Professional Development

Author Archive

Chris at NASIG 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 3:49 pm

The 29th annual NASIG Conference was held this year from May 1-4, and it was one of the most exciting and thought-provoking conferences I’ve attended in several years. There was a great sense of enthusiasm from members of the group during sessions as well as social events, whether they were first time attendees or more seasoned attendees. This was also my first conference as a committee member. I’ve served for the last few months on the Communications and Marketing Committee (formerly the Electronic Communications Committee), and it has been a privilege to serve the greater organization while increasing my own knowledge. In addition, this has been an opportunity to see the inner workings of one level of the organization, and it has been a pleasure to work with professionals who aren’t afraid to take a newbie like me under their wing.

The vision sessions featured three leading professionals both in and outside the field, who spoke about the Big Idea while keeping their thoughts grounded in an approachable reality. On Friday, Dr. Katherine Skinner (Executive Director, Educopia Institute) spoke about “Critical Moments: Chance, Choice and Change in Scholarly Publishing”. Dr. Skinner took a sociological-cultural approach to the history of scholarly publishing as it has moved from the pioneer settlements of the print environment to the infrastructure of a megalopolis in the 21st century for online connectivity. Dr. Herbert Van de Sompel (Prototyping Team Leader, Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory) gave a talk on Saturday morning on the topic “From a System of Journals to a Web of Objects”. Dr. Van de Sompel’s talk contained both words of warning as well as a call to action about the disappearance of scholarly articles and resources from the digital realm. Alarmingly, this includes “reference rot” and content drift, which are items that cannot be countered by current web crawling technology and sites like the Internet Archive aren’t scoped to capture. Finally, Jenica Rogers (Director of Libraries, State University of New York at Potsdam) presented on “Reaching New Horizons: Gathering the Resources Librarians Need to Make Hard Decisions” on Sunday. Ms. Rogers, notable for pulling her library out of the American Chemical Society’s journal package almost two years ago, shared her thoughts and experiences about the difficult decisions that can be made in the profession and the undergirding that should be done before taking the first few steps. One observation she made about building resources stuck with me: “There’s no such thing as too early, but too late is real”.

I also had three takeaways from the conference that had great possibilities:

  • Licensing, licensing, licensing. This was a particular area of interest to me, as the skillset for licensing becomes even more important for continuing resources. I attended two valuable sessions about the licensing lifecycle and license negotiation, and as one new-to-the-craft it was helpful for me to learn not only about the pitfalls of licenses but also the successes that libraries have registered. All of this has energized me in my day to day work, and I look forward to the next challenge.
  • The ORCID identifier. ORCID is an emerging community: a registry to link researchers and their work with a unique identification number that can be linked to publications, presentations, and other scholarly output. Molly touched on it from her blog from Midwinter 2014, and it’s interesting that several institutions have jumped on board with the concept, assigning IDs to faculty, grad students and other researchers as a method to receive credit for their work, especially in circumstances when a variant of an author’s name is used on a particular work.
  • Memento for Chrome. During his talk, Dr. Van de Sompel mentioned a new extension for Google Chrome called Memento that his team at Los Alamos had been working on along with developers from other institutions. When installed, Memento allows one to go back into the history of a webpage via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine with a right click. You can learn more about Memento and download it here.

Finally, this year’s conference hotel, the Hilton Fort Worth, occupies an important place in American history. In November 1963, this hotel was known as the Hotel Texas, and President John F. Kennedy stayed there for two days before he took his fateful flight to Dallas. A small memorial, the JFK Tribute, is adjacent to the hotel with an eight foot statue of President Kennedy at its center.

Chris at the 2014 NC Serials Conference

Monday, April 7, 2014 5:13 pm

On March 14, I attended the twenty-third annual North Carolina Serials Conference. As in previous years, it was an excellent conference that brought together representatives from both libraries and library vendors to talk about current ideas and emerging technologies. In recent years, however, the broadening of the definition of what is a serial has grown dramatically, and in coming years the conference may have to be renamed to address these new types of resources. In any case, that is a topic for another time and place.

