Archive | News

Book Drive Collection Extended

We’ve decided to extend our collection period for our Book Drive with Words Alive! to Friday, September 12. Words Alive needs to collect new and gently used children’s books in English and Spanish, primarily for ages 0-10, and they need our help to do it! If you have any books you’d like to donate, please get in touch with our book drive coordinator, Zemirah Lee, at to see how you can help out with this great cause!


SLA Book Drive 2014-2

Posted in Events, Membership NewsComments Off

Numismatics for Librarians

This August, local coin expert Ron Guth has been named Numismatist of the Year by the American Numismatic Association (ANA). In this interview, Guth describes common numismatic research queries, as well as the basic resources used to answer those queries.

What kinds of questions can coins answer?

As material culture, coins can teach us about several aspects of history and economics. For example, the geography of commerce and trade routes, the strength or weakness of monetary systems, metallurgical knowledge and artisanship, highly visible political statements, and the individuals or ideals most revered by a society… including famous historical figures and obscure people we should get to know.  In some cases, coins are the only remaining remnants of a particular person or place.

What characteristics of coins do experts examine?

Metrology (weight, diameter, relation of minting dies to each other, composition and purity) is used to determine authenticity, method of manufacture, and year of issue (within a range).  For commercial reasons, experts evaluate the overall condition of coins, as well as provenance/custodial history and design, to determine their value.

What are the most common sources of information about coins?

Historically, it has been all about books, some of which are mass-market price guides, and others that are highly specialized, niche books.  Auction catalogs and sales records are consulted to estimate current value. More and more, the internet is becoming an important source of information.  Several institutional collections, which were inaccessible previously, have now been digitized.  There are also some excellent databases which are commercially operated and available via subscription.

What are the most common questions researchers ask about coins?

Authenticity first, value second.  Virtually all research inquiries are commercial in nature.

You’ve written several books on coins. What are some of the most interesting research questions you’ve asked, and how did you track down the answers?

Provenance and pedigree (i.e, chains of production and previous ownership) are important for determining historical importance and value, as well as building the census of known examples of rare coins.  In many cases, these chains have been broken, sometimes inadvertently, but sometimes intentionally.  Much of my research is devoted to rebuilding those chains to provide a continuous history.  Once an accurate census is built, the existing coins can be ranked according to condition.  This allows new discoveries to be compared against the current condition census to determine if the new finds  are of special importance.  I am constantly amazed at the number of new coins that enter the market that exceed the quality of any that are currently known or that have been recorded for decades.  A good example of this was the Saddle Ridge Hoard, a hoard of over 1,400 U.S. gold coins discovered in 2013, many of which became new “finest knowns”.

What research obstacles have you faced?

I’m actually mining a database right now ( which illustrates the need for in-depth research.  This was a donation that appeared to be accessioned improperly or incompletely in the first go-around.  The coins in this collection are assigned accession numbers starting with the year of the donation.  J.P. Morgan donated his coins in 1908, so collectors search for records beginning with that number.  However, some of the coins were missed and eventually entered using a generic 0000 number as the year.  Clearly, the wrong search will miss a large part of Morgan’s donation and skew the research. So, one must not only know what to look for, but how to look for it.

Thank you for your time, Ron, and congratulations on your award.

Ron Guth has published, co-authored, or edited over a dozen books on coins, including “Coin Collecting for Dummies” and “The 100 Greatest U.S. Coins”. He has worked as a dealer since 1976, and has conducted auctions in several countries.  Guth specializes in German coins, and lives in San Diego.


Further Resources for Librarians (LoC subclass CJ)

Most coin collections are privately held; public collections are usually owned by anthropology, art, and history museums, and university special collections.  Examples include:

The ANS collections database stores its data in XML using the schema Numismatic Description Standard (NUDS). NUDS is implemented in combination with VRA Core and the Nomisma project’s ontology of numismatic terms and concepts.

Major coin resources include:


-Tim Gladson, SLA San Diego Communications Committee

Posted in News, NewslettersComments Off

May Madness Results!

