MPOW Personal

Come work with me!

We have two tenure-track librarian positions now open at the UTC Library, and YOU (yes, you!) should apply. We’ve taken a new direction with our Serials and Electronic Resources positions, and are looking for two excited, knowledgeable, and dynamic librarians to help move us into the digital future.

UTC Library is a phenomenal place to work, but it’s not for the meek. We move fast, change fast, and get stuff done. We’ve got crazy smart and active people like Colleen Harris, Virginia Cairns, Caitlin Shanley, Lane Wilkinson, Bo Baker, our awesome Dean Theresa Liedtka, and more. I’ve never been in a library so many incredibly smart and energetic people. Do you want to join us? Apply!

Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian
The Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian ensures optimal and accurate access to subscription resources in all formats, including databases, electronic journals and books, print journals and other continuations.

Digital Integration Librarian
The Digital Integration Librarian implements public facing digital tools and services, such as link resolvers, that connect electronic and other library resources for patrons.

View a chart comparing requirements and qualifications for each position
View the library’s organization chart

A review of applications will begin on July 5, 2011 and will continue until the positions are filled. Interested applicants should submit 1) a letter of interest, 2) a current CV, and 3) the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of three references including the professional relationship of each reference to

Library Issues MPOW OCLC Web Scale

Are we live?

Today is the scheduled Go Live date for the first implementation of the OCLC Web Scale Management services, and we are so close that we can almost touch it. We spent the day doing massive testing of the various pieces of WMS: Circulation, Acquisitions, Cataloging, and our WMS-driven Worldcat Local, with the OCLC team working with us to tackle anything that popped up. As you might expect, being the first to implement this radically new a system brings things to light that neither we nor OCLC entirely knew about or understood…the infrastructure for this is only now really being tested with live data from a working library. I know that a lot of eyes are on this to see how it works (or doesn’t work), so here’s a quick rundown of where we are today.

Circulation could, as far as the system is concerned, go live now…it’s a functional system at this point, with all of our policies in place and working for all of our patron types. However, we now have a backlog of circ data to catch up on (the delta between the last massive data load and now), and we’re proceeding with it, and with further data-verification testing at the same time.

Acquisitions/Cataloging is so, so close. We successfully received and cataloged books today from scratch for the very first time, and walked them all the way through the process of preparing them to circulate. As a part of this process we discovered that we are going to have to re-evaluate our workflows even more…even we, who have been preparing for this for 6 weeks now, didn’t really grok the degree to which this alters our traditional workflow. So over the next few days, we’re going to be taking a closer look at those, and see how we take advantage of the massively streamlined workflows that are possible with WMS. Acquisitions is still very much a module in progress…it’s much ahead of schedule as far as the initial install schedule goes, and I’m impressed with how far it’s gotten in almost a ridiculously short timeframe.

The last piece of the puzzle is Worldcat Local, which is about 95% of the way there for our needs. The one major display issue cropped up last week as we started to see our serials holdings in Local, and that display issue is already scheduled as an out-of-cycle fix. We’ve seen the fixed display, and it works really well.

I can’t really explain how hard many people have worked to get us to this point. Andrea Schurr, our Web Technologies and ILS Librarian has worked multiple 80 hour weeks to get all our data out of our current system and into WMS. The entire staff at Lupton Library have laid other needs aside to help out with every little piece of this project, completing things in weeks that were timelined for months of work yet. And the team at OCLC has just kicked ass responding to questions, pushing for updates, and generally being amazing in helping us understand how this beautiful beast is constructed so that we can get the most out of it.

So with all that said, it comes down to: did we make our implementation date? Are we “live” with WMS? At this point, for my purposes, we are. We have about 98% of our data in the system, and the few straggling records are ones that require some serious cleanup…which we’re doing, and those will be done in the next couple of weeks. We are are working towards catching up our circulation activity of the last 2-3 weeks, which will take a few days. As well, we are going to take a few more days to examine our acquisitions and cataloging practices in order to make sure that we’re using the system and our staff as efficiently as possible, and then begin the process of catching those data bits up…if you aren’t processing as you go, it’s amazing how quickly things fall out of sync. And our patrons are already using Worldcat Local, driven by WMS data, for discovery and resource location.

Are we as live as I’d hoped? Honestly, no, we’re not. But as my Dean keeps reminding me: it’s not about us, it’s about the patrons. We have to get just a bit more testing, more data verification, and more workflow examination on our end in order to make sure that what we’re delivering to our patrons is the best possible experience we can for resource discovery at UTC.

Here’s my takeaway from this whole process up to this point: we now have the first working system of this kind in any library in the world. We moved from our previous ILS to this completely new model and set of data structures in just 6 weeks, or roughly 1/6th the time of the average ILS migration. We are working very hard, still, to make this as good an experience as we can for our students, faculty, and staff. Who can complain if we take a couple of extra days to triple check a few things? 🙂


More UTC Library Rave videos

More videos collected from YouTube…these all from a single user, in the last couple of hours.


UTC Library Rave – Fall 2009

Looks like another flash mob/flash rave happened at MPOW, UTC Library, last night. From the footage already up on YouTube, looks like this time someone convinced the powers that be to let the students into the library instead of pepper spraying them outside of it.

Here’s the early footage:

EDIT: More videos coming online now

Library Issues

Building a Library 2.0

I’m not sure if that title actually comes across with the meaning I’m after. It’s not Building a….Library 2.0. It’s Building a Library….2.0. 🙂

Is anyone aware of a building project being managed via 2.0 tools? MPOW has been funded for a new library, and we are currently in the project planning phases. I’m pushing for us to be completely transparent about the process…we are a state school, and everything we do is more or less subject to sunshine laws. Might as well put it right out there.

