Sunday, January 21, 2007

ALA Midwinter Meeting - 4 OCLC Connexion User's Group Meeting

OCLC Connexion is a cataloging tool used to create bibliographic catalog records in the OCLC database that underlies WorldCat and several other OCLC products so this post will probably only be of interest to catalogers or those interested in cataloging.

David Whitehair from OCLC was the first presenter and the first topic of discussion was recent changes to Connexion. He began with enhancements that are available to users of both the client version and the web version:
  • WorldCat records now include both 13 digit and 10 digit ISBNs.
  • When the database hits 100,000,000 records (which will happen quite soon, go to to watch the progress) since a record is added about every 7 seconds. They've upgraded the system to accommodate the additional digits required by this growth.
  • Bibliographic Formats and Standards has been upgraded to reflect MARC Update changes.
  • Since OCLC merged with RLG loading of records from the RLG Union Catalog are being loaded into WorldCat; the load is in progress (there are about 50 million records in all) and about 15% of them are records that represent items new to WorldCat.
There are several changes that are available only to users of version 1.70 of both the Connexion Client and the browser:
  • the ability to extract metadata from MP3 files
  • the ability to view superseded version of LC name and subject authority records (read only)
Other enhancements include:
  • guided entry for archival materials provides guidance for the entry of fields 541 and 583
  • the 035 field includes the OCLC control number
  • a link has been added that allows you to link to a library catalog to view the patron view of a record
For Connexion Client 1.70 users only:
  • version 1.60 will be discontinued April 2007
  • this version won't work with Windows Vista
  • it includes a new quick search box at the top of the screen
  • they've added a quick tools drop down box to quickly enter common strings of text (now one no longer has to create a macro that is tied to a particular key or combination of keys in order to enter a common string of text)
  • they've added scripts for cataloging in foreign languages (Bengali and Devanagari are the most recent language scripts added, scripts for other non-latin languages already in place include Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Tamil, and Thai)
[There was a discussion at this point about whether or not 'non-latin' and 'non-roman' were synonymous. No consensus was reached...catalogers are so funny!]

Then he covered OCLC enhancements that aren't strictly Connexion enhancements:
  • OCLC Terminologies Services (see for a tutorial)
  • user statistics are available for no additional charge
  • they've also made some enhancements to CatExpress (a simple cataloging tooused most often in small public libraries and school libraries), see
  • z39.50 catalogers now have access to the authority file and non-latin scripts
  • OCLC e-serials holdings service was debuted.
    • they'll take a file from Serials Solutions, TDNet, or Ebsco and set and maintain title level holdings (these features are free of charge), this would be useful if you're using OCLC's collection development tools
    • coming soon is an option to receive MARC records for your e-holdings (however, there will be a charge for this service)
  • WorldCat Selection is a new service that OCLC created for acquisitions staff that alerts selectors and enables them to download MARC records for recent purchases
He went on to discuss some future enhancements that are in the works including Connexion Client 2.0.

There's a new MARC update coming in 2007 as well.

Their Content Cooperative Pilot project continues, see for more info.

They've also partnered with several book jobbers (Baker & Taylor, YBP, Majors) to create a service that will deliver MARC records customized to your library for newly purchased items.

Geoffrey Skinner from Sonoma State University presented on "Interactive Searching in Connexion" in which he spoke about how they use OCLC's batch load process to upgrade brief bib records.

Sonoma State is an Innovative Library using their ERM module. It's been 1 1/2 years since they brought up ERM and updated their holdings so they were faced with a large number of brief records. The process included (1) downloading data from brief serial records containing e-issns, (2) creating a local Connexion file into which to upload the records, (3) review error report and decide whether to correct the records that failed to loads in the text files by hand, (4) upload the corrected records.

He describes it as an iterative process that ultimately results in local records that include appropriate access points including subject headings and more complete holdings records in WorldCat.

[To me this sounds like a tremendously time consuming project that would consume a great deal of staff time. But I tend to question the benefit of including e-resource records in the local catalog anyway since we use a number of mechanisms for locating journals including a link resolver and an a-to-z list. In addition, at my library we've recently reviewed our e-resources contracts to decide which vendors/publishers allow or disallow use of articles in their collections for things like ILL, e-reserves, and inclusion in course-packs and course delivery software. Many do but some do not and, for those who do not, I'm not quite sure I see the benefit of maintaining precise holdings in WorldCat. Especially given the dearth of more high priority projects. If anyone sees some benefit that I haven't I'd be interested in hearing from you.]