Hey SLA folks! A way overdue message from your semi-victorious May Madness team, MARC My Words! After 6 weeks of brutal (ok, not so brutal, but stimulating!) competition, your rookie team held strong and came in seventh out of the 17 fierce teams competing. Our un-official rivals, Central Ohio’s Dewey Decimators who beat us to our initial team name, came in 10th. For full results, visit the SLA May Madness website here.

The brave team members who represented our chapter nobly were Zemirah Lee, Jennifer Silverman, Natalie Lopez, Tim Gladson, Amy Jankowski, and Lauren Rasmussen. A good time was had by all every week as we got together to eat, drink, and play merrily. Next year, the plan is to break into the top 5, or maybe even to take the SLA-MM crown for the San Diego Chapter! If you didn’t get a chance to this year, consider helping us to an even greater victory next year.

Posted in Events, NewsComments Off

SLA 5th Annual Book Drive with Words Alive!

WordsAlive_posterSLA-SD is hosting a summer book drive during the months of July and August in partnership with Words Alive, a nonprofit reading and literacy advocacy organization. Words Alive needs to collect new and gently used children’s books in English and Spanish, primarily for ages 0-10, and they need our help to do it! Please consider hosting a collection drop box at your workplace. It’s easy and Words Alive will provide the drop boxes and promotional flyers. Our goal is to get drop boxes set up at locations throughout San Diego. The book drive will culminate at our next happy hour in August (date and location to be determined). If you’d like to help with this important project by hosting a drop box, please contact Zemirah Lee, book drive coordinator, at by Monday, August 4, 2014.

Posted in Events, Membership NewsComments Off

What can GIS do for you?

Anyone who has used Google Earth or Google Maps has used a GIS.  GIS (Geographic Information Systems) allow users to manipulate and visualize spatial data in endless ways, by combining the power of maps, databases, and statistics.

At the most basic level, GIS can be used to make custom maps (cartography), with data points such as customers or sales revenue symbolized in a variety of manners.  Beyond making maps, GIS also allow users to conduct spatial analysis and geoprocessing.  Simply put, spatial analysis means visualizing datasets geographically to solve problems or identify patterns that aren’t apparent in the raw data; geoprocessing techniques allow users to manipulate and combine existing datasets in order to create new ones.

You can see several interesting applications online, such as a map of access to healthcare in the United States, the demographics of Crimea, or GIS in business. Several archives are integrating GIS into their digital libraries to help users explore their collections spatially.  Archivists at the Center for Jewish History and the University of Pennsylvania used Flickr and Viewshare to link archival photos of books stolen by the Nazis to their original libraries (see Society of American Archivists Archival Outlook, Jan/Feb 2014, p.4-5,27). Several archives have mapped photos on HistoryPin, using the service as a pre-fabricated digital library with greater visibility. Traditional libraries have also begun using GIS to map items in their physical libraries to assist patrons with retrieval.

Google Maps is the easiest way for you to get started using GIS.  Simple points can be added to a regular Google Maps layer.  Charity Water’s embedded Google Map shows water project locations; although the finished product has a professional appearance, it consists of a relatively simple collection of GPS coordinates, photos of project sights, and project metadata.  Extremely sophisticated maps can be made with Google Maps Engine and Google Maps APIs.  For local projects, over 270 San Diego datasets can be downloaded for free from SANDAG’s Regional GIS Data Warehouse.

San Diego librarians have access to several training opportunities in GIS that can help us enhance our technology skillsets.  Mesa College, Southwestern College, and UCSD Extension all offer a certificate in GIS. Members of the UCSD community have access to multiple resources and tutorials, as well as the Data & GIS Lab in the Geisel Library.  SDSU boasts one of the leading GIS programs in the nation, offering certificates to PhDs.

Knowledge of GIS is particularly valuable for strategic librarians working in data mining, competitive intelligence, and market research.  Academic librarians working in the earth sciences, government documents, data curation, digital humanities, and digital libraries should also be literate in GIS.

Explore these resources to learn more:



-Tim Gladson, SLA San Diego Communications Committee

Posted in Q1-2014Comments Off

Conference Summary: Society of California Archivists 2014

The Society of California Archivists held its annual meeting in Palm Springs on May 8-10. Over 230 archivists enjoyed 15 panel sessions, 2 local history plenaries, 2 preconference workshops, an OAC contributors’ meeting, and several networking events.

