Thursday, November 13, 2008

Outlook down until noon

Outlook update: Systems thinks that Outlook will be down until noon today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Staff computer changes

Here are the tentative plans for big changes to all our staff computers as of the Middle Managers meeting on 11/6/08.

Breathe deeply…

Office 2007
* Send a Grover if you would like to have Office2007 pushed to your computer. It will not be sent unless you ask.
* Systems will soon push an Office2007 compatibility tool to all staff. This will enable folks to share documents successfully between Office2003 and Office2007 users.

Active Directory (AD) for staff
The Systems staff will be experimenting on themselves in early Nov, switching to campus Active Directory. They will measure how smoothly the process works, how long it takes to switch a user, and any problems they may encounter. Assuming their experiments are successful, the following is expected to happen:
* Dec. 1 (week) – Systems staff will switch each of our staff computers from the Smatherslib domain to the Campus AD domain.
* After a computer has had its domain switched, we will have a temporary 2-step process for logging in and accessing our email. First, we will log onto the computer with Gatorlink. Then, to open Outlook email, we will log in with our Smatherslib account.
* Dec. 5 (beginning) – Systems staff will visit our staff computers again to migrate our email to the Campus Exchange server. We will have to be present to log in during this activity. We hope to create a dept schedule: Systems will tell us when (days, hours) they plan to be in MSL, and we will coordinate times when each of is is at our computers and interruptible.

Prior to Dec 1-5:

* If you have messages in your Inbox or Sent box or Drafts box that are more than a year old, you will have to move those items into another folder prior to your planned visit from Systems to convert your email.
* Systems hopes to hold one or more training sessions for the new email, probably in 1A, before Thanksgiving. They may also post some step-by-step instructions on the Systems blog at
Other details about Campus Exchange available at:

* All permissions to access folders will be broken during the transition. We’re not sure of the impact on group emails such as Sciref and MSLcarrels, or on permission to upload web pages to the server. We may find ourselves sending a Grover each time we can’t open a folder and Systems will reassign permissions case-by-case, probably fairly quickly.

If Systems discovers they can't switch us successfully by mid-Dec, the whole process will be rescheduled for January or so. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ARL Fall Forum on Reinventing Science Librarianship: Models for the Future

Full Schedule

Best quote: Librarians are like Mr. Paperclip from MS Office - we pop up when you least expect it and try to offer to you help...

This conference focused on the science library's role in supporting e-science and integrating into research collaborations and science departments. There was a mixture of speakers: government, library and institute directors, and a few librarians. The presentations were a mixture of big picture descriptions and some concrete examples. I felt like there wasn't as much hard solutions that we could take back to the library and implement, but perhaps just educating the library community on how radically different e-science is changing the research landscape is the necessary first step.

I've included the highlights from my session notes below (let me know if you'd like the see my full notes in gory detail). Check out the proceedings link above for powerpoint and document files for most of the speakers.

As a side note, our poster about GatorScholar was well-received with many people already aware of the project from either Val's USAIN presentations, the SLA poster, or from hearing about Cornell's project. Medha Devare was one of the panel reactors and she mentioned our collaboration in her presentation. Most of the poster visitors seemed very interested in starting their own version and perhaps at some point we'll have a network of databases.


E-Science: Trends, Transformations & Responses

Convener and Moderator: Wendy Lougee, University of Minnesota
Speaker: Chris Greer, Director, National Coordination Office

NCO part of Office of Science and Tech Policy, coordinates all major science orgs

E-Science defined as digital data driven, distributed and collaborative - allows global interaction.

Science pushed to be trans-disciplinary - scientists pushed to areas where they have no formal training - continual learning important;

It fuses the pillars of science: experiment, theory, model/simulation, observation & correlation

Come a long way: ARPANET -> internet, redefinition of the computer (ENIAC to cloud computing)

Question: how many libraries do we need? Greer thinks this will change over time.

Future library: Imagine all text in your pocket, question answered at speed of light (semantic web concept), wearing contact lens merge physical and digital worlds -> in the long run we'll have the seamless merging of worlds

Science is global and thrives in a world that is not limited to 4-D. Cyberinfrastructure reduces time and distance. Need computational capacity and connectivity with information.

The challenge for society: responsibility to preserve data.

Reinventing the library:
Challenges: institutional commitment, sustainable funding model, defining the library user community (collection access is global so who is the user?), legal and policy frameworks, library workforce, library as computational center, sustainable technology framework.