This was also one of the more heavily-attended gatherings for the Serials Conference, and it touched on a variety of topics in areas such as assessment, streaming video, ebooks, and altmetrics (where one speaker pointed out the notion of “one metric to rule them all” is archaic and ineffective in the contemporary environment). There were three points that I found particularly interesting from this conference, and all had a great deal of promise for future events.

It’s always important for libraries to tell their stories. Libraries have no difficulty explaining their individual mission and vision to the communities they serve, but libraries can find it difficult to explain to those outside of the library world how they accomplish those objectives. Assessment tools are some of the best measures for these goals, but the means to explain to those not versed in library jargon can be challenging. The University of Virginia Library, for instance, has devoted a section of its website to collect information from past and present surveys, but they used some of that information to communicate with student patrons in their “I Wish” campaign. Turning those data elements into actual engagement was one way that libraries can continuously reinvigorate and renew themselves and their missions.

As streaming media matures for libraries, the users are gaining more control. When new formats emerge in libraries, it takes time for libraries to “hammer out” the rough places they may have before the users can begin using them. Rarely are these resolved quickly; it may take either months or years before a product become bug-free, but it can vary widely. Streaming media is the latest technology introduced to libraries, and factors such as licensing, pricing, copyright and sharing have delayed their advent in many libraries. Collaboration between libraries and vendors has managed to address most of those larger issues, and now the ability to use streaming music and video is in the hands of users. Granted, there are still concerns around copyright, public performance rights and linking, but the technology is now in the hands of the end user who must determine how to make it work for their own needs.

Gems from a panel discussion regarding open access. There are moments during a panel discussion when profound truths can be brought to light, and this one was no exception. With three panelists representing the viewpoints of publishers, libraries and faculty, there were points made that were worth considering. In brief:

  • From publishers: like traditional journals, what constitutes results for data in open access titles is field-dependent, leading to false equivalencies.
  • From libraries: creating an open access library with all areas represented in its development and stewardship.
  • From faculty: open access is not the end of the academic world but a nascent one that requires education and attention if it is to be used to its highest potential.

The conference ended on a poignant note because it was announced during the closing remarks that it would be the last conference for Nancy Gibbs following her retirement from Duke University Libraries. Nancy has been one of the major players in the serials community for several decades, and the depth and breadth of her knowledge cannot be replicated so easily. Even though she said that she would still be around for the near future, it was impossible not to notice that a changing of the guard was taking place. Best wishes to Nancy on the next phase of her life, and may the conference continue to grow and prosper in the years ahead.

Chris at NCLA 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013 4:48 pm

This year’s NCLA conference was the first one for several years that I’ve attended in its entirety, and I was glad that I did. It was also good to have the conference back in Winston-Salem after it had been in Greenville and Hickory last, so in many ways it was like a homecoming and the chance to reconnect with colleagues and friends from across the state. Plus, I could say that I really did know the president! There were several memorable moments from the 2013 conference for me, and they made it a unique experience.

Sessions. I attended several sessions that are outside of my normal duties, and I was glad because they increased my understanding of areas of library work that I normally don’t see. I leaned about the history of the “Congressional Record of the United States”, the podcast “Let’s Talk Learning Spaces”, and a presentation for research literacy where the library takes a role in research and grant proposals at a university. I also enjoyed a presentation by Derrik and a panel about electronic resource management systems, learning more about some of the recent systems on the market.

Free beer vs. free kittens. In a session about receiving gifts and donations, the presenters told the audience about their experiences of dealing with items received as materials given to the library through various means. Their stories reflected tales in resource services over the years about what to do with these items, and I know that it has been raised in other libraries at various times. The presenters also referred to an article written by Rick Anderson called “The Myth of the Free Gift“, about how some donations can be easily absorbed with little effort (a “free beer”) while others bring unexpected concerns about care and feeding (a “free kitten”). If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Poster session. Although I’ve presented at conferences before, I had never done a poster session. As an attendee at NCLA’s Leadership Institute last fall, I was informed that participants would be expected to present at this year’s NCLA conference in some fashion and I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve been researching library services for first-generation students at Wake Forest as part of my research project for the Institute over the past year, and I turned some of my findings into a poster session that I presented on Thursday afternoon.

The session was supposed to last for half an hour, but I took questions for almost 45 minutes. The experience was a positive one, and now I don’t feel so hesitant about the next opportunity!

