Category: From the Director (page 1 of 4)

From the Director – February 29, 2016 – Drinking From The Fire Hose

Drinking from the fire hose. That is what I’ve been doing for the past month, my first here at The Ohio State University. It has been whirlwind of meetings, receptions, and other opportunities to meet new colleagues inside and outside of the Libraries – a process organized to help me assemble an understanding of how Ohio State is structured, how decisions are made, and to foster the relationships important to our collective future success.

Over the past four weeks, I’ve met with 14 university administrators, the Office of Academic Affairs Leadership team, the Council of Deans, the Council on Distance Education, Libraries, and Information Technology (DELIT), Faculty Advisory Council, Staff Advisory Council, the Director of the Center for Library Initiatives at the CIC, and multiple current and prospective donors, among others. And last Friday, I began my internal listening tour with a morning of meetings with colleagues at the Library Tech Center. The calendar for March is just as crowded, if not more so.

Notable during my meetings with stakeholders from outside of the Libraries, I’ve been asked several times for my views “on the future of the Libraries at OSU” or something thereabouts. I’m sure many of you have been confronted with similar questions from time to time, but I thought it might be useful to share the outlines of how I’m answering such questions as I interact with our colleagues across campus and beyond.

I usually begin by offering what I consider to be the three broad missions of an academic research library as context: (1) to support faculty teaching, student learning, and community outreach; (2) to support research and the creation of new knowledge; and (3) to selectively collect and preserve our cultural heritage. Obviously, there is interplay among the activities that support these increasingly overlapping missions, but I’ve found framing the work of academic research libraries in this way to be helpful as a foundation for conversations with folks from outside the profession.

Next, I admit that I don’t know enough yet to offer much prescriptive detail but can say that:

  • to be vital to the academic enterprise, the Libraries must position itself as an active, engaged participant in solving university-level problems (Looking outside ourselves);
  • to maintain its vitality, the Libraries as an organization must continually renew its expertise, facilities, service programming, and business practices (Change never ends);
  • the Libraries must become more sophisticated in how it identifies and presents its stories of success and impact to external stakeholders (Success enables success).

Lastly, I posit that a successful academic research library is ever sensitive to where the university and its component parts are heading. You want to find the future of the Libraries at OSU? Look to where teaching and research within the academic disciplines and cultural acquisition are moving, and you will see the Libraries skating to the same puck, sometimes as partner, sometimes as leader, always engaged.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about our collective future as we interact in the coming weeks. This is going to be a lot of fun…

Damon Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries

From the Director – January 25, 2016 – A Fond Farewell

As this part of my professional career draws to a close, I find myself reflecting often about all the things for which I am grateful.   So, let me start with my professional life:

  • The institutions in which I have worked

Earlier this fall, I was talking with a colleague at another university who was making a decision about a job offer. It reminded me again of how lucky I have been to work at 3 universities that are well run, civil, and productive places. I’m grateful for those productive work environments – on campus and in the library – that I experienced at the University of Houston, the University of Kentucky and, of course, here at The Ohio State University. And I am always grateful for the robust and committed support of our donors, particularly those who love our libraries and support us in a variety of ways both financial and with their time.

  • Good leadership examples

Part and parcel of those great institutions has been the leaders with whom I have worked.   For the most part, I have been blessed to work with leaders I respected and admired. I doubt I would be the leader I have become without their examples. As I have moved up into higher administration, my appreciation has only deepened for the tough challenges and decisions they face each day. And in each of them, I have seen the way that their values drive how they conduct their work, each day trying to make the best decisions they can. I have aspired to conduct my own administrative career in a way that was consistent with the deep values with which I was raised. Thank you to my bosses: Bill Studer, Bill Crowe, Joe Branin, Mike Nietzel, Joe Alutto, Joe Steinmetz and now my boss of 2 weeks, Bruce McPheron. And I tip my hat to my vice provost/vice president colleagues in OAA – you are the best.

  • Mentors

Some of those leaders have become close mentors for me. I could fill this afternoon with examples of the good advice and wisdom I have gained from Dana Rooks. I know that many of us talk about our parents “talking” in our heads long after they have left this world (even right now my mother is asking me if I have written my thank you notes and whether I should be refreshing my lipstick). But my mentors also talk in my head on a regular basis. Yes, Dana, sometimes I don’t even have to call you for advice, because I already know what you’re going to tell me to do.

