Professional Development

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Carol “at” ER&L

Friday, April 5, 2013 4:45 pm
Local Scenery "at" the conference

Local Scenery "at" the conference

No, my post title isn’t a candidate for the “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. I was one of the virtual attendees at the conference. Since Derrik and Chris have already blogged, I’ll focus my reflections on some of the topics they haven’t covered yet.

What would Google Do?

Elizabeth German from the University of Houston reported on a transaction log analysis. Like us, their home page had several tabs roughly equating to Summon, catalog, e-journals, etc. Forty-three percent of searches were for known items vs. 53% for unknown item searching.

DDA as a Game Changer

Michael Levine-Clark University of Denver and Barb Kawecki YBP

This presentation was partly an overview of what DDA is. The new part for me is that NISO is working on some Best Practices on how to do DDA. For instance, publishers should keep titles available indefinitely in case a book languishes unused for decades but eventually gets a use. Another key thing they’re working on is how to get titles out of the consideration pool. (At WFU, we are particularly worried about superseded editions staying in the DDA pool alongside the newer editions.)

E or P: A Comparative Analysis of Electronic and Print Book Usage

Christopher C. Brown and Michael Levine-Clark from the University of Denver updated a study that I reported on last year about print and electronic use of the same book. This time, they analyzed Duke University Press books they had bought in print and from ebrary. When both formats were available, print was more likely to be used than e. (619 different print titles were used vs. 451 e-titles. This is from a universe of 1150 titles available in both formats.) However, books that were used in both formats tended to have the highest amount of total usage, and the type of e-usage tended to be more significant (e.g. higher number of pages used, higher number of pages printed). Once again, use in print correlated with use of e. Maybe patrons are using the e-book for discovery, which leads to a checkout in print. (Note this is just a speculated pattern; the data aren’t granular (or invasive) enough to prove that the same person uses a book electronically and then subsequently checks out the print.)

OpenURL Link Resolvers: Tracking Effectiveness over Time

Kenyon Stuart from the University of Michigan studied how SFX and 360 Link and Summon’s Direct Linking succeeded in linking users to full text. After all this time, there’s still a lot of room for improvement in this linking. Supplements, book reviews and newspapers are particular problems. He did find ways to reduce bad links for the most frequently used journals. For instance, he moved better-performing providers up in the 360 Link results list. (We’ve done that too, for instance ranking publisher-based sites generally higher than aggregators and putting print last.)

Reflections on virtual attendance

ER&L is a relevant conference for me, but not my #1 conference for the year. The group virtual attendance option was affordable. It also brought in folks for single sessions who never would have traveled to Texas. Thanks to Derrik for arranging this!

Carol at ASERL Journal Retention Meeting

Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:29 pm

On February 13, I arose ere the dawn to attend the ASERL Journal Retention Steering Committee meeting on the Georgia Tech campus. I don’t normally drink coffee, but I downed two cups once I arrived. (OK, really two cups of coffee-flavored sugared cream.) The opening session reviewed the project ( ) and introduced the WRLC (Washington [i.e., DC] Research Library Consortium) print retention project. Each library representative mentioned what they’re retaining for the group. For WFU, that’s mostly the Wiley-Blackwell journals. Most other libraries are following a subject-based approach or are archiving JSTOR. You can find our commitments by searching for ‘ASERL’ in VuFind.

Cheryle Cole-Bennett covered “How to Document this Retention Agreement within the MARC 583 field.” ZSR currently uses a prescribed basic 583a statement that “This title is in the ASERL Print Journal Archive.” In VuFind and Classic, this note appears only in the staff view (good, since only staff care). However, this data does not feed into the master OCLC record, where an audience of librarians across the country may care to read this data. Also, the minimal data in the 583 does not specify which years of the journal are committed for retention, how long ZSR has committed to retain it, or the conditions of retention (e.g. in a closed-stack facility). For instance, in the case of Psychological Reports, ZSR has newer volumes that aren’t part of the commitment yet. OCLC and ASERL have developed some complicated recommendations for expanding the data in the 583 field, as well as a recommendation to include holdings-level data in OCLC for these titles. (At this point, the presentation got technical, and I hope the catalogers can make sense of the PPT slides.) Questions from the audience included: Can you enhance the 583 by batch? How can you communicate that a title is part of two or more retention plans (e.g. ASERL & TRLN)? Can you have multiple 583 fields or repeated subfields within 583? Apparently, the enhanced 583 does not completely erase the problems when only part of the run is officially retained. ASERL has not yet officially decided what members of the group should do with their 583s, so no action is required yet.

