Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New WMRL eNewsletter Coming Soon

The Western MD Regional Library is launching a new eNewsletter, The WMRL Wave, via Constant Contact software, at the end of August. The frequency of the eNewsletter is still to be determined but we're looking at once very two to three months. Our target audience is, naturally, the public library staff of Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties and the purpose is to increase transparency of the Regional library by sharing information regarding all aspects of the services provided by the staff and the institution. Examples of the content to be shared in this new newsletter include: 
  • updates from the WMRL Advisory Board
  • learning opportunities - both in the way of the training calendar and via embedded screencasts
  • best practices in place in Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties
  • what would you like to see in this newsletter?
 Who can you contact for more information about this newsletter?

Monday, July 30, 2012

WMRL Database Advisory Committee Meeting

This is my 2nd attempt at sharing the learning that occurs at and that which can be gleaned from reading about committee meetings. As always, discussion and questions are welcome.

Meeting held: Friday, July 27th at 10am-12:30pm

In attendance: Lisa McKenney (ACLS), Chris McGee (ACLS), Cathy Ashby (RELIB), Bonnie Winters (RELIB), Elizabeth Hulett (WCFL), Bill Taylor (WCFL), Joe Thompson (Chair, WMRL), and Julie Zamostny (note-taker, WMRL)

Presentation by Monica Wilson, Gale Databases Representative
Monica provided a 40 minute overview of some of the lesser-known features of the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). Below are some of the highlights.
  • Unlimited simultaneous use; 24/7 access with authentication via library barcode
  • Articles are downloadable to eReaders and tablets; Kindle users must know their Kindle email to take advantage of this feature
  • MARC records are available so that GVRL titles display in the PAC = increases discoverability
  • Articles can be read aloud in 19 languages
  • Articles can be downloaded in MP3 format
  • Articles can be viewed in enriched text and PDF
  • Ability to download up to 50 titles at once
  • New and improved Help Guides with text and video
  • Can create a GVRL username and password so you can save articles in folders for retrieval at a later date
  • Reminder: support.gale.com has a lot of helpful resources
  • GVRL can create special collections from the admin site or by contacting tech support. For example, they can create a collection of DK titles that libraries can then display/link to on their websites.
  • GVRL has an Access My Library app - still glitchy - use with caution. GPS authentication only, barcode authentication is not available through the Access My Library app.
 Review of December Meeting Minutes
  • Page 2: NextReads. Group recommended that Joe get a quote from EBSCO that would separate out NextReads from the other subscriptions so we can tell how much we're actually paying for it. All three counties still use it to some extent so, the intent is to continue to subscribe unless the cost is prohibitive.
  • LibraryThing has been officially dropped.
  • Lisa McKenney's and Emily Zumbrun's names were misspelled.
  • Minutes from the December meeting were approved.
Review of SAILOR Subscriptions
  • SAILOR databases have not changed, the contract with EBSCO for MasterFILEexpires June 2013
  • Committee would like to know when discussions will start regarding the renewal of the SAILOR contract
Review of WMRL Subscriptions
  • eVanced scheduling software is now available and is being utilized by ACLS and WCFL. RELIB may work with ACLS to determine whether or not it is the right product for their needs.
  • Mango Languages: Joe hasn't received an invoice yet but the intention is to renew
  • OverDrive Advantage funds goes to buying more copies of titles already owned plus buying unique titles that are not already in the OverDrive database. Lisa McKenney and Carrie Plymire (WMRL) are responsible for purchasing Advantage titles for the region.
  • MPERL has been unofficially dissolved and therefore we are now responsible for negotiating contracts for four databases: Gale package of Biography in Context/Literature Resource Center, Testing and Education Resource Center, ValueLine, and BrainFuse.
  • Committee recommended that Joe get quotes from EBSCO for comparable products: Biography Reference Center and Literary Reference Center
  • Compliance Suite expires in September. Julie Z, Jennifer Spriggs (ACLS), and Franny Lockely (WCFL) all use this software for librarian certification tracking. Intent is to renew.
  • Dropped OCLC for Garrett County due to shared ILS
 FY2012 Database Usage Stats
  • This is a little like combining apples and oranges because each database defines usage differently (i.e. page views, searches, downloads, etc.)
  • If you want to see raw database usage data, Joe will email the committee his extremely detailed spreadsheet following today's meeting.
  • Committee recommended that Joe see if he can separate out usage stats for NoveList Plus and NoveList Select Classic (this is what shows up automatically when you do a title search in the PAC). Committee would also like to look at pricing for each of these as separate entities.
  • Committee would like to recommend that we strongly encourage our respective children's departments to promote Little Pim (language learning database for kiddos)
Reference USA Discussion
This was originally discussed as part of the FY2012 Database Usage Stats but since it is a recurring discussion I decided to give it a separate heading.
  • ACLS and RELIB do not see the value when examining the Cost: Use ratio (at a regional level)
  • WCFL staff rely on it heavily - and that is reflected in the usage stats (at the county level)
  • ACLS and RELIB feel like the information in RefUSA can be found easily on the Internet.
  • Cathy mentioned that, historically, the information contained within RefUSA has been out of date and inaccurate.
  • WCFL cannot afford the database on their own
  • ACLS and RELIB agree that it is not a matter of training that would help rectify the lack of usage in their counties.
  • Can WMRL pay for just WCFL to have this database and have WCFL act as clearinghouse for all things Business that are received across all three counties, similar to The Foundation Center (Note: WMRL does not pay for the Foundation Center database, it was only mentioned in the meeting as a comparison). This model would be cause for more in-depth discussion because of the possibilty of setting a precedence. Joe feels awkward about this because he strongly feels that WMRL should be paying for resources that are available and of use across all three counties. 
  • · There is precedent for resources to be used by one county heavily (examples: World Book by ACLS and ReferenceUSA by WCFL) or subscribed to only one county (OCLC for ACLS).
  • Final settlement: committee agrees to keep paying for it but it will continue to be a point of discussion for this committee
TRIALS Follow-Up
  • Access News: not interested
  • Zinio: not interested until it's iPad compatible
  • Universal Class: not interested, do not consider for 2 years
  • Dzanc Books: not interested, but Joe appreciates that this independent publishers is expressing interest in working with libraries.
  • Proquest Historical Newspapers: not interested, do not consider for 2 years
  • Pronunciator: not interested, do not consider for 2 years
  • Muzzy: not interested
  • Axis360: not interested
  • 3M ebooks: not interested until more information is available from BCPL (they're BETA testers)
  • Hoopla: there is interest around this; look at it after the Fall 2012 release
Committee is not looking to add anything new at this time be we'll consider any left over money to be used to enhance OverDrive or to purchase a new product later if we identify one.

