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From the Director – September 7, 2015 – IFLA Cape Town 2015

IFLA 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa was an interesting and informative experience. Last year’s conference in Lyon, France, can us a good perspective on the congress but at a very early stage of our planning. For this year’s congress, we were much more knowledgeable about what needed our careful attention. In particular, we were very focused on the volunteer operation, the opening session, the cultural evening, and the plenary session. All are aspects that our Columbus 2016 National Committee is responsible for next year.

Our 8 person team included the CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Pat Losinski; Gregg Dodd and Wendy Ramsey (CML); Quanetta Batts, Wes Boomgaarden, Lisa Carter, Lisa Patton-Glinski, and me (OSU). This local team has been working together for some time to plan for the congress. Getting to South Africa took approximately two days – we departed the afternoon of Monday, August 11 and arrived in Cape Town late at night on Tuesday, August 12th. While getting to Africa takes a while, the time difference is just 6 hours ahead. I can assure you that our first priority on arrival was to get some sleep!

Wednesday, August 13, 2015

Wes’ primary responsibility as our Volunteer Coordinator is to oversee the work 300+ volunteers. As a result, he needed to be on the ground today to participate in the packing of the congress bags. These are the conference tote bags which are given to each registered attendee of the congress. They are filled with the program documents and advertisements from congress supporters, but perhaps more importantly to us, the final congress announcement for Columbus 2016.   Here’s a picture of the beautiful Cape Town bag created in one of the townships. The next picture(s) are the pallet of final announcements for our congress – note the vibrant red color – as well as close-up of the actual announcement.


It will probably come as no surprise to those who know Wes that he quickly became good friends with the Cape Town National Committee chairs and the Volunteer Coordinator. It wasn’t long before he was having his lunch every day with them, and following along as they arranged and oversaw the work of the volunteer. Each National Committee has the choice of having polo shirts or vests for their volunteers. We haven’t decided yet but here’s an example of the volunteer vest from Cape Town.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

We had two primary responsibilities on Saturday – to get our exhibition booth set up and to attend the US Caucus.   As happens at most library conferences, there is an exhibits portion of the congress which includes a booth for IFLA to highlight the upcoming congress. This booth was the primary responsibility of Quanetta and Wendy with help from Diane Share] from Experience Columbus. Experience Columbus had spent a wide variety of things to be handled out including pens, travel plasters (that Africa speak for bandaids!), and lip balm, all branded with the Columbus logo. We also took along bookmarks that included our IFLA Columbus 2015 logo, dates and web address.


On Saturday evening, the various IFLA Caucuses meet. These are country or region based sessions for registrants for the congress. Sometimes these caucuses are extremely important. During election years for a new IFLA President, they work similarly to US party caucuses where there are discussions about who the members of the caucus will support. Since this was not an election year, the US Caucus was largely a brief program followed by a reception.

Pat and I had primary responsibility for presenting as part of this program. We showed another brief video about Columbus and talked about our plans for the Congress. Perhaps more importantly we asked our US colleagues to be prepared for the closing session by teaching them how to do OH-IO and O-H-I-O cheers. Many (particularly those from the Big Ten) later told me how difficult it was for them to cheer for Ohio!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday was a busy today as the opening of the congress occurred in the morning. This Opening Session is a time for the National Committee to highlight the culture and experiences of their country for the attendees. And the Cape Town NC did a magnificent job. One of the highlights for me was the 15 member youth choir who sang traditional songs, danced, and built considerable participation and energy from the audience.


We certainly have our work cut out for us to match the show put on by the South Africans.

The second big event of the day was the opening reception for the exhibits. This was an “all-hands-on deck” event where our entire team staffed the IFLA Columbus exhibit booth. We handed out takeways and bookmarks, talked about coming to Columbus, and talked about the scholarship/travel grant opportunities to be available this fall. The reception attracted the majority of the 3000+ attendees so we were busy from start to finish (2 hours).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday was a little lighter day with our primary responsibly being the meeting of the Columbus National Committee. The National Committee is co-chaired by Pat and me and included 8-10 other representatives from a variety of library associations and groups in the US (including ALA, ARL, OCLC).   Our local team also attends this meeting; Wendy and Quanetta create the agendas, do the minutes, and generally keep us on track. This meeting is largely a time to bring the NC up to date on progress; to ask for their input on various items; and to touch base with the IFLA and KIT leadership. (KIT Is the professional conference organizer that assists IFLA with its congresses). In particular, we work with two key contacts, Josche Ouwerkerk from IFLA and Roberta Odebrecht from KIT. But at the congress, we also had the chance to talk with all of the individuals on their teams who were in attendance.

At this meeting, we also received an even more detailed agenda and timeline with key dates between now and the congress in 2016.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday included three big events – the plenary session, a visit to the Conference for Directors of National Libraries, and the Cultural Evening.

During our 2016 congress, the NC will have responsibility for selecting speakers for two plenary sessions. Plenary sessions are held at times when there is no other programming so that all attendees can attend.   For 2016, we have already confirmed David Ferriero, National Archivist of the United States (former library director at Duke and the New York Public Library) as one of our speakers. We’re still working on the second speaker. The rest of the IFLA program is planned by the various sections and committees of the association.

In the late afternoon, Pat and I traveled to the South African Centre for the Book where the Conference of Directors of National Libraries was meeting. This is a very formal setting with each director of a national library (such as the Library of Congress or the National Library of Australia) seated by a microphone in a semi-circle with a national flag from their country (think pictures you have seen of the United Nations). Pat and I had been invited to talk about the upcoming congress in Columbus.


