Professional Development

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Lawyers, and librarians, and copyright! Oh, my! – Or, Molly at the UIPO symposium

Thursday, March 26, 2015 4:37 pm

I don’t doubt that many of you would be riffing Dorothy, too, if you had been with me in Chapel Hill on March 16 and 17 for the annual University Intellectual Property Officers (UIPO) symposium. For two days, approximately 30 lawyer-librarians, lawyers, and librarians gathered in beautiful Wilson Library on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus to discuss all things copyright and higher ed. While I was in copyright nerd heaven (in Blue Heaven, no less!), had you gone, you may have been a bit lost, as we were a lawyer-heavy group: if you think librarian lingo can be hard to follow, I promise that legal lingo and logic–from lawyer-librarians, no less–is harder. Nevertheless, we are a jovial bunch, and had two days of stimulating, engaging conversation around fair use for orphan works, working with university counsel, accessibility issues, digitization and digital collections, film and media archives, open access, open education, and legal updates from the U.S. and international fronts.

As one of my colleagues noted at our meeting, in many respects, the UIPO group is essentially Copyright Fight Club (the first rule of Fight Club…[you know]). Our discussions, both at the symposium and online, are confidential. We are not an official designation of any organization or association (although we grew out of ARL), we do not have officers or committees (yet), and our symposiums are not overly formal. This was my first year attending, but it will not be my last. In fact, this will likely be my future primary meeting of the year. I cannot overstate how valuable it is to attend a small, copyright-focused meeting with friends and colleagues who do exactly what I do, who face many of the same inquiries and challenges that I face, and who are more than willing to disagree, debate, and dissect current issues. I realize that many of you have experienced this type of synergistic immersion before, but I had not–at least, not to the same degree. And I loved it!

I have visited some of you to discuss ideas and insights gleaned from this meeting. If anyone has specific questions about the topics I noted, I’ll be happy to chat with you.

 

Sarah at the ANCHASL Spring Meeting

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:39 pm

On March 20th, I attended the Association of N.C. Health & Science Libraries (ANCHASL) Spring Meeting at UNCG. Carrie Iwema, Ph.D., MLS, AHIP from the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library taught a 4-hour continuing education course sponsored by the Medical Library Association on personal genomics. Personal genomics involves sequencing and analyzing an individual genome. However, genetic tests from different companies can yield different test results. There have been some issues with direct-to-consumer genetic tests including potential insurance discrimination, privacy issues, accuracy, and ownership of data. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was passed in 2008 to prohibit genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment. Since I am the Bioethics Liaison, it was great to discuss the bioethical issues of genetic testing and gene patenting. I learned about the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Genome Statute and Legislation Database and other resources to add to my research guides. It was also great to catch up with my former intern, Adrianne Leonardelli, who is now a librarian at Duke Medical Library.

Leslie at MLA 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015 8:26 pm

Lots of good presentations at this year’s meeting of the Music Library Association in Denver. As at ALA, winter weather prevented a number of colleagues from attending, but we were able to Skype presenters in most cases, and for the first time, selected sessions were live-streamed. The latter will be posted on the MLA website.

DIGITAL HUMANITIES

In a session on “digital musicology,” several exciting projects were described:

Contemporary Composers Web Archive (CCWA). A Northeastern consortium project in progress. They’re crawling and cataloging composers’ websites, and contributing the records to OCLC and the Internet Archive. The funding is temporary, so here’s hoping they find a way to continue this critical work preserving the music and music culture of our times.

RISM OPAC. The Repertoire international des sources musicales is the oldest internationally-organized music index (of manuscripts and early printed editions), but only a small portion has so far been made available online. The new online search interface they’re developing retrieves digital scores available on the websites of libraries, archives, composers, and others worldwide. They expect to have 2 million entries when national inventories are completed.

