Save the Date: NYTSL 2014 Spring reception

Spring is in the air, or at least the giant pile of snow in my driveway is almost melted away. At any rate, NYTSL just had our spring Executive Board Meeting the other day and programs and events are always part of what we discuss at these things.

The Spring Receptions are a big deal to us, and to the local library community. Not as big a deal as the Spring and Fall Programs, of course, but important nonetheless. They provide opportunities for library school students who are interested in technical services careers to meet and schmooze with NYTSL members, friends, and guests. And of course long-time librarians attend as well; it keeps our community informed of what’s happening in other library organizations (read: METRO, ACRL, ALA, MLA-NY, etc.)

And there’s food and booze at these things. That has to interest someone out there besides me.

So please save the date for the Spring 2014 New York Technical Services Librarians Annual Reception for Librarians, Information Professionals and Library School Students.

Friday, April 25, 2014
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Butler Library
Room 523
Columbia University Libraries
535 West 114th St.
New York, NY 10027

This is an opportunity for librarians, archivists, and information professionals from the metropolitan area to meet informally. It is also a chance for library school students to learn about the various professional organizations in the metropolitan area and to meet future colleagues and employers.

Wine & Cheese will be served.
You are welcome to bring announcements of professional opportunities to the reception.

More details will follow soon.

Event Announcement: Documentation in Tech Services

From Dan Lipcan et al. of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Dear Colleague,

Have you ever wondered how other libraries manage to keep track of all those local decisions, workflows, cataloger’s judgments, and exceptions to every rule?  So have we, which is why we are presenting “It’s Documentary, My Dear Watson: Documentation in Technical Services,” a program sponsored by the Thomas J. Watson Library.  The program will be held Thursday, April 3, 2014 from 3:00-5:00 pm at the Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and will be followed by a brief reception in the Watson Library.

We are purposefully leaving the topic broad to encourage creativity and variety but as food for thought some aspects we are interested in here are: the tools used (wikis, blogs, Post-it notes), success stories, disasters, public vs. private documentation, best practices, training interns and new staff, etc.

The format will be fast paced with 4-5 minute informal presentations from as many as 10 speakers, a sort of Pecha Kucha or Ignite talk style in an effort to get as many ideas flowing as possible for the discussion to follow.

If you are as excited as we are and would like to be a speaker please reply with the topic of your presentation, and whatever hardware or software you require (PowerPoint, internet connection, easel).

We will let you know by February 24, 2014 if you have been accepted as a speaker but all are welcome to join us for the discussion! Please feel free to forward to anyone you think may be interested and thank you in advance.


Andrea Puccio

Dan Lipcan

John Lindaman

Tamara Fultz

I think this will be worth the time and effort to attend.

NYTSL Event:”Authority Control in an Out-of-Control World”

Yes, I know we had a bit of a snafu with the earlier posting of the NYTSL Fall Program–let’s just say that stuff happens, and leave it at that. Anyway, this one sticks:

NYTSL Fall Event Registration

Register Now for the Fall Event:

“Authority Control in an Out-of-Control World”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Registration and Refreshments: 5:00-6:00 PM NYTSL Business Meeting & Program: 6:00-8:00 PM


Ethan Gruber, Web and Database Developer, American Numismatic Society Building Interlinked Prosopographies: A New Approach.

Ethan Gruber will discuss the development of xEAC, an open source framework for creating, maintaining, and publishing collections of EAC-CPF records using XForms, a W3C standard for editing XML in next-generation web forms.

Daniel Starr, Associate Chief Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art Daniel Starr will discuss authority vendors.

When: December 4th, 2013 5:00 PM   through   8:00 PM


The New York Public Library

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium

476 Fifth Avenue (at 42nd Street)

New York, NY 10018

United States


Rumble in Da Bronx

I’m out of the office, due to the fact that SirsiDynix scheduled their annual NY Users’ group meeting for today. It’s basically a day-long schmooze fest where we (the NY Users of SirsiDynix products) get to listen to the company’s execs pitch new products and updates planned for the old ones. It’s also a chance to catch up on news form other members of the local tech services community.  Oh, and they feed us. That’s a big draw.

So, I’ll head to Fordham, and sit, and listen and ask a few questions of my own (600+ selections included in the Reporting Module and there’s still no way to break out circulation stats from a select list of ItemIDs? What’s wrong with you people?) and wonder if anyone else there is considering dropping Symphony Workflows for something a bit more  .  . . well, a bit more integrated. Like, for example, OCLC WorldShare.

See you next week.

