Week in Review – 4 April 2014

April News Notes for USMA Library

USMA is heading quickly into the final weeks of the spring semester, and happily some warmer weather seems to have arrived. Below are a number of updates on some significant initiatives and events taking place for the library over the next few weeks.

Strategic Planning Discussions

For the first time in a couple years, the library will be working through a strategic planning exercise among staff to help chart us on the right path for future services and staffing. As the Army undergoes one of the most significant restructurings in recent history following the draw-down from Iraq and Afghanistan, there will be changes to the Academy as a whole, and to the Library in particular. Our own library profession continues to evolve at a rapid rate, and we need to continually ask ourselves if how we design and accomplish our work meets the current and future needs of the library and the Academy. Late in April, we’ll begin some of these conversations, and continue them through May as we look forward to the 2014-15 academic year.

April is Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month

A reminder, that there will be a number of additional security procedures and simulations taking place through April. Some of these may involve the library. We are also working to maintain accountability for staff at all times. Staff are asked to please keep the outboard up-to-date to facilitate our ability to locate staff as needed during any exercises or drills.

Reference Area Changes

Next week we will have a moving crew onsite to dismantle the remaining empty reference shelves on the second floor of Jefferson Hall. This will be the most visible part of our work so far to redesign our primary service floor. The reference collection is now housed in the general collection, or in a smaller ready reference shelf available at the Reference Desk.

Fighting the Fires of Hate Exhibit Arrives

A traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum arrives in mid-April and will be setup in the former reference area on the second floor. This exhibit is coming to West Point in cooperation with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Point. The exhibit looks at how book burnings became a potent symbol in America’s fight against Nazism. Anyone with privileges to visit Jefferson Hall will be able to view the exhibit, which will remain on display through mid-June.

New Building Access System Fully Operational

After many months of work and transition, we will complete our transition to our CAC-based access system next Monday when the library closes that evening. All exterior entrances now allow employee access by CAC, and the public doors can now be centrally controlled by library staff. We will no longer be using physical keys to open and close the facility each day. These changes have not impacted regular user access to the facility.

Relocation of Circulation Desk Moves Forward

This week we met with DPW and some contractors to look at the work required to relocate the Circulation Desk into the rotunda. We believe we have now gotten on to a faster track to have this accomplished during the summer. This project will also help create a better-defined security perimeter for the library.

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 4 Apr 2014 Week in Review WP Negotiation Conference 0700-2100
Sat 5 Apr 2014 Secretary of Veterans Affairs 0900-2100
Sun 6 Apr 2014 Secretary of Veterans Affairs 1100-2315
Mon 7 Apr 2014 Supt Town Hall, Eisenhower Hall Secretary of Veterans Affairs 0700-2315
Tue 8 Apr 2014 Division Heads Secretary of Veterans Affairs 0700-2315
Wed 9 Apr 2014 Dean’s Staff Meeting Liaisons Haig Room A/V Repair 0700-2315
Thu 10 Apr 2014 0700-2315
Fri 11 Apr 2014 Sandhurst  Dean’s Recognition Ceremony Week in Review Cadet Fine Arts Forum 0700-2100

USMA Library Metrics

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

3MAR-9MAR 10MAR-16MAR 17MAR-23MAR 24MAR-30MAR
Access Services
Items Charged Out 983 597 240 829
Gate Count 5,620 5,416 837 5,519
ILL Article Requests 48 77 32 40
ILL Book Requests 27 22 21 22
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 1
Significant Events Hosted 2 2 0 1
Events/Meetings Attended 26 23 0 22
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 85 69 5 61
Library Instruction Sessions 1 0 0 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 9 0 0 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 110 306 102 121
Items Added – Digital 0 3,360 0 0
Items Added – GovDocs 34 137 42 70
Items Added – Other 2 1 34 16
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 88 100 69 78
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 47 55 31 27
Research Visits < 1 hour 8 22 0 6
Research Visits < 1 day 3 2 0 6
Research Visits > 1 day 0 0 1 1
Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Taught 0 0 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 4,893 3,890 1,776 3,844
LibGuides Visits 621 512 301 477
Digital Collections Visits 294 280 287 304
Facebook Visits 16 19
Public Printer Prints 7,865 6,704 319 5,511
Public Printer Copies 441 44 25 641
Public Printer Scans 44 1,316 381 14

Food for Thought

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

  • “Called the Open Syllabus Project, their effort aims to build a large-scale online database of syllabi “as a platform for the development of new research, teaching, and administrative tools.” The scholars also want to start a broader conversation about sharing syllabi before universities wake up to find policies imposed on them from above. “The idea is to be proactive and to actually think about how we’re going to share—and share our classroom materials in a smart way,” says Dennis Tenen, one of the project’s leaders and an assistant professor of digital humanities and new-media studies at Columbia University.” – New Syllabus Archive Opens the ‘Curricular Black Box’ – Wired Campus – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Facebook knows if you hit any page that has a Like button it,” he said. “Same with TweetThis, unless the site goes out of the way to mask them, then these are specifically reporting them to social networks. This is why NSA loves it, is because they can go along for the ride. “One thing that we know that the NSA does on their non-US wiretaps is bind usernames to cookies so if you see a request for LinkedIn or YouTube or Yahoo, these are all sites that have user ID in the clear, all you need to do is see a request, and say I don’t know who this is or I know who this is, but then you look at the HTML body and look for the username. This is why the NSA went after Google ad networks, include user identification [broadcast] in the clear: ‘I am person X at this location.’” – Surprise, surprise: my online metadata actually reveals where I’ve been | Ars Technica
  • “Like physical books, ebooks should be made available for interlibrary loans “in a manner that is neither cumbersome nor awkward,” and the content should be able to be transferred “efficiently and electronically.” Libraries, not publishers, should decide for how long a reader can access an ebook, and readers themselves should not have to worry about publishers sharing their personal information without their consent. Finally, the library directors called on publishers to offer individual, unbundled titles, and the opportunity to purchase licenses without usage limits. “To summarize, we do not live in isolation,” the statement reads. “We all find ourselves impoverished — always indirectly and sometimes directly — when information fails to reach those in need. Our commitment to sharing is fundamental, as is our commitment to promoting and demanding models that make such sharing possible.” – Liberal arts college library directors ask publishers to ease ebook licensing restrictions | Inside Higher Ed
  • “If blocking Twitter is like putting a single phone number out of service, intercepting the DNS is like giving users an entire, fraudulent new phone book—and it’s a troubling escalation against Turkish internet users. The ban began with Twitter, used largely for the discussion of news and politics, then expanded to YouTube, which is far more popular in Turkey because people use it for entertainment as well. A 2012 paper estimates that a quarter of Turks over 18 had a YouTube account, compared to just a tenth for Twitter.” – Turkey’s online censorship just took a sinister Orwellian turn – Quartz
  • “A world without scarcity requires a major rethinking of economics, much as the decline of the agrarian economy did in the 19th century. How will our economy function in a world in which most of the things we produce are cheap or free? We have lived with scarcity for so long that it is hard even to begin to think about the transition to a post-scarcity economy. IP has allowed us to cling to scarcity as an organizing principle in a world that no longer demands it. But it will no more prevent the transition than agricultural price supports kept us all farmers. We need a post-scarcity economics, one that accepts rather than resists the new opportunities technology will offer us. Developing that economics is the great task of the 21st century.” – IP in a World Without Scarcity by Mark A. Lemley :: SSRN
  • “Over ten thousand of the collection’s maps are of New York and New Jersey, dating from 1852 to 1922, including property, zoning, and topographic maps. In addition, over one thousand of the maps depict Mid-Atlantic cities from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and over 700 are topographic maps of the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1877 and 1914. That should be enough to keep any amateur or professional map-lover busy for a good long while” – New York Public Library Puts 20,000 Hi-Res Maps Online & Makes Them Free to Download and Use – Open Culture
  • “There is a risk,” he said, that “instead of having competition on price, service and better production methods, we’ll have competition on who has the best patent lawyer. “And if you go the other way and say never” allow software patents, he went on, “then what you do is you rule out real inventions with computers.” – Supreme Court Seems Wary of a Software Patent Case – NYTimes.com
