Professional Development

In the 'Electronic Resources and Libraries' Category...

Carol Watches the Electronic Resources & Libraries Online Conference

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 10:11 am

For the third straight year, Derrik has facilitated group viewing of the online presentations of the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference. Read on for some gleanings I reaped from three of the sessions that I watched live and one that I’ve already seen as a recording. I will probably continue watching recorded sessions as I have time. Indeed, just a few weeks ago I was catching up with a few sessions I missed from 2014. ZSR folk can contact Derrik for the login information.

Come One, Come All: Building a Community for the Global Open Knowledgebase
Kristen Wilson, North Carolina State Univ.

Ms. Wilson outlined a project called GOKb, a new open-source knowledgebase. (Knowledgebase = the back-end data that supports services like Find a Journal and WFU Full Text Options.) If GOKb lives up to its potential, then a single library can fix a data error, and it would be fixed for everyone else regardless of what commercial product they may use.

Making Value Judgments: eBook pricing for Access and Ownership
Michael Levine-Clark, Assoc. Dean for Scholarly Communication & Collections Services, Univ. of Denver
Jason Price, Director of Licensing Operations, SCELC
Maria Savova, Claremont Colleges

The presenters outlined different ways to think about value when it comes to e-books and how different purchasing models perform better or worse depending on the value that you seek. For instance, to avoid DRM, buy directly from the publisher. However, cost-per-use is lower with DDA and subscription models. This presentation did not provide The Answer. Rather, there are multiple right answers depending on your most important values. I think a further bit of research could compare institutions of different sizes. Levine-Clark claimed that the subscription model was the most effective on cost-per-use. However, his institution is twice as large as WFU, implying twice the use. Some purchasing models scale down the price for smaller schools, and others do not. What difference would that make on cost-per-use?

Did We Forget Something? The Need to Improve Linking at the Core of the Library’s Discovery Strategy
Jesse Koennecke, Director of Acquisitions & E-Resource Licensing Services, Cornell Univ.
Eddie Neuwirth, Sr. Product Manager, ProQuest
Jacquie Samples, Head of Electronic Resources & Serials Cataloging Section, Duke Univ. Libraries

Over the years, I’ve seen many presentations complaining about the problems with OpenURL linking. Fortunately, this presentation focused on solutions. ProQuest is replacing the top “escape hatch” with a right sidebar. IMHO, the sidebar looks like such a great improvement that I think we should implement it mid-semester. (Roz agreed, so Kevin implemented it on Monday.) ProQuest has also implemented IEDL (Index-Enhanced Direct Linking) to take users directly from Summon to the content. IEDL was launched some months ago, and I hadn’t even noticed (which is good!). Ms. Samples talked about the errors that cause OpenURL to go wrong and stressed the importance of reporting the errors.

Is Open Access the Golden Ticket? The Real Cost of OA for the Library
Kim Armstrong, Deputy Director, Center for Library Initiatives, CIC
Jay Starratt, Dean of Libraries, Washington State Univ.

The presenters surveyed some large academic libraries. They concluded that so far Open Access actually results in increased costs because universities sometimes provide funding for APCs but OA hasn’t taken off enough to allow us to cancel subscriptions. As you might imagine, this presentation attracted a lot of discussion. One commenter speculated that the impact of OA might be in preventing the launch of new subscription journals or in holding down the rising costs of journals.

2014 ER&L virtual conference

Thursday, April 10, 2014 5:03 pm

For the second year running, I “attended” the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference by watching streamed sessions. I still plan on watching sessions as time permits throughout the year, since the group purchase that Derrik made runs until the next conference is held in 2015. (ZSR folks: Ask Derrik if you need the password.)

One trend that popped up in multiple presentations was Evidence-Based Acquisition (EBA). Like its close relative Demand-Driven (or Patron-Driven) Acquisition, it has two names and two initialisms. So you may also hear of Usage-Driven Acquisition (UDA). With EBA, you give a provider an up-front deposit, say, $5,000. Then then provider turns on their entire catalog of e-books or streaming films. After a set time, say, a year, you get a usage report and can choose $5,000-worth of products for permanent ownership. There are some pros and cons to this approach, especially vis-à-vis DDA. (What if you don’t get $5,000 worth of use? What if all the use is long tail with no “short head”?) However, since providers who use this model generally do not participate in DDA models, EBA may be the most cost-effective way to buy certain types of material.

Another hot topic was the end-user experience with e-books and certain multimedia databases. Basically, it’s bad. Typical problems with e-books include not being able to print, not being able to use the book on certain devices, not being able to store the book for later consultation. Multimedia has a different but related set of concerns. (I’m reminded of this comic and this infographic. They both claim that poor UX drives customers to piracy.) The presenters didn’t go as far as claiming that library resources drive folks to piracy, but they did claim that students will instead either download free alternatives or the “haves” might buy individual copies instead, which could magnify the effects of economic disparities among students. The presenters insisted that libraries should put their collective foot down and refuse to buy user-hostile resources (even if the information contained is high quality). They called out one well-known database as particularly awful. A quick check of that library’s website established that they still subscribe to the bad product, so the force of their argument was somewhat undermined. I have hope, however, because I can remember a time in the 90s when e-journals and e-newspapers were just as bad as e-books are today. Printing from JSTOR used to be a nightmare, and you had to use certain specific computers if you wanted to use ProQuest. Then you had to use a different computer entirely for LexisNexis. These days, e-journals generally just work. Maybe e-books and multimedia sites will get there someday if we keep leaning on the vendors and if we at least occasionally refuse to buy products that are the worst UX offenders.

