Monday, June 27, 2011

Evolving Engineering Libraries: Services, Spaces and Collections

Connecting with Data: First Steps toward an Emerging Area of Library Service
Megan R. Sapp Nelson discussed the need for librarians to learn and work with faculty and graduate students to develop data management skills. She indicated there is a need for distance learning for professional librarians in this area. At Purdue librarians are working with faculty to determine needs, practicing with their own large data sets starting this fall, and working towards development of data management education for graduate students. See the paper for useful references and a guide to get up to speed in this area. Check out Purdue’s Data Curation Profiles.

Start conversations with faculty about their graduate student’s data management practices, as well helping faculty with data management plans, especially helping them to keep within the two page limit.

See also portal April 2011 for article on Determining Data Information Literacy Needs by  Carlson, Sapp Nelson, Fosmire & Miller.

Dark, Dim and Daring – Anne C. Glorioso
Wendt Library staff at University of Wisconsin faced a challenge last year to reconfigure and relocate over 1 miles of their print collection. There was no existing withdrawal policy so they had a develop one. Last summer the collections management team used weeding criteria and considered factors such as electronic duplication (see PowerPoint or paper for criteria). During the process they developed an electronic journal back file wish list. Since they did not have a storage facility available they used various criteria to determine what would be kept. Library student employees were given instruction on updating Voyager records as the resources were relocated. Librarians verified the catalog records. Five hundred boxes per week were removed or 1.38 miles from their 4th floor. Changes in organizational structure at the Wendt Library may be of interest, as the School of Engineering merged support units. The reconfigured space will be for a Teaching & Learning Center opening this fall. Check with Wendt Library staff about the dark, dim, and daring details of this project.

A Library Instead of a Lab: Forging a Space Partnership in a New Building
Jeff McAdams described how University of Texas San Antonio recently added two new buildings to their campus, due to growing demand in the Bio-Sciences and Engineering (2006) and Applied Engineering and Technology (2010). Partnerships with librarians paved the way for the library to incorporate a “library lab,” now the branch AET Library. The new space has collaborative study spaces, printing, and ten computers. There are no print materials in this particular space but McAdams reassures us they still have print materials in their main library. The group study rooms with large display monitors and whiteboard walls prove to be popular as well as small areas with lounge seating. Staffed by science and engineering students, librarians serve as backups and are available for research consultation. At the service desk, students can ask questions, book/check out study rooms, check out eReaders (they have six, various kinds, but not too many checkouts so far), troubleshooting, tutoring, and consultations. Staff record their interactions and use survey monkey to do this, with a shortcut on their desktop. Eighty chairs in the facility with ~400 users a day. Smaller number of reference questions, more technical questions. This area is new and sounds like the potential of this new space is still being realized by engineering students and faculty.

Why call this a library? Librarians are there to foster use of the virtual engineering library.

Informing Collection Development through Citation Examination of the Civil Engineering Research Literature  Scott A. Curtis, now at University of Missouri, Kansas City, performed a study to determine if there are differences in citation patterns among varying disciplines. With a focus on civil engineering, he wanted to know if a high proportion of grey literature was being cited by researchers. He was also interested in web resource adoption by civil engineers. Research draws upon previous results (Musser, 1997, 2007; Kirkwood, 2009; Eckel, 2009). He used Journal Citation Reports to find the top CE journals by impact factor and number of citations. Using a May 2008 time period one finding is that the average of almost citations per article increased since a prior study, with 28 citations per article (range 3 to 62). Citations were coded and can be found within the University of Missouri, Kansas City’s data repository. Analysis of citations by format show variations, for instance he found hazardous materials researchers using more citations to journal articles, so even within sub-disciplines there are citation variations. Aging of cited materials analysis show engineers continue to use literature with a “long tail” or over time showed more citations to papers. Read the paper for details.

Defining grey literature: Curtis included tech reports, standards, theses/dissertations, patents, software/manuals, product literature, and unpublished materials.

Gaining Intellectual Control over Technical Reports and Grey Literature Collections
Adriana Popescu at Princeton University suggests engineering librarians learn from archivists and special collections professionals to bring special technical materials we own to light. At Princeton they have processed materials and published finding aids to enable “access” to these materials. Describing with contextualization to made this information findable and useful to researchers worldwide.

Working with archivists, she developed a processing plan and hired a student help to make their reports and technical drawings accessible. Popescu learned Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard and used Archivists Toolkit (AT). They also added MARC records into their library catalog. Popescu and her student processed 30 collections and the cost was $6000 for student help and her own time. Since posting these finding aids online, they show increased use of these collections, including interlibrary loan requests.

Popescu reminded all to check out TRAIL Technical Report & Image Archive.

blog comments powered by Disqus