Friday, May 28, 2010

Admin Strikes Back

In response to the publication that was the subject of the last post, "The Library in Crisis," the administration of the UC Davis library wrote their own statement of the case. Such a specific engagement of issues is not common in an atmosphere of conflicting policies and budgetary claims. In compressed form, the responses to the statements of the original document are as follows:

1. UCDavis has plunged in the ARL rankings from 25 to 60 where other UC libraries have maintained or improved.

ARL rankings do not tell the full story and must be considered in the context of the institution. Also, most of the other UC libraries have declined in rank in the same time period.

2. UCDavis's budget should be larger than other campuses because of its diversity of disciplines.

The proportion of lab science at UC Davis compared to other campuses has declined suggesting that UC Davis's requirement for a relatively larger library budget has decreased. Moreover, the UC Davis library has gathered a reserve fund of money for special needs.

3. Insufficient support for the Level 5 collection in Enology.

There is no backlog in purchasing materials for this collection.

4. Lack of essential titles for history and delays in interlibrary loan.

Some titles were omitted as part of clerical error during a shift in approval plans, and the missing titles have been purchased. Interlibrary loan rates at UCDavis are comparable to the other UCs.

5. Dissolution of the government documents department.

The subject specialists are available for consultation, and the consolidation of this department is consistent with a general trend among libraries. The trend is driven by the fact that 98% of government documents are available online, obviating the need for a physical collection.

Henry, Helen, and Gail Yokote. "UC Davis General Library Observations Related to 'The Library in Crisis.'" University of California, Davis, 2009.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Library in Crisis

A report has recently come to my attention, written by a faculty task force at UC Davis purporting to outline a crisis situation at the campus library. As part of its overview, it touches on many themes of the future of the libraries in our discussion.

In a subject based on statistics, the report actively and instructively attempts to sift through them for conclusions. It claims that the library has suffered a long-term trend of underfunding that predates the current budget crisis. While expenses associated with new technologies have grown rapidly in the last 15 years, the UC Davis library's budget has remained stable at around $16 million. This equates to an effective loss of funding. Coincident with this decline in funding, the report cites a precipitous drop in ACRL ranking from the top 25 in the 1980s to a current position of around 60, among the bottom of the UC's. Underfunding is further exacerbated, according to the report, by the fact that UC Davis has an enormous range of disciplines to serve--greater than any of the other UC's and possibly any in the nation! Presumably this range derives from the campuses background agriculture and veterinary medicine although what these disciplines are and why UC Davis should have so many is not spelled out in the report.

To assess the damage from underfunding, the report makes a case study of several departments. The Enology collection in the Biology/Agriculture department is a Level 5 collection designed to gather everything of interest and shortfalls in its budget impact the entire world as a result.

The mathematics department has been forced to cut back on key journals in its field.

As a result of underfunding, researchers in history no longer have access to major reference resources and books and interlibrary loan introduces critical delays in their work that sets them at a disadvantage compared to their peers.

The consolidation of the government documents department into other departments has made it difficult to consult with experts over the material.

For allowing this situation to come to pass, the committee blames the faculty who have allowed their library committees to lapse and the library administration for failing to communicate historical trends. For its recommendations, the report calls for increased funding necessary to restore the place of the UC Davis libraries to the top 30 in the ACRL rankings and to set up an active system of faculty and library committees with regular communication. The report ends with a warning that without access to the digitized information that contains the essence of current research, scholars "do not have a chance" to be competitive.

The report can be viewed at:

Waldron, Andrew, et al. The Library in Crisis: University of California, Davis, 2008.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

College students' perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources

This is a subset of a broader study that is focused on college students. This group tends to use the library more than other groups although, according to their own statements, less than before as a result of the internet. An overwhelming percentage began with internet search tools before moving to the library. A higher percentage than other populations use the library for studying. College students also retain a faith in the value of a library as an ideal and a potential source of valuable information. Their biggest recommendation is to make the library more physically convenient. More details can be found at:

De Rosa, Cathy. College Students' Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources: A Report to the OCLC Membership. Dublin, OH: OCLC Online Computer Center, 2006.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Marian the Cybrarian

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by an English professor, mounts a stirring defense of librarians and libraries--even claiming that the library profession has never been so vital and valuable as now when it is facing budget cuts.

The article begins with personal observations including the "beer test": "They are among the most likeable people you'll find at any college. They have the intellectual curiosity of academics without the aloofness and attitude often displayed by professors."

