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LITA Welcomes 2019 Emerging Leaders Kathryn Greer and Rachel Murdock

Wed, 2019-01-23 10:41

ALA’s Emerging Leaders program enables newer library workers to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. Our 2019 ELs are:

Kathryn Greer, Systems and Digital Content Librarian at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia

Kathryn serves as an administrator of the library’s software and systems and as a library liaison to campus and consortial IT groups. She recently led her library’s transition to a new ILS as part of the University System of Georgia’s migration from Ex Libris Voyager to Alma, and in the spring will manage another consortial-led project for her institution, the implementation of the identity and access management service OpenAthens. She graduated from the Master of Library and Information Science program at Valdosta State University in December 2013. Kathryn recently enrolled in the Master of Science in Information Technology program at Kennesaw State University, where she hopes to expand her technical knowledge and further develop into a career as an IT professional who supports, plans, and implements technology specifically for libraries.

Rachel Murdock, Innovative Librarian at Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, Wisconsin

Rachel handles emerging technologies and maker activities, and is particularly interested in how technology can intersect with diversity, equity, and inclusion. She graduated from Louisiana State University with her MLIS in 2016, and has worked in public libraries, art museums, and archives.

Kathryn and Rachel will be working on a team project called LITA Close to Home: Developing Local Support Networks to develop a plan for creating local LITA chapters. Both are already leaders in the library technology field, and we’re excited to be sponsoring their participation in the program.

LITA is sponsoring two Emerging Leaders for 2019 thanks to donations from LITA members and supporters.

Categories: Library News

IT Centralization: Impact on Academic Libraries, Part 2

Wed, 2019-01-23 10:11

Authors’ notes: This post is co-authored by Kelly Sattler, Head of Web Services, Michigan State University. It is part two of a two-part series on IT centralization and academic libraries.This post talks about how to respond to centralization and what to expect in the longer term.  Part one discusses what to expect when a centralization initiative begins.   Image source: creative commons licensed (BY-ND 2.0) Flickr photo by Andrea NIgels:

How to respond to centralization

As we said in part 1 of this two-part series on IT centralization, change is hard. Change that makes people fear for their jobs and threatens their professional identities is really hard. We have some advice based on our experiences that may help you cope if IT centralization comes to your campus.

Before centralization

The best thing you can do to prepare for centralization is something that is good to do for other reasons as well: make sure job titles, classifications, and position descriptions are up-to-date so they accurately reflect an employee’s current role and duties. Be sure position descriptions reflect library-specific responsibilities clearly and completely. For example, a staff member could have a generic IT title or classification (e.g. Systems Support Analyst) but actually manage a service that is unique to the library and that central IT may be unprepared to support.

Often employees are initially targeted for centralization based on job titles, classifications, and/or position descriptions. You don’t want to lose someone based on outdated or incomplete information.

Another important step is to build and maintain a positive relationship with campus IT administration and staff. Treat IT as another liaison area. It will prove quite valuable to already have formed good relationships prior to any massive change, like a full centralization.We say more about this in the next section.

During centralization Don’t panic

Centralization initiatives are often rolled out quickly, sometimes in response to a budget crisis, as happened, and details may not seem clear or well-thought-out. Take a deep breath before reacting. Ask questions in a calm, professional way. Understand that not all details may be clear at the beginning. Also, many of the people recruited to share the message may not have been given the whole story or have been restricted in what they can share.

Communicate frequently and appropriately

If you supervise affected employees, communicate clearly, frequently, and honestly. Share what you know, be honest about what you don’t know, and assure employees that you will share information as you get it. Your staff need to be able to trust you. In some cases, your staff may actually have more information than you do. Be sure to provide a way for communication to flow in both directions. Avoid editorializing excessively. Your tone and approach will help shape your employees’ responses, and you don’t want to make the process harder for them. Vent your frustrations elsewhere (Janet’s husband got an earful during NAU’s centralization initiative). Share staff questions and concerns with appropriate people. Be an advocate for your staff but in a reasonable, professional way.

Ask for information. Librarians may not be recognized as doing IT work or supervising people who do, so, central IT may not communicate with you (initially). Kelly’s first official communication from central IT was 7 days after they had contacted the 3 people who she supervised that were to be centralized. Communication also may be poor or limited, especially initially. Ask to be included in email distribution lists related to centralization. Work with your supervisor to get included in meetings.

