Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
  Flabbergasted: Springerlink has Google ads!
To whomever mentioned this on a list, sorry for not giving you credit! I just had to see for myself and be amazed.

So apparently charging us $1-10k per journal isn't enough. I am absolutely amazed, flabbergasted, and well, horrified. Are they trying to prove that we're putting them out of business with our open access (tongue in cheek), we evil librarians?
Thursday, January 25, 2007
  Memories of Lee S. Strickland
CLIS got the news today (1/25/07) that Lee Strickland has died. Some of his articles are linked from the Center for Information Policy publications page.

I took a course with Lee on legal issues in managing information. It was an eye-opening experience. He was so well prepared for class and so concerned that we learn absolutely as much as possible in the time-- his course notes were so extensive, that we got them on CD-ROM instead of in paper. I took his class in the Fall of 2002 -- we talked about what's now called GWOT and security and the Patriot Act and FISA and all sorts of interesting things... I learned so much from him that I still think about today. The class was exciting and challenging and scary and he brought so much enthusiasm and knowledge.

Although Lee wasn't trained as a librarian, he had a deep appreciation for libraries, library policies, and all aspects of the law that touch on what libraries do. All of us who had the opportunity to learn from him are blessed. He will be missed!

Note: I started writing this when I heard the news, but just had a chance to finish today.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
  AAP hires a PR firm to fight back against open access
Jim Giles (25 January 2007). PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access. Nature 445, 347 doi:10.1038/445347a; Published online 24 January 2007

Article pointed out by Dana Roth on Chem-Inf.

The Association of American Publishers feels that they are under siege and have hired a pit bull to fight back, apparently. So this isn't really surprising or alarming, but this quote is:
The consultant advised them to focus on simple messages, such as "Public access equals government censorship". He hinted that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review, and "paint a picture of what the world would look like without peer-reviewed articles". [emphasis mine]
He's also suggesting partnerships with groups who have angered scientists... I'm not sure how that will help.

So this plays on a couple of irrational fears 1) articles published open access will not get respect (and therefore tenure, promotion, etc) 2) articles published open access aren't any good and can't make it elsewhere -- we so know this isn't true as many high impact, high quality journals have open access articles. The government censorship bit is absurd. I guess we'll see what effect this has.
{all opinions my own, no one else's}

Update 1/29: ACS posted a reply on CHM-Inf. I don't really intend to discuss that much here as it actually seems to dig them into a deeper hole and confirm they're not behaving themselves as a non-profit society publishing to promote science. They do actually point to a very interesting article from the Washington Post by Rick Weiss. Well worth a read (will probably require free registration and will only be available for 14 days from publication, after that you'll have to get it from your library!)


Saturday, January 20, 2007
  Science Blogging Conference Group Dinner

Science Blogging Conference Group Dinner
Originally uploaded by cpikas.
My last conference activity. We talked about public policy, science blogging, school testing, and our earliest computers...
  Science Blogging Conference: Post 4
From the Nanosphere to the Blogosphere
Brad Herring and Troy Livingston, the Museum of Life and Science, Durham, NC
(looks like more here http://www.nanotechproject.org/)

What is nanotech, why is it different/unique, what can it do, what are some examples

Public Perception of Nano
- study last summer: low awareness of what nanotechnology is, but optimistic about benefits, low public trust in government, benefits will exceed risks,

(ditched this session when the small group work.. sorry, but I’m disappointed with this session because I don’t need or want a lecture on nanotechnology then to do an exercise…. I thought it would be more like an unconference like BloggerCon)

Teaching Science

I came in on a discussion of accuracy and contributed a librarian point of view…

Favorite web pages
- moodle (courseware OSS)
- science-house.org
- sciencenews.org
- Google Earth
- National Geographic
- USDA, FDA, CDC, EPA pages

Using blog posts in the classroom
- asking students to compare reports they are seeing

How can science bloggers write so that teachers can use it in the classroom?
- look at lesson plans
- use http://classblogmeister.com (or other tools) to find local teachers or interested teachers and comment on their blogs
- is timing important?
- Do create handouts
- Use citations

Do scientists accept or encourage questions from teachers?
Can we create a collection of experts: some exist already, we need an intermediary, professional societies do this
Blogs are good to get to know the scientist before asking for information.

Accessibility issues?
Maybe have printable versions of your posts

Regardless of all of this, we can’t do anything that doesn’t fit into the standards to prepare for the tests … always preparing for the tests.