Next, we discussed adding subject categories to the retained journals. Apparently the Deans want this (that so, Lynn?). The group agreed to use Ulrich’s to assign subjects, with subscribers pitching in to provide the headings for the non-Ulrich’s-subscribers (like WFU). I noted that they didn’t specifically assign a library to cover our titles, which might lead to a ‘diffusion of responsibility’ effect. Maybe the deans that care about this the most will step forward with the labor to cover this effort.

Next, Winston Harris from UF demonstrated the Journal Retention and Needs Listing (JRNL) tool that they developed for the group. It answers two questions:

  1. What’s in ASERL?
  2. If I’m weeding, can I fill in a gap for someone else who’s retaining this title?

During lunch, the branding subcommittee (that’s me and Steve Knowlton from U. Memphis) took feedback from the group on potential guidelines for a catchy name. (What?!? “ASERL Cooperative Journal Retention” isn’t snappy enough for you??) I took down some notes, but I don’t want to reveal too much too soon….

Amy Wood from CRL demonstrated the PAPR (Print Archives Preservation Registry) system, which tries to track nationally where journals are being retained. One use case: Say you’re weeding, but you want to make sure someone’s retaining the title. Maybe you’re not comfortable unless several institutions are retaining the title. WorldCat can give you a raw holdings count, but not who’s committed to permanent retention. PAPR fills that need.

Finally, we discussed targeted retention. First, they discussed agriculture titles (Zzzz). Next, they discussed retention of certain big sets. I hoped to turn the discussion to humongous physics runs, but the group was more intent on retaining paper indexes that WFU has long since weeded (like Chem Abstracts and NUC). Most surprising to me was the claim that the pre-1956 NUC is a high-use item. Ah, the world of an ARL….

The meeting ended early, so I took MARTA to the airport, where I played out a round of “Grande Tea vs. Dramamine.” I think the tea won, since I stayed awake all the way home.

Carol in Charleston, with Random Linguistic Side Notes

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:47 am

A keynote speaker used ‘gatekept’ as a past participle verb. The OED hasn’t caught on to that yet, but the Google Ngram shows a small but steady increase in the word since 1970.

In “The Changing World of eBooks,” Mike Shatzkin focused on the viewpoint of trade publishers. They’ve discovered that most readers just want to be alone with their books. They don’t care about enhanced content. (He pointed out that this applies to immersive reading for adults. It does not apply to children’s books, how-to, cookbooks and a few other categories.)

In “Ebook Availability Revisited” (the session I saw with Lauren C.), the authors advocated against buying (as opposed to renting) any e-books. They assume that the legal issues surrounding Hathi Trust and Google Books will resolve in a few years. Then we can just buy/lease from them. They promoted subscription over DDA, and came down strongly against doing e-book approvals when DDA is available.

Later that afternoon, I attended the “TRLN Oxford University Press Consortial E-Books Pilot” representatives from Duke, UNC-CH, NCSU, YBP and OUP described how they initiated a shared-cost model for the entire output of Oxford’s UPSO product. (BTW, the Charleston program copyeditors need to decide among ‘e-book,’ ‘eBook’ or ‘ebook.’) I’m skeptical about the ‘Big Deal’ model spreading to e-monographs, but I nonetheless heard this session with great interest. The schools shared costs based on what they thought fair, e.g. accounting for size of school, nature of school, etc. They also purchased one print copy of all non-STEM books. They placed the print in OSS. Records processing work was shared out, with one school processing all the print and another all the electronic. They didn’t go into this hoping to save money – their hope was to expand access for the same money. Access for alumni was also included. I wrote that down calmly in my notes, and then I got excited since that includes me! The speakers noted one significant challenge: OUP excludes some books from UPSO and releases others online after a delay. Therefore, if a selector sees an OUP book of interest, should they buy the print or not?

I ended the day by giving a “shotgun” presentation on the incentive program we ran last year. See my slides on slideshare.

