RUSA Trends


Jennifer Boettcher, MLS and MBA
Business Information Consultant
Georgetown University

RUSA Trends Subcommittee is looking for volunteers to write blurbs about research that would be of interest to all the sections and interest groups of RUSA:  share resources, history, reference desk, business, new tech, copyright, entrepreneurship, and collection development.  Primary duties would to keep an eye out for interesting stories, tweet them out on RUSA (so others can do the same, using #RUSAFF [RUSA Fun Facts] and appropriate section), then to populate the blog: RUSA Voices.  I would like to see at least one post per month from each section or interest group. It would be the best if we got at least one person from each section or group.  To volunteer to be on the subcommittee fill out the form (still taking volunteers for this year).

BTW, you don’t have to be a member of the Subcommittee to do any of this…. Let’s show other librarians what RUSA members are excited about.

New RUSA Interest Groups – Midwinter 2016

By Beth German  german
Instructional Design Librarian
Texas A&M University Libraries

RUSA Organization and Planning is pleased to announce that we have accepted four proposals for Interest Groups for a pilot project between Midwinter and Annual 2016. It is the hope that the outcome of this pilot will be a path forward to being the integration of Interest Groups into RUSA’s organizational structure. Take a look at the list of Interest Groups below and contact the group organizer if you are interested in more information.

The focus of the Copyright IG is on providing a forum for the RUSA community to exchange ideas relating to copyright law and its application, to strengthen communication and cooperation among RUSA members on issues relating to copyright, and to provide opportunities for growth and improved reference services. – Faithe Ruiz (

Entrepreneurship has been a hot topic of reference and adult services librarians for some time now. The concept includes self-employment, starting a business, and starting a nonprofit (also called social entrepreneurship). For libraries, support of entrepreneurship can involve outreach, research support, providing spaces for innovation and collaboration, and connecting entrepreneurs to other local resources and support services. – Steve Cramer (

First Year Experience
The purpose of this group is to share ideas and develop new connections for future collegiality and support. Topics for discussions include but are not limited to retention improvements, introduction to higher education research skills development, outreach, first generation students, international students, students enrolled simultaneously in high school and college (dual enrollment programs), reference services, etc. – Douglas Hasty (

Shared Collections
This Interest Group will focus on the topic of Shared Collections, which can encompass shared print initiatives, shared storage facilities, and prospective sharing of collections through cooperative collection development. – Tina Baich (

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RUSA STARS ILL Discussion Group – Midwinter 2016


By Nora Dethloffdethloff

Assistant Head of Information & Access Services
University of Houston Libraries


When I attended my first ALA Midwinter in 2009, I was still a brand new Interlibrary Loan Librarian, so new that I didn’t even know what I needed to know – although I knew I needed to know more. Thankfully, at that conference I discovered the RUSA STARS ILL Discussion Group. I remember taking frantic notes at that session; as practiced ILL librarians discussed topics ranging from software and scanners to copyright and licensing, I just did my best to write down all the acronyms so I could look them up later. Since then, the ILL Discussion group has become one of my conference mainstays. It’s always a great source of information about what’s happening in resource sharing, and a good place to ask questions (and get answers!) from some of the best. This year, the ILL Discussion Group marked the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Task Force for Qualifications for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management by discussing RUSA’s Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management.

In 2006, the RUSA STARS Executive Committee convened the Task Force for Qualifications for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management. The group was charged with creating a set of recommended qualifications for Interlibrary Loan managers, as well as with recommending guidelines for the “hiring, training, and maintaining the skills of” said managers. At the ILL Discussion Group two of the original task force members, Susan Lieberthal (Suffolk County Community College) and Sue Kaler (Massachusetts Library System), gave a short presentation detailing the research done by the Task Force back in 2006. This included a poll sent to ILL departments, in which respondents were asked if an MLS ought to be a required qualification for an ILL manager. The results from this poll showed a slight majority (52%, out of 598 respondents) felt the MLS ought to be required. Surprised by these findings, the task force determined that their results may have been skewed by the phrasing of the question – which described ILL managers as “running” an ILL operation, rather than “supervising” or “overseeing” – and by the manner in which the poll was distributed – directly to the emails used to contact ILL departments. The distribution method turned out to be particularly problematic, as it likely excluded from the pool higher-level supervisors and library administration. To counteract this problem, the poll was separately distributed to library directors in the SUNY system, a group which, it was felt, would be representative of library directors throughout the country. The question was also rephrased, replacing “running” with “supervising.” Results from this second poll showed respondents overwhelmingly (70%) in favor of an MLS as a requirement. These results informed the creation of the guidelines, in particular section 5.1, which states that oversight of ILL operations should be given to someone holding an MLS.

