Monthly Archives: November 2013

New Titles at the USMA Library

New books arrive at the USMA Library frequently, and for a few months (before they move to their proper places in the stacks) they are showcased in a special location on the second floor: the built-in bookshelves along the east wall of the rotunda feature our newest titles. Here is a just a small selection of books that you can find on those shelves – chosen for highlighting due to their relevance to West Point and our curriculum.

out of orderIn 2006, retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the recipient of West Point’s Thayer Award.  While here to accept the honor, O’Connor spoke to several groups of cadets and faculty, and shared some observations on the history and importance of the nation’s highest court. Some of those anecdotes might be found on the pages of her newest book, “Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court.” Ranging from the early days of horseback riding judges traveling thousands of miles a year to hear cases, through the Civil Rights Era, up to vital cases of the current day, O’Connor’s book offers a vivid portrait of the people and the institution that served and shaped our country.

stalinThe cadets enjoying SS 307 this semester are currently recovering from the completion and submission of their magnum opus, the Sosh Paper.  With this year’s focus on the Cold War, perhaps “Stalin’s Curse: Battling for Communism in War and Cold War,” would have come in handy for a cadet writing about the Soviet Union during and immediately after WW II. Here, author Robert Gellately uses recently released Russian documents to reveal Stalin’s true nature, and shows how the dictator’s actions during and after the war set in motion what would eventually become the Cold War.

searchingFor those cadets and faculty embroiled in the study of military decision-making at Gettysburg, “Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg” could prove an interesting read. Author Tom Huntington, editor of Historic Traveler magazine, sets out to discover just why Meade is “the Rodney Dangerfield of Civil War generals.” Part history, part biography, and part travelogue, Huntington’s book takes the reader on a journey though Meade’s actions and legacy, casting new light on an often-overlooked figure.

TellFinally, Eve M. Troutt Powell’s book “Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan and the Ottoman Empire” may be of interest to our cadets who are reading and writing about the literature of Egypt for EN 302.   Here, Powell surveys personal narratives of slaves and slave owners to offer a new look at the slave trade in the Middle East. She uses her study of these stories to inform our understanding of the legacy of slavery in these countries today.

These and many more great books are waiting for you on our new book shelves – stop by and check one out today!

 

Week in Review – 8 November 2013

Brief Update Notes from Around the Library

This week I’ve collected a number of smaller news updates from around the library:

  • Mr. Thomas Lynch has arrived and began work in Information Gateway where he will take on duties of one of our liaison librarians. He comes to us from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. His exact liaison duties are undetermined at this stage. He will be spending time getting orientations throughout the library and learning the ropes on the service desks.
  • We are seeking volunteers from library staff to help shift the collection as we continue to prepare for more migration of reference materials into the general stacks. Please see Debbie DiSalvo for more information.
  • Liaisons will be reengaging with their departments to review academic support statements. Given the fiscal challenges of the past year, we want to be sure these are as finely tuned and accurate as possible. This has been a topic of conversation with the Library Committee.
  • Our print management solution is nearing deployment. It will be running in silent mode for a while and we expect it will be fully operational for spring semester.
  • We will soon be sharing out some initial data of our collection analysis project undertaken in connection with ConnectNY’s shared print review. The Naval Academy has also had this analysis done as well which will let us look more closely at our collection similarities and dissimilarities.
  • Any library staff interested in participating in rethinking the furnishings and accoutrements in our staff lounge should let me know so we can pull together a team to consider options.
  • As was the case in 2012, USMA Library will be closed on the Friday following Thanksgiving, however staff who do not report to work will need to request leave.
  • ConnectNY library directors meet next week on Tuesday and Wednesday at Hobart and William Smith College for the annual fall meeting.

