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Libraries represented at 24th Annual NASIG meeting


Recently, the Libraries sent Polly Khater, the serials
cataloging coordinator, to the 24th Annual Conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG), which was held June
4-7, 2009, in Asheville, North Carolina. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Riding the Rapids through a Mountain of Change.”  The kickoff vision speaker was Peter Morville
of Semantic Studios. His talk, Ambient Findability: Libraries,
Serials, and the Internet of Things
, centered on web design, findability,
and searching. Mr. Morville began the
session with the statement “Information that’s hard to find will remain
information that’s hardly found.” He
created the information honeycomb, pictured below, which shows how aspects of
information fit together. One statement that
generated audience discussion was that people aren’t really motivated to tag
resources for others. When people tag
images on Flickr or books in LibraryThing, for example, the tags are for their
own purposes of organization and findability, not for others who might use or
look at the same materials.

Peter Morville's honeycomb

Throughout the three days, many discussions and
sessions were held on staffing, budget issues, return on investment studies,
open access journals, preservation and ownership of electronic journals, and
software tools used to manage serials. An
overwhelming topic for participants was the economy and the resulting budget
implications; practically all libraries in attendance are dealing with fewer
funds for print and electronic journals, combined with fewer staff throughout  the library. Polly delivered a talk on the last day of the conference on the tool the Libraries
uses to manage electronic journals, titled Using
a Local ERMS to Manage E-Journals: Can It Get Any Better Than This?
  It was well attended for an early morning
session, and good discussion was had on the practices and procedures for
managing electronic journals.

The conference closed with a talk from Geoffrey
Bilder, of CrossRef. His talk, What Color is Your Paratext?, focused on the issue of information
credibility. As the scholarly society transitions
further onto the online environment, the heuristics we’ve used to designate
scholarly resources and peer reviewed materials have changed, without much
discussion or awareness. Mr. Bilder
cited the book written by Anthony Grafton, The Footnote (which is held
in the Special Collections Dibner Reference Collection), as an interesting text
on the evolution of scholarly research.

NASIG, established in 1985, promotes
communication, information, and continuing education about serials and the
broader issues of scholarly communication. The annual conference provides a casual venue for preconferences, formal
sessions, practical workshops, special events, and networking. An emphasis on
thoughtful discourse and informality promotes an intensity of purpose not
always possible at other conferences.—Polly Khater

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