Following the brief presentation, the floor was opened to discussion about the guidelines. The exchange initially focused on work now underway in STARS Executive Committee to develop a list of core competencies for work in Interlibrary Loan. The goal of this project is to create a document that will serve as a description of the skills needed in an ILL shop. The plan is that this could eventually be used by ILL practitioners both as a hiring and training tool, and also as a tool for outreach to raise awareness of the breadth and complexity of the tasks in an ILL operation.

Discussion returned to the Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management, with an observation that work on these guidelines was undertaken in 2005. At this time, there was concern among the resource sharing profession about the de-professionalization of Interlibrary Loan; some felt that a trend was developing toward ILL operations managed by non-MLS staff members. However, this prediction has proved to be inaccurate. Rather, the role of ILL in today’s library is often at the intersection of many other areas of library science. A good ILL manager, it was pointed out, works closely with those involved in collection development, licensing of resources, acquisitions, and other areas. In this regard, it is particularly helpful for an ILL manager to have the background and basic familiarity with all areas of library science that comes with an MLS.

Moving to the next topic for discussion, Tim Bowen from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) spoke about the status of Ariel, the document transmission software from Infotrieve. Infotrieve, along with Ariel, was acquired by the CCC in 2014. At that time, the Ariel software was already badly outdated, and all Ariel expertise within Infotrieve had already been lost. Ariel, which has been replaced in many ILL operations by newer alternatives like Odyssey and Article Exchange, has not been updated since 2006 and will be sunsetted later this year. There is no official timeline as yet, but they are hoping to retire Ariel by June. Notices will be sent to remaining subscribers sometime in February.

Bowen responded positively to suggestions from the floor, including the suggestion that webinars presenting alternative products should be offered, and the point that international libraries may need special accommodations as many are not OCLC subscribers, a requirement to use some newer software.

As usual, the STARS ILL Discussion Group provided a lively exchange of ideas on topics relevant to the resource sharing profession. Once again I found myself scribbling copious notes. For folks in resource sharing, the ILL Discussion Group is an invaluable source of new information, and a great chance to hear from people practicing ILL in a wide variety of libraries.

Blog for RUSA During Midwinter!

Raise your Voice! Consider blogging for RUSA Voices, the new blog for RUSA members and those who support the mission and goals of RUSA.

We are looking for folks (RUSA member or interested parties) to blog during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting this coming January in Boston about interesting sessions, discussion groups, and happenings.

If you’re not at Midwinter but have other things you’d like to share, consider blogging about items or interest or things that really grind your gears throughout the year. Can’t do it then, but still interested?

Going to Annual next summer or other library conferences and want to share what you learned? Bring it on! No topic is taboo and since this is a user generated blog, we want to hear what you think. RUSA wants to hear what you think. ALA wants to hear what you think.

Questions? Interest? Contact David Midyette (

Check for Success: How to Develop a Checklist for Publishing Your LibGuide

By Beth German

Library Guides have long been a mainstay in reference and user services. With the proliferation of SpringShare’s LibGuide system, creating guides has been easier than ever. However, despite the ease of creating a guide, designing a high quality guide remains elusive. Most best practices and tutorials focus on teaching to the tool (how to create boxes or add links) and few address developing high quality content and design. A checklist can be useful in bringing the focus back to the content in order to make your guide useful and usable for your users. (sample checklist)

The steps for creating a checklist are straight forward:

  1. Determine the overarching areas that you’d like to focus on (this can be done by either looking at your Best Practices or simply by brainstorming).
  2. Develop each of the individual items for each area.
  3. Publish the checklist where guide creators have access to it.
  4. Profit.