On Friday, I attended “Overview of the Altmetrics Landscape.” The presenters outlined at least five alternatives to traditional journal-level metrics: Impact Story, Altmetric, Plum Analytics, Science Card and Mendeley. They also mentioned the attributes of an ideal altmetric system: free, API available, relevant, and immune to rigging/gaming. The next steps are to explore use cases, give context to numbers and continue to combat gaming.

My final Friday session was “Changing the DNA of Scholarly Publishing – The Impact of the Digital Leap.” Damon Zucca from OUP discussed how the Oxford Handbooks series changed when it became an online product. From the print world, they knew that authors who met the deadline didn’t want their chapters held hostage by those who didn’t meet deadline. They also learned that users often sought out specific essays. Therefore, the obvious decision was to make chapters available online as soon as possible and not worry as much about the container. Lisa Jones from Georgia Gwinnett College had the privilege of starting a brand-new collection when her college opened in 2006. She had an e-book subscription (i.e. the approach advocated by the Thursday presenter), but dropped it due to insufficient use. (I also heard a speaker in this session say ‘editors-in-chief.’ Google Ngrams reveals this is indeed the popular usage. Can you tell how much I love Google Ngrams?)

Finally on Saturday, various vendors hosted 30-minute sessions on new products. As Classics and Linguistics liaison, my obvious choice was a presentation on the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) and the Loeb Classical Library. Both online products are still in development, but I’ve signed up to beta-test DARE.

Carol at MSU LEETS, Part II

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:32 pm

The second day of the MSU LEETS conference focused on emerging technologies. These presentations overlapped more with each other so I’ll just give some general impressions. The main speaker was Nicole Hennig from MIT.

  • NUIs (Natural User Interfaces) to replace GUIs
  • Libraries creating “hackerspaces” or “makerspaces” which feature 3-D printers. Our own Dr. Atala got a shout-out in the context of 3-D printers (look at 11:05).

We watched the video “What is a MOOC?” by Dave Cormier. The narrator highlighted “distribution” as a key component of MOOCs (starting at 2:50). He mentions “pockets and clusters” of information like blogs, tweets, tags, discussions posts, etc. Later, in the context of user experience studies, a major theme was “Fragmentation Hurts.” What is “fragmentation” but a negative way to say “distribution”? Hennig mentioned another of her presentations on this topic, and I followed it up more thoroughly. I learned that “fragmentation” was used in several contexts, such as the annoyances of e-books (e.g. platform proliferation; some work on certain devices but not others). Fragmentation was also mentioned in light of the cloud and one’s personal cache of information. I know I have work information on Google Docs, Evernote, Gmail, acad1, my hard drive and the wiki. I feel the pain when a needed piece of information isn’t in the first (or second) place I look for it. I also think about distribution/fragmentation in light of the library sharing information with patrons. We currently use Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, (multiple) blogs, ZSReads, Pinterest and maybe others. In some cases, the various outlets point back and forth to each other. I understand that some patrons are on Facebook but not Twitter and vice versa, and we certainly want to reach them all. However, it’s a constant challenge to make sure that our information sharing is aptly described as “distribution” instead of “fragmentation.” What I’m describing is just “events” type info. Don’t get me started on the fragmented sources for research, a problem only partially solved by Summon.

Resources to follow up on:

Augmented Reality Apps that I might consider:

  • Layar
  • Tagwhat
  • Google Goggles
  • LeafSnap

Apparently, MSU LEETS was the first library conference to have an official Instagram feed.

MSU On-Campus Guest House, Dwarfed by Football Stadium

MSU On-Campus Guest House, Dwarfed by Football Stadium

The folks at Mississippi State practiced pleasant hospitality and treated their speakers royally. The MSU community clearly loves its football.

The stadium backed right over the on-campus hotel where I stayed. (By contrast, I never found the basketball arena.) They also got me a guest pass to their fabulous fitness center. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and would recommend this conference to others.

Carol at MSU LEETS, Part I

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 4:34 pm

I spent last weekend in Starkville, Mississippi at the MSU LEETS conference. LEETS stands for Libraries eResource and Emerging Technologies Summit. The first day of the conference focused on electronic resources.

Tim Collins from EBSCO Publishing emphasized the development of the EDS discovery service in his opening keynote. He worries more about the erosion of library funding than the potential threat of Google. Just as Google covers all things free, he hopes that EBSCO will provide all things vetted. EBSCO bought up indexes like AHL and HA primarily because they can enhance other products like EDS.

