Professional Development

Charleston Conference 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:52 am

Lauren Corbett and Carol Cramer

Hot topics:

  • Weeding due to lack of space not only in the stacks but also in the storage facility (multiple people)
  • Library workers need to focus more on adding value and meeting users needs, not just storing content (see notes from Derek Law below)
  • Redundancy in library collections is going to shrink as libraries make cooperative agreements and focus on the content that makes them unique; Special Collections is the long tail (multiple people)
  • Google/publisher settlement (see notes from Pat Shroeder below)
  • More content will be pushed up to “the cloud” (such as the Google content); OCLC is working on this — having “web-scalable” access/operation (Andrew Pace)
  • E-books (see notes from Cherubini, Sugarman, Rausch, and Breaux below)

Pre-conference that Lauren C. attended:

Weeding, Offsite Storage, and Sustainable Collection Development: Library Space & Collections 30 Years After the Kent Study (by R2 Consulting)

In working recently with Jill Gremmels at Davidson College, R2 Consulting came up with the name “disapproval plan” for a weeding method. The idea is to have some basic guidelines, much like an approval profile works for acquiring materials, but for the purpose of removing materials that do not fit a library’s collection. Too many materials can make it difficult to find the very useful items, so weeding done well can result in a more “active collection.”

From 1969-1975, a common goal was to increase the size of an academic library’s collection, but now the focus is shifting to owning materials that get used in the main circulating collection.

A case study from Portland State University was presented by Sarah Beasley. The project was large-scale and targeted “low-hanging fruit:” bound volumes of journals that were owned in electronic format, second copies, and pre-2000 imprint monographs that had not circulated in 20 years which also were held by three other libraries in a local consortium.

Notes from both Carol and Lauren:

Derek Law, discussing that a unifying theory of e-collections is missing, said that the “digital overlap strategy” is what we have now and it’s wrong. See Carol’s illustration – http://flickr.com/photos/morgantepsic/477759737/

Law shut down 4 floors at Strathclyde and used the savings from heating and other overhead to build collections. We should be adding value not just storing. Libraries need people who know how to throw things out, figure out the good stuff to keep, not only in print, but also with digital – he compared digital footprint to carbon footprint. While we know trusted repositories for print, we don’t know who it is for digital. He told of the 5 tests of the Maori (who pass info verbally and are killed if fail): 1. Receive the information with accuracy; 2. Store the information with integrity and beyond doubt; 3. Retrieve the information without ammendment; 4. Apply appropriate judgement in use of the information; 5. Pass the information on appropriately.

Pat Schroeder from AAP had a scheduled talk, but she deviated from her prepared remarks to discuss the Google settlement that had occurred the week before. Before launching into details of the settlement, Schroeder made 3 key points: 1) Quality and integrity of information is a common interest of publishers and librarians; 2) How do we survive when the public uses a commercial search engine? and 3) What is important and what is clutter? Schroeder characterized the settlement as a “win/win because 7 million books will be opened to people all over America.” Lynn has forwarded some documents to lib-l that explain the settlement in fuller detail, and Schroeder summarized the same information. Schroeder noted that a legislative solution is still desired for orphan works.

Some other quick bits from Carol:

Geoff Bilder from CrossRef advocated for a logo that would designate whether something was peer-reviewed. If developed, this logo would be in Google Scholar results, IRs, subscription databases, etc., and could be attached to XML metadata defining exactly what types of review were done (e.g. double-blind peer review, copy editing etc.).

Carol Tenopir and Michael Kurtz reported on research that demonstrates that faculty and others are reading more in the age of e-journals, even though other research may indicate that they’re citing less. For more information, you can read her blog.

A panel discussion on ONIX-PL was somewhat over my head technically, but the dream is this: publishers providing their licenses in a format that could be imported into an ERM without tedious mapping on the part of librarians.

Another panel on usability featured a speaker from EBSCO who described the various tests they conducted while developing the EBSCO 2.0 platform. Jody Condit Fagan, who has the intriguing job title of Content Interfaces Coordinator at JMU, also reported on some of the tests she has done. She has also done a lit review of usability of faceted catalogs like VuFInd. I think she’s doing important work, but the result is usually that one library benefits from an improved interface. What if the tested interface elements could become part of the turnkey product? Can we hope for that with an open source solution?

Another session reported on how students are using electronic textbooks. The study showed both “dip in/dip out” reading and whole book reading. The median session length was 12 minutes. Questions were raised as to whether the patterns they saw were new reading patterns, or if they were related to how people read in print.

A panel offered ideas for how to provide patrons with value so that our user experience will be better than Google’s. Suggestions included:

  • Embedded widgets, so for instance, patrons can search across the reference sources on the reference web page.
  • A customizable library page on university web portal (e.g. WIN) that is hooked into Registrar data. Sources pushed to the student would be connected to their majors and/or classes.
  • Articles pushed to faculty based on their publication histories.

More notes from Lauren:

From a panel session on e-books by Tim Cherubini, Tammy Sugarman (GSU), Greg Rausch (NCSU) and Ann-Marie Breaux (YBP): Georgia State (GSU) and NC State (NCSU) are both buying lots of e-books from various vendors via GOBI. GSU had some special funding to spend quickly, dedicated to e-books, and worked with YBP and liaisons to make it easy to do through GOBI, using approval slips. Sugarman noted that slips are currently the only option and Breaux explained that the hurdles of book instead of are timing of print and electronic publications


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