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The Schwerdtfeger Library News - October 2006

By Jean Phillips, Librarian

The Collected Papers of Verner Edward Suomi

The Schwerdtfeger Library is extremely fortunate to hold among its collections, the papers and correspondence of Verner E. Suomi, the Father of Satellite Meteorology. Linda Hedges has begun cataloging his papers to make them available to anyone looking for information about Dr. Suomi and his far-reaching involvements (from research and teaching to committees and congressional testimony). His papers chronicle the significant developments in the atmospheric sciences and serve as a veritable "who's who" as Dr. Suomi worked alongside many meteorological giants. Suomi's papers, and their availability to the scientific community, are an important contribution to the history of atmospheric science research on the UW-Madison campus and beyond.

Currently, there are approximately 700 records in the database -- there will be thousands more. The collection does not circulate. Funding for archival storage of the collection was provided by the Friends of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.


AMS Conference Proceedings

Over the last few years the American Meteorological Society (AMS) has moved away from publishing print volumes of its conference proceedings and offering them on CD-ROM instead. The move in and of itself seems rather innocuous, however, it has resulted in some developments that could affect information availability for a long time to come. Because the AMS does not require authors to submit preprints, many authors elect not to do so. As a result, all papers are listed on the CD, even those for which the AMS did not receive a preprint. The nonexistent papers are listed on the published CD and indexed in databases, but when a patron wants to actually retrieve the paper, it simply does not exist.

The trend toward archiving Powerpoint presentations, archiving poster sessions and talks does not serve as a substitute for a well-written and documented paper. Left unchecked, this type of activity could result in the demise of conference literature -- what once served as a means of presenting new information for discussion and potentially, for later formal publication, may be on its way out.

What do you think? Check the August 2006 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (print edition only) for a related study:

Geerts, Bart; Koch, Steven E.; Krehbiel, Paul, and Jorgensen, David. Are AMS Conference Practices Changing for Better or Worse? A Report on Developments from the 32nd Radar Meteorology and 11th Mesoscale processes Joint Conference. BAMS v.87, no.8, August 2006, pp1105-1110 [not available online].

If you continue to be interested in this issue, join the discussion at the Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) Conference in San Antonio next January. We'll be meeting with the AMS to discuss what to do about conference preprints.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives: Oral History Project

The UW-Madison Archives has been conducting oral histories of women in science and technology for many years. While this subject area initially focused on women faculty, there has been a shift to include histories of women in roles other than faculty because there are so many interesteing stories to be told from the viewpoint of researchers, teachers, information professionals, computer scientists, and administrators.

Last spring, Jean Phillips was contacted by Sandy Pfahler, an oral historian who conducts interviews for the Women in Science and Engineering branch of the Oral History Project. Jean was interviewed in September 2006. "Taken individually, these interviews reflect the careers and interests of the interviewees; taken collectively they constitute a narrative of the development of the University over time. As such, they form an invaluable part of the historical record of the University in its century-and-a-half of existence." [About the Oral History Project]

All interviews are stored at the UW-Archives located in Steenbock Library.


UW-Madison Libraries Join Google Book Project

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Google announced an agreement to expand access to hundreds of thousands of public and historical books and documents from more than 7.2 million holdings at the UW-Madison Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library.

The combined library collections of UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society comprise one of the largest collections of documents and historical materials to be found in the United States. The collections are ranked 11th in North America by the Association of Research Libraries in Washington, D.C.


New Electronic Publications

Academic R&D Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2004. National Science Foundation, 2006.

Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2003. National Science Foundation, 2006.

Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 2004. National Science Foundation, 2006.

Hurricane Science and Engineering Taskforce Documents. National Science Board, 2006.

NASA: Long-Term Commitment to and Investment in Space Exploration Program Requires More Knowledge (GAO-06-817R) (pdf). Government Accountability Office (GAO), 2006.

Space Studies Board Annual Report 2005. National Academies Press, 2006.