Friday, February 27, 2009

Alice heads West

We have a series of meetings scheduled next week in Dublin, so I will likely be talk, talk, talking instead of write, write, writing. (Well, truthfully it should be list, list, listening...but there we are.)

The second tip in the series of "How to survive a network attack" comes to you today from the OCLC security team:

Have visibility into the problem.

A key to identifying and recovering from a denial of service condition is being able to quickly and accurately determine its causes. Here are some utilities that you will want to configure in advance, in order to properly prepare for an attack:

* Web server logging: Web server logs are often the best source of information for determining the source of the attack, since they usually contain the client IP address.

* Network connection data: If your network devices don’t already log basic information about all network traffic, you may want to deploy a network auditing tool such as Argus . Argus logs contain the time, source IP address, destination IP address, and traffic characteristics such as protocol and port for the traffic that Argus is inspecting.

* Intrusion detection: Early detection of the problem is critical. Intrusion detection systems like Snort can be configured to send you alerts in the event of behavior that has the characteristics of an attack.

* Log analysis tools: Regardless of the type of logs, you’ll need to search and analyze them quickly. You may want to have a system with a utility like Splunk ready to go before a problem hits.

Wow, with names like Argus, Snort and Splunk, you'll be more secure in no time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Library ROI: A Brief Webliography

First, a confession. I've been holding this list for months. Don Reynolds sent this to me back in the fall of 2008, and I've been meaning to post it every since. Today, the guilt finally overwhelmed me, so I went in and checked all the links, tossed out or updated the bad links, arranged the list in chronological order from oldest to newest, and threw myself on the mercy of the court.

Compiled by Don Reynolds, Past President of the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, and Director, Nolichucky Regional Library, Morristown, Tennessee
Updated February 20, 2009

Public Library Benefits Valuation Study. St. Louis Public Library, April 2001.

Library's Contribution to Your Community. Illinois Regional Library Systems, 2002/3.

Libraries: How they stack up. An OCLC Report. OCLC, 2003.

Value of Public Library Service. Massachusetts Library Association, October 2003. Also available: "Estimated retail value and Values explained" and Calculator work sheet

The Economic Impact of Public Libraries on South Carolina. January 2005.

Taxpayer Return-on-Investment (ROI) in Pennsylvania Public Libraries. Pennsylvania Library Association, September 2006.

Value for Money: Southwestern Ohio’s Return from Investment in Public Libraries. November 2006. Report Summary

Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development. Urban Libraries Council, January 2007.

Worth Their Weight - An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation. Americans for Libraries Council (Libraries for the Future), May 2007. Two notes:
1.) This report summarizes all the various valuation projects from around the country.
2.) I was having some trouble getting this to download, but was told by Libraries for the Future that the website issue is being addressed.

Update: Betha Gutsche from WebJunction offers this alternate site for finding "Worth Their Weight." Thanks, Betha!

Vermont Library Association’s Library Use Value Calculator - What is your library worth to you? August 2007. (Note: Follows Massachusetts model.)

Return on Investment for Public Libraries. Library Research Service (Colorado), 2007/8. Note: This site also includes numerous case studies of individual libraries. Individual ROI Calculator.

Return on Investment (ROI). North Suburban Library System (Illinois), 2008. (Note: Two calculators are available here, one for a library’s return on investment to the community, one for the ROI for an individual.)

Maine State Library’s Library Use Value Calculator. Updated 2008. Note: This approach also follows Massachusetts model.

New York Libraries: How They Stack Up! Revised October 2008. Printable brochure version, also revised October 2008

Warm up for Code4Lib

A few of us are gearing up for Code4Lib 2009 in Providence, RI next week. Very fun. I am going to be at the OCLC Grid Services Boot Camp, to learn, take photos and I hope take a few videos as well. Promises to be a good time, given the list of attendees. Wish I could stay for the whole conference, but someone has to mind the store (as they say).

As a techhead warm-up and the start of a continuing series of somewhat random but helpful tidbits, I was chatting with one of the security officers at OCLC and he compiled a list of tips for surviving a network attack. I'll give these to you in bite-sized pieces.

Here's the first one:
Reduce the likelihood of an attack.

Like campers who tie their food up in trees to keep bears away, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any enticing tidbits for Internet attackers.

Here are a few key findings to look out for:

* Unpatched systems: Attackers wanting an easy target will look for systems that are behind in updates.
* Open web proxies: Misconfigured proxies can attract a lot of traffic because they may allow remote users to get around firewall restrictions or to get unauthorized free access to resources.
* Cross-site scripting vulnerabilities: Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of web application vulnerability where an attacker can use your web pages to attack other users.

Stay a step ahead of the attackers and identify these and other weaknesses in your systems with a vulnerability scanner like Nessus. Nessus is a very powerful and potentially dangerous tool, so make sure that you have the proper authorization, that you have familiarized yourself with how it works, and that you choose your targets carefully.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The One Minute Critic

I just stumbled over a delightful site: the One Minute Critic, brought to you by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. The vlog is a great example of librarians having fun highlighting their collections, using WorldCat lists to help people in their community connect to their library and providing sheer entertainment value in ways both high-tech and low-tech.

The 10 Classic Cookbooks list caught my eye, and then I found myself wanting to watch all the One Minute Critics! Incidentally (and interestingly)--this library system has one of the highest referrer rankings of In other words, lots of users find their materials through, and they send a lot of traffic to It's a virtuous circle--WorldCat connecting people with libraries and great library materials (like cookbooks!)

Watch for the surprise take at the end. So fun!

