Professional Development

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.

ALA Annual 2014 Las Vegas – Lauren

Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:08 pm

Three segments to my post: 1) Linked Data and Semantic Web, 2) Introverts at Work, and 3) Vendors and Books and Video — read just the part that interests you!

1. Linked Data and Semantic Web (or, Advances in Search and Discovery)

Steve Kelley sparked my interest in the Semantic Web and Linked Data with reports after conferences over the past few years. Now that I’ve been appointed to the joint ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee and attended a meeting at this conference, I’ve learned more:

Google Hummingbird is a recent update to how Google searching functions, utilizing all the words in the query to provide more meaningful results instead of just word matches.

Catalogers and Tech Team take note! Work is really happening now with Linked Data. In Jason Clark’s presentation,”Schema.org in Libraries,” see the slide with links to work being done at NCSU and Duke (p. 28 of the posted PDF version).

I’m looking forward to working with Erik Mitchell and other Metadata Standards Committee members in the coming year.

2. Introverts at Work!

The current culture of working in meetings (such as brainstorming) and reaching quick decisions in groups or teams is geared towards extroverts while about 50% of the population are introverts. Introverts can be most productive and provide great solutions when given adequate time for reflection. (Extrovert and introvert were defined in the Jung and MBTI sense of energy gain/drain.) So says Jennifer Kahnweiler, the speaker for the ALCTS President’s Program and author of Quiet Influence. Another book discussing the same topic is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Many ZSRians attended this session!

3.Vendors and Books and Video

I spent a lot of time talking with vendors. Most notable was the meeting that Derrik, Jeff, and I attended with some of the publishers that are raising DDA short term loan prices. This will affect our budget, but our plan is to watch it for a bit, to develop our knowledge and determine appropriate action. It was helpful to learn more from the publishers. Some publishers are able to switch to print on demand, while others cannot because traditional print runs are cheaper than print on demand and their customers still want print. Print-driven publishers have to come up with a sustainable model to cover all of the costs, so they are experimenting with DDA pricing. DDA overall is still an experiment for publishers, while librarians already have come to think of it as being a stable and welcome method of providing resources.

Derrik and I also started conversing with Proquest about how we will manage our existing DDA program in regards to the addition of ebrary Academic Complete to NC LIVE.

“The combined bookshops of Aux Amateurs de Livres and Touzot Librarie Internationale will be called Amalivre effective July 1, 2014.”

Regarding video, Mary Beth, Jeff, Derrik and I attended a presentation by two Australian librarians from different large universities (QUT and La Trobe, with FTE in tens of thousands). They reported on their shift to streaming video with Kanopy and here are a few bullets:

  • Among drivers for change were the flipped classroom and mobile use
  • 60% of the DVD collection had less than 5 views while streaming video titles licensed through Kanopy averaged over 50 views
  • 23% and 15% (two universities) of DVDs have never been viewed once
  • 1.7 and 1.8 (two universities) times is the true cost of DVD ownership
  • They have a keyboard accessibility arrangement for the visually impaired
  • Usage is growing for PDA and non-PDA titles in Kanopy [reminds us of our experience with e-books]
  • Discovery of the streaming videos came largely through faculty embedding videos in the CMS
  • Other discovery is not good for video, so they had Proquest add a radio button option for video to Summon to help promote discovery [can we do this?]
  • They concluded that because of greater use,online video is the greater value for the money spent

 

Leslie at MLA 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 7:48 pm

A welcome escape from the usual wintry rigors of traveling to a Music Library Association conference — mid-February this year found us in San Jose, soaking up sun, balmy breezes, and temps in the 70s. (Colleagues battered by the Midwest blizzards were especially appreciative.)

THE FUTURE OF SUBJECT COLLECTIONS
This was the title of a plenary session which yielded a number of high-level insights. For one, it was the first time I had heard the term “disintermediation” to describe the phenomenon of librarians being displaced by Google et al as the first place people go for information.

