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Archive for September, 2008

A Very Big Collection, Indeed!

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 26, 2008

A recent article from CNN describes an ambitious project by the Smithsonian, to put its 137 million-object collection online. Wow! Their vision is to bring the museum to school children who might not be able to come to see the collection. This is a noble idea on the surface, yet there are many issues to be addressed, besides all that scanning an digitizing of images. While this article was a CNN news story, the Smithsonian has been actively digitizing images for quite some time. The Terra Project is one project that has been ongoing since 2005. http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/terra_collections_list.cfm. As an information professional, I wondered how they would treat the provenance of the articles and how they intend to use metadata to describe the objects. Perhaps this collection description is an indication of how they intend to proceed using XML EAD  data prepared by archivists.  http://www.aaa.si.edu/collectionsonline/project.htm

Of course there is a monetary side to this, grant money. In a time of declining field trips due to gasoline shortages, the Smithsonian anticipates receiving educational grant monies for this project. However, there are no estimates about time or funding necessary. One would hope that more planning is going on than what is being reported.

The news story at www.CNN.com: Smithsonian to Put its 137 million-object collection online.


The Smithsonian at: http://www.smithsonian.org/


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Buczynski, is it time?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 21, 2008

As I read a discussion article this week about selling books and library services, I thought to myself, it’s about time! Buczynski proposes the idea that libraries should offer to sell books and services as a means to increase services to users. Amid all the hue and cry from some librarians, little do they realize how fees have already crept into libraries. For example, if I want to print at the public library or at OU, I must pay for the privilege. If I am not a student at an academic institution, I must pay to check out books.

Please realize that I detest paying for services as much as the next person. Yet the costs of keeping a library functioning keep escalating. As Buczynski points out, funds are diminishing and libraries are being held more accountable for the remaining funds. For example, in the library where I am employed, the budget has not increased in years. Yet the library is expected to continue adding books, serials, and databases with no understanding of the escalating expenses of providing these services. Users often feel that the services are free, because they can access them with a simple login. What is not realized that the services are not free, and are being paid by tuition and/or fees.

Over ten years ago, when I worked in interlibrary loan, it was not uncommon for some institutions to charge $20 for a copy of a journal article. Most users were appalled and did not want to pay for the service. The fee served its purpose from the other library’s point of view, if the user seriously wanted the article they would pay for the use of the libraries staff, equipment, and materials. While this is troubling to me to have to pay for articles, I know that there are fees being incurred that no one sees.

Not only are libraries becoming more commercialized, the Internet is a prime example. Only a few years ago, the Internet offered many files and much information for free. When businesses realized the opportunities available, the free sites disappeared or were pushed further back in the search engine results. Now, many people expect to pay for most of the information that they find online. They buy books, pay for articles, and purchase computer software manuals. I liked the “good-ole days.” I sometimes wish that things had stayed as they were. Yet upon reflection there is much more available online now than ever before.

In libraries, too, there is so much more available now than there used to be. Libraries scramble to acquire the best materials and access for their users, yet users will never be totally satisfied. If a user wants a book that few other people would want, or a book that is not available, why not give the privilege of purchasing and delivery? The library could profit and buy more materials and the user could be happy. If nothing else, the fees could serve as a wake-up call to those who think all information should be free and awaken support for the library.


Buczynski, James A. 2008. Looking for collection 2.0. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 20: 90-100.

Posted in Digital Collections | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

You asked for digital projects?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 17, 2008

I came across this artile, Brad Eden’s Innovative Digital Projects. Whether all would be considered collections, I don’t know. Depends on the definition of collection. Yet, whatever they are, they are extraordinary. For those of us who are still wandering around looking for the ideal project, he has found quite a few for inspiration. Some are more repositories, others…well see for yourself.

Here are a couple of teasers for you:

This one changes on the hour: 10×10: Words and Pictures that define the time. 

On theme for digital repositories and collections is Digicult: Thematic Challenges for a Digital Culture at:  http://www.digicult.info/pages/Themiss.php.

These two are a sampling of the projects in this article from Library Technology Reports.

Eden, Brad. 2005. Innovative digital projects. Library Technology Reports 41(4): 24-44. Accessed through EBSCOhost 09/10/2008 at  http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy1.lib.ou.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=17723311&site=ehost-live

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A sample digital collection policy

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 15, 2008

As I browsed the web, I came across the Digital Library Collection Development Policy at the Library at the University of Texas at Austin. Looking at this policy is helpful for me to see the determination for inclusion of objects in the digital collection at UT.

