03 November 2005

Issue Intro: Building Community in the 21st Century

Welcome to the second edition of BiblioTech for Fall 2005. It has been an exciting semester here at SIRLS, with the first Graduate Library Student Symposium as well as numerous brown-bag lunch lectures and social events. These events and others like them help to cultivate a sense of community at our school, something which will prove invaluable once current students head out into the wider world of LibraryLand. Remember to make these connections with your peers and faculty while you're here; libraries are about nothing if not community (and the networking perks will come in handy when looking for a job).

This issue truly represents diverse interests of the SIRLS community. Dorothy Hemmo addresses issues related to RFID technology in libraries. We have the latest installment of School Tools from Bruce Fulton, where you can learn about RefWorks, a program many graduate students will find indispensable. Diana J. Daleo gives us an overview of access to government documents at the University of Arizona. Michelle Ganz takes a look at the politics of literacy and its implications for marginalized populations. And finally, Nancy Bronte-Matheny shares with us the new age of librarianship in the Sultanate of Oman.

With such an interesting issue of BiblioTech coming out at the same time as LSO elections are about to happen, I want to make a personal plea to you all to continue getting involved. My semester as social coordinator has been fun and fulfilling, and helping Nancy with BiblioTech has been a blast. I now know someone who lives in Oman! That never could have happened without SIRLS and this publication. (Just one more example of the unique aspects of our school, our virtual education opportunities, and building connections?)

This semester we have built up momentum at SIRLS, working toward holding more professional development and networking events, and succeeding in fostering a great feeling of connected community. The topics in this BiblioTech may be quite different from each other, but they have one thing in common: all were written by your peers at SIRLS. That single aspect of our lives draws us all together, and it is my hope that we can continue weaving the web of connections that will help us get the most out of SIRLS, during our education and beyond.

Monica Bafetti

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Library RFID and Patron Privacy

by Dorothy Hemmo

RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification has been implemented, or is being considered for implementation in libraries across the United States. This technology has come under fire from privacy advocates due to a perceived potential for abuse. This paper looks at RFID technology and its impact on patron privacy.

A Radio Frequency Identification system uses radio waves to identify individual items. Each item is affixed with an RFID Tag, a paper-thin microchip that has an antenna attached to it (Lichtenberg, 2003). The tag stores data, which can be read when the tag comes within range of a “reader”. The reader emits radio waves which activates the tag and sends information to or receives information from a computer. The RFID software interfaces with the library automation system. In a library setting, the tag would store information such as an identification number (similar to a barcode), a security bit (similar to magnetic security strips), and maybe shelf location information. The read range on a tag is very small, a maximum of 18 inches.(Chachra, 2003).

Libraries use RFID systems for quicker, easier checkout and return of materials, quicker inventory procedures, and to stop theft. ( Oder, 2003). Privacy advocates have concerns about some aspects of RFID. Because the tags are read via radio waves, could the tags be read by an unauthorized third party? Also, what data are stored on the tags? The library community has always had a commitment to patron privacy and confidentiality; and it is important for us to seriously consider the impact of new technology on these areas before the technology is implemented.

The primary controversy has been whether or not these privacy concerns are valid. Dorman (2003) points out that most tags contain innocuous data: the equivalent of a barcode, and an indication of checkout status. Also, an RF reader would need to be very close to the item to read the tag. But Molnar and Wagner (2004) explain that tracking a book (and the person carrying it) is within the realm of possibility, as is “hotlisting”, or keeping tabs on who is checking out particular titles by tracking ID numbers associated with those titles. Each tag has a collision-avoidance protocol to ensure multiple tags do not confuse the RF reader; this protocol could allow tags to be individually identified. Clearly, it is possible to breach the security of today’s RFID tags. New standards are being adopted by manufacturers, although the new products are not yet available (Ayre, 2004).

Is it ethical for libraries to adopt this new technology? Does the need for patron privacy and confidentiality override a library’s need for efficiency, cost-savings and loss prevention?

The right to privacy is a fundamental human right in that it is necessary to the exercise of other individual rights. Freedom of speech and thought require privacy. If a person is being watched, either by other individuals or by authorities, that person may not truly feel free to make his own decisions or to speak his mind (or to access desired information). This freedom from surveillance, this right to be left alone, does have limits, however. If a person infringes on the rights of others, he may in turn lose some of his rights. For example, if a person is planning to commit a crime, his right to privacy may be infringed upon in an effort to stop the crime, assuming probable cause has been established. The bar should be set fairly high in determining probable cause; a person’s right to privacy should not be violated casually.

In the United States, people have a legal right to privacy, through Constitutional amendments, Supreme Court decisions and Federal laws. The Fourth Amendment protects people against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” the Fourteenth Amendment states that a person cannot be deprived “of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.…” The Ninth Amendment says that people have additional rights not specified in the Constitution. The Fourteenth and Ninth Amendments are often sited as important points in court decisions on privacy. Words such as “unreasonable” and “due process” underscore the conditional nature of the right to privacy: this right can be violated for compelling reasons, such as preventing harm.

Patron confidentiality is an aspect of the right to privacy. As such, patron confidentiality should be kept in nearly all circumstances. In exceptional cases, for instance when a subpoena is issued by the courts after probable cause has been determined, infringing on patron confidentiality may be acceptable; the rights of society can override individual rights in some cases.

Now that we have defined the normal course of action (respecting patron confidentiality), and exceptions (intervention by the court is one example), what about RFID? It seems that this technology, as it stands today, has a terrific potential to nullify patron confidentiality, and should not be implemented in public libraries. In their paper Privacy and Security in Library RFID (2004), Molnar and Wagner point out a myriad of ways that tags can be detected and read, and library items tracked. This provides opportunities for authorities and just about anybody else with the technical know-how to casually abuse this fundamental right to privacy. It seems strange to me that the library community would embrace a technology without fully investigating it and thinking it through. The fact that an institution generally well-thought of has embraced this technology may give RFID automatic legitimacy in the mind of the public. RFID technology has other applications and uses, and it needs to be questioned thoroughly, not given a free pass into everyday life. The library community needs to recognize the potential for abuse in RFID, and not put its desire for “faster and cheaper” ahead of its patrons’ right to privacy.

RFID is bound to become more common in everyday life, and libraries will continue to implement it. The good news is that the technology continues to improve and the library community is beginning to get involved in its development. Lori Ayre (2004) suggests “best practices guidelines” for library RFID use. These guidelines include: notify the public of RFID use; use updated, more secure systems; do not store personal information on tags; all information transmitted between tag and reader should be encrypted. She also suggests that the library community get involved in developing standards and public policy regarding RFID. This is surely good advice. Libraries should avoid this technology until safeguards are in place to protect the patron’s right of privacy.


  • Ayre, L. B. (2004) RFID and Libraries. Draft chapter for Wireless Privacy; RFID, Bluetooth and 802.11. Retrieved July 21, 2005.
  • Chachra, V. & McPherson, D. (2003, October 31). Personal privacy and use of RFID technology in libraries. Retrieved from http://www.vtls.com/documents/privacy.pdf
  • Dorman, D. (2003). RFID Poses No Problem for Patron Privacy. American Libraries, 34,(11), 86.
  • Lichtenberg, J. (2003). Industry Exploring Viability of RFID. Publishers Weekly250 (46), 14-17.
  • Molnar, D. & Wagner, D. A. (2004, June 8). Privacy and security in library RFID: Issues, practices architectures. Retrieved July 23, 2005 from http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/RFID/molnar_paper.pdf
  • Oder, N. (2003). RFID Use Raises Privacy Concerns. Library Journal128 (19), 19-20.

(photo: Den Norske Dataforening [The Norwegian Data Organization], Oslo, Norway. http://dataforeningen.no/)

How to cite this document:
Hemmo, D. (2005). Library RFID and personal privacy.. BiblioTech, 3(2). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005nov_vol3_no2

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SchoolTools II: RefWorks

by Bruce Fulton

In the last installment, we went over the Virtual Private Network (VPN) client. If you connect from home, I hope you all have had a chance to try it out. I’ve found it especially useful over the past month doing some literature searches using Google Scholar. With the VPN client installed, Google recognizes the UA affiliation and connects you directly to the resource without having to go through one of the SABIO database searches to find the reference. Whew, what a timesaver!

This time, we’re moving on to RefWorks, a great free tool that will make much of your bibliographic citation work a breeze. But be sure to rev up your VPN client, or you’ll be typing in your CAT card number all night long.

This won’t be a tutorial. There are several RefWorks guides online. My goal here is to introduce you to the slick features. I’m sure you’ll decide it’s worth a bit of effort to learn how it works after we’re done.

