Archive for the 'Library Management' Category

Authority for Establishing Metadata Practice

Monday, April 7th, 2014 by Karen

A metadata fkiw duagram
That was the topic discussed recently by OCLC Research Library Partners metadata managers. Carlen Ruschoff (U. Maryland), Philip Schreur (Stanford) and Joan Swanekamp (Yale) had initiated the topic, observing that libraries are taking responsibility for more and more types of metadata (descriptive, preservation, technical, etc.) and its representation in various formats (MARC, MODS, RDF). Responsibility for establishing metadata practice can be spread across different divisions in the library. Practices developed in relative isolation may have some unforeseen outcomes for discovery in awkward juxtapositions.

The discussion revolved around these themes:

Various kinds of splits create varying metadata needs. Splits identified included digital library vs. traditional; MARC vs. non-MARC; projects vs. ongoing operations. Joan Swanekamp noted that many of Yale’s early digitization projects involved special collections which started with their own metadata schemes geared towards specific audiences. But the metadata doesn’t merge well with the rest of the library’s metadata, and it’s been a huge amount of work to try to coordinate these different needs. There is a common belief in controlled vocabularies even when the purposes are different.  The granularity of different digital projects makes it difficult to normalize the metadata. Coordination issues include using data element in different ways, not using some basic elements, and lack of context. Repository managers try to mandate as little as possible to minimize the barriers to contributions. As a result, there’s a lot of user-generated metadata that would be difficult to integrate with catalog data.

Metadata requirements vary due to different systems, metadata standards, communities’ needs. Some digital assets are described using MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema) or VRA. Graphic arts departments need to find images based on subject headings, which may result in what seems to be redundant data. There’s some tension between specific area and general needs. Curators for specific communities such as music and divinity have a deeper sense of what their respective communities need rather than what’s needed in a centralized database. Subject headings that rely on keyword or locally devised schemes can clash with the LC subject headings used centrally.  These differences and inconsistencies have become more visible as libraries have implemented discovery layers that retrieve metadata from across all their resources.

Some sort of “metadata coordination group” is common.  Some libraries have created metadata coordination units (under various names), or are planning to. Such oversight teams provide a clearing house to talk about depth, quality and coverage of metadata. An alternative approach is to “embed” metadata specialists in other units that create metadata such as digital library projects, serving as consultants. After UCLA worked on ten different digital projects, it developed a checklist that could be used across projects: Guidelines for Descriptive Metadata for the UCLA Digital Library Program (2012). It takes time to understand different perspectives of metadata: what is important and relevant to curators’ respective professional standards.  It’s important to start the discussions about expectations and requirements at the beginning of a project.

We can leverage identifiers to link names across metadata silos. As names are a key element regardless of which metadata schema is used, we discussed the possibility of using one or more identifier systems to link them together. Some institutions encourage their researchers to use the Elsevier expert system. Some are experimenting with or considering using identifiers such as ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) or VIAF (Virtual International Authority File). VIAF is receiving an increasing number of LC/NACO Authority File records that include other identifiers in the 024 field.

MARCEdit Integrates WorldCat Capabilities

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 by Roy

As recently announced by Terry Reese, his program MARCEdit now includes a great set of new capabilities for users of WorldCat. Recently made possible by the release of the WorldCat Metadata API from OCLC, here are just a few of the things you can do directly from MARCEdit:

  • Set Batch Holdings in OCLC.
  • Batch upload/edit records into WorldCat.
  • Search WorldCat directly from within MARCEdit.

This is just the kind of integration that our web services now make available for software of all kinds. By providing an application program interface (API) that enables not just search and display of records, but also updating and creating records, we are exposing the full range of WorldCat metadata capabilities to virtually any software developer.

We have long said that by enabling developers to use our services at a deeper level we would enable new kinds of services that we  could not develop ourselves. Now we are seeing exactly that. Kudos to Terry Reese for building new capabilities into an already stellar application.