Music Treasures Consortium (MTC). A similar project hosted by the Library of Congress, it links to digitized manuscripts and early printed editions in conservatories, libraries, and archives in the US, UK, and Germany. It’s modeled on an earlier project, the Sheet Music Consortium (hosted by UCLA).

Blue Mountain Project. Named after a Kandinsky painting representing creativity, this Princeton project, funded by a NEH grant, aims to provide coverage of Modernism and the Avant-Garde in arts periodicals 1848-1923. References to music in these sources are often fleeting, so there is a need for enhanced “music discovery.” The presenter discussed the challenges of digitizing magazines: the mix of text, images, and ads; multiple languages of periodicals in this project; variations in the transcription/spelling of names (they plan to cross-index to VIAF, the international authority file).

In the Q & A period, discussion centered on the global importance of projects such as these, and the concomitant need for best-practices standards (including a requirement to link to VIAF) and multi-language capabilities in metadata schema.

INFORMATION LITERACY

Now that the ACRL Framework has replaced learning objectives with “threshold concepts,” music librarians have begun taking first stabs at interpreting these for their discipline:

Scholarship as a conversation = performance as a conversation. Most music students enter college as performers, so this can serve as a base for scaffolding. One notable difference: performance lacks a tradition of formal citation — might some way be found to codify the teacher/student oral tradition by which the performing arts are transmitted?

Authority as constructed and contextual = performers as authorities (Performer X as a leading interpreter of Composer Y’s works); also, the changing of performance practices over time; learning to listen with a critical evaluative ear.

Information creation as process: understanding the editing process for scores, and also of recordings and video (vs. live performance).

Research as inquiry: every performing-arts student who spends long hours in practice and rehearsal is familiar with the concept of an iterative process — an excellent jumping-off point for understanding research as an iterative process.

Searching as strategic exploration: this has been related to musicians’ vexed relationship with library discovery interfaces that don’t work well for music retrieval! Resourcefulness and persistence is needed to meet performers’ information needs regarding specialized details such as instrumentation, key, range, etc.

Information has value = creative output has value. Understanding how the artist fits into the marketplace; the complexities of copyright as it applied to the arts.

COPYRIGHT

The music library community has long been frustrated by issues surrounding music recordings released online but governed by EULAs (end-user license agreements) that prohibit institutional purchase. MLA and the University of Washington have recently received a IMLS grant to develop strategies for addressing these issues, “culminating in a summit with stakeholders and industry representatives.” On the agenda: EULA reform (developing a standard language); preservation (given the industry’s apalling track record, perhaps the library community can create dark archives?); and public relations. Strategies being considered: developing a MLA best practices document; creating a text case; approaching either the smaller labels (who are generally more open to negotiation) or going directly for the big three (Sony, Warner, and Universal) on the theory that if they agree, others will follow.

Another session on recordings and fair use discussed the best practices movement. Noting that the courts, when confronted by new questions, have begun referring to community practice, many disciplines and professions are drafting best-practices documents. Unlike guidelines, whose specificity make them prone to obsolescence, best-practices statements “reflect the fundamental values of a community” — which not only helps them better stand the test of time, but also results in more commonalities between communities, so that they reinforce each other, lending them more weight in the face of legal challenges. The NRPB (National Recordings Preservation Board) recently completed a study that recommended such a document, and the ARSC (Association of Recorded Sound Collections) has a handbook forthcoming.

USAGE PATTERNS

At a poster session, I learned about two surveys done at Kent State that queried the preferences of music and other performing-arts students re the materials they use. One survey noted the significant number of print resources that still occupied top places in a ranking of preferred materials: print scores were much preferred to e-scores (68% to 28%); ditto for books (80% print to 27% electronic); CDs were still used regularly. E-journals, however, were preferred to print (64% to 32%). The survey’s conclusion found a “strong sentiment” in favor of a mix of print and electronic.