But the highlight of the day was the Cultural Evening. The Cultural Evening is the host country’s opportunity to entertain and feed the all 3000+ attendees.   And what a party it was. There was an array of food from around the entire country; entertainment including singing and dancing; face painting; and actors dressed as animals native to Africa.



This part of our own planning is well advanced. The evening will be hosted at COSI and will focus on five regions of the US. Each region will have food and entertainment reflective of that region.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday included another plenary session and an opportunity for the Columbus National Committee to meet with the Cape Town National Committee. We had a chance to pick their brains about their experience, what worked, what didn’t as well as particular challenges they faced.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday morning provided an opportunity for our local committee to meet again (as the congress was drawing to a close) with Josche (IFLA) and Roberta (KIT) and their teams. In particular, we began to plan for their site visit in January (which will planned to coincide with ALA Midwinter so that they can experience that conference before coming on to Columbus for a few days). We will also begin having monthly conference calls with them. Those will be scheduled every two weeks as the conference gets closer.

The IFLA Closing Session occurred in the late afternoon. During this session, IFLA presents its awards and completes the transition to a new president who begins a 2 year term. The session also announced the location of the 2017 congress in Wroclaw Poland.

A key element of the closing session is the invitation to the Columbus 2016 congress which was presented by Pat and me. We showed a video about Columbus and talked about our plans. We taught our international colleagues how to do the OH-IO and O-H-I-O cheers to prepare them for their arrival in Columbus. And at the end of the session, we distributed more than 3,000 luggage tags bearing the 2016 Columbus logo.   We were also presented with a gift from the Cape Town National Committee – a beautiful local custom – a painted ostrich egg.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday of the IFLA Congress is library visit day. Early in the morning, attendees line up for pre-registered visits to libraries in the area. Quanetta and Wes observed the logistics of the departures in the morning. Lisa Carter participated in a library visit to see how it was handled. During Columbus 2016, we will be hosting visits at OSU, CML, and around the state.

Fun Stuff

Of course, we worked very hard while we were away including the extensive travel. But we also had a chance to have some fun. Many of us were able to visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, the V&A Waterfront, Robbin Island (where Nelson Mandala was imprisoned), the Stellenbosch wine region, the Cape and Table Mountain. Over the weekend following the congress, some of us extended our stay for whale watching and safari activities.


From the Director – August 31, 2015 – A First Year Reflection

Guest blog posting by Alison Armstrong

Earlier this summer I asked Alison if she was happy after her first year. I received a resounding “YES” and a smile.   Of course, you might not tell your boss that you were unhappy, but I’m pretty confident that Alison likes it at OSU and is glad that she joined us. I can absolutely say that the Executive Committee and I are delighted she is here and can already see the positive impact she has had on our organization. I asked Alison to share her own brief reflection on this first year. Happy 1 ½ Year Anniversary, Alison.

A First Year Reflection

About a year & a half ago I moved to Columbus to begin my new job as the Associate Director for Research & Education. Most recently I had been working at the University of Vermont (UVM) in a similar job but at a much smaller place. I know, most places are much smaller than Ohio State. But even the city of Burlington, which is the largest city in Vermont and where UVM is located, is smaller than Ohio State. And the city of Columbus has more people that the entire state of Vermont. Big change, so why go?

For me, it’s not about leaving, it’s about arriving. And arriving in Columbus and joining OSUL has been a great adventure. Throughout my career I have always thought of my job as one to help others do their jobs as well, as thoughtfully, and as effectively as possible.

Working in Thompson Library I have discovered that it is a great deal of fun, and I feel proud, to work in a building that prompts people to ooh and aah, to point to the stacks, to tiptoe into the reading rooms nodding their heads looking impressed, and to be wowed by the views from the 11th floor. I love visiting the 18th Avenue Library and the colleagues over there though I confess, I have not taken advantage of the fact that 18thL is open 24/7. I have found my way to our delightful department libraries and marveled at our special collections. I was amazed to see the transformation of the temporary quarters for FAES to the wholly renovated Library and Student Success Center. I’ve ventured out to the Tech Center, over to the depository, visited our galleries, and helped celebrate the 50th anniversary at the Archives. I have visited our Regional Libraries and found how nicely each suits their campus and environment.

At the start of each new school year, I look at all the students who are finding their way around campus; I see faculty back in the classroom, and researchers in the labs, and it gives me both energy and hope. As I have settled into my job, I am reminded how important library work is. The joy of the journey can be the big adventures but as often as not, it’s simply arriving safe and sound and happy to work.

From the Director – August 17, 2015 – Mentoring

We hear a lot these days about paying it forward. There are lots of good examples of our students going on service trips during spring break or our athletes visiting children in the hospital etc. As I reflect on my own career, it’s easy for me to see a number of situations where I have been the beneficiary of someone paying it forward. In particular, my career would not have been what it was without the role of mentors.


Dana C. Rooks, retired Dean of Libraries, University of Houston

Professionally, Dana Rooks was my first, and last, mentor. I met her during the interview for my first position as a serials retrospective conversion cataloger at the University of Houston. She was the person who convinced UH’s director of libraries to give me a chance as the Head of the Acquisitions Department with only a year of library (or really even work) experience under my belt. She went out on a limb for me by appointing me, and then began to mentor me immediately.

In late July, I traveled to Houston to attend the retirement celebration for Dana where I spoke about her impact on me, the library profession and most definitely on the University of Houston. The list of those she has mentored is long and I count myself lucky to have encountered her so very early in my own career. She has provided me with mountains of sage advice. In those early days of my career before the Internet, we wrote memos. I would often appear in her office with my memo in hand addressed to someone who had really ticked me off. Dana’s response – do you feel better? Mine, of course, yes. And hers – okay now let’s write one we can actually send. Of course, I have a thousand stories I could tell about Dana and her influence on me.

