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Transportation Division Bulletin
Kaleidoscope: News of TRN Members

February 2006


New Products from the Transportation Research Board Information Services Department

SLA Annual Conference Baltimore, MD, USA, June 11-14, 2006

Building a Knowledge Information Network

Classifying that Elusive FHWA Reportt

Highlights from TRB – Items of Interest to the Transportation Division

Web Tools You Can Use: Blogs, Wikis, Rich Site Summary Feeds, and More

Membership News


New Products from the Transportation Research Board Information Services Department
by Barbara Post, Manager, Information Services Department

• TRB Publications Index – http://pubsindex.trb.org

The TRB Publications Index contains over 30,000 papers, articles, and reports from TRB, the Highway Research Board, SHRP, and the Marine Board published from 1923 to date.
The new TRB Publications Index uses a “Google” like search. The keyword search automatically searches the title, author, abstract, index terms, series, and conference fields. Terms are automatically “anded” together. Phrases can be searched using quotation marks. This allows the user to enter the information they know about the publication easily. For example, if you wanted to find an article by Bob Skinner on research in TR News, you could enter skinner research tr news in the keyword search and retrieve several relevant TR News articles. An advance query screen is available.

The search results can be marked, displayed in a full or brief view, downloaded, or directly e-mailed with comments to users. There are links to the full text or ordering information.

The TRB Publications Index is updated daily. Another feature is by clicking the title of the Transportation Research Record, the conference title, or related monograph information, you can retrieve other papers or articles published in that conference proceedings, Transportation Research Record, or issue of that journal.

• Transportation Research Thesaurus on TRB’s Web site http://trt.trb.org

As part of NCHRP Project 20-70 (a LIST initiated project approved by SCOR last March), the Transportation Research Thesaurus is now available on TRB’s Web site. The TRT can be searched and terms viewed in the hierarchical, alphabetical, KWIC and KWOC formats. Clicking on a term retrieves the family display. Clicking on the alpha code retrieves the hierarchical display. The TRT can also be browsed by clicking on any of facet terms. The full TRT can be downloaded in XML format and updates will available for download. TRT is being integrated into the data entry system and Web based system for maintaining the TRT is being developed.

Try these new products and send me any comments or suggestions for improvements. If you would like handouts to promote these information resource to your users, please let me know and I will be happy to send some out.

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SLA Annual Conference Baltimore, MD, USA, June 11-14, 2006
by Bob Sweet, Head, UMTRI Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Baltimore 2006—Where Tradition and Transformation Converge

Will you be there? I’m looking forward to an exciting conference, which SLA hopes to be a real departure from the types of programming that we’ve come to expect.

Come see what the Transportation Division has in store.

Saturday, June 10

We’ll come together for a no-host (that means everyone pays for his or her own) dinner at yet-to-be-determined nearby restaurant. We’ll be holding it on Saturday evening this year, because of a change in the conference scheduling that will make Sunday unavailable for such an event.

Sunday June 11

Our annual GTRIC (Government Transportation Research Information Committee) meeting will be held on Sunday as usual. It’s an invaluable opportunity to get an update on what’s happening in government transportation information, and it’s one of the best networking opportunities we transportation librarians have. This year’s meeting will have a knowledge-management emphasis.

Immediately following the GTRIC meeting, there will be a “no-conflict” period from 4:00 until 6:00, which is set aside for an INFO-EXPO Networking Reception. Following that, from 6:30 until 8:00, there will be the Opening General Session featuring Gwen Ifill. Having the opening session on Sunday night is also a departure from what we’re used to.

Monday, June 12

From 9:30 until 11:00, the Transportation Division in partnership with the Biomedical and Life Sciences Division will present “Free Agency: From Athletes to Librarians,” with Mary Ellen Bates. Mary Ellen offers this summary: “When sports stars become free agents, they are able to shop their talents to a number of teams, evaluating their worth to their potential employer, enhancing their assets during the off-season, and deciding what salary they should ask for. While we librarians don't need steroids to do our jobs, we need that same attitude that we're all free agents in the workplace. Mary Ellen Bates will give her thoughts on how to implement this strategy in the information marketplace.”

If you’ve seen Mary Ellen at SLA before, you know that she really packs the room, and then some. This one is not to be missed.

