This is our 50th issue in the New Series, and if jubilees are at all significant this one is especially so, in that 2002 marks the end of one era and the beginning of another in Cambridge librarianship. By the autumn, a new library management system will have gathered the Universitys libraries into its (hopefully) benevolent embrace, bringing us into a closer bibliographic union, or at least offering the possibility of sharing resources in true union catalogue fashion and providing services to readers in forward-looking and consistent ways.
This issues theme of collaboration is timely in view of the approaching implementation of Voyager, and Lesley Gray leads off by looking at the challenge and the opportunity facing the 97 members of the Union Catalogue. As far as libraries individual needs are concerned, co-operation is vital not only for large research collections like the UL that need to prioritise in conjunction with others simply to survive; it is also a lifeline for smaller institutions. Heather Lane and Karen Begg of Sidney Sussex write about the recently constituted Cambridge College Libraries Forum (CCLF) and its usefulness as a means of raising member libraries profiles, sharing problems and expertise and assisting in the professional development of staff.
Widening our horizons, Linda Berube describes Co-East and Co-East Plus, two projects supported by the British Library and the RLSP, and set up to share electronic resources in the East Anglia region. Moving yet further afield, Paul Ayris guides us around some major national initiatives and also describes London Regions M25 Consortium. Taking a global view, Nancy Elkington of RLG describes some major international efforts. Finally, Aidan Baker surveys the work of RSLP and raises a question about the future.
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The Union Catalogue database currently has just over 2 million bibliographic records. There are currently 97 contributing member libraries, and each creates and maintains its own records within the system. The records from the Union Catalogue database will be migrated into six Voyager databases. There will be three databases for the departmental and faculty libraries, two for college libraries, and one database for the "other" or affiliated member institutions. The records from the Dependent libraries that are currently part of the Union Catalogue will be loaded in to the same database as those of the University Library.
When the Voyager system is fully implemented by Michaelmas Term 2002, the user will be able to search the resources of the University via a single search. A physical union catalogue of the holdings of the libraries of the University of Cambridge will be created from the Union Catalogue and University Library databases.
Endeavors Universal Catalog (UC) software allows the resources of several databases (or a consortium) to be combined in to a single unified catalogue. The UC software creates the catalogue by identifying duplicate bibliographic records, deduplicating them, and then creating the real-time links to the holdings and item information in the contributing databases.
The Universal Catalog will contain the bibliographic records and links to holdings (and item records) from the University Library and the Dependent Libraries as well as all members of the Union Catalogue. It is impossible at this stage to say how many records there will be in the UC as we have no information on the number of duplicate titles across the databases at this stage, or on the success of the `matching and deduplication of the records.
The UC will present a single bibliographic record for a single title to users. This record will be linked to the holdings and item records for each of the copies held in the libraries across University. The detection of duplicate records depends on match points defined in a duplicate detection profile. Within this profile, a hierarchy of these match points (data in various fields and subfields that can be used to identify a duplicate record) is defined. The use of standard numbers (e.g ISBN and ISSN) gives us important match points in such a hierarchy.
The Union Catalogue databases contain many short records most of which are records that were created from data input of catalogue card entries, and in many cases contain very few fields. They typically contain a classmark, a title, and place and date of publication. The UC software may not be able to match these short records with any degree of certainty against other records in the system and so there will still be multiple records for a single title.
The members of CULAG the "steering" committee of the Union Catalogue have proposed and will shortly convene a working group to consider minimum bibliographic standards for records being added to the new Voyager system. They see the implementation of the new system and conversion to MARC21 as an opportunity for Union Catalogue libraries to discuss and work towards developing an agreed minimum cataloguing standard for bibliographic records for Union Catalogue libraries, while still accommodating member libraries requirements and local practices.
The Cambridge Union List of Serials (CULoS) is a holdings catalogue of journals held in contributing libraries across the University of Cambridge. Within Voyager, the CULoS database will not be maintained as a single separate centrally managed database. Each Voyager database will contain a single copy of a CULoS record with the holdings for each of the libraries that share the database. In effect, there will be multiple copies of a record for a single journal title across the system. The libraries within a database will be able to add and amend their holdings, and use serials check-in function. Editorial control of the journal title entries will no longer be centrally done, and libraries will be able to create and amend these records. For the UC to present a single record for a journal title to the users, the journal records need to contain the required match points.
A working group consisting of members from the Periodicals and Cataloguing departments in the University Library as well as representatives from several Union Catalogue libraries - has been convened to discuss serials cataloguing issues and to investigate standards and conventions to be agreed and used by libraries across the system. By working together, libraries will be able to contribute to and maintain the journals listing of titles to retain the benefits of a single "union" listing of journal titles to the users of the system.
In Cambridge, the name "Union Catalogue" refers to more than the online catalogue of its member libraries. It is also used to refer to the group of libraries that use the library management system developed, maintained and run centrally in the University Library. At present, there are 22 libraries across the University using the circulation control system, 27 using the periodical receipt system, and 3 libraries outside the UL using the accession system.