NYTSL Fall 2013 Evening Meeting and Program: “Authority Control in an Out-of-Control World”

Save the Date for the NYTSL Fall 2013 Evening Meeting and Program:

“Authority Control in an Out-of-Control World”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Registration and Refreshments: 5:00-6:00 PM

NYTSL Business Meeting & Program: 6:00-8:00 PM


The New York Public Library

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

South Court Auditorium

476 Fifth Avenue (at 42nd Street)

New York, NY 10018


More information and pre-registration will be available soon at

2013 NYTSL Spring Reception


FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013
3:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M.

Columbia University Libraries
Butler Library, Room 523
535 West 114th St. New York, NY 10027


Wine & Cheese will be served.

This is an opportunity for librarians, archivists, and information professionals from the Metropolitan area to meet informally. It is also a chance for library school students to learn about the various professional organizations in the metropolitan area and to meet future colleagues and employers.

You are welcome to bring announcements of professional opportunities to the reception. Reception co-sponsors welcome. If your professional organization would like to co-sponsor the reception, please contact us to make arrangements.

Due to a limited space the RSVP is required and we will not be able to accept walk-in registration for this event.

Please RSVP to Jonathan Frater, NYTSL Secretary, at by April 9, 2013.

To Wiki or Not to Wiki: That is the Question

We all know the phrase, since we’ve all had the talk with our students regarding research, so let’s all say it together: Wikipedia is not a citable source. Fine. Except we came up with that rule a billion years ago when the Wikipedia project was in its infancy. Or at least, its adolescence. Things have changed since then. Haven’t they?

Ultimately we have to re-evaluate the question and ask ourselves how reliable is Wikipedia anyway? I mean, considering that professionals like Trevor Thornton and Christina Pattuelli are using publically edited records for their own work? Does the description of Wikipedia’s contents as nonsense invalidate these models by association? The question did come up during the NYTSL panel, and they felt that for the purposes of their own work, the data standards were high enough to make it a reliable source.

On the one hand, those linked data projects were limited in scope. It’s one thing to crowdsource the conversations and quotes from musicians, or an index of personal names in a historical context. It’s quite another to use the same strategy to, say, devise medical treatments (except they are). And to be fair there is a world of difference between creating a wiki-based general catalog of informative articles and utilizing a distributed data processing model. (Except when there isn’t.)

Additionally, Wikipedia can be improved and if its own metrics are to be believed, is continually being improved by users who actually give a hoot about the quality of their submissions.  Whether or not that improves the whole project or just select bits of it is yet to be seen.

In the meantime, I’m sticking with my advice to students that Wikipedia is still not citable, but it is a decent source of useful references that might be well be worth checking out.


NYTSL Announcement: Panel Presentation

Linking Library Data: A Panel Presentation

Cristina Pattuelli Associate Professor, School of Information and Library Science, Pratt Institute
Ingrid Richter Head of Systems & First Ledger Project Coordinator, New York Society Library
Trevor Thornton Senior Applications Developer, Archives, NYPL Labs, New York Public Library

Monday, November 19, 2012
Registration and Refreshments: 6:00pm
Meeting & Program: 7:00-8:30 PM
The New York Society Library
Members’ Room (2nd floor)
53 East 79th St. (Between Park and Madison Aves.)
New York, NY 10075
Registration is now open and will continue until the deadline of November 14th; due to limited capacity, pre-registration will be required.
Program (Members): $15.00
Program with September 2012-August 2013 Membership: $30.00
Program with September 2012-August 2013 Student Membership: $20.00
Program only (Non-members): $40.00

Payment Options

  • Pay Online with PayPal (Preferred)- We add an additional feefor the use of PayPal to offset NYTSL’s PayPal transaction fee.
    • for a $15 payment, add $0.76
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  • Send a check by mail – Please complete our 2012 Fall Program registration form and follow the mailing instructions on the form.
  • Registration will NOT be accepted at the door.

METRO-L: All Not Quiet on the E-Book Front

From Jefferson Bailey, via the METRO-L listserv:

On October 26-27, the New York Law School is hosting In re Books, “a conference on law and the future of books.” Featuring a diverse mix of speakers  from groups such as the Sloan Foundation,, the ACLU, and the Copyright Clearance Center, as well as academics and legal scholars and practitioners, the conference aims to discuss a number topics, including copyright, orphan works, digitization, reader’s rights, and “long-term trends in publishing, culture, law, and technology.” To attend the conference, visit the registration page.

The conference is particularly timely, given the recent developments in the Google Books litigation. Judge Denny Chin recently allowed an amicus brief to be filed by the LCA (an alliance of the ALA, ARL, and ACRL) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The full brief is available online. An additional amicus brief was filed by a number of digital humanities and legal scholars (also is available online) and one of its authors has been blogging about the case. As well,  The Public Index, one of the sponsors of In re Books, maintains a site that chronicles the litigation (the Institute for Information Law & Policy is the other sponsor of In re Books).

