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Transportation Division Bulletin
Kaleidoscope: News of TRN Members

June 2005

Contents

Transportation Headlines

UMTRI Holds 40th Anniversary Symposium

SLA Annual Conference 2005, GTRIC Report

Speechless in Toronto

JCDL 2005

Membership News

Dan Krummes named University of California, Berkeley "Distinguished Librarian"
Roberto Sarmiento to particpate in 2005 Thinking Outside the Borders
Roberto Sarmiento and Hank Zaletel recognized as "Notable Alumni"
Good-bye from Julie Bolding

 

Transportation Headlines
by Matthew Barrett and Joan Friedman, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Local Transportation Headlines: a service that builds a network of supporters

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Transportation Library's collection includes news clips from the present day back to 1940, assembled the old fashioned way by the agency's Media Relations department staff, by cutting and pasting paper.

We went searching for an alternative online resource of local Southern California transportation news that would take the burden off media relations staff and that could also be a service provided through the library. I came across various free and pay news aggregator services and news links via email newsletters from various professional organizations, but nothing seemed appropriate or specific enough to our region's transportation issues. That's when I came across the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC’s) “Transportation Headlines for the Bay Area” available on the web and via email. Since what I was looking for didn't exist for Los Angeles, I was going to have to create it, and MTC's product seemed like the perfect example to follow. It was February, annual budget time was near, and financial shortfalls and cuts were imminent. It was the right time to roll out something that would get everyone's attention and could be easily embraced by internal and external audiences. I called MTC's librarian, Joan Friedman, for advice and then decided to begin producing a southern California version of Transportation Headlines.

Using a combination of direct browsing newspaper sites daily, Google and Yahoo news alerts, and an RSS/XML reader, we collect and publish links to relevant transportation headlines from various news sources daily. We post them on the intranet and send out an email version via separate distribution lists for employees and external subscribers. We allow anyone to subscribe by sending us a “subscribe” email to our library@metro.net mailbox. The reaction from both audiences has been terrific and 100% positive. Most often heard are, "This is an excellent service" and "Finally, it's all in one place." Our external subscriber list has grown by more than 300 in just three months. The daily email is very popular among government relations, legislative analyst and public affairs staff at local cities (Los Angeles County is composed of 88 cities), and the sixteen other municipal transit service operators. It has also been gaining a number of student subscribers at local universities who study urban planning and transportation issues. It has boosted recognition of the library's resources, increased foot, email, and telephone traffic, and helped solidify a larger external base of support for our services.

The process of collecting news via the web also clarified a few web resource issues. News in print does not necessarily appear at the same time or contain the same information as its electronic version. Secondly, there were far more newspapers on the web serving Southern California than I had anticipated, with some of the smallest ones actually providing better and more timely coverage of local issues. Finally, some issues are completely overlooked by the news. We focus on roads, ports, airports, commuter rail, AMTRAK, urban planning, transit-oriented development, state/federal transportation legislative issues, transportation technology and transit operations in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties.

--Matthew Barrett is the Library Administrator for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library.

MTC-ABAG Library experience with transportation headlines

In early 2001, the job of physically clipping articles from local newspapers on transportation and related issues, previously done by MTC’s Public Information Department, was handed over to the Library. We quickly realized that taking scissors to paper was not only time-consuming, but it also did not deliver policy-affecting news to our staff and commissioners on a timely basis. Searching around for guidelines and methods of gathering news electronically, we discovered that the most efficient way to do it was just to eyeball each of the newspapers online and pick out the articles that fit our criteria. Keyword searches had proven inefficient because of the wide range of topics we need to cover. We found that news alert services and news aggregators delivered either too much that was not relevant, or not enough, because they didn’t search all of the local papers we wanted to cover (e.g., small newspapers like the Marin Independent Journal or the Napa Valley Register), and they didn’t always deliver on a timely basis. We wanted today’s news today, not tomorrow or the next day.