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 8 Nov 2013 Week in Review  ODIA Reception 0700-2100
Sat 9 Nov 2013 Beat Western Kentucky 1530-2100
Sun 10 Nov 2013 1300-2100
Mon 11 Nov 2013  Veterans Day 1300-2315
Tue 12 Nov 2013 ConnectNY Fall Meeting 0700-2315
Wed 13 Nov 2013 Dean’s Staff Meeting ConnectNY Fall Meeting 0700-2315
Thu 14 Nov 2013  Microbiology Lecture 0700-2315
Fri 15 Nov 2013  Dean’s Recognition Ceremony Week in Review COL Meyer Promotion 0700-2100

USMA Library Metrics

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

8OCT-14OCT 15OCT-21OCT 22OCT-28OCT 29OCT-3NOV
Access Services
Items Charged Out 904 936 771 881
Gate Count n/a n/a n/a n/a
ILL Article Requests 23 28 25 14
ILL Book Requests 19 10 16 17
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 1 2 2 3
Events/Meetings Attended 19 15 18 18
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 94 88 72 83
Library Instruction Sessions 1 2 4 4
Cadets Attending Sessions 10 27 62 248
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 40 139 111 23
Items Added – Digital 10 3,410 0 0
Items Added – GovDocs 0 89 152 6
Items Added – Other 0 72 0 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 0 194 318 62
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 40 20 40 41
Research Visits < 1 hour 10 7 3 5
Research Visits < 1 day 0 1 4 1
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 1 2
Instruction Sessions 0 1 0 0
Cadets Taught 0 6 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 4,824 4,096 5,882 5,611
LibGuides Visits 813 683 979 771
Digital Collections Visits 278 257 291 246
Facebook Visits 30 40 24 28
Public Printer Prints 5,749 4,724 5,519 7,441
Public Printer Copies 532 301 115 278
Public Printer Scans 243 93 498 247

Food for Thought

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

  • “I am a book person who thinks it’s time libraries did something about the future of books, because I’m one of those weirdoes who thinks books matter. Not old books. Not the idea of books. Not the smell of books. The scholarship inside the books. Books to be read. Books that do something to help us understand this world better.” – A Confession of Faith in Books | Inside Higher Ed
  • “But the longer-term story isn’t the rollout and its many severe glitches. No one recalls whether the first batch of Social Security checks was sent on time in the late 1930s. The story that will matter, and linger, is that the Affordable Care Act was the first major law implemented almost entirely online. It’s the template for the future, and rather than using its launch as an excuse to renew attacks on the law, we need to learn what we can because, like this bill or not, it is part of the next wave of government.” – Healthcare.gov and the Inevitably Digital Future of American Governance – Zachary Karabell – The Atlantic
  • “We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive.” – Evolution and Innovation – The European
  • “87 percent of people say they have bad feelings about a company if they have a bad experience on their website.” – Are technologists trying to solve the wrong problem? — Tech News and Analysis
  • “I can’t help but think that this is a little like punching a guy after you’ve already knocked him down, and the guy (if bookstores say yes) more or less saying, please, punch me more!” – Amazon wants indie bookstores to sell Kindles, but they’d rather not – latimes.com
  • “Technology to me does two things: it increases the velocity of communication and increases the number of people who can participate. That’s it. That’s really all technology for our entire history has ever done.” – Jack Dorsey
  • “The falloff has continued through the first half of this year, with ebooks now showing clear signs of “stagnating” at about 25 percent of the overall U.S. book market, according to Digital Book World: ”Once thought destined to reach 50% or 80% of all book buying and reading in the U.S., ebooks have stalled out on their way up to higher altitude.” – Peak ebook? | ROUGH TYPE
  • “If art is made ex nihilo—out of nothing—then reading is done in nihilo, or into nothing. Fiction unfolds through your imagination in interconnected layers of meaning that lift the heavy weight of unyielding facts from your shoulders. It speaks its own private language of endless nuance and inflection. A tale is a reassuringly mortalized, if you will, piece of the oceanic infinity out of which we came, and back into which we will go. That is freedom, and that is joy—and then it is back to the quotidian challenge, to the daily grind, and to the necessity of attaching a specific meaning to what people are thinking and feeling, and to the urgency of trying, for the sake of love or money, to profit from it.” – Should Literature Be Useful? : The New Yorker
  • “Blockbuster passed on the chance to buy [Netflix] for $50 million in 2000. That year Blockbuster collected $800 million in late fees, which was 16 percent of the company’s total revenue. Netflix sold its one millionth subscription three years later. It’s currently worth about $20 billion, and Hastings himself is worth around $280 million.” – Alex Pappademas, in his Grandland Blockbuster obituary