He also reflected on EDS participation. All of the major publishers participate because usage increases, and nobody gets access without paying. Aggregators (like LexisNexis) may not participate if they don’t have rights to re-distribute the content. Indexers (like MLA) are reluctant to participate since their customers may stop buying MLA and may start relying on the discovery service instead.

Regina Reynolds from the U.S. ISSN Center at the Library of Congress spoke next on PIE-J. The proposed best practices under development for e-journals include (inter alia):

  • Keep all article content under the title current as of the time of publication.
  • Include accurate ISSNs, including variant ISSNs like p-ISSN and e-ISSN.
  • Include title history.

Western Carolina University recently canceled 190 journals. Kristin Calvert discussed the process of discovering and activating their post-cancellation access (PCA) rights. She affirmed that:

  • ERM data entry is time-consuming.
  • Long grace periods make it difficult to discern whether your archival access works or not.
  • Portico did not work as well as publisher sites for getting PCA.

Ed Cherry and Stephanie Rollins from Samford tried to assess whether library use correlated with academic success. They defined “library use” as logging into an e-resource, and they measured “academic success” by GPA. First, they set EZproxy to require logins for all users, on- and off-campus. Once they had a semester’s worth of login data (i.e., capturing usernames), their partner in Institutional Research could compare library use to Banner information like class year, major and GPA. They learned that more frequent library use correlated with academic success. (They carefully noted that their methodology could not prove causality.) They also determined which majors had low use of resources, so they could better target outreach efforts.

Tammy Sugarman from Georgia State discussed Institutional Repositories. First, she gave an overview of the concept and described the types of materials that typically enter the repositories. Then she outlined how Technical Services staff can be a critical ingredient in the success of an IR.

Yours truly closed out the day with a discussion of DDA. Some tidbits I haven’t shared out with ZSR yet:

  • In the first four months of our DDA program, five books were triggered for automatic purchase (at sixth use). In the most recent four months, 24 books were triggered, including five triggers in July 2012.
  • Of the eight books used on July 30, seven were used for the first time, and four of these titles were loaded on the very first day of DDA in March 2011.

Carol at ER&L

Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:09 pm

Impressions from the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference …

E-books and DDA

When CSU-Fullerton had a budget cut, they prioritized their DDA program and instead cut their approval plan. They skipped the intermediate step of an e-preferred approval profile.

In our own presentation, Derrik and I asserted that annual spending on DDA clusters around $4-$7 per FTE. Outrageous spending seen at other institutions might simply reflect a large FTE. With that thesis in mind (seeking confirmation bias?), we noted during other presentations that CSU-Fullerton is on track for $5/FTE. University of Denver spent $6/FTE.

An EBL rep reminded us to prepare for an increased percentage of triggered purchases each passing year as more infrequently-used books reach the trigger point.

A YBP rep mentioned that e-books now account for 10% of sales.

E-books vs. print books: The University of Denver examined usage in cases where they owned both the print and digital copies of the same book. High e-usage correlated with high print-usage (and vice versa), but without a clear causal link. Apparently, relevant content generates high use of both formats. About half of their presentation covered methodology – problems like separate ISBNs for each format made for a very time-consuming project.

E-journals and Big Deal alternatives

CSU-Fullerton used CCC’s Get It Now service to provide e-journals (with transactional payments) instead of ILL or subscribing. They did not anticipate that the same individual would sometimes download the same article multiple times. How to control for that in a patron-friendly way?

CUNY Graduate Center outlined how they eliminated a Big Deal. Essentially the content of that particular deal did not match current institutional strengths. By contrast, every time I’ve examined WFU use stats, the Big Deal for journals comes out ahead of the à-la-carte model.

Another presenter gave a sophisticated analysis of Big Deal journal usage for a consortium of libraries in the UK. He determined how much they would have to pay in Document Delivery or extra subscription charges if they left the Big Deal and returned to an à-la-carte model. In the end, the consortium renewed with both Big Deal publishers under consideration. The speaker’s model included a percentage use increase each year. He stated that use (i.e. journal article downloads) went up 14% each year. I’ve never thought to account for that before, but I could see whether that holds true for WFU. (If use does indeed go up, does it reflect enrollment growth or an increase in per-FTE consumption?)


