Category Archives: Information Services

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: http://www.vala.org.au/vala2016-proceedings/1000-vala2016-session-6-hulser.

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 (www.archive.org). 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.

“Spotlight on a Librarian” Royal Society Publishing (UK) — My interview

I recently had the pleasure to be ‘interviewed’ via e-mail by the Royal Society Publishing (UK) newsletter editor for their regular feature “Spotlight on a Librarian”. Here is the URL if the link doesn’t work for some reason:  http://newsletters.royalsociety.org/q/1N7XofzaQvq0eb/wv.

The interview appears in the issue about 2/3 of the way down. I thought the editor would tighten up what I sent but apparently left some of my long sentences in the published piece. If I’d have known I would have done another pass to edit it myself, but it still should be a decent read. It was fun to see I am in the same issue as a brief article regarding comments by the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles on the challenges of environmental problems contributing to the collapse of civilization.

Topics I discuss in the article include open source content access and affordable pricing to research articles among other points. I find myself in continued conversations with publishers about licensing costs and affordable access to research, particularly for non-profit and educational purposes. The institutional subscription and licensing charges are particularly completely out of line for museum and specialized research libraries who don’t have the student or faculty information access traffic that an academic institution typically has, yet publishers and content providers price access to that academic model. <sigh> This is a work in progress for all involved so let’s see how it goes in the future.

Cloud computing — everything old is new again

Cloud computing, an ability to get computing power without installing and managing a system locally, is growing fast. Think back to the 1960s and 1970s to time-shared computing systems and you will see a similar architecture. The difference is the elimination of the ‘connect’ charges, more functionality for cost paid among a number of things. The down side is there are security issues that need to be addressed, the charges for concurrent users, ‘search’ and more can quickly add up if you are not careful. Still it is a feasible, cost-effective way to take advantage of a library management system and other software as service offerings. I’ll be giving a talk about this at the Computers in Libraries 2012 conference in March in Washington D.C.

Copyright and Licensing knowledge key elements of an Info Pro’s skills porfolio

Lesley Ellen Harris is an attorney specializing in copyright and licensing and she has an excellent newsletter and website at copyrightlaws.com I highly recommend. Recently she focused on what she titled “Positions and Job Functions in Copyright & Licensing: The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter”. The PDF of a special issue on jobs that include licensing and copyright elements can be downloaded from the website.  Included is an  overview of interviews with several librarians who have copyright and licensing issues as part of their responsibilities.

As noted in the article, the expansion of electronic content licensing demand information professsionals be able to understand and negotiate licenses. Of course, we also need to know when to consult with legal counsel to ensure awareness and (we hope) compliance of coworkers within our institutions.

As a museum librarian I am providing services in a research institution that is similar to an academic environment but also has elements of what is experienced in a corporate scene as well. I see a blend of the need to be copyright compliant and yet also take full advantage of what ‘fair use’ enables. At the same time, it astounds me to witness how so many people really don’t understand where ‘fair use’ begins but also ends. More on that topic in another post!!

Marketing our value: the SLA Alignment Initiative

Be sure to check out part one of my article in the March/April 2010 issue of  MLS Marketing Library Services on marketing the value of librarians and information professionals. In it I talk about the background of the SLA Alignment Initiative, the highly discussed and volatile proposal for a name change to SLA, and how the initiative has provided information and tools to help us market our value to our managers, leadership or whomever.

MLS Marketing Library Services Newsletter March-April 2010

In the second part of the article, to appear in the May/June issue, I will discuss the next phase of the Alignment Initiative and how you can apply all this information to your own working environment. Watch for it!!