Monthly Archives: February 2014

Week in Review – 28 February 2014

Library Survey Comments: Collections and Digital Collections

In addition to the questions asked on the recent survey of faculty regarding library services, those taking the survey were invited to make any general comments. Those responses have been sorted out into different categories, grouped together with similar comments, and we have prepared responses where appropriate. This week is a look at comments that relate to collections and digital collections. Comments are listed by bullets and responses are in green italic text.

  • Special Collections digital offerings could be easier to navigate and added to more frequently. Would like for the recent Superintendent reports to be on-line. Also all Howitzers. Seems like the library should have a UFR in place to digitize more of Special Collections each year.
  • I have had problems getting a clear view of what we have in the special collections. For instance, whose papers/personal documents, etc are available to us.

We agree. Technology has not helped our digital collection initiatives as the software repository we use has been extremely unreliable for several years. This spring we plan to move these collections to a new off-site hosting provider that should significantly improve our ability to maintain and add to these collections. We also are prioritizing staff work in the area of digital metadata creation that will allow us to broaden efforts to provide digital collections. We do have many finding aids for special collections and archives available on our website currently.

  • For EECS, the key services are the IEEE and ACM online digital libraries. These are expensive but essential. The Library’s paper collection is nearly useless for our needs. AKO provides valuable access to the 24×7 Referenceware collection of pop technical material. When similar material in other collections is needed for projects and research, we include it in the project budget. The Library’s paper collections of such material are too thin and out-of-date to be useful. This is okay. Books like this have a useful life of perhaps 3-5 years and shrinking, and perhaps a thousand would have to be on hand to provide a reasonable chance that cadets and faculty members could find what they need. In fact, I suggest the Library stop further purchases of such material in these lean times. There is very little ROI. The upshot is that the main value of the physical library to the EECS disciplines is as a beautiful study space for individuals and groups.

We understand the disciplinary differences in the value of print collections and we do try to adjust collection policies and practices accordingly. That said, we do not want to forsake any area of the collection and welcome suggestions of core titles, publishers, and subjects to inform your departmental academic support statement.

  • It would be interesting to see if anyone uses the books.

They do! In 2012-13 we circulated more than 56,000 items from our monograph, DVD, and audiovisual collections.

  • I know the library does not have large collections due to lack of funds and space, but I feel the staff does a great job finding resources we need via library loan or other methods. The staff is very responsive to our needs.

Space is actually not a problem for us … though funding often is.

  • I find myself using the AKO Safari Books Online resources or my account at the last university I was at.

We also recommend using resources available on AKO. If there are things you think we should have here locally though, please let us know.

  • I have never used the library since I can get all of the journal articles I need on line. If I need a book, I usually just buy it.

No need to buy things yourself (unless you really want to build your own library, which we certainly understand). Just let your library liaison know what you need.

  • Will you please get Web of Science? This can help students find interconnected sources, and as an instructor I could quickly check a student’s sources to see if they hit all the main references – particularly on a subject on which I am not well-versed. I used this in grad school and it was a super-big time saver.

We have had Web of Science in the past, though it has not been identified as a top, mission-critical resource. Cost of this resource is also a consideration (in the mid-five-figure neighborhood for USMA). We are always committed to finding ways to acquire mission-essential resources. Please make sure those items are included in your academic support statements and that your liaison is aware of the need.

  • Subscribe to more journals.
  • Expand digital access to science journals
  • Increase the availability of full content electronic media.
  • More digital access to engineering peer reviewed journals
  • There have been a few journal titles and books that aren’t available in my work in environmental sociology, but I would imagine there is very little need for these.
  • The most important service for me is subscriptions to online journals. Specifically physics (lasers and optics)
  • More is always better in terms of journal access. I use a wide variety, so I can’t recommend any one particular journal.
  • I would like to see the catalog expand significantly by following input by faculty regarding what they would like to have access to.
  • I wish there were more audio book available from the consortium of associated web libraries. Other than that, great library that more should utilize.
  • Foreign movies in the 8 languages that we teach would be a welcome addition. Must have English subtitles.
  • Printed magazines in different languages. Sometimes it’s easier to grab the magazine and read rather than turn on the computer, connect to wireless (not always reliable), find the website, open the document and start reading. Thanks!
  • I would like to see more published primary works, especially English ones like the Calendar of State Papers and the Historical Manuscripts Commission collections. These would allow cadets access to published primary documents from government sources and officials, especially for the 17th through 19th centuries.
  • Digital access to journals and digests speeds up research, but cost may be prohibitive. There are several electronic resources that this institute SHOULD have, and to its credit, the MUST HAVES are being addressed.
  • I work in a science that is poorly represented with respect to percentage of faculty as well as cadet interests in specializing in the field at West Point. I do understand that. However, I would expect that — am I to be producing research results at par with colleagues from other departments — the library resources in my field would be more helpful to me in accomplishing my goals.
  • Last year (AY13) a cadet did complain to me the library had no or very few books on physical training.

When budgets allow, we do acquire new monographs, journals, and audiovisual materials when requested to do so. Please make sure you have submitted a request through your liaison for any materials you wish to see added. Also make sure your departmental academic support statement accurately includes materials you feel are essential to support the curriculum.

  • Please keep the electronic access to many journals…that has assisted me greatly in work here.
  • The only service I use is the digital subscriptions to IEEE and ACM.
  • Online resources such as IEEE, ACM, and others are essential. Please sustain!
  • Please continue the access to digital subscriptions, especially the engineering resources such as IEEE eXplore. While expensive, they are the most valuable resource the library offers to my engineering students.

We intend to keep as much as we can that is useful. Please make sure your departmental academic support statement accurately reflects the priorities you have for content so we can be sure you have what you need.

  • Get rid of the print journals and invest more into online access. Our online access to science journals is embarrassing.

Hopefully you have recently noticed our changes on the second floor in the current periodicals area where it is clear how few journals we now acquire in paper. While we have reduced our paper subscriptions, we have steadily increased our electronic subscriptions. We now provide access to tens of thousands of full text journals. If there are specific titles or packages you feel are mission, please let your liaison know and add them to your department’s academic support statement.

  • Put far more funding into electronic resources.

More than 90% of our appropriated funding for library resources is allocated to digital products.

  • I would like to see more NY Times Bestseller non-fiction books make it to the library more quickly. Books by authors such as Malcom Gladwell and books on topics in higher education. Could you have more new releases and not just mostly books on war and military?

Your request is noted and we will look at acquiring these sorts of titles more rapidly.

  • It would be nice to have Naxos (Digital Music Library) access again.

Naxos is a great product and if there are curricular requirements for this, please let us know.

  • I think the process for faculty to suggest book/periodical purchases is cumbersome and awkward. I’m not sure why I have to go through my dept library liaison–why can’t that email just go to the library?

Individual academic departments set up their own internal processes for requesting materials among their faculty. In some departments, faculty are encouraged to directly work with their library liaison. We recommend you work with your colleagues to streamline the process.

  • The foreign language collection (especially for my language) is very weak. It is difficult to request new books for purchase. Also, I would like to see the ability to put books used in courses on reserve, but if the library does not have the book that I need in the first place, it therefore wouldn’t be able to reserve it. We use the library as a source for the capstone and research papers primarily, which is a shame as it could be a much better resource for other courses if the resources were there.

Please suggest some titles or specific subject areas for your language, and work with your department and library liaison to make the process for requesting materials more efficient. As noted in the response previous to this one, we can accept requests just about any way your department wants to coordinate sending them. We do offer course reserves, and can order materials to be placed there for courses. Just let us know what you need.

  • The resources allocated to collection development continue to be woefully inadequate for a premiere undergraduate research library.

