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Recommended Reading on New Systems and Prominent People
by Deborah Lynne Wiley 
Next Wave Consulting, Inc. 

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Managing Electronic Reserves 
Planning for Integrated Systems and Technologies
Forbes ASAP Big Issues: The Examined Life in the Digital Age
The Quintessential Searcher: The Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint

This month I look at a couple of books for implementing new systems in your library and then step back for some digital life examinations with Barbara Quint and a host of writers from Forbes ASAP.

Managing Electronic Reserves 
edited by Jeff Rosedale

ISBN: 0-8389-0812-8
Published: 2002 • Pages: 196; softcover • Price: $42.00
Available from: ALA Editions, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611; 800/545-2433; 312/280-2427;

If you are thinking of implementing an electronic reserves system in your library, this book, edited by the Assistant Library Director at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York and host of the Electronic Reserves Clearinghouse Web site, can probably save you some time. It addresses the major issues involved in designing, staffing, and working with various models of electronic reserves.

The book starts with a list of frequently asked questions about electronic reserves, which provides an excellent overview of what is involved. Then there are chapters covering staffing issues, evaluation of systems, migration, copyright, and real-examples of working systems. Although each chapter is written by a different author, most of them practicing librarians, you wouldn't notice by the tone of the book. It flows well, yet provides the expertise of different writers. The case studies are particularly helpful, as they provide the insight of lessons learned and a comparison of choosing a homegrown system versus an open-source software solution. 

You won't finish this book and think, "Ah Ha! I know what system I want!," but you will know the issues you must address.

Planning for Integrated Systems and Technologies
by John M. Cohn, Ann L. Kelsey, and Keith Michael Fiels

ISBN: 1-55570-421-2
Published: 2001 • Pages: 205; softcover • Price: $55.00
Available from: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 100 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013; 866/672-6657; 212/925-8650;

Planning is the keyword in this title. This book is a practical guide to the steps you should take and the issues you should address in implementing a new system in your library. It does not really address system issues, but rather focuses on the process of deciding what system you need, with what features, how you will afford, getting information from vendors and ultimately choosing the best system for your needs. To help with the process, the book provides numerous worksheets, checklists, and helpful tips on how to proceed. The authors have clearly done this before, and have a lot of tested procedures to help you in your decision-making process.

At the end of each chapter are annotated references. I love annotated references. It makes it so much easier to know what source to use for further information. And since the main purpose of this book is to provide guidelines for procedures and planning, you will probably need to use some of the references for more details.

If you are involved in the planning process for choosing and evaluating a new system, this book, will be your roadmap. If you are already implementing a new system and are looking for technical details, this book is not the one you want. 

Forbes ASAP Big Issues: The Examined Life in the Digital Age
edited by Forbes ASAP editors

ISBN: 0-471-41491-3
Published: 2001 • Pages: 338; hardcover • Price: $24.95
Available from: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York NY 10158; 800/225-5945;

This stimulating book is a compilation of the last five annual Forbes ASAP Big Issue editions, each composed of several essays by leading writers and thinkers concerning the social and philosophical implications of the new digital technology. Each Big Issue looks at a broad theme, and contributors range from Bill Gates to Scott Adams, Tom Wolfe to Muhammad Ali. The range of thought and perspective is fascinating, providing a context far beyond the normal day-to-day issues with which most of us deal.

The five themes are: The Implications of the Digital Revolution; At Work in the Digital Age; Time in the Digital Age; Convergence in the Digital Age; and What is True in the Digital Age. My favorite section is Time; as we all struggle with the ever-increasing flow of "time-saving" inventions, yet always seem to be fighting for time. I think the major issues discussed here deal with the feeling of overwhelming information and overwhelming time demands. Do we ever feel we can just stop and disconnect?

The range of the essays is broad, covering all sorts of topics. The sense of timelessness one gets from receiving email from an 82-year-old woman telling segments of her life. The convergence of all fields of science and possibly religion. The idea that intelligent life just wants to stay home—hence, no intergalactic travel. 

Grab this book and let your mind wander.

The Quintessential Searcher: The Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint
edited by Marylaine Block

ISBN: 1-57387-114-1 • Published: 2001 • Pages: 213; softcover • Price: $19.95
Available from: Information Today, Inc., 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055; 800/300-9868; 609/654-6266;

OK I admit it—I was frightened to review this book. After all, my career has been on the vendor side, and I've taken a lot of heat from this source (although admittedly, some of it was justified). Still how much bq can one person take? As it turns out, quite a lot. We all know that Barbara Quint has a lot to say, and says it in a way no other person in the industry would consider. I can't imagine the amount of material that the editor had to wade through, but she has done an excellent job of taking bits and bytes from various places and times, and organizing them into an eminently readable collection.

Since time and space no longer matter, it makes perfect sense to organize the quotes by general topics, such as thoughts on searching, librarians, the Internet, database vendors, and even bq on herself. You will no doubt find yourself nodding your head, smiling, and chuckling as you read through the words of wisdom and advice. Yes, she does repeat, and sometimes contradict, herself. Yes, she is invariably right and smug about it. And yes, she does abuse the poor vendors! But never does she waver from her avowed place to uphold the rights and responsibilities of the online searcher.

Compared to the Forbes ASAP essays, these excerpts dwell on smaller, more focused issues. But these may be the ones we have to solve first on the way to clearing up the big picture.

Deborah Lynne Wiley ( is Principal of Next Wave Consulting, Inc. 

Comments? Email the editor at

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