Committee would like to consider using any leftover funds to promote the databases. This will be an agenda item at the next Spring meeting.

Newly formed MLC: Maryland Library Consortium. Joe might have to provide more information on this. The group's target is databases but Memorandum of Understanding to participate does not express a limitation on only databases. WMRL is participating.

GVRL Weeding
  • WCFL is purchasing their own GVRL ebook titles and they're happy to share with the rest of the group even though WMRL is not paying for region-wide access
  • Committee would like Joe to get quote from Gale regarding a special DK package and we want to know what the age of the titles is, then we'll decide if we want to trial. It was recommended that we talk with Harford County - they already have something comparable in place.
  • Joe will make his recommendations to the group as to which titles he thinks should be withdrawn. 
  • In the van on the way home, Joe and Elizabeth decided that Elizabeth would take on this task instead.
  • We still want to receive the MARC records of the titles that are relevant.Lisa also said that ACLS can obtain MARC records for database subscriptions via OCLC.
 Discovery Services
  • Joe asks that the committee keep these services/products in mind when we're at conferences, etc. They aren't a top priority but he foresees possible interest in them in the future. A one point-for-search could increase usage of the online subscriptions.
End of Meeting
  • Joe will Doodle the committee to determine the next 2 dates of meetings.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tools for decision - making

Project Management. 

 I attended a workshop on Project Management at the University of Maryland yesterday. The most useful piece to me was the session on prioritizing - What next? What fascinating piece of Western Maryland history do I put on Whilbr next? There are criteria I have in mind - relevant, introducing new light on local history, from one of the three counties, primary source material, not just one family unless the family has a particularly important role in local or national arena (like Janice Beall's great grandfather), and of course all the required permissions and copyright clearances. Extra points if I find the topic of interest to me!

