Wednesday, February 24, 2010

For New Yorkers: Libraries, legislators and Muhammad Yunus

This is truly my own opinion and thinking, and not the opinion of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries or any other person or organization.

Once a year, members of the NYS Regents Advisory Council on Libraries go to Albany and the Legislative Office Building (LOB) to talk to legislators about the importance of libraries and the need for adequate funding.

For as long as I can remember, the State has not given libraries as much state funding as requested or needed.  Thankfully, libraries have always "made do".   However, in the last two years, there have been four cuts to library funding and a fifth cut has been proposed by the Governor.  If the fifth cut is enacted, the State funding for libraries will return to the level of funding that libraries received in 1998.  Keep in mind, this is 2010. the saying goes, not pretty.

Yesterday we talked to legislators and their staff members about the need for libraries and the problems that inadequate funding is causing.  While libraries have been doing more for their patrons with less money, it is not possible for them to do more with even less money.  Less money will mean fewer new books, magazines and other resources.  It may mean that database subscriptions will be terminated.  Staff could be cut (again) and operating hours reduced.  It could be that some libraries will completely fail and close.

How can we have libraries fail at a time when our patrons are using library resources for their job hunting activities, including finding job openings, filling out applications, and working on their resumes?  What about patrons who are looking to libraries to help them acquire new skills?  And what about people who are downsizing and need to use the library's computers and Internet access?  Yes, we reminded people in Albany of all the ways our patrons are using libraries and they valued all of them.

No one in the legislature will say that they don't like libraries.  Everyone is very "pro" libraries.  Everyone I met with wanted to see funding restored.  Some of us heard that the "Democratic Committee" is in favor of restoring the funding, although I'll admit to not know who exactly is a part of that committee.  But no one stood up and said that he/she would be a champion for libraries as the budget is debated in the legislature.  No one took ownership.  The word "we" was used frequently but "we" needs someone to lead the effort.

After five hours of train rides and hours inside the LOB, I was back in Syracuse and attending a lecture given by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank which is famous for its implementation of microcredit loans.  During his presentation, Yunus noted that disasters are places where creativity and new ways of thinking can flourish.  Many would consider the state budget to be a disaster and so is this a time for us to think more creatively?  It seems so.  For example, one assemblyperson suggested a different way of allocating money from the state budget for libraries, explaining that it might limit the impact of any budget decreases. In side conversations, it was clear that people are willing to think in new ways about funding, etc. I am not talking about creatively doing more with less, but using new thinking to change funding models, funding streams, etc. 

One more tidbit...because of the decreases in State funding, there is a possibility that the LSTA funds will also be decreased, which would impact the funding for NOVELny and the statewide database licenses. That could mean, I think, that State funds would be needed to fill-in an gaps or that fewer databases would be carried.  Yup...that wouldn't be pretty either.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Event: 4th International Conference on: Preservation and Conservation Issues in Digital Printing and Digital Photography

Received via email...

4th International Conference on: Preservation and Conservation Issues in Digital Printing and Digital Photography
27-28 May 2010
Institute of Physics, London

Organised jointly by the IOP Printing and Graphics Science Group and the University of the Arts London (Materials and the Arts Research Centre - MATAR), in association with the Society for Imaging Science and Technology.

Registration Open

Registration for the conference has now opened. To register, please visit The early registration discount is available until the 27th April 2010.


The two-day international conference aims to examine progress in research of inks, substrates and processes for producing digital prints which may be subjected to archival storage. The event is aimed at an international audience of photographers, conservators, preservation personnel, conservation scientists, and those working in the digital printing, ink and paper industries.

Further information about the conference is available at


Dawn Stewart
The Institute of Physics,
76 Portland Place,
London W1B 1NT, UK.

Tel: +44(0)20 7470 4800
Fax: +44(0)20 7470 4900

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Article: Treasures Move From Library Shelves to the iPhone With New DukeMobile Applications

During the last two days, I attended an online conference on the use of mobile technology in libraries (Handheld Librarian Conference).  The conference was completely virtual with people attending from locations across North America and from other parts of the world.  During the event, one of the presenters mentioned that Duke University allows you do view images from its collection on mobile devices.
With the launch of DukeMobile 1.1, the Duke University Libraries now offers the most comprehensive university digital image collection specifically formatted for an iPhone or iTouch device. It includes thousands of photos and other artifacts that range from early beer advertisements to materials on San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury scene in the 1960s. Although a growing number of scholarly institutions offer images and other material online, Duke is the first to offer collections that take advantage of the iPhone’s design, navigation and other features.
Not only is there an iPhone app, but there is also a site that can be used on mobile browsers. Besides the images, there is other content and information from Duke University that people on the go might want to access.

Below is a video that talks about the app and its use with Duke's image collections.

I really hope more digital collections follow Duke's lead!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Event: WebWise 2010, March 3-5 in Denver

Details below.