The book moves on to summarize a recent book spelling out the case for libarians in the future:

Marilyn Johnson. This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (HarperCollins, 2010).

Much of the review is given over to the response of the director of the Harvard Library to an unnamed scientist who suggested that Harvard deal with its budget problems by dumping the contents of the Widener Library in the Charles River. The response, exhibiting "balance" and "control" reviews a number of issues familiar to the library community. Of unexpected prominence is the suggestion for faculty and even student researchers to post their finding directly online--with the aid of librarians--and thus circumvent the time-consuming and exclusive avenue of journal publishing. The full article can be found here:

Benton, Thomas H. "Marian the Cybrarian." Chronicle of Higher Education May 20, 2010.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Perceptions of libraries and information resources

This summarizes a report commissioned by OCLC on user behavior gathered from around the world. It draws its results from a worldwide survey and amounts to a hymn to the information explosion. Users report satisfaction with the internet and a preference for it over the library for its rapid, convenient access to information that is considered satisfactory. Conclusions for libraries consist of:

(1) Libraries are perceived as being about print books.

(2) Libraries should better advertise their presence and could offer different formats and content.

(3) Libraries are advised by the respondents to increase their collections.

A longer summary of the report can be found at:

De Rosa, Cathy. Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources: A Report to the Oclc Membership. Dublin, OH: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, 2005.

UCDavis: Discussion of the Future

Future of UCDavis Libraries

1. Reference

a. Need to identify the population we are serving recognizing that there are different needs for each e.g. instruction for on-campus undergrads vs. information for community members throughout the state of California; patrons throughout the world

b. Need to define the reference service; for example does it include outreach functions as well as service to individual users.

c. Currently an evaluation/assessment program for reference has been sketched out that includes surveys at the reference desk and a plan for focus groups. After some delays this program is scheduled to resume in May 2010. Some issues for the evaluation effort include:

* identifying user needs and behaviors and their variations between campuses

* differentiating between the wants that users express and the needs that we can identify as professionals

* making full use of the data collected on user behavior; details tend to be compressed or eliminated in the way that the data is compiled

* a more sophisticated analysis of the data is necessary

d. The defining development of the last couple years in reference has been a reduction of service points in which the government documents, information, and bioag desks have been closed and their staff consolidated at the former hss desk which now serves as the reference desk of the Shields Library. Some discussion remains on the extent to which this has been done at the other branch libraries. Issues regarding consolidation are:

* driven by budget reduction to compensate for attrition now and in the near future

* reduction in demand for reference depending on which numbers are used

* lack of availability of librarians to users

* inefficiency in terms of increased off-desk reference

* dilution of subject expertise

* lack of responsiveness to subject users

e. Alternatives

* chat reference - working with remote campuses not efficient; staffing issues pose a barrier to more service

f. Optimal future:

* relating reference service to the overall mission of the library and university

* more elaborate training for reference personnel

* exploration of technologies for remote reference such as chat reference and online tutorials and guides

* an expectation of a new hybridization of reference with instruction, access services, and other units

* restoration of subject-specific service points

2. Relationship with Information Providers

a. Need to question the relationship between librarians and vendors

* the role of finances

* interface design

* types of pressure to be deployed on vendors to gain better service and products; working on the advisory board of a product can be fruitful

* Davis has a large cluster of liaisons with vendors

* additional usage data from vendors necessary

b. The distributed model at both the library and the particular vendor can cause challenges. For example, the parties who are involved in the negotiation are often different than those who have direct experience with user interaction, or, on the vendor side, are involved with development of the product.

* the interest of universities and database providers does not coincide and needs to be better understood; vendors want more money, libraries want better service

* the role of open access materials needs to be considered: free vs. good; a tendency for quality sources to be disregarded in favor of free ones; Google, Wikipedia; lack of permanence and control of resources; the details of the Google digitization effort are relevant

c. The role of instruction in promoting web sources through source evaluation techniques is important for users

d. The trend in this area appears to be towards outsourcing with its pluses and minuses

* implications for the future of interlibrary loan

e. Optimal Future: More influence with database vendors to provide user-friendly products at lower prices. Single interface for all databases. Finding role for ILL in future when more material available as e-books and restricted. Need to preserve fair use. Work to turn the University into more of an information provider through e-scholarship e.g. journals, research units, and conferences. Marketing of these products is important. The university can produce textbooks and instructional materials for students, and the library can assist with best practices.

