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Transportation Division Bulletin
Kaleidoscope: News of TRN Members

August 2007


Government Transportation Research Information Committee (GTRIC) Program

TRIS Database Celebrates 40th Anniversary

University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center Library Web Site Posts Access to 40 Years of Research Reports

Regional Network Progress: WTKN Gets to Work

SLA Transportation Division Annual Business Meeting

A Little Transportation Humor

Bonnie Osif Honored with 2007 Science-Technology Achievement Award for 2007

Photos from Denver SLA Conference

Membership News:
New Members
Retirement Announcement: Dot Finn


Government Transportation Research Information Committee (GTRIC) Program: Report of the Annual Meeting at SLA in Denver, June 3
by Rita Evans, Library Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley

National Transportation Library – Amanda Wilson, Library Director

Amanda has been with NTL for six months and reported that Acting Administrator John Bobo and Bureau of Transportation Statistics Director Steven Dillingham view and support NTL as an integral part of RITA’s (Research and Innovative Technology Administration) role as the knowledge center for USDOT. She reported that within the next year, plans are in place to merge the DOT Library and NTL within RITA. During the transition period, both libraries will cooperate and collaborate more closely as plans for a new integrated library is developed. No staff increase is expected.

Amanda said she would like to see NTL operating a long-term preservation archive for print copies. This could possibly be a service to transportation libraries faced with downsizing. Some discussion ensued about the current deaccessioning policies at the DOT Library and the need for changes that would make transferring material to other transportation libraries rather than individual DOT employees a priority. Amanda said that the NHTSA reading room will stay open, and plans are underway to scan and digitize the collection of NHTSA Research reports.

On the electronic side, she would like to see NTL coordinate the development of a distributed digital preservation network based on LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) in an effort to duplicate digital content in multiple locations across the country. NTL is also participating in national efforts led by Library of Congress to establish standards for digital preservation and digitization.

In other news, NTL will be assuming responsibility for maintaining the TRT (Transportation Research Thesaurus) and will be using Data Harmony software. Amanda would like to develop better, focused search tools such as the Google Transportation Searches. She described a service from Google, called SiteMaps (sitemaps.org), that NTL has implemented which will crawl your site, including databases, and expose content for indexing by internet search engines. She is looking to enhance NTL’s content, and one idea is an expertise database.

Amanda and NTL will be starting a monthly web-conference, Transportation Libraries Roundtable. TRB, AASHTO, and SLA Transportation Division are partnered in the effort. The roundtable will begin in September and Amanda (amanda.wilson@dot.gov ) is soliciting ideas for topics, library projects, etc. She also encouraged division members to provide comments and ideas for NCHRP Project 20-75 on creating a business plan for knowledge networks.

TRIS, TRRs on Web, Research in Progress and More – Barbara Post, TRB Library Director

Barbara reported that the online access to the TRRs (Transportation Research Records) has been very popular. Sponsors, including state DOTs, have received passwords to access the pdfs which go back to 1998.

Of the 121 projects which were submitted for NCHRP funding in the last round, only 41 were selected, including both LIST projects. Project 20-79 is an expansion of the TRT to include definitions while 20-75 will identify libraries and information centers with significant collections of transportation materials. A panel including Nelda Bravo, Andy Everett, Amanda Wilson, Ken Winter, Sue Sillick and Seyem Petrites will oversee 20-79. This LIST subcommittee will work with NTL in managing the TRT.

Looking both forward and back, Barbara said that Ken Winter has secured funding from VTRC to survey TRIS users, and a working group will discuss the survey results in an E-Circular. They want input from younger members and will be sending the survey to all student attendees from the past two TRB annual meetings. The 40th anniversary of TRIS will be marked with an article in TR News, and Barbara is soliciting comments from users for the article.

TRIS Online enhancements include the addition of records from the Transportation Association of Canada, VTRC and all papers from TRB’s 2006 and 2007 annual meetings. There are more links to full-text sources and IP recognition is in place so your institution’s electronic subscriptions can be accessed. Of the 656,000 records in TRIS, about two-thirds represent articles and conference papers and the rest mostly technical reports. Barbara noted that TRIS abstracts should conform to NISO standards and include any conclusions.

