[click to return to Agenda past issues] The Agenda - Published from the Office of the University Librarian
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Volume 25 Number 6 May 11, 2003

One Minute With
Ka-Neng Au
Business Librarian
John Cotton Dana Library

Ka-Neng Au, right, works with Bobbie Tipton on the reference desk at the John Cotton Dana Library.

When did you arrive at the Rutgers University Libraries? Where were you previously and what was your role there?

I was hired right out of SCILS in April 1986, before I'd even graduated, for a full-time temporary position to replace the business librarian, who'd left to work at a Wall Street firm. Two years later a permanent business librarian position became available and I got the job.

What are your primarily responsibilities at the Libraries?
As business librarian I provide reference, serve as a business bibliographer, and edit the Rutgers University Libraries Business Research Guide. I'm also immersed in a few instruction activities, one of which is co-teaching a class in the Rutgers Business School; I present lectures on how to engage in effective research to support the development of a comprehensive business plan. In my spare time I also serve as the chair of the Libraries' Web Advisory Committee (WAC), and represent the Dana Library on the PC Working Group and on the Technical Services Council.

What was the most unusual, unexpected, or challenging task you've encountered in your work here?
A couple of years ago I gave a one-hour tour of the Dana Library for a class of third graders from a Newark public school. This was a part of a Rutgers-Newark department of education outreach program. I guess I was well received, because I got some fan letters and a few of the kids told me I was funny. Maybe it was because I tried to read microfilm by holding it up to the light.

In your view, what are the Libraries' greatest strengths?
The librarians and staff at the John Cotton Dana Library benefit from a number of overlapping partnerships, which serve to broaden our resources and widen our perspectives. We sit on committees with Libraries colleagues from the Camden and New Brunswick/Piscataway campuses, both of which reflect distinct sensibilities of their own. Whenever I serve on an interviewing committee, I stress the size and diversity of our library faculty as one of the strengths of the Rutgers University Libraries. I'll tell an interviewee that if he or she is conducting research on any issue, he's bound to find a capable collaborator somewhere in our system. We also participate in a county-wide reciprocal borrowing arrangement with most Essex County libraries, called ReBL, and in the Council of Higher Education in Newark borrowers' arrangement linking us with Essex County College, NJIT, and UMDNJ. In many cases this draws users from outside Rutgers into our library, to take out books and share their research questions with us.

Who is the colleague you work with most frequently here and how?
Bobbie Tipton, the senior business librarian at the Dana Library, is my most frequent partner and collaborator. I consult with her often, teach courses with her, and work on collection development tasks with her. We've co-presented at several conferences and workshops. I also work with Wen-Hua Ren, the third business librarian at the Dana Library. We've got a great team here!

What is the last book you've read?
The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History
By Rodney Stark
It's from Princeton University Press and it's a great read.

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Poetic Exhibition
At Robeson Library

A photo of one of the poems in the Velcro Poetry exhibition.

In honor of National Poetry Month, the Paul Robeson Library's display case features a display on "Velcro Poetry". Just like the Magnetic Poetry of dorm room refrigerator fame, the Velcro Poetry exhibition allows viewers to arrange New Jersey themed words into different poems or phrases.

The display also features the works of some of New Jersey's finest poets including Robert Pinsky, Gerald Stern and Rutgers' own Alicia Ostriker.

Velcro Poetry will be on display through exams.

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Second “50-Minute Instructor” Program Sells Out

Members of the “50 Minute Instructor” program planning committee stand (or sit) together at the end of the workshop.
Program attendees work together to explore some of the recommendations offered in one of the presentations.

The second annual “50-Minute Instructor” workshop, co-sponsored by the Libraries Instructional Services Committee and the Training and Learning Advisory Committee, on Friday, April 25, 2003, was a sold-out success. Building on the 2002 program, “The 50-Minute Instructor: A Teaching Skills Seminar”, the 2003 program: “The 50-Minute Instructor: Preparing to Teach” provided 50 participants with a series of focused tips and strategies. Participants came from libraries of varied sizes throughout the state. Some were experienced trainers while others were new to instruction.

University Librarian Marianne Gaunt welcomed the attendees and set the day's program in the larger context of the new Guidelines for Information Literacy, issued by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Librarians, administrators, and faculty are challenged to work together to develop a system-wide plan that will achieve the institution's goals for developing information literate graduates. Librarians collaborate with faculty in the various disciplines to incorporate information literacy learning goals within existing and emergent curricula, to assess student performance, and then to use the findings for improvement.

During the day, seasoned Libraries instruction librarians presented strategies on: negotiating with faculty; designing learning plans; developing learning objectives; and recycling/reusing instruction instruments and content. An added feature in the 2003 program was a handout “swapmeet” where participants were invited to bring handouts that were effective parts of their current instruction programs, to share with everyone present. Attendees were invited to pick up copies of the handouts and talk with their creators about their use in instruction.

The brown bag lunch offered time to network and share experiences, while browsing the swapmeet and reviewing the morning's presentations. Throughout the day, the instructors used small group activities to reinforce and support the participants' learning.