This one is hard to do: Ignore the rumor mill as much as you can. As soon as someone gets wind of centralization, rumors will start flying, and the Chicken Littles of your organization will assure you that the sky is indeed falling. Unfortunately, in organizations that don’t communicate about the process effectively, rumors may be the only communication you get for awhile. Still, use judgment about what you believe and, especially, what you share. Make sure your communication is based on factual information from reliable sources.

Be kind–to yourself and your staff

The process will almost certainly be stressful for affected staff as well as other staff in the library. People may be afraid of losing their jobs (and sometimes that happens) or losing pay or status. People’s identities may feel threatened. Who am I if I’m not insert title here. People may be afraid that they’ll have to work 60 hours a week to cover responsibilities of people lost because of centralization. People at all levels may be afraid that the library won’t be able to deliver the same quality of service to its users as it did before centralization. If you supervise affected staff, be kind and understanding. Recognize that their attitudes and productivity may suffer in the short term. Recognize that they may be anxious and afraid. Do the same for yourself. Take care of yourself. No job is worth damaging your health. Also, remember to “put the oxygen mask over your own mouth first” so you can help others. These kinds of changes are hard, and it’s OK to not be OK.

Maintain a strong relationship with central IT

No matter how you feel about centralization, you’re about to become a whole lot more dependent on central IT to operate the library and meet the needs of your users. So it’s in the best interests of the library to collaborate effectively with central IT, no matter how frustrated you are. Avoid an “us vs them” mentality. Kelly reminded her team that after the centralization, some of “us” would be “them” as well as pointing to many of the good people who already were a part of central IT. If you supervise, talk with your staff about the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with central IT, which, hopefully, you have already done prior to the announcement of a centralization. Also, remember that many of the people who are implementing the process are just doing their jobs as instructed. In the case of NAU, campus IT did not initiate centralization. The initiative was mandated by the university president and was as challenging for central IT as it was for units having their IT staff centralized. Our central IT staff were stressed out and working long hours to make centralization work. They deserved our support, not our anger.

Keep an open mind

When a centralization initiative is first proposed, it can feel catastrophic. But sometimes these initiatives are undertaken for good reasons, and after you get through the pain, processes and services may be better than they were before centralization. Be willing to see potential positive outcomes.  

After centralization–where do we go from here?

So you survived centralization–or at least the initial round. Now what?

Expect more change

“More change” is almost certainly the last thing you want to hear at the end of an IT centralization initiative, but it’s also almost certainly what will happen. Central IT will need to adjust to its new responsibilities and staff, some staff will leave, and new funding models will be implemented and adjusted. Expect an IT reorganization–or several. (MSU is up to 5 reorganizations since their centralization effort has started less than a year ago, and NAU has also been through a few.) Expect processes to start out bumpy and–hopefully–get smoother.

Also, different people will have different definitions as to when the centralization is “complete.” Some will see a new org chart and think, “Yay! It’s done.” While others will see the new org chart but acknowledge that nothing else has changed. They may not see the centralization done until all the equipment and responsibilities are full centralized as well. This is where MSU Libraries is. The library staff who were identified to be centralized now report to another person within central IT, but not much else has changed–yet. They are still receiving direction from librarians and still sit in the same space. Depending on their new supervisor, they may or may not have new, extra meetings.

Maintain relationships and communication

If you are still in the library, you are likely more dependent on central IT than you were before. If you got centralized, you may still have responsibilities related to the library. Here are some tips for working together:

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication should happen at all levels of both organizations. At NAU, the library dean communicates regularly with the CIO, ensuring that the units are working together and addressing issues that arise. IT and library staff at other levels meet regularly around operational issues to ensure that service goals are met, and library users are having good experiences.

Create service-level agreements

One essential communication tool is the service-level agreement. This document lays out expectations for a particular service or suite of services, addressing everything from payment to support hours to who should be called for which issues. A good SLA helps all stakeholders understand what to expect and can reduce misunderstandings. MSU is in the process of creating these with central IT. Initially, we’re operating under a “Memorandum of Understanding,” which will be in place until the SLAs are written. We’re creating separate SLAs for each major area of IT, such as networking, server support, desktop support, etc.

