Visit from Clare Appavoo, Canadian Research Knowledge Network

Library employees are looking forward to welcoming Clare Appavoo, the Executive Director of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), who will be visiting the University Library on Wednesday, February 4.

CRKN is a partnership of Canadian universities, dedicated to expanding digital content for the academic research enterprise in Canada. Through the coordinated leadership of librarians, researchers, administrators and other stakeholders in the research community, CRKN undertakes large-scale content acquisition and licensing initiatives in order to build knowledge infrastructure and research and teaching capacity in Canada’s universities.

As the CRKN Executive Director since late 2012, Clare Appavoo has worked with the Board and staff to develop and launch a 3 year strategic plan.  The strategic objectives include a renewed focus on engagement with both members and stakeholders, and a new focus on collaboration to advance digital scholarship through the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) project launched in January 2014.  Ms. Appavoo is actively engaged in the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) partnership as a member of the Executive Committee of the Governing Council.

Clare will be speaking on a broad range of topical issues around the theme of the shifting challenges in licensing digital scholarly content.  Sure to feature in her remarks are the economic challenges, CRKN negotiation priorities, preservation, text and data mining rights, Open Access options, and repository posting.

Librarians in the Windy City

Coming to you today from Chicago, IL where librarians and library workers from all types and sizes of libraries are gathering for the mid-winter conference of the American Library Association (ALA). It’s a big deal as far as conferences go, and given the anticipated number of delegates, there are only a hand full of major US cities that have conference venues large enough to host the event.

I’m attending to fulfill commitments as the Canadian representative on the ALA’s Committee on Accreditation (COA). COA meets in parallel with the conference program all day Saturday and Sunday, making it almost impossible to attend any of the mainstream conference sessions.

This year’s mid-winter meeting is a big milestone for COA committee members as the culmination of some three years of work, discussions and deliberations see the presentation of Standards revisions to the ALA Council for adoption.  Background information and a copy of the Standards revisions are available here. It’s been an interesting professional experience to work through the process of developing revised standards and to be part of this process from the “inside” perspective of a committee member.  It’s also been fascinating to follow along with the highly consultative discussions that have engaged a great deal of input from the broader profession.  The final product of this intensive work will have an impact on the library and information service profession (from initial education and training through to workforce engagement and the development of the professional practice of librarianship) for many years to come.

It’s timely that the standards revision work is reaching its conclusion at exactly the same time that locally librarians at the University of Saskatchewan are discussing and working through revision to their standards for promotion and tenure.  The profession of librarianship is definitely changing.

Dean’s Award for Excellence

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Dean’s Award for Excellence. Nominations are being accepted up until close of business on March 31. You can find details about the award(s) and the nomination process on the library’s website here.

The award, established in 2007, recognizes library employees for their exceptional demonstration of the core values of both the university and the library, and their exemplary service/work toward fulfilling the library mission.

The award may be made to an individual library employee and/or team. For the purpose of this award, a team consists of two or more individuals who interact dynamically and interdependently to achieve specified, shared and valued organizational objectives for which they are collectively responsible.

Holiday reading

2015 is with us, and this week marks a return to my usual office routine and blogging!

The December/January holidays, cooler weather, and a little vacation time are the perfect ingredients for a good dose of book reading, and over the last few weeks I have indulged myself in this and other favorite activities.  People always assume librarians love books and reading, and yes, reading ranks high on my list of enjoyable things to do.

During my administrative leave in 2013-14, I largely transitioned from reading traditional print materials to, whenever possible, reading e-books and other electronic resources on my iPad.

I will admit that it did take a bit of effort on my part to make this change.  What is that saying? Change is never easy.  It did take a bit of learning on my part to master some technical aspects of e-reading (e.g. managing bookmarks, backlight settings, etc.).  Once mastered, I embarked on some very serious reading of the first two books in the Ken Follett century trilogy series.  Book one (Fall of the Giants) starts on June 22, 1911 – the day King George V was crowned and Billy Williams went down the pit in Aberowen, South Wales. I think the reason I like the story so much is how it is set into the bigger context of world events (and in the later volume those world events that happened in my lifetime). Book two (Winter World) continues the storyline and the presentation formula of characters set against world events, and brings the storyline up to 1933 – an era that I can recall my parents talking about. Unfortunately my reading of the series was interrupted by my return to work and having to wait for the publication last Fall of book three in the series (Edge of Eternity).  This final installment brings the series to over 12,000 pages, and the storyline to the election of President Obama.

Next on the reading menu came University Leadership and Public Policy in the Twenty-First Century by former U of S President, Peter MacKinnon. For this I had to revert to old habits and a print copy.  I found myself wanting to adjust the font-size (it’s a little too small for my comfort), turn-up the brightness on the backlight, so I could see the text better – oops, what backlight?  Regardless of these distractions, I thoroughly enjoyed the easy reading. MacKinnon is a powerful writer, clear in his use of vocabulary and logical in the presentation of arguments.  Should I have expected anything less of a lawyer? These two skills combine to turn what some might regard as a rather dry topic into a narrative that kept my attention. I liked the chapter flow and the formula of using a personal U of S story and experience at the start of each chapter to introduce the topic or theme and set context. Chapter titles are catchy.  I think I didn’t fully get the reason for the subtle and interchangeable use of gender specific interpersonal pronouns (her and his) when referring to the President – but it at least made me stop and re-read those sentences for deeper meaning. At the official book launch at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre earlier this week I appreciated the opportunity to speak personally with Peter about this aspect of the writing.