Within the Voyager system, these libraries will be able to implement their own policies for acquisitions, serials and circulation within the Voyager database. Several College libraries, and one affiliated institution library be using the Voyager system for circulation and acquisitions
From the WebOPAC, users will be able to view and manage their library accounts in those libraries where the Voyager system will be in use. Users of the University Card that are registered in more than one of these libraries will be presented with a single library "record" that will aggregate their library accounts from across the system. Through a secure login, users will be able to view what they have on loan, and renew items if permitted to do so. They will also be able to view their requests as well as the status of these requests, and cancel them if required.
Union Catalogue librarians have been involved in the Voyager Project from the outset and have had considerable input in to the Project. Librarians from Union Catalogue libraries sat on the Task Groups that drafted the system requirements for the University, and were involved in system evaluation and system selection. The Union Catalogue is represented on the Project Team, and several representatives are sitting on working groups that are involved in system configuration. The Cataloguing Working Group is currently looking at the system-wide cataloguing configuration, while the OPAC Working Group are working on the configuration of the public interface to the system.
The year ahead will be busy. It is now only three months away from the first of the Union Catalogue databases going live, and six from the final one. The implementation phase will be a challenging time for all libraries and staff across the University as they become familiar with a new system and a new MARC format.
Union Catalogue Project Administrator
IT Services, Cambridge University Library
Tel.: 01223 339942; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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When I first arrived in Cambridge in 1983, I wondered whether working as a sole professional librarian might be a fairly lonely existence. I need not have worried the Cambridge Colleges provide a wealth of professional contact. I was fortunate in having Elizabeth Russell, then Assistant Librarian at Kings, as a mentor during my Library Association licentiateship. Liz made sure that I met librarians from other colleges and arranged visits to a wide range of libraries throughout the University. Having colleagues that I could call on for advice was a lifeline, and I soon became involved with the Cambridge Colleges Assistant Librarians Group (CCALG) and helped to organise regular meetings. The group met two or three times a year to discuss mutual concerns and usually included a chance to visit a college library or special collection. The CCALG produced a survey of college staffing, working conditions, systems and services in 1986.1
Returning to college libraries in 1994 after an absence of almost five years, I discovered that the CCALG was in the doldrums. However, as a sole professional librarian I still needed that lifeline to help combat professional isolation. Following a discussion with a few like-minded individuals after a Union Catalogue AGM, the Cambridge College Libraries Forum (CCLF) was born. We felt that, although the UC project was important, it didnt address all of the matters affecting college libraries. Nor did we feel it necessary to restrict membership of the group to Assistant Librarians anyone working in a college library would be welcome to attend.
Staff and Fellows from Cambridge College libraries now meet regularly, about once a term, to discuss topics of common concern. Up to forty members attend Forum sessions. The CCLF provides a formal framework for making contacts and a means of self-help. In 1996, Forum members helped to complete an updated version2,3 of the survey carried out ten years earlier, providing member libraries with useful statistics for comparison. Recent meetings have covered preparing for Voyager, collection development policies, security systems and a seminar on the Data Protection Act. The Forum is also divided into five disaster planning groups, geographically arranged to enable sharing of resources and expertise. These groups organise their own training sessions, orientation visits and, in some cases, pool equipment.
In December 2000, the CCLF adopted a formal constitution. The objects of the Forum are to:
The CCLF has a representative on the Cambridge University Libraries Automation Group and, since 2001, on the General Board Committee on Libraries. Information can now be channelled directly to CCLF, and members opinions can be fed back to these committees for wider discussion. A representative of the Senior Tutors Committee is also invited to CCLF meetings to promote closer co-operation. Topics for the coming year will include MARC21 training, the design of the Voyager OPAC and co-operative collection building across the University.
It may be that the advent of the Voyager system may promote similar co-operative ventures amongst other groups of librarians in Cambridge. The General Board Committee is actively looking for ways to bring UL, college, departmental and faculty librarians together, based on the idea of "brown bag lunches" already operating successfully in Oxford. To anyone thinking of setting up a group along the same lines as CCLF, I would offer every encouragement the benefits of sharing experiences and concerns far outweighs the effort of arranging meetings. The Forum elects a convenor and a steering committee for a two-year term. Minutes are kept of each discussion meeting, but the duties of secretary are usually shared amongst members. The CCLF has no funds, but all correspondence is carried out by email and, thanks to the goodwill of the Colleges, venues are easily arranged.
In practice, the CCLF allows members to share expertise and to develop professional skills. It helps raise the profile of member libraries within the Colleges and the University. New members find mentors and a ready-made network of associates; an awareness of what other members are doing benefits us all. Knowing that someone else is in the same boat, professionally speaking, and is only a phone call or an email away is the surest cure for isolation. As a colleague once confided, "Im nosy about other peoples libraries and like a bit of a gossip, but at least I can now call it networking!"
Sidney Sussex College Library
Tel.: 01223 33885; email: email@example.com
The Cambridge College Libraries Forum (CCLF) recently discussed the group's potential to assist in the training and professional development of library staff. There was much interest in sharing members' expertise but it was recognised that, because the Colleges are independent, any forum would inevitably rely on informal contact.