Carol at ER&L

Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:09 pm

Impressions from the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference …

E-books and DDA

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

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

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

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

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

E-journals and Big Deal alternatives

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

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

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

CLOCKSS

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

Discovery Layer

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

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

Her findings:

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

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

Copyright

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

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

Derrik at ER&L 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:35 am

I had a very good conference experience with the 2012 Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) conference. It’s almost overwhelming just to look at all the notes I took! ER&L really packs a lot into a 2.5-day conference, averaging 8 sessions a day. And if that’s not enough going on, you can follow even more sessions via Twitter.

My two main areas of focus for this conference were e-resource management systems (ERMS) and demand-driven acquisition (DDA).

ERMS. The first set of breakout sessions included a panel of 8 librarians representing a total of 5 ERM systems. I was one of two CORAL users on the panel. For those of you who are wondering, an ERMS helps Resource Services personnel keep track of databases and licenses-things like license terms, user limits, vendor contact information, etc. The panel discussion used a “buffet” metaphor, and the idea was for audience members to get a sampling of the different ERMS options. The format was fast-moving, even with a two-hour time slot. It was interesting how different sites use the same product differently, and see different strengths & weaknesses of that product. Common themes that emerged in the discussion included using the ERMS for internal communication, desires for better usage statistics management, and Interlibrary Loan permission as the only license term that anyone outside of e-resource management really cares about. And I discovered I’m not the only one who thinks CORAL should include subject headings for databases.

ERMS buffet

At the CORAL user group meeting (my first as an actual user), I learned more about the new CORAL Steering Committee. As I have described in previous blog posts, CORAL was developed by librarians at Notre Dame. But as adoption has increased, Notre Dame’s capacity to develop the product has been diminished. So they have formed a Steering Committee, with librarians from Texas A&M, Duke Medical Library, and the College of New Jersey. The committee will make product decisions and actively develop fixes and enhancements. As always, other libraries are also allowed to contribute code.

On a more general ERMS note, I attended a presentation by Tim Jewell, who has chaired a NISO working group on ERM Data Standards and Best Practices <http://www.niso.org/workrooms/ermreview>, a successor to the ERMI data initiative. Among other things, ERMI defined standards for what data elements should be tracked by an ERMS and has given direction to the development of other e-resource management standards such as SUSHI (usage statistics) and ONIX-PL (communication of license terms). The working group released a report in January (available at the website). The report (and Jewell’s presentation) recognizes that other standards initiatives, many of which have grown out of ERMI, provide greater granularity than ERMI. Thus the working group recommended that NISO not continue to develop the ERMI data dictionary, but instead continue to support these more targeted initiatives.

Sorry for the ERM geek-out; I hope I didn’t overwhelm you too much. Moving on…

DDA. Based on this conference, it seems like demand-driven acquisition is moving out of the pilot phase and is moving toward becoming a more accepted practice. Carol and I presented stats and findings from ZSR’s first year of DDA. We also saw data from the University of Denver’s DDA program, and it appears that they spent about $6 per FTE during fiscal year 2011, close to ZSR’s per-FTE spend of $5. But librarians from Calif. State Fullerton said that their DDA expenditure increased significantly in the second year-something for us to keep an eye on. We also learned that NISO is reviewing a proposal to develop best practices for DDA.

One question about DDA that was brought up a couple of times was planning for removal of titles. As the number of available titles increases, is there a need to “weed” outdated ones? If so, how would this be accomplished? No one offered any answers, just raising the question.

Publishers and vendors are also coming to grips with DDA. DDA is forcing them to re-think their sales models, moving from the predictability of Approval sales to the unpredictable volume and timing of patron-driven sales. Oxford Univ. Press is investing more heavily in discoverability, trying to make all Oxford content cross-searchable. Matt Nauman, from YBP, described their DDA service, and said that YBP is seeing a need to develop an e-book collection management service rather than relying strictly on sales.

JSTOR. John Lenahan from ITHAKA described some of the results of JSTOR user data analysis, and some of the projects they are working on as a result. JSTOR has found that a major portion of their users are coming to JSTOR from outside the library (mostly via Google), resulting in a high number of unnecessary turnaways. So JSTOR is developing some really cool features to address this. First of all, JSTOR has made all journal content published prior to 1923 free to anyone. The are also working on a “Register to Read” function, where a user can “borrow” up to 3 articles at a time. What’s really cool, though, is the “Institutional Finder,” which will prompt the user saying “You are not logged in from an affiliated institution,” and will allow the user to select their university and log in via the proxy server. Finally, they are building an integration with discovery services, providing the user with a link to re-do their JSTOR search on their library’s Summon instance.