Never heard of it? RefWorks links used to be displayed more prominently on the library home page. Although free for UA students, faculty and staff, the links are more or less buried now with the redesign of the library web site. You can easily find the links and guides with a site search if you know about it (and now you do!), or you might run across it in the help section on citations. In the meantime, though, surf on over to the RefWorks login page. You need to set up an account which is a very simple process. After that, use the link above if you’re not using the VPN client, or this one if you are.

You’ll want to start RefWorks before starting your literature searches and you’ll see why in a minute. For now, log in and you’ll see something like the following:

Of course, if you don’t have any references collected yet, you won’t see much. But looking at this example you’ll see a few intriguing possibilities. First, there are folders you can create and configure. These can be project based, or class based or subject based. It’s your call, and you can mix and match. I’ve used RefWorks folders for all of the above.

But how did all those citations get there? In many cases, automatically. Let’s take a trip through WorldCat. If you haven’t used it already, you will before you get out of here. WorldCat is available through the List of Databases on SABIO. Navigate through W and you’ll find it. For purposes of illustration, search on a keyword or two. I’ll use “Musical Instruments.” You’ll get a result that looks like this:

Check a couple that you like, and pay attention to the Export button. Have you ever wondered what that was for? Click and see!

OK, so you’ve got your VPN client running (not necessary if you’re connecting from a UA-based workstation). Pick Marked Records and RefWorks as shown, and then click Export. Surprise! (But note that it will only be a good surprise if RefWorks is already loaded). If it works as planned, you'll see something like the following in a new window:

Clicking on View Last Imported Folder should be pretty tempting by now:

You can look at the tutorials and learn how to copy your imported references to folders that you create for classes or projects. For now, let’s take a look at the Bibliography tab.

You can see you have quite a few choices. First, you can select which of dozens of citation formats you can use – APA, MLA, or create your own custom format. Then, you can select the format for your bibliography output and the list you want to create. If you have lots of folders, you can create a custom list with just the references you need. Depending on your options, “Create Bibliography” will generate something like the following:

I assume you can cut and paste! Happy citationing!

Of course, not every reference will be exportable through a database search , although you’ll find a surprising number are, with more on the way. But if not, Refworks will help you fill out a citation record if there is no direct export function:

Fill in whatever fields you can identify and specify whichever folder you need. You certainly don’t have to fill out every field available, just the ones you need to make a good citation. Would it be easier just to type that into your footnotes? Not necessarily. First of all, the RefWorks software stores your data as individual fields and keeps track of it for you. You therefore have a permanent record of the sources you’ve used, and you can create from them a bibliography in any format required on demand. As you go through school and into your professional career, you’ll want to be able to find the references you’ve worked hard to find and go back to them as necessary. You probably have some interests that you’ll keep coming back to as you go through your classes. Over the course of your degree, this will save you having to look up references you know you identified the year before in some other class.


RefWorks is server-based which means that you can always retrieve your citations from any computer without having to download a client. There is, however, another piece you can install on your individual computer that integrates the online database of citations with Microsoft Word so that you can automatically insert references in term papers. It’s called Write-N-Cite and it’s a RefWorks add-in to the Microsoft Word family of word processing software. Download the client piece and it will install a button on your Word toolbar:

Click it and it will load a copy of your references into a new window. Need to cite one of them in your article? Switch to Write-N-Cite and find the reference:

You can filter by folder or other view, of course. To cite a reference in your article , click “Cite.” The software will insert a bookmark into your document. It will look kind of strange, but all will be well. When you’re done citing, click Bibliography. The software will process your document and create and save a new version with a bibliography matching your bookmarked citations.

So, here’s the upside. This saves a lot of time. With search tools like WorldCat, you can generate a complete list of citations in very short time. You can even use the search engines to produce citations for works you’ve found through other sources. The database is stored on RefWorks server, so you can get at your collection at any time from any computer. And, it’s free.

The downside? I’ve found that the bibliography occasionally needs some friendly massaging. You might have to go into the automatically created record and fix a thing or two that the export function doesn’t handle as smoothly as you might like. Even so, the net result will almost certainly save you time and energy.

One last piece of advice. There is a bit of a learning curve. Don't expect to master this from scratch the week before your term project is due, and don't try Write-N-Cite untested on your paper until you're satisfied you understand it on a scratch copy of something and know which is really the final version! The best time to start with this is at the beginning of the semester when the crush isn't on, or perhaps between semesters as you plan for what's coming up.

There are some high-end product that may serve you better if you have the bucks to spend and that may be friendlier when you're writing formal articles for publication. ProCite and EndNote are commercial products that might be worth investigating, especially after you leave the University and don’t have free access to RefWorks, or you can purchase a subscription to RefWorks after you matriculate. In either case, it’s easy to export your database and take it with you when you leave.

Start to explore RefWorks at http://www.library.arizona.edu/help/tutorials/refworks/.

Next Time:

RefWorks is great for traditional references, but what about all those web pages you keep needing to cite? Next time, we’ll look at a couple of very interesting – and free – tools that will automatically keep track of your web cites much the way RefWorks keeps track of traditional books and journals. Yes, they produce automatic bibliographies, and can even make resource sharing and technologies like RSS easy and automatic. Stay Tuned!

Briefly Noted:

If you're a Windows user, take a gander at www.primopdf.com for a free tool that installs as a print driver and lets you take anything you could print and produces a PDF file for upload to your web pages. PDF formatted files are universally readable on a wide variety of platforms and preferable to publishing a native Word, PowerPoint or other proprietary document. MAC users have had the capability of outputting to PDF directly for a while, but the Windows world still needs a third party program. Rumors are that the next version of Office will include this capability, but in the mean time, PrimoPDF is nifty and free. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the full Adobe Acrobat product, but then it doesn’t cost $300 either.

How to cite this document:
Fulton, B. (2005). School tools part II: Refworks. BiblioTech, 3(2). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005nov_vol3_no2

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A Student's Evaluation of Government Information at the University of Arizona Library

by Diana Daleo

Government information is plentiful. You can find a lot of it on your own just by using Google if you know what you’re looking for. When you don’t is when there’s a problem. So a government document seeker needs to be able to locate government information when a reference librarian is not around.

The University of Arizona Library’s revised interface allows for easy access to a multitude of resources, both online and within the library, supplies user guides, tutorials, research aids and tools assisting the user in researching independently and more efficiently and provides a portal to information not contained within the library, as often as it leads to a resource within the library’s physical walls.

The first thing I notice in attempting to locate government information available on the University of Arizona library website is that there are a couple of different ways to access the main “government information” webpage. The first way to access is by clicking on “Libraries and Collections” and within the Main Library heading is “Government Documents.” The second way to access is by subject. Click on “Reference Resources,” then “Subject Guide” and go to “G.” By offering different entry ways into a given area such as “Government Documents,” the user can easily and quickly arrive at a subject of interest.

Second, I notice the wealth of information designed to help users understand government documents and find what is needed. From the “Government Documents” homepage, there is a link to “Tutorials/Guides.” Here one can understand how a bill becomes a law, see the structure of the U.S. government , compare GPOAccess with the CIS Congressional Universe and find a “help page” for what to find where (see http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/library/teams/sst/pol/guide/tips-elec.html). There are also links to other universities’ government information web pages which offers different slants to similar subjects or additional tutorials and guides.

The library catalog frequently has links to full text or outside sources. The links to outside sources are especially prevalent within the government information section. The federal, state & local and international governing bodies post significant amounts of their materials on their own websites. It is natural that a library should be the place to provide effective access to these and all materials from within their catalogs. How lucky we are to have immediate access to so many materials that the governments supply right at our fingertips! With anything on the web, there are links that no longer work, however, even the dead links provide clues as to what site might have the information one needs – eg. http://www.lib.umich.edu/libhome/Documents.center/amfact/slide1.htm.

The amount of information available on the web is frequently overwhelming. When looking for government documents, having as many tutorials, guides, links to live information or links to full text points the researcher in the right direction and gives the researcher more ability to locate the information sought independently. Luckily, there are still subject specialists at the University of Arizona to aid researchers in need of additional assistance or clarification.