From 12:00 until 1:00 on Monday, we’ll have our annual business meeting. Bring a brown-bag (or any color) lunch.

Tuesday June 13

From 7:30 until 9:00 in the morning, we’ll have our annual board meeting

From 11:30 until 1:00 we will present “Update on International Transportation Information.” Bonnie Osif will speak on her research, and other speakers are being lined up.

We will have our Transportation Division reception in the evening from 7:00 until 9:00. We’re working to line up an interesting venue away from the conference center. We’re hoping to do something similar to what Betty Lou Hicks arranged in Toronto last year, but that’s a tough act to follow. Stay tuned.

Thursday June 15

Martha Soneira of the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center is arranging a tour of the facility for whomever has the means to get down to the D.C. area on Thursday. Unfortunately, we were unable to come up with a cost-effective way to provide transportation for the division. Please watch TRAN-LIB for details of this event.

I can’t wait to see you all in Baltimore. Truth be told, I love the SLA Annual Conference. My first one was in Anaheim in 1987. Do you know where the very first one (1909) was held? If you get the answer right, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee in Baltimore.

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Building a Knowledge Information Network
by Maggie Sacco, Library Services Consultant, Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study

The Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study is a group of 10 member states funding a two-year federal pooled fund project on library connectivity, research and information management. These academic and transportation libraries have formed a network to organize and improve access to transportation research and information services.

As the transportation sector lags behind comparable industries in its library and research investments, the pooled fund study’s goals and activities are contributing to an effective transportation information management system. Building on the recommendations of a recent Transportation Research Board policy study, Special Report 284 Transportation Knowledge Networks: A Management Strategy for the 21st Century, the study emphasizes the need for transportation knowledge networks at the regional and national levels.

Progress of the study includes assessing collections, providing technical library services, offering a forum for networking, and promoting the value of information services through marketing and outreach efforts. Technical Advisory Committee members met last October in conjunction with the Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network (MTKN) to discuss a vision and strategies for transportation in the information age.

New SLA Transportation Division member, Maggie Sacco is the librarian and principle investigator for the Transportation Library Pooled Fund study. To learn more about project, visit our website at

For news & updates, stop by the blog at http://www.ctcandassociates.com/lpfblog

You can contact Maggie at msacco@ctcandassociates.com

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Classifying that Elusive FHWA Report
by Jennifer Boteler, Managing Librarian, Technical Reference Center, FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

As the FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center Librarian, several libraries have asked me about the correct Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number for the "new" FHWA-HRT reports.

The former FHWA-RD report series is now FHWA-HRT. This change happened with some serials, such as Research & Technology Transporter in late 2003, and monographs/reports in 2004. The reason for the change is that the name of the FHWA office changed from Office of Research and Development (RD) to Office of [Highway] Research and Technology Services (HRT). It's basically the same office, doing the same thing, but with a different name under a slightly different reorganization.

I checked some of the first items to be assigned the new HRT series in OCLC WorldCat, and none of the cataloging records showed a SuDoc number. Of course, I didn’t know if this was because none of the holding/cataloging libraries participate in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) or if the FHWA reports were not distributed through the FDLP. I also checked the FDLP Administrative Notes Technical Supplement (ANTS) online to see if there would be information on changing TD 2:30 (FHWA RD), but couldn't find anything.

Therefore, I contacted a former federal documents colleague and she checked the 2005 edition of the Guide to U.S Government Publications and reported that it did not show the FHWA-RD series having been changed to FHWA-HRT.

She confirmed that if one series number ends and the next series number picks up for it, the SuDoc root stays the same with just the number/letters changing. For example, TD 2.30:FHWA-RD 30 would then become TD 2.30:FHWA-HRT 31.

At my colleague’s suggestion, I notified FDLP about the change in this series and asked if they might do an article clarifying the change in the Administrative Notes Technical Supplement. Since there is no information on the FHWA-HRT documents referring back to the FHWA-RD series, some people might think it is a new series and classify it as such.

The Superintendent of Documents, Library Technical Services Support Division recently responded, “We are currently preparing the Jan-Feb issue of ANTS, and will make every effort to see that the changes are in this issue.”

In the interim, I thought I would bring this to your attention in case you do classify your FHWA reports by the Government Document Classification Number; Superintendent of Documents Classification System (MARC tag 086).