As a part of the project, we’re going to be managing it with a wiki (still under construction due to new server being purchased), probably sharing documents with Google Docs, and we’ve already started our Flickr Pro account for photos of site visits. We’ve got two video visits that will probably go up on YouTube.

Is there anyone else out there doing this? I know there aren’t many simultaneous builds going on, especially of academic libraries, but surely someone has done a “transparent build” before. Our plans involve letting the community comment on the wiki, and gathering feedback from as many of these sources as we can to inform our build plan.

Anyone out there have suggestions for the process that the 2.0 technology might improve, other than the things I’ve mentioned? This is new for me…it’s going to be an interesting few years.

Consider this the first of a few blog posts on transparency. More exciting news coming later this summer. 🙂

Digital Culture

5 Weeks

I haven’t talked nearly enough about the 5 Weeks to a Social Library project. I mentioned it long ago, and then never followed up with more information, so I’m fixing that today.

I just finished my presentation for 5 weeks, and it was a complete blast! It was only my second time doing an interactive webcast, and it was amazing…fun and informative and just great. I absolutely adore the multiple conversations aspect of most webcast software, where I’m presenting and doing visuals and voice, but the rest of the class is having a conversation completely separate from me via text on the side. Just amazingly info rich!

My presentation was entitled Make Your Library (warning: full screencast IE only), and focused on the what and how of If you want to listen or take a look at the slides and such, all the content can be found at OPAL.

Let me just say that the organizers of 5 weeks (Meredith, Dorothea, Michelle, Karen, Amanda, and Ellyssa) have completely knocked it out of the park. If this isn’t an exemplar of how to do an online learning experience, I haven’t seen one.

Digital Culture

What do I need to know?

I call upon the wisdom of crowds: I will be moving into my new Head of Library Information Technology position in the new year. What information sources must I now attach myself to in order to fully embrace and excel at this job? I’m thinking:

  • Listservs?
  • Conferences?
  • Blogs?
  • Publications?

Lay the world of Info Tech management on me, and tell me where I should be participating and consuming!

Digital Culture

Security strikes again

I just helped a student at the desk with a problem that is, after analysis, laughable. But the student was frustrated beyond words at it…here’s the situation.

The student bought a Lexar Secure Jumpdrive (not this specific model, but a similar one), and used it to save a bunch of papers off of their desktop to bring in to the library and print. Except that the software that the Secure Jumpdrive uses requires Administrative rights on the computer system to run…which means that none of the computers on campus could read her files.

I walked her through how to save the files to her desktop, put them on her university webspace, and then format the drive to get rid off the offending software. I get the thought behind the security on a thumbdrive…but trying to explain that to a student who only sees that she can’t use the tool she bought is like explaining DRM to someone for the first time. Yes, you bought it. Yes, you should be able to do that. No, you can’t actually do that. Such fun!

Digital Culture

Reference as Help Desk

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few months as I worked through the website redesign at MPOW is how reference departments interact with patrons in the virtual world. In conjunction with the re-launch, we’re going live with our IM reference service, and re-visiting how we take virtual reference questions. As I think about how we do things, I realize I’m not happy with the overall way we’re dealing with email reference…it’s distributed, so there’s no single record that can be browsed for common questions. It’s not archived in a meaningfully searchable way. It’s not flexible. It requires us to manually forward emails and potentially miss a followup.

So in re-envisioning email reference in a new way, I realized that what I really wanted was a Help Desk/Trouble Ticket system. Is anyone out there using a formal Trouble Ticket system as a reference tool? Or, is anyone using one at all, in any capacity, and could recommend a good Open Source php/MySQL system?

I’m looking for something that presents a browser-based form for collection of issues, with a big plus if it also allows email reception into the system. Anyone got a favorite?

Digital Culture

Head, Library Information Technology Services

If anyone reading this blog would do me a huge favor and throw a linkback or comment or mention on your blog my way…we’re trying desperately to find a great candidate for our recently vacated Head of Systems position here at UTC. The entire job ad is here, and here’s a brief description. If anyone has specific questions, I’ll try and answer them within the best of my legal ability (the state of TN has some wacky rules about job ads)….

Reporting to the Dean of the Lupton Library, this position provides leadership and know-how to advance the Library through the development and expansion of library collections, tools and services that facilitate learning, teaching, and scholarship within a digital environment, as well as creating an infrastructure that facilitates the adoption of next generation library services.

Specific information technology related responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Provides library leadership and strategic planning for the design, integration, and maintenance of the library-computing environment and for the specification, acquisition, development, and support of digital library collections, tools, services, and support applications that facilitate teaching, learning, and research.
  • Manages a staff of 2 professionals who develop, deliver, and maintain information technology services for the Lupton Library and works collaboratively with other librarians and colleagues throughout the Library and the University.
  • Administers the Library’s VTLS Virtua integrated library system.
  • Provides consultation, support and problem resolution to ensure Library software and hardware is functional, interoperable, and serves the ongoing goal of supporting research and teaching.
  • Gathers, monitors, and evaluates usage statistics.
  • Serves as backup to other members of the Library’s Information Technology Services Department.
  • Ensures the Library’s Information Technology Services Department is positioned to take advantage of new developments that improve the patron experience and staff productivity.
  • Serves as primary Library liaison to University’s Information Technology Division.

This is a great environment to work in…the team that is in the library now is remarkable. We’re moving towards a very robust systems/IT infrastructure, and have some really great ideas where we’d like to go. Plus, you’d get to work with me! 🙂

So if anyone knows someone looking, please make sure they apply! As well, throw a link to this entry up anywhere you can, or link directly to the job ad above.