Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Browser Takes on Virtual Reference

Cha-Cha ( is a new player in the ever-increasing browser field.

Cha Cha's edge comes from guided searches where the user partners with an actual human. Cha Cha calls them Guides, and they are described as people who are “skilled at finding information on the internet and knowledgable [sic] on the subject at hand.” Hmm…hopefully more so than Cha Cha’s editor. (I’ve notified Cha Cha about their little faux pas).

Cha Cha claims that users who partner with a Guide “get the few exact results you want, not the millions of results you don't.” So, I decided to take them up on the challenge.

When you first go to Cha Cha’s site, you are greeted with Cha Cha’s logo (which loosely resembles Coca-Cola’s), a search box with two choices (“Cha Cha Search” or “Search with Guide”), and a horizontal bar (composed of hundreds of itty-bitty thumbnails), and various details about the Cha Cha project.

The composition is neatly laid out with a strong & centralized vertical column that is accented by the bold horizontal bar. Effectively dividing the search area from Cha Cha’s metadata, the horizontal bar rest towards the bottom of the page—which also helps anchor it. Little color is used, and the pristine whiteness of the page is only offset by Cha Cha’s logo and the horizontal bar.

I chose to query “art librarianship” without results pertaining to ARLIS/NA or ARLIS. Users may use natural language when querying because a Guide will field the question (I love that). However, for me, I chose a more mechanical notation (e.g. “art librarianship” –ARLIS/NA –ARLIS). Then, I selected the “Search with Guide” button.

A second page appeared, and, within seconds, I was chatting with my Guide using a built in instant messaging (IM) system. My Guide began the reference interview by drilling down to see if I was interested in any particular areas within art librarianship.

At this point, the interview was fairly neutral. Personally, I just wanted any information that pertained to art librarianship that was outside of ARLIS/NA or ARLIS (UK/IRELAND). Interestingly, the Guide used a closed-ended question, and they asked if I was interested in jobs within the field. That sounded good (even though my interest in the subject was much broader), and we went from there.

I told the guide I already knew about ALA’s Joblist and ARLIS/NA’s postings so that we could forgo what I already knew (the guide did not ask if I had already conducted some research). The Guide did ask if I preferred any geographical areas, and I replied that I was open to positions nationally or internationally. The Guide then proceeded to find four sites that used the word Job or Employment and “Art Librar*” (See the picture below).

The first page was probably culled because it had ARLIS/NA’s job postings. The second page was retrieved because it was a job posting for an art & architecture library that was posted in a listserv. The third was recovered because it also listed a position for an architecture and art librarian. The final page was retrieved because Jobster uses algorithms that partner with the users query to provide meaningful results (or so they would say – there were more law library position listed in the 1st page than art library positions).

At this point, I ended the search with the guide. It was not because I was dissatisfied with the results (I had yet to critique them). Instead, I had spent about 5 minutes conversing with a very affable Cha Cha Guide, and I was ready to move on.

After our search ended and the Guide logged off, I felt very good about the transaction. However, after analyzing the transaction, I realized I was led more than I wanted to be during reference interview, and I soon came to the conclusion that the Guide’s results were not particularly helpful (I already knew about ARLIS/NA’s job list, the second and third retrievals were too old to be relevant, and I already commented on Jobster).

However, to be fair, the job market for art librarians is very limited. So, it was a difficult path for the Guide to take. Maybe the Guide should have asked about or researched for other organizations (e.g. VRL, CAA, etc.)? Also, to be fair, I’ve had mixed results using Ohio’s Know-It-Know 24/7 virtual reference. Although, when I think about it, the folks at KIK 24/7 seemed to have a better grasp of the reference interview.

So, what’s the end result? Cha Cha does cut the clutter from going solo on Google, Yahoo!, etc. Their Web design is simple and straight forward (unlike the redesigned Yahoo!). And, from my experience, I’m guessing their Guides are friendly and personable.

However, Cha Cha’s success rate may mirror the reference librarians’ supposed 50% accuracy rate (See: Terence Crowley and Thomas Childers, Information Service in Public Libraries: Two Studies (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1971). Plus, the service is supported through advertising. Possible conflicts of interest or just the annoyance of advertising may cool some users. On the other hand, do we have a national virtual reference service?

Monday, November 06, 2006

ARLIS/OV Annual Meeting 2006

The day began with a nice meet & greet along with a well-stocked continental breakfast. Afterwards, Frederick Friedman-Ramallah (Systems Librarian) and Becky Bristol (Image Manager) spoke with great witt and insight about the trials and triumphs of Cleveland Museum of Art's ongoing slide-digitization project.

Next, we were given a grand tour of CMA Ingalls Library's new digs. The reading room looked comfortable and inviting, and the study area was well lit with natural lighting. The new space has helped the library create more logical workflows; however, the lack of space has meant the library must store some materials remotely. Yet, overall, the library looks wonderful and the librarians seemed pleased with the renovation.

After our tour and lunch (thank you Kay Downey for getting me a veggie & cheese sandwich), we held our business meeting. After the usual technicalities, the business meeting became an interesting debate on whether or not ARLIS/OV should ratify an agreement to remain an affiliate of ARLIS/NA. The sticking point seemed to be how to incorporate those who wish to remain guests of ARLIS/OV without having to force them into purchasing a ARLIS/NA membership (due to finances, personal preference, etc.). ARLIS/OV bylaws must be consistent with NA's bylaws, and they state that members of ARLIS/OV must be members of NA. The problem arises if you want to incorporate both members and guests in a consistent way that works in good faith with all bylaws. ARLIS/OV has until the last half of December to decide whether or not it will remain affiliated with ARLIS/NA. If ARLIS/OV members decide not to continue its affiliation, it will forfeit the right to use the ARLIS/NA name and any other privileges association with its affiliation (possible funding and the like).

So, members will vote this month by mail. The jury is still out.

As this was my first time to an annual ARLIS/OV meeting, everyone was very friendly. It was very interesting to hear about the diverse backgrounds of each attendee, and I look forward to seeing some of the same faces again in Atlanta.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Meganiche: Revisiting the Long Tail

Chris Anderson's Long Tail is well known; however, it wasn't until the Alexa search engine & Google Analytics hit the open market that we mere mortals could see the long tail in action.

