MLA Annual Conference Report by Cathy Wolford

November 28, 2007

MLA 2007

The Michigan Library Association’s annual conference was November 7 through November 9, 2007.  One of the programs I attended was titled “Catalog 2.0.”  It was very informative and relevant to DALNET.  The presenters were Jackie Wrosch from Eastern Michigan University (formerly of DALNET); Krista Graham, Electronic Resources Coordinator/Reference Librarian at Central Michigan University; Dao Rong Gong, Catalog Librarian at Michigan State University, and Juliane Morian, Head of Electronic Services at Clinton-Macomb Public Library.

Jackie explained various ways that Eastern Michigan University (EMU) tries to make their OPAC more user-friendly and dynamic.  One way is to embed java script into the HTML templates that come with their OPAC. Also, an open source alternative she is investigating is from Villanova University and called VUFind. It was released this past July in beta. The library at Villanova University uses Voyager for its ILS as does EMU. VUFind has faceted searching which is becoming very popular. If you are interested in looking at some library catalogs with faceted searching try these:

North Carolina State University

Queens Library

Miami University (Ohio)

Peninsula Library System

Plymouth State University

Michigan State University (MSU) was one of the initial 13 libraries that entered a partnership initiative with Innovative Interfaces to help develop Encore, Innovative’s answer to Library 2.0. Recently Encore beta went live in Michigan State’s opac. In this MLA program, Dao Rong Gong from Michigan State University explained the development and features of Encore. Through a survey link on the Encore search page, MSU is hoping to get feedback about what users think about their searching experience with this new product. For a recent press release from Innovative concerning the launch of Encore please see this link.

Clinton-Macomb Public Library did usability tests of their library web site last August. Juliane Morian explained that their users wanted “keyword” searching taken off of the quick search and added to the advanced search. Users also requested that the font size be increased. She showed us their old home page and catalog and compared it to their new home page and catalog. The visual differences were dramatically better in their new version. She mentioned that they used contrasting colors to make items “pop.” She also configured the MeLCat search in their catalog to imitate the look and feel of the Clinton-Macomb’s library catalog. She described it as a “virtual MeLCat branch.”

Krista Graham from Central Michigan University (CMU) had two focus groups help their library determine what patrons would prefer in the library catalog. The librarians had some pre-selected catalogs to show the groups and asked what they liked and did not like about them. The consensus was that they did like spell check. The users also wanted advanced searching on the first page of the library catalog. Both Krista and Juliane agreed that when asking library users what they want in the catalog, the answers may be surprising.

There were several very interesting and informative programs at this year’s MLA conference. Next year the conference will be held at the Radisson in Kalamazoo, Michigan during October 22 through October 24, 2008.


Check out our DALNET Office collection!

November 15, 2007

The DALNET Office has a small but growing collection of library-related books, periodicals and audio-visuals available for check-out to members via Inter-Library Loan. Topics range from Cataloging to Copyright to Digital Librarianship and more.

Some book titles include: Copyright law for librarians and educators by Kenneth D. Crews, The whole digital library handbook by Diane Kresh, Maxwell’s guide to authority work by Robert L. Maxwell, Web site design with the patron in mind by Susanna Davidsen and Out front with Stephen Abram: a guide for information leaders.

Our periodical titles are American Libraries, Cognotes, College & Research Libraries, College & Research Libraries News, Information Technology and Libraries, and Library Administration & Management.

The following links go to the DALNET Single Database HIP:
DALNET Office Books: click here
DALNET Office Periodical Holdings: click here
All DALNET Office materials: click here

For now, please contact Kristy if you would like to borrow any DALNET Office materials. After testing, another option for borrowing will be the GAC for ILL through OCLC WorldCat Resource Sharing.

CODI Conference Report, November 7-9, 2007

November 14, 2007

CODI 2007

This year’s Customers of Dynix, Inc. (CODI) conference took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George Marck attended the conference as the DALNET representative and reports the following:

Early in the conference, Gary Rautenstrauch, the CEO of SirsiDynix, stated that the company needed to pay particular attention to their Horizon customers; there were several positive signs that the company has finally begun to do that.

In particular, SirsiDynix has announced that they will continue to support their Horizon product for at least the next four to six years. In addition, they announced that there will be a new version of the Horizon 7.X series, which will be available in general release in early 2008. They also plan to release two new versions of HIP at the same time – HIP 3.09 and 4.16.

Much of the conference was devoted to the new joint product release from SirsiDynix which is called Symphony. There were workshops on the following: preparing your data for moving to SirsiDynix Symphony; project plan implementation for upgrading to Symphony; basic system administration and maintenance in Symphony; and the basic architecture of Symphony. The good news is that Symphony is built on a platform utilizing the current releases of Oracle (a better supported database version than SYBASE, which is used by Horizon) and JAVA, and employs a thin client.

