Current Cites

March 2018

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Burton, Matt, Liz  Lyon, and Chris  Erdmann, et. al.Shifting to Data Savvy: The Future of Data Science in Libraries  Pittsburg, PA: University of Pittsburgh, 2018.( - This is a report of an IMLS-supported project to "explore the challenges associated with implementing data science within diverse library environments by examining two specific perspectives framed as 'the skills gap,' i.e. where librarians are perceived to lack the technical skills to be effective in a data-rich environment; and 'the management gap,' i.e. the ability of library managers to understand and value the benefits of in-house data science skills and to provide organizational and managerial support." The authors define data science as "generating insight from data to inform decision making." The report is primarily a summary and synthesis of a two-day workshop held in May 2017 with speakers, group discussions, and activities. Participants included funding organizations, academic and public libraries, nonprofits, and commercial organizations. - RT

Howard, Heather A., Sarah  Huber, and Lisa  Carter, et. al."Academic Libraries on Social Media: Finding the Students and the Information They WantInformation Technology and Libraries  37(1)(2018): 8-18. ( - What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the journal, Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL), than to include a research article on everyone's current favorite topic, namely, social media? Now that would be social media as it relates to academic libraries of course. Students at Purdue were polled on what media platforms they use, which platforms, in their opinion, libraries should use and finally what kind of content libraries should serve up. The anniversary issue also includes an article on Instagram as well as a short walk down memory lane looking at IT and libraries circa 1969. - LRK

Institute for Public Policy & Governance and  Civica International. "The Intrinsic Value of Libraries as Public Spaces: Physical-digital, Communicating the New NormalInstitute for Public Policy & Governance, University of Technology Sydney  (March 2018)( - This report probably confirms what you already know (or suspect) about your library’s physical and digital spaces, so it’s good to have your hunches confirmed by research. Based on surveys and interviews with both library staff and users, in public and academic libraries from the United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, this report shows the levels of value that library staff and users place on the physical and digital experience their library offers. It touches on the desire of users for their library online spaces to be more engaged with their community, rather than just providing one-way messages. The report also highlights the challenges that library staff face with changing digital platforms and landscapes. There is a call for library leadership to set a strong digital vision and strategy. - WC

Malamud, Carl. "Who May Swim in the Ocean of Knowledge?The Wire  (02 March 2018)(Who May Swim in the Ocean of Knowledge?). - When talking about Sci-Hub, most librarians are careful to acknowledge that its practices have been found to be illegal and thus the site itself should not be part of our standard information infrastructure. Malamud takes a different approach. He compares those who would free information to Mahatma Gandhi. In 1930, as part of his effort to overturn colonial rule, Gandhi led a movement to break the British monopoly on salt. Malamud argues that "high prices and carefully controlled access to knowledge is no different from the taxes and limits on salt." Sci-Hub thus is part of an initiative to decolonize knowledge and democratize information. The Gandhi analogy is developed in more depth in his book Code Swaraj: Field Notes from the Standards Satyagraha, especially in the fascinating chapter that recaps his many efforts to free information, "Note on Code Swaraj." - PH

Marzo, Flavio. "Digitising books as objects: The invisible made visible  (19 February 2018)( - At one time, our goal was to make digitization of printed text as good as microfilm. In this extended blog entry Marzo provides examples of how much more is possible. He shows how digital technologies can be used to hightlight the physical nature of texts, in addition to reformatting the textual information found in them. By using raking light and transmitted light, much can be learned about how texts were produced and used. It made me wonder when it might be worthwhile to add these specialized procedures to our standard digitization workflows. - PH

University of California Libraries. Pathways to Open Access  Oakland, CA: University of California, 2018.( - Although it is intended for the University of California community, this report provides a much needed guide to contemporary open access (OA) approaches (models and frameworks) and strategies (specific ways to achieve the objectives of the approaches) that anyone interested in OA can benefit from. The main approaches covered are Green OA; Gold OA, APC-based; and Gold OA, Non-APC funded. For each approach, it clearly analyzes the nature of approach, its prevalence and impact, its strategies, its systemic challenges, and its systemic opportunities. The report also considers universal strategies, such as journal flipping (paywall to open access). It then suggests possible next steps for OA, such as improving publisher license agreements. Highly recommended. - CB

Wagstaff, Kiri L., and Geoffrey Z. Liu. "Automated Classification to Improve the Efficiency of Weeding Library CollectionsThe Journal of Academic Librarianship  44(2)(March 2018): 238-247. ( - Removing outdated items from a library collection is called weeding, de-accessioning, or pruning the collection, but whatever it is called, it is a complex and time-consuming process. Wesleyan University structured a research project to see whether automation could assist librarians by identifying candidates for weeding. From a programming standpoint, weeding is a binary decision: the output is either "Weed" or "Keep." However, the multiple factors that go into the decision are complex: (1) the most recent use of the item, both outside and inside the library (circulation and browsing); (2) currency and quality of content; (3) whether copies are held electronically or in other accessible libraries; and (4) factors that can only be assessed by human staff, such as faculty opinion and physical condition. The cost or impact of an error is greater in a "Weed" than in a "Keep" decision. This project trained an automated system to set up and compare decision trees and other methods of identifying candidates for weeding, then compare those results with decisions made by librarians and faculty. They found that "there is statistically significant agreement between human decision and automated classifier predictions." The conclusion suggests several directions for further research on automated systems to assist librarians with one of our most time-consuming tasks. - NN