2011 Vol. 14 Issue 2

Wired West volume 14 issue 2

News from Your Chapter Board

Professional Development

News & Resources

This issue of Wired West sponsored by:

Posted in 2011 Vol 14 Issue 2Comments Off on Wired West volume 14 issue 2

President’s Message

By Richard Matiachuk

The future of libraries: I have sat down at my computer several times to write my comments but each time I struggle; not because I do not know ‘what to say’ but I have ‘too much to say’ and need to keep this short and focused.

‘Everyone’ seems to be asking about the future of libraries. I conducted a quick search of blogs and found several recent postings. I found sites that said the future of libraries is “transliteral” (whatever that means), that academic libraries are reinventing themselves, that 21st century libraries are facing a paradigm shift and in the future may be defined by their local community and, that we need be ‘knowledge curators’ not ‘knowledge managers’. It is all so confusing.

And of course a lot of our friends (and employers) ask us about the future of libraries. Some ask ‘isn’t everything on the Internet?’ Or more disturbingly they emphatically state ‘everything is on the Internet’. Well, we know (and try to explain) that ‘everything’ is not on the Internet and even if a lot of material is available via the Web it is not all free.

So what is the future of libraries? My first question is ‘what kind of library are we thinking of?’ In our association we have members from ‘every’ kind of library from public to private, to print-only items to only-electronic resources, community to academic to specialized corporate libraries, and we have members who are not in libraries at all but oversee other types of information such as ‘records’. Which of these ‘libraries’ are we talking about when we look at the future of libraries?

On April 8, 2011 Mike Shatzkin posted a blog in response to some of his earlier comments about public libraries in the future (15 years from now); comments he made to a group in Montreal the previous week. His comments stirred up a storm. The Globe and Mail reported that Shatzkin said: “Libraries make no sense in the future” and “There is no need for a building.”

Shatzkin’s blog was to set these comments into context. His argument stems from the rapid rise of ebooks. He may have a point but the key thing (in my mind) is that he is referring to “consumer” [aka public] libraries 10 – 15 years in the future. In his blog post Shatzkin says “Libraries that serve a professional constituency – academic or otherwise – are outside the scope of these predictions” Note he does not say academic or other libraries will not change but he was speaking specifically about ‘consumer’ libraries.

Does this mean public libraries (and those working in public libraries) should panic because they, more so than other kinds of libraries, are facing changes in the near future? Certainly not! 10 – 15 years gives us time to plan and change.

The SLA tagline is that we ‘connect people and information’. Regardless of the form of the repository [library] there will still be need for people with our expertise in organizing, compiling, arranging, describing, researching, discovering, and transmitting knowledge or information. That is our role. And with the overwhelming glut of information in electronic form our role, whether it is in a public, corporate, academic library or any other information gathering context, is going to be needed even more in the future.

The SLA alignment project has been to help us prepare for the impending changes in all libraries by learning to market our skills so that employers, customers, or clients see the roles we perform rather than the locales in which we operate.

Since humans started government systems and scratched tax records, census numbers and customs information on clay tablets someone has kept the records so they are available for future generations. The medium has changed (and changed and changed again) but the need to record information for future access has been part of what we do as human beings. We will still be needed in whatever the future information gathering, storing and retrieving context.

There is a very definite future for ‘libraries’. What will they look like? Public libraries may evolve into one entity while a specialized corporate library may evolve into a different looking entity. What will remain is the need for people like us to ‘connect people [the general public, students, faculty, engineers, researchers, clients, policy makers . . . ] with information’ and to bring the needs of these information consumer to the forefront so the information they want can be found.

Postscript (on a lighter note): two reasons I think libraries will endure

1. They said computers will make us a paperless society. Hasn’t happened yet. The corollary is that ‘everything is on the Internet’.
2. Windows 7 file structure arranges content into “libraries”: document library, music library, photo library’. Can’t escape the concept of a library as repository.

Richard Matiachuk is Reference Librarian at Regent College.

Posted in 2011 Vol 14 Issue 21 Comment

Chapter & SLA News

Chapter & SLA News

Compiled by Adrian Mitescu

  • A couple of changes in the Executive Board: Tania Alekson has taken over the Vancouver Director role and Lindsay Tripp is our new Secretary. Many thanks to both for agreeing to step into their new roles.
  • The last board meeting took place on Wednesday, June 8th at 8:30 a.m. PST (9:30 a.m. MST, 10:00 AM CST) at the Department of Justice, 900-840 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC.
  • The February Board meeting minutes are available here.

