Archive for September, 2008

Global Climate Change


 So, we were promised a light breakfast before the conference program. HA. Well, I guess since the menu was toast, biscuits & jam, and watermelon with juice, coffee and tea to drink, that would be light.

A traditional Sevusevu Fijian Ceremony of Welcome with men in ceremonial dress began the program to welcome the President of IAMSLIC and through her, the rest of the conference attendees. Gee, if you ran for President of IAMSLIC, you’d get the be the honorary representative for the organization in this kind of ceremony. Quite a perk!

After, we were welcomed by the Vice-Chancellor’s representative with warm remarks about the importance of information and our role in helping to understand climate change and its effects on the islands of the South Pacific.

Climate Change : a Janus-Faced Challenge for Our Times by Dr. Patrick Nunn

Climate change is a continuous process that is having some major impacts on the South Pacific. However recent changes have been far more precipitous than historical changes such as the ice ages and previous warming eras. Cultural change is being studied as an effect of climate change. After all, if the environment changes, we are going to have to adapt and that will precipitate some changes to how people relate to each other and the world around them.

Climate is continuously changing.
Solar forcing is the principal cause of climate change.
Climate change in sthe principal cause of societal change.

Looking toward the future, he predicted that we are locked into a future that none of us would like to envision. **However, I have to disagree and would like to think that if we change our behaviors we can change the world and the future. The future cannot be that certain, especially if we work together.**

Now, back to the presentation. Food productivity, disease transmission and human comfort are all going to have an effect on societies around the world. Remember last year’s conference with the presentation on coral bleaching research, seems the effects of coral bleaching in the South Pacific have far-reaching effects through ecosystems and the cultures that depend on those ecosystems.

Dr Nunn had excellent classroom management skills as he paused each time that side conversations broke out and waited for those to subside so they didn’t distract the rest of the audience from his insightful presentation. Something like “I’ll just pause here until those in the back finish their conversation.”

What Tea Time already? No coffee breaks in Fiji. Tea time includes homemade doughnuts (MMMMM), biscuits & jam, finger sandwiches, and sausage rolls with juice, coffee and tea. Light refreshments? Yeah, right.

Business Meeting

Big news is Jan Haspeslagh has changed jobs and is stepping down from President-Elect. The bylaws have rules for this contingency and Ruth Gustafson has been contacted about her willingness to serve as President in Jan’s place. The 2009 Conference will still be held in Belgium as planned.

Then on to the usual routine of the regular business meeting: minutes acceptance of the last business meeting. Sorry, I’m not the Secretary, so don’t have much to say here.

The President’s address included the accomplishments during the past year. You’re reading one of them.

And on to lunch…did someone say there wasn’t enough food last year? Lunch was fabulous dishes including chicken stew, beef stew, rice, and other side dishes with juice, coffee and tea.

CommFish : All About Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries by Daria Carle

Daria has been working with two other librarians to develop an online repository for Alaska Fish & Game reports. She outlined the difficulties of cataloging these documents and then making sure the copies were digitized properly.

Transforming Moana: Converting to Greenstone by Chris Hammond-Thrasher

Open source software… yes, the answer to many no-budget library’s prayers. However there is a cost in the installation of these software systems. Chris outlined the differences between Koha and Greenstone as these two systems were both developed in New Zealand. I’ve been thinking about installing Greenstone, but after listening, I think once more I am going to hold off until the software is a bit more mature before trying to use it in my library. The StreamNet Library ( currently uses Koha for the online catalog. We also converted from DBText and had quite an experience getting our records moved into MARC format. Anyway, I do encourage libraries to explore open source solutions rather than the standard commercial systems that require us to pay for licenses and subscriptions, etc. which takes money away from journals, books and staff to help our patrons get past the catalog.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community Fisheries Digital Library by Jean-Paul Gaudechoux and Anne Gibert

A brief summary of the digital library initiative at the Secretariat of the Pacific.  I am sad to say that I was busy with the Guin Auction so didn’t really get to listen to this presentation.  Although, the generosity of members is evident by the number of exceptional items up for bid in the Guin Auction.

Mould in the Library and What to Do About It by Peter Kemp and Heike Neumeister-Kemp

Mold, oops, Mould is a ubiquitous problem throughout the world. Well, ok, maybe desert environs don’t have to worry about moulds so much. Moulds thrive in a moist environment and can quickly move through a building from a single source. Mould can be microscopic through macroscopic.

Chlorine bleach is not a cure for moulds. The use of chlorine bleach merely disguises the presence of mould by removing the color. Use vinegar and elbow grease to get rid of infestations. There are other suggestions for mould abatement in the presentation.  When the conference proceedings are available, you will be able to download all the great information presented.

Wow. Fascinating topic and a dynamic, interesting speaker. Who’d have thought that moulds would be so interesting.

