Week in Review – 22 November 2013

Forward Progress on Library Recruitments

After a lengthy period of slow movement, we are seeing some forward progress on several library recruitment actions. Here are some brief updates for all our current vacancies:

  • We are very pleased that Ms. Manja Yirka has accepted an offer to join Materials Processing as our Electronic Resources Librarian (GS-11). She plans to begin work on December 2nd. This is David Stockton’s former position.
  • Our Digital Projects & Metadata Librarian (GS-11) in Materials Processing was announced this past Tuesday via USAJOBS.gov. This is an internal recruitment for current federal employees or those with eligibility for an internal hire.
  • We continue to review applications for the Supply Technician (GS-06) in Administration and hope to conclude that recruitment very shortly.
  • Our two Access Services Librarian (GS-09) positions were announced this past Tuesday via USAJOBS.gov. They are also posted as internal recruitments.
  • Paperwork is currently in review for our Systems Librarian (GS-11) and Library Technician for Special Collections (GS-06). We also have submitted paperwork to make the GS-05 technician position that was Larry Byrne’s into a new position that will help coordinate facility use, event planning/management, and also help serve as a an online community manager/social media coordinator. We do not know when these positions may be posted.

Tools for Citation Management in Transition

Due to technical issues that impair reliable and full use of the product on the USMA network, USMA Library will not be renewing our contract to provide RefWorks as an online bibliographic and citation management tool. This change will be effective 1 January 2014. Based on service usage data, we anticipate this will only impact a small subset of users. We are continuing to review alternative products to provide this service and USMA Library maintains a guide on citation management that contains information about different citation formats and tools. Specific tools that can replace RefWorks include EasyBib and Zotero. Users who wish to continue to use the RefWorks service can continue their account as a personal subscription, or export their data for use in other products. Please contact your library liaison for additional questions regarding citation management tools and services.

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
Fri 22 Nov 2013 Week in Review 0700-2100
Sat 23 Nov 2013 0900-2100
Sun 24 Nov 2013 1300-2100
Mon 25 Nov 2013 0700-2315
Tue 26 Nov 2013 Division Heads 0700-2315
Wed 27 Nov 2013 0600-1630
Thu 28 Nov 2013 Thanksgiving CLOSED
Fri 29 Nov 2013 CLOSED

USMA Library Metrics

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

Access Services
Items Charged Out 771 881 1,067
Gate Count n/a n/a n/a n/a
ILL Article Requests 23 28 20 18
ILL Book Requests 19 10 24 16
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 3 3 2 2
Events/Meetings Attended 18 18 23 8
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 72 83 77 69
Library Instruction Sessions 4 4 2 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 62 248 4 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 111 23 33 32
Items Added – Digital 0 0 128 128
Items Added – GovDocs 152 6 26 26
Items Added – Other 0 0 0 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 318 62 70 70
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 40 41 37 36
Research Visits < 1 hour 3 5 11 7
Research Visits < 1 day 4 1 1 0
Research Visits > 1 day 1 2 0 1
Instruction Sessions 0 0 1 1
Cadets Taught 0 0 5 12
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 5,882 5,611 4,937
LibGuides Visits 979 771 675
Digital Collections Visits 291 246 231
Facebook Visits 24 28 25
Public Printer Prints 5,519 7,441 6,907
Public Printer Copies 115 278 299
Public Printer Scans 498 247 180

