Friday, June 25, 2010

Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services: A report

As part of the reports in the "The Digital Information Seeker" collection produced by OCLC, this one offers a list of observations. Desktop computers are ubiquitous among library users. Users have high expectations for rapid retrieval and will not pursue a reference that is difficult to retrieve. Researchers place high value on electronic journals but little on other digital resources. Librarians and researchers interviewed placed a high value on libraries for the foreseeable future. Respondents also suggested a more distinctive brand for libraries within their institutions.

Consortium of University Research Libraries, and Research information Network: Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services: A report, Research Information Network and Consortium of University Research libraries (CURL), London, 2007.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Researchers and discovery services: Behavior, perceptions and needs

This is another in a series of studies by OCLC to investigate user behavior. The angle of this one is to compare users at the beginning of their professional careers who have grown up in a digital environment with more senior people who have had to make the transition in their careers. Overall, the report claims that the similarities between the two were more striking than the differences and separate profiles did not emerge. Among the highlights of the findings were that users tended to start with internet tools like Google and then fall back to more traditional resources. The major source of dissatisfaction with library resources was the difficulty of retrieval wherein desirable information was not available through subscriptions. There was some difference between the sciences and the humanities with the sciences showing a higher level of satisfaction with the resources available and a higher level of comfort with the digital world. While journal articles were the most popular resources with 99.5% mentioning it as their primary resource, monographs were also popular with 83% naming them as their primary resource. These percentages add up to more than 100%, so it's not clear how this is possible. The report concludes by saying that access was more of an important issue than discovery.

Research Information Nework: Researchers and discovery services: Behaviour, perceptions and needs, Research Information Network, London, 2006.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

After December There's Always May

This phrase was attributed to an anonymous German soldier at Stalingrad.... In the case of UC librarians, it relates to the May Revise of the state of California's budget. Coming off a year of budget struggles and cost-cutting measures, one of the major signposts for the budgetary future is the governor's May Revise to his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. This was favorable to UC although it was to be subjected to negotiation and revision by legislators. Nevertheless, a favorable May Revise was necessary since if the governor did not support higher education, it is unlikely that the legislators with their various constituencies would support it instead.

In the event, not only has the governor produced a favorable May Revise built around eliminating a one-time $350 million reduction to the UC budget from last year, but legislators have not opposed the governor's commitment to higher education. UCOP apparently feels confident enough to release a YouTube video featuring President Mark Yudof explaining the favorable aspects of next year's budget and encouraging more advocacy for the UCs by university staff to their legislators.

The YouTube video is here:

Have we really made it through the worst of the crisis? The irrepressible YouTube comments offer some skepticism about the president's announcement. The comments may all be true, however, it is still difficult to construe the announcement as bad news.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sense-making the information confluence

This puzzling title in a series of studies by OCLC on user behavior asks questions similar to those of a recent UC Davis focus group on reference service. Most of the answers to the questions were fairly predictable or as the study puts it, "contextually based." In seeking for information, faculty, graduate students and undergraduates all consulted their peers and made use of library and information resources with a somewhat greater tendency to consult peers at a higher level of professionalism. All groups expressed satisfaction with the internet (read Google) and the library although the library came in for complaints for difficulty in retrieving information--as opposed to finding it. The recommendation from those surveyed was to improve the library resources by making them more like Google.

Dervin, B., Reinhard, C. D., Kerr, Z. Y., Song, M., and She, F. C.: Sense-making the information confluence: The whys and hows of college and university user satisficing of information needs. Phase II: Sense-making online survey and phone interview study, Institute of Museum and Library Services School of Communication, Washington D.C. Columbus, OH, 2006.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Must Study....

We now see a second instance in what may be a trend of students responding to the UC budget crisis and reduced library services by making a demonstration about the library as place. In February, 2010, UCDavis students protested university budget reductions with a weekend sleepover in which they remained in the library from Friday until Sunday afternoon. Now, the L.A. Times reports that since June 1, Cal State L.A. students have been running a "People's Library" by setting up in front of the library doors when they close at 8pm and continuing through midnight.