Contact:               Kelcey Wetzel, event coordinator
Announcing the WebWise 2010 Conference, March 3-5, Denver, Colorado

AURORA, Colo., February 16, 2010 — The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is partnering with the Denver Art Museum (DAM) and the University of Denver (DU) to bring WebWise 2010: Imagining the Digital Future to the Mile High city.  BCR is a member of the programming committee. 

This will be the 11th annual conference and showcase of the latest technologies being used by libraries and museums to make their collections accessible to the world.

“The University of Denver is pleased to be able to partner with the IMLS, the Denver Art Museum, and BCR to bring the 2010 WebWise to Denver Colorado,” noted Nancy Allen, Dean and Director University of Denver Penrose Library. “For more than a decade, WebWise has provided library and museum professionals the opportunity to share and showcase new and innovative approaches to support learning across the variety of communities they serve.”

Denver’s own Ed Sardella will interview digital pioneers Howard Besser, Professor of Cinema Studies and Director of New York University's Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Program, and Susan Chun, co-founder of the Steve Project, for the opening event at the Denver Art Museum.  Attendees will be greeted by IMLS Director Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Christoph Heinrich, the new director of DAM, and City Librarian of Denver, Shirley Amore, while Chris Batt, former chief executive of Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in the UK, now working as a consultant and frequent speaker on the future of cultural heritage institutions across Europe and the UK, will give the closing keynote address.

“IMLS is pleased to be able to bring WebWise to Denver.  The Denver Art Museum and the University of Denver partnership have brought new and exciting opportunities to the 2010 WebWise.  We know that the more than 400 attendees will enjoy the pre-conference and conference activities,” commented IMLS Director Anne-Imelda M. Radice.

Conference sessions will address the future of digital content with respect to sustainability, engaging users, new tools and services, necessary skills for practitioners and funding while highlighting successes and innovations of the past.  To celebrate this digital past, DU’s Penrose Library is partnering with the DU Library and Information Science Program to launch Digital Pioneers, a series of oral history interviews with key cultural heritage digital initiative figures including Nancy Allen, Liz Bishoff, Sayeed Choudhury, Kaye Howe, Jim Kroll and Thornton Staples.

Additionally, two preconferences will investigate creating enticing learning spaces and managing digital repositories.

Due to its continuing popularity, registration for the event is already closed. IMLS will make WebWise speaker presentations available on its Web site and First Monday will publish the conference papers.

About BCR
BCR brings libraries together for greater success by expanding their knowledge, reach and power. They offer a broad range of solutions and their hands-on, personal attention to each member enables them to deliver effective and timely solutions that help libraries keep pace with new developments in technology and services. BCR is the nation’s oldest and most established multistate library cooperative. Since 1935, the BCR team has helped libraries learn new skills, reach patrons, increase productivity and save money. BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit headquartered in Aurora, Colorado. For more information, visit or email

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Event: Digital Preservation for Digital Collaboratives

Received in email.

Save the Date for Digital Preservation for Digital Collaboratives

BCR, LYRASIS and OCLC are proud to present this new workshop, partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Philadelphia:  April 28-29, 2010
San Jose:  August 3-4, 2010
Chicago:  November 16-17, 2010

Digital Preservation for Digital Collaboratives is a workshop designed to help digital collaboratives with existing digital collections develop and implement a long-term preservation option.  The workshop, designed for multiple representatives from a collaborative, will provide the information and tools the collaborative needs to develop a long-term preservation plan that will work for the collaborative’s unique collections and organizations. Each workshop includes an initial day of online instruction followed by 2 days of in-person instruction.  Additional support after the workshop will be provided to ensure that all participants are able to complete their preservation plans.

All workshops will be taught by a faculty of digital preservation experts:

Liz Bishoff, Director of Digital & Preservation Services, BCR
Priscilla Caplan, Assistant Director for Digital Library Services, Florida Center for Library Automation
Tom Clareson, Senior Consultant, LYRASIS
Robin Dale, Director of Digital Services, LYRASIS
Katherine Skinner, Executive Director, Educopia Institute and Program Manager, MetaArchive Cooperative

For more information, visit

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Call for papers: iPRES 2010

Received via email.


7th­­ International Conference on
 Preservation of Digital Objects (IPRES 2010)
 September 19 -- 24, 2010
Vienna, Austria

The Austrian National Library and the Vienna University of Technology are pleased to host the International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects (iPRES2010) in Vienna in September 2010. iPRES2010 will be the seventh in the series of annual international conferences that bring together researchers and practitioners from around the world to explore the latest trends, innovations, and practices in preserving our digital heritage.

