Professional Development

In the 'Charleston Conference' Category...

Bits and Bytes – DSU in Charleston

Monday, November 17, 2014 9:44 am

[Really, our title should be Bits and Bytes (and Bites!), but y'all know we were in the culinary wonderland that is Charleston, so the bites are a given.]

Chelcie and Molly attended the inaugural Charleston Seminar, a new two-day intensive workshop preceding the Charleston Conference. This year’s topic was Introduction to Data Curation, taught by two guys from UNC: Cal Lee, faculty at the School of Information and Library Science, and Jonathan Crabtree, Associate Director at the Odum Institute. We were two of approximately 30 librarians, faculty, administrators, and vendors from across the U.S. and Canada who attended. Wake Forest was in the middle in terms of institutional research focus represented.

The seminar was a mix of lecture and hands-on activities—Molly used a hex editor for the first time!—and addressed the sociocultural concerns of data curation, as well as the how-to aspects. We were reassured to realize that the paths we have been pursuing are on target for an institution of our size and research context.

Key takeaways:

  • keep data lifecycle stages simple; move complexity into functions
  • not about data ownership, but data stewardship
  • digital curation not the end, but the means to the end of better research
  • if we really love this data, need to acknowledge that we (aka, libraries) may not be the best place for it; is it a library conversation, or a campus conversation?
  • metadata tells you how to sift through data
  • must acknowledge the “Hermeneutic Gap” of archived data: context is often not captured, and is never the same
  • ask researchers what terms they would type into Google to find this data; often their terms will be pretty good, and can be used in descriptive metadata

We came back with definite steps to pursue to further the data curation conversations at Wake Forest, but also with the reassurance that libraries’ roles with data need to be ones of advocacy and coordination, not sole responsibility.

The Charleston Conference 2014, via Ellen D.

Friday, November 14, 2014 3:55 pm

I attended the 34th annual Charleston Conference November 5-8, where the theme, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” inspired myriad presentation titles, including the opening address, “Being Earnest in the New Normal.” Presented by Anthea Stratigos of Outsell, Inc., a firm which offers strategic marketing for libraries, the talk was rife with market-based jargon rather than the libraryland lingo that tends to lace most presentations. She urged libraries to get better at delivering our branded experience via strategic marketing (there was a passing reference to “brand halo”), and limned the current landscape of the information industry: vendors struggling with growth, talent gaps for sales and analytics, changing cost structures, and, since vendors need to bring growth to stakeholders, mergers designed to create such growth. She listed the elements that constitute the strategic marketing that libraries need to develop: have a strategy and mission (only 50% of libraries have this); build a target market map (administration, key user groups, services and offerings); complete a needs assessment (understand what users want); weed and feed a portfolio of services; and brand and market internally, delivering “wow.” Finally, she urged libraries to do the things that matter to our marketplace, establishing a portfolio that spells out what to drop or add, moneys to request, and for which targets. She urged moving one’s institution from a passive posture to a more active stance, while not getting too far ahead: the balancing act involves avoiding an innovation curve that might disenfranchise stakeholders, who have their own points of view.

Several sessions broached the issue of students’ responses to e-books, and I attended a number of these.

“How Users’ Perceptions of E-Books Have Changed – Or Not: Comparing Parallel Survey Responses” was presented by librarians from the University of Florida: Steve Carrico, Tara Cataldo, Trey Shelton, and Cecilia Botero. The group discussed surveys taken in 2009 and 2014 at the University of Florida. The surveys took the form of pop-ups on library computers, urging users to “Help us make better decisions: take our survey.” During those five years, there were slight declines in the percentages of users who had ever used e-books (77% to 76%) and those who had used e-books from the university library (66% to 56%). The caveat may be that users may not know that something is an e-book, or that it is from the library; they also had trouble distinguishing between book chapters and journal articles. Significantly, they often prefer to wait for print books via ILL for a week, rather than use e-books. Students noted problems with ease of use, reading, and the pleasure of reading. Aspects of e-books singled out as grounds for disapproval and dislike include eye strain, access problems, annotation problems, love of print (the feel of print books), dearth of titles, navigation issues (e.g. inability to flip through pages), lack of graphics, portability, DRM, poor quality, and reliance on technology. In addition, they complained of finding it hard to locate or to remember where a portion of text is situated: all e-books look and “feel” alike. Unsurprisingly, a greater amount of experience affects awareness of issues. Among the notable comments was the familiar observation, that students feel that they do not read as carefully in e-books (distractions seem to abound in that environment), and they do not focus as well. Of those not using e-books, 32% were undergraduates; so ironically, library users among whom many are digital natives do not really like e-books. As one user succinctly proclaimed, “No paper, no soul.”