Initially, the idea posed safety concerns and maintenance tried to drive away the students by shutting of their electricity. But as a result of discussions, the use of electric cords and other safety issues have been worked out, and the People's Library thrives. Organizers say they are surprised at the large turnouts on cold nights. Participants cite the need for electric power and quiet for study that are not available elsewhere for them. The library administration expressed sympathy but claimed that if the library were to extend its hours to accommodate students, services would have to be cut some other way to meet budget goals.

This protest and the similar one at UC Davis speak to the campus roles of libraries and seem to roll back attempts to minimize the importance of the library building as a part of its services.

Rivera, Carl. "Cal State L.A .Students Want to Study Past 8 Pm." Los Angeles Times 2010.,0,1873030.story

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Meltdown Librarianship

Here at UCR we are concerned with critical dimensions relating to the future of UC libraries not yet specifically addressed in this conversation. We will discuss two in this post, and others in the future:

* the global economic melt-down and what this will mean to us;

* why management should empower its librarian experts;

Our feeling is that coming to terms with the first and working towards the second will be crucial in moving forward effectively.

I. The Global Context

The global economic meltdown, and its local avatar the meltdown in California, has already had dire effects on the public sector. Its coffers are rapidly being drained. This has resulted in drastic cuts to public education at all levels. We in the UCs are painfully aware of this. The chances of a turnaround in the funding of the public sector any time soon are slim to none.

For the foreseeable future we will all be asked to do a LOT more with a LOT less.

What does this mean going forward? Specifically:

• Fiscal crisis means that centralization and consolidation of services both within and among UC libraries and CDL will be increasingly and quickly catalyzed on all levels. The Shared Print Initiative and Next Generation Technical Services are new projects taking a system-wide, consolidated approach.

• Similarly, competition among the campuses will need to stop. Campuses can no longer operate as separate fiefdoms. We can’t afford not to change the way we think. If we don’t realize much more substantial cooperation, many of our libraries will cease to function. Given the backdrop of the meltdown, it must be understood that vast savings could be realized if more meaningful system-wide cooperation and consolidation occurred in, for example, systems development, content acquisition efforts, bibliographic instruction development, and management roles -- much of which is replicated on each campus, largely redundant, and which would be much more effective if properly consolidated.

• The relationship between CDL and the campuses will need to be fine-tuned so that decision-making can be more clearly collective. Uncoordinated and redundant efforts in expensive systems development (NextGen vs. the III OPACs), for example, is wasteful, hugely expensive and will need to stop.

All of this means that re-training and development of new skill sets, a result of consolidation and centralization as well as keeping up with new technological capabilities and the evolution of our patrons into them, will have to occur at a level we have not seen before if we are to stay afloat, much less retain relevance to the scholarly and educational mission. Many of us will be doing new things. While change is hard, it can be managed, if properly done.

LAUC must play a role in order to ensure the best possible outcome - and the time to start is now.

II. Flattening UC Library Management

In order for our libraries to transmute less into more, becoming nimbler, smarter, and more effective in the process, we believe that management will need to become flatter, more transparent, more capable of taking calculated risks, more cooperative with other libraries and CDL, and generally better able to empower library/librarian expertise at all levels.

Why flatten the management structure so that all librarians are empowered?

Because we have the experience and the expertise. Because two heads are better than one. Because problems arise in an instant, and solutions will have to be devised and implemented in real time.

LAUC should help re-think UC Library management so it can become more effective by taking input from all levels of library management and staff, and consulting outside experts as proves valuable, in order to develop new, more effective and empowering modes and models. We are not the only major library system facing these challenges. That doesn’t mean we should sit back and wait for others to solve our problems.

UCR definitely has more to say. But we know that lengthy blog posts turn people off.