The interesting article "Tiny Slice, Big Market" by Clay Shirky brings the long tail into perspective in today's internet world, and, with a little bit of imagination, it demonstrates how libraries can be successful in a climate of fiscal hardships--not being everything to everyone.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

OSU's History of Art 415

Thank you Dr.Groseclose and the students of OSU's autumn HA415 class for inviting Michelle, Justine, and I to speak to you. I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion, and hope that each student proactively looks for opportunities in order to forward their careers. Here are some suggestions to do just that.

  • Network

    • Get to know your peers—they’ll be the next generation of professionals.

    • Get to know respected leaders within your field of interest. If you are genuinely interested in their research, it will show. In most cases, successful leaders want to promote and develop future leaders.

    • Get to know people outside of your field. The cross-pollination of ideas will create the opportunity for new partnerships, new knowledge creation, and possibly employment in a sector that you’d never thought of.

  • Try New Things

    • Not sure what you want to do with that History of Art Degree? Try internships in various fields. Here are some places to look.

      • Art Galleries (there a ton in the Short North and throughout Columbus)

      • The Columbus Museum of Art hosts an average of 19,000 on-site hours from 1,400 volunteers, ranking the museum in the top 5 volunteer corps in all US museums. For volunteer opportunities, call Nancy Johnson, Volunteer Manager, at 614.629.0307 (tell her that one of curator Annagreth Nil’s former volunteers sent ya’).

      • Help a professor. Former student Mara Colasante worked with Dr. John Huntington on the Huntington Archive. She was able to work with a world-renowned art historian, and she gained important technological skills (she learned how to use FileMaker Pro).

      • Volunteer at an art library. OSU’s Fine Arts Library has utilized the help of volunteers in the past. Volunteering at the Fine Arts Library will show you the inner workings of what goes into providing resources to a divers, art-oriented group. Furthermore, volunteering will open up direct communication channels with librarians, art historians, etc. (see my bullet on networking).

  • Know yourself

    • Take a hard look at your priorities and shape your future accordingly. Do some research and look at what it takes to meet your goals. There are typically pros and cons to any decision we make. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Only you can ultimately decide. Use your instincts. If you’re wrong, use the experience as something to be learned by. For every success, there are thousands of learning experiences. They are truly experiences to learn from—not failures!

    • But what if my priorities are constantly changing? As humans, we’re consistently in a state of flux. If you feel like you’re not sure where your interests lie, pick a profession that utilizes your background and your personality. I would suggest that librarianship would be a perfect match for this scenario. As a research librarian, you would have the opportunity to help research a multitude of different subjects—often learning a little about each.

  • Be Flexible and Ready to Accept New Opportunities

    • Avoid tunnel vision (e.g. one can only be a professor with a History of Art Degree). Actively look for new opportunities. Professional organizations are a great way to key you into these opportunities. For example, the College Art Association consistently highlights new work within the visual arts and the culture that surrounds/informs it.

    • Being ready to accept new opportunities means sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone. Say you work for an employer that sees in you the ability to be transformative in an available position. The HR director knows that you do not have all the qualifications that they’re looking for; however, they see that your attitude and willingness to learn new skills as a viable asset to the firm. You’re offered the position. Do you take it even though you are not completely qualified? I would suggest being the person who takes it. By being that person, you will continually grow and evolve. Moreover, your work will be meaningful because you will continually challenge yourself. If you don’t accept new opportunities or if you don’t consciously look for new opportunities for growth, I guarantee you that you will soon become bored and maybe even angry with how you make a living. So, having a satisfying or meaningless career ultimately rests upon you.

    • The choices we make do not necessarily come without sacrifice. I do not mean to gloss over in the last bullet how difficult it is to sometimes reach our goals. More often than not, we must do without in order to gain what we really want. Sometimes that sacrifice is too great and we must revise our goals. From my own personal experience, I have had to give up a social life for nearly four years. Working typically 50 hours a week at 3 jobs while going full-time at OSU & KSU, I did not
      go out, and I had little sleep. However, I was determined to continuously evolve and become the best person I can be. That evolution will continues as long as I am living.

Again, thank you Dr. Groseclose & the students of HA415.

If you would like to know more about Fitch, a global design agency, please visit our Web site at

If you would like to know more about art librarianship, please visit Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) at

Finally, if you’d like to know the perspective of art library students & recent graduates, please go to Art Library Students & New ARLIS Professionals (ArLiSNAP)’s Web site at

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Now here's a CEO that gets it. Jack McNerney, Boeing CEO, embraces continuous change and considers himself a value-added facilitator (basically someone who creates opportunities for employees to do their best). I highly recommend checking out the CNN Money article by clicking my entry's title "Leadership".

Sunday, October 15, 2006

VRA Great Lakes Chapter Fall Meeting 2006

It was my first time to a Visual Resource Association (VRA) meeting of any sort. As somewhat of an outsider (a corporate librarian), everyone made me feel very welcome.

Highlights of the meeting included presentations on OSU's Web Media Collective [WMC] (including highlights on OSU's VRL, the Harvey Goldberg Program for Excellence in Teaching, & the Knowlton School of Architecture's Digital Library) as well as copyright and copystands.

The meeting was held in the beautiful Knowlton School of Architecture’s Library.

Diane Dagefoerde, Director of the WMC, started the meeting describing the benefits of the WMC. Particularly appealing is the ability of the WMC to act as a liaison between the content producers as well as the end users and IT. Specifically, the WMC creates an atmosphere where the content producers can focus on what they know best--the content, and backend applications (backups, data migrations, database integrity, etc) are managed by technology experts. Speaking of which, George Abraham, Web Applications Developer, was particularly insightful on how the technical structures of the WMC integrated across different departmental resources.

Diane described one very interesting component within the WMC called The Colleges of Arts & Sciences Media Manager. The Media Manager provides faculty a centralized location to store their research images and other digital objects. However, by helping faculty collaborate, OSU's Media Manager provides much richer, value-added resources such as semi-formal collection development. Furthermore, if assistance with creating a formal collection (appropriate cataloging standards, etc.) is needed, the folks involved with the Media Manager can also help connect the faculty members to the appropriate resources.

