On Friday, March 15, Bradley, Linda Z., and I traveled to Chapel Hill for the 22nd annual North Carolina Serials Conference. They had a great program lined up. In addition to the breakout sessions, there were keynote addresses by DLF Program Director Rachel Frick and EBSCO’s Oliver Pesch, and a panel discussion with three journal editors.
In the opening keynote address, Rachel Frick (who is an alumna of both Guilford College and UNC-CH) spoke pretty passionately about taking advantage of online collaboration and the ability to create large networks of resources. She mentioned Hathi Trust, the Center for Research Libraries Print Archives, and the Digital Public Library of America, and strongly encouraged libraries to take advantage of cloud library projects and infrastructure. (Disappointed at the low number of raised hands showing who had read Constance Malpas’ OCLC Cloud Library Report, Ms. Frick said she was tempted to dismiss us right then so we could go read it.) Ms. Frick emphasized the importance of focusing efforts on unique, local collections and sharing those. She also urged everyone to contribute constructively to “the conversation,” to get involved, talk to people and seek out new ideas. My favorite quote, citing David Lankes: “The mission of libraries is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” I love the thought that our work facilitates the creation of new knowledge.
Oliver Pesch’s closing keynote address seemed to review the changes that libraries have made over the past 15-20 years (e.g. not just shifting from print to digital collections, but collaborative study spaces, wired study rooms, food outlets, etc.). I’m sad to say that’s about all I got out of it. Maybe others learned more.
I thought the panel discussion with the journal editors was quite interesting. The panel included editors from a society journal published by Nature, a social science journal published by SAGE, and a literature journal published by Duke U.P. I’ve heard presentations from journal publishers’ perspectives, but I think this was the first time I had been to one from the editors’ perspective. The society journal editor described a recent survey in which the editorial team asked the society members whether it was worth it to continue publishing the journal; the overwhelming response was yes, and that it was a valuable component of society membership. She presented other results of the survey. I was surprised that 67% of their authors expect a submitted article to be published online within 60 days. On a more disappointing (though not surprising) note, the social science journal editor remarked with a straight face that “Impact Factor is very important,” and one of the editors made a comment that seemed to equate open access publication with an absence of vetting or editorial oversight. [sigh]
I attended a breakout session that gave a good overview of RDA and serials cataloging. I was afraid it might overwhelm this non-cataloger, but it didn’t. Main takeaways: For now, expect a hybrid environment, and don’t worry about stylistic differences in records. Also, the presenters don’t expect the impact of RDA on serials cataloging to be significant. They also commented on some changes that are needed in OPACs, e.g. OPACs need to display the 264 field (since it is replacing the 260 field for publication data), plus some way to identify the type of resource, since the GMD (think “[Electronic resource]” after the title) is no longer part of the title field.
In another breakout session, Dianne Ford from Elon and Nancy Gibbs from Duke talked about their respective experiences with granting e-resource access to alumni. Both of them mentioned the relatively reasonable cost-Duke provides alumni access to eight different e-resources at a total cost of under $17,000/year (would be less for us). I was curious about how they handle user authentication. Elon uses Shibboleth, which allows different categories of users. At Duke the access and authentication are handled entirely by the Office of Alumni Affairs, so I didn’t get an answer there. Another challenge noted by Nancy Gibbs is that few, if any, vendors offer useable usage statistics; they either don’t offer any usage stats at all, or else the stats are combined with the overall campus use, so there’s no way, or else it’s very difficult, to distinguish how much the alumni are using the resources.