Current Cites

March 2014

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Code4Lib Conference 2014  Raleigh, NC: Code4Lib, March 2014.( - The 2014 Code4Lib Conference just concluded but many of the presentations are available, as is a video stream of most of the conference. This is one of the few technical library conferences focused on practical technologies in use today. The technical level of attendees is expected to be at the "coder" level, so slides will often display software code or XML. However, there is also much to be gained by those who don't code for a living but still need to keep up-to-date on the latest technologies. Topics include the Google Visualization API, the D3 visualization library, RDF and linked data, web design, online video management, code testing, job queuing, and many more. Don't overlook the video stream of the lightning talks, as those 5-minute presentations can be informative as well. Highly recommended for the most technical among us. - RT

Alemneh, Daniel, Bill  Donovan, and Martin  Halbert, et. al.Guidance Documents for Lifecycle Management of ETDs  Atlanta, GA: Educopia Institute, 19 March 2014.( - Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) have become a common service of many academic libraries. But anyone who has tried implementing an ETD program for current and/or retrospective dissertations knows that a range of issues quickly arise. What staffing is needed, how can you measure the effectiveness of the program, what copyright issues might there be, how can ETDs best be preserved for the future, and especially how does the ETD program wish to address the issues of access and embargoes? While this manual has distinct chapters on each topic, what is striking is how each issue also appears and is discussed in almost every other chapter. The information cited is often very current, and I suspect that there are few people involved with ETDs that won't learn something new by reviewing the entire report. - PH

Brown, Jeanne M, and Michael  Yunkin. "Tracking Changes: One Library's Homepage Over Time - Findings from Usability Testing and Reflections on StaffingJournal of Web Librarianship  8(1)(2014): 23-47. ( - We recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the web. Many libraries started developing a web presence in the early-to-mid 1990s; this then translates into a legacy of web development cycles (i.e. 'redesigns') of close to two decades. The authors look at this legacy as it applies to the library homepage at UNLV from 1996 to 2013. They go through the testing for each design cycle and try to reconstruct the thinking behind various decisions. One key observation is that usability best practices weren't always followed and that certain unfortunate design elements, such a dropdown menus for navigation, continued to make a reappearance despite the fact that they tested poorly. Better communication of usability findings is one suggested remedy as well as prioritizing "access to research resources" and always keeping the user in mind. - LRK

Kenney, Anne R.. "Leveraging the Liaison Model: From Defining 21st Century Research Libraries to Implementing 21st Century Research UniversitiesIthaka S+R  (25 March 2014)( - In this report, Kenney explores the liaison model as it is currently implemented in most university libraries, and looks to the future of the role. She outlines a path towards revamping liaison services in a way that grows from the university's priorities and needs, and gets beyond the typical 1:1 service model. She provides brief case studies and suggestions for how librarians can shift the focus of liaison services to ensure not only that faculty are supported, but that the assessment and evaluation of these activities results in outcomes and metrics that demonstrate the value of the liaisons - and thus the library - to the university's mission. - AC

Long, Matthew P., and Roger C.  Schonfeld. Ithaka S+R US Library Survey 2013  [New York, N.Y.]: Ithaka S+R, March 11, 2014.( - This Ithaka survey includes major technology issues in academic libraries, showing trends since the last survey in 2010. Library directors and faculty are increasingly comfortable with providing online access to research journals, but the move toward e-books is less of a priority. Challenges in implementing new technologies are a major constraint, and it is a priority for academic library directors to hire more staff to provide Web services and information technology. Only four-year academic libraries are surveyed, and of these, three quarters have implemented some type of discovery service. A majority of library directors report that their discovery services help their users in multiple ways, such as providing an improved user interface that increases the speed and efficiency of library searches. A recorded Webinar with the author Roger Schonfeld summarizing the findings of the survey is available at - NN

Rimkus, Kyle, Thomas  Padilla, and Tracy  Popp, et. al."Digital Preservation File Format Policies of ARL Member Libraries: An AnalysisD-Lib Magazine  20(3/4)(2014)( - This article inventories and analyzes the file format policies of ARL (Association of Research Libraries) members. One of the most interesting findings is the libraries' estimated confidence in various formats' preservation potential. Only 17 formats have a positive evaluation, and only five of these have a "relative confidence value" (the authors' calculated measure of confidence) above 50%. Even the MARC format only gets a 68% rating, and that's the second highest rating after comma separated values at 73%. The sole image format among the top five is TIFF with 53%; JPEG gets a 20% rating. Plain text documents squeak by with a 51% rating. With that kind of data, you might want to play Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand" as you read the rest of this review. Nonetheless, the authors feel that, when all results from their research are considered, "ARL member file format policies largely reflect a high level of confidence with a limited number of file formats used in library digitization programs and the web transmission of scholarly communication. Outside of these file formats, however, policies indicate a much lower level of confidence in their respective repositories' abilities to provide adequate preservation services for file formats in the categories of application, computer program, geospatial, and presentation, and, to a lesser extent, audio, tabular data, and video." Overall, this is interesting reading on a topic of growing importance. - CB