Professional Development

In the 'Charleston Conference' Category...

2013 Charleston according to Carol

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:12 am

Here are the highlights of the most important sessions I attended at Charleston:

Derrik has already covered the first session on discovery services. I won’t repeat what he said, except to link to the slides. I’ll also point out that we were one of the 149 libraries that gave approval to be studied (slide 10), but I don’t know if we were ultimately selected. In a related presentation on Friday, Bruce Heterick from JSTOR discussed efforts in getting their content to show appropriately in discovery services. JSTOR found that usage plummeted after certain schools implemented certain discovery layers. (My opinion: Students will frequently use JSTOR on name recognition alone – even when it’s not the optimal source for their topic. If the discovery service delivers more appropriate up-to-date content, so much the better.) Heterick said that many discovery services depend heavily on subject metadata for relevancy ranking. JSTOR does not include that metadata, and it would be expensive to produce. (Just a thought – many JSTOR articles are indexed with subject metadata in A&I places like MLA, which are sometimes included in the discovery service as well. How can that be harvested appropriately?)

Librarians from Ferris State reported on how they processed titles that they committed to retain within their Michigan consortium. They used a 912 field in the MARC record to indicate reasons for retention. Missing books and those in poor condition took extra time to process since they needed to find another consortium member who would take responsibility for keeping the title.

Kristin Calvert from Western Carolina reported on a project to move all their usage stats to EBSCO Usage Consolidation (hence: EUC). Before implementing this project, it took them four full working days each year to collect e-journal stats. I know Derrik would identify with some of the frustrations that Calvert expressed. After the decision to use EUC, it took…

  • 2-3 weeks to set up (I’m not sure if non-stop work is implied here.)
  • 8 hours for initial cleanup
  • 4-6 hours for quarterly loads (could do this annually to save time)
  • <1 hour/month for cleanup

The product includes an “Exceptions” list of journals that had some kind of mismatch in the system. WCU staff had to reconcile the exceptions, but once they did, EUC remembered the fix so the same exception wouldn’t pop up again. The screenshot that Calvert showed had zero exceptions. Calvert concluded that she found this project worthwhile given the efficiencies gained at the end.

On Saturday, two librarians from Bucknell discussed how they dropped their approval plan and went with print DDA for everything. They use WorldCat/WorldShare for their catalog and discovery layer, so they could accomplish this without any loading (or deactivation) of records in their system. Patrons click on a ‘Get It’ button (powered by GIST), and a librarian decides whether to fulfill the request by purchase or by ILL. In the end, they ordered 1/3 fewer titles, spent 50% less, and ILL decreased. Bucknell took this path because their approval books circulate at a low rate. They also weed aggressively (12K new books/year and 6K deletions/year), so their collection was a revolving door. They pointed out that their library focuses on undergraduate curriculum, not research, so WFU may not want to pursue this idea. One point that resonates with me though: they reminded us that ‘efficient’ does not necessarily mean ‘effective.’ Approval plan ordering is the most efficient way to get books, and e-book DDA is even more efficient at delivery. However, are they as effective in getting users to the content they need in the format they want?

Charleston Conference 2013 (Ellen D.)

Monday, November 18, 2013 10:41 am

Charleston Conference 2013
Nov. 6-9 “Too Much is Not Enough!”
With the looming confluence of two dire developments, de-selection AND e-books, these rather fraught issues were the inevitable themes of several sessions I chose to attend at this year’s Charleston Conference, held November 6-9.
“Not So Fast:” Researcher Preferences for Print or E-Books,” presented by two librarians from McMaster University, Janice Adlington (Collections & Information Resources Librarian) and Wade Wyckoff (Association University Librarian, Collections) offered an interesting counterpoint to some aspects of e-books issues as we manage them. The library has no approval plan, but librarians do firm ordering for both print and e-books on a title-by-title basis. They purchase front list titles from Oxford, Harvard, IEEE-Wiley, Springer, with some consortial arrangements, and add more e-books than print per year, with a total now of 4000 unowned EBL titles. Unlike ZSR’s compassionate policies, they do not provide intentional duplication of print and electronic, and there is no ILL for print if the e-book is owned (with few exceptions). ILL is unmediated, and 25% of requests are rejected. Predictably, there has been faculty and graduate student pushback, providing anecdotal evidence as well as lengthy, detailed, and persistent complaints regarding a specific e-book package. The librarians felt that they needed more structured input in order to develop more nuanced collecting strategies and to better support those most likely to engage deeply with texts (and to discern more than the squeaky wheels). So they devised a 7-point survey (using Survey Monkey) covering demographics, general preferences, and usage, plus an open-ended content box-and garnered strong opposing viewpoints. The survey went out to faculty, graduate and undergraduate students alike. Many individuals use both formats, and all levels of response preferred print books, particularly among the undergraduates. The Humanities and Social Sciences were over-represented, reflecting the importance of monographs to their scholarship, and they strongly prefer print. The Sciences change to a greater acceptance of electronic. The open question box pulled in a wide range of comments. Some saw benefits to both formats. The EBL and Ebsco platforms provoked negative comments. Even among the scientists, print was seen as offering a richer learning experience, easier to browse and assess for relevance; as one person put it, one can’t put one’s finger in the page to refer back. By contrast, e-books are fine for reference and scanning. There were frequent remarks on the use of the printing option and downloading to tablets, in order to have easier access to sections they needed. Humanities showed the highest use of printing and downloading to tablet or reader, but not as many downloaded to laptops as in Science/Engineering. One science professor confessed to buying print to avoid reading e-books. The comments included reflections that with e-books one reads less intently, and one doesn’t absorb enough information; one can’t double back; one MINES e-texts but READS print books; there is greater difficulty reading closely and retaining information; one is more likely to read a print books in its entirety.
As a result of the survey, the librarians changed their approaches. They stopped buying the front list from a problematic publisher. They will continue print for the Humanities, with the traditional scholarly academic monographs. They will also re-think their ILL policies and revisit acquisitions policy, addressing the question of buying print if they already own the e-book title. They plan to exercise caution in weeding print based on e-book availability for their legacy print collection. Interestingly, they remove the short term loan availability for e-books if they buy print. They wondered if e-book records encourage print circulation, a question to address perhaps in the future. They had expected greater enthusiasm for e-books. They were hit by the EBL textbook policy, and fear that as a consequence faculty are re-considering e-books and do not trust them now (even more than before?). Afterwards, in the discussion, one person stood up and pointedly asked, “Why are we doing this?” if there are so many user problems. Are we just solving our problems but not our users’ problems? Someone else pointed out that there are moral problems if users have to pay to print out texts when they cannot read print. And finally, one attendee from Germany gave an international twist to the survey’s findings: in Germany the preferences for print fall along similar lines.

 

Perhaps not too many collection management projects involve comparing one’s library holdings with those of the State Library of Norway. This unique relationship emerged from the session, “Janus-Faced Collection Ecology: De-Selection and Preservation at St. Olaf College Libraries,” presented by Mary Barbosa-Jerez , Head of Collection Development (and clearly not of Nordic origins, she acknowledged). “Janus,” with its allusion to facing the past as well as the future, suggests being mindful of unique cultural heritage holdings as well as future space needs for books and collaborative areas. In addition to supporting the St. Olaf College curriculum, the Rolvaag Library serves as the primary book repository for the Norwegian-American immigrant community, with formal ties to the Norwegian American Historical Association. The St. Olaf libraries had never been subjected to comprehensive collection assessment or to systematic weeding, and with pressing space issues, a weeding project was devised that included identifying, segregating, and protecting (as well as enhancing discoverability of) culturally important materials (the library was “off the charts” in terms of unique holdings associated with the Nordic communities). The speaker emphasized the cultural heritage not only in terms of library holdings, but also in terms of culturally based attitudes. As a self-isolated culture of frugal savers, every gift had been regarded as important. High pride in the work of forbearers meant that each item should be saved by the sub-culture; other holdings included items that had been selected carefully by well-loved faculty members. These attitudes, she noted, were at odds with the reality of physical space and the library’s mission. A vault valuation project for the Nordic-American collection reflected the value of Nordic-American Imprints and began by segregating heritage materials for protection. This process was based on identification of heritage criteria and involved coding in OCLC. She achieved stake-holder buy-in by means of a library faculty committee educated in the issues involved, and the conversation regarding de-selection always included a preservation element. She held multiple meetings of all concerned parties, reported on progress, gathered feedback, and got recommendations for the next step. Billing the undertaking as a pilot de-selection project meant that it was a low stress but high impact test. She insisted that de-selection decisions would be restricted to decisions and actions of the library staff; there had been so many preliminary conversations that additional reiterations would be redundant. In the end, a separate space was identified for heritage collection items, and genuinely deselection-worthy items could be identified as well and disposed of accordingly. She emphasized the importance of awareness of one’s unique holdings, as well as the future paradigm of one-in-one-out for the library’s collection management.

