Monday, July 7, 2014

Reconnecting with a Former Colleague Through a Listserv Posting

In recent years I have reconnected with old friends and colleagues, but today for the first time I reconnected with a colleague through a listserv posting.  I recently joined the College Librarians listserv and found a posting by Patricia.  As I have mentioned in this blog before, I worked at the Science and Technology Division of NYPL from 1983-1990.  Near the end of my tenure there Patricia worked in the division as an intern.

She had posted about using the Wikipedia as a teaching tool.  I referred her to one of my colleagues who teaches a class at NJIT where students expand on a stub in the Wikipedia.

Patricia worked in medical libraries for some time and now works in a New York City high school library.  She was glad that I remembered her and the nickname she used back then.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Another Disgrace from the Queens Public Library

I guess I am using this blog as a way to criticize other libraries.  A report in the Daily News states that the Board of Trustees will fire Director Thomas Galante and give him a consulting job that pays $800,000.  Thae article states the Public Advocate Letitia James is trying to get New York State Attorney Gerneral Eric Schneiderman to join her in getting a court injunction to block this.

It is a shame that public libraries cry that they don't have money for resources and to keep the libraries open, but they have big bucks to give to a crook like Galante.  The Queens Library also has a reputation for paying low salaries.  Why should people donate when their money is being wasted?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Our Paper Was Rejected for Publication

For over a year I have been working with a collaborator at Long Island University in writing a paper.  I have really spent a lot of work over that time in analyzing the library science literature.  We have spoken over the phone several times and have met a few times to discuss the paper.

About two months ago we submitted the paper to the Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST).  Yesterday I received an e-mail from the editors stating that the paper was rejected for publication.  They said that only 37% of the submitted papers are accepted.  We also received detail criticism of the paper.

Yesterday I started to revise the paper based on the suggestions made by the reviewers.  Since my collaborator is on vacation, I will have to wait to discuss our strategy for resubmitting it.  We have put too much work into it and will revise and submit to another journal.

If I had to apply for tenure, I would have been much more upset over this rejection.  I will just move forward by revising the paper and resubmitting it.  We all learn from our mistakes.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Teaching Database Skills to Students of the McNair Program at NJIT

Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement program, awards grants to institutions of higher education for projects designed to provide underrepresented students with effective preparation for doctoral study.  The program at NJIT is described at .  Many students of this program have moved on to professional positions with prestigious organizations.

This past Monday I gave a session to this year's class on how to use the library's databases to support their research.  Their topics included:

  • Tungsten Based Alloys
  • Project Class
  • Computer Networking
  • Solar water splitting to produce hydrogen
  • Dissolution of Nanocomposite Microparticles
The students picked up on their training and were able to find douments to support their projects.  It was a pleasure to work with them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why is the Board of Trustees of Queens Library Refusing to Cooperate with the NYC Comptroller?

Any library be it academic or public much use their funds responsibly to provide resources and services to its community.  Much has been written about the misuse of funds by Director Thomas Galante.  What is realy bothering me more is the refusal of the Board of Trustees to provide financial information to NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer as reported in the Queens Chronicle.

It is obvious that they are trying to hide something.  My experiences with using the Queens Library have been positive over the years.  The staff at the local Mitchell Linden branch is very friendly and I've enjoyed the concerts I have seen at the down town Flushing location.

The article states that the Comptroller is going to State Supreme Court to force the library to turn over the financial documents to him.  I wish there was an easy way to get rid of the library trustees.  This is a very sad situation especially since resources at the local branches are not adequate.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

NYPL Changes its Renovation Plans - Opinions from a Former Employee

The opinions expressed here are my own.  I discussed NYPL in this blog before and stated that I worked at the Research Library in the Science and Technology Division from 1983-90.  Today, I have read two articles about the change in renovation plans of the Central Research Building also known as the Schwartman Building on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.

The original plan was to move most of the books from the central building and move them to a storage facility in New Jersey.  This would create room for Mid-Manhattan and SIBL to move to move there to consolidate the operation.  There would be a large information commons there.

Many traditionalists vehemently opposed this including the Committee to Save the NYPL, Citizens Defending Libraries, and the Library Lovers League. Many major cultural figures who campaigned against the plan were Mario Vargas Llosa, Salman Rushdie and Francine Prose In my opinion the big mistake that NYPL made was not to consult with their users when this plan was first articulated.  This would have saved so much money as the library already paid the British architect Norman Foster $9 million in private funds for his firm’s work on the plan for the landmark building.  This money certainly could have gone to much better use.  $9 million has just gone down the drain.

It is an understatement to say that libraries have changed in this internet era.  Many major research libraries have moved less used materials to remote storage facilities. In my previous comments on this issue I do believe that NYPL should do the same.  I do understand the landmark status and historical significance of the central building.  On the other hand the central building should not be limited to the scholarly elite.

The current plan seems to be a compromise:

The Mid-Manhattan Library will be renovated in stages so that so it can remain open.

There will be 50 percent more public space in the building, including new spaces for children and teenagers and more work areas for researchers and writers.  This is a step in right direction. SIBL will be closed, but neither article stated where the collection will go.  I was quite dismayed to hear that the research level collection in the physical sciences was dramatically cut.  If the usage of the science collection was so low, then NYPL is justified in not paying for expensive resources that are rarely used.  I believe that independent researchers can be referred from NYPL to Columbia or NYU if they need technical journals and databases.

I do commend NYPL for coming to a compromise, but I wish they would have consulted with their users before any plan was implemented.  I hope they are pleasing most of the people most of the time.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thanks to the ACS Division of Chemical Information for Uploading Power Points from the Recent National Meeting

Over the years I have attended several national meetings of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Information (CINF).  There are many costs involved with traveling to a professional meeting in another city:

  • Registration
  • Plane Fare
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Incidental expenses

In some years my employer was able to provide at least some funds for me to attend the meetings as it is very for me to keep up with new developments in my field.  Recently, I’ve had to pay much of the cost for meetings out of pocket.

So new technologies have come to the rescue as the division has uploaded PowerPoint presentations to the web site (  Over the past few days I have reviewed many of the talks at the recent Dallas meeting that were of interest.  I spent time reading the Power Points and then finding articles that discussed the topic of the speakers.  I was especially interested in the talks about depositing chemistry research data into public databases and digital repositories.

I would like to thank CINF for sharing the information presented in Dallas so that those who could not attend can be aware of new developments.