Thanks to our Sponsors

  • Yet again, we would like to extend our most sincere thanks to our sponsors. We could not have produced the range of programs we have, or continued to produce quarterly issues of Wired West, without their support.  Many thanks to LexisNexis and to our Wired West sponsor – Andornot Consulting.

SLA News, Events & Conferences

  • The 2011 SLA Conference in Philadelphia has come and gone!
  • Click University’s past webinars are helpfully accessible from their Replays page – check them out!
  • SLA has put together a Future Ready Toolkit – a set of ready-to-use tools and tried-and-true best practices, for SLA members by SLA members. For LIS students and recent graduates, the challenge is landing that first information professional position. For those of us currently working in the industry, the challenge is keeping our current job or finding a new one. Regardless of where we are in our careers, we all need to become Future Ready.
  • More SLA News can be found here


Adrian Mitescu is Reference Librarian at Simon Fraser University Library.

Posted in 2011 Vol 14 Issue 21 Comment


By Allan Cho

We’ve come a long way as a profession.    It wasn’t that long ago that librarians were at the forefront of technology, with long lineups of patrons at the reference desk, pining for the attention of the librarian for access to information, yearning for a chance at using the database.  Created for National Library Week by Grieg Aspnes, Research Librarian for Cargill, this particular film shows Grieg going about his day as he visits other libraries in Minnesota, trying to answer a complex question for an internal customer.  It reveals a glimpse into a day in the life of a corporate research librarian in 1964.  At the time, the film was even used by several library schools and at professional events.   Ah, the good old days.

Academics pointed out that librarians have been concerned about teaching people how to access and use library collections since the 1800′s.   In fact, library instruction had been taught in universities as far back as the Civil War.   The origins of “bibliographic instruction” consisted of tours of the library with instruction in the use of basic reference tools, point-of-use instruction, individualized instruction, and course-related instruction.  The advent of the Internet certainly changed everything.  With online web technologies, bibliographic instruction evolved into “information literacy.”  The“information society” has shifted from finding information in a physical library to searching for information using virtual online databases.  The social web has only ameliorated this learning curve for librarians and information professionals.

In this issue, we explore a new publication by one of SLA WCC’s members, Dawn Basset.  In “Interview with Dawn Bassett, Co-Author of Facelifts for special libraries: a practical guide to revitalizing diverse physical and digital spaces,” we explore some of the challenges and opportunities of a solo-librarian and special libraries manager in this information age.   In Jonathan Jacobsen’s article, we are invited to see for ourselves a new way of searching, one which even the White House has adopted.  (Check it out).  We hope you enjoy this issue of Wired West, in this new format.  If you have any comments, please feel free to contact us at: editor@wcanada.sla1.org

Posted in 2011 Vol 14 Issue 21 Comment

Interview with Dawn Bassett, Co-Author of Facelifts for special libraries: a practical guide to revitalizing diverse physical and digital spaces.

Interview with Dawn Bassett, Co-Author of Facelifts for special libraries: a practical guide to revitalizing diverse physical and digital spaces.

What inspired you to publish this book?

In library school I took a course called Writing and Publishing in the Book Trade for Children, which not only left me with a broader understanding of all of the steps involved in publishing for any market – but our instructor, Maggie de Vries, challenged those of us who were interested in publishing to write and submit something consistently. This inspired me to promise myself to write and submit at least one article a year.  This promise has stuck and I have managed to have at least one item published every year since about 2004.

In 2008 Chandos Publishing contacted me. They had read one of my previous articles and asked if I would consider developing something for their Information Professional Series.  I was really interested in the challenge and opportunity of publishing something longer than a few pages so I decided to submit a proposal.

The inspiration for subject of Facelifts for Special Libraries came from an article that I wrote with my colleague Brooke Ballantyne Scott.  Revitalization and Renewal: Renovations in special libraries may not be as challenging as you think appeared in Wired West, volume 11, number 2 in 2008. It discussed the ways that Brooke and I had revitalized our libraries and also presented some survey results of other librarians who had gone through similar revitalization projects.  At the time we wrote the article, both Brooke and I felt that while there was ample information available to large public and academic libraries to help with renovation projects, there wasn’t much practical advice for special libraries with extremely limited people and financial resources.  This idea informed both the subject matter and the format of Facelifts for Special Libraries.

What was the process behind publishing this?   Did you find any challenges publishing, while working full-time?

Because I had been approached by the publishing company, I managed to avoid having to “shop” the idea around to different publishers.  The challenge that I initially faced was that I wasn’t sure if I would actually be able to do all of the research and writing on my own, particularly because I was expecting my first child at the time.  So, I turned to my colleagues, Brooke and Jenny and asked if they were interested in co-authoring the book with me.  Thankfully they accepted.