 

“Transforming a Print Collection” was a (heavily) statistically-driven presentation by two librarians at Temple University faced with the wondrous prospect of a new library on the horizon: Fred Rowland (Reference Librarian) and Brian Schooler (Head, Acquisitions and Collection). Naturally, the structure was not to be a 50 million warehouse for print ; the library already has an offsite storage and retrieval facility (1.1 million volumes in the library and 4 million offsite). As a preliminary planning step, they wanted to achieve a sense of the importance of print among various disciplines and developed two independent but complementary projects to track patterns of print use. They looked at recent circulation in the past 2.5 years and grouped them into publication dates with call numbers. They found that 21% of the N and M classes had circulated within that time span, 15% of history, and Humanities overall 14.9, compared to 10.4% in the STM fields, underscoring the relative importance of monographs. A broader overview of the circulation history revealed that 33.3% of the collection had circulated since 2010, then 30% dating from the 2000s, 17.9% from the 1990s, 11.1% from the 1980s, and 6.6 from the 1970s. Pre-1980s publications were stable at the low level of 3-6%. Tracking the linear curve of this, the Humanities showed a steeper jump from the 1970s to the 1980s, more so for history and yet more so for the Arts. Then there was some leveling off in the 2000s and in more recent years. Specific classes have different patterns from the broader categories, but the multiple lines of color for various LC sub-classes became rather messy slides, by their own admission. The Humanities showed more heavily used older materials; so those disciplines benefit from a larger amount of older materials in open stacks. Overall, they saw strong circulation of new books within 10 years of publication date. For the past 10 years, 55.2% of the collection had circulated, with 1.6 average circulations per book. 10% of the books account for 48% of total circulation, and 25% of books account for 76% of total checkouts. Humanities make up 51% of all the books, and 52% of Humanities titles have circulated. 53% of total checkouts are Humanities while English books circulated at around 59%. The peak of checkouts occurred in 2008/2009 after which they have been decreasing, perhaps attributable to buying fewer print books and more e-books. The session ended rather abruptly when time ran out and we all resigned ourselves to the respite from the relentless rain of statistics.
Lynn was one of the panel members in “If the University is in the Computer, Where Does That Leave the Library? MOOCs Discovered” and made a compelling presentation on our contributions to what she defined as MOOCs’ role in contributing to the social imperative in global institutions’ quest for high quality education, and highlighted ZSR’s-and Kyle’s-roles in meeting those needs. The first speaker, Meredith Schwartz of Rittenhouse Book Distributors wittily outlined the life cycle of many innovative efforts: Technological trigger > Peak of inflated expectations > Trough of disillusionment > Slope of enlightenment > Plateau of productivity. Perhaps we are avoiding the trough of disillusionment by having had reasonable expectations as ZSR embarked on its own version of a Pilgrim MOOC’s Progress.

 

Rich in both content and relevance, Charleston is a conference I look forward to attending again in future years. In the meantime, the conference theme (“Too Much is Not Enough!”) emblazoned on the sturdy conference bag seems very suitable for re-purposing as a shopping bag.

Charleston Conference online

Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:49 am

I have never actually attended the Charleston Conference, but this year they broadcast a small number of sessions live over the Internet. I tuned in to watch two of those sessions.