We leave you with this -- More than ever before, it is highly recommended that LAUC cohere, now, as the substantial advisory body it was meant to be; that it begin to take risks on the level of the challenges affecting us; that it address sensitive, core issues systematically; and, that it make substantial contributions towards developing sensible models of the future for UC libraries and librarians. It is important to note that it is within LAUC’s purview to advise not only ULs but Provosts, Chancellors and Regents as well. LAUC has a critical and unique perspective, and it is uniquely positioned to be a major contributor in the dialogue on UC Library futures. Lets rise to the occasion.

Heidi Hutchinson, Steve Mitchell, John Bloomberg-Rissman

Saturday, June 12, 2010

No More Mr. Nice Guy

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that in the face of a 400% price increase by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG), the University of California has refused to accept the offer and without renegotiation may initiate drastic action including the suspension of subscriptions to all 67 journals, including Nature, published by the NPG. Furthermore, the California Digital Library (CDL) will initiate a boycott by UC faculty of publishing in any of those journals. UC faculty have a strong record consisting of thousands of articles contributed to the journals under discussion. With one of the largest journal publishers squaring off against the largest university system in the country, the case is seen as an important test of leverage in forming relationships between libraries and universities and information providers.

Howard, Jennifer. "UC Tries Just Saying No to Rising Journal Costs." The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12 2010.

Friday, June 11, 2010

WorldCat Local at the University of California: Usability Testing: Round Two, Fall 2009

As the name suggests, this report documents usability testing by NGMTS on WorldCat Local. The material is extremely detailed about moving a particular button here or there. Generally, one gets the impression that NGMTS is indeed addressing the issues of accessibility of electronic materials which loom large in library literature. The report itself states: "The most significant finding is that access to electronic resources is very substantially improved compared to our first round of Next Generation Melvyl Pilot tests, due largely to analysis and recommendations provided by UC about the priority of links."

Arcolio, Arnold, and Sara Davidson. Worldcat Local at the University of California: Usability Testing: Round Two, Fall 2009, 2010.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ghostlier Demarcations: Large-Scale Text Digitization Projects and Their Utility for Contemporary Humanities Scholarship

This report takes a closer look at the prospects for "digital humanities," a catchphrase embracing the potential for digitization to influence a large fraction of academic disciplines. In essence the promise of digitization lies in the electronic reproduction of full-texts that allows rapid access, searching, and combining of data. With language as its object of study, the humanities can benefit enormously from digital technologies that can speed up the analysis of language.

The study shows that the promise of digitization in theory is butting up against a number of barriers. Some are technological. Among the digitized collections in existence, it is easier to find works prior to 1923 than afterwards because of copyright conditions. There are problems with the quality of scanning stemming from the limitations of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Many documents are available in snippets. Collections do not overlap as much as one might suspect. In addition, there are financial restrictions on libraries. However promising the technology might be in future, there is insufficient funding available now to address the limits of digitization. It further appears that there are deeply ingrained cultural patterns in humanities research based in the use of print resources. For these reasons, the report, for the foreseeable future sees a mixture of print and electronic resources instead of a wholesale conversion to digitization.

Henry, Charles, and Kathlin Smith. Ghostlier Demarcations: Large-Scale Text Digitization Projects and Their Utility for Contemporary Humanities Scholarship. Washington D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2010.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On the Cost of Keeping a Book

This article purports to respond to the claimed objection of many librarians to the cost of storing digital materials. The article proposes instead that the cost of a print collection is much larger than supposed and furnishes an argument in those terms for a migration to digital materials.

