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Transportation Division Bulletin
Kaleidoscope: News of TRN Members

October 2008


From the Chair

Web 2.0 - Transportation Information Aggregators Online

TQ, the ABA Transportation Committee Quarterly

International Digital Transportation Collection Exchange

Tech Fair 2008: How to Get Users Excited about SEARCH

New Additions to the Regional TKNs

Research in Transportation Economics Changes Format

SLA: Being Active in a Division

NTL Hiring Digital Librarian

New Cataloger at FHWA Research Library

NTL Baby

Membership News:
New SLA Member


From the Chair
by Connie Field, Chair, Transportation Division

A brief personal message…

We’re all facing a distressing economic downturn of a magnitude not seen since our grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ day. My hope is that our own Division members have not been affected in terms of their jobs (their own or their spouses’), their homes, or their health coverage. At my institution, the Portland Cement Association, we are making drastic cuts in travel and other expenses, due to the severely reduced dues revenue from our members. We still have a library, thankfully. I’m sure a number of you are in similar situations. It’s not pretty. However, Americans are known for optimism and resilience and, in that vein, I can only trust “things will get better.”

Division Board Opening

Do you enjoy making new acquaintances? Would you like to play an important role in the Transportation Division and get more involved in the Division’s activities and programs? The position of Membership & Recruitment Committee Chair is now open, and we would love to hear from you. Ruth Letson, our previous Chair, retired recently and had to resign her position as Chair. This is a challenging position especially now, as SLA becomes more truly an international association, and our Division is keenly aware of the benefits of communicating more closely with our colleagues abroad. Keep in mind that this is a committee, not a one-person operation, and you can appoint two other members to assist. See the full description of duties in the Division’s Recommended Practices, found at http://units.sla.org/division/dtrn/td_by.html. Here is your chance to help us build our membership globally. Please contact me (cfield@cement.org) if you are interested!

23 Things

For those of you who didn’t have the opportunity this Summer to sign up for SLA's "23 Things," you are not out of luck yet. You have until December 15 to finish and receive a certificate of completion. After that, the site will remain available for those who aren’t able to finish or who wish to start the program later.

"23 Things" is a free e-learning series focusing on Web 2.0 tools that are useful for information professionals. According to "23 Things" Chair, Deb Hunt, "participants interact with others as they complete 23 tasks aimed at introducing, explaining, and gaining hands-on experience with a myriad of new technologies. The best part of 23 Things is that you do it as a community."

Currently, 991 SLA Members are participating. Those of us working in government sectors that have extensive firewalls should note that it may be necessary to work on "23 Things" from home or public-library computers. To learn more or to sign up, please visit http://wiki.sla.org/display/23Things/.

Centennial SLA Conference—Planning Underway

Next June is SLA’s Centennial anniversary and how appropriate that the annual Conference will take place in our nation’s magnificent capitol! For DTRN members, it will offer a tremendous opportunity to visit some of the many fine transportation libraries located there. Mark your calendars now for June 14-17, 2009. Rita Evans, 2009 Transportation Division Chair, and Arlene Mathison, 2009 Chair-Elect, are working hard on planning for our Division’s program. More details will be available from them in the next Kaleidoscope. One of our annual events, the Open House, will be a bit different this year--an “exclusive” event for just DTRN members and invited guests from the government arena and other organizations. While joint Open Houses in the past have afforded wonderful opportunities to mix with colleagues in other divisions, we think this ‘private’ affair will offer a special opportunity to meet representatives from government and industry, and still have plenty of food, drink and fun as always!

Transportation Librarians Roundtable

Just a reminder that all the Transportation Librarians Roundtable presentations to date are available on the SLA Transportation Division web site, http://www.sla.org/division/dtrn, as well as the National Transportation Library web site, http://ntl.bts.gov/. These monthly sessions, from presentations on electronic resources to tips on marketing your library to testimonials on user advisory committees, have added a valuable new dimension to our ability to communicate about important issues. So if you’ve had to miss one, you can still access it after the fact. Have an idea for a topic? Contact Amanda Wilson, NTL Director, at Amanda.Wilson@dot.gov.

