Importing DOCLINE requests from the clipboard

Here’s one we didn’t know about.

Many ILLiad library staff members processing requests from DOCLINE experience this: you update your DOCLINE after filling article requests and notice you need to ‘receive’ a number of items. But, instead of closing out of the update process to import requests into ILLiad, you accidentally acknowledge receipt of your DOCLINE requests from the DOCLINE Lending Updating Screen. 

This is easy enough to catch if it happens to a single request, but what if you receive 50 this way? Ouch. You’ve lost an entire day you could have spent doing cool stuff for your patrons. 

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Fear not, there’s an easy fix. Highlight and copy (CTRL + C) all the requests while you’re still in the DOCLINE Lending Updating screen. Now you can use the Import from Clipboard option inside DOCLINE Lending Importing to recover those requests. You can also do this from a separate browser window if you prefer to access DOCLINE outside ILLiad. 

Aligning Reasons for Cancellation/Rejections

One of the easiest ways to improve the performance of DOCLINE in ILLiad is by limiting the number of times human intervention is required in the system. Harmonizing the syntax of your “reasons for no” is a good example of this. Usually, this means case matching.

An ILLiad library filling requests from DOCLINE probably has a lending volume which requires batch updating, and selecting Filled As Requested By Borrower. This is a setting adjusted inside DOCLINE.

Batch updating means statistics for how a library fills requests may be inaccurate in DOCLINE’s reports, but ILLiad libraries using DOCLINE already receive inaccurate reports from DOCLINE for a variety of reasons.

syntaxmatchIn the batch update screen, you have a number of reasons for rejection. In ILLiad’s customization manager, these have to match DOCLINE’s syntax to work effectively and not create errors. For example, if I reject due to poor condition, ILLiad’s customization manager must say POR, not por. Not found as cited must be INC*, not inc or INC. DOCLINE is not a system which allows for guessing.

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Once your Reasons for Cancellations are updated in ILLiad to match DOCLINE’s, batch updating will be much easier. Because DOCLINE has a limited number of reasons compared to OCLC, you can align other scenarios to the most appropriate reasons.

Coaxing ILLiad and DOCLINE

One of my resource sharing projects involves coaxing ILLiad and DOCLINE to perform better together. Medical libraries with specialized collections I need access to use DOCLINE exclusively to manage requests. Over half our lending requests come through DOCLINE, so I can’t ignore it as a resource sharing tool, even though overall usage is on the decline, and DOCLINE’s developers believe the current web interface is sufficient for all member institutions. To that end, unless DOCLINE is released for independent developers to customize and enhance, there isn’t much I can do beyond make suggestions and figure out ways to work with what I have.

Medical libraries use a variety of resource sharing software with varying degrees of interoperability. I have to work with everyone as best I can, and that means finding places for DOCLINE and ILLiad to harmonize. Because DOCLINE is a functionally closed system, I have to automate as much as possible through ILLiad and minimize the level of human intervention required by the system.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be explaining how to do this in ILLiad as far as DOCLINE will allow.

Embargo and AHA – review of institutional policies

To prepare for an essay on open access issues and history dissertations, I researched the dissertation embargo policies of Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) libraries. For those who are unfamiliar, the CIC is a consortia group including all Big 10 universities and the University of Chicago. Most CIC institutions have excellent placement rates for their history graduates, many of whom go on find tenure-track positions and publish books. Without getting into other data, here are the institutional policies of the CIC on dissertation access and the rights of graduate students.

University of Chicago: Embargo duration for 6 months, 1 year, or two years. Must have approval from your adviser.

University of Illinois: Embargo duration for 6 months, 1 year, or two years. Detailed access options available for release within IDEALS, and how to manage access in ProQuest. For example, a graduate can set their dissertation to be viewed only by users affiliated with University of Illinois for those two years.

Indiana University: If I am reading this correctly, if you are faculty or staff at Indiana University and deposit research in the repository, you can set the embargo for any period between the date of deposit and 5 years. If you are a graduate student, dissertations have 6 month, 1 year, or two year embargo.

University of Iowa: 1 or 2 year embargo, must have thesis adviser’s permission.

University of Maryland: 1 or 6 year embargo (no in between?) available, with permanent option available. Graduates must petition the Dean of the Graduate School for permanent embargo and graduate can have this lifted at any time.

University of Michigan: 1 year with renewal available for up to three years. Graduates can restrict access to University of Michigan community and policy seems designed to encourage this. Option to embargo entire work–including catalog record–for one year with no extension available.

Michigan State University: Meeting minutes suggest an embargo is available but I was not easily able to find more information. Library has information on data curation and depositing thesis in ProQuest, but not readily on embargo.

