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Transportation Division Bulletin
Kaleidoscope: News of TRN Members

October 2007

Contents

Library Photo Archive Publishes Second Book

New SLA DTRN Membership Chair

Message from the Chair

A New Role and a New Look: News from the National Transportation Library

The Transportation Division Professional Achievement Award Call for Nominations

Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study Holds 3rd Annual Meeting

Hybrid Vehicles Session at SLA

Retiring Metro Librarian Glenda Mariner Helped Create Collection

Profile: National Transportation Library Reference Service

Harmer E. Davis Transportation Library Profile

Membership News
Retirement Announcements:
Unofficial Biography of Jerry Baldwin, Minnesota DOT Library (On his retirement)
Shaun Moran

 

Library Photo Archive Publishes Second Book
by Matthew Barrett, Administrator, Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library & Archive, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive has published its second book Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars by Jim Walker is available through Amazon.com and other book retailers. Jim Walker is our library's archivist and historian. He is the author or editor of over 40 railway books, and also a founder of the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California. Based on the success of the our first book, Pacific Electric Red Cars, the library again contracted with Arcadia Publishing (www.arcadiapublishing.com) to showcase photographic treasures from our archive. We were delighted that the first book sold over 1,200 copies and Jim has donated the royalties earned to the library.
 
Los Angeles' first transit system, the World's largest at the time, peaked in route miles in 1924 with 1,100 miles of interurban rail and over 650 miles of urban streetcar rail. About half of the interurban route miles are back in service today and known as the Metrolink commuter rail system connecting Los Angeles with Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The streetcar system morphed over the years into vast bus system. Urban rail returned to Los Angeles in 1990 after a 29 year absence and today there are over 100 miles of fixed guideway in place. This project leverages our less visible resources, furthers the Library's mission to educate, and helps reacquaint the public with our local transportation heritage.

book cover image

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New SLA DTRN Membership Chair

I am pleased to announce that Ruth Letson of the Tennessee DOT Library is our new SLA DTRN Membership Chair. Please lend her your full support in this vital activity!

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Message from the Chair
by Matthew Barrett, Administrator, Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library & Archive, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

My term as chair is coming to a close. Your new Chair, Connie Field of the Portland Cement Association Library is working on making SLA Seattle '08 and the Division's 65th anniversary a memorable time. Incoming Chair Rita Evans of the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies Library is hard at work on programming. When they call on you, please volunteer, the Division needs you. A few phone calls or a composing a letter on their behalf makes a big difference in getting the Division's work done, and member involvement ensures that the Division's services exceed your expectations. Being Chair has been an excellent assignment, and now that I understand the processes involved, and we've improved on some of those processes, I'd be happy to do it again sometime in the future.
 
It's been eight years since I graduated from library school, and its time to focus on some continuing education. In all honesty, I wish it was a requirement to maintain our "license" for librarianship, however, even as optional professional development, our field seems to do a better job than most on keeping up with changing resources and technologies. I am looking forward to spending time with peers at the Internet Librarian Conference and also during other learning opportunities this coming year.
 
I am glad to see such great efforts from many directions focusing attention on transportation libraries, and also more of our transportation libraries working together. I am certain that my successors in the Transportation Division will support that momentum.

Matt Barrett

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A New Role and a New Look: News from the National Transportation Library
by Amanda J. Wilson, Director, National Transportation Library, U.S. Department of Transportation

The NTL is pleased to have assumed management of the Transportation Research Thesaurus, a result of close collaboration with the Transportation Research Board. TRB LIST's TRT Subcommittee will now serve as a technical review committee for all changes to the tool. The change went into effect on October 1, 2007. The NTL is using Data Harmony from Access Innovations, Inc. to host the primary iteration of the TRT, upon which all others are based; however, for use, TRB and NTL will continue to make the thesaurus available to the public through TRB and the NTL’s Integrated Search web sites. In coming weeks, the committee will be firming up practices for review and contribution. As always, suggestions from the public are welcome. They may be sent to tris@bts.gov or http://trt.trb.org/newterms.asp.

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration, and NTL as one of its parts, undertook a revamping of web sites to bring all of RITA’s parts into a more uniform appearance and style. The project was a top-down change and not all parts of the various websites have been updated. However, the change went remarkably well and all RITA components implemented the changes within 50 days of the beginning of the project. The NTL has also reorganized the content on our web site to provide quicker access to our tools and services. Please take a look – http://ntl.bts.gov/ – and tell us what you think!