When I took my first position as a dean of libraries, Dana saw me through an intense period of adjustment as I learned this new role.

William J. Crowe, retired Dean of Libraries, University of Kansas

I will be eternally grateful to Bill for one single act – hiring me into my first position at The Ohio State University Libraries. I couldn’t have known at that time how critical that decision would be to the rest of my life and how important Bill would be to me in that next stage of my career. In addition to career and work advice, I remember Bill most for innumerable small acts of kindness. The first – having been hired sometime in the spring of 1987 but not planning to start my new position until October 1 – Bill thoughtfully arranged to have my new business cards created and then ferried them to the ALA Annual Conference in June so that I would have them to give out to folks. (This was, of course, a time when we did not have email as a way of sharing this kind of information. The business card was a very important networking tool.) In a second example, I will never forget the sympathy note that Bill wrote me in 1989 when my father died rather suddenly. He has always known exactly what to say.

Mentors also come in small doses. What I mean by that is that you can have a good colleague to whom you would never affix the formal title of mentor, but that individual will on occasion and perhaps just once, provide you with a very sage piece of advice just at the time you need it. That list of individuals is very long for me.


So, as my own career has advanced I have tried to pay it forward by being a mentor myself. And I’ll leave it to others to decide what impact that has had. But I can say, that being a mentor is highly rewarding as well.

I am grateful to those who have mentored me and to those who have allowed me to share my own experiences with them.

From the Director – August 3, 2015 – New Roles for the Road Ahead

New Roles for the Road Ahead: Essays Commissioned for ACRL’s 75th Anniversary

In honor of its 75th anniversary, ACR: commissioned a series of essays about the future. While traveling recently, I had a chance to delve further into these. Given that they were written by Steven Bell, Lorcan Dempsey, and Barbara Fister, there was much to consider and mull over. Here are a couple of themes that resonated with me particularly as they relate to OSU and our work.

Student Retention

From Steven Bell’s “The Student Body is Changing”, pp. 20-21

With fewer students enrolling, retaining existing students—both an investment made by the institution and a revenue source—will be more critical. Academic librarians can expand on their approaches to engaging with students in ways that will keep them from dropping out. That’s why today’s research and program experimentation with the role of the academic library for improved student retention and persistence to graduation will be critical on the road ahead. Existing research demonstrates that when institutions identify their at-risk students early on and then provide point-of-need support, it makes a significant difference in keeping them retained and academically successful. Academic librarians can develop new roles that will allow them to participate in these efforts by being early responders to provide students with research support.

We already have a foothold in this area through our work with First Year Experience and STEP. As the University increases its use of data analytics to identify at-risk students at different points during the semester, we’ll want to be in a position to offer support as needed for those students among a suite of interventional strategies.

Steven talks further about the use of learning analytics in his “Assessment of Student Outcomes and Systemic Analytics” p. 64

“Higher education institutions began experimenting with learning analytic software a few years ago. Purdue University, an early adopter of this technology, developed a system in 2009 called Course Signals. Using a combination of data, including grades, demographics, and interaction with learning material, analytics software uses algorithms to produce, on demand for a student, an indicator signaling an instructor to take action. For example, a yellow signal may prompt the instructor to contact the student by e-mail or arrange for a meeting to review that student’s course performance. Research on Course Signals shows that this type of formative assessment increases student retention by using early warnings to intervene at the point where a student is struggling.”

A nice sidebar about an Adaptive Learning Specialist position expands on this idea (p. 67).

“Imagine an adaptive learning system that, using analytics, could detect when a student requires additional instructional content on locating scholarly articles or avoiding plagiarism and could deliver librarian-produced tutorials at the point of need or automatically create an appointment for a consultation with an academic librarian.”


From Lorcan Dempsey’s “Technology Co-evolves with Organization and Behaviors”, p. 23

“…we do not have a good holistic view of how best to facilitate rendezvous of scholars and students with information resources or of how libraries should effectively disclose institutional resources to make them more generally discoverable.”

The difficulty of finding information resources continues to be a problem for our users (as our recent LibQUAL data attests). We have worked diligently to improve this discovery process on our web site, but part of the discovery problems are difficult for us to impact. Specifically I mean the number of vendor portals that an average user needs to transverse to satisfy all of their information needs. Each vendor presents their content through their own lens. While they are trying to present their information in its best light, there are hundreds of individual interfaces to navigate.

So check this compilation out. There is much more in this volume that helps to move our thinking ahead into the future.

From the Director – July 20, 2015 – ALA Technical Services/Collections Report

Prior to each LA Annual Conference, the ALA ALCTS “Big Heads” groups create reports to be shared with their colleagues.   What follows is the report submitted by Karla Strieb on behalf of OSU.

ALA Annual Report, 2015
ALCTS CMDS Chief Collection Development Officers of Large Research Libraries
ALCTS Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries


The Libraries do not expect confirmation of the FY16 budget until late summer but with the university’s current focus on college affordability, no increase to the base materials budget of $12,271,128 is expected this year. Supplemental funds continue to be provided from revenues from licensing university trademarks (e.g. for logo apparel and other items) as well as endowments and gifts. We are currently reviewing continuations and will trim low use and duplicative resources to keep the budget in balance; we also expect to use trademark and other one-time funds to help support the purchase of large ebook packages and other digital collections in the coming year.