Suggested Areas

Here are four suggestions with the rationale of a checklist from one academic library but you can adapt any of the areas or items to fit the needs at your institution.

Suggestion 1: Writing for the Web

Writing for the Web is one of the most important things that you can do to make your guide useful to your users. Libraries are often heavy with jargon or too many links. Following best practices for writing for the web will help with this but the checklist will help guide creators know what they should be aiming for.

Example Items:

  • Page titles are clear
  • Clear headers and sub-headers
  • Content is chunked
  • Limit jargon
  • Short sentences and paragraphs
  • Use bullets and lists
  • Good balance with white space

Suggestion 2: Universal Design

It is important for all users to be able to use your guide. Beyond just being the right thing to do, designing with universal design in mind will create a better experience for all users. It is often also the law. The checklist will remind guide owners/developers what they should be looking for when creating their guides.

Example Items:

  • Use alt-text for images
  • Captions in videos
  • Color is not solely used to convey information
  • Sufficient contrast is provided
  • Guide is understandable even without style
  • Run your guide through Wave ( to check the usability of your guide

Suggestion 3: Quality Assurance

At the end of the day, you need things to work. Nothing is more frustrating to a user than to visit a guide and receive “link not found” errors. Quality assurance can also be a step for guide creators to take a step back and think, “If I can’t make sure my guide works, maybe I have too much content on my guide.”

Example Items:

  • All links work
  • Check spelling throughout guide
  • Look at guide in different browsers

Suggestion 4: Local Practices

We’ve all made best practices or customizations for our instances that guide owners need to remember to make our systems work. They could vary from adding a particular tag or using the right syntax for naming your guide.

Example Items:

  • Add subject associations
  • Reuse links from A-Z databases
  • Reuse assets and images when applicable
  • Set a date within 6 months to review your guide

Espresso Machine

By Dana Von Berg

At the University of Arizona Libraries we have a professional book making machine known as the Espresso Book Machine which produces professional, self-published books. It is ideal for anyone interested in self-publishing their work. Examples include aspiring authors preferring to bypass expensive publishing houses, individuals who would like to publish their memoirs or a graduate student who wants to make copies of their dissertation to give to family and friends. Recently an instructor for a beginning photography course had each of his students print a book of their photographic portfolios as their final project. The Espresso Book Machine was used for printing these student portfolios. It produced very clear, high quality color prints of each student’s photographs. There are very few of these machines in the country so the University of Arizona Libraries feel very fortunate to be able to provide this service for customers. For more information, please visit our website at:

Raise Your Voices!

Writing Tools

By J. David Midyette

Well, RUSA Voices has launched and has been getting quite a few looks by interested folks. I want to thank all of the folks behind the scenes (you know who you are) for getting things started with our posts about the ALA meetings in San Francisco. I wanted to go, but couldn’t make it this year. However, the posts by our diligent ALA correspondents certainly brought home some of the information and flavor of a successful conference. Following on that success, I want to put a call out to all RUSA and non-RUSA folks to contribute to RUSA Voices. This is YOUR blog for YOUR ideas and concerns, so Raise Your Voice and speak to your fellow librarians!

Writing a blog post can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be. Your colleagues want to hear from you about your trials and tribulations, your successes and challenges, but mostly, they just want to hear what’s important to you in your professional lives. While RUSA is focused on reference and user services, that is still an incredibly broad category, and provides innumerable options for sharing of information. How is your transition to LibGuides 2.0 coming? What are your challenges in collecting quantitative and qualitative data to prove your worth? What new reference services are red hot topics? How are old concepts and techniques being applied in new and novel ways? Is Google still putting us out of business or is it just reshaping how we help people connect to information?

Still not convinced? Send me an email or give me a call! I’ll help you work through the process of putting fingers to keys. It really can be as simple as sitting down and typing out your string of consciousness about a topic. We can work from there to refine and shape your writing. Heck, it may be perfect the way it is! The point is that you have a Voice and it needs to be heard. You may think to yourself that you have nothing interesting or novel to say (I know I listened to my inner voice saying that for far too long), but in truth, you have a lot to say and it WILL interest people. While many of us live at the bleeding edge of technology, others bide their time and wait to see how these new technologies express themselves through patron usage. Twitter is an awesome tool, but it has changed immensely from the beginning. Think about what you do on a daily basis and simply report on some of the unique things, even if they seem mundane.