In all, this biennium’s conference was a good experience. I’ve started thinking about participating at the next conference in 2015; but in the meantime I’m going to look more into podcasting. A “Power of ‘Z’” show, perhaps?

 

Chris at NASIG 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013 8:03 pm

Several weeks ago, I attended the NASIG annual conference in Buffalo, New York. This year, I took a special interest in sessions that dealt with licensing, such as using templates and “model” licenses as well as how to effectively negotiate licenses without an extensive legal background. The care and feeding of electronic resources was also a highlight, giving me a chance to brush up on concepts such as TERMS (Techniques for Electronic Resource Management) which I learned about while attending the virtual ER&L Conference earlier in the spring.

I did find three additional takeaways from this year’s conference, all of which I found interesting in their own way. If you have any questions about them, please let me know.

Vision sessions. NASIG has always had thought-provoking vision sessions, but this year there were two sessions centered on a similar idea but operating as counterpoints. The first session was facilitated by Bryan Alexander who spoke on “Libraries and Mobile Technologies in the Age of the Visible College”. Mr. Alexander explained how mobile technology has changed the world of higher education in recent years, starting with smartphones and extending into touchscreen interfaces, clickers, smart pens, and even marker-based augmented reality (such as QR codes). Mr. Alexander also highlighted four possible futures for technology on college campuses- phantom learning, open world, silo world, and alternate residential. Although each concept has merit there is an uncertainty about which one would be the actual direction to be followed.

Conversely, the title of the other session was “Googlization and the Challenge of Big Data, or Knowledge and Integrity in the Era of Big Data”, presented by Siva Vaidhyanathan. With the knowledge of Edward Snowden and his connection to the NSA entering the national dialogue, as well as the revelations of Google, Verizon and other corporations turning consumer data over to government agencies, Mr. Vaidhyanathan discussed the downside to big data. He proposed that the silos around the management of data, particularly those since the abuses of the 1970s, have eroded steadily over the decades since. In Mr. Vaidhyanathan’s words, we live in a cryptopticon, a stage beyond Bentham’s Panopticon where we’re being monitored for a variety of commercial purposes, such as grocery store discount cards that are linked to our buying habits. Digital literacy instruction, he suggested, was the next frontier for information literacy itself. For further explanation, he suggested the films Minority Report, The Lives of Others, and a double feature of The Conversation and Enemy of the State.

E-Resources Acquisition Checklist. This was one of the most productive sessions of its kind I’ve attended. Based on the TERMS guidelines, it focused on the e-resource lifecycle that I could remember as largely nebulous only a few years ago. Now, the basic steps have been captured so that anyone who works with electronic resources can see the entire landscape.

These procedures also incorporate the process of re-evaluating an e-resource, a definite departure from the standards of print materials. By doing so, it incorporates a measure of flexibility for resources that may have a shorter span of value to an institution and a set of guidelines for either their removal or replacement. With the growing number of similar databases on the market, this process can have added value in the years to come.

Showcase. This was a new feature, which went far beyond the poster sessions of previous conferences. In addition to posters which highlighted what a particular library was doing well in terms of technical services, this was a chance for libraries to feature what they were doing well as an organization. This was a “show and tell”, and the Showcase featured a broad mixture of ideas. There were two that caught my eye:

  • A demonstration of 3-D printing, which students are using to build constructs for classwork and special projects.
  • A description of how one library used relaxation techniques for stressed-out students during exams, including pet therapy. The idea of puppies in the library was a popular one!

Another memorable event of note from Buffalo was this year’s all-conference reception. It was held at the Pierce Arrow Museum, which featured the cars from the popular luxury car manufacturers of the early twentieth century. This was a unique site for the reception because of the conversation pieces (cars) that held everyone’s interest. I had my first taste of sponge candy (pure heaven) and saw the construction of a gas station that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright but was never built. This glimpse of architectural history was remarkable. If you’d like to see all of my photos from Buffalo, follow this link.

Electronic Resources & Libraries conference, 2013- Chris’s take

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 4:54 pm

I had heard many good things about the ER&L Conference for several years, but I wasn’t sure if I should attend. Not long ago, I wasn’t sure what I would find rewarding, if anything, that would tie in with my current position. However, as the number of electronic resources- databases, journals and ebooks- continue to grow and behave more like serials in their design, the relevancy of this conference became clear. Also, I would like to thank Derrik Hiatt for taking the lead on registering for the online conference, which featured several sessions streamed live over the internet so that anyone could watch from their home institution. This allowed me to get a taste of the conference and see if it were a palatable one; the answer was yes.

Several unique qualities emerged from the online aspect of the conference, and it was clear that it was more than just a webinar. First of all, each presenter could be seen as well as heard. After participating in many webinars and online courses, seeing a human being presenting the material made a big difference in terms of accessibility instead of a disembodied voice. Second, presentation slides were seen in the same window as the presenters, giving a synchronous delivery to the “home audience”. The connections were stable and without significant lags, giving more polished look to the proceedings. But most of all, there was a “Twitter Wall” that presented real-time observations using the #erl13 hashtag. I’ve live-tweeted several conferences in the past, so this was a way to be interactive even though I wasn’t in the same room as those in Austin.

The sessions were decided on upon by the viewing group, and they not only represented the nature of an electronic resource but also the methods required to make them accessible to patrons. I attended three that were of particular interest to my area:

  • What Would Google Do? This session addressed the trend of discovery layers moving closer to the elusive model of Google: a single search box. Takeaways from that session included a new interface for Summon (due Summer 2013) that will incorporate topical searches, and the information that 45% of searches use three words or less according to a Summon analysis.
  • E-Resources, E-Reality. Tools used to collect information regarding electronic resources were discussed in this session. It was geared toward institutions that did not have an electronic resource management system, or ERMS, in place as a viable alternative, but it was useful to see how other schools were using existing tools to address their needs. Two interesting details emerged: the first was the use of Trello, a cloud-based service for tracking projects, as a means to track trials and licenses; while the second was the use of Yahoo Pipes as the infrastructure to push content into RSS feeds.
  • Developing TERMS. TERMS is short for Techniques for Electronic Resource Management, and they are a set of guidelines to manage, evaluate, and maintain an electronic resource throughout its life cycle. The cycle is separated into six stages with a natural progression between each one. I found this session extremely helpful for tips that should be considered at each stage, especially cancellation.
  • Moving towards Patron-Driven Journal Packages – A Case Study. This concept goes beyond the DDA and “pay per view” models into the area of journal subscriptions that were purchased at the point of need for a user. This case study addressed one library’s plan to provide service that exceeded the needs of patrons while being sensitive to the reality of a declining budgets. It hasn’t been widely adopted yet, but there was a possibility for expansion if more publishers and vendors offered this service.

In all, I found the 2013 ER&L Conference extremely worthwhile. Thanks to the organizers, a large slate of programming was available for those who were unable to attend in person, yet it was possible to have measure of involvement in the proceedings. I hope that the conference will be available in a similar format next year- I was glad to “attend” this year!

2012 NCLA Leadership Institute According to Chris

Monday, December 17, 2012 5:09 pm

Earlier this fall, I was invited to attend the 2012 Leadership Institute that was sponsored by the North Carolina Library Association (NCLA). It was held from October 25-28 at the Caraway Conference Center outside of Asheboro, and it brought together thirty representatives of public, academic, school and special libraries from across the state. Our own Wanda Brown was present as the President of NCLA, and a team of both senior librarians and library administrators served as mentors and facilitators to the group.

The Institute brought in several instructors who used a variety of styles to convey specific leadership qualities. Cheryl Gould, a professional learning facilitator (her own description) from California employed an active learning approach with various hands-on exercises. Eric Gladney of the Bryan School of Business at UNCG employed a more traditional classroom approach with a lecture and PowerPoint. Anthony Chow of the Department of Library and Information Studies a UNCG discussed the mission of North Carolina Library Advocacy, even sharing a video that crystalized the role of a library in the lives of ordinary people. Finally, State Librarian Cal Shepherd shared tips on how to repay the investment of the Institute as we move forward in our careers, such as engagement, mentoring, and just enjoying what we’re doing.

We were also given the assignment of group projects to develop over the next year within our institutions, working with an advisor from the leadership team to serve as an advisor. Each participant is expected to present their project at the 2013 NCLA Conference in Winston-Salem. My project will cover how ZSR could respond to the needs of first generation students at Wake Forest, working with the Office of Magnolia Scholars to acquire data and feedback from their students.

A project team was determined by the choice of each participant from seven different books, with each one conveying a different approach to leadership:

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick M. Lencioni. Jossey-Bass (2002).
  • Leaders, Strategies for Taking Charge, by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. Harper Collins (2003).
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. Back Bay Books (2007).
  • Leaders at all Levels, by Ram Charan. Jossey-Bass (2008).
  • The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, by Stephen M.R. Covey. Free Press (2008).
  • The Power of TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic), by David Emerald. WA: Polaris Publishing (2009).
  • The Truth About Leadership: The No Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. Jossey-Bass (2010).

Although we had a lot of exercises in teambuilding and technique, we still had the chance to interact outside of the learning environment. The area surrounding Caraway Conference Center is incredibly beautiful, and at that time the colors of autumn were on full display. We had a conference campfire one evening- complete with s’mores, no less- which was a chance to bond after dinner. Games, karaoke, and a night of dancing were also part of the bonds that were developed, with Wanda demonstrating how to do the “Wobble” being a highlight! In all, it was a rewarding experience that I was both honored and fortunate to attend.

2012 NASIG Conference According to Chris

Friday, June 29, 2012 5:28 pm

“Creating Harmony from Dis-Chord was” the theme of the 2012 NASIG Conference, and with topics ranging from managing e-books, licensing skills and incorporating mobile devices, there were a few disparate notes to be brought together. Steve, Derrik and I made the trip to Nashville with an eight hour drive (one way) in the library van, and discord was not an element of the trip. In that spirit, there were two broad themes of the conference that I took away with me: sharing the unity of a common vision, and finding solutions to emerging problems.

NASIG has invited leading professionals from both inside and outside of the library world to give their insights about the future of libraries, and this year’s conference was no exception. Friday’s speaker was Dr. Lynn Silipigni Connaway of OCLC, and she discussed her research about student research and library workflow. The previous paradigm of academic libraries was that patrons had to work around library-centric workflows, but now it’s the reverse where users have greater influence by having libraries respond to their needs. Dr. Connaway proposed that students should have greater leeway in the direction of library services; personally, however, I wasn’t certain if this would be a correct approach. I would submit that libraries should meet their patrons halfway; while it is ideal to adapt to the changing needs of users, libraries still have something to offer in terms of what their users would need in terms of instruction and self-enrichment. Information literacy is becoming the reality of the 21st century, and a partnership between libraries and their patrons would be beneficial for both groups.

The vision session on Saturday was presented by Kevin Smith of Duke University, and he spoke about the relationship between copyright and new technologies in libraries. He made the point that although lawsuits against libraries are a new phenomenon, the litigation that has been produced has advanced and updated elements of copyright that hadn’t been revised since photocopiers were the dominant technology. Situations regarding fair use now include whether or not new iterations can transform an original work and not compete with it, and whether the amount used within the new work is actually appropriate. Considering recent cases against Georgia State University (involving electronic resources), UCLA (involving streaming media) and the Hathi Trust (digital scans and distribution of “orphan” works via libraries), risk has become part of the procedure as libraries move toward adopting more robust technologies. At the same time, however, the reward of bringing the services represented by these technologies to potential patrons would have an uncalculated value.

On Sunday, the vision session was presented by Rick Anderson, past president of NASIG, who currently works at the University of Utah. Rick has always had interesting things to say about libraries and library procedures, but in his topic “Is the Journal Dead?” pointed to a much larger question in terms of access and the changing nature of research. Rick contended that a new crossroads has been reached for library development, where the ground is still fertile for changes that weren’t possible five years ago and may not be possible two years from now. This is the period where networked environments have changed the model of distribution for resources; a parallel would be the distribution model that emerged not when the music moved from vinyl albums to CDs, but when CDs could be imported into iTunes. Freeing articles from journals can redefine the distribution of that content to the point where journal becomes an afterthought. When asked whether this will mean librarians will be out of a job, he stated that an attachment to professional identity can get in the way of our usefulness. It was definitely food for thought.

