Magic Fulltext Access Cookie

In an oped piece for Inside Higher Ed, Alex Golub laments that he has lost access to full-text resources through his alma mater, the University of Chicago. He discusses how he used to view this access as a privilege that he enjoyed for having attended this elite school, especially given his current underprivileged position at a state university. I have encountered this situation before, so I thought it would be worthwhile to point out this article on my blog. Just as University of Chicago discovered, it is not usually legal for libraries at IHEs to provide their graduates with access to licensed content. I suppose this could possibly be negotiated in the licensing agreements with vendors, but would certainly increase the cost. Just one more reason why Alex and all the other academics out there should jump on the bandwagon and publish their research in open access journals! Here’s a link to the Directory of Open Access Journals listings for Anthropology.

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education – Inside Higher Ed :: Old Boy Networked
My alma mater had finally gotten its act together, realized that I was no longer a graduate student there, and withheld from my Web browser its Magic Fulltext Access Cookie.

If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist Would We Have to Invent It?

Every academic library dean or director has heard, at least once, the comment that the academic library has become obsolete. This is disheartening to hear and leaves one scrambling for an answer that doesn’t sound a bit desperate. This article in the latest EDUCAUSE Review takes an interesting approach by using an imaginary scenario to explore the ramifications of closing the academic library. One of the most important statements the author, Lynn Cochrane, makes is to predict that, in the future, academic libraries will split their time 50/50 between acquiring, managing, and providing access to published information and collecting, managing, and “publishing” locally produced information. She says, “Over the next decade (probably less), library leaders need to help those of us in academic libraries to reduce our focus on the publisher-driven model (role 1) and increase our attention and resources to the user-driven model (role 2). Then we can do what we’ve always done best: bring order out of the information chaos swirling around us. ” Click the link below to read the complete essay, which is eyeopening!

EDUCAUSE REVIEW | January/February 2007, Volume 42, Number 1
Let’s imagine August 2010 at Excellent College (EC), a liberal arts institution of 2,000 undergraduates and 200 faculty. The college has decided to stop funding its library. Instead, it will give students a tuition rebate and give faculty a stipend representing their share of the annual amount that would previously have gone to support the library’s collections, facilities, and staff—about $2.7 million total. Each student and faculty member will get $1,230. For now, the library building and hard-copy collections will remain in place, student assistants will keep the doors open, and custodians will clean the facility; but database subscriptions will be discontinued, and no other services will be provided. Since the college has a robust honor code, circulation of materials will be on the honor system. Students and faculty will now be on their own to secure the information resources they need to fulfill their responsibilities.

Strategies and Frameworks for Institutional Repositories and the New Support Infrastructure for Scholarly Communications

This article by Tyler O. Walters of Georgia Institute of Technology appears in the October D-Lib Magazine ( I wanted to share it with our faculty and staff because it discusses an important shift in scholarly communication. Scholarly dialogue no longer takes place only in formal publications; the academy is beginning to recognize that important communication also occurs in informal ways. We are poised to be able to harness that intellectual capital and manage it ourselves in ways that adds to its legitimacy. The time has finally come when the balance of power is tipping away from publishers and towards owners of intellectual property. For those of us in small academic institutions, this represents a very positive trend that will eventually allow us to be able to provide our communities with access to information that was previously only available to the elite.

Strategies and Frameworks for Institutional Repositories and the New Support Infrastructure for Scholarly Communications
The definition identifies two broad categories of scholarly communication, formal and informal. Historically, librarians have been most concerned with the formal (i.e., journals, technical papers, conference proceedings, white papers, research reports). However, a growing body of informal modes, such as blogs, wikis, listservs, and other social software content, are being utilized by scholars and their students. Increasingly, new knowledge is exchanged through both formal and informal means.

I Agree With Barbara Fister of ACRLog Re: Room of their Own

In a blog posting day (ACRLog » Blog Archive » Room of their Own), responding to a story in this week’s Chronicle about the library renovation at Cal-Poly, Barbara Fister says:

“But to my mind, we can’t all save everything. Storing print runs of JSTOR titles just in case seems to me to be a poor use of expensive space if your students have nowhere to study in the library. Decisions about how little-used but unique materials should be retained need to be wider than any one institution. In Minnesota, we have a shared storage facility open to all libraries in the state, the Minnesota Library Access Center. It’s an amazing place if you ever have a chance to tour it. It’s easy and quick to get things delivered from the “cave” – and though you can’t just bump into them by browsing, most undergraduates will have a better browsing experience with a more select and well-tempered collection than a huge one full of unique and little-used items.”

That was my reaction as well. And I would like to point out that the article was all about faculty reaction to the weeding of the collection and did not mention student response. In my experience, students do not particularly value the experience of serendipitously discovering a dusty periodical volume on the shelf. However, they very much appreciate being able to search for, locate, and download the same article from JSTOR. I think we need to carefully consider whether we are letting emotions get in the way of common sense. After all, not every book or article ever written is worth saving. And, even more likely, most books and articles will only be of interest to a few researchers. It makes good economic sense to house the materials in most demand and use document delivery and other resource sharing methods for the more esoteric materials. As we are planning our library remodel, we are certainly thinking along the same lines as Cal-Poly.

Georgia Tech Library :: Information Services

The Georgia Tech Library is a good example of an academic library that is providing some information management services for their campus.

Georgia Tech Library :: Information Services
The Information Services Department serves as the Library’s principal information gateway and is responsible for critical activities such as providing frontline reference services, assisting with research, and facilitating referrals to appropriate individuals, departments or organizations. Librarians in the ISD serve as subject librarians to schools, departments, or colleges on campus and provide library classes and orientations, as well as one-on-one consultations.

Library as Information Center

I have just spent the last two days meeting with the architects that are helping us to prepare a program plan to turn in to the state for funding for a library revitalization. These guys ask really good questions! They have been encouraging the campus to think about the library of the future as the Information Center for campus with the librarians serving as information managers. This is not a totally revolutionary concept, but as we were discussing it with our director of IT, it made me realize that there is more overlap than I realized. It became clear that we each considered ourselves responsible in some ways for the management of certain records. I am the official liaison to the State Archives to report on how the campus is disposing of records and to ensure that campus units comply with state retention guidelines. However, IT is the one actually helping the departments digitize and archive their information as this process has become largely electronic. But neither of us has particularly worried about how to organize access to campus generated information. I am planning to do some research to find out how many academic libraries are using institutional repositories as a means to provide access to university administrative and student data as well as academic data. One good example that I know of is Georgia Tech.