Professional Development

In the '2008 NASIG Conference' Category...

Steve at NASIG 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:14 pm

I know this is a bit late, but I’ve finally been able to dig myself out from under.The 24th Conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) was held during the first week of June, and I served as co-chair of the Conference Planning Committee, with the spectacular support of Chris Burris as our AV Coordinator.Planning and running a conference is an interesting and exhausting experience (as many of you found out with the Entrepreneurship Conference).The Conference Planning Committee is sort of the Tech Services Department for the conference, we handle the logistics, while the Program Planning Committee handles the solicitation and selection of programs.

Our attendance was down this year, to only about 450 people, but it went fairly smoothly, if I do say so myself (I only lost my temper once, and that wasn’t even a major meltdown).The conference included a day and a half of pre-conferences, and two and a half days of regular conference sessions.There were also two off-site catered events (one all-conference event, and one optional event that required separate payment), an all-conference reception for the opening night, a first-time attendee reception, and a lunch and three breakfasts to coordinate.We had to take care of room assignments for sessions, signage, computer and other technical needs, set up of an internet cafe, copying programs and info for attendees, stuffing bags for attendees, poster session set-up, and registration.In addition, we not only had to coordinate the bus travel to and from our off-site events, we had to improvise a shuttle service from the Asheville airport.After NASIG signed the hotel contract to bring the conference to Asheville, the shuttle company that ran from the airport to the hotels went out of business, and the taxis in Asheville are outrageously expensive.So, we chartered a bus and ran our own operation.

To be honest, the whole thing felt kind of like organizing a massive wedding for 450 people that lasted for four days.It was satisfying, but exhausting.I came home the day the conference ended and slept for 13 hours.

If you get involved in conference planning (although with Wanda becoming Vice Pres/Pres.-Elect of NCLA I should say “When you get involved in conference planning”), I have three major suggestions:

1) Set deadlines and keep them as best you can.Conferences are big operations that involve a lot of players, and there are lots of moving parts.Some players can’t get to work on their tasks until other tasks are completed, so it’s key to have a schedule and firm(ish) deadlines.With my CPC, I arranged for monthly conference calls and sent out rough timelines that sketched out the major tasks that needed to be completed over the next two months, with an indication of who was responsible for that task.It seemed to help keep us on pace.

2) Nail down plans for everything you can anticipate you will need to do.This is really very basic, but the more detailed your plans are for the stuff you know you’re going to have to deal with, the better able you are to handle the unexpected stuff that inevitably arises.

3) Be flexible.This goes with my second point.The more you have planned, the better able you are to handle the surprises along the way.Even changing a plan you’ve already developed is better than having to improvise an entire approach on the fly.

Above all, keep a sense of humor (I know I said I had three suggestions…so sue me).

Chris at 2008 NASIG Conference

Friday, June 20, 2008 3:57 pm

This year, the North American Serials Interest Group met in Phoenix, Arizona for its annual conference. Steve Kelley and I represented ZSR at the conference, and the weather became It may have been a “dry heat”, but 103 degrees Fahrenheit was still hot in every sense. Thankfully, the conference was mostly held indoors and away from the warming rays.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Taking the Sting out of Serials”, and there were strategy sessions, tactics sessions, and vision sessions where ideas were presented to address this issue. In the midst of these, however, were three concepts that were on the minds of many conference attendees.

• Integrated library systems- the next generation. With the aging of current library systems, questions are being asked about how an upcoming ILS will handle the next generation of library resources. Further, the market for the open source ILS (such as Evergreen, Koha and OPALS) continues to grow in relation to the current players.
• ERM systems. The open source ERM is also taking off, with libraries considering a stand-alone model (GoldRush and HERMES, for example) rather than an interconnected model with the ILS. Still, many libraries are facing how to fully incorporate an ERM into established workflows while creating new procedures around its operation.
• Staff resources toward e-resources. Electronic resource require a workflow all of their in order to guarantee access from the point of order to ongoing maintenance. Library staff is being tapped to deal with the fine points of the process, and libraries are determining the best procedures to commit librarians and support staff toward effective management. From reorganization to outsourcing, solutions are being explored to make up for the changes in personnel.

The session I attended covered a wide range of issues. The standouts for me were:
• “Taking the Sting out of Multiple Format Serials Displays”. This session, presented by two librarians at the University of Kentucky, described how they used bib linking to “join” records of differing formats together on a single OPAC display. For example, if one were searching for Library Journal and arrived at the record for the print journal, the link to the electronic version would be available within the same display. UK also used this procedure for print titles that had been canceled and linked them to their online counterparts, and they said that it had great success with the understanding of patrons. Also, UK is a Voyager site too.
• “Marketing Library Database Services”. Elsevier is developing a student training program in which graduate students are instructed on how to use Elsevier products (such as SCOPUS) as well as online services that are specific to individual libraries. When they return to their home institutions, these graduate students would become trainers for faculty and students alike about databases and journal products. I found this to be an interesting approach, although the application would definitely vary from one library to another.
• “Managing Divergence of Print and Online Journals”. The National Library of Medicine charged a working group that would investigate the differences in content between the print and online versions of its journal subscriptions. The implications included the available content between print and online, but it also involved interlibrary loan requests for content that may be restricted by the terms of a license agreement. The working group reached several conclusions but these in turn led to other questions such as article-level access and workflow reorganization.