Use Marco Polo to find science standards and prepare articles that fit in that area.


  Science Blogging Conference: Post 3
Open Source/Open Notebook Science
Jean-Claude Bradley, Drexel, http://usefulchem.wikispaces.com/

(not open source software in science, but open notebook science)
(not blogging about an article, but the blog is the article)

- intellectual property
- referencing and claims to priority
- academic validation
- peer review – mandatory and elective

- more publishable work, not less, because smaller units and cross discipline work that doesn’t have a home
- making explicit the work in collaborations
- more detailed knowledge base
- using semantically rich format and automation…

Robot scientist

How will this happen?
- open source either author pays or reader pays… needs freely open where no cost to submit and no cost to read (like free hosted systems like Blogger, etc.)

What they did/are doing
- google to see what’s needed
- asked Find a Drug for information
- synthesized molecules and documented on blog
- got real comments

- time stamping not as reliable since it can be changed
- if things are changed, then old info is lost
- use a wiki to gather information and a blog for their molecules

- site meter, knows what people are searching for and who’s reading
- use free, hosted software so all of this can be replicated

Automation in Useful Chem
- smiles and InChI through Chemsketch
- useful chemistry molecules

Others connected
- Synaptic leap
- ChemRefer
- Partnerships with English classes and undergrad chem.

Other findings
- Blogs best as an integrative tool
- Graphical Mining of data with JSpecView – java view of spectra where you can actually zoom in on an important area, exporting in a CML format so machines can use
- vendor reliability
- classical long tail – there is only a very small audience for this information, so even though not wide readership, is it reaching who needs to read it

- org prep daily
- open webware – protocols, lab notebooks for intra-group communication (not enough context to allow external people really to communicate)
- RRResearch.blogspot.com (microbiology)
- Chem.-bla-ics – actual code

Comments from the audience (c) and responses (r)
(c) I’m an astronomer, and I do my observations two nights and spend the next few months doing the work – if I publish my data, then someone might scoop me and worse, the work I had planned as follow-on… the data is usually embargoed
(c) I’m in the same boat, you can generate the data very quickly but the analysis takes a long time
(c) What’s your opinion of colleagues who try this? Maybe they won’t get hired.

(r) The open source will beat the traditional publishing to publishing all of the time

(c) can you actually publish this work?
(r) talk to editors, and they say yes, regardless of what written policies say

(c) what would you change with this software if you could to improve this work
(r) they’re all separate programs which is good… we’d like to be able to show more spectra on the same java graph

(c) how do you deal with vandalism?
(r) he’s never had it happen – also don’t have to have it fully open for editing

(c) ada compliant? Universities are required to follow that…
(r) he hasn’t had to deal with this

(c) do you recognize your commenters from references, etc?
(r) frequently in person or via e-mail and then get permission to post that to the blog.
(r) the community of researchers doing the same work is pretty small so you probably know them
(c) but do you ever actually get people from out of the blue
(r) preservation of old data so you might not be in the field later but

Actually have spectra from starting material so will know about impurities, etc.

(c) relative merits of self archiving vs. submitting to open data archives
(r) we do both and whatever is available

(c) do you find new collaborators through this
(r) I didn’t know any of these people before this because I came from nanotechnology, so I’ve met a lot of people – especially

(c) use this for grant applications?
(r) not yet, but will

(c) could you do this with a high value drug – would your university let you?
(r) universities don’t push to patent [depends on the university!], but this works as marketing for the university to bring new students

(c) is your management supportive?
(r) yes, very and we have openings!


  Science Blogging Conference: Post 2

Janet Stemwedel -- Adventures in Science Blogging: Conversations we need to have and how blogging can help us have them

What scientists can get out of blogging for themselves

Community and communications key ingredients for human flourishing

Trying to explain to people at parties and getting the spinach dip blow-off

Real communication involves a conversation

- establishing common ground through understanding and listening to what the participants know, understand, and are asking

- back and forth negotiation

Traditional scientific communication

- peer-reviewed, some back and forth over a long time scale

- conference presentations, back and forth, but ephemeral because especially at poster sessions, it isn’t captured

- press releases, popular presentations, no back and forth, really

Science is a process not just a product!

“Knowledge production requires good communication with other scientists”

(H.E. Longino, Science as Social Knowledge, 1990)

Why blogs?