Staffing and Organizational Structures:

Emily Shaw has been working since August 2014 as Head of Preservation and Reformatting. She has brought a broad preservation perspective to the OSU Libraries with particular strengths in digital preservation and reformatting which have been of great assistance in advancing our burgeoning Digital Initiatives.

Special Collections Description and Access continues to implement a new structure encompassing both special collections cataloging and processing. A new cataloging coordinator has been hired along with two new special collections catalogers. Two term processing coordinators were hired and are being deployed to help with special projects relating to implementation of a third party storage contract for boxed special collections (AssureVault) and our ongoing implementation of ArchivesSpace.

The University Libraries is in the process of searching for up to three Mary P. Key Diversity Residents. The two-year residencies (visiting faculty appointments) are being considered for Metadata Transformation, Latin American Studies, and Digital Research Services for the Arts and Humanities. (see The Mary P. Key Residency program has launched many fine librarians into careers at OSU and elsewhere (including Dracine Hodges who will be representing OSU Libraries at Tech Service Directors and current ALA president, Courtney Young).

Digital Content Services (publishing and repository services) has new, remarkable interim co-leaders in Melanie Schlosser and Maureen Walsh following the retirement of Tschera Connell. Two staff vacancies in the program offer opportunities to rethink workflows and expertise as the Libraries are in the process of hiring a Projects Coordinator and a Partner Relations Coordinator. Recruitment and hiring should be complete and the unit fully staffed again by the Fall.

The Libraries is currently recruiting for an experienced librarian to serve as our Electronic Resources Officer. The position manages acquisitions and licensing of e-resource and serial collections, whether acquired directly for OSU or through our consortia, OhioLINK and the CIC. Four to five staff report to the position. See or catch Dracine Hodges here at ALA for more information. Candidate review will begin after July 19, 2015.

Our Special Collections area is seeing staffing reconfigurations and recruitments relating to the end of June retirement of Geoff Smith, our long-time head of Rare Books. With Geoff’s retirement, Eric Johnson (Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts) will be assuming some new responsibilities as our lead curator for the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. In addition we will be shortly launching a search for a curator for American Literature to work with our very strong special collections in North American fiction and related areas.

Another transition is under way in advancing our support for Japanese Studies. Maureen Donovan, who built OSU Libraries’s outstanding collections of manga, Japanese business histories, and other vernacular collections in Japanese, retired at the end of May. We are in the process of appointing a new faculty librarian to advance this area.

Building collections

General collections:

The Libraries continue to pursue an e-preferred policy for general collections, purchasing large publisher-based e-book packages rather than a traditional comprehensive approval plan and using a DDA plan as a supplemental approach to our individual e-book purchasing. We recently agreed to participate in a pilot project sponsored by DeGruyter and Lyrasis to test a business model for acquiring all frontlist e-books (i.e. including titles that may be subject to course adoption); our participation in the pilot will extend to Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia university presses and will continue through December 2016.

Without inflation funding, FY15 big ticket purchases concentrated on content that required minimal continuing commitments. However, a planned spend down of a reserve fund of $1 million plus an annual allocation of funds from OSU trademark licensing provided a substantial pool of cash. New priorities for content purchases were identified and implemented: Particular priority was given to digital primary source collections and to purchases of multiple products from large vendors to motivate maximum price discounting, vendors supporting text and data mining of collections, consortial opportunities, and vendors archiving digital collections with Portico. Collections strategy is also seeking to build out collections that synergize with OSU Libraries’ strengths in special collections.

Special collections selected highlights:

The Libraries leveraged our rich University Archives, cartoon, and congressional collections in exhibits and collaborative programming that recognized the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Remembering the Act: Archival Reflections on Civil Rights was offered in the Thompson Gallery and drew 1059 viewers, while The Long March: Civil Rights in Cartoons and Comics at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum saw 2926 visitors. These exhibits initiated campus-wide conversations including collaborative hosting of a screening of the film, A Letter from Birmingham Jail and of the program “March: An Evening with Congressman John Lewis, Nate Powell, and Andrew Aydin, with special guests Sweet Honey in the Rock”, attended by over 500 people.

OSU Libraries’ Rare Books and Manuscripts Library partnered with University of South Carolina to develop manuscriptlink, an interactive site that brings together fragmentary medieval manuscript holdings from a diversity of collections in an effort to virtually reconstruct previously lost medieval codices. The project has over 82 committed institutional partners across North America, Europe, and Australia to build a digital “collective collection” of virtual manuscripts from ca. 800 to ca. 1600.

OSU Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute received the Jesse and Rochelle Shereff Gilbert and Sullivan Collection. Of the five major G&S private collections in the U.S., two have been donated to the Libraries, opening the way for G&S collection collaborations with George Mason University and other institutions to which remaining members of the collector network may already be committed.

The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute received the large, world class, Ralph MacPhail Jr. Howdy Doody Collection which documents the history of puppetry in the media, hugely successful children’s television programming, merchandising and licensing, and the legacy of words like “Kowabunga” and “Peanut Gallery”. As with our other TRI collections, this collection is already embedded in performing arts teaching on campus.

The Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archives received an additional 20 c.f. to the Papers of Sir George Hubert Wilkins from the Ross Family (Winston Ross was Wilkins’ secretary). Wilkins was renowned for his work as a WWI photographer and his achievements as a polar explorer including being the first to fly over the South Pole and the first to pilot a submarine under the North Pole. (also check out this new trailer for National Film Preservation Fund restoration work on film found in the Polar collection:

Enhancing collections storage

To accommodate ongoing collection growth in special and general collections, the OSU Libraries have implemented a new contract for local, third-party storage with the AssureVault service of HF Group. The storage provided by AssureVault houses only low-use, containerized special collections materials in high-quality environmental conditions. Initial ingest of an estimated 25,000 cubic ft. of OSU Libraries’ special collections took place in March and April 2015. Materials held in a swing space on campus plus selected materials from the main library and our high density storage facility went into the leased space. Collections from University Archives (part of the University Libraries) and collections from our Theater Research Institute and our Rare Books and Manuscripts Library were sent (we have adequate local storage for cartoon collections in our new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum facility). The contract is expected to extend for 5-10 years with the hoped-for conclusion of the construction of a third module for the Libraries current high density storage facility.

The Libraries also engaged in a feasibility study for construction of a third module for its own high density storage facility. The study was completed in March and evaluated the appropriate costs and tradeoffs for a roughly 19,000 SF footprint to house roughly 3 million volume equivalents in high bay shelving. Shelving type (fixed vs. movable) and fire suppression options were explored. The study will support a request for state funding through OhioLINK in fall 2015.

Shared Print

OSU continues to deduplicate print volumes against secured titles in the CIC Shared Print Repository (SPR). Deduplication against secured CIC collections has removed more than 40,000 volumes from the collection so far. Analysis of OSU serial holdings for contribution to the SPR is being done by CIC in conjunction with CRL. We’re hoping to be asked to supply further volumes to the shared collection.

Enhancing collection access

Thompson Circulation and Interlibrary Services launched a pilot service in January to deliver items to users residing out of state. The service is available to all patrons but is being promoted to distance learners by OSU’s Office of Distance Education and E-Learning.

InterLibrary Services continues to work with our special collections units to expand appropriate lending of special collections. Currently the Theatre Research Institute, Hilandar Research Library, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum are selectively fulfilling article requests from their collections.

The Libraries has recently completed its provision of monographic materials from its special collections to Google as part of its contributions to the scanning partnership. Scanning of other types of monographic materials from general collections continues. We are also looking at how to complement the Google scanning with in-house reformatting projects to increase conversion of monographs from our collections.

Digital Initiatives

The Libraries launched a project to retrospectively scan its masters thesis holdings. Two (of three) shipments have gone out to the vendor contracted to scan 30,000 print masters theses back to the 1960’s (2008 to present are born digital). Cost per volume is about $10.The reformatted theses will be delivered later this year via the OhioLINK ETD Center which houses born-digital theses and dissertations as well as reformatted dissertations (copies purchased from ProQuest).

We are in the planning stages of a project to digitize around 1,000 volumes of rare Ottoman Turkish and early Arabic and Persian printed texts. We are looking to work with the Internet Archive as the scanning vendor. This will be our first effort to address “Google rejects”, and scanned volumes will be passed through from IA to be deposited into HathiTrust. Since OCR will likely be impossible on most of these documents, and since we have the necessary cataloging and language expertise in house, we will be take the time to enhance the bibliographic metadata for each prior to digitization. We will also pilot use of the Marc 583 field for this project.

ArchivesSpace implementation is well underway. The platform is in local production; staff have been trained; and several special collections are accessioning new items. Planning is underway for migration of metadata from our catalog, the OhioLINK ETD center, and PastPerfect. We plan for all special collections to be brought into this management environment. Special Collections Description and Access is leading the implementation, supporting metadata migration and creation, and providing training support to special collections units.

The Libraries is transitioning to a new digital collections environment that includes a Fedora repository in addition to the DSpace-based IR we have been managing for years. Branded as the Master Objects Repository, the new Fedora repository will greatly enhance our ability to curate, manage and preserve the Libraries’ digital collections, and enable us to move away from the smattering of siloes in which we have managed (or simply parked) content in the past. One task force is currently developing a disposition matrix for determining “what goes where” and defining workflows for ingesting collections into the new repository environment, and another is defining levels of preservation for different classes and content and developing a plan for long-term preservation at these different levels.

The Libraries has also launched a new image management system using a modification of Sufia with a Fedora repository. Metadata is Dublin Core with additional elements from VRA Core to make visual materials from the Libraries’ collections available for research. Image Collections include photographs, art works, images of artifacts and objects, manuscripts, and other resources that express information visually. Our first featured Image Collections include cartoon art from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and photographs and other images related to polar exploration and global climate system science from the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archival Program.  Materials in the Image Collections are scanned from original materials in the Libraries’ collections or were acquired as digital images. The staff side offers a full-range of collection management functions, including batch importing, metadata editing, configuring viewing permissions, etc.

Scholarly Communication – Repository/Publishing Programs and Copyright

The Ohio State University Libraries has signed the COAR statement against Elsevier’s sharing policy. This stance reflects the concerns that led our Libraries’ faculty to adopt an open access policy requiring deposit of our (Libraries) faculty article in our institutional repository. The open access policy is at

Recent highlights from publishing program –

  • Public release: Sidney Chafetz Print Catalogue Raisonné
  • First issue: International Journal of Screendance
  • A first, the summer 2014 issue of Disability Studies Quarterly included a book review published in English and American Sign Language, and a reflection by the author on the process of simultaneously writing/recording a review in multiple languages.
  • The Libraries are in on-going conversations with the Moritz College of Law regarding the archiving and potential publishing of five law journals. We are currently completing the archiving of The Ohio State Law Journal which began publishing in 1935 and we will be archiving two additional law journals this summer.

OSU Libraries has joined CrossRef and can now assign DOI’s to items in our publishing program workflows.

