Level 1 Printing and Scanning

06/23/2016 Babbidge Building Blog

We are currently having the Level 1 diamond walls patched and painted a new fresh color. With that said the scanners in the middle of the diamond are covered in plastic and out of commission until the paint job is complete. Two of the printers (the color printer and a black and white) have been moved to the table to the right of the diamond and are operational …

Once the painter is finished with the job, all of the printers and scanners will be back up and running.

Level A Mobile Stacks – the beginnings

06/17/2016 Babbidge Building Blog

Level A mobile stack 1mobile stacks 2

The workmen installing the rails for the mobile stacks and the raised floor. Once the rails are completely installed and the raised floor added, the workers will start building the carriages …

Level 4 Humanities Institute Project

Babbidge Building Blog

The construction of the Humanities Institute on the 4th floor South East side has begun. You will notice temporary walls of plastic to help contain the dust and to keep patrons from wandering into a construction zone.

All of our collections will not be impacted by the construction. All collections on the 4th floor are accessible. It will be a little noisy during construction, so please direct patrons looking for a quiet floor to level 2.

Level A Project

06/16/2016 Babbidge Building Blog

Starting on Monday, June 13, Donnegan Systems will be on site to start the installation of the new manual mobile stacks. Right after the completion of the manual mobile stacks, Donnegan Systems will then shift their attention to upgrading the existing mobile stacks to state of the art electronic controls for each stack.
While this work is being done, level A collections will be closed. If you or a patron needs something from level A, please use DD/ILL.

Exciting Changes Ahead! Homer Babbidge Master Plan

06/08/2016 Babbidge Building Blog


HBL_WestSince 1978, the Homer Babbidge Library has served as an intellectual, learning, cultural, creative and social hub for the UConn community. Our unique role on campus comes from both our physical location and our mission to overcome boundaries and serve all disciplines.  As UConn continues to look towards its future, we have made a commitment to adapting the space within the brick exterior of the Babbidge Library into a center of innovation, knowledge and University growth and development to further the University’s mission of excellence in research, education, service and engagement.

Principles Around Space Changes

The proposed changes to the University Libraries’ flagship facility reflect the desire to continue to be the intellectual hub of campus, updating the facility to foster reaching, teaching and learning activities across disciplines. Design principles include:

  • Providing a variety of areas and choices that support the different phases of the learning and research process across academic disciplines, from contemplative study to dynamic experiential teamwork
  • Showcasing academic, intellectual, cultural or creative activities and accomplishments
  • Seeking strategic partnerships and organizations with relevant services and relationship to the mission of the Library and be mutually supportive
  • Creating a campus hub for serendipitous or informal interactions between faculty, students, and researchers
  • Seeking to continually expand study space to address the growing student and faculty population
  • Supporting both academic and social activities that bring the community together

Changes have started this June so stay tuned to this blog as well as Facebook and Twitter for updates.

The UConn Library Closed May 28-30


The UConn Library will be closed May 28-30 in honor of Memorial Day. Thank you to those who gave their tomorrows for our today.

International ILLiad Conference 2016

04/22/2016 Professional Development Blog Atlas Conference data ILL ILLiad licensing PDA textbooks

On March 15, Stan and I joined about 400 ILLiad users from the four corners of the globe as well as Atlas and OCLC staff to attend the International ILLiad conference in Virginia Beach.

The keynote speaker was Mary Sauer-Games, Vice President of Product Management at OCLC.  Her talk was focused on Millennials, who have high expectations for quality and speed.  They expect a response in 10 minutes; to meet this expectation you need to be filling with your own collection if available.  To meet Millennials where they are, libraries should be using social media: ILL could share trending titles and subjects, instructional videos, etc.  Use responsive design.  Check out OCLC’s Geek the Library program. Yet, despite the expectations for rapid turnaround times, Millennials still prefer print to e-books.

