Current Cites

May 2017

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Warren Cheetham, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Association of College and Research Libraries. Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success: Findings from Assessment in Action Team Projects.  Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2017.( - "Since 2013, over 200 postsecondary institutions of all types have participated in the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Assessment in Action program (AiA) that created campus-wide partnerships at institutions to promote collaborative assessment and library leadership." This report summarizes the assessment findings from this program, which concludes that they "tell a strong story about the multiple ways that academic libraries are contributing to student learning and success." These include "The library contributes to improved student retention. Library instruction adds value to a student’s long-term academic experience. The library promotes academic rapport and student engagement. Use of library space relates positively to student learning and success." Certainly these kinds of assessments come as no surprise to librarians, but a report such as this can be used by librarians to make the case to their academic community that partnering with librarians improves student retention and educational outcomes. - RT

Breeding, Marshall. "Library Systems Report 2017: Competing Visions for Technology, Opennness and WorkflowAmerican Libraries  48(5)(May 2017): 22 - 35. ( - Library technology companies are merging and acquiring each other at such a pace that it is difficult to keep up. Marshall Breeding has created a guide to the current state of the companies providing systems to academic, public and school libraries. The main source of the information is responses by the companies themselves to an annual survey, along with publicly available sources. The primary theme is the effect of “horizontal consolidation,” and how mergers and acquisitions allow technology providers to “realize synergies.” Libraries looking to choose an integrated library system (ILS), a separate discovery service, or other library platforms will find the vendors here for comparison. Providers of open source software are included along with companies using a more traditional model of proprietary software. The author points out that public libraries in particular may opt for a hybrid model of a customized open source interface combined with a proprietary ILS. The Library Systems Report shares ideas of how various types and sizes of libraries are using their technology. Systems librarians and library managers will agree with the conclusion: “Libraries must hold technology providers to task.” - NN

Flood, Daniel. "The Edge – Case Studies in Practical STEAMIFLA Public Libraries Section Mid-Term Meeting STEAM into Sydney  (March 2017)( - This paper is a highlight from the recent IFLA STEAM into Sydney conference. Daniel Flood, Creative Manager of the much lauded State Library of Queensland The Edge, presents a compelling, provocative reasoning of why libraries should engage in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), and how they should approach such activities. There is enough depth of theory here to be convincing without being dry or overwhelming, and there is more than enough practical, operational information in the form of two case studies. Taking a community cultural development approach, the SLQ The Edge team have developed and delivered the Creative Community Computing program, which takes a different approach to computer recycling, and the I Made a Cubby program, which engages community members in a making project in a genuinely personal way. SLQ The Edge’s efforts to write and release comprehensive train-the-trainer packages for their programs under a Creative Commons license is wonderful, and their frankness and openness of the mistakes made and lessons learned is refreshing. An overarching ‘highlights’ document from this conference is also reviewed in this month’s Current Cites, and while that document might be useful for engaging people in an initial discussion about STEAM and libraries, it doesn’t have the depth or heart of Flood’s paper. - WC

Harwell, Jonathan. "Rhyme or Reason?: Patterns in Book Pricing by FormatThe Journal of Electronic Publishing  20(1)(2017)( - Do book prices make any sense or are they arbitrary? E-books vs. print books are a special concern. The author analyzes data for paperback, hardcover, Ebrary, EBSCO, and Amazon Kindle books purchased by the Olin Library at Rollins College to answer this question. The outcome: "We conclude that book prices are not, on the whole, as arbitrary as they might seem in some cases. Although some titles are priced at wildly varying figures for different versions, there is still a discernible overall pattern to the average pricing of a given publisher’s books at each tier, in relation to the base price. Although there are outliers, it seems we are seeing that there is a 'rhyme or reason' in book pricing." - CB

Pasquetto, Irene V., Bernadette M.  Randles, and Christine L.  Borgman. "On the Reuse of Scientific DataData Science Journal  16(2017): 8. ( - Libraries are increasingly becoming involved in setting up and managing repositories for research and scientific data. Government policies in some cases mandate that the data gathered with public funding be made available to the public. But there are still many questions around data sharing and reuse, and this essay identifies a number of them that will require further investigation. The authors also take time to define key terms such as "data," "sharing," "open," and "open data". In summary, this piece is likely to be useful to any librarian entering this new territory as it provides a useful foundational understanding of commonly used terms and their meanings as well as laying out a research agenda that may eventually answer key questions about research data reuse. - RT

Savage, Neil. "Weaving the WebCommunications of the ACM  60(6)(June 2017): 20-22. ( - Nothing like a discussion of the World Wide Web, its past, present and future, than with its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. We get a description of CERN in the late 80s- early 90s and what Berners-Lee was trying to achieve. He also talks about current concerns and even his "biggest fear". Like a true innovator, "for young computer scientists looking to have an impact on the world" he recommends, "ignoring conventional wisdom and following their own instincts." - LRK

The Australian Library and Information Association, . "How Public Libraries Contribute to the STEM Agenda 2017ALIA  (March 2017)( - The IFLA STEAM into Sydney conference saw leaders from public libraries across Australia, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe and the Americas, celebrate the innovative ways that public libraries are supporting the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) agenda. This attractive and richly illustrated publication contains brief case studies from around the world, and provides a useful overview of the scope of STEAM activities underway. Consider it a taster of projects, rather than a full course menu of discussions. It should be a very useful document to share outside of the library ecosystem, to use as an advocacy tool and to start discussions. Also included in this edition of Current Cites is a paper from this conference, by Daniel Flood, which highlights the rich depth of thinking and activity that no doubt lies beneath each and every case study highlighted here. - WC