3. Personnel

a. Outgrowths of the budget crisis

* more work is expected in the same time interval as before

* subject divisions are being eroded

b. New relationship between librarians and non-librarian staff; e.g. "library professional" is a super LA-5

* work needs to be done on succession planning and mentoring

* An issue is to consider at what point it is necessary to rehire as opposed to reassign positions within the library

c. New opportunities for professional development of staff.

* Request P.I. status for librarians as many grants for AF employees are not accessible as P.I. status is required before applying for the grant (travel grant).

* pathways for coursework and additional degrees

* manage tension between generalist/specialist

d. Optimal Future: As the lowest-staffed library in the UC system, Davis needs an increase in personnel to preserve the level of expertise necessary for a post-doctoral institutions. The current system of consolidation and reduction of personnel results in bad referrals and inefficiency. Regardless of the ingenuity in doing more with less, there is a level of staffing, we can't below without a critical loss in quality. More support needs to be given for staff to pursue formal training and certification.

4. Technology

a. communications technology: e.g. libguides, Second Life, chat reference, Skype (bibliographer groups), Facebook, YouTube,

* new hardware to support communication and mobility (headsets, microphones, webcams for live video, choice of laptop vs. desktop computer)

* training & technology support for new project initiatives and content creation: opportunity to explore the use of new and old technologies in a "sandbox environment" to foster our in-house creativity, collaboration and peer-to-peer learning (requires rethinking of budget and time allocations, initiated by librarians with systems support)

* security/permissions issues stand in the way of using some useful technologies; (these restrictions, in some cases, originate at the campus level)

* social networking may not be relevant to the library's future; publicity tools not reference

* tutorials limited by rapid change of databases which make them irrelevant; tutorials may be viable if limited to major resources or perhaps as links to tutorials by vendors

* library chat for each reference desk: needs to be localized to campus rather than current 24/7 which brings in questions throughout the system; chat should incorporate text messaging

* Next Generation: inadequacy of Next Generation interface; overwhelming resource which floods the user with information; retain local catalog with local notes, easy search of UCDavis titles; improved accuracy/precision of a local catalog

b. preservation/archiving technology: currently lack infrastructure to support digitization (produce, access), onsite; increased coordination necessary with CDL

* benefits to a shared workflow in cataloging and preservation throughout the system

* shared cataloging (CDL) being overwhelmed; need improved coordination between campuses; revamped so that process expedited with equal contributions; a SWAT team approach necessary to deal with backlogs

c. Instructional technology

* Endnote offers opportunities for new involvement with research practices

* use of clickers under consideration

d. optimal future: local catalog, improved infrastructure to support digitization; shared cataloging; mobile versions of catalog and small mobile applications to support general library research (undergraduates)

5. Collections

a. system vs. local collections

* books need local/core collections; system-wide collection for journals only

* approval plans under review; trend in libraries is to evaluate usage of print monograph similar to electronic resource review; changes in scholarly monograph publishing may signal evolution of approval or blanket plan to something more patron-driven for time of need for certain categories of material

* analysis of unique aspects of collection especially regard to the lack of permanence in digitized collections

b. reduce local footprint

* cannot reduce the footprint but must expand to support growth of programs at the university and larger volume of publications; ebook vendors are not available for this purpose; the local collection needs to be able to support growth.

* On the other hand, SOPAG collection space planning report claims that no more space is available. Libraries need to reach a 0% growth rate within five years to fit within available space. Long-term plans call for de-duplication of system holdings.

* cuts have already put significant strain on preservation and binding. More money and personnel will be needed in future to maintain the materials that we have.

c. optimal future: Physical constraints require a streamlining of collections throughout the system, but local collections should be shaped to support growth of programs on campus as much as possible.

6. Buildings

a. consolidation

* space already tight before the proposed closure of PSE

* while the Davis libraries have not reduced hours in response to budget cuts like other UC campuses, the hours are already low; they should be restructured to match times of student use

b. Rearrangement of space

* information commons forming on the first floor where there are no reference desks

* partnership with other entities to support a visual media commons (space, hardware, software, librarians and technical assistants) integrating media access and creation with media literacy topics taught by librarians.

* more group study rooms are necessary and more outlets for laptops

* fundraising: the building can provide sources for funds with the sale of merchandise, food, and space rentals for outside events.

c. optimal future: preserve the space that we have and redesign for efficiency to enable enhanced study environment for students and sale of products to generate funds for the library.

