Seems like I was at the wrong session at the wrong time – I missed
Bilder’s comments and others that have traveled widely on twitter.
Search for #ssp09.
The opening keynote today was by the current head of ARL, the Association of
Research Libraries, Dr Charles B. Lowry. ARL includes123
major research libraries from the US and Canada – members are the
libraries, not individual librarians. Note, too that I think he said
that 113 of these were universities. There are research
libraries that are not in universities, btw. You can read
about their mission on their web page. Dr. Lowry started with
a review of the statistics about the financial situation in libraries,
including discussions of decreasing budgets, staff hiring freezes,
endowment issues. He then discussed a bunch of trends they
saw when they did their environmental scan, published as a report
on their website in February. Interestingly he also covered
legislation they are watching and trying to impact.
So I thought this was all mundane and routine and obvious, really.
Nothing surprising here in the trends – this is what I live,
actually. I don’t think it’s new that librarians cooperate
with faculty – the best always have, the worst never will.
But then the floor was opened to questions. That’s
where we got the FUD
that I had been afraid of. I enjoy interacting with the
physical sciences and engineering publishers with whom we do business.
I might give them a really hard time about decisions they make that
aren’t the best thing for the user, but in general it’s not really
adversarial. Well, let me quote this jerk (and don’t sue me
dude, I’m not using your name):
How dare you come into a group of publishers and
demean the roles of publishers?
And what is worse, the audience clapped. He went on to talk about the
evil that is the NIH policy – sigh. This ruined the whole thing….
seriously. All these talks about collaboration, out the
window. Later, the outgoing president stood up and said that
this isn’t the society for publishers, but for publishing.
Next, I went to the session on Microsoft’s Research Information Center
Virtual Research Environment. You might ask, why the x would you do
that when Mendeley and Zotero were being discussed in one of the other
sessions? Well, mpow
has floated the balloon that we’ll have
to replace our library web page with …. a SharePoint site (ew!).
So I’ve played with it, and it breaks the search snippets our
federated search creates and it breaks a catalog search form, and …
well, I can’t get it to do what I want! So I went in to this
session with malice and hope.
RIC is an add-on to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 (hence forth
MOSS). The point is to offer a platform to integrate
discovery, analysis, experimentation, dissemination and then project
management aspects of the scientific process. It seems to have a lot of
the same things in other MOSS installations, but it adds in a federated
search and sharing bibliographies. They mentioned it
searching pubmed, but I’m not clear if it just can do regular Z39.50
targets. In any case – this is no where near as good at
presenting search results as our version of MetaLib. As you
might have seen on my previous blog, I’m not happy with Microsoft’s
re-invention of the bibliographic manager, either. I’m not
sure if it extracts references from the pdfs you save and share on the
site or not (like Mendeley does), nor do I know if you can easy add
open URL links. I might see if our administrators will
install it in a dev environment.
That session ended with a discussion of 4 new-ish add-ins to Microsoft
Word 2007: creative commons, ontology, chem4word, authoring
add-in. Creative commons is to add license metadata; ontology
finds ontology terms and marks them with smart tags; chem4word is
pretty cool – for any chemical you can show linear formula, 2-d
representation, name; authoring add in produces ORE markup
for NLM format. These are all pretty cool. One of
the presenters said over and over again how this markup helps with
search, so I asked, can we now use this markup in searching across a
MOSS installation for a chemical? No, not yet
At lunch I sat at a table of publishers discussing impact factor.
The top ones don’t care about impact factor (meaning their
table choice was strange) and all said they weren’t interested in
citations and mentions coming from places other than peer-reviewed
Then there was the wrap-up, which really wasn’t. And now I’m going home!