Sharing new ideas, resources, knowledge and technology to keep abreast of new development in reference service field

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You need a WPL Card to Access Mergent, RefUSA, HeritageQuest and ...

If you or your patrons would like to access WPL's remote access databases, a WPL library card is required to access those databases.

The WPL's remote databases are listed below:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Keynote Speaker Tom Clareson - Digital Commonwealth 2010

Fundraising for your Digital Collection by Tom Clareson

Select your project for funding according to the specific area covered by the fund-granting institution. Research the grants that are available, and tailor your proposal to the grant you are seeking.

Monitor grant activity.

Even in our current economy, there is a lot of funding for digital projects.
Document what you work on, even if you do not complete your project; it might be something someone else could use.

Government Grants: Federal and State

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
  • National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)
  • Save America's Treasures (SAT) - Grants for historic buildings - lately interested in what is inside those buildings
  • National Science Foundation "the digital promise"
For digitization, large, or hidden projects, look at what has been funded.

Kinds of Grants:
  • Grants to Preserve and Create Access to Humanities Collections "brittle books" cataloging prior to digitization
  • Challenge Grants - matching money
  • Incubator grants like the Joint Urban Studies Center (JUSC)
  • Grants for new grant users
US Newspaper program - Statewide or Collaborative Projects for local newspaper preservation
Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections $40,000 for planning $400,000 for implementation

This one is do-able:

NEH up to $6,000 springboard
mid-May deadline

4 pages / 1 page budget
50% - 75% awarding
supplies, equipment , storage furniture

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Digital Resources
National Leadership Grant (NLG) Advancing Libraries and Museums, Leadership in the field
21st Century Librarian Program
Connecting to Collections Call to Action
  • what are key issues in preservation conservation
  • under-served collections /populations
  • Conservation bookshelf best practices print ansd web materials
Statewide Implementation Grants
Massachusetts Connecting to Collections surveys
  • where we should go what direction should we shoot for
  • voice you concerns

IMLS "WebWise" Conference, Washington D.C. 2010
  • Sustainability
  • real-life stories of how projects have failed lessons learned
  • free admission
  • some time around Thanksgiving
Foundations: 5 kinds
  1. general purpose large endowments
  2. special purpose - usually science, but coming our way
  3. Company-sponsored foundations Target, American Express, Coca-Cola, H W Wilson (Polar?)
  4. Community foundations - regional Massachusetts Cultural Council, local - collaboration
  5. Family foundations - staffed by an attorney / family/ individuals

Fundraising strategies for digital projects (programming)
  • Alumni
  • Friends groups
  • community drives
  • corporate gifts
  • "hitching on" to other collaborative projects
  • subjects/ themes/ other projects nationally that work with your collection

Grant Writing "How To"

  • how grant will change people's lives
  • what are you famous for?
  • what is unique to you?
  • market research/focus groups
  • persuasion
  • in response to a need: why is this project seminal?
  • how are funds allocated
  • exactly how project is going to come to fruition? be realistic
  • guidelines: how project is going to be implement
  • what programming you have done - use to get grants
  • must be easy to read - no jargon
  • asking for other staff to take over your other work
  • budgets: look at other projects online
  • appendices: documentation
  • lack of communication with program officers
  • failure to follow guidelines
  • quantification of collection formats and size
  • ownership and IP rights
  • lack of detail in plan of work
  • no letters of support or commitment
  • missing information on project staff
  • budget errors

Tom Clareson offers a free service to review grants

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Speaker Robin Dale - Digital Commonwealth 2010

Getting Started with the Digital Commonwealth, by Robin Dale

There are two types of use for the Digital Commonwealth:

  • portal: only metadata. It does not have to include digital pictures.
  • depository: stores a digital collection of images which is searchable.
The Digital Commonwealth Portal
  • Dynamically created to display recent activity
  • Includes links
How do you get info into the portal?
  • Open Archives Initiative (OAI) protocol for metadata processing
  • Indexed
  • The portal is dynamically updated
  • OAI works with a static repository document
The depository lives on server (not on your real estate)
  • You can link from the Digital Commonwealth to your online digital collection until dynamic option is available

The Digital Commonwealth Repository

How the Repository is different from the Portal:
  • There is a separate fee.
  • It is a hosted service.
  • The licensing is temporary until database is used locally
  • The local institute still owns images
  • The Digital Commonwealth will use the same branding that is on your library's site - institutions, collections, objects, logo
Objects in the Repository:
  • The objects are dynamically updated.
  • High resolution images come in a variety of sizes.
  • You can include metadata in same screen as your image.
  • You can link into your catalog
  • The Digital Commonwealth will not change your image.
Getting Started:
  1. The Initial Consultation
  • One-to-One.
  • You will be consulting with professionals such as speaker Robin L. Dale
  • You will be discussing what is important about your collection what are you are known for.
2. You sign the Digital Commonwealth legal agreement

Considering your collections:
  • should it be digitized?
  • can it be digitized?
  • may it be digitized?
  • who can host it?
  • what system will be used?
Metadata is necessary to find digital images
With metadata, the cost for the repository is mainly the human cost: labor.
Costs will include administrative costs: those with access to files.
The metadata has to cover all groups.