Libraries (including ZSR) pay for hosting of the CLOCKSS archive at multiple sites worldwide. A speaker noted that the Japanese CLOCKSS site went down due to electric grid malfunctions in the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami. The site restored itself with data from the other CLOCKSS sites over the next several months thereafter.

Discovery Layer

A speaker from Oklahoma State University investigated a question that Lynn has asked me to look into: If you have a discovery service (like Summon), do you still need A&I databases? OSU examined one case where a low-use A&I database offered a huge price increase. Her methodology was:

  1. Find the overlap between the A&I database and Summon.
  2. For unique titles, determine whether the library has holdings, and whether the title is in English.

Her findings:

  • For the database at issue, OSU determined that about 92% of the titles were covered (at least partially) in Summon. Of the remaining 8%, OSU held 6% (or, 0.48% of the entire list), and those holdings were generally both fragmentary and old.
  • About 75% of the unique titles were non-English. They also examined ILL requests for the unique titles, and discovered there had been none over the past two years.

Ultimately, they cancelled two A&I Databases using this methodology. At WFU, the true duds among our A&I databases have been cancelled already (unless bundled with something else). Therefore, I wouldn’t want to replicate this approach unless (as at OSU) the database is already low-use, budget pressures apply, and a faction protests the cancellation by playing the “unique content” card.


One of the keynote addresses introduced the ARL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. This booklet covers scenarios like

  • reproducing portions of special collections items for the purpose of exhibit
  • e-reserves,
  • and many more.

Three Themes & Some Miscellaneous Ideas from Charleston

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 2:01 pm

Acquiring Datasets: Two speakers from the U. of Illinois (one a “Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian”) described a pilot project managed by a Data Services Committee. Purchased datasets are stored on a section of the library’s webserver and linked in the catalog. In the long run, current processes may not be scalable and may demand too much of IT resources. The presenters expressed hope that third-party vendors may move into this arena as it becomes more mainstream. As universities become increasingly dependent on grant funding, datasets will become even more important to faculty research.

Streaming Video: Two sessions addressed streaming video. NCSU negotiates directly for streaming rights and then mounts the content locally. WSU-Vancouver sticks labels on video boxes to indicate rights levels (e.g. PPR included, streaming prohibited), and they also include such notes in catalog records. Furthermore a local copyright LibGuide includes a streaming media tab. We once hoped that streaming video would resolve the problem of continually buying the same film over and over again as VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-ray…. The industry seems to have figured this out, as some newer pricing models allow only a three-year lease.

Perpetual Access and the Big Deal: Concordia University (Montréal) spearheaded a huge project that closely evaluated the usage of subscribed and bonus titles in the ScienceDirect Freedom collection. After the project was over, they only swapped out five titles. Why so few? The high-use bonus titles were frequently in topics that had a short shelf life, whereas some of the low-use subscribed titles might have more staying power. In the end, they decided that they could “break-up” with the concept of perpetual access. I wondered about opportunity cost, since all this swapping only has an effect if you ever decide to cancel the Freedom Collection. At a school like ours, this would only happen after an Open Access revolution or a budget apocalypse.) Furthermore, three of the pseudo-canceled titles were in Math. If we followed a similar path, would there be opposition here? (During another session, I received external confirmation of what our Math faculty have been telling us for years: Math faculty use journal articles differently than other disciplines in ways that make their usage stats look low.)

Miscellaneous Ideas:

  • Should services like Summon adopt personalization like Google does? Or is that too creepy?
  • Much has been said about the role of journals in branding scholarship as worthwhile and the related career implications for authors. I began wondering about the implications for readers if journals went away and articles stood alone. How do we as readers filter the good stuff?
  • Should we stop binding journal issues that will be in JSTOR five years from now?

NCLA According to Carol: E-preferred Approval Plans?

Monday, October 17, 2011 9:01 pm

NCLA marked my first experience as a member of a conference planning committee. I managed the poster sessions with my excellent co-chair and long-time friend of ZSR, Iyanna Sims. I didn’t get to attend that many concurrent sessions, since I frequently needed to help the next poster session set up.

