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From the Director

by Bob Kieft

In my long-gone younger days as a library assistant, a librarian who was fond of playing the roles of Chief Skeptic of the Administration and Scourge of Management, roles familiar to all cast members of the comedy of academic life, posted a quotation on our department bulletin board. Ascribed generally but, it seems, erroneously to Petronius <>, I still have it: "We'd trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization."

Now that I am later in life, and especially now that, as Administration and Management, I am charged with thinking about matters of (re)organization and deployment of resources, “Petronius’” statement sounds not only a cautionary note in my ear but also an invitation to treat this view skeptically. Yes, people and their ambitions, talents, and hard work matter more than the organization chart, but we also know that people are hierarchical and territorial creatures and develop or insist upon certain understandings of their place among other such creatures.

Having assumed administrative responsibility for the departments of Academic Computing and Networking and Systems in the summer of 2004 with the new title Director of College Information Resources (CIR), I was asked this last summer to assume responsibility for Administrative Computing as well. The President's request that I do so was accompanied by a mandate to develop an information organization that would present a single service face to the campus community, that is, one that did not distinguish users by their place in the organization chart as, if nothing else, the names Academic and Administrative Computing suggest we had done.

This request that we review our operations and staffing patterns and build a different service organization makes sense on several grounds. Every organization needs periods of self-evaluation and change in order to stay healthy, but the foremost reason for CIR to engage in this change process is the convergence of many College activities and interests on information technologies. Our network infrastructure affects everyone, our administrative data serve the Business Office and faculty alike, and our staff provide desktop support for all campus users. Library work is becoming increasingly technologically oriented in terms both of the materials we purchase or subscribe to and the means by which our users search for, discover, and access them. Our increasingly electronic library involves more movement of data among systems and requires storage space and delivery means for digital materials; collecting the digitized records and other electronic output of the College poses the same challenges for library staff as the storage and ongoing access to College business records and course materials.

Processes of substantial reorganization are time consuming and must be done carefully both to prevent service interruptions and to create a stronger new structure. Unlike the corporate world in which such changes are decreed and in keeping with Haverford traditions of respect for the individual, we are taking a deliberate approach to developing our unified department. In addition to regular meetings of departments heads, in October we held a meeting of all CIR staff to sketch the parameters of our program review process. In February, we held a retreat to deepen discussion and to begin to define the areas in which we would launch our process of integration. Facilitated by Haverford HR staff and a colleague from Bryn Mawr, this planning retreat was especially useful to us because we invited colleagues Joel Cooper, Director of Information Technology Services at Carleton College, Justin Sipher, Chief Technology Officer at Skidmore College, and Gene Spencer, CIO at Bucknell, to talk about how their information organizations work, about their departments' goals, and about how their experience might inform our own planning.

In addition to internal discussion and the work groups that emerged from the retreat, we will be looking for clues to our future in a consultant's report Tom Tritton commissioned to assess our administrative data systems and in an opinion survey about satisfaction with library and computing services. We will use the results of the opinion survey to identify areas we need to strengthen, and, with the help of a consultant, we will study how best to organize staff to deliver information services to the campus. The current project to redesign and upgrade the College's website is also placing CIR staff in new relationships to staff from other departments of the College and to each other; the work groups developing around this project will also help us to rethink our basic services and working relationships.

The forms in which information is being created and published and the technologies for its delivery and storage, together with new legal, social, pedagogical, and cultural issues around its use, confront CIR with a manifold of changes and challenges to work with. Over the coming months and years, our staff will develop an efficient and orderly, integrated service program to meet those challenges and, with the support of others in the College, will help the campus adjust to and take advantage of these changes.

-Bob Kieft is Director of College Information Resources & Librarian of the College

Research Boot Camp

by Margaret Schaus and Dora Wong

During this academic year, librarians at Haverford have had the chance to work with high school students, introducing them to the more complex work that they will encounter in college.

In Fall 2006, Haverford College’s Gilbert Fowler White Science Library staff worked with students and faculty from Friends’ Central School on an interdisciplinary research project. This project emphasized “real-world” learning by engaging students in a topic with environmental and nutritional implications, not only in the developing world, but also in industrialized countries.