Members were keen to share information and some practical suggestions were made, including asking the UL to include more information in the University Libraries handbook. There is also a lot of interest in professional issues, and I'm sure we could come up with an interesting training programme. So, for what it's worth, I'm offering to co-ordinate our efforts. Let's see whether enough people are available to develop local training opportunities and enhance the professional development of College library staff. If you are interested in discussing particular issue or have a specific skill or interest to share, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. In the short term we may be preoccupied with learning about MARC21; in the longer term we can widen our horizons.
Sidney Sussex College
Tel.:01223 338852; email: email@example.com
Jorge Luis Borges, in The Library of Babel, talks about the search for "a catalog of catalogs."* "The Library is endless," he says, in a declaration not unlike some we hear nowadays, and which can provoke equal measures of fright and enthusiasm. For who would not give anything now for a "catalog of catalogs", something, anything to give shape and structure to the wealth of electronic information? Librarians are among those who wish for the super-catalogue, but, at the same time, are called upon to make sense of it all. We are charged with the responsibility from central government, regional and local authorities, academic administrations, and most of all from our many and varied customers.
But the impetus for translating this babel into a form that makes sense to our users also comes from librarians, major clients of electronic information themselves. Not only are librarians participating in top-down major national initiatives, such as the Peoples Network (http://www.peoplesnetwork.gov.uk), the New Opportunities Digitisation of Learning Resources Programme ( http://www.nof.org.uk/tempdigit/index.htm), and the Distributed National Electronic Resource (http://www.dner.ac.uk/), National Electronic Library for Health (http://www.nelh. nhs.uk/), NHS Direct (http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/), but from the bottom up in local and regional programmes as well, such as Inform25 (http://www.m25lib.ac.uk/)
In the East of England, public libraries have created an electronic resource-sharing network, Co-East (http://www.co-east.net), and out of this network has arisen a proposal for more localised sharing of resources across HE, FE, public and health library domains: Co-East Plus (http://www. fdgroup.co.uk) has not only supplied the software to facilitate single integrated searching and interlending, but has developed a technical model which will allow a choice for either accessing the resources of the entire region or targeting only those of a specific geographic cluster. The VDX software has been enhanced by the development outcomes of the UEA-led Project Agora (http://hosted.ukoln.ac.uk/agora/). Each partner organisation in the project needs to have a Z39.50 compliant library system that facilitates cross searching of catalogues, while the ILL/ISO compliant VDX software will handle interlending transactions. The software also has the potential for cross-searching electronic resources, such as commercial databases and the Internet. Libraries with Z39.50 and ISO/ILL compliant systems already in place are also able to participate in interlending.
In its development of a resource-sharing service, Co-East Plus is building on the experience of other similar projects, such as the Riding Gateway (http://www.riding.ac.uk/). In addition, from consultation with major regional initiatives, such as NOFs Sense of Place East and EECLAIMs portal project (http://220.127.116.11/EEClaim/), a collaborative approach to the presentation of content in the region can be developed. Moreover, partnership with the British Library and the Open University extends the projects goal of establishing co-operative services in defined communities or geographic areas for learners across domains, a recommendation expressed in Empowering the Learning Community (LIC 1999). The Plus project will expand on these services by including health information appropriate to health professionals, as well as information crucial to the lifelong and independent learner, currently inhibited by distance and institutional barriers. Indeed, the Plus project will strengthen regional partnerships and infrastructure in its pursuit of building a cohesive gateway for local and regional resources.
The progress towards a catalog of catalogs may seem a slow one, in the face of exponential growth of electronic information. Co-East Plus is taking a step in this direction by using the building blocks of local and regional resources. From this perspective, the Library is not endless in an overwhelming sense, but in a way which will continue to enrich and challenge us.
*Borges, Jorge Luis. The Library of Babel. Trans. Andrew Hurley. Boston: Godine, 2000. I must confess to an utter lack of originality in comparing this source to technology and libraries. With a Google search, youll find quite a few references making the connection between Library of Babel and the Internet and digital libraries, for example http://www.themodernword.com/borges/borges_papers_rollason2.html. I would hazard a guess that this particular edition might be a result of a renewed interest in the work.
For further information about Co-East and Co-East Plus, please contact:
Co-East Plus Project Manager
Library HQ, Rm B104
Castle Court, Shire Hall
Cambridge CB3 0AP
Tel.: 01223 718 170; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. uk
It is a great pleasure to be invited to write a small piece in this newsletter on library collaborations. As a former Head of IT Services in Cambridge University Library, I have happy memories of successful collaborations between the University Library, the Computing Service and Faculty, Departmental and College Libraries on a range of electronic information services. This was in itself a fine example of collaboration in practice. What I have been asked to do in this small article is to look more widely at examples of national and Regional library collaborations as they affect me in my present post as Director of Library Services at UCL (University College London). I am happy to do this and to draw out one or two conclusions at the end of this short piece.
CURL, the Consortium of University Research Libraries, is a principal focus for national collaboration (http://www.curl.ac.uk) , and I am currently privileged to be a member of the CURL Board. CURL acts both in the interests of its own member libraries and institutions and, increasingly, is taking a national lead on behalf of the community in terms of services, projects and research.