7. Campus Roles

a. Instruction

* UWP instruction

* integrated courses, subject specialists

* Re: Search Start paper consulting service

* classes for Learning Skills Center: STEP, term paper workshops

* orientations for new students and graduate students in all departments

* online tutorials and other tools under development

* EndNote to teach research and citation management at all levels.

* subject specialists given new freedom to design subject guides.

b. Outreach

* liaison work

* marketing

* advertising with fliers/ads to dorms

* reference service

* campus committees: academic federation committees, campus administrative advisory committees, LAUC

* webpage: blogs

* consulting: technical services (meta-data, preservation); archives/special collections

c. Optimal future:

* continued robust activity in existing areas

* sponsored seminars with academic focus; cultural events

* library research awards: writing contests

* formalizing/institutionalizing instruction with credit classes,

* technology: mobile bulletin boards in library lobby

* expansion into new areas of service: EndNote to improve research skills

8. Library Networks

a. ILL UCs

b. shared cataloging within UC

c.national cooperative cataloging

d. UCs repository of research programs in the state by act of legislation

e. CDL participation in national/international digitization

f. expansion outside of organizational boundaries to regional operations e.g. to include CSUs, other consortia

g. chat reference - national/international networks

h. networks to include public libraries, community colleges

i. Networks are driven by cost savings and have adverse effects on local institutions. As an example Google Books does not digitize anything with individual copyright. Many networked efforts pose problems in areas of preservation, omission, poor-quality of work

j. Optimal future - continued expansion in scale and cooperativity of networks with attention to preserving local specificity of collections.

9. Organizational Cultures

a. Communication issues with library administration

* Structure of library bureaucracy needs to reexamined; the library management contrasts with the rest of academia in remaining static while deans and department heads rotate

* There needs to be improved lines of communication

* Quicker responses

* administration counterclaims: communication efforts ignored, need two-way communication with timely input to administration in the spirit of the Principles of Community; difficult, unavoidable decisions should not be cause for shooting the messenger

* dangers of toxic self-perpetuating culture of negativity and inaction among librarians/staff

* free-form committees offer advantages over rigidly agenda-driven ones

* previous discussion indicates an information bottleneck in the practice of filtering communications from administration to staff through department heads; suggested remedies were to publish all minutes and to use notation clearly indicating action items, this has been unevenly adopted.

* need to consider ways to create an innovative environment that is proactive and encourages a sense of creativity and freedom to explore solutions to our challenges

* need to find ways to cultivate library community for example through social events such as ice cream socials and planned retreats

b. Communication with systems

* claims that Systems restricts access to technology and does not respond adequately to requests

* counterclaims that Systems acts to maintain security and must deal with technical challenges that are not apparent outside

c. Optimal future

* Improved communication with regular face-to-face meetings among parties involved e.g. Systems representation on RISC.

* A "Velvet Revolution" of an improved communal culture with frequent social activities

Friday, May 21, 2010

UCLA: Discussion of the Future

Summary of LAUC-LA Informal Meeting 4/7/10

Diane Mizrachi, LAUC UCLA Division Chair

This year, Statewide LAUC has initiated a dialog among its members on topics of interest to our future. On April 7, 2010, approximately 25 LAUC-LA members met for an informal meeting to look at two specific issues and how they impact the future and can be improved upon. The first issue is ensuring and improving upon the value of librarian professional expertise by the university community, and the second looks at the development of a new generational catalog – Next-Gen Melvyl. Below is a summary of our discussions.

In the values discussion we identified what specific expertise we posses and want to be valued for, and then created a list of suggestions. These questions may seem obvious but it is important from time to time to take stock of what we do and what we would like others to value about what we do. At the LAUC Southern Regional meeting at UC Irvine on May 6, UCSD UL Brian Schottlaender discussed a study he did recently of academic library job postings which reflects the evolution of skills and knowledge needed in our profession. These kinds of studies and introspection are important for us when visualizing and planning towards the future of libraries and librarianship.

Discussions identifying our expertise seemed to cluster around three general areas: expertise we have acquired through our studies in MLIS/MIS programs and on-the-job experience, subject expertise, and collaborations.