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The Transportation Division Professional Achievement Award Call for Nominations
by Mary Kathleen Geary, Transportation Library, Northwestern University

Since 1982, the Transportation Division of the Special Libraries Association has been awarding the Professional Achievement Award to a past or present member of the Division on the basis of outstanding contributions or service to the Transportation Division. This contribution or service may take the form of contributions to library and transportation literature or bibliography, to the work and effectiveness of the Special Libraries Association and the Transportation Division, or to the transportation field through organizational work or publications. The Award is not made posthumously. The purpose of the Award is to honor those who have rendered distinguished service or have made a significant contribution to transportation libraries and librarianship.

Nominations must be received by January 1, 2008.
The nomination form is posted on the Division web site at http://www.library.northwestern.edu/transportation/slatran/td_award.html.

Presentation of the Award will be made at the annual business meeting of the Transportation Division. The Executive Board of the Division is the judging committee for this Award.

Send nominations by mail, fax or e-mail to: Mary Kathleen Geary, Transportation Library, Northwestern University, 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. Phone: (847)467-5325. FAX: (847) 491-8601. E-mail: m-geary@northwestern.edu.

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Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study Holds 3rd Annual Meeting
by Maggie Sacco, Transportation Library Connectivity pooled fund study, msacco@ctcandassociates.com

As transportation librarians continue to mobilize and communicate the value of their services, the Transportation Library Connectivity pooled fund study held its third annual meeting last month in Madison, Wisconsin. Some 17 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) members gathered at the UW-Madison Pyle Center from September 18 – 20, 2007. They were joined by a host of national presenters, guests and Web participants to discuss the future of transportation knowledge networks and transportation library and information infrastructure goals.

National presenters included Doug Newcomb, chief policy officer, Special Libraries Association, who offered insight on remaining customer focused in the Information Age. Peter Young, executive director for the National Agricultural Library, provided a look at how the NAL manages its $22.1 million budget while delivering a wide range of multimedia services and library resources. Amanda Wilson, Director of the National Transportation Library was in attendance and contributed greatly to the agenda with updates on NTL, TKN progress and strategic planning. Other presenters included Bonnie Osif, Penn State Engineering Library; Leni Oman, Washington DOT; and Monique Evans, Ohio DOT. For a recap of these and other presentations visit http://www.libraryconnectivity.org/2007annualmtg.html.

A significant annual meeting development was the introduction of the Transportation Librarian’s Toolkit. Compiled from the knowledge and best practices of the consortium, the Toolkit offers a practical guide for new and existing transportation libraries. It will soon be finalized and available both in print and electronic format.

Another exciting facet to the meeting was the attendance of Glynn Cavin and Scott Menter from the Louisiana Transportation Research Center. A member of the pooled fund since 2005, Louisiana is now actively participating in the project after dealing with significant challenges posed by Hurricane Katrina. The LTRC facility was completed about 18 months ago and has state-of-the art distance learning facilities for training transportation professionals. Glynn gave us a presentation on their new facility, and Scott set us up with a pooled fund listserv. They are currently in search of a librarian.

Poised for its third year, the study is chaired by Wisconsin DOT and has added 6 new members. There are now 17 members in 15 states. We welcome Caltrans, Center for Transportation Studies, Missouri DOT, Iowa DOT, Idaho DOT and Mississippi DOT to the project for year three. Current goals include providing technical and marketing services while supporting the development of regional transportation knowledge networks. For project information contact Committee Chair Ann Pahnke at ann.pahnke@dot.state.wi.us or visit the Web site at http://www.libraryconnectivity.org/contact.html.

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Hybrid Vehicles Session at SLA
by Betsy Aldridge, 2007 Chair, Materials and Manufacturing Section of the Chemistry Division and Member, Transportation Division

At the Denver conference on Monday, June 4, 2007, about 50 librarians, etc. heard the "How Hybrid Vehicles Will Move You" session. The Transportation, Chemistry (with Materials Research and Manufacturing Section), and Engineering Divisions of SLA co-planned this program which featured three panelists: Jeff Gonder, representing the U.S. National Energy Research Laboratory's Advanced Vehicle Systems Group, Lee Kemp of the Denver Rapid Transit District's Hybrid Vehicle Program, and Richard Parish of WestStart. Sponsors included Paterra, Inc., Thomson Scientific, and Dialog.
 
Some websites for the organizations are as follows:
http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/ctts.html
http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/researchers.html
http://www.rtd-denver.com/
http://www.rtd-denver.com/Programs/Environment/index.html
http://www.weststart.org/

Matt Barrett, Transportation Division Chair, introduced the panelists and topic. The panel presented recent developments in the hybrid vehicle propulsion systems for heavy and light duty vehicles (freight trains, trucks, buses, cars, and possibly maritime and aviation applications), discussed the technology's adoption by industry and consumers, as well as the future of hybrid vehicles.