COPAC (http://www.copac.ac.uk) is well -known as the combined public catalogue of the CURL libraries. Whatever the future of the National Union Catalogues of monographs and serials, it is hoped that COPAC will be an important contributor to these developments. CURL also offers a record retrieval service for its member libraries, who can download records to their own catalogues from the CURL database. I remember, when I was in Cambridge, teaching Departmental, College and Faculty librarians to use this facility to construct their own catalogues. I know that this service is valued by Cambridge libraries.
CURL also operates through a number of Task Forces, one of which I chair. This is the CURL Task Force on Scholarly Communication, which has a lively membership drawn from across CURL libraries (http://www.curl.ac.uk/about/ GroupsSC.html). The Task Force has negotiated advantageous deals for e-journals with commercial publishers; represented CURL and the wider information community in discussions which led to the creation of SPARC Europe; has helped CURL libraries to mount advocacy campaigns in their institutions in spring 2002; and has co-sponsored national meetings on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI).
In terms of projects, CURL has established an international reputation through CEDARS ( http://www.leeds.ac.uk/cedars/). CEDARS has developed a model for a distributed archive for electronic materials, based on a demonstrator sited in Leeds, Cambridge and Oxford. I am currently a member of the CEDARS Management Committee and the project has made substantial contributions to the development of metadata for electronic archiving and to the study of emulation, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, as a technique for archiving electronic materials.
The main focus for regional collaboration in London is the M25 Consortium (http://www.M25lib.ac.uk ). I have served for one term of office as a member of the Consortiums Steering Group and have been privileged to see how the work and confidence of the Consortium has grown. Historically, the Consortium membership has consisted of the libraries of the 39 Higher Education Institutions contained within the orbital M25 motorway; membership is now expanding to include libraries in institutions further afield. The Consortium is engaged in a large number of activities in response to a new government emphasis on Regionalism. The Consortium has developed a Z39.50-compliant Union Catalogue called InforM25, which allows users to search any number of catalogues from amongst the Consortium membership through a web interface (http://www.M25lib.ac.uk). This is an interesting distributed model for a Union Catalogue. The records are not housed centrally in one database, but reside in the library OPACs of each contributing member in their own institution. The technical development for InforM25 has been undertaken by a Team in the Library of the London School of Economics.
The M25 has also developed the M25 Access Scheme, which embraces all academic members of staff and research postgraduates in M25 institutions (http://www.M25lib. ac.uk/access/access.htm). The point of the scheme is obvious eligible users from any M25 institution can use any other member institutions library free of charge for access and borrowing; the level of borrowing can be set by the host institution. The Consortium sees this formal scheme as an important deliverable of the new Regional agenda. Levels of activity are being monitored and the take-up is relatively low. Nonetheless, it is a scheme much valued by those who use it. The next step is for the Consortium to develop an Automated Eligibility Tool (AET). Within London and the South-East there is a plethora of access agreements between libraries and institutions so many that it can be difficult for a library Admissions Officer to know which scheme to apply. The purpose of the AET will be to make it easier for Admissions staff to know which scheme to use.
Let me talk briefly about two further M25 activities. The M25 Steering Group makes determined efforts to liaise with other libraries, museums, archives and galleries in London, of which there are lots the London Library Development Agency (LLDA), the Association of London Chief Librarians (ALCL) for public libraries and Re:source are just some of the bodies with whom the M25 Consortium has engaged in discussions. There are also London-wide collaborations between Higher Education institutions and central and local government and businesses. In these fora, the M25 Consortium has tried to make sure that the voice of libraries and their users is heard.
The final M25 initiative which I would like to describe is one in which I have been closely involved. This is the M25 Staff Development Group, which I currently chair. The Group organises 10-12 training courses each year and the M25 is particularly known for its innovative 3-day Management Training course for line managers new to management. The University of London (through the University Libraries Committee, of which I am Deputy Chair) has its own successful Staff Training Group. Both Training Groups currently share the services of a 0.8FTE Administrator. From August 2002, it is planned that these two Groups should be discontinued in favour of a new Regional Training Group called CPD25: Training and development for HE libraries in the London Region. If this development goes ahead, it will be a bold and exciting move to offer high quality staff training events to all Higher Education libraries in the Region.
It is certainly true that collaboration is high on the national political agenda. There are issues which libraries should consider before entering any collaboration. What are the intended outcomes? What resources are required to achieve the collaboration? What will the effect of any such collaboration be on your institution? Will your institution be happy with the intended collaboration? Collaboration is not a matter of compliance to an external agenda. For it to be successful, collaboration has to be at the heart of a Librarys Mission Statement as a real strategic objective. In the examples cited above, there is clear evidence of benefit to all parties concerned in the collaborations, at both national and regional level. Where collaboration is successful all participating institutions should be enriched, for the sum of the whole is greater than the individual constituent parts. In particular, development work is often best performed as part of a wider collaborative partnership. There are also benefits to our users in opening up access to the wealth of collections which collaborative partnership schemes can deliver. Collaboration is firmly part of the Higher Education agenda and libraries can be at the forefront in defining at a practical level what collaboration really means.