I also want to thank Mike Nietzel who was Provost at Kentucky when I was hired. Mike gave me my first chance to lead an ARL library. Mike had a clear strategy about hiring his deans. Having been trained at a Big Ten institution himself, he sought out associate deans from the Big Ten and hired them for their first dean’s position. But each of those decisions was a calculated risk. I am grateful that he gave me that opportunity and supported my early learning curve. Please do not ask Terry Birdwhistell for a list of my rookie mistakes. And my going to Kentucky was an extraordinary experience for me and prepared me to be able to return to Ohio State to take up my dream job.

  • An administrative team to die for

Coming back to OSU as Director of University Libraries in January 2010 was a dream come true. I knew I was coming back to a healthy organization with a newly renovated Thompson Library. I knew that the existing administrative team included talented individuals such as Rai Goerler, Sally Rogers and Jim Bracken. But early in 2010, I realized that those individuals all had other plans – either to retire or to take another position (I’m pretty sure that wasn’t because I was coming back).

But, that loss of talent was also an opportunity to redesign the organizational structure of the OSU Libraries and to recruit 5 new associate directors. Unquestionably, the key to success is all about the team you work with. I could never have imagined what a gift those individuals would be to me each and every day.   Alison, Beth, Karla, Lisa and Lisa are a magnificent team on whom I rely. And yes, then the wonderful Quanetta came on board as my executive assistant. I’m not sure what I am going to do without her! Each of these individuals amazes me with their intelligence, wisdom, enthusiasm, productivity and optimism. And they are simply fun to work with.

  • The professional colleagues – staff and faculty alike – with whom I have worked

When I made the decision to come to OSU in 1987, I saw it as an appropriate next step in my career.   I had been a librarian for 6+ years and had a budding professional service profile in ALA. Like many of you I arrived as an untenured librarian working to achieve tenure. I began a publishing career, made my name in technical services and collections work, and eventually rose to the rank of Professor. I had amazing experiences at OSU including being in on the ground floor of the foundation of OhioLINK.   Perhaps even more importantly to me personally, I built a set of professional friends around the country with whom I am quite close. I’m honored that a few of those individuals were able to join us today.

But I thought when I came to OSU, I would work here for 3 to 4 years and then move back to the south. After all, my family thought I was crazy to be moving north to work with a bunch of Yankees. I remember my colleague, Gay Dannelly saying to me that “I might be surprised at how Ohio State gets into your blood.” Indeed, I fell in love with Ohio State and I feel in love, but more about that a bit later.

I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to each member of our library faculty and staff as well as those who have retired or moved on to new positions. You simply do great work to support our students, faculty and staff.   Often in my consulting work, I am amazed at some of the situations I find. I always come home to OSU thankful for your hard work, civility, enthusiasm and willingness to take risks and embrace change.

My success at work is founded on a bedrock of values including the balanced life example I learned from my husband, Frank. I’ve learned how to work hard and play hard.

  • My parents – Mae Nell and Leland Pitts

My parents, Mae Nell and Leland Pitts created a home life rich in love, values and fun. In particular for a female of my generation, having parents who believed that you could do and accomplish anything you set your mind to was an extraordinary gift.

My mother’s friends often told the story about her showing them a copy of the journal that I edited for 13 years. She would point to my name on the cover and say “I don’t understand what it says inside this magazine, but that’s my daughter’s name on the front.” That about sums it up – unwavering support and unconditional love. While I’m convinced that they weren’t always entirely sure what my work life entailed, they were very proud of me. One of my fondest memories and my favorite picture is the one of her with me at my 2003 professorial lecture.

  • My family and friends in Cincinnati

A big part of that balanced life I have is 20 years of life commuting to Cincinnati for the weekend. I have often characterized my life as 4 days of high level professional career and three days of country club wife. When I married Frank, I also gained 5 siblings and two stepchildren; my Diedrichs family is an extraordinary gift to me.   I am very thankful for Celene, Eric and Evan who live in Sarasota, Florida. Evan is the first grandchild who will be 16 in January. My only suggestion to you is not to play bridge with him as he plays competitive youth bridge at a level that is a bit intimidating. My stepson Josh and his wife Lisa have just given us our newest grandchild, Jack, to join his precious 19 month old sister, Kate.

My Cincinnati life also includes the joys of being married to a native Cincinnatian and a wonderful group of friends and golf partners. I’m really grateful that a number of them made the trip to Columbus for my retirement reception.

  • My husband, Frank

Of course, I have left the best for last. My husband, best golf partner, and best friend, Frank.   I’m not sure when we first met that Frank could even have imagined that he would marry a liberal academic much less one who would not live with him full-time for 20+ years. But, that’s just the point – he might not have imagined it, but he also “really gets me”. He knew the importance of my career to me and understood that we could find a way to have both a rich personal life as well as a robust career. He’s a great sounding board and wise counselor. And, he does all the grocery shopping and cooking in our family. I could not have done it without him.

