Latest Edition of SAA’s The Records Manager newsletter, Fall 2015 issue is published

Dear RMRT Members:

Here are the Highlights from the Fall 2015 issue of The Records Managernewsletter of the SAA Records Management Roundtable:

  • In the Fall 2015 issue, Christie Peterson talks about the scandal in George Washington University’s records.
  • The newsletter also covers how to use ideas from other data repositories in the 21st century.
  • Ideas on appraisal are shared.
  • Our chair, Beth Cron, summarizes the Records Management Roundtable Committee meeting this past Summer 2015 at SAA 2015.

Enjoy the Fall 2015 issue of The Records Manager.

You can retrieve the current issue of the newsletter at

Please remember that the RMRT website can be found at

The newsletter archives can be found at

Lorette Weldon

Newsletter Editor, The Records Manager (


3 Steps for creating a Library Management System like MS SharePoint, EOS Web, and InMagic DB/Text

There are 3 steps for creating a Library Services Platform, a type of library management system.  Breeding stated that a library services platform is “designed to manage both print and digital content, tend to be deployed using cloud computing technologies, and make more use of knowledgebases for more efficient resource management”.  The following are three steps to do this.

Continue reading “3 Steps for creating a Library Management System like MS SharePoint, EOS Web, and InMagic DB/Text”

How do you use ideas from other data repositories in the 21st Century?

Today, data repositories have been divided into at least three institutions.  They are museums, archives, and libraries.  J. Trant has defined these as “Museums most often have unique collections. Rarity and preciousness remain key to the attraction of their objects; it gives them their aura… Museum collections protect and reserve. Contrast this with public lending libraries, grounded in access and in public literacy.  Their goal is to make materials available; their collections are predominantly books, printed in many copies, inexpensively produced, often weeded regularly. Archives consist of items that are not generally intrinsically valuable but essential as evidence, especially in context.” (

Continue reading “How do you use ideas from other data repositories in the 21st Century?”

How the Library Deals with Copyright

As we explore the 21st century, we need to realize that the library is composed of paper and digital formats.  The digital books started off as public domain paper documents. On the Internet’s predecessor, Arpanet, Michael Hart created the oldest and largest digital library in 1971.  He named it Project Gutenberg.  It was going to contain all public domain books in electronic format for free to anyone who wanted to download them and read them ( ).  “Its goal, formulated by Mr. Hart, was “to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books” and, by making books available to computer users at no cost, “to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” This digital library now houses more than 30,000 books in 60 languages.  The categories for this library are: “light literature,” “heavy literature” and reference works to the general reader.  It also contains a few copyrighted books that are reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner.   Ann Gilliland, one of the professors of the “Copyright for Educators & Librarians  Course”  stated that, “Material that is not in copyright, and or that is not copyrightable, and is free to use, is in the public domain” (Duke University, Emory University & The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

Continue reading “How the Library Deals with Copyright”

Librarians Will Be Forever Needed

Recently, I have encountered many librarians who are worried about libraries becoming bookless (  institutions.  Many have forgotten that libraries are primary centers or repositories for collections of books and any other sources of data to be made available at no cost to the general public.

Over 70 years ago, Vannevar Bush (  proposed “memex”.  This was to be a device about the size of a desk which could store all the books, records, and communications, of an organization, on some type of media from which this data could be retrieved.  Dr. Bush had no means to realize his suggestion.  However, the suggestion was a theoretical proposal for what has become the hypertext system and digitization of data for today’s storage means.  Hence, I view the World Wide Web, the cloud, and all other digitized storage means as adjuncts to the modern library.

Continue reading “Librarians Will Be Forever Needed”

Walking the Distance in the Customer’s Shoes

One Size Fits all

Let’s first look at the classic definitions of a library.  These definitions restrict the term to a collection of information resources which are kept for consideration and not for sale.  An examination of libraries will reveal some private and public have different characteristics.  A private library may include a personal home and some institutional libraries.  Public libraries could include everything from mobile units to educational structures.

