TDL Update - November/December 2011

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In this issue:

Director’s Message: Planning for TDL’s future

Dear TDL colleagues,

TDL Director Mark McFarland

As we complete another semester at the Texas Digital Library, I want to take a moment to share with you some of the work the TDL Governing Board has undertaken this fall in developing a strategic plan that will take the organization into a new phase of its existence.

As intended, the Governing Board met in Austin in late November to begin the strategic planning process for the years 2011-2014. This retreat resulted in a set of values, goals, and priorities that will be shaped into a strategic plan over the coming weeks.

I believe this strategic planning process is essential to the success of the Texas Digital Library in the coming years: A strategic plan will provide direction and focus for TDL and member library staff by giving us well-defined goals to be achieved, and it will clearly communicate to the world our values and vision.

Additionally, because of the full and active participation of the Governing Board members from the beginning stages of the process, TDL can ensure that the strategic plan will be driven and directed by the TDL membership and will be focused on member needs.

The strategic planning retreat held in November was facilitated by Richard Wayne, Director of Strategic Planning at the UT Southwestern Medical Center Library, and we are grateful to him and to Laurie Thompson at UT Southwestern Medical, for lending his expertise and skill in leading the Board through the first steps of the process.

Right now, we are taking the raw materials that came out of our strategic planning retreat and creating a draft plan that will be shared with the full Member Board (that is, all member directors) for feedback and approval. We look forward to sharing the plan with all of you in the weeks to come and hope you will join with us in helping to achieve success for the Texas Digital Library.

Sincerely,

Mark McFarland

TDL Director

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Texas A&M touts access to research with Open Access Cafe, faculty discussions

Holly Mercer at Open Access week

Holly Mercer of Texas A&M Libraries staffs the Open Access Café. (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Libraries.)

TDL supports Open Access to research by providing online publication tools that member schools and faculty researchers can use to make their work freely available. Texas A&M University Libraries, a founding member of the TDL, recently held a number of activities during Open Access Week 2011 (held October 24-30) designed to raise awareness about the free and immediate access to research that is the goal of the Open Access movement.

Through a traveling “Open Access Café,” as well as several special events, Texas A&M Libraries engaged students, staff, and faculty on campus in a discussion about Open Access, including about the tools offered through the Libraries’ membership in TDL.

Open Access Café

Texas A&M Libraries’ Open Access Week activities included an Open Access Café that visited several of the campus’s libraries to engage with undergraduates, graduate and professional students, and faculty about the importance of Open Access.

As the costs of journal subscriptions — and other toll-access scholarly resources — continues to escalate, the benefits of Open Access for academic institutions becomes increasingly apparent.

According to Gail Clement, Outreach Librarian for Digital Services and Scholarly Communications at Texas A&M Libraries, a pragmatic message about the costs of scholarly work resonates particularly well with students.

“Students are focused on the pragmatic,” she said. “Students directly see that if we don’t put controls on subscriptions, they’re paying more in student fees.”

Texas A&M Libraries Open Access Week

Postcards encourage faculty to support Open Access through 5 specific actions. (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Libraries.)

In addition to offering cake and giveaways, the Café gave students the opportunity to actively engage by providing them with stamped postcards to send to their professors. The postcards encouraged faculty to support Open Access in five specific ways: (1) Manage your rights, (2) Use open resources, (3) Exercise fair use, (4) Steward your resources, and (5) Share your work.

Faculty and researcher discussions: OA publishing and Data Management

In addition to creating the Open Access Café, Texas A&M Libraries engaged faculty members and researchers through panel discussions dealing with timely issues related to scholarly communication and access to research.

At a Data Management Discussion held at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, faculty from the social sciences and humanities discussed the challenges of maintaining and preserving increasingly large amounts of data.

A second forum featured journal editors who publish online, peer-reviewed journals hosted by the Texas Digital Library on the TDL Electronic Press. Participants discussed Open Access journals as a viable alternative to traditional subscription-based publications, as well as the risks and rewards the open-access publishing model.

Among the journals managed at Texas A&M through the TDL Electronic Press are: Library Leadership & Management, Politica Comun, Practical Academic Librarianship, The International Journal of Structural Changes in Solids, the Journal of Digital Information, and the Texas Water Journal.

Fair Use Film Festival: Creativity & Remixing

To highlight the importance of access in supporting creativity and innovation, Texas A&M Libraries also held a “Fair Use Film Festival” during Open Access Week, at which faculty, staff, and students could view and discuss a program of film clips, mash-ups, remixes, and other forms of media that demonstrated the importance of fair use in supporting creativity.

“The festival was intended to promote the idea that culture depends on the ability to remix and mash up,” said Clement. “Creativity is about transforming pieces that already exist.”

Open Access Week is held each year, and is celebrated globally by libraries, faculty, and students to promote an emerging model for scholarly communications. Next year’s Open Access Week is scheduled for October 22-28, 2012.

The Texas Digital Library provides information about Open Access Week, as well as the tools TDL provides in support of Open Access, on its website at http://tdl.org/open-access/.

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TDL opens the phones to members with TDL Forum

The Texas Digital Library is introducing a new way to engage with the TDL through a monthly conference call held by Program Coordinator Ryan Steans.

Dubbed the “TDL Forum,” the call gives members yet another means for keeping in touch with the activities of TDL staff.

“The intent of the call is to share the status of current projects at TDL,” Steans said. “But it’s also an opportunity for our members to ask questions across a wide spectrum of issues and engage with staff and each other on a regular basis.”

