Current Cites

September 2010

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Brian Rosenblum, Roy Tennant

Anderson, Rick. "If I Were a Scholarly PublisherEDUCAUSE Review  45(4)(July/August 2010): 10-11. ( - Rick Anderson describes the budgetary pressures that library collection development budgets face and speculates as to how content providers might respond to a shrinking market. He suggests that in order to maximize profits, publishers may shift to direct sales to faculty and students, which would further erode the position of the library within the university. Clearly scholarly publishing is in the process of systematic change. Anderson's piece encourages libraries to consider how their functions might change as publishing changes. - PH

Borgman, Christine. "Research Data: Who Will Share What, with Whom, When, and Why?SelectedWorks  (2010)( - The growing open data and open science movements have helped focus attention on issues related to scientific research data. In this eprint, Borgman, Presidential Chair and Professor of Information Studies at UCLA, tackles the thorny problem of defining "data," examines the purposes of data-driven research, discusses the methods of such research, summarizes researchers' incentives and disincentives for data sharing, takes a detailed look at four policy arguments for data sharing, and considers the role of libraries in the data sharing process. The data-sharing policy arguments are "to make the results of publicly funded data available to the public, to enable others to ask new questions of extant data, to advance the state of science, and to reproduce research." - CB

Chudnov, Dan. "Getting Over the Hump"  Computers in Libraries  30(7)(September 2010): 31-33. - Chudnov is a well-known library coder who has probably done more to build a library coder community than anyone out there. So this piece on how to become a coder is written by someone who really knows what he's talking about. He admits that he is "obsessed with the idea of librarians becoming better coders," and he sets out to do so by providing good advice for librarians seeking to get into coding. Among the things he advises: "build something you need," "don't imagine there is a perfect solution," "ask for help," and "expect to make changes." Highly recommended for anyone who may be leaning toward lifting the hood and tinkering with the engines that power our services. - RT

Johnson, L, H  Witchey, and R  Smith, et. al.The 2010 Horizon Report: Museum Edition  Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, September 2010.( - This is the first Horizon Report to focus specifically on technology in a museum setting. Like the more general Horizon Reports for higher education, this report identifies and describes key trends and emerging technologies that will impact museum education and interpretation in the next five years. It is no surprise that these trends and technologies are similar to those affecting libraries, and higher education in general: the growth of mobile and social media, location-based services, and "rich" media; the expectation of museum visitors (and staff) that they will be networked at all times; the changing role of museum educators as museum resources become part of a larger, networked world of open content; and many others. The report also notes some interesting differences between museums and libraries. For example, there is a lower degree of standardization of descriptive information in the museum world, making it more difficult for museums to share information. But clearly museums and libraries are changing in similar ways. As the recent OCLC/RLG conference on LAM collaboration made clear, there are many opportunities for museums and libraries to learn from each other and to come together around common causes. This report provides a good start to understanding the some of the changes happening in museums today. - BR

McDonough, Jerome P., Robert  Olendorf, and Matthew  Kirschenbaum, et. al.Preserving Virtual Worlds Final Report  (31 August 2010)( - Video games have become an important cultural force, as witnessed by the recent release of Halo: Reach, which made over $200 million on its release day. (Compare that to Avatar, which made $27 million on its opening day.) Preserving the virtual worlds created by video games will be one of the greatest challenges librarians and archivists face. In this incredibly rich final report of a multi-institutional research project, McDonough and his fellow researchers explain in great detail why virtual worlds need to be saved, what needs to be saved (including documentation associated with the games), and some strategies for addressing the issue. There is important discussion of the strengths and limitations of the FRBR and OAIS models when applied to video games, and thoughtful discussion of the problems that intellectual property law creates for preservation. Needless to say, the discussion of the technical problems that the group addressed is also first-rate. This is a report that may seem esoteric at first glance, but will become essential reading for anyone interested in the broadest issues of digital preservation, bibliographic description, and archival practice. - PH