The next speaker, Stephanie Bernhardt, Curator at OSU's VRL, described the visual resource library and its connection to the WMC. Stephanie spoke about how it was not feasible for OSU's History of Art department to purchase an off-the-shelf image database system. So, they built their own. Stephanie also introduced the VRL's Assistant Curators, Nora Kilbane and Michelle Maguire. Nora handles the digital operations including online courses, and Michelle handles the analog side of things.

One interesting point was brought up by Stephanie. She said that their data was still dirty after migrating from a 4D system, but the users have not seemed to complain. This reminded me of many discussions at KSU's SLIS. Specifically, a presentation by OCLC's George Needham drove home the point that most users are looking for good-enough. We [librarians] are in constant pursuit of accurate & detailed catalog records/metadata (or at least an acceptable balance given budgetary, time, and commitment constraints). Idealistically, I would like to see completely perfect records that are catalogued at a level three; however, I know this is logistically impossible. Yet, those who argue that our records should be just good enough are much more willing to forgo greater access. Then again, do people really search by DOI's and other obtuse descriptors?

The following speaker, Chris Aldridge, OSU History of Art Department's Web Content and Database Manager (and, interestingly enough, an alum of Sarah Lawrence like my family's good friend, Deena Fontana), spoke about the Harvey Goldberg Program. Because the collection is for a relatively small user group (around 160 faculty & grad students), there is no curator. Instead, Chris is the program's content manager. The same database has tiered levels of access--university-based and public. On the public side, E-History is an open access area which specializes in Civil War content.

Jane McMaster, Knowlton School of Architecture (KSA) Librarian, followed Chris. Jane briefly spoke about the specific limitations of ARTstor's collections for architecture libraries (currently ARTstor does not provide the necessary information for scholarship within architecture). Jane indicated that Archivision does a much better job meeting the needs of her constituents compared to ARTstor & Saskia. Jane also spoke about recent activities including her collaboration with Lorrie McAllister, KSA Visual Resource Curator, in order to obtain collection rights from the AIA, Columbus Historical Society, etc. Finally, Jane highlighted the excellent John H. Herrick Archives.

After Jane spoke, we headed over to OSU's Faculty Club and had a great lunch provided by OSU's History of Art Department. Directly after lunch, Joseph Romano, Chair of the Great Lakes chapter, conducted the organization's business meeting with Astrid Otey as "treasurer for life", Lesley Chapman as secretary, and the rest of the Great Lakes chapter members.

The first afternoon presentation was Carole Pawloski's summary of Peter Jaszi's Copyright Law, Image Policies & Guidelines for VR Collections. After a quick history of copyright, Carole discussed various sections within U.S. copyright code. Section 110 (exemptions) includes the TEACH Act which includes fair use for distance education, something I didn't know about. Carole also indicated that the Library of Congress' 108 Study Group (a committee of copyright experts who are particularly interested in digital copyright issues) will be hosting a roundtable January 31, 2007, and Carole indicated that the American Society of Media Photographers is resisting lenient copyrights laws in regards to orphan works. Finally, Carole said that if VR librarians continue to follow VRA guidelines and best practices they will be in little danger of litigation. One reason why non-profits (e.g. Universities, etc.) are not targets of litigation is because they have conservative policies; however, Carole indicated that VRL's should have their own guidelines reviewed by respected lawyers (per Jaszi). Carole also suggested the book Permissions, a survival guide : blunt talk about art as intellectual property.

The final presentation of the day was Michelle Maguire's summary of James T. van Rensselaer's Digital Copystand for Dummies: A Real Life Workshop for the Rest of Us!. Michelle had been placed in charge of photographing various objects within the OSU History Department's Museum of Classical Archaeology. The workshop Michelle attended helped her select and purchase a mid-priced camera (Cannon 5D, 12.8 megapixel, $3,300 [body only]). She indicated that the camera's body was like an analog 35mm camera--which meant that the camera did not feel foreign to her. Michelle reported that traditional copystands should have a 4' column and be sturdy up to its tallest height. She also reported that van Rensselaer suggested finding copystands on Ebay (specifically the Polaroid MP4). For lighting, Michelle said van Rensselaer suggested strobe lighting over anything else and that one should not use 150-watt photofloods because they are too hot and change color temperature. Finally, Michelle found that using a white backdrop worked much better than a black one (the black backdrop affects the image's color accuracy).

Again, the VRA Great Lakes Chapter Fall Meeting was a great success. I am so glad I was able to attend, and I look forward to becoming more involved in the VRA. If you would like to know more about the VRA or join the VRA's Great Lakes Chapter please visit the following links. - Visual Resource Association (VRA) - VRA Great Lakes Chapter

Monday, October 02, 2006

Embracing Change

So, over the past month I've been listening to Mr. Godin's
various works by means of audio tape.  After getting a healthy dose of
Senge's Learning Organization in library management, I'm totally convinced that
having an organization that learns to adapt quickly to change (and even create
change) then sharing that knowledge through completely open communication
channels is optimal.  Moreover, an organization that embraces change by
giving its employees latitude to experiment and receive immediate feedback
(fast feedback loops) is key.  At first I thought Don Barlow's philosophy
of always being beta was irresponsible.  The added stress upon his
employees to embrace yet another tweak in the ILS, I thought, would drive his
employees mad, but then I realized listening to Godin's Survival Isn't Enough
that you hire & weed for that type of employee--an employee that embraces
change and looks forward to the new challenges that await them.

Check out Godin's Blog at

powered by performancing firefox

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Art Library Students & New ARLIS Professionals (ArLiSNAP)

For Immediate Release:

Art Library Student & New ARLIS Professionals (ArLiSNAP) Web site at

September 19, 2006

Art library students and new art librarian professionals now have an extensive resource at their fingertips—ArLiSNAP!

The Art Library Students & New ARLIS Professionals (ArLiSNAP) Web site is a smartly designed resource for the busy art librarian or librarian to be.