In a pre-conference segment, Judy Ruttenberg from the Association of Research Libraries spoke about legal issues in providing online resource access for print-disabled patrons. I learned that Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, requiring accessible electronic technology, applies to institutions receiving certain federal funding (and Ruttenberg made it sound like it applies to virtually all universities in the U.S.), but it does not apply to the private sector. So while it is illegal for a school/university to require the use of an inaccessible device, it is not illegal for Amazon or B&N (for example) to produce an inaccessible e-reader. As a matter not just of legality but of providing good service, Ruttenberg encouraged compliance with standards, especially WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines-I had to look it up). She also suggested that libraries could partner with campus offices for students with disabilities, and with professors, to advocate for technology and service standards and to help make sure content is accessible. Finally, Ruttenberg addressed the challenge of getting e-resource licenses in line with accessibility needs, especially given that content providers are not liable. As with the technology, model license language is a moving target, but she recommended pointing to standards (such as WCAG 2.0), as well as asking for the right to make the content usable. She closed by quoting someone (sorry, I didn’t catch who) asking why we don’t push for indemnification against third-party lawsuits for inaccessibility. In the Q&A, a discussion arose around whether an institution would be within their rights to make content accessible even if the license doesn’t permit it; Kevin Smith (Duke’s Scholarly Communications Officer), who was in the audience, asked which lawsuit you would rather defend-a content provider alleging you didn’t have the right to do that, or a disabled student who couldn’t access course material.

The other session I watched was a presentation of research on the effects of discovery systems on e-journal usage. The researchers (Michael Levine-Clark, U. of Denver; Jason Price, SCELC; John McDonald, U. of Southern California) looked at the usage of journals from 6 major publisher at 24 libraries-6 for each of the four major discover systems (Summon, Primo, EBSCO Discover Service [EDS], and WorldCat Local [WCL]). The presentation went fast and I had a hard time keeping up, but the methodology seemed logical and the results interesting. Results varied of course, especially the effect of the discovery system on the different publishers’ content, but there did appear to be a resulting increase in journal usage, with Primo and Summon affecting usage more than EDS and WCL. The main purpose of the current study was to see if they could detect a difference, which they did. Their next step will be to try to determine what factors are causing the differences.

Charleston Conference with Lynn

Monday, November 11, 2013 10:32 am

I went to the Charleston Conference last week for the first time in several years. It started as a small conference for “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition,” but its scope has broadened over the years and now almost 2,000 participants enjoy the talks by both librarians and vendors in the lovely city of Charleston.

Bill and I were both speakers this year so we arrived Tuesday evening in time for a barbecue sponsored by Mitchell Davis of BiblioLabs. ZSR is one of the newest library contributors to BiblioLabs (thank you, Chelcie) so they were glad to see us. On Wednesday morning, Bill spoke on a panel in the Self-Pub pre-conference, along with a number of former colleagues, including Mark Sandler from the CIC and Bob Holley from Wayne State.

Self publishing is moving away from its former stigma as vanity press and toward an image of efficient DIY technology. While an estimated 43% of books published today are self-published, they are largely invisible to libraries since libraries typically rely on aggregators for acquisition and there are few aggregators for self-published works. Once a library does find material it wants to add to its collection, issues of metadata, acquisition and preservation are not easy, as our team of ZSR experts can attest when it came time to add material from our own Digital Publishing platform at WFU. The panelists agreed that we all need to figure this out since the phenomenon will keep growing rapidly.

On Thursday, I gave my presentation “A MOOC of our Own” in the plenary session called “If the University is in the Computer, Where does that Leave the Library? MOOCs Discovered.” The session was organized by Meg White of Rittenhouse, who turns out to be a Wake Forest alum! Meredith Schwartz, senior editor of Library Journal, started out by giving a history/overview of the MOOC movement. Then I gave our ZSRx example of “MOOCs in action” and Rick Anderson of University of Utah concluded by giving observations on the future of MOOCs in higher education. I was excited to learn that Library Journal will publish a written version of my presentation in the December issue.