Some highlights:

The widening of gap between oil production and consumption over time - on a chart presented by Jeff - was staggering. New discovery is decreasing rapidly, as well. Two barrels are consumed for every one discovered (Campbell, 2005). He compared lead acid, nickel metal, lithium, plug-in, and fuel cell technologies. There’s progress, but still a long way to go; although hybrid electric vehicles saved 5.5 million barrels of oil in 1999, that’s less than we will now import in one day alone. Some of Jeff’s favorite sources: www.fueleconomy.gov, www.eia.doe.gov, www.howstuffworks.com.

Lee reported that, in a comparison between 4 diesel and 4 hybrid vehicles in Denver, the hybrids demonstrated 15% lower maintenance costs and 30% better fuel mileage. Based on those findings, they’re planning to purchase 45 more hybrids! He indicated that it’s the energy storage system which needs more research. Regarding lifecycle costs, it’s currently $20,000 per bus to replace the energy storage. They’re evaluating fuel cells and finding regenerative braking interesting for stop and go driving.

Richard reported that it’s WestStart’s goal to reduce petrol use 15% by 2020. The issues spurring change are rising fuel costs, major engine changes (2007-2010 requirements), increased electric power, and idling management. The Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) and its working groups hope to facilitate development of the market for hybrid trucks. Partnerships are going to be the key to success. A recent trial with 24 hybrid vehicles found excellent user acceptance with a 9-55% improvement in fuel economy. Hydraulic hybrid shows promise. He’d like to see IRS provide incentives/tax credits. Biodiesel mixes have shown a breakeven point after year 9.

The program ended with a vigorous Q & A exchange.

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Retiring Metro Librarian Glenda Mariner Helped Create Collection: Contributed to Metro’s ‘role in transportation scholarship and research’
by Matthew Barrett, Administrator, Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library & Archive, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

CEO Roger Snoble delivers official commendation signed by Board Members and personal best wishes to retiring Metro Librarian Glenda Mariner, who called the presentation "a lovely surprise!"

Mariner receving commendation

Photos by Gayle Anderson

(Oct. 2, 2007) Metro Librarian Glenda Mariner, who retired Monday, has a vast body of work to show for her 16 ½ years on the job.

She has catalogued more than 20,000 of the books in the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library. She was instrumental in creating Metro’s large collection of transportation-oriented books, documents and manuscripts.

Mariner in the library stacks

Presentation took place in the Library's 'stacks,' which houses most of the books in the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library catalogued by Mariner. Library Archivist Jim Walker, at far right, captures the moment.

Mariner also developed an entirely new subject classification for transportation materials that was accepted by the Library of Congress. And she served on a nationwide team of librarians who reviewed the new online version of the Library of Congress’ subject headings.

Mariner, according to Library Services Administrator Matt Barrett, was “a cataloging machine” during her years with the agency. He also noted that, as a hearing-impaired employee, she advised the agency on TTD services for the deaf and other diversity issues.

“It’s significant, the contributions you’ve made to the library and to Metro,” said CEO Roger Snoble, who presented a Board of Directors proclamation to Mariner on Monday. “These were very big tasks that helped make this a nationally recognized transportation library.”

The proclamation said, in part, that Mariner’s “years of dedicated work have ensured that our library collection will always be accessible through the World Library Catalog. This means that other government agencies, libraries, colleges, universities, and archives will always have access to what's on the Metro library shelves, and that Metro has an important and continuing role in transportation scholarship and research.”

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Profile: National Transportation Library Reference Service
by Rosalyn Alleman, Reference Librarian, National Transportation Library, US DOT

The National Transportation Library is part of the US Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The NTL’s purpose is to “increase timely access to the information that supports transportation policy, research, operations, and technology transfer activities.”

As part of this mission, NTL’s Reference Service provide information and answers queries through multiple points of access, including an extensive reference collection, with links to statistical products from other sources, such as the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Statistics and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on a wide variety of transportation topics available on the recently-redesigned NTL web site (http://ntl.bts.gov).

