Academic Libraries

Librarians: Stuck between the rock of the vendors and the hard place of the patrons

Over at Attempting Elegance, Jenica Rogers is "Feeling Pointy":

"I am, professionally and personally, livid; I do not appreciate condescension, eradication of librarians’ professional expertise, or sidestepping of questions that are completely valid in a consumer-seller relationship in which a carefully delineated accreditation relationship is also involved. Our vendors seem to think that going straight to the faculty is going to benefit them, but I don’t understand their logic in sidestepping librarians. We’re the ones with the budgets. We’re the ones they have to work with. Yes, our faculty are influential, key stakeholders and partners, and are the source of our research agenda and teaching and learning needs, but still: How is undermining and alienating the librarian middleman going to help business?

Anger and bewilderment aside, I’m caught between the proverbial rock and hard place — I must support the faculty and students who rely on the research materials published by the ACS. But I must also strive to manage the budgets, resources

Librarians archivists to commence strike

Librarians, archivists to commence strike
This afternoon, librarians and archivists at The University of Western Ontario announced they would commence strike action effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 8

The 51 members of the bargaining unit are represented by the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA). The librarians and archivists and the university have been meeting since April 26, working to renew the group’s second contract, which ended June 30.

Peer review and the corruption of science

Peer review and the corruption of science
Pressure on scientists to publish has led to a situation where any paper, however bad, can now be printed in a journal that claims to be peer-reviewed...By and large, the problem does not arise from outright fraud, which is rare. It arises from official pressure to publish when you have nothing to say.

[Thanks, Alexa!]

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist
"What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning."

See Also: Response to George Monbiot’s Rant against Academic Publishers
"No one doubts that commercial publishers are in the business of making money. But the way they make money is by doing something that academics value but that they would not do for themselves, left to their own devices. What I mean is captured in two words: ‘innovation’ and ‘extension’. "

Digital libraries wasted

Digital libraries wasted
"In their future career, students will have to research subjects related to their work more often than they might imagine. On the more professional levels, in fact, a basic search-engine query might not return any suitable results. Students should acquaint themselves with the databases USC subscribes to, most of which are common and highly regarded in the professional world."

The Library its academic

The Library, it's academic
"And what I am seeing, once the Ph.D. becomes a prof, is that they don’t ask the reference librarians for research help at all. Technical help using the databases, sure—but even then, a fairly narrow idea of technical help that doesn’t include, for instance, tips on advanced search techniques and the special crankiness of the Boolean operators on a particular site. No, it’s get me in to the top-line site, make my password work, link to the journal, and let me research. "

Via: Why it matters how faculty view librarians

What Students Don't Know

What Students Don't Know
Another possible reason was that students seek help from sources they know and trust, and they do not know librarians. Many do not even know what the librarians are there for. "I don't think I would see them and say, 'Well, this is my research, how can I do this and that?' " one senior psychology major told the researchers. "I don't see them that way. I see them more like, 'Where's the bathroom?' " Other students imagined librarians to have more research-oriented knowledge of the library but still thought of them as glorified ushers.

For some reason librarians were surprised by the results of this study...

Librarian's Web Site About the Metropolitan Opera Taken Down

The tale sounded like Goliath raising his heel to crush a spunky David. The Metropolitan Opera, irked by regular disclosure of its programming, far into the future, on a Web site’s page, asked its operator to cease and desist.

The script might have called for a First Amendment battle, heels dug in, lawyers engaged, acid news releases. Instead, with nary a peep, the Web site’s author — Bradley E. Wilber, a college librarian in upstate New York, film buff and crossword puzzle constructor — graciously agreed to discontinue that page. The Met offered inducements, but he accepted only the promise of opera tickets for his next trip to the city.

“I didn’t want to get into trading a lot of stuff for my compliance,” Mr. Wilber said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “It’s really just a nice gesture.” Mr. Wilber’s opera page on his Web site was called Met Futures and dealt with subject matter that was seemingly obscure to much of the world but to opera fans was like red meat for hungry tigers. Mr. Wilber, 41, managed to sketch out the operas being planned by the Met, their casts and conductors often five or six years into the future. The subject is of passionate interest to opera buffs, who want to know whether their favorite singers are coming back, who is out of favor, what works are being revived from long ago and which operas are receiving new productions. -- Read More

UK Libraries reject raw deal on journals

Libraries reject 'raw deal' on e-journals
Major research libraries have told the two largest journal publishers that they will not renew their "big deals" with them if they do not make significant real-terms price reductions.

Research Libraries UK, which includes the Russell Group university libraries, as well as the UK's national libraries and Trinity College Library Dublin, have told Elsevier and Wiley-Blackwell that they will not renew their current deals when they expire at the end of this year unless the concession is made.

Big deals involve libraries paying a blanket fee for electronic access to a publisher's entire journal catalogue. They were initially welcomed by librarians when they were first introduced a decade ago.

The ILS the digital library and the research library

The ILS, the digital library and the research library. Great question from Lorcan Dempsey

" Responsibility for the integrated library system (or library management system) appears to be a part of each post, yet it is not foregrounded in the position description. For these libraries, maybe, the ILS is a necessary part of doing business, but is not the site of major development. Designing and developing digital infrastructure now includes the ILS but is no longer led by it. Or maybe there is some other reason .... ?"

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