It is true that our funding levels are below those of the institutions that we consider our peers. See our annual Program Review for more data and discussion on this. It is a point routinely raised by the Library.

  • Seems like the shelves have a lot of old versions but lack newer nonfiction books, especially if they are not directly related to military history or policy. While it’s great to retain these older books, some of them have outdated material that is not useful for researching the current status of a particular topic. Sorry to be so vague…I have found this across the board, whether travel books, social policy, military retirement, women’s issues…
  • A lot of the books are outdated.

Your comment is noted, and we have just completed a collection analysis that will allow us to do some more accurate and data-based management of our collection, particularly the items that are unused and easily available from other locations. While space is not a limiting factor for us, making the shelves useful and browseable is valuable. We agree that making sure that the materials found there are relevant is important.

  • Please resubscribe to StratFor. There are a number of strategic studies resources that approach it, but none quite meets the quality and timeliness of this source.

We would recommend working with a librarian so we can learn exactly what you are seeking to find. In many cases, the content in Stratfor is available freely on the web from other sources.

  • Don’t overdo the public functions (meetings, displays) at the expense of collections holding.

Maintaining the best resources to support the curriculum and ensuring that our users are trained to use those resources will remain our top priorities.

  • I rated the library’s collection adequate because in the field I study – military history – the library seems to retain a fair number of books and scholarship from 20-30 years past and fewer of the cutting edge scholarship. Suggestion: reach out to the humanities departments and ask whether they would like faculty to volunteer to help advise the library on specific subject areas. For example, I study the French empire in the 19th and 20th centuries. I would be happy, if asked to review the library’s collection and make a list of books that should stay, books that are somewhat outdated and could go to storage, and some new books to order. I would probably recommend that some older books both stay and go. Of course this runs the problem of creating a library that caters to particular faculty interests, but maybe we could at least help advise on some of the major categories. I have no idea if other university libraries do this, or how it is that they maintain the best collections.

Please see the other responses regarding collection management. This is an ongoing issue and partnering with faculty and subject-area experts is certainly a possibility and is beneficial. We will promote this with our liaisons, and you should feel free to contact yours directly to discuss this in more detail.

Next week, we’ll look at comments regarding library services and facilities.

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 28 Feb 2014 Holocaust Remembrance Day Dean’s Recognition Ceremony Week in Review West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 0700-2100
Sat 1 Mar 2014 West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 0900-2100
Sun 2 Mar 2014 West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 1100-2315
Mon 3 Mar 2014 0700-2315
Tue 4 Mar 2014 Division Heads 0700-2315
Wed 5 Mar 2014  Dean’s Staff Liaisons 0700-2315
Thu 6 Mar 2014  Founders Day Dinner / DAD Diversity Visit  Bassett Farewell / All Library Staff Corbin Forum 0700-2315
Fri 7 Mar 2014 DAD Diversity Visit Week in Review Corbin Forum 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 572 789 1,216 669
Gate Count 3,766 3,735 3,666 3,623
ILL Article Requests 32 9 22 28
ILL Book Requests 20 27 31 27
Administrative Services
DV Tours 1 0 0 1
Significant Events Hosted 2 2 2 3
Events/Meetings Attended 26 19 17 15
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 21 72 101 37
Library Instruction Sessions 5 1 3 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 77 15 42 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 88 54 61 206
Items Added – Digital 1 0 3,829 429
Items Added – GovDocs 280 68 106 194
Items Added – Other 13 4 26 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 80 58 47 161
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 41 41 21 31
Research Visits < 1 hour 7 4 8 4
Research Visits < 1 day 2 5 6 5
Research Visits > 1 day 0 2 0 1
Instruction Sessions 7 1 5 2
Cadets Taught 103 17 96 36
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 2,817 3,594 4,870 3,179
LibGuides Visits 387 490 759 397
Digital Collections Visits 257 264 270 276
Facebook Visits 15 30 14
Public Printer Prints 3,350 3,754 4,172 3,167
Public Printer Copies 350 264 257 303
Public Printer Scans 29 22 11 34

Food for Thought

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

  • “To be sure, Berkeley is an exception: according to the National Science Foundation, just 18.4% of computer science degrees were given to women (as of 2010), a trend that has been steadily decreasing since 1991, when it was a more impressive 29.6%. In an email, Professor Dan Garcia, who taught the Berkeley course last spring, tells us that he attributes the gender flip to a drastic transformation in the curriculum, including team-based project learning, opened-sourced materials, and opportunities to become teaching assistants. “The course & curriculum really does capture the “Beauty and Joy” of computing; learning can be a lot of fun,” he writes.” – Women Outnumber Men For The First Time In Berkeley’s Intro To Computer Science Course | TechCrunch
  • “The federal government subsidizes this academic aristocracy (made more exclusive by elite highly endowed schools giving admission preferences for children of alumni) in several ways. Big endowments such as Harvard’s probably often reap at least $1 billion annually from capital gains. They pay no income taxes on those gains; individuals pay 23.8 percent. They also pay no income taxes on dividend and interest income. The donations that form the endowments are deductible against donor income taxes, giving rich people the incentive to give to their already rich colleges, which in turn give preferences to alumni children.” – Cut Off Harvard to Save America – Bloomberg
  • “In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it’s $60,000 a year. “It’s staggering,” says Duke freshman Max Duncan, “especially considering that’s for four years.” But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that’s actually a discount. “We’re investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student,” he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it’s one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.” – Duke: $60,000 A Year For College Is Actually A Discount : Planet Money : NPR
  • “Success can come from being in the right place at the right time. But it usually takes years spent building a culture, facilitating talent, making investment, and then seizing on the right moment.” – What the Netherlands’ complete dominance in speed skating says about success – Quartz
  • “The deal will also transform the debate over network neutrality regulation. Officially, Comcast’s deal with Netflix is about interconnection, not traffic discrimination. But it’s hard to see a practical difference between this deal and the kind of tiered access that network neutrality advocates have long feared. Network neutrality advocates are going to have to go back to the drawing board.” – Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete
  • “The college of about 600 undergraduates announced last month it will eliminate 22 of its 52 faculty positions; it has cut 23 staff members and 16 of its 31 academic programs. College President Steven Titus said the goal of the cuts, which trimmed $3 million from a $20 million operating budget, are to get the college ready to grow. “We think there are opportunities to really move from a small local residential liberal arts college to a more regional institution,” Titus said. Others are less optimistic about what the cuts mean for the future of Iowa Wesleyan, a 171-year-old college in southeast Iowa.” – After deep cuts, can Iowa Wesleyan rebound? | Inside Higher Ed
  • “About 11.5% of student loan balances are 90 days delinquent or in default and that figure is often reported low because it does not include student loans in deferment or forbearance and the reason the loans are in that status is because people can’t afford them.” – Student Loans Continue to Be Ticking Time Bomb | Steve Rhode
  • “In an effort to increase access to this data, we are now revising our data-sharing policy for all PLOS journals: authors must make all data publicly available, without restriction, immediately upon publication of the article. Beginning March 3rd, 2014, all authors who submit to a PLOS journal will be asked to provide a Data Availability Statement, describing where and how others can access each dataset that underlies the findings. This Data Availability Statement will be published on the first page of each article.” – PLOS’ New Data Policy: Public Access to Data – EveryONE
  • “Sixteen of the papers appeared in publications by Springer, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The fraudulent papers were identified by Cyril Labbé, a computer scientist at Joseph Fourier University, in Grenoble, France. He developed a way to detect manuscripts produced by software called SCIgen. The program, invented by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005, builds papers from randomly combined strings of words. Its inventors created it to prove that conferences would easily accept fraudulent papers.” – Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake, Computer-Generated Papers – The Ticker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Convenience technologies supposedly free us to focus on what matters, but sometimes the part that matters is what gets eliminated. Everyone knows that it is easier to drive to the top of a mountain than to hike; the views may be the same, but the feeling never is. By the same logic, we may evolve into creatures that can do more but find that what we do has somehow been robbed of the satisfaction we hoped it might contain.” – Why Making Technology Easier to Use Isn’t Always Good : The New Yorker
  • “What surprised us,” says Susanna Loeb, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, “was how clear the distinction was between math and English language arts, with math teachers teaching almost exclusively subject-specific skills and English teachers teaching skills that affect students’ later outcomes across other subjects.” The researchers examined the performances of 700,000 students in New York City in third through eighth grade from 2003 to 2010.” – Good English teachers improve math scores for students | Futurity
  • “University administrators have discovered that, to a remarkable degree, the more they charge for what they’re offering, the more people will want to buy it.” – How a Louis Vuitton bag can explain the higher education bubble – The Week