Overview of the Service
The NTL Reference Service plays an important role in the public’s access to transportation information. The “Ask a Librarian” link on the NTL site is one way to get in touch with us. However, this is just one of the ways that we provide assistance to the transportation community. E-mails about statistical products of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics at answers@bts.gov are also answered by the Reference Service, as is RITA’s main e-mail address, RITAInfo@dot.gov. Questions about the TRIS Online database can be sent to tris@bts.gov. The Reference Service also has a significant presence outside of RITA, with the DOT.Comments@dot.gov service. This e-mail address is found on the “Contact Us” page on the main US DOT web site: http://www.dot.gov/. In addition to e-mail, the BTS toll-free number (800-853-1351) is available for questions on BTS statistical products and other federal transportation issues.

At one time a team of 6 people, the Reference Service is now staffed by two librarians, Deena Adelman and me. Changes in staffing and the volume of questions received required some changes and innovations. Both of us have been trained in a wide range of transportation topics and statistical products, such as the BTS airline traffic and financial data. We are experienced in helping customers use the TranStats Intermodal Transportation Database, and have considerable experience using DOT and other government web sites and sources. Resources include an extensive list of subject experts within BTS/RITA, other DOT administrations and other federal and state agencies.

One way we have managed the increased workload from incoming questions is to work with the DOT web master to put links on the DOT home page to issues that are hot topics with customers. These mechanisms help the public find answers to their questions before sending an inquiry to the NTL Reference Service. To manage the workload of requests received, the NTL FAQ site also points customers to many different resources. A collection of over 450 “canned responses” in our e-mail management program helps us quickly answer frequently-asked questions as well. The software also allows us to set up rules that automatically respond to high-volume write-in campaigns on issues such as fuel economy standards for vehicles. We classify each e-mail or telephone interaction by subject, customer type, mode of travel, and DOT administration, to assist with reporting.

The volume of questions received each month generally ranges from 1700-5200, with 1500-2200 of them being non-campaign e-mails that we answer personally. 80-90% of questions come in via e-mail, and the rest as phone calls. Timeliness is an important issue; e-mails to Answers@bts.gov receive a response within 24 hours, and the other accounts receive a response within 2-4 business days, though questions are usually answered in less than 2 days.

Our Customers
Who are our customers? About a one-third of the questions come from for-profit sources, another third come from the general public and international customers. The rest are from academic, government and non-profit sources. We work with Government, International, and Public Affairs (GIP) office to respond to high-priority requests from Congressional and White House customers. Occasionally we meet with similar teams at other federal agencies, to compare notes and talk about how we can better serve our customers. We also work closely with the NTL Web Team to improve the content of the NTL web site and NTL Digital Collection and TRIS Online, as well as with the other administrations’ web masters to report bad links or other problems we discover on their sites.

Some classes of customers’ requests go through special processes. Our e-mail management software is set up to flag questions with .gov, .mil, and .us e-mail addresses, and major media outlets so they can be answered more quickly. We work with the GIP on high-priority government (such as the White House) and media requests. Security threats or reports of suspicious activity are reported to DOT Crisis Management.

Types of Inquiries Received
What type of questions does the Reference Service receive? The inquiry topics cover the entire transportation sector, and occasionally veer outside it. For instance, one major category is questions relating to BTS statistical products, such as “What is the volume of freight coming into/out of my state?” or “Which airline has the worst delays?” We also receive many e-mails addressing the Secretary on transportation policy issues, which may or may not actually be areas the US DOT has jurisdiction over. Another major area is transportation regulations with questions in this category ranging from motor carrier safety issues to vehicle safety standards, hazardous materials transportation and airline customer service complaints. Questions about public interest issues cover topics such as recommendations on child safety seats, information on pedestrian safety programs, help finding DOT publications, and requests for the Secretary’s autograph. Of course, we also end up with many questions that are about topics not under the US DOT’s jurisdiction. These include e-mails from people who want to title a vehicle, get a pothole fixed, find out what items are allowed in carry-on bags on airplanes or complain about illegal aliens. We try to find customers the right agency to contact whenever possible. Naturally, there is a fair amount of subject cross-over with agencies such as Homeland Security, Energy, Census and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Over the past year, we have found ourselves with fewer people to carry the load of the NTL Reference Service, but have increased our efficiency and information-sharing, with a list of subject specialists, shared statistical data files and subject Q&A’s. We are also working on strategies for automatically responding to more customers who have very basic questions, using FAQs. We would be glad to hear from you at any of the above addresses if you need assistance with any federal transportation issues.

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Harmer E. Davis Transportation Library Profile
by Seyem Petrites, Institute of Transportation Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley

The Harmer E. Davis Transportation Library was recently profiled in the ITS Review, a biannual publication produced by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley. Author Christine Cosgrove from the Institute's Publications Office interviewed Director Rita Evans and several library users to create this interesting profile. Follow this link http://www.its.berkeley.edu/itsreview/summer2007/ to learn about the library's goals and priorities, how it is coping with an ongoing budget crunch, and what types of service lead to an appreciative patron.

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Membership News

Retirement Announcements

Unofficial Biography of Jerry Baldwin, Minnesota DOT Library (On his retirement)

Jerry was born in a little house next to a log cabin in wild, unincorporated, New Canada. It was an enclave of hearty, French Canadians just outside the more civilized settlement of Saint Paul. The early settlers had long since driven out the bears, wolves and other ferocious animals that formerly prowled the environs. Nevertheless the neighborhood was terrorized by large dogs, roaming freely before the era of leash laws. The area's roads, fields and woods were also populated by herds of free-roaming, small children, recently enlarged by the post-war baby boom. The largest dogs seemed to Jerry to be looking to cull the slow or vulnerable. Since he was somewhat asthmatic and therefore slower than most, the dogs instilled a special dread in the young child.

His formative years were spent mostly in an abandoned barn where he, his brothers and other feral waifs hid from dogs, parents, grandparents, and babysitters. The barn was a treacherous place, filled with deposits of animal dung, various half-filled cans, canisters, and barrels of fuels, poisons and other mysterious agricultural chemicals. Many of the floorboards were rotted and a single misstep could send a child plummeting from the hayloft to the main floor below, littered with rakes, harrows, plows and other sharp or pointed farm implements. Remarkably Jerry survived these years with only minor injuries and, as a result of hiding from parents and babysitters, a poorly developed ability to deal with authority figures.

Jerry’s first library job came during his freshman year in college with a position in the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus Library. At the time, the campus was home to the departments of agriculture and home economics. Here, he soon learned that he could earn the initial favor of attractive co-eds by helping them find recipes and other resources needed for their coursework. Occasionally, if a recipe was particularly successful, in gratitude, a co-ed would offer him samples of the finished product. However, in spite of these promising beginnings, his many attempts to proceed to any more involved relationship that would satisfy his more pressing adolescent appetites were consistently frustrated.

These early life experiences provided Jerry a constant feeling of impending doom, awareness of ever-present dangers, suspicion of authority figures and a never-ending sense of frustration. In other words, although he didn’t know it at the time, they prepared him for a life in special libraries. Of course anyone gifted with such an outlook seeks safety. And as everyone knows, there’s safety in numbers. This has led Jerry to join nearly every library-related group and network he could. Among these are SLA, ASIS, MLA, OCLC, MINITEX, MULS, Metronet, TRB LIST, and MnPALS. Not content with that level of cover, Jerry has helped found more, including CALCO, MAALC, MTL, NTL, MTKN, TLCPFS, TALENT, WTKN, ETKN and, most recently, AASHTO STGTKN, a truly stunning acronym and the crowning achievement of his career.

As most everyone knows, Jerry has spent nearly his entire professional career working for one institution. This was not his career plan. In fact, over the years, he has applied for and was offered a number of positions in diverse organizations. The quality of the vision and management of these institutions impressed by Jerry’s plans for their library programs can be attested to by their enduring impact on America. Among them: Control Data’s Business Centers, Mid-America Solar Energy Center, and the Superconducting, Supercolliding Institute.

However, the one organization that has never been able to shake him is now known as the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Jerry is inordinately proud of his role in expanding Mn/DOT’s library and the many roles he has played over the past thirty-five years in the department’s development and the ensuing results. As Nick Coleman, columnist for the StarTribune has recently noted, the “Department of Transportation -- once one of Minnesota's proudest achievements -- is collapsing,” and “What we have is a Transportation Department the public needs to be protected from.”

Shaun Moran, Transport Canada Library

After 30 years working for the Transport Canada Library, ( i.e. Canada's Department of Transport), I have decided to move over and let a Gen Xer take over. Irene Vokac will be the acting Manager of the TC Library starting November 5th, 2007. I will be on a special assignment, part of which is to staff my position. My retirement date is May 14th, 2008. My first trip will be to the windy city (not Winnipeg but Chicago) so clean up the guest room Roberto! Then I am off to Europe with a girlfriend with whom I traveled (hitchhiking across Europe over a five month period) in 1971. Suffice it to say, that this will be a first class trip in comparison. Thank you all for your generous help over the years (networking and wonderful ideas). As Chair of the Transportation Division in 2004, I learned the hard way that I should have shared the work - you always have a better program when more people are involved. Please do not hesitate to look me up if you are a visitor to Ottawa, the beautiful capital city of Canada. I will miss SLA Transportation Division and all the wonderful people.

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