Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do your part to help save the US Statistical Abstract!

Michael Kelley's article, Statistical Abstract Faces an Untimely Death, from the March 28th post to Library Journal Online reports that the US Census Bureau is looking to eliminate its Compendia Branch in the next fiscal year, an action that would also eliminate one of the most trusted and well-used reference tools in a librarian's arsenal: the US Statistical Abstract, affectionately known as StatAbs.

StatAbs has been around since the 1800s and is a go-to reference for important information about the US population, its communities and people-- information that the government source sites claim should be accessible to any citizen. Many librarians argue that StatAbs is not just an important resource that aggregates statistics about the country and its people which are not easy to find elsewhere, but also that it is a "a standard national publication that many countries produce as a matter of course. For example, Canada offers the similarly useful and organized E-Stat."

The ALA is mobilizing an effort to convince the Census Bureau to reconsider its plan by providing extensive data and anecdotal evidence that supports the value and importance of StatAbs, not just to library service, but to all citizens.  Take part in this historic effort!  Read up on StatAbs and contribute to the effort to save it!

Check out these links:
Join the Save the US Statistical Abstract Facebook Group
Library Journal's "Statistical Abstract Faces an Untimely Death"
Sign the petition to save the Statistical Abstract! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wisconsin E-book Summit

"In the fall of 2009, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) began an internal conversation about eBooks. What will they mean to the future of libraries, especially public libraries? Will these institutions be able to turn another digital format to its advantage, as they have with audiobooks? Or is it different this time? COSLA members wanted to arm themselves for action, instead of waiting to see how commercial forces would impact popular reading materials and the public library’s central role in providing them."
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has organized an E-book Summit in response to COSLA's study so that Wisconsin librarians will also be "armed for action."  The Summit will take place on May 4th, 2011, and 40 delegates from Wisconsin Libraries have been invited to take part in the day-long event.  The goal of the Summit is to develop best practices and protocol for the use of e-books in libraries, and the recommendations of the Summit will be published in a form Wisconsin librarians can use as e-book technology makes its way into their libraries.

SLIS will have a representative at the Summit, and we hope to make contacts and glean important information that may yield some guest speakers and fun, practical workshops for SLIS students for the Fall 2011 semester!

In the mean time, you are invited to read up on e-books and public libraries. Read COSLA's E-book study, and take a look at the Summit website, where you can contribute to the discussion under the "General Public Comments" tab!:
COSLA E-book Feasibility Study 
Wisconsin E-book Summit website

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Third time's the charm!

Mark March 31, 2011 on your calendar!  Professor Michael Witmore from the Department of English here at UW will be giving a lecture, titled "Data-Mining Early English Dramatic Texts from the Text Creation Partnership," from 4:00 to 5:00PM in the SLIS Commons.  This lecture is sponsored the by Center for the History of Print Culture.
In this talk, Professor Witmore will discuss his work on digitized versions of early modern printed texts using multivariate statistics and a text-analysis tool called Docuscope.  His presentation will focus on the following question:  what can we learn from data-mining large numbers of early modern texts that we couldn’t learn by simply reading a representative sample of them?  Witmore is organizer of the Working Group for Digital Inquiry, a research collective that is mapping the prose genres of Early English Books online using techniques from bioinformatics and corpus linguistics. Results of this research can be found on his website,, and an online edition of Shakespeare Quarterly: ShakespeareQuarterly_NewMedia/hope-witmore-the-hundredth-psalm/.  In this research, he is interested in the ways in which literary critical terms such as genre—which we apply to texts on the basis of plot, character and action—are visible linguistically at the level of the sentence. When working in this area, he collaborates with Jonathan Hope, Robin Valenza, Franco Moretti, and Susan Bernstein.

Professor Witmore also is the author of Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledges in Early Modern England (Stanford, 2001), which was co-winner of the Perkins Prize for the Study of Narrative in 2003 and, more recently, Shakespearean Metaphysics (Continuum 2008) and Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance (Cornell, 2007).  In addition to serving as textual editor for the Comedy of Errors with the new Norton Shakespeare, he has just completed a collaborative study of Shakespearean scenes, characters and objects with the photographer Rosamond Purcell, to be published in fall of 2010 under the title, Landscapes of the Passing Strange: Reflections From Shakespeare.  He also co-edited, with Andreea Immel, of Childhood and Children's Books in Early Modern Europe, 1550-1800 (Routledge, 2006).
We hope you can make it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

State of SLIS Address Scheduled for March 24th!

Feeling stressed about the state budget?  Questioning how the New Badger Partnership will affect our operations in the department?  Come to the SLIS Commons Thursday, March 24th from 11:45 - 1:00 PM and attend the "State of SLIS" address.  Christine Pawley will be giving a presentation and answering questions about the future and priorities of SLIS, along with any other questions or concerns that arise (time willing).

If you plan on attending, please register by noon on Wednesday, March 23rd.  It is important that we all address the issues of the future head on, so come a get informed!  Pizza and soda will be served :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Spring Break!

Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA from

Spring Break is upon us!  Even as the bitter winds and 3-5 inches of snowfall continue to plague us, the university calendar reminds us that, hey, spring might be coming soon!  The SLIS Library offers reduced hours over break, so if you are trying to write that paper, collaborate on that presentation, or just feel like reading and watching the lake thaw, come visit us!  Our break hours are as follows:

Saturday and Sunday, March 12-13: CLOSED
Monday thru Thursday, March 14-17: 9AM - 5PM
Friday, March 18: CLOSED (furlough day)
Saturday and Sunday, March 19-20: CLOSED

We wish everyone safe travels and relaxing times over the next week!  Regular hours will resume on March 21st.

ALSO!  Reminder for continuing SLIS students: Check out the fall timetable while you have some time off from classes.  Advising week here at SLIS is the week following spring break, so don't forget to make an appointment with your advisor.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The History of Content: A Neat Infographic

We are constantly thinking about the forms that information can take here in librarianship.  I came across this infographic from that really made the think about the form of content today and how it relates to earlier forms: (post found here)

Content: An illustrated history by Sheldrake & Karoshikula is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Where do you think content will go in the future? 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Inform Thyself! Gov Docs Librarian's research guide to the Wisconsion State Budget

This just in:
Beth Harper, the Government Documents Reference Librarian at Memorial Library, worked with SLIS student Kim Pittman to create a new research guide to the Wisconsin State Budget!

This guide provides links to government documents about the state of Wisconsin budget, specifically documents about:

* the 2011 budget repair bill
* the 2011-2013 biennial budget
* the budget process in Wisconsin
* and links to relevant state agencies

The guide is available at on the Memorial Library website (URL noted below) in the "government" and "political science" categories. Check it out, and let Beth know if you have any suggestions!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

UW Forward Launches New Interface!

If you managed to make it to our workshop Sunday last month, you know a little about Forward, the UW system's experimental OPAC. After copious testing and adjusting, Forward developers are please to announce the launch of the new Forward interface, found here. The new interface should improve searching, browsing and viewing records. Take a chance to play around with the new interface and let Forward developers know what you think using their feedback form!