Archive for: July, 2009

Friday Fun: Pulpy reading goodness at Bookgasm!

Jul 10 2009 Published by under friday fun

Bookgasm is one of my favourite book blogs, if not THE favourite. They have a regular feature by Bruce Grossman called, rather luridly, Bullets, Broads, Blackmail & Bombs which gives brief reviews and descriptions of tons of cheesy old paperback originals: mostly adventure, noir, hardboiled, detective. A lot of the stuff he talks about is pretty bad, but Grossman also reviews a lot of classic pulp by Donald Westlake, John D. Macdonald, Donald Hamilton, Eric Ambler and tons of others. Even when the reading is grim, Grossman keeps his commentary lively and entertaining.

Some recent installments include:

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My Job in 10 Years: Provisional table of contents

Yes, as promised I'm going to start workshopping the book I'm working on: My Job in 10 Years: The Future of Academic Librarianship. (Note title tweak.)

First of all, this is all just provisional; I'm at a point where I need to stop tinkering if I just going to get something out the door. Some parts are over-developed for an outline, others are under-developed.

I'm still thinking bout the book structurally. I'm also still thinking about what kinds of topic areas belong in or out. I've been picking nits with the TOC for a while now, moving bits here and there, and that probably won't stop, especially if all of you out there provide some feedback. The notes are also in pretty rough form, as is very obvious. I've also tinkered with those quite a bit.

I'm pretty sure there will be some chapters merging going forward as I probably have too many chapters right now. Some might find it interesting (or odd) to know that earlier versions didn't have chapter numbers, only names, and that the names I used were from the roster of The Legion of Superheroes.

You'll also note that the sections that correspond to ones in my original series of posts aren't fleshed out as much as the others. This is mostly due to the fact that my earlier efforts have already informed the stuff I want to talk about. For the newish sections, I wanted to get some ideas down here.

And speaking of feedback, have at it. It's all open to discussion at this point so any comments, suggestions and contributions are welcome. Consider this an invitation to participate and engage with the topics below: comment here, write your own blog posts, comment on Friendfeed, Twitter, email, whatever.

And FWIW, those that wish to read the original blog posts, they're here in pdf format for easy printing.

Provisional Table of Contents & Notes

Part I: Environment scan (15% of the book)

Chapters 2-4 may merge and/or demerge in various ways as they are developed.

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Discussion of what the book is about, it's focus on the future of librarians' jobs seen through the lens of trends affecting our users and higher education.
    • not about what I would like to happen -- what I think will actually happen, or more precisely a range of possibilities
    • every prediction will be wrong
    • every institution is different
    • the thing that you think is of primary importance may be something that I don't mention or give short shrift to. That's ok, I can't cover everything.
    • in the end, this is a very personal set of speculations, as many different takes on the future as there are interested parties speculating
    • there are an infinite number of versions of this book, every librarian could write her or his own. This is only my own version, not the version. As we advance into the future, all the various possible futures will collapse into one single academic library wave function.
  • What's an academic library for? What do we owe our patrons
  • look at what some doomsayers have said about the profession
  • look at some optimistic ideas
  • A couple of ideas that will inform all other sections, if only implicitly:
    • over riding theme and approach: The Reputation Economy of Academia To a large degree, libraries are what our patrons believe us to be. We must both get their attention and convince them we have something to offer.
    • Most transformational thing coming down the pipe: mobile & ubiquitous computing

Chapter 2: Environment Scan: Kids today & Changes in Higher Education

  • Some of the expectations that the coming waves of Digital Natives will bring to higher education, both as students and later as faculty. main source here is probably Born Digital and various Pew & OCLC reports
  • A brief discussion of trends affecting higher education as a whole, mostly technological and pressure on higher ed to be more efficient, effective and market driven, challenges from online universities, challenges to tenure model. What do people really want out of higher ed: self-directed career training vs. exporation of ideas

Chapter 3: The Wealth of Networks

  • A brief look at the social networking and media landscape with new media business models, crowdsourcing, social networking. Main sources: various books & articles including, well, The Wealth of Networks, Everything is Miscellaneous, Free, Here Comes Everybody
  • abundance instead of scarcity

Chapter 4: Scholarly Communications & Publishing

  • what is scholarly publishing?
  • what are articles going to become
  • how are they going to be published/disseminated
  • calculating research impact
  • open access tipping points?
  • blogs, wikis, open science/open scholarship
  • data data data: something separate or something integrated
  • digital humanities
  • university presses

Part II: My Job in 10 Years (about 35% of the book)

Each of these chapters will look at an area of our jobs and how it might change. Each section will emphasize preparing yourself for the changes. An emphasis on what functions will be new and what functions will be left behind, ie. text book reserves

Chapter 5: Collections

  • Preparing for the post-stuff library
  • direct implications of Free business models
  • local collections: archives & special collections (can libraries be museums, too)
  • What, if any, stuff will we purchase and license. What's worth paying for. Books, journals, A&I, data, other stuff.