- back and forth on a short timescale

- less ephemeral than non-trivial conversations

- can involve people from many backgrounds and many places

Conversations that happen on blogs that wouldn’t otherwise (she showed examples and will blog them later)

- educational: new findings, pedagogical strategies

- political: how science impacts politics and vice versa

- scientist to scientist talks about the literature: “journal clubs”, commentary

- virtual meeting/conference: projects in process

- what it’s like to be a scientist/day in the life, what it’s like in general to be a scientist

- reports from meetings/conferences

- support for women scientists including advice, mentoring

- the practice of science, open access

Many scientist blogs are written under fake names.

How is blogging different than other conversations

- ability to build a virtual community in the absence of critical mass for a “real” community

- “audience of the willing” (no one is forced to read)

- Option to control disclosure of personal information (but may choose to to foster trust)

- Unknown readership (trolls who are looking for a fight? Employers? Family?)

Bad vs. Good

Bad: get dooced, not get tenure

Good: learn new things, and room to grow, change your mind, maybe can get hired (people learn about you and your work)

Good: change how non-scientists understand science/scientists, change how scientists understand their own tribe, expand our sense of community

Where to start:

- blog what you know and are passionate about

- invite people you trust to read and comment

- start by participating on other people’s blogs by commenting

Comment from the audience: some have gotten jobs because of their blogs

Response: right now, it’s still very shaky because tenure committees don’t understand blogs so maybe this will change, but it’s still very uncertain.

Comment from the audience: if you’re trying to add to the conversation, why wouldn’t you sign your work?

Response: many reasons like tenure or fear of being fired, or complaining about poor working conditions, exposing ethical problems

Response (another audience member): sometimes being honest can get you into trouble.

Response (another audience member): I only blog about gender issues in science under my own name because I don’t have a job right now. The women who reply anon. to my posts prove that it is the case that these things happen and they can’t use their names

Comment from audience: building your brand

Response: the blogosphere builds its own authority

Comment from audience: it’s great you have this background in both philosophy and science so you know about both… how do you think social software (more than just blogs) will impact how scientists communicate and think about science [not sure I got her question down right]

Response: things will change as more bloggers move into positions. Also important is “open science”

Response: as more blogs are used in classes, may have more new scientists blogging

Comment from the audience: What’s been missed, scooping articles – he read and commented on an article, scooped the author’s next paper, and was offered a co-authorship (wow!)

Comment from audience: Based on what we’ve seen here about the lacrosse case, what have scientists done to encourage civil discussion

Response: Blogger can to a certain extent set tone by not allowing vitriolic comments. Also, because the comments stay and can be reviewed, misunderstandings can be cleared up. Finally, in her case, commenters are somewhat self-policing

Comment from audience: As a middle school science teacher

Response: You can see what life is like for scientists and talk to real scientists

Geoff Davis - New Challenge: Change Science

Science Policy Blog. NIH, increasing funding, decreasing the number of grants.


  Science Blogging Conference: Post 1
(just got wireless going, woo-hoo!)
North Carolina Science Blogging Conference
Saturday, January 20, 2007

Opening by Anton

Participate – blog about others as they’d blog about you – thank the sponsors (thank you!)

Bora Zivkovic – Science Blogs
Seed Magazine – hosts about 55 science blogs @ www.scienceblogs.com
Start on the home page and click on “last 24 hours” for the zeitgeist
Book published by Lulu with best Science Writing on Blogs in 2006
- request for nominations
- received over 200 nominations and had a vote

Blog Carnivals
- see his listing, lots of good science ones to just read the best of science blog writing

What types of things appear on science blogs
- same things other people blog about, in part (what my cat did today)
- translating science for the public
- classroom blogs
- debunking stories that appear in the media
- as a lab notebook with observations, measurements, procedures
- actual finished papers reporting the results of research -- especially smaller studies, negative results, and other things that may not go to conferences or journals

Q from the audience – how to do you find these expert bloggers?
- a: technorati

Hunt Willard -- Promoting the Public Understanding of Science
Earlier generations grew up with the space race and media attention was on science. It was part of everyone’s existence. Everyone followed the story, although few understood the science. Coolness and discovery factor, understanding of implications (such as Tang on the breakfast table), etc.

- To get the public to understand the science… even what a genome is – but this is really hard.
- Or - Not worrying about them getting it, but get them to support it through coolness factor, discussions of implications (why it matters as well as health and safety and environmental issues)
- Start and participate in debates about the ethics of things like cloning.

