Celebrating 35 Years of Service
During her 35-year career at Stanford University, Mary Buttner has played a major role in shepherding Lane Medical Library from a chiefly print collection to one of the leading digital medical libraries in the United States. She has put her library science degree to good use in building and managing a collection that has grown from under 2,000 print subscriptions to over 6,000 current digital periodicals, in addition to a multitude of periodical backfiles, e-books, images, databases and other resources. Her undergraduate degree from Stanford gives her an inside edge in understanding and anticipating our users’ needs. She is a key player as one of Resource Management’s “people behind the button,” who make sure the link you click on in Lane’s website is there in the first place and that it continues to work 24/7.
She modestly claims that her job is to discover, evaluate, license, and troubleshoot digital resources. She is especially known for her acumen in dealing with the many attendant problems of keeping our burgeoning digital collections seamlessly available for our users’ research, education, and patient care needs. Her virtual Swiss Army knife skill-set permits her keeping abreast of the ever-changing publishing industry, negotiating licenses with sometimes persnickety suppliers, ensuring records flow into appropriate metadata channels, investigating broken links to fulltext, anticipating needed local changes to minimize effects of vendors’ digital platform changes, and keeping a watchful eye for new open access publishers and resources. One minute she may be explaining a database problem to one of our programmers and the next emailing a PDF of an urgently needed article to a user despite its being “unavailable.” The challenges never seem to abate, as more recently she has had to deal with licensing violations due to text mining and copyright questions in regard to using images in massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Before the digital revolution, Mary was also instrumental in the bibliographic and physical preparations that helped make Lane’s transition to a digital library easier. Resource Management staff reorganized thousands of periodicals and correlated changes to existing bibliographic records, as well as creating many original records. Mary appreciated the advantages of such changes more than many, having previously worked in Interlibrary Loan. The simplification of access meant that is was easier to figure out whether we owned a specific title and where it was shelved. Securing complete runs of periodicals was a challenge; keeping them complete as well—Mary was always there to pitch in to salvage or replace water-damaged materials, having previously helped save collections during a flood at Green Library.
Similar to the variety of her work interests, Mary apparently likes variety in her personal life. She enjoys biking to work, Stanford women’s basketball, watching the great blue herons near the Stanford Mausoleum, taking a dip in the hot tub at a library conference, and dabbling in new technology. She values working, and playing, with great people at all levels, an added advantage to being here at Stanford.