Henriette Hemmasi of Brown U analogized the MOOCs trend as “Diva to DJ”: that is, the role of the instructor is shifting from lone classroom diva to the collaborative role played by a disc jockey — selecting and presenting material for team-produced courses, working with experts in web development, video, etc. Her conclusion: 21st-century competencies must include not just knowledge, but also synthesizing and systems-thinking skills.

David Fenske, one of the founding developers of Indiana’s Ischool, noted that the rapid evolution of technology has rendered it impossible to make projections more than 5 or 10 years out (his reply to a boss who asked for a 20-year vision statement: “A 20-year vision can’t be done without drugs!”). He also observed that digital preservation is in many ways more difficult than the traditional kind: the scientific community is beginning to lose the ability to replicate experiments, because in many cases the raw data has been lost due to obsolete digital storage media. Fenske envisions the “library as socio-technical system” — a system based on user demographics, designed around “communities of thought leaders” as well as experts. Tech-services people have long mooted the concept of “good-enough” cataloging, in the face of overwhelming publication output; public-services librarians, in Fenske’s view, should start talking about the “good-enough” answer. Fenske wants to look “beyond metadata”: how can we leverage our metadata for analytics? semantic tools? How can we scale our answers and services to compete with Google, Amazon, and others?

PERFORMERS’ NEEDS
Some interesting findings from two studies on the library needs of performing faculty and students (as opposed to musicologists and other researchers in the historical/theoretical branches of the discipline):

One study addressed the pros and cons of e-scores. Performers, always on the go and pressed for time, like e-scores for their instant availability and sharability; the fact that they’re quick and easy to print out; their portability (no more cramming a paper score into an instrument case for travel); easy page turns during performance (a pedal mechanism has been devised for this). Performers also like an e-score that can be annotated (i.e., not a PDF file) so they can insert their notes for performance; and the ability to get a lot of works quickly from one place (as from an online aggregator). On the other hand, academic users, who work with scholarly and critical editions, like the ability of the online versions to seamlessly integrate critical commentary with the musical text (print editions traditionally place the commentary in separate supplementary volumes). Third-party software can also be deployed to manipulate the musical text for analysis. But the limitations of the computer screen continue to pose viewability problems for purposes of analysis. Academic users regard e-scores as a compliment to, not an alternative to, print scores.

Another study interviewed performing faculty to find out how they use their library’s online catalog. Typically, they come to the library wanting to find known items, use an advanced-search mode, and search by author, title, and opus number (the latter not very effectively handled by many discovery layers; VuFind does a reasonably good job). Performing faculty often are also looking for specific editions and/or publishers (aspects that many discovery interfaces don’t offer as search limits/facets). Performing faculty (and students) study a work by using a score to follow along with a sound recording, so come to the library hoping to obtain multiple formats for the same work — icons or other aids for quickly identifying physical format are important to them, as for film users and others. There is also a lot of descriptive detail that performers need to see in a catalog display: contents, duration, performers’ names.

Stuff a lot of music librarians have observed or suspected, but good to see it quantified and confirmed in some formal studies.

COLLABORATIVE COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT
This is a topic that has generated much interest in the library community, and music librarians have also been exploring collaborative options for acquiring the specialized materials of their field. Besides shared approval-plan profiles for books, and shared database subscriptions, music librarians have divvied up the collecting of composers’ collected editions, and contemporary composers whose works they want to collect comprehensively. Because music materials are often acquired and housed in multiple locations on the same campus, internal collaboration is as important as external. One thing that does not seem to lend itself to collaborative collection: media (sound recordings and videos). Many libraries don’t lend these out via ILL, and faculty tend to want specific performances — making on-request firm orders a more suitable solution. One consortium of small Maine colleges (Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin) divided the processing labor of their staffs by setting up rotating shipments for their shared approval plan: one library gets this month’s shipment of books, another library receives the next month’s shipment, and so on.

DDA
There was a good bit of discussion concerning demand-driven e-book acquisitions among colleagues whose institutions had recently implemented DDA services. On two separate occasions, attendees raised the question of DDA’s impact on the humanities, given those disciplines’ traditional reliance on browsing the stacks as a discovery method.