McHale, Nina. "Managing Library IT Workflow with BugzillaThe Code4Lib Journal  (11)(21 September 2010)( - Managing trouble reports from library staff is a common issue in library systems offices. While many libraries may rely on anything from notes scribbled on random scraps of paper to full-featured (and likely expensive) trouble ticket systems, McHale describes a system that has tweaked the Mozilla bug tracking system to handle trouble tickets instead. After using it for nearly two years, she is clearly satisfied with it and she is now sharing her solution in a way that virtually any moderately competent systems librarian could implement. Go for it. - RT

Nielsen, Matthew, and Sean  Park. "Free as in Internet: Using Linux and open source software on public computersOLA Quarterly  16(3)(Fall 2010): 11-15. ( - This brief article lays out the experience of the Coos County Library Service District in Oregon, which has switched the operating system on most of its public workstations from Microsoft XP to Ubuntu Linux. As older hardware began to struggling to run Windows, Park began experimenting with Linux, and the increase in speed and stability was impressive enough that the system made the decision to switch. The workstations now run the Lucid Linux (10.04) distribution, and a variety of other free and open source software applications have been installed. This includes Open Office for the productivity suite, GIMP for photo editing, and Firefox for web browsing. The workstations have been set up such that most patrons are able to quickly and easily find the application they need. For example, Open Office Writer has been renamed "Word Processing," and Firefox "Internet;" in addition, the window manager used, GNOME, looks similar to Windows XP. While the switch has been a success, the authors also talk about some of the problems they encountered, including issues with hardware compatibility and the need to install some proprietary software. They conclude by offering several tips for libraries interested in following in their footsteps. - AC

Purcell, Kristen, Roger  Entner, and Nichole  Henderson. The Rise of Apps Culture  Washington, DC: The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project, 2010.( - This report makes interesting reading for libraries considering app and mobile website development. According to the report, 82% of U.S. adults are cell phone users. Forty-three percent of these cell phone users have apps on their cell phones. However, only 68% of the users with apps utilize them, meaning that only 24% of U.S. adults actually use apps. The apps users group "skews male, and is much younger, more affluent, and more educated than other adults." The report also notes that only 38% of U.S. cell phone users access the Internet using their phones. Also of interest may be the recent Mobile Strategy Report, Mobile Device User Research from the California Digital Library, which concluded: "Based on our overall findings from this inquiry, we learned that the majority of academic ownership and use has not quite reached a tipping point of mass adoption. Thus, our general strategic recommendations are preparatory in nature." - CB

Willson, Rebekah, and Lisa  Given. "The effect of spelling and retrieval system familiarity on search behavior in online public access catalogs: A mixed methods studyJournal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology  (forthcoming)( - The authors of this preprint article examined the impact of misspellings on patrons' search strategies -- misspellings made by the users, not those that may be present in catalog records. The researchers had 38 subjects, mostly undergraduate students, complete a series of searches in the OPAC on unfamiliar keywords. One group used a list of words that was deemed easy (a 10th grade reading level), another used terms pulled form a list of commonly misspelled words. The participants were told they could use any resources they liked if they wanted to find background information while trying to search the OPAC. For almost half of all searches, the user checked spelling, primarily via Google, Wikipedia or For completely unfamiliar terms, users tried a variety of spellings and sometimes used a broader term -- "Middle East" when trying to find the spelling of Qatar -- to pull up general information that might lead them in the right direction. In interviews, the researchers found that most participants had a strategy already in place for dealing with this issue, which they primarily encountered when searching for something completely unknown. Most of them also indicated that they would like to see the OPAC include a spelling correction feature similar to Google's "did you mean" feature. In addition to this data on searching, researchers also noted that most searchers ignored the advanced options in the catalog, instead performing fairly simple keyword searches (73% of all searches were on just one word). Rather than try boolean operators or search by starting with subject headings, most searchers tried new terms or different fields. This finding underscores how student expect to be able to transfer their strategies for searching the internet to searching their library's OPAC, and as a result tend not to use the advanced search options. - AC