Professional Development

Author Archive

Charleston Conference 2015 (Lauren)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 4:03 pm

Contents: Alma from Ex Libris, take care in using downloads as a measure part 2, EPUB 3, NISO ODI (do we need to tweak Summon?), DPLA working on e-books, the Charlotte Initiative, Overdrive, ORCID, and the rising cost of e-book short-term loans with a DDA program part 2

My focus was networking to hear nitty gritty details from the field and to follow-up on items from last year! Charleston is a very good conference for informative chats in hallways. I learned about a number of retirements!

Alma – was the library service platform that I heard mentioned frequently again, but often in the context of post-migration this year. I asked anyone I met using Alma to tell me about their headaches. Members of the Orbis-Cascade consortium – early adopters of Alma – who spoke of undeveloped or underdeveloped aspects of the system. I would expect that in the case of early adopters. Other librarians who have come on board more recently spoke of issues of the type that can come with any system change and at least one reported that things are better now compared to the experiences of early adopters. Thank goodness for those who go before us! I also heard that Alma has had some downtime, something we know that OCLC’s WMS experienced to the point that CEO Skip Pritchard recently blast-emailed an apology. I’m beginning to wonder if that is a problem with these newer library service platforms. I sure hope that by the time we’re seriously looking at a new system, downtime is a thing of the past!

Carol Tenopir – Slides are online now from last year’s “To Boldly Go Beyond Downloads” (or download the text version from here). Last year Tenopir reported from research with focus groups and interviews that downloads were on the decline and “be careful about using it as a measure.” The interesting follow-up this year (and I had to sit on the floor in an over-full room) was that as faculty responded in the survey or interviews, they realized that sharing PDFs might be illegal, but they are focused on the goal of furthering their research, so they will do it anyway and they think of themselves as just “little fish.” Sharing the article instead of downloading at the source reduces the download count statistics, adding to why the publishers and librarians cannot totally rely upon these measures.

EPUB 3 is citable, is good for helping those with visual challenges, and could be pervasive if people would embrace it. I found a webpage that seems to cover much of what was said: The speakers in this session recommended training first year students to know how to download EPUB instead of PDF and to help faculty see the advantages. I’m mindful of the Betamax vs. VHS situation and how differently HD DVD vs. Blu-ray played out more recently, so the crystal ball seems a bit murky on this one.

I heard IEEE, Sage, and Gale report on participation in NISO Open Discovery Initiative (ODI). I was thunderstruck when I heard the speaker for IEEE say that the process helped them realize that 3000 of 6000 standards had not been submitted for indexing and that they’ve been able to rectify that. Gale’s speaker said that the internal audit helped them to think about what is next. An action item for libraries is to ask publishers if they have conformance statements. These publishers also learned that the configuration that a library implements in a discovery service can inhibit discovery and Gale is developing widgets for optimization. Guides should be posted to the NISO website in 2016.

Who knew DPLA is working on e-books? I didn’t! October Ivins, working with the Charlotte Initiative, was excited to learn about this. Our very own NC Home Grown eBooks (Bill Kane and I talked with Tim Rogers as he was shaping that project) was covered at this session by Jill Morris, formerly of NC LIVE (now at Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.).

Overdrive has long focused on e-books for public libraries. The model is based on check-outs, meaning one user at a time, unless you buy multiple copies. Now Overdrive is moving into the academic market and they have developed some classroom set discounts and offer simultaneous use.

I heard a librarian from Texas talking about Elsevier’s Pure to manage the institution’s research and she said they realized they needed a campuswide implementation of ORCID, which provides numerical unique identification of researchers.

While there was talk about the death of the short-term loan (STL), there was also talk about changes to the pricing model for it. I’m sure other attendees from ZSR will mention e-book short term loans since many of us were at one session dedicated to the topic. For background on the problem, I’ll refer you again to my post from last year.






Lauren at ALA 2015 in San Francisco

Thursday, July 2, 2015 5:13 pm

It probably seemed like everyone was talking about linked data because that was the focus of most of the sessions I attended.

One of the more interesting ones was the Library of Congress BIBFRAME Update Forum, because in addition to Sally McCallum and Beacher Wiggins of LC, they had speakers from Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, SirsiDynix, Atlas (think ILLIAD and ARES), OCLC, and Zepheira. At this stage, I think they were all trying to reassure clients that they will keep up with change. I took more notes on Ex Libris than the others since we’re a current customer: After some prologue on revolution vs evolution, Ido Peled, VP, Solutions and Marketing, said, that moving to a native linked data catalog is more revolutionary and Ex Libris is more comfortable with evolution. But I thought he gave more concrete evidence of readiness for linked data than the others because he said ALMA was built to support MARC and Dublin Core already and that Primo Central is already in RDF format, using JSON-LD. He also emphasized the multi-tenant environment and said, “Technology isn’t the focus. The focus is outcomes.” Because linked data includes relying on the data of others and interlinking with your own data, the “multi-tenant” environment concept made sense suddenly and helped me understand why I keep hearing about groups moving to ALMA, like Orbis-Cascade. I’ve also heard from individuals that it hasn’t been easy, but when is a system migration ever easy?

