Monday, August 29, 2011

Starting the new year in the Library at Southwestern Seminary

Classes began August 25. The new semester always begins with a flourish for the librarians. New faculty are introduced to the library and Ph.D. students hear both familiar and new information about the library and its services. New students come to Roberts Library in droves to learn about Blackboard, EndNote, and the e-license test--as well as about the library and its writing center.

This semester, a few of us participated in the Fall Kick-off by representing the library and the writing center at a campus organization 'fair' Friday evening. This was the first time we have done this in recent years and we did not know what to expect, although we hoped that at least 100 students would take one of our handouts describing the Knowledge Portal. Thanks to all who did. Extra copies are still available at the Reference Desk. One slogan for the year is "Don't Google--Portal!  We will be unpacking this catchphrase throughout the semester.

The Writing Center opens September 6. Students can make reservations now. Already we are receiving requests for help with EndNote and formatting.  At its fall training this week, the mentors will meet  Charles (Chuck) Carpenter, Director of the Writing Center and the new Associate Professor of English in the College. Helen Dent continues do most of the work managing the center--something for which Chuck will soon become eternally grateful, as am I.

The School of Theology's Graduate Research Seminar begins today. I will be team teaching again with Dr. Kevin Kennedy. It has been a relief not to have to prepare the syllabus and make the other decisions that go along with setting up the course. I hope to be able to introduce some new approaches to my teaching research. Dr. Kennedy will be emphasizing writing and argumentation.

Other activities include loading and updating the patron files--a time consuming task each time I do it. But now it is done.

Such are the days of the life of an Associate Dean of Libraries at Southwestern Seminary. Future blog entries will be less mundane, I hope.

Grace and peace to all.

Robert Phillips

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Our library is considering  a subscription to selected JSTOR Arts and Sciences Collections. To purchase all in one year would cost about $60,000 including the first year of the $15,000 annual maintenance fee. Since the total figure is equal to roughly our total annual periodical budget, we looking for creative ways to do this.

1. Do not purchase all seven collections. It appears that 3,5, and 7 will meet most of our needs.
2. Purchase one new collection a year. The first year's cost would be about $7,000, and 8-9 thousand the following year. After the third year,  the annual cost would be about $7,000 a year.
3. Use book funds to make the purchase. We are essentially purchasing back issues of the journals, not current subscriptions. Of course, our budget categories reflect 1960's thinking about allocating funds. Information resources are information resources. Today we should think in terms of a budget to own content outright and annual expense of keeping the content up to date.

These are  preliminary observations. A full proposal will go to the administration. There is still a question if have that much money to expend event though it is budgeted.  More to come.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, May 25, 2009

Initial thoughts about 2.0

Web 2.0 helps us to think of the library as part of a social network: librarians, colleagues, students, and other interested parties linked by a common interest in information. Web 2.0 gives us the tools to interact in new ways away from traditional spaces. As we disclose and share our common interests we come to learn from others' experience. In the past, the "other" has been the librarian.; now the the possibilities are less predictable. In a way, we are all pathfinders. I expect that from time to time we will also be fellow travelers, at least until our paths of interest diverge.

Web 2.0 also seems to offer the possibility of offering information as both a medium and a message. The medium offers ways to emphasize important points, generate interest, improve mental retention. Not only must we now evaluate a message's veracity, we must also pay attention to the medium. Print on a page in a single font is a neutral medium; add sounds or images, and the reader becomes influenced by more than the words on the page.

These are some of my first impressions--based on what I have read about 2.0. We will see how my impressions change as I become more familiar with the toolls themselves.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Welcome to Bob's Library blog

Hello. I have created this blog as the first step in NorthTexas23 project sponsored by the North Texas Regional Library System. For more information, go to My goal for participating in the project is to become more familiar with Web 2.0 technology and how it can be used by libraries. By the end of the summer, I hope to have caught up with the younger generation of librarians who are already familiar with it.