Posted on April 10, 2015.
Posted on April 3, 2015.
We reeled them in! Our “tour boat” returned from a two hour adventure at the NOAA Science Center stocked with information we will keep for a lifetime.
SLA-San Diego Chapter members got a VIP, behind-the scenes tour of NOAA SW Fisheries. The group tour was led by an award-winning scientist and renowned captain – Dr. Roger Hewitt. Dr. Roger Hewitt has led dozens of expeditions and field surveys throughout the world over a career spanning more than 40 years. We were lucky enough to learn from his experience as he took us through the back halls, labs, and libraries that tell the story of what makes NOAA SW Fisheries Center a world class research facility.
It’s new! The original laboratory had been in a precarious position on the edge of a 200-foot cliff and needed to be moved. The new laboratory contains 38 research laboratories, including an experimental aquarium, a large animal necropsy lab, a specimen processing lab, a photogrammetry lab, an ichthyoplankton lab, genetic labs, physiology labs, oceanographic labs, specimen archives, electronic workshops and a unique large test tank facility for testing new sampling technologies, plus a library, conference rooms and office space for 275 scientists and support staff. Our group got to see the inner workings!
Our in-depth tour also provided us with a better understanding about the scientist’s responsibilities. These include, to name a few: maintaining healthy fish stocks for commercial fishing, conserving and recovering populations of protected species and restoring marine habitat.
Ah yes, and then, the library… Someone has to organize all this research and keep a well-stocked collection of resources to make the scientist’s job easier! Special thanks for Ms. Debra Losey for opening her beautifully maintained library up for our viewing. We learned how much planning went into this new functional space that now serves as the information hub of the center.
And those views! I’ll save that for another blog entry.
The fun didn’t end there – tour members carried on the theme of the day by ordering up some excellent seafood at El Pescador Fish Market. I thought it turned out to be the perfect way to give credit to our ocean conservationists!
Good times. Eileen Schnur, Your SLA-SD President Elect 2015
Posted on December 18, 2014.
This month, we interviewed Donna Dutton, the Medical Sciences Librarian at the Wilkins Biomedical Library, part of the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) at Naval Base Point Loma.
What is the NHRC?
NHRC is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) premier deployment health research center specializing in research and development efforts that support our nation’s armed forces. Scientists and researchers at NHRC focus on military population health, operational readiness, and operational infectious diseases, and execute the DoD’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP) within the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). We lead some of the nation’s largest military research efforts including the Millennium Cohort Study, the Millennium Cohort Family Study, and the Wounded Warrior Recovery Project.
Wow, that’s a lot of acronyms! How does the library support these programs? Who is your primary community of users?
The Wilkins Biomedical Library supports all of these efforts through our collection of print and online resources. We currently have one librarian and two staff members on the library team. Our patron community represents a variety of scientific and medical professionals, including PhD scientists, licensed physical therapists, registered nurses, research and clinical psychologists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, public health professionals, physiologists, and more.
Many of your patrons are advanced specialists doing cutting edge research. Do you have special medical training? Or is such training even necessary?
I do not have any special medical training. Most of what I know I have leaned on the job and by taking various seminars and workshops through library professional societies like SLA and MLA. Before attending library school, I worked as an administrative assistant at the VA Medical Center and the UCSD Cancer Center. Those jobs were my original exposure to medicine and medical terminology. Part of my duties were to retrieve library materials and do Medline searches. I loved that aspect of the job and it is what inspired me to go to library school and specialize in the biomedical area. It is certainly helpful to have a medical/science background to be a medical librarian, but it is not essential.
How is your library different from medical libraries in civilian hospitals or research universities? Are there unique aspects to working for the military?
One difference is that we don’t have patients on site at NHRC, so we don’t need general library materials to serve a community of patients and their families, as many hospital libraries do. The research support is very similar to a research university. We differ in that we don’t have a large student population, although we regularly see student interns come through from the local colleges and universities. I am required to have a government security clearance – I guess that is one unique aspect of working for the military.
Tell us a little more about your duties as librarian.