ArLiSNAP provides:

  • A forum to discuss issues that affect librarians in the arts and humanities

  • A place where new ideas are nurtured, supported, and developed

  • Timely current events within the field of art librarianship & beyond

  • Resources specifically geared towards your needs such as scholarships, fellowships, job postings, professional organizations, and more!

Thinking about a career in art librarianship? ArLiSNAP can guide you to resources that will help you make that decision.

Currently a student in a Library & Information Science (LIS) program? Let ArLiSNAP be the lab for your next project.

New to the profession? Find out what's hot in art librarianship at ArLiSNAP so you can publish and not perish.

Visitor contributions and imported news from art & librarian spheres means content changes daily at ArLiSNAP. For more information, please watch our video at


Community, Innovation, and Empowerment for 21st Century Art Librarians

Friday, September 08, 2006

Anticipating Information Needs

Fast Company has released their 2006 Customer First Awards. I was particularly impressed with Mandarin Oriental Hotel's approach to anticipating the customer's needs. By using permission marketing, Mandarin tailors the customer's entire experience.

As we in libraryland continue our consumer-centric approach, we should take note of these types of activities. Giving the patron what they want, where they want it, when they want it (lifted from Don Barlow) is critical for creating long-term relationships. Specifically, giving the patron what they want through personalized, detail-oriented attention will wow our patrons--if they want.

Opt-in provisions for such programs will be vital. We must make our intentions "crystal clear" to our patrons in regards to how we will use their information. Many patrons want value-added services; however, many fear that the library could easily become a sieve for governmental spying. Thus, through opting in, we protect our patrons as well as ourselves.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Check out the video I just created for the some of us art librarians.

(p.s. is currently a fictional site)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

21st Century Library Design

Contract Magazine
August 01, 2006
Intro: Social Intelligence
By Holly Richmond

"Is today's library the new mall? That notion may not be such a stretch. Simply replace rows of retailers with stacks of books, and by some accounts you're headed in the right direction. 'We've lived through the mall generation,' quips Mark Schatz, AIA, principal at Field Paoli in San Francisco. 'I'm hoping that, in some measure, the library will replace that experience for the next generation.'"

Monday, August 21, 2006

My Schooling Has Ended, But My Education Has Not

It's official. I've completed my Masters degree in Library & Information Science. It's been a long and winding road, and I've gained so much over the last five years.

My undergraduate degrees prepared me with the foundation to conduct research. My graduate degree has focused that training in the specific area of librarianship (even more specifically in management and art librarianship). A wiser man than me once said, "Your education will never end" (Theodore Morris, PhD, Personal Communication, August 2, 2006). I certainly hope Dr. Morris is right.

I'll miss APA style, but I look forward to a new era of Chicago Manual Style. I also look forward to going to more annual conferences, meeting more librarians, and being part of a new generation of librarians who will revolutionize our profession.

(In case you’re part of an older generation of librarians and that last sentence rubs you the wrong way, don’t let it. It is your wisdom & skills which will enable the next gen. You are our key to success as much as our generation’s ability to create & innovate.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This Is Only a Test

So, here I am finally switched over to Firefox, and I love it. Take a look...

See that button right next to the address bar? It's lit up bright orange because it knows my website has Dublin Core Metadata. What happens when I click it? All the gorgeous DC metadata appears neatly formated. Now, at the bottom-half of the screen you can see some sort of text editor. Well, that Performancing. Basically its a wysiwyg editor. So, I can blog by simply hitting a button on Firefox. How cool is that?! Oh and you may have noticed that Firefox looks like Safari. It's a skin I downloaded. Be afraid MS, be very afraid.

Friday, August 04, 2006

OCLC & Library Management

Tonight, George Needham (VP for Member Services, OCLC) gave a talk to our Library Management class with Don Barlow (Director, Westerville Public Library)

Needham went through the various publications of OCLC (free downloads here), and he particularly focused on the report Perceptions of Libraries and information resources. Unlike his presentation to Nancy Lensenmayer's Library Automation class, he focused particularly on user perception stats-not on the disaggregation of information.

Here are some of the takeaways:

1. The Perceptions report was in response to librarian resistance to the early OCLC Pattern Recognition (environmental scan) report
1. Librarians were paraphrases as saying the Pattern Recognition did not represent their constituencies; however, librarians had not conducted any basic research (i.e. scientific research, I was not meaning rudimentary).

2. Friends and links from other sites are how new websites are found

1. This is very, very cool because social networking sites have really become mainstream. What a great opportunity for libraries to get linked in.

2. Needham indicated that one possible marketing avenue could be word-of-mouth (WOM).

1. I asked Needham what he thought about viral marketing, and I wanted to see how he would respond to the specific strain of marketing called stealth marketing (I should have made that distinction in class. Stealth marketing is a deceptive tactic in which the receiver of the message does not know that the message is disengenous. For example, a "tourist" asks a bystander to take their picture with the tourist's Sony Ericsson cell phone [Of course the "tourist" was a paid actor and their objective was to start a conversation about the cell phone - go here for the CBS report]. Stealth marketers hope the message will become viral).

2. I had brought up the Proctor & Gamble (P&G) example of mothers becoming "paid" representatives. I indicated there was a fine line between a testimonial and deception.

3. Needham did pretty well with his answer, but Barlow's answer is what really stuck out in my mind. He said that the political ramifications of such a technique [if uncovered] would be an enormous setback to the library. I'd add that it would be fatal.

3. Meet the customers where they are

1. Search engine optimization (SEO) is something libraries should definitely get into. From the basics of just adding your site to the search engine's index to paid sponsorships, I think this is definitely the way to go.

2. Fellow classmate, Joe Weitz, and I had a great conversation about this after class. He had the insight to say, "We should meet the customer where they're already at." Meeting the customer online in search engines is exactly how we can do this. Joe brought up that even general topics could be linked back to the library. For example, a person looks up the Cincinnati Bengals football team on Google. One of the first hits would be something like "Cincinnati Bengals @ Your Library." Genius.

