Catching up on how new metrics provide added value for published research

Being required to isolate yourself at home provides an opportunity to get to that extra reading and watching recorded webinars on topics of interest you always meant to do but didn’t have the time. 

New Metrics

Those of you interested or involved in research will want to learn more about new metrics tools and how they are used to measure the interest and impact of published research as it is discussed in the online environment. New metrics are altmetrics that augment bibliometric analysis to get a broader understanding of the impact of published research.

I spoke about new metrics in a webinar sponsored by Soutron Global ( in December 2019. The webinar recording is available here:

In the webinar I mention the book “The New Metrics: Practical Assessment of Research Impact” edited by Elaine M. Lasda, Emerald Publishing, c2019. This book gives a great overview of bibliometrics and altmetrics followed by chapters describing case studies of implementations in various environments including one I did at a natural history museum.



Ex Libris buys Innovative – consolidation in library software market intensifies

Consolidation continues in the library software marketplace as Ex Libris announces purchase of Innovative.

Not a surprise given the reality that the library marketplace for managing physical materials, even combined with managing growing digital content, is shrinking and jobs/roles are disappearing and morphing – including in academia. With budgets also tightening with more senior executives and management wondering why such systems are needed as library physical requirements are shrinking (in their minds) the library marketplace continues to be more challenging for software providers to be able to make money and stay in business.

I have been following and analyzing these kind of agreements and mergers for many years. This official announcement is big picture and very sparse in what it all means. My assessment is that they will probably indicate Innovative teams and location will remain at this point. But I bet they will shrink quickly after the first year, if not totally disappear. I believe in 3 to 5 years maximum the Innovative ‘brand’ will be gone as the next versions of the software are melded into the overall Ex Libris architecture. This is not necessarily a bad thing for customers from a functionality standpoint depending upon how that all is implemented. Pricing is a whole other issue.

I agree that this looks more and more like a monopolistic environment — OCLC offerings as one of the few other large system competitors available notwithstanding. Let’s see what happens and how they spin this at ALA Midwinter and other major meetings.

Back to Basics: Value of Professional Associations and Conferences to You and Your Organization

It is timely to remember and share some thoughts about the value of a professional association. The value comes from not only being a member but also by being active in one way or other because despite issues that occur in any organization, they have their value both short and long term.

The SLA Leadership meeting in New Orleans is coming up in a few weeks and the annual meeting in Cleveland will be in June. It is a great opportunity to meet colleagues, enhance leadership skills, and enjoy the city.  January and June are some of the prime conference times for librarians and information professionals. Do you participate in one or more of these? There are many other meetings and activities that occur throughout the year that are also valuable but that are not necessarily directly associated with a professional associations and those should be considered as well.

OK, so what is so good and valuable about these things? The information industry is turning upside down and sideways many times over and has been for a long time. Participating (notice I don’t say attending) in conferences in person or at least virtually enables you to hear about what is going on and talk with other people who are dealing with all of it.

A couple of key points:

*Conferences are a good investment if you take full advantage of what they offer – so while everyone’s financial situation is different, just because your employer doesn’t pay for your expenses doesn’t mean you can’t/won’t/shouldn’t participate. Success comes from investing your time, effort and money throughout your career, not just when you earned your graduate degree. You invested in your education to get yourself going in a career. It doesn’t stop there. You have to continue to invest in yourself and as stated previously that takes time, effort and oh yes, money. Let’s look at this a bit more closely in a way you may not have done so previously.

Many times people complain about the cost of conference registration, workshops and the typical travel costs on top of that. Indeed, it is an investment and sometimes it is just not feasible to have that kind of expense on a regular basis. But how about this. Think about how much it costs for a credit hour at a typical university — not when you went to school (for those of us who have been around a while), but now. The cost will be on average several hundred dollars to $1,000 and lots more (depending upon the school) per credit hour. This adds up to lots of thousands of dollars over a one to two year period. If you were willing to spend that kind of money to get your degree, don’t you think spending a small portion of that on a reasonably regular basis to keep yourself informed and well prepared is worth it?

Another point is the opportunity to meet friends and colleagues you already know and to make new friends. Many people talk about how they discovered a job opportunity or learned something new or simply made some new, fabulous friends at a conference. The job marketplace is more dynamic than ever, and you never know what may change at a moment’s notice. It is not unusual to have a career in many different arenas over time, and those contacts you make at conferences become invaluable in understanding what is possible. All in all, it’s important to invest in yourself and take advantage of the many opportunities provided in lifelong learning at conferences and by other means.


Putting knowledge to work — skills and experience learned through real life SLA activities

One of the tag lines used in the past for the Special Libraries Association has been “Putting Knowledge to Work”.
This year SLA had an in-person leadership summit in January in New Orleans that by all accounts was a valuable experience for the attendees. While I am currently president-elect of the Southern California Chapter of SLA and this would have been an appropriate meeting to attend, I was already committed to too many other things at the home base and could not take the time or expense. More on that shortly. That being said, I am very glad others were able to take advantage of the opportunity to gain leadership training and commiserate with colleagues.

So, why was I not there? I was “putting knowledge to work”. This year I am a co-host to a very important international meeting of approximately 40 librarians and other representatives of the Biodiversity Heritage Library partners. The event is happening in mid-March and I need to use all energies toward this effort as well as keeping things going in my daily work responsibilities as a solo librarian in a very busy institution. I plan to do some reflection on this whole process after the event is done.

Requirements for the meeting includes gaining senior management commitment to the event, collaborating with colleagues, arranging and scheduling facilities, contracting with vendors for catering, negotiating funding, and so much more. Having had many opportunities to do these tasks over the years as part of leadership opportunities in SLA, I knew I could put this knowledge to work. I have had training and learning opportunities in various jobs and other associations, but not as much as through my involvement in SLA.

