Professional Development

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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.

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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.

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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!

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 1

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:41 pm

This year, NASIG celebrated its 25th anniversary at its conference in Palm Springs, California. Since I was not part of the conference planning committee, I was able to be an “attendee” once again and learn more about the latest challenges for serials and other continuing resources. These are the highlights for the sessions I attended on the first day.

Vision Session #1: Eric Miller of Zepheira, LLC on Linked Data and Librarians

With linked data becoming the latest trend in computing, I was glad that I attended Erik‘s session before going to the conference! Linked data allows users to pull information that had been previously inaccessible on the “front end” of websites and makes it available for users to connect it to other data points across the Internet. Miller went further to explain that this does not involve bringing this data together into one database: rather, applications and similar programs would manipulate the data without harvesting it locally.

Where does this leave libraries? Miller suggested that libraries can participate by contributing their expertise in specific areas such as controlled vocabulary and data portability. Sites such as the BBC and The New York Times have made their information available to users on the back end, but creating standards for that data would be the next possible step. As with so many other emerging technologies, libraries may have an advantage in bringing eventual order to the initial chaos.

Strategy Session- Not for the Faint of Heart! A New Approach to “Serials” Management

This session was presented by two members of OCLC about developing new approaches to managing the workflows required to serials in electronic format. Working as a partner with several libraries, OCLC has begun to develop a user-driven product that can respond to the specific needs of a particular institution. Core portions of the electronic management workflow have been outlined already: selecting and ordering, negotiation and licensing, receiving and maintenance, and payment and invoicing. Combining these with several “pain points” that can create potential bottlenecks in the workflow, OCLC hopes to aid libraries by making this process as routine and painless as possible.

The results for this study by OCLC are expected to be released later this year, and the presenters sought feedback from the audience as to any information that they may have missed. Although the title and description of this presentation did not correspond with what was presented, it was interesting nonetheless. It demonstrated that others are attempting the grapple with the issues associated with the concerns of electronic serials management.

Tactics Session- Don’t Pay Twice! Leveraging Licenses to Lower Student Costs

UCLA relies heavily on printed course readers that supplement the textbooks that students are required to purchase for their classes. In 2008, several student organizations approached the library about how to reduce the costs for these readers, which were usually assembled using articles and other materials that had been licensed by the library. Two librarians approached this dilemma by examining every aspect of a course pack, from the license negotiations for journals all the way to the costs of with the campus copy center. As a result, the library was able to reduce the costs for the readers by as much as $42,000 over three quarters (depending on the discipline, emphasis on journals over monographs, and so forth) as well as hundreds of dollars in copying fees. In the end, the library was not only able to gain more from its license negotiations, but it was able to leverage its campus connections to create successful partnerships with student organizations.

Moving forward, the librarians considered other possibilities: developing potential partnerships with the bookstore, analyzing the pros and cons of an annual license with the Copyright Clearance Center, assessing whether the potential risk of fair use would be viable and sustainable, examining other options such as the public domain and Creative Commons, and support for license portals. The question of developing electronic course readers that could be placed behind course management software has also emerged, and that may reduce costs further. By successfully marketing this program through student organizations, its continued growth and success seems assured. This library service can be progressive as the licensing process will evolve in the coming years.

Tactics Session- Licensing Electronic Journals through Non-Subscription-Agent “Go Betweens”

Subscription agents have long served an essential function in serials management, serving as intermediaries between libraries and publishers. However, there are areas around the world where subscription agents neither have a significant presence nor a relationship with the local publishers. This is where non-agents can play a role. Non-agents function as either for-profit or non-profit entities that work between libraries and publishing agencies- particularly society presses and small agencies- in foreign countries. The cost of their business is not passed to libraries, and the invoices for purchased items come directly from those publishers.

This is a business model of which I was unaware before the conference. As the curriculum of the university continues to build an international focus, the usefulness of these non-agents becomes clear. I believe that it could have possibilities for subscriptions that cannot be secured by any other method, and it could have a similar benefit for monographs. Two organizations that serve in this capacity are Accucoms and FASEB.

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Here is a photo taken from the flight on the way to Palm Springs. More to come in Day 2!

NASIG 2009- Behind the Scenes

Friday, July 31, 2009 4:17 pm

My professional development experience at the NASIG Annual Conference in Asheville, North Carolina was a different one this year. I was involved in the operation of the conference as a member of the Conference Planning Committee (CPC), which was jointly chaired by Eleanor Cook of East Carolina University and ZSR’s own Steve Kelley. I served as the audio-visual coordinator for the conference, and while it was a rewarding experience, there was a lot of work involved.

Planning for the conference began over a year before anyone arrived in Asheville. The CPC met as a group for the first time during the 2008 conference in Phoenix, Arizona and assigned all of the tasks and responsibilities necessary to operate the conference: food, registration, transportation, and so forth. Meetings continued during the year with monthly conference calls to keep all areas on target as well as to resolve any issues that developed. Along the way, the Program Planning Committee (PPC) was meeting independently to line up all of the sessions and speakers who would appear.

My role began to take shape earlier this year, as the PPC started to send details about the schedule to the CPC. Steve forwarded them to me as soon as he had received them and included room assignments as they became known as well. Using that information, I created a series of spreadsheets that evolved over time. They broke down the details for each session in three different categories: by each day of the conference, a summary of equipment needs, and a list of needs for sessions happening concurrently. (Please let me know if you would like to see an example!) From there, I sent the various incarnations to the event technology manager for the conference hotel. We worked closely to lay out the needs for each presenter and the equipment required in each room. Steve, Eleanor, and I also traveled to Asheville for site visits at the conference hotel, familiarizing ourselves with the facility and getting acquainted with the staff who would be working with us.

When the conference began in June, I became the primary contact for all AV needs. As the event technology manager set up rooms, he would check with me to make certain that everything was in place. Conversely, I served as the point person for any last minute situations that developed during the conference itself. These included:

  • A printer for the registration desk
  • A lapel microphone and Mac connection cables for the last Vision Speaker
  • Feedback from several microphones
  • Recording the Vision Sessions on cassette for conference reporters
  • Display stands for the poster sessions

As Steve indicated in his report, the conference was a success. For me, the conference was a chance to expand my professional growth by giving me experience in areas that were not part of my normal responsibilities. I have worked with conference preparation in the past, but the preparation and effort that was needed to put on this conference was truly astonishing. Effective leadership made a significant difference (thank you Steve), but I had to be on point with my own contributions to guarantee a smooth operation.

And there’s always the most valuable lesson: never underestimate the value of comfortable shoes.


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