Metadata Standards:
The user can use XML. Components include: element sets, standards, protocols.
The Digital Commonwealth uses Dublin Core (DC).
DC 15 has common elements. The Digital Commonwealth also uses "OAI-PMH:" Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
It is standard - so computers can talk to each other.

Using the repository: this is the easy part.
  • Obtain the member toolkit.
  • Send sample metadata.
  • Upload the repository!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Keynote Speaker Roy Tennant - Digital Commonwealth 2010

Engaging Users, by Roy Tennant

There are two different user groups who use your organization's website:

  • those with a natural affinity for your site, including those who have to use it (Tennant calls them "within shouting distance"), and
  • free floating web users
Those with the "natural affinity" find your site:
  • online, through email, facebook twitter, links and ads on allied web sites, and
  • offline, through marketing: t shirts, flyers, print, and bookmarks
Those who are "free floating" find your site through
  • links, and
  • hubs massive sites start sites (Wikipedia)
Searching Google:
70% of users get indexed in Google

  • Get linked on Wikipedia, or
  • put photos on Flickr
The Library of Congress put their photographs on Flickr
Created amazing statistics and exposure
Since Flickr is one of the top 50 viewed websites, and the Library of Congress is one of the top 6,000 websites, they increased their visibility exponentially.

On Flickr, users can comment to add information they have to existing image, and they can link to other people who have additional information.

Can you find your site on Google?
Include a site map on your website.
Expose your URLs to Google crawler so that it can be read.

The hidden web: all a site map is is an index to your page - it is a stupid list containing all of the URLs on your page. If you expose this list, your visibility increases.

Use Google Webmaster Tools!

Google doesn't crawl everything. You have to manually create code to get your page seen.

This code, stored on the text file, robots.txt, blocks all of the links that Google crawls.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Tennant suggests creating as liberal a code as possible, so that Google will giveit the most visibility. He suggests the code in the robots.txt file

User-agent: *
Allow: /

Tennant also suggests registering your sitemap with Google, and to read Google's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) document. It is not important only to create something great, but also to push stuff out. Get links to your website where are your users found.


Tennant turns now, from getting users to your sites, to engaging users.

You might have several audiences. What turns them on? What gets them excited? You need to change your site in order to meet the needs of your users.

"Rinse and Repeat." This is not only a one-time operation. You need to re-evaluate over and over again. Use the 5 Ws to ask about how to engage your user: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Use interactive tools to engage users:

tagging: LibraryThing uses tagging as a crowdsource method of cataloging. Other interactive devices include: commenting, listing, rating, and reviewing.

Use all of these on a digital collection. Allow users to tag digital images interaction and other ways of finding objects. Use crowdsourcing. Allow audience to correct images created using Optical character recognition, (OCR). Think of incentives that are easy, fun, and fast.
Avoid passwords. They create a barrier to otherwise interested users. Who wants to remember another password?

be there

Speaker Dodie Gaudet - Digital Commonwealth 2010

Metadata I: From the Beginning, by Dodie Gaudet

What is metadata? It is:

  • data about data
  • a method for organizing information for retrieval
  • bibliographic record - cataloging, among other definitions.
Metadata can be data about an object that is visible, or it can be administrative metadata, important for maintaining collection. Catalogers are responsible for metadata and use a variety of standards, such as EAD, AACR2 and MARC. Gaudet covered the basics of Dublin Core, or "DC."

If "Core" is part of the name of the standard, that means that the standard is pretty basic. Standards have a governing group. DC is maintained by Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI).

DC is flexble because it is extensible, works with other metadata, and uses commonly understood terminology.

A program, programming language, or protocol is extensible if it is designed so that users or developers can expand or add to its capabilities. ex. a Dewey number might get longer as a book's subject gets more precise: 782.9867875432. Dewey is extensible! Some common mark-up languages used to make web pages use the letter X to signify extensibility, such as XML and XHTML.

Differences of Dublin Core when used with Digital Treasures Project (DTP):
  • DC is extensible, but not when in use with DTP
  • In DC, all elements optional can leave a field blank. In Digital Treasures all items require title
  • all items are repeatable / can appear in any order while in use
  • controlled vocabulary is recommended (LC Subject Headings)
  • similarity in bibliographic record
There are 15 Elements in a Dublin Core Record:
  1. Title self-explanatory / it is helpful to use something specific
  2. Creator / author /who took photograph / can not use on separate lines/ use semicolon
  3. Subject /content of the resource / what is in photo?
  4. description / freedom
  5. publisher: C/WMARS
  6. contributor: help / assistant / illustrator
  7. Date: date of photograph or text / ISO8601
  8. type: image or text
  9. format: image/jpg or text/jpg
  10. identifier: to find in your library
  11. source: consider relation item first; can describe ex. 8.5 x 11 text
  12. Language: ISO639 en-US
  13. Relation: came from said book, or letter is from collection
  14. coverage: time period or physical location
  15. rights: copyright / permission
To use the Digital Treasures Project:
  • simply send your metadata and photo to C/WMARS -you must create metadata first, or it might never get done.

Speaker Mark McCormick-Goodhart - Digital Commonwealth 2010

The Role of Print Permanence in the
Digital Age, by
Mark McCormick-Goodhart

Both digital and original photography need attention by the modern archivist. In our culture, it is easy to discount the value of our digital images because they are in such an abundance. They are easy to lose. Original print images have archival, physical needs. Print permanence has become more complicated because:

  1. color fading on original photographs is ubiquitous. There are many ways to "fix" this technically, and standards are necessary.
  2. printing techniques have become complicated. There used to be very few elements involved in photography production, such as limited numbers of types of photo paper. Now, there are plenty of types of computers, printers, color cartridges, and papers, just using personal computer production as an example.
In order to address the needs of the archivist, McCormick-Goodhart has set out to create a "Consumer Reports" type of database for technologies that produce / maintain color, providing a metric which evaluates that retention.

Aardenburg Imaging and Archives is McCormick-Goodhart's company and website. The site has public and subscriber components, geared towards the professional. The archivist working with physical and digitized images will find this site useful.

Following the tab marked "Test Results" leads the user to the part of the website consisting mainly of a spreadsheet with sortable columns, wherein there are results of his testing and comparisons. McCormick-Goodhart has made a good use of crowdsourcing by opening out the testing of aspects of photographic images such as "light fading" to members of the website. There are many ways a print can degrade, ex. light-induced, temperature induced, etc. The spreadsheet covers what equipment was used and what the results of the "light fading" experiments were. Using these metrics, an archivist can make print life predictions.

McCormick-Goodhart raised the question: archival or even "reasonable care" can make even fragile pieces last 100 years, but what kind of shape is it in?

McCormick-Goodhart then spoke of the history of the digital image.
Printing is now optional and there are images now that were "born digital."
In 1997, consumers could purchase a do-it-yourself home photo printer.
In 2008, Walmart created a machine that used roles of ink-jet paper, which mass-produced images. Contrastingly, 1996: Fine art printing studios began using digital processing to make "original" pieces of art, and digital fine art printers were used as early as 1991.

We can value printed photos in two ways:
  1. print as storage container - information content, or
  2. a medium. The photo is a treasured object, so we need to preserve that object.
Do we color balance that object, or does the re-purposed image have the same value?

When a photograph ages naturally, or by means of an artificial aging process, the color changes. We are all familiar with yellowed family photos. That yellow is an example of "false color." The two major areas of film degradation are
  • color, and
  • tone.
The I* metric, created by McCormick-Goodhart, is an objective metric for quantifying the retention of color and tonal accuracy in an image. He does this by assigning a percentile scale to photographic degradation, simplifying the whole process for those who do not understand the sciences of color and tone in photographic imagery.

These percentiles are the evaluative metrics that are available at McCormick-Goodhart's Aardenburg Imaging and Archives website under "Test Results."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Hello, I am excited to share an informative site with you. It is a terrific local resource for vegetarians, vegans and people interested in learning more about either. The website has a blog on Worcesster vegan issues and events, there are lists of vegan restaurants, cafes, and stores where special vegan foods are available in Worcester. There is even a free vegetarian starter kit that can be ordered.

Something to look forward to is their Vegan Festival coming up on April 17, 2010. It will be from noon to 5pm in the student center at Worcester State College. Admission is FREE!!! There will be free food samples, speakers and live music.
I can honestly tell you that if I didnt have to work that day I would be there for sure!