OSU Libraries’ Copyright program continues to flourish with a new hire to support copyright needs of distance and online learning. The Libraries are now contributing copyright analysis with the support of two staff from Acquisitions and Collections Description and Access through our participation in the new IMLS Grant to University of Michigan Libraries to continue copyright determinations for HathiTrust materials using the Copyright Review Management System.

A new license policy for Libraries web pages will be implemented over the next year. Creative Commons license statements will be added to the Libraries’ web pages.

Lots of great resources (including tutorials, videos, and handouts) have been added during the past year to the Libraries’ Copyright Resources Center web site at

Technical Services

A little bragging – As reported by OCLC in their recent annual report, OSU Libraries are once again among the top ten libraries in the world in production of original cataloging records due in part to recent initiatives to enhance access to theses and dissertations. OSU Libraries was also in the top ten of resource sharing libraries.

Swets Bankruptcy – Following the announcement last fall, over a thousand serial orders needed to be reviewed and revended (no substantial balance of funds was held by Swets). Most orders were previously split between the three main vendors. In addition to general revending, the Libraries used the situation to review several hundred print journal orders for cancellation or conversion to electronic format. Ultimately 1,276 orders were re-vended, 127 orders were cancelled; others were converted from print to electronic whenever possible.

Enhancing sharing of our documentation – We are in the midst of a local initiative to review all of our web resources and documentation for technical services activities. In addition to reorganizing the distribution of content between platforms to make it easier for our colleagues to find our documentation, substantial review and updating of policy documents have been occurring through the past year. All documentation across the division is expected to have been reviewed, updated, or retired by the end of the calendar year.


From the Director – July 6, 2015 – Library Services of the Future (or Even Today)

Many things cross my desk/email on a daily basis. Most get a brief glance for relevance, a quick read, or a print to be read on the next long airplane flight. All of that is part of the environmental scanning required to remain up to date in our profession, on our institution and its partners, as well as reading outside our environment for trends that will impact us.

So a few months ago, the regular CIC Center for Library Initiatives e-News arrived in my email. As usual, there is a message from executive director Mark Sandler (who will retire in February 2016). Now Mark has a very dry but witty sense of humor that I enjoy. And he’s also a pretty thoughtful guy. So the first line of his message reads:

There should be little doubt that the future of libraries will be less about managing stuff (including such trendy “stuffs” as data and special collections), and more about managing relationships.  Read more

I wasn’t sure that I completely agreed with Mark but was intrigued enough to read more. His next paragraphs read:

Dear Valued Customer—call me or else!

Dear Patrick– Have you started your Philosophy 230 term paper yet?  I’m available to help if you ping me.  Five of your classmates have already come over to the library to chat with me about topics, resources, and how best to structure the paper.  In past terms, I’ve helped dozens of students with this assignment, and their average grade—we track this—was just shy of .75 higher than the grades assigned to students working without library support.  Let me know if I can help with this.

Dear Elena—Welcome to campus and congratulations on your appointment as an Assistant Professor of Communications.  I know these first weeks will be crazy busy for you, but I’d like to invite you to coffee in October.  I work at the library and provide tenure counseling to assistant professors in the social sciences.  I have data/analytics on tenure success strategies and outcomes across campus—and in particular departments like Communications and Media Studies.  I work with tenure-track faculty to help them set goals that align with departmental expectations, and to optimize their tenure portfolio to best reflect their academic contributions.  I understand that your tenure review is five years off, but we try to work with faculty from their earliest days on campus to set a path that is most likely lead to a successful outcome.  Our “clients” have a tenure success rate nearly twice as high as that of overall campus candidates.  Can I work with your department secretary to set up a coffee appointment in October?

So now I’m intrigued. Are you? Read more here –


From the Director – June 22, 2015 – The Innovation Fund

Background and History

On December 1, 2011, I wrote a blog posting announcing the creation of the OSUL Innovation fund.   Here’s an excerpt from that entry (the full message can be found here) :

I am pleased to announce the creation of the new OSUL Innovation Fund. The objective of the fund is to facilitate and support projects that advance innovative ideas and services that produce high value for users and support the strategic objectives of the OSU Libraries. Awards from this fund will serve as catalysts for introducing new and innovative technologies, research tools, user centric services and progressive approaches. Substantial initial funding has been allocated to provide the stimulus for this process. All requests for funds will be subject to a review process.
All initiatives or projects must align with the strategic plan. Therefore, the Executive Committee will be looking for projects whose nature and scope fulfill at least one or more of these premises:
The project…

  • Pilots or advances new ideas, services or technologies for our core users
  • Engages OSU faculty and/or students in using and enhancing library managed content
  • Initiates or advances new strategic partnerships with other libraries or academic units on campus
  • Positions the Libraries as a national leader in the integration of intellectual content and services within the larger world of ideas and knowledge.
  • Experiments with new ways of doing business
  • Creates infrastructure or enables other projects of strategic importance

In particular, I encourage you to think about “launching a lot of small ships” rather than “building a 100,000-ton freighter and taking a long time to do it.” (Y.S. Chi, IFLA World Library and Information Congress, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 2011). That doesn’t mean that your proposals have to be inexpensive, but rather that we experiment and pilot as often as possible to move ideas forward.

During my first two years at OSU (and after the arrival of the new administrative leadership team), we had heard regularly statements such as:

  • “I don’t know how to get money to advance a great idea I have.”
  • “I don’t know how to get my needs and ideas in front of someone who can approve my going ahead (and provide resources to do so).”
  • “I’m not sure how IT projects get funded or who decides what things are a priority.”
  • “I don’t know how to get my digitization project in front of someone for consideration.”