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Highlights from TRB – Items of Interest to the Transportation Division
by Rita Evans, Reference Librarian, Institute of Transportation Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley

Some exciting developments were announced at the Transportation Research Board’s 85th Annual Meeting in January where more than 9000 transportation professionals attended presentations, committee meetings, exhibits and other events.

Transportation Knowledge Networks: TRB Special Report 284

The long awaited TRB policy study from the Committee for a Future Strategy for Transportation Information Management was released during the meeting. You can read Transportation Knowledge Networks: A Management Strategy for the 21st Century at http://trb.org/publications/sr/sr284.pdf.

The study includes six recommendations, among them that transportation knowledge networks be established throughout the United States and at the federal level. A national-level coordinating structure should be established within RITA (Research and Innovative Technology Administration) at the US DOT to manage network activities. The current focus and membership of the Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics should be broadened and it should become the Advisory Council on Transportation Information with responsibility for long-range planning.

Bonnie Osif and Roberto Sarmiento of the Transportation Division were on the committee and other division members served as researchers or advisors, or as authors of other reports that laid the groundwork for this one. Debate about the study is ongoing on the division’s discussion list.

TRIS Online

Joyce Koeneman and her development team from NTL have been hard at work on a new user interface for TRIS Online and they demonstrated the new features at the LIST and B0002 committee meetings to an enthusiastic response.

Searching TRIS Online will be an entirely different experience with advanced search capabilities including multi-field searching; keyword searches that encompass many fields; hyperlinks that initiate new searches; and integration of the TRT into searches. Output screens have been improved with a much cleaner, more concise output display. Output can be customized and then downloaded, printed or emailed.

Searchers will be able to restrict their search to TRIS Online or to the NTL. (The TRIS database does not include websites while NTL provides access to websites and portals.)

Users have been clamoring for these interface and system enhancements to TRIS Online for years and those changes will make the database a more effective tool for transportation research. Watch for an announcement regarding the release date which is anticipated for sometime this summer.

TRB Publications Index

Officially released at TRB was a new and much improved version of TRB’s Publications Index (http://pubsindex.trb.org/). Barbara Post of TRB provided demos at TRB’s booth and did presentations at the LIST and B0002 meetings.

The new, comprehensive Publication Index covers 30,000 documents released by TRB and its predecessor since 1923. The search interface has been upgraded and defaults to Boolean searches. Phrase searching is available by using quote marks. A “modify search” function allows you to narrow results.

Beginning with the 2006 annual meeting, TRB will index every paper that appears on the CD of conference papers. The Publications Index record will indicate its location on the CD, and if the paper is later accepted for publication in the Transportation Research Record, the Publication Record will be updated to reflect that.

Every record in the Publications Index will contain a link to either the full-text of the document or a source for ordering a hardcopy.

Transportation Research Thesaurus (TRT)

TRB also announced the release in January of the new web-based version of the TRT (http://trt.trb.org/). Terms can be viewed alphabetically, in a hierarchy or in KWIC or KWIC format. You can choose a term and then have it execute a search for the term in the TRB Publications Index.

The entire thesaurus or updates can be downloaded as .xml files and then printed. Updates will be done monthly. The database now resides on a server at TRB rather than on a consultant’s personal computer. The viewer is not being updated and will be retired.

Users will be able to suggest new terms for inclusion in the TRT.

During demos and meetings, Barbara Post solicited suggestions for TRT improvements. TRB implemented some of them so quickly that they were in place by the time we returned to work!

Comments and suggestions about both the Publications Index and the TRT can be sent to Barbara at TRB.

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Web Tools You Can Use: Blogs, Wikis, Rich Site Summary Feeds, and More
TRB 85th Annual Meeting - Session 739

Learn about some of the different tools on the Web that may help you in disseminating transportation research information. Transportation Division members Arlene Mathison, Ken Winter, Rita Evans, and Matt Barrett provide summaries of their presentations at TRB’s annual meeting in January. Be sure to follow the links to view the full presentations.

RSS: A New Communications Channel
by Arlene Mathison, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota

Using Rich Site Summary to Inform Your Stakeholders (P06-0795) (pdf download)

RSS is a simple yet powerful technology that allows content from Web sites to be automatically delivered to XML aggregators, such as news readers, or other computers that can parse and display the XML. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. RSS is typically used to track news or other new Web content through one application such as a news reader. Instead of visiting many different Web sites, users can subscribe to the sites’ RSS feeds (also called XML feeds) and view all the articles through one news reader. News readers may be Web-based, incorporated with a Web browser, or a standalone program.

Almost all news and magazine publishers offer RSS feeds on their Web sites. Libraries have also begun to offer RSS feeds for new acquisitions, new database, events, and account information.

Only a few transportation organizations currently offer RSS feeds. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) publishes one called the Science of Driving, featuring news about research findings and happening at UMTRI (see http://www.umtri.umich.edu/umtri/news.html). Several transit agencies such as Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), D.C. Metrorail, Sound Transit, and Transport for London use RSS for press releases and rider alerts. RSS feeds can be received on Web-enabled portable devices, so the alerts can be checked en route.

The SLA Web site has an Information Portal on Blogging and RSS which lists many useful articles and resources: http://www.sla.org/content/resources/infoportals/blog.cfm

Wiki, the Web, and WorldCat
by Ken Winter, Virginia Transportation Research Council

Wiki, the Web, and WorldCat: Open Editing and Research in Action (P06-0796) (pdf download)

Wiki is a type of Web site that allows users to easily add and edit content, and is especially suited for collaborative writing. Though the first Wiki emerged in 1995, only in recent years have they have gained popularity, largely due to the emerging forces of social networking that such new Web technologies empower. Today, many consumers of traditional media content (newspapers, television, radio) are exploring Wiki because it offers a less passive way to consume information...even the chance to contribute or change information passed along to others. In the world of Wiki, anybody can be an "Editor" and everybody's voice is potentially authoritative.

For example, an entry in the collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia appears as "authoritative" as a traditional encyclopedia article, but when displayed on screen, it has "Edit this page" and "history of editorial changes" options. These magic buttons allow any Web user (who is willing to register) a chance to add or change the content of an entry. Wikipedia has been a huge success, with nearly a million entries, and an active "self policing" element.

One of the more interesting ways libraries are exploring Wiki is through OCLC's "Wiki WorldCat" pilot project, which allows anyone who finds bibliographic citations through Open WorldCat (http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/open/default.htm) to add their book reviews, comments, notes, and ratings. OCLC's program is based in large part on what Amazon.com has done to encourage end users to add customer ratings and reviews. In OCLC's program, this end-user supplied content is displayed side by side with the librarian-created descriptive bibliographic citation data, but is not actually added to the bibliographic records.

The proprietary "closed" version of WorldCat has been a smash success since it was launched in 1974, allowing library professionals to defray costs and increase productivity by collaborative professional cataloging activities. Today, there are more than a billion holdings in WorldCat and a new record is added (either to WorldCat or to the holdings of a WorldCat library) about once every second. But since Wiki WorldCat went live in October 2005 there have only been 875 "pieces of content" added. So it seems as though Wiki WorldCat has not really taken off yet.

However, it seems clear that the Wiki concept will continue to grow in use and acceptance in and outside of library circles. While there are limitations for how Wiki might be used to facilitate the scholarly peer review process, it is evident that this new form of collaborative editing will influence these processes, even in transportation research circles.

Podcasting Takes Off...But Will It Help Researchers?
by Rita Evans, University of California, Berkeley

Podcasting Takes Off...But Will It Help Researchers? (P06-0797) (pdf download)

Podcasting, the New Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2005, is a web feed of audio or video files placed on the Internet for anyone to subscribe to. Many podcasters offer direct download of files, but the subscription feed of automatically delivered new content distinguishes podcasts from simple downloads or real-time streaming. Making your own podcasts is technically simple and instructions on how to do them are easy to find.

Since so much transportation research relies on data, statistics, mathematical formulae and other components that are not readily conveyed via audio, podcasting is not likely to be a good medium for disseminating this type of information. That may be why there really are not any good transportation-focused podcasts at this time.

Podcasting could, however, be a useful tool for technology transfer where short, practical programs could be available to practitioners in the field with minimal hardware requirements -- turn on your iPod and hear a description of how that deicing chemical should be applied. It also has potential for conveying policy-related information such as a discussion of how local funds are allocated.