Monday, March 01, 2010

Excerpts from an article about Jay Walker, curator of the Library of Human Imagination

From "Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library," by Steven Levy, WIRED MAGAZINE: 16.10

...Nothing quite prepares you for the culture shock of Jay Walker's library. You exit the austere parlor of his New England home and pass through a hallway into the bibliographic equivalent of a Disney ride. Stuffed with landmark tomes and eye-grabbing historical objects—on the walls, on tables, standing on the floor—the room occupies about 3,600 square feet on three mazelike levels. Is that a Sputnik? (Yes.) Hey, those books appear to be bound in rubies. (They are.) That edition of Chaucer ... is it a Kelmscott? (Natch.) Gee, that chandelier looks like the one in the James Bond flick Die Another Day. (Because it is.) No matter where you turn in this ziggurat, another treasure beckons you—a 1665 Bills of Mortality chronicle of London (you can track plague fatalities by week), the instruction manual for the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo 11 capsule to the moon), a framed napkin from 1943 on which Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win World War II. In no time, your mind is stretched like hot taffy...

...Wearing a huge can-you-believe-it grin is the collection's impresario, the 52-year-old Internet entrepreneur and founder of Walker Digital — a think tank churning out ideas and patents, it's best-known for its lucrative "I started an R&D lab and have been an entrepreneur. So I have a big affinity for the human imagination," he says. "About a dozen years ago, my collection got so big that I said, 'It's time to build a room, a library, that would be about human imagination.'

Walker's house was constructed specifically to accommodate his massive library...

...What gets him excited are things that changed the way people think, like Robert Hooke's Micrographia Published in 1665, it was the first book to contain illustrations made possible by the microscope. He's also drawn to objects that embody a revelatory (or just plain weird) train of thought. "I get offered things that collectors don't," he says. "Nobody else would want a book on dwarfs, with pages beautifully hand-painted in silver and gold, but for me that makes perfect sense."
What excites him even more is using his treasures to make mind-expanding connections. He loves juxtapositions, like placing a 16th-century map that combines experience and guesswork—"the first one showing North and South America," he says—next to a modern map carried by astronauts to the moon. "If this is what can happen in 500 years, nothing is impossible."...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

E-Learning with AARP
I admit it.
I read the AARP magazine every month. Before I turned fifty, I gave the magazine to "older friends." They could use the advice...I was not of age.
I have grown older and a little wiser. The monthly issues are looking pretty good.
We even attended a national convention they sponsored in Las Vegas.
We were there for a wedding at the same time...honest.
Which leads me into the reason for posting this blog.
An article in the January/February issue featured a guide to learning on line
Some of the best and mostly free learning sites are listed.
AARP made mention of this website in the article:
Dan Colman, who directs Stanford University’s continuing studies program, sees no end to the growth of e-learning opportunities. Colman, who founded and edits Open Culture, a website that tracks free educational and cultural media on the Web, considers these materials to be an important resource for personal enrichment, not a replacement for a college education. “I think we’re entering an era where lifelong learners will have access to limitless amounts of free, noncommercial educational opportunities. Arguably, we’re already there."

76 million baby boomers may be reading The AARP Magazine.
One is never too old, or too young to take a look at it.
What I can't figure out is how my 21 year old son gets his own monthly copy!

National Financial Capability Challenge

Dear Colleague,

In December 2009, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the National Financial Capability Challenge. They said that along with getting the economy back on track and getting smarter about financial regulation, we also need to make sure all Americans – but especially our youth – get the financial education they need to help them take responsibility for their financial futures. Treasury and Education are committed to working together on this issue. The Challenge – an awards program for educators and high schools students that aims to encourage the teaching of personal finance – is our first step in a new partnership.

An earlier version of the Challenge was organized by Treasury under the previous administration, and this expanded effort builds on that success.

Our goal is to get one million high school students to take the Challenge, which includes a voluntary online exam, by April 9, 2010. To make that happen, we’ll need thousands of educators from across the country to register and get their students prepared. Two thousand educators have already signed up. It’s a good start, but we have a long way to go. We’re writing to ask for your help.

Will you please support our effort to reach out to high school teachers and leaders – and other educators working with high school students age 13-19, such as librarians, youth group leaders, and after-school program staff – to encourage them to sign up for the Challenge at by March 14?

We’re encouraging educators to take these steps:
1. View the video message from Secretary Duncan
2. Register for the Challenge by March 14th
3. Recruit their colleagues to participate (flier available here)
4. Prepare their students (using the free educator toolkit or their own resources)
5. Administer the online exam one day between March 15th and April 9th
6. Present official (printable) awards certificates to high-scoring students

All participating educators will receive personalized awards certificates, and educators in states with the highest participation rates will earn special distinction.

