Author Archives: Shawn O'Neil

Innovative Users Group (IUG) meeting – Chicago 2012

Arabella Holzapfel, Shawn O’Neil & I (Barbara Merz) were at the 20th IUG in Chicago – beautiful city – love the lake, parks etc. etc. The meeting was quite interesting too. We’ll give brief highlights of the sessions we found to be useful, and we’ll download the associated materials, which in most cases will include PowerPoint presentations, to the folder \orgs\LIS\LISstaff\ILS III Millennium User Materials\IUG 2012 materials for your enjoyment & edification.  An observation I (Shawn) had after attending these workshops is that Middlebury College is ahead of the curve to many other Institutes in technology. Our network infrastructure seems to be superior to others.

  • “Running a User Experience Group in the absence of a Sys Admin.” (BM). Bentley University. Without a Sys Librarian, III duties fall to a group of 7: 2 tech support, 2 reference, 1 circ, 1 tech services, 1 special collections. 8 staff can access the III helpdesk. Very interesting model.
  • “Sierra Roadmap & Update” (BM) III’s pitch for the wonderful new world of Sierra. Sierra will have 100% of Millennium functionality.
  • “Learning Library-Specific Context to Mobilize Library Catalog” (BM) At University of Miami concern for the usefulness of the OPAC on mobile devices, even though searching starts with Summon, led to the adoption of Bob Duncan’s mobile stylesheet, with modifications to take care of their OPAC customizations. Definitely worth follow-up.
  • Load Profile Forum (BM & AH). Useful review of resources available to load profilers. Wiki available but underutilized! Time for Middlebury to review RDA implications.
  • “Automation: Boost your Productivity a Thousand Times.” (BM) Good tech geek presentation. Use of Expect in various flavors, AutoIt plus Java to automate repetitive tasks e.g creating review lists from record numbers, barcodes etc.
  • Systems Managers Forum (BM) Mostly controlled by III staff member talking about transition to Sierra + how things would work in Sierra. Take away message – III’s efforts will be largely directed to Sierra development from now on, even though they insist that Millennium development is continuing. My conclusion – Middlebury should consider the future of our ILS with all due haste!
  • “When your item types just don’t work anymore” (AH) was a discussion about how and why a library totally revamped their item types (going from around 10 to 101) to help them better identify various formats of material, which in turn aided greatly in tracking statistics of all kinds for all reasons. Most of it is useful ‘inside baseball’ stuff, but one intriguing thing that came out is that they (a public library in Oklahoma) loan out bike locks.
  • Two useful sessions focused on using Millennium (and, in one session, additional assistance from an outside vendor) to aid in weeding (AH). (One library had 100,000 volumes in off-site storage to weed.) Interesting factoids: Jefferson County Public Libraries in Colorado (my home state!), with 10 branches, serving 548,000, orders 100-120 copies of bestsellers. They run their weeding list weekly and withdraw about 120,000 items each year.
  • Four useful sessions dealt with various aspects of batch record loads, particularly those for e-books. (AH) One session was presented by staff from San Jose State University, where they provide e-books from 17 different providers/platforms, and have patron-driven acquisitions programs from three different vendors. They use a combination of tools, including Excel and WinBatch scripts, to de-dupe and perform other necessary functions on batch records.
  • “Using circulation data to validate an approval plan” (AH) described one library’s journey towards refining their approval plan profile (for print books) to match or surpass the circulation rates for firm orders.
  • “Getting the most out of Print Templates” (SO) –creating and using print templates for everything from spine labels to hold slips.
  • “Centralized Weeding: using create list and icodes to streamline the weeding process” and “Millennium Makeover magic: weeding in an INN-Reach consortium”- (SO) The 1st presentation dealt with both public and Academic libraries and the later was an academic library that was involved with  INN-Reach. In both, faculty  was given a say over the weeding. There seems to be no standard method for choosing what is to be weeded.
  • “Creating lists for Beginners – Why created the wheel again” (SO)  In other words, use others’ lists (with permission).
  • “Confounding by Copyright?” (SO) It seems guidelines change all the time and you can “buy protection” for copyright privileges.