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

 

Week in Review – 1 November 2013

Planning Reboot

Since summer I have twice worked to pull together an overall project plan for the library that reflects our annual objectives for the current year. We used this plan last year to roughly sketch out what we planned to do and when so that we could mostly pace ourselves and not become too distracted or go off the rails in accomplishing the things we had said we wanted to do. As staff well know however, I have not released a plan. The principal reason for this is we are operating with far too much uncertainty to be able to reliably say what we can or cannot do more than a few weeks out. Since summer, we’ve had two rounds of furloughs, continue to operate under a very slow hiring process, which has resulted in significant staffing reductions, and our appropriated funds continue to be very unpredictable. Planning on an annual basis with any significant change of making a target is simply too long a range to consider in the current climate. So, I want to have us rescope our planning down into ranges of time where we can have a little more confidence that we can actually hit some targets.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve asked division heads to look at our existing objectives and our ongoing work in order to come up with a list of initiatives we think are doable by the end of the first quarter (31 December 2013). Parameters that go into this planning are significantly reduced staffing levels due to the slow hiring process, and relatively normal funding for library resources/supplies. We expect no funding for travel or nice-to-haves. The linked document below is the result of that review and is divided into four groups of projects, roughly tracking along our mission statement: Services, Collections, Facilities, and then a fourth category of Internal Operations. We will do our best to try to accomplish these things by the end of the quarter. Somewhere in the first few weeks of December, we’ll begin to assess and prepare a list for the second quarter. We’ll likely be scaling back projects for that quarter given the uncertainty of funding past 15 January 2014.

Overall, I hope that by looking at our work in these smaller time ranges, we can be more responsive in our planning to the conditions we find ourselves in. Hopefully at some point, our staffing and funding will stabilize which will allow us to go back to more big picture strategic thinking. Time will tell.

USMA Library Objectives – FY14 Q1

New Library Hours Signs

Observant folks will have noticed the new signs that are now posted outside our east and west entrances that allow us to have more visible facility hours posted. Melinda Mosley has worked to acquire the weatherproof signs and Rich Penta installed them for us. We’ll keep them updated with our regular hours, and special hours as appropriate.

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 1 Nov 2013 Week in Review 0700-2100
Sat 2 Nov 2013  Daylight Saving Time Ends 0700-2100
Sun 3 Nov 2013 1100-2315
Mon 4 Nov 2013  Opera Forum 0700-2315
Tue 5 Nov 2013 Division Heads 0700-2315
Wed 6 Nov 2013 Jim Collins Lecture  Dean’s Staff Meeting Liaisons 0700-2315
Thu 7 Nov 2013  All Library Staff 0700-2315
Fri 8 Nov 2013 Week in Review  ODIA Reception 0700-2100

USMA Library Metrics

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

30SEP-7OCT 8OCT-14OCT 15OCT-21OCT 22OCT-28OCT
Access Services
Items Charged Out 589 904 936 771
Gate Count n/a n/a n/a n/a
ILL Article Requests 2 23 28 25
ILL Book Requests 2 19 10 16
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 2 1 2 2
Events/Meetings Attended 12 19 15 18
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 38 94 88 72
Library Instruction Sessions 7 1 2 4
Cadets Attending Sessions 113 10 27 62
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 7 40 139 111
Items Added – Digital 0 10 3,410 0
Items Added – GovDocs 0 0 89 152
Items Added – Other 0 0 72 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 63 0 194 318
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 33 40 20 40
Research Visits < 1 hour 1 10 7 3
Research Visits < 1 day 0 0 1 4
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 1
Instruction Sessions 8 0 1 0
Cadets Taught 123 0 6 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 3,849 4,824 4,096 5,882
LibGuides Visits 599 813 683 979
Digital Collections Visits 256 278 257 291
Facebook Visits 47 30 40 24
Public Printer Prints 5,024 5,749 4,724 5,519
Public Printer Copies 242 532 301 115
Public Printer Scans 35 243 93 498