The other element of the conference was the problem-solving measures that libraries had taken to address their needs. The most interesting of these sessions was about the CORAL electronic resource management system, featuring three speakers including our own Derrik Hiatt. Derrik and his two co-presenters, each from a different kind of academic library, outlined how they used CORAL to address a specific gap in managing their own electronic resources. As an open-source interface, each library could customize the software around their respective workflows, such as information regarding licenses, contacts, and troubleshooting. Derrik related his own experience extremely well and even had a few people express interest in trying the product themselves-good job!

I’ll end my report with three bits of trivia I learned during the conference.

  • The city of Nashville was built around a natural salt lick that attracted herds of animals to the area. The salt lick has since disappeared.
  • When sued for their parody of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” 2 Live Crew won the case on the grounds of fair use.
  • The Country Music Hall of Fame includes two cars: Elvis Presley’s solid gold Cadillac, and Webb Pierce’s silver dollar convertible.

Chris at the 2012 NCICU Library Purchasing Committee meeting

Monday, June 4, 2012 4:45 pm

The annual meeting of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) Library Purchasing Committee took place on May 17. At these meetings, representatives from several library vendors and publishers present their latest products and inform their customers of the latest news regarding their services. The location of the meeting varies from one year to the next, depending upon the home campus of the current chair of the group; this year, the meeting took place at the Dover Memorial Library on the campus of Gardner-Webb University.

I was glad to attend the Purchasing Committee meeting for the first time; this year, the topic was serials. Although it was structured as a working meeting, it was an opportunity to hear directly from the agencies we communicate with on a regular basis as well as the ones we see sparingly. At the meeting, the group saw presentations from the American Chemical Society, Duke University Press, EBSCO, Elsevier, Gale-Cengage, JSTOR, NC LIVE, Oxford University Press, ProQuest, Sage, and Springer. Although that was a lot of vendors to see in a single daylong session, the agenda compacted each into twenty minute slots that allowed each one to make their presentations within their respective time frame. I came away from this session with a greater awareness of several services that could be worth further investigation and study. Because of the relaxed setting, it was easy to talk with vendors without the hustle and bustle of a conference in the background.

Next year, the Purchasing Group meeting will move to Guilford College and explore a new topic for consideration. Although the topic was not chosen at Gardner-Webb, ideas included streaming media, online reference sources, audiobooks and eBooks. In 2014, however, the meeting will come to Wake Forest because the chair-elect for that meeting will be Lauren Corbett. Congratulations Lauren!

Chris at the 2012 North Carolina Serials Conference

Friday, April 20, 2012 1:38 pm

The 2012 North Carolina Serials Conference took place on March 16, 2012 at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The theme for this year’s conference was “Déjà Vu: All Over Again: Familiar Problems, New Solutions”, and in the serials corner of Library Land this is often the case. As more libraries have made the transition from print to electronic, the process to find new and stable workflows has been an ongoing concern. As a testament to their resilience, however, libraries have integrated new lines of thought to manage continuing resources. Three of these ideas stood out to me during the day’s events.

Flexibility is still important. One of the most interesting sessions I attended examined the parallels between journal publishers and the music industry. When Napster became a dominant technology in the late 1990s, users were able to (albeit illegally) swap songs through online file sharing. The RIAA moved to shut down the technology, but the concept was successfully incorporated in to Apple’s iTunes platform several years later and the record industry was changed forever. Journal publishers have reached a similar crossroads, as users have begun to focus on journal articles to support their research rather than reading an entire journal. The speaker made the case that publishers should recognize this change and adapt to the needs of their users, which the music industry was unable to do effectively. The question of access to the content over the container continues.

The Big Deal is no longer the only solution. For almost twenty years, libraries have purchased electronic journal packages that included former print subscriptions as well as journals that they could not have afforded previously. The Big Deal, as it came to be known, was an opportunity for many libraries to greatly increase the numbers of journals for their users to access. However, as journal costs have escalated and library budgets have remained stagnant, libraries have reexamined these packages and decided that they are no longer feasible and withdrawn from them. Some have even returned to the a la carte approach, where journal subscriptions are purchased on a title-by-title basis rather than as a bundle. Regardless of the approach, it has become clear that a re-evaluation is in order. Numerous options such as pay-per-view and demand driven acquisition may take hold in the world of journal publishing, changing both publishing and collecting as a whole.