The other survey debated the relevance of audio reserves. It confirmed widespread use of extra-library resources by students for their listening assignments: YouTube, streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, MP3s they had purchased themselves. Reasons given for preferring these sources: ability to listen on a smartphone or tablet (a preference also noted by commercial database vendors, who have begun developing mobile-device capabilities); personal comfort, and convenience. On the other hand, two encouraging reasons students give for using the library’s CD collection: the superior sound quality, and the availability of library staff for help.

CATALOGING

I attended a half-day workshop on genre and medium terms for music. Historically, the Library of Congress subject headings have combined, in long pre-coordinated strings, many disparate aspects of the materials we catalog: topic (Buddhism), genre (drama, folk music), form (symphonies), medium (painting, piano), physical format (scores), publication type (textbooks, catalogs), intended audience (children’s books, textbooks for foreign speakers). Since these can be more effectively machine-manipulated as discrete data than in strings, there’s a project afoot to parse them into separate vocabularies, to be used in new RDA fields, for more precise search-and-sort capabilities in our discovery interfaces.

Three vocabularies are being developed:

  • Genre/form (LCGFT) — e.g., drama, folk music
  • Demographic groups (LCDGT) — author’s nationality, gender, etc.; intended audience
  • Medium of performance (LCMPT) — for music: instruments/voices

Given the many thousands of existing subject terms, this is clearly a challenging task, and I acquired a new appreciation for its complexities as I listened to the LC folks describe their struggles wrestling music terminology (as just one disciplinary example) to the ground. Problems debated included: types of music that musicians have long regarded as genres in their own right (think string quartets) but are really just defined by their instrumentation or number of players; ditto for music set to certain texts (Magnificats, Te Deums); bringing out the distinctions between art music, folk music, and popular music (an attempt to remedy the original classical-centrism of the LC terminology); terms like “world music” that seem to have been invented mainly for marketing purposes; music for specific events or functions; stuff like master classes, concert tours, etc.; ethnomusicological (area studies) terms, which proved too numerous, and too inconsistently defined in reference sources, to be dealt with in the project’s initial phase; and tension between the need to build a logical hierarchy and recognizing the more fluid conventions practiced by user communities. While the new vocabularies are still under construction, we learned about the major changes, and how to encode the terms in RDA records.

In a session on Bibframe (a new encoding format designed to replace the aging MARC format), we heard about LD4L, a project conducted by Standford, Cornell, Harvard, and LC to develop an open-source extensible ontology to aid in conversion of MARC to Bibframe; and another project at UC-Davis to develop a roadmap for Bibframe workflows, from acquisitions operations to cataloging and conversion, and even a prototype discovery layer.

SIDELIGHTS

A Friday-night treat was the screening of a silent film (The General, starring Buster Keaton) accompanied by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (a 6-piece strings-and-winds band). The score was one they had compiled from music used by theater orchestras of the period, now archived in the University of Colorado’s American Music Research Center.

Jeff at LAUNC-CH 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015 11:07 am

On March 13, 2015 I traveled with Steve Kelley to the annual LAUNC-CH Conference in Chapel Hill. Unlike Leslie, Ellen, and Kaeley, I did so without the stress of a presentation engagement. What followed was a fairly relaxing day of programming. (Not wanting to add to anyone’s jitters, I opted not to watch my colleagues’ presentation; but I heard rave reviews.)

The keynote speaker, Dr. Jeffrey A. Greene, a professor at UNC, refuted the belief that modern students are truly “digital natives.” Oftentimes it is assumed that, having grown up with the internet, smart phones, etc., today’s students have a natural knack for digital literacy. Mr. Greene argued that this is not nearly so true as is commonly believed. For one thing, it is a false assumption that all students grow up with computers. Some do not. Nor has the human brain done a lot of evolving in the short space of time the internet has been around. Students still need help. And given that professors often don’t have time to teach kids how to learn, librarians fill an essential role in helping them navigate the complex information landscape.