University of Minnesota: Embargo duration for 6 months, 1 year, or two years. Must be approved by thesis adviser.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Embargo duration for 6 months, 1 year, or two years. Graduates can have work restricted for up to 5 years through university libraries. This page is probably the most helpful I’ve seen so far, explaining in clear language what each option for access means. University of Nebraska-Lincoln also grants an additional 3 years to ‘creative’ works.

Northwestern University: Defaults to ProQuest’s options for embargo, graduates strongly encouraged to consider implications of restricting access to dissertation. Out of the 9 dissertations submitted to ProQuest in 2013, 6 granted full-text access in database.

The Ohio State University: Embargo up to 5 years, excluding creative works.

Pennsylvania State University: Similar to University of Michigan, graduates have the option of completely excluding a record for 2 years, or making it available to Pennsylvania State University affiliates only for up to 2 years before the embargo lifts.

Purdue University: Embargo from 6 months to two years allowed. I found this on a PowerPoint before locating it on the university website, but the graduate office seems very helpful.

Rutgers University: One year embargo, with possible extensions approved by Dean of Academic Affairs.

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Embargo duration for 6 months, 1 year, or two years. Extensions must be approved by thesis adviser, Associate Dean of Graduate School.

A weekend off

I only have a couple of things to finish up for this week. My subject guide is coming along, as are the papers and final project for Cultural Informatics. I have a few work-related things to finish and otherwise arrange before winter break at the university. There’s also the paper for the OSU class due and I find myself wondering how I ended up writing a library-related essay for OSU, and interdisciplinary essays for Kent State. I’m also wondering why on Earth I wrote something on Agrippa when I could have knocked out a piece on los cartoneros with minimal effort.

As the OSU professor put it, “Well. Sometimes we get ourselves into these things.”

Indeed. I’m learning I do this often. Get myself into things.

Meanwhile, the Feels seems inexhaustible at times. I find I have more ‘up’ time lately, in spite of wrangling further with my former partner’s piecemeal digital estate and figuring out how to manage those decisions. The more I find, the less I understand about our shared past. Some of this I can sublimate into projects at work; those shadows not dispersed by the bright at are run off until I can sleep.

I wonder what I will do when I’m not “in school” anymore, which is to say not receiving formal instruction in Whatever from Institution.

Maybe write again.

Lay down your sword

The thing you don’t learn about grief until it happens is that it’s not a linear process. In particular when the relationship was not a straightforward one,  easily summarized by strangers with Hallmark card phrases or support group language. The usual kinds of therapy aren’t helpful. Well-meaning friends say ignorant things because they don’t know the back story and you’re too tired to explain it all. Again. In some cases, it disrupts their own grief to know the truth about the dead person, so you keep silent. In most conversations it’s inappropriate. You don’t want your new co-workers to worry, your supervisor to doubt your ability. You don’t want to hear about the employee assistance program with its remote resources and out-of-the-box methods to process work/life balance issues and stress. You have to remain the machine you’ve been for years. You numb yourself in the socially acceptable ways–in my case work and school to a breaking point never approached before, or maybe just ignored. People pass it off as focus. 

“I’m sorry,” everyone says. There’s no polite way to respond, so you thank them and hope your public grief is sufficient. Meanwhile your assignments drift away from you. You forget things like discussion boards. There was no obituary, so what do you tell your professors? It’s like explaining a dream you had–confirming end of life care and preferences with powerless hospital staff, arranging a memorial from two thousand miles away. I guess the emergency contact forms were never updated and my name was on everything.

So you get through a semester and things are okay. Maybe you withdraw from a class and decide three courses between two universities plus working full time isn’t the best plan right now. Maybe you start feeling better, stop blaming yourself for a few weeks and things appear to get better. The hamster doesn’t run as hard. You distract yourself with programming languages, researching how to develop an API for your ILL program. You adopt routines everyone insists will be helpful: get up and go to bed at the same time daily. Eat something besides coffee and painkillers. You’re not going to let a little thing like the death of a former long term partner bother you, right? You’re Angela. You’re a badass. You can do this.

Except that’s not how it works, and your brain pinballs a number of feelings simultaneously: relief that your abuser can never return to your life, sadness that a gifted scientist is no longer in the world, and the thought that your anger seems useless now. The rage comes out in different ways, almost none of them productive.

So you go see your advisor, who wisely suggests you take a semester off before finishing the program. You sit in the lab and pick at assignments on your birthday, favorite sour patch kids scraping the inside of your mouth and answering questions about Humans vs. Zombies and effective library policy on nerf guns over Twitter. This is a rare moment of focus: you have to catch up now before the pinball bounces again. 

You try to remember that laying down your sword doesn’t mean failure.

