Talk:David Ferriero/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Evolution in cataloging

The statement: "In some ways, Ferriero just happened to be the right man at the right time" is an opinion and does not belong in Wikipedia.

Additionally, the "conversion to LC" classification is only partially accurate - it affects only open reference books (about 25,000), not the books in closed stacks (which is the overwhelming majority). It also required a sizable grant. -- kosboot (talk) 19:45, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

I drafted this disputed sentence sentence. I understand your valid critical comment, and I recognize the need to do better in future. --Tenmei (talk) 20:45, 29 July 2009 (UTC)


kosboot -- The controversial issues you identify in this thread are perhaps more appropriately added to the main NYPL article? I have mirrored your additions to this article in that one. I don't doubt that it will garner comment which will potentially enhance the quality of both articles. --Tenmei (talk) 23:12, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

As effective head of NYPL, he had the choice to go in other directions or, like Billington, disregard them entirely. He chose to implement them, thus he is responsible for their execution. -- kosboot (talk) 14:25, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Personal touch Small-scale innovation

Despite the quote, this section strongly suggests more than a casual contact component. As such it does not belong in Wikipedia. -- kosboot (talk) 20:14, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

kosboot -- No, you're simply wrong. As you must know, WP:V establishes the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia. The relevant factor you mistakenly devalue is "verifiability — that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source." Each element in this section is explicitly informed, confirmed, documented by a human interest feature from the New York Times -- and, no less important, each citation is linked so that you can read the original source for yourself without leaving the comfort of your desk chair. Together, these news stories suggest a unique persona; and I've summarized what I learned from those sources. Your critical assessment is drawn from mere speculation and it proposes changes informed by nothing more than innuendo, and as such, I feel justified in determining for myself that your headnote does not belong in Wikipedia. I have removed it.
A review of the edit history of Sidney Verba in February 2008 will reveal that I worked on the text of the article about the head of the Harvard University Library at about the same time. In early 2008, I worked on articles about several librarians at the major institutions which were partnering in the Google Books Library Project. With the article about Verba, as with Ferriero, I was motivated by a similar desire to bring some hint of personality into the article about a library administrator. The credit for this section of the article is due to what the publisher of the New York Times determined was "all the news fit to print."
I was much less successful in my work on the articles about other librarians -- except perhaps with the article about Lynne Brindley, the head of the British Library.
Thanks for what in a round-about way is a complimentary kind of feedback. --Tenmei (talk) 20:30, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure one could come up with quotes to justify virtually anything through judicious selection. What human being does not have a "personal touch"? If you were writing a press release or biography that would be appropriate. For Wikipedia, is it inappropriate. Furthermore, the flag is supposed to stay until enough people have debated the section inquestion, so don't remove it of your own volition. -- kosboot (talk) 20:53, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Please strike the first sentence in the posting above. In this context, it is undeserved and it offends. --Tenmei (talk) 23:40, 30 July 2009 (UTC)


kosboot -- The controversial issues you identify in this thread are perhaps more appropriately added to the main NYPL article? I have mirrored your additions to this article in that one. I don't doubt that it will garner comment which will potentially enhance the quality of both articles. --Tenmei (talk) 23:12, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Archivist of the United States section

I do not think ity appropriate to include the Archivist of the United States section in this article. Mr. Ferriero is not Archivist of the United States; he has only been nominated with the hearing scheduled for October 1. The details provided should perhaps be merged into the separate article titled Archivist of the United States since that article deals with the functions and duties of the office.--Pubdog (talk) 18:53, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

In light of this comment/suggestion, I have removed the "Archivist of the United States" section from the article. It is "parked" here in a collapsed-format pending further discussion. --Tenmei (talk) 20:03, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Extended content

Archivist of the United States
The duties of the Archivist of the United States include making sure that highly sensitive presidential papers and electronic records are saved and made available to the public. In recent years, this office has been drawn into controversies. The Archivist is in the middle when federal agencies and public officials argue for keeping their records secret despite demands for access from historians and others.[1] If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, some of the issues Ferriero is expected to confront include:

  • Advocating in Congress for the resources needed for processing and preserving traditional paper records, and for making the transition to managing electronic records. This encompasses the anticipated resources needed to address the existing backlog of historical materials, and also to keep up with the increasing flow of new materials and prevent the development of an even larger future backlog.[2]
  • Monitoring all branches of the government to ensure that they adhere to the legal requirements of the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act. This encompasses improved coordination between National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the White House with regard to the transfer of records and artifacts from the Executive Office of the President to NARA. The on-going controversy and litigation over missing White House e-mails and the use of private e-mail accounts to conduct official government business during the recent Bush administration serve to illustrate the importance of careful records preservation procedures and standards.[2]
  • Implementing a new system for preserving the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) which is scheduled to begin in January 2011 to manage the exponentially expanding volume of electronic records.[2]
  • Improving on-line access to finding aids and digitized portions of NARA collections and other opportunites for access to the vast and varied historical resources held by NARA.[2]
  • Reforming the Presidential Library System to ensure enhanced public access to presidential records and artifacts while evaluating trade-offs between preservation and access. Congress has given NARA the mission to do both. At the same time, the costs for construction and maintenance of specific presidential libraries have been influenced by political pressures which means that future budgets are likely to be more closely scrutinized. based on demonstrated needs, not outside political pressure.[2]
  • Strengthening NARA’s organization and culture in the face of the upcoming retirement of a large percentage of its workforce. This means nurturing partnerships with professional and academic organizations and public and private sector institutions in order to enhance and extend NARA’s ability to accomplish its mission.[2]


Edits affecting OCLC and LOC cataloging changes seem unjustified, but perhaps the rationale only needs a bit more space for explanation than an edit summary can provide? --Tenmei (talk) 06:16, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

The discussion about OCLC should go in the article about OCLC. -- 11:04, 1 October 2009 (UTC) To amplify further, although his position makes him a titular representative of OCLC, all that actual work is done by staff underneath him - and I'm fairly certain they do it of their own discussions in their own groups. I'm fairly certain that Ferriero offers virtually no input regarding these issues. -- kosboot (talk) 12:56, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Kosboot – Notwithstanding your credible argument about Ferriero and OCLC, the deleted and now restored sentence is necessary for those readers who may not be familiar with WorldCat. In my view, this single sentence is helpful and arguably essential in this context. Are you able to suggest an edit compromise or an alternative?
As you may have noticed, there is a minor change in the text you deleted about LOC conversion:
"Ferriero is credited for fostering a slow conversion to the Library of Congress’s classification system while working ...."
Do you construe the passive voice as more accurate or better suited than the active voice? Are you willing to suggest further edits in this section? Don't you think that the following opinion needs to have citation support?
" In fact, NYPL Research divisions abandoned the Billings system in 1972, when computers were first introduced into the cataloging department. The change Ferriero introduced was merely for the older books on open-shelf reference - a small minority of NYPL's holdings."
The broad thrust of your comments reveals a non-neutral point-of-view, which is conventionally discouraged. However, your edits arguably enhance the quality and depth of the article. Each of the following seems individually defensible, but I wonder if you don't agree they need further tweaking:
  • 1. diff 04:31, 1 October 2009 Kosboot (12,621 bytes) (Compensation) ?
  • 2. diff 04:35, 1 October 2009 Kosboot (13,085 bytes) (ageist) ?
  • 3. diff 04:41, 1 October 2009 Kosboot (13,941 bytes) (Alteration of mission) ?
  • 4. diff 04:46, 1 October 2009 Kosboot (13,476 bytes) (Classification only affected reference books and required quite a bit of money to be raised that could have been spent elsewhere) ?
Your concerns about the apparent changes in the NYPL mission would seem to be the common factor which links your recent edit history. If this tentative re-statement is inaccurate or unhelpful, please feel free to try to correct my misunderstanding. --Tenmei (talk) 16:39, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Edge vs core

Kosboot -- The label "ageist" is too simplistic. The opportunity to hear Ferriero speak for himself in a streaming video was constructive --see WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, Ferriero explains priorities, streaming video, February 26-27, 2009. I'm not sure how best to expand what Kosboot has added to this article -- but the question itself is a step in a constructive direction ... and a host of other questions are raised as well, e.g.,

  • A. Is it fair to characterize NYPL as being in a stage of constant change in contrast with a period of "punctuated equilibrium" ...?
  • B. Does this tidbit need to be expanded in the context of this article? Ferriero explains that "wooing Josh Greenberg away from George Mason University and keeping him for more than a year-and-a-half" is a major accomplishment, perhaps his greatest achievement at NYPL? If so, that remark reveals volumes about what Ferriero construes as having value at NYPL.