The research topic was an aquatic plant named “duckweed.” Owing to its ability to grow in water heavily polluted by fertilizers and high protein content, duckweed forms an important link in the agricultural nutritional chain as feed for animals in traditional farming in Asia. Dr. Phyllis Gallagher, the teacher of the Chemistry II Advanced class, and Dora Wong, science librarian, met more than a week prior to the scheduled visit to discuss the research and information literacy questions that the students had posed. This meeting allowed time for preparation of a customized course guide <> and to have supporting materials on hand. Upon arrival of the class of eight students, the teacher and the school librarian, we had a review session on the usage of online databases, how to evaluate the types of information sources students would most likely encounter and where to find government and NGO-type information that tend to be obscure and diffuse. A packet of handouts (web evaluation form, PubMed search guides, general chart of search engine comparison, tripod search guide, info flow diagram) was also provided for their convenience. Students had the opportunity to do hands-on searches on chemistry and full-text journal databases on laptops set up especially for this occasion. After some searching, they had lunch at the newly renovated Coop and concluded their visit at 2:00pm.

During winter break Magill Library played host to senior English classes from Malvern Preparatory School along with their teachers and high school librarian. They came to learn about the work expected of Haverford students and to spend an afternoon doing research in a college library for their English term papers. Each class had a research web page, an introduction to library facilities, and an opportunity to talk to a reference librarian individually.

In February reference librarian Margaret Schaus participated in “What College Freshmen Need to Know,” a panel discussion sponsored by the Chester County Librarian Forum. Other panel members came from Delaware County Community College, Saint Joseph’s University, Ursinus College, Villanova University, and West Chester University. Panelists discussed questions submitted to them earlier and then took additional questions from the audience of mostly high school librarians. The group was interested in what entering freshman should know about research and writing term papers. They also wanted to know what professors expected from freshman during the first year and how actively they guided first year student research. Panelists also discussed issues involving Wikipedia, copyright, plagiarism, online indexes, and scholarly journals.

Haverford Library staff welcomes the opportunity to work with high school students and get to know their interests and concerns. High school teachers and librarians also give us an important insight into the issues and pressures affecting many schools from which our Haverford students come.

-Margaret Schaus is Reference Librarian & Bibliographer
-Dora Wong is Science Librarian

Teaching Effectively With Technology

by E. Jeffrey White

What response would students have to slide number 397 of a PowerPoint presentation? They would probably react the same way as a viewer in Dilbert (Scott Adams’ famous office cartoon) reacted: By collapsing as a result of PowerPoint Poisoning. Whether it’s too many slides, too much eye candy in the form of flashy transitions and animations, or endless one-liners that have dumbed-down the content, the thought of watching yet another PowerPoint presentation by a professor is not appealing to most students. Nevertheless, presentation software, especially PowerPoint, is one of the first items on any list intended to enrich teaching with technology. Unfortunately, this form of technology is often used as no more than a modern slide projector.

But not in Wendy Sternberg’s classes. Sternberg, Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair, has taken the medium of PowerPoint (that is, a projected visual) and combined it with a tablet computer to transform her class into an engaging learning environment. Professor Sternberg begins her lectures with a blank PowerPoint (PP) slideshow on her tablet computer, projected onto the screen at the front of the classroom. Using the built-in tablet software and a stylus, she draws and writes her notes on the slides. Because the computer is connected to a projector, the students see all of the professor’s notes as they appear on the screen. While this is not much different than writing on a chalkboard, Professor Sternberg takes it a step further. She saves the slides as a PDF and posts it to her Blackboard course for the students to access outside of class. Furthermore, as part of many classes, she prepares a number of PowerPoint slides that she can annotate during class. These are also included with the notes file and posted to Blackboard. Professor Sternberg says that the graphic capabilities of the tablet computer allow her to interact with her diagrams and charts and flesh them out while the students participate in a way that could not be done with PowerPoint on a traditional computer. Moreover, there is the added bonus of capturing everything she writes so that there is a record of the class discussion. Students seem to enjoy the break from the traditional linear approach of PowerPoint-based lectures.

