Old Formats in the Information Age

Electronic storage of data is one of the best parts of the computer era. No more combing through papers to find data points. Some of us might miss the calculations or the feel of paper between our fingers.

Unfortunately, as computers have evolved and space required for memory of all those little bits has become smaller, our storage media have also changed. We’ve come from tapes through cards through various disks to cloud storage.

Each of these formats has their period where they were the primary form and everyone used the hardware. Eventually, each one has been improved upon and fallen out of favor. Researchers left files and old data on these formats. As we strive to pull up the history of our data sets and build a complete history of the research done on the ecosystems of the Columbia River Basin, we look to our old data and find that the hardware required to read these files is no longer available.

The StreamNet Regional Library has slowly been accumulating the required hardware to read these various formats. We currently have CD/DVD combo drive, ZIP drive, and 3.5 inch floppy drive. We are working on a 5.25 inch floppy drive. If you have other formats you’d like to access, give us a call and we’ll see what we have in our hardware archive. Call 503-238-0667 and ask for the librarian on duty.article_4_image_2_-_old_formats

Deschutes River, Pelton-Round Butte & Digital Documents

A HUGE thank you to Robert Spateholts for providing so many historical documents on the Pelton-Round Butte Project via Portland General Electric.  We are working on fleshing out the rest of the bibliography with more from the StreamNet Regional Library’s collections.  We’d like to cover the entire Deschutes River (Oregon version) as well as any and all information we can collect on the dams located there.  Here’s a link to the current bibliography: http://www.streamnetlibrary.org/?page_id=1354

And, yes, thanks  for asking… we can build similar bibliographies for watersheds and hydroelectric projects throughout the Columbia River Basin.  We will digitize what we can and hope to have physical copies of everything else.

Moving Servers

While to the general public, our website may seem exactly the same, we have made some changes to hopefully make your experience a bit better when visiting the library on the Interwebs. Moving servers is much like moving house. Something will happen to mess up what should be an easy transition.

When moving house, you simply pack up each room and neatly label each box. At the new house, you unpack and store all your things. Except perhaps you underestimated shelf space in the new kitchen. Your bed is just a few inches too wide for the closet door to open. You will never be able to plan for all the what if’s and learn to roll with the changes as they come, especially if you move a lot. (I was a military child.)

Moving servers you hope the database all gets transferred to the new host, but sometimes, addresses change just that little bit and we all know they break SO easily: just one letter or number. Anyway, we moved servers at the beginning of June. Our WordPress website moved to Happy Dog web hosting services (not necessarily an endorsement as we have not been there long). They have better tools to keep up with the necessary security fixes for WordPress sites and they promise to keep the website up and running.

Our library catalog moved to ByWater Solutions, again a professional service that will keep our Koha integrated library system (ILS) up and running efficiently with very little downtime. They have also seemed to fix the error we were experiencing with searches being disallowed by our firewall for some folks with THOSE IP addresses. They also offer some other technical support that we badly needed in order to maximize our use of the Koha software.

All this to say that we hope our problems are over and if you experience a problem, PLEASE let us know (oftl@critfc.org, libd@critfc.org). If we don’t know there’s a problem, we can’t fix it and get you the information you need.

Vanity Press & Predatory Publishing

For a contest, I rewrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka The Night Before Christmas) by Clement Clark Moore. The new theme became fishing for June hogs. I took literary license having the fisher wish for one in December, but that’s not so bad. The wish for a June hog was a wish, after all. The fisher did not really expect to catch a June hog in December.

Now, as I searched the Internet for illustrations for my adaptation, I came upon a book that I found to be quite exciting from the title: June Hog Salmon by Joe Lamy. Wow, I thought, a lovely illustrated poem about June hog salmon. We definitely need the title for our collection in the library. After all, we add everything (more on this in a later post) about Pacific salmon to our collection. Excitement quickly turned to dismay as I perused the contents of June Hog Salmon.  I have no problem with original poetry, no matter the quality, though some of the lines are questionable, and the illustrations are not exactly politically correct either.

The largest problems, by far, are in the introduction which purports to be fact.  Ok, they are factual in the author’s mind, but not in any reliable source would you be able to find these facts.  The lack of actual research is why there is no bibliography at the end of the book.

  • Henry Kaiser built the dams.  Well, mostly true as his company was one of the contractors for the construction of the dams.
  • Bears were silver until they lost their source of phosphorous (yes, that’s the author’s spelling), at which point, they all turned brown.
  • The northwest Indians were decimated by blankets infused with smallpox and survivors were massacred by the U.S. Army.
  • The First Salmon Ceremony involves kissing the fish before throwing them back into the river.

These are just a few of the egregious statements made by Joe Lamy.  Further investigation finds no information about the author.  And the book publisher is actually a vanity press.  Yes, just as the name describes, these presses will print anything that you send to them, for a price, of course.  There is no editorial review.  There is no need to provide any type of expertise or research.  Just send them your manuscript and write a check.

Vanity presses have now extended into the journal business.  These publishers are called predatory.  You write a manuscript and send with a check to any of these publishers, and, voila, you have an entry for your CV.  (https://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/).  Look no further if you need to show publications for tenure, just pay the page charge and you are good to go.  Unfortunately, if you look at the list, you will note that many of them try to mimic the names of legitimate publishers.  These practices of printing anything for a price are only degrading the legitimacy of scientific research.

When checking resources and doing research for your papers, make sure you check the publishers of books AND journals as your excellent research may be cheapened, even if the page charges are expensive.

 

Dams That Never Were Built

When planners first began to understand the potential power of the Columbia River, they worked hard and making sure every kilowatt of electricity was wrung from every last drop of water the flowed from the Rocky Mountains in Canada to the Pacific Ocean.

Canada was mostly left out of this planning, but that’s another story.

Dams were planned for the mainstem Columbia and Snake rivers as well as the powerful tributaries by many organizations. The political battles could almost be considered epic, except that we almost never hear about the losers and the dams they had planned.

Of special note, the Hells Canyon Complex (https://www.nwcouncil.org/history/HellsCanyon) was particularly fought over by conglomerates from Washington and Idaho as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. High Mountain Sheep-Pleasant Valley Dam and Nez Perce Dam were two planned for the Salmon River area that were never built. The battle went to court with the Dept. of the Interior fighting the Federal Power Commission to stop construction of the two dams.

The Hanford Reach of the Columbia River was targeted to be home to the Benjamin Franklin Dam (http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=7440). Fortunately, all but Corps of Engineers planners thought the dam was a bad idea. Too much would have been lost had the dam been built near Pasco, Washington, not to mention the even closer proximity of water to the nuclear storage tanks.

If you would like to learn more about the dams that were or were not built in the Columbia River Basin, contact the StreamNet Regional Library for assistance and information.  We can guide you to some excellent reading material or the correct District office of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Library Return On Investment

About this time each year, the library finalizes the previous fiscal year and begins the new contract with the Bonneville Power Administration.  A couple of years ago, we went through a required exercise of review with the Independent Scientific Review Panel.   At that time, we were questioned about our activities and how we are of value to the research efforts for Pacific salmon (and other fisheries) in the Columbia River basin.

We spent time gathering our service statistics.  We gathered our collection statistics.  I still feel that these don’t truly reflect the Return On Investment.  Gathering some research, I am trying to justify our continued existence both in my own mind as well as the minds of the policy makers in charge of the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Program.   I am also trying to justify that we expand our focus to all the fish & wildlife resources in the basin.  In this expansion, we are following on of the Laws of Librarianship: Save the time of the reader (or researcher/scientist).

With that in mind, here are some figures from a study done the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). The association conducted a study of special libraries and their contribution to research.   The problem with studying special libraries (health, law government, subject-specific) is that these libraries are designed to serve a specialized group.  “These services are hidden from public view, but are essential contributors to the knowledge-base of their organisations (ALIA, 2014)”  They found that for every dollar spent on a special library, the return was $5.43.   This amount does not take into account “1. improved quality of results provided  and 2. the savings negotiated by librarians in procurement and assessment process (Dewey B, 2014).”

In additional to all the regular services the StreamNet Library provides for researchers who use utilize our collections and expertise, the library is also providing a one-of-a-kind collection. Yes, the University of Washington has a tremendous fisheries library.  Yes, Oregon State University has the Hatfield Marine Science Center & loads of fisheries materials.  However, we have collated the collections of both into one massive library showing the history of fisheries throughout the Pacific Northwest.  We are working on providing materials on other fish, wildlife & botanical resources to show the ecological web of the Columbia River Basin and Pacific Northwest.  You can’t get the whole picture if pieces are missing.

ALIA. 2014. Putting a value on ‘priceless’. https://www.alia.org.au/sites/default/files/ALIA-Return-on-Investment-Specials.pdf

Dewey B Strategic. 2014. http://deweybstrategic.blogspot.com/2014/04/putting-value-on-priceless-new-study.html

Lewis & Clark Among the Nez Perce

Quietly, the patron snuck up on the librarian.”Lenora, Lenora,” he murmured.

“AUGH!” Why do people like to sneak up on me? Not sure, but book in hand, the gentleman proceeded to explain that he wanted to donate the book to the StreamNet Library. Of course, we accept donations, especially of new books that we don’t usually purchase. In this case, we received a copy of Lewis & Clark Among the Nez Perce: Strangers in the Land of the Nimiipuu by Allen V. Pinkham and Steven R. Evans. LewisClarkNezPerce

The lens of history is reversed in this telling of the Corps of Discovery and the Nez Perce get to tell the story and correct errors made by Lewis & Clark. Gleaning details from the journals of the ‘discoverers’ and then adding more detail from the rich oral traditions of the Nimiipuu creates a fabulous new take on the history of the Pacific Northwest.

 

World Without Fish

written by Mark Kurlansky, this alarmist tale talks about the oceans becoming deserts and by extension, the crash of all life on earth. But wait, there’s not all bad news, we can turn this situation around with work and action on all our parts.

Big changes are coming to the planet and we need to prepare for them. Whether global climate change is real or not is a null argument.  We are changing the planet and taking action to stall (and hopefully reverse) climate change will only lead to a better life for all.

‘The future of the world, perhaps even the survival of the world, will depend on how well these changes are handled.”

Let’s Talk About D.O.I.

No, that doesn’t stand for Dead On Inspection. DOI is the digital object identifier that creates permanent URI’s (uniform resource identifier) for digital objects from journal articles to data sets to GIS layers. Using the DOI system, researchers can easily cite digital materials and track back to the original creator which means a bit more transparency when working with data sets and GIS layers.

The DOI system is overseen by the International DOI Foundation which manages ISO 26324.   Registration agencies are charged with assigning DOI’s for the huge amount of information being generated globally.  The two of most interest are CrossRef and Datacite.   CrossRef generally handles publications and other documents.  Datacite handles data sets & other supporting information.

The StreamNet Regional Library is looking into how to provide this service with the GIS-Data work group at the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.   If you have questions about publishing your data, please contact Henry Franzoni, Denise Kelsey or the library and we’ll try to answer.

 

Library Card?

Yes, the StreamNet Regional Library does offer a “library card” for clients.  However, unlike most libraries, we don’t seek to fatten your wallet or weigh down your keychain with another piece of plastic.  Rather we assign a username for you.  The username gives you access to the wonderful world of subscription databases via Ebsco. You’ll also be able to use the library catalog to create bibliographies and request materials.

Having you in our system allows you to place holds on books which is a quick way to alert us that you’d like us to scan something to email for you.  With the oppressive heat in the Pacific Northwest, we are concerned for your comfort.

And we don’t ask a bunch of questions or make you prove your identity either.  Just send an email to oftl ‘at’ critfc.org with I Want To Join as the subject and your name in the message.  I’ll send back your username and you’ll be able to get started on researching right away.

What are the databases we are offering?

  • Environment Complete
  • Water & Oceans Worldwide
  • Fish, Fisheries & Aquatic Biodiversity Worldwide
  • Future subscription databases to be added