How to cite this document:
Daleo, D. (2005). A student's evaluation of government information at the University of Arizona Library . BiblioTech, 3(2). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005nov_vol3_no2

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Who Gets To Be Literate?

by Michelle Ganz

Literacy’s definition has many variations. Carmen Simich-Dudgeon gives some of the many definitions in her essay “English Literacy Development”. They include the individuals’ ability to perform certain tasks, apply reading to real-world tasks and grade-level performance. It is also defined as the ability to function in the real world and the ability to apply deeper meaning to language. She also gives an “operational definition” of literacy as the “range of uses to which skills of literacy are put”. Languages that do not have a typical writing system such as Native American Languages and American Sign Language, which has no writing system, are starting to be considered in the definitions of literacy. There is still discussion as to whether students based in these languages, especially ASL, can be fully literate by current education standards. New definitions of literacy should be created to account for these alternative language systems. Regardless of the definition there are students who are left out or left behind. The goal of both educators and librarians is to create an expanded definition of literacy that includes those traditionally marginalized.

As literacy is now defined non-traditional students who are quite literate are considered illiterate because of their inability to perform on the standardized tests and/or in traditional classroom settings. Educators have two options to teach literacy skills: phonics or whole language. These techniques are not designed for the disabled students. Those with physical or learning disabilities are assumed to be less literate because they do not perform in a standard fashion. With more and more emphasis being placed on performance on standardized tests teachers have less time to develop alternative teaching methods that will allow them to reach and properly evaluate all students. Consequently those that are outside the norm are pushed aside or labeled incorrectly.

Children with learning disabilities are often assumed to be students unable to learn. These children can be just as literate as any other children; they just need to be taught using different techniques. Many students do not realize that their literacy problems are related to how they learn until far into the school system. These children are told they are not trying hard enough, not smart enough or are ‘trouble kids’. These kinds of labels cause children to write off literacy as something ‘not for them‘. It gives them a dislike for reading and reading comprehension. The more they fail by standard definitions the less they are willing to try. This creates students who do not have the desire to learn. These students need to be identified early in their school careers and taught by methods that coincide with their personal learning techniques and abilities. All children learn in the way that is best for them. It is an innate ability that children develop early in life and continue to use throughout life. Teachers have to tap into this individual method to be able to fully reach their students. These groups of students are getting some of the help they need by working with LD specialists within school systems. Unfortunately, budget cuts and time restraints mean these specialists are not as effective as they could be.

The physically disabled child often learns as other children do. Those whose disability is related to physical mobility usually have no problems with the teaching methods now in use. When the disability is a major one such as blindness or deafness special schools have been designed to deal with their special needs. Those children whose disability is only partial, such as those who are hard-of-hearing or slightly blind are often unidentified within the system. For these students the standard education system will fail them. For example the hard-of-hearing student is be able to read and comprehend at a high level but may not be able to read out-loud. They are unable to perform certain classroom tasks and are punished for this. They are labeled as illiterate by the definitions noted above. Even when the child’s disability is acknowledged there is little the already overwhelmed educator can do to help the student. Rarely is a school or teacher willing to create new standards that can accurately measure these students’ literacy. Likewise the partially blind student needs special environments in order for them to succeed. Large print books, extra lighting or raised letter books are usually not available. These students, like the hard-of-hearing students, may not be able to read aloud, or perform in other activities such as kinesthetic elemental projects but are still able to perform alternative tasks and comprehend literature.

Literacy is an important facet of education, but when it excludes students it is detrimental to their education. Educators need to be aware of the special needs of some of their students and work to include them in classroom activity, even if it is a diminished capacity. Alternate activities such as writing discussion questions and leading group discussions can be substituted for reading aloud. It is important to not single out an individual student for their disability; but to work to make these students feel like part of the classroom community. Inclusion will assure educators that a child who is ‘different’ will not feel that they are sub-standard compared to other students. By instilling confidence these students will exceed expectations and learn to embrace literacy as an important part of their lives.

How to cite this document:
Ganz, M. (2005). Who gets to be literate? BiblioTech, 3(2). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005nov_vol3_no2

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Librarianship in the Sultanate

by Nancy Bronte-Matheny

The scientific study of library and information science (LIS) became a formal source of academic inquiry only as recently as 1990 in the Sultanate of Oman, an Islamic nation located on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, the size of Kansas, with a population of 1.7 million nationals (Selected Data..., 2003). Librarianship was not considered a profession in most Arab countries prior to 1990. Librarians were seen as clerks, and the majority in Oman only possessed the most basic education (Gardner, 1989).

Much of that has changed since the reigning monarch, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, recognized his country's need for qualified specialists in the field, as part of a greater modernization effort for the nation, now in the 35th year of his reign. Oman has made tremendous strides in the study of library and information science, as well with the technology required to keep pace with the digital world.

In this article, the reader will learn how the nation's largest academic university is leading change in information education, transforming the nation away from an oil sector-dependent economy into an information society of the future.
University Library System

Founded in 1986 and located on the outskirts of Muscat, Oman, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) [Qaboos pronounced like train 'caboose'] is the leading national university in the sultanate, serving a population of approximately 8,000 students. The institution offers a Bachelor's degree in Library and Information Science, and two years ago added a Master's degree in Library and Information Science.

The Sultan Qaboos University library system collection consists of approximately 240,000 items spread among four campus university libraries: the Main Library, the medical library, the Commerce Information Center, and the mosque library.

The Main Library is centrally located at the university facing Mecca, in a 3-story building with separate entrances for male and female patrons, on the first and second floors, respectively. Study areas are also segregated by gender, although not strictly enforced. Archived periodicals and library administrative offices reside on the first floor. The reference, circulation, interlibrary loan, and reserves departments are situated on the second floor. Special collections, the general stacks, newspapers and periodicals, and microforms reside on the third floor.

The Sultan Qaboos University library system depends on Amicus, a product of LibriCore, Leuven, Belgium, for its primary on-site cataloging and library management software system. The university was the first library to use the Arabic version of Amicus, in the year 2000 (Omani University to..., 2000). Both English- and Arabic-language versions are available to patrons. The collection utilizes the Library of Congress classification system and the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules. Arabic and non-Arabic titles are integrated and shelved according to subject.

Students also have access to 33 major online databases, including LISA (Library & Information Science Abstracts) in both English and Arabic, from computer terminals located within the Main Library, or by remote access from home or office.

Primary issues associated with the SQU Main Library with implications for collection development are: language barriers (Arabic vs. English), government censorship, staff recruitment across ethnic, religious, and gender lines, and an information technology deficit shortened in recent years but still with room for improvement.

An additional collection new to the university is the Digital Library of the College of Arts and Social Sciences http://www.squ.edu.om/art/dig_lib/index.htm. That library is considered the first digital library of the university, which publishes research, papers and reports conducted by college faculty, in both Arabic and English languages.

The Center for Education Technology (CET)(http://www.squ.edu.om/cet/index.html), is not unlike the Learning Technologies Center (LTC) of the University of Arizona (http://www.ltc.arizona.edu/). Distance courses are facilitated through the expertise of the CET staff. The platform WebCT is used to deliver content, one with which most Arizona student's should be familiar. Moodle software is also used as a vehicle to construct online learning communities (http://moodle.org/).

The Center for Information Systems (CIS)(http://www.squ.edu.om/cis/index.html) is similar to the Center for Computing and Information Technology (CCIT) at the University of Arizona (http://computing.arizona.edu/), in its mission to support all computer-based information system requirements for the university. At the CIS, the center provides valuable training in information system topics, as well as its full support of all computing hardware systems at the university.

Professional membership may be established with the Special Libraries Association (SLA) - Arabian Gulf Chapter. It is understood, at this writing, that a student chapter does not yet exist, but that LIS students may matriculate conferences or workshops side-by-side with professionals in the field. The 12th Annual Conference of the SLA-Arabian Gulf Chapter will be held April 11 - 13, 2006, in Muscat, Oman (http://www.sla.org/chapter/cag/), further evidence of the countries progress and commitment toward information education.

In the near future, the archives of the Oman Room (Special Collections - Main Library), the leading Omani studies research resource in the world, will relocate to its new home on campus at the Oman Study Center. Furthermore, the Center will soon develop a digital library of its extensive holdings in monographs written about Oman or written by Omani nationals.

The Sultan Qaboos University libraries, Center for Education Technology, and Center for Information Systems combine to form a rich environment in which library and information students may come to a greater understanding of the possibilities of the emerging information society that is Oman.