I also attended “Getting Started with Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU.” They each worked on their own linked data projects, figuring out tools to use (like OpenRefine) and work flows. Then they tested on each other’s data to help them refine the tools for use with different future projects and for sharing them broadly in the library community. They both said they learned a lot and made adjustments to the tools they used. I got a much better sense of what might be involved in taking on a linked data project. Successes and issues they covered reminded me of our work on authority control and RDA enhancement: matches and near matches through an automated process, hits and non-hits against VIAF, cleaning up and normalizing data for extra spaces, punctuation, etc. In fact this session built well on “Data Clean-Up: Let’s Not Sweep it Under the Rug,” which was sponsored by the committee I’m on with Erik Mitchell, the ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee. I got a good foundation regarding use of MARCedit and OpenRefine for normalizing data to eliminate spaces and punctuation. While I knew regular expressions were powerful, I finally learned what they can do. In one example, punctuation stemming from an ampersand in an organization name caused data to become parsed incorrectly, breaking apart the name of the organization every time for the thousands of times it appeared. A regular expression can overcome this problem in an automated way — there’s no need to fix each instance one by one. (Think in terms of how macros save work.)

The ALCTS President’s Program: Three Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age featured Maryanne Wolf, Director, Center for Reading and Language Research and John DiBaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University. It was interesting to learn from her that brains weren’t designed for reading — think about cave men and their primary goals, which didn’t include reading. She gave a great overview of the development of language and reading and incidentally showed that those who operate in CJK languages have different parts of the brain lighting up than those of us who operate in other languages. This was all foundation leading up to how the brain operates and the effects of reading on the screen. The way we read on a screen results in the loss of certain abilities like reflection and creating connections. She measured that it takes time to regain those abilities too. She isn’t by any means anti-electronic though — she’s doing interesting work in Ethiopia with kids learning by using tablets. We’ll have to get her forthcoming book when it is finished!

I also attended committee meetings, met with vendors, networked, and got to catch up with former colleagues Erik Mitchell and Lauren Pressley over a dinner that Susan organized. (Thanks, Susan!) I especially enjoyed catching up with former colleagues Charles Hillen and Ed Summers, both dating back to my days at ODU in Norfolk, Virginia. Charles now works for YBP as Director of Library Technical Services and Ed just received the Kilgour Award from LITA/OCLC. Thanks to Ed, I got to meet Eric Hellman, president of the company that runs And thanks to WFU Romance Languages faculty member Alan Jose, who mentioned the idea, I went Monday afternoon with Derrik and Carolyn to visit the Internet Archive offices, where we met Brewster Kahle. The volume the organization handles is mind-blowing! Kahle says they only collect about 40 TV channels right now and it is not enough. They have designed the book digitization equipment they are using (and selling it at a reasonable price too). They have people digitizing reels of films, VHS, and audio, but Kahle says they’ve got to come up with a better method than equipment using magnetic heads that are hard to find. Someone is working on improving search right now too. Some major advice offered was to learn Python!


Lauren at ALA Midwinter 2015 (aka Chicago’s 4th Biggest Blizzard)

Thursday, February 5, 2015 5:59 pm

My notes on: IPEDS, ebook STLs and video, our vendors, linked data, BIBFRAME, OCLC and, ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee, advocacy

At the ARL Assessment Forum, there was much complaining over the contradiction in instructions with IPEDs collection counts and circulation. Susan and I had the luck of chatting in the hallway with Bob Dugan from UWF, who turned out to be the main official communicator from libraryland with the person for the library section of IPEDs. Bob is also the author of a LibGuide with clarification info from the IPEDs help desk. Bob seems hopeful that changes in definitions for gathering the info (but not the numbers/form) could happen in time for the next cycle. My main specific takeaways from the various speakers:

  • the only figures that that will be checked between the current IPEDs survey and the previous survey is total library expenditures (not just collection);
  • in spite of the language, the physical circulation part of the survey seems to focus on lending, not borrowing, and may duplicate the ILL info section;
  • some libraries are thinking to use COUNTER BR1 and BR2 reports for ebook circulation and footnote which vendors use which type (BR1 or BR2).

ALCTS Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group discussed a wide range of current issues and it was both reassuring and annoying that no matter the library size, public or private, right now everyone has the same problems and no great answers: high cost ebook STLs, difficulties with video, etc. I inferred that our tactic of explaining prices and the options to faculty (e.g. explaining a mediation message about an EBL ebook or that the producer of a desired video is requiring libraries to pay significantly more than the individual pricing advertised) produces greater customer satisfaction than setting broad restrictive rules to stay within budget.

Jeff, Derrik, and I had a good meeting with a domestic vendor regarding ebooks and I discussed some specific needs with a foreign vendor. All felt like we made progress.

Linked data in libraries is for real (and will eventually affect cataloging). I attended several relevant sessions and here is my distillation: LD4L and Vivo, as a part of LD4L, are the best proof-of-concept work I’ve heard about. When starting to learn about linked data, there is no simple explanation; you have to explore it and then try to wrap your brain around it. Try reading the LD4L Use Cases webpages to get an understanding of what can be achieved and try looking at slide #34 in this LD4L slideshow for a visual explanation of how this can help researchers find each other. Here’s a somewhat simple explanation of Vivo from a company that helped start it and now is the “first official DuraSpace Registered Service Provider for VIVO.” OCLC is doing a lot of groundwork for linked data, using, and that effort plays into the work being done by LD4L. While OCLC has been using, Library of Congress has invested in developing BIBFRAME. I’m looking forward to reading the white paper about compatibility of both models, released just before the conference. The joint ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee (which replaced MARBI) is naturally interested in this topic and it was discussed at the Committee meeting. The Committee also gathered input from various groups on high level guidelines (or best practices) for metadata that Erik Mitchell, a committee member, originally drafted.

I also attended the meeting of the ALCTS Advocacy Committee, which has a liaison to the ALA Advocacy Coordinating Group. I understand that advocacy will be emphasized in ALA’s forthcoming strategic plan. If you’re not familiar with the Coordinating Group, it has a broader membership than just ALA division representation, but does include ACRL, LITA, and APALA in addition to ALCTS. I believe ZSR is well-represented in these groups and thus has some clear channels for advocacy!







Charleston Conference 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014 3:09 pm

Contents: 1. short tidbits (e.g. Alma from Ex Libris, “screen reading” effects, take care in using downloads as a measure, shared print storage) and 2. the rising cost of e-book short-term loans with a DDA program

1. the short bits

Alma – was the commercial ILS that I heard mentioned repeatedly, often in the context of migrations. At a poster session, I spoke with a librarian from the University of Tennessee Libraries about their migrating order records to Alma (from Aleph) and the next day I spoke with a librarian from another state about migration to Alma. I came away with the impression that both were satisfied so far. I heard other librarians mention Alma as the ILS of interest or having recently selected it.

Steve Shadle – “How Libraries Use Publisher Metadata” Steve worked with Springer on metadata and realized other publishers could use the same kind of understanding. Publishers at the presentation were engaged and asking questions. (I say, “hooray!”)

Carol Tenopir – “To Boldly Go Beyond Downloads” reported from research with focus groups and interviews that downloads are on the decline and “be careful about using it as a measure.” The survey just went out, so keep an eye out for later reports from that part of the research.

David Durant (ECU) and Tony Horava (University of Ottawa) - “Future of Reading and Academic Library” The presenters referenced Jakob Neilson’s F shaped pattern (of eye tracking) and explained linear and tabular reading and how they affect learning. Their research includes the differences between “screen reading” and reading from print. Look for their article in the January 2015 issue of Portal.

Emory and Georgia Tech’s shared print repository, Emtech, was helped along by support from the presidents at both universities and the prior establishment of a 501-3c to support other initiatives. (I asked because I had wondered how a private/public partnership for something long-term like this could work.) They determined that they had only 17% overlap in collections and each library is putting 1 million volumes into the shared facility — serials from Tech and monographs from Emory. They are storing microforms there; with the Atlanta climate, a cooler will have to be used when pulling those from facility, so that they gradually warm up from the 50 degrees without moisture forming on them. It will be one unified collection and they are contemplating whether they will need a separate OCLC holding symbol. This will be Harvard style — with static, not mobile, shelving.

Jeff already reported on plenaries and one session that he and I both attended,plus DDA with Kanopy streaming video, and included some lovely photos.


2. increasing cost of short-term loans (STLs):

Summary: All parties, publishers, librarians and aggregators are adopting a “let’s work together” attitude and showing understanding that workable pricing models are yet to be figured out with e-books because monographs are different from journals; everyone is inclined towards keeping DDA rather than eliminating it. The consortia named below who facilitated a lively lunch all pulled DDA records from their catalogs but I learned in a sidebar conversation that a large consortium removed only the EBL DDA records for the same titles in ebrary Academic Complete (generally considered to be primarily a backlist) and made no other changes. We’re implementing this change, literally as I’m writing this, since we just got the subscription product through NC LIVE. (See also Carol’s report.)

Details on STLS: Following up on this summer’s announcement that a number of publishers were raising the prices of STLs, I asked Derrik to do some analysis of our own experience prior to the conference. The bottom line on his analysis is that the rise in cost is affecting our bottom line noticeably. I managed to get to a lively lunch session with a mix of publishers, librarians, and aggregators in the audience. Facilitators included a representative from: Connecticut-Trinity-Wesleyan (CTW Consortium); Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Consortium; Tri-College Consortium (Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, Haverford); The Five Colleges Consortium (Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst) The lively lunch facilitators asked specific questions and my take-aways were:

  • reaffirmation that sales of books (whatever format) are dropping and the volume of STLs isn’t rising to meet the cost of publishing them (not from conference, but see this explanation of the cost of publishing an e-book)
  • inconclusive discussion on setting an optimal dollar amount or percentage of list price (I went to the mic and commented that setting a percentage was a questionable strategy with some publishers now raising the list price for electronic to be more than print; note that the e-book was not always, but often, close to hardcover price until recently)
  • in general an embargo was undesirable from all perspectives
  • differentiated pricing on frontlist versus backlist could be considered (I wonder if this wouldn’t add undesirable complexity and there might be a better solution)

Also on the STL crisis topic, Carol and I both were at a session titled, Sustainability not Profitability: the Future of Scholarly Monographs and STL.” Carol’s coverage, also linked above, differs slightly from mine (and is brief).

