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’.

Dewey B Strategic. 2014.

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’ 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


Reminiscing Internet Past

Reminiscing about the good, old days as I clean out files and other materials from the library move. The latest thing from 1996: What the Internet Is…

a loose collection of home pages, photos, and neat stuff that you can collect.
a home publishing kit, a photo album, a refrigerator door, a vanity press on drugs
a public forum for ideas, concepts, arguments, flames, support, analyses, teachings, and discussions
Democracy at its best
Anarchy at its worst
a tool for marketing, a way of getting your products, services, or ideas out on the line for all to see
a wonderful tool for communication – a way to reach family, a really cheap phone call, a virtual meeting room, a virtual classroom
a load of hype, a lot of misunderstanding, a heap of misconception, something hip to put on your business card
a vector into the future, a new tool, a new society of communities
an information rich source
a lousy information system

How many of these are still true today? I think most. Has the internet/world wide web evolved? Not sure. Certainly the web has grown, but has the information really changed? We still have to look at all the sources with a jaded eye and verify sources to make sure the information is credible. Though the rules have generally not changed.

1. Bite off what you can chew-there is always more to learn. Learn one or two useful things and then build on what you have mastered. Drowning in this stuff is a common occurrence.
2. Always read the screen-there are almost always some very useful instructions there.
3. Don’t type anything that goes over the net that you don’t want seen by others.
4. Don’t type in CAPS-it is the equivalent of shouting and will be perceived as a rudeness by others.
5. If an exchange begins to get emotional-GET OFFLINE.
6. Don’t leave your connection running unattended.

And some random terms from the 1996 glossary (how many do you remember?)

Baud rate
Veronica (Jughead & Archie)

Verifying Name Changes for Fish Species

We are settled in our new library and finally continuing our work to catalog and organize the wealth of information on the Columbia Basin.  One of the first sets of books that I picked up to catalog was on Pacific lamprey.  Knowing the importance of this species and wanting to make sure the information was findable by scientists, I’ve been adding the scientific name to the catalog records as much as possible: Lampetra tridentata.  Saying this name out loud has been difficult for me because the common name and genus are so similar.  But I digress.

Looking at the title page of the first document in the stack, Pacific lamprey are identified as Entosphenus tridentatus.  Huh?  When was this document written? 2011.  Wow.  Over to Fishbase to verify the scientific name.   Searching for Lampetra tridentata pulls up Entosphenus tridentatus.  Ok then.  Just for the sake of curiousity, I now need to know when the name change occurred. Unfortunately, Fishbase doesn’t have that information.

Turning to the Encyclopedia of Life‘s entry, there are several name sources running about 50% for old & new names.   Ok. Back to searching for the year the name was changed.  Common & Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada & Mexico, 7th Edition was just published in April, 2013.  While the electronic copy is mostly available, the free digital version does not include name change information.  So, we’ll wait for our print copy to arrive and update this post when more information is available.

Lesson: While fish species name changes are accepted by the American Fisheries Society, they are not necessarily broadcast.  The promulgation of name changes seems to come from organic, word of mouth between species biologists.  Using Fishbase seems to be the best source of verifying the currently accepted scientific name.

Library Without Books?

Many have asked the question, “How can the StreamNet Library shrink from 4300 sq. ft. to 1700 sq. ft. with so many fewer shelves.  60,000 cataloged items won’t fit in that space.  Well, yes, and no.

Physical copies of materials that are needed, commercially published or otherwise not available digitally will be available in our new space.  As will comfortable seating, tables to work on and public access computers for folks to look stuff up.  We will probably start discussing the options of adding e-readers to our collection for folks to download some of our electronic titles.  We’ll be following the model being set by libraries around the country:  The Future of Libraries Short on Books Long on Tech

Many items will still be retained in storage on high-density shelving.  You’ll just have to give us time to fetch those items you need to hold in your hands.  And with the drops in pricing for computer memory, we actually have unlimited space to add materials to our collection, preserve copies of everything we can and make your research life easier.  Really, just ask and we’ll get you all set up in front of a computer with access codes and all to research, save citations, etc.



Frosting on the Library

Recently, the library has had a spate of Thank You’s from scientists being published in various forms: articles, chapters and a full book.

And we’re not just about salmon either, we’ve got great resources about the CRITFC member tribes as well as other tribes in the Pacific Northwest.  We have the Audubon Society of Portland’s Marshall Collection to enhance our bird research.  We are working on adding the Oregon Mycological Society’s library to our collections to fill out our botanical information.

In California Condors in the Pacific Northwest by Jesse D’Elia & Susan M. Haig, we are mentioned with a nice summary of how we can help others:

” When we could not find a copy of a report, book, or journal article, David Liberty, librarian at the StreamNet Regional Library in Portland, Oregon, was always willing to offer help. We are indebted to him for acquiring hard-to-find books and documents. ”

What more can we say, we specialize in finding ‘that blue book about ______ by the guy from Oregon’. Well, we might need a bit more to go on than that, but we do try and are often successful.  So, give us a try.  Check our Services page for more information about how we can help you with your natural resources information needs.


The Overfishing Problem

While we are preparing for our impending move to the 700 Multnomah Bldg in June 2013, we are working on cataloging as much of the backlog of materials as possible.  While working on this task, the following book was found waiting to be cataloged for the collection.

Russell, E. S. 1942. The overfishing problem; De Lamar lectures delivered in the School of hygiene of the Johns Hopkins university, Baltimore. Cambridge [Eng.]: University Press.

These lectures were delivered in 1939.  They were published after the beginning of World War II. The author addresses the changes in fishing due to the war and expresses worry that “This opportunity should not be lost a second time, when the present war comes to an end. A moderate reduction in fishing power, if it could be agreed internationally, would be of great benefit to the fishing industry in all countries; by this means it would be possible to reap a permanent advantage from the increase in fish stocks which is now taking place as a result of the war.”

Seems overfishing has been a recognized problem since before World War I.