Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Book Indexes Online

Some people say that book indexes are not needed online, because full-text searching takes their place.  On the contrary, I think that a book index represents valuable brain work that should not be abandoned.  If a knowledgeable human being, such as an author or professional indexer, has combed through an entire book to anticipate what the audience might want to look up, that is an irreplaceable service which remains useful to readers online.

If you use the search box in the LCRM online publishing pilot to search all of the books and other publications on the site for a term such as “NAACP,” you may notice that the books’ indexes are included in the search results.  If you look in the index of any of the books in the pilot, you will see that each page number is a live link to that page, for convenient navigation.

A more sophisticated system might incorporate index terms in a thesaurus that would inform search-results relevance, seamlessly incorporating that valuable brain work in the search  mechanism without requiring more clicks on the part of the user.  We do not have the resources to accomplish that at this time, but an interim step might be to offer a search of book indexes only, as an advanced-search option.

Such a search option might mimic Reference Universe, a service that aggregates encyclopedia indexes.

To obtain premium access to the full text of all of the books and other content in the LCRM online publishing pilot and check out the linked indexes, please send a request to lcrmproject at gmail dot com.

Librarian Survey Results: Coursepacks and Business Models

This is the final post in a 5-part series in which we will share some of the results of our survey for librarians with you. 120 librarians took the survey.

The penultimate section of the survey focused on the idea of an online coursepack service.  Although 77% of survey-takers thought that instructors would like to create a print coursepack or a digital cluster of related publications for courses using an LCRM online collection, interest was not particularly high in various features that we suggested, and comments indicated that professors would like to link to online resources for course use via Blackboard or a similar service but that there is increasing resistance to paying additional money for course use, from professors and librarians alike.

The last section of the survey focused on business models for an online, themed collection.  Continue reading ‘Librarian Survey Results: Coursepacks and Business Models’

Searching in the LCRM Publishing Pilot

If you type “NAACP” in the search box at the top of the page in the LCRM online publishing pilot, the site will return 14 pages of results.  The results are organized by the title of the book or paper in which the NAACP is discussed, because we thought that this would make sense to the scholars, librarians, and graduate students whom we expect will form the largest part of our participant group.

The results are listed in descending order of relevance, which is determined automatically based upon how many references to the NAACP there are in a given text.

Note that the Open Source search engine, Solr, which powers this search at the UNC Library, is searching the full text of all of the books and other materials on the site.   (Some online collections offer a search only of bibliographical metadata and abstracts, not the full text of the publications themselves.)  Although our content collection is small, we have been ambitious in the way that we approached the services that the site offers.

The search function is basic; we do not yet offer Boolean searching or even an advanced search.   One question we have for end-users during the test period is, Do you need advanced-search options?  What options in particular are they?  Or to put it another way, Do you want to filter your search results?  In what way?

In order to offer a full-text search, we had to convert all of the books and other publications to XML format.  We are grateful to the Mellon foundation, which has supported the XML conversions represented in the online collection.  Soon we plan to add some published articles and some more books to the site.

To obtain premium access to the full text of all of the books and other content in the LCRM online publishing pilot, please send a request to lcrmproject at gmail dot com.

Librarian Survey Results: Themed Collections

This is the fourth post in a 5-part series in which we will share some of the results of our survey for librarians with you. 120 librarians took the survey.

In the section of our survey dealing with the LCRM Online collection, we asked whether online collections/products focused on one particular subject area would become a thing of the past, in an era in which libraries’ federated searching capabilities are rapidly improving. 78% of survey-takers said No.

Continue reading ‘Librarian Survey Results: Themed Collections’

Blair Kelly on Rand Paul

NC State’s Professor Blair Kelly has a new blog series up and running over at UNC Press. The first installment addresses Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul’s confusing, and confused, opposition to the Civil Rights Act. Take a look…

The Moral Challenges of Poverty and Inequality

From the Kenan Institute for Ethics, word on a new project tied to To Right These Wrongs, the new book from Bob Korstad and Jim Leloudis about the pioneering anti-poverty organization the North Carolina Fund:

During the winter of 2010, more than 10,000 homes in North Carolina had no heat and almost twice that number had no indoor plumbing. Fifty thousand families in our state went without food at some point during the past year. Eleven percent of North Carolinians were unemployed in 2009, compared to 7 percent in 2008 and 4.2 percent in 2000. More than 1.5 million people have no health insurance, meaning that a single accident or serious illness could leave them with insurmountable debt.