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

Discover a Database! Issues & Controversies

Issues & ControversiesHere’s another in our series of articles featuring information about the USMA Library’s subscription databases.

    Issues & Controversies is a collection complied by Facts on File, a company known for providing timely and comprehensive information about current events. Featuring articles that go into depth on the most divisive and important topics of the day, Issues & Controversies is a great place to start looking for a paper topic for classes in the social sciences, or to choose an issue to write about for an SS 202 (American Politics) paper. There’s a convenient listing of hot topics on the home page, such as:
  • NSA Affordable Care Act
  • Antitrust Law
  • Drones
  • Economic Sanctions
  • Gambling
  • Gay Rights
  • Gun Control
  • Immigration Policy
  • The Legacy of the Arab Spring
  • Net Neutrality
  • NSA Surveillance Programs
  • Police Brutality
  • Private Property Rights
  • U.S. Policy Towards Iran
  • Voting Rights Act

The site also includes a search box and subject index to help you find information on an area of interest – plus, you can find debates that support either side of the argument on controversial issues in the news.

  • Who should use this collection: Cadets taking classes on politics and social issues.
  • What those users will find:
  • In-depth treatment of controversial topics in today’s headlines, including background information for/key events in the history of the topic.
  • Explanation of relevant legislation.
  • Descriptions of any interest groups.
  • Government actors and citizen involvement in the issue.
  • Presentation of the views from opposing sides of the issue.

Tips for searching Issues and Controversies:

  • Follow the link to Issues & Controversies under the “Social Sciences” heading of the USMA Library’s “Databases by Topic” page.
  • If you’re looking for a current topic, review the list of links on the top right of the home page under “Issues in the Headlines.” A featured topic appears under the main photo on the home page as well; just click “more” if that topic is of interest.
  • You can always perform a search using the search box and limiters in the upper left portion of the page, or browse the “Subject Index” to investigate specific topics in general subject areas.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for a debate, check out “Issues: Pro and Con” for views on all sides of a topic.

As always, ask a Librarian for help if you have any questions about any of our research products!

Library Access Policies Adjusted

In order to harmonize with recent changes to access polices for the Central Post Restricted Area, we have now adjusted access policies for Jefferson Hall. These changes can be found on our website and in new DPOMs that have been just completed.

Going forward, the following individuals are authorized unescorted access within the Library:

  1. Military personnel in uniform (all approved uniforms with the exception of physical fitness uniforms). Equivalent uniforms worn by other Service and international military personnel assigned to or visiting West Point in an official status are also permitted.
  2. Military personnel, their spouses, and family members (14 years of age or older) in civilian clothing provided that they display their CAC/DoD identification card on their outer garment at all times in Jefferson Hall. Spouses or family members in this category without DoD or West Point issued identification are not eligible for unescorted access.
  3. West Point and USMA DoD civilian employees, ODIA employees, Association of Graduates employees, contractors, their spouses, and family members (14 years of age or older) provided that they display their DoD/West Point/ODIA/Contractor identification card on their outer garment at all times in Jefferson Hall. Individuals or family members in this category without DoD or West Point issued identification are not eligible for unescorted access.
  4. Registered and credentialed attendees of Superintendent-approved, Dean-approved, or Librarian-approved events/appointments held in Jefferson Hall. This includes members of the general public who request to use the collection under 44 USC 19 – 1909 governing open access to government collections, and researchers with scheduled appointments to consult materials held in Special Collections and/or Archives. Individuals in this category must display the name/identification badge provided to them at all times while in Jefferson Hall. This badge is valid only for Jefferson Hall and does not permit unescorted access through the Central Post Restricted Area.

Users in categories 1, 2, and 3 are also authorized access through the Central Post Restricted Area. Users in category 4 are not authorized access through the Central Post Restricted Area and must accompanied by appropriately credentialed personnel while outside of Jefferson Hall. This includes arriving to or departing from the Library.

Library staff will approach building visitors without visible identification. We will also have badge holders available at the service desks for individuals who have ID, but don’t have a way to appropriately display it. The Library administrative office is acquiring some visitor badges which we will assign as needed to Library guests. Event coordinators for events in the library will be asked to make sure their event guests wear their event badge at all times within Jefferson Hall. Questions can be directed to the Library administrative office.

Week in Review – 21 February 2014

Library Survey Data: Library Services, Facilities, and Staff Meeting and Exceeding Mission Needs

This past semester, the Library Committee of Faculty Council conducted a survey of faculty regarding library services and resources designed to help inform the ABET self-study process underway this year. We’re spending a few weeks looking at some of the data results and considering how these can inform our work and programs. This week, we look at data on quality of services, facilities and staff. Some notable findings:

  • Overall, quality of services, facilities, and staff is very high across the board.
  • Faculty see the quality of digital resources as higher than print resources.
  • Two-thirds of faculty see our tools for finding information (e.g. Scout) as meeting their needs and only 6% are dissatisfied. 26% of faculty don’t know about these systems.
  • The weakest area of knowledge among faculty is the process for requesting and ordering new materials. Only 47% expressed satisfaction with this process, while 46% indicated they are unaware of how to go about doing this. Only 6% expressed dissatisfaction.
  • Library facilities are seen as extremely good with 93% of faculty indicated they meet requirements. Only 2% indicated dissatisfaction with facilities.
  • The quality of library staff is indicated to be extremely high with 83% of respondents indicating staff meet or exceed their expectations of service with only 3% indicating dissatisfaction. 12% indicated that they do not know library staff in order to provide an assessment.

The biggest area of opportunity for the library as seen through this data is improved communication on how to acquire new materials. This also was an issue routinely raised in the comments (which we will see next week). USMA does have a smaller print collection than a school of our age and size would normally have. As we continue to acquire and pursue acquisition of deeper electronic backfiles of content, this will go a long way to improving access, however USMA also has excellent networks from which to gather materials to support the curriculum and in many cases relying upon those networks is the most cost efficient path to acquisition.