UTCs (University Transportation Centers) are required to use the Research in Progress (RiP) database as a clearinghouse, and each has received a password to input their reports. It’s now very easy to search the database by state or by UTC, a feature added at user requests. In response to a question, Barbara said that any effort to remove records for projects which have been completed has been met with resistance from state DOTs which want to retain control; state AASHTO RAC representatives may be able to facilitate this. A Research Needs database will be released later this year that will identify research areas of high interest.

Pooled Fund for Library Connectivity – Maggie Sacco

Maggie reported on the Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study: Bridge to National and Regional Transportation Knowledge Networks. Ten states are participating, and Wisconsin has taken the lead. Maggie is Technical Services Consultant and Christi Powers handles marketing and outreach. The fund has offset costs for members to participate in TLCat. They are developing a transportation library toolkit that will include lists of best resources, appropriate staffing levels, sample ILL policies, networking opportunities and where to go for cataloging consultation. The fund also does subscription management for member libraries.

Maggie noted that the pooled fund has supported two conference calls for the proposed WTKN (Western States Transportation Knowledge Network). There were 18 participants in the last call, and a new lead is being sought since Steve Cochran has left Washington DOT.

TLCat – Kate Vincent

Kate Vincent, Senior Library Services Consultant, Major Programs and Federal Libraries at OCLC, described OCLC’s Group Services. Group services increase visibility, increase collection usage, facilitate resource sharing and improve cataloging. TLCat is one example of a group services project.

WorldCat.org was rolled out in August 2006 and provides much greater access to this union catalog. OCLC has offered one free batch load to any transportation library. OCLC records show that there are about 750,000 clicks per month from WorldCat records to individual libraries holding items. Enhancements under way include single record citations which can be displayed in any one of five standard bibliographic formats and then exported to RefWorks or EndNote. OCLC is also developing its own citation management software; it has not been determined whether this product will be free or fee-based.

WorldCat.org is being developed as a user product using a social networking model. Users will be able to create lists, tag items, make comments, share resources and create personal profiles. TLCat could be migrated to WorldCat.org and configured so that the holdings of participating libraries display first. Implementation is scheduled for early 2008.

Role of University Transportation Libraries – Rita Evans and Roberto Sarmiento

Rita Evans, Library Director at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, described the library and services it offers. ITSL is one of the three largest transportation libraries in the US and is the oldest academic transportation library.

Under a contract with TRB, ITSL indexes and writes abstracts for journal and trade publication articles, Caltrans-sponsored research reports and some TRB annual meeting papers. This provides TRIS with broader coverage. An additional 52,000 records for articles, conference papers and book chapters have been provided to TRIS as part of the library’s cataloging activities.

The holdings of the ITSL are publicly available through the online Melvyl catalog and via TLCat. ITSL adds about 9,000 catalog records annually and provides subject access through LC subject headings augmented with TRT terms. Items can be borrowed through interlibrary loan, and libraries that are suppliers in OCLC can join LSTR (Libraries Sharing Transportation Resources) and borrow items free of charge.

ITSL participates in several resource sharing initiatives. TRISNet was a program funded in the 1970s by the US DOT and TRB to promote resource sharing among transportation libraries. Although funding ceased after a couple of years, many DOT libraries continue to participate by sending ITSL copies of their publications. In return, their reports are cataloged by ITSL and appear in Melvyl, WorldCat and TLCat, and are preserved as part of an academic research library collection. Similar arrangements with a number of European transportation libraries have resulted in their materials being more widely disseminated.

ITSL and Northwestern currently are investigating a collaborative arrangement for cataloging NTIS reports received under SRIM subscriptions.

Roberto Sarmiento, Head Librarian of Northwestern University’s Transportation Library, described the collection, which is one of the three largest transportation libraries in the US.

Roberto then turned to a discussion of cooperative collection development, a project that grew out of TRB Special Report 284, Transportation Knowledge Networks: a Management Strategy for the 21st Century. A task force was charged with reviewing the literature regarding cooperative/coordinated acquisitions and developing transportation-specific guidelines and/or requirements. Roberto identified and reviewed several dozen articles and attempted to identify some patterns and pitfalls.

A collaborative effort could have weak central management, be regional in scope, and rely on volunteers. MTKN and the Pooled Fund Study are models, and success can be achieved within a limited scope. If a strong central management is chosen, a national effort could be supported by a paid staff. NTL is one model, and there would be an opportunity for broader success. Beyond the issue of weak or strong central management are questions such as membership (open, or by invitation), agreements (formal or informal), and geographic orientation (divide the world into regions? or acquire material regardless of geographic origin?).

Roberto identified some existing infrastructure that might be used. The ILL policies of MTKN, for example, or the TLCat group catalog, or conspectus such as were used during MTKN’s early library visits. Collaboration is an area where much more work could be done.

VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute) – Birgitta Sanstedt

Birgitta Sanstedt, Director of VTI’s Library and Information Center, described the services offered. Transguide is a portal that can be used in Swedish or English and provides access to the library’s catalog, a database of relevant Swedish websites, full-text documents and journals, and statistical sources. The library has been working cooperatively with the Nordic-Baltic Transport Association for the past decade and signed a formal agreement with them a few months ago.

Birgitta reported that the library is doing an increasing number of literature searches and she attributes that to VTI’s involvement in the European Union. Many projects are now long-term (5-10 years) and there is sufficient time and resources to conduct literature reviews. The library would like to position itself as a fee-based resource for R&D projects.

A presentation to management at VTI about available library services was intended for informational purposes but appears to have had better consequences. Birgitta believes it laid the groundwork for a directive that requires authorities financing transportation-related R&D to provide input to Transguide.

In describing efforts to ensure long-term access to digital information, Birgitta spoke for many in the room when she said about leasing information that, “it doesn’t feel well.”

Bonnie Osif – Changing Use of Transportation Information

Bonnie, Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University’s Engineering Library, reported on a study of citations in reports, journal articles and dissertations she did to determine whether there are differences in sources cited in the 1990s versus the 2000s. She was looking at factors such as web access – does it increase usage of older material or push researchers to newer publications?

Among her findings: older resources are valuable and valued, but researchers have to be able to find them. Monographs constitute significant resources. Standards are often cited, and there is a good reason for keeping superseded standards.

There is a significant difference between resource use pre- and post-web with a wider variety of resources used post-web both in formats and in years. There are significant, quantifiable differences in the resources used by journal authors and report authors, specifically, more articles and dissertations are used by journal authors, and more reports, standards and conferences are used by report authors both pre- and post-web.

Bonnie noted that currency and access points are important. The advent of the web means that a wider variety and range of resources is available to a wider population of researchers and they are using new means of discovering resources.

Panel Discussion – Amanda Wilson, Bonnie Osif, Rita Evans

To wrap up the day’s session, a panel discussion was held to review some of the topics raised by various speakers.


Attendees expressed their thanks to Pat DeSalvo of Virginia DOT who did a terrific job in coordinating this year’s GTRIC although she was unable to attend herself. Many participants said that this was a particularly useful GTRIC, with a great deal of information presented and appropriate opportunities for discussion.

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TRIS Database Celebrates 40th Anniversary
by Barbara Post, Manager, Information Services, Transportation Research Board

July 2007 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database. However, the idea behind TRIS goes back to 1920 when one of the purposes of the Highway Research Board was “to collect and distribute information of completed and current research.” In 1928, $8,000 was appropriated for the development of a highway research information clearinghouse. As part of the fulfillment for this project, the Highway Research Abstracts, a print bibliography of published highway research, was inaugurated.

In July 1967, the Highway Research Information Services (HRIS) was implemented. HRIS used computer and automated technology to expand the bibliographic clearinghouse concept. HRIS database was developed over a 3 year period with the sponsoring of the State Highway Departments and the Bureau of Public Roads. HRIS included bibliographic citations and abstracts for published highway literature.

Since that time, HRIS has expanded and become multimodal and is now TRIS. There are currently over 660,000 records of published research in TRIS. There are an additional 9,660 records of research projects in the Research in Progress (RiP) Database (http://rip.trb.org) . TRB staff index and abstract journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, and books on all modes and disciplines of transportation. TRIS also receives records of journal articles from Northwestern University’s Library and Institute of Transportation Studies Library at the University of California Berkeley. Records of international publications are received from the ITRD (International Transportation Research Documentation) Database produced by OECD, and the Transportation Association of Canada supplies TRIS with records of Canadian transportation publications.