Ann Sweeney Elected to SLA’s Division Cabinet

Warm congratulations to Ann Sweeney, fellow transportation librarian, for her election as SLA Division Cabinet Chair-Elect. Ann will serve a 2-year term on the Board of Directors beginning in January 2009, becoming Chair in 2010.

Ann is currently with the European Union—European Commission Delegation in Washington, DC., where she has served as Librarian, Webmaster, and now Senior Information & Communication Officer: Electronic Publications. Among her many other responsibilities, she is beginning her 4th term as a member of the Transportation Research Board's Committee on Library and Information Science in Transportation.

We’ll look forward to toasting to you in Washington DC next June, Ann!

American Libraries (yes, the magazine!)

Being a specialized librarian, I seldom read journals from ALA or other more general library organizations. But after seeing a blog announcement that ALA’s American Libraries had recently become an open online journal, I took a few minutes to check it out. I was struck by the breadth of scope and variety of topics—copyright, management, Web 2.0, not to mention real literature! (Anyone else get giddy when you visit your public library?) So I’ve signed up for new issue alerts.

One quote from the American Libraries web site that I wanted to share here comes from an article linked on the American Libraries home page, http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline. Although originally published 7 years ago, I think you’ll find it still pertinent:

“The Web is great; but it’s a woefully poor substitute for a full-service library. It is mad idolatry to make it more than a tool. Libraries are icons of our cultural intellect, totems to the totality of knowledge. If we make them obsolete, we’ve signed the death warrant to our collective national conscience, not to mention sentencing what’s left of our culture to the waste bin of history. No one knows better than librarians just how much it costs to run a library. We’re always looking for ways to trim expenses while not contracting service. The Internet is marvelous, but to claim, as some now do, that it’s making libraries obsolete is as silly as saying shoes have made feet unnecessary.” (Mark Herring, American Libraries, April 2001, p. 76-78)

Also on the site is a feature article from the current American Libraries issue, “Cruel to be Kind,” by Miriam Pollock, noting how librarians, caring, service-minded folks that we are, also have little tolerance for conflict, and that can be bad for us and the organization. “The healthy manager understands the difference between personal and organizational issues and does not take everything personally.” Managers need to learn to have those “essential conversations.” Pollock describes 3 types of organizations: those that meet the needs of those we are supposed to serve; those that meet the needs of the director or person in power (“yes-persons”); and those that meet the needs of a dysfunctional system or the collective neuroses of the staff. She then outlines characteristics of emotionally healthy libraries. How does yours rate? Check it out. It’s good reading.

Contribute to Kaleidoscope!

Have you joined a professional society? Accepted Board duties? Authored a paper? Developed a training program? Received an award or other recognition? Made an interesting change in your library? Changed jobs? other...? Please provide a little update about your accomplishments and activities - to be included in our next issue of Kaleidoscope!

If you do belong to information-related associations other than SLA, we would like a contribution from you about events you have attended and/or professional activities that would interest our Division members. Send your announcements and articles to Rosalyn Alleman, Rosalyn.Alleman@dot.gov.

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Web 2.0 - Transportation Information Aggregators Online
by Matthew Barrett, Administrator, Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library & Archive, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

We have watched the growth of transportation related websites, wikis, podcasts, blogs and RSS feeds during these past five years, and while some of our employers continue to look at these resources, commonly referred to as Social Networking and/or Web 2.0 tools, with suspicion, and often times block network access to them, there are plenty that are very valuable to the transportation field and its librarians. Aggregated transportation information is published by organizations, universities, consultants and other legitimate sources, and now we have the tools to share those resources, and perhaps even aggregate the aggregated resources.