Each morning we comb through about 15 online newspapers and search Google and Yahoo news for “Metropolitan Transportation Commission” and “Association of Bay Area Governments” (the two agencies we represent). We then copy and paste the headlines and the URLs into an email message and send it to over 750 subscribers and 145 staff. Finally, we add those headlines to MTC’s website http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/headlines.htm. The whole process takes about one hour each day. On the weekends I collect the headlines from home and send an email to the Library for incorporation into Monday’s headlines.

We have received a lot of positive feedback about this service. In fact, the Transportation Headlines has replaced the morning paper for many subscribers. One subscriber wrote, “It’s like the sun didn’t rise” when he didn’t receive the email one morning. We are pleased that the Library is able to offer such a valuable service to MTC and the transportation community.

--Joan Friedman, who has been with the MTC-ABAG Library since June 1985, serving as Head Librarian since 1989, retired in June 2005.

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UMTRI Holds 40th Anniversary Symposium
by Bob Sweet, Head, UMTRI Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

On June 23, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute celebrated its 40th anniversary with a symposium that drew UMTRI researchers and staff, sponsors from government and industry, policy makers, University faculty, and the media. (See http://www.umtri.umich.edu/umtri/40th.htm ) The keynote speaker was Dr. Jeffrey Runge, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Speakers throughout the afternoon gave a view of UMTRI’s past, highlighted the current research, and described a future in which one of UMTRI’s primary endeavors will be the development of a Science of Driving.

One of the high points, though,. for this librarian was when Dr. Runge gave an overview of the UMTRI work that NHTSA had sponsored over the decades, peppered with info tidbits that had been supplied directly from the UMTRI Library to Dr. Runge’s office. Now, that’s satisfying!

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SLA Annual Conference 2005, GTRIC Report
by Rita Evans, Institute of Transportation Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley

GTRIC convened in Toronto on Sunday, June 5, with 28 attendees. Nelda Bravo of NTL moderated the session. In addition to the formal presentations summarized below, attendees introduced themselves and gave very brief descriptions of their libraries or current projects.

Shaun Moran, Manager, Transport Canada Library,
TRANSCAT Plus

The TRANSCAT Plus catalog now has holdings for Transport Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Transportation Development Centre and the Canadian Transportation Safety Board. This is an OCLC Group Catalog, similar to TLCat. A guest view is available for those who are not OCLC subscribers. Shaun said that this project has taken longer than expected due to problems with vendors but they persisted and now have a useful union catalog.

Sirpa Haapamaki, Head of Library Services, Finnish Road Administration
Collaboration among Nordic and Baltic Transportation Libraries

Sirpa described a tradition of cooperation called the “Nordic Model,” and said that since the independence of the Baltic (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) countries in the early 1990s, the Nordic (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland) and Baltic countries have worked together in a variety of ways, including cooperation among the transportation libraries.

Technology transfer programs in the United States provided a model for Sirpa in promoting cooperation within the Nordic countries. With support from the Finnish Road Administration, six meetings have been held in recent years. Publication exchange and information exchange have taken place, and information about budgeting, statistics and procedures has been shared. The Nordic Road Association and the Baltic Road Association have been approached for more formal recognition and publicity.

Christopher Hedges, Senior Program Officer, Transportation Research Board
TRB Cooperative Research Programs

TRB’s cooperative research programs are funded from each state’s planning and research allocations, and approximately $30,000,000 was available for 2005. About 100 reports are published annually, and the move to electronic publishing has been good for disseminating lengthy documents and hefty appendices.

Chris encouraged us to use the SCOR/RAC website (http://cms.transportation.org/?siteid=55) which includes information on AASHTO’s two research committees, including current activities. He also said we should contact him or project managers when we have questions regarding project status or the location of final reports.

Elizabeth Simmons, Manager, Government Account Management, The Dialog Corporation
What’s New at Dialog

Dialog has announced the latest version of DialogLink. Dialog users have the option of using four pricing options: transactional, consortial discounts, discount contracts, and a flat rate with site licenses and subscription pricing.

TRIS on Dialog offers several advantages including monthly updates, current awareness links, the ability to use eLink (seamless links to full text e-journals), flexible output options, copyright compliance assistance, flat-rate pricing and document delivery.