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 21 Feb 2014 100th Night Weekend Week in Review 0700-2100
Sat 22 Feb 2014 100th Night Weekend Admissions/Football Academic Brief 0900-2100
Sun 23 Feb 2014 1100-2315
Mon 24 Feb 2014  Opera Forum 0700-2315
Tue 25 Feb 2014 Division Heads 0700-2315
Wed 26 Feb 2014  Kermit Roosevelt Lecture  / African American History Observance Communications Team 0700-2315
Thu 27 Feb 2014  Dean’s Staff West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 0700-2315
Fri 28 Feb 2014 Holocaust Remembrance Day Dean’s Recognition Ceremony Week in Review West Point Security Conference (Model UN) 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 521 572 789
Gate Count 3,143 3,766 3,735 3,666
ILL Article Requests 19 32 9 22
ILL Book Requests 30 20 27 31
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 1 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 1 2 2 2
Events/Meetings Attended 19 26 19 17
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 31 21 72 101
Library Instruction Sessions 8 5 1 3
Cadets Attending Sessions 79 77 15 42
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 46 88 54 61
Items Added – Digital 0 1 0 3,829
Items Added – GovDocs 339 280 68 106
Items Added – Other 10 13 4 26
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 66 80 58 47
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 40 41 41 21
Research Visits < 1 hour 9 7 4 8
Research Visits < 1 day 5 2 5 6
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 2 0
Instruction Sessions 2 7 1 5
Cadets Taught 24 103 17 96
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 3,168 2,817 3,594 4,870
LibGuides Visits 414 387 490 759
Digital Collections Visits 260 257 264 270
Facebook Visits 15 30
Public Printer Prints 2,642 3,350 3,754 4,172
Public Printer Copies 378 350 264 257
Public Printer Scans 23 29 22 11

Food for Thought

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

  • “As classrooms become more electronically connected, public schools around the country are exploring whether they can use virtual learning as a practical solution to unpredictable weather, effectively transforming the traditional snow day into a day of instruction. About a third of school districts in the United States already have “significant one-to-one initiatives,” where students and teachers are given laptops and can work away from school on some assignments, said Ann Flynn, the director of education technology at the National School Boards Association. A byproduct “could be their application in times of health crises or in weather emergencies,” Ms. Flynn said.”Snow Day? That’s Great. Now Log In. Get to Class. –
  • “We are transforming the entire university,” said Linda Schott, Presque Isle’s president. “In the next four years, for sure, all of our programs will be proficiency-based.” That means students will progress through in-person, online and hybrid degree programs by demonstrating that they are proficient in required concepts, which faculty members will work to develop. Schott said the university will start by converting general education requirements, and then move to majors.” – University of Maine at Presque Isle drops grades for proficiencies across its curriculums | Inside Higher Ed
  • “The Internet from every angle has always been a house of cards held together with defective duct tape. It’s a miracle that anything works at all. Those who understand a lot of the technology involved generally hate it, but at the same time are astounded that for end users, things seem to usually work rather well.” – Insane Coding: HTTP 308 Incompetence Expected
  • “A joint research group consisting of NASA and the MIT Lincoln Lab have been successfully shooting lasers full of internet back and forth from a spacecraft orbiting the Moon since October. The results of this laser based communication system showed a possible 622MB per second (that’s megabit, not megabyte) transmission rate. These speeds are affected by a number of variables, including the position of the spaceship relative to the Sun and the condition of the atmosphere at the time of transmission. Unlike some forms of laser communication, this transmission post has proven it can even transmit data through thin clouds. In one test an HD video was sent to the Moon and back in 7 seconds, an impressively short trip compared to how long it takes to fire up Netflix here on Earth.” – The moon now has a better internet connection than you do | Science! |
  • “For the paper industry, the stakes are high. The digital age has ravaged sales of envelopes, office paper, catalogues and pulp products, with industry analysts saying that demand for paper products dropped 5 percent on average in each of the past five years. Mills have closed, and thousands of employees have been laid off. So Consumers for Paper Options and industry officials have raised the banner of the digital divide, warning that putting government services online is creating hurdles for many Americans. Runyan said his group is not against technology but rather is for choice: “If there are Americans who can’t use an iPhone to navigate the Internet, there ought to be an option for them.” – Group tries to slow federal government’s move away from paper to the Web – The Washington Post
  • “The report, “Academic Libraries: 2012,” provides an array of statistics about the status of academic libraries. Comparing the data for 2012 to those from a comparable report in 2008 reveals some trends about the shape of their collections and staffs, among other things. Among them: The 3,793 academic libraries had just under 1.099 billion books in their collections, compared to 1.052 billion held by the 3,827 academic libraries in 2008. In 2008, the libraries had 102 million ebooks, less than 10 percent the size of their paper collections. In 2012, they had 250 million ebooks, almost 25 percent the size of their paper collections. The libraries had 93,438 FTE staff in 2008, including 27,000 librarians, about 7,500 full-time-equivalent professional staff, and about 24,000 student assistants. Those numbers had dropped by 2012, to 85,752 full-time-equivalent employees, about 26,000 librarians, and about 20,500 student assistants.” – Academic Libraries’ Collections, Employees and Services | Inside Higher Ed
  • “The radio station’s entire physical music collection—more than 50 years’ worth of accumulation—is now part of the Fine Arts Library’s Historical Music Recordings Collection. The library’s collection, which already had some 200,000 items in all formats, is one of the largest in the nation. The rare transaction came after KUTX, KUT’s music outlet, digitized its music holdings. The digitizing project began more than a year ago in preparation for the station’s move from quarters on the campus to a brand-new building nearby.” – U. of Texas Library Buys 64,000 CDs and LPs From Campus Radio Station – Wired Campus – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I will. Had we been transparent about this from the outset right after 9/11—which is the genesis of the 215 program—and said both to the American people and to their elected representatives, we need to cover this gap, we need to make sure this never happens to us again, so here is what we are going to set up, here is how it’s going to work, and why we have to do it, and here are the safeguards… We wouldn’t have had the problem we had. What did us in here, what worked against us was this shocking revelation. I don’t think it would be of any greater concern to most Americans than fingerprints. Well people kind of accept that because they know about it. But had we been transparent about it and say here’s one more thing we have to do as citizens for the common good, just like we have to go to airports two hours early and take our shoes off, all the other things we do for the common good, this is one more thing.” – Clapper: We should have disclosed NSA bulk data collection in 2001 | Ars Technica
  • “The authors looked at 1.5 million papers published in the US from 1985-2008. The biggest change they found was in the frequency of Chinese names among authors, which jumped from 4.79% in 1985 to 14.45% in 2006. English names dropped from 56.6% in 1985 to 45.56% in 2008. European names dropped from 13.47% to 11.18% over the same period. But even as diversity increased, the authors found a significant degree of homophily or a tendency to associate with similar people in scientific research. US scientists of the same ethnicity end up co-authoring papers with each other at a significantly higher rate. Yet, publishing with other authors of the same ethnicity was associated with papers that appeared in lower impact journals and fewer citations.” – Here’s what you can tell from the names at the top of a research paper – Quartz
  • “Human intelligence is so multifaceted, so complex, so varied, that no standardized testing system can be expected to capture it,” says William Hiss, the study’s main author. Hiss is the former dean of admissions at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine — one of the nation’s first test-optional schools — and has been conducting similar research for a number of years.” – New Study: SAT Scores Have No Bearing On College Success | MindShift
  • “The researchers found that there is only one aspect of work that “results in happiness levels that are similar to those experienced when not working”—casual interactions with colleagues. In other words, the only part of work we seem not rank above the flu is socializing at work. So if the best way to be happy at work is to chat with your colleagues, why aren’t we encouraging more socializing? Well, because it’s business. And business, for the most part, still operates under the principle of efficiency to drive productivity.” – How The Knowledge Economy Is Redefining Work | Fast Company | Business Innovation
  • “Since the crowdfunding campaign began on Feb. 10, the project has raised just over $2,000. If they can raise the other $48,000 within the next 52 days, they plan to print the contents of English Wikipedia as a collection of 1,000 books of 1,200 pages each. If that doesn’t help quantify Wikipedia’s size for you, keep in mind that the first volume of this alphabetically organized reference set will only cover A through A76 Motorway. Unlike traditional print encyclopedia sets, this one will not be hawked door-to-door by salesmen. The plan is to display the printed version in a case more than 32 feet long and 8 feet high at the annual Wikimania conference in London in August. If there is interest beyond that, the set may then go on an exhibition tour around the world.” – The Daily Dot – These guys are raising money for a 1,193,014-page paper Wikipedia
  • “It’s complicated in that there are copyright laws and licensing provisions that we have to make sure the software complies with,” Ms. Blake says. “We didn’t really have a model for how it’s supposed to work.” Librarians worry about being sued for copyright violations by publishers, who fear they’ll lose sales if they allow e-book lending. “It’s scary and kind of the Wild West,” she says.” – Library Consortium Tests Interlibrary Loans of e-Books – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “This is the challenge for instructors: to design courses so that students will be intrinsically motivated. How do we do this? Lang recommends working to connect your course material to issues your students are already interested in; centering courses around challenging and intriguing questions, rather than around mere material to be covered; and providing a variety of forms of assessment to give students a number of opportunities to demonstrate their mastery to you. However you do it, some careful planning before the semester starts can help create a course in which students are motivated to learn, and don’t feel the need to cheat.” – Why Students Cheat—and 3 Ways to Stop Them | Vitae
  • “Best-selling author James Patterson is giving away $1 million of his own money to independent bookstores. On Wednesday, Patterson announced the first round of 55 stores to receive over $267,000 in funds. The remaining $750,000 will be given out in stages throughout the year. Patterson’s publisher, Hachette Book Group, released a statement saying the author feels that bookstores are vital to communities and that they leave a lasting love of reading in children and adults.” – Author James Patterson giving $1M to bookstores – Yahoo News
  • “[T]he statements were and still are supported by reputable secondary sources,” wrote Wikimedia Foundation lawyer Michelle Paulson in a blog post published Friday. “The Greek Wikipedia community decided, through discussion, that they were appropriate for the article. Mr. Katsanevas has ignored these facts and is now using the legal system against those who do not share his financial means and influence.” Liourdis, who writes on Greek Wikipedia as “Diu,” faces monetary and criminal penalties over the article he edited. The article mentions that Katsanevas was called a “family disgrace” in the will of his father-in-law, former Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. In the will, Papandreou also accused Katsanevas of trying to exploit his name to further his political ambitions.” – Wikipedia mounts courtroom defense for editor sued by politician | Ars Technica
  • “Information literacy combines a repertoire of abilities, practices, and dispositions focused on expanding one’s understanding of the information ecosystem, with the proficiencies of finding, using and analyzing information, scholarship, and data to answer questions, develop new ones, and create new knowledge, through ethical participation in communities of learning and scholarship.” – A new definition of information literacy as outlined in the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, part one of which was released in draft form today. The Framework is the result of an ACRL task force updating the 14-year-old Information Literacy Competency Standards.
  • “The project’s backers say knowledge is a human right—one they intend to provide even in countries where dictators have thus far limited access. “We exist to support the flow of independent news, information, and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies,” said Peter Whitehead, president of the Media Development Investment Fund, Outernet’s backer. “It enables fuller participation in public life, holds the powerful to account and protects the rights of the individual.” – There are billions of people without internet access. What if they get it from space? – Quartz