  • Barbara Kawecki from YBP gave the landscape of library activity to start the session: from 1998 to now there has been a dramatic decline in print purchasing. A loss of 50,000 units to a publisher is significant. YBP has seen a dramatic increase in records sent for DDA but only tiny amount is purchased and a large percentage of spending is on STL.
  • Rebecca Seger of Oxford University Press then gave an overview of the cost of monograph publishing and stated that the real problem is shrinking monograph budget (which I heard multiple times at the conference). She explained that with journals publishers can estimate revenue because of subscriptions, but publishers have used the print approval plans of libraries historically to estimate revenue for monographs. Each title might sell 400-700 “units” for the lifetime. Publishers can’t sell that amount now and can’t estimate revenue based on approval plans anymore because of all the changes libraries are making relative to DDA/STL. It costs about $10,000 to publish a monograph and printing is only about a third of that cost (or more for a smaller publisher).
  • Lisa Nachtigall from Wiley also described the impact of DDA/STL:

2009 to now: 92% print to 77% print
3rd party sales of e big increase: now 7%
32% less revenue from top 100 titles from 2009 to now; 28% less if take out the top 5 performers
70% of all etransactions from DDA/STL
Only 32% of DDA records went to transaction and 82% of that are STLs
86% less revenue on the e

Lisa is in the editorial part of Wiley and says that because of all of this Wiley is exiting Physics altogether, getting out of higher level research areas and will focus on textbooks. She noted that faculty will not able to disseminate their research in the same ways.

  • Michael Levine-Clark (a frequent speaker on e-books and Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication and Collections Services at the University of Denver) counseled the audience for librarians and publishers to work together on this problem, which was also the attitude at the lively lunch I described above. He said he was willing to pay more for the titles that get used. Various pricing models are needed together right now. He is concerned about the level of risk — future access to the titles not purchased — but he noted that the budget doesn’t allow him to buy all of those titles now anyway. He had a lot of analytical graphs in his presentation, which may be found near the end of the entire presentation. He wondered about having a fee for DDA service to publishers and YBP as part of the solution (but several audience members noted that all libraries already pay a small fee to YBP for the service of managing the bibliographic records). He concluded that we need to pony up to keep all books available for long term. During Q&A with the audience, it came up that if part of the change to using STL includes charges for browses, then it may not work. There was agreement from the audience that we have to work with publishers to keep DDA. The concept of an annual fee, “pay to play,” was raised again.

This was a particularly good conference in terms of content and consistently nice weather.

ALA Annual 2014 Las Vegas – Lauren

Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:08 pm

Three segments to my post: 1) Linked Data and Semantic Web, 2) Introverts at Work, and 3) Vendors and Books and Video — read just the part that interests you!

1. Linked Data and Semantic Web (or, Advances in Search and Discovery)

Steve Kelley sparked my interest in the Semantic Web and Linked Data with reports after conferences over the past few years. Now that I’ve been appointed to the joint ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee and attended a meeting at this conference, I’ve learned more:

Google Hummingbird is a recent update to how Google searching functions, utilizing all the words in the query to provide more meaningful results instead of just word matches.

Catalogers and Tech Team take note! Work is really happening now with Linked Data. In Jason Clark’s presentation,” in Libraries,” see the slide with links to work being done at NCSU and Duke (p. 28 of the posted PDF version).

I’m looking forward to working with Erik Mitchell and other Metadata Standards Committee members in the coming year.

2. Introverts at Work!

The current culture of working in meetings (such as brainstorming) and reaching quick decisions in groups or teams is geared towards extroverts while about 50% of the population are introverts. Introverts can be most productive and provide great solutions when given adequate time for reflection. (Extrovert and introvert were defined in the Jung and MBTI sense of energy gain/drain.) So says Jennifer Kahnweiler, the speaker for the ALCTS President’s Program and author of Quiet Influence. Another book discussing the same topic is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Many ZSRians attended this session!

3.Vendors and Books and Video

I spent a lot of time talking with vendors. Most notable was the meeting that Derrik, Jeff, and I attended with some of the publishers that are raising DDA short term loan prices. This will affect our budget, but our plan is to watch it for a bit, to develop our knowledge and determine appropriate action. It was helpful to learn more from the publishers. Some publishers are able to switch to print on demand, while others cannot because traditional print runs are cheaper than print on demand and their customers still want print. Print-driven publishers have to come up with a sustainable model to cover all of the costs, so they are experimenting with DDA pricing. DDA overall is still an experiment for publishers, while librarians already have come to think of it as being a stable and welcome method of providing resources.

Derrik and I also started conversing with Proquest about how we will manage our existing DDA program in regards to the addition of ebrary Academic Complete to NC LIVE.

“The combined bookshops of Aux Amateurs de Livres and Touzot Librarie Internationale will be called Amalivre effective July 1, 2014.”

Regarding video, Mary Beth, Jeff, Derrik and I attended a presentation by two Australian librarians from different large universities (QUT and La Trobe, with FTE in tens of thousands). They reported on their shift to streaming video with Kanopy and here are a few bullets:

  • Among drivers for change were the flipped classroom and mobile use
  • 60% of the DVD collection had less than 5 views while streaming video titles licensed through Kanopy averaged over 50 views
  • 23% and 15% (two universities) of DVDs have never been viewed once
  • 1.7 and 1.8 (two universities) times is the true cost of DVD ownership
  • They have a keyboard accessibility arrangement for the visually impaired
  • Usage is growing for PDA and non-PDA titles in Kanopy [reminds us of our experience with e-books]
  • Discovery of the streaming videos came largely through faculty embedding videos in the CMS
  • Other discovery is not good for video, so they had Proquest add a radio button option for video to Summon to help promote discovery [can we do this?]
  • They concluded that because of greater use,online video is the greater value for the money spent


ASERL Summertime Summit 2013: “Liaison Roles in Open Access & Data Management: Equal Parts Inspiration & Perspiration”

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:06 pm

On Monday, August 5, Carol, Lauren C., Molly, and Sarah loaded up the ZSR Library van for a quick trip down to Atlanta for the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Summertime Summit. The Tuesday six-hour Summit at Georgia Tech involved an opening keynote, a morning breakout session, an afternoon breakout session, and a closing keynote, with plenty of networking opportunities afforded during breaks and lunch. Between the four of us, we managed to attend the seven different breakout sessions (one was a repeat). Below are our individual takeaways.


