If you have noticed, this month’s Middlebury magazine has been delivered to your campus address instead of being sent to your home. Since we keep copies of the magazine at the info desk for visitors to take, might we suggest that when you have finished reading this month’s issue, instead of recycling, please remove the mailing label and place in the slot at the information desk.
During a recent meeting within the Systems and Infrastructure Area we were discussing the practice of regular Sunday morning downtime. We decided to revise our practices given the increased reliance and visibility of our various systems. We are going to remain using the same time period, Sundays from 8AM-10AM. However in the short term we will communicate all planned activities for the weekend ahead to LIS by Thursday at 5PM. In the near future, we will also have a webpage to list this planned work which we can use to help identify potential conflicts. We also plan to make targeted announcements to the potentially affected groups in some sort of automated fashion and perhaps also develop an opt-in listserv to allow anyone who cares to keep track of such announcements. We think this greater transparency will allow us all to be more aware of and hopefully minimize possible disruptions.
Submitted by Elin Waagen
The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is currently in session. Wed 8/13 – Sunday 8/24.
Click on Public Events Schedule 2008 for a list of readings and lectures.
Readings and lectures are open to the public.
Be careful driving up the mountain!
Submitted by Bill Warren
As mentioned in a Collection Development report in a recent LISt, we have adopted a new fund structure for the library-materials budget, as of the start of the new fiscal year. We heretofore had two large parallel sets of funds, one for discretionary purchases (one-time purchases), and the other for continuing obligations (subscriptions, etc.). Each of these sets had a separate fund for each subject area. For example, we had a Biology discretionary fund (“biodi”) and a Biology continuing fund (“bioco”), and so on, for each of our subjects. In all, we had well over 100 separate funds.
We decided to stop allocating funds by subject, and have only a single fund for all discretionary purchases, and a single fund for all continuing obligations (with the exception of a couple of endowed funds, which we wanted to keep separate). In order for payments after the changeover to be applied against the new funds, we had to figure out a way to change the old fund in each of our outstanding order records (that is, order records that are not closed or completed) to one of the new funds.
We have two basic categories of order records. The first is for discretionary (one-time) purchases. When an order record is created, an estimated price is entered, which encumbers (sets aside) that sum in the appropriate fund. When the item is received and paid for, the money set aside is disencumbered and paid out, and the order is closed. The second type of order, for continuing commitments (subscriptions), operates differently. No estimated price is entered, and thus no money is encumbered. Each annual renewal, or each successive volume received, is invoiced against this same order record, which can be used for a number of years, rather than one having to create a new order record for each annual renewal or new volume. At the time of the changeover to the new fund structure, we had about 5,000 orders outstanding: either orders for one-time purchases that had not been received, or continuing orders for subscriptions.
Unfortunately, it is normally not possible to globally change the funds in order records, to avoid the danger of inadvertently wreaking widespread financial havoc within the acquisitions system. The only exception is that during the course of one of three fiscal closing procedures (the process of closing out the accounts for one fiscal year and starting the new fiscal year), wholesale changing of funds in outstanding order records is allowed.
This fiscal closing method is not the one we normally use, and is not really designed for the purpose we had in mind, but documentation and the experience of others indicated that it would accomplish our end.
So, as part of the fiscal-close process, we undertook to change all our outstanding orders from their original subject fund to the appropriate new fund, which meant changing the orders attached to over 50 old discretionary funds to the single new all-inclusive discretionary fund, and doing the same with all outstanding continuing orders. Readers will be spared numbing detail; suffice it to say that the process worked only partially, and was considerably more labor-intensive and tedious than we had hoped. The funds in outstanding discretionary orders were converted to the new fund, but encumbrances were not carried forward, and had to be reconstructed. To our dismay, the funds were not converted for the continuing orders, which unfortunately is the far-more-numerous category: about 4,000 outstanding records. Since global update could not be used, the funds had to be changed manually, one by one. Happily, a number of volunteers came forward, including a couple from outside our department (our fervent thanks go to Mike Lynch and Joe Toth) and in a frenzy of creating lists and editing records the group converted all the continuing order records to their new fund in a single morning. The changeover is now complete, and we are operating with the two new all-inclusive funds.