Kosboot -- Your edits have affected my notions about how to proceed with this article; but I'm uncertain about what to do next. --Tenmei (talk) 17:51, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Tenmei, frankly I think you are too biased in favor of the subject to write anything in this article. I edited the article because I found it highly offensive in using fawning praise over someone that a large number of people dislike and who think has been destructive. I think all of your points and many of your emphases are wrong, and I have supplied footnotes where I can. To the many points that I disagree with (e.g. "sense of humor" which I find totally inappropriate unless you put a similar section into all people's biographies), I have not said anything, knowing that observable knowledge is almost useless unless there is documentation which can be cited in footnotes. Once he moves on to NARA, I leave the article to you and you can erase all my edits and return to the uncritical fawning tone of your writing. -- kosboot (talk) 00:57, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Kosboot -- You misread the available data. It's not that I demonstrate a noteworthy bias; rather, it's that the limited sources available at present are suggesting an impression of "spin". I gather that the tone of what I've posted is at odds with what you know from personal experience. It is not at odds with the cited sources; but together, we can work towards a more balanced article.
In that vein, I would encourage you not to abandon the article in future. More published information is likely to become available, and you are in a unique position to evaluate the otherwise credible material which is as yet unavailable. My personal views, as it happens, are more in line with what yours appear to be; but I haven't the ability or sophistication to bring to bear the range of editing skills this subject requires. I'm trying to make a constructive contribution, but this is outside the ambit of articles I usually edit.
Why not leave open the possibility that our goals here are not at odds? Why not accept the implied compliment in the statement posted above? To repeat: Your edits have truly affected my notions about how to proceed.
Think about it: If not for your edits, I would not have discovered the streaming video in which Ferriero speaks for himself. I would not have drawn connections between Ferriero and the MacArthur Foundation nor would I have invested time in creating a stub article about Joshua Greenberg .... Do not feel discouraged. --Tenmei (talk) 05:53, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
It's frustrating and not worth the time and effort if every single one of my edits is going to be challenged and questioned, especially when you admit that you have less first hand knowledge than I do. You can read the NY Times all you want, but that is a questionable source of information, since the owner of the NY Times is a trustee of the NYPL (and his cousin is also a trustee of NYPL), so that his newspaper is going to go out of its way not to reveal anything critical about NYPL (one must go to the other NY papers for that). It is a definite conflict of interest that few talk about.
BTW, Josh Greenberg is not a librarian nor does he plan to be, nor does he do "librarian" work. He is just an academic who works for a library. -- kosboot (talk) 12:05, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Article cleanup

Per WP:BLP I have removed all original research. I have also removed synthesized material per WP:SYN. I have also removed uncited BLP claims that did not establish notabliity in reliable independent sources. It is critical in BLP articles that claims are written conservatively. As per WP:BLP, "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid paper; it is not our job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives." Please avoid adding any original research, synthesized claims, or uncited/poorly cited BLP claims. Thank you! ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 22:22, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

ConcernedVancouverite -- I do not understand all of your edits, nor am I clear about whether or not I can agree with all of them. However, it is abundantly clear that your input helps me to re-think how I evaluate the edits of the other significant contributor to this article's development. It causes me to reconsider the responsive comments I've posted about Kosboot's edits.
In my view, your contributions were not discouraging; and I would hope that Kosboot will be moved to view them in a similarly constructive light. However, I would have thought there was no reason for you to have included one provocative sentence.
As per WP:BLP, "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid paper; it is not our job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives."
The words deride and ignore the seriousness with which edits have been posted and discussed in the article itself and on this page. If you are disinclined to strike out this sentence, please explain why not.
In the context created by editors other than you, words like "tabloid" and "sensationalist" and "titilating" are disparaging and derisive. I have disagreed with Kosboot's edits while agreeing with what I take to be his personal views; however, no sentence in this article has ever had anything to do with "tabloid" prose and "sensationalist" writing and "titilating" text.
Please strike out this one offending sentence. --Tenmei (talk) 16:00, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Tenmei: I appreciate your concern about improving Wikipedia as best as possible while following the guidelines established around WP:BLP. The section I quoted from the BLP policy is designed around protection of individuals so as to avoid introducing content that may be potentially controversial and/or libelous without sufficient reliable independent reporting of such claims to make them notable. One example of such language that I removed from the article were claims that the article's subject was "ageist." I hope that clarifies things for you. Happy editing! ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 16:11, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes. That was a very good example to choose. --Tenmei (talk) 16:27, 3 October 2009 (UTC)


Kosboot added a paragraph about Ferriero's annual compensation here. In my view, this sentence needs to have a context; but the one which Kosboot proposed was eliminated by ConcernedVancouverite. Until we can devise a non-synthesis text-alternative which explains how this detail is both noteworthy and relevant, I've moved this confirmed fact here:

When hired, Ferriero's starting salary was almost $118,000 more than the salary of his predecessor.<:ref name="nyt_kovaleski">Kovaleski, Serge F. "New York Library Officials’ Pay? Shhh," New York Times. November 19, 2006.</ref>

I agree with what I guess ConcernedVancouverite might have intended when he mentioned the word "flow" in an edit summary which addressed re-positioning this sentence here.