Marc Bess and Somaly Kim Wu from UNC-Charlotte presented on their beta “49er Alerts” system whereby library patrons who opt in by downloading and activating a particular app receive (via Bluetooth or Apple’s iBeacon) helpful information as they move throughout the library. Such “proximity marketing” technology allows for the automatic sending of messages about circulation desk hours, new e-resources relevant to a particular subject range in the stacks, or library events, based on the physical location of the user’s device. It sounds like a cool program. They hope to share the code, which is being developed by one of their grad students, by the end of the year.

Will Cross and Greg Raschke from NC State talked about the brokenness of the current textbook market and students’ captivity to preposterously inflated book costs. NCSU’s Alt-Textbook project is a grant-funding program in which the Libraries provide money and support to instructors who are interested in exploring alternative teaching resources. Their goals are to improve instruction by tailoring course materials to individual instructors, to decrease cost for students, and to provide instructional support in the form of library experts in copyright, digitization, and online instruction. (Here I thought about our own library experts at ZSR, and how lucky we are to have them.) Mr. Cross, a lawyer, made the interesting point that cost-saving measures such as these ought to look pretty good to budget-conscious state legislators concerned with the cost of higher education.

Magnanimous, no? To close, I’ll skip to the lightning talks that ended the day. NC State’s Hunt Library has a nifty program of showing films digitized by A/V Geeks on a weekly basis alongside commentary from speakers in various disciplines. I was glad to learn that Skip from A/V Geeks is out there. Jaci Paige Wilkinson, a SILS student at UNC, then presented the interesting notion that hip-hop music provides a compelling case study for thinking about linked data given its heavy use of musical samples that relate to various works and creators in different ways (RDA relator codes, anyone?). It was a thought-provoking way to end the afternoon.

Leslie at LAUNC-CH 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015 10:21 am

I don’t often get to attend this annual conference, hosted by the Librarians Assembly of UNC-Chapel Hill, but always enjoy it when I do.

KEYNOTE

This year, we had an exceptionally engaging keynote speaker, Jeffrey A. Greene of the Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies program at Chapel Hill. He began by busting some common myths about learning:

  • Digital natives: Greene questions claims of physiological changes in young people’s brains; technology is just one of the life experiences of all sorts (whether you grew up on a farm or in suburbia, etc.) that informs thinking patterns. What is real, Greene says, is the digital divide — we can’t assume every student had a computer a home, is familiar with internet navigation, etc.
  • Multi-tasking: Greene contrasts the task of driving a car, which uses the automatic brain functions, with juggling “cognitively conscious” tasks — we just can’t do the latter effectively.
  • Learning styles: the style one uses at any given time depends on the content (try conveying the locations of the US states without resorting to any visual means).

Greene’s formula for self-regulated learning:

  • Understand the task.
  • Make a plan (a step many students skip).
  • Enact good strategies (many bright students who coasted through high school arrive in college with a very small toolbox of learning strategies).
  • Monitor progress (for anyone making their first attempt to master new material, it’s hard to add on this additional layer — students need our encouragement and guidance).
  • Evaluate and adapt (resisting the brain’s natural tendency to re-use automatic responses — to it, that’s more efficient than thinking, and re-thinking, about what you’re doing).

Greene’s presentation is posted on the LAUNC-CH website: http://launcch.web.unc.edu/events/conference/

LIB250

Another highlight was the presentation given by Ellen Daugman, Kaeley McMahan, and myself on LIB250 (our Humanities course). This was essentially an update on an article we published in 2012. We reviewed our initial development of the course, and described lessons we learned during the five years we’ve taught it, and how we adapted and improved it. We had a large and engaged audience, who offered thoughtful questions and an enthusiastic overall response. Discussions continued over lunch. A very gratifying outcome!