3. Another way to reach customers is through there browser. Augmenting what can be done in individual search engines, we've got the tools to link our catalogs (yrs, I know those need to be completely overhauled) to any webpage through Firefox (hopefully, I.E. and others soon). See my Open Source for the Reference Librarian post on 6/25/06 (LibX Firefox extension)

4. We must have a "bone-deep" knowledge of our users.

1. This goes to the heart of "user driven libraries" (the title of Needham's presentation)

2. Focus groups, basic research, applied research, environmental scans will help.

3. We must go to the users first to find their needs and create programs and services from those discussions. Instead, we've been creating services that we think the user will want and then promote it [Barlow].

In all it was a great presentation.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Town Called Springfield

In Don Barlow's library management class, small groups of students have been assigned the task of creating a new library program. The groups will present their proposals to class, and the class will evaluate the proposal's strengths & weaknesses. Our group has decided to embark on a digital library. The details are still being worked out, but, as a side note, I've created a rough draft of the town's history. It's an amalgam of the Simpsons' Springfield, Rome, Pittsburgh, and a meandering imagination.

Here it is:

In 1796, Jebediah Springfield broke ground to create a village bearing his surname--a testament to his own creative genius. After a long and arduous search, Jebediah had discovered a fertile plateau adjacent to the Liber River and nestled between seven ore-filled hills. Originally a farming community, the town grew into a bustling, industrialized city by the turn of the 20th century. During WWI, Springfield was the sole supplier of copper springs to the American Colt Co., and by WWII, the city had became renowned for its rubberized canvas muster bags.

However, even with these successes, the city could not escape the fate of many other rustbelt cities. As the manufacturing jobs moved overseas and foreign steel stripped the earnings of Springfield’s wealthiest citizens, Springfield’s economic base collapsed. Soon the population dwindled to approximately 85,000 residents (a 1,000% decrease), and Springfield’s crime rate skyrocketed.

Yet, like the phoenix rising from its ashes, Springfield reinvented itself. By the late-Nineties, Springfield resurrected its economy not by industrial output but by sheer luck. Across the world, interest had been growing surrounding the history of modular housing. Numerous important art & architecture historians, sociologists, psychologists, and other “intellectual folk” were scouring the globe for information concerning the roots of modular homebuilding. Springfield, after WWII, had become the modular home capital of the world. Then director of the Springfield public library, T. Derrick Sullivan II, possessed the foresight to collect any newsworthy piece of information pertaining to Springfield’s fledgling modular home communities.

Today, scholars from all over the world travel to see the T. Derrick Sullivan II Modular Home Repository at the main branch of the Springfield public library. Thus, with today’s interconnected world, the city of Springfield has a historic opportunity to spread modular home awareness. A modular home digital library will increase access to primary sources and whet the appetites of potential visiting scholars.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

ARTnews Proposal

[My letter to ARTnews]

To Whom It May Concern:

As an aspiring art librarian, I am quite familiar with your publication. In fact, Art News is one of the most respected journals in circulation. Furthermore, your newsletter is a valuable reservoir of information; however, it does not reach the public in the most effective manner. E-mail newsletters are an extension of the of their paper predecessors whereas feeds (RSS & ATOM) allow users to redistribute your content without any cost to the organization. Moreover, readership will increase because your users will help you amplify your product.

Old guard marketers have argued that newsletters give the organization the means to collect demographic information on their readership. This is done usually when the user signs up for the product. However, the convenience sample that provides their information is so skewed to the overall demographic of the organization’s entire readership that little real value may be gained. Thus, e-newsletters limit the organizations ability to attract larger numbers of prospective subscribers, and the readership's corresponding demographic information, if collected, is irrelevant.

Please consider providing RSS or ATOM feeds. Your readership will increase. Your brand will increase its online presence. And this is all with little cost to ARTnews. Thank you.


Bryan Loar

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This Is Not The End -- Only the Beginning

Well today was my last day in lovely New Orleans. I was scheduled to help rebuild the New Orleans P.L. Children’s Library; but, unfortunately, what started out as being run down turned into being sick. I woke up feeling awful, and I thought that I might still be able to go. Then I got out of bed. I knew at that moment of nausea there would be no helping to rebuild except for the $10 I volunteered to sign up. I really, really, really wanted to do this—to be a librarian who personally helped rebuild New Orleans. To say that I’m disheartened only begins to describe the way I feel. That said…

Looking back over the last five days, I’ve gained and learned so much. From the excellent programs that I attended to the numerous librarians that I spoke with, I am grateful to 3M and to ALA’s New Members Round Table for giving me the opportunity to learn and share this newly acquired knowledge. This experience has been pivotal in my professional development as well as my personal outlook on librarianship. Our profession sometimes struggles with its role within society and how to meet the true needs of our patrons. After visiting and talking with administrators, librarians, vendors, and anyone else who is somehow affected by the library profession, I know we are on the right track to truly be 21st century librarians. This is an extremely exiting time for us. We have the opportunity to reinvent. We have the opportunity to take quality information and make it convenient. We have the opportunity to be catalysts in the 21st century. And from what I’ve seen—we’re well on our way.

Building the Ultimate Portal & More

Today I went to PLA’s Building the Ultimate Portal: Selection Secrets of the Librarians’ Internet Index (LII). Karen Schneider, Director of LII, was very engaging. The way she presented herself and how she spoke about LII—you could tell she is very intelligent. Although primarily for public libraries, Schneider indicated that some academics will use LII as a means for creating bibliographies. LII currently has 3 FTE’s and 1 cataloger. Schneider indicated that everyone comes from a library background, and she spent some time discussing faceted navigation. In all, it was an excellent program

In the afternoon, I stopped by the vendor hall. I met Ohio’s regional sales representative for the H.W. Wilson Company, Lynda O’Connor. OhioLINK was set to drop H.W. Wilson’s Art Abstract database. So, I asked her what I could do to help OhioLINK make the right decision, i.e. keep Art Abstracts. She said she could get me comparable statistics against another certain database producer that does an arts & humanities database. I hope she can come through ;-)

I also stopped by Casalini Libri. There I met the lovely Kathyrn Paoletti. She introduced me to a new line called DE@ARTE. DE@ARTE is a resource for art librarians with a selection of titles from Central & Eastern Europe. It looks great!