Examples of their efforts to communicate science to the public
- Announcement of an award for cell division in fungus (not exiting, cool, important while the work actually is)
- Creating the artificial chromosome project (it was a single gene chromosome that could be used to transfer DNA to other cells or successive generations) – they were very careful in the paper and the press releases to describe how this could be helpful for gene therapy. By the time the media got done with it, he had 300-400 letters from families who wanted him to cure their children with genetic disorders.
- Project comparing male and female chromosomes, gene expression. Fairly predictable in the male, lots of variety in the female (between and within). – became men are from Mars women are from Venus, men are boring and women are variable.

His work trying to communicate to the public via editorials, etc.
- about evolution-is-a-theory Cobb County ruling, about 250 e-mails nearly all negative, some thoughtful, some respectful, some “you’re going to hell”, some very scary
- questioning about the probability of gene doping which would be very difficult to detect

Writing op-eds and blogging to a certain extent
- important
- can’t predict outcome, so scary
Blogs are hard for scientists because other publications go through extensive vetting and word choice and to be sure that nothing is printed that isn’t very well supported – OTOH, blogs are immediate and not vetted so may be uncomfortable for science

Comment from audience: Can you say that the message got away in your Op-ed because of a lack of context? In blogs you build context over time, which can be an advantage. Also lets people know that science doesn’t spring out fully formed
Response: There is context, it’s just different. The context is built up over the 40 years but it’s not in real time and it’s not findable in the same place (?) [maybe understandable by the same people?]

Comment from audience: About opinion and comments in blogs vs. papers in which “no opinion” – her opinion on her blog is actually an informed analysis, so not just equal to anyone’s comment
Response: the public doesn’t necessarily understand the difference between analysis, informed opinion, etc

Comment from audience: isn’t this context provided through education
Response: hopefully, but there’s a bifurcation early between I do science vs. I don’t do science cultures. We try to educate people, but

Comment from audience: not real dichotomy between public and science, us vs. them. Can’t get to original articles so bloggers can’t support their points so can’t be part of the discussion
Response: Well some of that is going away with PLOS and similar
Response (Bora): Science bloggers can be intermediaries having access (intellectual and physical) to both the original document and the press release.

Comment: What can be done to get more scientists to blog?
Response: The broader question is how do you get scientists to communicate to the public? It should be a requirement if you work in a public institution that you communicate to the public and work as a educator.

Comment: Would you say that scientists’ distancing themselves from the public is actually harming our funding? Is there a trend in younger faculty to explain research to justify funding?
Response: I don’t see it in younger faculty, but in middle career researchers it can sometimes happen because you’ve got tenure and you’re more secure.

Comment: WRT relationship between scientists, peer-reviewed publications, and publications with the broader world. (he’s from The Lancet). Interested in the timing of blogging – they have embargos and established channels with mainstream media – and they’re interested in opening up more communication… the journal wants to blog about the content, the scientists want to blog about their content. If scientists put up data before it’s peer reviewed, then will it be picked up by the media, or do they need the vetting of the traditional journal
Response: Coin of the realm is still peer review and he doesn’t see that changing yet. New students may find a better way to do this.

Comment: Media might be handcuffed by this timing. News reports journal articles when they come out because they are new, in a cattle stampede, and the rush loses the context. Maybe it shouldn’t be thought about as “news”. Maybe scientists can correct this by publishing things that are more like reviews (this is what’s going on in genetics right now…)
Response: For scientists in academia, there’s a conflict. There’s science as process – a constant flow of research – that’s punctuated by publishing reports.



Tuesday, January 16, 2007
  meaningful and stable vs. not
On Web4Lib a while ago we were discussing clustering vs faceted vs federated search (all very different!). This reminded me of work by an HCIL-er (now professor at CUA)... I've made this point here before, but little has changed.

Meaningful and stable (yes, not the right database for the search, probably):

Facets - author, affiliation, publisher, language, year, classification code, controlled vocabulary...
Suggestions from the CV (not really suggestions but frequently occurring descriptors):
Drug Therapy(4)
Patient Monitoring(4)
Patient Treatment(3)

Not meaningful, maybe stable:

Ok, so here are the clusters for "nerve blockade"
Under "more..."