He is, of course, responsible for my golf addiction introducing me to the game when we met. He often tells the story that he wasn’t sure that I would ever break 100 when I first started to play. But, that was before he knew about my very competitive nature. One of my retirement goals is to break 80. And just in case you’re wondering, I got the first hole in one in the family too!

Hole in ones are wonderful as well as low 18 hole scores, but the happiest moments in golf have nothing to do with ball-striking. This quote from Irishman Dermot Desmond captures the true happiness in golf for me:

“There are three joys in golf:

  • How you play
  • Where you play and
  • Whom you play with.

And the first two are overrated.”

Since I announced my plan to retire, people often comment that I’m too young to retire. But I would remind you that I was a department head in an ARL Library at the young age of 24 – as a result, I’ve been a library administrator for 33 years. The last time I saw our dear friend, Susan McNamara, before she died, she reminded me that I had done my life’s work, and that moving on to a new stage was a bold and appropriate next step. As she so often was, Susan was spot on. I’ve lived one of Teddy Roosevelt’s beliefs: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

I’ve had an amazing time for the past 13 years as a library dean, but I want there to be a bridge between working and retiring that for me is just less intense. I want some evenings back, some weekends back, and not to have to be responsible for 250 people. I will continue to work professionally particularly as a consultant with my partner, Lisa German, but taking only those jobs that interest me and allow me to indulge all the other passions in my life – golf of course, cycling, bridge, musical theater, tennis, needlepoint, reading and most importantly, to be able to live full time with my husband for the first time in our 20 year marriage.

The Jason Mraz song, Lucky, probably sums it up best for me:

Lucky I’m in love with my best friend

Lucky to have been where I have been

Lucky to be coming home again

Thank you so much for all the notes, emails, cards and kind words that you have sent to me over these last days. It means a great deal to me. The University has hired a great new leader in Damon Jaggars and I welcome the chance as Professor Emeritus to watch all the wonderful new things he will do as your leader.

From the Director – January 11, 2016 – Odds and Ends

An array of small articles that interested, amused or intrigued me.

“For scholars in the humanities, the “enhanced” e-book format is a game changer. Now we can much more easily disseminate our work in art history, archaeology, and many other scholarly fields that have presented high hurdles to print publishing.

A fully enhanced e-book can do the work of two or more traditional print volumes: Authors can address the general reading public and lower-level students in the main body of the text, while treating technical matters for advanced readers in more detail by providing electronic links to extensive pullout or pop-up windows.”

“Meanwhile, the GAO report found that there’s been little change in the way most faculty select textbooks: they are most concerned with the usefulness of the information and usually order the latest, most expensive edition with little thought to the cost.

Faculty at many colleges and universities, however, said they are becoming more aware that many students can’t afford to buy all of the books they’re assigned and that it could be a barrier to completing their education.”

“Science is in transition. This site gives an impression of the exploratory phase of a project aiming to chart innovation in scholarly information and communication flows from evolutionary and network perspectives.

We intend to address the questions of what drives innovation and how these innovations change research workflows and may contribute to more open, efficient and good science.”

“The model has received a lot of praise, but it has also been met with criticism. An image can be worth a thousand words, but an image such as this allows a lot of interpretation. It is hard to understand exactly what the model is intended for and how to interpret it just by looking at it. For example, model has compared the model to Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs”, likely because Maslow’s model is also illustrated as a pyramid. It lead to the conclusion that the activities in the lower layers are more basic and thus easier/less complex than the activities in the layers further up in the pyramid. But I didn’t use the pyramid shape to indicate a scale of activities from basic to advanced. The model doesn’t say that the lower levels are simpler or less complex that the upper ones. Rather, it’s the other way around. What the model does is highlighting the very complex social interaction and relationship building activities that are needed for collaboration to happen.”

From the Director – December 28, 2015 – Odds and Ends about Open Access

  • Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible? By Rick Anderson. March 10, 2014.

“I was recently invited to give a talk as part of a lecture series titled The Open Access Future, sponsored by the Smithsonian Libraries, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. I decided to focus on the issue that has been troubling me most lately: why is it so hard to have conversations about OA that don’t devolve into shouting matches and accusations of bad faith? What has led to this state of affairs, how bad is the problem now, and what can we do to create a more open, inclusive, and reasonable environment for discussion of the complex issues surrounding OA and the economics of scholarly communication generally? I came up with a provocative title (“Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible?”) and delivered the lecture on March 10, 2014.”