The method used in the paper is reminiscent of a professor I had in library school who stated that after years of work in the profession she had determined that administration was the place to be because this unit made things happen. It did so by having command of the budget, and the way to use a budget most effectively, she said, was to figure out how to price everything. If it moved it had a cost; if it didn't move it also had a cost. In reviewing costs for a print collection, the report makes the point that is becoming commonplace in discussions of collections that preservation (low cost) through high density storage is inversely related to access. If you preserve something, it is cheaper but less available. Should you decide to circulate an item in remote storage, the cost is greater than if the item had been kept in a collection. So a gray area of expense is figuring out some means of determining the circulation of items so as to store them appropriately. Incidentally, Brian Schottlaender, UL at San Diego, addressing the Irvine assembly, cited one study that claimed that having 11 print copies of an item in existence was the optimum number for balancing accessibility and permanence....

The report goes over costs of maintenance, cleaning of facilities, and staff as a function of facility size. There are also involved financial calculations such as the claim that an item that costs $3.00 per year to store in current dollars, costs $100 to store in perpetuity because of current federal interest rates.... The various calculations require a better head than mine to understand in the time frame available. As a subjective impression, the discussion has the same glib erudition one sees in videos of various executives hauled before the public to explain why their management was way off base and their assumptions dead wrong. However, the citations of various studies in support appears to be in order. It's a substantial document worthy of consideration.

Courant, Paul N., and Matthew "Buzzy" Nielsen. "On the Cost of Keeping a Book." Washington D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2010.

Can a New Research Library Be All-Digital?

In an introductory piece to the collection containing this article, Charles Henry, president of the Council on Library and Information Resources, adopts a stratospheric perspective on the historical development of information. Citing the work of Stephen Toulmin, Henry proposes that we are at moment of critical change from an information ideal of Platonic abstractions that arose at the dawn of the Western intellectual tradition, to a new age in which information is dependent on circumstances and contingencies.

With this as its starting point, the article in question takes digitized information as one species of the new trends and explores its viability by speculating on whether an all-digital library would be possible now. The study that unfolds is a collection-centered evaluation of library services in the future. In terms of collection building, there is a critical divide between books and articles. Articles are, to a large extent already, in digital form already, and there is no reason why they should not transfer almost entirely into that format. Indeed, ease of retrieval through multiple interfaces, windows, and steps in the current SFX technology is a problem that has perhaps not been fully addressed by librarians--certainly not in our discussion. Yet, there is no reason to think that technological fixes for these problems will be available in short order. Books are much more intractable. Currently, the e-book technology has proven unattractive for numbers of independent reasons. These include the fact that publishers do not make them available through interlibrary loan, thus making them much less accessible than print now. The technology of readers of e-books is limited with many problems adapting to various kinds of formats. Readers are currently expensive and lack features for annotating text which many patrons want. A much cited study at Princeton University found e-books unpopular for these reasons. Supposing that these immediate technological problems could be solved, readers do not allow the same ease of sustained reading as print books, nor the ability to have multiple books open simultaneously, nor the capacity to scan. There are also cultural barriers from faculty who are attached to printed books and librarians who are unable to adapt their workflows and practices to processing e-books.

A concern that embraces all forms of digital information is their permanence, an issue that is central to the identity of libraries which, from their inception, were regarded as repositories of information. Supposing that books could be transferred into digital form, how can their permanence be guaranteed? Access is as uncertain as the duration of contracts until ultimately lies with the information provider. The material durability of the new form of information is unknown as well as that of the reading technology.

The access and cost of digital information has formed a significant tension between information providers on the one hand who wish to maximize their profits and libraries on the other which wish to maximize use (at minimal cost). The drive to resist the demands of information providers is one force behind the organization of libraries into consortia who can demand prices for journal subscriptions as well as e-books.

Questions of cost and accessibility have also promoted an uneasy and nascent relationship between faculty and librarians. Faculty, under continual pressure to publish have found the opportunity diminishing as peer-reviewed print journals get more selective (as a result of having their market share squeezed out by digitized information). Digital information does not yet have the same authority in the academy. In theory, the opportunity exists for universities and librarians to circumvent information providers by self-publishing in digital or print form. Yet, there are barriers to this too. On the faculty side, there is a resistance to any outside element involving itself in the practice of scholarship and questions of authority. On the library side, the technology, expertise and organization do not yet exist for digital publishing.