If you haven’t become a subscriber to the Transportation Communications Newsletter or a Facebook friend of Bernie Wagenblast yet, he should be on your list of people to know in transportation. He is one of the most valuable transportation information aggregators online. His blog at http://transport-communications.blogspot.com/ provides current content, categorized by mode, five days a week. It covers both national and international developments in transportation communications.

The TRB Transportation Research E-Newsletter is great resource I’m certain most of you subscribe to. It is more research oriented than many other transportation information aggregators on the web – if only there was an easily discoverable RSS feed for it so we could easily incorporate that information into blogs and webpages and proliferate this information further. RSS feeds allow you to incorporate automatically updated information from websites and blogs, a great tool for building low maintenance, but high value websites. Another such tool is the Google Reader. If you haven’t set one up for sharing information, visit http://www.google.com/reader. You can create customized ways to aggregate and share information.

There are a number of localized transportation information aggregators that will also include items of national and international transportation interest. These include Washington State DOT’s daily newsclips via email, Caltrans’s excellent quarterly Selected News Items email, Northern California’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s daily transportation headlines http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/headlines.htm (also available as an email or RSS feed), the Berkeley ITS Library TransLibBlog http://translib.blogspot.com/ and my own daily transportation headlines email, blog site and RSS feed at http://losangelestransportation.blogspot.com. I’m sure there are others.

Planetizen http://www.planetizen.com/ is an urban planning-oriented blog and frequently covers transportation issues. This site is somewhat unusual; you can contribute items of interest to this site for publication. If you come across something of interest, you can pass it along and be credited as the contributor. It also has an RSS feed that you can incorporate into webpages and blogs, as does Smart Growth Online http://www.smartgrowth.org/, another urban planning blog that covers transportation.

The American Planning Associations’s Trasportation Planning blog http://apa-tpd.blogspot.com/, ASCE’s Our Crumbling Infrastructure blog http://live.asce.org/blog/1/ , AASHTO’s What’s New http://www.transportation.org/, are all useful for current awareness of transportation issues. On the back of the bus, even APTA is now blogging its annual conferences http://blog.apta.com/. I hope that these are indicators of more to come in the form of blogs, content aggregation and RSS feeds from these important partner professional organizations.

TDM Talk http://tdmtalk.blogspot.com/ is a blog that covers transportation issues and includes the lastest posting from the ListServ at the University of South Florida’s Nation Center for Transit Research.

While not a static site, the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota has created a Google Custom Search for University Transportation Centers http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=010809592348763093458:3jsikrwi874 You can search 62 University Transportation Center sites at once – definitely worth adding to your favorites.

The USDOT’s Fast Lane, http://fastlane.dot.gov/ the office blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation was rolled out last year. While it doesn’t necessarily aggregate transportation news from multiple other sources, it does provide insight and I hope it lives on and improves into the next administration.

Web 2.0 tools are giving all libraries the ability to be where our users are, and for us as librarians to inform each other of the latest information available. We can sit through presentations or attend conferences like Internet Librarian, but my best advice would be to learn through playing with these tools. Any of them can be easily “disappeared” with the delete key if you find it doesn’t suit you or your users needs. Is there information in your library that can be aggregated and distributed by methods other than just cataloging? It is definitely time for the Transportation Division to figure out how to pool blog, e-news, and feed resources – it would certainly make an interesting discussion item for a future SLA meeting.

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TQ, the ABA Transportation Committee Quarterly

TQ is a new online quarterly journal published by the American Bar Association. Features include articles and updates on litigation, rulemaking, and other legal developments affecting the transportation industry. The inaugural issue contains articles on the bilateral open skies negotiations between the U.S. and China, federal highway tolling, and federal agency preemption of state tort law. TQ can be found at http://meetings.abanet.org/webupload/commupload/AL326000/sitesofinterest_files/TQ2008Summer.pdf.

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International Digital Transportation Collection Exchange
By Barbara Post, Manager, Information Services, Transportation Research Board

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) and VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute are pleased to announce that the two organizations will increase co-operation by starting an exchange of records between Transportation Research Information Services Database (TRIS) and Transguide (http://www.transguide.org/). VTI will supply the records of its papers and publications and TRB will supply references to papers in the Transportation Research Record.