So, in short, I wasn’t at the SLA Leadership Summit because I was using the skills and experience from SLA and needed to focus on details at home base. I do plan to attend the Leadership Summit next year and encourage others to do as well whether they are an elected, appointed, or aspiring leader.

Altmetrics for librarians

About 6 years ago a new area of tools was developed that helps collect and measure mentions of research articles online. Altmetrics helps to gather information about research and enables expansion of the understanding of the awareness and potential value of the research.  The field is known as altmetrics and it supplements the typical information found with citation analysis that form the basis for impact factors. There are a few companies with products and services providing altmetrics. I am working with the Altmetric for Institutions product from Altmetric – a Digital Science company based in London, UK .

Librarians in research institutions would find this set of tools of interest and can read my paper or watch a presentation I gave about it at the VALA2016 conference in Melbourne, Australia in February 2016. This is the link for it:

Digitizing audiovisual collections and more in 2015

The interesting thing about the information profession is that it is forever changing and challenging. I have been so busy with various projects that I have neglected my blog but here are some thoughts to ponder.
For the past few months I have been involved with the California Audiovisual Preservation Project. Through this grant I am getting a number of films and audiotapes digitized that are in the library’s collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. They can be accessed through the California Light and Sound section of the Internet Archive ( Some of the items are raw footage of events at the NHM Exposition Park site as well as the La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park.

I’ll have some other projects to talk about in the near future as well.


SLA: How YOU Doin’? Part 3: Fact, Fiction or Political Nuance? We Are Professionals?

My first posts about the SLA2014 conference in Vancouver focused on the environment, the business and more. What was interesting to me was that there was also an undercurrent of disquiet among a number of people who were either in leadership or had been in leadership positions at one time or other. A lot of it seems to stem in particular from whatever went on at the Leadership Summit earlier this year. I wasn’t there, so that’s where it gets a bit complicated for me at least.

Before I go any further, I have to say that I thought about all of what I am discussing in this set of blog posts with ideas thrashing about of how to work toward positive energy and solutions to issues with SLA. It can’t be done alone, but it also can’t be done with people overtly, covertly, and subversively  undercutting each other. With that in mind, here is a photo I took near the end of the conference looking out from the Convention Center.

Storminess in the distance almost a metaphor for some of feeling of the SLA Conference in Vancouver

Storm clouds in the distance almost a metaphor for some of the feeling of the SLA Conference in and around the Vancouver Convention Center


He said, she said, she said, they said…
Oh no you/they/she/he didn’t! Oh yes you/they/she/he did!

Apparently some things were mentioned about leadership responsibilities at the Leadership Summit in Memphis. All sorts of conversations have been going on since that time and during the conference where more discussion was held in all sorts of places about the financial, operational and governance situation SLA is now in. As I understand it the Division and Chapter cabinets also dealt with some of the issues but I wasn’t at their meetings this time around so I cannot comment on the proceedings. Perhaps those who were there can chime in, but here we go with he/she/they/you said whatever.

A few folks (who, like me, also weren’t at the Leadership Summit)  expressed thoughts during the Vancouver conference  of who said what, when and why. Others who were at the Summit have told me some of that was not true or never was said or was not heard as it was stated. <SIGH> This carried over into the Vancouver conference such that some people went to a dinner as a large group but did not go to a meeting of the same group the next day because of the topics to be discussed. In retrospect I think one or more of the topics should not have been discussed at that meeting and instead more appropriately at the annual business meeting. I got caught up in the discussion like everyone else, so tsk tsk to me too! Well, people from that group know exactly what I am referring to but this is not the forum for me to comment further on it. However, I will likely say more in an appropriate other place where they can discuss or ignore as they wish.

Anyway, in addition to those actions, some of the same people who skipped the meeting did show up at the annual business meeting. While there they dissed the proceedings about the very topics discussed or avoided at the business meeting – with a bit of validity, I am sorry to say. It was too bad we could not have some professional discourse during the business meeting, to agree or to disagree, but get on with solving the issues at hand instead of sniping and demonstrating skills at passive/aggressive behavior.

All I know is that I no longer can be confident in anything I’ve heard except when I have been witness to it – I know, simple logic, but I’d like to believe that my wonderful colleagues would be truthful with me one way or other. Apparently this is not the case, and that is disappointing.

We know there are issues and questions around the sale of the SLA HQ building, as well concerns about decisions being made about and for the Association by the SLA Board of Directors and SLA HQ. Well, that is what they are respectively elected and paid to do what they do. They all need to be held accountable, as do elected leaders of the recent past, and all of us as voting members who had some influence on the issues as well. I had hoped some of these concerns would be addressed during the annual business meeting in a concise, logical way and not dragged out. Well, instead of that potential lengthy discussion, it was avoided all together. Yes, things were gone over at Leadership Summit according to the summaries I have read, but many in the business meeting audience WERE NOT THERE or may not have had seen any of the summaries distributed by a few unit leaders. As I discussed in my previous post, in the business meeting nothing really happened. OK, let’s say it didn’t happen to the depth a number of us expected.

So where does that leave things? Up in the air I’m afraid, with factions of one sort or other holding their ground, being perturbed or even strongly ticked off about one thing or other. You would think we were talking about things in another well known and much larger library association. Let’s see what happens over the next few months, what the pending first annual report to the membership says, what actions do take place, the results of those actions, and hope that this all settles out over time for the best.

I’m sure I’ll have some more thoughts, so stay tuned for a possible part 4 though it could go in a completely new direction. Check in and see!