But once that is agreed, then how to decide among competing goods? I know I seen and used tools before, but I clearly need a refresher.  This tool seemed helpful - a grid like the one below.

Impact/ effort grid 




 So we are looking at impact and effort.  Something that is easy to do and has major impact would be a great place to start.  1s and 2s are easy.  4, 5, 6 are important, but require planning. 7s need to get done. 8 are a low priority and 9s can be skipped or given to someone else.

I thought about recent collections put on Whilbr. The Cumberland Architecture.   3 -  medium impact, moderate effort. The ongoing This week 150 years ago this week - Civil War news from the Hagerstown newspaper - 2, moderate effort/impact. The Western Maryland Slavery site I am working on now, gathering materials from newspapers, wills, manumission records - I hope it is a 4 - much effort, and a major impact.   I know I've put up what I considered 6s - easy to do, but limited impact (i.e. few people who use the site.) But I know that with history and genealogy, others may have a very different take on what is significant. I'm hoping that with thinking about effort/impact in decision asking  I will spend time on fewer 9s.

MLA Tech Committee Meeting

Hidy Ho,

I was getting ready to write up my thoughts from today's MLA's Technology Committee Meeting and I thought, why not post these things to the Learning Journal Blog? So, here's to trying something new. Plus I think this will help aid WMRL's efforts in being more transparent to our colleagues in Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties.

I was recently asked by Margaret Carty, Executive Director of the Maryland Library Association, to represent the Synchronous Trainers group on the MLA Tech Committee and so, today was the first time I attended a meeting with this group. Below are some of the most pressing issues we discussed and I'd welcome your thoughts and comments on the matters so that I may share them with the committee via email and/or via our next F2F (face to face) meeting.

SMUG: Social Media Users Group
The tech committee recently received a request from Mary Baykan to consider creating a social media interest group for the purposes of:
  1. Focusing on eLibrarians and other colleagues across the state who are responsible for maintaining our libraries' virtual spaces such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc. and to give those folks a support network so they can collaborate and share efforts. (Mary, if you're reading this, please feel free to clarify because I'm paraphrasing Stuart Ragland's and Amanda Bena's words)
  2. Creating social media focused staff development programs at the MLA annual conference and as stand-alone programs throughout the year.
The committee decided that we are definitely within our limits of creating such a group but Margaret is going to approach Elizabeth Hulett to find out who exactly from the Maryland Library Leadership Institute was interested in working on this project and then after that, we as a committee can just help get the ball rolling and perhaps offer one of our members up as a liaison to the SMUG. So, a lot of this is still in the works.

Tech Committee's Conference Review:
We took some time to review the committee's role during MLA's most recent annual conference. The majority of the heavy lifting was done by Carroll County - who provided the majority of the technology and the tech support during the event - plus Stuart Ragland (EPFL/SLRC) and Scott Reinhart (CCPL) who were the two primary videographers. This lead into a discussion about if and how library systems are awarding CEUs for staff who watch the videos of the recorded conference programs.  Margaret asked me to send out an email to the Maryland Staff Development Coordinators listserv to informally poll what the systems are doing. I've asked - at least of the WMRL staff - that in order to earn CEUs they must watch a video in its entirety and then post a learning reflection to this blog. Both must be completed before I will award a CEU.

We then discussed how we record the individual programs and if there is a better way of recording them to make them more valuable - for instance, is there a way for us to videotape a program and then synch the audio/visual with the presenter's PowerPoint slides? There was also a request from one library system that we find a way to make the videos closed captioned so, we're going to look into that as well.

Charging for MLA Webinars:
Margaret asked the committee to make a recommendation to the Professional Development Panel (these folks screen and approve/disapprove all MLA non-conference programs that are received throughout the year based on content, presenter, etc) regarding the idea of charging for MLA programs that are webinars. We decided to recommend that any MLA programs that are going to be offered in webinar format should follow the same guidelines as those programs being offered F2F which pretty much comes down to charging a minimum of $10 per contact hour awarded; the price could increase to cover any presenter fees.