Arlene Mathison, Librarian, University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network – Sharing Our Experiences

The Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network (MTKN) has marked a number of achievements including incorporating, revising its committee structure, updating its website, improving its members’ directory , facilitating development of other regional networks and promoting its activities and providing training.

MKTN meets in person annually. Arlene noted that they have decided to remain a regional group, mostly due to travel costs and the fact that it’s easier to obtain funding for regional travel. The group’s structure conforms to AASHTO’s regional structure and it’s a manageable size. MTKN is facing several challenges such as finding funding sources, seeking partnerships with AASHTO and limited time. The group is trying to identify a project that could become the “next TLCat.”

Kathleen Bergeron, Marketing Coordinator, Highways for Life Program, Federal Highways Administration
Highways for Life: In Search of the Perfect Highway

With many of the nation’s highways 35 years of age or older and 15,000 fatalities a year due to pavement deficiencies or other physical road problems, FHWA’s Highways for Life program aims to build highways faster, safer, better and at a lower cost. Kathleen described innovations such as contractors’ bonuses, prefabricated elements that can be set in any weather, and total road closures that will help in fixing the system. FHWA is looking for ways to “leap, not creep,” citing Superpave as an example of a great innovation that took much too long – 12 years from roll-out to adoption in most states. Highways for Life will focus on state DOTs, technology transfer, government-industry partnerships, improved communication and project evaluation, and will fund one innovative program in each state.

The project faces numerous challenges such as getting highway engineers to see themselves as innovation engineers; management conservatism in the face of liability issues; and entrenched contracting systems that thwart efforts at change. Kathleen noted that engineers and others don’t use libraries much, and we need to market our services with that in mind.

Colin Howard, Head of Information and Publishing Services, Transport Research Laboratory
Update on OECD/ITRD

The Transport Research Laboratory in the U.K. has a new library located in a new building which was designed to facilitate internal communication. TRL’s research areas include road safety and tire noise, and many reports are available for free download.

TRL administers the ITRD database which was created in 1972 through the cooperative efforts of OECD/ECMT. It contains 430,000 bibliographic records for published and ongoing research and focuses on land transport. Twenty-seven member organizations from 19 countries scan and abstract their own publications and any other relevant publications from their country, with the records eventually going to Ovid, which produces the database. Access is via subscription to either the online or CD-ROM versions of Transport, or on a pay-as-you-go basis from STN. Transport on Ovid is a joint project of ITRD and TRB. Looking ahead, ITRD intends to have many more full-text links and is seeing if the alert feature can be enabled.

Barbara Post, Manager, Information Service, Transportation Research Board
Update on TRB Information Activities

TRIS now has 611,000 bibliographic records. There has been an upgrade to a relational database, improving data entry and allowing for additional fields such as authors’ email addresses. The database was reloaded and exports to NTL should begin this month. TRIS is transforming to a full-text database and there is a greater need for flexibility in organizing and retrieving information. Coverage of journal literature continues to expand.

RiP (Research in Progress) database has 8100 records from TRB, ITRD, Turner-Fairbank and university research programs. It is heavily used by state DOTs.

State DOTs (TRB sponsors) will have online access to the full-text of the Transportation Research Record from 1996 to the present. A password will be used to access the TRRs from TRB’s website. TRRs previously were accessible electronically only through CD-ROMs.

Improvements to the Transportation Research Thesaurus (TRT) were approved as part of NCHRP Project 20-70 and will include development of a web interface. Still to be determined is who will be involved and how changes and improvements will be made.

Martha Soneira, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Program Reference Center, Federal Highway Administration
TFHRC’s Reference Center Collaboration with MnDOT and NTL

The Reference Center is making efforts to improve the delivery of information and has produced a Technical Publications Catalog for TFHRC. Available online and in print, the catalog lists 300 publications including technical reports, TechBriefs, applications notes, product sheets, fact sheets and CD-ROMs. Records for research reports are being entered into OCLC and automatic distribution of reports is being handled through GPO and NTIS. Lab managers were surveyed to determine what journals they use and what additional titles are needed. Some small, unofficial collections of technical information have been identified and these may be integrated into the reference center.