Does technical services still have a distinct role?

Monday, October 28th, 2013 by Karen

That was the topic discussed recently by OCLC Research Library Partners metadata managers from seven countries. It was initiated by Philip Schreur of Stanford (and recently Chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging), who noted that although “technical services” had traditionally been organized around the modules of a local system, changes in the library environment have resulted in some major restructuring. Libraries have increased their use of outsourcing and now batchload records from vendors or other sources, blurring the lines between library and IT, and vastly reducing the number of materials that need to be cataloged manually locally. This in turn has allowed staff to devote time to broader issues of discovery and data management, and make strategic alliances with new partners outside of technical services.  Meanwhile, “metadata creation” is needed for resources not always part of the local catalog, such as digital collections or materials in an Institutional Repository.

The discussion revolved around these themes:

More widespread use and need for metadata, far beyond the traditional “bibliographic” metadata created by technical services staff.  Metadata specialists (a new alternative for “catalogers”) now deal with metadata of all types, with decreased focus on print and more emphasis on digital.  Technical services staff aspire to provide intellectual access to all resources, beyond those represented in the local catalog. A common discovery tool has driven the movement to more active metadata integration from the beginning of projects to ensure that metadata is cohesive.

Changing service portfolios and workflows, with new or expanded expectations. Technical services staff have taken on tasks that used to be done elsewhere. Among these new tasks: authority control for the institutional repository; managing electronic resources and licenses; integration with special collections and archives; helping researchers organize their data; creating metadata for digital projects; producing reports, dataloading and installing system upgrades (which used to be done by systems staff). There is a challenge to balance the workload between the influx of electronic and digital resources with print backlogs. Sensitivity to “organizational culture” in different units is more important than organizational structure.

New collaborations within the institution and with other organizations. Technical services staff  increasingly work in cross-divisional teams, such as staff involved with digital projects, archives, data mining, IT and liaisons with faculty. Alison Felstead at Oxford referred to two new posts in the Oxford institutional repository who report to cataloging but are part of the systems staff.  Libraries would like to work more closely with publishers to load metadata for e-resources into commonly used tools.

Need for new skill sets.  Managers need to “build digital confidence” in their staff—provide training in what is required to adequately describe and provide access to digital and electronic resources, and allow periods for experimentation. There is competition to recruit computer-savvy staff with IT, where the pay scale is much higher.

Several noted the need to evolve beyond “boutique-y” collection development and the need for a “metadata shepherd”. (Stanford recently posted a position for a “Metadata Strategist”.)  In general, we are seeing an emerging trend towards more fluid structures that allows staff to adapt to new workflows rather than organized around traditional functions.

Past Forward: Inspriation

Monday, August 5th, 2013 by Merrilee

[This is the fifth and final post in a series on the OCLC Research Library Partnership meeting, Past Forward.]

I’d like to wrap up by touching on a theme that’s sort of hard to express; the almost overwhelming inspiration I took away from this meeting. Many of our speakers (and participants) put forward a beautiful view of the library. When most people think about libraries, they think about the physical — the impressive collections, the stunning reading room. But for me it’s the people who work in and for libraries, and their vision and dedication that I find inspirational. This was highlighted again and again at this meeting, and the somewhat heretical view I came away with is that it’s really not, in the end, about our collections, but instead about the human relationships we build. Those relationships are what will make us stronger and lead us towards success. Collections are secondary.

All of the speakers at this meeting were exemplars of how to cultivate human relationships. The work they shared with us was nothing short of inspiring, and represented difficult, time-consuming, shoulder-to-the-wheel work. They shared their passion, their successes, and just as importantly their failures and challenges.

I really was inspired by all of our speakers, but wanted to share a few moments from the meeting that stood out from the rest, and which have continued to resonate.