Video of the lecture: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2014/03/14/rick-anderson-at-the-smithsonian-is-a-rational-discussion-of-open-access-possible/

Full text and slides: https://discussingoa.wordpress.com/

“There needs to be more and regular attention to the importance of heterogeneous models of access, dissemination, and production. Scholarship is developed in very different ways, within very distinctive research and publication ecosystems. No one would suggest that biologists and film scholars organize, finance, and undertake their research along similar lines. And we know very well that the resulting scholarship is not consumed in the same way. Why, then, should we assume that the results of that research–published scholarship—can be produced and disseminated in the same way?”

“Open Access Millennialism is the belief that the world of scholarly publishing has a purpose and is moving toward the fulfillment of that purpose: at some point (but when? when?) all scholarly material will be open access (OA), and it is only the foot-dragging of self-interested publishers and the innate conservatism of academics that is holding it back.”

From The Director – December 14, 2015 – Happy Holidays

I am happy to share with you the text from our holiday letter along with the video – see link at the end. My thanks for the good work from Larry Allen and Pam McClung as well as our videographers.

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Happy holidays! This was another year of exciting milestones for University Libraries—milestones I’d like to share with you.

The Libraries launched its portion of the “But for Ohio State” capital campaign in 2009, led by dedicated library supporters, with a $25 million goal. The campaign—an unprecedented success—has already raised $36 million for the Libraries, earning recognition from The OSU Foundation for attaining and surpassing our goal a year ahead of schedule. Funds will be used to create modern library spaces, encourage technological innovation, enhance services for students and faculty, and continue to expand our collections.

We were gratified that a $50,000 endowment—The Paul and Sandra Watkins Endowment for University Archives—was established during the 50th anniversary of the founding of the “official memory” of the university. Launched by Paul and Sandy with a pledge to match up to $25,000, the challenge was met by individual donors and the Friends of the Libraries.

The Association of Research Libraries 2014 Investment Index, an annual ranking of the top 125 academic research libraries, placed University Libraries #6 among public university libraries—the fourth consecutive year we ranked in the Top 10. The ranking is external confirmation that we have built a cost-effective, efficient, service oriented library system recognized as one of the best in the country.

The outcome of the recent national survey which measures service to library users, LibQUAL, was a resounding success.   In all areas but one, we are meeting or exceeding the expectations of our faculty, staff and students. These results have steadily improved over the last six years —confirmation of the inspired work of our talented library faculty and staff.

The affordability of a college education has always been a major concern at Ohio State. The Libraries has an important role to play, providing services and information to our students as part of their tuition costs. Our partnership with OhioLINK ensures free access to more than 70 million items. University Libraries offers no-cost access to required textbooks for more than 750 courses. And we have library faculty and staff who provide daily help and support to our students and faculty.

We added 16 hours to the schedule of the Biological Sciences/Pharmacy Library (BPL) for fall semester, now open until 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday evenings. With the heavy traffic in the Thompson Library, this expansion offers additional evening study space for students living near BPL.

The library at the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences was renovated, reopening in February with a new name and expanded role. The FAES Library and Student Success Center offers a place for students and faculty to engage in study and reflection, as well as space for research and consultation with our librarians.

The FAES renovation was the most recent step in our 6 year plan to elevate library facilities across campus to the same high standard set by the renovation of the Thompson Library. In earlier years, we completed new homes for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and the Music and Dance Library. The final step in the top to bottom renovation of the 18th Avenue Library will be completed soon.

The Research Commons at the 18th Avenue Library opens in January. The Commons will be a place for researchers to connect with each other and with services that support their work. A hub for collaborative and interdisciplinary research across all fields, it will bring together services for every stage of the research lifecycle. The virtual Research Commons initiated services this year, offering an array of workshops. The enthusiasm of our partners and workshop attendees assures us we are delivering a needed suite of services. We look forward to the Commons playing an important role in the university’s research activities.

The Libraries’ Mary P. Key Diversity Residency Program, which began in 1989, expands the pipeline of diverse librarians into the ranks of academic libraries, enhancing their successful transition from academic training to research librarianship. We were pleased to bring two new residents to the Libraries this year: Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros, in Latin American studies, and Darnelle Melvin, our Metadata Transformation Librarian.

Next year the Ohio State University Libraries and the Columbus Metropolitan Library will host the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Congress here in Columbus. Next August, I look forward to serving as co-chair of the National Committee alongside CML CEO Pat Losinski as we welcome more than 4,000 individuals from libraries around the world.

This is my final holiday message as Vice Provost and Director of Libraries. I am retiring at the end of January 2016. I’ll also be returning to University Libraries for several months next year to work on the IFLA Congress. Then I will be moving to our home in Arizona, pursuing some of my passions—including golf and travel—and continuing my library work as a consultant.

