What are Public Services? Plenty of metaphors for changing role of libraries and librarians – calm river guide, riding rapids of a sometimes chaotic information flow alongside scholars works for me. We know how to navigate the information flow and we teach scholars & emerging scholars how to do it. We do more than that, of course – we’re in the business of building better rafts and oars, and in influencing the shape and course of the river.
This is what I hope we are NOT – A few months ago there was considerable handwringing in library world over the recent Ithaka rpt that finds that the Library’s role as a gatekeeper has declined. Given that so many of the fences are gone, not going to expend resources tending to lonely gates w/ no fences … instead, we are concentrating our resources on developing smarter discovery environments, providing expert support for navigating those environments, and increasingly acting as channel editors to provide early warnings or alerts to new and relevant information objects – intelligently anticipating the info needs of our scholars, sometimes b4 they do.
Still haven’t explained what we really mean, organizationally, by PS at Stanford. Obligatory org chart. My role is AUL for PS for Humanities, Social Sciences, Int. & Area Studies We have an AUL for Science & Eng libraries as well, he doubles as director of our Digital Library Systems & Services group In hum & SS, we have 4 branch lib’s, 20 subj spec in our main lib, SPEC, and the IC is where we have ref/inst, ILL, MediaMicrotext. Of special note – new unit DIG. Also note Collection Dev under separate AUL
So, now I get to brag a little –toot my own horn, if you will. Altho truthfully bragging about accomplishments of my colleagues New discovery environment Instruction/Reference Outreach Digital iniatives w/ heavy public service implicaions
First thing to brag abt is our New discovery environment = SW – truly collaborative effort to develop a nxt gen discovery environment. DLSS folks have done tremendous work in building a tool that is responsive to evolving needs of scholars. Based on Blacklight engine (open source, out of UVA). Been avail for 2 years now, but this fall became 1st choice – replace links on homepage and elsewhere to old catalog, redirected vanity URLs Well rec’d—actual student quotes.
why so well-liked? Relevancy, filtering. Clean look, intuitive interface Book covers (from Google) Facets for narrowing search and for discovery Jimi Hendrix ex.
Also plenty of info on detailed page as well options for sending records Cite this
Google preview – search w/in book : “browsing within”
Also provide way to browse across books Major concern among scholars as more books move off-campus, more e-books Haven’t quite cracked the e-book browsing completely yet, cuz many come w/o call #’s; but we’re working on it.
Full browse – across all libraries on campus
We switched to SW as primary catalog this fall – marketing campaign Actual fortune cookies at our annual open house and during workshops with search tips instead of fortunes Brag abt this both bcuz I think it is an exceptionally clever campaign theme and beautifully done, but also bcuz I love the way we accomplished this Instead of outsourcing (light on resources) or appointing a team of usual suspects, I sent out a call for volunteers to work on a marketing campaign – got 5 people who had hidden artistic, creative talents who were excited to use them. SW 101 workshops for staff and patons – full house for both staff sessions, less than 10 patrons across 2 patron sessions
longer term roadmap for SW – extend the vision of what a catalog can be by adding content and features not present in legacy catalog. Blacklight can handle Non-MARC data – which allows us to reduce the silos and add content such as growing map collection, image collections. Also personalization features with potential for tailored views into the collections based on discipline, ability to tag my books, etc. Idea is to provide discovery experience not possible elsewhere.
Mobile version – part of official iStanford App – set of Apps, of which the library tile is considered the Killer App. Mobile version of SW Also separate Libraries section on the maps tile
Cornerstone of our instruction efforts is our support for the mandatory 1st & 2nd year writing program – known as PWR Assigned librarian Online guide Tailored workshop Coursework role
400 workshops, 6000 students Intro workshops for freshman, other course-based ws’s, workshops on data, citation mgmt tools, and adv. Workshops/seminars for grad students
What is impt to me is not just how much teaching we do, but what we teach What I promised factulty at new Fac Orientation this fall was: If your image of lib ws as someone trying to convince your students of the thrils of boolean searching, I promise you that is not what you get from us We are spt you in getting kids excited about research process and abt the resources avail to them; and give them skills and confidence to do so
What we do outside the 1hr 50 min ws is equally impt. Online research guides – this will show up in the “bad times” section of the talk later Not crazy about format—but I love that every freshman and sophomore PWR class gets a librarian and an online guide And many of the guides have photos of the librarian.
Here is an ex of moving from reactive support to proactive Coursework role esp’ly important – puts librarian into the fabric of the course. Follow conversations about class topics and insert our expertise.
Do they work? Oh yes! 99% of students who get ws use lib catalog, 93% d’base No before data, but others do – OCLC study found that 0-1% of students start with library catalogs for their research
56,000 reference questions last year 65% are Reference, 25% technical, 10% directional Across all libraries, in-person, email, chat Reference not dead – google did not kill it, but does up the ante – no longer fact-based reference – more process and research consulting Implications for who does reference?
Orientation events for new undergrads, grads, faculty Started general grad orientation 2-3 years ago – as supplement to what branch lib’s and subj spec do with new grad students in their dept’s. Turn out first year we did this was overwhelming – over 300 students came Annual Open House
I know FB is so last year – but truth is our FB page is still going strong – over 2000 fans/likes; with lots of interaction. Why –CONTENT -- to some extent we are preaching to the choir. We realize that people who “like” a library page are book geeks, so we post book and reading related news and stories. Also, in the workshops I do, I tell the kids that it is OK if they go to FB during the WS, but they have to find our page and “like” it if they do.