Associate Professor Wendy Sternberg

For one of her assignments, Professor Sternberg takes an idea from the “Biography of an Experiment” project <>, originally funded by the Beckman Foundation, and puts her own spin on it. She posts a paper or article in PDF format on Blackboard for students to download and provide a reaction. Rather than requiring the students to produce a written, linear response, the students are asked to create a rich critique to the readings by adding text and hyperlinks to external documents and websites using Adobe Acrobat Professional. This allows students to draw upon creative and artistic talents, and helps them to unleash their thinking in a way not constrained by linear assignments, such as written papers. But more than that, Professor Sternberg feels that “the true value of the assignment lies in the contextualization that is encouraged by the medium. That is, students can highlight specific issues of interest to them in the paper, and delve deeper, in layers, through text and hyperlinks.” Response to the assignments has been enthusiastic, and students appreciate the opportunities this approach gives them in their learning.

Neither of these approaches to teaching with technology is radical, nor do they require an elite set of skills to implement. However, with a little imagination and careful planning, Professor Sternberg has been able to take everyday technology and use it to accomplish extraordinary learning.

-E. Jeffrey White is Academic Computing Desktop and Instructional Support Specialist

Art Song at the Union Music Library

by Michelle Oswell

Haverford’s Music Library contains over 30,000 scores and 3,700 CDs and among these is a significant collection of art song scores and recordings. From the classics of the repertoire, there are editions of Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Edvard Grieg, Johannes Brahms, and Hugo Wolf Lieder in high and low voice. Recent acquisitions include scores such as Benjamin Britten’s Complete Folksong Arrangements, the Kurt Weill Centennial Anthology, collections of Jean Sibelius’ art songs for voice and piano, and works from lesser-known composers like Ture Rangström, John Duke, Erich Korngold, and Richard Hundley.

For the patron looking for recordings, Haverford’s collection includes CDs from performers like Jessye Norman and Christa Ludwig. In addition, there are large collections of art song recordings such as Hyperion Records’ 40-disc The Complete Songs of Franz Schubert with Graham Johnson on piano, and the Fischer-Dieskau Edition, produced by Deutsche Grammophon. The Fischer-Dieskau set, 21 discs in all, encompasses a wide range of song styles including Lieder, folk song, cantatas, and operatic arias, and features not only the talents of a leader in art song performance, but also such instrumentalists as Daniel Barenboim and Sviatoslav Richter.

To help the student of song understand the texts she is singing, the Music Library’s reference collection includes The Book of Lieder: The Original Text of Over 1000 Songs, compiled and translated by Richard Stokes, and the complete texts to Franz Schubert’s Lieder, a supplement to the Complete Songs set produced by Hyperion Records. Song: A Guide to Art Song Style and Literature (Hal Leonard, 2006) by Carol Kimball, provides the researcher with excellent background and bibliographical information on style arranged by country.

Stop by Union and check out these and other sources for art song in the Music Library.

-Michelle Oswell is Humanities Librarian for Music and Literature

New Training Classes Offered

by Jennifer Grant

Administrative Computing is continuing to expand its user support via new training classes and a growing list of online help pages.

Jennifer Grant, Applications Support Specialist for Administrative Computing, has been offering computer training classes since October, and the online training schedule <>
is currently posted through April 2007. Sessions are around two hours long, and classes are being offered on the following software packages:

  • Microsoft Excel
    Four separate Excel classes address user needs from beginning to advanced levels. Topics covered include the “basics,” helpful tips and tricks, formulas and functions, advanced formatting, PivotTables, and more.

  • Microsoft Word: Mail Merges

  • PowerPoint: Making a PowerPoint Presentation

  • MeetingMaker: Making the Most of your Calendar

See the online training schedule to sign up or obtain more information.

Additionally, the Administrative Computing website now includes a continually increasing number of help pages available at <>. These pages provide tips and how-to’s for using common software applications, such as creating flowcharts in Microsoft Office, coloring alternate rows of data in Excel, setting favorite proxies in MeetingMaker, and more.

If you’d like to receive an email announcement each time new classes are posted or you have a suggestion for a new help page, please send an email to <>.