In addition to the two keynotes, I attended the “Practical Data Management Tools – Step-By-Step Guide, DMPTool, DataBib” morning breakout session. I jumped between two afternoon breakout sessions, “Library Staffing/Responsibility Models for Data Management and Open Access” and “The Wheat from the Chaff: Locating High Quality Open Access Resources.” I also caught up with several Scholarly Communications librarians from around the Southeast, and had lively conversations about ETD embargoes over lunch.

Although I didn’t hear anything earth-shattering at the Summit (which really is a reassurance that I’m up-to-speed on the pertinent issues), several key points stood out in aggregate from across the day:

  • IRs were thought of as individual systems when launched by institutions, not as points in a shared infrastructure, which has hampered their usefulness somewhat;
  • don’t try to generate demand for data management services if it isn’t already there from faculty;
  • be knowledgeable and prepared, but don’t launch a service without adequate need and planning;
  • researchers won’t change behavior because of technological changes but because of social/cultural changes (we’re seeing this with Federal agency mandates);
  • humanists do have data, they just don’t call it data;
  • data support must be bigger than the library;
  • engagement is often uneven;
  • if you’ve been doing something the same way, rethink it.


The opening keynote focus was “Data Management is important” and the closing keynote focus was “Libraries must change.”The breakout session I attended by myself was “Marketing Data Management Tools and Services to Faculty.” The first thing I learned in the session is that I’m behind in my knowledge of Data Management mandates or even just what it is. (Contrast to Molly’s experience!) However, I was very comfortable with the descriptions of marketing activities that took place at Georgia State and Emory: LibGuides, newsletter articles, library blog, use of the University News Center (think: Inside WFU), surveys to determine needs, focus groups, town-hall-style meetings. In fact, I recommend scanning the GSU LibGuide if you need a one-minute introduction to Data Management and mandates.

One overall impression was a tension between having a designated person to handle Open Access and Data Management issues vs. having every liaison do some of it. We see this over and over with other kinds of library services, so no surprise there. (I keep thinking of it as the “Center of Excellence” vs. the “Across the Curriculum” model.) In my breakout session, one of the libraries (GSU, I think) was currently using a team to handle actual requests for help with Data Management Plans. They’re concerned that this approach will not scale, but they also think that the first, say, anthropologist will come to the library, but the second anthropologist will just ask the first anthropologist so the need for the team may fade over time.


I attended the opening and closing keynotes, the morning breakout session on “Marketing Open Access Services & Tools to Faculty”, and the afternoon breakout session on “Follow-Up Activities from ARL’s E- Science Institutes”. It was great to meet science librarians from other universities such as Johns Hopkins, Emory, etc.

  • In the first breakout session, I realized that we are on target in promoting open access on campus thanks to outreach efforts by Molly and liaisons. Interestingly, other universities have added faculty and student research posters in their institutional repositories. Download reports can provide meaningful information for dissertations and theses in institutional repositories.
  • In the afternoon breakout session, librarians shared their experiences at the Duraspace/ARL/DLF E-Science Institute. Despite its title, the ARL E-Science Institute facilitates the development of a strategic agenda (priorities and ambitions, opportunities and partnerships, and challenges and weaknesses of your E-Research support program) by helping you “examine your local E-Research landscape, to consider the relationship between your institution as a whole and your library in terms of E-Research, to identify key players in E-Science and E-Research at your institution, and to conduct interviews of some of them to better understand their roles.”
  • The difference between E-Science and E-Research:
    • Examples of E-Science include data mining and statistical exploration of genome structures
    • “E-Research encompasses computation and E-Science, cyberinfrastructure, and data curation…E-Research could include studies of large linguistic corpuses in the humanities, or integrated social policy analyses in the social sciences.”
  • There is no “one size fits all” model for supporting data management among liaisons and data management librarians.
  • As Lauren mentions (below), some libraries use ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research)
  • The Long Term Ecological Research Network is another data sharing resource.


Overall, I realized that many libraries are still struggling in playing the right role with open access and data management. My first three highlights are from Sayeed Choudhury’s (Johns Hopkins University) opening keynote address:

  • Retrospective figuring out provenance of electronic data is very difficult so try to document along the way how tools were built or where they came from as well as documenting the source of the data itself.
  • Ask the researchers “what are you trying to do” and then try to help them. “You care about [fill in the blank], and if we do [fill in the blank], it could enable you to do [fill in the blank].”
  • Metadata has to be done as a combo of human and automated to be able to scale up.

At the breakout session on “Funding Models for Open Access Cost” I took note during the discussion when Catherine Murray-Rust, Dean of Libraries at Georgia Tech, said:

  • Funding agencies requiring OA will change things. (Europe publishes more in STEM and is doing this.)