Technology has changed TRIS. Most of the TRIS Database is now available on the Web on the National Transportation Library Web site as TRIS Online (http://ntl.bts.gov/tris). It is now readily accessible to anyone looking for information on transportation research. Web technology has also allowed TRB to add links from many TRIS records to the full text of the documents. Almost 35,000 records now have links to full text publications.

With funding from the State Departments of Transportation, the various modal administrations at the U.S. Department of Transportation and other sponsors of TRB, TRIS Database has become the largest and most comprehensive resource for published transportation research.

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University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center Library Web Site Posts Access to 40 Years of Research Reports
by Mary Ellen Tucker, Librarian, University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, University of North Carolina

Beginning in June 2007, the public will have searchable access for the first time to the complete bibliographic record of research reports published by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) from its earliest publications to its most current. The Center was established in the year 1966, and its first research publications appeared in 1967.

The HSRC Library provides access to traffic safety research information from the United States and around the world. Library collections reflect the focus of the Center's research and concentrate on human factors, civil engineering, and design of facilities for pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicles. The library primarily functions as a resource for members of the Center’s research staff.

Library staff members recently completed work on a pdf-format bibliography that covers the Center’s publications from 1967-1990, in addition to html e-bibliography pages that cover the years from 1990 to the present.

Access to the bibliography is located in the Research Library section of the HSRC Web site at http://www.hsrc.unc.edu/research_library/index.cfm

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Regional Network Progress: WTKN Gets to Work
by Maggie Sacco, Transportation Library Connectivity pooled fund study, msacco@ctcandassociates.com

The Western Transportation Knowledge Network (WTKN) is up and running! The network has had four teleconferences to date. Network membership is based on the AASHTO Region 4 map and several of the 18 states have been represented on the conference calls including, Arizona, Alaska, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, Texas, and Idaho.

The basic founding goals for WTKN are to expand membership and add holdings to TLCat, establish an ILL network, a reference base of expertise and technical assistance for cataloging issues; provide a mentoring community for transportation librarians and a network to develop best practices such as Return on Investment formulas, marketing and communicating the value of libraries and TKNs to senior managers, and development of policies and procedures for ILL and budgeting, etc.

Some very interesting and exciting things have come out of this group’s formation and the last two monthly teleconferences in June and July. The group has put the finishing touches on the Bylaws and will move next to voting on them and finalizing the language of the Guiding Principles. The Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study is providing space on its blog for WTKN documents and discussion and underwrote the first two teleconferences in February and April this year.

Amanda Wilson at NTL is working with her RITA managers to underwrite a face-to-face meeting at the TRB facility in Irvine, CA in the fall. Matt Barrett (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority and 2007 SLA Transportation Division Chair) and Dale Steele (Arizona DOT) have volunteered to take the lead on working with their GIS people to map TLCat library collections, and we have proposed a new project to OCLC for a widget to enhance TLCat; an RSS feed for newly cataloged items. Maggie Sacco (Transportation Library Connectivity pooled fund) is working with the OCLC FEDLINK representative to get this project on their calendar. There are many other proposed projects, near and long-term. The group hopes to create a duplicate item exchange as well as work toward group subscription discounts with vendors, and monitor the library directory facet of the NCHRP 20-75 project, as many possibilities for enhancement were discussed.

The last two conference calls were also web conferences using GoToMeeting, courtesy of Washington State DOT (WSDOT). Leni Oman, Research Manager at WSDOT has been doing a wonderful job of facilitating the recent meetings. Interest and participation has been high and the members will convene online and by telephone again in August.

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SLA Transportation Division Annual Business Meeting, Tuesday, June 5, 2007
by Seyem Petrites, Secretary

1. The business meeting was called to order at 11:00 a.m. by Chair Matthew Barrett.
2. The minutes from the 2006 business meeting were approved.
3. Introduction of new members
            The following new members introduced themselves:

  • Andrea Avni, Sound Transit
  • Jennifer Boteler, FHWA Turner Fairbanks Highway Research Center
  • Roland Liu, Synthosys
  • Amanda Wilson, National Transportation Library

4. Professional Achievement Award

  • Kay Geary presented the Transportation Division’s 2007 Professional Achievement Award to Barbara Post.