Different libraries require different staffing, funding, and storage spaces.  A home library can be limited to a few books and no staff.  There is no dedicated fund for a large collection of electronic records stored in an ILS, collection development, computer programs, and staff.   You may find these in the public and institutional libraries.

Continue reading “Walking the Distance in the Customer’s Shoes”

Would you work at a Bookless Library?

What if you lived in a world where no books existed, at least during the summer?  In Utah, on July 29, 2015, the twelve year-old, Matthew Flores, could only read books when he was at school but his school was closed during the summer (See NBC Nightly News).   He did not have books at home.  One day, Flores was reading grocery ads out loud.  He was heard by his mailman, Ron Lynch.  Flores told him that he did not have bus fare to go to the library and his father had to use the family car to go to work.  The only thing to read were ads.  Lynch posted the boy’s problem on his Facebook page and it went viral.  Now, Lynch delivers donated books to Flores by the truckload. His house has a collection of books.  By the looks of the donated books in his house, they have no specific subject area.  They are not cataloged but Flores intends to read ALL of the books that come to his home.

As pointed out above, there can be barriers to reading books.  Is there a way to break those barriers for those who cannot afford transportation to get to the library?  In Texas, Nelson Wolff wanted to give the “economically disadvantaged” access to technology that would allow them to have a chance to read as many books as they wished.  Through this public sector project, Wolff (with his team) built the BiblioTech.   BiblioTech is one of the first bookless public libraries in America.   Its first library branch opened on September 14th, 2013.  Its mission is “to bridge literacy and technology gaps in San Antonio and surrounding areas by establishing a community presence at the physical locations as well as an online presence through the digital collections and resources” (bexarbibliotech [dot] org).

Could this be a way to bring more customers to the library by breaking the accessibility barrier through wireless access to the collection through the customers’ own smart phones and tablets?  Would you work in a bookless library?


Biblio Tech.  About. Retrieved from bexarbibliotech [dot] org.

Donatich, J. (n.d). Why Books Still Matter. Journal Of Scholarly Publishing, 40(4), 329-342.

Pittman, E. (2014). NELSON WOLFF. (cover story). Government Technology, 27(2), 14.

Tan, Avianne  (July 29, 2015).  Utah Boy Who Asked for ‘Junk Mail’ to Read Gets Over 500 Book Donations.  Retrieved from abc news online.

Editor’s Note – this article first published in Computer Savviness – and republished with the author’s permission.

Revisited Communication Problems through SharePoint


How many of you are still feeling the growing pains of Microsoft SharePoint?  Is it a knowledge management application or a document management solution?  Can it get you fired at a moment’s notice by management because they have an inconceivable notion that SharePoint has artificial intelligence?  Out of the box (OOTB) there is no Watson here.  There is, however, a lot of confusion about what to do with this software called SharePoint.

SharePoint is an organizer for your intranet.  Assume, for the sake of argument, that it helps your workplace’s IT Department manage the file server and the communication channels to all of the departments.  Management defines what it will do for the workplace.  Those under management would define what their department’s SharePoint site would do for their department.  Depending on the governance structure of the SharePoint site, a business could have a clutter-free SharePoint portal with related departmental sites.

Question:  Why would I want to build a SharePoint site?

Answer:  OOTB, SharePoint, has great web parts.

Using SharePoint without Coding

SharePoint uses a technology of programming without coding. This would allow Non-IT librarians, who would not be familiar with database management, to be able to create a web part from within MS SharePoint that would not require any programming knowledge.   The end-user does not have to code to put a fully functional SharePoint site together.

The knowledge of how to do those things would not be the biggest link to success in SharePoint usage in the library. The biggest link would be the connection that the librarian would make with co-workers and project team members.
The Key to Using SharePoint
The key is embedding your organization’s library services into the regular workflow of projects and assignments without anyone noticing this action. It has to be a natural merging of research that would slowly link to other research that would need to be performed for a project. Eventually, it would branch out to a department which would lead to other related departments due to their assigned projects.

Another great reason is that the web parts allow each department to share their “know-how” about how to complete that task more efficiently or how to work software that does not have a manual.  It can also help you manage various file formats for documents and other artifacts from a project.