Blogs and Blogging
by Matthew Barrett, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Blogs and Blogging (P06-0803) (pdf download)

Blogs and Blogging have become a mainstream form of communication and content distribution. Its distinct chronological format, automatic archiving, and options for commenting on the information posted can provide an interactive community web environment. While popularized by politics after the Drudge Report broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and the top ten most trafficked blogs are still politically themed, library and scientific communities have recently embraced blogs as a distribution method for current content, professional development and serving micro communities. Free blog host sites like http://www.blogger.com/start with its easy to use templates and the ability to update from any place with web access or even a cell phone, combined the ability to create a free RSS content feed while serving as a very low cost method for information distribution to interested parties immediately.

Blogs can be seen as an alternative rich format form of listserv. Posts and comments will be automatically archived and can be searched at a later date. General Motors finds blogs useful for collecting marketing feedback on proposed products from customers who communicate directly with Vice-Chair Bob Lutz. The Chair of the Chicago Transit Authority uses a blog to communicate directly with CTA's constituents and rise above what the news media chooses to cover about CTA. Nevada DOT is using a blog on their I395 project as a community feedback mechanism, much like gathering comments on an Environmental Impact Report. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Library uses a blog to distribute a daily journal of Southern California transportation related news and information to increase the visibility of the transportation library.

As for an example of an academic research endeavor, the University Transportation Center at the University of South Florida is using a blog to distribute its Transportation Demand Management research and encourage discussion (http://www.tdmtalk.blogspot.com/). It would not be surprising if other UTC's followed suit. The RSS feed aspect of blogs would allow student researchers to discover research results much faster than traditional research distribution methods would. Blogging's full potential as a research tool for transportation remains to be seen. It will depend on how the transportation community chooses to embrace blogs as a serious communication tool.

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Membership News

New members of the Transportation Division

Ms. Jennifer L. Boteler
FHWA Turner Fairbanks Hwy Res Ctr
Technical Reference Center
6300 Georgetown Pike A200
McLean, VA 22101

Mr. Chester S. Bunnell
St. Louis University
Pius XII Memorial Library
3650 Lindell Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63108-3302

Ms. Ellen Dewkett
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Hunt Memorial Library
600 S Clyde Morris Blvd
Daytona Beach, Florida 32114-3900

Mr. Daniel S. Dotson
Ohio State University
Science & Engineering Library
175 West 18th Ave Rm 490B
Columbus, OH 43210

Ms. Danielle E. Pollock
Missouri Dept of Transportation Library
1617 Missouri Blvd
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Ms. Gretl D. Rasmussen
7th Floor
440 Park Avenue
New York, NYk 10016

Ms. Maggie Sacco
CTC & Associates LLC
1054 Pleasant View Rd #205
Middleton, WI 53562

Ms. Gale K. Smith
Virginia Transportation Research Council
530 Edgemont Rd.
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Ms. Andrea Thalemann
Cambridge University
Faculty of Music
Wolfson College
Cambridge, CB3 9BB
United Kingdom

Ms. Lois Travis
University of Illinois
Illinois Newspaper Projects
1408 West Gregory Dr
220 Main Library
Urbana, IL 61801

A new position

At the recent TRB Annual Meeting, a host of colleagues gathered together for a celebration dinner for Sandy Tucker. After 18 years with the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), Sandy has moved on to a new challenge as the Engineering and Applied Sciences Librarian at the Texas A&M University Libraries. In her new position, Sandy will serve as the subject specialist and liaison for civil engineering, transportation, engineering technology, and urban and regional planning. Her responsibilities will include advanced reference services, research consultations, instructional services, outreach, and collection development. Sandy reassures us that her commitment and dedication to the Transportation Division will remain strong as ever. Joining Sandy at the Lebanese Taverna were: Patsy Anderson, Jerry Baldwin, Matthew Barrett, Nelda Bravo, Julia Daniel, Michael Kleiber, Joyce Koeneman, Arlene Mathison, Bonnie Osif, Tom Palmerlee, Barbara Post, Laura Whayne, and Ken Winter. (Apologies if a name was missed.) Sandy’s email will remain the same (s-tucker@tamu.edu) but she does have a new phone number: 979-862-1043.

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