The most relevant session to my daily work was about the e-preferred approval plans offered by YBP. In an e-preferred approval plan, you pay up front for the e-book instead of auto-purchasing a print book. The speakers were from NCSU and Duke. The main thrust of their presentation was about streamlining workflow for these orders as much as possible. Personally I was more interested in why rather than how they implemented it. Having heard their experiences, I’m still not convinced that an e-preferred approval plan is the way to go here at WFU. Since they are both significantly larger than us, it’s likely that many more books would pass the high-use threshold, and buying in advance is the best policy for them. From the WFU experience thus far, I believe that a school our size is better served by just-in-case DDA. It was notable that Duke has dropped DDA altogether, while NCSU wants to investigate integrating DDA and e-preferred approvals, two ordering streams which are currently completely separate.

Some of this goes back to one’s philosophy of an approval plan (or a standing order for that matter). Are we buying these books because we think a library like ours should have these imprints regardless of use, or is it because we “know” these titles will get used? If it’s the former, than an e-preferred approval plan is a good idea. If it’s the latter, then maybe our DDA set-up could someday replace most of our approval plan. This is not an academic question for the future. I’m working on a project (sidelined by the whole poster session thing, but I’ll get back to it soon) to identify cases where a book series is on auto-ship and also available DDA. We would need to decide if we want to buy the series as an e-book, or just turn on DDA and let nature take its course.

Other memorable moments from Hickory included a delicious dinner at the Olde German Schnitzel Haus (does that count as liaison work?) and a near-death experience caused either by the poster sessions’ proximity to a dog show or by a literacy program featuring live dogs. Thank God and Priscilla Lewis for Benadryl!

Carol at the Charleston Conference

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 4:47 pm

Honestly, they could’ve renamed this the “Patron-Driven Acquisitions Conference,” given the many talks on that topic.

Rick Anderson’s opening plenary promoted the opposite of the Big Deal: The Tiny Deal, or, single article purchases. He reported two surprises with his library’s Espresso Book Machine:

  • An interest in self-publishing, especially for family histories.
  • Demand for blank books paired with a cover image taken from their special collections.

I attended two of the patron-driven (PD) acquisitions sessions. One featured three librarians from BYU discussing their experience. Out of 18,000 records loaded, 326 books were purchased. That’s not much, especially when you factor in their FTE of about 30,000. They also used a 583 note on the purchased titles to distinguish them from non-purchased ones. Interesting idea or too much work? Since our current plans are to use distinct back-end location codes that will all show publicly as “Website,” I wonder if public service staff and liaisons need a way to tell one kind of e-book from another without using the Cataloging Module.

The other PD session featured a librarian, a publisher, a YBP rep, and an EBL rep. Becky Clark from Johns Hopkins UP reported on an AAUP survey about the impact of PD on publishing. 56% of respondents believe they will publish the same number of books, but 31% foresee a decline in publishing once PD matures. While Michael Levine-Clark from the University of Denver spoke, I was furiously doing math in the margins of my program. I was trying to calculate how much WFU would spend on a PD program if our usage pattern were like Denver’s. The EBL rep, David Swords, briefly flashed up data from multiple customers that I was salivating after until…

Meanwhile, back at the ZSR, Derrik was independently emailing questions to David, who suggested a quick Charleston meet-up. Derrik referred him to me. Since I now have a smartphone, I was checking my email between sessions, and I arranged to meet David that same afternoon. As a result of that meeting, he sent us the data I sought. Derrik, Lauren and I have used that information to help forecast what might happen when we start our own PD service.

I also heard our Duke colleagues talk about their experience lending Kindles and Nooks and buying content for them. Their approach was very similar to ours but, as you might expect, on a larger scale, with IIRC, 41 devices available. Although they sought out other alternatives, they had no better solution than maintaining a separate spreadsheet of which titles were on each device. [Not] paying taxes on the purchases has been a big hassle lately.

One Friday session featured Jon Orwant from Google Books. He spoke about their metadata challenges, what they’re doing to address these challenges, and research uses of the Google Books Corpus. His discussion of corpus linguistics uses was the highlight of the entire conference for me. Corpus linguistics is a methodology which uses computers to mine a large body (=corpus) of text and find out something interesting about language. He cited the verb ‘to sneak’ and the use of the irregular vs. regular past tense. (As in ‘she snuck/sneaked up on me.’) Researchers can mine the Google Books corpus to find out the frequency of each variation, how the frequency values have changed over time, etc. Google has also funded researchers who want to track the use of words like ‘labour’ across Victorian literature. The corpus can also be analyzed for phrases. Mr. Orwant showed a list of 3 word phrases (trigrams) that appear much more often in older books (like ‘vexation of spirit’) vs. newer books (‘health care professionals’).