These comments led us as an administrative group to begin to do many things but one outcome was to create the Innovation Fund as a clear avenue for answering those compelling questions. At the same time, we began to work with all of you to put in place several additional structures including:

  • a working group and process for receiving requests for digitization with clearer understanding on what was to be funded and tackled and on what schedule; and
  • an IT prioritization process that creates an avenue for articulating potential projects, reviews those projects with key stakeholders, and evaluates and sets a priority list for the next quarter of the year
  • an equipment review process that enables an individual to request facility needs ranging from the simple replacement of furniture to the complete renovation of the fourth floor study rooms in the 18th Avenue Library as well as clarifying that the Assistant/Associate Directors had spending authority up to $5,000
  • clarified clarification of the committee, working group, and task force appointment process, creating clear charges and expectations that include being entry points for good ideas to move forward in the organization.

Outcomes and Successes

On January 25, 2012 and January 6, 2014, I blogged again about the status and success of the Innovation Fund. The 2012 post addresses the outcome of the first round of applications.

I am delighted with the first round of proposals for the innovation fund. We received 14 proposals. The quality and thoughtfulness of the proposals is a great start. We know the first deadline was quick and appreciate the work that went into getting these first proposals together.

Each application was reviewed and decisions were made to approve, consolidate, or send proposals back to the applicant(s) for additional development.  The appropriate AD will contact each applicant with information on how and when to move forward with their projects.

Most proposals were approved as written. . .

We’re off to a great start. It comes as no surprise to me that we have a number of innovative and creative proposals that will improve upon the great products and services that OSUL already offers to our students, colleagues and the entire OSU community.

And on January 6, 2014, you can see a more detailed list of projects which had been funded .

In the three years that the fund has existed, innovation ranged from successful projects that moved into full blown services to projects that failed but taught us something we needed to know to projects which were withdrawn before execution because something in the environment changed. We’ve had all those outcomes and I consider each a successful outcome. Over the life of the fund, we awarded 28 separate innovation projects for a total of approximately $270,000.


Current Status and Decision

Over the last few months, we have heard from a number of quarters that there was interest in changing the Innovation Fund process. We’ve discussed some of those ideas and also talked with individuals about their current thinking about submitting a proposal in the next round.   Here is a brief summary of what we heard:

  • We’ve blown through a great deal of “pent up” projects that people had been waiting to pursue.
  • Individuals now see clearer avenues for advancing a project and haven’t needed to wait for the official Innovation Fund process.
  • The new processes for equipment suggestions, digitization requests and IT projects has made it easier to move projects into implementation and through to completion.

So we believe that the formal innovation fund process has run its course and can now be ended. Innovation is a constant aspect of how we do our work and how you contribute to advancing the Libraries’ role in knowledge building. So if you’ve been waiting to submit a project in the next round of Innovation Fund proposals, wait no more. Simply use the digitization, IT or equipment processes. Or if your proposal doesn’t fit any of those, just talk to your supervisor about how to get your proposal considered.

From the Director – June 8, 2015 – E-Books and Quiet Study: Results of the 2015 LibQUAL Survey

Guest posting by Sarah Murphy, Coordinator of Assessment

University Libraries administered its ninth LibQUAL Survey in February 2015, gathering feedback from close to 1,900 undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and staff. Survey results indicate that overall faculty and students continue to be satisfied with library resources and services. The Libraries also achieved its LibQUAL benchmark targets for the 2011-2016 Strategic Plan by maintaining mean scores for questions within the Library as Place dimension and improving means scores for questions in both the Affect of Service and Information Control dimensions.


  • More than 70% of faculty and roughly 80% of all undergraduate and graduate students reported they most frequently used the Thompson or 18th Avenue Library
  • Undergraduate students are twice as likely as faculty to use library resources on library premises daily or weekly
  • Undergraduate and graduate students identified Quiet space for individual activities in their top five areas needing improvement. Both expressed a desire for more quiet study space.
  • Faculty and graduate students desire more robust, accessible e-book collections with options to download e-books to desired reading devices.
  • Faculty no longer identify a gap in their expectations for the Libraries’ print and electronic collections, but continue to identify A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own as their top area for improvement.


A PDF of the full 2015 LibQUAL Survey Report is available in the Libraries Document Registry, along with four interactive Tableau workbook files which now allow library faculty and staff the ability filter the survey results by user group, OSU College or School, and the library location respondents reported they used the most often.* This means you can use these files to view the survey results for graduate students in the College of Engineering, for example, who report using the 18th Avenue Library the most frequently.

Comments are embedded in the file labeled LibQUAL 2015 Summary, With Comments. It is possible to filter and export both the comments and survey results directly to an Excel file, if needed or desired. A comparison of the 2011, 2013, and 2015 survey results is also now possible with Tableau, and is located in the files labeled:

  • Affect of Service, 2011-2015
  • Information Control, 2011-2015
  • Library as Place, 2011-2015, and
  • Local Questions, 2011-2015


The Recommended Actions section of the 2015 LibQUAL survey report highlights several opportunities for improvement and was developed in partnership with several faculty and staff throughout the Libraries. It is divided into three main topic areas –, E-Books, and quiet study – and includes both current initiatives and ideas for exploration.


LibQUAL is a significantly large, time-intensive project that cannot be accomplished without the support and effort of several individuals. A special thank you is required for Lauren Paulauskas in Planning and Administration for identifying survey incentives and managing their distribution and Michael Barclay in HR for providing the faculty sample.

*The LibQUAL 2015 Reports are displayed only to OSUL Staff so it is necessary to login to the Document Registry to see the documents. All LibQUAL Reports are grouped together using the tag LibQUAL.

