Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Ralph Russell, August 20, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Interest in librarianship

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Dr. Ralph Russell recorded Saturday August 20th, 2016 in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Ralph Russell discusses how he became aware of librarianship as a possibility for a career. He talks about his education, his brief career with the Navy, and how his wife interviewed for him for his first library job.

Keywords: Academic libraries; Acquisitions; Cairo (Ga.); Circulation departments; Farmington Plan; Florida State University; Jobs; Librarianship; Males; Masters degree; Naval Officer Candidate School (OCS); New York Public Library (NYPL); New York University (NYU); Queens Public Library; University of Southern California (USC); Wife

Subjects: Academic librarians; Academic libraries.; Education; Library science.; United States. Navy.

GPS: Cairo (Ga.)
Map Coordinates: 30.883333, -84.216667
00:06:05 - Career path in libraries

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Partial Transcript: Anyway, I knew that, uh, I needed to some things differently.

Segment Synopsis: Russell talks about the various libraries at which he has worked throughout his career before settling at Georgia State University until his retirement in 1997.

Keywords: Career paths; Children; East Carolina University; Florida Junior College; Florida State University; Georgia Library Learning Online (GALILEO); Georgia State University; Library administration; Retirement; University of Georgia

Subjects: Academic librarians; Academic libraries.

00:09:18 - GALILEO database (Georgia Library Learning Online)

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a little bit about GALILEO.

Segment Synopsis: Russell discusses the GALILEO database which was created during his tenure at Georgia State University, including the naming process and how they convinced the Georgia state legislature to fund the project.

Keywords: Access to information; Bill Potter; Charles Beard; DAWGNET; Databases; Funding; Georgia Library Learning Online (GALILEO); Georgia State University; Institutions; Internet access; Journals; K-12 media centers; Public library systems; School systems; State legislature

Subjects: Libraries.; Library finance.; Library resources.; Public libraries.; School libraries.

GPS: Georgia State University
Map Coordinates: 33.75278, -84.38611
00:15:25 - Challenges at Georgia State University Library

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Partial Transcript: Well GALILEO, um, is, is, you know, a major project that happened, uh, near the, the end of your time at--

Segment Synopsis: Russell discusses some of the challenges he faced when he began working at Georgia State University Library. He mentions the lack of physical space, updating technology, and the financial issues that came with these updates.

Keywords: Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL); Budget proposals; Circulation systems; Databases; Director of Libraries; Funding; Loans; Microfiche catalogs; Online catalogs; Printing; Public institutions; Punch cards; Space; Surveys; Technology; Updating

Subjects: Academic librarians; Academic libraries.; College buildings.; College facilities.; Library finance.; Technological innovations

GPS: Georgia State University
Map Coordinates: 33.75278, -84.38611
00:20:12 - ASERL (Association of Southeastern Research Libraries) and SOLINET (Southeastern Library Network, Inc.)

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned a little bit earlier that when you were making arguments for improvements to your libraries, um, ASERL was a, uh, a very helpful resource...

Segment Synopsis: Russell talks about how being part of ASERL helped him throughout his career, and talks about ASERL's role in the creation of SOLINET.

Keywords: Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL); Data; Improvements; Issues; Membership; Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC); Raises; Salaries; Strategies;   Southeastern Library Network, Inc. (SOLINET, now part of LYRASIS)

Subjects: Academic librarians; Academic libraries.; Library finance.; Universities and colleges--Administration.

00:25:11 - Collaboration between libraries

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Partial Transcript: Well moving on to, um, perhaps another project that had great impact across, across the southeast.

Segment Synopsis: Russell talks about some of the ways libraries in the southeast have collaborated, as well as ways he wished they could have collaborated, including shared storage, resource sharing, and a shared library. He talks about how ASERL helped create trust between institutions.

Keywords: Access; Accreditation; Accrediting standards; Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL); Attitudes; Books; Collaboration; Colleagues; Consortia; Consortium; Digital materials; Funding; Georgia; Joint library; Kate Nevens; Print materials; Professional relationships; Regional storage facilities; Sharing; Space; Trust;  

Subjects: Academic librarians; Academic libraries.; College facilities.; Joint-use libraries.; Library finance.; Library resources.; Universities and colleges--Finance

00:32:22 - Career with SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools)

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Partial Transcript: Um, you have mentioned um a couple of times that after, after you left Georgia State you embarked on something of a second career with, with SACS.

Segment Synopsis: Russell talks about how he came to work for SACS after his retirement from Georgia State, and discusses his responsibilities in relation to the re-accreditation of institutions.

Keywords: Access; Career paths; Committees; Jim Rogers; Library systems; Re-accreditation; Substantive changes

Subjects: Academic libraries.; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Universities and colleges--Accreditation.

00:39:12 - Local consortia

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Partial Transcript: Well let's talk about the technology piece for, for a moment.

Segment Synopsis: Russell talks about a local consortium his library participated in, University Center. He talks about some of the benefits to users that local consortia can provide.

Keywords: Academic Research Librarian of the Year; Access; Agnes Scott College; Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL); Awards; Consortium; Cross-registration; Group dynamics; Projects; Reciprocal borrowing; State legislature; University Center

Subjects: Academic librarians; Academic libraries.; Joint-use libraries.; Library resources.

GPS: Agnes Scott College
Map Coordinates: 33.77016, -84.29325
00:44:24 - Current and future role of academic libraries

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Partial Transcript: Um, you mentioned just, just a few minutes ago that your, your granddaughter has access to a much wider array of information resources than, you know, you did or I did, um, when I was going through school.

Segment Synopsis: Russell talks about how he saw the role of libraries change during his career, and discusses their role in the digital age. He talks about the misconception that the use of libraries is declining. He talks about electronic books as one of the major issues currently facing libraries.

Keywords: Access; Attitudes; Authenticity; Changes; Commuters; Gate counts; Georgia State University; Group study rooms; Information resources; Internet; Sofas; Statistics; Students; User data; Validity

Subjects: Academic libraries.; College administrators; College facilities.; College students--Books and reading.; Library finance.; Library resources.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance

GPS: Georgia State University
Map Coordinates: 33.75278, -84.38611
00:53:21 - Career change post-retirement

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Partial Transcript: Well we've talked a, a--about a lot of different interesting topics in, in this, this interview.

Segment Synopsis: Russell talks more about his career with SACS after his retirement from Georgia State and how this career change affected his outlook on his library science education. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Career paths; Commission; Issues; Roles

Subjects: Academic librarians; Education; Library science.; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools