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IGI Global has just published Robots in Academic Libraries: Advances in Library Automation, with a chapter by an MSU librarian.
Dao Rong Gong, the coordinator for our online catalog, co-authored the chapter "Lending and Borrowing Library Materials: Automation in the Changing Technology Landscape," with Regina Gong, head of technical services at the Lansing Community College library.
The book explores cutting edge developments in academic libraries, from automated book storage and retrieval, to experimental "chatbots" -- artificial intelligence programs for answering simple questions.
For your reading pleasure, we will have an ebook copy of Robots in Academic Libraries very soon!
Clip art © by Dixie Allan, http://webclipart.about.com
Happy National Library Week! This week, guest bloggers from the library staff have been sharing thoughts about important issues in our field.
Finishing up the week is Agnes Haigh Widder, subject librarian for British history/studies; French studies; medieval and Renaissance/early modern studies; and religious studies.
People ask librarians whether paper books will disappear, now that we have e-books and e-readers. Right now, in the humanities fields I am responsible for, paper books are just as valuable as ever.
Humanities scholars like electronic materials that are short: encyclopedia or journal articles and book chapters. They will pay to print them out and are grateful not to have to come into the library to get them. Some are satisfied using a portable e-reader for leisure reading, in which one does not need to take notes or remember particular details.
But, for research purposes they often still prefer print monographs. Why? Aside from the pleasure and familiarity of handling the physical item, there are at least two reasons. They like to mark significant passages, take notes, and write comments in their books. They have not yet widely adopted online technology for this. Also, while writing, scholars frequently need to see and refer to several works and their own notes at once. We do not yet have online viewing/reading technology that allows one to have several online books all open at once on a screen, with type size legible from a couple of feet away. They do not like reading small print in tiny windows on the same screen on which they are also composing. They need a computer screen work surface the size of a physical desktop, upon which many different texts could be open at once and manipulated individually, along with a laptop to compose on.
Here is another observation. If all scholarly material is online, what will happen to the ambience of the library? Students tell us over and over how much they appreciate being able to study while surrounded by books, because the very atmosphere of the library reminds them of their purpose and validates their efforts to learn. I think we’re a long way from finding that kind of inspiration in e-book readers and electronic resources on the Internet.
Happy National Library Week! This week, guest bloggers from the library staff will discuss what they value in our field. Today: Shawn Nicholson, Assistant Director for Digital Information.
Science is becoming extremely data-intensive. Research processes which produce very large bodies of data include DNA sequencing, environmental monitoring, disease tracking, and astronomical observations. All of these depend on advances in computer science and networking to collect and analyze data.
Right now, data-intensive science is focused on developing the computational tools to manipulate large datasets. But there are important pieces missing, which librarians are stepping up to provide. Data librarianship – a new specialty – is dedicated to the necessary work of preserving datasets for future use, describing their complex contents, documenting such things as database structure and software requirements, and finally, providing the means for users to access the data. At MSU, we work with researchers on all these fronts.
Data librarians are committed to the long-term stewardship of research data, so it will be available to future generations. That’s the essence of what librarians have been doing for thousands of years.
Happy National Library Week! This week, guest bloggers from the library staff talk about top issues in librarianship. Today: Sara Miller, head of the Information Literacy team for the MSU Libraries, and Rachel Minkin, Information Literacy librarian.
What in the world is information literacy? It’s the ability to make informed decisions about locating, evaluating, and using information. Information literacy is much more than just a set of skills needed for academic writing – it’s a lifelong practice that plays a part in everything from choosing a health care provider or what store brand to purchase to shaping our understanding of weighty political, ethical, and medical issues.
Why is information literacy a library value? Just as it’s important for all citizens to have access to the information that we need, it’s also important for us to have the skills necessary to process, evaluate, and interpret that information.
Information literacy begins with questions: What information do I need? Where can I find it? Where does it come from? Who's putting it out there - a friend, an anonymous Internet writer, an organization, an expert? Librarians are trained to ask and answer these questions, helping people to identify the most appropriate information for their purposes.
Rachel Minkin (left) and Sara Miller (right).
Happy National Library Week! This week, guest bloggers from the library staff will discuss what they value in our field.Today: Sue Levy, authority control coordinator for the Catalog Maintenance Team in the library’s Technical Services division.
More than half the members of the library staff are not librarians, but paraprofessionals, like me. Some of us were drawn to the climate of a library, and some of us landed here by chance, but we’ve all come to support the library’s mission.
Overall, our goal is to provide MSU users with all the collections and services they need. For myself, I work in Catalog Maintenance, where we ensure the accuracy of the millions of records in the library catalog. My specialty is managing our use of access points. These are only useful if they’re consistent. For example, proper names transliterated into English often have variant spellings. All the books about that person, or by that person, need to be gathered under one heading so users can find them. Our catalog has hundreds of thousands of headings to keep track of.
Providing this access to the library collection is just as important as having the collection. If you can’t find a book you need because it’s not listed accurately in the catalog, we might as well not have it at all.
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