Week in Review – 7 June 2013

Draft Website Review

At our All Staff Meeting this week we took a look at a new version of our website built in SharePoint that we should have rolled out in the very near future. The direct link to the site was made available earlier to staff via a previous blog entry. We are hopeful that this addresses some of the known usability issues with the current website and look forward to having it be on a more stable infrastructure. We are seeking comments and suggestions. Please review the site and send them along.

As noted in the meeting, we are pushing this out a little earlier than we would ideally like, driven primarily by the instability of our current site. As a result, there will continue to be many changes coming to the main website as well as all the related websites that support it. Among those changes to expect:

  • Discovery – the launch of the new discovery tool will result in another look at how we position that service across all of our services.
  • We will carry over a complementary version of the new design to other sites. This may vary slightly from site to site, but will try to unify the different properties in the best way possible.
  • We expect some additional enhanced interactivity (like the appointment forms discussed in our meeting). We also are planning a new online tool for making room reservations.
  • We will be transitioning completely to the new blog (and retiring the internal SharePoint version). That will coincide with a fresh look at our social media channels and how we use those.

As discussed at the meeting, perhaps one of the most important changes we need to make in our thinking about the website is that it is ever really complete and launched. From here on out, we will consider it to be a living entity that will undergo continual care and adjustment. We will obviously use a light touch when it comes to significant changes that affect how users find materials on our site. However, users are also increasingly getting used to a world where web services change periodically. On a macro level I think this is part of our slow and winding transition from a print-focused mindset (where information was fixed on a page) to a digital-focused one where has the ability to continually change and grow.

SHARP Stand Down Day

Thank you to everyone for participating in the stand down this week. As noted at our staff meeting, I will be convening some small conversations later this month as a follow-up. I will be preparing a summary response for the Dean and other Academy leadership after those conversations.

Week in Review Hiatus

This weekly update will be published sporadically through June and July. The next update will be published June 28th and will contain the draft version of our 2012-14 Program Review. The next update will then be August 2nd. I plan to look at content/format and make some revisions potentially for fall. I will be seeking some feedback on that later this summer.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
7 June 2013
Week in Review Alumni Golf Event 0700-1630
8 June 2013
9 June 2013
10 June 2013
 ConnectNY Annual Meeting CLOSED
11 June 2013
ConnectNY Annual Meeting 0700-2100
12 June 2013
Dean’s Staff Meeting  Division Heads 0700-2100
13 June 2013
14 June 2013
Army Birthday / STAP Graduation 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 418 257 229 282
Gate Count 5,889 3,236 2,039 862
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 1 0
Significant Events Hosted 2 1 2 1
Events/Meetings Attended 30 14 21 15
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 21 27 26 17
Library Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 0 0 0 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 130 104 76 22
Items Added – Digital 2,027 726 2 0
Items Added – GovDocs 69 86 54 126
Items Added – Other 23 0 0 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 204 74 129 61
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 27 35 41 41
Research Visits < 1 hour 2 15 58 3
Research Visits < 1 day 10 5 11 14
Research Visits > 1 day 0 2 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Taught 0 0 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 969 638 841 823
LibGuides Visits 453 268 279 241
Digital Collections Visits 233 2 19 196
Facebook Visits 18 N/A 16 0
Public Printer Prints 0 21 0 0
Public Printer Copies 1 1 16 0
Public Printer Scans 56 30 472 13

USMA Library Radar

Brief status updates on current and planned library initiatives. ★ indicates a 2012-13 objective.

Access Services
★ Communication Channels Beta Blog expanding Assigned 31-Mar-13
★ JH 2nd Floor Review Preparing next steps Active 30-Apr-13
ALSC Metrics Design Programming being done by Army Waiting 01-Feb-13
JH Security System Design Paused 31-May-13
Guide to Event Planning Reworking into digital product Assigned 31-May-13
★ New Employee On-Boarding Next step is review Assigned 31-May-13
Windowshade Repair Haig repair partially complete Waiting 31-May-13
Library Parking Space Awaiting DES Waiting 31-May-13
★ Gift SOP Final language complete Active 31-May-13
★ USMPS On hold Assigned 31-May-13
★ Gift / Needs Statements Planned 31-May-13
ConnectNY Annual Meeting Final planning underway Active 10-Jun-13
★ Mobile Infrastructure Waiting for Airwatch system Waiting 31-Aug-13
Fires of Hate Exhibit Dates selected for Apr-Jun 2014 Planned 15-Jan-14
Information Gateway
★ Evening Skills Clinics Spring slate underway Assigned 31-May-13
★ LibGuide Review Work underway Assigned 31-May-13
★ Embedded Liaisons Department work underway Assigned 31-May-13
IGD GS-09/11 Recruitment Internal announcement posted Waiting 31-May-13
★ Academic Support Statements Statement work underway Assigned 31-Jul-13
Materials Processing
★ Collection Inventory SOP Planned 28-Feb-13
★ Gov Docs Review Assigned 30-Apr-13
Withdrawal Policy Planned 31-May-13
★ CTC Digital Collections On hold pending repository Waiting 31-May-13
MPD GS-11 Recruitment Awaiting CPAC Action Waiting 31-May-13
MPD GS-11 Recruitment Hiring freeze Waiting 31-May-13
Special Collections and Archives
★ Ring Case Biographies Initial planning underway Assigned 31-May-13
★ WP Authors Reception Planning for fall Assigned 31-May-13
★ Fee-For-Service Planned 31-May-13
★ Library History Exhibit Planned 31-May-13
SC&AD GS-06 Recruitment Hiring freeze Assigned 31-May-13
Bartlett Hall Move Re-awaiting funding Assigned 30-Jun-13
Systems Management
★ Discovery Layer Contract let Assigned 01-Mar-13
SMD GS-06 Recruitment Offer extended Waiting 01-Mar-13
★ Institutional Repository Planned 30-Apr-13
★ Security System Review Planned 30-Jun-13
★ Public Website Redesign Redesign underway Active 30-Jun-13