We've come a long way but we're at the beginning of a dramatic change.

2. A Case Study in E-Science: Building Ecological Informatics Solutions for Multi-Decadal Research

William Michener, Research Professor (Biology) and Associate Director, Long-Term Ecological Research Network Office, University of New Mexico

Data and information challenges:
data are massively dispersed and lost sometimes
data integration - scientists use different formats and models. Lots of work to integrate even simple datasets
problem of information and storage

LTER has a lot of data archives that are very narrow in scope of data stored. Also has a lot of tools. Working on adoption of tools - predict an exponential increase with time.

Future: science will drive what they do. Look at critical areas in the earth system. Understanding changes in world involve a pyramid in data collection scale (remote sensing to sampling)

Technology directions; Cyberinfrastrcture is enabling the science, consider whole-data-life-cycle, domain agnostic solutions (since budgets are bad, solutions have to be universal across all the sciences)

We need
Cyberinfrastructure that enables: data needs to be able to pull in from different sources, easy integration, tools that allow visualization

Support for the data lifecycle - need to work on metadata interoperability across data holdings.

Sociocultural Directions:
education and training: science now is lifelong learning
engaging citizens in science: have websites to education public,
building global communities of practice: develop CI as a collaborative team
expand globally in future, expand with academic, govt, NGO's and companies

Broad active community engagement: need educators to teach students in best practices
transparent governance
adoption of sustainable business models

3. Rick Luce, Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries, Emory University Libraries

"Making a Quantum Leap to eResearch Support: a new world of opportunities and challenges for research libraries"

Where do we need to go: intelligent grid presence, collaboration support, social software, evaluation and research integrity (plus lots of other areas mentioned)

Dataset & repositories: need to have context of data, curation centers, users want mouse-click solutions and will come up with their own solutions if we don't.

PI's taking more responsibility on projects becoming publishers and curators. Librarians need to take on role of middleware

Researchers want:
information collaboration tools: shared reading, virtual worksapces and whiteboards, webspaces support wikis, data sets, preprints, videos of conference presentations, news

Need information visualization: browse information using maps of concepts, collaboration and citation networks, coauthorship networks, taxonomies, scatter plots of data, knowledge domain visualization

Where do we need to be: systems to facilitate shared ideas, presence, and creation

Individual libraries can't do this - we need collaborations

Challenges: connect newly forming disciplines and newly emerging fields

Libraries work a lot on support layer but we need to get in the workflow layer where we're connected with scientists and coordinate on a multi-institutional structure

Need new organizational structures: hybrid organizations: subject specialists - : intra-disciplinary teams. The future library office -> lives in project space/virtual lab

Need informaticians and informationists (embedded librarians)

What percent of our research library content and services are unique? What % of our budget resource ssupport uniqueness? We need to do something others cannot do or do something well that others do poorly.

Library cooperatives are useful for reducing redundancy. Next phase shift requires an expanded mission of shared purpose.

We fall short on scale, speed, agiliity, and resource, focus. Collective problems require collection action, which requires a shared vision - think cloud computing for libraries

We must do more than aggregate and provide access to shared information: Our job now is to wire people's brains together so that sharing, reasoning, and collaboration become part of everyday work.

Wendy Lougee

Pitfalls: not to fall back on traditional roles, currently we don't respond to multi-institutional collaborations, our boundaries stop with the institution

We need to understand scientists' workflows, need to identify strategies for embedding librarians into project teams. We need to think about core expertise of librarians, reimaging roles of librarians

What do we do to build this collaborative action? We need to think outside the box.

Data Curation: Issues and Challenges

Convener and Moderator: James Mullins, Dean of Libraries, Purdue University

  • Liz Lyon, Director, UKOLN

Transition or Transform? Repositiioning the Library for the Petabyte Era

How can libraries work with science (in a very general sense)?

1. Transition or Transform? Need to become embedded and integrated into team science. Many different models of engagement

Geosciences pilot where the library worked with the Geological department to curate their datasets (Edinborough):
Found: Time needed is longer than anticipated, inventory doesn't have to be comprehensive, little documentation exists
Outcomes: positive, requirement for researcher and auditor training, need to develop a data policy

2. Lots of opportunities of action: leadership by senior managers, faculty coordination, advocacy & tranining, data documentation best practices

People and Skills: there are not enough specialised data librarians. In UK 5 data librarians. Need to bring diverse communities together - facilitate cooperation between organizations and individuals.