In “Writing a Comprehensive ILL Operations Report: Methods, Data, and Results” we heard about looking at and charting your operations across the board: ILL print PDA, ILLiad, consortia comparison, different systems, shipping, staffing (which we do!).  Year to year comparison examples were shown.  It’s important to share your story, to show how and why metrics change (e.g. due to staffing, systems, and policies) and how those factors affect your metrics.  Part of the story is not the story.

“An ILL Practitioner’s Role: Advocating Open Educational Resources” talked about textbooks and ILL.  Textbooks are problematic: hard to get back from patrons; fill rates are low, arrivals delayed; many become non-returns or overdue.  Partner with your campus bookstore, collection development team, acquisitions department, circulation and reserve.  Lots of statistics were shown to back up need for open access.  You can retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute.  Free or low cost to print.  Many are peer-reviewed and high quality.  Different groups doing this were profiled.  ILL staff can get involved by providing metrics, lists of cancelled textbooks with faculty; share metrics with student government groups.  Add OER sources to your catalog.  Reach out to faculty.  Award faculty for reviewing books.  We’re already doing a lot of this.

In her session “Caught by the Copyright!” Gail Perkins Barton of the University of Memphis presented her library’s strategy for reducing copyright costs.  She opened with a discussion of common guidelines and best practices, e.g., including copyright notices on request forms, the “Rule of Two” and “Rule of Five,” etc., and then reviewed the options libraries have to be compliant with copyright guidelines, from denying requests to partnering with document suppliers.  The suppliers covered were “ScienceDirect: Article Choice,” “Copyright Clearance Center – Get it Now,” and “Reprints Desk: Article Galaxy.”  A price comparison revealed that Article Galaxy was the most economical, and that their turnaround time was excellent.  She also showed how these services could be integrated with ILLiad. Another component of this presentation was “Tiered Service” which limits the fees a library is willing to pay according to the patron’s status, e.g., undergraduate vs. graduate vs. faculty. Librarians are also encouraged to take advantage of free resources, previews on publishers’ websites, etc.  We already do a lot of this already.

“Managing Courier and Reciprocal Borrowing Relationships” addressed and provided solutions to the problems that may arise when a library is engaged in multiple consortia. Different fee structures, loan periods, and delivery methods can all conspire to complicate relationships with partner libraries.  (We encounter this with libraries in CT who use both OCLC and the state library system to place requests.)  The presenter, Jen Salvo-Eaton, University of Missouri – Kansas City, demonstrated how ILLiad and the Customization Manager can help manage these relationships, through the use of routing rules and group assignments, customization of templates, etc. She also recommended using statistics to evaluate the quality of service provided by partner libraries – and not anecdotal evidence.  Stats can be especially helpful when considering/justifying leaving or joining a group.

The Atlas Systems update session was informative.  In May ILLiad 8.7 becomes available.  This is a maintenance release and will have many behind the scenes improvements.  8.5 will no longer be supported. Genie Powell also discussed Atlas Systems’ role with ArchiveSpace as a registered service provider, additions to the video training library, and the concierge service.

In “Half the Work: Circulating Lending and Borrowing Requests from ILLiad in Alma Using NCIP,” Northwestern shared their story.  They implemented NCIP in Alma for ILLiad and turned on both borrowing and lending options.  Using Z39.50, you can circulate ILL borrowed loans in Alma; in lending it precludes you from having to check lending items out separately in Alma.  It moves the lending request from a permanent location to the resource sharing library (lending check out item).  Upon return it moves it from the resource sharing library (lending check in item).  The ILLiad addon sends messages to Alma when records are updated via event handlers in ILLiad.  In borrowing, it creates a brief record for the loan and ties it to the patron (borrowing accept item).  Upon return, the system deletes the brief record and disassociates it from the patron (borrowing check in item).  All ILLiad machines must have the addon.  You must disable all Alma notifications.  Lending is easier to deal with than borrowing, which is complex. Despite some frustrating experiences, the presenter said he was glad they went forward with the integration, and proposed the formation of support group for librarians interested in integrating Alma and ILLiad.

