RE-Read: Academic Libraries in a Digital Age (2000)

I just re-read John Lombardi’s 2000 article “Academic libraries in a digital age” and was struck by how so many of his observations on digitization issues in libraries continue to be true.  In 2000, Google was still a relatively new company.  Librarians were struggling with hardware, software and content that was hard to access and mostly inhospitable to end users.  The struggle between user rights and intellectual property protection of digital content had only started.

From the article, his “Rules for Digital Survival” still ring true:

1. The objects are not as important as the content. Collection development becomes access development. Access to content is the primary mantra of all library work. Geography becomes increasingly irrelevant.

2. Helping clients find resources in a digitally chaotic world is the first priority. Digitizing the rare book collection might be the second.

3. If a vendor promises you seamless access and modular compatibility with any future developments, expect expensive upgrades.

4. If others spend money on a similar project, let them finish before you start yours. Being first to invent large scale digital library projects is for those with money to lose, tolerant customers, and tenure. If it will take ten years to deliver value, let someone else invest in it.

5. If someone else has a service you need, buy it, do not invent it. If someone has 80% of the service you need, buy it; do not invent it.

6. Nothing currently defining the Internet will remain recognizable after 5 years.

7. There is safety in numbers; join consortia and urge others to take the lead.

8. Invest in unique products only when you have a comparative advantage and someone else pays for it.

9. For the next ten years, if it works well, is reliable, and you know how to use it, it is obsolete.

Lombardi, a professor of history who also served as President of Louisiana State University, is one of the most engaging writers on tell-it-like-it-is university administration.  He is a featured keynote speaker at the upcoming Library Assessment Conference in Charlottesville.  A complete list of his articles can be found at


U of T’s update on Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Laurie Harrison, Director of Online Learning for the U of T, has just posted an update on the status of the U of T’s MOOC offerings.  2 MOOCs are now in progress.  So far the total enrollment for all U of T MOOCs has been 169,574. More details can be found in the post.

Laurie has formed a working group of MOOC instructors, education technology support staff for occasional F2F discussions on developing and delivering MOOCs. I’m serving as the librarian liaison to that group, for questions about links, resources and copyright questions related to use of library resources. So far, instructors are linking almost exclusively to open-access online readings, videos and related links, but I expect that questions will inevitably arise when instructors want to include less open content in their course readings or lectures.


University of Toronto’s Strategic Mandate Agreement Submission

This is U of T’s submission to begin the process of developing strategic mandate agreements (SMAs) with the Ontario government. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) will establish strategic mandate agreements with each of Ontario’s colleges and universities “that will strongly inform future decisions, including allocation decisions and program approvals.” Definitely worth a read to discover how the University see itself and its future.



Call for Submissions and Nominations for PRIMO

The Peer Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the ACRL Instruction Section invites you to submit your online information literacy tutorial, virtual tour, or other online library instruction project for review and possible inclusion in PRIMO: Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online.

***Deadlines for Fall 2012***

Nominations: October 31, 2012
Submissions: November 14, 2012

Additional information about PRIMO, as well as the submission and nomination forms, is available from the following link:

Site submissions for PRIMO are accepted continually, but are reviewed for possible inclusion twice per year.   If you would like to submit your own project for consideration, please use the Submission form rather than the Nomination form.  For further information, please contact committee co-chairs Duffy Tweedy at or Ben Oberdick at

**Important note**

All submissions will be acknowledged shortly after the submission deadline. If you submit a project for review and do not receive an acknowledgment after the submission deadline, please contact the PRIMO co-chairs with a request for verification.

Duffy Tweedy
PRIMO Co-chair
(858) 822-4810

Benjamin Oberdick
PRIMO Co-chair


New ALA project: Assessment in Action

ALA has received a substantial multi-year grant for “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA).  Undertaken in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the grant will support the design, implementation and evaluation of a program to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy.

From the press release: “Each participating institution will identify a team consisting of a librarian and at least two additional team members as determined by the campus (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researchers, or academic administrator). The librarian team leaders will participate in a one-year professional development program that includes team-based activities carried out on their campuses.”


New Project Information Literacy Report: How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once They Join the Workplace

“Learning Curve: How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once They Join the Workplace,” Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy Research Report, October 15, 2012. (Two different versions available: Text with appendix, 38 pages, 5.8 MB or text without the appendix, 29 pages, 5.7 MB.)


Embedded Librarians Cookbook – recipes needed

Pulled from today’s ARL Assessment posting:
Are you a fan of the Library Instruction Cookbook?  Trying innovative methods to embed in projects and courses? We need your gourmet recipes for embedded instruction and reference. Contribute your recipe to the next cookbook in the series from ACRL, The Embedded Librarian’s Cookbook: Recipes for making long-term connections.

Ground Rules
1. Your submission must describe a project or a method for embedding library instruction or reference.

2. Your recipe should include as much of the following as possible:

  • Title
  • Your Name, University or other affiliation, and E-mail
  • Potential Cookbook Category
  • Setting
  • Goal/Purpose of the project or method
  • Main Ingredients (Equipment, supplies, etc)
  • Preparation (before the project starts)
  • Technique
  • Subject/Discipline addressed
  • Length of project
  • Audience/Class size
  • ALA Information Literacy Standards (or other standards) Addressed
  • Cautions
  • Reaction/Reflection
  • Instructional Resources

3. If your submission gets chosen you need to include an image of your project/method in action.
4. Creativity is encouraged!
5. We need 2-5 page chapters about embedded activities in many Cookbook Categories. Following are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • First Year Experience
  • In the disciplines
  • Online courses (synchronous or asynchronous)
  • Learning management systems
  • Professional Programs
  • Graduate Programs
  • K-12 Programs
  • Outside the Library (residential life, student services, extension, continuing educaton)
  • Assessing embedded projects
  • Learning objects
  • Faculty collaborations and/or trainings
  • Scholarly communication
6. E-mail us if you have questions and use the original Library Instruction Cookbook (ACRL 2009) as a guide for format and tone.
7. E-mail your draft recipes by January 15, 2013 to Kaijsa Calkins (kcal… and Cass Kvenild (ckve…, co-editors of Embedded Librarians: Moving Beyond One-shot Instruction (ACRL 2010) and this forthcoming Embedded Cookbook.
Kaijsa Calkins
Special Projects Librarian for Learning Spaces
English Research and Instruction Librarian
Bibliographer for English, American Studies, and African American & Diaspora Studies
Coe Library, Room 304A
University of Wyoming
(307) 766-6553