In terms of building design, a digital collection implies that library space will be much reduced. There is simply no reason for the extensive space required by a physical collection with the significant cost of upkeep.

The reduction of physical space implies a reduction in personnel. The paper sees the public services staff significantly reduced and fused with technical specialists who will be able to present digitized information in new ways and make it more accessible to users. The outlook for technical services is more grim. The centralized cataloging and metadata services established and a lowered standard of "good enough" adopted, there will be no place for technical services as we know it.

A digitized collection also has implications for patrons. The sciences are seen to be much more advanced in the use of digital information than the humanities which are characterized as being "on the same trajectory" but not as far along. For one reason, the humanities, practically and philosophically, are much more attached to books for which digitization is currently more difficult. This difference between academic areas is readily apparent to any teacher of EndNote, a bibliographic manager, for whom the students are overwhelmingly from the sciences. Could it be that the near future of librarianship will lie with the humanities?

The paper closes with a review of case studies featuring California's own UC Merced and Cal State Channel Islands campuses.

The prospects held out by the paper are not reassuring, at least not from the vantage point of stability. But they are not without a silver lining. Clearly librarianship is located at a nexus of great need by many inter-dependent constituencies. Information providers, for all their exasperating prices need librarians to disseminate information. Librarians need digitization in the face of shrinking budgets. Researchers need information. Nobody is in charge of the landscape that is opening up under these conditions. However, one constraint of the interesting times in which we live is that a passive attitude is not an option. If librarians do not take steps to determine their fate, some other interested party will do it for them. As the saying goes, "Power goes to those who know what they want." And it is only by much greater organization and unity that librarians will gain the self-awareness to find the goals they want and develop a machinery for reaching them.

Spiro, Lisa, and Geneva Henry. "Can a New Research Library Be All-Digital?". Washington D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2010.

Monday, June 7, 2010

NGTS Phase One Team Reports

Lo and behold. In thinking about the future of the UC libraries in all their ramifications, one finds that much of this work is already being done. And it is a part of the work of streamlining and coordinating the system we work in to make ourselves aware of these initiatives and avoid duplicating them. Specifically, it is worthwhile on the blog to report on the progress of Next Generation Technical Services (NGTS), a project so large that it is easy for an individual librarian to perceive it as "present everywhere and visible nowhere." So a few words on the purpose of NGTS and its progress to date are in order.

NGTS describes its goal as: "[transforming] the technical services processes that acquire, describe, and preserve the wide variety of information resource types in the UC collections." This charge embraces approximately our discussion areas (2) Information Providers (5) Collections (6) Library Networks. Some more specific goals for NGTS out of a long list include:

-Speed processing throughout all technical services functions

-View technical serves as a single system-wide enterprise

-Define success in terms of user's ability to easily find relevant content

The point about ease of user accessibility is one that has loomed large in the literature and has not received a great deal of attention from our discussion thus far.

The NGTS effort which remains in the early stages is organized in a complicated structure of various areas and task forces. As of February 16, 2010, NGTS issued its "Phase One" reports consisting of summaries of the "environmental scans" conducted by its task forces. This material has issued in four recommendations.

Recommendation 1: Develop a financial infrastructure that facilitates intercampus business transactions in support of collaborative and systemwide processes and purchases.

This is acknowledged as the "major barrier" to moving ahead. Currently another task force to pursue this problem is being formed out of various stakeholders.

Recommendation 2: Develop an operational infrastructure and technical services that can function at an enterprise level in support of efficient, non-redundant, and collaborative collections services.

All-important here is the sense of "enterprise level" which the report itself describes as "the most important aspect of this recommendation." Regrettably, the sense of this term is not entirely clear from the report. It appears to be defined in opposition to both "isolated and overly explicit actions" by individual campuses and "systemwide ILS" which would not furnish the "optimum response." Enterprise level operations appear to refer to a kind of middle ground or idealized situation of thinking globally and acting locally. As the report puts it, "enterprise level technical services systems that share a common database that would enable greater efficiency and effectiveness." The sense of the term "enterprise" further suggests a kind of initiative and creativity at the local level. To pursue this, another task force is being charged to study various scenarios.