Coffee and DayQuil

I’m taking a break to answer a question I field often from other LIS students: how did you get your job(s)? I know because I asked each of my supervisors why they hired me. I think that’s important information to have because it helps me understand how I present myself to others from their perspective, and how I can be successful in the future.

My first job with a library was an unpaid internship for Special Collections and University Archives at a small regional school in Oregon. This department received a considerable donation while I was there and I had the opportunity to work with the public, members of the media, and people on campus. My internship meant the archives could be open much longer than usual. It’s a small university, so all I had to do was ask.

The second came at a friend’s suggestion. She was helping me revise my resume so I could leave my decade of hotel night auditing behind. By then I lived in Columbus, Ohio and she was at University of British Columbia working on her MLIS. My friend thought I’d make a good librarian and that I should apply for jobs with the local system. Unknown to me when I moved, Columbus had one of the best public library systems in the nation. I applied to three or four positions before getting a call back. I dug out a power suit and went into the interview as a customer oriented person. I was able to trade on my hospitality experience, translating it into a circulation desk position. After working overnight for all the drinking holidays in a 400 room hotel, the public library was a walk in the park. My supervisors later explained the customer-oriented service was the quality they wanted. “The library part you could learn on the job,” they explained. I was happy to work somewhere that would respond if I were threatened on the job (hotels ignore this behavior in their clientele) and was not hazardous.

I continued to work nights while holding a part-time circulation desk position. This began to impact my health and relationships; my partner rarely saw me and I was never awake or asleep, but started to exist in a space where neither was possible.  I did get this picture out of the experience, the most flattering photograph of me ever taken. I am not being facetious.

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With abundant free time, I enrolled in Kent State’s MLIS program. The director of a local medical library spoke to my foundations class and his enthusiasm was amazing. Like me, the director had a hospitality background before working in libraries. I decided before the end of the lecture that I would work for him and when a job opened it was mine. Again, this was due to my service orientation, but this director uses cover letters to weed out applicants. “If you can’t sell yourself on the page, how can you sell the library’s services?” I was exhausted when I wrote mine and it felt like the most self-aggrandizing thing I’d ever committed to paper. Turns out I’d been selling myself short and all those things I thought painted me as arrogant were what you were supposed to put in cover letters.

I had a longer learning curve than I would have liked adjusting to more professional environments. Until this job, my entire professional identity was handed to me through uniforms and scripted behaviors. At the public library, jeans and t-shirts were fine, as well as the casual attitudes which accompanied them.  I also had trouble at both libraries learning to report to people before solving problems or managing security issues. As a night auditor, I had to make all decisions without backup or assistance so this was a difficult habit to unlearn. For those of you experiencing the same culture shock this book was a great help to me. Every LIS student should have a copy. I am grateful to that library director for his patience and mentorship, but I grew out of the job and wanted to do more.

I stumbled on a new listing at The Ohio State University. Although the title was different the same essential functions were required, with significant room for stretch. I wanted to work for OSU ever since I moved in 2009. I figured because of Kent State saturating the library job market, I’d be up against hundreds of applications, but in went the resume. The medical center’s application interface didn’t allow for cover letters. I attached one to the resume anyway. I didn’t meet everything in the ‘desired’ qualifications list, so I researched those things to be able to speak intelligently about them.

I apply for jobs with a particular process—whatever I’m moving to needs to either pay more or give me greater return on investment in terms of professional development. I never wait to hear back before applying to other positions, even if those aren’t ideal. Always move forward.  Always think a few steps ahead. If I didn’t get the job with OSU, how could I develop myself to get one in the future?

During the interview I was sick, wired from coffee and DayQuil. Someone close to me died the previous month. I arranged their memorial in Oregon from Ohio, pacing in the hospital parking lot. I sat there fielding questions from my first search committee interview, high on cold medicine and fighting grief that lurched in my brain at unexpected turns. Toward the end I assumed I blew it completely and began to ask more philosophical questions. It’s not the worst interview I’ve had, but to say I was under duress at the time is probably true. It’s not like I started crying or something but I assume I slipped into that thousand yard stare that accompanies grief and illness. I do remember saying that I didn’t care for innovation by committee, “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” would never be a good enough answer and this was distinct from a supervisor saying they needed something done a particular way.

During the tour I saw my office. Every flat surface was stacked with paper at least two feet high. The workspace was cold and fortress-like. I was horrified. Forgetting I was still in the interview, I said “Everything needs to change,” within earshot of my tour guide. I went home and assumed I’d never hear from OSU again.

I asked my boss today why I was hired. “We felt you were the most qualified to modernize the interlibrary loan operation quickly. We felt you were comfortable with ambiguity. You could work independently. And that’s all been true.”

Or, coffee and DayQuil are magic. However they happened, those are my library jobs and how I got them.