Submitted by Judy Watts
As the beginning of the Fall Term steadily approaches, it’s a good time to review LIS policies regarding room scheduling. These are readily available to you in Public Folders in Outlook. Look for Public Folders, then LIS, then Library Room Schedules, then Library Room Guidelines. It is also available in the LIS staff folder on Snowleopard.
It’s especially important during the busy first 2 months of the Term that LIS staff meeting classes have priority in the instructional spaces. Please be firm in applying the guidelines and flexible in moving meetings that could take place in a different space or at a different time. Each room has it’s own guidelines. In LIB 105, for example:
• Scheduling more than 7 days in advance is only for LIS+ instruction/training, otherwise open as a computer lab
• Should be used for meetings/trainings when every individual needs a computer
• Non-LIS+ faculty and staff may reserve for non-recurring classes/trainings (needing computer use) no earlier than 7 days in advance
• Groups smaller than 8 should try and use other rooms (room 221/230 with laptops checked out)
• Be sensitive to academic calendar and student needs for computer labs
• Avoid scheduling during busy student times (mid terms, end of terms, exams)
You will earn the appreciation and gratitude of those of us who are attempting to schedule classes for instruction.
Submitted by Michael Warner
Catching up with cataloging… here are a few highlights of what’s been going on in and around Room 125 this summer.
Sue Driscoll has been working with Joanne Stewart, in the Reserves Office, to learn the finer points of E-Res materials—as beginning this Fall semester, cataloging will assume primary responsibility for creating metadata (i.e. cataloging) of E-Res items. Sue is also working with Special Collections staff on a project to catalog a gift of several hundred titles, given to Special Collections by the family of Omar S. Pound, Ezra Pound’s son. It’s an eclectic mix of poetry, history and religious texts from the Middle East and South Asia, including translations of poetry as well as texts in the original languages.
Marlena Evans, working in consultation with Lynn Saunders, continues to do retrospective cataloging of selected older Government Documents material. Marlena is also adding a large collection of Art Auction catalogs (Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and the like) —items that are regularly given to the library by the College Art Gallery.
Kristin Geoghegan has been consulting with Tim Mosehauer, of the Career Services Office, on a project to weed their collection and clean up Midcat records for CSO materials. As this is a remote collection, Midcat records for it haven’t always been accurately or fully maintained. About half of the 600 records in Midcat were deleted and Tim devised a new classification scheme for the materials that remained. Kristin trained CSO’s summer student assistant, Casey Mahoney, to edit the online records and make all the necessary changes. Kristin also completed the cataloging of 40-or-so new titles for the collection. (If you are interested in learning more about the CSO collection, a quick Midcat search on Local call number “CSO” will get you the full list of what’s available.)
As the cataloging world pays more attention to genre headings—especially for the DVD collections here at Middlebury, Jess Isler is working to add appropriate musical genre headings, based on a list provided by Terry Simpkins.
Michael Warner and Richard Jenkins continue to consult with Mike Lynch and Jeff Rehbach in connection with adding new materials to our institutional repository collections on NITLE DSpace. Recently added are LIS Annual Reports, posters and presentations; up next, 50 or so 2008 undergrad theses. (To see what’s available: go/dspace) Michael and Arabella Holzapfel are about to undertake a major Periodical weeding project, withdrawing materials duplicated by our JSTOR and other electronic subscriptions. There are currently about 500 titles on the list, consisting of many thousands of bound volumes. For this phase of the project only bound volumes are being withdrawn and discarded. While many microfilm and microfiche subscriptions are also being canceled, the film and fiche we already own are being retained.
Submitted by Mike Roy
As an experiment in using web 2.0 tools to interact with our patrons/users, we’ve created a Suggestion Box Blog . The blog is a place for any and all to make suggestions, record interesting ideas, and ask general questions about all things LIS. The impetus behind this is the desire to provide an easy way for us to receive feedback, and to provide a forum for discussion of these ideas. We plan to respond in some way to all posts, although we also plan to revisit this plan should it prove to be too much work. The blog, which is linked off of a new ‘Contact LIS’ channel on the main LIS page, can be reached directly by going to LIS Suggestions. It’s been seeded with the comments that we received during the spring’s Conan the Librarian poster sessions.
The brains and brawn behind this came from Carrie Macfarlane, Joe Antonioli, Bryan Carson, and Jeff Rehbach.