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 13, 2007
  My plans for the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference
I'm definitely going to the NC Science Blogging Conference on January 20. I'll be flying in Friday evening and flying out Sunday afternoon (yeah, it's only a 5 hour drive, but this is probably easier). I'll be there later than the dinner, but I'll have a rental car so if I'm feeling ambitious, I might try to make the end of the Friday night dinner. I'll also be hitting one of the Saturday night dinners.
I'm planning on these break out sessions:
2. Open Source/Open Notebook Science, i.e. using blogs and wikis to collaborate on scientific exploration. Discussion leader: Jean-Claude Bradley of Drexel University and Useful Chemistry. Click over to the Open Source Sience [sic] page to help plan this session. ROOM 118

6. Emerging technologies and how bloggers can lead the national discussions about the ethical, legal and social implications. (More info on this session coming early Jan.) Click over to the Emerging Technologies page to help plan this session. ROOM 118

#2 is definite, but I might change for the second break out. If anyone who can't come wants to give me feedback or information to share/questions to ask, then let me know.

I'll be live blogging and I'll try to bring my camera (and remember to take it out of my bag!). I'll also probably be on GTalk and maybe Meebo if you want to contact me there.

To summarize for other conference attendees who don't know me: I'm a sci/tech librarian and an information studies doctoral student interested in scholarly communication, informal communication, personal information/knowledge management, and just about everything else scientists can use blogs for!


Thursday, January 11, 2007
  5 things
I was so awed by the cool things Dave has done, that I didn't notice he'd tagged me. The thing is, that I'm a very open person, so a lot of people know a lot about me.

1. Everyone knows I'm a Navy veteran, but I don't know if people know that I was one of the first two women to ever be permanently assigned to the USS O'BANNON (DD-987), a Spruance-class destroyer. That was just when they were putting women on warships. Women had served for years on support ships (since about 1978), but it wasn't until 1994 when women were assigned to carriers. When I got commissioned in 1995, it was prime time to get women to small boys and I got to go to a really cool ship (she says in retrospect!)

2. I like to read romance paperback novels when my brain gets totally fried from work and school stress. I particularly like the historical romances with the feisty heroines. (incidentally, I both knit and read romances on board my modern navy destroyer)

3. I played field hockey in high school and got the coaches' award my senior year basically for reliably showing up! The award presentation started with: "although this player doesn't have a lot of athletic ability...", lol.

4. When you hand me a gadget, I like to try to find out how it works. I'll hit all of the knobs and buttons and turn it upside down and maybe even take it apart if I don't think I'll be caught.

5. I'm pretty crafty, but I have a very hard time not following instructions to the letter. I measure stuff for recipes like I'm in a chemistry lab and try to never substitute or change a recipe. My mother in law gave me a conversion chart book so I can even know how many tablespoons an egg is or something like that. If I do change a knitting pattern or a sewing pattern or a recipe, I'll carefully annotate the recipe/pattern with exactly what I did so I can reproduce it. Most real cooks think this is very strange!

Let's see. Who hasn't been tagged yet?

I don't think John has, nor Randy... I would tag Catherine, but she usually doesn't do really personal stuff on her blog... I thought for sure I'd read that David already got tagged, but just in case... and finally KT, another knitting science librarian.

So you all are it, I guess!


  eVisioning Maryland Libraries: Wrap Up
First, I have to link to the speaker, Andrew Zolli. 1) he is really cool and 2) so he can find my blog :)

Zolli’s getting from Here to There

Possible future, probable future, preferable future…

1. Pick targets that matter
Address fear of change and the need for control (stop, relax, ask for help)

What if we bring technologists and designers to these meetings and put them at each table. What if we build institutional relationships with people in different fields – outside of the vendor relationships

2. Involve stakeholders in both metrics & design of the solution

Z+ modeled innovation – 5 basic models
“think model” – have proven lightening bolts of innovation, we take them and lock them in a closet until they come up with an idea. They can’t do this, design to the wrong metric,
Example: write down 75 books and put them on 3x5 cards and shuffle them. Take next person who comes in and have them organize the cards and see what they do. (folksonomies, really)

Make a macho library. {librarians need to get together with Make and create a place to support creativity and for learning about technology, not just soft, touchy-feely stuff}

3. Create a culture of permission
(to allow failure and experimentation and risk)

4. Define a model of accountability

5. Commit to Action
(take this stuff back, can we assign each person here a task?)

6. Support and Celebrate Each Other


Wednesday, January 10, 2007
  eVisioning Maryland Libraries: My thoughts from day 1
First, I'm really glad I was invited because I never hear the point of view of the school library media specialists and rarely hear from the local public library management. These librarians, library marketing specialists, managers, and IT managers are amazing -- it's a really neat group. They all seemed really up on new technology and a bunch of the libraries are experimenting although they don't seem to get hyped that much in the biblioblogosphere (Harford County has a bunch of teen activities including an Anime club and a blog).

