As one of the two liaisons to the English department, I’m jointly responsible for acquiring materials to support the department’s curriculum and the faculty’s research needs. Most of my monograph purchases come from direct requests from faculty and from my sense of what different professors need for their own work and for the work of their students; I use reviews in Choice and some analysis of WorldCat Collection Analysis to help me move from that sense of what is need to actual orders. This morning, though, I did some checking of all the prizes and competitions in fiction, poetry, etc. to buy some more recently published works, some of which I hope will endure long enough to merit the attention of scholars and course work and some of which I just hope will catch the eye of the leisure readers I know we have on campus.
After placing a bunch of orders for books that won Pulitzer, Nobels, etc., I created a spreadsheet that I will share with my fellow liaison, Chris Tuthill, so we can periodically eyeball of a list of important literary prizes and whether or not we’ve purchased anything as a result of those annual events. I also decided to add info on that same spreadsheet that lists each issue of Choice so my colleague and I can indicate which ones we’ve worked through for acquisition ideas and thus prevent any duplicate efforts.
Thinking Through Open Access Options
An article I wrote about how the New York Public Library responded to the pressures of McCarthyism was officially accepted today for publication by Library and Information History. As soon I heard the news, I began to comb through the publisher’s pages about copyright, open access, etc. so I could determine whether or not I’d be able to post on my website my uncopyedited pre-print of the article as a Word document and whether I’d have any other rights for self-archiving. Thanks to my ever helpful friends in the Library Society of the World room in FriendFeed, whose input answered a number of questions for me, I’m pretty sure I’ll get that Word document version of the article up soon and, eventually, have a PDF from the journal as well that I can share. I’ll also be depositing a copy of the pre-print version in DLIST, a subject repository in library and information science maintained by the University of Arizona.
Editing the Reference Wiki
We’ve long maintained a password protected wiki for reference staff where we can capture all the inside dope about policies and procedures that in the past tended not to ever get written down. Late in the morning, the head of information services, Randy Hensley, and I worked together to completely overhaul a page that details a system whereby library staff can refer their patrons to other libraries in the New York metropolitan area that hold items not found in the public libraries or in the library for the institution that the patron is affiiated with (i.e., if Columbia University has a book not in my university and also not in the New York Public Library, I can issue a card to my patron to get them into Columbia for the day to read that book on site). After the editing was all done, I posted an entry on our reference blog to announce the major rewrite of this page.
Answering Questions in Chat Reference
After a late, brief lunch at my desk, I started a two-hour shift monitoring the academic queue on the QuestionPoint cooperative chat service. During my first hour, I didn’t get a chance to pick up too many chats, as there were a greater than normal number of librarians also online at the time, all waiting to pounce on any questions that came in. Eventually, I some questions from students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Brandeis University, and Northeastern University. I found myself navigating the course reserve systems, A-Z journal lists, SFX menus, and database lists from these schools as I helped the users get answers. I’ve been doing chat reference for close to ten years now and still find it one of the most rewarding parts of my job, as it regularly challenges me and teaches me a great deal about how other libraries work.
Setting Up a Mobile Interface for EBSCOhost Databases
I’ve been helping the head of collection management with some mobile search projects lately. Today, I was knee-deep in the admin options for EBSCOhost as I worked through the process of setting up a separate mobile interface for all the databases we get from that vendor. I was able to set up the basic page that lets user pick from a long list of databases which ones they want to search from their mobile device (i.e., a smartphone), but I was unable to figure out by 5 pm how to get direct URLs for the mobile interface for each of the databases we get in EBSCOhost. I did a lot of searching through the support knowledgebase and scanning the pages that seemed to help, but nothing quite explained it, so in the end I had to submit an email request for support. I hope to hear back in a day or two.
Off the Books Work
After my kids were in bed, I thought I’d knock of a few small tasks from home just now:
- Ordered the new Patti Smith memoir, Just Kids, for the library.
- Went to the draft mobile services page for the library and edited the link to the mobile EBSCOhost interface so that the link passes through our proxy server first