VTI is an independent and internationally prominent research institute within the transport sector. With about 190 employees VTI is the largest transport research environment in Sweden. The institute carries out applied research and development in relation to all transportation modes. The institute has a broad competence profile, with its key capabilities in the areas of safety, economy, the environment, traffic and transport analysis, public transport, behavior and man-machine-transport system interaction, in road design operation and maintenance.

VTI´s Library and Information Centre (BIC) has the national responsibility for supplying the transport and traffic research community with information and for disseminating the results. The library is one of the largest of its kind in Europe with about 160,000 printed publications and 10,000 e-publications. BIC has developed and runs the portal Transguide which is available free of charge at (http://www.transguide.org/). BIC is also the Swedish centre in the international co-operation within OECD regarding the database International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD).

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Tech Fair 2008: How to Get Users Excited about SEARCH
by Eileen Boswell, Community Transportation Association of America

I am a proud member of my organization's technology team. In the past I have done training on Web 2.0 basics, advanced search strategy, and social bookmarking. I usually give out Google posters with search tips or TRIS bookmarks as prizes and incentives. Our team's upcoming training (which was supposed to be a "back to school" activity but will now have a Halloween theme) is a "Tech or Treat" afternoon with five tech stations and trainers throughout the office to help staff with various technology or research tips and strategies. Here is how we're planning it...

In late August, each member of the tech team decided on a specialty and then started keeping notes on FAQs about that topic among our 25 or so staff members, as well as popular shortcuts and tips. We will be covering web searching, Microsoft Office, preparing web-ready content, Blackberry troubleshooting (we do not have real phones), laptop tuneups and Constant Contact, our mass mailing software. 

Next, the tech team met to decide on a few key points to emphasize about each topic. In the coming weeks we will be doing informal "walk-around" surveys to ask staff what they feel their comfort level is (low, medium or high) with each topic, and we will use this information to group teams for the Tech Fair, which is now scheduled for October 28th. Luckily, we have the endorsement of the Executive Director, so we expect that all staff in town that day will attend. 

The event is scheduled for 2-5 PM. We will all meet together in our main conference room to kick off Tech Fair 2008 and introduce staff to our new tech wiki, which features links and FAQs for all equipment and software that we use. The staff will then split up into their pre-assigned teams and move from station to station on the half hour. Each team will have to ask and answer key tech or search questions to compete for some final prizes, and we will have Halloween candy at each station.

By integrating search training into general tech training, and by having a librarian on the tech team, I feel that our office is growing toward being more savvy about information AND technology, and all of the various ways that they go together. It's an easy way to get people excited about SEARCH.

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New Additions to Regional TKNs

The Kentucky Transportation Center Library at the University of Kentucky has joined the Eastern Transportation Knowledge Network. A list of current members as well as information on the mission and work of the ETKN can be found at http://colab.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?EasternTransportationKnowledgeNetwork.

The Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network, which held its Annual Meeting in Springfield last month, recently welcomed two new members, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Northbrook, Illinois (Penny Sympson, librarian), and the Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Illinois (Connie Field, librarian). A list of MTKN members and other information about MTKN may be found at http://www.mtkn.org/index.html.

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Research in Transportation Economics Changes Format
by Chris Pringle, MCILT, Publisher - Geography, Planning, Development & Transport, Elsevier

Research in Transportation Economics www.elsevier.com/locate/retrec was a well respected, long established book series that had accumulated 21 published volumes. As researchers' reading habits have changed in the internet age, so too has RTE had to change. Therefore, commencing with Volume 22, 2008, RTE has converted to become a journal. Its format remains essentially the same: each volume is a coherent themed collection, generally of commissioned papers, focusing on a particular topic within transportation economics, and shaped by a guest editor. However, it now enjoys all the sophisticated functionality of an online journal, being disseminated via Elsevier's ScienceDirect platform. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/07398859.