Director of Library Services
UCL (University College London)
On 8 February the University Library hosted RLG Day, led by Nancy Elkington. Cambridge has been a member of the Research Libraries Group since 1994 and has benefited from access to RLIN and Eureka, while contributing consultative expertise to the development of the Group. The following is an abridged version of a paper written in January 2002 for the HEFC Research Support Libraries Group.
RLG is a not-for-profit membership organization of over 160 universities, national libraries, archives, historical societies, and other institutions with outstanding collections for research and learning. Rooted in collaborative work that addresses members' shared goals for these collections, RLG develops and operates information resources used by members and nonmembers around the world. (See the RLG home page at: http://www.rlg.ac.uk/)
RLG was founded in 1974 by the chief librarians of four major US research libraries: the universities of Yale, Harvard, Columbia and the New York Public Library. The four librarians were interested in forging an organization optimized for effective resource sharing among institutions with a common mission to support the needs of research. Among the first initiatives to be pursued was interlibrary lending, followed closely by shared cataloging, preservation and cooperative collection development. As the membership grew in size, so did the organizations collective ability to make significant headway against common barriers. (See "Who We Are" at http://www.rlg.ac.uk/rlg.html).
Within the first few years of its existence, RLG and its members succeeded in establishing a new model for cooperation in the US. Over the last 25 years, cooperation under the leadership of RLG and its members -- in a wide range of areas has amplified the value that all research-supporting repositories can provide to their primary user communities by strengthening the tools and opportunities available to all. (See http://www.rlg.ac.uk/memberwork.html for a listing of key achievements 1989- 2001.)
James Michalko is RLGs President. RLG is governed by an elected Board of Directors and staffed by about 100 employees, based in Mountain View, California (with an office in London). It is an international leader in providing access to unique cultural resources, assisting members to preserve their collections (in any form), supporting multi-lingual resource description and in creating effective discovery mechanisms for researchers. RLGs operating budget derives from annual subscriptions from its members and usage fees for accessing its online resources (payable by both members and non-members). RLG receives no public funding other than that which is available on a competitive basis from US federal agencies that fund special projects and initiatives in areas of RLG focus. Gifts solicited from private foundations supplement the operating budget in key priority areas.
Membership in RLG has expanded from a handful of US research libraries in 1974 to a highly diverse and international community of 164 public and private libraries (many of which are in universities), archives and museums that come together in order to improve their ability to fulfill their own missions through consortial interworking. Members of RLG are located in: the US, Canada, Russia, Japan, Egypt, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK (28), Australia and New Zealand. (See the current member list at http://www.rlg.ac.uk/rlg. html)
RLG consults with peer organizations to avoid duplication of effort and enhance collaboration through joint activities. For instance, RLG has a memorandum of understanding with JISC that focuses on digital preservation, access to cultural resources and improving the shared interlending and document supply environments. RLG works with the Digital Library Federation (US), the Consortium of University and Research Libraries (UK), the Consortium of European Research Libraries (Europe), the Association of Research Libraries (US), the Society of American Archivists (US) and many other peer organizations around the world. RLG does not lobby for government action (the Association of Research Libraries functions as the primary lobbying voice for research libraries in the US) nor engage in joint purchasing activities, which are more appropriately addressed by local and regional consortia in the US, by JISC in the UK, and by similar organizations in other countries where RLG members are located. Instead, RLG identifies and makes available a range of specialized bibliographic, citation and research resources within its unified online research environment. (For more details about RLGs online resources, see: http://www.rlg.ac.uk/libres.html; http://www.rlg.ac.uk/citadel.html; http://www.rlg.ac.uk/arr/index.html , and http://www.rlg.ac.uk/amico/.
Techniques & Methods for Collaboration, 1974-2001
RLG techniques and methods for collaboration include: development of tools, support of a shared information environment, sharing of experience and expertise (in projects and working groups), agreement on common practices, direct investment in the creation, promulgation and implementation of relevant national and international standards, central fundraising for targeted consortial initiatives and projects, selective partnering with other organizations when appropriate, and wide dissemination (via web and print publications) of the concrete results of cooperation.
New developments in RLGs shared information environment and service array are made through Board interactions and in consultation with strategic advisory groups drawn from the membership and external experts. RLG staffing to support this environment is extensive and permeates all parts of the organization, including a wide range of technical (programming, networking and hardware), standards, marketing and support specialists.
Original script language online cataloging capabilities, first developed by RLG, enable researchers to discover and request needed items
Digitization and digital preservation initiatives with associated opportunities for learning among participating institutions and the community-at-large have been the principal focus of energies since the mid-1990s:
RLG handed off Conspectus to the Association of Research Libraries in the early 1990s. Prior to that, RLG worked with WLN as it developed a pc-based tool for data gathering and analysis for institutions wishing to implement Conspectus outside of the RLG community. Since then, others have continued to evolve tools -- based on Conspectus -- that are responsive to contemporary needs and methods, including the iCAS software now being evaluated by CURL.