RDA
It was a very busy conference for music catalogers, as over a hundred of us convened to get prepared for RDA. There was a full-day workshop; a cataloging “hot topics” session; a town-hall meeting with the Bibliographic Control Committee, which recently produced a “RDA Best Practices for Cataloging Music” document; and a plenary session on RDA’s impact across library services (the latter reprising a lot of material covered by Steve and others in ZSR presentations — stay tuned for more!)

SIDELIGHTS
A very special experience was a visit to the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies (located on the San Jose State campus), the largest collection of Beethoveniana outside Europe. During a reception there, we got to play pianos dating from Beethoven’s time. Hearing the “Moonlight Sonata” up close on the model of instrument he wrote it for (Dulcken, a Flemish maker) was a true revelation.

Carol at MSU LEETS, Part I

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 4:34 pm

I spent last weekend in Starkville, Mississippi at the MSU LEETS conference. LEETS stands for Libraries eResource and Emerging Technologies Summit. The first day of the conference focused on electronic resources.

Tim Collins from EBSCO Publishing emphasized the development of the EDS discovery service in his opening keynote. He worries more about the erosion of library funding than the potential threat of Google. Just as Google covers all things free, he hopes that EBSCO will provide all things vetted. EBSCO bought up indexes like AHL and HA primarily because they can enhance other products like EDS.

He also reflected on EDS participation. All of the major publishers participate because usage increases, and nobody gets access without paying. Aggregators (like LexisNexis) may not participate if they don’t have rights to re-distribute the content. Indexers (like MLA) are reluctant to participate since their customers may stop buying MLA and may start relying on the discovery service instead.

Regina Reynolds from the U.S. ISSN Center at the Library of Congress spoke next on PIE-J. The proposed best practices under development for e-journals include (inter alia):

  • Keep all article content under the title current as of the time of publication.
  • Include accurate ISSNs, including variant ISSNs like p-ISSN and e-ISSN.
  • Include title history.

Western Carolina University recently canceled 190 journals. Kristin Calvert discussed the process of discovering and activating their post-cancellation access (PCA) rights. She affirmed that:

  • ERM data entry is time-consuming.
  • Long grace periods make it difficult to discern whether your archival access works or not.
  • Portico did not work as well as publisher sites for getting PCA.

Ed Cherry and Stephanie Rollins from Samford tried to assess whether library use correlated with academic success. They defined “library use” as logging into an e-resource, and they measured “academic success” by GPA. First, they set EZproxy to require logins for all users, on- and off-campus. Once they had a semester’s worth of login data (i.e., capturing usernames), their partner in Institutional Research could compare library use to Banner information like class year, major and GPA. They learned that more frequent library use correlated with academic success. (They carefully noted that their methodology could not prove causality.) They also determined which majors had low use of resources, so they could better target outreach efforts.

Tammy Sugarman from Georgia State discussed Institutional Repositories. First, she gave an overview of the concept and described the types of materials that typically enter the repositories. Then she outlined how Technical Services staff can be a critical ingredient in the success of an IR.

Yours truly closed out the day with a discussion of DDA. Some tidbits I haven’t shared out with ZSR yet:

  • In the first four months of our DDA program, five books were triggered for automatic purchase (at sixth use). In the most recent four months, 24 books were triggered, including five triggers in July 2012.
  • Of the eight books used on July 30, seven were used for the first time, and four of these titles were loaded on the very first day of DDA in March 2011.

ASERL discovery webinar

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 2:19 pm

Today Lynn, Carolyn, Tim, Steve, Susan, Leslie, Jean-Paul, Kevin and Erik got together to attend the ASERL webinar on discovery services. We hear from Wally Grotophorst at George Mason University and Marshall Breeding at Vanderbilt.

Wally talked about the George Mason University experience with Aquabrowser. He discussed some approaches to cross data indexing including just in time solutions (e.g. Metalib, Deep Web), hybrid systems (Primo, Encore, EDS, OPAC) and just in case (e.g. Summon) solutions.

