Moneyball and Libraries

I have just finished reading Michael Lewis’ Moneyball and have thought that perhaps the blindness towards the significance of statistics might also be present among those who run libraries. The BeerBrarian suggests some possible parallels:

Libraries aren’t baseball teams, but if they were, mine couldn’t compete with others in the area. We don’t have the resources. And this is where moneyball comes in. There are market inefficiencies for libraries, that librarians and library staff should be exploiting them. A couple stand out.

First, we are surrounded by a wealth of data about how libraries are used, how many books get checked out and if a run of call numbers is particularly popular, when the building sees the most foot traffic, which databases see the most use,… I could go on. All of these are measurable, and decisions on resource allocation should be data-driven. Let’s go out there and collect that data. It’s free, and under-utilized.

Second, and also free, librarians should be educating patrons (and faculty and students, in that order, if you work in an academic library) about the free scholarly resources that exist online. In particular, I’m thinking of the Directory of Open Access Journals. Compared to the cost of databases that aggregate journals and their articles, open access can’t be beat on price. They don’t cost libraries a thing. They are priced inefficiently, but never mind that; get those DOAJ titles into your catalog, or link to it from your library’s homepage, or promote it on a blog, or tweet it, or all of the above.

E-book indexes: Liz Castro

More thoughts about ebook indexes

What I want to see is some way to differentiate index entries in an ebook. In print, I know that “125-138” indicates more in-depth treatment than say “125” and indeed, “125-126” indicates something different than “3-4”, even though it’s the same number of pages, just because we know that “3-4” is probably in an introduction.

And how are we going to label index entries at all? Of course, page numbers won’t do it. So what’s the alternative? Could size or color indicate depth? A bar that grows or shrinks according to depth?

Some of our history, as recorded by social media, is missing

This is of no surprise to me as the social media companies are interested in currency not the past. Neither do their business models encourage archiving of user content no matter how trivial it would seem to be to implement (according to some of those commenting on this article).

History, As Recorded on Twitter, Is Vanishing From The Web, Say Computer Scientists,

They found that the older the social media, the more likely its content was to be missing. In fact, they found an almost linear relationship between time and the percentage lost.

The numbers are startling. They say that 11 per cent of the social media content had disappeared within a year and 27 per cent within 2 years. Beyond that, SalahEldeen and Nelson say the world loses 0.02 per cent of its culturally significant social media material every day.

The study is here:

Losing My Revolution: How Many Resources Shared on Social Media Have Been Lost?

OCLC’s WorldShare Platform

From Library Journal, December 5, 2011, With WorldShare Platform, OCLC Emphasizes Data Access and Rebrands Web-scale ILS

OCLC announced today the launch of  its WorldShare Platform, a new technical infrastructure to help libraries collaborate in the creation and sharing of new web applications. The platform tightly integrates with the recently launched cloud-based integrated library system (ILS) Web-scale Management Services, now rebranded WorldShare Management Services (WMS), and other services. At the same time, the nonprofit also announced that it will be opening new data centers overseas over the next year.

See also:

OCLC WorldShare Platform (

Job search stress relief

When you can’t type out one more cover letter, there is… the gorilla librarian!

From Monty Python’s Flying Circus, series 1, episode 10.

It’s remarkable how well the Pythons understood the role of the librarian.

Baseball + Librarianship

Tuesday Conversation: Baseball Hall of Fame librarian loved his job from the start [Utica Observer/Dispatch]

Jim Gates has been the librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame [Cooperstown, New York, USA] for about 20 years. He is in charge of a library that contains about 3 million documents on baseball. It has a copy of almost every baseball book, along with a clipping file on every major league, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and Negro leagues player. There also are manuscripts, scrapbooks, sheet music, personal papers, photographs, recorded media, contract cards, contracts, questionnaires, media guides, box scores, scorecards and more. The library is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is available to anyone free of charge.


National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum