[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 26 Number 31 December 12, 2004

Nice Guys Finish LAST: New Space Mgmt System

For some time, the Libraries' Annex has been seeking an organized system to keep track of all open spaces that are created by weeding projects or expansions. In the past, staff would keep records of available space in Word, Excel and Access files, but none of these programs allowed for easy retrieval of needed information. As a storage facility, the Annex does not shelve items according to the Library of Congress classification scheme. Instead, materials of similar height are housed together on appropriately sized shelves to maximize the use of the available shelf space. Materials on each shelf are numbered consecutively, giving a fixed order and a unique "address" to every item stored in the Annex. This unique address is called an Annex Code.

From January to May of 2004 Stacy DeMatteo and her staff at the Annex worked with Chad Mills from Systems to create a web-based program to allow for quick retrieval of available space and easy input of new space into the database. It began with a basic design of asking for the dimensions (height, width and depth) of an item, and based on the dimensions given the program finds the best location for the book to be shelved that would maximize space. Once a location is found the Annex Code is generated for the staff member to then use. Another required feature was to have a mechanism in place that would allow for the easy addition of space to accommodate the future removal of items from the Annex and for expansion of the Annex itself.

As the program developed additional features were added. One vital feature is a search menu that allows the Annex staff to look for a specific annex location, as well as to search by height and width of available space. This feature enables the Annex to use chunks of space at one time. Adding/editing shelf definitions, tracking usage and compiling statistics based on available space and shelf types were also developed to support the required features. Finally a Help section was included that allows the staff at the Annex to create and maintain their own support and training documentation online.

The launch of the program, named Libraries Annex Space Tracker (LAST), in May 2004 streamlined the way Annex adds volumes to the collection and has been a valuable tool for the Annex staff.

Congratulations to Stacy, Chad, and the Annex staff for developing this useful new tool.

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Special Collections Now Working on the Railroad (Bibliography)

Congratulations to Special Collections and University Archives, which just received notice of a $20,000 grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, enabling the unit to undertake the New Jersey Railroads Bibliography Project.

With the grant Special Collections staff can complete Railroads and New Jersey: A Bibliography of Contemporary Publications, 1812-1900, exhaustively compiled by Special Collections curator emeritus Donald Sinclair yet left uncompleted upon his death in August. David Kuzma will serve as the principal investigator of the project, whose estimated completion date is March 2006.

   Photo of old Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New Brunswick, NJ, circa 1900, from Special Collections and University Archives.

Given Rutgers University's recently declared goal of establishing national preeminence in the study of transportation issues, when completed this bibliography should serve as a valuable new research resource at the university and for scholars nationwide.

We wish Special Collections much success with the project and hope it stays on track!

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Staffperson's Son Meets Fed Reserve Chairman

Alexander Library collection services staffperson Neera Sondhi has even more good reason to be proud of her son, Rutgers College economics major Puneet. Not only did Puneet and his fellow teammates win a regional economics competition and only narrowly lose the national competition, but they also got to meet the nation's most influential economist.

The team of nine Rutgers students was the runner up in the Federal Reserve Board's College Fed Challenge in Washington, D.C., losing by only one point, 39-38, to Northwestern University of Chicago. The team was honored, however, when Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan spoke to the students after the competition and offered praise for Rutgers.

Rutgers reached the inter-district competition by winning the New York Federal Reserve's regional Fed Challenge Nov. 10., topping 19 other teams. The Rutgers presenters were Mark Klee and Puneet Sondhi; James J. Williamson, a pre-business major; and first-year students, Ravi Bharadwaj, and Alan Gu. Students Alton Worthington, Michael Zarrella, Priya Tandon and Kingkit Cheung assisted in development and research. Rutgers Economics Professor Jeffrey Rubin served as the group's faculty advisor.

   Puneet and his fellow teammates listen as Federal Reserve Chairperson Alan Greenspan speaks.

In the College Fed Challenge, teams of students analyze current economic data and offer an opinion on interest rate policy. Their presentations are judged by a panel of Federal Reserve economists. The contest was created to promote greater understanding of how the Federal Reserve develops and implements monetary policy. This year, Rutgers, Northwestern and Lafayette College, located in Easton, Penn., competed in the first ever inter-district contest.

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November 28, 2004
October 24, 2004
The Agenda Archive

Contributors for this issue were Ron Becker, Patty Lamiell, and Chad Mills. Contributions for future issues of The Agenda should be sent to Harry Glazer, editor, at hglazer@rci.rutgers.edu.