Sean Quimby (Syracuse University) reminded us to makes things fun. We all came to work in libraries (or archives or museums) come to this profession because we love the “stuff.” How can we share this love with others? It’s vital that we make things fun.

Kevin Gotkin (our lone scholar, from the University of Pennsylvania) talked about the excitement of doing research, something he’s experienced in his own work and has seen while mentoring in clever and motivated undergraduates. There is a real excitement in finding clues, and connecting hint in order to solve scholarly mysteries. Making collections available to scholars at all levels ignites their passion for research and learning.

Dave Thompson (Wellcome Institute) outlined a vision for the library defined as by and for the user. Are you living in a systems diagram which excludes the user, or potential user? Get out of that diagram and find the user!

Katherine Reagan (Cornell University) faced many challenges with courage. Can’t find the right person to curate your unusual collection? Break the mold in terms of staffing. Facing challenges with a community that questions why the establishment is documenting their heritage? Establish a credible identity. Do not remove voices of the community — instead, explicitly involve them as key stakeholders. Worried about the collection not getting enough use? Conduct massive outreach on campus. Change who can teach. I would do well to live up to her principles: don’t assume; do the right thing.

Liz Chapman (London School of Economics) on the acquisition of the Women’s Collection, and riding out internal and external turmoil: “Patience is a virtue, but so is persistence with passion.”

Remember that all of the presentations (plus links to the videos) can be found on the event website. We look forward to hearing your ideas and reactions to this meeting, or ideas for future work.

Past Forward: Skills Challenge

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 by Merrilee

[This is the fourth in a series on the OCLC Research Library Partnership meeting, Past Forward. I'll wrap up with one final post at the end of this week.]

Erin O’Meara dropped the bomb during her presentation on the challenges of dealing with “born digital” materials. There are an increasing number of job postings for digital archivists (or pick your emerging asepct of librarianship). While it’s great that institutions recognize that they need to invest in a new area, all too frequently, this investment is limited; it’s not, O’Meara said, just one person’s job to do “all the born-digital things.” Real change comes when the library leadership invests in new areas by not only hiring one person, but also signals to the organization, “This is a direction we are ALL headed.” One person can’t build out a new area and be a single handed a change agent. This is an especially problematic position for someone who is relatively junior, who does not know how to navigate within an organization. Without buttressing and support, they are likely to have diminished success and risk burn out.

Issues around staffing returned not only in the discussion session following O’Meara’s talk, but also following the “repositioning” panel. In thinking about how to reposition special collections and indeed reinvent the library, the list of skills we’re missing is long. Some institutions are hiring outside the field, others find it difficult to craft job descriptions that attract the appropriate people. And how to encourage and engage those who are new to our organizations, especially junior staff members? How do we help them see the larger picture and how they fit into solutions? None of these are easy questions, but I’m glad we had an opportunity for a frank and honest discussion (and you can watch the videos, not only of Erin’s talk, but also for the two discussion sessions.)

Of course, discussions about the role of skills in research libraries is nothing new. My boss Jim Michalko, along with Constance Malpas and Arnold Arcolio, took a look at various “risk” factors in their 2010 report, Research Libraries, Risk and Systemic Change [pdf]. In their analysis, staff skills are one of the largest risks to research libraries.

Sensitivity Analysis for risk groups: from Research Libraries, Risk, and Systematic Change]

Sensitivity Analysis for risk groups: from Research Libraries, Risk, and Systematic Change

Our surveys of special collections and archives, both in the US and Canada and in the UK and Ireland, also reveal a need for training and upgrading skills. In the UK and Ireland, areas of need articulated were outreach and born digital; in the US and Canada, needs were around born-digital materials, information technology, intellectual property, and cataloging/metadata.

So, we’re drowning in both anecdotes and evidence. While I’m happy that OCLC Research has a robust Demystifying Born Digital program, I do worry about other aspects of this issue. How much of this can be addressed at a profession-wide level, and how much needs to be dealt with at an institution level? What are you doing about reskilling at your institution? Leave some comments to lift my spirits!