“Are We There Yet? A Longitudinal Study of the Student E-Book Experience,” by Kendall Hobbs and Diane Klare of Wesleyan University, reflected the fourth year of data-gathering in what has become an annual presentation of an ongoing ethnographic study by the CTW Library Consortium (Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University). They found that although more students have encountered e-books, this has not translated into a preference for e-books or greater sophistication in use. However, their strong preference for print diminishes somewhat after participation in library sessions guiding them in the use of e-books. Initial interviews asked them how they use e-books, what e-books are, then to find and use an e-book, and additionally included surveys of preference for print or electronic, devices used, and gauged familiarity with searching, downloading, highlighting, annotating, and copying/pasting material. The studies found that over the years, the number of e-books used has increased, but not the degree of sophistication in using e-books and their advanced features, despite the fact that e-journals have become well integrated into students’ research strategies. 70% had used library e-books, but half of them only 1-2 times per semester. 86% prefer print for both academic and pleasure reading, and they use print and e-books in different ways: e-books for discovery (searching and skimming the text), but they prefer to have print when careful, close reading is needed for serious study. They like the physicality of print (the very thickness of books), being able to flip through the pages, and even the ability to use post-it notes (some students rank books according to the number of sticky-notes posted in them; those books with the most notes are obviously deemed the most useful). They also like to hand-write notes or outlines, feeling that this makes them more engaged with the text; it gets into their brains better than is the case with mechanically copying and pasting. They want everything at hand when writing their papers; they do not want technology to get in the way, requiring them to navigate through multiple platforms. They cited problems with finding functionality since icons are not always comprehensible. Finally, students have two goals: they want their own print copies, and they want easy access with more intuitive interfaces.

I myself find such findings to be consistent with my own experiences in BI and PRS sessions. I always go over the use of e-books, and when I ask how many students prefer e-books, at most 1-2 students raise their hands. I acknowledge the ambivalence surrounding e-books, but then emphasize that despite a generally shared preference for print, the library’s e-book program offers a troika of advantages: immediate, simultaneous access to a larger number of books than we could afford to purchase in print. I also show them how to print out selected content, including how to determine in advance (under the Details tab) how many pages the book’s publisher permits for printing or copying. It is difficult to gauge response to this information in classes, but in one-on-one encounters in PRS sessions or at the reference desk, the relief is apparent.

 

 

 

Charleston Conference 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014 3:09 pm

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

1. the short bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charleston 2014 According to Carol: Kanopy and E-Books

Thursday, November 13, 2014 4:56 pm

Illinois State University spoke about their experience with Kanopy. Two key observations about impact:

  • After starting DDA, they saw an increased number of requests to license non-DDA Kanopy titles – suggesting that some percentage of faculty users treat Kanopy as a standalone database.
  • ISU had previously bought streaming rights to some individual titles, which they hosted locally. When these titles were duplicated in the Kanopy DDA set, the Kanopy version generally had more use. This implies that the Kanopy versions are either more useful or more easily discoverable.

At Wake Forest, two Kanopy DDA films have already been used enough to trigger a purchase, and this is before loading the MARC records or doing any promotion beyond a single ZSReads article.

Two librarians from Wesleyan University did both qualitative (anthropology-style + usability) and quantitative (survey) studies of student attitudes and behaviors regarding e-books. Their observations:

  • Having personal control over a copy was most important, e.g. printing or making a PDF.
  • E-books work best for discovery. Print is better for deep reading.
  • Students read just what they need to write the paper. This holds true for print books and e-books.
  • Students are not interested in pirating per se, but they prioritize easy over legitimate.
  • Indexes to e-books are still exact reproductions of the paper format. The index terms are not hyperlinked; therefore, the index does not get used.