What we do and expect to be valued for:
• Our expertise above the layman acquired through our professional training and experience:
o Knowing how information is organized, stored, accessed
o Fluency in all sorts of information tools and resources,
o Knowledge of information vocabulary, collections
o Organizing, classifying information, integrating and evaluating
o Recognition of the "Invisible substrate" principle (by Marcia Bates): people don't realize that there's a science to information organization - having subject expertise doesn't necessarily mean one knows how to organize it best for retrieval & use
o Long term commitment to viability and direction of our collections, researchers have a short-term view.
o Library instruction to end-users and staff:
 we plan, prepare, implement and evaluate our library instruction--help people learn how to learn
o Expertise with e-resources - licensing, acquiring, delivering, & maintaining are more complex than with print
o Scholarly communication issues & intellectual property
 faculty perspective--where they publish affects what we can buy in the future
 student perspective—plagiarism
o Training new librarians, new professionals and interns
o Functional expertise as important as subject expertise--undergrad services, metadata, cataloging, etc.
o Because we have mental models of information organization from our training, we can apply these models to new situations
o Create new standards--technical services; how to fix something when broken; integrating new materials into existing;

• Subject expertise
o Subject specialty becoming more important as general surfing becomes easier & more possible.
o Language expertise – our ability work with information in a multitude of languages
o tension between librarians who may make recommendations related to specific subject areas, and those who don't--partly dependent on subject expertise of the person--e.g., synthesizing information

• Collaborations
o The more we work with faculty and students the more they respect us.
o We offer different perspectives on information than researcher – more holistic
o Networking to other collections & libraries
o Groups with different expertise work together
o Bringing people into shared spaces (web, 2nd life), commons

Current and Future Needs and Suggestions
• We get questions from the larger community because we’re UCLA. We need to be valued for our role in the community as a whole.
• Need an atmosphere where ideas and creativity can flow without fear of reprisal
• Every grant should have a dollar amount and librarians written in as personnel
• More investment in preservation of digital data
• Need to highlight our instruction expertise to make this expertise more visible.
• Partner with faculty in teaching classes
• Increase collaboration and partnering across library, campus and off-campus communities
• Partner with businesses to improve search functionality--cataloging, instruction--librarian as search engine
• Find a mechanism for librarians to serve on relevant faculty committees
• Need greater communication to the university community about what we do and our value
• Great publicity and marketing of librarians
 Personalize the librarians so we’re not just an institution
• Greater extension of the integration of IL into the general curriculum
• Investigate the adoption of the Management and law Library models of integrating/embedding librarian into other departments
• Encourage more transparency between librarians & administration and vice-verse
• Create a forum for non-LAUC library specialists (e.g. may be MLIS holders but position not in librarian series)
• LAUC should take a bigger role in reminding admin that we are here to advise them on services and policies--check in with us--we are the ones who work directly with users and want to provide assistance in making decisions
• Implement student fees for library services (address student-fee to library services)
• Education
• Information universe is increasing in complexity, not decreasing
 Continue professional training and development
• We need to keep updated with newest developments in searching, licensing, purchasing of information in all formats

Questions for Further Discussion
• Should we re-think our status and promote acquiring faculty status?
• Merging and changing of units and roles has created fewer opportunities for librarians to lead nationally and internationally--less subject specific areas--e.g., government docs, how can we reverse this?
• Collocation principle has slipped – do we even still value that? Libraries would say yes but how do we convey that?

Issue 2: Next-Gen Melvyl

• faceted searching; many international institutions are listing their materials; one place to search for information, books, journals, articles
• Only catalog that offers my library, UC libraries, OCLC libraries, all libraries
• Will be possible to see all in-process records
• Each campus may adapt default display
• federated search doesn't look for articles from all dbs we license

What are the most important pieces of advice that you would give to the designers of Next-Gen Melvyl?
• Implement an Authority Control for author listings
o Attend to the de-duping problem
• Implement Browse Headings Searches for authors & subjects (like our current OPAC)
• Change display from relevance to alphabetical by author name or subject heading
o Sort facet searching by author name or other reasonable way, not by # of records
• Provide guidance on how to search vernacular for materials published in non-Latin scripts
• Make smaller icons, so less scrolling needed
• If reporting locally, UCLA materials should be the default display
• Implement options for focused searches--Catalog only, Catalog + articles, Articles only
• Include RLF paging mechanism
• Include notice to users that it doesn't search all licensed databases
• Make it easier to find E-books:
• Add types of searches--
o search for specific item--e.g., Nature (journal)
o Call number
o better book series searching
o Searching: known item or subject – “start of” for titles, subjects, & keyword in subject
• Graphic design of records daunting--info spread out all over page; hard to figure out what sort of item you're looking at
• Ability to select items from search list to email, rather than have to go into record to email
• Option to display brief or detailed record
• Allow log-on users to do customize their displays

Thursday, May 20, 2010

UCSF Response to UC Commission on the Future

The Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC) is an official unit of the University charged with advising system-wide, campus, and library administration on the best course for the continued vitality of the University's libraries. More information about the purpose and history of LAUC is available here:

On behalf of the San Francisco Division of LAUC, I am writing to respond to the first round of recommendations posted by the Working Groups of the UC Commission on the Future. This is a follow-up to the statements made by librarians representing many LAUC divisions last fall, as representatives of the working groups visited individual campuses. Those statements stressed the importance of a vibrant library system for the continued vitality of UC.

