Archive for the 'digital collections' Category


Sep 08 2011


by at 4:22 pm

JSTOR makes early journal content freely available.  Exciting!

No responses yet | Categories: digital collections

Aug 19 2011

witches | libraryland | google

by at 12:03 pm

You can waste a lot of time looking at Old Bailey records online.  I like to search for words like ‘witch’, but I guess some people use it for actual research.


If I ever teach writing again, I am definitely going to revamp my curriculum and move towards what Barbara Fister is suggesting here.  This earlier post by her is also full of YES.  I always tell students that searching and writing is recursive, but I do think libraryland heavily relies on a notion of search as a mechanistic series of discrete steps (hey, haven’t I written about that? Oh, yeah).  The section on library collections makes me think about how libraryland uncritically embraces the idea of ‘unbiased’ and ‘neutral’ information and the library and librarian as similarly neutral parties.  I may have to do some more thinking (and writing) on this.

Her point about annoying little practices is also well-taken.  This is why I feel that every single librarian (including those in administration, tech services, and IT) should be required to staff a service desk.

I kind of agree with Steven Bell’s ACRLog post here, but I want to broaden it: I think we should also focus on ACTUAL users as well as POSSIBLE FUTURE users.  There might be future donor money in building something, but you should also deal with the lousy furniture that is used every single day by current students.  I would even prioritize the latter.

Libraryland would be a much better place if everyone LISTENED TO ME.


Great article from the NY Review of Books on Google.


No responses yet | Categories: digital collections,library news,technology news

Jul 26 2011

gis in the humanities

by at 3:45 pm

These sound like some pretty nifty projects.

No responses yet | Categories: digital collections,higher ed

Jun 17 2011

a couple of links

by at 10:54 am

Because I am super sleepy today!

This article from LJ makes a lot of good points.  I completely agree with this

“Information architecture, usability, and emphasis on user experience and design should be included in every LIS student’s program. It’s hard to imagine a professional position that might not include creating content, designing web services for users, or performing some form of instruction related to the site.”

And, indeed, my LIS program did include these things.  It’s kind of disheartening, though, that this knowledge is not particularly valued in library-land more generally. 

From the Chronicle, Civil War Project Shows Pros and Cons of Crowdsourcing.  Mostly pros, it seems, since I’m guessing a lot of this type of work wouldn’t be done at all without crowdsourcing.  I like this comment on the article:

“One of the cliches that librarians are most susceptible to forgetting is “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. Libraries are notorious for spending a huge amount of human labor to get their catalogue records perfect down to the precise placement of periods that frankly do not matter to comprehension or search but are dictated in the “standards”.”

Sadly true.  I don’t understand writing exhaustive finding aids when they are uncataloged collections and when no one can predict exactly how users will want to use a collection.  Make it findable FIRST and then worry about details.  My student job in special collections may have been a bit frustrating…

No responses yet | Categories: digital collections,higher ed,library news

Apr 07 2011

digital dissertations

by at 2:13 pm

Just a couple of comments on this Chronicle article on the effect of open access mandates on dissertations.

1.  ProQuest Theses and Dissertations is behind a paywall, so it is not accessible to the hoi polloi.

2.  YBP *does* note when a book is a revised dissertation, but I don’t pay attention to this when I purchase monographs from university presses.  Why?  Because if it is a reputable university press, I expect there has been editing and revision and that makes the monograph valuable, even if we have access to the dissertation.

3.  The biggest market for these mongraphs is university libraries.  Ashgate monographs are usually $100 or more, so I am skeptical that scholars, grad students, and the general public are buying them by the bucket. 

4.  Open access mandates are being implemented to give universities and university libraries some control over the content that is created by their faculty and students, rather than being at the mercy of publishers who, as we have seen, are willing to raise prices to obscene levels for content they do not create or in many cases, even edit. 

5.  Pissing off your customers is not a business model.

I am cranky this week.

No responses yet | Categories: books,digital collections,higher ed,publishing

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