I’ll close out this series later this week with a posting on what I found so inspirational about this meeting. See you back here soon!

Past Forward: Collaboration Station

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 by Merrilee

[This is the third in a series on the OCLC Research Library Partnership meeting, Past Forward. More to come!]

Another theme that emerged during the meeting was collaboration. Now, when we say “collaboration” what we I generally think of, and what I believe is commonly understood in the community, is collaboration better two or more institutions (say on a grant around digitizing materials, or looking at shared storage for print journals or monographs, or even exploring more meaningful partnerships like 2CUL). Or, maybe campus collaboration between two or more units, particularly collaboration between libraries-archives-museums (LAMs) (in order to achieve greater scale and efficiency and to provide “one stop shopping” for users). The type of proposed “collaboration” that came up during Past Forward was more mundane but no less transformative.

The argument went like this:

On fundraising: Yes, it can be a real pain to work with library (or campus) development. It’s time consuming to get them on the same page as you are, to get them to understand your priorities, you infrastructure. But you know what? If you invest the time and energy helping them understand your issues, needs, operations, and goals, this will be time well spent. Not only that, but you would probably benefit from a deeper conversation, understanding their operation and their modes of working. If you do this, you will have built a powerful alliance and partnership that will be well worth the investment. We are all working on the same team after all.

On issues around copyright and IP: Yes, it can be a real pain to work with general counsel. It’s time consuming to get them on the same page as you are, to get them to understand your priorities, you infrastructure. But you know what? [etc.] We are all working on the same team after all.

On issues around hiring and human resources: Yes, it can be a real pain to work with HR. [etc.] We are all working on the same team after all.

Are you seeing a pattern?

I think those of us (and I include myself in this) who are focused on getting the “stuff” done have a hard time veering off the critical path. However, good relationships and understanding between these business units and yours can smooth the path to more resources, agreement about how to more productively deal with copyright, and better scoping of requirements for job descriptions. It’s difficult to characterize this wide ranging conversation but if I had to boil it down I’d say:

Understand your colleagues, their needs, their work environment. Help them understand you and yours.

This reminds me very much of the work that my colleagues Ricky and Geunter did around LAM collaboration, and the useful “Collaboration Continuum” graphic featured in the report, which nicely illustrates the transformation that’s possible as you move from contact to convergence. Think of this as a possibility for business units and special collections (or other parts of the library for that matter).

Most of this discussion happened during the reactor panel following the first session (you can view the video of that here) and in Susan Gibbon’s and Tim Pyatt’s fantastic talks on development during the outreach workshop.

My next post will focus on some of the challenges with workplace skills that surfaced during the meeting. I’ll see you back here then.

[And if you're interested having a discussion with general counsel about digitization of unpublished materials (in the United States!) you might be interested in our Well-intentioned practice
for putting digitized collections of unpublished materials online

Past Forward: New ways forward

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 by Merrilee

This is the second in a series on the OCLC Research Library Partnership meeting, Past Forward. Stay tuned for more!

In my last blog post, I underscored the “one library” theme — how special collections are integrating into the broader library and beyond. In this post, I’m going to take a look at new ways forward, which mostly (but not entirely) have to do with collections.

The first panel of the conference, “Managing Twenty-First Century Special Collections: Born Analog, Born Digital, and Born Difficult” focused on digital collections in a variety of contexts. Dave Thompson (Wellcome Library) talked about digital collections, both born digital and digitized, and invited the audience to view things from the point of view of the materials, as well as from the perspective of users. Do the format, metadata, rights statements support use and reuse? His presentation reminded us that librarians are custodians, not owners or even the main users of our works. Erin O’Meara (Gates Archive) works in a context where print and digital are integrated. Working with digital materials has caused her to rethink traditional archival practice, and step back in an attempt to understand collections that can’t be taken in visually (at least right now, in an time when we lack adequate tools for processing digital collections). For example, she employs ethnographic strategies, interviewing donors in order to understand the activities that led to creation of records.

