Saturday, June 24, 2006

One Division/One Book Dinner

The PAM One Division/One Book dinner was held on Tuesday and was a great success. 11 PAM-ers met for an excellent dinner at Luna Del Sea, a bistro across the street from the Convention Center. I also enjoyed the interesting discussion of the book Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the World's Toughest Math Competition by Steve Olsen.

I hope this is the first of an annual event at the conference.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Math Roundtable

I just posted Hilary Davis' summary notes on the MathRT to the 2006 Conference Session page. Thanks, Hilary!

2005 Meeting Minutes

I just posted the approved 2005 Meeting Minutes on the 2006 Conference Sessions page, and will be attaching it to the 2005 conference page as well. Thank you, Sara Tompson!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Blogging LISA

If anyone's interested, I'm blogging LISA V over on Random Musings from the Desert. If you're blogging LISA too, please add your blog link!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Web Development Roundtable

I attended the last half of this roundtable discussion (literally; the podium and projector sat unused, while the webmasters gathered around an oval table to talk), which comprised most of the division webmasters and a representative of SLA's IT department. Topics focused mostly on RSS, Wikis, and how to effectively use them in the libraries, although there was a side discussion that rapidly grew about the dissatisfaction some webmasters feel towards SLA IT and their predilection for changing things on the SLA website (or changing login requirements for FTP) without notifying any of the webmasters about it. It was a bit reassuring to hear that other divisions are having the same problems we are.

Hopefully we as a team can present our concerns to SLA IT in a calm, reasonable manner and maybe get them resolved in the coming year. I have my fingers crossed.

Closing General Session

I have to say, Walt Mossberg is funny. His talk seemed to be off-the-cuff, and I have to admit I liked his style of walking around the podium and talking to us, rather than "preaching" from the podium. My favorite part of his talk was about his D: All Things Digital conference, when he was told by a conference-goer, "I'm not going to tell Steve Jobs he can't use PowerPoint. You tell Steve Jobs he can't use PowerPoint." (Sounds like a fun conference to attend!)

Astronomy Roundtables

Detailed notes for the Astronomy Roundtables will be posted on the PAM site. A round-the-room introduction and what's happening kicked off the session, followed by presentations:

* Liz Bryson, CFHT's use of TWiki for their internal document management;
* Shaun Hardy, "Shaking the Dust from 100 Years of Science in the Carnegie Institution's Archives" (some of the photos were heartbreaking!);
* Donna Thompson, ADS Update;
* Donna Thompson, LISA V update;
* Jane Holmquist, RCLweb status report.

The discussions were, as always, stimulating. Look for detailed notes to come!

Irish Dining

Irish Dining An impromptu dinner get-together at Tir na nÓg with myself, Karen Croneis, Emily Poworoznek, and new member Robert Fowler. Everyone agreed the food was quite tasty, and the Guinness seemed to go down well, too!

Juggling Work and Family

Congratulations to Emily Poworoznek and Karen Shaines for putting together such a great session! While everyone enjoyed wine, fruit and cheese (courtesy CSA and Proquest), a section of the PBS documentary "Juggling Work and Family with Hedrick Smith" was shown, and producer Pauline Steinhorn shared some information and statistics with the crowd. Then sessiongoers shared their own stories and solutions to some of the issues brought up in the documentary, mostly calmly but occasionally with a bit of uproar! It was a well-done session and brought up topics we'll all have to deal with at one time or another, whether it's a child, a parent, or a close friend.

How to Use RSS to Know More and Do Less

First off, what was SLA thinking when they put Jenny Levine into a tiny room to talk about RSS? Talk about crowd overflow!

The RSS Mob, Part I The RSS Mob, Part II

Once it was sorted out and the talk was moved to a larger room (which was still SRO), Jenny proceeded to live up to her reputation as a great speaker. (A link to her online presentation will be provided once it's available.) Basically, Web 2.0 is making net life easier to live; she presented several well-illustrated examples of using RSS (Bloglines, Feedster, Suprglu). Jenny talked about several ways to provide a feed to patrons (and several ideas of what to provide in a feed) , in order to "get more use out of work you're already doing". Great talk, and I came away with several ideas of things to implement at MPOW.

(Info from Jenny about her presentation is on her blog.)

Annual Business Meeting

The Annual Business Meeting was held Tuesday morning (sponsored by APS). Laurel brought the PAM membership up to date with Board activities, including reviewing and approving the minutes from the 2005 meeting and hearing the Treasurer's report. (We're doing pretty good!) Joe Kraus gave a brief talk about next year in Denver, and then presented Laurel with a tiara and pendant necklace in thanks for all her hard work in putting Baltimore together.

Annual Business Meeting Queen Laurel

Board Meeting

PAM Board The PAM board met late Monday afternoon. Many things were discussed; results and decisions were shared with the PAM membership at the following morning's Annual Business Meeting.