Our slides

Our article

 

 

Upcoming State and Regional Conferences and Workshops

Sunday, March 1, 2015 2:34 pm

As part of the Mentoring Team I am on with Tanya, Leslie, Rebecca and Ellen M., we discussed involvement in professional organizations, and how difficult it might be for paraprofessionals or folks who have one problem or another with travelling long distances to attend conferences. So, I was picked to come up with a list of upcoming conferences and workshops that are in the state or the general geographic region. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of things, so feel free to add more in the comments section.

North Carolina Serials Conference (Chapel Hill, NC) – March 6

Library Association of UNC-Chapel Hill (LAUNC-CH) Conference (Chapel Hill, NC) – March 13

Metrolina Library Association Tech Summit (Charlotte, NC) – March 13

Southeastern Library Association (SELA) Joint Conference with the Alabama Library Association (Point Clear, AL) – April 7-10

TALA Paraprofessional Conference (High Point, NC) – May 13

NASIG Conference (including joint programming with the Society for Scholarly Publishing) (Washington, DC) – May 27-30

Metrolina Library Association Conference (Charlotte, NC) – June 11

North Carolina Library Association (NCLA) Conference (Greensboro, NC) – October 20-23

Like, Follow, Tweet, Share, Comment: Traversing the Social Media Landscape at the Social Media Marketing Conference

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 8:34 pm

Last Thursday, February 12th, I attended the Social Media Marketing Conference (SkillPath Seminars) in Charlotte, NC with fellow Communications Committee members Chris Burris & Rebecca Petersen. This conference was billed as “a real-world guide to understanding social media” and offered lessons for how to use social media to connect with your audience, expand your market reach, drive website traffic, and grow your brand.

What follows is a summary of some lessons learned and considerations for how to implement them into our current social media practice.

Getting off to a good start
There are many social media platforms (check out Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism), and many ways to use (and misuse) social media. 3 important questions we should ask when managing our social media platform(s):

  1. Why is this social marketing campaign being launched, and what are our goals and objectives?
  2. Who is target demographic? How are these audiences best engaged?
  3. How should patron relationships change as a result of this social media application? How will the success of the campaign be measured?

Knowing what you hope to achieve before you begin is key, and committing to an ongoing cycle of planning –> implementation –> measure/evaluate –> adjust will help keep social media strategies focused and effective.

Establishing goals and developing targeted social media strategies are practices that I would like to see us use in our communication efforts. Especially since we serve a diverse audience with multiple social media platforms and frequently have opportunities to share upcoming events, services and resources with our community.

The art of writing for a social audience
(A few quick tips)

Writing for a social audience encourages concise, engaging commentary. You want to make your point quickly, but with an entertaining emphasis. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Do your research– know what type of content your readers/audience want and expect. Have an audience (or audiences) in mind when you are writing a blog, tweet, post, status update, etc.
  • Write a “grabber” headline– lead with a compelling opener. Everyone appreciates as well-crafted hook.
  • Make your writing conversational– conversational writing lends itself to a more welcoming and engaging style.
  • Be a resource for your reader– provide links to other information sources, share resources that will enhance your reader’s understanding.
  • Use bulleted lists– make your content easily scannable.

Using Social Media Metrics to measure your efforts
One way to evaluate the performances of our social media platforms is to use measurements from available platform metrics and track our progress across these measurements. Social Media metrics can provide information about conversion rates, leads generated, increased site traffic/number of new followers, or brand awareness/perception. Establishing a consistent review of these metrics could help us determine what areas of our social media practices are working, and what areas could be further developed.

For example, a breakdown of our current fan base on facebook (people who ‘like’ us within the past 28 days) indicates that approximately 45% of our fan base are women & men between the ages of 18-24.

Breakdown of people who like our Facebook page.

Breakdown of people who like our Facebook page.

However, if you take a look at our “engagement” metrics, you will notice some interesting shifts in the levels of engagement across our fan base . . .

The people who have liked, commented on, shared our posts or engaged with our page in the past 28 days.