From the Director – May 11, 2015 – Odds and Ends

Not Your Mother’s Library

This article appeared in The Atlantic about our own Columbus Metropolitan Library. As we’ve worked very closely with CML on our IFLA Conference, we’ve gotten to know them well. Their experiences right now are mirroring much of what OSU experienced when Thompson was closed.

  • They are located in temporary space that is far from the grandeur of their usual offices in the Main Library.
  • They made a decision in early 2015 that it was too costly to keep a small portion of the Main Library open during the renovation and have closed the building completely.
  • They are anxious to meet the deadline for completion before the IFLA Conference in 2016.
  • And they are also in the midst of fundraising to complete the Main Library renovation as well as the work they are doing on many of their branches.

Sounds familiar? Enjoy this well written article about their plans – I particularly like the word clouds.

Digital Public Library of America

If you haven’t heard about DPLA, check out their main site at You can explore the almost 8.5 million digital objects from libraries, museums and archives. You can explore by location and date or check out the curated exhibitions. If you click on Bookshelf, you’ll also see traditional books, journals and periodicals and who is contributing.

Beyond the site itself, there are a number of articles and publications about DPLA.

“DPLA accomplishes its mission by aggregating metadata and thumbnails pointing to digital objects for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from a national network of partners. This network comprises individual nodes, or hubs, which work with DPLA to map and ingest their records into the DPLA repository.

There are two types of hubs: service and content. Service hubs are state or regional digital libraries that collect items from organizations across their respective state or region, in addition to providing a trove of essential services including digitization, metadata consultation and enrichment, community organization, and technology support. Content hubs hold hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of digitized items on their own. Unlike service hubs, which interact with DPLA on behalf of myriad smaller regional organizations, content hubs represent themselves only and commit to providing DPLA with at least 200,000 items. This approach to infrastructure management allows DPLA to maintain a sustainable number of partnerships while maximizing existing data practices and local expertise in hub locations.”

Conversations are underway in Ohio about how to provide a statewide hub.

A nice summary of these three entities and where they intersect.

More about the DPLA Bookshelf.

Cursive is an Endangered Species

Worried about whether your children will learn to write in cursive and should you care?

In the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have begun to see the ramifications of this shift and its effect on the research skills of college students. Recently, an undergraduate asked me for help with a manuscript she was studying. I assumed it was something along the lines of a medieval Latin text or perhaps even a particularly difficult Marcel Proust letter (our library holds the largest collection of Proust letters in the world), but when I bent over the letter to help, I saw that it was in English and in the very neat, clear hand of John Ruskin. “What’s the problem?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t do cursive,” answered the undergraduate.

We are now faced with a generation of students who don’t “do” cursive. Unfortunately, this means that they will be locked out of doing research with literary papers and archival collections. They will not even be able to read their grandmother’s diary or their parents’ love letters.

Read the rest of the short article to learn about Camp Cursive.

From the Director – April 27, 2015 – Odds and Ends

5 Things We Know about College Students in 2014

Okay, I realize it is now 2015, but I’m sure this is still relevant, at least for a while! Here’s the quick answer:

  • They love Apple
  • Print is not dead to them
  • They’re not that into Twitter
  • They think libraries and computer labs are swell [Yea!]
  • They have not ditched scholarly works for Wikipedia

Just Say No to Digital Hoarding

It’s nice to have the Washington Post confirm what your talented University Archivist and her colleagues have been telling us for some time. I’m not going to tell you anything else about this article except you’ll have to read it to find out what “infobesity” is.

Cool Things I Want to Have Right Now

As I’m writing this, it is late in the work day and I’m beginning to think about what I might eat for dinner – go out, cook something, and hassle with the grocery store. Here’s what would solve my problem:

Take, for example, Tesco supermarkets in South Korea.  The company wanted to increase sales without creating more stores.  Tesco understood that Koreans work long hours and have little appetite for shopping at the end of the day so they created virtual grocery stores at subway stations.  These virtual stores, shelves and all, are projected on the walls of subway stations.  To purchase items, shoppers simply go to a Tesco app on a smartphone and scan the projected items’ QR code.  When purchases are completed, the order is delivered to shoppers’ homes shortly after they get home from work.

The Tesco app was downloaded 400,000 times in one month after the launch and Tesco skyrocketed to number one in online sales in Korea.

At the Armstrong-Browning Library at Baylor University, they have a telepresence robot that can be used to view an exhibit remotely or participate in a lecture or workshop. Here’s EDUCAUSE’s ELI 7 Things You Should Know piece about these robots:

One example this article gives is from the National Museum of Australia for “patrons who want to visit the exhibits but are restricted by distance-related expense, time constraints, or an inability to travel. The robot can interact with an educator who is part of the museum staff and pose questions and discuss answers in real time with visitors.”

JSTOR Launches Free Online Magazine for Popular Audience

Sue JSTOR is definitely designed for scholarly audiences, but much of its content might also have broader appeal. JSTOR Daily launched on October 1, 2014 (but was in pilot mode since June) and can be found here: The Daily is divided in to categories: Arts & Culture; Business & Economics; Politics & History; Science & Environment and Education & Tech. It also highlights a series of articles each day. The LJ article gives you more information on who writes the articles etc.

NISO Vets Research on Altmetrics

As part of a grant funded by the Sloan Foundation, NISO has released a study intended to help identify and develop best practices and standards that can support the widespread adoption of new metrics. This posting on the Scholarly Kitchen gives you the highlights of the white paper created by NISO.

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