Food for Thought

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

  • “If we continue to present students with a false choice between the liberal arts and “real-world” vocational training, we will produce what social scientists like to call “suboptimal” outcomes. Too many talented, energetic, hard-working students will choose “safe” educational and career paths, and too many truly global problems will go unsolved.” – Essay suggests liberal arts training relates to skills | Inside Higher Ed
  • “Here are a few things you can’t do in Australia: Post a YouTube video of yourself in a homemade Super Mario Brothers costume, stream music from your iPhone during a funeral, or share just about any Internet meme on your Facebook wall. That list—a truncation of the almost endless number of online activities made illegal under Australian copyright law—is a symbol of what happens when 20th-century laws are applied to 21st-century Internet remix culture.” – The Daily Dot – Outdated copyright law makes memes illegal in Australia
  • “Although Harvard Business Review articles have been included in the journal aggregator EBSCO since 2000, as of August 1 the publisher began blocking full access to the 500 most popular articles, meaning students and professors can no longer download, print, or link directly to them. Harvard has long asserted that a digital library subscription cannot substitute for the separate licenses and fees involved when the articles are assigned in courses. Yet it says it has encountered widespread abuse of that policy, with professors referring students to the digital subscriptions. To restore the linking ability, some of the largest business-school libraries have received quotes of roughly $200,000 annually—a number the publisher, a nonprofit subsidiary of Harvard University, confirms—although the press says the average quote is below $10,000. Alternatively, business schools can pay for journal articles that are assigned in class on an à-la-carte basis or under various “umbrella” plans. Those latter arrangements have long existed. (Some business schools already have expansive licensing arrangements with Harvard that mean they are unaffected.)” – Librarians Accuse Harvard Business Publishing of Unfair Prices – Publishing – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday would encourage the creation of free online textbooks by offering grants for pilot projects that produce high-quality open-access textbooks, especially for courses with large enrollments. Grant money would also be available to help faculty members find and review such textbooks, as well as to conduct research on how well open-access textbooks meet students’ and faculty members’ needs.” – 2 Senators Offer Bill Promoting Open-Access Textbooks – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “In Plato’s Phaedrus, the Egyptian gods object to the invention of writing. They said it would destroy memory and foster arrogance on the part of mankind. Maybe they were right all along. Think of all we’ve lost by succumbing to literacy — all the capacity for memory, all the imagination and verse, all the forms and songs. Think of those poor Yugoslav bards studied by Milman Parry who lost all their epics when they learned to read the newspaper. They must have felt like they had traded their birthright for a bowl of pottage. But the written word is a virus. There’s no turning back the clock on literacy. Even if we descend to communication by shouts or pheromones or feral emoticons, writing will outlast us. Unmoored from objects, the literature of the future will be infinite, iterational, and immaterial. I like to imagine the cybernetic authors of the future at home on some satellite in high orbit, quietly floating through space, 10,000 years after every trace of our era has disappeared from the surface of Earth. Decade after decade the programs will write their tired potboilers and predictable coming of age novels, their wistful Brooklyn comedies and sad Russian satires. Over time, they will gradually tire of these antiquated forms. Increasingly they will try to write from life, to express in binary language the pain of their fragmented hard drives, the loneliness of their aseptic orbits, the monotonous cycle of day and night, the lonely work of archiving a civilization that has long since forgotten its past. In this future, history exists as an eternal present. Through endless new iterations, timelines gradually blur. Libraries and apocalypses multiply. Books vanish and reappear. Vikings stream out of attack ships to burn the Library of Alexandria. Virginia Woolf leads Caesar’s legions into the Thames while cybernetic Miltons write hymns in honor of their machine gods. Under the forest canopies, humanlike primates curse each other in emojis, while on the edge of the solar halo, Lev Tolstoy, reincarnated as an artificial intelligence, born with no memory of his own future, sits down to write the book of his life.” – Papyralysis |
  • “According to BitDefender, more than one percent of 420,000 analyzed apps offered on Google’s official Android store are repackaged versions of legitimate apps. In the long run, their existence hurts the users, the legitimate developers, and Google’s reputation in general.” – 1.2% of apps on Google Play are repackaged to deliver ads, collect info
  • “Privacy may actually be an anomaly,” Cerf said at an FTC event yesterday while taking questions. Elaborating, he explained that privacy wasn’t even guaranteed a few decades ago: he used to live in a small town without home phones where the postmaster saw who everyone was getting mail from. “In a town of 3,000 people there is no privacy. Everybody knows what everybody is doing.”- Google’s chief internet evangelist says ‘privacy may actually be an anomaly’ | The Verge
  • “A great library is like the City of Paris, in which there are about eight hundred thousand persons: you do not live with the whole crowd: you choose a certain society, and change it. So with books: you choose a few friends out of the many. There will be seven or eight thousand controversial books, and fifteen or sixteen thousand novels, which you will not read: a heap of pamphlets, which you will throw into the fire after you have read them. The man of taste will read only what is good; but the statesman will permit both bad and good.” – Voltaire on the perils of censorship, the freedom of the press, and the rewards of reading.
  • “[T]he price of textbooks has risen more than 800% over the past 30 years, a rate faster than medical services (575%), new home prices (325%), and the consumer price index (250%).” – The Changing Textbook Industry
  • “I believe there’s a real chance that we can eliminate censorship and the possibility of censorship in a decade,” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said recently at Johns Hopkins University. “The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything.” – Google’s Schmidt Predicts Government Censorship Can Vanish In A Decade | TechCrunch

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.