I saw two presentations on e-books featuring the always interesting Michael Levine-Clark from Denver. In the first presentation, he was on a panel that included reps from Wiley, OUP and YBP. They focused on the rapidly increasing costs of short-term loans, i.e. the one-day rental fees paid for the DDA books. Rebecca Seger from OUP presented on the economics of publishing a book. In a nutshell, OUP could predict the revenue streams for print but not for DDA. However, Levine-Clark pointed out that in the aggregate Denver spends the same amount on book content regardless of the existence of DDA. It’s just spread around differently. (At WFU, ZSR is actually spending more on monographs since the advent of DDA.) Any total reduction in monographs spending (at Denver or nationally) is due to journal inflation, which both Oxford and Wiley engage in. Since Denver is facing a flat budget, if current trends continue, their monograph spending (print or e) will be $0 by 2020. The panel did not offer any concrete suggestions on resolving the crisis beyond general statements about publishers and librarians working together.

The second presentation explored e-book usage in the Humanities. Levine-Clark had a national data set, and he compared usage in Humanities vs. Social Sciences vs. STEM. Then he compared the disciplines within Humanities to each other. I quickly realized that – based on usage patterns – Linguistics & Communication act more like the Social Sciences than Humanities. One interesting thing that he noted: The number of use sessions per 100 books available is lower in the Humanities than in Social Sciences or STEM. He did not speculate on a reason, but personally, I wonder if this reflects an oversupply of Humanities research compared to the demand for consuming Humanities research – especially since Humanities faculty are often specifically evaluated by whether they have published a book.

Imagine for a moment that ZSR cancelled its DDA plan: What might take its place? The two main alternative purchasing models are subscriptions (e.g. ebrary) and the Big Deal. I attended two sessions that probed different aspects of the Big Deal model. For e-books, Big Deal purchases are usually brokered directly by publishers (instead of by aggregators like EBL and ebrary). They generally do not have any DRM, and the books can be used by unlimited users. After UNC-Charlotte serendipitously discovered that they had 30 course adoption books within their Big Deal packages, they began deliberately promoting this idea with the faculty. They ultimately paid $14K for 117 additional titles. (They purchased some books one-by-one in addition to the Big Deals.) The bookstore was a good partner. A faculty member who used this program for his Film Studies course talked about how this program positively impacted his teaching.

Examples:

  • He did not feel morally obligated to use every single chapter in the textbook, since the students were not required to pay out-of-pocket for it.
  • A corollary: he felt free to use single chapters from various books.
  • He likes a tech-free classroom, yet he still found ways to use the text within the class session.

Sidebar: This generally works for “course adoption” books. Rebecca Seger had helpfully explained the distinction between a “course adoption” book and a textbook. A textbook is something like Intro to Statistics, 18th edition. A “course adoption” book is something like The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: adaptation to closed frontiers and war, which was not expressly designed as a textbook, but was indeed adopted for course use by a faculty member at WFU. Publishers do not know in advance which general monographs will become course adoption books. Generally, publishers do not sell multi-user textbooks to libraries, since that harms their lucrative (extortionate?) textbook revenue stream.

The last presentation I attended painted a less rosy picture of the Big Deal. Miami University thoroughly analyzed 2.5 years of usage statistics for Big Deal e-books purchased in 2012. Only 19% of titles had a use. Just three books (by their titles, clearly textbooks) accounted for 17% of downloads. Miami’s FTE is roughly 15K, or twice that of WFU. Therefore, I speculate that WFU would see only 10% usage if ZSR were to purchase this kind of package. Every time I have investigated the pricing of one of these packages, I have noted that the discount for buying in bulk does not even come close to accounting for the nearly inevitable low usage rates. While packages differ as to subject coverage, the ones that cover everything published by Publisher X in a given year are the worst deal, as there is no price break for the large swaths of content (e.g. agriculture) that would see virtually no use at a school like WFU.