While I enjoyed the MacKinnon book reading, I was happy to return to my iPad for the final installment in this holiday reading season – Hack Attack by Nick Davies – a piece of forensic and investigative journalism focussed on the inside story of how the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch.  I still have over 1,000 pages to go, so let’s hope I don’t have to wait until the next December/January holiday period to pick up where I have left off.

Holidays are upon us!

The holiday season is upon us as we turn our thoughts to our friends and family.  In my country of origin it is hot; the smell of freshly mowed grass fills the air; school is out for the summer; cricket is being played in backyards and at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground); and, the BBQ’s are primed and ready to go.  Preparations are in hand for Boxing Day, which marks the start of the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race.  It is shaping up to be a typical Aussie Christmas.

This year, though, Australia is haunted by the recent tragic event at Sydney’s Martin Place Café, and many are asking how could this happen?  In a country where gun laws are already strong (well at least by comparison to North America), in broad daylight in the tourist centre of one of the most picturesque cities in the world, its simply hard to comprehend.  This topic is sure to be on the minds of many and will be spoken about at many Christmas BBQ’s and family gatherings. A world away, I am speculating about the timing of the next snow fall.  Will it be a refreshed white Christmas and how far will the temperatures drop?

Happy holidays everyone!  Stay safe and enjoy time with family and friends.

Researcher in Residence Announcement

The University Library in conjunction with the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP) is very pleased to announce our 2015/16 Researcher in Residence. Selinda Berg is a librarian at the University of Windsor and she will be spending her sabbatical with us beginning in July 2015. You can read Selinda’s bio on the C-EBLIP website, here.

Selinda is an active and engaged librarian researcher with a keen interest in building a Canadian librarian culture of research. We’re really fortunate to have her join us and she’s very excited to come and immerse herself in our research culture. C-EBLIP will be hosting some activities with Selinda so watch for details in the months ahead.

Book of Remembrance

On Wednesday, December 10 I had the privilege of receiving on behalf of the University of Saskatchewan a “Display Set” of the Book of Remembrance of First World War Fallen from Saskatoon and University of Saskatchewan, presented by the Military Institute of Saskatoon.

The following text is from the official news release regarding the Books of Remembrance:

In order to honour the citizens of Saskatoon and members of the University of Saskatchewan community lost in the First World War and to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of that War, the Military Institute of Saskatoon (MIS), in partnership with the North Saskatchewan Branch of the Corps of Commissionaires, the Spadina Branch 63 and the Nutana Branch 362 of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Saskatchewan Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Last Post Fund, and the Poppy Fund, will be presenting Books of Remembrance to the City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan. To “remember them,” the Book contains the names and brief biographies of 622 citizens of Saskatoon and 69 individuals from the University of Saskatchewan lost in the First World War. The formal “Presentation Set,” consisting of a wooden case with the image of the Brooding Soldier carved in the top and a copy of the Book of Remembrance, will be housed in the City Archives and publically displayed on appropriate occasion: the “Display Set,” consisting of a bound copy of the Book appropriate ascribed, will be housed in each of the Public Libraries in Saskatoon. An additional “Display Set” was presented to the University of Saskatchewan. It is the intent of the MIS to develop similar books of remembrance commemorating the citizens lost in the Second World War, the Korean War and subsequent actions.

Thank you to the employees in University Archives & Special Collections for arranging the presentation ceremony. The Book of Remembrance is a significant addition to our collections and will be a valuable resource for our campus community.


What are librarians reading and researching?

This week I had the opportunity to be a guest contributor on Brain-Work, the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP) blog that features topics related to research, evidence based library and information practice, and librarianship.

My blog post, entitled The Value of Big Picture Trends in the Smaller Context, can be found here.

Brain-Work publishes a new blog post every Tuesday morning and is definitely worth checking out!

Music to my ears

In a week where I had an unusually intense work schedule, I found one hour of peace and harmony yesterday when I attended a lunchtime concert performance by Peter Stoicheff, Dean of the College of Arts and Science.

It was great to see a strong cohort of library colleagues in attendance and to catch up with colleagues across campus. Peter’s music, commentary, humour, and educational perspective made for a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable event. Most of all, it was great to see a decanal colleague doing what he so obviously enjoys doing and is so clearly very good at. It was also a timely reminder, as one of my library colleagues remarked, that we are after all just people doing what we like and enjoy doing.

Thank you, Peter, for sharing your gift of music, composition, and creative talent with us all. I hope it’s a practice that you will continue from time to time.

Peter Stoicheff

Transforming Library Spaces

Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour the Veterinary Medicine Library and see the progress that has been made on the renovations taking place. The renovations continue to be on track for completion by the end of December 31, 2014.

The renovation project is a complete overhaul encompassing both floors of the library, and includes new study spaces for students and new work spaces for library staff, as well as new furniture throughout.  The repurposed space provides refreshed individual and group study areas including carrels, tables and chairs, soft seating, and bookable team rooms.  The project team consists of Susan Cook and Ralph Hildebrandt from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, and Jill Crawley-Low and Dale Amerud.

Veterinary Medicine Library Renovations