The research and writing part was quite easy.  Once we had a proposal and an outline that we liked, we split the research and writing up into the areas each of us had a particular interest in.  We used Google Documents to share our research and our work schedule and met once a month to discuss the project, go over research and hash out details.  Once we had a draft, we circulated it over and over until we had a product we were happy with.

What advice do you have for other library professionals for publishing a book of this magnitude?

First, take the chance!  Second, if you want to do this and aren’t sure that you have the time, ask someone to help you.  I speak for both of my co-authors and myself when I say that individually, we may not have been brave enough to try something like this. In addition to being there to support each other when we felt overwhelmed, Jenny, Brooke and I discovered that between the three of us, there was a good balance of talents in different areas. For example, some of us enjoyed research more than writing, and others liked to do the actually writing or editing.  Having three of us meant that no one had to work constantly doing something they didn’t like and this made the whole process seem painless.

What can a library professional expect to learn from this book?

I hope that library professionals who work in small special libraries will be able to draw on the examples, images, and ideas in the book to help assess their existing spaces to see what can be accomplished with very little in terms of resources, help build successful teams for their revitalization projects, and help plan, manage and implement successful small-scale revitalization projects. Library professionals will also find many useful resources designed to help them locate the answer to a question if we have not managed to answer it directly.

What was the most rewarding aspect of writing this book?

There were many rewarding aspects of writing the Facelifts for Special Libraries, but three come immediately to mind.  For me, the most rewarding aspect of writing was the process of creating it with my colleagues.  Like any project, when you are able complete a product you are proud of and deliver it on time, that is good feeling, even better when you have a team to share that success with.

Other highlights include the weekly emails I receive from Jenny Fry letting us know which libraries have purchased the book.  Knowing that our book is on the shelves in libraries all over the world is a great feeling.

Finally, receiving that first royalty cheque, although very small, is also a highlight. Being paid to do work that you love is also a great thing even if the pay is only pennies.  I actually framed and hung my first royalty cheque as probably many writers do.  It wasn’t very much in terms of money, but signified a great personal accomplishment.

How has this publishing experience changed your career?

I am not sure if this publishing experience has changed my career.  It has certainly made me more aware of and engaged in my profession.  It has lead to some speaking opportunities. Publishing in general has had an influence on my career.  I believe that the process of writing regularly has improved my ability to explain why the profession is important to me which in turn has given me confidence to enlighten my supervisors and colleagues at work about the importance of libraries and librarians to the work that they do.

Facelifts for special libraries: a practical guide to revitalizing diverse physical and digital spaces. Dawn Bassett, Brooke Ballantyne Scott and Jenny Fry. Chandos Publishing 2010. Available for sale in Canada through Amazon or the Ontario Library Association Bookstore

Dawn Bassett is the Coordinator of Library Services for the Canadian Grain Commission and the Current Treasurer of the Western Chapter of the SLA. Dawn holds a BA in English Literature from Simon Fraser University and an MLIS from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS) at the University of British Columbia. Dawn has had the pleasure of working as a corporate librarian in both for profit and not-for-profit special libraries, as an academic reference librarian and as an independent researcher.  She can be reached at dbassett69@gmail.com

Posted in 2011 Vol 14 Issue 21 Comment

Discovery interfaces: the OPAC meets Web 2.0

By Jonathan Jacobsen

Discovery interfaces are one of the hottest new trends in the library Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) sphere, although currently usage is primarily limited to academic and public libraries. A discovery interface provides a more intuitive and productive experience for users, whether searching a library catalogue, an article index, or any other data source. It is a layer of software that sits on top of any existing database or integrated library system (ILS) ingesting records in many formats, including MARC and XML, and providing a best-of-breed, web-based search interface for users.

 Unlike traditional search systems, a discovery interface encourages serendipitous “discovery” of resources. For example, in a typical scenario, a user enters one or more keywords that express roughly what they are looking for and through a combination of features, the discovery layer guides them to relevant materials. These features include:

  • spelling corrections and did-you-mean suggestions of alternate terms;
  • related resources; and
  • faceted browsing, in which the user narrows down their search through an iterative process of selecting topics, authors, publication date ranges, material types, and so on.

These features were pioneered by companies such as Amazon and eBay and have proven to be successful in connecting users with the information they seek.

Over the past few years, this search paradigm has spread to libraries, with more and more either developing or purchasing systems that use these same features to assist patrons searching for library resources.

Discovery interfaces are often not limited to searching just one dataset. A single interface may index multiple library catalogues, digital repositories, websites or other external content.  With this approach, information is brought out of silos, and users need only use a single interface to access disparate resources.