We can restore it to the article at any time, of course. --Tenmei (talk) 01:58, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Non-neutral language

ConcernedVancouverite deleted the following phrase, and the edit summary explained "removing non-neutral language" here:

He has presided over a major restructuring which has been accompanied by elimination of some positions, the creation of new ones and the departure of veteran librarians with their institutional memory.<:ref name="archivist"/>

The specific cited paragraph which informed this sentence is re-copied below:

NYPL has eliminated 65 positions as part of what it describes as a restructuring. NYPL first offered staffers "voluntary separation incentives," which a number accepted, thus allowing for the creation of 120 new positions and opportunities. One NYPL insider said that age-level specialists in the boroughs were being eliminated and that the severance package meant several veteran librarians with institutional memory would be leaving.<:ref name="archivist">"NYPL head = Natl. archivist; New Catalog, Restructuring," Library Journal (August 1, 2009). Vol. 134, Issue 13, p. 11.</ref>

I do not see this phrase as arguably non-neutral:

"... and the departure of veteran librarians with their institutional memory."

ConcernedVancouverite -- you need to explain your point-of-view with something more than wiki-jargon shorthand. In this instance, it is pointless for you to expect a wiki-label to take the place of an explanatory sentence. --Tenmei (talk) 01:50, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Presiding over a restructuring is just that. Adding the value statement based upon one insider, who rather obviously has a conflict of interest, does not add value to the article as it gives the impression that it was a negative act without showing both sides. I would bet there are other insiders that agreed with his decision as well. Wikipedia is not a place to pass value judgments on actions, we should write about actions objectively as best we can. The edit trimming the last part of the sentence was my attempt to do so. Clearly you are much closer to the situation that I am, and perhaps you should get some more objective opinions on it. ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 02:43, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for these words. I need to ponder this for a while. However, there is no need to delay in rejecting your last sentence. This fine-tuning has nothing whatsoever to do with a perceived failure of objectivity. No -- bluntly -- you're just wrong, and that's all there is to it. This isn't to say that you are incorrect in challenging my edits -- no, not at all. You are wrong to ascribe bias, motive, intention ... just as Kosboot was wrong to do.
More importantly: What I do not reject is your hyper-sensitivity. We are on the same page in accepting that articles about living subjects require the most stringent editing standards. In due course, I will be able to write in a fashion which is consistent with the fine-mesh filter you've introduced; and I am confident that, in due course, I will be able to use and understand the wiki-catchwords which elude me today.
This is, frankly, one of those things which can only be learned the hard way by trial-and-error -- which is why I invested the time in presenting the suspect language followed by the explicit text which informed it. --Tenmei (talk) 03:31, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
I fear you have misunderstood me. I was not trying to imply that you have a conflict of interest. I was just stating that you are more passionate about this article than I am. It is in your city, not mine. You seem to read the library journals - which I do not. You are more of an expert on the library overall, I am sure. That is all that I meant. My apologies if you misconstrued it. I will not respond to any attacks you have made about my personality though, assuming that they just stemmed from a misunderstanding and I will make an assumption of good faith about your intended goals with editing, and just assume you are passionate about an article that you have invested a lot of time and energy into editing. ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 03:51, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

More neutral language

ConcernedVancouverite deleted the following phrase, and the edit summary explained "ewording language to make more neutral":

He was actively involved in the evolution of North Carolina's Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) with successes in cooperative storage leading towards a prospect for document delivery, preservation, cooperative acquisition, cooperative cataloging and digitization.<:ref>Oder, Norman. "Consortia Hit Critical Mass," Library Journal (February 1, 2000). Vol. 125, Issue 2, p. 48.</ref>

The specific cited paragraph which informed this sentence is re-copied below:

David Ferriero, Duke University's vice provost for library affairs, envisions TRLN coordination of the sort practiced by some larger organizations, like the Center for Research Libraries (CRL): "I'm thinking of cooperative storage, so everyone isn't storing the same titles. Once we get to the point of a cooperative facility, then we have a locus for document delivery, preservation, cooperative acquisitions, cooperative cataloging, perhaps digitization projects."