The TDL Forum is generally held on the third Thursday of each month at 10:30 AM and lasts for 30 minutes. During the call, Steans gives a brief presentation on the past month’s activities and then opens the floor to questions from the membership.

The next TDL Forum will be held Thursday, December 21 at 10:30 AM. Information for calling in is available on the TDL website at http://tdl.org/news/events/forum/.

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TDL welcomes Effie Jarrett and Gene Titus as system administrators

Effie Jarrett and Gene Titus

TDL system administrators Effie Jarrett (left) and Gene Titus (right)

The Texas Digital Library is excited to welcome Effie Jarrett and Gene Titus to the TDL staff in Austin. Gene and Effie joined the team in late November as Senior System Administrators; they will be responsible for maintaining, upgrading, and securing TDL systems and working to ensure reliable and responsive user environments for TDL members.

“We are thrilled to have Effie and Gene join our team,” said Ladd Hanson, Director of IT for Texas Digital Library. “They each bring a set of skills and experiences that will strengthen TDL’s ability to offer valuable and reliable scholarly communication services for our members.”

Effie Jarrett comes to TDL from UT Austin’s Jackson School of Geological Sciences where she worked as Senior Systems Analyst and Senior Systems Administrator. Effie has more than a decade of systems administration experience, including extensive expertise in working directly with faculty to set up classroom and research systems.

Prior to joining TDL, Gene Titus served as Senior Systems Administrator with the Office of Telecommunication Services at UT Austin, where he was responsible for 20 Unix servers and a statewide network monitoring system. He brings a wealth of experience in IT administration, including in collaborating with institutions across the state and managing distributed applications such as Shibboleth, a key component of TDL systems.

For more information about these key staff appointments, please contact the TDL Program Coordinator at info@tdl.org.

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Attendance multiples at TDL Training Program fall courses

For the first time this fall, the Texas Digital Library offered courses at multiple locations in response to members’ needs for training opportunities closer to home. As a result of the change, attendance at TDL Training program events more than doubled, and TDL will continue the model into the spring.

The TDL would like to thank all the faculty and staff from TDL member institutions who led courses for the TDL Training Program during the fall of 2011. These member-trainers for Fall 2011 were: Mira Greene, UT Medical Branch at Galveston; Holly Mercer, Texas A&M University; and Sarah Sutton, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

Recognizing that the fastest way to become proficient at something is to teach it, the TDL training program strives to create campus-level experts by giving users the opportunity to prepare and lead training classes. The TDL relies on its users to make this model successful and is appreciative of their exceptional efforts at making the TDL work for all its members.

Information about training courses offered through the TDL Training Program is available at http://www.tdl.org/training.

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TDL continues repository upgrades to DSpace 1.7.2

DSpace logo

The Texas Digital Library has upgraded a majority of its member repositories to DSpace 1.7.2, the latest stable version of the repository software.

Institutional repositories at seven TDL institutions are currently running DSpace 1.7.2.  Additionally, the Texas Water Digital Library repository, which federates water research at several Texas institutions, has been upgraded.

Several other institutional repositories have been staged and are undergoing testing by local repository managers in preparation for production release.

The TDL will continue to communicate with repository managers as it completes the upgrade process.

If you have questions about the upgrade of TDL institutional repositories to DSpace 1.7.2, please contact the TDL program coordinator at info@tdl.org or 512-495-4403.

Information about some of the new features and improvements in the latest version of DSpace can be found in the TDL Wiki.

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Tech Teams Update

The Tech Teams Update highlights the work of the TDL technical staff, which is divided into three groups: a software development team, a production team, and a first-line support team.

Software Development

  • Completed development on the 1.0 release of the Texas Learning Object Repository. The TxLOR project is led by the University of Texas at San Antonio and is funded by the Texas Higher Education coordinating Board and the UT system Office of Health Affairs. More information about participating in TxLOR will be shared with the TDL membership as it becomes available.
  • Began additional development work on Vireo. Preparing for release of Vireo 1.2.x after the completion of DSpace upgrades.

Operations

  • Continued upgrades to DSpace1.7.2 (see story above).
  • Welcomed two new system administrators, Effie Jarrett and Gene Titus (see story in this newsletter).
  • Assisted with website support and second-level support issues escalated from the Helpdesk.

Support/Helpdesk

  • The support team assisted with the resolution of support tickets that came through the helpdesk.
  • Launched a toll free number (855-495-4317) for accepting help questions from TDL users.

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Mark your calendars: Important Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars with these upcoming dates. And always stay current with TDL by visiting our blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed for the latest news.

December 21, 2011: TDL Forum Conference Call

Join us at 10:30 AM on December 21 for the monthly TDL Forum to hear more about what’s happening at TDL. (See story on page 3.)  Information for calling in is available on the TDL website at http://tdl.org/news/events/forum/.

December 23, 2011-January 2, 2012: TDL Winter Break

TDL offices will be closed for the winter break from December 23-January 2. Any support requests that come in during this time will be addressed when offices reopen.

January 11-13, 2012: Preservation & Archiving Special Interest Group meeting

A meeting of the Preservation & Archiving SIG will be held in Austin on January 11-13, 2012. The meeting will emphasize practitioners’ concerns of preservation strategies, best practices, storage, engineering, architectures, and operation of preservation and archiving systems, at scale. Learn more at http://sites.tdl.org/austinpasig.

February 23-24, 2012: Texas ETD Association Annual Conference

The Texas ETD Association will hold its annual conference at the University of North Texas on February 23-24, 2012.  For more information, visit http://txetda.wordpress.com.

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