My duties include providing reference, organizing training sessions on using our tools and resources, developing the collection, and providing outreach to our user community. We are an active participant in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and lend materials from our unique collection on a regular basis as well as borrow from our fellow NLM libraries as needed. I joined NHRC earlier this year after a period where they did not have a professional librarian on staff; so currently, a good portion of my time is also spent working with our IT department to ensure that the resources (catalog, e-journals, link resolver, and databases) are functioning as they should. We are about to migrate to a new online catalog, and have a facility move on the horizon (creating a centralized collaborative commons area where researchers can meet and engage together) — so there is a lot going on to keep me busy.
What do you like most about your job?
I love knowing that I can play a part in the scientific research and discovery process. Here at NHRC, I am motivated by knowing that the library supports research that in turn benefits our country’s service men and women.
Donna has worked at the NHRC since March, after an assessment of the library revealed the need to have a professional librarian on staff. Previously, Donna worked at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a local biotech company. She holds an MLIS from UCLA. Donna has been a member of SLA since 1993, and participates in the Military division. She is currently serving as Employment Chair and previously served as PR Chair for the San Diego Chapter.
-Tim Gladson, SLA San Diego Communications Committee
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Posted on December 7, 2014.
Open positions for 2015 San Diego Chapter Board of Directors include President Elect and Co-Directors.
The Nominations Committee, chaired by Past President, Talitha Matlin, are pleased to announce the following slate:
Eileen Schnur is the Director for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Command Library (SPAWAR). She served as the Reference and Outreach Librarian in dual command capacity with Naval Postgraduate School and SPAWAR before assuming the role as Director. She started out her career as a Library Media Coordinator for a k-8 school. Eileen has also gained experience as an academic librarian, working for Texas A & M’s Bell Library as a Reference Librarian just out of library school. Her current professional volunteer experience includes serving on the Executive Board as the elected Navy/Marine Corps Service Director for SLA’s Division of Military Libraries, as well as SLA-SD Chapter’s Vendor Coordinator. She also holds certifications as a teacher and school librarian in the states of California and North Carolina.
Penny Coppernoll-Blach is the Biomedical Reference Librarian at the UC San Diego Library, where she has worked for over 12 years. She has also held positions at CP Kelco, Dialog, and University of Illinois at Chicago Library of the Health Sciences. She was a Director for SLA-SD back in 2006 and has also served in the past as Membership Chair for several years.
Deborah Kegel has worked at UCSD Libraries for over 25 years. She currently serves as Librarian for Astronomy, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics; and is the Physical Sciences and Engineering Reference Coordinator. Prior to this, her job responsibilities included Head of Public Services, Interim Department Head, and Collections Coordinator for the UCSD Science & Engineering Library. Deborah earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and mathematics at Wake Forest University, and an MA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the MLS at Indiana University. Professional affiliations include Special Libraries Association, Physics-Astronomy-Math Division and San Diego Chapter; and the American Society for Engineering Education, Engineering Libraries Division.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the SLA-SD Nominating Committee,
Posted on October 6, 2014.
In this interview, three members of the San Diego Area Law Libraries network (SANDALL) discuss the unique aspects of law librarianship. Our panelists’ credentials are given at the end of the article.
How many law librarians are there in San Diego? Who employs law librarians?
Lisa Foster: I don’t have a figure for all law librarians in San Diego, but the SANDALL membership last year was around 110. I believe all of the local law schools and courts (superior, federal, and appellate) have law librarians who manage their law libraries and assist patrons with research. Likewise, several of the larger local law firms employ law librarians. A handful of corporate libraries, such as the one at Qualcomm, hire librarians with a legal background to conduct patent research.
Do you need a JD or paralegal training to work as a law librarian?
Betsy Chessler: In law firms, there is a mix of credentials. Some law firm librarians have JDs, and some, like myself, have paralegal experience. Almost all have MLIS degrees.
Lisa: At TJSL, and other academic law libraries I am familiar with, we also have a mix of credentials. Most of us who do reference work and teach have a dual JD/MLIS. Some of the librarians in technical services (such as cataloging) have the MLIS but no JD. We also have one librarian with a JD only, and another with JD/MLIS and LLM (advanced law degree). A mixed bag. The same was true when I worked at the San Diego (County) Law Library. The librarians there have mixed credentials.