5. Recognition of Past Chair

  • Matt presented Past Chair Bob Sweet with a plaque and gift certificate to Amazon Books.

6. Nominating Committee

  • Bob announced the slate of officers for 2008:
  • Connie Field, Portland Cement Association, Chair
  • Rita Evans, University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Transportation Studies Library, Chair-Elect
  • Dale Steele, Arizona Transportation Research Center, Secretary
  • Lisa Pogue, American Public Works Association, Treasurer
  • A call for any nominations from the floor was issued; none were received. A motion was made to accept the slate, which was then seconded and approved. Connie then introduced herself and briefly spoke about some programming ideas for next year’s Conference in Seattle.

7. Membership Committee

  • Lynne Webb, Membership Chair, announced that the Division currently has 155 members and that this figure is the same as last year’s.

8. Sponsorship Committee

  • Matt thanked the Committee for its fine work in procuring the following sponsors for the Business Meeting: ASCE, InfoCurrent (Corestaff), OCLC, Scopus (Elsevier), Thomson Scientific & Dialog, and Wolters Kluwer Law & Business (CCH).

9. Special Projects Committee

  • Matt reported for Roger Garren, noting that the Highways and Trucking sections to Sources of Information in Transportation are available on the web and that new sections will be mounted as they are received.

10. Division List Owner/Webmaster

  • Robert Sarmiento reported on the listserv and web site moving to the SLA host server. The move will give the Division greater visibility and hopefully lead to an increase in membership. The listserv will still be available to non-members for the time being.

11. Bulletin/TD Newsletter

  • Joyce Koeneman reported that Rosalyn Alleman is pleased to be serving as Editor of the Division’s Bulletin.

12. Archivist

  • Mary Kay Geary reported that nothing new has been submitted to the Division archives for the past 3-4 years. It was recommended that copies of the newsletters and various agendas be submitted in both print and digital formats. Roberto noted that material is being saved in digital format on the Northwestern University Transportation Library’s web site. Matt offered to look into the need for guidelines, and Rita Evans indicated that material from her files as Division Secretary would be submitted to the archives.

13. TRB LIST Committee Update

  • Sandy Tucker reported that the Library and Information Science for Transportation (LIST) Committee will be meeting July 8-9 in Chicago at the TRB Summer Conference. LIST is currently focusing on two projects: 1) NCHRP 20-75 – Identifying Transportation Libraries and Information Centers; and, 2) NCHRP 20-79 – Expansion of the Transportation Research Thesaurus (TRT) to include definitions of terms.

14. Open Comments

  • Bob thanked the sponsors once again for support and introduced those in attendance. Apologies were also extended to the sponsors whose names were omitted from the program.
  • Matt thanked everyone for their support throughout the year.
  • Rita addressed the issue of programming responsibilities for the Chair. She described her proposal that was submitted to the Board, in which the Chair-Elect would be in charge of programming for the annual Conference. The Board approved the proposal, thus establishing the Chair-Elect as Chair of the Programming Committee. It was noted that the Nominating Committee will be contacting a few Division members to serve on the Programming Committee.

15. The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

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A Little Transportation Humor
from Heidi M Wood, Research Library-Library Assistant III, Nevada Department of Transportation

A guy walks into a bar with a big chunk of asphalt under his arm.

The bartender looks at him and can see he's hot and tired, and says "Need a cold beer, mister?"

The guy looks at him and says, "Yeah, one for me, and one for the road . . .”

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Membership News

New members of the Transportation Division

Kerry L. Jackson
Aroq Ltd.
Seneca House
Buntsford Park Road
Brosgrove Worcester
B60 3DX, UK

Katherine H. Vincent
Gale Group
5921 Wilmett Rd
Bethesda, MD 20817

Retirement Announcement

Dot Finn announced that she is retiring in the middle of July after 23 years at GRA, Inc. in Jenkintown, PA. The new librarian, Gail Kostinko, will be starting July 9th. After her retirement, Dot plans to become more active at church, do some traveling in her motor home and spend lots of time with her grandsons, 3 and 1.

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