Tour of Marine Science Institute of the University of the South Pacific

The tour of the Marine Studies area of the University of the South Pacific included the specimen rooms with terrestrial samples as well as an pretty comprehensive collection of coral samples. We visited a freshwater prawn culture lab, a seafood preparation lab and learned the history of Marine Studies at USP as well as the comprehensiveness of the programs.

After a bit of a rest, several of the usual suspects gathered at the Alliance Française for a bit of refreshment, delicious dinner and to watch “An Inconvenient Truth.” Dinner was a carrot salad to begin, beef stroganoff, potatoes & water cress for the main course followed by French banana chocolate pie. Kudos to the chef.

The movie was viewed outdoors under a large shelter and projected onto a large screen. My only complaint is no popcorn. Well, we were at Alliance Française. “An Inconvenient Truth” is really good at getting the message about global warming and climate change out to the public. Al Gore hits many of the same points as we heard from Dr Nunn in the morning. But some of the personal, biographical info about Mr Gore could have been left out and did we really need to relive the pain of the stolen election? The mosquitoes were out and hungry, but the movie was interesting enough that no one left.

Lenora A. Oftedahl
StreamNet Regional Librarian
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

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Colo-I-Suva Forest Reserve



Bright and early Sunday morning, 23 intrepid explorers set out from Holiday Inn Suva in search of adventure in the vicinity of Suva. The Colo-I-Suva Forest Reserve seemed to provide a picturesque hike through the South Pacific Rainforest. (Denise R. coordinated the adventure and arranged all the details like permits and guides.)

Light showers spatter us as we drove toward the park. People were warned to carry umbrellas or raincoats to avoid getting soaked. Yeah, right. Being from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., a temperate rainforest, I live for rain showers and actually prefer them to sunshine. Of course, that could be the fair skin talking too.

Being librarians and their close relations, we knew that we did not know enough about the park and so hired two guides to show us the park and talk to us about the flora and fauna of the area. One of the first creatures we encountered was the giant millipede that inhabits the Pacific Islands. These millipedes were the length of my hand, tip of middle finger to heel of palm, and I don’t have small hands (I can cover an octave on the piano). So very large bugs, ok. But the twist, they are venomous and humans tend to react badly to the poison in their feet (all of them) and their pincers. So, don’t pick them up to try to pet them.

We followed the very well laid path through the park down the hill (yes, DOWN). A lovely stream trickled down the hill with us and formed waterfalls, riffles and pools along the path we followed. While the trail was well maintained, a few of us whined as we walked down over slippery rocks, rotting leaves and seemingly rickety bridges. Many who know me will understand my reluctance to cross these little bridges. However, looks can be deceiving as they are built to last as evidenced by my crossing them safely.

The jungle was amazing. Many of the explorers saw quite a few birds. I was focused on the water and how soon we’d be swimming in a warm tropical pool. The diversion of watching the water flowing over the rocks kept me sighing with regret each time we passed a pool of water which begged to be swum in.

After just an hour (which seemed to be several) we reached a lovely pool complete with rope swing and waterfall. Yippee!! Slipping into the water, the temperature was a bit cooler than expected. Warmer than the ocean at home, but not quite the warm tropical pool we expected. Several of the explorers were brave enough to swing from the rope into the pool, which turned out to be quite deep.

We were limited to just 20 minutes in the water, though I suspect we took a bit longer with the excitement over watching friends and loved ones swinging from a rope over the water. But we had cooled off and were ready for the return trip to the bus. What goes down, must go up. We had parked at the first parking lot, at the top of the hill…the steep hill we had just hiked down. Up, up, up we climbed to the second parking lot and then up the road to the first parking lot where a number of us collapsed for the ride back to the Holiday Inn.

Once again, I was amazed by the bus driver’s supernatural driving skills and the command of his machine. Several spots on the road I wondered how an SUV got through, much less a bus. But the bus driver’s superhuman relationship with his bus ensure the safe return of all 23 intrepid explorers to the hotel. Thank you to the U.S. Embassy for providing our transportation.

The afternoon was a rest period before the Welcome reception at the Holiday Inn. Not everyone attended, but we were all happy to see our LONG-TERM friends as well as the new friends we were about to meet. Wine flowed, people met and chatted. Hors d’oevres circulated. We were informally welcomed by Joan Yee and Elizabeth Winiarz, the conference convener. And then we started the Conga line by the microphone to introduce ourselves.  Next year I think we should play the name game.

Lenora A. Oftedahl
StreamNet Regional Library
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

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Getting to Suva, Fiji

 9/11/2008 (or should that be 9/12/2008?) through 9/13/2008

A large group of the usual suspects gathered at gate 103 in the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles World Airports (also known as LAX). Barreling out of LAX on a Boeing 747 was an interesting experience as I’m used to much smaller planes. Feeling the great bulk of the trying to gather enough speed to reach escape velocity from the gravity of earth, I had some doubts about the runway actually being long enough. But we lifted off and were in the air with a VERY polite and dedicated flight crew.