My thanks to all of you who have supported University Libraries over the years. I am grateful for the support of my colleagues throughout our industry—at IFLA, ARL, ALA, OCLC, the CIC and OhioLINK. A special thanks to The Ohio State University community, especially my colleagues at University Libraries, many of whom I have worked with throughout my career. Leading the OSU Libraries has been a dream come true.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

Make sure you check out our annual holiday message and highlights of the past year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1FOKTgpFIY&feature=youtu.be

From the Director – November 19, 2015 – A Time to Give Thanks

As this part of my professional career draws to a close, I find myself reflecting often about all the things for which I am grateful. This blog posting just before Thanksgiving seemed just the right time to share some of that with you. So picture yourself around the Thanksgiving table with me and your colleagues. You’re about to dig into a wonderful meal surrounded by family and friends. Often, someone – your great aunt, Zelma, or your grandfather, Rufus, might say – let’s go around the table and have everyone say what they are most grateful for.   Here’s what I would say as it related to my professional life:

  • The institutions in which I have worked

Just this morning as I was writing this post, I talked with a colleague at another university who was making a decision about a job offer. It reminded me again of how lucky I have been to work at 3 universities that are well run, civil, and productive places. I sometimes see institutions where people are mean and nasty to each other on a daily basis. I’m grateful for the productive work environments – on campus and in the library – that I experienced at the University of Houston, the University of Kentucky and, of course, here at The Ohio State University.

  • Good leadership examples

Part and parcel of those great institutions has been the leaders with whom I have worked or for whom I have worked.   For the most part, I have been blessed to work for leaders who I respected and admired. I doubt I would be the leader I have become without their examples. As I have moved up into higher administration, my appreciation has only deepened for the tough challenges and decisions they face each day. And in each of them, I have seen the way that their values drive how they conduct their work, each day trying to make the best decisions they can.

  • Mentors

Some of those leaders have become close mentors for me. When I had the opportunity last year to celebrate the retirement of my first mentor, Dana Rooks, director emerita of the University of Houston, I recalled this example of ways she helped me in my earliest leadership position.

“Dana has provided me with mountains of sage advice. In those early days when one wrote memos rather than emails, I would often appear in her office with my memo in hand addressed to someone who had really ticked me off. Dana’s response would be – do you feel better? Mine, of course, yes. And hers – okay now let’s write one we can actually send. “

  • Support for faculty status and the professional growth it requires

When I made the decision to come to OSU ibn 1987, I had been a librarian for 6+ years and had a budding professional service profile in ALA. When I made that decision, I could never have understood how having faculty status at OSU would enhance my professional growth and development. Like many of you I arrived as an untenured librarian working to achieve tenure. I began a publishing career, made my name in technical services and collections work, and eventually rose to the rank of Professor. I believe the work I did in those years made a difference in our profession, but more importantly that professional work enriched my ability to do my core job. Perhaps even more importantly to me personally, I built a set of professional friends with whom I am quite close. I’m honored that a few of those individuals will be able to attend my upcoming retirement reception.

  • An administrative team to die for

Coming back to OSU as Director of University Libraries in January 2010 was a dream come true. I knew I was coming back to a healthy organization with a newly renovated Thompson Library. I knew that the existing administrative team included talented individuals such as Rai Goerler, Sally Rogers and Jim Bracken. But early in 2010, I realized that those individuals all had other plans – either to retire or to take another position.

That loss of talent was also an opportunity to redesign the organizational structure of the OSU Libraries and to recruit 5 new assistant and associate directors. I was, of course, enthusiastic about that opportunity and the envy of my ARL colleagues. I could never have imagined what a gift those individuals have been to me each and every day.   Alison, Beth, Karla, Lisa and Lisa are a magnificent team on whom I rely each and every day. And yes, then the wonderful Quanetta came on board as my executive assistant.   They each amaze me with their intelligence, wisdom, enthusiasm, and productivity. And they are simply fun to work with.

  • The professional colleagues – staff and faculty alike – with whom I have worked

And finally, I am grateful to each member of our faculty and staff as well as those who have retired or moved on to new positions. You simply do great work to support our students, faculty and staff.   Often in my consulting work, I am amazed at some of the situations I find whether it is lack of accountability and productivity or simply a dwelling in the traditional ways of doing business. I always come home to OSU thankful for your hard work, civility, enthusiasm and willingness to take risks and embrace change.

We have much to be thankful for on this holiday. Happy Thanksgiving.

