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Monday, January 31, 2011

First Night Floor is Deck

“First Night Floor is Deck”, a poem from Victor W. Pearn's Devil Dogs and Jarheads is slated to be aired by Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companion and of The Writer's Almanac on February 5, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

News and Views from ALA 2011 Midwinter in San Diego

San Diego is the 7th largest city in the US and the second largest in California.
This year's preregistration figure the day before the January 7 show opening was 5,180 (not including exhibitors), 14 percent lower than last year's Boston preregistration of 6,043; Denver drew 6,903 pre-registrants only a year earlier (L J)
The final numbers from the ALA office were.

7,549 Attendees
2,561 Exhibitors

The consensus was that the conference attendance was especially low because it was too close to the holidays, too far away from the rest of the US, and that travel budgets were too tight. However the ALA Executive Board White Paper on ALA Midwinter supports continuing it in the future.

There were approximately 1000 meetings at this year’s midwinter convention. Some of the hot topics were patron driven acquisitions, collaborative collection development, connecting with patrons through mobile devices, job inventories, discovery services, and the looming budget crises of 2012. The purchase of Ebrary by ProQuest was breaking news as the conference opened.

Patron driven acquisitions is still a hot topic, but opportunities to continue exercising selection expertise are still important. Bibliographic and collection development skills are still needed to vet PDA lists. PDA has been useful for departments that don’t spend all of their allocation. With more adjunct faculty there is less input from professors. Only 37% of faculty is tenured now.

There are problems with ILL and PDA in a networked catalogue environment. One solution is to mark PDA acquisitions as non-circulating and update their status later. UCLA has instituted a paper only PDA model by loading book records in their catalogue.

Selection skills are necessary to winnow PDA offerings. Duke cut Ebrary down to 23,000 books that they offered up for patron acquisition. Foreign publications and rare books still need selection skills. The library’s local depository is also an area for selection expertise. And in a reversal of roles selection is very important when it comes to de-selection, as many libraries are doing.

Libraries are comparing their holdings to Hathi Trust to see if there are archival copies in order to winnow their own collections.

The recent launch of Google ebooks has been deemed a flop. The 3 million titles are either in the public domain already or are older titles that have no demand. Sales are very low. I feel that this is a preview to problems that Google will have if they ever launch their larger Google Books Project. On top of these problems many prominent authors have withdrawn from the settlement. What remains unique in the database are orphan books which probably have little demand. Figures from the legal case have hinted at a $55,00.00 cost for initial hookup to the Google books database if it ever becomes available.

There was a good amount of talk about the Espresso Book Machine, but sales for this device have not even reached 100 worldwide. Opinions about the machine tend to focus on its high cost and operating expense compared to simply using a well equipped print shop. With Xerox taking over the machine’s distribution there may be some improvement in the functioning of the machine and fewer breakdowns.

There was buzz about sharing collection development staff across institutions such as Cornell and Columbia are doing.

Lots of talk about single article purchase for journals. Opinion was that libraries would like to keep access to the articles they purchase rather than pursue a “one sip” model.

Word that many faculty are being required to teach at least one online class.
Swank, Corp. clears copyright for libraries about $100.00 per video title per semester.

Libraries are embedding access into Blackboard to try to be more pro-active. Also feeding current titles to students based on their majors.

Doing more with less: job inventories and re-allocation of responsibilities.
Amazon is republishing titles based on used book sales ranks.

Staying in touch with students through mobile devices was a popular subject. Librarians that offer this service say that students search databases and email articles to themselves for later reading. Sales of mobile devices will surpass pc’s by 2012. JSTOR, EBSCO, IEEE, ArtStor, Cambridge Journals and Pub Med are among databases offering mobile access.

The Harvard Law Library has developed a novel way to view books in their repository. They have created a virtual book shelf based on their catalogue and the books are color coded based on their circulation numbers so users can easily see the most popular books.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Busca at ALA Midwinter 2011

Three members of the BUSCA Team plan to be at the American Library Association's MidWinter Conference this week in San Diego, California. Some of us will be on the exhibit hall show floor, working at THE REFERENCE SHELF booth. Please look for John D. Riley, Loren P. Hirsch, and Michael D. Cooper. We will also be attending several meetings.