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “Data is the new Oil. Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.” – Social Media as a Stored Value Currency
  • “TV ratings have dropped by 50 percent over the last decade. Goldman Sachs recently called the decline “the sharpest pace on record.” The firm found that ratings in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic – the key group targeted by advertisers – fell by 17 percent last winter compared with the winter before.” – As TV Falls Apart, Tumblr And Twitter Aim To Pick Up The Pieces | TechCrunch
  • “The main problem is none of the best features are standardized yet and the format is likely to never be fully completed. For example, dictionaries are still being developed and are not fully integrated. This means if you want to have patrons look up words in English, French, or a myriad of other languages, they have to code it themselves. We heard that dictionaries won’t even be functional until the end of the year. Also, you currently can’t share your notes, highlights, or annotations with other users. An independent body within the W3c is working on this issue, but there is no estimated delivery date. If you want to restrict your users to only access your content in a specific market, geolocation is also not currently available. The BBC, Microsoft, Google, and many other companies are currently lobbying for this structure to protect their content and make sure domestic publishing rights are maintained.” – EPUB3 Still Not Ready for the Prime Time | Good E-Reader – eBooks, Publishing and Comic News
  • “Whatever the reason, ideas about youthful independence are embedded in the system Sweden devised to pay for higher education. For example, whereas in the US parents are expected to help pay for the their children’s college education, in Sweden parental income levels are just not part of the equation. Students are viewed as adults, responsible for their own finances. As a result “levels of student support are based on students’ own income, rather than that of their parents,” wrote analysts in a white paper on the system. Compare that to countries like Germany, where any aid from the state agency that doles it out, known as BAföG, is premised on parental income. In the US it’s the same deal. In Sweden, the entire system is aimed at severing the financial link between parents and young adults. “The main point is to take away the family’s situation,” said Torbjörn Lindqvist, an analyst at the Swedish Higher Education Authority in Stockholm. “And look at the student as a grown up standing on his own feet.” – College in Sweden is free but students still have a ton of debt. How can that be? – Quartz
  • “The most immediately noticeable thing about the list is how Hunger Games-heavy it is. Nineteen of the top 25 most-highlighted passages are written by Suzanne Collins, who is not exactly known for a glittering prose style. That breakdown would suggest that Americans are mostly obsessed with teenagers and dystopias, which, while not entirely untrue, is also useful reminder that this is a numbers game. Bestsellers will naturally have the greatest number of underlines, and there are certain kinds of bestsellers that are more likely to be read digitally. These include books aimed at teenagers that a massive number of adults have embraced (potentially embarrassing), books in the public domain (free), and self-help books (potentially embarrassing). Taken together, they suggest that your average Kindle reader is a creature caught in permanent adolescence, but yearning to improve. Oh, and he’s cheap.” – Kindle’s most-highlighted passages and the soul of the American reader | New Republic
  • “While no one would disagree that libraries should promote literacy, it’s hard to deny that the tech revolution is changing both how people consume books and the ways libraries present their offerings to parents and children: in some libraries, a student can download an ebook online, use a phone app to locate reference material, make stuff in designated “maker spaces,” take DIY classes, or have a meeting at a community multi-use space. The Nashville library is currently using a MacArthur grant to create a Learning Lab where teens will be able to record music, write stories and more – a free space filled with equipment, as Oliver put it, “to create content, not just consume it.”” – In the Digital Age, What Becomes of the Library? | MindShift
  • “Users will hate DRM because it will be a hassle, it will depress sales, in a few years publishers will begin to have technological and public relations headaches associated with maintaining it, and some time around 2018 or so they will realize (as some of their more enlightened peers already do) that the best solution is to keep it off everything. It would be nice if we could just save everyone the trouble and fast forward to the happy ending right now.” – DRM for e-books: Repeating history, not learning from it | Corrente
