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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”!

Chris at NCLA

Monday, October 17, 2011 2:38 pm

Last Thursday, I attended NCLA as a presenter for the first time. Dr. Anthony Chow, who was one of my professors when I was in library school, asked me if I could present two sessions with him that day. I agreed, suited up (literally) and made the journey to Hickory early that morning.

Our first presentation was called “To Fine or Not to Fine? This is the Question” and took place at 9 a.m. While I was I school, I served as a research assistant with Dr. Chow on this project, which investigated the use of positive reinforcement methods (rewards) as an alternative to negative reinforcement methods (fines) in order to encourage library patrons to return their materials in a timely manner. We had used one academic library in our study, and the results supported our initial hypotheses in somewhat surprising ways. This presentation was attended by thirty people who represented a mixture of libraries; each person was interested in learning more about how to implement a rewards program at their respective location. Further, there were several people who wanted to find out of the study would continue and if their library could participate. Dr. Chow was encouraged by this possibility, as we had hoped to use different libraries in our study initially but were forced to scale back because of a lack of interest. This project has the potential to grow, so there may be a revised presentation at a future conference.

“What Does a Typical Library Website Look Like?” was not only our second presentation for the day but it was also one of the last set of presentations for the day itself. Dr. Chow and his research assistants analyzed over 1,400 websites for this study, using a combination of checklists and surveys to determine a standard design layout, common features and content, responsibilities for design and maintenance, and the extent that these websites follow recommended guidelines for overall design. A set of nine usability testing criteria was applied, with the resulting data being notable for what was found (contact information for the library) as well as what was not (a space for feedback from patrons). My role was to facilitate this session; Dr. Chow had returned to Greensboro for personal business and planned to use Skype to present his PowerPoint slides, while I was to drive the presentation in person from Hickory. This was the first time that I had participated in a “long distance” presentation, and Murphy ‘s Law came to bear when Skype failed to connect at the start of the session, leaving me to open the session without Dr. Chow. Fortunately, Dr. Chow was able to connect after the fifth slide and we were able to co-present until he had to leave for personal business leaving me to close the session. Even though I didn’t have an intricate understanding of the material in this presentation, I was able to use some of my experience on the ZSR Web Committee to answer questions and stimulate discussion at the end of the presentation.

NCLA has been a different experience every time for me every time I have been involved, and this year was no exception. Now that I have been a presenter at the conference, I would like to have the opportunity to do it again in the future. Two presentations in one day was one way to increase my personal understanding!

Chris at NASIG 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011 3:18 pm

This year, the 26th Annual NASIG Conference was held in St Louis, Missouri. Sessions were devoted to several trends that have emerged for serials and other continuing resources, such as e-books, RDA, and the “Big Deal” for journal packages. Also, there were many sessions that highlighted a specific workflow that a library was doing well in terms of serials management. So, without further ado…

Vision Session 1: Science Re-Imagined. Adam Bly of Seed Media Group spoke in favor of a new set of policies that needed to be created to address the growth of new areas of research. Because scientific advancements have been made across the world, a culture shift has begun to look beyond the West for innovation and discovery. He postulated that today’s model of “open access” would become the norm in society within a few years: it would happen as the public become more scientifically literate. This would help science become more widely understood both as a tool and a lens for understanding.

Vision Session 2: Books in Chains. This presentation was given by Paul Duguid of the UC Berkeley School of Information about the supply chain between the authors of various works and their respective readers. Even in today’s world of Apple’s iTunes and the smartphone apps, this is a paradigm that has continued to endure since the early days of the printed word. Along with the supply chain, knowledge certification has remained dominant as people must understand how specific items such as format changes and compatibility would make a difference as they interact with media. The actual replacement of tools has been a rare circumstance; rather, they evolve into new products (example: blogs leading to Twitter, yet both currently exist). To sum up, the chain endures but the links that create it will inevitably change.

Strategy Session: Continuing Resources and the RDA Test. Since Steve covered this topic in his report, I won’t rehash what he has already said. It’s worth noting that RDA has not yet been a settled format for the three primary libraries in the United States and that there will still be a measure of time before it is fully adopted on a wide scale.

Strategy Session: Leaving the Big Deal. Presenters Jonathan Nabe (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) and David Fowler (University of Oregon) described how their respective institutions decided to pull out of the “Big Deal” for journal packages. Because of the economic downturn, both libraries faced shortfalls in their budgets due to a lack of state funding, and they were forced to make the decision of leaving specific packages. To compensate for the loss of several titles, they introduced several options such as pay-per-view for articles along with a heavy push of ILL. The result was little resistance from either students or faculty, as the results were mostly invisible to their users. One school, however, did have trouble with the initial refusal by one publisher to adhere to their LOCKSS contract.

