Rotunda May 2006 Philip at Alderman Report 2005-2006 and Goals 2006-2007
Philip F. McEldowney [Resume ]
May 2005 - May 2006

[Annual Report 2005-2006 animated gif]

2005-2006 Report:
Goal 1 Collections with Goals 3 Electronic Initiatives and Data || Goal 2 Funds and Data || Goal 3 Electronic Initiatives and Data || Goal 4 The Move and Data || Goal 5 Middle East Collections and Data || Goal 6 Professional Opportunities and Data || More Data and other activities

Summary of top three activities.
*Highest priority: Fulfilling Goals 1 and 3. Continue to develop collections and my involvement with electronic initiatives working with others to provide access, as especially shown with Tibetan, Buddhist, and Arabic materials
*Second priority: Fulfilling Goal #2. Manage funds to purchase material for the collection.

Report 2005-2006:

Goal 1. Continue to develop collections and information resources in my areas of responsibilities, providing easy access, and evaluating and strengthening service to meet customer needs, and Goal 3. Continue strong involvement with electronic initiatives, developing skills and collaborating with others to create sources and to develop ways to provide easy access to digital materials which will stimulate scholarship.

    Examples of activities and data for goals 1 and 3.

  • Tibetan Digital texts Hard drives to DVDs 1A. To fulfill my goal of developing collections, especially while continuing my strong involvement with electronic initiatives, my activities with the 3,000 volumes of Tibetan digital text images shows ongoing efforts to provide more and easy access to digital materials. In the last two years I discussed and investigated ways to purchase these materials and created the procedures to make them readily available to our researchers. This year I coordinated those procedures so that the hard drives were purchased on a regular basis, backup copies made, DVDs created with the digital content, each volume is cataloged in VIRGO, and the DVDs made available for circulation. The first two hard drives (2000 volumes) were processed this year, while the third hard drive was purchased and is being processed in this month and next. As a result, local scholars are actively using these materials, scholarship has been stimulated, and our innovative solutions have met with approval locally by graduate students and faculty and nationally by the Tibetan librarian at the Library of Congress and by the director of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. Our processes for adding these digital texts in this way to our collection has become a model for others to imitate (such as by the University of Michigan). Already the DVDs for the first two hard drives have been checked out 29 times (as of 12 May 2006) For further details see below under "Tibetan Digital Resources".
  • 1B. I assisted other librarians to learn about and make arrangements to ship and house the large donated library of Buddhist materials (previously known as the Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions or IASWR), and participated on the committee which evaluated and made arrangements for adding appropriate items to the University of Virginia, while being aware of our Buddhist scholars' needs. These materials are being added according to the guidelines and a schedule developed by the committee. This library is estimated at 70,000 volumes and will be a valuable addition to our Religious Studies collections.
  • 1C. In discussions and arrangements with Chris Ruotolo and others, it was decided that several digitized full-text Anthropology books and Tibetan full-text books and dictionaries, from the old Citrix system, will likely be made available to scholars through the circulation of the CDs.
  • 1D. Other. Continue to work with others to create digital and web resources such as the Page-Barbour lectures of Skinner, Bayly, and Shulman, and the Rotunda lecture of Romila Thapar to provide scholarly content and information. This year copied and converted original digital recordings into other formats for future web access. See also the cataloging of the "Gift of Taiwan Buddhist materials" below.
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Goal 2. Manage departmental, program, and special funds for the purchase of materials, working with researchers and other librarians, reviewing, evaluating, and selecting materials to add to the collection in a way that will surpass user expectations.<

    South Asia materials Goal 2 Data.