He provided an overview of different perspectives of “just in case” solutions and pointed out that these systems can lead users to approach the system from a perspective that assumes “If we dont have it, you probably dont need it.” another interesting (adapted) quote was: “The value of summon is inversely proportional to the sophistication of your researcher.”

Wally did a great job of looking at the user experience in products like Summon and comparing how libraries are finding ways to bring the benefits of JIC search systems while not losing the value of their catalog-based discovery layers (e.g. Villanova).

Marshall approached the issue by talking about different types of search methods – database specific, federated and discovery products (defined as any system designed to locally index a wide variety of data). He reviewed approaches and data models for centrally indexed discovery products (both local and web-scale) and touched on some of the changes in the ILS that the growth of e-books are likely to bring (e.g decrease in role of circulation, discovery). Marshall suggested that next-generation ILSs may include a tighter integration between back-office systems and discovery layers. This is something the industry is already seeing with OCLC’s Web-Scale management system.

The presentation will be posted online soon on the ASERL website.

Derrik at ER&L 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:21 pm

On Feb. 1-3, Carol and I went to Austin, TX, to attend the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference (ER&L). Our original Sunday flight was cancelled due to the weather, so while everyone else was sleeping in due to campus opening late, Carol & I met at 4:00 a.m. Monday morning to head to Greensboro to catch our 6:00 a.m. flight. Our flight went to Austin by way of Detroit (somebody at Delta needs geography lessons) and featured a hearty breakfast of Biscoff cookies and soda. We ended up missing more than half of Monday’s sessions; even so, there were a lot of sessions and lots of good information.

I attended three different sessions on e-books, hoping, I suppose, for some brilliant idea or approach we could implement here. There was plenty to learn from others’ experiences, but alas no great epiphany. In one presentation, representatives from Connecticut College, Univ. of Texas at Dallas, and Duke Univ. spoke about their pilot projects with patron-driven selection of e-books. In at least 2 of the cases, there was no indication to patrons that their use was triggering a purchase, and purchase was automatic within certain parameters (e.g. price). The programs were very popular at all 3 schools; Duke had budgeted $25,000 for the pilot, and spent that out in less than 2 weeks. I asked where the funds had come from-Duke had received a grant; Connecticut College also received a grant, plus diverted some money from the book budget (he didn’t know more specific than that); U. Texas-Dallas had diverted money from their approval plans (she said they had only been spending about half of their approval budget anyway). I also attended a presentation by librarians from the Univ. of Alabama. They are moving heavily into e-books, although not (yet?) using patron-driven selection. They budgeted for e-books by cancelling all print approval plans (yipe!). To date they have focused on buying large pre-defined packages of e-books, but are now trying to come up with a procedure for ordering single titles. They also mentioned the question of dealing with edition updates (and whether they need to retain edition history).

I went to two sessions about implementing an Electronic Resource Management System (ERMS); for those who don’t know, that’s kind of like an ILS for databases and e-journal packages, managing acquisitions, license terms, etc. (only without the public catalog component). The Systems Librarian from Harvard described their migration from a home-grown system to Verde. I suppose we don’t have much in common with their 70-library system, but takeaways include her recommendation that you shouldn’t expect perfection, so identify your priorities and delineate a scope for the project. She also pointed out that a new system will mean a major shift in workflow; don’t expect to keep doing things the same way.

The other ERMS presentation I went to featured the ERMS that librarians at Notre Dame are building. They had decided that vendor systems tend to be too complex, and they wanted something simpler (“Just show me the information I need to do my job”). They decided to build the system using a modular approach, building one module at a time. The modules are designed to be inter-connected but not inter-dependent (so, for example, a library could use the licensing module without using the purchasing module). They are now about 2/3 of the way through. I thought the product looked good, and would be very interested in a closer look. Notre Dame intends to share the finished product and may consider a development partnership (didn’t know if we were interested…).