Strategy Session: Polishing the Crystal Ball – Using Historical Data to Project Serials Trends and Pricing. The authors of the annual serials pricing article in Library Journal- Steve Bosch (University of Arizona); Kittie Henderson and Heather Klusendorf (both of EBSCO Information Services)- described the resources they used to write it. By comparing the Library Journal Periodical Price Survey and the U.S. Periodical Price Index, the authors were able to draw on a standing price list, which has been composed of print journals with pricing data from EBSCO. Both resources used different approaches to deliver their data, but they came to similar conclusions: they showed that journals inflated between six percent and nine percent each year. The authors emphasized that libraries would have to determine which resource would be needed in conjunction with their own budget planning.

Tactics Session: Managing E-book Acquisition: The Coordination of “P” and “E” Publication Dates. Gabrielle Wiersma of the University of Colorado at Boulder gave a presentation on her experiences with establishing e-book services at her library. She established an approval plan for e-books with their primary vendor Coutts (represented by Sarah Forzetting) with the goal of addressing the problem with delays in e-book publishing patterns. On the front of public service, additional notes were used in their catalog to inform patrons of the availability of an e-book. In technical services, Ms. Wiersma added a condition to their e-book approval plan to ship a print version of a specific book if its electronic counterpart were not available after a specific number of days. The approval profile was also adjusted at the request of each academic department for the number of e-books they wanted to receive. Additionally, invoices that were paid in acquisitions were passed to catalogers to assist with MARC overlays. Interestingly, Boulder uses a demand-driven acquisition model that is similar to what is used at ZSR.

Tactics Session: On Beyond E-Journals – Integrating E-books, Streaming Video, and Digital Collections at the HELIN Library Consortium. Martha Rice Sanders of the HELIN Consortium and Bob McQuillan of Innovative Interfaces, Inc. reported on the trend among contemporary collection development librarians to determine whether to acquire materials as single purchases or to acquire in groups/bundles. The outgrowth of this has been to determine how users will find these resources by way of the library’s discovery layers. The HELIN Consortium introduced features such as allowing users to tag records in their respective catalogs. Additionally, records for streaming media resources as well as traditional media resources are listed in their catalog, identified using additional MARC tags in their bibliographic records. Records also had links to licensing information, stored externally. Finally, the catalog was modified to include reviews for books and audio-visual materials. HELIN was clearly finding the limits of their catalog to deliver more tools to their patrons.

Tactics Session: One Academic Library – One Year of Web Scale Discovery. Tonia Graves of Old Dominion University described the experiences of her library following an article by Marshall Breeding about library discovery tools. In the article, Mr. Breeding encouraged libraries to evaluate all of their discovery tools and focus their efforts on improving those services that would have the greatest appeal to users. Ms. Graves explained that after a review by several committees, the decision was made to leave their ILS in place (they are running Innovative’s Millennium), but efforts were made on a redesign of the library website, the development of a mobile app for the library, and incorporating WorldCat Local into their array of discovery tools. All of these efforts were favorably received by library users.

Tactics Session: Preparing for New Degree Plans – Finding the Essential Titles in an Interdisciplinary World. Following a directive by their incoming president, the University of Texas at Dallas dramatically expanded its focus on an interdisciplinary curriculum for its students. Ellen Safley explained the process that was taken at the library: the library director gives permission to begin collecting in these new areas of research, multiple resources (similar programs at other institutions, indexes, etc.) are searched for journals information, and incoming faculty are consulted about the journals that should also be included. Journals are re-evaluated between the first three and five years of the introduction of a new program in order to determine their continued relevance and their impact on the overall budget. Other factors that tied into the evaluation included database coverage, ILL usage, the demand for articles versus complete journals, and the question of purchasing back issues /backfiles.

Tactics Session: Using Drupal to Track Licenses and Organize Database Information. Drupal is an open source content management system and Amanda Yesilbas of the Florida Center for Library Automation demonstrated how she had adapted it into a de facto ERM. It became a depository for licenses, contact information for vendors, login-password information, and so forth. They were also able to use Drupal as a shared resource with other members of their consortium by modifying user permissions for each potential user. Although it was not a perfect replacement for an actual ERM, it was able to perform as one for this institution.

One other sidebar about technology: last year, I saw one iPad at the conference. This year, they were all over the place! They easily outnumbered laptops by 3-1.