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SLA: Being Active in a Division
by Rita Evans, Library Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley

I recently wrote an article for the San Francisco Bay Region Chapter's newsletter Bayline about being active in a division after having been involved in a chapter. Of course, the division in question is Transportation. You can find the full article on pages 7-8 at http://units.sla.org/chapter/csfo/bayline/augsep08.pdf.

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NTL Hiring Digital Librarian

This position is located in the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Library. The Digital Collections Technology librarian develops a vision for information technology, and identifies opportunities to use emerging technologies to improve and enhance library services. The librarian is responsible for leading the development and enhancement of digital repository services, information organization, digital curation, and tools/software that facilitate discovery and use of NTL resources.

RITA is looking for a seasoned professional who is motivated and self-reliant and who can share his/her expertise in servicing and maintaining digital library systems and networks which include digital preservation, storage and retrieval of media and the general metadata; and managing digital projects, including selection or evaluation of materials, digitization, quality assurance, and metadata creation with skilled professionals who ensure the safety and fairness of the transportation industry. This position is located in the New DOT building, which sits directly across the street from the metro and blocks away from the new National's baseball stadium. RITA has flexible work schedules (to include Telework) and flexible health benefits.

You can find the complete details at:


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New Cataloger at FHWA Research Library
by Jennifer Boteler, Head Librarian, FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center Library

Kimberley Edwards is the newest staff addition to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Research Library located at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA.

An employee of Macrosys Research & Technology, Kimberley’s new position is as Cataloger for the FHWA Research Library.

The TFHRC began an effort several years ago to transform its Technical Reference Center (TRC) from a repository of agency-published or agency-sponsored research reports into a fully functioning library with expanded services. Recently the TRC name was changed to the FHWA Research Library.

A large part of this transformation requires cataloging of the collection. The library is still “under construction.” In addition to new publications received on a daily basis, Kim will also be chipping away at the remaining backlog of approximately 35,000 uncataloged items.

It is a priority of FHWA managers that the FHWA Research Library be the “go-to place” for FHWA publications. Therefore, Kim’s priority will be to catalog all FHWA agencies’ publications. In the two short weeks she has been at TFHRC, Kim has cataloged 53 FHWA publications, 47 of those requiring original cataloging.

Kim will also be cataloging state research reports, including UTCs, AASHTO, TRB, and professional organizations' publications (ITE, ACI, ASTM, etc.), in addition to scientific and technical reports from other government agencies.

The FHWA Library is in the beginning stages of implementation of the EOS.Web hosted integrated library system. Kim will be overseeing the data conversion and set-up of the cataloging module and bibliographic record structures.

A strategic goal of the FHWA Research Library is to add more electronic content to the collection. Kim hit the ground running; in her prior position at the National Transportation Library, Kim was the cataloger for the library’s electronic documents collection. In addition, she served as a member of the Transportation Research Thesaurus workgroup, which is the group responsible for reviewing and recommending updates to the TRT.

Kim holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Kentucky. Prior to her position with the NTL, Kim served as a cataloger for Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and as a cataloger and indexer for the Maryland General Assembly Department of Legislative Services Library.

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NTL Baby

Congratulations to NTL Systems Librarian Tracey Schut! Tracey gave birth to a daughter, Sabrina, on September 23. Tracey and her husband Henry also have a son, Gavin, 4 ½. Tracey maintains the NTL web site and the NTL/TRIS Integrated Search. She expects to return to work around mid-November.

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Membership News

New member of the Transportation Division

Alexandra Briseno, Librarian at the Michigan Department of Transportation, has recently joined SLA. Welcome to SLA and the Transportation Division, Alexandra! Her contact information:

Alexandra Briseno
Librarian - Michigan Department of Transportation
425 W. Ottawa St
PO Box 30050
Lansing, MI 48909-7550
Fax 517.241.3194

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