Christina's LIS Rant
Friday, June 30, 2006
  Anecdote: Expertise location without technology
Anecdote: Expertise location without technology
(via Mathemagenic)
I think every organization with more than a few people has km issues and issues of how to find expertise within the organization. L.E. picks out the bit of the linked post on types of expertise, but I think another interesting bit of the post is on looking for expertise before you need it. I've seen good networking people do this and it's probably a skill special librarians should cultivate.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
  IEEE Flickr Group
Only 20 photos as of right now, but cool. Via.
  Have library schools forgotten to defend themselves?
NB: Rant to follow.

As a fairly recent ('02) graduate of library school, I had quite a bit of training on planning, marketing, evaluating library services and programs. It was quite clear that one of my jobs when I got to the professional workforce would be as a champion for my library -- where ever that would be. I've since been a part of many innovative campaigns in that regard and have proudly witnessed my fellow alumni have some great successes and, in several cases, some miserable failures.

So, why are many of the library schools at risk of being effectively dismantled? Are the professors who taught us not marketing themselves successfully or are we as alumni letting them down? Is this to be expected with CS and engineering provosts as has been suggested in the case of Maryland and at UB? We don't make the kind of money that engineering, CS, and business grads make so is that the problem? Maybe we need to recruit more for our alma mater?

Are all of the library school classes to be taught by adjuncts because they are the only ones with library experience and "anyone" can teach the other core courses? (I really do bristle at the fact that "anyone" can teach MLS students when they have no idea of the environments the students will face in the workforce).

I'm on this rant again after reading about the dismantling of the UB School of Informatics. Sounds like that may not be all bad, but it is certainly unfortunate that they didn't choose to fix it.

Once again, these are strictly my opinions and do not reflect those of my colleagues at work or in the graduate program.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
  Heads Up: Ruth is blogging LISA V
LISA V is the Library and Information Services in Astronomy international conference. It's in Boston this year. Ruth is using the tags lisav and lisa-v

Sounds very interesting. I was trying to figure a way to go but it didn't work out.
Monday, June 19, 2006
  Cosmic Variance: Why Study Physics? - The Results
Mark from CV asked for reasons to study physics.

# To gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental principles that govern our universe and everything in it, while at the same time picking up a broad and eminently useful skillset–the ability to analyze and deconstruct problems, to effectively communicate solutions. [tom fish; see comment number 1. Very nicely put.]
# You get an excellent “Bullshit detector” and learn to see what is important. [Dimitri Terryn; see comment number 22. Straight to the point.]
# Because you want to succeed in (choose one):
business, law, medicine, education, engineering, politics. Or research in physics. [macho; see comment number 21; read the entire comment for the justification for this. Punchy!]
# There are lots of people in the world who can read and write well (despite much conflicting evidence in the blogosphere). There are far fewer who can think clearly. The world needs more of the latter. [gbob, see comment number 31. Indeed - it’s not just about learning facts.]
# There will never again be such a thing as scary math. On the other hand, nonrigorous math won’t scare you. When the metal meets the road, you can do back of the envelope calculations and clean them up if things pan out. [Fred Ross; see comment number 25. A nice complement to the first point about critical thinking skills.]
# The thrill of being on the brink of discovery is second only to being madly in love. [twaters; see comment number 33. Beautiful, and I couldn’t agree more.]
# You get to play with cooler, more expensive toys than your friends. [Spatulated; see comment number 13. Mostly for experimentalists, but still a fair point - the LHC is the World’s largest machine!]
# When you are referred to as a nuclear physicist or rocket scientist, it may not be a mere figure of speech. [citrine; see comment number 34. True, and see comment number 35 for how to use this.]
# Because the cows won’t launch themselves. [Stephen; see comment numb"
Friday, June 16, 2006
  OT: For all my fellow veterans who are librarians
We all think that 26 million won't include us. I have to say, though, that I just received notification from the VA that my personal information was in fact on the laptop that was stolen. I was sure it wouldn't impact me but it may. So -- check your mail and check your credit report.


Update 6/29: Stolen laptop recovered and they think the data was not accessed (via HFR). ComputerWorld article. Whew (I hope!)
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
  sla2006: notes from the Math Roundtable (other speakers)
My notes on my session are below. These aren't meant to be complete, but perhaps somewhat contemplative.