Food for Thought

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

  • “Data is the pollution problem of the information age. All computer processes produce it. It stays around. How we deal with it—how we reuse and recycle it, who has access to it, how we dispose of it, and what laws regulate it—is central to how the information age functions. And I believe that just as we look back at the early decades of the industrial age and wonder how society could ignore pollution in their rush to build an industrial world, our grandchildren will look back at us during these early decades of the information age and judge us on how we dealt with the rebalancing of power resulting from all this new data.” – The Battle for Power on the Internet – Bruce Schneier – The Atlantic
  • “In the US for example, the best deal for a 150Mbps home broadband connection from cable and phone companies is $130/month, offered by Verizon FiOS in limited parts of New York City. By contrast, the international cities we surveyed offer comparable speeds for $77 or less per month, with most coming in at about $50/month. When it comes to mobile broadband, the cheapest price for around 2GB of data in the US ($30/month from T-Mobile) is twice as much as what users in London pay ($15/month from T-Mobile). It costs more to purchase 2GB of data in a US city than it does in any of the cities surveyed in Europe.” – Cheapest 150Mbps broadband in big US cities costs 100% more than overseas | Ars Technica
  • “The study found that a whopping 72 percent of children eight and under have used tablets or smartphones (and more than a third of babies under two!). In 2011, only 38 percent of children used mobile devices or tablets, an initial survey from the family advocacy group found two years ago.” – Most Kids Use Smart Phones and Tablets: Study | TIME.com
  • “The practice of taking an intentional break from technology and civilization is probably as old as technology and civilization. But it seems increasingly urgent now, in an era when the Internet—and thus most of the planet—is as close as an iPhone. We go to seek waldeinsamkeit, as the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson described it—the feeling of being alone in the woods.” – Can’t Get Away From It All? The Problem Isn’t Technology — It’s You | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
  • “The bill’s official summary claims that it will end bulk collection of certain records that is currently based on Section 215′s authority, limiting collection to things that deal directly with terrorism or “clandestine intelligence” that are linked to foreign agents, foreign “power,” or suspected foreign agents, or individuals in contact with a foreign “power.” In short, no more collecting mass data on Americans. It appears that this would end the collection of American citizens’ phone records, something that the NSA currently collect and stores.” – Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance | TechCrunch
  • “The world’s largest educational publisher, London-based Pearson, reported today that a backlash against its bullishly priced textbooks is eating into profits. The publisher warned that the margins in its American education business—which accounts for 50% of group sales—will fall this year. “Lower freshman enrollments and bookstore purchasing have produced a weak trading environment for college textbook publishing,” the company said.” – As college students revolt against textbook price gouging, publishers are feeling the pinch – Quartz
  • “We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping,” Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said in a statement, “which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links, especially the links in the slide…. “We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform.” – Report: NSA Is Intercepting Traffic From Yahoo, Google Data Centers | Threat Level | Wired.com
  • “Congress is obviously not interested in updating those things or protecting privacy,” said Jonathan Stickland, a Republican state representative in Texas. “If they’re not going to do it, states have to do it.” – No U.S. Action, So States Move on Privacy Law – NYTimes.com
  • “The lawsuit, filed this week in a federal district court in Illinois, seeks more than $5 million in damages from the test makers for “unfair, immoral, unjust, oppressive and unscrupulous” conduct. Namely, the plaintiff, a Cook County woman about which little else is known, alleges that ACT and the College Board do not tell test takers what will be done with their personal information. She said test takers are asked if ACT and the College Board can “share” personal information with others. That is misleading, the lawsuit alleges, because the information is in fact sold and test takers — almost entirely high school teens — become part of a multimillion-dollar money-generating machine for ACT and the College Board.” – ACT and College Board Sued for Selling Student Information | Inside Higher Ed

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