  • 2A. Managed Anthropology and Religious Studies (eastern religions) and History (South Asia) departmental funds, 4 Middle East and South Asia Library of Congress Overseas Acquisitions program funds, and 3 special donor funds.
  • 2B. I roughly estimate that I selected around 1263 individual titles during the year. Express Purchased about 17 titles each month (about 187 this year) from email and other requests. 109 titles were ordered for Anthropology (as of 12 May 2006), 514 for Religious Studies, 1690 for AMELC, and 691 for History. For the Middle East's Library of Congress Overseas Acquisitions Program in Cairo, using 889 email lists, selected 455 titles from those requested by Middle East professors and librarians. (total of these four is 3004). Reviewed 2 sets of South Asia shipments of monographs arriving on an 'approval plan' profile, assisted in the selection of about 621 titles and deselected about 35 titles. Nawang reports 180 Tibetan titles from these shipments were also added.
  • 2C. In discussions with my supervisor about time-sensitive selection of materials, I agreed to take steps and focus on ensuring quick responsiveness. I met with George Crafts to review and learn from him how he handled these selections and I have discussed these issues also with the Acquisitions Department.

[Goal 3 and Data 3- See Goals 1 and 3 together above]

Goal 4. Cultivate community and diversity by relocating the physical spaces of the offices of the Tibetan specialist and my own from the Fifth Floor to the Second Floor of Alderman library; as well as assisting the new East Asian librarian in his job to integrate his contributions into the library services; and working with him and others to build and reconfigure the Barrett Room to become the Asian Reading, developing superb services for that diverse group of scholars so as to encourage collaboration and make every individual scholar welcome.

    4. Actions.

  • Second floor after the move 4A. Because of good planning, the move was carried out with minimal disruption, especially with mutual help from Nawang Thokmey. Further improvements from several requests has meant the purchase of a white board which indicates to others our work schedule and location, the modification of desktop height, and the configuration of a scanner and purchase and installation of OCR software.
  • 4B. I met with the new East Asian librarian, Calvin Hsu, to explain my library work and responsibilities, and to answer his questions. I continue to work with him, both in my selection of materials using the AMELC fund which he manages, and in my discussions with him on the development of the Asian Reading Room.
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Goal 5. Evaluate and improve the library services for the Middle East collections so as to provide easy access and encourage scholarship.

    5. Examples and Data.

  • 5A. Helped in the arrangement and the scheduling for the evaluation of our library's Middle East collection by David Hirsh, librarian from the University of California-LA, in November 2005. At his request I wrote a background overview about our Middle East collection and discussed it with him. When his final report is produced and available, I will discuss its recommendations with other librarians and faculty and work toward implementation of some of those recommendations to further improve the Middle East collection and services.
  • Arabic materials 5B. Helped to identify a graduate student with good knowledge of Arabic language and literature and he was hired in Cataloging; worked with him throughout the year, as he was trained and supervised by K. Suthar, to add Arabic monographs, serials, and microfilm. This was especially important and useful since a large number of monographs, serials, and microfilms, arrived in the summer and fall of 2005, as a result of the $20,000 grant of 2004/2005 for the purchase of Middle East materials. This grant and the library's work with university professors has resulted in enhancing our Middle East collections with some core materials which the professors expect to use as primary and secondary source materials through their classes and research.
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Goal 6. Identify and pursue appropriate professional opportunities to develop new skills or improve on them and to keep abreast with changing technologies to better serve library customers

    6. Data:

  • Philip working at his desk Attended 9 classes: 2 Reference classes, 4 media classes (photo and video production) and 3 classes on digital and web management. Attended about 14 academic seminars and panels on topics in my subject areas. Attended two Asian Conferences (South Asia Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, October 2005 and the Association of Asian Studies Conference, San Francisco, April 2006), attending library-related meetings (CONSALD, SAMP, etc.) at both and the meeting of Federally-funded South Asia universities and their discussion on K-12 textbooks at San Francisco, and the Middle East Studies Conference in Washington, DC in November 2005 attending 4 librarians meetings and several academic panels on issues of anthropology, history, and information publishing. I was elected to a 2-year term on the CONSALD executive committee.
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More data and other activities.

