Friday, November 23, 2007

Like a moth to a Kindle

Amazon's Kindle - the new e-book reader (and more) is out, well, sort of, initial demand out paced supplies. Curious:

First thoughts; great use of mobile phone platform to support the networking of electronic books. While it will be interesting to see how people adapt to this new form of book, what impresses me is the scope of Amazon's content delivery service.

Note that besides being a key resource for buying new and used print copies, Amazon has been moving into electronic copies for quite awhile; besides acquiring a French company that produced Mobipocket , which targets book sales for PDAs and phones, Amazon added some articles, chapters, e-books, etc. from publishers to their online marketplace.

Why I say scope...
Amazon's is working with the complete content distribution picture - besides marketing new & used print...

From the digitization services (as provided by Kirtas & Amazon: )

To the reprinting services (really a publishing service) as provided by Amazon's BookSurge - which reformats electronic books to those of us who want to write in the margins with pencil/pen. By the way, BookSurge services can have a very significant impact on library services, such as ILL borrowing; buying reprinted medium-to-rare books in lieu of significant efforts to borrow an original, and even collection development / ILL - for selection and finding sources for self-published works.

OK, back to the Kindle...
It will be very interesting to see it and competitor products; Sony's e-reader, smartphones and various distributors, such as Fictionwise: .

How will these new devices and services drive new behaviours and opportunities for both our users and libraries?

It is also very interesting to see the free access to Wikipedia via Kindle. Essentially, Kindle is not a free web browser, however, you have to wonder why free wikipedia? Is it because it provides valuable context and connection for the worlds of books and life? Is wikipedia a selling point?

Lastly, one has to wonder...
Will Kindle be a 'free' 10 ounce interface to the Amazon marketplace, so we can carry an online world store with us everywhere?
& secondly, what additional fee based services may be tacked onto the Kindle over time?

Looks like I will just have to wait to find out - best wishes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program - Let's do more...

Hello Everyone,

A few weeks ago, one of our faculty members was told that in order to check out at a nearby library, they would need to obtain an OCLC RFBP card from their home institution first (then return to check out the books in their present hands). The reference department had cleaned house recently, so those RFBP cards weren't available, but the process of obtaining new cards and helping this user made me wonder why hasn't this program evolved. OK, first the basics...

This is a borrowing program that over 100 libraries signed on years ago. It originated from an OCLC reference advisory committee, and it basically enables authorized card carrying faculty members to check out from participating libraries - provided they get the card before they drop by the library. If you are wondering if your institution is on the list - I added the link to the program list on SHAREILL's network page: Note: OCLC will update this 1999 website with the following details and more:
Details about the program: from OCLC's Online Publication #46a
What does the card look like?

When I asked the ILL Listserv for feedback on the program, it's obvious that about one maybe two cards are issued every year - so marketing this program hasn't exactly reached the faculty population, or the library staff that are usually surprised by questions about RFBP.

While this program seems revolutionary for the time, we can do more...

How about the resource sharing wings of IFLA and ALA take their lead from the rethinking resource sharing initiative and enhance this type of program with more libraries, less hurdles, more systematic and authorize more users.

A most wonderful librarian, in talking about the need for reviving this program recently wrote "Of course, my real dream is to create a national library card that we can use at any library in the country. Now *that* would be a real service for the library user!" I agree and further, I think we could even create a global library card - now that is a card I want in my wallet! Lastly, in many ways, ILL serves as a virtual global library card with a relatively expensive add-on paging & delivery system; expanding any direct reciprocal borrowing program seems a good idea all around.

So I feel it's worth asking:
Can we use the ILL system like consortia circulation borrowing system?
Basic authorization, accouting, and even tracking systems can help us approve and enable direct borrowing of users, provided the ILL system were tweaked a bit. If so, we might expand the idea of ILL to include visiting circulation services.

What do you think? Shall we expand our ideas of ILL to enable direct & convenient resource sharing? Shall we make this our cooperative 2008 resolution?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Distance Education ILL Service

One of the most interesting challenges to the effectiveness of Library Services is Distance Education or remote user services. Not surprisingly, we have to see this as an opportunity to think outside the box, and think outside we must. I have on several presentation used a skit to show how the hold for pickup model for Interlibrary Services doesn't quite cut it for many users, and in the case of remote users, the double delivery dilemma (3Ds) makes even less sense. 3Ds means we borrow a book from another Library, handle it and re-ship it to our user's home; when they re-ship it to us, we re-handle it, and re-ship it to the lending Library (make sense??)

This makes services like Denmark's Books To Your Doorstep, and pilot's like OCLC's Montana Worldcat Delivery so important to consider. However, it isn't just a case where direct borrowing or Direct Delivery makes sense, in fact, we found that sometimes the numbers tell a different tale. Angie T. at UVa Library helped us look at our DE ILL requests, and we found that for about 6% of our requests that could be purchased - could be purchased for only $1 and rush shipped for less than $4. So, do we treat this as an ILL borrow, or an ILL copy - we purchase the book for the user. Interestingly enough, several colleagues have said this idea doesn't quite sound right; first because of procurement policies, and the other is a disdain for purchasing books for users (a format thing we have - ILL can pay up to $60 per article (lender fee + copyright)) and just giving it away... Good news, our Procurement Office has said it's OK, because it makes economic sense - and so we can test and compare cost, speed, and customer satisfaction.

So, what are we to do with the idea of purchasing books for our users? Comments/Suggestions?

The added irony of this idea is in the testing, I purchased several $1 books for myself to evaluate what dollar books in "good condition" really meant. In most cases, they were Library withdraws and many from Better World books. Is this resource sharing with a third party vendor?

More on this soon.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rethinking Access Service

Ever wonder why Access Services conferences are far and few between? I do? While Interlibrary Loan conferences and regional meetings are consistent, I haven't really seen many on the suite of Library services on Access Services. Today, after talking about this with a colleague at UVa Library, I want to see a conference or forum (like the Scanning Forum) that addresses the need for Access Services at Libraries to face punctuated equilibrium strategically.

We might see the Rethinking Resource Sharing Forum and org as a model for addressing the need to rethink Access Services... Why?

Access Services is transforming; with consortia circulation systems, they increasingly deal with Interlibrary Loan issues. Access itself is diversifying; equipment, study rooms, services, delivery options, format challenged, remote user services, source options (buying, renting, etc.) and more.

Access Services Librarianship is chaotic? Many have said that Access Services is suffering some de-professionalization, similary, others say that Librarian positions are facing the same pressure.

Can Access Services both manage the day to day operations of the Library and transform itself at the same time?

Should we take up planning an Access Services forum for 2008? Potential Topics:
  • Circulation - Reference Interviews & Hybridization
  • Electronic Reserves - Print Reserves
  • Service Convergence - ILL, Reference, Just-in-Time Acquisitions, etc.
  • Fines - True cost of overdue Fines
  • Automating workflow - renewals, etc.
  • Recall vs. ILL
  • Distance Education & Remote User Delivery Services
  • Hold for Pickup or Deliver to Home
  • Storage
  • Administration
  • Managing Facilities
  • Customer Service
  • Training & Staff Development
  • 24 hour schedules

Are others interested in the idea of an Access Services conference or rethinking forum? Let me know.

Why Librarian in a Box?

You decide:
a. You are visiting this site from a box like screen - the evolved TV.
b. Historical resonance from my days of producing video series for cable access called Art in a Box.
c. Refers to the reality that we work in a large box, but we strive to work beyond boundaries.
d. Idea of having a webcam kiosk at Pionner Square in Portland, OR to ask questions of Librarians.
e. All the above