Of course I stopped by 3M’s booth. There I met several regional sales representatives as well as Fred Goodman, president of Public Information Kiosk (of e-library fame – See 3M/NMRT Reception & Social below). I was also given a tour of 3M’s products. Heavy emphasis was placed on RFID technologies. A lot I had seen from Nancy Lensenmayer’s Library Automation class at OCLC. However, I was also shown items that I haven’t seen or haven’t seen in practice. The first item was a moveable work station to add RFID tags—very cool. The next item was machine that 3M uses for RFID-assisted shelf reading. I’ve seen other which look like wands, but this one included a thin, yet sturdy, projection so that one can get in-between books or files. This would be very helpful to retrieve the signal from books that may have fallen behind. The entire sales staff at 3M was knowledgeable and cordial. Dave Pointon and Fred Goodman really made me feel at home. Thanks to everyone I met at the booth.

The day kind of ended rather meekly. I felt a little worn down. So, I went to bed early.

Monday, June 26, 2006

3M/NMRT Reception & Social

The evening began with the ALA NMRT Student Reception. Light snacks and drinks were provided, and several students and new members filled the meeting room. The University of Hawaii at Manoa accepted the ALA 2006 Student Chapter of the Year Award. (see Flikr photo).

I saw some of the same faces from the previous social, and I saw Steven Bell again. The reception actually had a dual purpose. One, it created an atmosphere conductive for meeting one’s peers, and, two, it provided a means for the various ALA section liaisons to pitch their services. I learned that the ACRL has an Arts section—I’ll probably join.

After the reception, my wife and I went to the 3M/NMRT Social. There we met up with David Pointon, 3M's Government and Industry Relations Manager, and Rory Yanchek, 3M Library Systems Business Manager. The ball room was decked out with New Orleans beads, and an elaborate buffet was set up on both sides of the rectangular-shaped room. We sat at the front-middle table with one of the other 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant recipients (and fellow vegetarian), Jill Ratzan. During a conversation with one of Jill’s friends, I accidentally smacked Bonnie Holland in the face! (She was standing right behind me. I was discussing self-censorship with animated hands. It was a mess—not the way I would like to introduce myself to Worthington Public Library's Associate Director of Support Services). Anyway, Bonnie was all very nice about it.

The actual award ceremony was brief. David Pointon recognized 3M’s commitment to helping rebuild New Orleans. 3M has donated $925,000 in e-libraries (manufactured by to areas affected by Katrina like New Orleans. Rory Yanchek presented the award plaques to me, Jill, and Beth Heins (Supervising Librarian at the Sherwood Public Library). The moment of getting up, picking up the award, and sitting down lasted about 90 seconds; but, they were a great 90 seconds.

After the awards, a pleasant woman addressed the crowd and began describing some recent accomplishments of libraries in partnership with 3M. Her closing was unforgettable. She said, and I quote, “I wish you good sex.” Wow! What she had meant to say is success. The entire ballroom burst into laughter. It was great.

The rest of the night, my wife & I watched people dance. We mingled. And we headed out. It was a fabulous evening.

Publish, Don't Perish: Helpful Hints for Authors

The final program of the day was Publish, Don’t Perish: Helpful Hints for Authors. The program was sponsored by the ACRL New Publications Committee and the ACRL-CLS [College Libraries Section] Research Committee.

The programs speakers included the following:

-Tony Schwartz, Associate Director for Collection Management, Florida International University

-Mary L. Radford, Associate Professor & Library Consultant School of Communication, Information & Library Studies Rutgers University

-Patricia Glass Schuman, president of Neal-Schuman Publishers [2 things of interest here--#1 she’s an alum of the Univ. of Cincinnati, and #2 this publishing house should sound familiar to you if you are part of KSU’s SLIS program. Why? Because our director’s book, Foundation of Library and Information Science, is published by none other than…[you guessed it!]

-Steven Bell, Director of the Library, Paul J. Gutman Library, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA

Tony started the program off by indicating the audience was in either one of two camps. The first camp was tenure track professionals who needed to publish to keep their job. The other camp was members of the academic library community that enjoyed researching and writing and did not have the peril of perishing. He said that by understanding which camp one belonged in will determine the type of publishing that one should do. The first camp should look towards publishing in bulk. Furthermore, this camp should focus on making minor increments to an already well researched idea. On the other hand, the second camp should focus on highly original works which require large sums of time to complete. For both camps he gave the following suggestions:

1. Always has a very strong first paragraph in order to pass the “so-what” test
2. Innovation must be tempered by tradition. Going too far outside the mold will make your work in most cases unpublishable
3. Match your subject with the appropriate journal. You can do this by looking at last year’s issues
4. Fashion your manuscript style to emulate the journal’s style
5. Don’t give your work to friends/family to evaluate
6. Give your manuscript to someone who has already published in the specific journal of interest to you

* * *

Mary Radford was witty and energetic speaker who fashioned her own set of rules for publishing. They are the following:

1. Fine Time! Sharpen Time Management Skills
2. Put 1st Things 1st (This is actually from Steven Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)
3. Find Your Rhythm (what works for you?)
4. Collaborate
5. Synergize [if you’ve already started a project, see how it relates]
6. Work to Strengths and Interests (Focus)
7. Break into Incremental Steps
8. Set Target Dates (personal deadlines)
9. Capture Ideas (writing notebook)
10. Create a Plan (get specific)

Besides these tips, what really stuck with me was that Mary emphasized writing everyday—even if it’s just 30 minutes. Writing everyday will continue the ball rolling. Your ideas will not be shelved and gather dust, and it will make you deal with any related issues in the present versus in the future when you might have precious sabbatical time.

* * *

The next speaker was Patricia Schuman. Schuman seemed very down-to-earth and pragmatic. She discussed how writing for her is a challenge, but one she’s conquered by “practice, practice, practice.” She suggested to authors the following:

1. Make sure you’re up-to-date on current literature
2. Talk to publishers before starting down the long road of research
--a. Problems of relevancy may be avoided and other ideas may come to fruition
3. Have a clear idea of what makes your topic unique
4. Give yourself 9 months to a year to finish your work
--a. If you haven’t finished within this timeframe, you’ll probably never finish
5. Use non-librarians to evaluate your work
--a. This will help you reduce Jargon
6. Write 2 chapters and then propose
7. Know your copyrights!
--a. Do you have the right to reuse your material?
--b. Do you have a right to know when your material is republished?
--c. If & when a publisher may re-write your work [i.e. “editorial revisions”]
d. Do you still carry rights on your work after foreign translations?

