This post comes to you from Asheville, NC, where I am attending the 24th annual conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG).Steve and Chris are on the conference planning committee, but I came on the scene late enough that I get to attend the conference as a participant.The conference begins in earnest on Friday, but I attended two pre-conference workshops yesterday and today.
Wednesday’s pre-conference was called “Navigating your way through the E-journal rapids.”It was a workshop taught by a “panel of experts”:2 librarians, and representatives from a subscription agent, a university press, an e-journal platform provider, and SerialsSolutions.For those unfamiliar with NASIG, one of the organization’s hallmarks is that although the majority of members are librarians, representatives from other parts of the serials supply chain also participate as members on an equal footing.NASIG also has a non-commercial stance, so the presenters from commercial companies give their perspective without trying to sell their product.
I thought the presenters did a good job of talking about the aspects of journal management that are unique to the online environment.An initial overview talked about the new complexity-more players, more pricing models, new workflows.Also covered were the many different types of publishers and the new roles of subscription agents, platform hosting companies, etc.A couple of gems:I learned the phrase “There is no ‘one’ anything,” and the subscription agent pointed out that with all the new workflows and entities involved, it still often takes as long to start up an e-journal subscription as a print subscription.
Today’s preconference was a half-day workshop on licensing.The primary focus was on understanding license language, learning key terminology, and recognizing and mitigating potential problem elements.Again, the publisher perspective was valuable.For example, one publisher employee in the class pointed out that if they monitor excessive downloading from a specific IP address, they need to be able to shut it down immediately.I also learned that some publishers may want to prohibit electronic course packs, not because they want to limit access to their materials, but because they want users to link into the publisher’s web site; usage stats can be a major selling point for a publisher.
We were given a copy of an actual license agreement and asked to identify 16 key elements (site definition, perpetual access, indemnification clause, etc.).Later, we evaluated the license and identified some problem areas.Then we worked in groups to come up with alternate language to mitigate the problems.Participants also received a flash drive with some sample licenses, boilerplate language, and other resources.The plan is to create a wiki so that we can continue to share model license language.I was impressed with the practicality of this workshop, and am looking forward to the rest of the conference.