In addition, there were workshops on the new releases of HIP as well as SirsiDynix new federated searching product, EPS (Enterprise Portal System). There was also a workshop session for large libraries using Horizon. Most of them plan to use Horizon for the foreseeable future and to evaluate the marketplace sometime later. So, DALNET is not alone in its current plans.

Automotive Authors Day at Detroit Public Library

November 13, 2007

Automotive Authors Day

Automotive Authors Day, sponsored by The Friends of the National Automotive History Collection, will take place on Saturday November 17, 2007 from 2 to 5 PM at the Detroit Public Library Skillman Branch.

From the website: “Car collectors, restorers, historians and motor heads of all ages are invited to attend the Detroit area’s largest gathering of automotive history writers. Come meet over 20 book authors who write about the world of cars, trucks, ships and airplanes. The Authors will assemble in the Rose Skillman Gallery, home of the National Automotive History Collection. They will talk with you about your interests and sign your copy of their books. Books will also be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public; street parking and area lots are recommended.”

Participating Authors:  John Bluth, Joe Cabadas, Sally Clarke, Mike Davis, Peter Delorenzo, Mike Dixon, George Green, Larry Gustin, Roger Hart, Charlie Hyde, Matt Lee, David Lewis, Walt McCall, Byron Olsen, Sinclair Powell, Tracy Powell, David Roberts, Rex Roy, Richard Stanley, Jim Wagner, Willem Weertman.

The Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library is located at 121 Gratiot Avenue (in downtown Detroit behind the Compuware Headquarters).

Learn to Write Grants and Get Published

November 9, 2007

The Wayne State University Library System will hold a workshop on grant writing and getting published on Saturday, December 8, 2007 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the David Adamany Undergraduate Library on the Wayne State University main campus.

Sponsored by the Library System, Wayne State University Library and Information Science Program and the University Press, some of the session topics will include:

  • How to Get Published
  • Basic Grant Writing
  • Grant Writing for K-12
  • Blogs and Wikis
  • Developing Web Pages
  • Genealogy
  • Writing Tutorials
  • Digital Projects
  • SciFi and Fantasy
  • Chapbooks and Zines

The cost of the workshop is $55 with lunch and $40 without lunch. For more information, contact Wayne State Librarian Lothar Spang at (313) 577-3367 or

To register now, click here.

Tuesday Fun

November 6, 2007

Catalog Card Generator

“Use this amusing site to generate your own faux library-style catalog cards online by inputting call number, title, text (where you can include author, publisher, or whatever you want), and comments, which will appear in the form of handwritten notes. From John Blyberg, Head of Technology and Digital Initiatives at Darien Library in Connecticut.”

— from Librarians’ Internet Index

Tips for Vendor Negotiations

November 5, 2007


The SLA Michigan Chapter recently met to discuss effective practices for Negotiating with Vendors.  Bob Kelly, Collection Development Librarian Eastern Michigan University, Elaine Logan, Associate University Librarian EMU (formerly with Pfizer Co.), and Leslie Burke, Account Services Manager EBSCO Information Services shared the following: 

·         Standardize your process.  Use a team approach; partner with procurement and legal at your institution.  Be a leader and take control of the negotiations.  Establish a single point of contact for all vendors.

·         Vendors are people too, and lots of them are still new at this.  Establish relationships.

·         Both parties should be responsive in a timely manner.  Final negotiations will always take longer than you think; remember this when negotiating a switch in vendors.

·         All parties should be flexible on various points of bargaining, and should set limitations that are not negotiable; know your needs vs. your wants.  Don’t waste each other’s time.

·         Pricing is not the only negotiable; you may consider additional content, training, advisory seats, beta testing, length of contract, billing methods, etc.  Database subscriptions usually have more pricing room than individual journal subscriptions or packages.

·         Ask for a clear definition of how pricing is determined.

·         Ask for particulars about usage data: Is the vendor COUNTER compliant?  What about SUSHI compliant?

·         Ask how often content is updated.  Ask how current content is, if relevant.

·         It can be important to review the financials of your current or prospective vendors.

·         Define your users and access rights:  You may want to include alumni, walk-in users, or other constituents.  Do you have “Post Cancellation Access” or should you consider deep archiving from a third party, such as PORTICO.

·         Define how content can be used.  Consider: course packs, interlibrary loan, e-reserves, performance rights.

·         Define the amount of time the contract is good for before it must be renewed.  Avoid automatic renewals.

·         Construct a standard addendum for all of your contracting that includes important contract stipulations for your institution.  Check out Yale’s Bibliography of Licensing Resources.  Make clear and complete cover pages for your contracts.

·         Keep PDF (or other electronic format) copies of all your contracts for easy access and dissemination.