15 September 2009

Another Transition for Ms. OPL

As another step toward real retirement, I have decided to close this blog.

I've been busy organizing the One-Person Librarian archives at the University of Illinois (a project almost done, but still open to new contributions) and planning the Special Libraries course that I am co-teaching in the Spring (with Lian Ruan of the Illinois Fire Service Institute). So you can see that I still have my hand in the OPL waters. I just am not blogging much. So, this is as good a time as any to close it.

Also, I have closed my company, Information Bridges International, and am discontinuing its website at http://www.ibi-opl.com. However, I have take much of the information on those pages and created a new, personal, website at http://sites.google.com/site/foropls. And, finally, I am changing my email address from jsiess@ibi-opl.com to jsiess1@gmail.com.

I'll still be around, just in different places, so feel free to contact me with questions, problems, success stories, and contributions for the archives.

Thank you all SO much for all the years of help and support. I couldn't have done it without you!

Keep on keeping on--and enjoy!

Judith Siess
(formerly known as Ms. OPL)

22 August 2009

Can You Describe What You Do in Three Words?

Mary Ellen Bates lists some great answers to this question on her blog, Librarian of Fortune. Read the whole post, then see what you can come up with to describe what you do. Here are some of the ones I liked best:

Making clients smarter (her answer)
Strategic information solutions
Better decisions faster
Helping organizations thrive
Informing client decisions.
Encourage knowledge sharing

What was mine? Solutions to problems.


21 August 2009

An OPL Shows How to Survive a Recession

Penny Sympson, OPL at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Northbrook, Illinois, was mentioned in “Saving Special Libraries in a Recession: Business Strategies for Survival and Success,” a Contributed Paper at the 2009 Special Libraries Association Annual Conference. The paper was written by five graduate students and a professor in the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park.

There is a summary of a survey of special libraries and four case studies: a long one on KMPG’s National Tax Library, and shorter ones Wiss Janney, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Apple Computer. It concludes with lessons learned: Market Yourself Aggressively, Know Your Audience, Be a Part of the Organization, and Prepare Metrics and Justifications.

This is a good article that all librarians should read—and implement its suggestions. Way to go, Penny!

URL: http://www.sla.org/pdfs/sla2009/SavingSL.pdf

18 August 2009

Dow Jones on the Hidden Cost of "Free" Information

Dow Jones has released the e-book, Pay Now or Pay Later: Exposing the Hidden Cost of “Free” Information. It was written by Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, VP & MD, Dow Jones Enterprise Media Group, with the acknowledged help of SLA members Stephen Abram and Mary Ellen Bates.

It is well worth a read. Here are some excerpts:
“An unlimited amount of free information misleads us into thinking that there is no cost at all. In reality the opposite is true.” “The real issue is value.”

There are 7 sections:
1. The Power of One: Centralize, organize and unify your information resources.
2. The Magic of Me: Customize information to the needs of the individual.
3. Follow the Leader: Establish rules and administrative controls in the organization.
4. A Matter of Trust: Encourage confidence and understand context.
5. The Lost Month: Improve search productivity.
6. People Are Talking: Manage your reputation in a social world.
7. Freedom of Information: Embrace copyrights and protect your organization

Also included is a checklist of resources [from Dow Jones, of course] “to ensure your information sources are truly productive.”

However, the only places it mentions something like a librarian are: (emphasis mine except in the last line)

“Without a guiding intelligence, knowledge does not ‘know’ where to go…. Expert research specialists, however, can help users direct data sources into the appropriate channels….” (item 2)

Professionals [in what not stated] prescreen information to weed out material that’s extraneous to their readership.” (number 4)

Bur when it does mention us, it is good PR: “In any information-intensive enterprise, librarians and other information professionals are a key resource for reducing costs and improving organizational efficiency. According to a study by Outsell, Inc., …in-house librarians save an average of nine hours and $2,128 per each request for information.” (point 5)


06 August 2009

Three Lists of Must Reads

100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future
The folks at Bachelor’s Degree Online (whoever they are) have compiled of list of blogs to follow. Divided into Technology and Education, School and Academic Librarians, Library Issues and Advocacy, Research and Reference, Innovation and Information, Reading and Literature, and Professional categories, they include most of the ones I follow and some I have to look at. A good place to start if you’re looking to keep up with the ever-changing library world. (Find more at http://globeofblogs.com by searching on “library.”)

URL: http://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2009/100-best-blogs-for-librarians-of-the-future/

25 Predictions for the University of the Future
On Associate Degree (which seems to be a site similar to Bachelor’s Degree Online), site administrator Emily Thomas goes out on a limb to predict “how the university of the future will operate.” The ones focusing on libraries:
“Libraries will continue to become more tech-focused”
“Learning resources will shift online”
“There will be an increase in the variety of educational resources and materials”
and many interesting predictions for other facets of higher education.

Definitely worth a read.