The presentations also highlighted how difficult going forward can be, in a “one step forward, two steps back” fashion. Michelle Light (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) talked about early born digital efforts at UC Irvine, highlighting particular challenges and solutions in a “let’s make it up as we go along” fashion. For example, UCI opted to grant online access to the Richard Rorty papers by mimicking patterns in the real world (users who requested access first needed to acknowledge use policy before they could be ushered into a virtual reading room). Rights issues and tangled mess of creators, and in order to give online access, staff undertook item-level processing, which is distinctly non ideal and definitely not scalable, particularly in light of the daunting quantity of digital materials. In Greene-Meissner terms, we need tools and techniques that will take us from the tweezers to the shovel.

Details for the UCI Richard Rorty Papers, from Michelle Light's presentation

Details for the UCI Richard Rorty Papers, from Michelle Light’s presentation

Other presentations that illustrated how special collections are moving forward on the collections front were in the panel on “stakeholders.” Katherine Reagan’s presentation on the Cornell Hip Hop Collection is the prime example of striking out in new ways. What surprised me about this collection is that it was developed not to support academic programs at Cornell, but to document an important social movement. This noble goal was not without challenges — the library faced significant skepticism from the community, but also was challenged in coming up with appropriate staffing for the collection. The project took a novel approach of developing an community advisory board to help with necessary outreach and to establish important lines of communication. And the Cornell academic community stepped up, making use of the new collection.

The Cornell Hip Hop Collection is also a good example of how the nature of collections are changing: the collection website says that the collection “features: hundreds of party and event flyers ca. 1977-1985; thousands of early vinyl recordings, cassettes and CDs; film and video; record label press packets and publicity; black books, photographs, magazines, books, clothing, and more.” It’s a good reminder that as collections are less and less about books and journals, and more and more about material culture, our tried and true tools and techniques will need to change and adapt. Our systems are great for books, but what about (as Michael Stoller from NYU quipped during a follow up reactor panel) pizza boxes from the Occupy Wall Street Movement demonstrations.

You can view the videos for the Thompson, O’Meara, and Light presentations, as well as the video of the reactor panel and audience Q & A from the “born difficult” panel from the event webpage.

What do you think? Are there other was in which special collections, or other library units, are moving forward in new ways? Ways they should be? Hit us with a comment below! I’ll be following up later this week with another posting, on another theme that emerged from the meeting, collaboration.

Past Forward: One Library

Friday, July 19th, 2013 by Merrilee

This is the first in a series on the OCLC Research Library Partnership meeting, Past Forward.

Past Forward, a meeting for the OCLC Research Library Partnership was held last month, June 4-5 (with a pre-meeting workshop on June 3rd). We’ve just posted the videos and other outputs for the meeting, and it falls to me to summarize the meeting and outcomes. But how to capture such a rich experience? This wasn’t just a meeting, it was the best meeting we’ve ever had (and that’s not just me talking, I have feedback from a survey to back me up). Instead of summarizing chronologically, as I usually do, I’m going to call out some themes that surfaced during the meeting. The overall theme for Past Forward was “managing special collections in the 21st century” (and the workshop was on outreach — teaching, fundraising, and connecting on campus — for special collections). Naturally, I anticipated that outcomes would cleave to special collections. I was surprised to find that they were really much broader. See what you think and if you attended the meeting in person or online (or watched the videos) please contribute your comments!

From Rachel Beckett's presentation -- staff special collections vision exercise

From Rachel Beckett’s presentation — staff special collections vision exercise

One Library

It was during the pre-meeting workshop that it hit me. Lance Heidig’s presentation centered on his relatively novel position at Cornell University, which integrates special collections and general library instruction. This makes all kinds of sense, because this has got to be the way that most library patrons (faculty, students, other researchers) approach their own work. I think it’s probably quite rare that research includes only primary source material or things found in special collections without also citing secondary literature (monographs, journals and the like). So why do we isolate special collections teaching from the teaching about the general collections?