  • Gardner, S. (1989). Censorship and librarianship in Oman. Library Journal, 114 (19), 54-56.
  • Omani university to use AMICUS system. (2000). Information Today,17(9), 59.
  • Selected data and indicators from the results of general populations, housing units, and establishments census (1993-2003) [Electronic Version]. (2003). Sultanate of Oman: Ministry of National Economy. Retrieved April 18, 2005, from: http://www.omancensus.net/fer/Figurs-indicators/Sultanate%20of%20Oman.pdf
How to cite this document:
Bronte-Matheny, N. (2005). Librarianship in the Sultanate. BiblioTech, 3(2). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005nov_vol3_no2

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01 September 2005

Issue Intro: Back Into the "Ordinary"

In Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird, following a tumultuous summer where an innocent man, Tom Robinson, is tried and sentenced to death, then shot while trying to escape fearing no possibility of appeal, school started that autumn, and life slipped back into the ordinary. So it is for many students in storm-ravaged southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, who now try to piece their lives together, after the destruction Hurricane Katrina left in her wake.

In this issue of BiblioTech, we examine what one library is doing to share what it can, and learn about library recovery efforts following another disaster in the southeastern European nation of Bosnia-Herzogovina.

We then drill into the world of incredible techno tools designed to simplify your school and private life, with little effort and at no cost (that really work). Next, we lighten things up a bit with one library student's stirring account of life in the fast lane guiding power librarians at the UA summer Library Institute. Finally, we get an excellent primer on what to expect at the October Symposium Presenter's Workshop courtesy of our own Dr. Malone.

None of these accounts would have been possible without the priceless contributions of your fellow students, already living life "on the fly." Thank you Bambi, Christina, Bruce, Jennifer, and also Dr. Malone. You inspire us! Thank you to Monica, co-Editor extraordinaire, with whom I alternate editorship, for her invaluable, and often witty comments and suggestions for fine-tuning.

In the next issue of BiblioTech, more cool technology, librarianship in the sultanate of Oman, and more, all in the capable hands of Monica, who will be taking the reigns next time. Signing off for now .....

Nancy Bronte-Matheny

Editor's Note: Hurricane Rita making landfall at southeast Texas, as this issue of BiblioTech is published.

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All I Needed to Know to be a Great Librarian, I Learned from a Child.

by Bambi L. Mansfield

Hurricane Katrina has stunned the nation, and caused many to become numb to the horror and tragedy of events. As a librarian I have always prided myself in being one who disseminates knowledge, who provides information and entertainment to those who seek. So many individual’s lives and freedoms have been taken or altered by a force of nature. What could I possibly distribute to those affected that would make a difference? What do library professionals have to offer?

My thoughts rambled and my heart felt heavy… Leave it to the inspiration of a seven year old boy whose ideals have not yet been affected by life’s experiences to bring a sense of humble reality to light. At dinner my son and I were discussing the devastation that individual people were facing in Mississippi, Alabama and New Orleans. Dakotah expressed that it was wonderful for victims of the hurricane to receive the necessities but, that what they really needed at a time of crisis was a friend.

After an elaborate discussion of how lonely it must be for the people affected by this disaster he concluded by saying, “Mom, If you are lonely a book can be a good friend. What people need is a book so that they can be somewhere else for a few minutes. What they need is to giggle.”

His words struck home, through books information professionals can create an opportunity for hope, education and a chance to lighten an otherwise dark moment. Within 24 hours this incredible seven year old has been able to affect many, refreshed my professional views as he has gathered donations of 5000 plus new books that are headed to some of the designated shelters housing the people affected by hurricane Katrina.

Let him be an inspiration to all of us, a book can be so much more than a source of information; a book can be a good friend.

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Destruction of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Archives

by Christina Stephenson

“A Nation that forgets its past has no future”
Winston Churchill

Throughout the history of Bosnia, the archives of the country collected and protected the manuscripts and documents of the region. Unfortunately, in 1992 the archives and libraries were systematically attacked with incendiary grenades from the Serbians in their brutal quest to “cleanse” the region of all non-Serbians and evidence of their lives and history. Many one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable manuscripts were forever lost. Nearly every original source document and manuscript in the country was destroyed and the recorded history and legacy of an entire populace was effectively erased from existence.

In the National Archives alone, some 155,000 rare books and manuscripts were lost. The Oriental Institute lost one of the worlds finest collections of middle-eastern manuscripts. This collection consisted of over 5,263 manuscripts and over 7,000 Ottoman government documents. There are sad, but inspiring stories of librarians attempting to save what little they could from the destruction. On August 25, 1992, the night the National Library and Archive was bombed, 32 year old librarian Aida Buturovic went immediately to the library to rescue what materials from special collections could be reached. After being able to salvage a handful of items from the inferno, she was killed by a shell blast while returning home.

Considering all of the destroyed archives in Bosnia, the loss is staggering, and yet heroic efforts are currently underway to rebuild and reform as much of the collection as possible. While nearly all of the original documents in the country are lost forever, microfiche and other facsimiles made for scholars around the world exist for some of the material. These are being sought out and painstakingly copied. In a fortunate event, some 300 manuscripts were on loan to other institutions around the world, and are expected to be returned to National Archives when they are safely rebuilt. The efforts are slow going, but bit by bit the history of the Bosnian people is being recovered and restored to the people.


  • Abid, Abdelaziz (2003), UNESCO, Library Development and the World Summit on the Information Society, World Library and Information Congress: 69th IFLA General Conference and Council, August 1-9, 2003, Berlin.
    Asian Classics Input Project, http://asianclassics.org, last accessed June 15, 2005.
  • Carroll, James (1994), Saving the Soul of Sarajevo, The Boston Globe, October 25, 1994.
  • Riedlmayer, Andras (1993). A Brief History of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Harvard University, http://www.kakarigi.net/manu/briefhis.htm, last accessed July 30, 2005.
  • Riedlmayer, Andras (2002). Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1996: A Post-War Survey of Selected Municipalities, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Riedlmayer, Andras (1993). Fighting the Destruction of Memory, Harvard University, http://www.kakarigi.net/manu/ingather.htm, last accessed July 31, 2005.
  • Riedlmayer, Andras (1995). Libraries are NOT for Burning: International Librarianship and the Recovery of the Destroyed Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 61st IFLA General Conference.
  • Sarajevo Library Photo (2003), http://www.nytimes.com/specials/bosnia/gallery/sa_library.jpg, last accessed August 3, 2005
  • Schork, Kurt (1992). Jewel of the City Destroyed by Fire, the London Times, August 27, 1992.
  • Shimmon, Ross (2003). The Blue Shield: the Cultural Red Cross?, World Library and Information Congress: 69th IFLA General Conference and Council, July 31 – August 1, 2003.
  • Sweet, Kimberly (1999). Volumes of Hope, College Report, University of Chicago.

(photo: Sarajevo Library Photo courtesy New York Times, 2003)

How to cite this document:

Stephenson, C. A. (2005). Destruction of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Archives. BiblioTech, 3(1). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005sep_vol3_no1/christina1.htm

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SchoolTools I: Virtual Private Networking at the University of Arizona

by Bruce Fulton

You can’t get through a program like SIRLS without knowing how to use the major software applications. Word processing, spreadsheets, HTML editors and other productivity programs are all part of a toolkit that gets you through the next paper or project and finally on to your degree. These and a handful of others are the workhorses you can’t be without.

Software isn’t cheap, of course, so when you come across a freebie that does something really useful, it’s a find indeed. And when it makes working on your next paper or project just a bit easier and more efficient, so much the better. In this and the next few columns, we’re going to take a look at some of the most overlooked time savers available. They’re all free, easy, and guaranteed to save you time and effort.

This time, we’ll talk about the U of A VPN. The VPN client software is a must have for anyone who connects from off campus, although few people know about it or what it really does. It might sound complicated, but the application is easy to install and use. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and when you load the client into memory while connected to your own internet service provider, it fools other systems into thinking a request is coming from the U of A, not your local ISP. If you’re not sure why you would want to do that, just think about entering your CAT card number every time you need to pull a paper from E-Reserves or search one of the library databases.

Normally, you need to enter your identification when you connect from off-campus to use services and products that are restricted to students, faculty and staff. You may have noticed that if you connect from on-campus, however, the systems that validate users recognize that the request is coming from inside the University. This will bypass the login and take you straight to the resource. Because the VPN software effectively routes your connection as if you were on campus, you get the same kind of validation off-campus as on. So, no more CAT card entry and logon or access failures when your session changes or you open up a new window.

Other Benefits

The VPN client carries with it a few other benefits that may not seem as obvious. First, you may have tried the new Google Scholar or similar services that search academic databases and electronic journals (see http://scholar.google.com and give it a spin). These services get you the citation, but if you’re connecting from home, you many not be able to get past the login for the journal or database. Without the VPN, you’d have to copy down the citation and go through the Library using your cat card to retrieve it. With the VPN loaded, if the University has a subscription you’ll often go straight to the article! It will also permit you to connect directly with subscribed reference services without having to go through the library access point.