A photo archiving project has been undertaken to deal with a large, disorganized collection of historic photos. Preferred formats will need to be determined, a database and data structure must be developed, and issues related to ownership, permissions and copyright will need to be resolved. Martha closed by noting that when marketing, as we all know, assume that the messages have not been heard and will need to be repeated over and over.

Bonnie Osif, Engineering Reference and Instruction Librarian, Pennsylvania State University
TRB Transportation Information Management Policy Study Status Report

The policy study committee includes librarians and practitioners and has participants from academia, private industry and state DOTs. Its efforts were defined by a previously published scoping study which outlined what the committee would address. They conducted a number of interviews and have discussed their findings via conference calls. They plan to finalize their recommendations this fall, with a draft report to be delivered to TRB for review. After revisions, TRB will publish the report.

Nelda Bravo, Head, National Transportation Library (NTL)
NTL Update

NTL is now part of RITA (Research and Innovative Technology Administration) within DOT along with BTS, the university transportation centers and other units. This is viewed as a positive development as RITA considers NTL a vital and valuable program that is worth supporting.

Joyce Koeneman at NTL is redesigning the data structure for TRIS Online as part of a move to Oracle software.

FHWA will sponsor the 2nd International Symposium on Transportation Technology Transfer July 30-August 5, 2006, in St. Petersburg, Florida. The 2nd International Conference on Accessing Transportation Information will be held in conjunction with the symposium and Nelda hopes to have funding available to send some state DOT librarians to the conference.

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Speechless in Toronto: A Note of Thanks from Jerry Baldwin, winner of the Transportation Division Professional Achievement Award for 2005
by Jerry Baldwin, Library Director, Mn/DOT Library

Jerry Baldwin awardThere I was, sitting in the audience at the Annual Business Meeting of the Transportation Division, contemplating how far the division had come and how much better hands it is in today than it was in, oh ... say ...1984, in the midst of my term as chair-elect/chair. And, having missed only two annual meetings since 1977, I can claim some perspective.
However, considering an ensuing item of new business, I now question whether better hands prevail.

So taken aback was I by what transpired that, upon returning home, I checked division guidelines regarding the presentation of awards. There, it is clearly stated, "It is the responsibility of the Chair to correspond with the recipient and advise him/her where the Award will be presented." Nevertheless, with no preceding correspondence nor advice, the current leadership inflicted upon me the division's Professional Achievement Award, no consideration seemingly having been given to the effect such a shock might have on one of my advanced age, not to mention, weakened condition, at the time, due to a bout of laryngitis which prevented me from raising my voice against the proceedings. I was, literally, speechless!

Seriously, I was very surprised and grateful to receive the award, especially in light of to whom it has been presented in the past and their accomplishments. If I have done anything to actually deserve it, it was in large part a result of the encouragement and support of those recipients and many other members of the division. In the words of a fellow Minnesotan, you've given me "the strength to stand up and do what needs to be done."

I truly appreciate the lessons I have learned from past and present members of the division, most of them relating to smoothing some of the rough edges I picked up being raised on the wrong side of the tracks in Saint Paul. I feel very lucky, indeed, to continue to receive support, collegiality and friendship in spite of my often ill-timed and ill-considered attempts at humor and/or advice.

Thank you very much!

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JCDL 2005 or "reflections on a conference on the digital age...by the National Transportation Library's Digital Librarian and Head of Tech Services"
by Joyce Koeneman, Digital Librarian and Head Tech Services, National Transportation Library

In this interesting time in which we live there is an increasing conversation that is a must for all of us (librarians) regarding what libraries collect or do. As on most issues I have lots of opinions on this subject. I proudly wear the label “opinionated”.