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Shelf Ready Materials

Note: The following article is excerpted from a presentation offered by Mary Page at the program: “Preparing for the Digital Future in RUL: Project Reports” on April 9th.

Acquisitions staff has worked hard to achieve greater efficiencies in our workflow. The next step in our evolution is outsourcing as much as possible of the routine work, so that we can focus on digital initiatives. Specifically, we are looking to outsource the physical processing of books: labelling, tattle-taping, barcoding, etc.

Vendors have been offering these services for many years. For some categories of materials, receiving shelf ready items is standard practice at most research libraries. The reason vendors can do it better and more cheaply than research libraries is because of the economies of scale. As an example, a book vendor who provides cataloging services might send OCLC a data file that updates holdings for several hundred libraries. And they do this on a daily basis, and sometimes several times each day. This method is cheaper and faster than individual libraries updating one catalog record at a time.

One service that we are very eager to experiment with is PromptCat. PromptCat is a cooperative service between book vendors and OCLC that will provide us with cataloging records and physical processing of the books we purchase.

Here's how it works: the Libraries order a title from a vendor's system, and we enter the fund code and processing instructions in designated fields. The vendor then sends a file of cataloging records back to us, usually the next morning, of all of the items we ordered the previous day. This file is loaded into Sirsi, and the order information that we provided automatically populates the fields in our Sirsi order records.

The vendor sends us the book, which has a spine label, tattletape, ownership stamps, and a barcode. We scan the barcode in Sirsi to receive the book, which brings up the record that the vendor has already sent.

Somewhere along the line, the vendor notifies OCLC that Rutgers now owns this title. OCLC adds our symbol, NJR, to the cataloging record 21 days later.

Two things have to take place to implement PromptCat: the OCLC reclamation project has to be completed, and the next release of Sirsi that has new online ordering features has to be installed.

Our plan is to test the process on a small, designated collection to work out the kinks. We'll expand the program as we're successful. Ultimately, our goal is to have books shipped directly to the Libraries.

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Libraries Grant Tenure
And Reappointments

Ron Jantz, left, speaks at the “Preparing for the Digital Future in RUL: Project Reports” program on April 9th while Associate University Librarian Bob Sewell (center) and Libraries webmaster Sam McDonald listen.

We're pleased to congratulate Ronald Jantz, Government and Social Sciences Data Librarian of the New Brunswick Libraries, who was promoted to Librarian II with tenure effective July 1, 2003.

Ron has built an impressive publications, presentations, and service record since he first joined the Libraries in July 1997. Articles he authored or coauthored have been printed in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, Information Technology and Libraries, Library Hi Tech, Syllabus, and in other refereed and non-refereed journals, magazines, and websites. He has made numerous presentations to distinguished audiences, both nationally and internationally.

Ron has also served the Libraries in a number of vital capacities. He chaired the Web Advisory Committee and the SCC Technology Platform Team and he currently chairs the Technical Services Council's Digital Architecture and Infrastructure Working Group and the Common Knowledge Database Group. He directed or assisted in the development of the Alcohol Studies Database, CamdenBase, Eagleton Public Opinion Polls, New Jersey Environmental Digital Library, New Jersey Women's History, Polish General Social Survey, and other digital projects.

Congratulations as well to the following librarians who were each re-appointed as Librarian III, effective July 1, 2003:
Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic, Paul Robeson Library
Kayo Denda, New Brunswick Libraries
Tom Glynn, New Brunswick Libraries

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Personnel Changes
as of 05/02/03


New Brunswick Libraries

  • Raymond Balter, Library Assistant 2
  • Kristi Conover, Administrative Assistant III
  • Pamela Johnson, Unit Computing Specialist
  • Matthew Sheehy, Assistant Head, Access Services

Public Services & Communications

  • Shaun Ellis, Web Designer

Robeson Library

  • Theresa Macklin, Library Assistant 2

Technical & Automated Services

  • Chad Mills, Unit Computing Specialist


Dana Library

  • Billie Joyce Watson, Library Supervisor II


New Brunswick Libraries

  • Patrick Huey, Application Developer
  • Anthony Joachim, Unit Computing Specialist
  • Bill Puglisi, Administrative Assistant II


New Brunswick Libraries

  • Salvatore Cardinale, Library Associate II to LSM

Public Services & Communications/ Imaging Services

  • David Augusma, Unit Coordinator to Alexander
  • Darryl Voorhees, Library Assistant 2 to Alexander
  • Charles Weniger, Unit Coordinator to LMS


New Brunswick Libraries

  • Marilyn Tankiewicz, Administrative Assistant III

Dana Library

  • Frances Cosgrove, Library Assistant 3
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April 13, 2003
March 30, 2003
The Agenda Archive

Contributors for this issue were Addie Fuller, Margaret Hodes, Mary Page, and Marilyn Wilt. Contributions for future issues of The Agenda should be sent to Harry Glazer, editor of The Agenda, at hglazer@rci.rutgers.edu.