Monday, July 22, 2019

Beyond Banned Books, by Kristin Pekoll

I recently submitted a book review for Beyond Banned Books, by Kristin Pekoll, so all I will say here is that this is an excellent resource on the issue of intellectual freedom that goes beyond challenged books. This book addresses displays, exhibits, artwork, events, programs, reading lists, social media postings, and databases.

I'll post an update with the citation for the full book review once it's published.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Assessment Strategies in Technical Services


I just submitted a review of this book for publication in Technicalities, so I'll just say here that this is an excellent introduction to assessment of technical services operations. Edited by Kimberley E. Edwards and Michelle Leonard, it is the first book that I'm aware of to address this topic.

I'll post an update with the citation to the full book review once it's published.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

How to Run a College

Written by two present and past college presidents, this is a valuable guide for anyone interested in the many aspects of managing a college. Chapters address governance and management, finance, enrollment, advancement, academic affairs, student life, athletics, collaboration and technology, and the path forward. New college administrators would find this helpful, especially if they don't have prior experience in an academic environment. Others who would find it useful include trustees and policy makers who are concerned with higher education. Anyone who's worked in academia for their entire career would find much of this familiar.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Publish & Flourish, by Tara Gray

This is a very helpful book about how to increase your writing output. Dr. Gray organized the book into five main sections: Managing time, Writing, Revising, Getting Help, and Polishing and letting go. There are 12 chapters, each instructing the reader in one aspect of writing, and all providing very useful advice to the reader. Key points include writing daily for at least 15 to 30 minutes, recording your time writing, begin writing on the first day of a research project, post your thesis on the wall and write to it, use key sentences, and share early drafts with non-experts, and later drafts with experts. My favorite is her last suggestion: Kick it out the door and make 'em say "no." I would recommend this book to anyone interested in increasing their writing productivity. I'm going to start implementing her suggestions today.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande

I really enjoyed this book about how complex activities can be made safer by the use of well-developed checklists. Author Atul Gawande has shared the results of his research that showed how the use of checklists in surgery, airplane cockpits, and other realms helps maintain safety and ensures good outcomes. Although many professionals resist the use of checklists, his research shows that there are many fewer errors when they're used. Even the author, a surgeon himself, realized that he made fewer errors when he used a checklist. It's important that in practice, others are authorized to stop the surgeon or pilot if he or she did not complete a step on the checklist. The lists only work if they are methodically used, and if multiple people are involved, all must have the authority and respect of others.

This is a well-written and interesting book that would be of interest to anyone who is responsible for complex activities and has an interest in improving outcomes.

Atul Gawande. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. New York: Henry Holt, 2009. 240 pages. ISBN 9780312430009.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Library Technology Buying Strategies, edited by Marshall Breeding



Identifying, selecting, and purchasing technologies for all types of libraries can be a serious challenge, even more so for smaller libraries that do not have deep expertise in library technology. Edited by Marshall Breeding, Library Technology Buying Strategies provides basic information for any librarian responsible for making technology purchase decisions.

The first two chapters describe the traditional request for proposal (RFP) and suggest basic guidelines for writing them. Chapters 3 and 4 are an introduction to resource sharing and the standards that apply to resource sharing systems. Chapters 5 and 6 address the various types of cloud computing and planning for the implementation of cloud computing solutions. Chapter 7 is an introduction to library service platforms and chapter 8 very briefly discusses criteria for selecting e-book platforms, highlighting content, technical specifications, functionality, and business models.

This book is not only edited by Breeding, but five of its eight chapters were written by him. Two chapters were written by Nikki Waller, and one by Mirela Roncevic. Six of the eight chapters were previously published in Library Technology Reports and Cloud Computing for Libraries, one as early as 2003.

While each of the chapters is independently useful, as a collection they are a bit of a hodgepodge rather than a coherent guide to purchasing technology. For example, the two chapters about resource sharing do not specifically address purchasing solutions; rather the first is simply an introduction to various types of resource sharing platforms or methods, and the second is a brief summary of standards related to resource sharing, such as ISO ILL, NCIP, and Z39.50. While it is important to understand standards when making buying decisions, the chapter did not fit well in this book that is intended to address buying strategies. This book has a cobbled-together feel to it; readers would be better off purchasing titles that address their specific need.


Library Technology Buying Strategies. Edited by Marshall Breeding. ALA Editions, 2016, 136 pp., ISBN 978-0-8389-1467-0, $55.00 (paper).

This review was originally published in: Catholic Library World. 2016, Vol. 87 Issue 2, p135-135.


Migrating Library Data, edited by Kyle Banerjee and Bonnie Parks



Managing library data, including bibliographic, acquisitions, holdings, item, and patron data, is a significant undertaking, and migrating that data from one library services platform to another can be daunting. With Migrating Library Data: A Practical Manual, editors Kyle Banerjee and Bonnie Parks have brought together papers from twelve experts that will help librarians and information technology professionals in libraries navigate the challenges of migrating their valuable data across library platforms.

The book is organized into thirteen chapters that address all aspects of migrating data. In the first chapter Ms. Parks discusses the migration process from beginning to end. Subsequent chapters cover important topics such as data cleaning, data formats, and the management of data using data manipulation tools such as OpenRefine and MarcEdit. Other chapters address bibliographic, item, acquisitions, and patron data. While much of the book addresses the migration of data from one library services platform to another, chapter 10 addresses data stored in institutional repositories and digital collections, which offer their own set of difficulties. The challenges of migrating to shared systems, and working with vendors is addressed. The final chapter covers testing the migration and going live after the migration is completed.

Many of the chapters are illustrated with screen shots, diagrams, samples of code, and other figures. Useful “pro tips” are scattered throughout the book, which also includes an index and an appendix with acronyms spelled out. Many of the chapters have a brief list of references. I think the book would have been strengthened with a bibliography, a more robust list of references, or further reading. Nevertheless, this is an excellent manual on the challenges of data migration, and it includes many practical and useful solutions to those challenges.


Migrating Library Data: A Practical Manual. Edited by Kyle Banerjee and Bonnie Parks. Neal-Schuman, 2017, 251 pp., ISBN 978-0-8389-1503-5, $56.00 (paper).

This review was originally published in: Catholic Library World. Dec2017, Vol. 88 Issue 2, p136-136.