Second, the VPN client can work with your regular Email program like Outlook or Eudora to permit you to send email using your email.arizona.edu address. Outlook, for example, lets you configure multiple Email accounts and select which of them you want to use for any particular message you send. If you’ve tried to set up your school email account using one of these programs and the campus ingoing and outgoing mail servers, you’ve probably noticed that while you can receive Email just fine, outgoing replies or new messages that try to use the outgoing mail server won’t go through. That’s because outgoing mail servers are configured to prohibit what is called mail relay – connecting through one ISP and trying to use the outgoing mail servers of another.

Shutting off mail relay cuts down on spam, but it makes sending messages through outside services difficult. As you might imagine by now, though, if the VPN client is connected, the U of A mail servers will see you as being authenticated on their system and your messages will be sent if you select your U of A account as the return address.

This can be a real help when you’re traveling, by the way. If you are in a hotel with high speed broadband, you may have noticed the same outgoing mail problem – your own ISP won’t relay messages you try to send from an outside connection. You can use the webmail functions provided by your ISP of course, but these aren’t as flexible or easy to use. You can, however, load the VPN client and send messages through your university email account and avoid the relay issue altogether.

Use VPN with other Citation Services

Finally, the VPN client makes working with RefWorks much, much easier. RefWorks is a bibliographic tool that’s free for student use and it just might give you your life back when working on all those SIRLS projects that need a bibliography and citations. But that’s the subject of our next column!

In the meantime the VPN client is easy to install and easy to run. You can get it at https://sitelicense.arizona.edu/vpn/. Basically, you will just download the package and take the default installation options. There are some links to installation and troubleshooting tips that look a little confusing, but the product is supported by campus computing, so if you have any problems, just give them a call.

To use it once installed, just run the program after you connect to your own ISP and before you need to log on to a university resource or service. You’ll enter your UA NetID and password just once, and then it’s good until you close the connection. You’re not restricted just to University resources, of course – your browser and email will still work over the internet as usual, while allowing you to bypass the University logons. When you’re done, click on Disconnect either from the VPN program screen or the system tray icon and you’re good to go.

Happy computing!

(photos: VPN dialer, courtesy of University of Arizona, 2005)

How to cite this document:

Fulton, B. D. (2005). School tools, part I: Virtual Private Networking at the University of Arizona. BiblioTech, 3(1). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005sep_vol3_no1/fulton1.htm

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Summer Fun at Library Institute

by Jennifer Young

This past summer I traveled to Tucson from Mesa, Arizona and stayed in Pima dorm for a week where four classmates and I trekked all over UofA campus. We laughed, we joked, we sometimes consulted maps, and all of this with some thirty-five wearied and weathered librarians in tow. That’s right, I was a student guide at Library Institute!

Library Institute is an event sponsored by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records and hosted by SIRLS at University of Arizona to provide aspiring and current library directors the opportunity to engage in professional development activities and network with each other. The librarians all traveled to UofA from small towns in rural Arizona where they manage public libraries. My job as a student guide entailed assisting the librarians with checking in and moving in and out of the dorm, escorting librarians and presenters to and from various events, lunches, and dinners, participating in events and general socializing.

Now, I know you’re thinking this sounds like a lot of work, but I can honestly say it was well worth it to meet this group of fabulous and inspiring librarians and speakers! Most notably, we were motivated by Mary Bushing, a dynamic library consultant and educator, who woke us all up after lunch when she dared to ask the question in her presentation “Why do libraries charge late fees? Why not get rid of them? Seriously folks!!!”

Linda Holman Bentley of the Phoenix Public Library made a convert out of me, and many others, I suspect, with her completely entertaining and convincing presentation “The Need to Weed” – not only am I an advocate of weeding in libraries now, but I was inspired to (gasp!) weed my own beloved collection of books. Agnes Griffen, a Library Consultant and all-around purveyor of common sense, shared with us her vast wisdom about working with library boards and ‘Friends of the Library’ groups, striking home for the librarians and opening my eyes about the trials and tribulations of the administrative side of libraries. Our very own Jana Bradley encouraged the audience, presenting on the benefits of joining national and local library associations and of pursuing continuing education for personal and professional gain.

In addition to the obvious benefits of gleaning all of this new wisdom from such prominent speakers and the librarians themselves, I got to hang out with some great classmates whom I’d been in classes with online but had never ‘met’ before, ride around in a golf cart all over campus, although sometimes hanging on for dear life, I might add, enjoy the most fantastic and beautiful food I’ve ever seen in my life all week long (for free!), and get paid a stipend of $500.00 for doing it all.

Although I can’t say the week went perfectly…there was that fire alarm at the dorm on the first night at 2am!, a minor ‘detour’ through construction to a presentation at an obscure building across campus (or as I liked to call it “an unofficial campus tour”) which some guests didn’t exactly appreciate, and of course, the heat…I learned a lot and had a blast doing it, and I definitely would do it all again!!

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Top 10 Tips for Conference Presentations

by Cheryl Knott-Malone, Ph.D.

Many librarians and other information professionals share their research and insights by making presentations at conferences. Even those who rarely present at conferences, however, make presentations as part of the job interview process and as part of their job responsibilities. In general, following these top ten tips can help you make effective presentations.

1. Prepare and practice your presentation well in advance of the actual presentation.

2. Visit the room where you will be speaking beforehand.

3. Stay within the time allotted for your presentation.

4. If you are the last speaker scheduled in a conference session, be ready to cut your presentation down to the highlights to keep the session on time.

5. Use visual aids to help your audience understand your points.

6. Use visual aids as your notes so you do not have to read from a paper.

7. Wear something comfortable yet professional with no distracting features or accessories.

8. Make eye contact with individual audience members.

9. When presenting, read your audience's body language to know if you need to change the topic, the volume of your voice, or the pace of your presentation.

10. If you feel nervous, pause to gaze out at audience members and remind yourself that they are there because they want to hear what you have to say. Then take a breath and start saying it.

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01 March 2005

Issue Intro: A Note From Your Editors

Welcome to the new issue of BiblioTech! This issue truly shows the variety of topics covered by our SIRLS community. Articles for this issue address such diverse issues as library anxiety, censorship, cataloguing resources, as well as fun book and movie reviews. We want to thank all the contributors for their great articles. We couldn't put out BiblioTech without them- keep them coming!

This issue also brings us the happy news of Erica Hanke's impending graduation! She is sad to be going, but looks forward to many interesting library adventures in the future. [Look for her in the library world at large and don't forget her when it's time to network! -Monica]

Hope you all enjoy this issue of BiblioTech. If you have any problems with the site or any suggestions to make it better, please let us know.


Erica Hanke and Monica Bafetti
Editors, BiblioTech

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"Did You Say Library Anxiety?" - Part One

by Marquita Harnett

Most people are familiar with the terms test anxiety, math anxiety, performance anxiety, computer anxiety, or even social anxiety. But mention "library anxiety" and you'll likely get a response similar to, "Library what?" Library anxiety is not a well-known phenomenon, even among librarians. The bulk of research on library anxiety has concentrated on the problem as it applies to university students, but it’s not hard to imagine that it manifests itself in library patrons across the board. Where did this idea come from, how can librarians identify it, what steps can be taken to reduce it and what can the library community learn from it?

Although it has been cited in the literature as far back as 1972 , the term library anxiety was first identified in 1986 by Constance A. Mellon. Virtually every article or study on the subject since then has referenced Mellon’s work in this area. Her studies showed that most students felt that other students knew more about library searching than they did and that to ask for help would be to reveal their stupidity. She also found that contact with reference librarians was more effective in alleviating library anxiety than the bibliographic instruction sessions conducted by their teachers.

There are other names in the field such as Carol C. Kuhlthau, who found that students’ ability to process information from the aspects of mental, creative and physical locating operations is hampered by their feelings, thoughts, and actions. In 1992, Sharon L. Bostick devised a valid and reliable instrument to measure Mellon’s theory of library anxiety. The basis of her doctoral dissertation, she developed a 43 item, 5 point Likert-format test instrument that defines levels of library anxiety. Her instrument showed that it is possible to identify library anxiety and to measure it quantitatively. She identified five factors that contribute to library anxiety: 1) Affective Barriers; 2) Mechanical Barriers; 3) Comfort with the Library; 4) Knowledge of the Library; and 5) Barriers with staff.

"Affective barriers" measures the feelings of adequacy when using the library. As we will see, affective barriers come in to play with all of the other factors, each of which will be described in greater detail.