These last two key points are aggregated, heard in various expressions in keynote and breakout sessions both:

  • To promote open access, take advantage of any type of communication channel that a liaison normally uses in order to connect faculty with the Scholarly Communications Librarian: e.g. the liaison and SC Librarian may attend a faculty meeting together or the liaison may simply make an introduction via email. We as liaisons don’t have to have all the info and answers on OA or data management, we just need to be willing to listen and help find the expertise like we always have.
  • The best role for the library in data management is to steer faculty to existing resources (such as ICPSR) and to provide support in making data management plans, including serving as the repository for all the data management plans of the campus. From what I heard, it would be overwhelming for a library to try to take on being a university’s data manager and it is difficult just to collect plans from faculty.


Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2013, Chicago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:51 pm

I spent a lot of time talking to vendors about e-books and library systems; saw a cool DVD dispenser by PIKinc.; went to a discussion group on offsite storage; and heard The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie (Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project).

I agree with Wanda that the logistics for Chicago are not great, but that this was one of my best conferences; when I found that I could not get from one pertinent session to another quickly enough, half of my agenda went to the exhibits. (Freedom from committee obligations for the first time in years probably contributed to time spent with vendors too.)

ZSR and EBL e-books

I made some advance appointments to discuss ZSR business regarding e-books while at ALA and those went well. I attended a closed session on EBL’s different models for e-books with consortia and discovered that a new model is about to be tried out by Novanet and NY3Rs. Present from ASERL and participating in the discussion: John Burger, Executive Director of ASERL; Nancy Gibbs, Duke University; and me. Tom Sanville from Lyrasis was also present. Publishers, vendors and libraries are still trying to find a model that works well for all. In one consortium where not every member participates in the group e-book arrangement, but the consortium has a shared catalog, they were trying to come up with a way to allow the non-participating libraries to have short-term loan access at least and the method for payment is a stumbling block. ILL was mentioned as a way to deal with that, maybe with a credit card payment option since ILL already makes purchases with credit cards. I also attended a presentation by David Whitehair from OCLC and a representative from VIVA about OCLC Worldshare Metadata Collection Manager. This is what EBL is going to use for managing DDA files of adds/updates/deletes so I was glad to gain a better understanding. (I wondered if this tool would help Carolyn with the Archivist’s Toolkit cataloging since OCLC said that records don’t have to be in MARC — the institutional knowledge base (kb) can handle Dublin Core and MODS as well.) This is included with our cataloging subscription, so no extra cost for us to implement the kb.

WorldShare Metadata Collection Manager allows you to define and configure your e-book and other electronic collections in one place, and automatically receive initial and updated customized WorldCat MARC records for all e-titles from one source, providing your users access to the titles and content from within the local library catalog or other discovery interface.

Library Systems: Kuali, Ex Libris, OCLC

I had a real awakening on the rapid changes with the commercial ILS vendors. I’ve been following Kuali OLE developments and was disappointed to learn in a session that they are still working towards release 1.0. Jim Mouw announced that University of Chicago (a development partner) will cut completely over to OLE in July of 2014, so they are getting closer. Between now and then, Chicago will also switch from Aquabrowser to VuFind.

The University of Windsor is switching from Evergreen (an open source ILS that many public libraries adopted) to Alma, the next-generation system from Ex Libris. At the Ex Libris booth, I got a custom demo and peppered them with a lot of questions. Then I went to the OCLC booth and did the same thing. I heard a lot of similarities in the way those two systems are supposed to operate and here are two key pieces:

  • no more logging in to different modules — you log into the system once and what you’re allowed to interact with is based on the permissions that have been set
  • pushing and pulling big batches of data and updates to data is facilitated through lots of APIs

The real question is how well they will work in the variety of library environments. For instance, a salesman told me that MARCedit would be unnecessary and demonstrated how to edit the 856|z, but upon questioning, he thought it was record by record, not global editing for a batch. Case in point, right? OCLC has just over 100 libraries using their product right now with a couple hundred more signed (according to our sales rep) and Ex Libris is not far behind in gaining contracts for Alma. I think the next couple of years of library migrations will expose the weaknesses and result in upgrades to better fit real world practices. Meanwhile OLE and Intota from Proquest will need to be pushing hard to catch up and prove why they might be better in the long run.

Library Storage Discussion Group (LLAMA)

The main thing I learned that may be useful to us is that if you weed from an offsite storage facility, even if you have AIMS, “you have to re-tray” because trying to fill the hole later doesn’t work well. I saw colleagues from Georgia and learned that Emory and Georgia Tech are moving to a joint storage facility. (This type of private/public cooperation was only a dream when I left Emory and it is cool to learn that it really is going to happen, 5 years later.) I had the opportunity to explain about the role of the storage facility for the ASERL journal retention program, now branded Scholar’s Trust. (BTW, Carol Cramer helped with the naming process.)

The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project,shared some interesting highlights from surveying about public libraries and while the link to the recording is above, you can login to ALA Connect for the slides which he said would also be posted to eventually. These are my highlights from his talk:

  • Public library patrons are people who like the old services and don’t want changes and people who love the new, both — so libraries and other companies are dealing with the pain of not being able to do everything and are not able to meet all desires.
  • Parents are the best public library lovers — everything is wonderful.
  • Of those who seek the help of librarian, half are in households with an income of under $30,000 and are African American.
  • Young people appreciate a quiet place to sit and study or listen to music.
  • Only 13% use the library’s website.
  • Scarcity and abundance flipped: Time is the new scarcity, not the info. There is a gap between being predisposed to be affectionate and being affectionate — save the patrons’ time and they will love the library. Online learning and online reference are desirable.