Open science: new range of areas where results are being put onto the web (GalaxyZoo eg.) Librarians need to be aware of implications.

3. Need multidisciplinary teams and people in library, huge skill shortage, need to find core data skills and integrate it into the LIS curriculum. Recruit different people to the LIS team, rebrand the LIS career. Go from librarianship to Informatics.

  • Fran Berman, Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego, and Co-chair Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access
"Research and Data"

Researchers are detectives, shows different major questions (SAF, Brown Dwarfs, bridge stress, Income dynamics over 40 years, Disease spread-Protein Data Bank) - key collections all over.

CI Support: all these issues are crucial. researchers want a easy to use set of tools to make the most of their data.

She finds different preservation profiles: timescale, datascale, well-tended to poor, level of policy restrictions, planned vs. ad hoc approach

Researchers focused on new projects, customization of solutions to problems, collaboration

Researchers need help: developing management, preservation and use environments, proper curation and annotation, navigating policy, regulation, IP, sustainability

Questions about preservation: what should we save and who should pay for it? Just saving everything isn't an option. 2007 was the crossover year - digital data exceeded the amount of available storage. What do we want to save? Who is we?
Society: official and historically valuable data, Fed agency or inst normally takes part.
Research community: PDB, NVO.
Me: medical record, financial data, digital photos - real commercial market for preservation solutions.

What do we have to save?
private sector: HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley,
OMB regulations for fed funded research data (3 years, not always easy to do).

Economics: many costs associated with preservation. Maintenance upkeep, software, utilities, space, networking, security, etc.

UCSD forged partnership with library. Trying to create a preservation grid with formal policies, nationwide grid with other institutions.

Panel Responders:
  • Sayeed Choudhury, Associate Dean of University Libraries and Hodson Director of the Digital Research and Curation Center, Johns Hopkins University

Data Curation Issues and Challenges:

It makes sense to help scientists deal with public and higher levels of data, not the raw data.

Considerations: need to work within their systems, consider gateways for systems as part of infrastructure development (think about railroad gauge), focus on both human and tech components of infrastructure, human interoperability is more difficult than tech interoperability, trust is key!

Questions: What about the cloud or the crowd? Can Flickr help us with data curation? What are the fundamental differences between data and collections? Human readable vs. machine readable? How do we transfer principles into new practices? What are we trying to sustain? Data? Scholarship? Our organizations?

Supporting Virtual Orgs

  • Thomas A. Finholt, Director, Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work (CREW) and Research Professor & Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, School of Information, University of Michigan

Changing nature of geographically-distributed collaboration:

history: transition in terms of distributed work. Much of what came before (collaboratory, video conf) had a precedent but new emerging has no precedent (crowdsourcing, VO's), no traditional context leaves us a bit adrift.

Lesson 1: anticipate cultural differences.
Domain scientists: characteristics: power distance (bias toward seniority, hierarchical), individualist(solo PI, individual genius), masculine(adversial and competitive), uncertainty avoidance
CI developers: power distance (bias toward talent, egalitarian), collectivist(project model), masculine, embrace risk

Lesson 2: plan for first contact.

It can be tough to recognize successful innovations: first efforts are often awkward hybrids

Crowdsourcing: idea that we send out challenges and solutions come to us (ex. Innocentive website, Games with a Purpose). We don't know who is going to do the work, effort is contributed voluntarily -> incentives are important to motivate work

Delegation of organizational work: people can count on organizations to do some of the basic policy work. Much attention has focused on technology and processes to support social ties, alternative course is the use of technology to supplant social ties - > think of this as organizing without the work of organizing, questions of who to trust, who pays, permitted to use the resources are managed by middleware.

Group work is an inevitable fact of org life.

  • Medha Devare, Life Sciences and Bioinformatics Librarian, Mann Library, Cornell University
Idea of Virtual Organization: boundary crossing, pooling of competencies, participants or activities geographically separated, fluid, flat structure, participant equality

Library contributions: technology choices, tools; tech support/guidance; subject expertise; understanding of research landscape; vision - user needs of the future?

Examples of library support: VIVO, DataStar (supports data-sharing among researchers)

DataStar: Data Staging Repository: supports data sharing, esp during research process, promotes publishing or archiving to discipline specific data centers and/or to Cornell's DR. Nascent stage

Reinventing the library? Librarians as middle-ware to facilitate process of connecting and creating coherence across disciplines - both VIVO and DataStar aid this.

Hope that both tools seamlessly interact with each other.