Mechanical Barriers:
The ability to locate and use library equipment is hampered by the physical barriers libraries present. Students search for copy machines and upon locating them they learn that they need specific change to use them, or must purchase a copy card. Overuse of these machines results in the instructions being worn and unreadable, or simply prone to breaking down. Printing documents from a computer in the lab means having to know how and where to retrieve the output, and how to pay for it. Microforms present problems in that many new college students don’t understand what microforms are, how to use them, or which of the different types of machines should be used to access the microform. Consider that microfilm can be viewed by several different types of machine and the differences in how to load them. Instructions for using these machines may or may not be posted on or near the machine, and again overuse makes them prone to breaking down. Library equipment should be monitored by library staff to provide assistance to patrons who may feel uncomfortable asking for help.

Comfort with the Library:
Library anxiety shows up as feelings such as fear or phobia, confusion, anger or frustration, having a sense of inadequacy or incompetence, overwhelm, isolation, ignorance, shame and feeling lost are all reported symptoms. Students get frustrated trying to locate the reserve desk, the circulation desk, where the government information department is, or how to find newspapers, or periodicals. Appropriately placed and easily viewed signs would allay many of these frustrations. An orientation panel containing a floor plan of the library and a map key for specific areas would also help orient patrons.

Library jargon is also responsible for causing discomfort with the library. It appears in signage, on informational handouts, on the library’s webpage and in the catalog. Librarians understand that reference means “ask us a question about anything”, but few students do. In fact, less than half of all students in a fifty-minute bibliographic instruction session held over three years knew what the term “reference” meant. University students often confuse "reference" with "reserve". Further, they don't realize there are print reserves and electronic reserves and don’t know where or how to access either. Another area of confusion is the phrase “in library use” as found in the catalog. Patrons may believe that someone else is already using it in the library so they can’t get it; or they try to check it out and find that it is non-circulating. Few students understand the difference between magazines and journals or that the term “periodical” encompasses both. Students have been seen walking past the circulation sign searching for the place to check out books. Databases offer “remote usage” for those patrons who wish to have access from home, however there is no explanation for what remote usage means, nor is there a detailed explanation of what is required in order to use a database remotely. Acronyms such as MLA, APA, ILL, etc. should be explained to students since it is unlikely that they will ask and risk feeling that they are asking a stupid question. Several universities, recognizing the confusion library terminology can cause, have published web pages of library glossaries, in order to avoid negative perceptions of the library.

Knowledge of the Library: The physical layout of the library can cause intimidation and confusion, and in a university library, the sheer size can be overwhelming. At the University of New Mexico the reference collection is located behind the reference desk, just inside the main doors. A common misconception of new students is that the reference collection is everything the library owns, not realizing that there are two additional upper floors and two floors below the main floor. This is understandable when you consider that a typical high school library is of similar size to a university reference collection. Seldom are incoming freshmen given a formal tour of the main university library, or advised that other, more specialized libraries might exist on campus.

Library classification systems can also contribute to patron confusion and feelings of helplessness. Many incoming freshmen have never used the Library of Congress classification system. From kindergarten through high school their school libraries as well as their public libraries are generally organized according to the Dewey Decimal classification system. They don’t understand the LC system or recognize that the call numbers begin with letters rather than numbers. Mellon relates an account of an incoming freshman who came to her for reference assistance asking her where she could find room 231. Mellon explained to the girl that the university library didn’t have a room 231. The girl, visibly upset and frustrated declared that there must be a room 231 because the book she was looking for was in that room according to the catalog. Mellon asked the girl to show her where she got her information and realized that the girl was talking about the call number RM 231. When you throw into the mix the Su-Docs classification system for government information, students may attempt to reconcile the agency letter with an LC number, but frustration soon takes over and they give up.

Although most college students have grown up with some type of computerized catalog system, this is not necessarily the case of older patrons. Many are not familiar with the computerized catalogs that populate the majority of all libraries these days. OPAC’s often have different interfaces, and the quantity and specificity of information varies greatly. The best OPAC’s are clearly labeled, simple to use and provide detailed information as to how to find the requested item. Online databases also contribute to library anxiety. Like online catalogs, many databases have different interfaces making it necessary for patrons to be trained in how to use them. The strategies of broadening and narrowing searches, keyword searching versus subject searching, Boolean logic requires training. When a student is required to do research for perhaps one significant paper a year, it does not give them the time to develop proficiency in utilizing databases effectively. Although most databases offer help pages, the terminology is often ambiguous to new college students and can be confusing for young and older adults in public libraries. When an article is found in a database, few realize that it is merely an abstract of the article and will not provide the full-text of the article. In those cases, they must find out if their library carries the journal the article is in. Reference librarians experience students arriving at the reference desk with the name of the article and the journal title, feeling quite pleased that they understand the process, only to be told they also need the date, the volume number and the page numbers to find the article they need.

Staff Barriers: The library user’s first impression upon entering any library should be welcoming, and reference librarians can have the biggest impact on library patrons, as they are usually the first point of contact upon entering the library. It can be argued that the brunt of the responsibility for a patron’s positive or negative library experience falls to us. Approachability issues include both verbal and non-verbal communication. Verbal communication includes the use of library jargon and the degree of skill with the reference interview. Positive, non-verbal communication exhibits itself through certain behaviors such as raised eyebrows, eye contact, nodding, and smiling. These have been found to attract a large number of patrons. Indeed the literature is rife with recommendations that reference personnel employ approachable body language in order to attract patron’s questions, especially eye contact and smiling. Further, as Mellon’s research indicated, there is a fear that any question for reference staff may be considered stupid, or the patron is simply reluctant to bother the librarian. Although few librarians would want their patrons to feel this way, it has been argued that this message must be getting through to users, either through wording or action. Librarians should have the ability to read both nonverbal and verbal cues of the student, and they should also be aware of the cues they are sending. Reference librarians may feel they don’t have the time to answer questions adequately due to other patrons waiting in line. Staff rotation on the reference desk creates inconsistency when the patron returns for further questions, only to find the librarian they had consulted with earlier has now gone. Skilled reference interview techniques are required because patrons not only have difficulty specifying the information they want, they often can not explain what they don't know. Although one desired outcome of a reference interaction is to enable the user to transfer what is learned from the interaction into a new situation, an equally important outcome is for the user to read librarian’s signals as “I’m here to help you” rather than “I’m too busy”.

These are just a few cited examples of the myriad ways patrons feel intimidated by the library as place. In the second part of this article we will see what we as librarians can learn from the study of library anxiety.

  • Swope, M.J. and Katzer, J. (Winter 1972). Why Don’t They Ask Questions? The Silent Majority.. RQ, 12(2), 161-166.
  • Hernon, P. and Pastine, M. (March 1977). Student Perceptions of Academic Librarians. College & Research Libraries, 38(2), 129-139.
  • Kuhlthau, C. C. (1991). Inside the search process: Information seeking from the user’s perspective. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 42(5) 361-371.
  • Bostick, S.L. (1992). The development and validation of the Library Anxiety Scale. In Marjorie E. Murfin (Ed.), Research in reference effectiveness: proceedings of a preconference sponsored by the Research and Statistics Committee, Management and Operation of Public Services Section, Reference and Adult Services Division. (pp. 1-7). San Francisco: American Library Association.
  • Jiao, Q. G. and Onwuegbuzie, A.J. ( 1997). Antecedents of library anxiety. Library Quarterly p. 385
  • Kupersmith, J. (Winter 1987). Library Anxiety and Library Graphics The Graphic Approach, Research Strategies 5. pg. 37.
  • Mellon, C.A. (1987). Bibliographic instruction, the second generation. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc. p.75.
  • http://www.asu.edu/lib/help/liblingo.htm
  • http://www.lib.utsa.edu/Research/Subject/lingo.html
  • http://www.lib.utk.edu/~instruct/fys/lingo.html
  • Mellon, C.A. (1989). Library anxiety and the non-traditional student. In Teresa B. Mensching (Ed.), Reaching and teaching diverse library user groups (p. 81). Ann Arbor, MI: Pierian Press
  • Kazlauskas, E. (1976). An exploratory study: A kinesic analysis of academic library public service points. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 2(3), 133.
  • Mellon, C.A. (Mar. 1986). Library anxiety: a grounded theory and its development. College and Research Libraries 47, 164.
  • Grassian, E. S. and Kaplowitz, J. R. (2001) Information literacy instruction: theory and practice. New York: Neal-Schuman. P. 93.
  • Radford, M. (Spring 1998). Approach or avoidance? The role of nonverbal communication in the academic library user’s decision to initiate a reference encounter. Library Trends v. 46, no.4, p.711
  • Swope, M.J. and Katzer, J. (Winter 1972). Why Don’t They Ask Questions? The Silent Majority.. RQ, 12(2), p. 164.Kuhlthau, C. C. (1991). Inside the search process: Information seeking from the user’s perspective. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 42(5) p. 361.