Recommendation 3: Redefine baseline information access for materials in non-Roman languages, special collections, archives, and digital formats with the focus on end user needs and effective and efficient processes. Propose new modes for organizing and providing access to these materials. Focus on outcomes that provide access to materials thtat are currently in cataloging backlogs.

The report claims that a standard of "good enough" is adequate for the availability of non-Roman materials which now constitute a large backlog of collections--presumably because of the difficulty in translating them. To this end, the report suggests new, more streamlined bibliographic descriptions that will take less time to process. A task group is being formed to study this matter.

Recommendation 4: Coordinate NGTS activities with the work of SOPAG and the Collections Development Committee in developing strategies for re-visioning collection development for the 21st century. Ensure that all forms of digital materials are included.

NGTS recognizes the need to avoid duplication! Accordingly, NGTS defers collection development policy to the Collections Development Committee (CDC). NGTS's specific role will involve "redefining, acquisitions, descriptions, and preservation policies and workflows." In other words processing the materials that the CDC decides to collect. As its action item, NGTS proposes to monitor the CDC and contribute where appropriate.

Next Generation Technical Services. 21st Century Emerging Resources: University of California, 2010. /uls/ngts/docs/Emerging_0310.pdf

NGTS Executive Team. Next Generation Technical Services - Next Steps: University of California, 2010.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Social Networking Arrives

Both UC Berkeley and UCSF have launched programs for accessing their websites from small mobile devices to increase accessibility to their collections. UCSF offers a range of capabilities for patrons accessing remotely. UC Berkeley allows patrons to search the library catalog with their cell phones and copy citations directly into the phones. More about each program can be found here:


UC Berkeley

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

UC Merced: Discussion of the Future

When LAUC Merced met in April 2010, we had a great discussion on the future of libraries. As builders and managers of the first research library since the dawn of the information age, we believe UC Merced librarians bring an interesting perspective to any discussion on this topic. We are a library of the future. In fact, our library motto is, Not what other research libraries are, what they will be. What makes us a library of the future?

When the founding librarians at UC Merced drew up plans for the library, they seized the opportunity to design a building and an organization that could take full advantage of modern technologies and systems. From the outset, they knew that they could not afford to build a new library based on old traditions. Were they nostaligic about the reference desk that would never be? Were they wistful, knowing that the print monograph collection would never equal that of UC Berkeley or UCLA? No matter the answers to those questions - they didn't have a choice because the budget wouldn't allow for these luxuries.

To illustrate -- Imagine that you are shopping for a house. You are drawn to a charming bungalow that reminds you of the one you grew up in. It has a mature landscape and a mailman who delivers letters to a slot by the front door. Yes, the place has character. You feel at home there. It's comfortable. But can you afford to live in a house with ancient wiring, roots in the plumbing and vintage insulation?

Your other option is to build the home of your dreams. You have complete freedom of design, but a limited budget. You face many difficult decisions. What is essential? What can you live without? How does your modern lifestyle influence your design decisions? Will your design scale when your household grows? And can you live with the fact that the trees won't provide shade for a few years and that the mail will be delivered to a community box halfway up the street?

While building a library of the future from scratch may be easier than remodeling an existing one, in each case, it requires an acceptance of giving up some things to get other things. For example, at UC Merced, librarians knew from the outset that they could not afford to staff a reference desk. Abandoning the traditional model, UC Merced relies on well trained student assistants and paraprofessionals at the services desk, chat reference, and research consultation appointments with librarians to provide quality reference. We have collected data from our campus that supports user satisfaction with chat reference. This assessment, as well as system wide data suggesting that 24/7 chat is becoming one of UC's busiest reference points gives us confidence that we are on the right track, and serving our community well. We acknowledge that there will be some not served without a reference desk. The new model is not perfect, but it is good enough and it is mandated by fiscal realities.