Turnover. I attended a session on reducing information loss when there’s staff turnover, thinking of all the information stored in an individual’s memory, e-mail account, hard drive, etc. Strategies suggested included using an ERMS, wikis &/or LibGuides, and project management tools. The speaker also suggested using a checklist for departing personnel. One tip I liked was to create a generic institutional e-mail account to list with vendors so that when a person leaves you can just redirect that account rather than having to contact all those vendors.

AR. I learned about a project at the University of Manchester, where they have developed Augmented Reality (AR) apps in conjunction with Special Collections exhibits. For example, a student might point their smartphone camera at a 200-year-old printing press, or a copy of Dante’s Inferno, and can tap certain areas of their screen to get more information. The externally-funded project represented cooperation among software developers, tech support, librarians, and academic departments. They found it to be most meaningful for 1st- and 2nd-year undergraduates, less so for experienced students and researchers. In case you’re wondering (like I was), their Special Collections dept. has iPads available for checkout for patrons who don’t have a smartphone. More about the project is available at http://teamscarlet.wordpress.com/ .

ER&L is a great conference to follow on Twitter. There are quite a few attendees (including yours truly) who tweet during sessions, and with only three or four concurrent sessions, the conversations are fairly easy to follow. The conference organizers tried something new this year–in addition to the conference hashtag, they assigned a separate hashtag for each session. It was a good idea (IMHO), but apparently wasn’t publicized very well and had only moderate uptake. It will probably work better next year.

Finally, here are some miscellaneous sound bytes either from my notes or from the conference Twitter stream:
@AnAnarchivist: “Accepting other people’s opinions is an expectation, we want other’s opinions, and expect our opinions to be welcome. #erl12 #millennials”
“Unlikely you’ll ever be down to 1 tool” for managing e-resources – Heidi Zuniga, University of Colorado medical campus
“IP addresses are not an identity” – Thomas Blood, Naval Postgraduate School
@library_chic: “print books were all shareable across consortia. ebooks are, in most cases, not shareable #consortia #erl12″
@annacreech: “What a cataloger thinks a title is and what a vendor thinks a title is are two different things. #ebookpbook #erl12″
@tmvogel: “UDenver: Going through data fast, but it looks like they saw higher per title usage for the titles in both formats #erl12 #ebookpbook”

Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference

Thursday, March 27, 2008 4:00 pm

TV Screens at Farmington PL from Flickr Before I talk about the conference, I saw one idea on my vacation that might be worth stealing. This is the public library in Farmington, New Mexico. They have a wall section devoted to TV screens. Some show TV news and others display library events and tips (like how to place a hold).

I saw WorldCat Identities for the first time. It uses WorldCat data to graph activity by and about an author over time.

This conference was also my first encounter with Library Thing’s Unsuggester (Did you like…? Then you will not like…)

Workflow Ideas

  • One library created an e-book task force to look at the Tech Services options for dealing with them.
  • Another library assigned serials staff to manage e-journals based on publisher. Therefore one staff member became adept at the quirks associated with Blackwell and the next with ScienceDirect and so forth.
  • This library also used Gold Rush to evaluate some abstracting databases for overlap.
  • Planned Abandonment must be held in tension with New Initiatives. Any process you abandon will adversely affect a few users. The key is to strategically replace it with something new that will benefit many users.

Collaboration Ideas

OCLC revolutionized data sharing for printed books. How can libraries share data related to e-resources? We could share

  • E-journal title change and transfer data
  • Librarian reviews of databases similar to Amazon reviews of consumer products.
  • Troubleshooting information. Internally, we’ve begun documenting how to recognize and solve specific problems. What if that info were in a public wiki? IMHO, that would be more useful than digging through listserv archives.

SerialsSolutions Presentation

One time slot was devoted to vendor presentations. I chose SerialsSolutions and their 360 Counter usage statistics product.

  • So far it doesn’t download the stats for you (they are waiting for full SUSHI compliance first)
  • It normalizes titles using the SeSo knowledge base
  • It assigns (SeSo’s) subjects to journals
  • It assigns cost per use (Unclear how much manual input would need to be done for us to realize this.)

Marketing Ideas

I also went to a session on marketing electronic resources. Very little of this presentation had to do with e-resources specifically, but there were plenty of ideas for library marketing in general. A few we might try…

  • Branded coffee sleeves (in our new coffee shop?)
  • Branded sticky notes inserted in our annual letter to faculty
  • They also mentioned linking to your digitized collections from Wikipedia, but Digital Forsyth has already done this.

Concluding Thoughts

Users don’t compare us to other libraries and universities. They compare us to other information providers like Google.

Finally I did a personal e-book experiment on my conference trip. I downloaded a book from Project Gutenberg to my PDA and read it on the subway and during other downtimes. I read the first few paragraphs about ten times before figuring out a good way to move a virtual bookmark. (I cut and pasted the word “BOOKMARK” every time I moved ahead in the book.) I finished the book on my last day. The book was merely OK, but I enjoyed the PDA format enough that I will try it again next time.


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