D. Scott Brandt, Associate Dean for Research, Purdue University Library

Tries to embed librarians in research teams. We have to redefine what we do, collect.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Libary IT Blog

It's a good idea to check the Library IT blog periodically for helpful computing hints, updates on changes to library computers and other Library IT info.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Computing services notes

Computing services notes - from Middle Managers 8/7/08

* All circ problems: aleph, print demons, notices, etc -- anybody/everybody just send a Grover ticket. As Systems learns the quantity, frequency, and variety of problems reported, they'll learn how to how to base assignments.


* New linking service - Serials Solutions 360 Linker - is being tested The "Find it@UF" icon will change slightly (substituting the SFX trademark swirly with an @) and we’ll need to know when to make the switch on all our handouts, web pages, etc.


* phishing -- everyone remember to never give out any of your passwords to anybody. Not to Systems, not to CIRCA, not to UF. Requests for passwords (especially from email messages) are masquerades for phishing schemes. OK to give your logon, but never your password.


* Active Directory -- public computers will begin conversion this week. Patrons will use Gatorlink to logon. We may create guest accounts (following procedures) valid for 14 days. Guest accounts cannot be renewed; patrons will have to select a new name (smith1, smith2, etc) every 2 weeks. The Peoplesoft folks have not yet committed to making longer-term, renewable guest accounts. These guest accounts are for computer use only; they do not govern borrowing privileges or remote access. (Patrons can log into to the Library Proxy with their Gatorlink, but it only connects if their Gatorlink account indicates an eligible status.)

*** We currently have 300 courtesy borrowers, and some of them may be eligible for real Gatorlinks (which they can create themselves). They should check with Jim Stevens. In the meantime, it may be easiest to create them a temp guest account on the spot and then (we or patron) contact Jim to see what else can be done. Stay tuned.

*** There are 1800 guest computer use accounts active today. 1800 accounts x every 2 weeks means a lot of work for staff and a lot of grief for patrons. We'll hope to succeed with requesting speedy establishment of longer-term, renewable guest Gatorlink accounts.

*** Small branches with only student assistants on the weekends might send guests to MSL for account creation.


* Active Directory for staff computers -- might happen in mid-Fall. Huge implications for how we all manage our email; some aspects will be time-consuming and deadline-based.

*** Campus email only saves Inbox and Sent email for 30 days. Then it goes into Deleted folder. After 30 days, stuff in Deleted is irretrievable. We all must learn to put any items we want to save into our Retain Permanently folder.

*** Our new email address will be our Gatorlink. If you might be professionally embarrassed by your Gatorlink name, change it soon.

*** We'll all have to notify our discussion lists of our new (gatorlink) address. We should still receive mail directed to uflib, but we won't be able to post to lists that expect us to send from uflib. Feel free to start converting your discussion lists to gatorlink soon.

*** Will said he'll check the group email addresses (sciref, illoan, etc) to see how they can be addressed, managed, and accessed in the campus AD. Stay tuned.

*** We should receive recommendations and procedures on storing and backing up email on library vs. campus servers before we switch. Some gory details available at and


* Office 2007 - if you really want Office 2007 on your staff computer now, please send a request via Grover. If you can wait til about mid-Sept, Systems will be able to push the software over the network rather then sending a staff member to enslave your computer for awhile.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Hi, in case students come to the desk desperate for a calculator I have left a few freebies at the reference desk. Feel free to give them out!

LibGuides tips

Some tips for creating LibGuides:

To add an image to a LibGuides page, first upload the image to our server. I've put a few in but we might want to create a new folder for our LibGuides images. After you link to the image, click the "centered text" icon to center your image in its box.

Editors (secondary authors)
If you create a new page/tab within a Guide of which you are not the primary author, your photo and contact info will appear on that new page/tab! This may be OK, but if you'd rather have the primary author appear, ask the primary author to create a new page/tab, then copy the page created by the secondary author, then delete the secondary author's version.

Assign your published page to one or more Subject Categories. Click on Change Status, then in the Subject Categories (Optional) section, pick one, click on "associate," repeat as desired. Be sure to pick at least one from:
* Agriculture
* Biological Sciences
* Chemical & Physical Sciences
* Engineering
* Math & Stats
* Course Guides
and notify Joe so he can add the pages to those listings from

Good news: We can alter the Subject Categories at any time (even after a page has been published) and secondary authors may change them, too.

What else?
What other tips have you learned for improving and coordinating our LibGuides???