Conducted Classes, research tutorials, and gave tours: taught 2 introductory library sessions (one for incoming Anthropology graduate students and one with George Crafts for incoming Religious Studies graduate students), 2 sessions for academic classes (Middle East, Arab 227/5 for Bushra Hamad, and History of South Asia, HISA 401 for Piya Narayen), 3 individual tutorials, and 2 one-hour tours for prospective faculty. Also taught 3 ENWR sessions (ENWR 210-12 for Andrew Douglas, ENWR 110-27 for Fran Connor, and ENWR 110-26 for Margaret Gardiner). The composite average score for the rated sessions was 4.1. Online handouts were most appreciated.
See these handouts and URLs:
Anthropology introduction:
Religious Studies:
Arab Instruction:
Arab Bibliography:
India Empires:

Reference desk Reference Desk: Worked 2 hours each week to provide public service. Such service keeps me in touch with current and changing needs of library customers, and helps me develop and evaluate how to best answer customer questions. Added to my reference role by learning to do online chat, reference email, and basic circulation of materials. One customer (a Harvard graduate, who used to be in charge publicity at NASA) was appreciative of my follow through in helping him to locate a review by George Orwell of Graham Greene, in the New Yorker because our copy had the page ripped out.

Reference and research emails: about 10 emails a month or 120 per year. These ranged from simple location questions to complicated scholarly enquiries.

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New Tibetan books NawangSupervise: Evaluated one supervised position (Library Assistant for Tibetan and South Asia materials, Nawang Thokmey).
In working with Nawang I asked his advice in the selection of new monographic titles in his subject area; discussed developing bibliographic information with him; assisted him in some tours of the library for visiting Chinese and Tibetan scholars; helped coordinate his activity in cataloging of the Tibetan digital texts; and arranged for the storage of the Tibetan external drives and DVDs in his office.

Committees: A. Served on the committee reviewing and selecting candidates for the East Asia Librarian position, completing that review, final interviews, and selection in the summer of 2005. B. In late July 2005 participated in David Germano's committee reviewing and selecting a replacement of the manager of materials for the Tibetan and Himalaya Digital Library. C. Continued to serve on the SDS (Sustaining Digital Scholarship) committee, especially concerned with the Tibetan project, until it ended in October 2005, splitting into specialized working groups. D. Served on the committee on the Buddhist donation (see 1B above), discussing issues, as it formed plans to incorporate and integrate selected items into the University of Virginia library collection.

Professional matters: (in addition to already mentioned above)
**Continued to serve as webmaster for CONSALD and was elected as a member of its executive committee, and participated in listserv discussions.
**Maintained websites for the table of contents of some South Asian and Tibetan journals.
**Worked with other librarians and information specialists on the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library and with the South Asia Digital Library as partially funded by national grants.

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Subject Librarians:
Subject Guides listing:
Religious Studies:
Area Studies (South Asia, Middle East, Tibetan):

Recognition of contribution in published research: Authors acknowledged my contribution to their writings in 2 books by Ravinder Khare (Caste, hierarchy, and individualism : Indian critiques of Louis Dumont's contributions, 2006) and Mike Dash (Thug: the true story of India's murderous cult, 2005). The first was for a bibliography on Louis Dumont's writings and the second was for in reference to my Masters of Arts thesis (also available on the web).

Photography: Took photos at Library and University events and provided copies, some of which were included in the Center for South Asia newsletters.