-Jennifer Grant is Applications Support Specialist

Bioinformatics: New Tools for Learning

by Dora Wong

In June 2006, I attended a three-day workshop on bioinformatics to learn about Entrez, a vast integrated gateway to biomedical information maintained by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). NCBI was established in 1988 by the National Institutes of Health to create transparent access to public biomedical databases. Bioinformatics is the convergence of molecular biology, computational methods and communication science.

At the most basic level, a Haverford College non-science major taking a college writing course with an emphasis on inheritance of genetic diseases can search Entrez PubMed to understand congenital metabolic disorders. A student conducting research on molecular biology based on first principles will also gain an appreciation for the treatment.

Entrez can be traversed from any number of starting points such as BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool). BLAST is a tool for the identification of local similarity between nucleotide or amino acid sequences. In Biology 300, students worked with transposons (jumping genes) to disrupt the gene that codes for patterns of adhesion to infected cells. After isolating individual strains that exhibit signs of disruption to the adhesion genes by transposons, the DNA sequence around the site of transposon insertion was sequenced. “BLAST analyses permitted our students to understand the potential significance of the sequence their transposon had disrupted, opening a window into the molecular basis of infection,” explained Professor Karl Johnson.

To find out more about the many tools accessible through Entrez, follow the course outline at <>.

--Dora Wong is Science Librarian

The author wishes to thank Professor Karl Johnson, Professor Phil Meneely, Professor Iruka Okeke and Liz Meeks ‘08 for their helpful feedback on BLAST.

Staff News and Notes

Compiled by Mike Persick

John Anderies, Coordinator for Special & Digital Collections, attended the Mid-Atlantic Innovative Users Group (MAIUG) meeting in Philadelphia and the Atlantic Chapter meeting of the Music Library Association (ATMLA) at the University of Pennsylvania, both in October. In February/March he attended the joint Music Library Association- Society for American Music meeting in Pittsburgh.

Douglas Davis, Programmer/Analyst, and Betsy Griffith-Smith, Acquisitions Specialist, are currently sitting on a committee known as the “Quaker Vision Task Force,” which has been asked by outgoing President Tom Tritton to “consider how to enhance, extend, and re-imagine Haverford’s Quaker heritage and impact” and to consider “what it means to be a Quaker College in the 21st Century.” The committee is comprised of three current students, three faculty members, three staff members, and members of The Corporation of Haverford College. The committee intends to make recommendations to incoming College President Stephen G. Emerson, the Board, and the Corporation on what role Quakerism can play in the future of Haverford College.

Douglas is also on the information architecture (IA) working group of the College Website Redesign Committee. The IA group is working with White Whale, the company redesigning the College’s website, and Jennifer Patton (Marketing and Communications) to develop a plan for the content, navigation and organization of the new website. The working group is convened by Mary Lynn Morris Kennedy (Library) and includes Barbara Mindell (Academic Computing), David Moore (Provost's Office), Sarah Gray and Joe Cammisa (both from Networking).

In recent months, Emma Lapsansky-Werner, Curator of the Quaker Collection, has given several workshops for Philadelphia and Los Angeles public school teachers on using primary sources in the classroom. Emma has also recently done a workshop/lecture on Quaker family life in early Pennsylvania for the Rural History Conference. Lastly, on February 21, she became the grandmother of her first grandchild, Minerva June Aldous.

Norm Medeiros, Associate Librarian of the College & Coordinator for Bibliographic and Digital Services, was an invited speaker at the 26th Annual Charleston Conference held November 2006 in Charleston, SC. Norm's talk, “Tracking Elusive Prey: Managing Electronic Resources with ERMS,” described challenges to commercial electronic resource management system implementation. At the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting held January 2007 in Seattle, Norm presented work he has been leading as a member of the Digital Library Federation’s Electronic Resource Management Initiative. Norm’s subcommittee is studying the feasibility of data exchange between integrated library system acquisitions modules and electronic resource management systems.

In March, Michelle Oswell, Humanities Librarian for Music and Literature, attended the Music Library Association conference in Pittsburgh, PA, where she was awarded the Walter Gerboth award. The award will help fund the development of an online database for scholars of English lute songs.

-Mike Persick is Acquisitions Librarian & Assistant Catalog Librarian

Questions or Comments?