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

MSL Meeting 7/29/08

Steve Williams from systems showed up to explain the new trouble ticket system.

Anyone is allowed to access it and submit a trouble ticket. Go to

Library 2.0 Committee met and there is no more talk about new wikis.

There was discussion about one massive library committee blog to house all committee minutes

However, this is not rolled out for the public yet

New self check out machine is here.

The desensitizer isn’t working right and Chrissy has to fix that.

Once functional Chrissy would like people to try it out and bring up issues during the weekly meetings

Val talked to Barbara Hood about the brochures.

The Map Library and Health Science brochures are used more for development.

Possibly create a pdf for use on the website.


Health Science Center uses rolling white boards, which might be good to use here for groups

Also the use of a large screen tv or projection screen for groups in L107

Tara met with the directors about Advanced Directory.

Change to using gatorlink name and password to log onto computers

Will happen between August 8th and August 16th

They are working with bridges to create semi permanent gatorlink id.

One reminder. Do not log anyone onto a computer using your information.

MSL Meeting 7/29/08

· Steve Williams from systems showed up to explain the new trouble ticket system.

  • Anyone is allowed to access it and submit a trouble ticket. Go to

· Library 2.0 Committee met and there is no more talk about new wikis.

  • There was discussion about one massive library committee blog to house all committee minutes
  • However, this is not rolled out for the public yet

· New self check out machine is here.

  • The desensitizer isn’t working right and Chrissy has to fix that.
  • Once functional Chrissy would like people to try it out and bring up issues during the weekly meetings

· Val talked to Barbara Hood about the brochures.

  • The Map Library and Health Science brochures are used more for development.
  • Possibly create a pdf for use on the website.

· Collaboration

  • Health Science Center uses rolling white boards, which might be good to use here for groups
  • Also the use of a large screen tv or projection screen for groups in L107

· Tara met with the directors about Advanced Directory.

  • Change to using gatorlink name and password to log onto computers
  • Will happen between August 8th and August 16th
  • They are working with bridges to create semi permanent gatorlink id.
  • One reminder. Do not log anyone onto a computer using your information.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

MSL Meeting - 07/01/2008


  • Welcome Adrian!!

  • No building access after normal hours - this means do not enter the building between 1:30am & 4-5am. If you do alarms will go off and the police will come to take you away :0

  • L208A conference room - Carol D's old office has been turned into a conference room. The 3rd floor conference room is now another Xerox office because they had to move from the 5th floor. There is a telephone available in the new conference room for teleconferencing

  • Staff meeting time - The MSL reorg report suggested changing the meeting time to the afternoon so the evening/weekend staff could attend. Sometime in mid-July we will begin holding meetings at 3pm

  • Opening time - our official opening time is 8:00am

  • Circulation wall calendar will be making a comeback so circ staff can easily see who is gone/back/etc. However, make sure you put your time off on the black calendar in Pat's office. This is the "official" calendar and you must put your time off here.

  • Convocation is August 13th at 2pm. Tara is compiling a list of MSL accomplishments

  • July 10th is the next cross division meeting. There should be lots of reorg and other interesting information presented

  • Nominations for the library excellence awards close today

MSL Services

  • OPS Budget - cut by $41,000. We will have 55hrs/wk of time that needs to be filled with non-OPS students. Feel free to help shelve or shift while we are down :) Just contact Christine for directions. Also, if students come to the desk searching for a job... Ask if they are work study. If they are ask them to attach a copy of their work study permit to the application.

  • Construction - movers will be here mid-July to finish the moving. The new doors will be put in sometime before that.

  • Evacuation procedures - For the next fire alarm we will make an announcement on the PA for everyone to leave. The elevator is fixed now. Assignment for everyone: find all the fire extinguishers & fire pull handles in the building - Tara will conduct a quiz at the next meeting!

  • MSL Reorg - Adrian came over and will combine with the serials unit to make a collection services unit which reports to Vernon. Joe will be taking over the MSL website. Circulation will report to Vernon with both Marijka and Vanessa reporting directly to Vernon so he can get updates on both days (Marijka) and nights/weekends (Vanessa). The system liaison program has been dropped. Michael and Laurie will now report to Systems.

Web Presence

We talked a little about the need for a Science Portal launch. We will wait a few weeks and talk about it again soon to decide what type of PR is best. Tara will put in a syshelp to get icons put on all the public computers for the science portal.

Computer services

Contact Laurie if you'd like to use remote desktop and she will set it up for you.