URL: http://associatedegree.org/2009/07/29/25-predictions-for-the-university-of-the-future/

Best Practices for Government Libraries 2009. Change: Managing it, Surviving it and Thriving on it.
LexisNexis’s Marie Kaddel has compiled over 60 articles by librarians, association leaders, and LexisNexis consultants. Included are federal standards, actual library case studies, LexisNexis presentations, press releases, and think pieces. And all this is available for free! Download it and learn. (PS. Not just for government librarians….)

URL: http://www.lexisnexis.com/tsg/gov/Best_Practices_2009.pdf

05 August 2009

Resources on the Generations

Sidney Lowe and Susie Skarl [University of Nevada-Las Vegas] have put together a great list of resources on dealing with the upcoming generations (X, Y, Millennials, etc.). Thanks to Stephen Abram for pointing it out on his blog, Stephen's Lighthouse.

"Talking 'bout my generation: Exploring age-related resources" http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crlnews/2009/jul/agerelate.cfm

Stephen's Lighthouse: http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com

03 August 2009

Top 10 Reasons to Use Your Library

These came from the brochure “Library Services for Primary Care Standards,” published by the Virginia Library Network and "based on recent studies of library user patterns." I don't think it's a particularly great list, but a top-ten list is a good idea--especially in a brochure. And this idea is not limited to medical libraries--any library can do this.

I'm sure if you work on it, you can come up with 10 reasons specific to your organization and your library and are better than these. Go to it!

10. Get valuable information to help make decisions.
9. Get more accurate information.
8. Make better decisions.
7. Save time.
6. Be more productive.
5. Get your work done.
4. Do better work.
3. Be a “fast-tracker.”
2. Contribute to knowledge sharing within your organization
1. Save money.

URL: http://www.mlanet.org/pix/nmlm_07/large/valnet.jpg

Need Help in Writing Your Library Brochure?

Tanya Feddern-Bekcan [University of Miami (FL) School of Medicine] asked members of the MEDLIB-L electronic list for suggestions for what should (or could) be included in a library brochure. Here is a summary of the replies she received.

Note: You don't need to put all of these into every brochure. You should have a basic brochure with numbers 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,13 (just the who can use the library part), 33, and a selection of 18 and 21. Adding 27 and 28 would be good, too.
Other brochures could have more specialized information, such as "More About the Library" with the basic information plus 1, 9,13,14, and 20; "Library Services" with the basic information 16,17, and 18; "The Library: Wherever You Want It" with the basic informaton plus 15,22,23,30 and 32. You can think of others, I'm sure.

1. Library Mission/Vision Statement
2. Hours
3. Main phone number
4. Physical address
5. Post Office address with campus locator code (for interoffice mail)
6. Main email address
7. Website address
8. Director’s name
9. Librarians’ names (with/without email addresses or phone number extensions)
10. Campus map showing library location
11. Layout map of the library (indicating location of study rooms, stacks, etc.)
12. NLM Classifications
13. Library Rules (who can access library in person or online, children accompanied by adult, no food/drink, computer usage rules, badge worn inside the library, etc.) - only the "who can access the library" is necessary
14. Library Policies & Procedures (checkout, donating materials, renewal, placing a hold, fines, etc.)
15. Website URLs or databases: with or without annotations (PubMed, MEDLINEplus, etc.)
16. Listing of the number of books, electronic resources, databases, etc.
17. Listing of number of computers and other library equipment (copiers, scanners, paper cutter, etc.)
18. Listing of library services (training, ILL, designing/printing professional posters, document delivery, copying, providing guidance relating to copyright and the ethical use of information, teaching curriculum-related information skills with you, etc.)
19. Listing of librarian duties (part of healthcare team, contribute to patient care and safety, serve on hospital committees, share new resources & ideas, etc.)
20. Referring to librarians as masters-prepared, certified, faculty, professional medical librarians, etc.
21. Quotes by pleased patrons identified as “Molecular Biologist,” “Assistant Professor of Medicine,” etc.
22. Instructions for Remote Access
23. Search tips
24. Description of the EBM/Research process
25. Funded/Donated items and the name of the donor/funding source
26. Awards the library has received
27. “Coupon” for a free library service or candy
28. Tear-off bookmark that lists the library contact info, hours, and services
29. Information prescription form
30. Training request form
31. Top 10 Reasons to Use Your Library
32. Image of the library homepage with its features pointed out and annotated
33. Date the brochure was last revised

Tips for Working Smarter

Cynthia L. Smith [Barley Snyder LLC, Richmond, VA] and Julia E. Hughes [McGuireWoods LLP, Harrisburg, PA] presented a session on “Working Smart: Innovative Ways to Do More with Your Day” at the recent conference of the American Association of Law Libraries in Washington DC. The session was sponsored by the OPL Section of the Private Law Libraries Section.

It looks to have been a very good session. You can get the following online: the outline, downloads of the slides, a bibliography and list of resources (with links to screencasts), and the original proposal.

URL: http://sites.google.com/site/e5workingsmart/