Nisa reviewed her D-Lib article comparing citation counts for JASIST from 1985 and 2000 using Scopus, WoS, and Google Scholar. She also introduced her forthcoming paper looking at citation overlaps between the three services for oncology and condensed matter physics: Bakkalbasi, Nisa and Bauer, Kathleen and Glover, Janis and Wang, Lei (2006) Three options for citation tracking: Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science.

Their figure 1, copied from page 11, is very powerful. Look at it for a minute:

Yes, this is not generalizable in a scientific or methodological sense, but what does it say about how we should be searching if we want to be more comprehensive in our searching? Obviously some of this is expected and perhaps desirable: do we want to include citations from patents and student papers? Conference papers and technical reports? If you're really looking at the influence of some work, then perhaps you should search across all three? Obviously it depends on the task, but this is very interesting

It was mentioned that condensed matter physics isn't the most popular category in arxiv, but it was a practical choice for other reasons.

Next, we heard from J. Parker Ladwig and Andrew J. Sommese reviewing their article on Using Cited Half-life to Adjust Download Statistics from College & Research Libraries. There are several noted weaknesses (and strengths) for any one way of measuring journal usage. The real answer is that we need to make up a weighted measuring system for the particular collection and needs of the users (note: not needs of the library, but needs of the user). Parker and Andrew are suggesting a correction to cost per download metrics based on the JCR cited half life. JCR reports for many math journals that the cited half life is >10. IOW, mathematicians are still using older journals. To me this speaks of the need to maintain older collections and to buy backfiles in this subject -- perhaps get back on jstor to collect more heavily in math. I see how this works for print subscriptions and (if they exist) online subscriptions where you buy the year and have that year in perpetuity. So you buy 2006 now, and you know that over the next 20-50 years it will be used, if the immediacy and 2 year impact factors aren't high, the overall number of times cited might add up. However, I don't believe that model is the most common for ejournals. I think it's more likely that you'll buy the backfile in a lump sum, in which case it might be easier to do the calculation OR you'll have to keep paying for the same year over and over again. Anyway, requires more thought. It was nice to have another "real" mathematician in the room although he was amazingly unwilling to speak for his whole profession :)

Finally Kris Fowler talked about whether a European group interested in km for math should have SLA representation. We all agree on the general subject, but perhaps not participating in this group. Several librarians are on their mailing list, though, so will probably continue to monitor.

  sla2006: Net Work
Net Work:  The new leadership challenge
By Patti Anklam (6/14, 9:15am)

Strong networks are correlated with health (personal – better health, companies – “more flexible, adaptive and resilient”)

Social capital – stock of connections, trust, shared values/behaviors (from Prusak & Cohen, In Good Company)

Overview of a few types of maps connections based on intangible deliverables, communication, other visualizations like those from inxight.

Any set of relationships is a network (person – person, group - group, information artifacts)

Typical patterns (and what do they mean for knowledge in the organization)

Cross & Parker Hidden Power of Social Networks (standard hierarchical rules vs. who really talks to whom)

Why should leaders pay attention
Why do ONA – organizational network analysis
How do you do ONA

Ways to do a larger org

Governing by Network:  The New Shape of the Public Sector by Stephen and William D. Eggers (network stuff in gov’t)

How to build networks?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
  SLA PAM Division Math Roundtable: Math blogging
There are quite a few math bloggers and some physicists who do a lot of math, mathematicians who work in physics, and math librarians.

Brief agenda:
What's a blog?
- Reverse chronological listing of discrete posts each with a permalink, and frequently the ability to comment/trackback. Has an archive that allows retrieval by date and may have a way to retrieve by assigned category.

V.V. quick discussion (no notes here, even!)

How mathematicians use blogs:
(note: not based on research, but an unscientific reading of a few of the most popular)
Doing math on blogs:
Not trivial perhaps, but solutions exist! (little joke there, get it?)
Some active "math" blogs (not arranged anyway in particular although flavor of math might be helpful... also just a smattering):
Can also look at Technorati's blogfinder math category.

Expect updates, will be cross-posted to the PAM blog.
update 1: more on Chapter 0, changed publishing date to reflect when I published, not started typing
Friday, June 09, 2006
  Yes, competition is good: Author searching
Some via RSS
As I said, this time of year all the vendors go wild annoucing updates and new offerings. A current trend is better ways to disambiguate authors and do author searching. It used to be that WoS was the only decent solution for doing affiliation searching and controlling on author was sketchy in all of the databases. Here's a little list of what we have right now with older solutions first and then the new announcements.