Selectors - Nature proposal

FCLA is working with Nature to get discounts on any new journals we subscribe to and a increase cap. We talked about canceling some peripheral journals to get Nature Chemical Biology, Nature Photonics and Nature Geology (?).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Student Navigation Assistants

Scroll down that page and you’ll see all the responsibilities for SNAs. It sounds like they have a desk but it sounds like they are also “roaming” because of all the chores they are assigned: enforcing food policies and quiet study, shelving books, picking up trash. They are apparently well-trained to serve in this position because they are allowed to assist student patrons with library research (peer-to-peer) at public computers.

This might be a way to incorporate peer-to-peer, provide lots of work-study students with jobs, and fulfill some much needed functions that librarians and library staff do not supply when we are stuck behind a desk.

Friday, May 2, 2008

USAIN 2008 Conference

2008 USAIN (United States Agricultural Information Network) Conference

Tradition in Transition: Information Fueling the Future of Agbiosciences

April 27 – 30, 2008 Wooster, OH

University of Florida is an institutional member of USAIN, an organization whose primary purposes are to promote discussion of agricultural issues and trends, to develop and influence national agricultural information policy, to make recommendations to the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and to increase collaborations between member partners ( USAIN does an excellent job communicating legislative changes to its members, and then working with members to get involved with state and national government.

The conference was hosted by Ohio State University and held at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, closely situated next to a beautiful arboretum and rose garden.

Here are a few of the most important highlights from the conference:

1. The AgNIC Born Digital Steering Committee, of which UF is a participant, met for the first time to begin phase I of the born digital initiative. Here at UF it used to be we would receive a copy of IFAS Extension resources, which we would catalog and make available in our print collection. Many Extension resources (documents, websites, etc) are now published only in digital format and while this format increases access to the current resources, many of these older resources are at risk of being permanently lost due to a lack of consistent preservation processes. This is a problem not just at UF, but at almost every land-grant throughout the nation. The goal of this steering committee is to identify digitization standards (selection, metadata, format, etc.) and to develop an infrastructure to assist the land-grants in developing their own processes at the local level. The other institutions participating are Univ. of Arizona, Ohio State, Colorado State, Texas A&M, Cornell, Univ. of Minnesota, Purdue, and potentially Michigan State and Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

2. Mary Ochs (Cornell) Peter Ballantyne and Barbara Hutchinson (IAALD) spoke about Agbioscience information for the worldwide community. There is a strong need to "make research information easy to access for current and future generations" through common international standards, open applications, user friendly information & data, andlocal and global action . A large amount of agricultural information is created within the U.S., and we should do more to share that information with the international community. The result of this discussion was the creation of an International Agricultural Information Interest Group which will focus on the first steps of bringing in librarians from other countries to future USAIN conferences, as well as providing more Ag information on the USAIN website. Here is Peter Young - the Director of the National Ag Library - speaking about global collaborations:

3. Peter gave the NAL update, mentioning the new Blueprint for Success: The National Agricultural Library 2008-2012. Many of you may have seen in the Washington Post the article, A Precious Resource at Risk, about the drastic budget cuts facing NAL in the upcoming year. I believe it was at the last USAIN that I learned that the NAL has had a flat budget for the last twenty years. Somehow I didn't write down the percentage they will have to cut, but I believe it was either 40% or 60% - both staggering cuts. This will prevent the NAL from preserving their special collections, from buying print materials, from participating in Interlibrary Loan, and more. For more information, see the USAIN website for Lobbying Congress for Support.

Additional information related to the theme of the conference:

Many of the invited speakers spoke on biofuels, bioenergy/bioproducts, and sustainable farming, including David Kline, an Amish farmer and author/editor of Farming Magazine. Without going into too much detail, here are a few of the interesting things I learned from all the speakers:

  1. In the 1850’s ethanols were used for lighting, but in the 1860s-1906 an ethanol tax was enacted (making kerosene more competitive). The first ethanol fueled auto was the Ford Quadricycle (1896). The first flex-fuel car: Model-T (1908)!
  2. In 2008 there were 11 billion gallons of ethanol produced from corn. Unfortunately there are a number of issues related to: water quality, soil erosion, water supply, biodiversity, loss of grasslands, increase in feed costs. Also, corn is displacing other crops -- leading to food riots.
  3. The cellulosic biofuels (corn, switchgrass, MSW, forest residues, etc.) industry will grow rapidly in coming years. And will bring some very specific questions, such as how will supply chains develop (big issue), what are the implications for the food/feed/fiber markets, how will environmental issues be addressed, can we coproduce fuels and foods, and how can farmers and local communities benefit?
  4. Lastly, has been shown to increase smog and cancerous benzene emissions. Also, all current biofuels increase carbon dioxide emission relative to gasoline.

