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Posts Tagged ‘government documents’

Digital projects

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 8, 2011

Since I started this blog, I have been adding digital records to our library catalog (OPAC for all you librarians out there). When I was a library assistant, or technical worker, I added batches of e-documents that I got from Dataminer. I would filter records that were created in a previous month and then process them into our OPAC.

In our department, we tried several methods to upload them. Student workers checked to see if they were already cataloged and adding 856 fields with URLs. We tried dumping in the entire batch filtered for our library. We tried variations on the same idea. We still weren’t satisfied.

When I got to be in charge of the department, I experimented some more and now have a different variation. I filter the records at Dataminer by our depository number and then download the batch. Since some of the links include records to the GPO catalog, but not to the digital item, I don’t want to include those records. I use MarcEdit to make batch changes to the entire bunch and then upload them into our OPAC. It is not quite that simple, but it is not that difficult either. It takes some tweeking of the records and of the holdings codes, and I am done.

I used a similar process to batch load e-journals and ERIC records. I may write about them another day. Hope this jogs someone into thinking about a better way than I am now using and that they let me know. Until then, it is the best that I have come up with.

Posted in Digital Collections, Libraries and librarians, Library catalogs, technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s June and what to do??

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 7, 2011

Every summer it seems there are so many things that I would like to accomplish, like emptying 2 file cabinets full of old unused materials. Yet it is so hard to get to my projects. It is not for lack of trying. Sometimes it is the lack of time and resources, i.e. available workers, and sometimes it is other people’s priorities. You know the type, they dream up stuff for me to do because I have all this available time. They often are my peers, who convince the right people that this is something that “we” should do. Funny, the “we” is usually me, and my projects get to take a back seat. So far I am waiting on that to happen as it always does, every summer.

So back to the other issue, having the resources to get to my projects. I came back after Memorial Day and my week vacation to discover that I had virtually no workers at all. One worker who had agreed to work found the opportunity to more hours in her home department. That left me with one worker who wanted to work one hour a day! So I dug through the very few applications. Most of the applicants had another campus job and only wanted another hour or so, here or there. No real help for me there! I did see one promising applicant, who informed me that she had just decided to take a job at a summer camp. Lucky me, I now had one worker could give me one hour per day. Since my assistant is out having major surgery, not enough workers!

Fortunately, things have a way of turning out OK. The original worker didn’t get the expected hours, after all, so I now have some excellent help. Wish I could steal her, but that’s not likely.

As I said, things have a way of righting themselves, today one of my academic school year workers walked in wanting to have some hours to work! YEA!! A trained worker!! So now we can, at least, climb out from under the never ending mail! I actually started thinking about emptying those 2 file cabinets again!

Posted in Libraries and librarians, Serials | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Country Profiles and Country Studies

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on December 3, 2008

Believe it or not, the US government has lots of digital collections. Since I work with government documents everyday, I probably have a different perspective than many SLIS students. Government documents are not what you think they are. Yes, there are plenty of dull and dry and statistical docs, but there are plenty that are interesting. Take for instance the Country Studies. This is a “digital collection” of 101 countries that have been arranged, digitized and searchable through the Library of Congess. Since I am an armchair traveler, I enjoy browsing through this collection. Another link is the home page at: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html.

While they were published during the years, 1988-1998, they still occasionally appear in print. For example, this year the Country Study of Iran was published. Our depository recently received our copy. Some countries changed names during that timespan and some countries disappeared and others emerged. This is an interesting series because of the information about the countries tha is covered. There is more information in these pages than would normally be found in an Encyclopedia. The Country Studies digitized text in the Library of Congress and in Google. (Google’s has advertisements inserted)

Shorter and probably more interesting are the Country Profiles. Click on a country you want to know more about. There are maps and text in these profiles. They are fully digitized and are truly a “digital collection.”

As many of you know, government documents set the goal of becoming a digital collection. In many ways they have succeeded. Most new docs appear online and not in print.

As a depository, we struggle to identify our selections and provide links from our catalog, OPAC, to the new publications online. (That is our metadata to the digital depository collection!). We use a PURL (Rersistent Uniform Resource Locator) that keeps the link alive to the doc, even if it moves. The PURL is a service of OCLC. As most people know, web pages move around. Metadata such as a PURL keeps the links alive. This is the PURL to the Country Study of Iran http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS40299. That PURL probably will not work without the referral from the library catalog where it was taken. However, thanks to PURLS we can keep links to the government documents digital collection alive.

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NPS digital collection

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on December 3, 2008

The National Park Service is one of my favorite Web site and digital collections. Yes, I think it is a digital collection. Lots of images, mingled with text. Interactive. Seems to be intuitive, so that I don’t have to think about what to do. (Another good resource—Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug.) With your mouse, hover over a state and see an image of Federal Park Service land in that state. I think digital collections should be that way, easy to manuver.

Here is a little tour I took. The resources on these pages are set up for educators, but are interesting for all to see. The Website is transitioning, so even more digital images should soon be available.