Be open to new ways to work together

Leverage the closer relationship between the library and central IT to find new ways to work together. Two years after the first round of centralization at NAU, we in the library began working with central IT to create a shared technology service point in the library. The IT department’s service point was in a basement at the other end of campus, and they were looking for a more central, accessible place to deliver services to students (at NAU, student IT fees pay for a technology repair service, so students can get their personally-owned laptops, XBoxes, etc., repaired by central IT). Meanwhile, the library operated its own technology service desk for remaining library IT functions like our makerspace, but we often had students ask us for services that only central IT could provide. After several months of planning, we opened a new service desk in the library, jointly staffed by library and central IT staff. Shortly thereafter, the library lost two IT staff to attrition, and central IT offered to manage the desk entirely and support most of our public computing environment. They had funding to replace aging thin clients and were able to resolve some long-standing issues with our Mac lab. Recently they have upgraded technology in study rooms and added some high-end workstations for data visualization and engineering applications, and funded a significant upgrade to our lecture hall. They are also installing a new virtual reality lab in the library, slated to open this semester. We have had to give up some control, but our users are benefitting from upgraded technology, and our remaining library technology staff (half the FTE we had prior to centralization) are able to direct their efforts to more library-centric activities.

We hope this two-part series of posts has helped you understand the impact of IT centralization on academic libraries and, if you’re faced with centralization, will help you cope with it and possibly benefit from it.

Categories: Library News

Propose a Topic for the new ITAL Public Libraries Leading the Way Column

Tue, 2019-01-22 12:10

ITAL’s look back at the last 50 years is complete, and we’re taking the opportunity to start something new in 2019. There will be a regular, quarterly, column in Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL), the open-access LITA journal titled “Public Libraries Leading the Way” that will highlight technology-based innovation from a public library perspective.

Submit your idea proposal now!

Topics we’re interested in include the following, but proposals on any other technology topic are also welcome:

  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Big data
  • Internet of things
  • 3-D printing and makerspaces
  • Robotics
  • Drones
  • Geographic information systems and mapping
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion and technology
  • Privacy and cyber-security
  • Library analytics and data-driven services
  • Anything else related to public libraries and innovations in technology

Columns are in the 1,000-1,500 word range and may include illustrations. These will not be research articles, but are meant to share practical experience with technology development or uses within the library. If you are interested in contributing a column, please submit a brief summary of your idea.

Questions or Comments?

If you have ITAL questions, please contact Ken Varnum, Editor of Information Technology and Libraries, at

For all other questions or comments related to LITA publications, contact us at (312) 280-4268 or

Categories: Library News

#LITAchat – More Fun New Library Tech Projects!

Fri, 2019-01-18 13:22

Join us Friday, January 25, 12:00-1:00pm CDT, on Twitter to hear about, discuss, ask questions on several technology-related projects happening in the field. This month we ‘ll cover another digital collection project, and a novel project utilizing a Raspberry Pi for barcode duplication!

Our panel will include:

  • Chris Day, @ChrisDayDigLib, Digital Services Librarian at the School of t he Art Institute of Chicago’s Flaxman Library.
  • Mark Sandford, @LibGeekMS, Systems Librarian at Colgate University.

To participate, launch your favorite Twitter app or web browser, search for the #LITAchat hashtag, and select “Latest” to participate and ask questions. Be sure to include the hashtag #litachat.

View more information, as well as past LITAchats.

For all other questions or comments related to LITA events, contact us at (312) 280-4268 or

Categories: Library News

LITA @ ALA Midwinter 2019 – Top Technology Trends

Fri, 2019-01-11 14:03

If you’re going to Midwinter, don’t miss the latest Top Tech Trends panel.

LITA Top Technology Trends
Sunday, January 27, 2019, 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Location: Washington State Convention Center, Room 618-620

LITA’s premier program on trends and advances in technology features an ongoing roundtable discussion by a panel of LITA technology experts and thought leaders. The panelists will describe changes and advances in technology they see having an impact on the library world and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends. This year’s panelists are:

  • Kate Tkacik, Session Moderator, Director, Network Engagement, Foundation Center
  • Joyce Valenza, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, SC&I
  • Cynthia Dudenhoffer, Director of Information Resources and Assessment, Central Methodist University
  • James Neal, Senior Program Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Suzanne Wulf, Head of Digital Services, Niles-Maine District Library
  • Becky Yoose, Library Applications and Systems Manager, Seattle Public Library



More information, including full bios and possible trends, will be available on the Top Tech Trends site.

Discover other LITA programs and discussions to complete your ALA Midwinter experience.