The people who have liked, commented on, shared our posts or engaged with our page in the past 28 days.

 

Reviewing our metrics regularly, and defining and monitoring key performance indicators to help evaluate our social media practices is a worthwhile endeavor and something we should establish for future strategic communication efforts.

Overall, I found the Charlotte Social Media Marketing Conference to be a valuable experience and I will use the lessons learned to help develop social media strategies and campaigns with the Communications Committee to enhance and complement the work that we do here at ZSR.

Meghan, Chris & Rebecca pose for selfie.

Obligatory Social Media Conference selfie!

 

Wanda’s ALA Mid-Winterland

Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:28 pm

I absolutely love calling North Carolina home. This captured my sentiments perfectly as my plane landed to the NC bright blue sky and awesome sunshine. I guess that is to be expected after experiencing winter in Chicago. None-the-less, the conference as a whole was filled with lots of great engaging conversation. During the BCALA retreat on Thursday we began the work of strategic planning. Tracie Hall, Deputy Commissioner: City of Chicago-Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, led the group through an exercise using the Kaizen model. Kaizen combines Kai which means change with Zen which mean good or for the better. As an action plan, Kaizen focuses on improving specific areas within the organization. These strategies bring together and involve teams across the organization with a strong emphasis on linking managerial practice with and to direct services. As a philosophy, Kaizen is about building a culture where all stakeholders are actively engaged in suggesting and implementing improvements to the organization. The strategic planning process documents feedback from peer collaborating organizations, non-members, members, current and past leadership. I volunteered to work with the group of current and past leaders.

My LLAMA (Library Leadership & Management Association) obligation as chair elect of the Human Resources section was still way fuzzy. It wasn’t until my all sections committees gathering that I learned of an executive committee meeting was scheduled for later that very morning. As it turned out, the chair forgot to include me on the email invitation. At the executive committee meeting I heard program planning details for the 2016 Orlando conference. The Human Resources section has the following committees of which I get to appoint a chair by May 1st.

As a past participant in the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Development Program, I was asked to partake in a focus group. We discussed our perceptions of value or lack of around leadership development programs for people from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. Our feedback will be used to inform the design of future programs.

Also of particular interest was the ACRL Personnel Administrators and Staff Development Officers Discussion Group conversations around employee engagement surveys. The question was asked, given everything that has happened specifically with regards to budget cuts in North Carolina over the last several years, is this a good time to conduct a climate survey? The answer was really isn’t a good time. ClimateQUAL was the most widely used tool, serving as a measurer for both diversity and employee engagement. Conducting a survey like this implies leadership’s commitment to doing something. It is most important to recognize the responsibility of department chairs and their role in improving the climate. It was stressed that leaders need to be deliberate about looking for the balanced picture both within strengths and weaknesses revealed in the survey data.

There were a few in attendance who had participated in the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s “Great Colleges to Work For” survey. Attendees believed that this survey conveys a good picture of where the library stands in relation to the campus. We continued conversations around the “checking references” aspect of recruiting. Many chimed in that they had abandoned the written reference for the more personal phone conversation. The University of Delaware has started using the “Predictive Index” tool as part of the search process for non-exempt and IT positions. The focus of which is on work style preferences and behaviors. Not sure that I agree to using this as a deciding factor in the search process. I think anyone could manage to fake the attributes of a decent manager. Do you think applicants would answer honestly or would they base answers on what they think the employer wants to hear?

Some very interesting data surfaced from one of the ALA’s Diversity and Research grant projects that was showcased at midwinter. If my memory serves me correctly, it was one of the UC Berkley campuses that conducted the study. They surveyed Asian college students concerning their orientation to college life in America. How long was it before they felt comfortable on campus? What search engine did you turn to first? What did you find most difficult to navigate within college life? Just so I won’t misquote any of the numbers, I promise to post more on the survey results once I get my hands on the actual data.