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"Did You Say Library Anxiety?" - Part Two

by Marquita Harnett

The discussion thus far has centered on some of the barriers that contribute to library anxiety. What are librarians learning from the study of this pervasive problem? The literature suggests that library anxiety impacts academic success or failure through learning styles and behavior anomalies. In addition, studies are showing how library anxiety is teaching librarians that best practices exist for areas such as bibliographic instruction.

Graduate students and undergraduates alike experience library anxiety. Qun G. Jiao and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie have conducted numerous studies on this subject and found that certain behavior anomalies are linked to library anxiety, such as perfectionism and academic procrastination. It has been concluded that for socially prescribed perfectionists, the library is a threat for them and there exists a relationship between perfectionism and library anxiety . This is also consistent with the results of Mellon’s study which reported that library anxious students feel that only they are inept at using the library while other students do not experience the same problems, and that this ineptness is a source of embarrassment and should be kept secret. These feelings result in a reluctance to seek help from librarians fearing that their ignorance will be exposed. In turn this anxiety, in all likelihood, leads to library avoidance.

Library avoidance behavior has also been found in the phenomena of academic procrastination. Fear of failure and task aversion resulting in procrastination has been found to be related to barriers with staff, affective barriers, comfort with the library, and knowledge of the library. Although it is unclear whether this is a causal relationship, it provides evidence that there are more than just time management and study skill issues involved, but includes cognitive-affective components.

These are only two examples of behavior anomalies shown to be linked to library anxiety. The broader perspective here is that library anxiety can lead to scholastic underachievement in students who are nervous about seeking help from a librarian and therefore tend to produce lower quality work. Constance Mellon’s groundbreaking work in 1986 was the first to not only identify library anxiety, but to discover how it affects the learning process. While designing an instruction program, she discovered that anxiety students felt about the research process was considerably lessened after contact with a librarian. She then developed exercises to be done in the library and added information into these sessions about the phenomena of library anxiety assuring students that is was a common occurrence. She realized that if anxiety is present, steps must be taken to allay it before instruction can take place. Although computer based tutorials are helpful, it appears that they are best utilized in conjunction with a librarian led bibliographic instruction. These sessions allow the student to make contact with librarians and require them to be in the library and become more familiar with the library surroundings. Online tutorials can be completed from any computer making it easy for students to completely avoid the library, which is counter-productive. The obvious conclusion is that the role of the librarian in relieving library anxiety is crucial and should not be overlooked.

There are countless articles on best practices for how to allay this problem in patrons as well as considerable literature on outreach. It seems clear that outreach must be consciously practiced from the most simple and mundane interactions to broad library programs in order to help patrons overcome their fear. During bibliographic instruction sessions which generally last anywhere from fifty minutes to an hour, the first five minutes are crucial to set a positive tone of interaction between student and librarian. Presentations should be well organized, interesting and should not attempt to cover too much ground in too short a time. Most researchers agree that it is important to acknowledge the fear, confusion or sense of dread students experience, and to talk about it openly, assuring students they are not alone in their feelings. Recommendations are bountiful with regard to reference interview situations. Initially the reference librarian should make eye contact and smile. Put aside any work in order for the patron to see that you are ready and willing to help. The librarian should ask open-ended questions. Making assumptions indicates to the patron that you are rushing the interview and are not listening patiently. Always engage the patron in conversation by explaining what you are doing and why you are doing it during the search process. This establishes a rapport with the patron, helps them understand that you are concentrating your efforts on the question at hand, and also may help them learn more about how to conduct their own searches. It is also important to check back later with the patron, again indicating your willingness to help, and not leaving them in a potentially confused state.

The problem of library anxiety reaches into every aspect of the library, can affect individual learning styles, can exacerbate certain behavior anomalies, and is known to result in underachievement. It has been shown that contact with reference librarians can significantly decrease the levels of library anxiety in students. Library anxiety manifests itself through a variety of fears, feelings of overwhelm and avoidance. It is up to the reference librarian staff to address students’ anxiety in the library through multivariate outreach methods. The primary opportunity for this to happen is during the reference interview and through bibliographic instruction sessions.

Although Mellon, Kuhlthau and Bostick have provided benchmark studies from which to study library anxiety, probably no one has studied this topic as extensively or from so many perspectives as Qun G. Jiao and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie. They have contributed no less than thirteen articles consisting of quantitative studies, and they have recently co-authored a book with Sharon Bostick on the subject .

The phenomenon of library anxiety often produces giggles in non-library circles, and bewilderment in our own profession. Yet it is an important topic and we, as librarians, should know what signs to look for and should be prepared to aggressively combat it. Library avoidance, academic underachievement and procrastination will undermine the work we do, and is in opposition to our ideals of information literacy, promoting library use, and producing life long learners.


  • Jiao, Q.G. and Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (Sept. 1998). Perfectionism and library anxiety among graduate students. The Journal of Academic Librarianship v. 24 no5 p. 365-71.
  • Jiao, Q. G. and Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (Jan. 2000). I'll go to the library later the relationship between academic procrastination and library anxiety. College & Research Libraries v. 61 no1 p. 45-54.
  • Jiao, Q. G. and Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (Apr. 1999). Identifying library anxiety through students' learning-modality preferences. The Library Quarterly v. 69 no2 p. 204.
  • Mellon, C.A. (Sept. 1988). Attitudes: the forgotten dimension in library instruction. Library Journal p. 139.
  • Oswald, T. A. and Turnage, M. (2000). First five minutes. Research Strategies v. 17. p. 347-351.
  • Bushing, M. (2003). Improving our reference skills, New Mexico State Library Workshop.
  • Jiao, Q. G. , Onwuegbuzie, A.J., Bostick, S. L. (2004). Library Anxiety: Theory, Research and Applications. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

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Music Cataloging Resources: A Bibliographic Essay

by Dorothy Hemmo

If cataloging is a specialty, then music cataloging is a singular field within that specialty. For the general cataloger who catalogs the occasional score or sound recording and for the experienced music cataloger there are many useful resources to be found. Most music cataloging resources assume that the user will have some previous knowledge of general cataloging rules.

The foundation for all cataloging rules in the United States is the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Edition (1986), or AACR2. Chapter 5 contains the rules for the description of published (printed) music. Information on sound recordings and video recordings can be found in chapters 6 and 7, respectively. Chapter 21, “Choice of Access Points”, offers advice regarding music in rules 21.18-21.23. And the all-important rules for uniform titles for music appear in Chapter 25, rules 25.25-25.35. Anyone interested in the field of music cataloging should first become familiar with the general cataloging rules for monographs, and then learn the rules for music cataloging.

Music Cataloging by Richard P. Smiraglia (1989) is an excellent resource for the student of music cataloging or music librarianship. It offers the reader an introduction to the concept of bibliographic control, and an historical overview of such subjects as authority control, subject analysis, classification, and MARC, both generally and as these subjects relate to music cataloging. Each chapter has a list of suggested reading for the student who wants to investigate a topic further. Though this is a great introduction to the descriptive cataloging of music, it is not an up-to-date resource for cataloging rules. Also, the author assumes the reader will have a knowledge of the history, theory, and performance practices of Western art music. The work includes a glossary of music related terms, a selected bibliography, and an index.

A second book by Smiraglia, Describing Music Materials (1997) is a more up-to-date resource for rules governing the cataloging of music. This book is an exhaustive, detailed, step-by-step how-to for the beginning music cataloger. (Knowledge of basic cataloging rules is assumed.) Smiraglia covers printed music, sound recordings, video recordings, multi-media packages, and archival collections of musical documents. He includes discussions of access points in music bibliographical records, and uniform titles.

One notable feature of this book is Chapter 8, “A Music Cataloger’s Reference Collection”. It gives the reader lists of print resources for the following subjects: general cataloging, archival description, general music reference, sound recordings, biobibliography, popular music, and thematic indexes. The author also includes a list of useful web sites for finding publisher information, composers’ dates, general music reference, and music cataloging rules. The book includes a glossary and an index.

Music Score Cataloging Basics is the text version of a presentation given at the OLAC/MOUG 2000 Conference in Seattle, Washington in October 2000 by Ralph Papakhian. This document is a primer for the general cataloger already familiar with AACR2 and MARC, who finds she must catalog music. The focus is definitely on practical applications such as, when to input a new record, and what MARC codes are used where. There are many examples given and the author includes a list of definitions to help the non-musician.