Without a central place to access and utilize the fruits of UC's scholarly endeavors, the impact of UC's research efforts will be minimized. Furthermore, the next generation of leaders-today's students-will not excel without the benefit of a robust library system.

The working groups have put forth many ideas to ensure a brighter future for UC. This was an enormously difficult task accomplished within a short period of time. Of the recommendations offered, we would like to suggest two areas in which librarians could be valuable partners:

* Education and Curriculum Working Group: "Continue timely exploration of online instruction in the undergraduate curriculum, as well as in self-supporting graduate degrees and Extension programs." Many UC librarians today develop online instructional modules as supplements to individual consultations or classroom-based workshops. Given the plethora of online resources provided and managed by UC Libraries, in many cases today there is less need to visit physical libraries than previously. Librarians have responded by developing the capacity to interact with patrons within their own contexts, and this expertise would be useful as UC contemplates modes of online instruction.

* Research Strategies Working Group: "Create multicampus, interdisciplinary 'UC Grand Challenge Research Initiatives' to realize the enormous potential of UC’s ten campuses and three national laboratories on behalf of the state and the nation." This is a transformative, bold idea. Librarians can assist in developing the infrastructure to manage such a large project, from creating the digital repositories required to store the records of these investigations centrally to providing the skilled staff to manage them. One possible approach would be for the California Digital Library, which serves all 10 campuses, to distribute the results of these investigations on its eScholarship platform. This would maximize impact for the state and nation, and world, because eScholarship is an open platform available for viewing by all.

We offer these suggestions in a spirit of genuine collaboration and in recognition of the difficult days for UC that lie ahead.


Marcus Banks

LAUC-SF Chair, 2009-2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Library Barbecue

The issue is the viability of libraries and the question is: "As higher education confronts shortages in hungry times, will officials who previously viewed the library as a sacred cow think it's time for a barbecue?"

The answer according to Barbara Fister in an article in Library is: "Don't light the charcoal yet." Fister tested a number of provocative and alarmist statements about the future of libraries posted in TAIGA, a listserve for AUL's. These included: "Librarians who are not productive will be reassigned or fired." These were tested against the views of non-librarian university administrators and the conclusion is that administrators were more optimistic about the future of libraries than librarians themselves. Administrators cited the high use of libraries by faculty and staff; the importance of those with specialized knowledge to help research; the value of a physical space for diverse areas of the university to interact in the process of learning; and the vital importance of the library to the mission of the university and higher learning in general. Dan Greenstein of the UCs was cited as the only one surveyed who was a university administrator who also had a library background. His views which have provoked some controversy is that libraries will continue to thrive but mainly in the form of a single, mostly digitized repository. Campus libraries will be reduced to special collections for local holdings.

The message from administrators generally is not to despair but not to be complacent either. Administrators called on librarians to be more forceful in making their case for the value of libraries.

Fister, Barbara. "Critical Assets: Academic Libraries, a View from the Administration Building." Library (2010).

Campus Learning Spaces

A recent study at the University of Washington on qualities of optimal learning spaces invites some attention as that institution is comparable to many of the UC campuses. The study gathered data from a variety of sources including surveys, focus groups, and usage statistics of various kinds. The results seem to validate the notion of an information commons. Specifically, the recommendations were to maintain traditional general access computers while removing obstacles to the use of laptops. In particular, the study called for multiple, convenient recharging stations. The physical environment was also important with users calling for quiet, "comfy" chairs, and spaces for both individual and group study. The complete report can be viewed at:

UL's Corner: San Diego

In his keynote address at the Irvine Assembly on the future of librarianship at UC on May 6, Brian Schottlaender, UL at UC San Diego, discussed some issues that have appeared in our ongoing discussion. First, the indication is that the system is rapidly running out of physical space for its collection and for this reason as well as for increased efficiency, the trend is for shared repositories among libraries. A new entity is emerging called the "collective collection" which links together shared repositories. While offering some promise, the collectivization of materials raises numbers of significant questions about responsibility, decision-making and vast logistical problems that include matters of access and permanence. (One study suggests that exactly 11 copies of a document assure its permanence!) One example of the collective collection is the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST) composed of the UC as well as other major universities and extending to Canada.