Once again, the NASIG conference left me with several things to consider about serials management. This was my second visit to St. Louis (the first was in December 1990) so I made sure to capture the occasion. I have a gallery of photos from this trip on Flickr, and here’s a photo that says it all!

Phone Pics #142

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 3

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:42 pm

Due to the departure time of my flight back to North Carolina, I was unable to attend the final vision session. However, I did get to one last tactics session before it was time to leave.

Tactics- One Identifier: Find Your Oasis with NISO’s I2 (Institutional Identifier) Standard

For years, libraries vendors, publishers, and other agencies have had a series of numbers to identify a single institution in their records. However, these numbers do not transfer from one agency to another, nor do they have similar value from an international standpoint. A NISO working group has been developing a strategy of creating an institutional identifier, or I2 (for I-squared) since early 2008 to fulfill this goal based on existing standards as well as one metadata structure. By partnering with libraries, publishers and vendors from around the world, NISO has slowly developed a schema and an implementation process.

The results of the study and subsequent reports have been posted to the website for the working group, with institutional feedback requested by August 2, 2010. Presentations about the I2 standard have begun at national conferences and will continue through the end of the year.

* * *

The last photo was taken on the way back to the airport. If you would like to see the rest of my pictures, please visit the set on Flickr!

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 2

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:41 pm

These are observations from the second day of the conference.

Vision Session #2: Kent Anderson of JBJS, Inc. on Publishing 2.0: How the Internet Changes Publications in Society

Mr. Anderson is the CEO/Publisher of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery who also maintains “The Scholarly Kitchen” blog. His talk centered on the concept of users increasingly seeking knowledge by using non-linear methods. As the Web shifts to 2.0 and beyond, the culture surrounding it has also shifted towards a platform to bring together in a single medium. This has led to a heterarchy, rather than a hierarchy, that is only made possible by the ever-increasing bandwidth that makes the transfer of knowledge faster over time.

The role of librarians returns to the discussion, and Mr. Anderson suggested the term apomediation. This is another way of saying librarians serve as guides to the abundant economy; in this case the exchange of information and ideas. As the real-time aspects of the Web continue to increase, notably through sites such as Facebook and Twitter, librarians can help users separate the useful from the useless in order to get the results they were seeking. Serialists, like other members of the library field, attempt to solve puzzles in their work; this is nothing new, but these should be continuous reminders for those who would attempt to put libraries in a framework of growing irrelevance.

Strategy Session- When Jobs Disappear: The Staffing Implications of the Elimination of Print Serials Management Tasks

The title of this presentation touches on another real concern for serials personnel as the number of print serials continues to dwindle in many libraries. The presenter, Sarah Glasser of Hofstra University, was inspired by an informal program at the 2009 NASIG conference and developed a survey to determine how other libraries were attempting to address this situation. What she discovered was that although the number of tasks such as check-in and claiming have decreased, most of the responses indicated that libraries have not eliminated staff positions altogether. Rather, those existing positions were reclassified and rewritten to include additional duties, whether shifted into the maintenance of electronic subscriptions or to address gaps that had resulted in other areas of workflow.

One of the most interesting portions of the session occurred during the discussion. One attendee asked whether the skills needed for paraprofessional positions could be adequately rewritten as the needs of positions in libraries continue to change. There was no definite answer to the question, but several members of the group proposed that libraries had to keep their position descriptions as current and flexible as possible to adjust for the changes. As the technologies change, the positions of those who manage them, librarians and support staff alike, must also remain current.

Strategy Session- What to Withdraw? Grappling with Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization

ITHAKA, responsible for services such as JSTOR and Portico, has a third branch of service known as ITHAKA S+R that focuses on strategies and research initiatives that, according to their website, serves to report on the influence of digital media on academic libraries. “What to Withdraw” is one of its latest projects to assist libraries in reducing the size of their print collections as digital counterparts replace them. By analyzing a set of criteria based on preservation factors and a scientific framework, ITHAKA S+R has developed a tool that can be used to aid libraries based on their individual withdrawal needs. The Center of Research Libraries (CRL) was a collaborator on many aspects of this project.

Although the tool has been available for download at the ITHAKA S+R website since late 2009, it was not widely publicized until ALA’s 2010 Midwinter Meeting. Promotion has continued at other conferences and through a series of webinars since that time. Details of the report, along with the tool itself, can be found here.

* * *

Today’s picture is from the terrace of the Rancho Las Palmas Resort, the site of conference. As Steve indicated in his report, there are no pics from the dancing that took place that evening!


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