 

 

Derrik at ALA Midwinter 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015 11:49 am

Vendor highlights

Lauren and I had a really good dinner discussion with a VP of a database vendor, talking about what is and isn’t important for researchers and libraries. That VP and our regular sales rep have already scheduled a campus visit to continue the conversation.

I had a conversation with a publishing company’s VP of Sales regarding demand-driven acquisition (DDA). I described the DDA usage and spending patterns we have seen here, and we talked about the difficulties of finding a sustainable balance for publishers and libraries. We also talked about “evidence-based acquisition” (EBA), where the customer pays first for access, then at the end of the access period can select content for perpetual access, up to the amount paid. I told the VP that the entry cost for EBA is typically too high. He immediately understood—the up-front price that a large library could afford would be cost-prohibitive for smaller libraries. He seemed to like my suggestion that they base the entry cost on the customer’s historic spend.

I had a good meeting getting to know our e-book vendor’s new rep, and his supervisor sat in on part of our meeting so I was able to bend her ear too, mainly about DDA. I learned that there is talk of developing a variation on the short-term-loan DDA model, though nothing concrete yet as far as I know. I don’t want to divulge any secrets here, but I am cautiously optimistic about what they told me.

There were lots of other productive conversations; in all I spoke with at least 17 vendors (that I kept track of). It feels weird to keep this section of my report so brief, but I fear the rest of the vendor stories would get tedious.

Sessions

A speaker from a large university library described how they collect and analyze data about e-resource outages. Staff enter and track e-resource problem reports in a commercial incident-tracking system. They record the cause (e.g. metadata error, simultaneous-user limit, user error, etc.), the time it took to resolve, and other data. Tracking outages allows them to become aware of trends. One benefit is that they can present a record of incidents to vendors, with actual numbers instead of “your site goes down a lot.” In the first year of collecting data, proxy problems accounted for a small fraction of the total errors. 25% of errors were because the target content was missing from the vendor’s site (i.e. an article or issue missing from a database).

In another session, a representative from a large university press spoke about how usage-based acquisition is affecting the Press. She acknowledged that DDA is scary because they know that not every book will get used, but the only way to know which books will get used is to publish them. She said it will take a while for them to evaluate DDA because they don’t know yet when the revenue for a book will come in and it is difficult to assess which marketing efforts are working. She also expressed a concern that was a new idea to me—she wondered whether access to a large pool of DDA titles might actually obscure the fact that libraries are underfunded.

I attended a presentation by Len Vlahos, Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). Vlahos said wholesale book revenue has remained fairly flat over the past five or six years. The rate of growth of e-book sales has slowed (i.e. still growing, but the curve has flattened); hardcover revenue dipped in 2010 but has regained overall. Sales of print textbooks are declining, but that trend is publisher-driven, unlike the consumer-driven trade market. Publishers are developing online interactive learning systems as a replacement for printed textbooks, since textbooks that are simply digitized versions of the print are not well received. Vlahos predicted that the next big disruption in the book industry will be a business model (like retail discounting in the 1970s or e-commerce in the 1990s) rather than technological (like the printing press or the Kindle). He noted the growth of a subscription economy, in which consumers are being trained that it’s ok not to own content (Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, etc.), and even beyond content (ZipCar, bikeshare), and suggested that publishers expect the subscription model to have a positive effect on revenue within the next 5 years.

The Continuing Resources Standards Forum included an overview of the NISO Recommended Practice for Demand-Driven Acquisition of Monographs. The standard was published last June and to me it already felt a little out of date because it doesn’t address some of the more recent tensions in the DDA market. The Forum also included a review of the very new (published last month) NISO Recommended Practice on Access and License Indicators. This is a simple standard for encoding at the article level whether or not that article is “free to read,” plus a link to the article’s license information.