Brian also discussed the profile of the future librarian. The qualities that have appeared in other discussions of this topic have now been amplified to an almost superhuman level of capability and diversity. The future librarian will be a generalist with multiple advanced credentials, versatile, self-motivated, a team player, possessed of good technological and communicative skills, comfortable with business models and adept at strategic and tactical thinking. These qualities have been distilled from a number of studies. The powerpoint slides from Brian's presentation can be viewed here:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Study of Information Seeking Behavior

OCLC researchers analyse and synthesise studies of digital information seekers

Library information provider OCLC Research has announced that its scientists, in partnership with JISC, have released a study titled 'The Digital
Information Seeker: Report of Findings >From Selected OCLC, RIN and JISC User Behaviour Projects'. The report seeks to analyse and synthesise 12 separate
studies to make it easier for information professionals to better understand information-seeking behaviours of library users. The study, authored by Dr.
Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Dr. Timothy J. Dickey, OCLC Research, was funded by JISC, and was presented during the JISC Annual Conference in London in

The report is here

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

UL's Corner: Merced

R. Bruce Miller, University Librarian

1. Reference
What constitutes reference services when all users ask Google and are satisfied with the results? Why would anyone go to the library for reference help? How can we become more involved in developing more sophisticated, semantic-based online access to scholarly information?

2. Library relationships with information providers
Some information providers exist in order to make a profit. Others are non-profit and seek only to cover expenses. Regardless of motivation, the costs are real. We are in a symbiotic relationship in which there is no gain in forcing a provider out of business and that is not sustainable if the library faces costs for which there the budget is insufficient. How can we ensure, for the information providers, that necessary business costs are met and that profits are commensurate with value received and, for the library, that allocated funds can be used for the greatest benefit for our users?

3. Personnel
Increased outsourcing and greater reliance on end-user self service reduces the need for library staff who do routine and repetitive tasks. Those who do work in the library must be highly capable and empowered professionals. How should we develop existing staff and librarians to better prepare them for increased professional responsibility?

4. Technology
Essentially all incoming freshmen own a laptop and most of them also have smart phones. Within a few years, all of our constituents will have mobile computing capabilities that enable full access to the resources of the library, any time and any place. In this context, what is the role of the library in providing technology?

5. Collections
The complete content for the bulk of our journal collections is effectively online. Within a few years, the majority of our monograph collections will also be online. Additionally, our users will have online access to large quantities of scholarly monographs not held within the UC Libraries via HathiTrust. With such ready access to this vast amount of materials, will users abandon use of information resources within the UC Library Collection that are not online? If yes, what should we do differently?

6. Buildings/Facilities
If all users have personal computers with ready access to the Internet and library services and information resources are available online 24/7, why will any users come to a library building?

7. Library campus roles
Librarians comprehend the issues that surround complete life-cycle curation for digital assets. What is the role of the library in working with faculty and students before, during, and after the creation of digital scholarly information resources?

8. Library networks
“Network” is a very broad term that could include OCLC, professional associations, consortia, and even individual professional relationships. One can make a case that the value of a network is directly correlated with provision of access to information resources. How can we weave together myriad information resources that reside in balkanized information systems so that the end user can easily seek information and still be reassured that their search has been thorough?

9. Organizational Cultures in libraries
See comment and question above in 3. Personnel.

UL's Corner: Irvine

The UC ULs and library directors have offered to share their thoughts on the nine topic areas that have defined out discussion of the future of librarians and libraries at UC, and the UL's Corner will post the contribution of the campuses as they come in. The LAUC Committee on Professional Governance would like to thank the ULs for their participation. This edition comes from Irvine thanks to:

Carol Ann Hughes, Associate University Librarian, Public Services

Deborah Stansbury Sunday, Associate University Librarian, Administrative Services

1. Reference - As statistics for reference desks drop and e-reference
grows, at what point should we stop drop-in reference desk assistance
and depend on electronic means?

2. Library relationships with information providers - How do we
demonstrate that their current pricing models are counterproductive in
terms of keeping us, their customers, able to control costs effectively?

3. Personnel - How do we build capacity across existing staff without
overburdening them?

4. Technology - To what extent/at what rate do libraries need to
incorporate social networking capabilities into our services in order to
maintain relevancy to our community of users?

