Week in Review – 31 January 2014

Facility Planning – 2nd Floor Changes & New Security Perimeter

This spring and summer will see a number of changes coming to several library spaces as we continue to develop more defined collection and exhibit engagement spaces as well as begin to implement a better security perimeter for both our people and our collections.

In April, we will complete the process to review and move our reference collection in order to free up space for a flexible exhibit/engagement area. To launch this new area we will be hosting an exhibit on loan from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings will explore how book burnings became a potent symbol in America’s battle against Nazism and why they continue to resonate with the public—in film, literature, and political discourse—to this day. This exhibit is being brought to West Point in collaboration with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

After the exhibit departs we will be installing some new flexible furniture into the space in the northwest corner of the 2nd floor for cadet study and collaboration. We will also be expanding our permanent exhibit facilities in order to display materials from our own collections. This week we are moving forward to arrange for purchase of some of these furniture pieces. A tentative floor plan and photographs of the furniture is below.

FloorPlan NewBanquette NewChair NewTable

The three banquettes will not have high backs, and the tables and chairs are designed to be easily moved and reconfigured. We plan to add additional electric outlets in the floor to support use of these furniture pieces. Eventually we plan to relocate the USMA Class Ring case into this space as well.

Visitors through the library rotunda late this week and into the weekend will see blue tape on the west and south entrances intended to show approximate placements of new security gates. As part of our plan to provide better overall security in Jefferson Hall, we are intending to redraw our collection security perimeter on the first floor which will mean new security gates for each entrance into the first floor rotunda area. Our current plan calls for wide entrances on both the west and east sides, and we are considering what layout might work best for the south entrance. Comment is welcome from staff as we work toward a final decision on our gate installation next week.

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 31 Jan 2014 Week in Review 0700-2100
Sat 1 Feb 2014 Admissions/Football Academic Brief 0900-1700
Sun 2 Feb 2014 1100-2315
Mon 3 Feb 2014 0700-2315
Tue 4 Feb 2014 Division Heads / Liaisons 0700-2315
Wed 5 Feb 2014 0700-2315
Thu 6 Feb 2014 Flipper Dinner Dean’s Staff  All Library Staff 0700-2315
Fri 7 Feb 2014 Yearling Winter Weekend Week in Review 0700-2100

USMA Library Metrics

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

Access Services
Items Charged Out 88 431 298 521
Gate Count 321 3,030 3,456 3,143
ILL Article Requests 16 19 19
ILL Book Requests 11 12 30
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 0 1 3 1
Events/Meetings Attended 1 20 25 19
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 0 16 20 31
Library Instruction Sessions 0 2 14 8
Cadets Attending Sessions 0 32 186 79
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 101 44 83 46
Items Added – Digital 1 5,604 733 0
Items Added – GovDocs 33 144 97 339
Items Added – Other 0 0 0 10
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 72 79 79 66
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 3 34 36 40
Research Visits < 1 hour 0 2 5 9
Research Visits < 1 day 0 2 1 5
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 0 1 2
Cadets Taught 0 0 15 24
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 957 2,728 3,014 3,168
LibGuides Visits 124 574 360 414
Digital Collections Visits 235 216 238 260
Facebook Visits 16 30 20
Public Printer Prints 255 20,584 5,824 2,642
Public Printer Copies 352 281 215 378
Public Printer Scans 2 137 25 23