Digital Preservation and Curation is evolving from a niche activity to an established practice and research field that involves various disciplines and communities. iPRES2010 will re-emphasise that preserving our scientific and cultural digital heritage requires integration of activities and research across institutional and disciplinary boundaries to adequately address the challenges in digital preservation. iPRES2010 will further strengthen the link between digital preservation research and practitioners in memory institutions and scientific data centres.


iPRES2010 will adopt a two-track scheme, focussing on research papers reporting on novel, previously unpublished work, as well as case studies and best practice reports. The conference programme will be designed to encourage interaction between these areas, rather than seeing them as separated fields. Furthermore, iPRES2010 will offer a set of tutorials on the Sunday preceding the conference, as well as focused workshops following the main conference.
Submissions are invited for full and short papers, demos/posters, panels, workshops, and tutorials. All contributions will be reviewed by members of the Programme Committee. More information, including instructions for submission, is available at the iPRES2010 homepage.

TOPICS (include but not limited to):

 - Theoretical, Formal and Conceptual Models of Information and Preservation
 - Trusted Repositories: Risk Analysis, Planning, Audit and Certification
 - Scalability and Automation
 - Metadata Issues for Preservation Processes
 - Business Models and Cost Estimation
 - Personal Archiving
 - Innovation in Digital Preservation: Novel Approaches and Scenarios
 - Training and Education
 - Domain-specific Challenges: Web, GIS, Primary/Scientific/Sensor Data,
   Governmental & Medical Records
 - Case Studies and Best Practice Reports: Systems, Workflows, Use Cases


Workshop Submission:                              March 18, 2010
Workshop Notification of Acceptance:              April 9, 2010
Paper/Tutorial/Panel Submission:                  May 5, 2010
Paper/Tutorial/Panel Notification of Acceptance:  June 18, 2010
Submission of final versions:                     July 11, 2010

Conference:                                       September 19-24, 2010


 - Andreas Rauber, VUT, Austria
 - Max Kaiser, ONB, Austria

 - Rebecca Guenther, Library of Congress, US
 - Panos Constantopoulos, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece; Digital Curation Unit, Greece

 - Heike Neuroth, Göttingen State and University Library, Germany

 - Shigeo Sugimoto, University of Tsukuba, Japan

 - Perry Willett, California Digital Library, US
 - John Kunze, University of California, US

 - Priscilla Caplan, Florida Center for Library Automation, US
 - Joy Davidson, University of Glasgow, Scotland

 - Johann Stockinger, Austrian Computer Society, Austria

For further details please check regularly.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Looking at your program with fresh eyes

A few weeks ago, I heard Tom Kelley, author and general manager of IDEO, speak about innovation.  In his book, The Ten Faces of Innovation, Kelley talks about several roles we can have in our organizations that will promote innovation and one of them is the anthropologist.  As I have continued to think about the roles, this role sticks out as being one that we all say we should do, but don't.

The anthropologist seeks out ah-ha moments through several techniques including seeing what is happening around them with fresh eyes.  The anthropologist is continually engaged in fieldwork.  The person is always looking at the situation, picking up clues, and then trying to make sense of them all.  The anthropologist -- much like those forensic crime scene investigators on CSI -- lets the clues and information speak.  The person doesn't begin with assumptions.

Last week, one of the professors in the iSchool sent his class to the library to gather information, to learn by being there, and to observe and ask questions.  One of the students remarked afterward that it was interesting (and fun) to learn about user needs that way. While this was a short exercise, she could see the benefits.

Kelley wrote (p. 25):
Picking up on the smallest nuances of your customer can offer tremendous opportunities.

With that in mind, when was the last time you:
  • Observed users in your reading room (or exhibit space) to see how they used your organization's materials?
  • Watched researchers as they studied items in your collection?
  • Asked people what they were looking for and why?  And that not the "why" that they first say, but the real reason why.  (Sometimes those are different.)
  • Studied what lead users from one piece of material to another?  Why is the person who looked at this now suddenly interested in that?
  • Noticed what people used (or wanted to use) while looking at your collection?
  • Asked -- without judgment -- what people needed or desired?
  • Looked at the foot traffic and thought about what that could tell you?
Yes, those are all things that you can do in a physical space.  However, think about what the information could tell you and how that might help with your virtual space.
  • How might this information influence how you select items to be digitized?
  • What online tools might you develop that you mirrors tools people need (or want) when they use the physical items?
  • How could you make relationships between the items online that will help people move from one to the other in a similar way to what they do in the reading room?
  • How might you design your homepage differently if you knew better what people wanted?
Historically, many digitization programs have made assumptions about what their users want and need.  Often times that rushing is due to funding constraints.  They have received funding to "do" and not to gather information through observing and asking questions.  Programs hope that they have made the correct assumptions or that they can learn from what they have done, and then do it better the next time.  Unfortunately, some programs don't stop to do the information gathering that they need.  Instead -- if funding allows -- they rush from project to project and hope that they are delivering what users wants.

Yes, being an anthropologist takes time.  Kelley notes that people at IDEO are trained to do this work, but that anyone can be an amateur anthropologist.  His book and talk provide examples of people who used this technique without a lot of formal training and were still able to learn valuable information about their users.

Does this sound like something that would benefit you?  Go ahead -- give it a try!