Our library is futuristic in that more than 85% of our books are electronic. There has been a steady march to the use and acceptance of ebooks in academic libraries despite the imperfections of the platform. Why? The advantages of electronic access are obvious, but there is also the reality that libraries are running out of room. The SOPAG Task Force on UC Libraries Collections Space Planning Report makes it clear that we must reduce the system wide growth rate of print collections. Ebooks are part of the solution to this critical space issue. We recognize that not everyone will be well-served by ebooks. But given the environment, we opt for ebooks because this platform will provide information to most of our users most of the time. Ebooks will continue to evolve and improve only if we are willing to use them and create a market that will encourage publishers to adopt Springer-like usability features. Ebooks are not perfect, but they are good enough and getting better.

Our library is only five years old and our shelves half empty, but we share system wide concerns about space. We enthusiastically support initiatives to eliminate duplication in the UC collection and to develop models that will allow shared print acquisitions and the management of shared collections. UC Merced fully embraces and operates on the concept of one University of California Library Collection. Yes, we rely on our sister campuses to fill in the gaps of our young library, but we also make a significant contribution to the shared UC collection. In fact, for every ten books we borrow from other campuses, we loan seven. Surprised? In what can only be characterized as collection development of the future, Jim Dooley, aka the collection department, uses YPB and faculty requests to develop a highly relevant print collection that actually circulates. Much of Jim's success can be attributed to early faculty buy-in of the collection model and the library/faculty relationships cultivated in the ensuing years since the opening of the campus. Our collection model required that we give up the tradition of highly specialized collecting by subject bibliographers. We recognize that it is not perfect, but it is good enough and we believe that it will work on other campuses in the UC system.

The collection development model at UC Merced is a great example of our organizational philosophy which suggests that librarians should be managers who spend their time working on projects and innovations that have a big payoff. Librarians of the future don't have time to do repetitive tasks, i.e. most collection development which can be outsourced, and most reference desk questions which can be handled by other staff. The skill set of librarians must evolve with the current demands of the library environment. That means that librarians must be continually willing to master new technologies, develop new work flows and learn skills related to project management. The organizational culture at UC Merced supports this philosophy by investing in the professional development of librarians who are expected to manage and lead.

When we speak about the innovative practices of our library it's not unusual for our UC colleagues to listen politely and then dismiss what we're doing, suggesting that it would never work in a bigger library. With all due respect, we disagree. While we expect to add more librarians and staff as our campus grows, we do not expect significant changes to our model. We understand that it was much easier for us to build a library of the future from scratch than it would be to retrofit an existing library structure or organization. But perhaps our model can be useful to other campuses as they move forward and make difficult decisions about what they are willing to give up to become libraries of the future. We welcome your questions and comments.

Lightning Tech Talks

The LAUCD Program Committee at UC Davis recently held a program (5/28) of Lightning Tech Talks to highlight new technologies among librarians. The format, allowing 5 minutes for each presentation and questions, was based on the recent trend in conferences for "Pecha Kucha" a Japanese term translated literally as "chit-chat." It is designed to cut through padding and present information rapidly and informally. Less indeed proved to be more as the hour designated for the event was filled to bursting with presentations and questions. In light of the professional calls for social networking and other forms of communication technology, it was interesting to view the tools used by librarians. As a general observation, it appeared that librarians are indeed active and innovative in their use of technology. Tools included a use of Google Forms as a spreadsheet; innovative uses of twitter; tools for arranging and holding meetings over distances, time zones, and language barriers; debugging tools for web pages; cataloging tools and more. A link to the event is provided below. However, much of it had to do with professional work and communication between other professionals, a breakout technology to interact with the vast activity of social networking among students and patrons did not appear and has yet to be found.

A wiki page for the event can be found at: