Transportation Division Bulletin
Kaleidoscope: News of TRN Members
UMTRI Holds 40th Anniversary Symposium
SLA Annual Conference 2005, GTRIC Report
Speechless in Toronto
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
by Matthew Barrett and Joan Friedman, Los Angeles County Metropolitan
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 email@example.com 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
--Matthew Barrett is the Library Administrator for the Los Angeles County
Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation
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
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
--Joan Friedman, who has been with the MTC-ABAG Library since June 1985,
serving as Head Librarian since 1989, retired in June 2005.
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!
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,
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
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
Arlene Mathison, Librarian, University of Minnesota Center
for Transportation Studies
Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network – Sharing Our
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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
There 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!
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
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
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
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/
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com