UC Berkeley Summary

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UC Berkeley Summary

Reference Reference desk usage is declining but not dead. Reference by appointment is popular. UCB librarians staff 24/7 reference chat 8 hours per week. Librarians notice the lack of visual cues in responding to patrons and find it challenging to work with non-UC patrons. There is email reference and some experiments with IM and texting incorporated into chat reference.

A tiered reference system is under consideration with students as the first point of contact.

Information Providers

Faculty respondents stated that being read by peers is the most important consideration in deciding where to publish. Forging now cooperatives with faculty comes up against powerful barriers of culture and tradition. There is little enthusiasm for e-scholarship among faculty. There is new attention to textbook affordability that may offer an opportunity.

Library Personnel

Lack of succession planning. Need for realistic workloads in a time of reduced staff. Students employees are more useful than interns.


Perception that Berkeley has lost innovation it had in the 90s. Need a dedicated position to seek out new technologies. Some propose a Library Office of Technology [or Innovation] situated in the library that is responsible to facilitate three groups (IT, Library, Teaching/Learning). It would also help to have a librarian in the Systems office.

Means exist to cut costs using technology by working remotely, for example, by using Skype for videoconferencing.

E-books are not a good prospect because of their poor reception in a study at Princeton. WorldCat Local not popular among users.


UCB has many cooperative agreements in place that might foreclose or obstruct additional cooperatives. Such arrangements include material on Latin America, Africa and other areas.

Collections are fluid with the turnover over faculty, so librarians must continually monitor it and decide whether to maintain historical strengths or to meet research needs. Departments should include librarians on hiring committees so as to have ready access to information about the collection. Furthermore, the best collections attract quality students and faculty.

Ownership of collections is a concern of UCB since it is crucial to determine professional ranking. Preservation is another aspect of the same topic. Librarians have a responsibility for saving information for future generations.

There needs to be more coordination between CDL and other campuses in building and maintaining collections.

Special collections may be exceptions to many trends in digitization because of their material.


Library Space NEEDS: group study, quiet study, presentation rooms, instruction rooms, wireless internet, wireless printing, copying, printing, scanning, computer software on library pc’s, include a café, allow food, longer hours.

Space GRABS: when the departments or campus want to acquire library space for teaching or academic purposes, be clear about the impact on students, in order to engender a positive outcome for all concerned. Work with the university and the departments to create tradeoffs that will benefit the library. When this comes up, present it to library committees, and donors; supporters who have an interest.

Look FORWARD and be prepared – as print collections change to electronic, down size, and go to storage, have a plan, be ready to repurpose exiting space in older buildings – upgrade physical environment, wiring.

Look for OPPORTUNITIES to upgrade facilities, improve furniture and work areas, hange presentations in the library, keep the environment fresh. The library can look more current by adding displays, new technology, promoting online – blog, wikis, facebook, rss feeds from your own blog.

Technical Services

1. NGM Many in both technical and public services, are unhappy with Next Gen Melvyl. We at the Law Library don’t like it because it continues to regard us as unaffiliated with UC Berkeley. Anyone wanting to find books in Melvyl has to know to click the button for libraries in the rest of the world. This will apparently be fixed, but for the moment it’s not good.

Other complaints include the screen display – unnecessarily cluttered; the fact that you cannot limit by campus – something essential for cooperative book selection, or indeed any book selection; the inclusion of some articles in some search results – it seems to patrons that they are getting back all available articles on a topic, which is not true. The advanced search possibilities should be a lot better.

We all agreed that LAUC could play a role in providing feedback on NextGen Melyvl. Having a good catalog is too important to continue with the current status.

2. Local vs. universal needs

Presently, the branches do not have the ability to add subject headings, even in a very restricted way, and Technical Services does not have the manpower to handle requests in a timely way.

Another issue is dissertations, which are hugely backed up. We wondered if there was not some way of using the abstract which is presumably available electronically in California Hall to automatically create a catalog record. This seems like a great idea, but of course, does technical Services have the staffing to be able to figure out how to do something like this.

There is also the question of social tagging, which apparently is being done at Penn State. Again, this would require a capacity that Oskicat may or may not have, plus the staffing to develop and then maintain it.

3. Cooperative technical services

We also considered the idea of cooperative technical services – for example, what if one campus hired an Armenian cataloger. All Armenian books ordered at UC would be delivered to her/him for cataloging and then shipped off to wherever they belonged. Could we centralize all cataloging? All selection? All ordering? There may be a savings, but it might also make it harder for Debbie to get her local subject headings added – or maybe it wouldn’t. Something to consider.