We all met to hear about OCLC updates with Katie Birch.  Many libraries have updated their days to fill to 1-2 days, an excellent example in resource sharing commitment.  Multiple address issues have been fixed and mis-shipped errors have greatly decreased.  Outstanding glitches should be fixed shortly.  Lenders can now refund any request that has been set to shipped and charged with IFM; only the full charge can be refunded.  Once the charge or refund has occurred, no further charges or refunds can be actioned on a given request.  Available reports were reviewed.  Questions about symbol consolidation and satellite instances are encouraged and can be submitted to Tony Melvyn.  Remember that your symbol should follow your time to fill commitment: if you share a symbol with an off campus repository, your time to fill should reflect the true time to fill implications.  ILLiad has lots of reports on borrowing and lending, take advantage of them (which we do).  Use www.oclc.org/community (the OCLC Community Center) to make enhancement requests, ask questions, get news and documentation, and order IFLA vouchers.  Also member forums.

Poster presentations were shared at the social.  I presented “Smart CATs: Cancelling Textbook Requests the Smart Way,” which outlined our process for cancelling students’ requests for textbooks ordered for UConn classes.  Staff from Emory and Maryland called it brilliant.  Atlas rather amusingly placed my poster next to one by William Gee of East Carolina University; William was presenting on why obtaining textbooks is a good idea.  We had a lot of laughs about that, I can tell you. It was also an impromptu meeting of the Patrick Carr Fan Club.  Also visiting my poster was my old student worker (and Dave Moroch’s granddaughter) Alyssa Grimshaw, who now works at the Yale Medical Library. In the photo I’m talking with Marie Hansen from Emory.

Erika's Poster


In “ILL by the Numbers: Using Custom Searches and Statistics to Increase the Noticeability of Your ILL Department,” we learned more about searches and reporting.  You should keep metrics and provide reports to keep conversations going, keep you relevant.  Make your data available (which we do).  Examples were shown.  You can customize and share these with library staff who don’t come to you.

Stan gave his presentation, “Stop saying No: Improving Fill Rates and Reducing Lending Denials in Interlibrary Loan,” which, along with the other sessions, is viewable on the Atlas Systems’ training site.  Attendees responded with numerous questions and comments. The photo is below: he had a full house.

Stan's Presentation

In “Unlocking the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States,” we learned about the latest undertaking of the Code revision, headed by Ohio State University.  It will now be updated every 7 years to keep it current.

Its purpose: to establish principles to facilitate requesting and regulate the exchange of materials.  It only applies to US libraries; international code is dictated by IFLA.  The Code pertains to all library types and sizes and is system-neutral.  The original code is 100 years old this year and began as the Code of Practice in 1916.  Interesting quotes were shared from the original code.

What to do now: make sure your local practice and policies are not in violation of the Code.


  • ILL is for single patron use and not for groups or classes
  • Use secure packaging, no staples, and no labels on books
  • Ship to correct location
  • Pay attention to the redefined due date which eliminates shipping
  • The main intention for interlibrary loan is for when you do not have a local copy, or if your local copy is unavailable: missing, damaged, checked out, etc.
  • ILL with other countries is encouraged
  • Requesting library must specify special requirements, comply with copyright law, be aware of related guidelines (CONTU)
  • Pay promptly for lost materials, request renewals before due dates when possible
  • Generous loan periods are encouraged as well as lending without fees
  • If you do bill, do so promptly
  • Fill all formats
  • Work with those responsible for negotiating licenses to include favorable ILL terms

In “The Request Must Flow: Practical Workflows for Resource Sharing across Multiple Locations,” Binghamton University’s Melissa Perez recounted the library’s challenges with processing ILL requests at different locations on campus.  She emphasized the importance of regular communication between staff, which she facilitates through “Resource Sharing Roundtables” (similar to our RCL DD-ILL summer meetings), and consistency between the locations with regards to policies and workflows.