Food for Thought

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

  • “Boosting the skills and earning power of the children of 19th-century farmers and labourers took little more than offering schools where they could learn to read, write and do algebra. Pushing a large proportion of college graduates to complete graduate work successfully will be harder and more expensive. Perhaps cheap and innovative online education will indeed make new attainment possible. But as Mr Cowen notes, such programmes may tend to deliver big gains only for the most conscientious students. Another way in which previous adaptation is not necessarily a good guide to future employment is the existence of welfare. The alternative to joining the 19th-century industrial proletariat was malnourished deprivation. Today, because of measures introduced in response to, and to some extent on the proceeds of, industrialisation, people in the developed world are provided with unemployment benefits, disability allowances and other forms of welfare. They are also much more likely than a bygone peasant to have savings. This means that the “reservation wage”—the wage below which a worker will not accept a job—is now high in historical terms. If governments refuse to allow jobless workers to fall too far below the average standard of living, then this reservation wage will rise steadily, and ever more workers may find work unattractive. And the higher it rises, the greater the incentive to invest in capital that replaces labour. Everyone should be able to benefit from productivity gains—in that, Keynes was united with his successors. His worry about technological unemployment was mainly a worry about a “temporary phase of maladjustment” as society and the economy adjusted to ever greater levels of productivity. So it could well prove. However, society may find itself sorely tested if, as seems possible, growth and innovation deliver handsome gains to the skilled, while the rest cling to dwindling employment opportunities at stagnant wages.” The future of jobs: The onrushing wave | The Economist
  • “I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all. By this, I do not mean the death of actual expertise, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. There will always be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other specialists in various fields. Rather, what I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.” – The Death Of Expertise
  • “It’s of huge significance because Paramount is the first studio to make this policy known,” said Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. “For 120 years, film and 35 mm has been the format of choice for theatrical presentations. Now we’re seeing the end of that. I’m not shocked that it’s happened, but how quickly it has happened.” – Paramount stops releasing major movies on film – latimes.com
  • “The rise of this consumer-surveillance economy is the uncomfortable and ironic backdrop to the outrage about the N.S.A. snooping. We feel violated. We don’t know who has been reading our most tender emails. But why then were we pouring all our personal information into remote corporations to begin with?” – Jaron Lanier in Digital Passivity – Int’l NYT’s Turning Points 2014 series
  • “So, there you have it. From a table of membership in different groups we have gotten a picture of a kind of social network between individuals, a sense of the degree of connection between organizations, and some strong hints of who the key players are in this world. And all this—all of it!—from the merest sliver of metadata about a single modality of relationship between people. I do not wish to overstep the remit of my memorandum but I must ask you to imagine what might be possible if we were but able to collect information on very many more people, and also synthesize information from different kinds of ties between people! For the simple methods I have described are quite generalizable in these ways, and their capability only becomes more apparent as the size and scope of the information they are given increases. We would not need to know what was being whispered between individuals, only that they were connected in various ways. The analytical engine would do the rest! I daresay the shape of the real structure of social relations would emerge from our calculations gradually, first in outline only, but eventually with ever-increasing clarity and, at last, in beautiful detail—like a great, silent ship coming out of the gray New England fog.” – Using Metadata to find Paul Revere – Kieran Healy
  • “Although it’s not a perfect analogy, I like to think about MOOCs as kind of the education equivalents of cloud computing servers. Cloud servers in many ways are not as good as physical servers, but in some ways they’re much better. Cloud servers cost a lot less to get started on, they’re easier to use and to access, and they enable the kind of experimentation that helped fuel the startup boom over the past few years. Because it doesn’t take millions in venture capital just to buy enough gear to get a web company off the ground.” – Harvard and MIT make a compelling case for MOOCs — Tech News and Analysis
  • “A federal judge in Washington has issued a key order in one of the many ongoing mass-BitTorrent piracy lawsuits in the United States. The judge ruled that a complaint from the “Elf-Man” movie studio is insufficient because the IP address evidence does not prove that an account holder is guilty of copyright infringement.” – Judge: IP-Address Does Not Prove Copyright Infringement | TorrentFreak
  • “If you are the sort of person who believes that TV and the Internet have turned American culture into a post-literate scrubland full of cat GIFs and reality TV spinoffs, then this news will probably reinforce your worst suspicions. But buried beneath it, I think there’s an optimistic story to tell about American book culture. It’s about the kids.” – The Decline of the American Book Lover – Jordan Weissmann – The Atlantic
  • “28% of American adults ages 18 and older read an e-book in the past year, up from 17% in 2011.” – 10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries
  • “the way that tech often does disrupt industries – by affecting parts of the industry that no-one paid attention to but which were actually key leverage points. Not many magazine people thought of themselves as being in the trucking and light-manufacturing business, for example, but they were, and that was why the internet had such an impact on them. But the opposite can also be true – there are industries where tech doesn’t look important but is actually crucial, but there are also industries where tech looks crucial but doesn’t actually matter very much at all” – Ignorance — Benedict Evans
  • “While in the past, many librarians have encouraged patrons to eschew Wikipedia in favor of library databases and secondary sources, they are now starting to work together, in recognition of the fact that today’s students often rely on the Internet and Wikipedia for their initial overview. Libraries are working to make sure they are part of the pipeline so that students following the crowdsourced Wikipedia bibliography back to full-text references will find libraries as the end point if not always the starting point.” – Librarypedia: The Future of Libraries and Wikipedia – The Digital Shift
  • “Deep inside the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2014 is a provision that requires federal agencies under the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education portion of the bill with research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research that they fund within 12 months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), this means approximately $31 billion of the total $60 billion annual U.S. investment in taxpayer-funded research will become openly accessible. “This is an important step toward making federally funded scientific research available for everyone to use online at no cost,” said SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph in a news release. The language in the appropriations bill mirrors that in the White House open access memo from last year, and a National Institutes of Health public access program enacted in 2008.” – Half of taxpayer funded research will soon be available to the public
  • “You must reward people for failing, he says. If not, they won’t take risks and make breakthroughs. If you don’t reward failure, people will hang on to a doomed idea for fear of the consequences. That wastes time and saps an organisation’s spirit.”- BBC News – Secret Google lab ‘rewards staff for failure’
  • “Top-ranked liberal-arts colleges are failing to provide their students with a rigorous higher education even as many of them have steadily increased tuition and administrative spending in recent years, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni asserted in a report released on Monday.” – Prestigious Liberal-Arts Colleges Are Said to Fall Short on Academic Quality – The Ticker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Those of us in the traditional academy could have a hand in shaping that future, but doing so will require us to relax our obsessive focus on elite students, institutions, and faculty. It will require us to stop regarding ourselves as irreplaceable occupiers of sacred roles, and start regarding ourselves as people who do several jobs society needs done, only one of which is creating new knowledge. It will also require us to abandon any hope of restoring the Golden Age. It was a nice time, but it wasn’t stable, and it didn’t last, and it’s not coming back. It’s been gone ten years more than it lasted, in fact, and in the time since it ended, we’ve done more damage to our institutions, and our students, and our junior colleagues, by trying to preserve it than we would have by trying to adapt. Arguing that we need to keep the current system going just long enough to get the subsidy the world owes us is really just a way of preserving an arrangement that works well for elites—tenured professors, rich students, endowed institutions—but increasingly badly for everyone else.” – » The End of Higher Education’s Golden Age Clay Shirky

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