Michele Knapp: Use and understanding of legal materials and research can be learned through on-the-job training. However, educational requirements vary depending on the organization. At USD, all of our reference librarians and administrators have a JD, but most of our technical services librarians do not. In my experience, it is mixed at most libraries. It is more common for academic law libraries to require a JD than it is for court, law firm, or corporate libraries.
How is law librarianship distinct from other library specialties? Are the differences primarily in reference services, or do they extend to collection development and technical services?
Lisa: In my opinion, the only thing that distinguishes law library work from other library specialties is the specialized legal resources that we work with. I think there are more similarities among the library specialties than differences. Other librarians such as corporate librarians also perform research, and sometimes it is legal in nature (such as patent research). Our reference work follows the same principles that are used in public and general academic libraries. As with medical or engineering libraries, however, some subject specialization is definitely helpful.
Michele: Not only do we assist students with research in their academic studies; we also train them to use resources as legal practitioners. Materials used in the practice of law are quite different than those used in academia. Given a lawyer’s ethical duty to clients, we teach the importance of doing a complete job with legal research and of determining whether a law is still valid.
Betsy: Law librarians need to not only know what legal resources are available, but also how they interact with each other, and what the legal process is. Is this a primary source (statute, case, regulation), or a secondary source (treatise, commentary, etc.)? Is this a state or federal matter? Or something else, like tribal law? And of course you need to know how to update everything.
What specialized research services do law librarians provide? Is the work similar to that of a paralegal?
Betsy: I work for a large law firm (1000+ lawyers) and we answer a wide range of questions about lawsuits, witnesses, companies, intellectual property, and legislative history, in addition to general factual research. We also do the typical ILL requests, where we obtain scientific articles and legal treatises. We also gather competitive intelligence and marketing information. Sometimes we do handle paralegal requests.
Lisa: In an academic law library, doing legal research is not our core function. Our core function is to teach the law students to do their own legal research, so we do not do research for them. We help them locate the resources they need to do their own research, and we help them learn to use the resources. When I do research, it is usually to assist a faculty member with a project, or to prepare my own instructional materials.
Michele: My work involves instructing students on legal research methods and strategies and teaching legal research in the classroom. Our reference department offers a series of legal tech talks to educate students and faculty on current technology tools and trends. I work with members of our three student-run law journals, assisting them with citation-checking, choosing paper topics, and understanding best practices in publishing. I assist faculty members with their research. Additionally, I manage interlibrary loan operations. This includes obtaining materials from other institutions for USD students, staff, and faculty and sharing our materials with other libraries. We participate in interlibrary loan with numerous types of libraries — academic, corporate, government — many of which are not law libraries.
Do you sometimes have difficulty drawing a line between the research of a librarian and the analysis of lawyer?
Betsy: Our research requests are getting more and more complex, and I think they do sometimes stray into analysis that a lawyer should handle. In that case, we provide preliminary information and tell the attorney that he or she needs to determine the legal ramifications of any information provided.
Lisa: In law library work, it is important not to cross the line between providing research assistance and giving legal advice. That has not been a problem for me in the academic library, but it was more difficult when I worked for the County’s public law library. A lot of the patrons there are laypeople handling their own cases, and they often misunderstand the librarian’s role. Members of the general public frequently asked for information that would constitute legal advice (such as what forms to use for their case). We told them that we could not provide legal advice, but instead helped them find the books or online resources that would help them discover the answers to their own questions.
Michele: Usually, it is easy to draw that line. More often, the difficult part is getting the patron to realize the limits of our assistance. I have worked with patrons who want an answer to a legal question, although they do not always realize that what they are asking for constitutes legal advice. I cannot provide such information, even though I am trained as a lawyer. When this situation arises, I explain that although I cannot offer legal advice, I can direct them to materials that may help them. When it is clear that a patron needs legal assistance, I offer referrals to local agencies that may be able to provide them with representation. Unfortunately, a growing percentage of the population cannot afford to hire an attorney, so we see more and more pro se litigants in the library.
What do you enjoy most about being a law librarian?
Betsy: I like the variety of questions. I never know what will pop up in my inbox each day. I also have had the opportunity to work on many pro bono projects (legal work for the public good), which has included research on villages in Ethiopia and background for Supreme Court amicus briefs.