Another useful and practical document is “The Core Bibliographic Record for Music and Sound Recordings”, a report from a Working Group of the IAML Council (1998). The document takes on the problem of a lack of standardization for minimal-level cataloging for music materials. It defines what a core bibliographic record should be, and spells out which fields are needed to generate usable records without the time and expense of full cataloging. This document will keep the cataloger conversant with current standards for the core bibliographic record in music.

Sheet music is often found in a music library’s collection and can be difficult to catalog due to a lack of standard publishing information on the item. Cataloging Sheet Music (Schultz, 2003) is an excellent resource for the experienced cataloger. It contains many examples and explains certain conventions unique to sheet music publishing. Special attention is given to title pages, and determining the chief source of information. This book is meant to be used in conjunction with AACR2, and can be seen as an expansion of those rules.

The next book, Cataloger’s Judgment: Music Cataloging Questions and Answers from the Music OCLC Group Newsletter by Jay Weitz (2004), is a resource for the working music cataloger. Prior knowledge of AACR2 and MARC is necessary to make heads or tails of the questions and answers in this compilation. The book is organized by subject; for example, sound recordings, titles, subject analysis, fixed fields, and so forth. Each question deals with a very specific problem encountered by a cataloger, but the author’s answers and explanations are very thorough and often include rules that can be applied generally.

There is a Topical Index, but this book is also indexed by the rules discussed in the questions, and also by OCLC-MARC field. For instance, if you have a question about AACR2 rule 25.25, or a particular MARC field, you can consult the respective index to find questions and answers that deal with that rule or field. Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI) and Music Cataloging Decisions (MCD) rules are included in the AACR2 index.

Stephan Luttman’s short article “Good Enough for Jazz” (1999) offers suggestions for print and web resources for the non-musician cataloger who must catalog music. In discussing print resources he specifically mentions as essential Smiraglia’s Describing Music Materials. Luttman also recommends joining MLA-L, the Music Library Association’s list serv, saying that questions from beginning music catalogers are welcome. If music cataloging is likely to remain a large part of your workload, Luttman offers suggestions for continuing education opportunities such as a music bibliography course at a local university, or Indiana University’s one-week summer workshop on music cataloging for the non-musician.

The Music Library Association’s journal, Notes, is an excellent resource for articles and information on the current state of music cataloging thought and processes. In “Cataloging”, Ralph Papakhian (2000) summarizes the history of cooperative cataloging as it relates to music. He discusses current difficulties in the field such as, the disappearance of graduate programs in music librarianship; the lack of personnel due to budget constraints; the fact that cataloging music is often seen by administrators as too difficult and time-consuming, and therefore many materials are left without adequate records; the need for enhanced descriptions to provide adequate access; and the cataloging of special collections such as sheet music.

It is never explicitly stated, but the author is certainly advocating for more resources to be applied to the field of cataloging, especially in music. On the future of cataloging Papakhian says, “The costs of human activity in cataloging…are unlikely to disappear.” (p. 589) He also sees the lack of standardization of OPAC and cataloging software as problematic. A future goal should be an easier-to-use catalog.

Smiraglia, in “Musical Works and Information Retrieval” (2000) discusses the difficulty, in cataloging music, of distinguishing among different instances of a musical work; for example, a full score, a miniature score, a reduction, a sound recording, and so forth, of the same work. The author discusses what a musical work is and what it is not. He discusses the historical and current use of uniform titles, and the limitations of the same. Smiraglia wants the future of music information storage and retrieval to be shaped through the use of empirical studies, epistemological studies, and taxonomic definition.

Closely related to the article above, “Beyond the Score”, co-written by Smiraglia and David H. Thomas (1998), discusses the limitations of current cataloging rules when cataloging scores, sound recordings, and video recordings. The main point of this very interesting article is that a musical work as an abstract concept constitutes the entity, and that its instantiations (different forms or instances) should be cataloged as manifestations of the musical work. Bibliographical families built around the abstract work are used to create greater access to musical works by guaranteeing collocation within the catalog.

The final article from the MLA journal Notes is “On Degressive Music Bibliography” by D. W. Krummel (2000). The author begins with a definition of the degressive principle in cataloging: the more important or interesting the item, the more complete its description in the catalog should be. Krummel gives an historical perspective on the use of the degressive principle in music bibliography, and more importantly, presents an in depth discussion on what makes some works more important than others. The author advocates the use of the degressive principle in music cataloging to make more important works easier to access.

Our final print resource is Bibliographic Relationships in Music Catalogs by Sherry L. Velluci (1997). This book contains an empirical study analyzing existing relationships among bibliographic entities in a music catalog for the ultimate purpose of creating a better catalog. In the introduction, the author discusses the functions of a catalog, and the nature of musical bibliographic entities. Examining this study is a good way for the cataloger to begin to understand some of the complexities inherent to the cataloging of music.

Let us now turn to two Web resources, Music Cataloging at Yale (www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/musicat.htm) and Indiana University Music Library Technical Services (www.music.indiana.edu/tech_s/manuals/ts.htm). Both sites are great resources for the practical “nuts and bolts” of music cataloging. IU’s site contains tables of MARC codes, guides to thematic catalogs, a necrology file, LC’s Cyrillic transliteration table, and a link to OCLC’s Cataloging Internet Resources. Yale’s site contains so much information it is almost overwhelming. There is information on AACR2 rules (both general and music specific), cataloging sound recordings, MARC tagging, subject cataloging, authority control, uniform titles, and much more. The site also has a lot of general music reference help especially useful to the non-musician. For example, there is information on vocal ranges, song cycles, parts of the Mass, definitions of musical terms, and the names of keys and instruments in five different languages. This site also has links to OCLC, Library of Congress, U. S. academic libraries on the web, and National library catalogs worldwide.

The difficulties inherent in the cataloging of all formats of music are manifest. In a perfect world, the music cataloger would have a firm grasp of the principles and rules of cataloging, and a background in the history, theory, and performance practices of Western art music. The world is not perfect, and thankfully, there are many resources out there to help the beginning music cataloger, and even the non-musician who gets stuck cataloging music. The resources presented here are just a small sample of the authoritative information being provided by the music library community to further the goals of ease-of-use and accessibility of information for our users.


  • Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR2. (1986). Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Ed. Revision 1985. Chicago: American Library Association.
  • Krummel, D. W. (2000). On degressive music bibliography. [Electronic version]. Notes, 56(4), 867. Retrieved September 4, 2004, from the InfoTrac Web General Reference Center Gold database.
  • Luttman, S. F. (1999). Good enough for jazz; or, successful music cataloging for non-musicians. [Electronic version]. Colorado Libraries, 25(2), 48-49. Retrieved September 24, 2004, from the Wilson Select Plus database.
  • Papakhian, A. R. (2000). Cataloging. [Electronic version]. Notes, 56(3), 581. Retrieved September 4, 2004, from the InfoTrac Web General Reference Center Gold database.
  • Papakhian, A. R. (2000). Music score cataloging basics. Retrieved October 2, 2004 from http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/units/cts/olac/conferences/2000/scores.doc
  • Schultz, L., & Shaw, S. (Eds.). (2003). Cataloging sheet music: Guidelines for use with AACR2 and the MARC format. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Smiraglia, R. P. (2000). Musical works and information retrieval. [Electronic version]. Notes, 58(4), 747. Retrieved September 11, 2004, from the InfoTrac OneFile database.
  • Smiraglia, R. P. (1997). Describing music materials: A manual for descriptive cataloging of printed and recorded music, music videos, and archival music collections: For use with AACR2 and APPM (3rd ed.). Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press.
  • Smiraglia, R. P. (1989). Music cataloging: The bibliographic control of printed and recorded music in libraries. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.
  • Thomas, D. H., & Smiraglia, R. P. (1998). Beyond the score. [Electronic version]. Notes, 54(3), 649. Retrieved September 4, 2004, from the InfoTrac General Reference Center Gold database.
  • Velluci, S. L. (1997). Bibliographic relationships in music catalogs. Lanhan, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Weitz, J. (2004). Sheehy M. (Ed.), Cataloger's judgment: Music cataloging questions and answers from the music OCLC users group newsletter. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Working Group on the Core Bibliographic Record for Music and Sound Recordings. (1998). The core bibliographic record for music and sound recordings. [Electronic version]. Fontes Artis Musicae, 45(2), 139-151. Retrieved September 24, 2004, from the Academic Search Premier database.

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