Ebooks, ebooks, ebooks. The final vision session was from Kevin Guthrie, President of Ithaka (providers of library services like JSTOR), and he spoke about “Will Books Be Different?” Books, he argued, would take a similar path as print journals into the electronic environment but with a few key differences. Ebook readers, such as the Kindle and Nook, will expand into a manageable form of delivery for a variety of users and their needs. Google and Amazon will expand into the market of being long term providers of ebooks, but they will be faced with the needs of preservation and access that have become part of the manageability of electronic journals. He also made three additional points:

  • With ebooks as a whole, libraries are still ahead of a majority of their users: where some users still have a cautious viewpoint of them, libraries have gone forward with offering access.
  • Publishers are still adapting their services: in terms of maintenance and a solid business model, publishers have seen ebooks as a work in progress.
  • Just like electronic journals, universal adoption cannot be expected: some areas of study will be slower to adopt ebooks on a large scale, but as service and technology improve the tipping pint may be reached.

In all, this year’s Serials Conference was a stimulating for ideas and concepts. As librarians attempt to provide the best service for their patrons, it’s always interesting how the new can be viewed by- and not necessarily against- what has gone before.

 

“E-Resources Licensing” webinar according to Chris

Friday, December 23, 2011 12:10 pm

Derrik and I attended a Lyrasis webinar called “E-Resources Licensing- Overview and How-to for the Non-Lawyer” on Thursday, December 15. The goal of the webinar was to introduce the license agreements that frequently accompany electronic resources before purchase and explain what the responsibilities are for both the licensee and the licensor. Lyrasis instructor Russell Palmer had three objectives for the class stated in the slides:

  • To understand general license terms.
  • To understand permissions statements.
  • To suggest revision/remedies to unfavorable license language.

Mr. Palmer opened the webinar by asking the group how often we had read the “Terms of Service” agreement that often accompanies the software we use in our daily lives, such as iTunes. Most of the class, including myself, indicated that we usually click through without reading the terms in full. Mr. Palmer stressed that we should read the terms every time: not only for familiarity, but also for understanding what we could expect as an end user. I know that I’ll be reading these agreements more frequently in the future!

We also learned that any license agreement signed by an institution can have the effect of restricting rights that are guaranteed by U.S. copyright law, superseding both Sections 107 and 108 of Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code (otherwise known as the “Fair Use” and “Reproduction” clauses). Mr. Palmer strongly suggested that users review these portions of a license agreement carefully, since they can easily be overlooked during negotiations.

A common license agreement has six parts:

  1. Terms and definitions: usually listed first, this section details the language used in the document.
  2. Authorized and non-authorized uses: what the end user can do with the information within a database, particularly with an emphasis on distribution and approved formats.
  3. Duties: the obligations for the licensee and licensor, including privacy and remote access.
  4. Jurisdiction: the state or country where the terms of the license are binding.
  5. Legal remedies: how matters such as indemnity (is the library responsible for any abuse by a user?) and omission (what does it mean for the licensee if something is not covered in the agreement?) are resolved.
  6. Modification/cancellation: the sections that are decided in negotiations that would tailor a license to the particular needs of a specific institution that are agreed upon by both parties.

While Mr. Palmer recommended that legal counsel should always review a license before its adoption, there has been an initiative by NISO to simplify the terms of a license agreement for specific purchases. Known as SERU (Shared Electronic Resource Understanding), it is a set of guidelines between a licensor and a licensee that would be agreed upon without excessive negotiation before a specific resource can be activated. Derrik explained further that SERU is designed to ideally streamline, not replace, a license agreement for individual titles. While it would not be ideal for a journal package like ScienceDirect, it would be perfect for acquiring access to a journal title purchased individually.

I found this workshop to be extremely informative as a novice to the process. I learned a lot more about the pitfalls for license agreements and why it is so important to secure their terms in advance. I was also glad that Derrik was in the room, because his insights were useful as I was increasing my own understanding. So if iTunes pushes out another update before the end of the year, I’ll know what to look for in the” Terms of Service”!


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2007 ACRL Baltimore
2007 ALA Annual
2007 ALA Gaming Symposium
2007 ALA Midwinter
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