Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Another kind of disaster
When you talk about disasters in libraries, most people think of fires, floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes. There's another
kind of disaster that people usually don't consider: suddenly losing a key staff member. Our library recently experienced
such a disaster, with the sudden passing of our ILL librarian and acting head of Access Services, DeeDee Acosta. DeeDee had
a lot of specialized knowledge that will be difficult to transfer to others. Right now, the library administration is gathering
information about what she was working on and how she managed her activities so that the ILL/document delivery business can
be continued without disruption.
So, think about this: if you're the only person in your organization with specialized knowledge about certain activities or
projects, do a brain dump and put it someplace (like your intranet) where others can access it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Will Google save us?
Some folks have touted Google as the savior of the library. Since Google is digitizing so many books, we won't need space
for those old, moldy volumes any more. The post below, from the Govdoc-l discussion list, gives an indication of why libraries
cannot rely on Google to solve their space problems yet.
"----- Original Message -----
From: "Tryon, Julia" <JTRYON@PROVIDENCE.EDU>
Date: Thursday, August 9, 2007 2:31 pm
Subject: Questions about Google and government documents
My director has asked me to discover what I may about the amount of documents available in Google's digital projects. I've
been looking at Google, partners' websites, articles, blogs, etc. I have found a lot of chit-chat but very little substantive
information. Maybe I am just not looking for it the right way or in the right places.
It seems that there is a blackout on reporting statistics for these projects. Google and most of the partners give no statistical
data at all. Stanford did have a page with statistics that was buried on their project's website but the information had not
been updated since 2004.
To figure out the statistics on my own, I have tried searching Google Books, Stanford, and University of Michigan; but there
is no way to limit a search to government documents. On Google I was able to search by publisher and, using various abbreviations
for GPO that are used in the publisher field, I came up with 187,522 (GPO-141,600; Gov't-2322; Government Printing Office-43,600).
The university catalogs did not allow me to search by publisher.
When looking at the search results in Google for publisher field has GPO, I found 141,600 items, only 82,487 of which were
available in the full view. And although it is nice to think that we have the full text for 82,487 documents, not all of
them can be used. I randomly picked a title to see how it looked and chose the Statistical Abstract for 1954. The pages
were clear enough to read easily but on every even numbered page part of the right hand column was chopped off...
Government Documents Librarian
Phillips Memorial Library
Providence, RI 02918
Saturday, July 28, 2007
We're not like everybody else
University of Georgia had a fire,
To replace everything was their desire.
The President commanded them to.
Four years later, they continue.
Colorado State almost drowned
But those folks really went to town.
It took 10 years and a lot of money
Before they could finally say “finis.”
At UHM, we’re different, you know.
We drag our feet and move so slow.
We don’t really want to recover.
We just like to whine and blubber.
The University got some dough,
But two years wasn’t enough, you know.
Only contestants in a snail race
Could expend at such a glacial pace.
“It’s been ages since that disaster.
Hurry up! You better recover faster!
Why do you need those old books, anyhow?
Don’t you know they’re all online now?
“Why is it taking so long to rebuild?
You librarians are so weak-willed!
You wrangled and fought and argued.
We’ve never seen such ineptitude!”
Blaming the victim allows egress
When you’re fed up with the mess.
Who cares if they’re not finished,
Or that the collection is diminished?
So Katrina survivors, take warning,
There’ll come a dark Friday morning
When The Man will say “No more!”
And you’ll be shoved out the door.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
We need to circulate
Circulation is an important statistic, an indicator of how much use the library's collections receive. Our circulation data
shows that we are loaning about 11% of the volume of books that circulated before the flood.
There are probably many reasons why our circulation hasn't recovered:
*We haven't cataloged most of our flood replacements.
*Many current documents are available online.
*Patrons don't want to page materials or wait for them to be retrieved.
*Because we don't have open stacks, people don't know we exist.
Which leads to the next question: how can we increase use of our collections? We are cataloging books like crazy, but that's
not enough. We need a better web page to point people in the right direction. We must market ourselves to faculty and other
librarians. And, we should be writing about the treasures in our collections so they can be found by the general public.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The Add-Ems Family
A strange family has occupied the creepy basement of Sinclair Library:
Salim "Gomez" Add-Ems
Lori "Morticia" Add-Ems
Clara "Wednesday" Add-Ems
Kathryn "Ophelia" Add-Ems
Emma "Kitty Cat" Add-Ems
Alison "Lady Fingers" Add-Ems
Kim "Abigail" Add-Ems
Janelle "Cleopatra" Add-Ems
Karen "Cousin Melancholia" Add-Ems
Gwen "Granny Frump" Add-Ems
Mabel "Grandmama" Add-Ems
Ross "Lurch" Add-Ems
Kyle "Uncle Fester" Add-Ems
Mark "Cousin Itt" Add-Ems
Mark "Thing" Add-Ems
Shawn "Pugsley" Add-Ems
We don't know what they do all day with those cobweb-laden books and mysterious charts. All we know for sure is that they're
going to Add-Em to the collection!