  • “It is true that the plate tectonics of academia have been shifting since the 1970s, reducing the number of good jobs available in the field: “The profession has been significantly hollowed out by the twin phenomena of delayed retirements of tenure-track faculty and the continued ‘adjunctification’ of the academy,” Andrew Green, associate director at the Career Center at the University of California, Berkeley, told me. In the wake of these changes, there is no question that humanities doctorates have struggled with their employment prospects, but what is less widely known is between a fifth and a quarter of them go on to work in well-paying jobs in media, corporate America, non-profits, and government. Humanities Ph.D.s are all around us— and they are not serving coffee.” – What Can You Do With a Humanities Ph.D., Anyway? – Elizabeth Segran – The Atlantic
  • “The emerging problems highlight another challenge: bridging the “Grand Canyon,” as Mr. Lazer calls it, between “social scientists who aren’t computationally talented and computer scientists who aren’t social-scientifically talented.” As universities are set up now, he says, “it would be very weird” for a computer scientist to teach courses to social-science doctoral students, or for a social scientist to teach research methods to information-science students. Both, he says, should be happening.” – Recent Big-Data Struggles Are ‘Birthing Pains,’ Researchers Say – Research – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90, a hard-working student with a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day (8.44 hours) to pay for one academic credit hour. If a standard course load for one semester consisted of maybe 12 credit hours, the semester’s tuition could be covered by just over two weeks of full-time minimum wage work—or a month of part-time work. A summer spent scooping ice cream or flipping burgers could pay for an MSU education. The cost of an MSU credit hour has multiplied since 1979. So has the federal minimum wage. But today, it takes 60 hours of minimum-wage work to pay off a single credit hour, which was priced at $428.75 for the fall semester.” – The Myth of Working Your Way Through College – Svati Kirsten Narula – The Atlantic
  • “Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money to pay publishers a title fee for each of those books. The title fees are meant to cover the cost of publishing each book; publishers calculate what they think is fair and share those estimates with the Knowledge Unlatched group. In return for the title fees, the publishers make Creative Commons-licensed, DRM-free PDFs of the selected books available for free download through the OAPEN digital platform (OAPEN stands for Open Access Publishing in European Networks), the HathiTrust digital repository, and eventually the British Library. Authors and publishers decide which Creative Commons license they’re comfortable using. There’s no postpublication embargo period; the books will be available as soon as the publishers and Knowledge Unlatched can process and upload the PDFs. (Click here for a full list of the books selected for the pilot and whether they’ve been published and uploaded yet.)” – Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free – Wired Campus – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “But a human life is not a database, nor is privacy the mere act of keeping data about ourselves hidden. In reality, privacy operates not like a door that’s kept either open or closed but like a fan dance, a seductive game of reveal and conceal. By that standard, the explosion of personal information online is giving rise to new mysteries, new unknowns. When you post a photo on Instagram, it offers up not just answers but hints at new questions: Who were you with and why? What were you feeling? What happened between the updates, and why was it left out? Secrets, creative concealments, the spaces between posts—this is where privacy flourishes today.” – Why Privacy Is Actually Thriving Online | Threat Level | WIRED
  • “44% of the city’s 291,000 tech jobs, salaried at a median hourly wage of $39.50 (49% above the NYC average), do not require a Bachelor’s degree.” – Almost Half Of NYC Tech Jobs Don’t Require A Bachelor’s Degree: Gothamist
  • “According to a paper titled “Digital Language Death,” just published in PLOS One, less than five percent of the 7,000 languages spoken today will ascend to the digital realm. Granted, languages have been dying as long as they’ve been spoken, but the Endangered Languages Project reports that “the pace at which languages are disappearing today has no precedent and is alarming.” András Kornai, author of the new paper, blames the internet for why we’re more likely to be speaking French than, say, Mandinka, in the future.” – The Internet Is Killing Most Languages | Motherboard
  • “The economically important 18-34 age group are more likely to say they are doing less shopping online (33% compared to an overall 26%). Online retailers who rely more on female shoppers should note that 29% of women surveyed said they have reduced how much they shop online (compared to 23% of men and 26% overall). When it comes to banking online 29% of folks in that 18-34 age bracket had cut back, as had 30% of those aged 65 and older.” – New Harris poll shows NSA revelations impact online shopping, banking, and more

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