* * *

Finally, Steven Bell gave a very brief description of Your Research Coach, a writing service for academic librarians. Not only will this service help you with the mechanics of writing a polished & publishable work, they will help authors find publishable ideas and even act as trainers to keep authors motivated. Furthermore, it’s a free service based on volunteers like Mr. Bell. As an aspiring academic librarian, I can’t think of a more useful service.

Technology of Outreach: How Technology Supports the Connection

The next program I went to was the Technology of Outreach: How Technology Supports the Connection presented by ALA’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS)

The program was moderated by Zora J. Sampson, University of Wisconsin-Barron County, and the speakers included the following:

-Patricia A. Kreitz, Director, Technical Information Services, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University

-Steven R. Pisani, Head, Cataloging & Interlibrary Loan Services, Westchester Library System, Ardsley, NY [interestingly, there is another Steven R. Pisani who is an actor, stuntman, musician, etc.]

-Jacquie Samples, Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian, Metadata and Cataloging Department Senior Acquisitions Librarian, NC State University (Hilary Davis could not make it to the conference)

-Ewa Barczyk, Director of Libraries, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries

Some of the PowerPoint presentations have been graciously provided and hosted by University of Wisconsin – Barron County’s (UW-BC) Library . Those include the first two of the following:

-Kreitz’s Changing the Service Paradigm: The HEP-SPIRES Evolution
-Pisani’s Acceso a Información: Providing Bibliographic Access in Spanish
-Samples and Davis’ Technology of Outreach and Outreach of Technology

There were two key highlights for me from this program. The first was the idea that face-to-face outreach is still valued in the age of push based technologies like RSS. While many libraries are beginning to use RSS, podcasting, and blogs as a means of outreach, NC State University has a face-to-face program entitled the “CiNC Tour”. CiNC, or Connecting In North Carolina, sends librarians out to places like Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the Village of Woodsong. With all the talk about what push technologies can do, it’s very reassuring that the human element is still being utilized to create personal relationships between libraries’ and their constituencies.

The second highlight of the program was the Ewa Barcyk’s entire presentation. Being quite interested in digital image repositories and imagebases, Barcyk offered attendees and overview of the University of Wisconsin’s digital image collections. One specific exemplary example was the Mark Avery Collection of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Little information was known about each photograph. The university called upon the retired theatre community to assist in the creation of additional metadata. The actors & actresses were said to have a fantastic recall of whom they worked with—even remembering the names of children actors & actresses. Another really interesting topic was working with donors. Like museum curators, Ewa and the university’s library staff courted Thomas and Jean Ross Bliffert. The Bliffert donation and the resulting online collection demonstrate the libraries role within the community as a “safe haven” for cultural objects.

One final note. Kreitz described a repository of grey literature for the sciences that I though sounded incredible. It provides open access to 374,421 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Quantitative Biology. Interested? Go to [curiously, the site is mirrored at].

Open Source for the Reference Librarian

Bright & early Sunday morning, I had the privilege of going to Open Source for the Reference Librarian: ALA 2006 in New Orleans. The program was sponsored by the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA).

The program featured six different open source solutions. These solutions are the following:

iVia, an open source system for building Web-based virtual libraries and subject portals
LibX Firefox extension, an add-on to the Firefox browser that provides direct access to your library's resources
Jabber IM, instant messaging (IM) programs which allow the user to communicate with many other different IM programs (e.g. AIM, etc.)
Gaim, like Jabber + a commercial free interface to see other users
MediaWiki, open source software that allows for a user-editable forums (the same software that powers Wikipedia)
JabRef, citation management software

The program overall was very informative. If you go to the program’s link above, you can read the pros and cons of each of the six open source solutions. If you look at the Q&A section, I was the one who asked about whether or not iVia will harvest Dublin Core (DC) metadata. (Answer from the panelist = probably). After poking around a bit in iVia’s documentation, I did not find any information on whether or not iVia’s metadata harvesting program could recognize DC in HTML. I did find out that batch importing of metadata under the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) is possible. OAI-PMH is expressed in XML, and the DC schema may be used in conjunction with the protocol. So, in a roundabout way, iVia can harvest DC metadata.

A sexier topic is the LibX Firefox extension. How cool is that--bringing your library to your browser! Instead of libraries waiting & hoping their users will search their Web OPAC first, initiatives like this one and Open WorldCat are meeting users where they find information. What a novel idea! User-centric strategies! Anyway, the LibX Firefox extension has some of the coolest features ever—seriously. My absolute favorite was an example given in the presentation. OK, say you’re at’s website, and you’re browsing a selection of books. The LibX extension will place your institution’s icon next the book’s title. The icon is hyperlinked back to your catalog through the OpenURL protocol—meaning that if you click on the icon & your institution has the book**BAM!**your patron now loves you. Go to the LibX website & click on Screenshots for visual examples.

Other websites of interest for open source include the following:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Shaking the Money Tree

The second program I went to was Shaking the Money Tree: Grant Writing for Librarians. The program was sponsored by the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL).

The speakers included the following:
Elaina Norlin [e-mail], Senior Program Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services(IMLS)

Tom Phelps, Senior Program Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Marcia Keyser [homepage], Coordinator of Copyright Services, Instruction, and Reference Librarian; Drake University

Much of the program’s content may be accessed through this PowerPoint presentation.

Overall, it was a very interesting program. Elaina and Tom focused on pitfalls (which I’ll outline), and Marcia described her own experience applying for NEH grants while at Texas A&M.

Pitfalls: Reasons for elimination –
1. Ideas that have already done before (stemming from a lack of research within the topic)
2. Not calling the grant program officer to avoid costly mistakes at the beginning of the process
3. Having a vague idea of what you want
4. Having a vague idea of individual responsibilities
5. Not consulting evaluation criteria (this is not always bundled with the grant guidelines!)
6. Insufficient proof of commitment among collaborators.