It’s a good question, and the notion of integrating special collections into the broader library surfaced in more than just this one presentation. Robyn Holmes (National Library of Australia), Rachel Beckett (Manchester University), and Mike Furlough (Pennsylvania State University) each hit on the notion of a more incorporated special collections in their presentations in the “Repositioning Special Collections” panel. A the University of Manchester, staff identified gaps in engagement and support for learners and support for research: part of the remedy has been for special collections to sit on committees to address these issues. At the National Library of Australia, repositioning goes a step further, with a single reading room for all formats embodying their “one library” concept. Too, the library is emphasizing shared systems for description and processing of collections, trying to get away from “special” ways of dealing with collections and introduce more common processes. Mike Furlough’s presentation highlighted an external review of special collections, but also emphasized PSU’s organizational structure, in which special collections is in the same administrative unit as digitization & preservation and publishing & curation services, which both has the potential to bring special collections closer to the end products in scholarly communications and also allows for sister units to more easily capitalize on skills of special collections staff.

This notion of getting out of your four walls was taken a step further in Lisa Carter’s presentation on advocacy — she urges special collections to connect more directly with the missions and priorities of their parent institutions, acknowledging that it’s not just special collections must serve the larger needs of the whole.

You can find Heidig and Carter’s presentations on the workshop page; the presentations from the panel on “repositioning” can be found on the Past Forward event page. You might also enjoy the videos from the meeting.

I’ll be back next week with another theme, finding new ways forward.

MOOCs and Libraries: Introduction

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 by Merrilee

OCLC and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries held a forum on MOOCs and Libraries on March 18th and 19th. This is the first post in a short series on that event. You can also check out the event page for links to videos, presenters’ slides, and more!

It’s been a few weeks, but it still feels like I’m catching my breath following our well attended (and I think successful!) forum, MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge? This event was an attempt to get beyond the plethora of what I’d call “MOOC 101″ and instead focus on the issues facing libraries that are engaging or may soon be engaging with MOOCs. I was fortunate to be tasked with such an engaging topic, and doubly fortunate to team up with Martha Brogan at the University of Pennsylvania and her colleagues (Anuradha Vedantham, Shawn Martin, and Marjorie Hassen) — the University of Pennsylvania Libraries were perfect partners because they haven’t just been thinking about MOOCs, they have been actively engaged with all aspects of MOOCs from planning, to production, to assessment. U. Penn was an early implementer on the Coursera platform, and have now been through several course cycles. I was also fortunate to work with my colleague Chrystie Hill, who lead the charge in bringing public library voices into the event. I was also fortunate, in event planning, to be able to draw upon the expertise resident in the OCLC Research Library Partnership — in November of 2012, I knew little more about MOOCs than what was covered in the popular press. I was educated by colleagues who are working in the field, who spoke from a basis of knowledge and experience, and who were willing to share with me via phone conversations and emails during December and January (my findings are summarized in an earlier post, MOOCs and Libraries: a look at the landscape).

We had a sell out crowd of 125 people attend in person and record breaking online attendance of over 400 (hardly MOOC like, but for sustained attention from afar, it’s very good). We were also fortunate to have a very strong Twitter stream, with contributions from both in person and remote attendees, which helped to “amplify” the event. And we have a record of the meeting in the recorded video (which you may enjoy watching!). Still, I think it’s important to have a summary of the meeting and some notable outcomes. I hope that some of you who attended (or who are able to watch the videos) will join in the conversation. And keep the conversation going by using the hash #mooclib when blogging or Tweeting on this topic.