10 hours in the air is about my personal limit for sitting still. However, we crossed the International Dateline and the Equator which helped keep the ride interesting.

We were really running from the sun, but then I thought, maybe we are running towards to sun. Seems the sun won whichever race as we watched the soft light of the tropical sunrise break over the horizon during our taxi to the terminal at Nadi Airport. So the loss of September 12th was not as painful as the excitement of being somewhere so different from home (Portland, Oregon, USA).

Customs was handled quickly even with the large number of people who arrived on the almost full 747. Many caught the same bus to Suva, but a few decided to try a different route and were adventurous enough to rent a car.

The bus driver knew his machine quite well and could judge space and distance with incredible speed. 5 hours later, after a winding, scenic tour of Viti Levu, we arrived at the Suva Holiday Inn.

Afternoons were spent drowsing in the heavy tropical humidity and listening to the rain hiss down to earth. Lucky enough for me, I am staying with a ex-patriate librarian, Denise R. from USP’s main library. She picked me up from the bus and we walked downtown to the open air markets to check out the many interesting items for sale: locally produced arts and the incredible variety of seafood, vegetables and spices.

Early to bed, early to rise means we get to go on the field trip the next day.

Lenora A. Oftedahl
StreamNet Regional Librarian
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

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News from Jan Haspeslagh


I’m posting a message on behalf of Jan Haspeslagh who has just taken on a new job.   He will still be an IAMSLIC member so we won’t lose touch with him.  Join me in wishing him the best.  The Executive Board hopes to announce his replacement later this week.
Barb Butler

Jan writes:
Dear Iamslic and Euraslic colleagues,

Following might come as a surprise for many of you, for wich I truly apologize. After a very long procedure, two weeks ago, I have come out as the winning candidate for the vacancy of university librarian at the Ghent University here in Belgium . This means I will soon change jobs from a strictly marine environment towards the more general scientific and educational university environment. I have chosen to take this step mainly because the long commuting I had to do from home to VLIZ (3h 45 min. each and every day…) were more and more annoying to myself and to my family. The job I’m taking on now means 20 minutes of travel each day, staying in the same line of work and even an (unexpected) increase in salary.

All this creates of course a quite difficult situation for Iamslic and Euraslic, with my future presidency and the joint meeting next year in Belgium. With regard to next meeting: my director has confirmed officially that he wished it to take place in Oostende at VLIZ, regardless of my resignation. We will work closely together until the end of this year to organize and prepare as much as possible to give my successor a head-start. As far as the presidency goes, it seems evident and logical to me that I step down as President-Elect as soon as possible, making way for another member that can take over quickly. Although I’ll stay at VLIZ until 31 December 2008, these last 4 months will be hectic enough in themselves, leaving little or no space for international activities.

Both Presidents, Barbara Butler and Barbara Schmidt have been notified last week, and the Iamslic Executive Board has been notified of my resignation at the first Executive Board meeting and will of course quickly proceed to take the necessary actions.

I’d like to express here that it makes me really sad that I will lose so many joyful and interesting contacts across the world. As far as I know these two groups are a unique fenomenon, also compared to other professional bodies, and I’ve enjoyed uncountable happy, funny, and sometimes even silly moments with al lot of you librarians. I’d like to thank so many of you who have put trust in me to help these organizations becoming the primary professional platforms for aquatic librarians, a trust not always met with the correct actions and ideas, but I might hope that I’ve left a small footprint here and there. In any case, I’ve had the joy of meeting new friends, and hopefully some of these contacts will last for longer than my term in aquatic science information…

Life is a chain of unexpected events that we try to knit together, but that keeps unraveling. I do hope, dear colleague, that you will not hold this too much against me, and I will stay in close contact with many of you as long as possible. In any case, I will attend next years meeting as a visitor, because I don’t want to miss the good beer and mussels, do I?

Thanks a lot to everyone, and so long,


Jan Haspeslagh
Flanders Marine Institute
Oostende, Belgium


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Aquatic Commons Policy Changes

Please note that the Aquatic Commons Board has recommended the following changes to the CONTENT SECTION of the policies.

The new policies  will be loaded at the IAMSLIC/Aquatic Commons homepage and will read:

3. Submittals to the repository must include the metadata and the digital object referenced.  Preferred file formats for the following digital objects include:

Text – pdf
Powerpoint – pdf
Images – jpeg
Video – mpeg
Audio – wav

4.  Text files are most likely to include:

a) Research papers (pre- and postprints)
b) Conference and workshop papers
c) Theses and dissertations
d) Unpublished reports, monographs, working papers, and technical reports
e) Books, chapters and sections

5.  Papers may include:

a) Non peer-reviewed (pre-prints)
b) Final peer-reviewed drafts (post-prints)
c) Published versions

6.  Principal languages for submission: initially, all western European languages.
Search interfaces will be English, French, Spanish, and German.

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