Suggestions for winning grant proposals--
1. Consult grant officer first
2. The officer will help channel your preliminary ideas in the right direction
3. Understand the funding structure (don’t shake the wrong money tree)
4. IMLS & NEH are for competitive, large-scale proposals. If one is looking for funding for a project that is very localized, state funding through Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)
5. Tailor every proposal to the granting institution’s mission, vision, etc.
6. Draft proposals should be completed no later than 1 month before deadline in order to receive feedback (both from reviewers and the grant officer)
7. Have at least five people review your proposal, and one reviewer should be a non-expert

Marcia Keyser brought up an interesting point during her presentation. She indicated that even if she had not won the competitive NEH grant, she would have still found the process rewarding. Her interactions with various departments within Texas A&M allowed her to understand the university’s structure more clearly. Moreover, her quest became a kind of secondary outreach program for her library. Soon, other departments became interested in her library. Something to think about.

Finally, Tom Phelps beat into the participants the one place for all your granting needs—

The Power of Personal Persuasion

Some of Dr. Cialdini’s Principles of Ethical Influence

[Note to reader...I will be creating separate blogs for each program I go to. Why you ask? I do this so that the information is more digestible. Buon Digestione!]

Today was my first taste of seminars. I started off with ACRL’s The Power of Persuation lecture. The speakers included the following:

Camila A. Alire, ACRL President, 2005-2006 [provided introduction]
Dr. Robert Cialdini, Regents' Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University
Dr. Julie Todaro, Dean of Library Services (LS) and Head Librarian of the Rio Grande Campus Library of Austin Community College (ACC) in Austin, Texas
Maureen Sullivan, Organization Development Consultant [could not attend]

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini walked the program’s participants through various ways in which they may support their position. Simple presentation techniques such as word phrasing or sentence structure may have a huge impact on how others perceive one’s request.

Dr. Cialdini stressed that people are given opportunities to creating lasting relationships through reciprocation. He added that employees within service industries (e.g. librarianship, etc.) have been conditioned to downplay the importance of their work. For example, after completing a rigorous research request for a professor, one could say, “Ah, it was nothin,” or one could say, “Your welcome. It’s what long-term partners do for each other.”

I know. It sound a little corny, but I’m a believer. I believe that if one practices this type of communication one will have a much easier time finding support, and the support may come from a vast number of colleagues within one’s social network.

If you are interested in this approach, check out
ACRL’s Power of Persuasion Toolkit [Sorry, currently the PDF is not available through the Marketing office of the ACRL. The organizers of the program did not give a definite timeline as to when it would be posted L] But, you can read Dr. Todaro’s writing on the subject. Finally, you can buy Cialdini’s video from Kantola, but, if you’re not willing to cough up the $95.00, you can get a preview through Google video and/or Kantola. Even better yet, if you are part of OhioLink, you can ILL the video from:

Library = OPAL Libraries, Location = FINDLAY MEDIA , Online Version = 0, Call Number/Serial = 658.4 P887, 2001 , Holdings Status = AVAILABLE

Interestingly, after the lecture I was speaking with Dr. Todaro. After introducing myself, she said that she knew our new Columbus SLIS professor,
Dr. Belinda Boon. [note to KSU Columbus SLIS staff (Hi Deb J) – Dr. Boon’s info is not posted yet]

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Il Primo Post

Il Primo Post!

The day went very well. I worked on my Web site and getting things in order with Blogger & the like. So, really, I didn’t get to the conference hall until 2. On the way there I met Jennifer who is a private school librarian in Dallas. It was great talking with her because she was the first librarian I’ve met here in New Orleans. We talked about the challenges she faces and the joys of working with high schoolers (seriously!) She also let me in on a little school librarian secret—teachers are fun J

When one walks into New Orleans’ Ernest M. Morial Convention Center, one is immediately greeted by its vastness. The convention center is really a hall of halls. The lobby is a massive, horizontal track that buttresses a number of halls with affectionate names like I2. At one end, there is a food court, and at the other there is a hotdog-like vending station. In between is where one main component of content lies. We have registration, information, and numerous ALA program booths.

At the ALA International booth, I met two lovely academic librarians—one from New Orleans and the other from California. The Californian was very insightful in regards to IFLA and funding. She indicated that librarians within her system will consistently receive grant funds for travel if they are presenting. This is maybe a “Duh” moment, but it really drove home this concept to me due to my interest in international librarianship.

After circling the lobby multiple times, I decided to investigate the makeshift ALA bookstore. I was fortunate to participate in a demonstration of the ALA Read CD. The CD contains license-free materials to create your own READ posters—you know, like the ones in public libraries that feature celebrities with their favorite book. The workshop was lead by Tina Coleman and a very capable graphic designer. By taking a picture of a librarian in the audience, the designer created and printed an 8.5x11 “poster” of the librarian. Using Photoshop Elements the designer took less than thirty minutes to create a professional looking document.

I also had my résumé reviewed. It was a great process. I met with Ms. Koda, an employee of the Cleveland academic library system. She suggested tailored specificity. She said to make each individual résumé unique to fit the outlined position. She indicated moving items from chronological order to subject order, and she said that moving the most important information to the beginning for each individualized résumé would be a particularly strong strategy for applying to academic institutions.

In the evening, I met a number of ALA New Members Roundtable. I met a gentleman involved with Pitt's Chartres DL project. He indicated that they used an application profile based on Dublin Core. He also said that their site has had some challenges due to using frames—which I found interesting, especially given accessibility issues, but he went on to say that the project went to such details with added metadata not only to say a single stained-glass window but to minute details of each window. Wow!

I also met three interesting librarians from Michigan. One works in academic, another as an intern and part-timer, and another who just recently began working for the company who sells the ILL program ILLIAD.

Finally, I met Brice who extolled the benefits of Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO). He had just finished a conference on CCO, and he was so excited by the opportunities within the field and the power that CCO offers metadata specialists that he purchases the seminar manual directly after the conference. To be honest, he spoke so eloquently about CCO and its connection with CDWA-lite that he’s piqued my interests as well.

I ended the night adding metadata to my photos, creating a short video, and writing this blog.

Good night & good luck

Friday, June 23, 2006