Last Hurrah

I rarely have found time at conferences to do much touring and have always wished to see “the Bean” (a sculpture really called Cloud Gate) at Millennium Park. When I learned on Monday that it was only 2 blocks from the restaurant where I was having lunch, I decided to see it, even if it meant I was a little close for comfort in getting to the airport.

Charleston Conference 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 5:53 pm

Seeing Lauren Pressley’s picture and book cover on the screen as an example of gave me a moment of great pride during a plenary session at this Charleston Conference. We heard that there were 1500-1600 attendees, the most ever! E-book topics were definitely a theme and “big data” was mentioned in several sessions. A session on weeding, librarywide, was useful since the day will come when our storage facility is filled to capacity. And finally, a session on the Library Journal Patron Profiles gave Sue Polanka an opportunity to share some of her own observations relative to the results.

Regarding big data, I heard the success story of Duke University post-doc Heather Piwowar, who arranged with Elsevier to do text-mining of their whole corpus. (Heather had signed the boycott, but “believes that it is useful to work together.”) The big problems with big data are getting permission (Heather was “lucky” according to other speakers) and getting delivery — large loads of data are literally being shipped around the world. The fact that Heather is a post-doc means that in two years when she moves on, she won’t have the set she worked with at Duke and that is another problem.

Still on big data, I also went to a presentation by Hilary Davis (Associate Head, Collection Management, North Carolina State University Libraries) and Barrie Hayes (Bioinformatics and Translational Science Librarian, UNC Health Sciences Library). They said that storage and discovery, followed by access, are the biggest needs with big data. (Sound familiar?) They also said that being involved outweighs the risk for the libraries. They are working with research administrators, campus IT, and many library departments to tackle those needs. While UNC Chapel Hill uses Fedora with iRods,NSCU uses DSpace, like us. Easy i.d. and ORCA are used for identities (and I hope this means something useful to Thomas). Info sessions on campus have been successful (face-to-face and broadcast, and available for replay online). A data management committee at UNC is training subject librarians in how to talk about this topic with faculty. The last presentation slide has references and they have made good use of California’s DMPTool (data management plan tool) at both institutions. They first want the library to be a “collaborative campus connector” in 5 years and would like to work across the two institutions after that.

Carol and I take a divide-and-conquer tactic at this conference for the most part, but with standing room only in the hallway for one desirable session, we both ended up at the session on the state of the e-book industry. John McDonald (Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Claremont University Consortium) and Jason Price (Interim Library Director, Claremont Colleges Library) presented a lot of data, which should eventually appear on the Charleston Conference website. They also mentioned how hard it is if you have subscription e-books to exclude them from DDA offerings. That is why in our liaison meeting yesterday I was quite interested to hear the satisfaction of having one e-book supplier and one platform mainly. I was thinking we needed to explore subscription databases of e-books again, but as I mentioned, we would have to find out if the technology obstacles we saw in the past are still a problem or not. I’m glad Carol and I both were at the session because we can discuss future directions with common understanding of the current marketplace and the growth of HathiTrust and Google Scholar.

I mentioned that I also went to a session on librarywide weeding. One speaker, Pamela Grudzien (Head, Technical Services, Central Michigan University), was in Michigan and the other, Cheri Duncan (Director of Acquisitions & Cataloging at James Madison University) was in Virginia. Both used Sustainable Collection Services, but the situation in Michigan was a consortium-level project. (You’ve heard me mention SCS and we saw a webinar. You may recall that the idea is to use computer-driven matching to identify weeding candidates — titles of a certain age that are also held by many other libraries or in a trusted repository like HathiTrust.) The consortium added a dimension to this process, because they could agree to keep 3 copies of a title among the 7 members, allowing the others to weed their copies. A little “horsetrading” took place in determining retention commitments. One of the seven members in the Michigan consortium (CMU) was in the unique position of participating without space problems yet because they had 30 miles of compact shelving installed in a major renovation 10 years ago. CMU committed to keeping 204,000 volumes and Wayne State, 86,633. Remember this is just the commitments for unique titles or one of the agreed upon 3 copies, not the numbers of the entire library collection. The Michigan speaker noted that there is as much labor with the retention commitments as with the actual weeding. They used the 583 in the MARC record to document the retention, like we are doing with the ASERL commitments we’re making. The Virginia speaker explained the entire process at JMU, which included working over a period of years, a few subjects at a time. Business was first, followed by Education and Psychology. An aggregate 87% of titles identified by SCS were weeded (with wide variation of percentage at the subject level, naturally). They felt that this method was less disruptive to patrons and avoided an overload in Technical Services.

I’m just going to mention one more session that might appeal to many of you — Sue Polanka (Head, Reference & Instruction, Wright State University Libraries) and Lisa Carlucci Thomas (Director, Design Think Do) spoke about the new Library Journal Patron Profiles. The data from Academic Patron Profiles 2012 showed some of the same types of things that we learned from LibQual, but it seemed to me that there were more granular questions that targeted things we would like to know. And it seemed that it covered more than LibQual. Lisa said that “LJ is listening” and to let them know through her if we want to make the survey instrument available to individual libraries. I noted her email address, so ask me if you want it. Some observations that Sue has made in her own library that caught my ear: the personal librarian arrangement does not work as well as the subject librarian arrangement; make sure your link resolver is built into Google Scholar; put an IM widget not only in databases, but also the 404 error page and other webpages; focus as much on second year students as first year students.