I love editing people’s writing and helping them shape their ideas. Send me something and let me help you get started. Write a blog post for RUSA Voices and put it in your resume. Posts can be more academic or more practical in orientation; it’s up to you and your interests. You don’t have to agonize over things, just get something down and send it in; we will go from there together . . . We will make sure that your colleagues hear your Voice and share what you have to say! I look forward to working with you, now sit down and write something!

David (
Editor, RUSA Voices

Last Day at ALA Annual 2015: Researching Emerging Industries

by Ray Pun

Another ALA Annual conference has come and gone! I will return to Shanghai on Tuesday morning at 1 AM! Before I go back to work, I wanted to discuss a BRASS sponsored program I attended on Monday morning: “Not Elsewhere Classified: Different Approaches to Researching Emerging Industries,” presented by April Kessler and Laura Young from Bizologie.

It was a very interesting presentation that taught me a lot about how to think creatively in using a variety of current (and free) resources to conduct industry and market research. I found it to be very relevant and applicable to research in general. The program description states that “Experts will enlighten participants on how to locate and evaluate information on leading-edge industries, assess markets, and lead your clients in making strategic decisions when their business crosses traditional NAICS code boundaries or is part of a new or soon-to-be-existing field.”

The two speakers addressed many of the startup enterprises that are creating many waves and headlines in the world: Uber, Airbnb, HomeAway and other food delivery apps. These new technologies are part of this new sharing economy that can be very challenging for any researchers to find more information about.

Luckily, the speakers gave plenty of research techniques, tips and ideas when conducting research on emerging industries. Here are a few new things I learned:

• There are plenty of free resources for researchers to use. The speakers mentioned the following tools that could be helpful: Crunchbase,, BizJournal, online casino, and Statista, among others. They can give market trends, competitors or at least data/information about these new emerging companies.

• Google Research – You can run a Google search on Google News as well as searching for filetype: ppt, pdf, or xls for free sources on your business research.

• When researching these new emerging industries, think about new tax laws, regulations, SEC rulings, etc. These new policies are also determining how these new startups can operate responsibly under the law.

It was a great time to reconnect with friends, colleagues and many other folks at the ALA Annual conference! I always learn a lot and enjoy meeting new people in this event! Thanks for reading and I hope to see some of you next year in Orlando!

Day 3 at ALA: Committee Meetings

by Kara Wagoner

Sunday at the ALA Annual Conference was a day of subtlety, in stark contrast to the colorful excitement of the SF Pride Parade happening right on Market Street. My Saturday included listening to danah boyd in an audience-filled auditorium and an evening at Hotel Nikko to celebrate the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. My Sunday, on the other hand, focused on the work to create such programming.

The Emerging Technologies Section (ETS) of RUSA converges public services and tech in an engaging way that encourages participation and inclusion. Throughout the conference, I had followed @rusa_ets on Twitter, so I was thrilled when I saw a tweet inviting everyone to the all-committee meeting on Sunday afternoon.

Stephanie Graves, director of learning and outreach at Texas A&M, led a discussion where members thought about the structure of ETS, possible opportunities for future webinars, and hot topics in emerging technology. Here are some of the highlights:

• Opportunities for collaboratives exist. The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) empowers libraries through its exploration of new technologies. Crossover programs between ETS and LITA could lead to a more cohesive message when talking about applied science in the library.

• Consultations are key. As a library adopts a new system, such as self-serving kiosks for laptop checkouts, it would be helpful to talk to a person or group who has already experienced the growing pains and successes of that same implementation.

• Tech areas of interest evolve quickly. Professional development has to be adaptive to reflect this. Proposals for programs at the ALA Annual Conference have to be submitted more than a year in advance. Framing technology in terms of over-arching themes rather than specifics allows for more flexibility in the planning process.

In 2016, we may see programs, discussion groups, and webinars examining the issues surrounding user-centered design, big data, or the Internet of Things. It was exciting to participate in a small group where behind-the-scenes brainstorming makes such events possible.