A number of sessions supported this year’s theme of “Archives and the Public”. The Center for Sacramento History and Santa Ana Public Library both described innovative ways of conducting public programming with archival materials. Along with processing the papers of civil rights lawyer Nathaniel Colley, CSH hosted guest lectures and produced a short television documentary. SAPL discussed their robust volunteer program involving local teens, who have recorded oral histories, geotagged archival photos on History Pin, contributed to a historic walking tour, and conducted photo surveys of downtown Santa Ana. Archivists and educators from Riverside described the National Archives’ outreach efforts for National History Day, including tips on how to assist youth researchers in the reading room. Another panel discussed the plethora of historic photographs available online, often removed from their archival context and hosted on amateur or commercial websites. Panelists considered ways that archives can publish historic photos through blogs and social media pages (HistoryPin, Pinterest, etc.), while educating the public about provenance and copyright issues.

Three sessions reported on archival processing projects of significance to California. Panelists from six different repositories discussed grant projects to digitize materials for the centenary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. UCLA’s Center for Primary Research and Teaching provided opportunities for graduate students to conduct original research and creative interactive educational resources about the aqueduct. CSU Northridge discussed issues of website usability, data visualization and content analysis, and photograph mapping (using Google Fusion) within their digital exhibit. In other sessions, panelists discussed the processing of records from the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, Mission Santa Clara, and San Jose Pueblo.

Three sessions addressed how to handle unusual objects in archival collections, such as water color paintings and computer software. The most interesting panel brought together archivists from NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox, Disney Consumer Products, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Writers Guild Foundation. One speaker discussed the difficulties of archiving important props and costumes from completed or canceled television shows, especially appraisal of value, limited storage, and short time frames for decision making. Interestingly, staff members may review fan websites and watch TV series on fast forward to get a sense of the story arc and to identify iconic objects. Panelists discussed preservation issues of props that weren’t built for long-term use (e.g., the Alien queen), reuse of props for continuity and reduced costs in sequels and spin-offs, and secondary uses in theme park exhibits, publicity promotions, and heritage merchandising—archivists contributing directly to the bottom line.

The remaining sessions addressed project management issues when working with embedded programmers and when implementing minimal processing of large collections. The plenary speakers, both historians, spoke about the local history of Palm Springs through its modernist architecture, date farming, and “Middle Eastern fantasy” promotional culture.

All in all, the program was both strong and interesting. Unfortunately, there appeared to be far fewer attendees than last year in Berkeley. At $150 for members, the conference was expensive for a regional meeting. Session materials will be posted online here as they become available. Next year’s AGM will be held in Denver (May 27-30) as part of the quinquennial “Western Roundup”, and the 2016 meeting will be held in Oakland.

-Tim Gladson, SLA San Diego Communications Committee

Posted in NewsComments Off

May Program: Virtual Reference & Research Services Panel

Virtual Reference & Research Services Panel

When: Wednesday, May 28, 4:30 – 6:30 pm

Where: Ashford University, 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123 [map:]

Why: It’s a great local professional development opportunity!

Cost: Free to SLA members and nonmembers

Are you interested in learning what local librarians are doing to meet the needs of library users virtually? On Wednesday, May 28 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, join SLA-SD for presentations and discussion on virtual reference and research services, featuring librarians from Ashford University and the University of San Diego. The panelists will discuss the ins and outs of screencasting, virtual tutorials, and other tips and tricks they use to meet the needs of their users via the web. The audience will have a chance to ask questions and discuss the topic at hand.

Presenters include:

Ashford University Library

Elizabeth Grossman, Director of Distance Learning

Rebecca Nowicki, Digital Services Librarian

Dana Haff, Digital Services Librarian

Presentation: Using Technology to Provide Reference Services to Online Students at Ashford University

University of San Diego

Anna Russell, Electronic Resources Law Librarian

Jane Larrington, Reference Librarian

Judith Lihosit, Head of Reference

Presentation: Screencast Tools for Virtual Reference & Research Demos

The program will be held Wednesday, May 28, 4:30 – 6:30 pm, at Ashford University in Kearny Mesa, 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123 [map:].