The issues are not obvious to me. Further explanation is needed. --Tenmei (talk) 02:28, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

As you point out very clearly the cited paragraph makes no mention of "successes." All it shows is a quote where he is talking about what he thinks. This is not a reliable independent source suggesting there were any successes. As such the language appears to be non-neutral and also synthesizes a conclusion without evidence. ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 02:32, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. Again, I can only repeat that this is another lessons learned the hard way -- which is why I invested the time in presenting the suspect language followed by the explicit text which informed it. --Tenmei (talk) 03:38, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

NOT original research

ConcernedVancouverite deleted the following paragraph, and the edit summary explained "removing original research. The cited articles do not make this claim. Please do not re-add original research to the article":

Ferriero considers the decision to match Joshua Greenberg with a newly-created position as the Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship was perhaps his most significant accomplishment.[3][4] A unique point-of-view is illuminated when he explains that Greenberg was hired to "not only shape the digital library but think about where our users are and ways of getting NYPL in their faces."[5]

As I've already explained above, ConcernedVancouverite -- you need to explain your point-of-view with something more than wiki-jargon shorthand. There is more than enough evidence that I am trying to understand your ppoint-ov-view, and this newest edit demonstrates that I just don't get it. An explanation using different words is called for in this instance, don't you think? I'm persuaded that this edit is unjustified because it is so explicitly supported by confirming citations.

Moving from the bottom of the paragraph towards the top, ConcernedVancouverite deleted the following sentence:

A unique point-of-view is illuminated when he explains that Greenberg was hired to "not only shape the digital library but think about where our users are and ways of getting NYPL in their faces."[5]

The specific cited paragraph which informed this sentence is re-copied below:

The library has also consolidated web functions across the organization into a web office in the information technology group. Scholar Joshua Greenberg, who has a doctorate in science and technology studies, has been hired, said Ferriero to "not only shape the digital library but think about where our users are and ways of getting NYPL in their faces."<:ref name="reorganization">Oder, Norman. "NYPL Reorganization Coming," Library Journal (October 1, 2007). Vol. 132, Issue 16, p. 12.</ref>

In my view, this represents an arguably reasonable beginning for a thread which needs further development --Tenmei (talk) 02:17, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

The webwise video stream is a primary source and can not be used to establish the claim. The other two sources do not make the claim that this is a unique point-of-view or that it is his most significant accomplishment. That is passing judgment and is original research. ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 02:46, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
This is still obscure or perhaps opaque to me. Maybe this just needs a bit more time before I "get it." As I construe it, I am not passing judgment; rather, I am appropriately accepting and incorporating the expert opinion expressed by Ferriero when he speaks about a subject within the area of his acknowledged expertise.
I'm persuaded that the more important point is that the prospects for an improved article were served by Kosboot's decision to post the link to the online panel discussion in which Ferriero speaks freely about his work. In my view, Ferriero's own words were invaluable in helping me better understand Ferriero and some of the objectives he seems to have set for himself and for the institutions he has sought to serve. --Tenmei (talk) 03:56, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Permanent link: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Joshua Greenberg --Tenmei (talk) 17:32, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Hospital day room

I removed the following clause from the article:

"...and, based upon his experience working in a psychiatric hospital during his early career, has compared the library to a large hospital day room where people come to 'veg'."[6]

I wonder if this sentence fragment needs a more well-developed context in order to escape an arguable criticism that it introduces an unhelpful POV ...?

In light of ConcernedVancouverite's critical comments about my own contributions to this article, I wonder if this clause doesn't introduce a kind of inappropriate "original research" in the absence of a more carefully contrived context?

As it stands, does this sentence fragment suggest that Ferriero devalues the library patrons who come to the research library on a regular basis? That interpretation, of course, is not consistent with the paragraph from which this observation has been excerpted. --Tenmei (talk) 02:55, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference washingtonpost28july was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Testimony Lee White], Executive Director of the National Coalition for History (NCH). U.S. House of Representatives Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee, Oversight and Government Reform Committee]. May 21, 2009.
  3. ^ WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, Ferriero explains priorities, streaming video, February 26-27, 2009; Hagel, John et al. (2005). The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization, p. 11.
  4. ^ Taylor, Kate. [ "One Library Out of Many Institutions," New York Sun. July 26, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference reorganization was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Koppel, Lily. "Offering Enlightenment, or Just a Little Peace," New York Times. December 27, 2007