Chapter 6: Reference

  • adapting to shift to mobile computing -- ours and theirs
  • Death of the reference desk?
  • range of delivery methods
  • blended models/deprofessionalization

Chapter 7: Instruction

  • we are in a golden age of instruction
  • curriculum integration, partnerships with faculty
  • how to gain credibility: use other areas to get in on curriculum vs. using IL as a way to engage faculty about other things
  • range of delivery methods

Chapter 8: Research Support

  • embedded librarians, publishing (hosting journals, etc), data curation/ cyberinfrastructure
  • digitization
  • importance of embedding IL into research, not just teaching
  • curating institutional content, ie. blogs
  • curating disciplinary content, ie. repositories, archival blogs, etc

Chapter 9: Outreach, Liaison and Marketing

  • these activities can market, support, expand other activities: instruction, research support, etc
  • don't be passive waiting for people to ask you to help
  • promoting the library, engaging faculty & campus communities
  • engage: students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, donors

Part III: My job as a advocate for a better library (about 35%)

In a collegial academic environment, part of my job is to partake in governance for the library and the institution as a whole.

Chapter 10: Physical Spaces

  • three c's of physical space: collaboration, content creation and contemplation
  • cafes, learning commons, function space
  • reclaiming collections space
  • renovate, renovate, renovate: be THE place on campus
  • adapting to shift to mobile computing

Chapter 11: Virtual Spaces

  • What's a library web site for? Will they even still exist? Discovery at the network level. Impact of mobile and ubiquitous computing (ie. mobile will be ubiquitous) , social networks, live web, social search.
  • May actually make sense to talk about a lot of this in the first section.
  • being a change agent for scholarly publishing
    • Semantic web, linked data
    • supporting open scholarship (ie. open science, digital humanities, etc)
    • cradle to grave research support systems

Chapter 12: Professional development and LIS education for the Future

  • what library schools should do to prepare new librarians
  • what strategies professionals should employ to keep up with trends and be ready for the changes that will come. The focus for professionals will be to keep up with what's happening in the world of our patrons, both students and faculty.
  • I'll look at some specific books, blogs, etc as well as more general strategies for things such as conference attendance. Also, list all the books and reports I compiled
  • This chapter will also cover the research and publishing that academic librarians do themselves.

Chapter 13: managing and staffing the library of the future

  • being a manager & a leader in transformational times
  • given what we've talked about above, imagine how a 50 librarian/100 staff member institution could be deployed, job by job. Two or three examples, some with branches, some not.

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Friday Fun: Chess set made from vacuum tubes!

Jul 03 2009 Published by under chess, friday fun

Via BoingBoing, BBG and Make, Paul Fryer makes some pretty cool chess sets.


Links to the pics on the Gallery site are here, here, here, here.

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The Association for Computing Machinery on Open Access

Via Lance Fortnow's Twitter post, it's interesting to see Communications of the ACM editor Moshe Y. Vardi on Open Access:

First, a point of precision. Open-access experts distinguish between "Gold OA," described earlier, and "Green OA," which allows for open access self-archiving of material (deposit by authors) that may have been published as non-open access. ACM Copyright Policy allows for self-archiving, so ACM is a Green-OA publisher. Still, why doesn't ACM become a Gold-OA publisher?


As for ACM's stand on the open-access issue, I'd describe it as "clopen," somewhere between open and closed. (In topology, a clopen set is one that is both open and closed.) ACM does charge a price for its publications, but this price is very reasonable. (If you do not believe me, ask your librarian.) ACM's modest publication revenues first go to cover ACM's publication costs that go beyond print costs to include the cost of online distribution and preservation, and then to support the rest of ACM activities. To me, this is a very important point. The "profits" do not go to some corporate owners; they are used to support the activities of the association, and the association is us, the readers, authors, reviewers, and editors of ACM publications. Furthermore, ACM operates as a democratic association. If you believe that ACM should change its publishing business model, then you should lobby for this position.

The bottom line is there are two distinct issues here. The first is the issue of for-profit vs. association publishing. The current relationship between the scientific community and the for-profit publishers makes no sense to me. The second issue is the business model of association publishing, for example, "reader pays" vs. "authors pays." This is a legitimate topic of discussion, as long as we understand that it cannot be separated from the overall business model of the association. Just remember, "free" is not a sound business model.

First, a couple of points.

  • Yes, the ACM's subscription charges for their digital library are very reasonable.
  • The ACM are on the side of the angels. They're the good guys, trying to do the best thing for their members and for the computing community as a whole. And they are obviously trying to make the best of tumultuous times in publishing.
  • Although it probably varies by sub-discipline, probably at least 80-90% of the articles published in ACM journals, transactions and conference proceedings are available via green OA.
  • Disclosure: I used to be on the ACM's Library Advisory Group. I have been on other LAG's for both societies and commercial publishers.

And a couple of questions for the assembled masses out there:

  • Is it still legitimate for a scholarly or professional society to use publications revenue to fund other member programs?
  • Is there a toll access business model for these societies that makes sense?
  • Is there an open access (ie. gold OA) business model for these societies that makes sense?
  • Do we really still need scholarly and professional societies to be publishers? How about in 5 or 10 years?
  • Do we really still need scholarly and professional societies at all? How about in 5 or 10 years?

No surprisingly, I have some ideas about the answers to these questions, but I thought it would be fun if you guys took the first shot.

And feel free to ask and answer your own questions.

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