The impact of Google Print has raised attention to the role of libraries and librarians. Prospects for preservation and access are very different in this new publishing and “storage” milieu. This is a problem we cannot avoid. As librarians, we are not averse to new technologies, we have a history of collecting and preserving whatever media form gets invented. This new media however has an inherent danger. It has no static instance. It is by its very nature ephemeral.

More and more libraries are moving to take on this responsibility and many of these, or at least their more interested staff, convene at the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, a conference that is more technical than practical or managerial, but a forum where inevitably, these issues are discussed and in fact, pervade the atmosphere. Some people who attend this conference are mired in the details of technology, presenting papers on obscure aspects of search algorithms that a good librarian’s mind would process in a nanosecond, but for which a better automated means is sought in order to process the growing quantity of useful information. But many attendees are librarians, fondly known as practitioners by the “others” who are seeking to understand better the environment into which they know they must tread. The others want more of us to attend. AND THAT IS A GOOD THING.

The Joint Conference on Digital Libraries is a joint meeting of the Association for Computing Machinery SIG on Information Retrieval and ACM SIG on Hypertext, Hypermedia and the Web and the IEEE Technical Committee for Digital Libraries. It is a small conference, numbers in the hundreds, not thousands, and has no vendor exhibits, busses or extravagant parties. It does have informative programs on digital collection, preservation and metadata activities around the world and papers by students and scholars that stretch the technical possibilities.

Since it is a relatively small gathering, it is easy to meet people and the tradition of refreshments in the open area during each break help that effort. The attendees come from all over the world and represent universities, public and special libraries. They come from as far away as you can imagine, China, New Zealand, and Sweden, not to mention California, Illinois and Boston.

The bad thing is that JCDL meets at exactly the same time as SLA. JCDL 2005 was June 6 to 11 in Denver. Nevertheless, if you want a fresh look at where libraries are going, I recommend JCDL. http://www.jcdl.org/

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Membership News

Dan Krummes named University of California, Berkeley "Distinguished Librarian"

Roberto Sarmiento to particpate in 2005 Thinking Outside the Borders

Roberto Sarmiento, Head, Northwestern University Transportation Library, was recently chosen to participate in the 2005 Thinking Outside the Borders: Library Leadership in a World Community, a program of the University of Illinois Mortensen Center for International Library Programs and the Illinois State Library. This is a National Leadership Grant funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The project is designed to encourage librarians to think globally and act locally. The grant is for the development, testing and implementation of a library leadership program that promotes greater understanding and appreciation of the world community in which librarians work. The program will focus on leadership issues that affect librarians regardless of what country they live in. The leadership institute will take place at the Illinois State Library, in Springfield, IL the week of September 26, 2005.

Roberto Sarmiento and Hank Zaletel recognized as "Notable Alumni"

Transportation Division members Hank Zaletel, Iowa DOT and Roberto Sarmiento, Northwestern University, were recognized as “Notable Alumni” at the Dominican University Graduate School of Library and Information Science 75th Anniversary reception during the ALA annual meeting in Chicago.

Good-bye from Julie Bolding

Goodbye time has come for me at the South Dakota Dept. of Transportation library. My contract ends June 30, and, with the exception of a small pile of pesky videos, the 14,000-item collection here has been both originally and copy cataloged on OCLC. Woo-hooo!

Thanks to everyone at MTKN and the Transportation Division who helped make this a better library, especially Qin Tang for her cataloging guidance, and Roberto Sarmiento and Joyce Koeneman for giving management their expert perspectives during their visit to Pierre. Nelda, thanks also for the cash for extra original cataloging and connecting us with the Upper Midwest and national transportation library community. Jerry Baldwin, I think you're great and wise. Transportation librarians are wonderful, and I have enjoyed being a part of this group.

Virginia Ripley, the administrative assistant in the SDDOT Office of Research, will continue to help you with any questions about the SDDOT collection. Her e-mail is virginia.ripley@state.sd.us. Her phone is (605)773-3292. The State Library here in Pierre will continue to do the ILL paperwork, but Virginia's the one who picks the report off the shelf and gets it to the State Library for shipping. My private e-mail remains: juliebolding@yahoo.com

--Julie Bolding

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