Current Agenda Key Initiatives:
RLGs agenda develops in the context of and in response to the communities in which it operates. Key initiatives currently underway underpin advanced work in digital preservation, cultural resources access and interlending and document supply. All three initiatives build from and continue RLG's past efforts. By design, each initiative has facets that reinforce and leverage the other twoprogress on one will be relevant to the others. The specific programs of work to further these objectives evolve from year to year. The underlying goal, shared by all RLG members, is helping to fulfill the mission of research institutions to provide their communities with access to the needed portion of global research resourceswhen needed and where needed. (See RLGs current agenda at: http://www.rlg.ac.uk/keyinits.html.)
Online Access to Cultural Material Resources: RLGs Cultural Materials service is being developed and realized through an alliance of RLG members collaborating to set the conditions for contributing and distributing their digital surrogates of valuable collections. This cross-sectoral and cross-domain group of institutions are seeing to it that research/teaching institutions, students, and scholars will be well served. Advisory groups develop directions and consensus on a range of issues, from licensing agreements to content development and descriptive guidelines. The goal is a growing, significant, online resource and service solution for members and others. Any RLG member can participate in this alliance. The RLG Cultural Materials resource is a dynamic, multimedia collection of digital versions of manuscripts, photos, art, historical documents and memorabilia, and much more, brought together from around the world. Some may reveal "hidden collections," previously in storage or otherwise inaccessible to museum or library visitors. Through a unique, flexible Web workspacedeveloped with the materials' special characteristics in mindusers can discover, compare, interpret, and make connections between materials in ways that enrich teaching, learning, and scholarship. (See more information at: http://www.rlg.ac.uk/culturalres/index.html.)
Long-Term Retention of Digital Research Materials: Libraries, archives, and museums face a unique set of challenges in preserving their digital collections for future research. The range of standards, policies, and practice guidelines to be created demands significant energy and creativity to move toward multi-institution consensus and solutions. The Research Libraries Group's long-term retention initiative will develop a digital archiving model, fine-tuned for preserving RLG members' collections. Selection, deposit, storage, maintenance, and access components of the archiving model will be examined and best practice guidelines created. Where such guidelines must evolve while the knowledge base expands, they will be identified and begun. Task groups and consultations will expand the range of what is known, and that knowledge will be consolidated in Web-based tools to provide guidance worldwide. Calling on the deep strengths of participants in RLG's preservation program, PRESERV, work under this initiative is being coordinated with partner organizations such as the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the National Library of Australia, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), the UKs Digital Preservation Coalition, and OCLC, to eliminate redundant effort and ensure maximum impact. (See http://www.rlg.ac.uk/longterm/index.html.)
Next-Generation Resource Sharing: To be more effective in coordinating and sharing their traditional collections with researchers worldwide, RLG members look to partnership and technology to create a new and far more effective model of resource sharing. Building on leading-edge technology and making new standards operational, RLG's resource-sharing initiative shifts the paradigm for this activity by creating powerful new tools for resource discovery and document supply. (See http://www.rlg.ac.uk/ressharing/index.html)
RLG Program Officer
Tel.: 011-44-207-862-8416; email: Nancy.Elkington@notes.rlg.org
Yorkshire Quakers, archaeology, official publications, foreign law collections, missionary archives, foot and mouth, documents stored on human bone. Those are some of the concerns of the Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP), whose funding of library projects all over the UK comes to an end later this year.
RSLP is an initiative of the Higher Education Funding Councils and the Department of Education for Northern Ireland, set up in the wake of the 1993 Follett Review and the Anderson Report of 1996. In its 3-year lifespan it will have spent £30m "to facilitate", in the words of its web site, "the best possible arrangements for research support in UK libraries, by taking proactive steps to:
What has this meant for libraries in Cambridge?
Quite a lot. RSLP funding has been channelled into projects, designed and bidden for by libraries; in most cases, by several libraries acting together. The University Library is involved in 11 of these projects, and other libraries in and around the University have been touched by seven or eight more. The projects have involved not only book-based libraries but also archives (as in, amongst others, the Papers of Twentieth Century British Scientists project, and GENESIS: developing access to womens history sources) and photograph collections (Digital Internet Catalogue for Cambridge University Air Photograph Library). The remits have ranged from straightforward cataloguing (the CURL Pamphlets project), through conservation (the Survey on Conservation of Asian Documents project) to evaluation of services and possibilities for inter-library co-operation (ARCHway: gateway to resource sharing in archaeology). A full list is at RSLPs web site (RSLP 2001b).
Each project is focused on delivering measurable results. If the project is concerned with cataloguing, the measurement is found by counting the number of records added to the catalogue. For evaluative projects, the results will take the form of reports and policy documents, containing concrete recommendations.
The emphasis on inter-library co-operation is present throughout. Many of the outcomes of RSLPs work will be made available via the web: not only the obvious catalogue entries, but also some of the policy documents, and the indicators of things like the location of expertise. Some of the work is being done by Cambridge librarians, some by extra staff that libraries have been funded to take on, some by project staff travelling around or collating things centrally.