Saturday, January 20, 2007

ALA Midwinter Meeting - 2 Tales, Tips, and Tools: Google in your Library

Tales, Tips, and Tools: Google in your Library

Ben Brunnel (Library Partnerships Manager)

“To organize the world’s information and make if universally accessible and useful” is Google’s mission and has been since 1980.

The idea is to have Google be accessible to anyone with an internet connection whether it’s on a computer, a cell phone, etc.

Advanced Search

The average user never select advanced search. But, you can use search operators in the regular search box. For instance us “~” to search for similar words and use link: [url] to find out how many sites link to the [url].

Type “weather 78412” to get the weather. Type “13 euros in usd” for currency conversion. Works with all kinds of conversions. Go to to see them all.

Select “Language Tools” link on the main search page to use their language translator; you can copy and paste text to be translated. You can also translate entire web pages. for the poster mentioned above. And don’t forget the Google Librarian Newsletter.

Google Co-op

There’s a section at the top of a search page that allows you to “refine” a search. The co-op part comes in when they opened up the assigning of categories of refinement to a webpage. The categories are fairly limited at this point (only six). Create your own search engine. is an example of such a search engine. Go to Google Co-op, sign up, give your search site a name, invite people to contribute if you want to, then copy and paste the code they give you into your page. And if you don’t have your own site to paste code to, you can create your own in Google. The idea is that you select the sites that are searched. More info at the and join the mailing list (Google Groups). Also

Google Book Search (

Is Google’s attempt to make books as easy to search and find as other web content. The difference between book search and web search is the results, which differ depending on where they got the book. Some come from partnerships with publishers who have allowed Google to digitize their books and index every word and page and make the index available online. The others come from libraries with whom Google has also partnered including NYPL, Harvard, Ohio State, U of Wisc, Univ of California, UVA, Univ of Texas’s Spanish language collection (announced yesterday), and a couple of Spanish universities. [He showed us the graphic for a number of Google book search sites in other languages, interesting that the word “Google” seems to be the same in all languages]

Includes FT of books in the public domain (20%), no full text (allowing usually about 20% of their pages but some are moving towards making more available) but indexing for books in print (5%), the other 75% are in the gray area in between where finding the book itself is sometimes as difficult as finding out who owns the copyright. FT includes any handwritten notes that exist in the copy of the book that is digitized.

Public domain books are available for download. They also provide links to find the book (e.g. booksellers including OP titles/vendors) and a link to the WorldCat public version that you’ve used which will tell users which libraries the book is available at.

Note that even if all of the pages of a book aren’t available to view, all of the pages in the book ARE indexed and include links to purchase the book or find it in the library.

Books where they’re not sure about the copyright are made available by proxy via an “about the book” page that includes three snippets (never more), links to purchase and find the book, and additional info about the book (including references to the book). There’s an “about the book” page for all books in Google.

You can search library catalogs using the advanced search page in Google book search. It generally searches the national union catalog of the country you’re in (e.g. WorldCat).

They’ve also created “collection” sites like (they call them microsites) and banned books for banned book week, and scary books for Halloween at Someone asked if there is a list of collection sites and the answer was that there might be, he wasn’t sure.

You can also get a Google book search search box/button for your own site at the book search site at the about site.

For more info go to

[This kind of goes with the expansion of libraries that they talked about this morning in the social networking session this morning]

Google Scholar

It’s not a database. It’s an algorithmic full-text search of scholarly materials online.

Includes cited and cited by counts with links. Displays links, citations to as many versions/iterations of an article as they have indexed. You can add a link to your library. They recognized that ranking by number of hits doesn’t allow good access to new article that haven’t been cited a lot yet so they added a link to ‘recently published’ works. Click on “preferences” next to the search box where you can set preferences to download to your favorite citation manager (RefWorks, EndNote, others). ScholarSFX is a free link resolver designed exclusively for GoogleScholar [but you should probably use your version of SFX}. Blackboard course delivery has incorporated Google Scholar. Add a search box to your web page in the same way he told us to add a link to Google Book Search.