Weldon, L.S.J. (2012).  Librarians Using SharePoint.  Create Space, SC.  [Distributed through].

Weldon, L.S.J. (2011).  SharePoint without Coding, Volume 2.  Create Space, SC.  [Distributed through].

Weldon, L.S.J. (2010).  SharePoint without Coding.  Create Space, SC.  [Distributed through].

Editor’s Note – this article first published in Computer Savviness – and republished with the author’s permission.

SharePoint Information Literacy (A Sampling from the course, Microsoft SharePoint for Non-IT Users)

Your department has been given access to the new intranet based on the SharePoint platform.  Should you panic or relax?  Perhaps, do both but not enough to raise your blood pressure.  SharePoint is not the culprit for department clutter on the intranet.  Before you start making plans on moving your collection into your department’s SharePoint site, find out the following:  Point of contact for the SharePoint site; Metadata; Metadata structure; Type of permissions that  exist on the SharePoint site; Collection format.

Point of Contact  

Departments look to the Records Manager, Library Director, and Knowledge Manager, for example, to be the main person who will be instrumental in organizing the collection on their department’s SharePoint Site.  Unfortunately, many times it hardly goes to the next step and clutter begins to grow in the department’s site.


The next step would require you to find out who created the basic SharePoint site for your department.  Who would the Records Manager, Library Director, or Knowledge Manager talk to about their department’s site? Hopefully, your organization already has a contact list for the many different facets of the SharePoint intranet.  Then, your job would be easy because you can go straight to that person on your SharePoint maintenance or structure contact list.  Even if you do not have a “contact list”, your contact will usually be found in IT.

If the contact is not in the IT department, you will have to trace how the SharePoint Intranet was created for your department.  Find out who the technicians, architects, or developers were of the intranet.


Once you locate them, then you will need to get them to share how they have defined the metadata and if it meets with your department’s definition.  It is essential to understand how the records for your department will be organized.

Chances are that your metadata will not match with the enterprise metadata.  It depends how closely your collection has been identified with your organization.  Can you easily export your metadata in the record format from your integrated library system into the database (Oracle, SQL, MSDE,etc) used for SharePoint?  Will your records have to be changed to fit the new platform?  Can you just embed a web part to display your integrated library system to save you from a lot of grief?


The best way to compare your organization’s metadata against your department’s metadata is to create an Excel Spreadsheet. This will help you not to duplicate any folder structures and avoid “other” folders of information that may clash.  Through the Excel Spreadsheet system, you will avoid adding or changing terms. This would allow uniformity from within your organization.  This will really avoid clutter.  Here is an example of the Excel method.


The Excel method helped me match the organization’s subject areas with the library collection’s subject areas.  This could also work with records of the organization with matters related to HIPPA, HR; Legal; Management and Support; Projects.


Matching up the concepts into a code could help you further connect subject areas and data associated with it.


The type of permission you have can help or hinder your progress into getting your library collection available to the organization’s staff.  In order to be able to do anything to your department’s site, you will have to find that point of contact for the intranet.  Ask for the site owner.  The site owner can assign permission levels (or called site groups before Windows SharePoint Services 3.0).   Take this chart to the site owner  and then you will be able to know whether you can do anything with your department’s SharePoint site or will IT have to do whatever you need completed for your department‘s record or library collection.

Default permission levels in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

Permission Level Description
Full Control This permission level contains all permissions. Assigned to the Site name Owners SharePoint group, by default. This permission level cannot be customized or deleted.
Design Can create lists and document libraries, edit pages and apply themes, borders, and style sheets in the Web site. Not assigned to any SharePoint group, by default.
Contribute Can add, edit, and delete items in existing lists and document libraries. Assigned to the Site name Members SharePoint group, by default.
Read Read-only access to the Web site. Users and SharePoint groups with this permission level can view items and pages, open items, and documents. Assigned to the Site name Visitors SharePoint group, by default.
Limited Access The Limited Access permission level is designed to be combined with fine-grained permissions to give users access to a specific list, document library, item, or document, without giving them access to the entire site. However, to access a list or library, for example, a user must have permission to open the parent Web site and read shared data such as the theme and navigation bars of the Web site. The Limited Access permission level cannot be customized or deleted.