From the Director – November 2, 2015 – Odds and Ends

An array of small articles that interested, amused or intrigued me.

A crowdfunding campaign to purchase a rare book.

  • Anteater Tag at UC Irvine

http://www.lib.uci.edu/features/news/ant_tag.html

http://anteatertag.lib.uci.edu/

“The UC Irvine Libraries invite the campus community, alumni, and general public to play AnteaterTag@UCI, a game in which contestants view and describe digital photographs from the Libraries’ Online Archive of UCI History.  Participants enrich the description of these historical images from the University Archives and contribute to UCI’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2015.”

“Stock photography giant Getty Images took a gamble yesterday, releasing 35 million files for free non-commercial and editorial uses. Images are served in a YouTube-style embedder that displays a credit and links back to the licensing page at Getty. … The genius of free embeds is to convert the masses of small-fry bloggers that illegally swipe Getty’s photos into Getty’s own advertising army. If the strategy works, embeds will be more than making lemonade from infringement lemons. It will be a coup of organic ad placement. Millions of domains running Getty ads without Getty having to drop a dime.”

“Product discovery online is so easy, but product discovery in-store is still wandering the aisles and asking an associate. We asked ourselves, what if we took our online search engine and made it an in-store search engine? So we put a search button in the app.

You could search for toothpicks, let’s say, and it would show you all the different brands of toothpicks, what aisle they’re located in, and a map so you can get to them really quickly. People took to it like ducks to water, because search is the behavior that they are very familiar with in an online context.”

“Over nearly four decades, Ellen Langer’s research on mindfulness has greatly influenced thinking across a range of fields, from behavioral economics to positive psychology. It reveals that by paying attention to what’s going on around us, instead of operating on auto-pilot, we can reduce stress, unlock creativity, and boost performance. Her “counterclockwise” experiments, for example, demonstrated that elderly men could improve their health by simply acting as if it were 20 years earlier.”

“The point I want to make to you, is that we compete with any organization that has the ability to raise customer expectations. Just because you sell paint and another company sells burgers, doesn’t mean you don’t compete with each other. Specifically, you don’t compete on functional attributes; but on how you behave.

For example, why is it that when I check my luggage with an airline, I have great trepidation that it will show up in the same place I do. Yet, I’ll drop a valuable package into a FedEx box in a remote location, confident that it will arrive at my selected destination the next day. Both organizations fly airplanes, so what’s the difference? I now demand my airline be as effective as FedEx.”

“Nearly all of the employers said they expected candidates, whatever their field, to be able to search online, a given for a generation born into the Internet world. But they also expected job candidates to be patient and persistent researchers and to be able to retrieve information in a variety of formats, identify patterns within an array of sources, and dive deeply into source material.   …

Many employers said their fresh-from-college hires frequently lack deeper and more traditional skills in research and analysis. Instead, the new workers default to quick answers plucked from the Internet. That method might be fine for looking up a definition or updating a fact, but for many tasks, it proved superficial and incomplete.

It turns out that students are poorly trained in college to effectively navigate the Internet’s indiscriminate glut of information.”

From the Director – October 19, 2015 – Odds and Ends, Longer Pieces

Many of my blog postings which highlight things to read focus on small, short pieces. Not this one. It’s a list of some longer, more formal publications that will require more time to read and absorb.

Mathews, Brian. “Librarian as Futurist: Changing the Way Libraries Think About the Future.” portal: Libraries and the Academy vol. 14, no. 3 (2014), pp. 453-462

http://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/portal_libraries_and_the_academy/portal_pre_print/current/articles/14.3mathews.pdf

Brian ALWAYS has something interesting to say. He blogs now for the Chronicle of Higher Education at http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/theubiquitouslibrarian/

So, in this article, Brian talks about how to think like a futurist. Here are a few quotes to pique your interest:

  • “… strategic foresight, or the ability to anticipate what will be needed.” p. 454
  • “Futurists do not attempt to figure out what will; transpire but instead focus on understanding how things could turn out.” p. 454
  • “Futurists often talk about using cognitive radar. When something unusual shows up, they pay more attention to it.” p. 457
  • “… futurists look at ideas from different perspectives. How does a teenager view something differently than a politician or a retiree?” p. 457
  • “… values change over time. Things that are important today may not be so in a decade or two.” p. 459
  • “The most crucial characteristic of thinking like a futurist is not the ability to predict the future but rather the ability to be curious.” p. 459
  • “Our default reaction to new ideas, problems, proposals, or changes should not be positive or negative, but rather curiosity.” p. 460

Miller, Kelly E. “Imagine! On the Future of Teaching and Learning and the Academic Research Library.” portal: Libraries and the Academy vol. 14, no. 3 (2014), pp. 329-351 http://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/portal_libraries_and_the_academy/portal_pre_print/articles/14.3miller.pdf

This essay describe seven strategies that academic research librarians can adopt to become “future-present” libraries. Each strategy includes examples from the work being done at UCLA in this area. The essay provides a great theoretical framework but gets quickly into practical examples of execution.