Clearly, these jaw-dropping statistics require serious policy and political solutions. But the issues they raise are not only for policymakers and politicians to debate in conference rooms and legislative halls. They constitute a moral challenge to all of us who live in North Carolina. We must confront them and ask ourselves what they say about who we are—as individuals, as citizens, and as members of our local communities.

The Institute is sponsoring a project on The Moral Challenges of Poverty and Inequality in collaboration with the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The overarching goals of this project are to raise awareness and a sense of urgency among the public about the ongoing prevalence of poverty and inequality in North Carolina; to analyze competing ethical principles and their resulting policy prescriptions; and to educate future leaders about the human and economic costs of poverty and the moral challenge it poses in a democracy.

In the first year of this three-year project, we will pursue these objectives on two fronts:

Librarian Survey Results: LCRM Online Collection

This is the third post in a 5-part series in which we will share some of the results of our survey for librarians with you. 120 librarians took the survey.

In the fourth section of our recent librarian survey, we asked for the librarians to share their thoughts on an online collection of scholarly publications on the long civil rights movement.  We described briefly a fully searchable collection of UNC Press LCRM-related books that would grow over time and include books from other university presses.  90% of the survey-takers said that they would use such a service to find and recommend books and articles for patrons. (Check out our LCRM pilot to see what we’ve done with this idea.)

Continue reading ‘Librarian Survey Results: LCRM Online Collection’

Librarian Survey Results: Multilayered and Community Publications

This is the second post in a 5-part series in which we will share some of the results of our survey for librarians with you. 120 librarians took the survey.

In the second section of our recent librarian survey, we asked for the librarians’ opinions about multilayered publications, which we defined as online editions of monographs and scholarly articles that would be enhanced with sidebars, links to multimedia primary sources, and additional comments on the text. 87% of respondents were interested in seeing university presses and libraries collaborate to publish such online editions. Of that interested group, 77% were interested in contributing to such publications. Continue reading ‘Librarian Survey Results: Multilayered and Community Publications’

Librarian Survey Results: LCRM Online Center

This is the first post in a 5-part series in which we will share some of the results of our survey for librarians with you.

During the period October 26, 2009 – April 21, 2010, we made two versions of our survey designed for librarians available. We wish to thank the 120 individuals who took the time to complete the survey. The LCRM project staff is thrilled to have received so many responses. Based on the high level of interest and diverse responses we received, we have drawn some conclusions from the survey which we would like to share with you. Whether or not you have taken the survey, you can join in the conversation by adding your comments to our posts on each topic.

In the first section of the survey, we asked for the librarians’ input on our website. We specifically asked if our website, currently organized as a blog, would be more use to them if it were reorganized and expanded into an LCRM online center. This idea received wide support. 90% of respondents said that such an online center would be useful to them and that they would recommend it on their library websites, in subject guides, and/or in course guides. Continue reading ‘Librarian Survey Results: LCRM Online Center’

SNCC’s 50th: Thoughts from Sue Thrasher

Many thanks to activist, writer, and educator Sue Thrasher for sharing these thoughts on the recent SNCC conference. We have posted them with some photos taken by historian Patrick D. Jones. Take a look at Patrick’s album of SNCC reunion photos here. The site also has a great list of SNCC reading, both from a historical perspective and reflections on the conference.

Leah said, “Iron your blouse. . .  it’s like we are going to a family reunion!” And thus it started — four intense days of seeing old friends and repeated attempts of trying to “place” people (Did we meet during COFO summer? The SNCC office in Atlanta? Or simply passing through Nashville?). Nan (Orrock) said as we were leaving the conference that it would take a long time to process the event, and a full five days later, I am still remembering and thinking about certain things. Intense is the word I have used to describe it to friends here; certainly on Sunday night I felt both emotionally and physically drained. Leah (Wise) tells me it has been the same for her. I think we expended enough psychic energy in those four days to last a month.

My immediate response was one of feeling “at home” or as Casey Hayden used to say, with my tribe. I have always thought of the SNCC days as the moment when I became the person I am today. It was that particular time – a few short years – that shaped how I have lived my life, and I am eternally grateful. I suspect the same is true for many of the 1100 people gathered in Raleigh. It was celebratory, and comforting, to slip back into the fold.

Continue reading ‘SNCC’s 50th: Thoughts from Sue Thrasher’