This conference is always good, but this year seemed particularly on-target for our own planning here.



Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2012, Anaheim

Monday, July 9, 2012 5:18 pm

Lauren C’s top three from ALA: 1) everyone is still figuring out how to deal with the issues surrounding e-books 2) but editors want to hear about how patrons are using e-books instead of libraries solving the problems with them 3) and librarians (public and academic) are still talking about budget woes, but instead of eye-popping cuts, the talk this year is about sustaining collections and services with permanently smaller budgets. That’s my highest level view.

Here’s a little more detail, or the mid-level view:

In two different sessions I heard about experimentation with large-scale collaborative purchasing of e-books. In one meeting, our own ASERL initiative was one of the experiments discussed. We have a negotiated pricing model based on when multiple libraries purchase the same title in an ad hoc manner, so it is a little different from several others. No one (among librarians, publishers, aggregators) seems entirely satisfied at this point. I also heard about platform proliferation and the negative impact on the “user experience,” something Carol and I have been concerned about for years now. We’d all like for e-books to “just work” the same way that e-journals on different platforms “just work.”

Chris posted earlier in his NASIG report about a trend towards meeting user needs now, which matched things I heard in a session called “Transforming Collections.” Public library, small college library, and large ARL library perspectives were each represented. The overall message was to make decisions based on what is closest to home.

Here are other detailed snippets from that session that I found interesting:

Jamie Larue, Director, Douglas County Libraries in speaking about e-books:

  • The user experience is getting sacrificed to platform proliferation.
  • His library is not buying anymore e-books if their terms are not met. (LEC local note : One-user-at-a-time was disastrous last semester here with an assigned reading when many students were trying to do it simultaneously! At the June Admin Council we agreed to suppress NetLibrary e-books from the catalog.)
  • Need the EPUB standard to be used (LEC comment: a standard that Kindle doesn’t handle, but there are workarounds)

Bob Kieft, College Librarian at Occidental College:

  • He gave a shoutout to Emily Stambaugh amongst others as influencing his views on collection development.
  • Differences between small colleges and big universities but institutions are similar within their category.
  • No core curriculum anymore really and thus no core collection.
  • Colleges are slower to change (than universities).
  • Students clinging to print first. Librarians at colleges will store all they can as long as they can while awaiting culture change. Harder to remove old books than to fail to buy new ones. Users see the library as an archive/research collection.
  • Won’t mass digitize. Will sign onto Google Books when legal questions resolved. Also Hathi Trust.
  • Resource sharing is high. Purchasing decisions are based on the holdings of other libraries, without formal arrangements.
  • For students, collections is just _part_ of the purpose of the library — the library is there to help them succeed.

Bob Wolven, AUL, Columbia University:

  • Format obsolescence (VHS, LP, etc.) Replace some, forget some. Is PDF next? Science community uses hyperlinked text.
  • E -archives (e -versions of personal papers).
  • If everything were available on the web for free, then what would we collect? Who is responsible for open access collecting? Scale of collecting is immense. Right now only
    15-20% of e-journal titles are being preserved. How we collect commercially published electronic content is different because we’re not in control when we don’t own it. Archiving the web? If it is free people do not want to support it (like classic game theory).
  • Ultimately have to base actions on academic mission.

Here are just a few of the tips on writing offered by Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and OSU Press Director, Oregon State University) and by Lisa German, Dean for Collections, Information and Access Services, The Pennsylvania State University Libraries:

  • Remember to check author guidelines
  • Lit review is important to set context
  • Push back on copyright contract (easier if not on promotion/tenure track)
  • Must carve out weekly couple of hours for writing. Has to be sacred. (LEC: I think this has to be the hardest of these!)

I have more detailed notes on e-books, and I can elaborate more (over coffee?) if your interest is piqued!


Charleston Conference 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011 7:01 pm

Just a bulleted list of highlights while I’m minimizing strain on a broken wrist, but call or ask me for more info if desired:

  • Lots of questions (regarding inconsistencies, navigation, and discoverability to name a few) centered on data sets and other types of supplemental material to publications — publishers as well as libraries and faculty are grappling with this. NISO-NFAIS is working on standards — see Some of these slides were shown in Charleston.
  • To stream media in-house requires: adequate labor in various parts of the library (and university too) to do the license negotiation, track the titles licensed, digitize the materials (at 2 quality levels — low and high bandwidth); plus storage space and software tools to serve the material; and the university must have adequate bandwidth so that core services (like email) don’t crash. (Presentation from James Madison University)
  • Heard updates on the hot legal cases and “nothing new” was the update on Google Settlement.
  • Heard a summary report on TRLN’s Mellon grant to figure out how to buy e-books as a consortium, include demand-driven purchasing. See summary at and details at
  • Two items of a more personal nature: for the first time ever, I got to watch — instead of perform in — the skit and I was interviewed by Jack Montgomery and Katina Strauch about the ZSR Library and what helped us win the ACRL Excellence Award.

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