It's really hard to get people from special, academic, public, and school libraries together. CIL is really the only event I attend that draws from all of them and that's why I go.

It's really, really hard to come up with a vision or a goal -- it's so easy to slip back into all of the immediate problems and not envision the desired future.

All libraries have communication problems. We all need more information on how our customers perceive libraries and our services. According to a big survey(big ppt file), they like us, they really like us -- but what do they think we know, offer, do?

We all need to figure out how to enable serendipitous discovery in mixed electronic/print environments.

If I thought I had problems with intranet and firewall, you should talk to a school library media specialist... holy cow! They're not even allowed to let their catalog be searched outside of the library (maybe this is typical?)


  eVisioning Maryland Libraries: Feedback from a (former) non-user
An attendee reported staying out of the library for 4 years and gave her reasons why she didn't use the public library:
Working mother
- couldn't get there when it was open
- couldn't park
- programs all during the day when she worked

Medical care needed for child
- referral from doctor
- went and searched Medline herself (she is an MLS)
- books on the subject were either "missing" in the catalog or not owned by her county
- she could afford to buy the books so she did

The library wasn't welcoming
- info desk staff on phone or on computer and she didn't want to interrupt
- computers all busy and when she got on one she couldn't stay on it long enough
- the library didn't feel like community to her


  eVisioning Maryland Libraries: Customer Panel
Andrew Zolli
4 issues:
Library experience
Participation/Authorship revolution
Evolving forms of literacy

Panel of library users
Michael Powell – Assistant Principal of Patuxent Elementary (PG County)
? – mother of a pre-schooler in Hyattsville (PG County)
Margaret Thresher – Private Citizen (former PGCMLS librarian)
Ken Ulmen – County Executive, Howard County
Hannah Gallagher – Heavy library user, home schooler

What opportunities do you see for improving the libraries?
- mother – the only way she hears about things is through actually coming to the library, so there needs to be a better way to find out about things
- principal – story times and programs for children need to be scheduled such that working parents can take advantage of them
- citizen – need to still have print materials, she likes to actually touch and browse materials
- county executive – lack of parking! Space issue. More partnerships, more collaboration, more guest authors and book signings. Would like to see the libraries maintain/build position as cultural center. Libraries as places to hold events. Special section for cancer research – referrals from local doctors, health system.

Audience questions:
Libraries as spaces – we have trouble justifying costs, usually the thought is just to keep books dry – what would you recommend?
- in Howard County 60% of the local budget goes to the school system so the rest of the agencies get crumbs
- your users should lobby on your behalf
- have events and invite local officials to get visibility
- have people at open budget sessions as advocates for the system

To the principal – what would you like to see in your own school library media center
- line between what teachers teach and what librarians (or in his case paraprofessionals) teach
- system that would give more funding to the library to buy more materials
- books more in line with teaching requirements
- certified librarian (their principal has only chosen to hire a paraprofessional)

Problem of lack of communication between the public library and the schools
- he has teachers publish all of the materials the students need to their web page
- maybe blogs or other communications tools

Public-Private Partnerships (to county executive)
- have to have libraries who are willing to innovate and partner
- have to talk
- they have a librarian who’s assigned to each school so they can work together.

How do you interact with the electronic resources
- the mother – doesn’t really use them except to check when books are due but things they are important
- the home schooler –

Comment from Zolli: we’ve gotten better with transactional interactions and known item searching but we have problems with serendipitous finds

How can we reach your communities better?
- local town newsletter
- send out information to the schools
- more places to plug in laptops, quiet places to study, fun novels

Are libraries in the county planning process?
- he was on zoning board - we only test roads and schools for development approval, other counties take public safety into account, but they also need to take libraries and other things into account
- work with developers to put new public libraries within walking distance of new developments – win-win situation


  eVisioning Maryland Libraries: Zolli
eVisioning Maryland Libraries
January 10, 2007

The Road Ahead : Forces Shaping the Coming Decades
Andrew Zolli

Futurist in residence at Popular Science and National Public Radio, consultant, curator of PopTech

Libraries are valued by citizens.
Librarians are sexy.
Complicated drivers of change
- demographic transformation
- disruptive technologies
- citizens’ evolving needs

Tremendous population growth globally, primarily in the East and the South (Africa to have 120% population growth despite epidemics, warfare, etc). 30 Largest cities – western cities such as London dropping off the list, cities not even built yet will be on the list in 2030.