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to LITA activities, contact us at (312) 280-4268 or

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: January 9, 2019

Wed, 2019-01-09 14:46

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Penn State University Libraries, Associate Dean for Collections, Research, and Scholarly Communications, University Park, PA

Penn State University Libraries, Engineering Instruction Librarian, University Park, PA

City of Chula Vista, Principal Librarian, Chula Vista, CA

The County of Monterey, County Librarian, Monterey County, CA

University of Arizona Libraries, Department Head, Technology Strategy & Services, Tucson, AZ

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: January 2, 2019

Wed, 2019-01-02 21:18

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Northwest Regional Library, Regional Director, Thief River Falls, MN

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: December 26, 2018

Wed, 2018-12-26 15:05

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Orange Coast College, Librarian, Costa Mesa, CA

Colorado State University Libraries, Science Liaison Librarian, Fort Collins, CO

Cornell University, Assistant Director, Metadata Production, Ithaca, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: December 19, 2018

Wed, 2018-12-19 15:31

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Sonoma State University Library, Online Learning Librarian (Tenure-Track) Senior Assistant Librarian, Rohnert Park, CA

University of Rhode Island, Manager, Library/Scholarly Technology Labs, Kingston, RI

Auburn University Libraries, Specialist III/IV, Information Technology (Web Developer), Auburn, AL

WESTAT, Librarian, Rockville, MD

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Apply now for the LITA Conference Buddy Program for the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Wed, 2018-12-19 13:57

Applications are now open for LITA’s Conference Buddy program for ALA Midwinter 2019. The program designed to make conference attendance more approachable, foster inclusion, and build connections. Inspired by the GLBTRT Buddy Program, we hope that this program will help us to foster stronger relationships among LITA members who attend conferences and also make attendance more enjoyable and rewarding for everyone who participates.

For more information or to apply go to the Conference Buddy website

Application deadline is January 10, 2019.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Questions or Comments?

Contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or

Categories: Library News

December 2018 ITAL Issue Now Available

Tue, 2018-12-18 15:24

The December 2018 issue of Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) marks the end of the journal’s 50th anniversary review with a summary of articles published in the 1990s by Editorial Board member Steven Bowers. That was the decade that introduced the Internet age and many technologies — including the graphic web browser — that laid the foundation for so much of technological progress in libraries ever since.

In this issue:

Gaps in IT and Library Services at Small Academic Libraries in Canada
Jasmine Hoover

Modern academic libraries are hubs of technology, yet the gap between the library and IT is an issue at several small university libraries across Canada that can inhibit innovation and lead to diminished student experience. This paper outlines results of a survey of small (<5,000 FTE) universities in Canada, focusing on IT and the library when it comes to organizational structure, staffing, and location. It then discusses higher level as well as smaller scale solutions to this issue.

The Benefits of Enterprise Architecture for Library Technology Management: An Exploratory Case Study
Sam Searle

This case study describes how librarians and enterprise architects at an Australian university worked together to document key components of the Library’s “as-is” enterprise architecture (EA). The article covers the rationale for conducting this activity, how work was scoped, the processes used, and the outputs delivered.

An Overview of the Current State of Linked and Open Data in Cataloging
Irfan Ullah, Shah Khusro, Asim Ullah, Muhammad Naeem

Linked Open Data (LOD) is a core Semantic Web technology that makes knowledge and information spaces of different knowledge domains manageable, reusable, shareable, exchangeable, and interoperable. The LOD approach achieves this through the provision of services for describing, indexing, organizing, and retrieving knowledge artifacts and making them available for quick consumption and publication. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this review article is the first of its kind that holistically treats the subject of cataloging in the Linked and Open Data environment.

The “Black Box”: How Students Use a Single Search Box to Search for Music Materials
Kirstin Dougan

Given the inherent challenges music materials present to systems and searchers (formats, title forms and languages, and the presence of additional metadata such as work numbers and keys), it is reasonable that those searching for music develop distinctive search habits compared to patrons in other subject areas. This study uses transaction log analysis of the music and performing arts module of a library’s federated discovery tool to determine how patrons search for music materials.

Application Level Security in a Public Library: A Case Study
Richard Thomchick, Tonia San Nicolas-Rocca

Libraries have historically made great efforts to ensure the confidentiality of patron personally identifiable information (PII), but the rapid, widespread adoption of information technology and the internet have given rise to new privacy and security challenges. This report is intended to shed light on the state of HTTPS implementation in libraries, and to suggest ways in which libraries can evaluate and improve application security so that they can better protect the confidentiality of PII about library patrons.

A Technology-Dependent Information Literacy Model within the Confines of a Limited Resources Environment
Ibrahim Abunadi

The purpose of this paper is to investigate information literacy as an increasingly evolving trend in computer education. Based on a quantitative study, a practical, technology-dependent information literacy model was developed and tested in a case study, resulting in fostering the information literacy skills of students who majored in information systems.