NOTE   You cannot assign this permission level to users or SharePoint groups. Instead, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 automatically assigns this permission level to users and SharePoint groups when you grant them access to an object on your site that requires that they have access to a higher level object on which they do not have permissions. For example, if you grant users access to an item in a list and they do not have access to the list itself, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 automatically grants them Limited Access on the list, and also the site, if needed.

Digital, Physical, Hybrid Collection

Once you know how much you can do with your department’s SharePoint site, then you will have to tackle how your collection will be represented in your organization.  Do they want your department to eliminate paper copies or can you have backups making your collection into a Hybrid collection of Physical paper and digital copies.

Each item will need to be identified by a unique identifier like a bar code.  That would help link the physical and the digital records.  SharePoint can help you track who has what record through workflows but if you will have to re-catalog your department’s collection, size and time will have to be considered for you helping your department to avoid the “clutter effect” in your department’s SharePoint site.


No matter how you look at it, in order to have a great information literate staff under your department’s subject of interest, you will need to plan and design policies, taxonomy, governance, imaging for your records. An audit will be required to make sure everything fits together.  You want to avoid the folder called “other”.  You want everyone to be able to know what is in the collection and how to access it.  Hopefully, to keep everyone SharePoint Information Literate, you can work with the “site owner” of the SharePoint site or the IT department to help you use the “Out of the Box” features that SharePoint provides before any customization is needed.

About the Author

Lorette Weldon is the teacher and creator of the online course, Microsoft SharePoint for Non-IT Users (Enroll today at ).

Editor’s Note – this article first published in Computer Savviness – and republished with the author’s permission.

Creating the Information Literate Warrior: Step 6 to Information Literacy

So you are working on your regular assignments when, all of a sudden, you are swamped with customers needing information.  What are you to do?  You follow the traditional Reference Interview questions.  Somehow, that does not seem to be enough.  Now what?  Perhaps, we could go back in time.  Humor me, okay?  Let’s concentrate on methods for developing needed tools for kids’ study through demonstrations to show them how to find the information on their own. No, it does not take our jobs away.  It enhances our jobs.  Follow me to giving birth to the Information Literate Warrior.

Children everywhere need sound training in the reading, writing, and arithmetic areas, but the training needs to be given in creative and interesting ways so that the children will want to learn. Some people may think that it is impossible to plan innovative programs with a small amount of money, but there are vast resources available from existing materials at little or no expense. Although most parents have talked to, traveled with, and tinkered around their young kids, they have not stopped to formalize these three T’s into a teaching method. This method is needed because children spend such a large proportion of their time in the home or around parents. Here the formalized Three T’s method becomes an informal way to enhance any formal educational system.

If we could help our adult customers as children, we could  create a supplemental home-based educational program to build-up their  key cognitive strategies and higher-order thinking.   In developing this program, information professionals and care-givers could outline how their every-day interaction with their kids can help prepare them for real-world experiences in life and higher education.

We do it every day with our kids:

  1. Parents talk to their kids and try to make them learn new words and concepts.
  2. Parents buy and play with toys to encourage their young children to tinker.
  3. Parents travel with their kids through parks and pointing out flowers and squirrels.

Now, expand upon that.  In our Reference Interviews, we:

  1. Talk to our customers to find out what specific information they need.
  2. Help our customers tinker (perform search requests, place items on hold, review what items they or the library has checked out) through our OPACs.
  3. Show them where the items can be found in the library or other places by traveling to that location in the physical or virtual forms of the library collection.
  4. Talk to our customers by asking, “Does that completely answer your question?”

Although most information professionals have talked to, traveled with, and tinkered around their customers, they have not stopped to formalize these Three T’s into a Reference Interview method. This is echoed in my course, “Getting Parents and their Kids on the same page at

You have just witnessed the birthing process to creating the Information Literate Warrior.

Stay tuned to see the crowning of the Information Literate Warrior.  They are not quite ready yet.

Editor’s Note – this article first published in Computer Savviness – and republished with the author’s permission.