Some individual projects have had chequered histories. Perhaps their own investigations have shown that a need was not as had been assumed, and theyve had to change direction. Or perhaps they have come in for criticism on the basis of misunderstanding. In one case, a critics assumptions about the projects agenda turned out to have been partly based on a mistake as to the identity of the Project Manager!
Less easily disposed of is the story of a project that didnt change direction. It funded the purchase of equipment to let participating libraries send journal articles to one another electronically. This hardware worked not at all with Macs, and not very well with PCs. In one library, heroic efforts by a Computer Officer managed to get the beastie doing something. A year has passed since the end of the project, and the document delivery to other libraries has amounted to a single article.
But Cambridges experience of RSLP has been very positive on the whole. My own librarys involvement with the CURL Pamphlets project and ARCHway has done us much good and no harm. Most of the projects are working towards completion later this year. Their websites tell us, in general, what we can look forward to seeing there when the work is done.
There lies the rub. A librarians work is never done. The most widespread, and cogent, criticism of RSLP is this: that when the projects disappear, having bequeathed elaborate resources to the web, there will be no means of keeping these things up to date. The appointment of executors is something the projects are working on. I know of one BOPCRIS (British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Services) that has found Lottery funding for its continuation. For others, negotiations are still going on.
But that's quite a measure of RSLPs effectiveness: that what it has built is going to be worth keeping up.
The Marshall Library of Economics has lost Craig Peacock, its computer whizzkid. His skills became altogether too useful to the rest of the Faculty, and now the Faculty has poached him. Simon Frost moves up to take his place.
Judith Waring has left the Classics Library after eight years, to take up a Research Fellowship in the Institute of Byzantine Studies, Queen's University, Belfast. Her replacement is still being sought at the time of writing, but a new arrival as Library Assistant in Classics is Maria Niles-Parris. This marks Maria's return to librarianship after a brief exile at Marks and Spencers. Welcome back!
One person who won't confuse SPS & SPL is Ivana Chilvers, who moves from the Scientific Periodicals Library to Social & Political Sciences. No more trips to fetch periodicals from the basement! She replaces Jennifer Webb, who has moved from SPS to become the new Deputy Librarian of the Forbes Mellon Library, Clare College.
Hughes Hall formally appointed Karen Begg as Under Librarian in December 2001 and Lorraine Scannell as Senior Library Assistant from January 2002. Both appointments are part time. Karen has been advising Hughes Hall on the development of their library for the past 15 months, and continues to work in her current part time position at Sidney Sussex whilst taking on this new challenge. She is also studying for her Masters in LIS on the distance learning course at Aberystwyth.
At the University Library, Marjolein Allen replaced Stephen Lees as Head of Legal Deposit on 1 January. Stephen has moved over to Cataloguing to take up the Greek specialist post vacated by Voula Tantanozi. Sonja van Montfort from the Netherlands (via PriceWaterhouse) replaced Marjolein as Deputy Head of Periodicals on 4 March. Also from the Netherlands, and formerly on the staff of Oxford Universitys Materials Science Library, Annelies Dogterom joined Cataloguing on 28 January.
Saturday afternoon opening from 29 September 2001 occasioned the appointment of an army of part-time staff to cover all the public service points. The front-liners included Glenna Awbrey in Rare Books, Margaret Ellis, Polly Richards, Yin Shen and Jesus Gonzalez in the Entrance Hall, Patrick Saward, Patricia Herdianto, and Nicholas Oviatt-Ham in Reference, Annette Copping in Periodicals, and Laurent Ferandez-Vicente and Shakila Banu in Manuscripts. Polly subsequently moved on to catalogue 19th century pamphlets in Rare Books, working with Fiona Grant from Cataloguing and Rachel Bunting from Greensleeves on this, one of the last RSLP projects.
Melina Tuladhar joined Automation on 26 November as Computer Officer with responsibility for the Novell server and network management. Temporary assistant Loraine Knight joined the permanent staff of the Squire Law Library on 2 January. On 9 January Penny Jackson was appointed to a 27-month Research Assistant post cataloguing the Royal Commonwealth Society photographs. Penny brings experience from the State Library of South Australia and also the University of South Australia.
Susie West took up her appointment as Munby Fellow in Bibliography for 2001-2002 on 1 October. Her research topic is libraries of the Norfolk gentry. Her successor in academic session 2002-2003 will be Dr John Semple Craig, who will be investigating books in English parish churches, 1503-1640.
CURL is no longer represented on the UL staff, following the departures of Database Officer Anne Mealia on 28 September to work on the development of Cambridge City Councils website, and administrative assistant Nena Bowler who transferred to the Judge Institute.
Two UL weddings have been celebrated in the past six months: Louise Rogers of Rare Books married John Clarke (formerly of Legal Deposit and Cataloguing, now of the Engineering Department Library) at the end of September, and Rachel Rowe, Smuts Librarian for South Asian and Commonwealth Studies, married UL Systems Manager Iain Burke on 23 November.Back to Contents
Ellis Weinberger is CEDARS Project Officer at the UL, researching intellectual property and collection management issues in relation to digital preservation. In his spare time, one of his favourite activities is getting out into the open country with a group of friends.