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

Less Than 100 Days Until Graduation!

Written by Rare Book Curator Elaine McConnell


Hundredth Night Program Cover, 1946. Special Collections, USMA Library.

For many college students the prospect of graduation is much anticipated; this is especially true at West Point. The “100th Night Show” at the U.S. Military Academy is the celebration of a milestone for the First Class cadets: in just 100 short days, the seniors will leave behind “Kaydet Grey” and don the “Army Blue” of the officer corps. According to Kendall Banning’s book West Point Today, February 13, 1884, is the first recorded date of the 100th Night Show.

What was life like for cadets in the 19th and 20th centuries? From the official records we know about the regulations, the buildings, the classes that were taught, the text books that were used; but what really happened? To better understand the experiences of the men and women of the Long Gray Line we rely on letters, memoirs, scrap books and published accounts in books,newspapers and magazines; but, again, this is only a part of the story. Fiction by graduates and Academy aficionados reveals other aspects of the West Point mystique and draws on a long history of storytelling that reigned before the days of the Internet, YouTube and personal electronics. Storytelling and “entertainments” were a large part of 19th century recreation, and the cadets at West Point mirrored the nation’s norm in this respect.

The 100th Night Show, conceived, written and performed by the cadets, has taken on a life of its own. Originally the “show” consisted of skits, and readings of poetry and prose presented to the members of the Corps of Cadets. Over the years the shows became more elaborate to include original music, scenery and costumes. Like Shakespearian actors of yore, all the parts were played by men in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although much of the story has always been an inside joke, understood only by the student body; family, friends, dates (or “drags”), faculty and staff purchase tickets and come to enjoy the festivities. According to a New York Times article published on April 21, 1895, the 100th Night Show in Grant Hall was well done and quite elaborate. “The make-up of Cadet Augustine as Yum-Yum…was very successful. Had it not been for his voice the majority of the audience would have thought that a Vassar girl had been borrowed for the occasion.”

The lore of the 100th Night Show became so ingrained in the popular culture of the day that it was a major plot device in the 1950 film “The West Point Story” starring James Cagney and featuring Doris Day, Virginia Mayo, Gordon MacRae, and Gene Nelson. “Cagney as Broadway director Bix Bixby is down on his luck. Reluctantly, he is
persuaded to go to West Point Military Academy to help the students put on a musical show. Bix takes Eve, his on-again, off-again assistant, with him to the Academy. His ulterior motive is to recruit student star Tom Fletcher for Harry Eberhart’s new production. Then, Bixby finds that he himself must live as a cadet.”

For those living as cadets, 100th Night made another important contribution: providing the name for the Academy’s yearbook, The Howitzer. While early programs had varying titles, the 1887 edition was titled: Programme, Address and Howitzer of the Hundredth-Night Entertainment Given by the U.S. Corps of Cadets. Over time this title was reduced simply to The Howitzer and the modern yearbook evolved from a combination of this publication and the types of photographs formerly featured in the Class Albums.

The holdings of the Special Collections and Archives Division include programs, scripts and, in some cases, sound recordings of past 100th Night Shows. The West Point Story is available on DVD in the library’s collection.

All Library Online Services Restored

Update: All online services should be restored as of 1000 on 19 February.

Due to an air conditioning failure in our datacenter on post, our library catalog server is not available. Once the repairs have been completed, we will bring the server back online and resume all suspended services.

Until repairs are complete, the following services are unavailable:

  • The main library catalog although Scout will continue to function. Some links between Scout and our catalog server will not function properly.
  • We are unable to authenticate off-site users to licensed resources
  • Online renewals
  • Circulation of items will continue, though using a manual process

Severe Winter Weather Reported At West Point

By Manuscripts Curator Susan Lintelmann

This image is from the John Pitman Collection, Special Collections, USMA Library.

Here at West Point we are experiencing an unusually cold and snowy winter. Yet extreme winter weather conditions are not new to this area.  We can confirm this by examining a diary in the Special Collections Division of the Library.  Below are some of the entries recorded by  Cadet Samuel Heintzelman, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1826.

Cadet Heintzelman was born in Manheim, PA. Judging from his diary, he was a serious young man keenly interested, possibly for want of other diversions, in the weather. Many of Heintzelman’s diary entries illustrate why the cadets have habitually called the time between the winter holidays and March “Gloom Period;” but he also records extracurricular activities like skating, hiking and chess, as well as the pleasures of time spent curled up with an absorbing book. In the end, we’re left to consider how little some things have changed in the last one hundred and eighty-nine years.