OK—switching now to some of our digitial initiative that have PS implications ETD’s– Wish I could show you the submission page, but (and this is the cool part) it is avail. Only to students who are actually ready to submit a dissertation. 1 unique feature of our ETD system is the seamless integration with the registrar’s office and the admin req’s of submitting/graduating. Only when student meets all the pre-diss requirements are they given the link to Submit Diss. They submit metadata, PDF of diss, full abstract, and supplemental data That gets passed to both our Dig Rep, our online catalog, and to Google Students get embargo choices, and CC license choices and info
When you click on the link, you go here Can dowload PDF, see license status Supplemental data avail here as well, subj to author restrictions
Another cool thing we are doing is creating online versions of our Exhibits Tel Aviv exhibit was the first, and we learned some impt lessons here—mostly abt metadata We apparently did not include any obvious metadata that wld allow SPEC staff to field patron requests easily Small enuff collection that we are going back and correcting now, but doing it proactively for new online exhibits
Another online version of an exhibit, but this one illustrates a new initiative in what we call Digital Philanthropy In this case, we don’t actually own (yet) the physical collection, but the collector wanted the collection to be available online to the world So we get rights to digitize the collection, she keeps the physical artifacts (altho in this case, I’m pretty sure we are in line to get the phys collection at a later date – prob’ly a bequest) We increase our unique digital holdings for phys items that the collectors not quite ready to part with Heavy work on that in the maps arena for us as well
Parker on the Web project, another ex of digital collections where we don’t own the physical Collaboration with Corpus Christ college, who owns the collection –they have the collection, we had the technology to scan and to create a tailored delivery environment Medieval manuscripts, delivered as super hi-res scans, in env. With page turning, zooming and other bells and whistles
Hi-res shot of illustration
Repurposing the delivery environment for items in our Art Library In this case, going through process of getting author perm’s for copyrighted items, and concentrating on items where page-turning is part of the experience of “reading” the item, and on items needed for instruction
This is from one of our born-digital collections One of our Dig Hum’s specialists did this rough and dirty visualization of poet Robert Creeley’s email correspondence
All this new digital content is great, but in some ways it just adds to the problem of silo’d content One promising way forward that we are putting effort into is linked data/semantic web Idea behind linked data is to embed relational info abt objects into RDF triples, exposed on the open web RDF triples contain the “x is related to y” info = “Robert Creeley published Black Mountain Review”, “Allan Ginsberg published in Black Mountain Review”, “James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg in Howl” “James Franco grew up in Palo alto”, “I live in Palo alto” What are we doing in the linked data arena? We are working with MetaWeb Freebase (recently acquired by Google) to allow them to create RDF triples out of the facts contained in our catalog records As impt, we held a day-long Linked Data Summitfor staff – make staff aware and hopefully ready and thinking abt implications
OK -- so I also want to talk about our challenges, bcuz I think there is much to be gained in talking abt our common struggles Im going to try to do this honestly and openly, but w/o airing too much dirty laundry
This feels a little like airing dirty laundry, but its already out there anyway Our lib homepage is 6 yrs old, which in web-years may as well be 100 Pretty static, everything has equal weight, and you cant really DO anything from here So, small committee to come up with something new
Really keeping it patron focused, and doing lots of data collection My favoirite is where we gave 3x5 cards to students and asked them to complete this sentence
Some samples This one wants website to be “mindreader”
Wants overview of topics – which sounds like what we try to do with our subj guides (this will come up in min) Also collected data from ref and loan desk abt FAQ’s, So, we’re still prototyping and iterating – with usability testing of each new prototype
This is one of our latest versions – just to be clear, mocked up in Balsamic—which basically allows you to do sketchng online –not actual design yet, not the real font, etc. Search right up front, featured content, hours and location infor, personalized Whats not here, and what we still havent figured out, is subj guides –those topic overviews that several patrons specifically said “It would be cool if …”
Our current subj guides are an inconsistent mess Some in DW; and like this one poor info design, and static I can pick on this one, bcuz it is actualy one of our most heavily trafficed pages – amazingly well-curated content, and one of only places on web to get it
Another ex of one of our DW pages Slightly better looking design, but I’m not sure patrons think of content in terms of format --Spec. Collections, Electronic Resources, Microfilm
DW not particularly easy for subj lib’s to use (which is why so many of our pages are static and/or out of date); so some are experimenting w/ libguides Problem is without careful info design, still not exactly screaming “Use me for that overview you’re looking for …”
Drupal feels like it could be that sweetspot btw ease of content creation and decent design … but not there yet
Space is another big challenge for us Disclaimer – this photo not of library, but of faculty office – altho one option for solving our space problem is to encourage every faculty member to check out lots of books Several years ago when we first sent huge numbers of items off-site for storagge, we sent low-use items Running out of low-use items to send, and not sure that is best criteria Low use items might be those that are hardest to discover online With our improved discovery env. And online browsing, maybe send med and hi use items that have rich metadata – easy to discover without physical browsing?
Yep – instruction is both success and challenge Success in that we are doing lots of fantastic instruction Challenge is to bring it all together Lots of world class musicians doing great solo work, we need to bring it together into something bigger Make sure we are teaching consistent, well-sequenced set of concepts, skills, etc Instruction summit in the summer, Instruction training every summer
Outreach also shows up on both sides of the ledger Im pleased with our success, but I know there are plenty of students we never reach—students like me who spend way more time as undergrads at basketball games than in the library How do we reach those students who don’t know they need us?
Thanks for listening –
Public Services at Stanford: Good times, bad times
Public Services at
Good times, Bad times(with apologies to Led Zeppelin)
Photocredit: Flickr user Rooney
AUL for Public Services
Art & Architecture
Music Library &
& Area Studies
& Univ. Archives
Photo credit: Herber Matter Collect, Stanford University Special Collections
“I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE
“Searchworks saved my life!”