In an excellent overview of linked data, the presenter described the evolution of the Web from a web of static documents to a web of data. In the web of data, instead of describing an entity with a record (i.e. a surrogate for the entity), an entity has its own unique identifier, and that’s where you go for information about that entity. Note that BIBFRAME is about identifying bibliographic entities. The presenter said that libraries have been very involved in the web of documents, but cautioned about the danger of a “library-shaped black hole” in the web of data. Library projects have tended to use library vocabulary instead of the vocabulary of the larger web, so it is difficult for web searches to find and link to them. The presenter said that the reason libraries should share linked data on the web is the same as the historical reason for cataloging – “So people can find our stuff.”

Steve at 2015 ALA Midwinter

Friday, February 6, 2015 4:23 pm

In honor of last Sunday’s Super Bowl, I considered beginning and ending this post with, “I’m only writing this blogpost so I won’t get fined,” but I might have a bit more to share. But only a bit, unfortunately, because this will be a shorter than usual conference post from me, because I spent much of my time in Chicago sick as a dog.

I flew into town on Friday, January 30th, with a cold and an ear infection, and feared I might have ruptured my right eardrum, but by Saturday morning, my hearing had returned, and I felt somewhat better and ready to tackle the day. First up, I went to the meeting of one of my two committees, the Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee. We were planning for our committee forum on Monday, which got thrown into turmoil because our primary speaker had to cancel. We brainstormed ideas for questions and topics in an open forum, and had a lively discussion.

Luckily, my next big committee obligation, CC:DA (Catalog Committee: Description and Access) had a four-hour meeting scheduled in the same hotel, so I could just stay there. CC:DA, as I’ve mentioned before, develops ALA’s position on RDA. That means that we read and discuss proposed changes to RDA that come in from all sorts of constituencies. While it’s really interesting to see how the process works, it’s probably pretty boring to recount in too much detail here. I would like to briefly discuss one of the proposals we looked at, which was a proposal by the Task Force Machine-Actionable Data Elements to create a measurements element in RDA. The Task Force’s purpose is to develop data elements that are more easily understood and manipulated by computers. This measurements element sounds simple, but would actually represent a pretty radical re-thinking of how RDA works. The measurement element would have six sub-elements that would clearly define what was being measured and how. The six sub-elements are Measurement Type (thing like height, playing time, number of units, etc.), Measurement Unit (minutes, cm, cubic feet, etc.), Measurement Quantity (number of minutes, cm, etc.), Part Measured (when necessary), Measurement Qualifier (when necessary, especially for approximate measures), and Unstructured Measurement (a textual description of what is measured, if it can’t quite fit into the previous categories). This proposal is still in the early stages and has a long way to go before it will show up in actual changes to the RDA instructions, but it’s kind of interesting to know that this kind of thinking is going on. Or at least, it’s interesting to me.

After that meeting, I managed to scoot back to my hotel, where I was able to join a meeting of the Editorial Board of Serials Review (I’m a member) that was already in progress. I then went to an ALCTS reception, but started to feel very tired and bailed early. That night I felt my absolute worst of the trip, with chills and nausea. Jeff mentioned that he thought I was going to die. In truth, I asked him if he’d do me a favor and kill me.

After that night, the next day started very rough. I started to feel somewhat better by late Sunday morning and managed to do a little business in my role as president of NASIG. I went to a meeting with the rep from the publisher of the NASIG proceedings to talk about NASIG’s contract with them, as well as talking to some vendors on the exhibits floor to see if they’d be interested in exhibiting at the NASIG Conference in May.
On Monday morning, I went to the second, three-hour meeting of CC:DA. During the meeting, Mimi texted me to let me know that my 6 pm flight that day had been cancelled. I arranged to get on a 2:05 pm flight on standby, but had to leave the meeting a half-hour early to have any chance of making it. Luckily, I did, because I don’t know if I could have handled being stuck in Chicago another night.

Oddly enough, this actually wasn’t my worst-ever conference going experience. So at least there’s that.


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