Directions & Parking: Ashford’s Kearny Mesa location is just west of I-163, between exits Balboa (south) and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard (north). From either exit, take Kearny Villa Road to Spectrum Center Blvd, heading east. Once on Spectrum Center Blvd, you’ll see the large 11-story Ashford University building on the north side of the road. Drive past the building and turn left at the first light, Sunroad Centrum Ln. Next, turn right at the entrance to the large parking lot. Ask the parking attendants for directions to visitor parking spaces as well as the main entrance to the building. A librarian will greet attendees in the lobby, where all will be required to sign in at the security desk and procure a visitor badge.

Light refreshments will be served for your enjoyment!

Please RSVP by contacting Lauren Rasmussen at lauren.rasmussen.sla@gmail.comto help us get an accurate headcount. We hope to see you at there!


Posted in Chapter Programs, Events, Outreach, SeminarsComments Off

Recap: SDPL Central Library Tour

Recap: SDPL Central Library Tour

The weeks have flown by, and it feels like just yesterday that an enthusiastic group of SLA-SD members and friends headed to the San Diego Central Library for a guided tour of the new space on March 20. Though most public tours of the library are led by volunteers, we were lucky enough to be treated to a tour led by several San Diego Public Library staff members, who gave us the inside scoop on library work and all the planning that went into the state of the art facility.

The building’s architecture, art, inviting spaces, creative programming, and more combine into what is now a welcoming and busy space for San Diegans looking to read, research, use computers, hold and attend special programs, explore, and more. Several spaces stood out to many of our tour-goers, perhaps most notably including the automated book sorting room, equipped with a “smart” conveyer belt mechanism that is able to sort returned books into bins by subject as well as library branches. The children’s and teen’s library spaces were also well received, with bright colors and innovative spaces, including a teen gaming room, children’s craft area, and much more than may be expected from an average library. The library also has an IDEA (Innovation & Digital Expression Activity) Lab, equipped with 10 high-end computers with an array of technical software as well as two 3-D printers available for public use.

Our tour group was also excited to see two library special collections areas. One, the Marilyn and Gene Mark Special Collections room, houses the library’s California Collection, including several display cases exhibiting pieces of San Diego history. The other, the Sullivan Family Baseball  Research Center, includes rotating feature items from what is the second largest baseball research collection in the United States, after the Baseball Hall of Fame. The library is also home to a small art gallery that exhibits work by local artists.

Aside from the innovative and expansive library resources, the group was also impressed to see the building’s various special event facilities, including a state-of-the-art auditorium and theater space, courtyard, rooftop terraces, and sizable Shiley Special Events Suite. Perhaps one of the most iconic spaces in the building, the Helen Price reading room,  with study space, vaulted ceilings, and a panoramic view of the city beyond, is also available for events.

Though the tour was thorough, I think we all agreed that it will be best to revisit the Central Library on our own soon to explore its spaces in more depth. There is much more to see than an hour-long tour can offer!

If you weren’t able to make it in person, take a chance to browse through a collection of photo highlights.


Interested in more details? Peruse the SDPL’s own floor by floor description of the Central Library: SDPL_Central Library_Floor by Floor Guide

Posted in Chapter Programs, Events, Images, Membership News, MultimediaComments Off

Conference Report: USD Digital Initiatives Symposium

The University of San Diego hosted their first annual Digital Initiatives Symposium on April 9th.  Librarians from all over the country enjoyed 2 keynotes, 11 topical sessions, and a Digital Commons user group meeting.

In her opening remarks, Teresa Byrd (USD Dean of Libraries) identified three motivations for hosting this symposium. First, she believes that California librarians are highly segmented, both geographically and by type of library.  Second, she wanted to provide affordable and accessible professional development for librarians in California and neighboring states.  Lastly, she wanted to showcase emerging digital initiatives, which she sees as the future of libraries.

Throughout the day, speakers focused primarily on institutional repositories (IR) and open access (OA) publishing in academic libraries.  Several OA organizations were highlighted, including SHARE, SPARC, and COAPI.  Although OA is often thought of in terms of journal articles, presenters also discussed Open Educational Resources (OERs), which serve as free supplements or alternatives to traditional textbooks.  Major examples of OERs include Boundless Open Textbooks and MIT OpenCourseWare.