Lisa: I enjoy several aspects of law librarianship. Like Betsy, I like the variety and the fact that I am always learning. I like being able to use my legal background to help people, without the stress or long hours of practicing law. I like working with law students, and teaching them research skills. I like the collegiality of the profession. Librarians are very service-oriented, and are always willing to help each other, even between different institutions.
Michele: Like Betsy, I enjoy the variety of tasks and research involved in the job. Every day is different and the law is always changing, so I never get bored. Teaching, whether in the classroom or in an informal setting, offers endless rewards. Seeing the light bulb go on above a student’s head when they understand how to use a resource or how to choose the best research strategy is particularly satisfying. Additionally, I enjoy meeting and collaborating with other librarians. I am fortunate to be able to attend conferences and participate in committee work, all of which has introduced me to smart, creative people with innovative ideas.
What is SANDALL? What events do you have coming up?
Lisa: SANDALL is the San Diego chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries. Our next seminar will be in January on the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA). Additionally, we host a monthly “Buddies” luncheon that pairs professional law librarians with library students, new librarians, and other information professionals who are interested in the field of law librarianship. We host social events several times a year, usually at the holidays and in the summer. We have other committees such as Social Responsibility (planning public service activities and events that members can participate in) and Advocacy (keeping members informed about political and legal issues important to librarians, and taking positions on issues such as pending legislation of interest to librarians).
Michele: SANDALL offers library tours and educational programs as well. This year, I am working on group tours of the Salk Institute and a local museum. I look forward to collaborating with SLA-SD and attending the Networking Happy Hour in October. We welcome new members, whether or not they work in a law library. Currently, we are beginning a new membership year. For more information, please see http://www.sandallnet.org/join.
Thank you so much for your time.
Lisa Foster is a Reference Librarian at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She holds a JD from California Western School of Law, and practiced municipal law in the San Diego area for 23 years. Michele Knapp is the current Vice President of SANDALL, and works as the Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian at the University of San Diego Legal Research Center. She holds a JD and practiced criminal defense law. Betsy Chessler is a research analyst at Morrison & Foerster, LLP, a general service law firm with over 1000 attorneys and 17 offices worldwide. She worked as a paralegal for six years before becoming a law librarian, and is a former president of SANDALL. All 3 earned their MLIS from the University of Washington.
Local Law Libraries
-Tim Gladson, SLA San Diego Communications Committee
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Posted on September 30, 2014.
The keynote speaker at this year’s Fall Seminar will be Hsuanwei Michelle Chen, Assistant Professor at San Jose State University’s iSchool. In this interview, Prof. Chen tells us a little about her research, including a sneak peak at her upcoming presentation.
Prof. Chen, as a data scientist, your research focuses on big data visualization and social network analysis. What are some specific topics you are currently investigating?
I’m currently working on a few projects that focus on how to use information visualization to improve data analytics and management, which, in turn, enhances collection analysis, user engagement, and resource allocation. For example, one topic that I’m investigating is how information visualization can be adopted to analyze the images that Bob Ross painted and discussed on the PBS series The Joy of Painting. Examining his artistic output as a dataset suggested complex themes related to emotion, memory, and the very act of painting itself. The preliminary findings show how information visualization can be used for art collection analysis by exploring the trajectory of artistic creation. Another topic I’m investigating is visualizing social media interactions (e.g., Pinterest boards and Twitter “tweets”) to further understand how libraries can use social media interactions to engage and attract patrons. One of the initial findings is that library users prefer participating in “active” services created by the library; thus libraries need to spend much more time and effort contributing to a creative theme or design on their chosen topics, rather than simply pushing static posts like book covers.
Social networks reveal the interests of millions of individual consumers, as well as links within and among market segments. Besides targeted advertising, what benefits can social network analysis provide? How do these benefits differ between small and large enterprises?
Social network analysis can provide so much more than just targeted advertising, such as increasing customer loyalty and improving brand impression through better user understanding and engagement. In addition, through other in-depth analyses such as sentiment analysis and trend analysis, we can gain insight into the attitudes and/or behavioral patterns that users present. We can also identify different “types” of users (e.g., leaders vs. non-leaders), which helps target advertising further by tailoring marketing messages based on user influences.