Like Steve said in his post, I don’t see Phoenix on my short list of retirement hot spots for the future (though it is a hot spot of another kind). However, I did take some pictures from the trip, and they can be viewed at this link.

Steve at 2008 NASIG Conference

Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:16 am

From June 5 to 8, Chris and I attended the 2008 NASIG Conference in Phoenix, Arizona at the Tapatio Cliffs Resort, which sounds nice until you account for the fact that Arizona is a sun-blasted hellscape unfit for human habitation. Nevertheless, I attended a number of useful sessions at the conference. Highlights included:

Real ERM Implementations: Notes from the Field – a panel discussion including Ted Fons of Innovative Interfaces (moderator), Karl Maria Fattig of Bowdoin College, Jeff Daniels of Grand Valley State University, Paul Moeller of University of Colorado, and Toni Katz of Colby College. The panelists discussed their experiences implementing an ERM at their library. The libraries ranged in size of staff, size of collection, timeline and preparation of implementation, and in their staff’s enthusiasm for the process. However, a few common concerns and observations emerged. Far from reducing the amount of work performed by Technical Services, the implementation of the ERM meant that staff spent more time working with the knowledge base and link resolver, rather than doing copy or original cataloging. The ERM allowed information regarding terms of use and other acquisition information to be consolidated in one generally accessible location, and allowed for the divorcing of content from the management of that content. In order to implement the ERM, huge flows of communication had to be maintained among all parties involved and, in at least one case, a long, often painful process of re-working and re-designing all workflows and responsibilities had to be performed, with a goal of designing the system as if it were a new start-up (a process that included three consecutive all-day meetings, with the director present forcing the process along). It was difficult to figure out the workflow and procedure consequences of implementing the ERM, and was made more difficult by the fact that there were no standards for data entry into the ERM. All recommended that planning for ERM implementation should be thorough, have sufficiently long timelines, should bring in all stakeholders (including public services), and should encompass widespread training among the staff in accessing the ERM.

When Did (E)-books Become Serials? – a panel discussion including Kim Armstrong of CIC, Bob Nardini of Coutts, Peter McCracken of Serials Solutions and Rick Lugg of R2 Consulting. The gist of this presentation was that the similarities in the management of e-books and e-serials are becoming greater than the similarities that e-books share with print monographs in terms of management. The primary similarity is that e-books and e-journals share similar deliver systems. Also, e-books are like e-journals in that they are available by subscription, and they are acquired primarily by pre-defined publications from the publisher or by self-selected collections by subscription. However, e-books are not like e-journals in that there are many more individual titles that require many more individual decisions, they have less granular content, there are questions of long-term ownership, their purchase may include platform or maintenance fees, monographs have a strong tradition of expert selection, monographs tend to have more data in their bibliographic records than serials which creates metadata issues, they are discovered traditionally by the OPAC and MARC records, and linking and aggregation are less developed. The acquisition of e-books is based on inventories of individual titles and selections are decided by the library/customer. There is often coordination with print access in acquiring e-books. And e-books make possible acquisition on demand (bibliographic records for e-books are loaded into the catalog, and if a customer selects the book for access, it is purchased at that point). The acquisition of e-books also raises the issue of whether to subscribe to e-books or purchase them, if purchasing them is even possible. Libraries generally say they don’t like subscriptions, but they have a history of purchasing subscriptions, so it’s very likely that publishers will continue to offer e-books by subscription. The management of e-books is complicated by the existence of multiple editions with many different ISBNs, making it difficult to collate editions of a single title (although the xISBN may help here). Different editions in multiple languages also add problems with efficient discovery of the e-book you’re looking for. Serials Solutions announced at the conference that they have added e-books to their knowledge base, and will now be providing management and tracking resources for e-books.

MARC Holdings Conversion: Now That We’re Here, What Do We Do? – a panel discussion including Steve Shadle of University of Washington (moderator), Frieda Rosenberg of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ted Schwitzner, Illinois State University, Sion Romaine of University of Washington, and Naomi Young of University of Florida. This panel discussion covered the experiences of various libraries in implementing full MARC format holdings records in their catalogs. The benefits include establishing prediction patterns for claiming, allowing for automatic update of holdings summaries, and the ability to upload holdings records directly to OCLC’s Union List. However, the planning for the conversion and the amount of work required is large and daunting. Here at Wake Forest, we use only a couple of fields in the MARC holdings records and have other means of establishing claim patterns, updating our holdings summaries and Union List records, which do not require very much work. Or, at least not enough work to make it worth our while to fully implement the MARC holdings record. It may become an issue when we are preparing to migrate to another system, but I recommend that until then we leave our current system in place.

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