I attended a very interesting discussion about the changing nature of article access. Users tend to want an article, and no longer need to access or even identify the journal that published the article. There was discussion about tools needed (and being developed) to facilitate article access, e.g. article-level usage data, article-level purchasing options & acquisition workflows. The speaker pointed out that OpenURLs are based on ISSN, which is not article-level, so if we move toward article purchasing, how would we provide access? Audience discussion got into other aspects of the feasibility of article-level acquisition, including the observation that such a shift involves not only libraries and publishers, but also researchers/authors, deans, and university administrators.

Several of the themes from that presentation came up again the next day in a presentation about recommendation services and libraries. The presenter was the product manager for bX, ExLibris’ new recommendation service, although her presentation looked at various recommendation systems (online shopping-”you might also like…”), and only talked about bX a little bit at the end. She discussed possible applications to library searches-e.g. Harvard Bus. Review: “People who read this also read…”; Univ. of Huddersfield library (Engl.): “People who borrowed this also borrowed …”; and PubMed’s “Related articles, which uses a usage algorithm in addition to subject headings. She described bX, which uses aggregate usage and clickstream data across many libraries (collected from SFX usage) to recommend related articles. They are also looking for a way for users to rate the recommendations. The presentation reminded me of one I went to 8 years ago where another presenter from ExLibris described a new standard called OpenURL; I expect to see lots of development in this area of usage-based recommendations.

Other miscellaneous presentations: One of my BYU colleagues described their project to identify overlapping access to e-journals and to weed based on usage, including a fairly thought-provoking discussion about access vs. ownership. A librarian from Montana State Univ. described their internal tool for tracking e-resource problem reports, which I thought was a good idea, but she didn’t discuss implementation or describe the costs/labor involved. I also attended a session describing Western Michigan Univ.’s implementation of Summon. The presentation was fairly even-handed, not full of hype nor gloom & doom; for example, he reported that Summon integrates well with VuFind, but also said it is hard to tell exactly what’s included in searches (e.g. searched for Kellogg’s Annual Report, which is in the catalog, but couldn’t find it in Summon).

Whew! Long post, but a very good conference overall. I’m happy to talk more in depth if anyone wants.

Lita last day – themes

Sunday, October 4, 2009 4:30 pm

This morning I got rained out of a long run in SLC but did get to hear the incredible sound of thunder as it reverberated across the valley. As I finished up my run on a treadmill I saw a few lighning bolts hit the mountains to the west and was very happy to be inside.

I attended a session from Los Alamos National Laboratory for the one open session of the day and heard about a service oriented approach to creating a large indexing/discovery/service information system. While we are struggling with 1.7 million records, LANL is indexing 95 million! The presentation had lots of technical details but one fascinating standard that they used is the Information Environment Service Registry.

The final keynote by Elizabeth Lawley at RIT discussed a city-wide game that RIT developed in conjunction with the newspaper. The slides are available at slideshare. The game included a number of neat activities including photosynths, quizzes, recipies, photography, and a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was developed using scvngr (a commercial text-message based scavenger system).

Some themes that proved to be interesting this weekend:

  1. Library technology solutions continue to push towards more complex systems. XC/RIT, the LANL system, and Vufind were all a few steps further this year. There were lots of libraries who are actively using small scale open source systems and experimenting with open source systems.
  2. Libraries are increasingly thinking about their data. I saw a number of small and medium scale projects built on use or resource metadata that historically would not have been heavily used. Likewise, the systems that got demonstrated all had a focus on how to index and manage large datasets. There is an interesting contrast to this trend in the push towards cloud and hosted data/service platforms.
  3. Electronic books continue to nudge the marketplace of print books. The GoogleBooks settlement came up several times and there were some interesting ideas surrounding how ebooks could be more heavily used including the adoption of a netflix model (no due dates, automatic queues, intelligent suggestions), the need for more ubiquitous e-book readers (yale research), and the growing comfort with online reading “we spend more time reading information online than we ever did with books but it is still thought of as different.

On the E-book theme there was a great article on the impact that piracy is having on the e-book platform. I also stumbled across the florida orange grove http://florida.theorangegrove.org, a k20 site for open access textbooks. While both of these recent experiences are on opposite side of the same idea (free books!), seeing them both in mainstream media on the same day makes me wonder how central E-books are becoming.

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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