[Saturday] January 1st [1825]
Room at NO 21 S[outh]B[arracks] with Cadets Minor and Mercer. Welcomed the New Year by giving to some of our most particular friends a treat of eggnog and fruit-the gentlemen present were Cadets Allen, Allison, Brooke, Dancy, Macrae, Grin, Izard,
Baldwin, and Sims. H.T. Washington was invited, but did not attend-cause not known. Academic exercises were suspended during the day, but we had study hour after supper. It began to snow about Tattoo.

Tuesday 4th [January]
A fine day cold and clear. No lecture to-day in chemistry. I marched on guard to-day, the wind has lifted nearly all the snow from the plain around the Barracks,
but the wind being so violent has left both parade grounds clear, and it is drifted so hard that it will bear a man in front of the Barracks, to-day. I drew from the
Quartermaster Renwick’s outlines of Philosophy, he had only the second volume. I drew it only on account of some theories it contained to account for the
formation of rain, hail and snow.

Saturday 15th [January]
The weather has been very bad to-day…at half past eleven the examination of my section in philosophy commenced, they examined four before dinner…. We
were called up again after dinner. They commenced to examine me, but before they had finished, they dismissed the section. I did not miss a word. I did
better than anyone in my section that has been examined.

Friday 21st [January]
Got up this morning at 4 o’clock. Was examined in chemistry, did not do very well. The first and second sections were examined together, they did not do very
well, they got through with us by one o’clock. The third and fourth sections were taken up at two o’clock and finished by night. They did not do very well. I spent the evening reading Shakespeare’s plays.

Saturday 5th [February]
The thermometer was at 4 and ¾ below zero this morning. I went skating this afternoon, the ice was pretty good though it was rather weak in some places. I
broke in several times, once up to my middle there were over a dozen broke in. It was on the flats where the water is not deep. I played chess this evening the
first time for a long time and beat a man six or seven times in succession.

Tuesday 15th [February]
Last night after taps I went down to [H]avens to get a supper-there were six of us, two went down before tattoo to engage the supper. It was very dark and
muddy. We had a pretty good supper. We started to return about one o’clock. This morning we heard the result of the presidential election. Our breakfast
hour has been changed. We breakfast at 7 and have guard mounting at half past. The river remains frozen over above the Point.

Sunday 20th [February]
We had inspection this morning. We marched to church today, but we had no preacher, so we concluded that it would be best to march back again.

Tuesday 22nd [February]
To-day it was proposed by the corps to illuminate. We obtained permission from the Superintendent to do it. We prepared a transparency with the name of
Washington. At 7 o’clock the signal was given to light candles. In the South Barracks we closed the window shutters and lighted the candles before the time so
that at the instant the signal was given we threw open the window shutters…. The lights were extinguished a little before 9 o’clock when the bugle sounded
to retire to quarters. The officers had a ball.

Monday 7th [March]
To-day 35 cadets were excused from duty, the greater number on account of colds. We had no recitation to-day in philosophy, our professor is sick.

Saturday 19th [March]
I drew a book from the library to-day. I took a walk to-day with several others along the banks of the river as far as Cornwall, about 4 miles from the Point, the
scenery was sublime beyond description…. We intended to walk along the shore but the rocks ran into the river…. We had to climb up the sides of the mountain
and at some places it was so steep that we had to hold on to the limbs and roots of trees and projecting rocks…. Another cadet was arrested today for
improper language to his teacher of drawing.

Saturday 26th [March]
Rain mingled with sleet fell last night and it continued during the day. I received a letter and 2 papers from my brother (The Lancaster Free Press) from home
to-day. I had to borrow 8 cents to get it out of the post oce.

Thursday 31st [March]
We had a drill to-day, but it was too cold to have a dress parade.

After graduating, Heintzelman served on the Northern Frontier and in Florida and was brevetted Major for his service with General Scott in Mexico. Years of Indian and outlaw fighting in Arizona and Texas followed and then during the Civil War he rose rapidly to the rank of Major General.

General Heintzelman retired in 1869 after 45 years of service, and died in Washington, D.C., in 1880, aged 74.

Week in Review – 14 February 2014

Library Survey Data: Faculty Most Expect Library Use for Deeper Research Projects

This past semester, the Library Committee of Faculty Council conducted a survey of faculty regarding library services and resources designed to help inform the ABET self-study process underway this year. We’re spending a few weeks looking at some of the data results and considering how these can inform our work and programs. This week, we look at data on what types of assignments faculty expect cadets to use library resources. Some notable findings:

  • Overall, faculty expect the library to best support the curriculum through deeper research assignments (e.g. research papers and projects).
  • Overall, faculty do not expect the library to play an integral role in daily class work (e.g. homework or writs/WPR/TEEs).
  • Among faculty who expect library use for research papers, humanities, behavioral science, social sciences, military studies, and physical education faculty are most likely to expect cadet library use (69% of respondents)
  • Among faculty who expect library use for homework, math and science faculty are most likely to expect cadet library use (29% of respondents).
  • Among faculty who expect library use for projects, engineering faculty are most likely to expect cadet library use (63% of respondents).
  • Expectations of library use for cadet honors theses are remarkably low in all disciplines with a high of 36% in humanities/social sciences-related fields. This could perhaps be due to not all faculty overseeing honors theses and therefore not having expectations for their cadets for that purpose.

LibrarySurvey2013.004 LibrarySurvey2013.005

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 14 Feb 2014 MP Change of Command Week in Review 0700-2100
Sat 15 Feb 2014 Admissions/Football Academic Brief 0900-2100
Sun 16 Feb 2014 1300-2100
Mon 17 Feb 2014  Presidents Day 1300-2315
Tue 18 Feb 2014 Division Heads 0700-2315
Wed 19 Feb 2014 Dean’s Staff  Liasons 0700-2315
Thu 20 Feb 2014 0700-2315
Fri 21 Feb 2014 100th Night Weekend  Dean’s Recognition Ceremony Week in Review DMI Event 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 298 521 572 789
Gate Count 3,456 3,143 3,766 3,735
ILL Article Requests 19 19 32 9
ILL Book Requests 12 30 20 27
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 1 0
Significant Events Hosted 3 1 2 2
Events/Meetings Attended 25 19 26 19
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 20 31 21 72
Library Instruction Sessions 14 8 5 1
Cadets Attending Sessions 186 79 77 15
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 83 46 88 54
Items Added – Digital 733 0 1 0
Items Added – GovDocs 97 339 280 68
Items Added – Other 0 10 13 4
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 79 66 80 58
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 36 40 41 41
Research Visits < 1 hour 5 9 7 4
Research Visits < 1 day 1 5 2 5
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 2
Instruction Sessions 1 2 7 1
Cadets Taught 15 24 103 17
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 3,014 3,168 2,817 3,594
LibGuides Visits 360 414 387 490
Digital Collections Visits 238 260 257 264
Facebook Visits 20 15
Public Printer Prints 5,824 2,642 3,350 3,754
Public Printer Copies 215 378 350 264
Public Printer Scans 25 23 29 22