Editorial Content

  • ITAL is launching a new regular column in 2019, “Public Libraries Leading the Way.” This column will highlight technology-based innovations from the public library perspective. See the Letter from the Editor for more details.
  • Other editorial content in this issue includes a letter from LITA President Bohyun Kim about the proposed merger of LITA, ALCTS, and LLAMA
  • Our Editorial Board Thoughts column on Critical Technology, contributed this month by Cinthya Ippoliti.

Submit Your Ideas

Contact ITAL Editor Ken Varnum at with your proposal. Current formats are generally:

  • Articles – original research or comprehensive and in-depth analyses, in the 3000-5000 word range.
  • Communications – brief research reports, technical findings, and case studies, in the 1000-3000 word range.

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to LITA publications, contact us at (312) 280-4268 or

Categories: Library News

IT Centralization: Impact on Academic Libraries

Thu, 2018-12-13 18:32

Authors’ notes: This post is co-authored by Kelly Sattler, Head of Web Services, Michigan State University. It is part one of a two-part series on IT centralization and academic libraries.This post will define IT centralization and talk about what to expect when a centralization initiative begins.  Part two, coming in January, will address how to respond to centralization and what to expect in the longer term. Image free from pixabay

As university budgets continue to be squeezed by increasing costs and decreasing funding, university administrators scour the campus to find ways to make operations more efficient. IT is a frequent target for these exercises, as it is both ubiquitous and expensive. Often, initiatives to centralize IT functions and personnel are undertaken in order to coordinate and standardize services and equipment, theoretically increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Because academic libraries are IT-intensive, centralization can have a significant impact on library staff and operations. Your intrepid authors, Kelly and Janet, are both experiencing IT centralization at their respective institutions. Kelly’s institution, Michigan State University (MSU), initiated their IT centralization on April 12, 2018, while Janet’s institution, Northern Arizona University (NAU), began IT centralization in September 2015. Together we will share what we have learned and are still learning about IT centralization and its impact on libraries and library staff.

What is IT centralization?

Before we go any further, let’s define what we mean by IT centralization. Put simply, IT centralization means taking IT functions from campus units such as the library or colleges and moving those functions and, usually, associated personnel and funding to a central IT department that serves the entire campus or institution. In practice, centralization projects vary across institutions for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways:

  • Purpose: Some institutions might centralize to cope with an immediate budget crisis, while others might gradually implement centralization to reduce costs generally, improve quality and efficiency, or for other reasons. The purpose of a centralization initiative will often determine its scope and timeline.
  • Scope: Some campuses will choose to centralize nearly everything, while others will centralize selected functions and leave some unit IT operations intact. The scope will be determined in part by what remains to be centralized. Some campuses have very few functions centralized, usually enterprise-wide administrative applications for finances and personnel, while others will have few IT functions distributed at the start of the initiative and therefore have little left to centralize
  • Timeline: Some centralization initiatives are pushed through quickly (typically those intended to address a budget shortfall), while others may be implemented more gradually. The ones that are rushed will likely be poorly communicated, poorly implemented and highly frustrating.
What to expect

IT centralization often brings significant organizational change–for the library, for other campus units, and for central IT. To put it simply: this kind of change is hard. Based on our experiences, here are some of the things you can expect during an IT centralization initiative.

Impact on staff

Library IT staff may begin reporting to central IT and may also be physically relocated to central IT, sometimes with little or no notice. They may have their library employment terminated and have to  apply for jobs in central IT, a process which can result in some staff losing their jobs. For many of us who work in libraries, library work is our passion and part of our identity. Being told we will be reporting to campus IT may not be welcome news, and some staff may leave the institution rather than accept the transfer–taking all their knowledge and experience with them. In some cases, a library IT employee can remain in the library–but only by changing their position and responsibilities to exclude IT work. Kelly has seen each happen with people at MSU who were to be centralized.

Employment classifications may also change; for example, centralized staff may move from a union to non-union position (or vice-versa), which can change their benefit package, expectations for work hours, and more.

Centralization can also create new opportunities for centralized staff. They may get higher salaries in their new roles and/or have access to career opportunities that were not available in the library. The bottom line: No matter how well-managed the centralization process may be, it will create significant fear, uncertainty, doubt, and stress among affected staff and their colleagues throughout the library.

Impact on operations

Most academic libraries are IT-intensive. Put another way, we cannot do our jobs or provide services to users without sophisticated and reliable IT systems. When IT functions are centralized, the library loses some if not all control over how those functions are staffed and delivered. Any major change in the way IT is implemented and managed will affect most aspects of library operations.