They have decided to use three broad areas:

  • things they have purchased,
  • things that have morphed into a new format,
  • and links to other locales away from the library.

How they selected? They used 4 areas,

  • content of “intellectual significance” Wow, I know what they intend. I wonder…
  • format is appropriate for the content. The example was a heavily used resource
  • practicality. I liked seeing this one, it asks is it financially feasible?
  • does it belong? This area is one that is often overlooked in collections. Does it fit in with the collection development plan?

There is much more, but the definitions are clear and there is the attempt to explain each step. It would be helpful if all libraries had a clearly defined collection development policy. Unfortunately, as I leaned in my collection development class, most libraries do not have an actual written policy. Scary!

This policy is helpful for my course in digital collections. It give my some criteria for evaluation of digital objects to include. This resource should prove to be helpful for my understanding in building my own collection.

University of Texas Libraries, Research Services Division, Austin, TX.

Posted in Digital Collections | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Participatory Digital Libraries

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 8, 2008

While I struggle in my attempts decide how to create a digital collection for LIS5990, I rediscover information overload. There is so much information out there on the Internet, why oh why should we even attempt to add to it or make sense of it? Is a digital library the same as a digital collection? Is a repository a collection, or is a group of Web links a collection?

In retrospect, I have seen projects by librarians that claim to be bibliographies or collections or portals. Most of the time I have been disappointed. Either they were not “as advertised” or else they were simply a giant collection of links with no real focus. All too often there seemed to be a hodgepodge of links that might be found Web surfing.

I don’t think that is what is anticipated here for my Digital Libraries class. Yet I am puzzled what directions I need to go. I do know that all collections need a plan. In my collection development class, we learned that all collections should be developed according to the policy of the library. Additionally, collections should reflect the needs of the users of the collection.

As I struggle with this process, I found some articles and sites to explore. I searched Web and LORA for information to try to establish my direction for digital collecting. In the process, I discovered Peter Murry’s article that may be helpful, Creating Participatory Digital Libraries. This entry is based on a talk by Paul Jones, Director of Ibiblio.org. In this entry, there are some interesting digital collections to explore. This gives more insight as to what online collections should be.

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Digital collections!

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 2, 2008

So what exactly is a digital collection? I will be exploring that topic and more with additional postings. Hur-Li Lee (2000) points out that our perception of a library collection has changed with remote access. Lee (2000, 1106) asked “Does it matter where the digital files are located?” That is one essence of digital library collecting. The files may be located almost anywhere in the world that is accessible from the Internet. With that in mind, then where is the library? The library may be anywhere and everywhere. Accessibility makes the library available anywhere there is an online presence. Lee (2000, 1106) explains that the collector determines the parameter’s of a collection and how the collection is “developed, maintained and evaluated.” With that in mind, I will begin. These collections are important to me while I am becoming a professional librarian.

When I started this assignment, I began thinking practically about the day to day life of a professional. However, as I rethought my assignment, I realized that I should think about my own professional development if I am going to be an effective librarian. Where else to begin, but with our professional association and the resources there. Since I am planning on becoming an academic librarian, these tools are important for guidelines and helpful information to me as a developing professional. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has helpful information in accessible formats. The Webpage that I feel is most helpful to me is the ACRL – Professional Tools.

On a global scale the International Federation of Library Associations(IFLA) is working to unite libraries. The collection of resources and projects there are important for global and cultural understanding is Digital Libraries: Resources and Projects. It may be seen as many collections within one giant collection of digital documents. It is essential for a professional to seeing the global aspect of being an information professional and to see what other cultures believe is important to share about their culture.

Another essential collection for an information professional, is the ability to read current professional literature. A professional librarian needs to stay current in the field and one of the easiest methods is to read the professional literature. One way to stay current is to read publications through an aggregator, such as EBSCOhost. This is a digital collection of journals that is accessible through local libraries. The Professional Development Collection (requires OU login) contains information professional articles. Additionally, the collection of articles at D-Lib or First Monday are additionally excellent digital resources for a professional librarian.


Lee, Hur-Li. 2000. What is a collection? Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 51(2), 1106-1113.

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