I think the benefits apply to both small and large enterprises, but the strategies to deal with social network analysis may differ greatly based on available resources. Larger enterprises can take a more structured approach to social network analysis (e.g., by having an independent team that focuses on social media initiatives and strategies), while small enterprises may lack resources for intensive analysis. Therefore, you must design social media strategies carefully in order to optimize the potential benefits of social network analysis.
As platforms and their services evolve, what innovations in social network analysis do you foresee over the next 5 to 10 years?
I think one of the biggest innovations in social network analysis will emerge from the big data field – both the evolution, availability, and interconnectedness of large-scale datasets, as well as new methods and tools for data analytics. Although the scale of available data presents many challenges, it also opens exciting opportunities for even more in-depth knowledge mining and discovery, such as sentiment and trend analysis. Simultaneously, we will develop more integrated tools that support powerful platforms to search, monitor, analyze and visualize data.
How can corporate librarians integrate cutting-edge data research into their day-to-day work? What specific services do corporate librarians who lack a computer science background have to offer?
Fortunately, there are more and more data research tools that provide a complete, integrated solution for deep data analysis through user-friendly interfaces. I believe corporate librarians, or those who lack a computer science background, can master these tools. For example, I’m teaching a big data course this semester, and one of my students, who is working for a corporation, is learning how to use Splunk to analyze and visualize a large-scale dataset of consumer purchase history to gain deeper insights into location-based buying behaviors.
To enhance competitiveness, I think it is essential for corporate librarians to gain some skills and knowledge with large-scale data analysis and interpretation.
What specific topics will you be discussing at our upcoming Fall Seminar?
I will be discussing how librarians and information professionals can use information visualization to enhance our daily work. This includes analyzing, displaying, communicating and interpreting massive amounts of abstract data effectively and efficiently via visual representations. I will demonstrate how information visualization can be used to help libraries and librarians utilize abundant data resources (to which they now have more and more access) to provide better collection analysis, resource allocation, and user engagement.
Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to your presentation.
Posted on September 29, 2014.
On Tuesday, September 23, a group of curious SLA-SD members and colleagues gathered at the Braille Institute’s San Diego Center location in La Jolla to tour the organization’s library. Librarian Louise Zuckerman hosted our group and discussed the various library and community services that the nonprofit Braille Institute provides free of charge to the blind and visually impaired.
Our afternoon kicked off with a walk-through of the library stacks, which primarily feature audio media on flash drives circulated within hard plastic cartridges that can be sent through the mail for expanded accessibility; audio cassettes and braille books are also available. We then learned about electronic handheld magnification devices used to enhance sight for the visually impaired and viewed a number of models housed in the Library for patron use. Moving into the facility’s computer labs, our group learned about the various programs used to teach typing and make general computer, iPad, and iPhone use more accessible to those with visual impairments. Concluding the tour, we saw some of the table-top magnification devices, the NLS digital talking book player, and other assistive technologies in action. Along the way, we spoke with a technology lab assistant, a low vision consultant, and the facility’s Executive Director, Richard M. Ybarra, to get a well-rounded understanding of the Braille Institute as well as the role that the library plays within the various programs and services the organization provides.
After an interesting and informative time at the Braille Institute, our group headed over to happy hour at Seasons 52 for lively conversation and networking. Thanks to all who came out to make this a great event! For those of you who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you at our next SLA-SD Chapter event!
For more information about the Braille Institute’s San Diego Center location and library, please visit http://www.brailleinstitute.org/sandiego/
For a list of free iPhone and iPad apps developed by the Braille Institute — including VisionSim, an app developed “in order for people with healthy vision to experience the world through the eyes of a person experiencing one of nine degenerative eye diseases” — please visit: http://www.brailleinstitute.org/digital/mobile-applications.html
Posted on September 27, 2014.
A big, hearty Thank You to everyone who donated books for our 5th Annual Words Alive Book Drive!
This year we collected over 380 new and gently used books for the Words Alive community literacy programs! The books you generously donated will be distributed to children and youth from underserved communities across San Diego County. Words Alive’s upcoming newsletter will feature a special thank you to SLA-SD for helping promote childhood literacy.
To learn more about Words Alive and the fantastic work they are doing please visit their website.
Posted on September 3, 2014.
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 email@example.com to see how you can help out with this great cause!
Posted on August 7, 2014.
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 (http://numismatics.org/collection/0000.999.6268) 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