Needless to say, the tangled intersection of copyright law, publishing, and technology has had a significant impact on libraries as they strive to align patron services, collection development, and other activities with the evolving landscape of digital delivery and ebooks. The In re Books conference is taking a admirably broad approach to the issue by including panels on retail bookstores and backlist issues and, one would assume, plenty of talk about the open-access movement. Being hosted at New York Law School will also ensure a wide-ranging discussion of the legal landscape around publishing in the digital environment. That said, ebooks have been a particularly contentious and disruptive issue for libraries, as the lack of a coordinated approach between publishers and libraries towards ownership, rights, and lending policy has led to what one writer termed an “e-book tug of war.”

Changes in the methods and technologies of content creation and dissemination often feature attempts to “revisit” (to put it mildly) relationships — legal and implicit — between intellectual property, mercantile determinism, and the public good. Just as the idea of permanent ownership of digital content has received more attention of late regarding personal collection (heck, even SXSW is examining the topic), the role of ebooks in libraries has also merited increased study, with two reports released in August that examine the issue.

The first is the ALA’s release of Ebook Business Models for Public Libraries (announcement and PDF). Produced by the Digital Content & Libraries Working Group, the report “describes model terms libraries should look for in their dealings with ebook publishers and distributors, as well as conditions libraries should avoid.” In delineating “features and attributes” of potential ebook business models, as well as potential “constraints and restrictions,” the brief, readable paper offers an good overview of the benefits and pitfalls of ebook business models in order to help libraries plan and negotiate accordingly.

Another report released in August was E-Books in Libraries: A Briefing Document Developed in Preparation for a Workshop on E-Lending in Libraries(SSRN page for PDF access), a product of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard written in preparation for their “E-Books in Libraries” workshop in February 2012 and “developed with helpful inputs from industry stakeholders and other practitioners.” The Berkman document features a more in-depth environmental scan of the state of ebooks in libraries, examining “licensing and lending practices,” “business models,” and “challenges,” and includes a two-page list of additional resources.

Well-sourced and featuring a number of use cases and real-world examples, the Berkman paper also remains sensitive to the perspective of ebook publishers, analyzing the ways ebooks can lead to the  “cannibalization” of sales and the general risk-aversion publishers are taking toward business arrangements with libraries. The picture that emerges is of a publishing industry struggling to reconceive “traditional notions of strategy, organizational structure and culture, economic assumptions, and business models” in light of the disruptive force of ebooks. How that disruption is impacting libraries is only beginning to be understood.

Other recent news has put the publishing industry in a somewhat less-flattering light regarding their ebook businesses. Last Thursday, a federal judge approved a settlement between the DOJ and three publishers over alleged conspiratorial market practices and price fixing. Though that case did not directly involved libraries, a story in Publisher’s Weekly the next day detailed one library system’s pricing report (a cheer here for open data) and shed light on both the impact of publisher boycotts on ebook collection development and the egregious fact that, when publishers do sell ebooks to libraries, the markups are often “up to six times the consumer price for the same title.”

The In re Books conference will certainly focus more on the legal ramifications of ebooks than on the operational challenges they pose to libraries as far as costs, infrastructure, and services. Panel Three does, however, focus directly on libraries and while I love the provocation of the session description, which begins “some observers think libraries are obsolete. Others think the time is ripe to build a new Library of Alexandria,” I would prefer a little sourcing to that comment, as proclamations such as those deserve a bit of skepticism. The “libraries” panel will also discuss the recent “Georgia State” decision on e-reserves, which just yesterday publishers announced they are appealing (because clearly we cannot go two days without more legal churn regarding electronic publishing and copyright) as well as the mother-of-all-zombie-copyright-topics, Section 108 review.

The conference is sure to continue a wide-ranging discussion within the library, legal, and publishing communities about on the difficult and still-evolving topic of ebooks.

In re Books: A Conference on Law and the Future of Books

A couple of other related or useful resources:

Columbia University recently posted video from their recent conference on Fair Use:
ARL’s recent Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries:
American Libraries E-Content blog is a good source of news related to ebooks:
Cornell’s ever-valuable Copyright Information Center:

Make your plans now!

NYTSL 2012 Spring Program Announcement

Spring 2012 Evening Program

E-Books: New Links in the Chain



Denise Hibay, Assistant Chief Librarian for Collection Development, New York Public Library

Susan Marcin, Licensed Electronic Resources Librarian in the Continuing and Electronic Resources Management Department at Columbia University

Barbara Rockenbach, Director of the Humanities and History Libraries at Columbia University


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Refreshments: 5:30pm

Meeting & Program: 6:30-8:00 PM


The New York Public Library

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building                               

South Court Auditorium

476 Fifth Avenue (at 42nd Street)

New York, NY 10018



 Register and pay via PayPal at

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