Aging population in the West, very young population in the Middle East.

We’re becoming an hour glass population with larger percentages in oldest and youngest
- markets for health care and longevity enhancing technologies
- voting population will change – older adults vote more frequently and more conservatively in general
- X-ers will be catapulted up the management chain as boomers retire and leave a vacuum… but new “boomer ass glass ceiling” as Dad won’t retire or comes back. Leads to intergenerational complexity in the labor force. Retirees returning to labor force due to poor savings rate will need new training. They will also be competing for management jobs.
- Retirees are running out of money and returning home from Florida. If you were born after 1972 you are statistically more likely to take care of your mother longer than she took care of you. We’ll go back to a 3 generation family like we were early last century. Wealth will skip a generation from boomers to millenials and will skip X-ers (bummer!)
- Won’t have enough 18 year olds, so will encourage immigration

Population centers are moving south and west within in the US
White non-Hispanics will be the largest minority in a society with no majority. 25% Hispanic population in about 2050.
Women are leading in educational attainment. (women are now 56% of undergrad populations and are increasing). Single women are buying more homes.
Income is becoming concentrated at the top – libraries are even more necessary for providing equal access to information in the knowledge economy.
Interesting cob web graphic comparing boomers, Xers, and millennials, in terms of optimism, trust, participation, socialization, diversity.

Boomers like music, have disposable money, and don’t know how to share music on the internet -- very attractive market.
“Longevity risk” insurance ?!?

Maryland in Context
2000-2004 43% growth in minorities, substantial growth in African American populations. Foreign born are now about 11% of the population. (Latin America, Asia, then Africa…)

People who join libraries become citizens 3 times more than non-library users.

Choice in Media Consumption
Kjell Norstrom
“The surplus society has a surplus of similar organizations, employing similar people, …

Tyranny of choice – huge growth of consumer items available. Grocery stores stock 40K items, people can pay attention to about 160. (the law of crap… instead of Moore’s law)

Helping people understand and deal with choices is a librarian strength. “hedonic satisfaction curve” – people don’t like too many choices. Librarians remove information to give people what they want (very interesting statement… see my talk about weeding earlier in my blog).

Moving up the chain of meaning
Commodities ($0.10) > products ($0.25) > services ($1.00) > experiences ($4.50)
Use of design, social aspects, technology together humanize experiences…The whole economy is moving to the right so services are just commodities. Libraries are still in the services area but economically, we’ll need to move.

There are 11,659 types of MP3 players, but most Americans can only name one, the iPod. (they have 85% of the market because of the experiential bit – finding sharing and building communities around music – stuff that libraries know how to do).

Zolli’s law
“People would rather fly a burning flaming plane, than coach on United” (wrt Jet Blue’s increased sales after landing gear incident that passengers were able to view real time on televisions on all the seats).

Choice, Control, Authorship revolutions

Huge information information economy.
We used to have 3 of everything in each dimensions (3 tv stations, 3 newspapers, etc) Now we have the long tail. Top of the long tail, broadcast, high-end, global, ad-driven. Bottom of the curve: community, conversation, pr-am, local, search driven.

This is where we were centuries ago, but last century glorified the other end. Now we’re heading back. But we each pay attention to both the big spike and the long tail.


Photoshopping of romance paperback covers.
Blurb book publishing on demand – how do libraries select these resources? No isbn, no barcode, but great content.

Demographics, creating meaningful experiences, authorship

Future: climate change, control over our biology – how do we deal with them socially.

Update: Title had Zolli spelled wrong


  Live blogging eVisioning Maryland Libraries
Maryland's Department of Education Division of Library Development & Services (DLDS) has sponsored this 2-day session. Participants from school, public, academic, and special libraries were invited.

Update: accidentally published a second ago and had to pull back, twice!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007
  The North Carolina Science Blogging Conference, Saturday, January 20, 2007.
Almost too late to register for this now, but I just saw it.

I'll probably try to go. I need to run home and get my MAC number before I register.... Hope I'm not too late!

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Monday, January 08, 2007
  Um, yes, yes it is our job
...to pass judgment on information. That's what we do. We select and de-select materials. We do literature searches for customers, judge relevance, and present only the most relevant results. (Yes, I know about arguments about relevance, but anyway).

