Academic Libraries

Open Access and its impact on the future of the university librarian

We are shifting from content ownership by individual libraries to joint provision of services on a larger scale, says Stephen Barr... "This change was one which the participants felt that librarians have already embraced and see as an increasingly important role in the future, but it is also one which calls for different practices and perspectives."

Middle East Collection at UCLA

David Hirsch of the Middle East Librarians Association (http://mela.us/) is the subject of an interesting article in UCLC Today.

"His tenacity and love for his work have allowed Hirsch to help build some of the finest collections in the country. The library’s 500,000-plus volumes on the Middle East, North Africa, Anatolia and Central Asia constitute one of the most significant Middle Eastern research collections in the U.S. and the largest on the West Coast. Holdings are particularly strong in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Armenian, Ottoman, Modern Turkish, Kurdish, Assyrian and several Central Asian languages. The collection of materials from Yemen and the Persian Gulf countries is considered the most comprehensive in the U.S. The Middle Eastern manuscript holdings are the second largest in North America, with more than 10,000 items in Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Assyrian, Ottoman Turkish and Persian."

See: http://today.ucla.edu/portal/ut/david-hirsch-239778.aspx

U. of Maryland Library Gangnam Style

Pretty hip place if you asked me...

Columbia University Gets "X-Men" author Chris Claremont's Notes

For decades, “X-Men” author Chris Claremont kept handwritten notes about characters such as Wolverine and Magneto in dozens of boxes in the closet and basement of his Brooklyn apartment – as well as his mother-in-law’s house.

Perhaps not many outside of the comics fanboy community would consider this ephemera worthy of preservation, since even Mr. Claremont’s wife wanted to “get the crap out of the house,” he said. But Columbia University’s libraries deemed the journals, fan mail and correspondence important enough to be part of its archives.

[Thanks Andrew!]

Big Open-access deal for particle physics

The entire field of particle physics is set to switch to open-access publishing, a milestone in the push to make research results freely available to readers.

Particle physics is already a paragon of openness, with most papers posted on the preprint server arXiv. But peer-reviewed versions are still published in subscription journals, and publishers and research consortia at facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have previously had to strike piecemeal deals to free up a few hundred articles.

Google Launches Open Course Builder

Google launched an open source course building web application for the growing list of K-12 and big-name universities developing online classes. The barebones website is a lightweight way to bring course material online, track student engagement (with web traffic and surveys), and evaluate performance. “We want to use this launch to show that Google believes it can contribute to technology in education,” says Google’s Director of Research, Peter Norvig.

Automatic Barista at U. of Texas Academic Center

Ordering a cup of coffee is now as simple as reaching for your smartphone. Launch an app, tap the screen a couple of times and, as soon as a minute later, your order could be ready, prepared by a "robotic barista" kiosk created by Austin-based Briggo. Story from The Texas Statesman.

The first — and so far only — Briggo kiosk opened late last year in the Flawn Academic Center on the University of Texas campus. Measuring about 130 square feet, the orange-and-white box makes a variety of hot and iced coffee drinks, as well as lemonade for folks who aren't caffeine fiends.

In addition to the mobile app and online, walk-up orders can also be placed using a touchscreen.

"We're all about precision, quality and convenience," said founder Charles Studor, a former Motorola employee who built the first several Briggo prototypes in his garage starting about four years ago. "You essentially have a championship barista at your service 24 hours a day."

How to bury your academic writing

Interesting... Google Scholar reveals, however, one factor that exerts a massive impact on whether a paper is cited or not: whether it appears in a journal or an edited book.

"My own solution would be for editors of such collections to take matters into their own hands, bypass publishers altogether, and produce freely downloadable, web-based copy. But until that happens, my advice to any academic who is tempted to write a chapter for an edited collection is don't. "

[Thanks Mita]

How to Succeed in Publishing Without Really Trying

By the time the libraries realize how badly they’re in hock to you, their faculty will depend on all your journals, and the libraries will have no choice but to cough up the money for your extortionate fees.

But you’re losing sleep when libraries complain about your journals’ prices. Relax. Librarians are whiners. All fuss and bother; no action.
What are they going to do? Cancel the journals you acquired? Imagine the hue and cry from the faculty who rely on them. Most librarians won’t contemplate such action, devoted as they are (poor, well-meaning saps) to the needs of faculty and students. You think they’ll band together with other libraries and mount a boycott? If they can’t bring themselves to disappoint faculty and students at their own institutions, how can they imagine disappointing those they serve at multiple institutions?
I suppose it is theoretically possible that the Association of Research Libraries or the Association of College and Research Libraries (yes, they are two different institutions, thus making my point about libraries’ inability to coordinate on this or any other movement) might someday make noise about a boycott. If so, just make some noise in return about the unfortunate possibility of a lawsuit alleging restraint of trade.

Online Workshops a Growing Opportunity for Professional Development

Press Release from Library Juice Academy

Online Workshops a Growing Opportunity for Professional Development

August 23, Los Angeles:

Conference attendance is a major professional development activity for academic librarians, but tight budgets and a desire for greener alternatives to air travel are leading many librarians to participate in more local regional conferences, and and in online workshops and courses. Local and regional conferences give librarians an opportunity to network with other professionals in their geographic area, while online workshops provide the benefit of focused educational opportunities, often allowing librarians to participate as their schedules allow, and often earning Continuing Education Units. Continuing education opportunities for academic librarians are sometimes provided by academic LIS programs and by ALA's divisions, but as the market for online workshops has grown, a growing need has emerged for more diverse course offerings. -- Read More

Syndicate content