Monday, February 16, 2009

NYT Gives School Librarians a Boost

Nice article in today's New York Times about the evolving role of school librarians.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Calgary's Design for the Future

Tom Hickerson from the University of Calgary is presenting this morning, as part of the OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series.

He's going to think about the role of the research library on an academic campus--the Convergence of Knowledge and Culture. Specifically, he'll be telling us about the Taylor Family Digital Library (TFDL). It is in fact a building with physical books and digital materials...but they named it as such to help move us into the idea of an evolved digital library.

What role will libraries play on campuses? The building is important but not the only element.

The University
The University of Calgary is a start up--only 42 years old. 28,000 students. Thom is also responsible for the museum and the press. (Budget about the size of MIT or Univ of Utah.)

The building is scheduled to be opening in Fall 2010. 265,000 SF. A new central library, university museum, university archives, the university press, the centre for student success and the alumni association. The library is the hub of the campus--also a close relationship with IT and faculty teaching programs.

There will also be a high density storage facility--will hold books and journals but also archives and art. 1.6 million volume equivalency.

Also will create a quadrangle for a "green space" at the heart of campus.

Learning Commons

Giving students and faculty the capacity to create new knowledge--lots of production capacity and collaborative spaces. Digital touch tables, digital globes, lots of editing and display places.

The Centre for Student Success
Putting this centre in the middle of the building, because it's so important. Student advising, student support, aid for students with disabilities, instructional programming (envision this centre and the library to be seamless).

Physical plant
You can see what's happening in the facility from a physical plant standpoint and from the materials--you can see licensed content being used alongside BTUs being used in the space. Very cool!

Includes a focus on multi-dimensional visualization capabilities.

LAMs--Libraries, Archives and Museums--they want convergence at the university. The building is not essential to convergence and it will not guarantee it. The result?

We Have to Change.

Lots of great things going on with the museums and scholarly communications. For example, there's an open access authors' fund of $100,000 annually for University of Calgary scholars. (Only one in Canada and one of six in the world.)
*Where does the money come from?* (not been a problem.)

A reminder from the telephone technology--we went from dial to push button to cordless to mobile...we don't have to be able to see the technology to interaction with it.

One of the library's tasks will be to make tangible interfaces to intangible objects.
How do we make collections work for our users?

Digital materials, of course, but also more support for peripheral content. Lots of exciting things going on.

Questions on digital materials ownership, Chief Information Officers, and LAM convergence...hearing Tom's presentation reminds me what great opportunities the next generation of students will have--and what we as a profession can do to support the full learning experience. What a great time to be a student!

Audio of the presentation
will be available soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WJ Connects Staff Competencies to Courses

The WebJunction Library Management Competencies index is now available. This is the first in a series of indices that will link WJ course content with the staff competencies identified by several library organization.

Here's the news release about the project:

Seattle, Washington, USA, 3 February 2009—WebJunction has released Library Management Competencies to help current and aspiring library managers be more successful in their job. These competencies, which are available on, include dynamic links to related courses and resources on WebJunction that will build knowledge and skills and increase on-the-job effectiveness. By identifying the key aspects of managing a library and defining the associated knowledge, skills, and behavior, library managers will be able to tailor their personal learning plans to address any gaps in their skills. All WebJunction courses and programs take place within its unique social learning platform, where people come together around course work and content to gain the most interactive learning experience available to library staff anywhere on the web.

“We are thrilled to offer this first set of library management competencies to the library field,” said Betha Gutsche, curriculum manager for the Competencies project, who also serves on the board of Continuing Libraries Education Network and Exchange (CLENE) Round Table of the American Library Association. “We’re eager to learn how library managers begin using the competencies to identify and build the skills they need to manage libraries. As with everything at WebJunction, we welcome input from the library field. Your feedback will help us move forward with implementing new sets of competencies over the coming year.”

There are two paths of discovery from competencies to learning resources at WebJunction. For direct access, go to From this page, you can browse the list of library management competency categories; click the Details & Learning button for each competency statement to see related courses as well as a guide to additional resources available on Also, when browsing the Course Catalog, the details page of any course associated with a competency will link to the associated competencies page.

WebJunction’s library management competencies are the first set to be launched from the full Competency Index, an aggregate of competency statements that cover a broad spectrum of library practice and service. In the coming months, WebJunction will continue to roll out additional sections on the website, and expects to produce the full Index as a WebJunction publication later this year.

The effort began in 2006 when WebJunction, the learning community for library staff, received a Library Skills Training grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant was intended to increase WebJunction’s capacity to meet library organization needs to continually develop staff with essential skills for today’s libraries. As part of this grant, WebJunction staff have worked closely with the originators of many competency sets in the library field, as well as with a cadre of subject-matter-expert reviewers, in order to complete a full Competency Index. Library staff can use the statements to identify skills they should have or want to develop, create job descriptions, or develop training programs.

Monday, February 09, 2009

"How to Foster a Cooperative Culture"

One of the things Joan Frye Williams and I stress in our talks is the importance of collaboration today in three areas of our work: how we work with one another in libraries; how we work externally to create new partnerships; and how we set up spaces for our users to work together.

For a terrific short article on the first of those three points, check out Lynda Gratton's excellent article "How to Foster a Cooperative Culture," published last month on the Harvard Business Publishing site. If you haven't subscribed to HBP's service yet, check it out; it's a terrific way to get lots of free information on management and leadership issues right in your in box.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Early Career Development Fellowship Deadline Nears

The March 6 application deadline is fast approaching for the 2010 Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program. Information is here, and the guidelines are here. The application form is here.

If you know librarians with three to eight years experience working in countries with developing economies (OK, today that might include anywhere, but the list of eligible countries is on page three of this document), please let them know about this program.