Professional Development

Charleston Conference 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014 3:09 pm

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

1. the short bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charleston 2014 According to Carol: Kanopy and E-Books

Thursday, November 13, 2014 4:56 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples:

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

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

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

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

The Ellers Visit the In-Laws; Charleston 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 12:00 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2013, Chicago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:51 pm

I spent a lot of time talking to vendors about e-books and library systems; saw a cool DVD dispenser by PIKinc.; went to a discussion group on offsite storage; and heard The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie (Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project).

I agree with Wanda that the logistics for Chicago are not great, but that this was one of my best conferences; when I found that I could not get from one pertinent session to another quickly enough, half of my agenda went to the exhibits. (Freedom from committee obligations for the first time in years probably contributed to time spent with vendors too.)

ZSR and EBL e-books

I made some advance appointments to discuss ZSR business regarding e-books while at ALA and those went well. I attended a closed session on EBL’s different models for e-books with consortia and discovered that a new model is about to be tried out by Novanet and NY3Rs. Present from ASERL and participating in the discussion: John Burger, Executive Director of ASERL; Nancy Gibbs, Duke University; and me. Tom Sanville from Lyrasis was also present. Publishers, vendors and libraries are still trying to find a model that works well for all. In one consortium where not every member participates in the group e-book arrangement, but the consortium has a shared catalog, they were trying to come up with a way to allow the non-participating libraries to have short-term loan access at least and the method for payment is a stumbling block. ILL was mentioned as a way to deal with that, maybe with a credit card payment option since ILL already makes purchases with credit cards. I also attended a presentation by David Whitehair from OCLC and a representative from VIVA about OCLC Worldshare Metadata Collection Manager. This is what EBL is going to use for managing DDA files of adds/updates/deletes so I was glad to gain a better understanding. (I wondered if this tool would help Carolyn with the Archivist’s Toolkit cataloging since OCLC said that records don’t have to be in MARC — the institutional knowledge base (kb) can handle Dublin Core and MODS as well.) This is included with our cataloging subscription, so no extra cost for us to implement the kb.

WorldShare Metadata Collection Manager allows you to define and configure your e-book and other electronic collections in one place, and automatically receive initial and updated customized WorldCat MARC records for all e-titles from one source, providing your users access to the titles and content from within the local library catalog or other discovery interface.

Library Systems: Kuali, Ex Libris, OCLC

I had a real awakening on the rapid changes with the commercial ILS vendors. I’ve been following Kuali OLE developments and was disappointed to learn in a session that they are still working towards release 1.0. Jim Mouw announced that University of Chicago (a development partner) will cut completely over to OLE in July of 2014, so they are getting closer. Between now and then, Chicago will also switch from Aquabrowser to VuFind.

The University of Windsor is switching from Evergreen (an open source ILS that many public libraries adopted) to Alma, the next-generation system from Ex Libris. At the Ex Libris booth, I got a custom demo and peppered them with a lot of questions. Then I went to the OCLC booth and did the same thing. I heard a lot of similarities in the way those two systems are supposed to operate and here are two key pieces:

  • no more logging in to different modules — you log into the system once and what you’re allowed to interact with is based on the permissions that have been set
  • pushing and pulling big batches of data and updates to data is facilitated through lots of APIs

The real question is how well they will work in the variety of library environments. For instance, a salesman told me that MARCedit would be unnecessary and demonstrated how to edit the 856|z, but upon questioning, he thought it was record by record, not global editing for a batch. Case in point, right? OCLC has just over 100 libraries using their product right now with a couple hundred more signed (according to our sales rep) and Ex Libris is not far behind in gaining contracts for Alma. I think the next couple of years of library migrations will expose the weaknesses and result in upgrades to better fit real world practices. Meanwhile OLE and Intota from Proquest will need to be pushing hard to catch up and prove why they might be better in the long run.

Library Storage Discussion Group (LLAMA)

The main thing I learned that may be useful to us is that if you weed from an offsite storage facility, even if you have AIMS, “you have to re-tray” because trying to fill the hole later doesn’t work well. I saw colleagues from Georgia and learned that Emory and Georgia Tech are moving to a joint storage facility. (This type of private/public cooperation was only a dream when I left Emory and it is cool to learn that it really is going to happen, 5 years later.) I had the opportunity to explain about the role of the storage facility for the ASERL journal retention program, now branded Scholar’s Trust. (BTW, Carol Cramer helped with the naming process.)

The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project,shared some interesting highlights from surveying about public libraries and while the link to the recording is above, you can login to ALA Connect for the slides which he said would also be posted to Pew.org eventually. These are my highlights from his talk:

  • Public library patrons are people who like the old services and don’t want changes and people who love the new, both — so libraries and other companies are dealing with the pain of not being able to do everything and are not able to meet all desires.
  • Parents are the best public library lovers — everything is wonderful.
  • Of those who seek the help of librarian, half are in households with an income of under $30,000 and are African American.
  • Young people appreciate a quiet place to sit and study or listen to music.
  • Only 13% use the library’s website.
  • Scarcity and abundance flipped: Time is the new scarcity, not the info. There is a gap between being predisposed to be affectionate and being affectionate — save the patrons’ time and they will love the library. Online learning and online reference are desirable.