Catalogers and indexers also pass judgment -- what is the best description of the document? How will users look for this material? What is the subject that best describes the content?

We can't possibly buy all of the books published, so we use our professional judgment to pick only the books that are the best and potentially the most useful to our customers. When the books are no longer useful, we ditch them.

In fact, it's this professional judgment that prevents libraries from weeding Silent Spring or a number of other classics -- even if they don't circulate regularly. (Incidentally, in my county, Silent Spring has been on the required reading lists of high schoolers for a long time so it is very heavily circulated). The classics are kept -- normally 10 or so copies per branch for all of the ones that ever get on reading lists.
  Carnival of the Infosciences #62
Mark did a great job this week despite the low turnout. (essentially, me!)


Sunday, January 07, 2007
  Word of the year: "Plutoed"
Via Resource Shelf
"In its 17th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted “plutoed”
as the word of the year, in a run-off against climate canary. To pluto is to demote or devalue
someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of
the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet."


Saturday, January 06, 2007
  Woe is my feed.... and where is my feed? What, my feed?
I subscribe to a couple of different versions of my feed to make sure that it's ok, but somehow I didn't notice that it apparently broke when I moved to the new blogger. John warned me, but I thought I was ok. I think this impacts only people who are subbed to the atom feed. If you manually type in the atom feed address, you can see it, but for some reason, the feed readers hiccuped.

I guess you could re-sub to: http://christinaslibraryrant.blogspot.com/atom.xml
or go to the feedburner feed (which actually gives me stats, so might be preferable) : http://feeds.feedburner.com/ChristinasLisRant


Friday, January 05, 2007
  On Weeding...
Weeding, variously called "pruning", de-selection, de-accessioning, collection management, is a vital part of maintaining a healthy, vibrant, welcoming library collection. It is the careful, thoughtful removal of items from the collection. Reasons for weeding include:
How the time period is determined, or if the book can be repaired, or any of these other things are determined by the library mission and policies and by the professional judgment of the librarian responsible for managing the collection.

Research collections are rarely, if ever, weeded. Books are repaired and/or moved to off site storage. If they are weeded, the circ period may be within 10 years.

Public libraries, on the other hand, especially branch collections, usually will weed more aggressively. First, the books are handled much more roughly and so can be in much poorer shape. Second, the mission of the library is for the local citizen's person information needs like health information (should be rigorously and continuously weeded), legal information (should be rigorously and continuously weeded), self-help, hobby related, entertainment, and educational materials for both children and adult learners. Libraries that fail to weed will have out of date and possibly harmful materials. Sections like travel books where there are new copies every year should also be weeded -- who wants a restaurant guide from 1999?

Weeding is continuous in many libraries and it's part of the job description for the librarians. In other libraries, it's only done when necessary to free up space.

All libraries should have a policy that is agreed upon by the highest levels of library management. The policies should be different for different communities with different needs and should be different for different subject areas. Public libraries may have this policy approved by the library board.

One of the books I always keep near to hand and reference quite regularly here is F.W. Lancaster's If You Want to Evaluate Your Library... 2nd ed. (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, 1993). Chapter 6 is on Obsolescence, Weeding, and the Use of Space. I like his method because in journal selection, too, he comes up with a set of measures and then has you weigh each and score the total for each item. For weeding he has last recorded circ date, date of publication, on "recommended" list, physical condition. He has these weighted so circ date is most important. Finally a quote from him (p.116)
Weeding can improve the quality of a collection. When old and unused books are removed, the shelves appear more attractive to users and it is easier for them to find the newer or more popular items they are likely to be looking for. An effective weeding program has been known to increase circulation (Slote, 1989), although no evidence of this was detected by Roy (1990).
This is all, of course, IMHO.
Updated, minutes later, for typos.

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Monday, January 01, 2007
  Oh the irony!
I'm still trying to write my &*(^ conference paper literature review -- getting 40 years of work and 5 million papers down to a couple of double-spaced pages is ridiculous... anyway... so I remember that I want to go back and mention a certain article... it's not in my piles, it's not in my files... well at least it's listed in my RefWorks account (my bibliographic manager)... so, yes! I hit the handy "Findit!" (sfx) button and am now reading it online thanks to my work sister-institution's VPN (was down earlier today, but it's now back up)

The irony is that I'm writing a paper on personal information management and can't find my personal information... The kftf project and Cutrell et al. both mention re-finding instead of keeping.

Note: this is posted a few days after writing because I forgot about it.



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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

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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