Professional Development

Three Themes & Some Miscellaneous Ideas from Charleston

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 2:01 pm

Acquiring Datasets: Two speakers from the U. of Illinois (one a “Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian”) described a pilot project managed by a Data Services Committee. Purchased datasets are stored on a section of the library’s webserver and linked in the catalog. In the long run, current processes may not be scalable and may demand too much of IT resources. The presenters expressed hope that third-party vendors may move into this arena as it becomes more mainstream. As universities become increasingly dependent on grant funding, datasets will become even more important to faculty research.

Streaming Video: Two sessions addressed streaming video. NCSU negotiates directly for streaming rights and then mounts the content locally. WSU-Vancouver sticks labels on video boxes to indicate rights levels (e.g. PPR included, streaming prohibited), and they also include such notes in catalog records. Furthermore a local copyright LibGuide includes a streaming media tab. We once hoped that streaming video would resolve the problem of continually buying the same film over and over again as VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-ray…. The industry seems to have figured this out, as some newer pricing models allow only a three-year lease.

Perpetual Access and the Big Deal: Concordia University (MontrĂ©al) spearheaded a huge project that closely evaluated the usage of subscribed and bonus titles in the ScienceDirect Freedom collection. After the project was over, they only swapped out five titles. Why so few? The high-use bonus titles were frequently in topics that had a short shelf life, whereas some of the low-use subscribed titles might have more staying power. In the end, they decided that they could “break-up” with the concept of perpetual access. I wondered about opportunity cost, since all this swapping only has an effect if you ever decide to cancel the Freedom Collection. At a school like ours, this would only happen after an Open Access revolution or a budget apocalypse.) Furthermore, three of the pseudo-canceled titles were in Math. If we followed a similar path, would there be opposition here? (During another session, I received external confirmation of what our Math faculty have been telling us for years: Math faculty use journal articles differently than other disciplines in ways that make their usage stats look low.)

Miscellaneous Ideas:

  • Should services like Summon adopt personalization like Google does? Or is that too creepy?
  • Much has been said about the role of journals in branding scholarship as worthwhile and the related career implications for authors. I began wondering about the implications for readers if journals went away and articles stood alone. How do we as readers filter the good stuff?
  • Should we stop binding journal issues that will be in JSTOR five years from now?

2 Responses to “Three Themes & Some Miscellaneous Ideas from Charleston”

  1. I think data sets will play a big role in our future. I’m reading a 2008 article:
    Stoffle, C. J., Leeder, K., & Sykes-Casavant, G. (2008). Bridging the gap: Wherever you are, the library. Journal of Library Administration, 48(1), 3-30.

    The authors argue that economics, not technology, drive the need for change in our universities and libraries. They propose their vision of what needs to happen in the library to have a future. In their section on rethinking collections, they say that it will be necessary to redirect money and people to creating new information sources and managing types of information for which we have had no responsibility in the past. They use data sets as their prime example. This was three years ago. It’s finally being talked about at WFU and we need to be ready!

  2. Great report, great ideas. Thanks, Carol.


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