A mooc of our own from suttonls

I went to a number of the million or so sessions that took place during the conference. Carol and Ellen were also there, so they will no doubt write up the sessions they attended. A few stood out for me including a very informative panel on streaming video in libraries. We are struggling with this problem ourselves, so it was instructive to see how other libraries are coping. Most had invested in commercial solutions, I was not happy to hear. The Library Publishing Coalition offered a panel of deans saying why they thought it important to invest in library publishing activities. Some focused on journals, others on both monographs and journals. It made me feel like we are doing the right thing with our own digital publishing efforts. A panel of Provosts offered interesting perspectives on their view of libraries. I thought the Provost from Stetson was particularly insightful on how libraries can be leaders and change agents on campus. ASERL sponsored a reception Thursday night just before the all-conference party at the Aquarium, so it was good to touch base with those peeps. All in all, a very enjoyable and productive conference.

EllenD at Charleston

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:20 pm

Charleston Conference 2012: “Accentuate the Positive!”

Nov. 8-10, 2012

For the first time, I attended the Charleston Conference and found it very rich and wide-ranging in its content, with myriad sessions, plenary and concurrent. I had no trouble filling my dance card, choosing to emphasize user- and liaison-related issues. Highlights from particularly useful and interesting sessions follow.

“Integrating Discovery and Access for Scholarly Articles: Success and Failures”
Anurag Acharya, Founder and Lead Engineer, Google Scholar

Acharya reviewed the progress (with shortfalls) that Google Scholar has made towards reaching its goal of being the single place to find scholarly literature, where researchers around the world can both discover and access articles. Discovery is limited to what one has access to, and that is at times tied to one’s area; however, increasing interdisciplinary work makes connections where previously none were known. He pronounced Google Scholar the largest scholarly source on the planet, comprising output of major and mid-size publishers and societies, and most smaller publishers, but conceded that access remains a crazy quilt with many pathways: library subscription, consortial subscription, free archival access, OA, pre-pubs, and individual subscriptions. Approaches to subscriber links have been variable: internationally it has worked well for libraries making explicit requests since there have been activist groups, such as the National Library in Australia. Not so well in the U.S., however, since most consortia have not seen it as their role, although some have stepped up, notably VIVA in Virginia and GALILEO in Georgia. Ultimately this helps to level the playing field for everyone. He noted as well Archive Access, initiatives taken by journal publisher to give free access to older articles with “succinct” moving walls. There are now 70 partners, including Oxford, Sage, JSTOR, and PNAS. This highlights public access that publishers provide, allowing researchers worldwide access and leveling the playing field. In addition, Developing Country Access covers all IPs in developing countries as offered by Highwire Press Program, and the JSTOR Africa Access Initiative, IP-based, requires libraries to sign up. Integration is similar to subscriber links, and can be specified by country, adding per article links.

 

“Does Format Matter? Comparing Usage of E-books and P-books”
Christopher Brown, Professor, Reference Technology Integration Librarian / Government Documents Librarian, University of Denver, Penrose Library
Michael Levine-Clark, Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication and Collections Services, University of Denver

This session addressed the question not only of comparing use of electronic and print books, but also the validity of such comparisons. The project began with the purchase in 2008 of the package of Duke University Press e- and p-books, through which 841 titles were available in both formats (the print were almost free and appeased faculty concerns!). They tracked cumulative circulation data every December during 2009-2011 as well as e-book usage data during that same time span. However, before proceeding to explanation of the results the presenters emphasized the interesting point that one cannot really compare use of the two formats-or at least it is like comparing apples and oranges. With print books, one counts check-outs (sometimes to faculty who can renew books until they retire), carrying potentially many uses; i.e. there is one check-out statistic but an unknown number of multiple uses within that loan period. By contrast, with e-books each use can be tracked: one time “in” the book is one use. In addition, there were additional complications: title variations, ISBN complexities, and multiple-volume issues. According to the counter, 36.7% of the e-books were used, and 66% of the print books were used, and 325 titles were used in both formats. There also were stats for “P Used, E Not,” and “E Used, P Not,” etc. At the end of the day, their observations were as follows: “Use of E does not seem to lead to use of P” and “Use of P does not seem to lead to use of E.” Furthermore, when both formats were used, they were used at a higher rate than average and at an apparently more meaningful level as measured by pages viewed and user sessions. Their suggestion posed at the end of the session was that if the dual format use increased, then perhaps the preference is for good content, and not so much format per se. Different formats may be used for different reasons and purposes. Despite all the statistics displayed rapidly across vanishing screens, this was an intriguing session and underscored the ambiguities in tracking use and user preferences.

