Academic Libraries

On Mistakenly Shredding a Prized Collection

Carla Tracy, director of the Thomas Tredway Library at Augustana College in Illinois writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Shortly after I began my career as a librarian, the Web made its appearance to the general public. Even with the broad scope afforded me through my educational background, I didn't believe the Web would amount to much. I could not imagine that this unimpressive resource would shake the very concept of the library as it had been known for hundreds of years.

The shaking hasn't stopped yet. College librarians are faced with the challenge of expanding digital media and study space while reducing print media. That reduction includes withdrawing books from the shelves, which, in effect, means selling, recycling, giving away, storing off-site (for those who can afford it), discarding, or shredding texts. Suddenly college librarians, among the world's greatest lovers of books, are viewed in certain corners as book destroyers.

If a library is a growing organism, then I've felt the growing pains keenly on our campus these last few months. In leading our library staff through an effort to remove certain books used only once in the past 25 years, if at all, I stand at the head of a series of events that inadvertently sent part of a reprint collection, written in classical Chinese, to the recycling center.

More from Chronicle.com.

A Bookshelf the Size of the World

From the Boston Globe:

As the digitization of human culture accelerates, publishers and academics have had to begin addressing a basic question: Who will control knowledge in the future?

So far, the most likely answer to that question has been a private company: Google. Since 2004 Google Books has been scanning books and putting them online; the company says it has already scanned more than 15 million. Google estimates there are about 130 million books in the world, and by 2020, it plans to have scanned them all.

Now, however, a competitor may be emerging. Last year, Robert Darnton, a cultural historian and director of Harvard University’s library system, began to raise the prospect of creating a public digital library. This library would include the digitized collections of the country’s great research institutions, but it would also bring in other media - video, music, film - as well as the collection of Web pages maintained by the Internet Archive.

Why We Publish

Why We Publish
It isn’t to obtain tenure. And it isn’t for money. Although to some, that is what publishing has become. The rationale for why we publish is (should be) to communicate results to as great an audience as possible and advance our understanding of the world around us. At Mendeley, we started to wonder how we could help communicate results and bring new models to the publication ecosystem. We think that Open Access content, where the full-text is readily accessible to all, will be the standard communication model in the future. And as such, we are rethinking how we shape our discovery algorithms.
[Thanks G!]

A U. of California Librarian asks: What happened to the American flags on the moon?

"As a symbol of the Fourth of July holiday, it is easy for the conversation this time of year to turn to iconic American flags, like the flag the Marines raised at Iwo Jima; the one firefighters put up at ground zero; and the one that flew over Fort McHenry and was the inspiration for what would become our national anthem."

"As the space shuttle program comes to an end this week, CBS News decided to look into the flags the astronauts left behind on six trips to the moon. What's become of them?"

"The flags waving behind are now among the most defining images of our time. But what happened to them is a question University of California Santa Barbara librarian Annie Platoff has been trying to answer."

Full article and video from CBS News.

Library as Nursery

Is your library littered with old Easter basket grass, shredded newspapers and animal bones? Good, neither is the NYU's Bobst Library, but the twelfth floor window ledge outside the library where red tailed hawks Bobby & Violet have raised their baby, Pip, is kind of a mess. From the New York Times Hawk Cam, where city dwellers have been anxiously awaiting this proud day.

At 11:55 a.m. on June 23, the 49th day of her life, Pip the red-tailed hawk, reality star of the Hawk Cam, flew the nest.

She took off from her 12th-floor ledge at Bobst Library at New York University, glided across the southeast corner of Washington Square Park and down to the roof of Joseph and Violet Pless Hall, a seven-story building at 82 Washington Square East, perhaps 200 feet away.

“She was graceful,” the Hawk Cam chatroom regular Pon Dove reported from the field. “She just jumped and she just glided, as if she were aiming for that building.”

More from NYTimes.

After City Closure, Camden NJ To Get a New Library Thanks to Rutgers University

Sometime this fall, Camden's youngest residents will be able to walk among Rutgers-Camden students and faculty on their way to the Camden County's newest branch library according to Philly.com.

Construction has begun on the basement of the Paul Robeson Library to make room for a 5,000-square-foot downtown Camden branch. County and city officials gathered Wednesday to announce details of the partnership with Rutgers-Camden.

Though a price has not been placed on the renovations, the county will pay for them. Camden City residents will join the rest of county library users in paying a library tax of 4 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation starting third quarter.

The previous, much larger downtown Camden branch on Federal Street was shut in February when Mayor Dana Redd decided the city could no longer afford its 100-year-old system while facing a $26.5 million budget deficit.

The county Library Commission voted to absorb Camden's system, making it the 27th municipal participant. However, the county kept open only the Ferry Avenue branch. A small Fairview branch, shut in September, also remained closed. -- Read More

Robots, Not Humans, Retrieve Your Books at $81 Million Library of the Future

Robots, Not Humans, Retrieve Your Books at $81 Million “Library of the Future”
The answer to your question–the books are tightly packed in bins stacked five stories high beneath your feet–is the reason University of Chicago’s new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is being referred to as the library of the future. An automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) involving huge, computer-activated robotic cranes find the book you want, deliver it to the circulation desk, and eventually return it back underground.

Academic Peer-Review Crowd Sourced

Academic Peer-Review…Crowd Sourced

Sympoze: a network of high-quality academic publications that utilizes crowd sourcing for the peer-review process. Crowd sourcing the peer-review process improves a number of problems with the current academic publishing model.

Reduced referee burden
Reduced review time
Speed up finding qualified referees
Eliminate the bad luck of being assigned to a biased or overworked referee
More diverse feedback
Decisions better reflect opinion of the field
Sympoze will also offer…

High-quality peer-reviewed scholarship by experts in the field
Immediate open-access publication (for pieces that pass the review process)
Yearly print volumes for each discipline in traditional book and e-book formats

New Services Are Diluting And Hurting Academic Librarianship

Bike Sharing Comes to the Academic Library

"The problem with offering great coffee, comfy chairs, and bicycle rentals to the library is not that these amenities are unwelcome — indeed, they are appreciated by most patrons. The problem is that they start diluting the brand of the academic library. And a dilution of the academic library brand may make it more difficult to justify hiring, retaining, and compensating highly trained academic staff."

You want to go to the library at 3am Britains the place

You want to go to the library at 3am? Britain's the place

A quarter of UK universities offer round-the-clock opening for flexible study. Matthew Reisz reports. An international survey of universities has revealed a striking difference between the library services offered by British institutions and those in the rest of the world. Although it remains unusual, a far greater proportion of British universities now keep their libraries open 24 hours a day than their counterparts elsewhere, the poll suggests.
[Thanks Ender!]

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