There was quite a bit more information available from all the speakers. If you are interested in reading the speaker presentations, they are available for download:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Web address for Science Portal in progress

The URL for the mock-up Leila showed last Tuesday is:

Please remember that this is just a design layout, the links do not work, and it is subject to extreme change.

Comments are highly encouraged! Please post to this blog or email Sara or Joe.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MSL Staff Meeting Minutes (3/25/08)

1. Announcements
Budget Report/Library Council - Pam
There was a question about what it could be used for (internal vs. external). As of now, folks have flexibility (no prescribed templates or specific policies) in what they would like to use it for. Peter is going to set up training sessions soon.
The Faculty Senate's Infrastructure Committee approved the org chart contingent on the University Libraries Committee approving it (which they did). The chart is now slated to go through the Faculty Senate's Steering Committee then to the Faculty Senate. It should be on the agenda as an information item or an action item for the April or May meeting. Judy is meeting with the 2 groups (see Straw Poll results) that don't really support the new org chart to discuss it. Library West will now begin the process of internal reorganization which will involve coming up with various models and putting them to a vote. The new org chart will take effect July 1st.
Judy is adamant about not cutting services (e.g. cutting hours, etc). Hiring priorities are as follows: Associate Dean for Technology and Support Services, Electronic Resources Librarian, Development Librarian, Judaica Librarian, & Staff Development Librarian. A Grants Specialist position will be funded by the Provost. Library West & Marston chairs will be internal searches - possible 3 yr limited term - review process by the department at the end of the term. $400K needs to be cut out of OPS budget which would translate to a 75% cut to each library's OPS budget.
Materials Budget
$750K cut out of base budget (same amount as Provost gave the library 2 years ago to avoid cuts). Circle managers will be asked to cut 10% and prioritize the list. Foundation endowment $ will be used for funding extended hours and continuations (possibly).
Judy's main objective is no layoffs.

2. MSL Services - nothing to report

3. Computer Services - Laurie
Replacement laptops are coming. Printing is available on the laptops. LibX toolbar on all public machines now, so please install on the service desk computers so that you can assist patrons with it.

4. Cataloging Services - Jimmie - nothing to report

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Brainstorming for new science portal

We need to start brainstorming for ideas and features that we want on the new science portal so we'll be prepared for when we locate a web designer.

Here are a list of some other science library websites. Not all are great but I'd like for us to discuss what elements we like and which features we don't like (just as important). Please feel free to post links to other libraries you think are worthy of critique. Also, if there are general guidelines and features that you'd like to include please post about those too.

My first impression looking at these sites is how busy they all are. Lots of links and it seems overwhelming at first glance. Its a decision that we'll have to make about how much information should be quickly accessible on the main page but yet still easily usable. Caltech's library page is the most easily navigated, IMO. I like the quick drop down boxes and the selection of links. I especially like the menu for authors - as the issue of open access and author rights becomes more important on campus, we'll need to take an active role in helping the faculty understand their rights and options for publishing.

Berkeley: Chemistry:


Chicago :



MIT Science Library:

Oregon Science Library:

Santa Cruz:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wikipedia assignments

Following up on the article Dan sent around ( I thought this Wikipedia page was interesting ( It lists universities/courses who have completed a class project using wikipedia and includes a list of suggested exercises for classes.

Amy thought the idea of having students "evaluate and edit Wikipedia articles, using research from other sources as an evaluative tool" would be a great project for our ENC3254 courses. This would be a great way to introduce some information literacy considerations into a course. What do you think? Can you think of any other ways we could us wikipedia in our one shot classes?

Monday, February 4, 2008

New link to Library Reorganization Blog

I've put a link to the new Library Reorganization Blog to our list of links (look on the right hand side). It appears that it is open for comments, whether named or anonymous.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MSL Staff Meeting Minutes - 1/29/08

Announcements - N/A

Committee Reports

Library Council
- The reorganization was announced, so most of the meeting focused on this topic. Judy will be coming to the MSL staff meeting next week to answer any questions that we may have about the chart and/or process.

PSC Meeting
- The login to the public computers will be changed from the 14 digit library # to the Gatorlink account. This should be completed during the intercession between Spring and Summer A. RealPlayer will be added to the public computers.

