboartive learning

Each student has a specific role - get everyone to participate
group navigator, communications controller, backseat drivers, log keepers

Small group explorations tasked students with answering specific questions - librarians didn't guide them through databases or database searches.

Lesson included three media types - powerpoint, word, and introductory movie (played on a loop) -

Movie was similar to the previews for the movie theatre, poses questions and then answers. It played as they entered room.

Research log - Record keywords, etc. Guides their activities and serves as a job aid (like instructions on your washing machine). Job aids reduce demand on students' short term memories.

How did this all fit together? video + short lecture segments + interspersed tasks

The Study
Approach - Data/Evidence collected
Findings- Analysis of Observations

1. Filmed observations of students
consent forms signed
videographer filmed the class experiencing the lessons - focus camera on students
video burned to DVD for review and analysis

2. Written observations of students
LS team members observed the class
Focus on students
Observe the students nearest you
Used standardized observation sheets

3. Classroom responses
feedback questions built into lesson as TurningPoint questions/responses
TurningPoint would record responses for analysis - tech. difficulties - used show of hands (observed, but not recorded)

4. Student evaluations
asked to complete online lesson evaluation form at end of session
"did the session improve your ability to find library resources"

5. Instructor evaluations
Bibliographies were required components of later assignments in the class
APA format was expected


1. Analysis of observations
most students appeared to learn the material - group explorations/exercises
inconsistent engagement across all members of groups of students
visual impediments
difficulty organizing in groups
lack of interest in search survival
GeTeXt info (SFX) screen not well received
lack of time for exercises
once organized in groups, they expected group tasks (they first had more lecture)
esp. engaged by automatic citation formatting tools

2. Classroom responses
Most students had difficulties with library catalog searches

3. Student Evaluation
Students indicated that session was useful -3.9 score was a slight improvemt over earlier versions of same lesson
sig. number mentioned citing resources automatically

4. Instructor Evaluation
reported students were generally successful in their library work, including citing sources

Discussion: Lessons Learned

Alternative methodology effects institutional change
Practitioner as researcher apporach

The process effected change
communication between two departments
communication and collaboration between librarians teaching the same lessons

The lesson facilitated observation and interaction
group work
students complete three exercises before reconvening for discussion and lecture
librarian has time to observe and reinforce

The lesson was more appropriate for student learning needs
less lecture
more info conveyed in group discussion
more info conveyed in response to lib. observations
pace is appropriate

Changes to the lesson
reduce content - learn by doing and respond to what they are doing
organize groups at a more appropriate time
compensate for visibility problems
SFX example on worksheet
Add APA exercise

Change assessment
include questions that assess learning
collaborate with course instructions (pre and post tests)
collaborate with course instructors to evaluate student bibs
evaluate research logs

Lesson is a work in progress
address varying class lengths
identify core elements of the lesson for librarians - people do things differently
continued communication - library and curriculum will change

UWL Lesson Study Project Site:
presentation powerpoint:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mashing It Up - Tom Zillner

Slides are available at

Define mashups and APIs
Wikipedia - A mashups is a website or web application that seamlessly combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience

Most mashups are mapping related

Mashups interact with the web through javascript code. Your data comes from multiple places and ends up on the web.

APIs (application programming interface) are like a bunch of tools in a swiss army knife. They provide a standardized way of communicating for programs and web services.

Mashup examples
Map Mashups - You provide local data, Google maps (usually) provides geodata

The Seven Wonders of Wisconsin - - compare average listing prices for U.S. cities - search Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon for the best price

Why Mashups are important
They free data from isolated silos through their use of APIs. - and they bring people back to Google and Amazon.
They bring together data from disparate sources to inform, entertain, and enlighten.

Some library-related examples - Amazon A9, Google, Microsoft Live Search - Search for books in Amazon and find in your public library (SCLS is in this) - Amazon Light, alternative Amazon interface - New books in the Ann Arbor District Library - Populated by an RSS feed put out by the library

Screen Scraping - programmatically capturing a stream of data that is meant to be displayed by an application and extracting selected content (use when APIs don't exist). Takes a long time and is fragile.

Mystery Carousel -

Tools for mashup writers
There are many Javascript presentation tools that are available for free:
Most are high quality, open source, some from big companies, others from independent developers. Users communities report bugs.

How about "Library Light" ?
A multiplicity of custom clients for the catalog? Prediction can come true through APIs and mashups.

There are as many ways of searching as there are library patrons.

Write a mashup with Yahoo Pipes -

Easily create map mashups with Google Maps - - go to "my maps" tab

Staff Engagement = Success at CIMC

Jo Ann Carr, director of the CIMC at UW-Madison, gave a great presentation on how the CIMC engages its staff by rewarding good work, building staff morale, and gaining staff input to make CIMC a great place for staff and clients alike. There were so many great ideas packed into this presentation, and here are just a few:

Make sure staff have the tools they need to do their jobs, including time, supplies, and knowledge. CIMC does advanced and cross training for all staff, both in modules and in groups. They use logs and blogs to keep up with what's happening in the CIMC and with each other and have a comprehensive view of staff development that is outlined in their policy manual.

There are clear expectations, a clearly articulated mission and vision, and they live their values. That includes hiring customers (thus connecting them with their customers in a very powerful way), recognizing good work (a monthly WOW award - What Outstanding Work), providing currency in collections and services, creating convenience for clients through timely displays and adopted shelving areas, and seeing themselves as vital to the learning process.

They are committed to "joy in the workplace and the work" and celebrate personal holidays, accomplishments and new ventures. (Among other ways of celebrating, Jo Ann bakes delicious cookies!) They show appreciation for one another; e.g., staff contributes to finals' week care packages for student employees, and they keep a sense of humor.

Jo Ann mentioned the importance of knowing employee likes and dislikes so that the recognition they get is something they actually like (not everyone likes chocolate, if you can believe that). But also, it's important to know employees' goals, stressors, and how they define success. Performance planning and performance reviews for everyone (the director is reviewed by all staff), using the logs and blogs, and having staff complete bios that are posted for other staff to read - all were mentioned as tools used.

There were many other ideas, plus some links to good materials. See for these articles: Brandi, JoAnna (2005) "Power up performance: 9 way to keep employees engaged." Aurora, Ontario, CA: HR com.; Leather, Doug (2005) "Happy employees, happy customers" Aurora, Ontario, CA: HR com; and Weir, Jason (2005) "The Gallup Organization's Q12" Aurora, Ontario, CA: HR com.

Exploring Haunted America - Michael Norman

Michael Norman gave a delightful luncheon talk relating several of the stories he has collected. Particularly entertaining was one tale of the "ghostly librarian" at St. Olaf College from his yet unpublished book of Minnesota ghost stories.

WAAL Conference Opens at Wintergreen

The WAAL Conference expects 225-plus registrants to join in the fun and learning this week, Wednesday through Friday at the Wintergreen Resort and Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells. The WAAL Board and Conference Committee kicked off the event with a pre-conference party hosted Tuesday evening by Valerie Malzacher, WAAL Chair.

The Conference Committee has found the Wintergreen Resort staff very helpful as it set up for the conference, readily accommodating the usual last minute requests and modifications. Stay tuned for more about the conference programs and events: breakouts, poster sessions, and luncheon speakers!