SLA Annual Meeting
Washington DC, June 15 – 17 2009.
Here are some notes from the sessions that I (Brian) attended. Handouts for some of the sessions can be found at: http://www.sla.org/content/Events/conference/ac2009/Conference/handouts/index.cfm
Biomedical and Life Sciences Contributed Papers
Three papers were selected to be presented at this meeting; links to papers are at http://units.sla.org/division/dbio/events/conf_current/contr_papers.html
1.Implementation of a new research discovery tool at two University libraries; Valrie Davis, Outreach Librarian for Agricultural Sciences, Sara Russell Gonzalez, Physical Sciences and Mathematics Librarian, University of Florida; Medha Devare, Bioinformatics and Life Sciences Specialist, Jaron Porciello, Special Projects Librarian, Cornell University.
Cornell developed Vivo to facilitate finding faculty expertise (say, for the President speaking to a particular audience and wanting to know who does research in that discipline), making grant connections, and enabling them to harvest information from other information systems. At Cornell, the librarians are the curators of the records.
Automated data collection includes:
- Name, title, and primary departmental affiliation of all Cornell faculty and academic staff from the PeopleSoft human resources database,
- grants from the Office of Sponsored Programs data warehouse,
- courses from the Registrar’s database, and
- publications from the Cornell University Library literature databases Biosis and PubMed.
Content types added to faculty profiles manually by typically include:
- News items and event information,
- pictures of faculty or photos in news items,
- data from faculty and Cornell web pages not yet available via faculty reporting or automated feeds (such as educational background, awards and distinctions, etc.)
It’s worth noting that they believe that
From the perspective of the library, VIVO fosters closer relationships with academic units and individual faculty while showcasing the library as an active, engaged partner that uses its information management capabilities in innovative ways to support the intellectual life of the university.From the perspective of the library, VIVO fosters closer relationships with academic units and individual faculty while showcasing the library as an active, engaged partner that uses its information management capabilities in innovative ways to support the intellectual life of the university.
Similarly, the University of Florida librarians remarked:
There are many skills unique to the library, such as knowing how to organize data and produce accurate, harvested publication lists that make VIVO a valuable library initiative. As the library is central to all research activities of the university, with every department assigned a subject liaison, the library is both unique to all other organizations on campus and in a position to implement such a resource. Additionally, harvesting publications from databases and displaying them would support the overall mission of the Libraries to meet the information needs of the University of Florida community by providing access to all relevant forms of recorded knowledge while simultaneously creating an excellent marketing tool and avenue for outreach for the library.
The University of Florida chose a phased implementation, developing expanding levels of support from the campus, and replacing a homegrown system that was not capable of harvesting information. Phase 1: proof of concept, input of science faculty (1400 people from 3 colleges, 34 departments, & 128 centers) on a system hosted by Cornell, with a $5000 startup grant from internal library funding. In phase 2 they purchased a server, added branding, add librarians, incorporate ID’s from HR system and prep for data harvesting, hire student to do bulk of data entry, total cost $10,000. Phase 3: provost support and begin dynamic harvesting of data.
Cornell and UF are working on a grant proposal that would create a national interface that could search local institutional versions of VIVO, and provide national results in one interface.
2. E-Books in the Sciences – Gauging Faculty and Graduate Students Needs, Rajiv Nariani, York University, Ontario.
This is a very helpful summary of a survey of graduate students and faculty regarding ebook usage. York spent $132,000 on ebooks in the 08-09 academic year. The CARL (Canadian Associaton of Research Libraries) have approximately 13% of their monographs as ebooks. See the paper for more details on the findings; many of the conclusions and recommendations are likely to be transferable to our situation.
In the discussion that followed the presentation, another librarian pointed out that at Wellesley, students want to download, annotate, and share in teams the same pdf, which is not possible with Ebrary. The ISIS development environment was mentioned as a possible option for the consortia to create a platform for ebooks (http://www.ebrary.com/corp/librariesLicensed.jsp), though there weren’t more details on this at the time.
3. “Practice Makes Perfect” – Curriculum Integration into a Third Year Biology Program: Collaboration between Faculty and Librarians. Ilo-Katryn Maimets, York University, Ontario.
I particularly liked the way in which Maimets focused on learning outcomes to design the instruction, and employed active learning exercises throughout. She recommended “A short guide to writing about biology” by J.A. Pechenik (2007 – 6th ed.) which was used in several of the activities. Her paper contains a number of recommendations that could improve library instruction for almost any course. See page 10 for her conclusions and recommendations.