Service levels

The level of service and hours of operation may be different once functions are centralized, which can be both good and bad. For example, at NAU, central IT is able to provide phone support 24/7 most days, which the library lacked the staff to do. At the same time, centralized classroom IT support is not available during late evening hours, whereas the library provided IT support for its classrooms anytime a class or event was in session.


In the centralization initiatives at NAU, many systems were standardized as they were centralized. Standardization may affect the library’s ability to meet specialized needs and may reduce the quality of the experience delivered. Computer purchasing was centralized, which meant purchasing from a pre-approved list or requesting an exception that has to be granted at the VP level. Fortunately, we were given input into that list, and it has worked well for us. In another case, when virtual infrastructure was centralized, the virtual solution offered by central IT could not stream video on thin clients acceptably, while the library’s virtual infrastructure handled video well. The eventual solution, after nearly a year of investigation and negotiation, was to install desktops rather than thin clients for library users.

Capacity for future innovation

One of our biggest fears at NAU was that centralization would limit our ability to innovate. NAU’s Cline Library was often a center for technological innovation on campus. In the last five years, we have built a makerspace that offers high-volume 3D printing and a technology-intensive flipped classroom that, when it was built, was the most technologically-sophisticated teaching space on campus. We were able to complete those projects because we had outstanding in-house IT staff. Now that many of those positions have been centralized, we will need to rely more heavily on central IT for future technology projects.

At MSU, one of our biggest fears is that our projects will never make it up high enough in the queue to be worked on. A project that will enable 3 librarians to do their job better will have a hard time being prioritized over a project that will impact all 40,000+ undergrads. It is easy to understand why a central organization would make that choice, but it does underscore why we hired our own IT staff to begin with. Janet has also experienced this issue at previous institutions with centralized IT environments.

There are a few coping strategies to deal with these scenarios. First, do what you can to set up a process with IT that will enable the cycling of smaller projects into their work cycle. If possible, work with them to have a team that is dedicated to developing application/systems needed as one offs for the library. Ideally, it would be just the library and not all the other colleges too, but that’s unlikely to be seen as practical. If that fails, see if IT has a list of approved vendors that can be hired temporarily by a unit to complete work that central IT doesn’t have the resources to complete. This second option requires having money to pay the vendor, which may not be in the budget, especially if the library’s IT budget was taken with the IT staff. Third, see if IT will give librarians access to the servers so they might develop their own applications.

Workload and turnaround time

At NAU, positions were centralized before central IT was ready to take on some of the work those people performed. In theory, centralized staff would continue to do the same job until centralization was fully implemented, but in reality, some centralized staff left the university, and they were not replaced for some time. That left the library’s remaining IT staff, as well as staff in other areas of the library, to do those jobs as well as their own.

At MSU, we are at the point where the library IT staff report to people in central IT and are thus considered centralized. However, they are still receiving instruction on what to work on from a librarian. In a few cases, this is also the person’s former supervisor, but in most it is not, because the head of the unit opted to move to a different position in the library. We have also had one person quit because of the centralization.Their work was distributed to others still in the unit. We anticipate, with a bit of dread, that it is just a matter of time before library IT people will be pulled into servicing other units on campus. This fear is justifiable as this is exactly what happened at NAU.

In some cases, simple tasks can take a long time in a centralized environment. For example, at NAU, web services were centralized. The library’s website was moved to a new campus-wide web platform and content management service, and we lost access to most editing functions other than modifying existing content. Campus web services is understaffed, so it can take months to have a minor programming change implemented. MSU recently acquired a campus CMS solution. It will take central IT awhile to become functional with the new system. Until then the library will be able to remain in our CMS with full edit rights. However, the only way to justify the expenditure for the campus CMS is to get most, if not all, units to use it too.

At MSU, our library IT staff had already been working with central IT for some functions, such as firewall changes. We’d submit a ticket to the help desk and wait. Central IT does not have a good reputation for fast responses, unless they close your ticket without resolving the issue. Just after the centralization was announced, there was a hallway conversation amongst the library IT folks seeing who had the longest open ticket with central IT. The winner was at 8 months. Going forward, all library IT requests will be using that same system, which brings a lot of fear of a severely lowered standard of response to our IT needs.

Impact on budget

The financial aspects of centralization can vary from institution to institution. In the initial round of centralization at NAU, positions and associated funding lines were transferred to central IT. Later, when the library lost two remaining IT staff to attrition, we were allowed to keep the funding lines but could not use them to hire IT staff. In some cases, central IT will charge units for services formerly provided by the units themselves (e.g. servers, storage).