  • “Yet, far from a radical innovation, MOOCs are simply the natural extension of trends that have been at the heart of the modern university for decades. Defenders of the status quo are reminiscent of Casablanca’s Captain Renault, who is “shocked, shocked” to discover an activity in which he himself partook. In April, the philosophy department at San Jose State University published an open letter bashing the use of Michael Sandel’s MOOC, “Justice.” Those professors compared the situation to “something out of a dystopian novel.” (“Departments across the country possess unique specializations and character, and should stay that way,” they wrote.) Such rhetoric notwithstanding, faculties have been deeply invested in the logic leading to the rise of MOOCs, and are fundamentally ill-prepared to mount a serious intellectual argument against them.” – We’re All to Blame for MOOCs – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, “taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” – Justices Allow DNA Collection After an Arrest – NYTimes.com
  • “Every time you fill a prescription at a drug store like Walgreens, the pharmacy keeps a record of the transaction, noting information such as your name, the drug, the dosage, and the issuing doctor. It’s a routine bit of bookkeeping, and for a long time it raised few eyebrows. Then a firm called IMS Health starting buying up the data. Mining pharmacy records, the company assembled profiles of hundreds of thousands of American doctors and millions of individual patients, with names and other identifying details encrypted. IMS Health turned around and sold access to those files to pharmaceutical companies, making it easier for the firms to target (and reward) the physicians most likely to prescribe expensive, brand-name drugs.” – How Corporations Hijacked the First Amendment to Evade Regulation | New Republic
  • “Everywhere I turned I came across industry members who are way too focused on current channels and products. They’re happy that 20-30% of their revenues are coming from “digital”; of course, by “digital” they mean quick-and-dirty print-to-e conversions, print-under-glass, or any one of a number of other descriptions of today’s ebook marketplace. Many of them will tell you privately that “the ebook revolution” was overblown, they’ve wasted way too many resources on speculative e-projects and now see no reason to throw more good money after bad on this front. The Digital Discovery Zone was a quaint little area set off by green carpeting and featuring about a dozen of the usual suspects, many of which are sponsors of the various industry conferences. It felt like walking through a petting zoo at your local state fair. I half expected someone to say, “wash your hands if you touch one of those animals, honey, you don’t want to spread any germs.” Isn’t it amazing that we still separate the “digital” players from the rest of the exhibitors at a major trade show?” – Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies: Why BEA was like a live performance of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”
  • “As part of this study, several hundred students who did not have home computers were given computers to see if the devices would have any impact, positive or negative, on their academic performance. The researchers found that this action didn’t have any positive effects on a whole host of educational outcomes, including grades, standardized test scores, credits earned, and attendance.” – Why Computers Alone Won’t Move the Needle | MindShift
  • “Two decades ago, if you sat at a dinner party next to someone with a Ph.D., chances were, those letters made an impact. You’d try to sound your smartest, asking about the person’s field of study, nodding sagely at the Coles Notes version he saved for such occasions. By dessert, you might have run out of $5 words, but you’d have done your best to keep up—a show of respect due to someone with a decade of university education. These days, a doctorate is as likely to inspire pity as veneration. Universities are cutting back on tenure-track jobs. The federal government is laying off scientists. The economy, meanwhile, is skewing ever harder toward resource extraction, where the demand for highly specialized knowledge is limited. This confluence of forces is starting to show in the numbers: At last count, Ph.D. grads were more likely to be unemployed than master’s degree holders, while those with jobs enjoyed a median income only eight per cent higher than their master’s counterparts, at $65,000 per year. A good many of those were working in less-than-promising circumstances. One in three doctorate holders have jobs that didn’t require a Ph.D., while a 2007 survey of Ph.D.s working at Canadian universities found that only 12 per cent of those under the age of 35 held tenure or tenure-track positions, compared to 35 per cent in 1981.” – Are Ph.D.s an academic dead zone? – Life – Macleans.ca
  • “Our wealthy and sophisticated kids go to schools where books are still taken seriously (and sometimes very seriously), if only as the only way to become academically accomplished enough to be admitted to an elite college. Meanwhile, in ordinary or worse public schools—especially in our secondary schools—“real” books have been slowly disappearing. And the new Common Core Standards seem to be somewhat about taking out what books are left. Fiction is to be mostly replaced by informational nonfiction, and apparently even To Kill a Mockingbird may not have much of an educational future.” – Marriage and Reading as Elite Customs | Rightly Understood | Big Think