Typically discovery interfaces provide many features to help users act on the records they retrieve, such as:

  • Saving searches or subscribing to an RSS feed to keep up to date with new additions to the database.
  • Sending a citation via SMS text message to a mobile device.
  • Saving, bookmarking, emailing and sharing records.
  • Adding tags and comments to records.
  • Exporting records to bibliographic management applications such as EndNote and RefWorks.
  • Simultaneously fetching external content, such as author biographies from Wikipedia, reader reviews from Amazon, and book covers from Google.

While public and academic libraries have been the most prominent adopters of discovery interfaces,  most libraries could benefit from adding a discovery layer to their existing catalogues and other information repositories. A discovery interface has all the features users have come to expect on a web site and allows searching to be a more enjoyable experience.

Discovery layers are available from both commercial and non-commercial sources.

Leading commercial products Leading open-source products
AquaBrowser       370+   -sites 

BiblioCommons      127+ sites

ExLibris Primo             106+ sites

Sirsi Dynix Enterprise        128+ sites

Summon                       55+ sites

Blacklight     4+ sites 

VuFind      79+ sites

Source: Marshall Breedings’s Discovery Layer Interfaces page at http://www.librarytechnology.org/discovery.pl

Some recent implementations in the Vancouver area include:

  • UBC – Summon on top of Voyager
  • VPL – BiblioCommons on top of SirsiDynix
  • SFU – Summon on top of Innovative Innopac
  • BCIT – Encore on top of Innovative Innopac

At Andornot Consulting, we’re particularly keen on VuFind, one of the leading open-source discovery interfaces, and Apache Solr, the underlying search engine.

VuFind was initially developed at Villanova University in Pennsylvania in 2007, and is now under active development and support by a team of developers around the world, many in academic libraries. Version 1.1 was released in March 2011 and has proven to be both stable and feature-rich. Some of the notable institutions using VuFind include:

VuFind uses the Apache Solr enterprise search engine for indexing and searching. Its major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search. Solr is highly scalable, providing distributed search and index replication, and powers the search and navigation features of many of the world’s largest internet sites.

With discovery interfaces appearing in so many public and academic libraries, the time is right for special libraries, archives and museums to consider them for their catalogues and other databases. The ease of use and wealth of features are compelling and provide the experience users expect from web applications.

Further Reading

Designing for Faceted Search” By Stephanie Lemieux, Earley and Associates (originally published in KM World, March 2009.) http://www.uie.com/articles/faceted_search/

Designing the Samurai sword: using facets to support agile, highly-effective information management” by Jennifer Smith. 1st June 2011. http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/manage/64295

VuFind usage five times that of “classic catalogue”


About Andornot Consulting

Andornot Consulting designs information management systems for libraries, archives and museums. Visit us at www.andornot.com

Jonathan Jacobsen is Senior Consultant at Andornot Consulting.

Posted in 2011 Vol 14 Issue 21 Comment

Member News

2011 SLA Engineering Librarian of the Year Award

The Engineering Librarian of the Year, sponsored by IHS, highlights the accomplishments and contributions of SLA Engineering Division members to the engineering librarian profession.

The SLA Engineering Division is pleased to announce:   Randy Reichardt is the recipient the of the SLA Engineering Librarian of the Year Award.

Randy Reichardt is a Research Services Librarian (Engineering) at the Science & Technology Library, University of Alberta, in Edmonton.  He has worked there since September 1983, and has worked specifically with engineering since 2000.  His subject responsibilities include chemical, materials, and mechanical engineering, engineering management, nanotechnology, and space science and technology.  His responsibilities include collection development, reference and consultation service, instruction, and liaison.  He currently sits on a number of library advisory boards, and previously served as Standards Chair for the Engineering Division of SLA.  Randy joined SLA in June 1984 and has been a member for 27 years.

IHS presented Randy Reichardt with the award and a $1500 check during the Engineering Division Luncheon & Business Meeting, on Tuesday June 14, 2011.


The Western Canada Chapter welcomes all new and returning members. If you are a new member, please take a moment to send a short bio to Allan Cho, Bulletin Editor.   Welcome new members to the SLA Western Canada Chapter!

British Columbia

Dreolini,Ann Vancouver Aquarium


Yan,Lingbo Canada Revenue Agency

Strain,Jeff SLAIS @ UBC

Dickson,Christina St. Mark’s College

Brown ,Helen


Hazlett,Paul Mergent Inc.
Lecky,Joanne McCarthy Tetrault LLP
Manhas,Sumanjit UBC – SLAIS
Zicha,Walter North Vancouver City Library


Fox,Ken Law Society of Saskatchewan

Phelps,Charles University of Regina


Reid,Callie Cenovus Energy Inc.