Google came up again in the Saturday plenary sessions. Two lawyers discussed current cases that could have a high impact on our work. As we were updated on the status of the Google settlement, I recalled that the settlement was announced about a week before the conference two years ago and they still haven’t finalized it. I also heard updates on SkyRiver vs. OCLC and the Georgia State e-reserves case. Omega Watch vs. Costco was not a case I expected to hear about, but if Omega wins, some of our rights to circulate books and especially foreign-made videos could be threatened.

My final act on Saturday was participating as a panelist in a session moderated by Elisabeth Leonard and our Readex rep, Erin Luckett. The goal of the panel, “Straight Talk,” was better communication between vendors and librarians.

All in all a great conference. Stop by my office if you want to hear more details about the sessions or especially linguistics!

Carol at ER&L 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010 1:34 pm

Derrik and I deliberately attended separate breakout sessions in almost every time slot.

Emma Cryer of Duke spoke on Open Access Marketing. During Open Access Week 2009, Duke sponsored multiple panels targeted to different audiences, such as Librarians, Graduate Students, Faculty, and (taking advantage of Parents Weekend) Parents. Outcomes of the experience:

  • More consultations with the Scholarly Communications Officer,
  • An Open Access policy proposal (still under development), and
  • More comfort with Open Access questions among the public service and liaison librarians.

Future directions include: more workshops (instead of panels), bringing in an Open Access publisher, and specialized toolkits.

Another Monday session focused on ER librarian duties and training for same. A graph of typical ER duties roughly matched my past experience and Derrik’s job description. The speakers concluded that LIS programs do not prepare librarians for these duties. Attendees were challenged to provide internships and workshops to help our current and future colleagues. During the discussion I asked the audience to help me crowdsource some internship ideas. The ideas mentioned:

  • Mapping DLF/ERMI terms for an ERMS
  • Licensing and budgeting (no specifics given)
  • Fixing e-journal links
  • That Someday/Maybe list of projects we never get around to
  • Making a list of print+electronic journals (Chris has done that for ZSR)
  • Shadowing each Resource Services librarian and doing micro-projects with each.

Tuesday morning I attended a theoretical presentation on “use.” The speaker averred that we over-emphasize transactional use like COUNTER, Ref questions, and circulation statistics. I did not write down The Answer for doing this better, but I did make a note to push the PRS service the next time I write my faculty about anything.

During Tuesday’s longish lunch break, I strolled over to the campus art museum to view a special exhibit on Paolo Veronese. As this shameless Flickr plug reveals, I really dig Veronese.

During another Tuesday session librarians from the University of Northern Colorado described a reorganization of workflow that resulted in 3 full-time employees adding e-journal link checking to their jobs. (They may eventually delegate this work to student assistants, but they wanted to get a feel for the nature of the work first.) FixZak has not risen to this level of service yet. If a problem is reported in, say, InformaWorld we often check other InformaWorld titles to determine the breadth of the problem, but we go no further. At UNC, the public services staff clamored for this pro-active checking.

The final Tuesday presentation featured Rick Lugg from R2 Consulting. The question was whether we should centralize or decentralize ER workflows and The Answer was clearly decentralize, i.e., make e-resources part of everyone’s job.

On Wednesday I went to a copyright presentation. It was mostly familiar territory, but one interesting nugget is that the U. California system negotiated with Springer to put all UC-authored articles into Springer’s Open Choice program and into the UC IR.

One final rant: It has become fashionable of late to say “issue” when you really mean “problem.” Fine. But it is very confusing if the “issue” is because you can’t access an “issue,” e.g. v.9 n.2. Gah!!

Once I recovered from the harrowing pre-dawn, icy drive to the airport, my trip was quite enjoyable. My hotel room featured a photograph of the Santa Rita oil well. Visit my Flickr site to see how the town of Texon, which grew up around this well, looked in 2006.

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