Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Continuing Education for Caribbean Librarians- Trainers needed


I am currently working on a project which involves assessing the training needs of Libraries in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean. The goal of this project is to collaborate with colleagues in the US and the Caribbean to provide training in areas which have been identified as critical.

I sent a short survey to Caribbean Librarians in an attempt to identify their training needs. Now that the survey has been circulated, I am trying to identify trainers in specific subject areas.

If you are interested in being part of this project and volunteering to facilitate a workshop or workshops, please complete the short survey attached and e-mail your responses back to me as soon as possible. If you volunteer as a trainer, I will work closely with host institutions to sponsor your expenses (travel, accommodation, training materials, daily stipend). As soon as I am able to evaluate the results of both surveys I will contact you once again with information on workshops which have been planned.

Thanks for your assistance,


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creating word clouds

I love web 2.0 type technologies!!! I just discovered Wordle, a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

The word cloud above was derived from words in this blog. Thanks to the Liminal Librarian for pointing the way to this gem.

SEFLIN Future of Libraries Conference

Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN) Future Of Libraries Conference held on July 16 in Davie, Florida provided topics of interest for everyone. Here is a summary of two of the sessions I attended:

Keynote speaker Meredith Farkas (author of the blog Information Wants to be Free) focused on Riding the Shift: Organization 2.0 and the Future of Libraries, giving instructional advice to libraries wishing to ride the web 2.0 wave and build a 2.0 organization:

  • Know your users

  • Develop a learning culture

  • Question everything

  • Develop a risk-tolerant culture

  • Be agile

  • Give staff time for creative endeavors

  • Collect knowledge internally

  • Be transparent

  • Build networks

  • Acknowledge that good ideas can come from anyone and anywhere

  • Involve staff from all levels in planning

  • Nurture talent

George Pearson (Librarian, Florida International University) gave an insightful presentation on the future of the OPAC or as he noted in his introduction the alternate title: The OPAC Sucks. In a web 2.0 environment which allows Users Interaction, Collaboration, and Content Creation a revamped OPAC, readily attracting constant usage by a tech savvy clientele should have all of the following elements:

  • easy to use

  • interactive and fun

  • a place for one stop shopping for all of the libraries' resources (print, AV, electronic, digital)

Some ILS vendors have responded positively to the pressure to create these so called next generation OPACs with integrated web 2.0 functionalities. Pearson highlighted the implementation of the Endeca-driven OPAC prototype at the State University Libraries of Florida which has the following features:

  • Book Reviews and Summaries

  • Advisory pages or Readers also liked

  • Spell check

  • User Forums

  • RSS feeds

  • Relevancy ranking of search results

  • Faceted browse capability

  • Citation (APA, Chicago, MLA Turabian, Harvard) formatting options

  • Download title and location of a resource to your mobile phone

  • Links to OCLC WorldCat and Google Book Search

All of the conference presentations are available on the conference wiki

Friday, July 11, 2008

OCLC Breakfast Update at ALA 2008

OCLC president Jay Jordan gave an extensive overview of OCLC new products and services at the annual ALA OCLC breakfast update. Here is an overview of his presentation:

A new publication titled From awareness to funding: a study of library support for America is now available for download or ordering

    A new NetLibrary Media Center described as a free enhancement to the NetLibrary eAudiobook platform was recently launched. This Media Center offers enhanced searching, single click checkout and the ability to download to a portable device.

    A project is underway at OCLC to control all personal name headings (over 26 million) in WorldCat bibliographic records. This project when completed will result in bibliographic records being updated automatically if the heading in the authority record changes. More information available at:

    WorldCat Identities is a recently concluded project where OCLC created a summary/biographical page for every personal name found in bibliographic records in WorldCat in a user friendly interface. Users of this graphical interface can view all the works written by an author , works written about the author, a graphical timeline showing their publication history, list all the languages in which the author’s works were published in, view cross referenced names found in the author’s authority record, and view the associated subject headings of all published works (viewed as a clickable cloud tag)

    WorldCat xISSN is a new Web service that supports management of serials information. Users can supply an ISSN to find out about title changes, and find the electronic ISSN for a print title or vice versa. xISSN is available at no charge to OCLC cataloging members.

    After success pilot projects at the University of Washington and the State Library of Ohio, OCLC has launched WorldCat Local as a purchased product available to libraries WorldCat local offers the same features as but with the added advantage of searching library resources at three tiers locally (all library resources in its collection), through a consortia (e.g. OhioLink Libraries) or globally (all WorldCat Libraries). Some key features include:
    --single search box to all local library resources (print, AV, electronic, digital) as well as resources available globally via WorldCat Libraries. This search box is customizable for branding with library’s logo.
    -- relevancy ranking of search results
    -- results that bring multiple versions of a work together
    -- faceted browse capability
    -- citation (APA, Chicago, MLA, Turabian, Harvard) formatting options
    -- cover art
    -- patron added reviews, ratings, and personalized lists
    --interoperability with a library’s circulation system to deliver location and availability information compliant with OpenURL resolvers, thus providing access to content available via multiple vendors and fulfilling ILL requests
    --Link to Google Book Search. Users can immediately link to Google Book Search and read the full text or snippets of text for the title initially searched in WorldCat Local.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    ALA 2008

    I have been a member of ALA since 2001 and have attended several ALA conferences since I joined the association. I look forward to attending ALA annual as it has afforded several opportunities to keep current with changes in the cataloging world and network with colleagues. Additionally, there are opportunities to attend sessions devoted to other topics which hold my interest such as digitization emerging technologies, and continuing education opportunities for librarians.

    One note to the would be first time conference attendee, planning the sessions you wish to attend weeks in advance is critical to having a rewarding and self paced experience. Fail to plan ahead, and you would, like me during my first ALA conference, be caught frantically trying to decide at the last minute which session would be of most value and wasting valuable time and energy hopping from one conference shuttle bus to another. Also comfortable shoes are a must!

    In addition to attending the daily presentations on your choice of topics (there are several tracks to choose from for e.g. Digital information & Technologies, Collection Management and Technical Services, Administration and Leadership, Research, Transformation & Innovation, Issues & Updates) you can attend the exhibits (can you say freebies), vendor sponsored lunches to demonstrate new products and services, nightly receptions, the opening and closing sessions with celebrity keynote speakers (this year Ron Reagan and Jamie Lee Curtis did the honors), a book cart drill competition (only at ALA can you have a competition where the contestants dress in costume and dance and contort with a book truck accompanied by their favorite music selections, this year’s winner -The Well Stacked Sci-Brarians received a DEMCO gold plated book truck as first prize). If you are fortunate to attend ALA the next time it is held in Anaheim you can (like me) support the ProQuest scholarship bash and in return get the chance to spend some time with Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland.

    If you wish to view all of the presentations at ALA this year please visit the conference wiki