Carton Rogers, Vice Provost & Director of Penn Libraries, and Ed Rock, Provost and Director of Open Course Initiatives, helped to set the scene for the group. Rogers underscored the confluence of support that the Penn Libraries provide to support learning — library resources, repository services, and courseware support. Deep engagement with Penn’s MOOC efforts was a natural next step for the library, and led to Penn’s hosting this first-of-a-kind meeting. Rock expanded on this, addressing, “Why MOOCs, why Penn, why now?”

The internet, Rock asserted, is now a place of learning so naturally one expects to find the university there. However, there is no one cookie cutter model for how universities engage with MOOCs — each institution needs to think out the role of MOOCs in their own framework. It’s already clear, from the Penn experience, that engaging with MOOCs has altered how people think about teaching — and this is a good thing. They’ve also seen that MOOCs can be used as an intervention in public discourse (a good example of this is the Penn course on vaccines). Rock also emphasized the democratic nature of MOOCs, with participants from residents in assisted living facilities, to autistic children, these courses are open to all ages and stages. He also speculated a bit about the role of the MOOC in a residential college setting — successful completion of a course that is eligible may be treated like an AP course — there is already a system for this in place. Or, a MOOC may be useful in helping students prepare for and test out of gateway classes.

Jim Michalko, Vice President OCLC Research (and a self confessed MOOC virgin), shared some context about MOOCs and online learning; we’ve been here before — or have we? What we have definitely seen before is the media frenzy around online learning or even distance learning — he referenced correspondence courses, Fathom, and Khan Academy, all of which are part of the heritage of what he called “the big three”: Udacity, EdX and Coursera which only launched a year ago. However, this time may well be different — Michalko cited Bill Bowen’s The ‘Cost Disease’
in Higher Education: Is Technology the Answer?
as evidence of a “broken business model,” leaving institutions ripe for disruption (Ă  la Clayton Christensen).

In closing he asked some pointed questions: “what business are we in?” “where is the venue for elite education online?” “are institutions engaging in a prestige arms race?” Finally, he predicted a platform war with MOOCs: “not everyone’s going to win.”

My presentation picked up where Jim left off: in all of this, where is the library? I presented findings from my research (which I have summarized previously): libraries are engaging in issues around copyright and IP, and are actively looking to see how to appropriately embed library services and research skills into these new and evoloving environments. Encouragingly, some libraries are part of the core teams being formed on campus which are planning and executing on MOOCs — these partnerships are vital, especially if MOOCs are seen as important to the campus. To be blunt, if it’s politically important, libraries need to be there. I also touched on the exciting ways that public libraries are thinking about MOOCs — not necessarily from the production side, but from the perspective of how these educational tools may fill a need for the diverse audiences they serve.

MOOCs (and online education) is a space in which things are evolving quite rapidly. I think it’s too soon for best practices, or declarations of success or failure. I think it’s a great time for experimentation, for trying things (and strategic abandonment!). This is also a perfect time to share the results of experiments. We are excited that this meeting was a step in that direction, and an important opportunity to share information with one another. But we’re not done yet — we’re at the beginning, not the end.

Next up, I’ll be summarizing the session on copyright, licensing and open access, so stay tuned!

Supporting a Virtual Organization

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 by Roy

Upfront admission: I work from home more than I work in the office. Having said that, either what I say makes sense or it doesn’t — decide for yourself.

Marisa Mayer, Yahoo!’s CEO, provoked outrage from the Internet by banning telecommuting for Yahoo employees. Such outrage was not difficult to predict in this age, with the Internet making it often better and more efficient for employees to work from home than the office. But of course like many things, there is more to this than meets the eye.

She has a point, There IS something to being able to walk down the hall and corner someone in their office. Or running into them while getting lunch or a cup of coffee. I get that, and that’s also why I travel on a regular basis, as my colleagues do even more, back to the Mother Ship. But partly this is still due to old ways of thinking, and please don’t make the mistake that this has anything to do with physical age.

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