At Risk: Capturing and Preserving Web Resources

I attended a dMIL-sponsored session on web resources presented by Cathy Hartman and Kathleen Murray, from the University of North Texas. They have been working on a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) sponsored research project called "The Web-at-Risk", and presented some of their findings so far.

The main focus was capturing and preserving web-only information for the long term (i.e. the Cyber Cemetary, a digital repository of dead government division web sites). The differences between traditional and electronic processes were discussed (collection development, selection, acquisition, evaluation, presentation, maintenance, and deselection amongst others). The "unit of selection" is a big tool for them; defining where a digital resource begins and ends can be a challenge. Version control is also a huge issue.

Another thing facing us all is storage: not just space (a digital repository can quickly and easily run into terabytes of information) but usability. Information needs to be kept in a usable way, not just for now but for the future (we all have seen digital files that are inaccessible because the software is no longer around!).

The speakers discussed their findings to date on collection development and selection and capture issues, noting that the biggest hurdle is staff - not just in expertise, but in available time. (Curators need to work with IT staff, for example, and they don't speak the same languages.) Hardware and software issues are also problematic. As they progress, they are trying to find a middle ground of stewardship to deal with these problems.

More and future information can be found at their web site:

PAMwide Round Table

Our conference kicked off after a lovely PAM Networking Breakfast (thanks, SIAM!) with the PAMwide Round Table (sponsored by ACM and Wiley). After the round-the-room introduction and a request from Donna Thompson to update the Membership Directory, the discussions kicked off.

Topics covered were: Fees for journals; ISI impact factors; journal competitions (i.e. Nature spinoffs); boycotting expensive journals; criteria for cancelling subscriptions; paper versus electronic subscriptions (a perennial favorite); and downsizing and/or combining resources. Participants shared information about what their libraries were doing with these topics.

If anyone else has notes to share, please include them!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Math Roundtable: Notes from my presentation on Math blogs

Cross-posted to my personal blog.

There are quite a few math bloggers and some physicists who do a lot of math, mathematicians who work in physics, and math librarians (most or all of these are also science librarians).

Brief agenda:
  • what's a blog
  • v. v. quick discussion of informal scholarly communication of mathematicians
  • how mathematicians use blogs (by example)
  • doing math on blogs
  • listing of a few math blogs
What's a blog?
- Reverse chronological listing of discrete posts each with a permalink, and frequently the ability to comment/trackback. Has an archive that allows retrieval by date and may have a way to retrieve by assigned category.

V.V. quick discussion (no notes here, even!)

How mathematicians use blogs:
(note: not based on research, but an unscientific reading of a few of the most popular)
  • notes on readings outside of their core field
  • discussions of controversies in evolution, string theory...
  • math and the public
  • math and teaching
  • life as a graduate student
Doing math on blogs:
Not trivial perhaps, but solutions exist! (little joke there, get it?)
Some active "math" blogs (not arranged anyway in particular although flavor of math might be helpful... also just a smattering):
Can also look at Technorati's blogfinder math category.


Also, David mentioned . IMHO, social tagging is *another* web 2.0 technology, not competing, really.

For more information on how to monitor blogs, please refer to my article published in Online (July/August 2005). Feel free to ask, too :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thanks, Laurel

You must have been thinking after the Annual Business Mtg, "wow, I'm coming into the stretch, almost finished being chair." That was my thinking precisely when I did it.

You really learn a lot you did not anticipate once you become chair. And it is a great experience to move this group forward.

(Yes, there are some connection problems here at the Days Inn. Intermittent problems.)

Connection? What connection?

I have several entries and pictures to blog but this is the first Internet access I've had - we've apparently overloaded the Days Inn's net capabilities. If postings are sparse, you know why - lack of access! But we'll all make up for it in the near future, we promise. (The connection went down once while I was writing this! At the Cybercafe! Sheesh!)

What a lovely day today!

Monday, June 12, 2006


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Great weather for a conference

Let me quickly interject that we are having such fabulous weather here in Baltimore, it's truly ideal. Maybe a little breezy, but otherwise wonderful to be outside and walking around.

Transportation fun

Sorry I missed the Early Bird Dinner! I've already run into 2 people who told me what a good time they had. I crashed after my flight yesterday (getting up at 1:30 AM to catch the shuttle was no fun at all). I stayed at an airport hotel & was planning on taking the light rail from the airport this morning.

Didn't know that the light rail doesn't start running until 11 AM on Sundays. There were about 6 of us waiting before someone came & told us. So it was Super Shuttle for me.

Great time at the Early Bird Dinner!

We had a nice turn out to an Italian buffet including fabulous calamari. After the dinner, I headed home with about 10 pounds of leftover calamari (my husband says, Thank you!) while other PAM-ers toured the Inner Harbor shops and sights. Zari took some pictures and we'll hopefully get them posted here soon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Restaurant recommended

Baltimore is more than crab cakes. Let me suggest you try this restaurant. It is a wonderful atmosphere, and set in an interesting area not too far from the Inner Harbor.

The Helmand

I have eaten there several times, and look forward to trying it once again.