IRs and OA have converged within scholarly communication, as more and more academic libraries are offering OA publishing services through their IRs. Digital Commons, for example, enables in-house journal peer-review and publishing as well as conference organization and archiving. The Library Publishing Coalition provides resources for libraries interested in providing publishing services.

Digital CommonsSelectedWorks software was demonstrated as an easy way to highlight, preserve, and disseminate faculty research (as well as acknowledge the impact of grant funders’ support).  The software encourages professors to submit their own material, and outputs clean, user-friendly CVs for use on faculty and departmental websites.  To see these services in action, check out the implementations at GVSU and Caltech.

Speakers noted that IRs can be used for much more than archival digitization projects and electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs).  At least two presenters noted that administrators actively use their IRs to archive current university policies and related documents, giving the library high-level support for their efforts.  Panelists from the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library discussed how many of their services are geared towards undergraduates. During accreditation examinations, they have pointed to their IR to demonstrate how their library supports faculty and graduate students. They also noted that digital initiatives are often cost-prohibitive for small institutions, but feasible through consortia; likewise, many grants require inter-institutional collaboration.

Multiple presenters noted that developing IRs in-house with open-source software (such as DSpace and Fedora) is often not feasible, due to the need for computer programmers. Cloud-based, TRAC compliant, hosted services may be expensive, but are cheaper and more reliable in the long-run.  Panelists also recommended using the standard installations of IR software; customization will be lost every time the software is upgraded, requiring a programmer to maintain the system.

CalPoly provided an overview of digital preservation requirements related to IRs.  Many libraries participate in LOCKSS networks to back up their data among multiple servers in multiple geographic locations.  LOCKSS (which stands for “Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe”) is an open source Stanford project which facilitates mutual, web-based backup of IR data by partner libraries, and is compatible with most IR software.  The Global LOCKSS Network was designed to preserve purchased e-resources, and has open membership at tiered pricing levels.  Alternatively, any institution can establish a Private LOCSKSS Network (PLN) for locally created content, and govern the consortium however it wishes.  CalPoly also reviewed the pros and cons of various preservation services, including Portico, Chronopolis, Amazon Glacier, Digital Commons PLN, Preservica, EVault, and MetaArchive (which was the solution they chose).  They analyzed these services in terms of cost (upfront and ongoing), how well-established the services were (both for sustainability and to avoid tech glitches), the use of digital curation best practices, and the ability to handle multiple kinds of content.

A common theme throughout the symposium was the need to generate faculty support for and participation in both IR and OA projects, lest we create “services with no market” (Debra Skinner, GSU).  Likewise, since IRs are very expensive and must have sustained, secured funding, librarians must continually reach out to stakeholders and demonstrate the value of IRs.  Fortunately, most IR services provide several options for tracking download statistics; Digital Commons even integrates IP address data to generate a world map of the IR’s usage, which tells a compelling story to faculty and administrators. Finally, to successfully engage in digital initiatives, librarians must be willing to continually learn new skills and learn from each other through conferences such as this one.

Despite the relevance of the program and the low registration fee ($35), there was relatively low attendance among San Diego librarians, and especially low attendance among junior librarians—those who will be implementing digital initiatives over the next 20 years.  Furthermore, no strategic librarians presented about digital initiatives in corporate libraries.  I strongly encourage my SLA San Diego colleagues to attend the symposium next year and submit session proposals about special libraries!

Note: the program and session abstracts are available here, with plans to archive session PowerPoints in USD’s IR this spring.


-Tim Gladson, SLA San Diego Communications Committee

Posted in Q1-2014Comments Off

Membership Happy Hour

Membership Happy Hour

Please join fellow chapter members and local craft beer enthusiasts for a happy hour event:

Tuesday April 22

Ballast Point Brewery

10051 Old Grove Rd

San Diego, CA 92131

We’ll start gathering around 5 PM, but feel free to come whenever you are able to. For those interested, there will be a brewery tour at 6 PM.

This is a great opportunity to meet or reconnect with other chapter members in a casual and social setting.

See you at Ballast Point!

Ali Hennessey

Membership Committee Co-Chair


Posted in Events, Food and Drink, Membership News, UncategorizedComments Off

Contact Us


Event Calendar

<< Sep 2014 >>
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4


  • No events