Lavoie, Brian et al. “The Evolving Scholarly Record.” OCLC Research. http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2014/oclcresearch-evolving-scholarly-record-2014-overview.html

This research report from OCLC focuses on the “broader range and greater volume of materials now perceived to be relevant to the scholarly record.” Brian and his colleagues identify 4 trends:

  • “a shift from what was traditionally a print-centric scholarly record to one that is increasingly manifested in digital form and resides on the network.” p. 8
  • “the boundaries of the scholarly records are shifting and blurring.” p. 8
  • “some of the fundamental characteristics of the scholarly record are changing.” p. 8
  • “reconfiguration of the stakeholder roles associated with the scholarly record.” p. 9

As with most OCLC reports, there are some great visuals in this report which illustrate its points well.

Schonfeld, Roger C. “Meeting Researchers Where They Start: Streamlining Access to Scholarly Resources.” Ithaka S+R. (March 26, 2015) http://sr.ithaka.org/sites/default/files/files/SR_Issue_Brief_Meeting_Researchers_Where_They_Start_032615.pdf

I’m not sure I agree with all of Roger’s points but they are certainly provocative and worth consideration:

  • The library is not the starting point
  • The campus is not the work location
  • The proxy is not the answer
  • The index is not current
  • The PC is not the device
  • User accounts are not well implemented
  • Failure is not inevitable

Brown, Jessie. “Personalizing Post-Secondary Education: An Overview of Adaptive Learning Solutions for Higher Education.” Ithaka S+R (March 18, 2015), http://sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/personalizing-post-secondary-education

Hopefully, most of you are still reading this far because I put the most interesting one last!

“In the landscape of open educational resources, learning analytics software, online course providers, and other innovations, one type of product that is receiving increasing attention and investment is adaptive learning solutions. … In addition to using learners’ data to determine the shape of their learning paths, adaptive learning solutions also provide data to instructors that allow them to track student progress, identify problem areas, and intervene on the class and student level. Most platforms also provide students with a dashboard so that they can better understand their own progress and roadblocks.” pp. 2-3

If you read deeper into this report about particular systems and the experiments funded by the Gates Foundation, you’ll see that increasingly content is embedded (and sold) by these platforms. I wonder how this will change the role of the library as provider of educational content?

From the Director – October 5, 2015 – Pelotonia

In a few short days (October 9), fundraising for this year’s Pelotonia ride will end. I have ridden every other year since my return to Columbus. The training is hard and the fundraising intimidating, but every year I am grateful that I participated.   The cause – ending cancer and helping to fund research at The James – is never in question to me. I’ve lost many people important to me to cancer; but I also know many survivors who are alive today because of the progress of cancer research.   As I slogged through the last 25 miles of my 50 mile ride this year and thought about stopping, I only had to think about those individuals as well as the cancer survivors lining the route to keep pedaling.

 

This year in addition to our Libraries peloton as part of Team Buckeye, we were joined by our colleagues at OhioLINK who had their own peloton complete with OhioLINK jerseys. My first 25 miles went quickly in the company of Gwen Evans (executive director of OhioLINK), Tiffany Lipstrau (Otterbein library director) and her sister, Heather Hempel. It definitely makes the miles go faster when you have someone to talk with.

Pelotonia has always been a personal thing for me along with the desire to support the University and our library peloton. But, this year, OhioLINK’s involvement gave me a new way of thinking about research and libraries. Gwen wrote a blog posting which really tied together those things in a creative way. You can find it here – https://www.oh-tech.org/blog/pelotonia_2015_%E2%80%93_why_it_matters_and_why_ohiolink_involved#.VeC-d5frrEZ

  • “The cancer research done by people at the James and funded by Pelotonia is eventually published and disseminated through scholarly journals, books and conference proceedings. These published findings are part of OhioLINK’s shared content packages. That extremely valuable content from top publishers is delivered to students, faculty and staff at all OhioLINK institutions. These members include the Cleveland Clinic, medical and research facilities and hospitals at OhioLINK institutions, nursing and other health science programs at four year and two year institutions, related programs all over Ohio, as well as state agencies via the State Library of Ohio.”
  • “So, it seems appropriate for OhioLINK to participate in Pelotonia, to remind riders and supporters that libraries are an integral part of the research process and that Ohio has an enormous advantage in the shared collections and materials that OhioLINK and its members make possible. “
  • “Libraries can also inspire. Take Josh Javor, an engineering student and OhioLINK user who received a Pelotonia undergraduate fellowship for his research in cancer-detecting technology. He “developed new curiosities” by using the OhioLINK journal collection. I invite you to read his research profile (link sends e-mail) to get a glimpse of the integral part that library materials play in supporting Josh’s efforts to develop a microscope to enable oncologic surgeons to make more precise determinations of tumors in the operating room.”

