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Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Volume 26 Number 38 June 5, 2005

Fedora Conference in SCC
Draws Widespread Participation
And Broad Acclaim

Last month the Scholarly Communication Center and Libraries Technical Services helped organize an extended 'family' reunion, by bringing together the family of Fedora users.

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   Standing together at the conference opening were, left to right: Rob Chavez (Tufts University), Leslie Johnston (University of Virginia), Bill Parod (Northwestern University), University Librarian Marianne Gaunt, and Ron Jantz.

It made good sense for the Rutgers University Libraries to host this first time conference. Fedora, which stands for Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture, is the open source software the Libraries are using to build an institutional repository for Rutgers. The Libraries are developing the repository using the technology and experience gained from the New Jersey Digital Highway project and the architecture created by the Digital Architecture Working Group (DAWG). The Rutgers University Libraries have gained valuable experience in understanding the flexibility and extensibility of Fedora from these broad applications.

The May 13-14 conference attracted over 100 attendees, from a wide number of peer institutions across the nation and internationally. Representatives came from the University of Virginia, Northwestern, Cornell, Tufts, Indiana, and other institutions. The conference opened with greetings from University Librarian Marianne Gaunt and featured presentations on Fedora software plans, the University of Virginia Library Central Digital Repository, using Fedora for digital video, long-term sustainability, and the Encyclopedia of Chicago.

The conference also allowed two Rutgers University Libraries' leaders to showcase the New Jersey Digital Highway (NJDH) to an international audience. Ruth Bogan and Linda Langschied made a presentation about the NJDH, a recipient of a national Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, during the first morning of the two-day conference. Additionally Ron Jantz, chair of DAWG, spoke during the second day about using Fedora as a framework for digital preservation.

Conference organizers Isaiah Beard, Ruth Bogan, John Brennan, Michael Giarlo, Ronald Jantz, Deepak Mahal, Matt Medeiros, and Ann Montanaro heard praise from many conference attendees on the quality of the presentations and the professional level of hosting provided by the Rutgers University Libraries. The event allowed participants to gain a greater appreciation of the broader horizons for use of Fedora. And it also firmly established the Libraries' identity as a community of innovative users, and skilled organizers, in the world of Fedora.

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Libraries' Fundraiser Rescues a Historic Resource

In April, three Libraries leaders traveled to Washington, DC to help save the archives of an accomplished senator from obscurity.

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   Ron Becker speaks at the fundraising reception about the significance of the Harrison Williams archive while University President Richard McCormick (seated, center) listens.

Harrison Williams, Jr. served as U.S. Senator from New Jersey for nearly 23 years, from 1958-1981. He authored or cosponsored, and steered to approval, a number of landmark acts of legislation that profoundly changed the shape of our society. Among the legislation credited to Senator Williams are the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, the Higher Education Act of 1965 which established Pell Grants, the Older Americans Act of 1965 which funded Meals on Wheels, the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 which established OSHA rules, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, and many other social welfare acts.

In his fourth term as senator, Mr. Williams was indicted for playing a minor role in the Abscam bribery sting. He resigned, served time in prison, and left the public stage. Before leaving the U.S. Senate, Senator Williams donated his historically significant papers to Special Collections and University Archives. Special Collections head Ron Becker understood the extraordinary significance of the archive, which contains over 2,000 cubic feet of records on the laws the senator crafted. Yet Ron also saw the need to raise funds to process of this vital collection. Ron began working to meet this need: first, with the senator, who died in 2003, then with senator's widow Jeanette, former colleagues of the senator, and other leaders in the Libraries. While their efforts met with some limited success, they were still far from their goal.

In April of this year University Librarian Marianne Gaunt, Ron Becker, and Development Director Julia Zapcic went to Washington, DC to help secure the necessary funds. A fundraising reception organized by Rutgers University Office of Federal Relations director Francine Newsome Pfeiffer for this effort, and featuring guest speaker University President Richard L. McCormick, elevated the total money raised to $174,000 - nearly 80% of the amount needed to fully process the archive.

James Hughes, former Ambassador to Panama and US Congressman from NJ, worked with the University's Federal Relations office to organize the fundraiser and promote it among past colleagues and staff people of the senator. The reception was held in spacious offices of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and speakers at the reception included Mike McCurry, former spokesman for President Bill Clinton and a former staffer for the senator, and Congressman Rush Holt from New Jersey's 12th District.

We commend Ron Becker on his perseverance and thank all the partners who worked to make this reception a success.

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Rutgers' Librarians Assume Nat'l Leadership Posts

We are pleased to note the ascension of three colleagues to leadership roles in national library organizations.

Susan Beck of the Paul Robeson Library was elected vice-chair/chair-elect of the Reference Services Section of RUSA. A constituent organization of the American Library Association, RUSA (the Reference and User Services Association) is responsible for supporting excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials to adults, and the provision of reference and information services, collection development, and resource sharing for all ages, in every type of library. The Reference Services Section represents the interests of librarians and library support staff engaged in all aspects of reference and information in all kinds of libraries.

Vibiana Bowman of the Paul Robeson Library was elected vice-chair/chair-elect of the Library Instruction Round Table. The Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) is a roundtable of the American Library Association and advocates library instruction as a means for developing competent library and information use as a part of lifelong learning.

Ryan Womack of the New Brunswick Libraries was elected vice-chair/chair-elect of the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) of RUSA. BRASS represents the interests of reference librarians, business information specialists, and others engaged in providing business reference and information services.

Congratulations to Ryan, Vibiana, and Susan on taking on these roles. We are honored to have you represent the Rutgers University Libraries on the national stage!

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May 1, 2005
March 27, 2005
The Agenda Archive

Contributors for this issue were Vibiana Bowman, Lourdes Vazquez, Fernanda Perrone, and Julia Zapcic. Contributions for future issues of The Agenda should be sent to Harry Glazer, editor, at hglazer@rci.rutgers.edu.