The conference concluded with its regular “Unconference” session.  Attendees suggested topics which they could then discuss as designated tables.  Stan spent quite a bit of time at the RapidILL table, and shared our experience with the RapidR program.

Center for Research Libraries’ Council of Voting Members Meeting – 2016

04/18/2016 Professional Development Blog

On April 14, 2016, I attended the Center for Research Libraries’ (CRL) Council of Voting Members Meeting in Chicago. This post is a short summary of the meeting.

Scott Waugh (UCLA, Chair of the CRL Board of Directors) began the meeting by briefly highlighting some potential areas of focus for CRL in the future: digitization of document delivery, an enhanced online presence, expanded global partnerships, expanded membership, improved services to members, and efficiencies to reduce costs.

Next, Thomas Burish (Notre Dame, CRL Secretary) provided CRL’s Secretary Report. He started by explaining that most of CRL’s funding comes through membership fees. Growth in membership has been challenged in recent years by the economy (and resultant library budget cuts). Also, some libraries have analyzed return-on-investment and concluded that the benefits of CRL membership do not justify the costs. There are 219 members of CRL, but eight members have notified CRL that they will not be renewing their memberships. CRL is working hard to recruit new members. Prospective areas for growth are land grant institutions, mid-sized private universities, and elite four year schools. CRL has marketing activities planned for the coming year.

Bernie O’Reilly (CRL President) then gave the President’s Report. CRL is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its Technical Reports Archive and Image Library (TRAIL), which digitizes engineering technical reports. This initiative has become one of HathiTrust’s top 25 contributors. TRAIL is one of several initiatives that are working under the CRL umbrella. Others include an effort to preserve Afghan publications, the CRL Latin Americanist Group’s preservation of El Diario de Juarez, and the South Asian Open Archives Initiative. O’Reilly stated that the top requestors of CRL physical collections are Harvard, Michigan, Notre Dame, Chicago, and Minnesota. The number of requests they are getting for loans is steadily declining, but the number of items they are lending is growing; O’Reilly said that this suggests that more researchers are taking advantage of online access to CRL collections. The top users of CRL online collections include Texas A&M, Penn State, Florida State, Hong Kong, and the Max Planck Institute. Once a CRL document is digitized, it is made accessible to all CRL institutions. Over seven million pages from CRL’s collection have been scanned to date. O’Reilly noted trends in use: there is growing interest in mining the literature of troubled parts of Asia and the Middle East, particularly materials related to religion, law, the courts, and civil society. Beyond scanning materials based on requests, CRL is also engaging in the strategic digitization of certain materials. In particular, they are digitizing international government documents that they anticipate may be repressed after a new regime takes power. CRL has identified the most corrupt nations based on the ratings of the organization Transparency International and then concentrated on the digitization of these countries’ materials. These materials will be made freely accessible online.

O’Reilly stated that another area of focus for CRL is the licensing of databases. Licensing of databases is a fairly new initiative. This year they offered 54 databases for purchase through them, an increase from the 30 they offered last year. CRL is interested in licensing databases not just to be a “buying club” but to use its large membership to gain leverage on use rights like data mining and also to ensure that vendors disclose the full contents of their databases. They are trying to focus on a niche of databases focusing on news and data concerning censuses, geospatial, and business. Vendors of these databases do not always consider libraries as their primary customers and so libraries have struggled to get leverage in negotiations with these vendors. CRL is trying to change this.

O’Reilly concluded with what he termed as three big questions:

  1. Is our digital investment paying off? The amount of content CRL digitizes pales in comparison to other efforts such as Google Books and HathiTrust. However, the content that they digitize is more unique. They are involved in discussions with HathiTrust to collaborate to assess relative strengths and weaknesses and pursue a strategic alignment.
  2. Should more CRL resources be OA? O’Reilly noted the potential for a “free rider problem” in which non-members could benefit from CRL-digitized content without subsidizing CRL’s digitization efforts. There are currently 219 members, but about 700 institutions in the United States and Canada fit the profile of a CRL member. O’Reilly further noted that some materials that they digitize are not in the public domain and therefore could not be made openly accessible. This question inspired a number comments from the attendees, with strong consensus that increasing access to knowledge is a core value of librarianship and, to the extent possible, CRL should attempt to make its resources openly accessible. Although the result may be some “free riding,” the ability to steer the direction of CRL and the materials that it digitizes would remain a major benefit that only members would enjoy.
  3. Should CRL merge selected serials titles with related holdings at the Linda Hall Library? See this page for details: https://www.crl.edu/blogs/combining-and-improving-print-assets. According to O’Reilly, this was a “no-brainer” but, since decisions about CRL collections are up to the membership, they will pursue an e-referendum to discuss this issue.

Xuemao Wang (University of Cincinnati) provided the Treasurer’s Report. He reported that in FY15 there was a deficit in CRL’s accounts of about $377,000 and a projected deficit of about $500,000 in FY16. A deficit in FY17 is also projected. However, all of these deficits are due to a deliberate decision by CRL to draw on their significant reserve funds to build their investments in the key areas of digitization, database licensing, and collection analysis. They do not expect to be in a deficit beginning in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, when they plan to begin growing their reserve funds again.

ALCTS Midwinter Symposium “Re-envisioning ‘Technical Services’ to Transform Libraries”

04/12/2016 Professional Development Blog

On January 8, I attended the daylong ALCTS Symposium “Re-envisioning ‘Technical Services’ to Transform Libraries: Identifying Leadership and Talent Management Practices.” You can read a short summary of the symposium’s overall scope here. With this post, I wish to summarize a few of the sessions at the forum that I found most interesting.

The symposium’s keynote speaker was Keith Webster, Dean of Libraries at Carnegie Mellon University. His presentation took a high-level view of the future of libraries and how technical services can potentially fit into that future. He first highlighted some factors that might lead to a pessimistic view about the future of libraries. Indeed, although libraries are busier than ever, budgets are often flat or decreasing and the use that libraries receive is not always related to the tools and services that they provide. Additionally, the easy availability of journal content in online formats along with the emergence of a myriad of free online research management tools means that many faculty rarely if ever come into the library. Having explained the grounds for pessimism, Webster advocated for optimism. He traced a generational evolution in which libraries have progressed from being collection-centered to being client-centered, experience-centered, and, centered on connected learning experiences. The current generation of libraries is centered on collaborative knowledge, media, and fabrication facilities; uses of library space for purposes such as maker spaces show how libraries can take on new roles while also retaining their tradition status as sites for knowledge creation. He went on to identify five trends in the academic landscape that libraries need to be aware of:

  1. Evolving research workflows: Throughout the research cycle of planning, experimentation, dissemination, and ideation, free online digital services (e.g., ResearchGate, ReadCube, FigShare, etc.) have emerged that are transforming scholarly workflows. Libraries have been slow to develop tools and services that fit into these workflows.
  2. Evolving communication methods: There is a trend toward increasing use of social media; increasing multi-author papers, a growing emphasis on reproducibility and the repurposing of data to enable new findings.
  3. Uptake of Open Access models of publishing.
  4. Open science: Researchers today are sharing research knowledge more widely than ever in the past. The article is now just one of many scholarly outputs.
  5. Funding: Increasing quantities of money in academia continue to flow into scientific research; concurrently, there is an increased public focus on tuition and the return-on-investment for higher education.

With these trends in mind, Webster asked where are libraries going. He advocate for the continued migration from print to online collections, review of shelving location of lesser-used collections, repurposing of the library as a learning space, the embedding of library expertise and resources in contexts outside the libraries where they are most needed, and an increasing focus on distributed collections. Finally, Webster zeroed in on technical services, suggesting that technical services entail all of those operations that connect communities with information. He said that one of the most important transitions in technical services is one that is occurring from locally owned collections to facilitated collections. Along with this, he remarked on a trend from scarcity to abundance: books going out of print is becoming something of the past; most publishers now say that they will never allow a book to go out of print. He said that technical services departments have roles to play in supporting evolutions in the scholarly record from a focus primarily on research outputs (e.g., published article) to inputs (e.g., data sets) and he also talked about the roles that technical services can play in support of research analytics and data analytics. In conclusion, he remarked that technical services personnel have a strong track record of engagement and change and we will need to build on that track record to explore the changes on the horizon.