Some of my friends and I like to walk, at a leisurely pace, from comfortable bed & breakfast to welcoming pub, and from welcoming pub to comfortable bed & breakfast, through pleasant scenery, on well marked trails. We walk for three or four days at a time, once or twice a year. All of this comfort and ease takes months of preparation and some self-discipline. In this article I will discuss the steps we take to increase the likelihood of a pleasant and comfortable walk.
We start our preparation by agreeing on a month and a region of the country. We tend to prefer to walk in late spring or early autumn. Wherever and whenever we go, we get rained on.
Some physical preparation is useful. When we are in good physical condition, we enjoy the walk more. Walking with a loaded pack a few times a week and running a few times a weeks in the three or four months leading up to walk are useful ways of preparing for a walk. Some people increase the frequency they visit their gym, and include more aerobic work.
When I am given the task of finding an appropriate long distance path, I start by looking at The Long Distance Walkers Handbook. This book lists all long distance paths by region and by length. I look for paths that go along coasts or down river valleys. These paths tend to have towns or villages at reasonable intervals, and towns or villages tend to contain comfortable places to stay and nice places to eat. We believe that a reasonable distance between towns or villages is about four hours walking.
When I find a path that seems to meet our criteria, I contact the tourist information centres along the path. I ask for any information they have about the path, about places to stay, about places to eat, and about public transport.
If there seem to be suitable places to stay and to eat at reasonable intervals, and if there is public transport into and out of the path, I will buy the 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps that cover the path, and if there is one, a published guide to the path. I then start to draft daily timetables. We like to walk around 12 miles a day. This gives us plenty of time to get up at a civilised hour, have a good breakfast, buy anything we need in the town, walk to the pub for a leisurely lunch, and amble into the next town before dark. Studying the maps before we go helps us find our way when the signs marking the path disappear or confuse.
We then discuss suggested timetables over the phone or by e-mail. By planning our days before we leave, we increase the amount of time we have to chat and amble, and reduce the amount of time we have to think or make decisions whilst walking. After a few weeks of discussion, we tend to agree on dates and places, and start thinking about packing.
Carry as little as possible. This is extremely important. Most of the time people carry too much. The less anyone carries, the more they will enjoy their walk. The more we carry, the harder we will work, and we want to have a nice leisurely walk. The last evening before the walk, or early on the first morning of the walk, I suggest items from everyone's pack to leave behind. Nobody needs to carry more clothing than they will need to sit still, for an hour outdoors in a driving rain, and remain warm. This does mean that everyone needs decent rain gear, and a warm top, but that is about it. Nobody needs an assortment of warm tops, or a choice of evening wear.
For an example of an implementation of this theory, I include a list of what I carried on our last walk, up the Wye River Valley, in September 2001. I wore a long sleeved synthetic blend shirt, a pair of synthetic trousers, and a pair of walking sandals.
Waterproof jacket & trousers, long polypro fishnet undershirt, change of underwear, and fleece ear band.
Sun cream, toothbrush, adhesive bandage strip, adhesive podiatric foam, paper tissues, wound bandage, lip balm, and a handkerchief.
Medium plastic freezer bags, polythene rucksack liner, wire &miniature screwdriver for mending glasses, fresh torch battery in torch, polyester button thread, 3 needles, 3 safety pins, fresh camera battery in camera, and film in camera.
1 litre flexible water bottle with drinking tube, compass, notebook, 2 pens, aluminium LED torch, credit card tool, pocket camera & pocket tripod, map in map case, money belt, wallet, keys, nylon cord, whistle, mobile phone, and a nylon mesh waistcoat with nylon canvas pouches to carry it all in.
At the end of every walk I check to see if I have used everything I carried, and if I did not use it, or if there is not a very good reason to carry the item, I remove the item from the list.
Look after yourself
Pay attention to the condition of your feet all the time. Clean and dry your feet carefully at least once a day. Consider using foot or talcum powder. When you notice a warm spot on your foot, or a spot where something is rubbing your foot, or a blister starting to form, clean and dry the spot, and place a piece of adhesive podiatric foam, a plaster, or anything suitable in order to keep the blister from getting worse. Carry enough water to drink all through the day. You will know that you have been drinking enough if you urinate every hour or so, and if your urine is clear, or nearly clear. By planning well, packing well, and looking after yourself, a long walk can be comfortable and pleasant.Back to Contents
The Michaelmas 2002 issue of CULIB will be on the theme of past futures. Not every item on Tomorrows World achieves longevity. Can readers with long memories remember those predictions that stirred eager anticipation and/or controversy back in the early days of their library careers? And what became of those predictions? All contributions to Aidan Baker at the Haddon Library by 30 August please.Back to Contents
CULIB is edited by Aidan Baker (Haddon Library, email@example.com), Kathryn McKee (St Johns College, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sheila Cameron (University Library, email@example.com), and is produced and distributed by Sheila Cameron. The online version at http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/CULIB is produced at the UL by Fiona Grant (firstname.lastname@example.org).Back to Contents