Oral History (Not Dentistry History)

I recently went to a workshop on oral history and I would like to share some thoughts of this workshop.

We all have stories.  Telling these stories integrated with historical events is what oral historians strive for. The Oral History Association defines oral history as “a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in the past and ways of life.”

Troy Reeves, the Head of Oral History Program at UC, conducted an educational and entertaining workshop.  He taught us how to perform a successful interview.  The interview was broken up into 3 stages: pre-interview, interview and post interview.

The Pre-interview consist of researching the subject and person that you want to discuss and meeting the “narrator” of the historical story.  Always test your equipment before the actual interview.  Get a “release form” for the “narrator” to sign.

The interview is the actual interview with a recording device, making sure that the environment is suitable both audible and visually.

The Post-interview may be the hardest step because this is the grueling work. This is the stage were you catalog the material, make either an index or transcription of the material. Deposit the material in some kind of receptacle (digital format, tape or HD). Sending a thank you card, with a note if there is anything else they would like to add. Offer them a copy of the interview.

These points were just an example of the material that was presented. He shared his tips and experience with us.   The one thing (out of many) that struck a note with me is the unexpected or the “real” story that may come out in the interview.  An oral historian isn’t like an investigative reporter.  An investigative reporter is there to get a story an Oral historian is there to get the entire story without editing it.

Here are links that will bring everything into prospective and compare UW and Midd.

Here is the University of Wisconsin Oral History’s Department. The UC Oral History department grew from a project into an actual department.

Here is a link to an oral history project on voices on their campus,

which I thought was similar to our digital lecture collection:,A,1;lectur,A,1;title,A,0;descri,200,0;date,A,0;20;lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOBIB=lectur,A,1,N;origin,A,0,N;title,200,0,N;none,A,0,N;none,A,0,N;20;lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOTHUMB=20%20(4×5);lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOTITLE=20;lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOHIERA=20;title,lectur,none,none,none&CISOSUPPRESS=0&CISOTYPE=browse&CISOROOT=%2Fdiglectarc

This is housed here:

The UW’s library collection has oral historical interviews in their collections.

Please feel free to contact me (or leave a comment below) if you would like to discuss this anymore or have questions.



Items that can leave the Library:

Calculators: These have a four hour loan rule and may be taken outside of the Library.

Mac VGA Adapters: These are found in the same drawer as the calculators and have a 4 hour loan rule.  These are typically checked out with LCD projectors and may be taken out of the Library.

LCD Projectors: These are kept in the equipment cabinet in room 208 and have a loan period of one day.  If a patron walks in without booking an LCD projector beforehand, be absolutely sure that the one you check out to them does not have a booking that day or the following day.  To do this search “LCD Projector” as a title in Search\Holds,  double click the record with the corresponding number appearing on the projector, and click on the bookings tab when in the Item Record.  If it has a booking the dates of the booking will appear in the record. Continue reading

Am I Obsolete?

While I was doing research for customer service for our student workers, I came across this great article.  The article’s author, Mark P. Bernstein, states that “Service (customer service) is what will allow libraries to not only survive, but thrive.”   This is something that I always thought was important.   I feel that having a good professional and human relationship with our patrons (customers) promotes  this “thriving”.  If you think about it…we at Middlebury College LIS have build these relationships, some of them for 25 years or more.   I believe one of LIS strengths is customer service and there is always room to improve or build those already established bonds.


We still have some left if anyone is interested.

Today(Thursday the 30th) in Armstrong Group Study 205

(Next to the Circulation Desk)

Take some!  The only rules are:

BE CONSIDERATE of others.  Take only the maps that you’ll use. 

NEVER bring the maps back!  We don’t want to see them again!!!

(These maps are duplicates or outdated.  We don’t have space for them.)

 Enjoy your new maps!