Records link to "authority profiles" from "scholar universe" -- cool, but not on all people or on all records, limited information.

When CSA bought COS I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Now it seems that a lot of authors link to their COS record.

See press releases, etc. Very cool actually and really quite useful (well, of course there are known issues with Scopus and coverage but where coverage is more complete it works well)

ISI Web of Science
See press release. These tools seem to be listed as in development so time will tell.
Monday, June 05, 2006
  Carnival of the Infosciences #40
This is an exciting time in the biblioblogosphere with the major conferences all coming (SLA, ALA, AALL) or just passed (MLA). During conference season, there are usually a lot of new releases from vendors and excitement in the libraries. Also, many academic and school libraries get a lot of work done during the summer to be ready for the fall semester. It's been a while since I've hosted a carnival (#11, to be precise) and it's been a real pleasure to see the submissions this week.

Babyboomer Librarian (Bill Drew) talks about an interesting trend in "friends" in MySpace. Apparently there are a lot of interested writers. Does this mirror your library's experience? Maybe you should submit a comment on his post.

Joe Kissell presents a nice article about The Bodleian Library at Oxford. It discusses the history and statistics of the library.

Michelle, the Krafty Librarian, asks if in Podcasting, Are We Focused in the Right Direction? She continues, "a lot of librarians and libraries are creating podcasts but is that the best thing for us to do right now? Shouldn't we be looking at and creating methods to find or organize them rather than just simply adding to the flood of information or will that be an opportunity that will slip by us?" Greg Schwartz (our fearless leader) discussed this a bit at CIL2006 -- some of the keyword searches of podcasts are pretty rough. Should libraries archive, preserve, catalog, and provide access? Maybe. Promote better metadata assignment during production? Maybe.

John Hubbard celebrates the one year anniversary of LISwiki. He discusses how the year has gone.

OPACs are hot topics of discussion. Laura Crossett shares her Dream of the children's materials OPAC. I'm scared of children's reference so if she ever gets them to make this OPAC, we'll all be in better shape. Hmm, I wonder if someone could do an Ajax mashup with Novelist (or the children's equivalent) and the OPAC so it would tell you if the book is on the shelf or at least owned in the results list.... I used to work in a branch where they'd had a volunteer go through Columbia and mark which poetry anthologies we owned -- now that was sweet.

Nancy Dowd of The M Word asks: Isn't it time your library got buzzed? She talks about buzz or word-of-mouth marketing and gives some great pointers of where to look for more information. In her submission she says, "Buzz campaigns address the changing focus from manager driven to consumer driven marketing and offer libraries some neat opportunities." There will also be a session on June 25 at ALA.

Rick Roche of ricklibrarian has some notes on the first ALA he attended, Dallas, 1979. Wow, the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Part of being an editor is presumably *not* including some submissions; however, I am intrigued by Grrlscientist's submission so will include it. Apparently: a giant armored dinosaur has been discovered in Utah. I wonder if it should have gone to another carnival?

Editorial picks:
I'd like to highlight a couple of new blogs that might be of interest. First, Cornell librarian Pat Viele, who is well known in the teaching-of-physics world, has a new blog: Physics Information Fluency. She's interested in how to best integrate the teaching of information fluency into the physics curriculum at the undergrad and grad stages. Pam Ryan from the University of Alberta is spearheading a new blog on academic library assessment, LibraryAssessment.info. They already have a list of 15 contributors to the blog. With any kind of new project, program, or service, one of the key parts of planning is figuring out what the goals will be and how the product will be evaluated.

Karen at Free Range has just posted a Manifesto. The key may be, "the user is not broken." Comments, concerns, additions?

Congrats to Steven and family for their new addition.

UPDATED: oops -- it came out with the date I started working on it instead of the publish date.

Next week's carnival will be at Ruminations.
For once and future dates, check the wiki.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
  Another impact of the proliferation of journals
I was just browsing the viewpoint piece by Les Grivell: "Through a glass darkly: The present and the future of editorial peer review" (2006) EMBO Reports 7, 567–570 doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400718.

One of the points he makes is that the best peer reviewers tend to be younger and publish a lot. There are a limited number of desirable reviewers for each paper and he expresses concern of reviewer fatigue.

A lot of the things he says in the piece I've seen elsewhere, but I don't know that I'd thought of how the proliferation of journals is impacting the quality of peer review, but I guess it must. Interesting how this is in a journal published by NPG ;)

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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