Read the full posting and enjoy more detail and the pictures.

 

From the Director – September 21, 2015 – Why Diversity Matters

September finds us welcoming two new Mary P. Key diversity residents to the OSU Libraries.   You can read more about Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros and Darnelle Melvin here [https://library.osu.edu/blogs/osulstaff/2015/08/07/3660/]. Welcome Pamela and Darnelle!

Concurrently, Karla Strieb shared with me a recent posting she received as a member of the ALA ALCTS Board of Directors.   The blog posting http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/why-diversity-matters-a-roundtable-discussion-on-racial-and-ethnic-diversity-in-librarianship/ reports on a virtual roundtable discussion on racial and ethnic diversity in librarianship which was convened after an ACRL 2015 presentation on research conducted on race, identity and diversity in academic librarianship.   Key participants in the presentation and the virtual roundtable were our own Dracine Hodges and Juleah Swanson (both former Key Residents).

Here is important context from the introduction:

The discussion of racial and ethnic diversity in libraries is a subset of the larger discussion of race in the United States. For anyone participating in these discussions, the experience can be difficult and uncomfortable. Such discussions can be academic in nature, but very often they are personal and subjective. In the United States, our long history of avoiding difficult and meaningful conversations about race has made it challenging for some people to perceive or comprehend disparities in representation and privilege. Fear often plays a significant role as a barrier to engaging in these conversations. Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of change, and the perceived possibility of losing control can complicate these discussions. Participants in these conversations have to be willing to concede a certain amount of vulnerability in order to move the discussion forward, but vulnerability makes many people uncomfortable, which in turn makes it easy to just avoid the discussion altogether.

What follows is a virtual roundtable discussion where we speak openly about why diversity really matters, what actions can be taken, and suggest questions for readers to consider, share, and discuss in honest and open conversations with colleagues. At times, authors reveal the very real struggle to articulate or grapple with the questions, just as one might encounter in a face-to-face conversation. But, ultimately, by continuing this conversation we work to advance our profession’s understanding of the complexity of race and ethnic diversity in librarianship, and to strive toward creating sustainable collaborations and lasting change in a profession that continues to face significant challenges in maintaining race and ethnic diversity.

  • From Dracine Hodges: The roundtable then moves into moving and articulate discussion of diversity.   Here are some pieces that resonated with me:

With that in mind, I think diversity matters in relation to the relevance of services being provided to meet practical and extraordinary needs. Needs that are diverse not only because of ethnicity and race, but also because of religion, gender, socioeconomic status, physical ability, etc.

With recent headlines related to racism and violence, it is easy to see the connectivity of libraries in the pursuit of social justice ideals. So much of the conversation we’ve been having pertains to administrative and cultural constructs that frustrate diversity. These are large and lofty issues in scope. I often think their enormity makes us dismissive of the tangible impacts of diversity in the commonplace work performed in libraries every day.

I’ve heard many anecdotal stories from colleagues, both of color and white, who were able to customize or enhance instruction for an individual or group because of personal insights and experiences related to issues like English as a Foreign Language and format accessibility. Perhaps mountains were not moved, but to the individuals who benefited hills were climbed.

  • From Isabel Gonzalez-Smith: Diversity matters because we all play a part in the messages we disseminate, regardless of how we identify. Librarians contribute towards the preservation and accessibility of information, representations of authority in the intellectual sphere, and advocating against censorship. What is the message that our collections, library staff representation, research, or programming gives to the communities we serve? And what are we doing to serve our patrons in ways that take into account their race and/or ethnicity?
  • From Dracine Hodges: I care about diversity for the very reasons that have been discussed and definitely want to leave the profession better than I found it. I think it’s important to acknowledge that how that happens may look different for each individual. The biggest takeaway for me was the obvious need for a reset or a refresh on the question of diversity in libraries. We’ve begun to have what feels like genuine conversations that will hopefully combat the diversity fatigue felt by both librarians of color and perhaps our white counterparts.

There is a great deal more of rich dialogue and discussion in this posting. I hope you’ll read it all.

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