5. Collections - How do we assure that we have the right amount and
kinds of space for both physical and electronic collections?

6. Buildings/Facilities - How can we best be persuasive in the campus
conversation about the scarcity of prime real estate on central campuses?

7. Library campus roles - How do we convey the "value proposition" of
libraries to faculty beyond that of a 'buying club' (which is their
growing perception of us according to the recent Ithaka report.)

8. Library networks - How do libraries leverage our membership in
multiple networks to get a satisfactory return on investment?

9. Organizational cultures in libraries - The culture of most internal
library functions is changing as the work changes, but at a difference
pace in different units. How can we best help staff develop
complementary goals and help them keep moving collaboratively across
units as these changes occur?

UC Irvine Libraries [LAUC-I] "Academic Librarians & Our Future"

Pauline Manaka

LAUC Irvine is hosting the semi-autonomous Southern California Regional Meeting of UC Librarians on Friday May 6, 2010, from 10:00a -3:00p. This is in order to continue the dialog on the future of academic libraries and library professionals. The planning of the event is led by Dana Peterman, LAUC-Irvine chair, and a supporting cast of Kristin Andrews, LAUC-I chair of the Academic Librarianship Committee and Becky Imamato, LAUC-I chair of the Program Committee. There has been a great deal of input and support by other members of LAUC-I, Bob Johnson, Mitchell Brown, and from the LAUC Committee on Professional Governance, myself and Matt Conner. For details, please refer to the website,

At the University level, two committees relating to the library, with membership of faculty, library staff and administrators were appointed. The library and the university have been working together to discuss planning for the future in general, but also to appointment an interim library director. A “Planning for the Future of Libraries” report was shared and discussed with library staff; and the appointment of an interim acting library director is due shortly.

Some of my thoughts about the future of academic libraries are influenced by a quote from Rene Descartes, “I think, therefore, I am”[1]. This reassures me that some of the changes ahead, are needed, and can be greatly influenced by the decisions that evolve from our communication, no matter how uncertain things might be right now. The reports generated from the November LAUC Northern California Assembly, the upcoming UC Irvine meeting and subsequent discussions will have a meaningful influence, only when we challenge ourselves accordingly! Whatever the outcome, change is inevitable, and we are better of working as a part of the change process! For those who will be attending the meeting on Friday at UCI please contact Dana Peterman if you wish to serve as a recorder for a discussion group. Please send Dana questions on this, if you need further information. Looking forward to seeing you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Acquiring - Roles for defining collections for research and tenure/promotion

Acquiring - covers acquisitions and Faculty Promotion and Tenure

Mitchell Brown, UC Irvine (

The promotion and tenure process for faculty still requires peer-reviewed and print book length material, which they (ironically) don't use in their assignments -

  • How do we justify their purchase with decreased use among the largest populations (i.e. undergraduates)?
  • This affects our collecting because it contradicts our ability to reduce our reliance on expensive subscriptions.
How will libraries go about acquiring unique materials, assuming a UC one copy project, in order to create a collection for the entire UC system that makes material available to all campuses? Two of the larger campuses, Los Angeles and Berkeley, have been the campuses of last resort for expensive research material. As a system UC must address the questions of how much duplication on campuses is too acceptable and how catalogs (campus OPACS, Next Generation Melvyl) serve as discovery tools. For decades, UC has encouraged the acquisition of duplicate materials. Next Generation Tech Services groups are changing the way we manage collections. The "CDL Shared Print Steering Task Force Findings and Recommendations Report to CDC" is an attempt to find ways to make similar changes to how UC collects materials and take current collaborative projects to new levels. Linda Vida commented from the UCB Spring Assembly (April 21, 2010) on how each campus has an engineering program, necessitating an engineering collection. Should the system cut programs to save money? Campus planning needs to consider library funding when adding new programs; the library should be at the table when decisions to add are made. The UC campuses must cooperate with each other whenever possible and learn to cooperate even further. Another viewpoint is that UC librarians have worked out many cooperative agreements in the UC system, with Stanford and other research libraries, and this report might make honoring the terms of those agreements difficult or impossible.

Other questions for consideration of joint collections raise questions of electronic books and free resources.
  • Is it time to have CDL negotiating consortial e-book licenses?
  • What will be the role of open access material in building library collections?

“We must take care not to embrace mediocrity but continue the tradition of excellence.”
Posted by Linda Vida.
UCB Spring Assembly Discussion Topics Wednesday, April 21, 2010