Please consider taking these steps as an outreach partner:
· Send a custom message directly to educators and/or people who work with them
· Contact influential individuals who could help recruit educators to participate
· Include a link to the National Financial Capability Challenge website on your own site
· Include the Challenge in your organization’s social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
· Talk about the Challenge during speaking engagements
· Create additional incentives to encourage educators to participate
· Offer instructional support to educators new to this topic (e.g. linking them with local experts)

Thank you for your support on this important issue.


Michelle Greene
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education and Financial Access
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Matthew Yale
Deputy Chief of Staff
U.S. Department of Education

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Storm clouds for school libraries...

The proposed Obama budget, as we have all read by now, has left school libraries behind. It will hurt those who need school library resources the most, something that I would have thought Obama would have been more sensitive about. The irony in this is that, in this economy, public library usage statistics have shot up as adults and families cannot purchase books and DVDs and people are using libraries and their computers for job searching, resume building, and networking. This year MLA and MSLA are advocating for libraries on March 9th at the Statehouse in Boston. It might be the most crucial Library Legislative day ever held.
More detailed information on the proposed budget can be found at this School Library Journal link:

Does your Library need the iPad?

From what I've heard, iPads could be helpful in a library environment. If you are investing in an eReader, this tablet with its touchscreen capability, ergonomically handy size, and overall legibility make the iPad a savvy choice.

According to David Pogue's First Look at the Apple iPad, in his post to The New York Times,
"The iPad as an e-book reader is a no-brainer. It’s just infinitely better-looking and more responsive than the Kindle, not to mention it has color and doesn’t require external illumination."
Its multi-functionality gives libraries new possibilities in our search for new services for our patrons. You can surf the web, expect all of the same functions you get from a laptop or desktop, and even get all of the features you would from an iPod or iPhone, and introducing, iBooks. From the get-go, you can browse the Apps store with 140,000 apps.

Here in inner-city Worcester, most of our patrons are not going to be able to afford their own iPads. We have such a clamor here for use of the Internet, I have an idea that the iPad would be popular. It is important to consider security issues, and I believe we could exercise some positive groupthink, and find a solution.

As Librarians, we need to get used to our never-ending responsibility to examine our trajectory. The web is going mobile. Getting computers and the Internet was a huge step forward, but change in the world hasn't come to a halt. We need to stop catching up and take the lead. I challenge you, today, to think about ways the technology could work, before you list the reasons why it wouldn't.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Add "Chat with a Librarian" icon, link or QuestionPoint Qwidget to your library's website

As of January 1, 2010, the Worcester Public Library has started a "Chat with a Librarian" service. The new chat service lets you or your patrons ask questions and get answers online from WPL reference librarians.

The chat service is available: Monday through Friday 4:00-5:30.
(More hours will be added as soon as Springfield Public Library joins us.)

Please promote the service by linking the chat form or embedding Qwidget (an IM-like chat box for QuestionPoint; see example below. Qwidget can also be downloaded to iPhone, Android, or Palm and placed into Facebook) onto your library's website. Here are directions:

1. If you would like to embed Qwidget
to your library's website, email Ping at for the javascript. Click here to lean how to download qwidget to iPhone, Android or Palm.

2. Link to WPL Ask a Librarian page on your library's website


3. Use one of the images and the URL below for the chat form to link to the service directly

Friday, January 15, 2010

Little Black Book of Online Business

Author: Paul Galloway
Publisher: Wiley

This reference resource is not your typical black book.
No matter what you do online—whether you're an eBay seller, eCommerce merchant, information marketer, affiliate marketer, or even the operator of a brick-and-mortar business—The Little Black Book of Online Business is the ultimate resource for growing your business online.

This practical, resource-packed guide covers everything from blogs to e-mail to keywords to search engine optimization and everything in between. It features more than 1,000 of the best and most effective resources for helping online marketers put the book's smart recommendations into successful practice. In addition, it links to a wealth of downloadable utilities like redirect generators, Web form processors, and sales letter personalization tools.

This is not a book about how to make money on the Internet.
Instead, it provides the tools and resources you need to implement an online marketing program for any business idea you can come up with. Author Paul Galloway has spent ten years on the technical side of online marketing, implementing successful lead generation, affiliate tracking, and online advertising systems for some of the Internet's biggest online merchants. Now, he puts those years of experience to work for you, with tools and strategies for maximizing online exposure and driving business growth.

The Little Black Book of Online Business gives you the best, proven resources to help you supercharge your online business. A required reference for anyone doing business online, it's packed with endless resources no online marketer should be without. If you want to succeed online, these are the tools that will get you there.

CMRLS Regional Reference Center, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Sq, Worcester MA 01608