MSL Services

Whitney Lab - They do have services through our ILL/Document Delivery department. In the ILL/DD form their department is "DISTANCE- Whitney Lab"

MSL blog & wiki - We will not be transferring them at this time

Computer Services

- Batteries and chargers still aren't here. Only 10 are currently circulating.

Cataloging Services

Coastal Archives
- there is still 100 linear feet on the shelf waiting to be searched plus 12 other boxes

Database Management Librarian
- this position is still a go

Reference Email - Amy will be taking over as the primary on this

GOBI3 Training - Tara will be attending the webinar on Friday and will report back to those who were interested

Elsevier Title Swap - Please continue to look through and make decisions on the low usage titles Google Doc. Select titles from the list that Rich generated from Serials Solutions & the Incremental list and send them to Tara by this Thursday!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MSL Meeting Minutes - 1/15/08

Reference Desk:

Amy announced the new Outlook calendar for the reference desk. Currently she and Pat can edit the calendars so they will be writing trades in the calendar. Remember to write all vacations/known days off in the print calendar so Pat/Amy can find a trade. You can find your own trade, email Pat/Amy 1-2 weeks in advance so they can get it on the calendar and don't look for a trade. If you are sick, just call in like normal and Pat will find a replacement. If you trade a day ahead or so (after the schedule has been printed) just mark it on the printed schedule at the reference desk.

Someone asked if the long distance number has been moved. No one knew. I just called it and Amy answered so it still comes to the MSL Ref Desk.

Display Case

The display case is open until October. If you have an idea for a display, contact Val to schedule.

MSL Outlook lists

Tara brought up that the lists in Outlook for MSL all start with different designations. There is: MSL, Marston & Science. We voted and most people preferred MSL. Tara will try to combine lists and change them all to begin with MSL.


Laptops will begin circulating Thursday. Feel free to direct people waiting for computers to the circ desk.

Printing problems: We are having problems printing big files. If this happens, power the printer off, count to 10 and turn it back on. This will reset the printer and the print job will be lost. You can then print the "bad" files using the reference desk printer.

Tara asked about the scanners we were supposed to get. We don't know where in the process they are.. Denise/Laurie will ask Michael and report back.


We all agreed Vernon did a nice job with the answers to Michelle's strategic planning questions. Thanks Vernon!

Denise gave a nice synopsis of the OCLC Talk she went to. It was about their latest report on users.

Vernon reminded everyone that the Brittle Books review period would begin soon.

Tara explained what everyone needs to do for the Elsevier Title Swap.

(Sorry these are so late.. I kept forgetting to type them up!)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Has anyone seen the search engine, Carrot? I thought it was interesting because it uses what we call "facets" like in Endeca and WOS. Also has a special tab just for PubMed - hmmmm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Distance Learning Council Meeting

At the last DLC meeting Becky Williams, an instructional designer with CITT, gave a presentation on CMS software issues and spoke about open source (such as SAKAI) vs. Vendor (WebCT/Blackboard) products and a new software system for teacher grading, called SWoRD. Here is a synopsis of what she presented, and feel free to take a look at her ppt for more information: (

The first four slides are about CMS vendors vs. open source:

A growing disillusionment with vendor products has many Universities moving or considering moving to Sakai (the most popular open source system available). WebCT and Bb have left many unaddressed issues, and they require universities to pay for upgrades or extensions if something does not work. Moving a CMS to open source has its own issues, but that the vendor situation is so aggravating more universities are considering it as an option. I thought these issues sounded familiar to our LMS experiences - I'll be interested in seeing where the CMS discussion goes.

Slide 5 through 42 are about a new, free software called SWoRD. In large classes, professors assign fewer papers as writing assignments due to the difficulty of grading a large number of papers. Despite writing less, student grades are higher and students feel they are good writers; and, yet, teaching faculty don't agree. SWoRD is a system by which papers are automatically assigned to other student writers, for peer-review. Each student peer-reviews 5 papers. Ms. Williams had evidence supporting the value of multiple peer reviewing of a paper; it is much more useful for a student to have 3 peers review their paper than it is for one student or one professor to review the paper. Read the slides if you are interesting in learning more. Currently the software is free, although Ms. Williams thought that would most likely change.

This meeting was held in the Digital Worlds Building at Norman and included a digital tour of the Gator Nation Island in Second Life. Someone at the meeting mentioned that the Libraries were holding reference hours within SL, which Laura Jordan was able to speak to.