Quote from the creator of Google Scholar: “it’s better to be frustrated than ignorant” (given as the reason that they index citations as well as full text articles).

Interesting note: the idea that sparked their page ranking was that if you could digitize and link all of the books in the world by citations you could get a pretty good idea of what the most popular books are. {I have a little problem with this, the same problem that makes citation a difficult and possibly less useful proxy for popularity or authority].

Each section concluded with a couple of success stories from librarians who had posted them on the Google librarian center (where you can also get posters and help sheets on Google Scholar).

Google Earth

It’s an application you download to your desktop that is linked to an enormous database of satellite images of practically the whole world. The ideas isn’t just to find pictures of places but also to find information about those places so Google added “layers” to the earth application. There’s a places layer that allows you to bookmark you favorite places. There’s also other layers that you can customize the information that you get. He showed us an image of Mt. St. Helens and then added a layer that displayed the positions of earthquakes and volcanoes. They’ve partnered with National Geographic to allow them to add icons that link to NG articles written about the places you’re “visiting” on GE. Another layer places country flag icons on your map which link to the CIA World Factbook data on that country. The European Space Agency, Discovery Networks are other layers available. is another section of their website that librarians might find useful and informative.

He said what’s great about Google earth is that you can spend hours and hours visiting new places and when you’re done you don’t feel as if you’ve been wasting time, you feel like you’ve learned something and it was fun…another reminder of this morning’s session about social networking.

ALA Midwinter Meeting - 3 ACRL/SPARC Forum on Public Access

SPARC is the acronym for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. The forum is on public access and features a panel presentation and discussion. By "Public Access" I assumed that they were talking about open access.

[I arrived late to the session and missed the first speaker's presentation]

Carl T. Bergstrom, Dept. of Biology at the University of Washington spoke about "Fostering a Culture of Open Access"

Benefits to academics of open access: Authors attain a broader distribution of their work which, in turn, will bring them higher citation rates, global accessibility and make their work available beyond academia. Readers attain instant access to what one wants to read as well as accessibility via a very power search and indexing. He also cited the economic benefits of OA to publishers in a subscription model, to publishers (and readers) in the author pays model.

He posed the question do authors self-archive their publications? He described a study of the top ten economics journals that seemed to indicate that in most cases (9 of 10) one could find the articles published in them freely available on the Internet. In the field of physics, about 95% of articles published in the top journals are freely available on the Internet. But in political science and evolutionary biology the percentages are strikingly lower. He hypothesized that the difference between fields is differences in the publishing and information sharing cultures of each discipline.

An additional benefit that he sees is that people actually read and respond to research papers which is accelerating the rate of research and knowledge. He suggests that academics foster a culture of open access at every stage of the research process.

He's working on a project that seeks to create a criterion for judging article relevance other than impact factor (which he feels is not a good proxy for journal influence). His criteria, eigenfactor uses the entire network of links similar to Google's page rank process. The Eigenfactor process allows judgements to be made of how much time researchers spend with each journal. It also allows an examination of cross-disciplinary citation and the impact of non-journal publications in various fields. It includes journals that are not included in the ISI index at all. See

Ellen Duranceau presented on "Eight Principles for an Emerging Ecosystem"

The idea of the "commons" is not a new one, just updated thanks to new communication technology.

She's taken Simon Levin's eight principles (Fragile Dominion) for maintaining the ecological system and what he calls the biological commons and applied them to the information commons.

1. Reduce uncertainty: move beyond traditional services and systems. Provide support for the OA repository, for faculty publishing in the OA domain. This can come from faculty but should also come from administrators.

2. Expect surprise: grow awareness of new publishing opportunities and prepare for them.

3. Maintain heterogeneity: resilience is necessary because there will be no single model to support OA in the near future.

4. Sustain Modularity: move away from hierarchical organizational structures, make services available to users to use in their own ways via modular designs.

5. Preserve redundancy: archiving models should have built-in redundancy; sufficient

6. Tighten feedback loops: includes new pricing models that make the market work; what's reasonable? The University of California's value-based pricing is one that might help answer that question.

7. Build trust: "evolution works most effectively when individuals interact most with their near-neighbors"; building cross-disciplinary relationships on campuses as well as between other campus groups (like librarians and administration).

8. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you: "we're all in this together, it's an ecosystem", "we can harness the forces of evolution and self-organization for the common good"

ALA Midwinter Meeting - 1, Social Networking for Libraries: Best Practices

This session is presented by Jasmine de Gaia of OCLC and included a panel presentation and discussion.

Jasmine started by defining social networking and its relevance. Content, community, and collaboration: the whole is greater than the parts (systems theory!). More than 50 million Americans create web content. There's great potential for libraries to make that content and the results of the collaboration to library patrons.

Panel: Jenny Levine (from ALA), David Lee King (Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library) , Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at Univ. of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana).

Each panel member gave a short presentation about the ways they're using social networking in their libraries and in their jobs.

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe works primarily with undergraduates. Lisa remarked that social networking is not a new concept noting that academic libraries, for example, often place subject library branches within the department that they serve. Their primary communication tool is their course management tool (WebCT) where they're placed a link the library and its services like their ask-a-librarian service. They've created a library toolbar for both IE and Firefox. It includes search capability for their library collection as well as the state library collection.

They have a myspace page,, where they take a passive approach, not going out and befriending all of their students. However it seems to be a success because they have over 500 friends. They also have a Facebook site. They get reference questions as well as pleased surprise from student users who find them. They market via downloadable flyers as well as an ask-a-librarian business card with their MySpace and Facebook links.

UCIC uses Trillian for their ask-a-librarian service which is integrated into their reference desk where they do f2f, phone, IM, and email reference. The point is that they've integrated social networking into their reference services.

Here's an interesting link: is a "SecondLife" virtual space that they have tried to use to extend their undergraduate library "space".

David Lee King, introduced himself via a history of his computers since 1982 in photos. He is Head of Digital Services. The public library where he works has outgrown their physical space so he was hired to expand services via a digital space. He is starting by defining and explaining a digital branch to both patrons and library staff.

David's 4 Things to Remember when planning a digital library project:

1. don't plan to death, technology is moving so fast that it will have passed you up by the time you finish planning
  • start with the end result rather
  • figure out who will do the work
  • make sure it's customer focused
2. training staff, train often and using different techniques
3. inviting participation
  • you need at least two people to communicate
  • why not invite customers to participate?
  • either passively by requesting comments
  • or actively
4. top-down and bottom-up
  • administration and front-line staff

Jenny Levine works for ALA who wants to develop an online community for librarians. Talked about her own development as a social networker. She talked about generational differences in communication. In particular, the parts she gets and the parts she doesn't get. She enjoys social networking but she doesn't get why she enjoys it. One of the things she has discovered is that it has become mobile. For example, in FaceBook you can set you status, minute by minute to share with your friends.

She thinks that the difficulty for libraries with social networking is not understanding how to or even why but it's spotting the opportunities. We don't have to go find information today, it comes to us. For example, using RSS feeds to push particular bundles of information, sending information to the places where the users are. She talked about a virtual space for a parenting group where a library could push articles from EbscoHost using an RSS feed, post a collection of parenting books, and advertise library activities for children.

The next part of the presentation was a panel discussion that was structured around some questions that Jasmine posed.

There was an interesting discussion about marketing library services that caught my attention because most of the examples included allowing library patrons to create and market library services that are relevant to them. This sounds a bit like an action research project (one of my classes this semester is Action Research).

One of the values a library has to offer is qualifying content, what are your thoughts about how libraries can market that? Lisa said that they enjoy a high level of trust at UIUC but that most studies show that undergraduates base their decisions on speed and efficiency rather than trust. Jenny agreed that it is a good idea to develop the idea of librarian as expert. David added that a library develops a reputation for being trustworthy and should consciously develop that reputation.

What are the best way for libraries to distinguish their services and allow patrons to create content? David reminded us that even though our sites are available to people world wide on the Web, our users are generally local. Lisa talked about teaching faculty to use tools like RefShare to create annotated bibliographies to students.

A member of the audience asked how the panel would suggest connecting patrons with the wealth of information contained in print in the library. David commented that students today don't care whether something is in a book or on the web, in other words, they're format agnostic (which a number of scholars describe as a characteristic of the Millennial Generation), he's more focused on connecting the patron with the content.

Here's an interesting side observation: of the three panel members, two were using mac laptops and one was using a pc.

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