James O’Donnell Arizona State: Within a Star-Wars-themed keynote (complete with light saber), he remarked that if you buy a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag you expect it to fall apart. If you get a pirated PDF from an offshore website, you get better access and fewer hurdles.
Michael Levine-Clark at U. Denver did three local surveys in 2005, 2010, and 2015 regarding attitudes towards e-books and print books. Reasons to use e-books: “For searching” was at the top, but “easier than going to library” and “no print version available” were also cited. “Taking notes” was listed both as a reason to prefer print AND as a reason to prefer electronic. His slides go into more detail regarding user types (faculty/grad student/undergrad and different discipline areas). The upshot: Attitudes vary, so for right now a library would need to buy both print and electronic books to meet all user needs.
“Optimizing E-Resources Management” Athena Hoeppner (UCF) went through a litany of problem types. Fortunately (as I will soon be thrust back onto the front lines of solving more of these problems), I’ve heard them all before. Suggestions for improvement included Standards (NISO etc.). In the same presentation, Roën Janyk from Okanagan College mentioned that so far 92% of activity in their discovery system is from desktop computers (which must include laptops). Not very much mobile. Later she said that mobile device use of discovery is increasing.
“Shared Print in the Orbis Cascade Alliance and Colorado Alliance” had presenters from Oregon and (you guessed it) Colorado. One of the Colorado folks, in reference to their shared print program, noted that a library could designate a copy as “last copy” even when it’s not the last copy… yet. This enables weeding by others in the consortium. Overall, their experience sounded like what we’re considering with Scholars Trust.
The award for Best Alliteration in a Program Title goes to “Saying Sayonara to the STL: Strategy, Scale and Systematic Abandonment in the Ebook Marketplace.” Doug Way from UW-Madison spoke of his library’s experiment with the DDA/STL acquisition model – a model that they are now walking away from. Mr. Way structured his talk around the one-size-fits-all metaphor and emphasized that what works for his institution may not work for ours. Two key differences between them and us: larger (and more research intensive) user base + no budget increase for them in 15 years. While I will not be copying their decisions anytime soon, he did give me a framework that I can use to think about the future of STL/DDA.
John Vickery from NCSU presented on “Summon, EBSCO Discovery Service, and Google Scholar: Comparing Search Performance Using User Queries.” Human judges took a random sample of actual queries that users had input into NCSU’s discovery service. They put the queries into the three competing services. For known-item queries, the standard of excellence was having the correct result appear in the first three hits. For topical searches, they judged how many of the top 10 results were relevant. The results: for known-item queries, all three services tied. For topical searches, Google Scholar did slightly better than the other two (which were tied with each other). Vickery concluded that – based on the current status of the products – search performance does not need to be the deciding factor in choosing which discovery service to buy.
Erika Johnson from U. San Francisco and Rice Majors from Santa Clara U. – both medium-size Jesuit Universities in the Bay Area – co-presented. They examined usage/non-usage of locally purchased print books vs. usage of their unmediated regional consortium for book delivery (no exact ZSR parallel but more like NC Cardinal – the requests are done from a union catalog). One of the two libraries noted they have collection gaps in “food and culture” and transgender studies, inter alia. “Food and culture” in particular is a topic that falls between the cracks of their subject liaison structure (part anthropology, part agriculture…). Future plans include bringing a third library into their analysis (so they can better know what is normative) and examining the results of their shifted collection priorities – was it really helpful or was this process more like whack-a-mole or, rather, buying last year’s hot Christmas toy?