 

“Keep Calm and Carry On: eBook Success @ Undergraduate Libraries”
Mary Barbosa-Jerez, Head of Collection Development, St. Olaf College
Cathy Goodwin, Head of Collection Management, Coastal Carolina University
Roberta Schwartz, Technical Services Manager, Bowdoin College

This session examined the e-book issues faced by smaller, predominantly undergraduate schools that lack the resources and staffing enjoyed by larger research institutions.

St. Olof College, with 3000 undergraduates, has a striking faculty demographic: a high percentage of newly minted professors with both expectations and familiarity with digital materials, so e-books are a non-issue for many newer faculty. In addition, nearly 90% of students study abroad, so e-access supports an important program at the school. These elements have facilitated a shift from “just in case” to “just in time” philosophies, and access rather than ownership. The goals outlined by Mary Barbosa-Jerez were: creating a seamless patron experience, offering multiple simultaneous users, universal downloading ability to all devices, quality MARC records, perpetual access, and relative stability of collection titles. Mary described herself as an early watcher rather than an early adopter, requiring that a system has to meet what she really wants. Experimentation outside of larger e-book collections has been challenging. She suppressed old Net-Library titles because of the single user access feature, which does not match her policies.

Cathy Goodwin of Coastal Carolina University described her institution of fewer than 9000 students (a few graduate and one doctoral program approved, plus a distance eduation program) as “state-limited” rather than state-funded. She pronounced NetLibrary a dreadful model, having preferred to go with ebrary’s Academic Complete subscription in 2009, and the Springer e-book collection. She purchases more for the curriculum, not so much for faculty research. She sent out a three-question survey to faculty, essentially asking if this was a good use of departmental funds, garnering a 17% response rate, including 33% tenture-track faculty, which was generally positive. She listed several familiar challenges, including multiple platforms, inconsistent modes of access, the e-reader proliferation which complicates access, and the need for a better aggregator model. In order to assist users, librarians have prepared a LibGuide for “Ebooks @ Kimbel Library” which has tabs for their various assorted families of e-books. (Another librarian in the audience pointed out that her library at Johns Hopkins also had a LibGuide for e-books: E-Books: How to Find Electronic Books and Resources in the Library’s Catalog.) Cathy’s concluding advice was an inspirational “Good luck!”

Roberta Schwartz of Bowdoin College in Maine, an all-undergraduate institution, outlined the collaborative approach taken by Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby for both print and e-book purchases: they are able to share each e-book among the three colleges, including the MARC records. They share a catalog and collections with the intention of minimizing frustration, and have acquired packages from Oxford, Duke, Cambridge, and Springer. She noted that students do not seem to favor e-books if they need to read the entire book; it is okay for only a few chapters, anthologies, etc., and they do favor the remote access. But despite such caveats, she acknowledges that e-books are a large part of the future landscape.

 

“Great Expectations: New Organizational Models for Overworked Liaisons”
Steve Cramer, Business Librarian, UNCG
Amy Harris, Reference Librarian and Information Literacy Coordinator, UNCG

ZSR liaisons met with UNCG counterparts earlier this year to discuss workload issues, so it was interesting to hear how this problem has been pursued at UNCG. The litany of responsibilities is similar, and there were many heads in the audience nodding in agreement: research instruction, outreach, collection development, weeding, embedding in classes, assessing both instruction and collections, developing online learning objects, and addressing scholarly communication issues–the list goes on. The question posed was whether such expectations are realistic!

Steve and Amy gave an overview of organizational structure vis-à-vis liaison work: a decentralized liaison structure with no official liaison leader, liaisons not really held accountable, most of them based in reference but spending most of their time on liaison activities. The Head of Reference acknowledges this mismatch.

Then came a “Perfect Storm:” a large weeding project, large budget cuts, reduced liaison staffing despite a decade of campus growth, increasing expectations of liaison responsibilities for bibliographic instruction, increasing research consultations, embedded librarians, evaluation of databases, creating LibGuides, collection assessment, outreach, and promoting scholarly communication issues. The consensus: this was an unsustainable workload.

In response, the Dean convened a Liaison Collection Responsibilities Task Force in March of this year to survey how other libraries deal with the complex array of liaison responsibilities in possibly innovative ways, and to recommend alternative organizational models for the range of collection development and public services of liaisons. The UNCG librarians discussed the issue with WFU colleagues, searched library literature (to little avail), raised questions at conferences, researched library web sites, and contacted libraries with interesting models. Most academic libraries have decentralized liaisons organization, such as Utah State, for example. Johns Hopkins and Villanova have more centralized departments for liaison work. Some libraries have co-liaisons in teams. Minnesota, Duke, Kansas, and Washington formally prioritize the responsibilities of liaisons, prioritizing engagement over collections.

The liaisons are considering a variety of proposed options: subject teams with coordinators for BI, collections, and reference; teams retaining a departmental structure; or having liaisons partnerships with subject components; or having subject teams with functional responsibilities. They would prioritize academic departments with the most teaching, and enable more teamwork, create more full-time liaison positions, and encourage more liaison partnerships. As next steps, they plan to implement task forces to address specific issues, and to provide staff support for collections projects.

 

 

 

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.

Susan @ the Charleston Conference: Talking About Providing Value

Friday, November 16, 2012 9:13 am

Earlier this year ZSR Library participated in a research study. The six month study was commissioned by SAGE and conducted by LISU, a national research and information center based in the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University. It sought to study how libraries show evidence of value to research and teaching staff and we were one of 8 case studies from the US, UK and Scandinavia. A final report with findings and recommendations was published last summer.

I was invited by SAGE to come to the Charleston Conference to co-present on the results of this study. My co-presenter was our old friend and colleague, Elisabeth Leonard, who now works for SAGE. Elisabeth reported on the results of the study and my job was to show the practical side of how we demonstrate value at ZSR Library. (My part of the presentation starts on slide 29)

Working Together, Evolving Value for Academic Libraries/Examples from One Library from Susan Smith

 

I was disappointed that home-front obligations on either side of our presentation schedule meant that I didn’t get to the conference until late Friday and so missed most of it. I’ve heard about The Charleston Conference for years, but since it isn’t in my area of responsibilities, I’ve never attended. I still didn’t get to attend any concurrent sessions, but I got the opportunity to see the energy of the conference and enjoy the final general session, a debate on the proposition that “the traditional research library is dead.” Arguing “yes” was Rick Anderson, Interim Dean, Marriott Library, Univ. of Utah against Derek Law, Professor Emeritus, University of Strathclyde, who emphasized his “no” position by wearing a traditional kilt! It was a spirited debate sprinkled with good-natured humor. My favorite line was delivered by Rick (note to all my cataloger friends, don’t shoot me!): He referenced the growing view that cataloging is dead by disagreeing. Instead, he said, catalogers are the “walking undead.” (laugh here). Twenty-first century polling was included as part of the session. Before the start of the debate, attendees were invited to text their yes or no position on the issue. At the end of the debate, a second poll was conducted to see if the debaters had changed peoples’ view. The end result was that the majority of attendees agree that “the traditional research library is dead.” The Conference Blog has a detailed report of what Anderson and Law had to say to support their positions and how the vote went. It was a fun session and makes me want to figure out a way to justify coming back next year.

I did manage to get in a little photography time (it was CHARLESTON after all), so I dragged myself out before dawn Saturday morning so I could watch the sunrise. My morning photo efforts are available on my flickr site.
Sunrise 6

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 unglue.it 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.

 

 

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?

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 http://www.niso.org/news/events/2011/nisowebinars/materials/NISOwebinar12october2011PRINT.pdf 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 http://www.libraries.wright.edu/noshelfrequired/2011/09/27/beyond-print-summit-from-trln-meeting-materials/ and details at http://www.trln.org/BeyondPrint/index.htm
  • 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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