Food for Thought

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

  • “The fact that there are more PhD candidates than academic jobs isn’t necessarily a market failure; it can potentially suit both sides. As a PhD student, for several years you’re paid to study something you care about and learn how to think creatively. In return, the university gets cheap teaching labor. That may be a reasonable trade. The failure happens at the end when many skilled, smart people feel trapped in the lowest tier of academia. The process could work better if universities acknowledged the realities, stopped brainwashing students, and did more to prepare them for jobs outside of academia.”Get a PhD—but leave academia as soon as you graduate – Quartz
  • “The fact that people increasingly use the Internet with a smartphone, and only a smartphone, has disrupted television, books and news, among other things, and media companies have scrambled to adjust. Wikipedia, the world’s fifth-largest website, but one with a relatively minuscule operating budget, has been especially slow to adapt to a mobile world. Knowledge Pace Changes and additions to Wikipedia have declined, possibly because of a shift to mobile platforms, where users are far less likely to edit entries in the online encyclopedia. Percentage change from the previous year in the number of Wikipedia edits, by month 100 % 50 –50 Jan. ’12 July ’12 Jan. ’13 July ’13 A high level of bot activity related to a new Wikimedia project caused an unusual spike in March. Source: Wikimedia Foundation Only 20 percent of the readership of the English-language Wikipedia comes via mobile devices, a figure substantially lower than the percentage of mobile traffic for other media sites, many of which approach 50 percent. And the shift to mobile editing has lagged even more. Just 1 percent of changes to Wikipedia articles in all the more than 250 languages are made via mobile devices; for example, since July, there have been 200,000 mobile English-language edits, compared with 20 million total edits.” – Wikipedia vs. the Small Screen –
  • “Our main purpose of achieving excellence is attracting the best human talent. If we have the best human talent, then the $100 million will come, because they will be winners in writing grants, they will excite philanthropic donors to give Caltech funding and they will increase the visibility of the whole institute.” What this means is that decision-makers at Caltech spend “an enormous amount of time making sure that we identify the best available and have the resources to attract them”, Rosakis continues. “We take our hiring to be our first priority. We hire people and we give them everything they need to succeed. Other places would hire three or four people for the same position and let them compete. We trust that we have made a good choice, and we give them enough gold so that they cannot say that they failed [for lack of] material resources.” – Caltech: secrets of the world’s number one university | Features | Times Higher Education
  • “Supporting operations through the sale of works of art fundamentally undermines the core role of the arts in education and the integrity of an educational institution. Preserving public trust is critical to all nonprofit institutions,” the letter said. “Treating art as a fungible asset and using collections to pay for operating expenses will also significantly undermine future fund-raising for operations. If a museum or university can meet its short term operating needs by selling art, why would a donor bother giving money when there are so many other nonprofits facing severe financial challenges? Selling art to support operations is not viable as a long-term financial strategy; it is the equivalent of spending down endowment principal.” – College sells painting for $25 million to build endowment | Inside Higher Ed
  • “Authenticity on the web is a slippery idea. Deep down we all want it (that’s human nature!), but earnestness on social media isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s embarrassing. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have conditioned us to believe that we deserve to be listened to—not just by our family and intimate circle of confidants, but also by the 900 “friends” we have on Facebook. The things we share tend to be superficial, impersonal and self-promotional. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I’d argue that’s the way it should be. Those 900 friends on Facebook aren’t our therapists, so there’s no reason we should act like they are. But Bader and Byttow like to believe there’s a place for a more authentic web, and they hope Secret will give rise to it. In this imagined digital utopia, snark will be replaced with self-awareness and kindness. Under a thin veil of anonymity, people will be able to say what’s on their mind no matter how cheesy, horrifying or lame it might be.” – Secrecy Is the Key to the Next Phase of Social Networking | Wired Design |
  • “At the moment, those people are obsessed with how they read books—whether it’s on a Kindle or an iPad or on printed pages. This conversation, though important, takes place in the shallows and misses the deeper currents that, in the digital age, are pushing American culture under the control of ever fewer and more powerful corporations. Bezos is right: gatekeepers are inherently élitist, and some of them have been weakened, in no small part, because of their complacency and short-term thinking. But gatekeepers are also barriers against the complete commercialization of ideas, allowing new talent the time to develop and learn to tell difficult truths. When the last gatekeeper but one is gone, will Amazon care whether a book is any good?” – George Packer: Is Amazon Bad for Books? : The New Yorker
  • “An older millennial with a college degree is earning a median full-time salary of $45,500 a year — $17,500 more than the median salary of $28,000 for full-time workers with just a high school diploma, a new Pew Research Center report finds. That’s the largest pay disparity between young high school- and college-educated workers in at least four generations, the report released Tuesday finds. It’s also further evidence that people with less education are at higher risk of getting left behind in the economic recovery.” – Value of College? For Millennials, $17,500 a Year – NBC
  • “With the speed that life is going these days, people don’t want to wait longer for a sequel,” Susan Wasson, an Albuquerque bookseller told the Times. “I know I feel that way. When I like a book, I don’t want to wait a year for the sequel.” Curling up with a book and living in that world for a day isn’t new, but for a whole book series? There’s a big difference between a binge of every episode in a day, as Netflix allows, and a binge of a series of books over several months. But still, the point remains: people want resolutions, and they want them ASAP.” – Publishers Want to Bring Binge Consumption to Books – The Wire
  • “Education does provide a necessary credentialing function, and theoretically, an improved MOOC could provide such a service. But the credential is only part—and a relatively small part at that—of what education provides for us in our quest for a secure and stable life. It’s the process of being educated that has a far bigger impact on one’s life trajectory, and not just in the knowledge we learn and the skills we acquire.” – MOOCs and public demand for higher education.

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

Week in Review – 7 February 2014

Library Survey Data: Faculty Expect Their Cadets to Use Library Services Less Than They Do

This past semester, the Library Committee of Faculty Council conducted a survey of faculty regarding library services and resources designed to help inform the ABET self-study process underway this year. Over the next several weeks, we’ll look at some of the data results and consider how these can inform our work and programs. This week, we look at data on how often faculty use library services and resources and how often they expect their cadets to do so. Generally, a broad majority of faculty use the library regularly, and expect their cadets to do the same, however faculty have lower expectations of use by their cadets than they do of themselves. This holds true across all disciplines.

Some notable findings:

  • 63% of faculty use library services at least monthly, while only 49% of faculty expect their cadets to do the same.
  • 11% of faculty report never using library services for themselves, while 12% never expect their cadets to do so.
  • More faculty say they use the library more than five times per semester than any other category.
  • More faculty say they expect cadets to use the library less than three times per semester than any other category.
  • Academic rank affects expectations of library use. Instructors are much less likely to expect library use while 64% of professors expect at least monthly library usage by cadets.
  • Course directors are more likely to use library services and much more likely to expect cadets to do so.
  • Library use and expectations of use are highest in Humanities, Behavioral Sciences, Social Sciences, Military Studies, and Physical Education. They are lowest in Math and Science.


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 7 Feb 2014  Yearling Winter Weekend Week in Review 0700-2100
Sat 8 Feb 2014  Yearling Winter Weekend / Polar Fest Admissions/Football Academic Brief 0900-1700
Sun 9 Feb 2014 1100-2315
Mon 10  Feb 2014 Opera Forum 0700-2315
Tue 11 Feb 2014 Division Heads / Liaisons 0700-2315
Wed 12 Feb 2014  Dean’s Staff 0700-2315
Thu 13 Feb 2014 0700-2315
Fri 14 Feb 2014 MP Change of Command Week in Review  Admissions Minority Visitation Program 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 431 298 521 572
Gate Count 3,030 3,456 3,143 3,766
ILL Article Requests 16 19 19 32
ILL Book Requests 11 12 30 20
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 1
Significant Events Hosted 1 3 1 2
Events/Meetings Attended 20 25 19 26
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 16 20 31 21
Library Instruction Sessions 2 14 8 5
Cadets Attending Sessions 32 186 79 77
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 44 83 46 88
Items Added – Digital 5,604 733 0 1
Items Added – GovDocs 144 97 339 280
Items Added – Other 0 0 10 13
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 79 79 66 80
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 34 36 40 41
Research Visits < 1 hour 2 5 9 7
Research Visits < 1 day 2 1 5 2
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 1 2 7
Cadets Taught 0 15 24 103
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 2,728 3,014 3,168 2,817
LibGuides Visits 574 360 414 387
Digital Collections Visits 216 238 260 257
Facebook Visits 30 20
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Food for Thought

