Next Friday, February 21, 2014, we’ll be celebrating the arrival of our 8 millionth physical volume: a Civil War photograph album assembled for Louis-Philippe d’Orleans, Comte de Paris. It's a gift from Beth and Stephan Loewentheil and is one of the finest surviving Civil War photograph albums, with 265 rare photographs by the preeminent photographer Mathew Brady and others. It's been 11 years since our 7 millionth volume (Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War -- also a rare volume of Civil War photographs).
Last Friday I attended a memorial service in Cambridge MA for Ann Wolpert, the director of MIT Libraries for the past 17 years. She succumbed to pancreatic cancer last October, on her 70th birthday. Ann was a visionary leader in many ways, but her name is most directly linked with open access to peer-reviewed scholarly journals. Under her prodding, the MIT faculty adopted an Open Access policy in 2009, providing MIT with nonexclusive permission to make accessible their journal articles.
Next Monday and Tuesday, we will hold the first All Staff meeting of year. I will introduce new staff, update you on budgetary and financial issues (including the impact of the new budget model on the library), provide findings from the recent ClimateQual Survey, and report on progress towards meeting our 5 goals for the years 2013-2015.
It is not often that I’m keen on joining a new weblog, newsfeed, or listserv but I want to thank Barbara Eden for pointing me to ReadWrite.com. Each morning a daily digest is sent to members, with a lead story and 4-5 other provocative headlines and abstracts of news, reviews and analysis covering technology trends, applications, social networking and social media. For instance today’s top story is on legal threats to net neutrality.
Welcome to a brand new year! To set the stage for what I predict will be a beautiful year for libraries in general and CUL in particular, I thought you would enjoy this set of quotes from library admirers through the ages, including Cornellians Carl Sagan, E.B. White, and Kurt Vonnegut. Each quote is accompanied by an image of a beautiful library from around the globe, including Cornell’s AD White Library and the private library of Jay Walker, the co-chair of the Library’s Campaign for Collections.
Earlier this semester, 273 of us responded to the ClimateQual survey that measured 26 dimensions of an organization’s climate. The results are now back and the analysis is done, so I’d like to share the report and the highlights with you. Overall, we can be very proud of the health of our workplace. For 20 of the 26 organizational climate dimensions that the survey measured, at least 75% of respondents had a positive view (meaning that they rated us 4.5 or higher on a 7-point scale).
As we wind down to the end of this year, I want to bring again to your attention the opportunity we have to support ourselves and our community by giving to the United Way Campaign. I asked Elizabeth Teskey, the Library's representative to the UW campaign, how we were doing this year. Pledge cards were sent to 341 Library folks. As of last Friday, 44 cards have been returned, for a 12.9% participation rate. Last year we hit 20% participation rate, one of the highest for the university. Library support raised to date is $6,664.80.
Traditionally Thanksgiving is a time to think upon and celebrate the very good things in our lives. And because Thanksgiving is coming late this year, it also overlaps with the first day of Hanukkah. The occurrence of these two events has helped me think anew about giving thanks. First, from the Jewish faith comes the term Dayenu, which means “it would have been enough” or “it would have been sufficient.” Dayenu is a song that is sung as part of Passover about being grateful to God for all of gifts bestowed upon the Jewish people.
As we have noted in earlier Take Ones, the Authors Guild has sued Google, HathiTrust, and a number of major research libraries, including Cornell. In its 2005 suit against Google, the Guild claimed that Google had committed copyright infringement by scanning copyrighted books without the permission of the rights holders and then made them available for search in its Google Books product.
I love it when colleagues send me interesting articles to read and by coincidence I’ve recently received two recommendations on the fate of the book. First, Laurent Ferri sent me this intriguing piece from 2011, “How books will become machines,” by Fredéríc Kaplan, who holds the Digital Humanities Chair at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and directs its Digital Humanities Lab (http://fkaplan.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/kaplan-colloquelitteracies.pdf).