While the Big Deal for journals is frequently (and sometimes with justice) maligned among librarians, the extra you pay for the journals without any previous subscription (i.e. likely low-use journals) rarely exceeds more than 10% of prior spend. I would not advocate for pursuing the Big Deal model for monographs unless publishers begin offering much steeper discounts.

The Ellers Visit the In-Laws; Charleston 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 12:00 pm

Eleven-day-old daughter and sleep-deprived wife in tow, I attended the 2014 Charleston Conference flying arguably in the face of reason. I had the advantage of a free place to stay: my parents-in-law live out on James Island, a 15-minute drive to the Francis Marion Hotel where the conference is held. Given this fact and the conference’s unique focus on acquisitions, it makes sense for this meeting to become an annual excursion for me.

The opening speaker, Anthea Stratigos (apparently her real last name) from Outsell, Inc. talked about the importance of strategy, marketing, and branding the experience your library provides. She emphasized that in tough budgetary times it is all the more important to know your target users and to deliver the services, products, and environment they are looking for rather than mindlessly trying to keep up with the Joneses and do everything all at once. “Know your portfolio,” advised Ms. Stratigos. I would say that we at ZSR do a good job of this.

At “Metadata Challenges in Discovery Systems,” speakers from Ex Libris, SAGE, Queens University, and the University of Waterloo discussed the functionality gap that exists in library discovery systems. While tools like Summon have great potential and deliver generally good results, they are reliant on good metadata to function. In an environment in which records come from numerous sources, the task of normalizing data is a challenge for library, vendor, and system provider alike. Consistent and rational metadata practices, both across the industry and within a given library, are essential. To the extent that it is possible, a good discovery system ought to be able to smooth out issues with inconsistent/bad metadata; but the onus is largely on catalogers. I for one am glad that we are on top of authority control. I am also glad that at the time of implementation I was safely 800 miles away in Louisiana.

In a highly entertaining staged debate over the premise that “Wherever possible, library collections should be shaped by patrons instead of librarians,” Rick Anderson from Utah and David Magier from Princeton contested the question of how large a role PDA/DDA should play in collection development in an academic context. Arguing pro-DDA, Mr. Anderson claimed that we’ve confused the ends with the means in providing content: the selection process by librarians ought properly to be seen simply as a method for identifying needed content, and if another more automated process (DDA) can accomplish the same purpose (and perhaps do it better), then it ought to be embraced. Arguing the other side, Mr. Magier emphasized DDA’s limitations, eloquently comparing over-reliance on it to eating mashed potatoes with a screwdriver just because a screwdriver is a useful tool. He pointed out that even in the absence of DDA, librarians have always worked closely and directly with patrons to answer their collection needs. In truth, both debaters would have agreed that a balance of DDA and traditional selection by librarians is the ideal model.

One interesting program discussed the inadequacy of downloads as proxy for usage given the amount of resource-sharing that occurs post-download. At another, librarians from UMass-Amherst and Simmons College presented results of their Kanopy streaming video DDA (PDA to them) program, similar to the one we’ll be rolling out later this month; they found that promotion to faculty was essential in generating views. On Saturday morning, librarians from Utah State talked about the importance of interlibrary loan as a supplement to acquisitions budgets and collection development policies in a regional consortium context. On this point, they try to include in all e-resource license agreements a clause specifying that ILL shall be allowed “utilizing the prevailing technology of the day” – an attempt at guaranteeing that they will remain able to loan their e-materials regardless of format, platform changes, or any other new technological developments.

Also on Saturday Charlie Remy of UT-Chattanooga and Paul Moss from OCLC discussed adoption of OCLC’s Knowledge Base and Cooperative Management Initiative. This was of particular interest as we in Resource Services plan on exploring use of the Knowledge Base early next year. Mr. Remy shared some of the positives and negatives he has experienced: among the former, the main one would be the crowdsourcing of e-resource metadata maintenance in a cooperative environment; among the negatives were slow updating of the knowledge base, especially with record sets from new vendors, along with the usual problem of bad vendor-provided metadata. The final session I attended was about link resolvers and the crucial role that delivery plays in our mission. As speakers pointed out, we’ve spent the past few years focusing on discover, discovery, discovery. Now might be a good time to look again at how well the content our users find is being delivered.

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.

 

 

 


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