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

  • “The International Studies Association, a scholarly association with 6,200 members, announced on Monday that editors of its journals should be banned from blogging, according to the Guardian. The group said that the move was necessary for “maintaining and promoting a professional environment.” The news of the proposal came via the president of the ISA’s foreign policy analysis section Stephen Saideman, who was opposed to the ban. After the ISA’s announcement, Saideman took to his personal blog posting the proposal text and outlining his reasons at why he thought it’s laughable. “If we are concerned about professionalism of editors as they communicate with the outside world, we need to ask editors not to blog, not to tweet, not to engage in Facebook or any other social media,” Saideman wrote. “Moreover, we need to worry about other forms of communication, too, right? such as writing op-eds or appearing on TV/radio, right?”Blogging deemed beneath the hallowed halls of academia | Internet & Media – CNET News
  • “The GAO said it could take as long as 40 years to figure the true costs of the program because there are so many variables, from the overall interest rate environment to the number of students who take advantage of different repayment options. In the meantime, the government is stuck using estimates that can vary greatly based on several factors, most important the amount students pay in interest and what it costs the government itself to borrow. The government readjusts its models each year based on more recent data, which can lead to highly volatile results. One year the budget assumed loans taken out in 2008 made the government $9.09 per hundred dollars borrowed. The next year it estimated the very same loans cost the government 24¢ per hundred dollars.” – Student Loan Costs Hard to Figure for U.S. Government: GAO Report – Businessweek
  • “Academics: prepare your computers for text-mining. Publishing giant Elsevier says that it has now made it easy for scientists to extract facts and data computationally from its more than 11 million online research papers. Other publishers are likely to follow suit this year, lowering barriers to the computer-based research technique. But some scientists object that even as publishers roll out improved technical infrastructure and allow greater access, they are exerting tight legal controls over the way text-mining is done.” – Elsevier opens its papers to text-mining : Nature News & Comment
  • “The tl;dr version is that Adobe is going to start pushing for ebook vendors to provide support for the new DRM in March, and when July rolls Adobe is going to force the ebook vendors to stop supporting the older DRM. (Hadrien Gardeur, Paul Durrant, and Martyn Daniels concur on this interpretation.) This means that any app or device which still uses the older Adobe DRM will be cut off. Luckily for many users, that penalty probably will not affect readers who use Kobo or Google reading apps or devices; to the best of my knowledge neither uses the Adobe DRM internally. And of course Kindle and Apple customers won’t even notice, thanks to those companies’ wise decision to use their own DRM. But everyone else just got screwed.” – Adobe to Require New Epub DRM in July, Expects to Abandon Existing Users – The Digital Reader
  • “The two best predictors of kids’ school success are the parents’ education and the family income,” Hyde said. “It’s just a meaningless comparison” if you pit single-sex schools against coed schools that differ on those measures. When you control for factors like affluence and parental education, the studies showing the advantages of single-sex classrooms “just aren’t supported by science,” she said.” – Study: Single-sex education offers no benefits | Al Jazeera America
  • “The report, “Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive: Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education,” says that new administrative positions—particularly in student services—drove a 28-percent expansion of the higher-ed work force from 2000 to 2012. The report was released by the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social-science organization whose researchers analyze college finances. What’s more, the report says, the number of full-time faculty and staff members per professional or managerial administrator has declined 40 percent, to around 2.5 to 1.” – Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says – Administration – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Funding cuts be damned: more than 16,000 public library branches in the U.S. serve 96.4 percent of the population, according to the “State of America’s Libraries Report 2013” by the American Library Association. (The ALA was founded in 1876, the same year the Dewey decimal system was developed.) Public libraries circulated 2.46 billion materials last year, the greatest volume in 10 years. Over this same period, the circulation of children’s book and materials increased by more than 28 percent. Attendance at library-hosted programs for kids hit 60.5 million in 2013. But it’s not just for kids: public libraries nationwide hosted 3.75 million public programs, and attendance for those events, too, is growing, indicating, as the ALA report put it, “an increased demand for these services.” Unsurprisingly, public computers at libraries are also in high demand—and libraries have responded by doubling the number available over the last 10 years.” – Who Says Libraries Are Going Extinct? – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society
  • “Traditional workplace design has a tendency to overvalue the meeting and undervalue the discussion .” – Denise Mieko Cherry via
  • “Berkeley, like other California public institutions, has suffered from state budget cuts since the recession, and the library has taken some of the biggest blows. It’s lost 21, or about 25 percent, of its career librarians through attrition since 2003 – 19 since 2009 alone. It’s lost even more support staff. That means far fewer available librarians to teach on-site research classes and to help students and professors locate the materials they need to work. But budgets cuts also have threatened the library’s ability to maintain resources – mostly the more than 90,000 journal subscriptions faculty and students report using, with some costing $25,000 annually, Jones said. “It’s hard when a faculty member says to you, ‘I need you to buy this journal,’ and you say, ‘What would you like me to cancel so we can buy that?’” (Library expenditures on serials have increased more than 400 percent since the late 1980s, compared to a 188 percent increase for library expenditures over all.)” – Faculty win fight to preserve Berkeley libraries | Inside Higher Ed
  • “Twitter is sharing its massive trove of data with the academic world — for free. The social networking outfit has long sold access to its enormous collection of tweets — a record of what the people of the world are doing and saying — hooking companies like Google and Yahoo into the “Twitter fire hose.” But now, through a new grant program, it wants to make it easier for social scientists and other academics to explore its tweet archive, which stretches back to 2006. Twitter previously worked with researchers from Johns Hopkins University to predict where flu outbreaks will hit, and the new program aims to open doors for similar projects. The company is now accepting applications from researchers, who have until March 15 to submit a proposal.” – Twitter Opens Its Enormous Archives to Data-Hungry Academics | Wired Enterprise |
  • “I want a Web that’s open, works internationally, works as well as possible, and is not nation-based,” Berners-Lee told the audience, which included Martha Lane Fox, Jake Davis (aka Topiary) and Lily Cole. He suggested one example to the contrary: “What I don’t want is a Web where the Brazilian government has every social network’s data stored on servers on Brazilian soil. That would make it so difficult to set one up.” – Tim Berners-Lee: We need to re-decentralize the Web | Ars Technica
  • “My point was that although we may have been justified at putting them in front of the public in the early days, we have no such justification any more. Not when we have much better finding tools that cover not just the books and journals in our collections, but articles and so much more. But more importantly, as studies like that at Utrecht University have pointed out, information discovery has left the building. So it’s time to move on. Take that anachronistic library catalog and turn it back into what it really only ever was — an inventory control system. That’s right, put it back into the back room where it has really always belonged. And stop saying “OPAC”. For cryin’ out loud. Just stop.” – The OPAC is Dead – The Digital Shift
  • “Do you have yet another term paper due? You could spend hours in the library, researching related academic articles, pouring over the text, and looking for an insightful thesis to pursue. You could cram on the weekend, double-down on a second draft, hit up TA’s office hours, and revise accordingly. Or you could hire an unemployed professor to do the work for you. I did—and I got an A-. Unemployed Professors connects privileged, unmotivated college students with professors across a variety of fields. Since 2011, it’s operated a black market for homework. Of course, the practice has always existed, but the Internet has made it all the easier to operate, and with teachers increasingly desperate for a paycheck, it’s starting to become a viable form of income for educators.” – The Daily Dot – Inside the black market for college homework

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