Here are some thoughts about the sessions I attended on the second day.
Don’t leave me in the dark
Shining a light on Electronic Resources Communications
Nathan Rupp, ER Librarian, Cornell
Since Cornell spends approximately 40% of their $15M acquisitions budget on electronic resources, they are obviously concerned about an effective and efficient deployment of these resources. Cornell’s has attempted to mitigate communication breakdowns among all the parties involved in deploying electronic resources with three initiatives:
- Redesign of Technical Services.
- Embedding Technical Services librarians across library teams/committees.
- Employing various IT solutions.
1. Redesign of Technical Services:
After the Technical Services reorganization, there are four units:
- Database management services
- Eresources and serials management
- Metadata services.
The key here is the combination of Eresources and serials together because of their logical connections. Furthermore, this combination allows for focused crosstraining that prevents functional silos from developing.
2. Embedding Technical Services librarians across library teams/committees.
Embedding Eresources librarian into selection units and committees; the key goal here is to allow Technical Services personnel to become involved very early in the deployment process, thereby preventing potential later delays.
One of the most important embedded positions is one on their Database Review Committee which is responsible for allocating additional resources to selectors who don’t have enough money to purchase high-cost items. Since these large databases often require significant Technical Services work for deployment, it’s especially crucial to get T.S. involved early in the process.
Another key embedded position is on their Systems Department Committee called ReDS—a group that is responsible for investigating and developing next-generation finding tools for their libraries.
3. Employing various IT solutions.
Among other initiatives described in the presentation, the most interesting IT solution is an e-form which they use to process new electronic resources.
The key is for selectors and Collection Management personnel to provide all the key information to Technical Services in a single, standard format.
Other random notes:
They’re struggling to determine if they need to provide 24-7 support for e-resources. In effect, they have some staff who have informally taken on responsibility for monitoring patron problems on what amounts to a 24-7 basis. But they don’t know if or how they could make this an official policy.
Their ERM is used only by Technical Services staff.
Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Push Your E-Resources
Cindy Carpenter, Georgia Tech; Sarah Steiner, Georgia State
Cindy Carpenter described Georgia Tech’s desire to break out of library website prison using Web 2.0/Social software.
Among the interesting ideas which are germane to us at Wake: the use of wikis to replace static Subject Guide webpages. Among the most interesting examples was a business wiki developed by a librarian at Ohio University.
Another interesting tool: the creation of screencasting to create various kinds of research guides—for instance, showing students how to search Lexis-Nexis for specific newspapers. The key here is to not bury the content on the library’s website but to post it to YouTube so that students will be much more likely to find it—or will remember how to look for it at some point in the future once they know it exists. Obviously, serendipity may lead them to find the content on YouTube, but more likely, they will learn that the content exists during a B.I. or reference transaction and will remember where to look for the tool on YouTube in the future even if they don’t remember the intricacies of Lexis-Nexis.
Steiner talked primarily about Facebook and MySpace. She and Carpenter spoke about a colleague at Georgia Tech, Brian Matthews, who regularly scans student blogs and other student virtual spaces in order to “jump in” with research advice as possible. The model of actively meeting students where they are on the web may be more aggressive than some would be comfortable with; however, the model is out there and it works at Georgia Tech.
The Evolution of a New World Order: How and Why UCLA Drew the Line between ‘P’ and ‘E’
Sharon Farb, Andrew Stancliffe, and Angela Riggio described the formation of a Digital Collections Services Unit at UCLA.
The unit, in existence for less than a year, has staff with expertise in Acquisitions, Metadata, Collection Management, and Licensing. In addition, their Liaison to the California Digital Library is part of the unit. As they were putting together the unit, they recognized that it had to be formed with high-level staff and that they had to cultivate a strong working relationship with selectors and public services.
What’s working well with the new unit:
- Centralization of licensing, electronic acquisitions, ERM maintenance, and SFX activation in one place.
- Library staff know where to go.
Note: they have a home-grown ERM, but CDL just purchased Verde for all the participating institutions, so they will begin using it in the next year. Interestingly, they anticipate running both systems until they are comfortable with discontinuing their in-house ERM.
What’s not yet working as well as they would like:
- Well-defined roles for selectors and the DCS with respect to ERM maintenance have not been defined yet.
- Print acquisitions still need to be more involved to handle print + online subscriptions.
- Lack of understanding by some selectors about letting the DCS unit take over the deployment process.
The most striking part of the whole presentation, and what was referenced at many points throughout the rest of the conference was a single shocking slide:
The 39 FTE positions in the flowchart on the left represent those working on print acquisitions. The 7.5 FTE positions in the flowchart on the right represent those working on e-resource deployment. To put this in context, their print/electronic split in their budget is 60% print/40% electronic.
This dichotomy is even more striking when you learn that the DCS unit is also responsible for handling Scholarly Communication initiatives for the libraries and the campus as a whole: copyright, intellectual property, rights metadata, and e-scholarship repository work especially as it pertains to the California Digital Library.
39 to 7.5. 60% to 40%.
If there were one statistic which could encapsulate the message of the entire conference, this would be it.
Tips for Tackling Electronic Resources
Dennis Gibbons, Susan Hawk, Dennis Odom, Texas Christian University
- Select a composite team (systems, public services, cataloging, periodicals, collection development, and acquisitions). Make sure that the team has a well-established, often revised mission statement.
- Develop and promote policy statements, both for public and private consumption.
- Develop and streamline workflows for specific situations/types of resources.
- Provide OPAC redundancy.
- Cultivate vendors and use their training sessions/free publicity materials.
Best practice narrative: Faculty/Vendor/Library partnership
As the leader of the Collection Management team, Gibbons described their situation at TCU—and there was much envy in the room. Over the past few years, they have been experiencing growth in their materials budgets. Moreover, they can carry over unspent funds from one year to the next, so they can save funds for strategic purchases if they plan properly.
Note: they’re a liberal arts institution which sounds similar in some ways to Wake, actually.
So their success story began with using some of their saved money to fulfill strong faculty requests for American Periodicals Series and Early American Imprints: Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker.
In an attempt to foster a relationship with the grateful faculty, Collection Management took the faculty to ask for faculty assistance with helping make the case for even stronger institutional support for the library and to solicit testimonials for and evaluations of the new products.
This led to several other purchases, accomplished with creative financing: Early American Newspapers and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.
Then, of course, the faculty started asking for ECCO. This was too expensive for TCU’s budget. However, because the library had established these strong partnerships with the faculty (especially the Chair of the English Department), they collectively put together a grant proposal for funding from the Trustees’ Strategic Initiative Fund. And because they received funding through this campus-wide process, they were able to purchase ECCO. To celebrate, the library hosted an 18th-century Salon party attended by the Provost, faculty members, library staff, and two VPs from Thompson-Gale—another way to express gratitude to the Provost and faculty who worked hard to get the Trustees’ grant.
The workflows discussion didn’t contain much ground-breaking information other than to confirm our feeling that, on the whole, Serials Solutions does a pretty good job with their products. They are cancelling as much print as possible because they are out of space.
During the question/comments section at the end of the presentation, one person reported on her library’s current attempt to seek funds from a local office of a Big 4 accounting firm to purchase an accounting database since neither the library nor the accounting department could afford the subscription.