At MSU, library administration was able to negotiate effectively to mitigate the financial impact of centralization. Our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IT, a temporary contract in place until we have Service Level Agreements (SLAs), specifies a one-time transfer of funds for the salaries of the people moved into central IT. It is expected that the funding will be permanently transferred after the SLAs are in place, assuming the centralization continues forward. (We have an interim president mandating centralization, so there is some speculation this will revert back after a new president is selected.) Cost for service from central IT is still being negotiated. If the library were  treated like any other college, we’d be charged an annual maintenance fee for every computer workstation in the library, which would total nearly $1 million annually. This is not feasible. We will also be charged for server housing, networking, etc.

Join us in January for part two of this two-part series on IT centralization: responding to centralization and future possibilities.

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: December 12, 2018

Wed, 2018-12-12 15:29

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Denver Public Library, Special Collections and Digital Archives Manager, Denver, CO

The Blake School, Middle School Teacher Librarian, Hopkins, MN

The Blake School, Lower School Teacher Librarian, Wayzata, MN

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Riko Fluchel Is Our 2018-19 LITA/OCLC Spectrum Scholar

Tue, 2018-12-11 17:53

LITA and OCLC are funding Riko Fluchel’s participation in the ALA Spectrum Scholars program as part of their commitment to help diversify the library technology field.

Riko  is a second year at the University of Washington Information School MLIS program, where he is focusing on Information Architecture and Design. He is deeply interested in the ways information architecture facilitate or hinder information literacy, as well the applications of linked data and cultural heritage. Through the Spectrum program, he hopes to find mentorship and grow professionally as a digital humanist and information architect.

When notified of his selection, Riko said, “I’m very honored to receive this scholarship, and I’m excited to deepen my skills in library and information technologies with the best in the field!”

The ALA Spectrum Scholarship Program actively recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession and ALA. Visit the Spectrum Scholarship website to learn more about the program. We encourage you to donate to help increase opportunities for people of color in librarianship.

We thank OCLC for funding this scholarship.

Categories: Library News

Greetings from Metadata Management Tools!

Mon, 2018-12-10 16:50


Earlier this fall, I taught a 3-week online course titled Metadata Management Tools for LITA. The course was designed for library staff who regularly work manipulating MARC and metadata sets or library school students interested in the subject of metadata management. My goal was for students to finish the course with an understanding of the tools available to them for metadata management, example use cases for each tool, and the resources available to them if they would like to further their knowledge or have any questions regarding any of these tools. A big “Thank you!” to LITA for giving me the opportunity to teach this online course.

What is “metadata management”?

According to Margaret Rouse of, [m]etadata management is the administration of data that describes other data.

It involves establishing policies and processes that ensure information across the organization can be

  • integrated,
  • accessed,
  • shared,
  • linked,
  • analyzed,
  • and maintained to best effect.
Why “Metadata Management Tools”?

The concept of “Metadata Management Tools” was not developed in a vacuum. It came about as I began working full-time with cataloging, metadata, and database maintenance. After leaving library school, I realized that I knew about metadata but was ignorant of the tools and workflows other library workers were using at their institutions.

Continuing education and participation in conferences helped to bridge this gap for me, but not every library worker has the freedom to learn new tools on the job that don’t directly relate to a project their working on, have the time to experiment with new workflows, or the ability to travel to learn new things.

I am grateful to be a part of a community of amazing library workers who share their experiences and tools widely and abundantly. One of my goals of this course was to try and gather freely available tools/resources that are available for cataloging and metadata work in one place.

Below is a list of common metadata management tools/resources:



Common Metadata Management Tools/Resources Resource Name Resource Type Description MarcEdit Software/Tools MarcEdit is a software developed to work with MARC data and perform database maintenance tasks for library catalogs. MarcEdit YouTube Channel Tutorial Series of tutorials for MarcEdit developed and produced by Terry Reese, creator of MarcEdit. Python Programming Language Programming language Pymarc Programming Language Python library specifically geared towards working with data formatted in MARC. Pymarc Google Group Online Community An online community that allows users to troubleshoot and collaborate around using Pymarc. Online guide for using pymarc Tutorial ROW2 COL3 CONTENT OpenRefine Software/Tools “OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine) is a powerful tool for working with messy data: cleaning it; transforming it from one format into another and extending it with web services and external data.” OpenRefine Google Group Online Community An online community that allows users to troubleshoot and collaborate around using OpenRefine. Library Carpentry: OpenRefine Tutorial Library Carpentry tutorial for working with OpenRefine. RegEx Tutorial — A quick cheatsheet Tutorial Tutorial for using Regular Expressions. Git Version Control System ROW3 COL3 CONTENT UCSD Library’s Git Novice Tutorial Tutorial A fork of the Software Carpentry‘s Git lesson, this tutorial is a metadata-focused tutorial aimed specifically at beginners. FITS (File Information Tool Set) Software/Tools The File Information Tool Set (FITS) identifies, validates and extracts technical metadata for a wide range of file formats. DataAccessioner Software/Tools The Data Accessioner is a simple tool, with an easy-to-use graphic interface, for migrating content between media while also creating and validating checksums, gathering metadata (via FITs), and compiling an XML metadata file (with the option to include Dublin Core metadata as of v 1.0) for future reference. DataAccessioner Metadata Transformer Software/Tools The Data Accessioner-Metadata Transformer is a simple tool for creating new reports based on the metadata files generated by the Data Accessioner. Library Carpentry Online Community/

Tutorial Series of online/in-person workshops on library technology tools. Digital POWRR Tool Grid Online Guide Tool grid developed by Digital POWRR team members detailing digital preservation tools available in Early 2013. Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry Online Community/

Guide COPTR describes tools useful for long-term digital preservation. It primarily acts as a finding and evaluation tool to help practitioners discover the tools they need to perform particular preservation tasks. COPTR is collating the knowledge of the digital preservation community on preservation tools in one place. Apache Jena Software/Tools A free and open source Java framework for building Semantic Web and Linked Data applications. Free Your Metadata Online Community/

Tutorial Free Your Metadata is a scientific collaboration between Multimedia Lab (ELIS — Ghent University / iMinds) and MasTIC (Université Libre de Bruxelles) / Information School (University of Washington) which shows users how to make their metadata ready for the Linked Data Cloud. Library Workflow Exchange Online Community/

Workflow Sharing Platform Site designed to help librarians to share workflows and best practices across institutions. There is a wide range of workflows available–from Exhibit Creation to Metadata to Scholarly Communications–and users can contribute their own workflows as well. What next?

There are many tools and resources still missing from this list. For example, there are no XSLT resources and only one resource about linked data!

Looking forward, this is an opportunity for metadata professionals to collaborate on developing a more comprehensive resource for metadata management tools–similar to COPTR.

What metadata management tools do you use in your workflows? What tools would you like to learn more about?

Categories: Library News

Don’t miss the new LITA webinar – Accessibility for All: Screen Readers

Fri, 2018-12-07 09:00

There’s still time to sign up now for Accessibility for All: Screen Readers

Over 25 million Americans are blind or have low vision and would benefit from access to a computer equipped with screen reading software. There are many different options available to libraries when choosing which screen reading software to make available to their patrons. This 90 minute webinar will compare the five most popular screen readers and different types of accessibility aids. We will also discuss making your library website more accessible, creating partnerships with outside organizations, and how to better extend outreach to include all patrons.

Presenter: Kelsey Flynn, Adult Services Associate at both the Joliet Public Library and the White Oak Library District, Illinois
Tuesday December 18, 2018, 1:00 – 2:30 pm Central Time

View details and Register here.

Check out this additional upcoming LITA continuing education opportunity:

Making Games and Online Interactive Content
Instructor: Ruby Warren
Offered: February 6, 2019 – February 27, 2019

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to LITA continuing education, contact us at (312) 280-4268 or

Categories: Library News

LIS Students: Apply for the Larew Scholarship for Tuition Help

Thu, 2018-12-06 11:26

LITA and Baker & Taylor are accepting applications for the LITA/Christian (Chris) Larew Memorial Scholarship for those who plan to follow a career in library and information technology, demonstrate potential leadership, and hold a strong commitment to library automation. The winner will receive a $3,000 check and a citation. The application form is open through March 1, 2019.

Criteria for the Scholarship includes previous academic excellence, evidence of leadership potential, and a commitment to a career in library automation and information technology. Candidates should illustrate their qualifications for the scholarship with a statement indicating the nature of their library experience, letters of reference and a personal statement of the applicant’s view of what they can bring to the profession. Winners must have been accepted to a Master of Library Science (MLS) program recognized by the American Library Association.

References, transcripts, and other documents must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2019, for consideration. All materials should be submitted to American Library Association, Scholarship Clearinghouse, c/o Human Resource Development & Recruitment, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL, 60611-2795.

Thank you to Baker and Taylor for sponsoring this scholarship.

Categories: Library News