For other learning styles (think Dr. Lester’s class 5053), there are sounds of nature.

Click on the picture to hear the sound.

Bringing it back to the NPS page and then home to Oklahoma.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area

National Trail is the Trail of Tears, National Historic Trail.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Washita National Battlefield

This digital collection is interactive and interesting. Since I like the outdoors, it is fun to see (and hear).

The National Park Service has done a great job in setting up this site. Makes me wish they would include even more for me to see.

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Grand-daddy of digital collections

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on December 2, 2008

Maybe not “the grand-daddy” of digital collections, but I don’t know what actually is the oldest. This is definitely one of the first digital collections that I ever saw. The NARA collection, otherwise known as The National Archives of the United States still continues to impress. I went back recently for a look-see and found that it has simply gotten better.

Originally, it was a bit tricky to navigate. Yet with lots of time on my hands, it was worth it to see the images that were contained in the collection. I searched by names and places and saw lots of images.

Today was easier. I discovered that today’s document, or document of the day, was from Project Bluebook. This image is of the actual report by the pilot who saw a UFO on Nov. 27, 1957. Wow!

Pilot sights UFO

or how about a link to that page?

http://www.archives.gov/foia/ufos

Even more profound, the document was linked to more information about UFOs and to background information about Project Bluebook. The metadata explained the image and provided a means to additional information. Before I took digital collections, I did not realize that metadata could perform in this fashion. Yes, I know MARC records can refer to other MARC records, but not as seamlessly as this. The digital collection is superior and has images of the documents that made this country what it is today. Yet what impressed me today was the progress that has been made with digital collections. Oh, I will definitely be back to see what else has been digitized and how they have done it.

Here’s the link to America’s Historical Documents. Take a minute, or even several. This is the stuff that makes digital collections worthwhile.

http://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/

The digital vaults with 10 billion records looked promising, at http://www.archives.gov/nae/index.html 

and they have selected more than 1200 for me to see. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see them tonight. the server did not want to co-operate when I tried it. Maybe the server will co-operate when you do.

http://www.digitalvaults.org

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

Why Bother?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on November 8, 2008

What a negative!! Arrrggghh!! Why do I bother going to library school?? Ever since I first started working in libraries in the 90s, there have been those who have predicted and called for the end of the library. From the so called “wall-less” (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/AboutLibrary/CUNews/cu_101697.html) libraries to libraries are disappearing and are irrelevant. What is the point if the professionals of the discipline do not see value to libraries and buy into the current trends that all information is available online, so who needs the libraries! While there is some truth to this supposition, it is too simplistic!

Articles such as Ross and Sennyey’s The Library is Dead, Long Live the Library! The Practice of Academic Librarianship and the Digital Revolution, are part of this long trend of devaluing librarianship, and the librarians who buy into it. While this article makes some excellent points about the necessity for libraries to change with the new trends in technology, they make me feel like I should just roll over and play dead and forget library school.

Fortunately, I don’t buy into their total package deal. Under all that hype about publishers and the Internet being all that users care about, I think they miss several important points. With the rapid development of information being available online, it rapidly changes and sometimes disappears. Information on the Web is here today and gone almost as quickly.

Service, is one of the major aspects of librarianship. Filtering all that information for people is part of library services. Whether it is done personally, or through a well designed web page is part of that service.

Collections, is another part of librarianship. Collections are being redefined in the digital age, yet what is here today may not be here tomorrow. Using one of their examples of government documents. Ask most government documents librarians about purls (http://purl.oclc.org/) and document availability. Docs are replaced at the whim of the agencies and may appear, move and disappear as pages are re-designed. Ask about what happened in post 9/11 and the Department of Interior(http://www.doi.gov/)

pages (http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/213/1/104/). Like much of information that libraries provide, the most current information is not always what is needed. Sometimes previous documents are necessary for users. The philosophy being presented in this article and others, is that only the most current information is ever needed. That philosophy defies scholarship and research goals. Changing government information at the whim of the agency director flies in the face of “Freedom of Information” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Information_Act) and (http://www.usdoj.gov/oip/index.html), critical to open records access to government in the US.

Additionally, collections should not be totally in the hands of commercial entities as this paper seems to suggest. Commercial entities will provide what is profitable, not what is needed. The “long tail” or “just in case” collections are needed for scholarship and research.

Library as Space, is about the building and its uses. While the authors make some valid points that using the space in different manners call into question the existence of keeping the building, again they do not understand the changing nature of users. Those students who use the library for “study hall” also use the services of the building. By my own observation, users will browse the collection searching for ideas and alternative solutions to their information quests. Granted my experience is in an academic library, haunted by undergraduates, for the most part.

So what is the point? The point is that information professionals are important if they take themselves seriously. While Ross and Sennyey make some valid points about the necessity for changes within the field, they miss the point about what librarianship is all about!

Article cited: Ross, Lyman and Pongracz Sennyey. 2008. The library is dead, long live the library! The practice of academic librarianship and the digital revolution. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 34 no. 2: 145-152.

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