Another of the symposium’s speakers, Meredith Taylor (University of Texas, Austin) discussed the concept of talent management (TM) and how it might be applied within the contexts of technical services work. She defined talent management as an integrated set of processes, programs, and cultural norms in an organization designed and implemented to attract, develop, deploy, and retain talent to achieve strategic objectives and meet future business needs. TM differs from traditional HR work by being more proactive, integrated, organization-focused (rather than individual-focused), customized, and aligned with organizational strategies. Taylor said that one reason that TM is particularly relevant to libraries today is that, between 2015 and 2025, it is projected that 30 percent of the library workforce will be retiring; additionally, there are demographic shifts in library workforces and, since 2005, an 82 percent turnover rate in the executive leadership of ARL libraries. Specifically within technical services divisions of libraries, workforce trends include decreasing numbers of personnel, the outsourcing of some functions, and an increased reliance on paraprofessional staff. With these shifts, Taylor asked: Are libraries meeting retraining and re-skilling needs? Are libraries losing critical knowledge? Are libraries able to find qualified candidates to fill positions? Having posed these questions, Taylor discussed the results of an ARL SPEC KIT study that she co-authored on TM in 2014. The study showed that talent challenges included a scarcity of fiscal resources, salary inequities, retirements, inability to retrain/re-skill current workforces, and a lack of ability to find and retain qualified personnel – particularly for positions in IT and senior management. Moreover, the study showed three troubling trends in libraries: (1) a lack of a systemic approach to TM, (2) widening skill gaps in the workforce, and (3) a lack of IT skills and executive expertise. To confront these problems, Taylor advocated that libraries strive to align their HR strategy to their library strategy, collect data to support informed decision-making, and make resource decisions based on TM. Programmatic starting points for libraries include developing a competency model, completing a job analysis, and undertaking a compensation analysis and succession planning. Other starting points include identifying high potential employees for development, creating customized development plans, and developing a succession plan.

The symposium’s final speaker, Jenica Rogers (Director of Libraries at SUNY Potsdam), gave a presentation titled “Bringing the Back Room Forward.” Rogers began the presentation by describing her background in technical services and emphasizing her view that technical services work is deeply connected with public services. She then discussed the challenges that her library faced when four of the library’s nine librarian positions became vacant in 18 months. In response, she led a reorganization within the library. One position created as a result of the reorganization was the position of Metadata and Subscription Resources Librarian. The search for this position failed due to a lack of qualified candidates and, as a result, Rogers’ library made some very minor changes to the position description and changed the title of the position to Coordinator of Technical Services & Discovery, which they hoped would make the position sound more prestigious and managerial. With this second search, the position received significantly more qualified candidates. Rogers was concerned, however, to find that, with the change in job title, there were significantly less female applicants. From this search process, Rogers suggested that one takeaway was that language use (e.g., traditional versus change-oriented) impacts candidate pools and that librarians should encourage potential candidates to look past traditional boundaries. She also said that we should explore cross-boundary experimentation in technical services in collaborate in a way that honors expertise. Finally, she advocated for transformations in graduate education so that students are prepared for library positions that do not yet exist in libraries.

Homer Babbidge is Open-Monday, February 8


The Homer Babbidge Library is open with essential staffing today, February 8. We anticipate being open normal hours until 2am. Modifications to the schedule can be found here or on Twitter and Facebook (@uconnlibraries)

All other Storrs based libraries are closed as are Hartford and Avery Point. Stamford, Torrington, and Waterbury are open but please call those locations to ensure their hours have not changed.

Stamford – 203-251-8500
Waterbury – 203-236-9900