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Tibetan Digital Resources:
1) Burning DVDs and cataloging in VIRGO. After separate consultations with Karen Marshall, Leslie Johnston, Guy Mengel, and Melinda Bauman to develop the best way to provide access to our on-going purchase of digitized Tibetan texts while ensuring strict authentication for only UVa researchers to access those materials, it was decided make a back up copy of each external drive and to transfer a copy of the digitized texts to DVDs, and then to catalog those and make them available for circulation. The first two external hard drives from the Tibetan Buddhist Resource center, each containing around 1000 titles, were copied on to DVDs in the late summer of 2005. K. Suthar and I along with Erin Stalberg considered how best to set up cataloging procedures. K Suthar supervised the initial steps for Nawang Thokmey and Cindy Davis to experiment with cataloging these titles and adding them to VIRGO. The two then established a routine to add each of these titles, with this activity mainly occurring in January and February of 2006. They did intense work, and did it very efficiently and well. As a result these DVDs were cataloged, added to VIRGO, and made available at the Reference Desk for circulation. Almost immediately some of these DVDs were checked out and are providing easy access for UVa researchers.
2) Importance for scholarship beyond the University of Virginia: Susan Meinheit (Tibetan Specialist, Asian Division, Library of Congress) spoke with me at the San Francisco Conference of the Association of Asian Studies in early April 2006 and commented about how very pleased the director of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, Gene Smith, was with the UVa solution to making these digitized texts available to qualified and authenticated UVa researchers. Our solution has become a model for other major universities. In one case the University of Michigan sent an email asking for details of how we handled these sets of Tibetan digitized texts as they were trying to find ways to make these available to their authenticated researchers.
3) Working together with many librarians and coming up with practical solutions, creating DVD copies, and supervising the work of catalogers and others has made these Tibetan digital texts readily available to our researchers. And they are being used as they are being checked out (5 of 19 DVDs were check out as of 10 May 2006). We are presently going through another round of making DVD copies of the Third External Drive, and will catalog those when they become available.

Taiwan Budddhist gift books Gift from Taiwan of Buddhist materials, especially multi-volume sets. This year I have also worked with K. Suthar on gift materials from the Taiwanese Buddhist Institute. This involved several decisions: 1) which material to add and not add (since some of it is non-scholarly popular pamphlet literature), 2) which duplicate copies to add or not, and 3) where to shelve series, sets, or multivolume materials. It was mainly the last two decisions which K. Suthar and I had to work closely together over some months. As a result, the scholarly core of this gift has been added to VIRGO and is available for Buddhist researchers.

Worked with Suthar on several projects Publicity Photo for the cataloging of the India District Gazetteers. Worked with Suthar to assist Charlotte Morford (Communications and Publications) in her selection of an appropriate graphic for the library's annual 2005 library publication announcing the completion of the cataloging of the India District Gazetteers.

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Philip McEldowney
Goals for 2006-2007

  1. Continue to develop collections and information resources in my areas of responsibilities, providing easy access and use, and evaluating and strengthening services to meet customer needs which will inspire learning and scholarship.

  2. Manage departmental, program, and special funds for the purchase of materials, working with researchers and other librarians, reviewing, evaluating, and selecting materials to add to the collection in a way that will surpass user expectations. As goals as a Subject Librarian, take actions in the following areas to ensure responsiveness to library customers and library colleagues: 1. Purchase Express Requests -- process the request and let the requester know of the disposition of the request, both actions within one day after receipt 2. Lost Book decisions - make decisions of whether to replace and give the decisions and fund information to Acquisitions within one week of receiving the Lost Book Reports; 3. Multiple Holds Reports: if the decision is to purchase an additional copy, treat it as a Purchase Express, and have the patron at the top of the hold list notified, making decisions on multiple holds within one day after receipt.

  3. Evaluate and improve selection procedures, South Asia profiles, and Overseas Acquisitions Programs, and enhance library services for South Asian and the Middle East collections so as to use library funds and staff efficiently and provide easy and sufficient access to materials which will encourage scholarship. Hire a graduate student with Arabic language skills to assist me with Middle East materials. To the extent possible, begin implementing recommendations by the Middle East consultant.

  4. Work with others to develop library spaces, such as the Asian Reading Room, which will provide basic reference resources and equipment for easy, productive and collaborative scholarship.

  5. Continue with electronic initiatives, learning further skills, and collaborating with others to create sources or develop ways to provide ready access to digital materials which will inspire learning and scholarship.

  6. Identify and pursue appropriate professional opportunities to develop new skills or improve on them, and to keep abreast with changing technologies to better serve library customers.

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Philip's Resume

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