Last Hurrah

I rarely have found time at conferences to do much touring and have always wished to see “the Bean” (a sculpture really called Cloud Gate) at Millennium Park. When I learned on Monday that it was only 2 blocks from the restaurant where I was having lunch, I decided to see it, even if it meant I was a little close for comfort in getting to the airport.

Capstones, Helicopters and Vendors!

Saturday, April 13, 2013 8:53 am

I have attended many, many sessions at ACRL so far but want to talk a bit about a couple that I thought were particularly of interest at ZSR. The first I attended Thursday and it was calledThe Almost Experts: Capstone Students and the Research Process. It was a study done at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. What she found was, despite many faculty member’s perceptions, these students were not really close to experts. She created a survey to see what capstone experiences were like at her university. She found the expected Senior Theses, but also other things – poster, presentation, exhibitions, etc. Capstones are a High Impact Practices (AAC&U 2008) and so are being adopted increasingly by institutions (including WFU). A 2012 survey showed just over 50% of students had capstone experiences. In her survey she found several things that I suspect would hold true across the capstone experiences at WFU, but I intend to find out!

  • 77% write a paper, 18% write a paper and produce another product.
  • 89% had info lit instruction in college.
  • 68% had librarian come to the capstone course.
  • Choosing a topic and finding useful information were the top two challenges for students.
  • Students feel they are searching for a needle in a haystack and worry they aren’t finding the most important stuff – the classic studies, the foundational research in their area.
  • Students said they would use a libguide tailored to the capstone course.
  • 35% would like help on the literature review and 57% need help with citation management.

 

A second really interesting paper that I heard presented today was about the information seeking behavior of first generation college students. The study was done at Miami of Ohio University and they held a focus group with 17 first generation students. Their description of their instutuion was eerily similar to WFU (except they are about 3 times the size) – predominately undergraduate, mostly white upper middle class, and about 2008 began a targeted recruitment of first generation students. What she learned from the focus group is that these students struggle on several levels in part because the ‘helicopter parents’ that help the traditional students just are not available to them because their parents don’t have any experiences to help them navigate the college environment. They found that these students feel very much that other students have ‘a leg up’ on them or know ‘tricks of the trade’ that are lacking for them. They also struggle with the very decentralized nature of campuses where they have to navigate multiple offices, organizations and buildings to get what they need. They also struggle with jargon and terminology ( at WFU these would be things like Registrar, Sakai, WIN) that are foreign to them. They often will ask a first question but then will not ask a follow-up. So while they might ask ‘where can I get the class readings’ – if the answer is Blackboard or Sakai, they will not necessarily then ask what that is or how to get to it. They feel passed on from place to place and they often stop asking. Lots to think about in how we work with these students!

I also spent a good deal of time at the ACRL with vendors as I tend to do. I had a user group lunch with the EBL team where they were very forthcoming about the future of the EBL-Ebrary merger and plans for the future. In short – we can expect a new interface in about 18 months, they will start negotiating with publishers as one unit as soon as all paperwork is signed in May, the current licensing terms for books will continue into the new interface and there will most likely be a wider set of licenses we can get once the merger is complete. They are also starting to talk to publishers about new textbook models so I hooked them up with Mary Beth and we may participate in a pilot they are putting together. I also attended a focus group with ProQuest about how they can better support interdisciplinary research and attended some booth presentations about their new assessment tool, Intota. Intota will ultimately be a cloud-based ILS, but this assessment piece will go live this fall. It is similar in some ways to the services provided by Sustainable Collections Services but is more than simply a tool for data-based deselection – it goes much deeper than that but also will be much more expensive, too, I’m guessing.

All in all it’s been a good conference – a couple more sessions to attend today and then homeward bound. I have been very impressed with Indianapolis as a conference city despite the poor weather we have had. See you all on Monday!

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.

Charleston Conference 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 5:53 pm

Seeing Lauren Pressley’s picture and book cover on the screen as an example of unglue.it gave me a moment of great pride during a plenary session at this Charleston Conference. We heard that there were 1500-1600 attendees, the most ever! E-book topics were definitely a theme and “big data” was mentioned in several sessions. A session on weeding, librarywide, was useful since the day will come when our storage facility is filled to capacity. And finally, a session on the Library Journal Patron Profiles gave Sue Polanka an opportunity to share some of her own observations relative to the results.

Regarding big data, I heard the success story of Duke University post-doc Heather Piwowar, who arranged with Elsevier to do text-mining of their whole corpus. (Heather had signed the boycott, but “believes that it is useful to work together.”) The big problems with big data are getting permission (Heather was “lucky” according to other speakers) and getting delivery — large loads of data are literally being shipped around the world. The fact that Heather is a post-doc means that in two years when she moves on, she won’t have the set she worked with at Duke and that is another problem.

Still on big data, I also went to a presentation by Hilary Davis (Associate Head, Collection Management, North Carolina State University Libraries) and Barrie Hayes (Bioinformatics and Translational Science Librarian, UNC Health Sciences Library). They said that storage and discovery, followed by access, are the biggest needs with big data. (Sound familiar?) They also said that being involved outweighs the risk for the libraries. They are working with research administrators, campus IT, and many library departments to tackle those needs. While UNC Chapel Hill uses Fedora with iRods,NSCU uses DSpace, like us. Easy i.d. and ORCA are used for identities (and I hope this means something useful to Thomas). Info sessions on campus have been successful (face-to-face and broadcast, and available for replay online). A data management committee at UNC is training subject librarians in how to talk about this topic with faculty. The last presentation slide has references and they have made good use of California’s DMPTool (data management plan tool) at both institutions. They first want the library to be a “collaborative campus connector” in 5 years and would like to work across the two institutions after that.

Carol and I take a divide-and-conquer tactic at this conference for the most part, but with standing room only in the hallway for one desirable session, we both ended up at the session on the state of the e-book industry. John McDonald (Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Claremont University Consortium) and Jason Price (Interim Library Director, Claremont Colleges Library) presented a lot of data, which should eventually appear on the Charleston Conference website. They also mentioned how hard it is if you have subscription e-books to exclude them from DDA offerings. That is why in our liaison meeting yesterday I was quite interested to hear the satisfaction of having one e-book supplier and one platform mainly. I was thinking we needed to explore subscription databases of e-books again, but as I mentioned, we would have to find out if the technology obstacles we saw in the past are still a problem or not. I’m glad Carol and I both were at the session because we can discuss future directions with common understanding of the current marketplace and the growth of HathiTrust and Google Scholar.

I mentioned that I also went to a session on librarywide weeding. One speaker, Pamela Grudzien (Head, Technical Services, Central Michigan University), was in Michigan and the other, Cheri Duncan (Director of Acquisitions & Cataloging at James Madison University) was in Virginia. Both used Sustainable Collection Services, but the situation in Michigan was a consortium-level project. (You’ve heard me mention SCS and we saw a webinar. You may recall that the idea is to use computer-driven matching to identify weeding candidates — titles of a certain age that are also held by many other libraries or in a trusted repository like HathiTrust.) The consortium added a dimension to this process, because they could agree to keep 3 copies of a title among the 7 members, allowing the others to weed their copies. A little “horsetrading” took place in determining retention commitments. One of the seven members in the Michigan consortium (CMU) was in the unique position of participating without space problems yet because they had 30 miles of compact shelving installed in a major renovation 10 years ago. CMU committed to keeping 204,000 volumes and Wayne State, 86,633. Remember this is just the commitments for unique titles or one of the agreed upon 3 copies, not the numbers of the entire library collection. The Michigan speaker noted that there is as much labor with the retention commitments as with the actual weeding. They used the 583 in the MARC record to document the retention, like we are doing with the ASERL commitments we’re making. The Virginia speaker explained the entire process at JMU, which included working over a period of years, a few subjects at a time. Business was first, followed by Education and Psychology. An aggregate 87% of titles identified by SCS were weeded (with wide variation of percentage at the subject level, naturally). They felt that this method was less disruptive to patrons and avoided an overload in Technical Services.

I’m just going to mention one more session that might appeal to many of you — Sue Polanka (Head, Reference & Instruction, Wright State University Libraries) and Lisa Carlucci Thomas (Director, Design Think Do) spoke about the new Library Journal Patron Profiles. The data from Academic Patron Profiles 2012 showed some of the same types of things that we learned from LibQual, but it seemed to me that there were more granular questions that targeted things we would like to know. And it seemed that it covered more than LibQual. Lisa said that “LJ is listening” and to let them know through her if we want to make the survey instrument available to individual libraries. I noted her email address, so ask me if you want it. Some observations that Sue has made in her own library that caught my ear: the personal librarian arrangement does not work as well as the subject librarian arrangement; make sure your link resolver is built into Google Scholar; put an IM widget not only in databases, but also the 404 error page and other webpages; focus as much on second year students as first year students.

This conference is always good, but this year seemed particularly on-target for our own planning here.

 

 

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.

Lauren C. at ALA Annual 2012, Anaheim

Monday, July 9, 2012 5:18 pm

Lauren C’s top three from ALA: 1) everyone is still figuring out how to deal with the issues surrounding e-books 2) but editors want to hear about how patrons are using e-books instead of libraries solving the problems with them 3) and librarians (public and academic) are still talking about budget woes, but instead of eye-popping cuts, the talk this year is about sustaining collections and services with permanently smaller budgets. That’s my highest level view.

Here’s a little more detail, or the mid-level view:

In two different sessions I heard about experimentation with large-scale collaborative purchasing of e-books. In one meeting, our own ASERL initiative was one of the experiments discussed. We have a negotiated pricing model based on when multiple libraries purchase the same title in an ad hoc manner, so it is a little different from several others. No one (among librarians, publishers, aggregators) seems entirely satisfied at this point. I also heard about platform proliferation and the negative impact on the “user experience,” something Carol and I have been concerned about for years now. We’d all like for e-books to “just work” the same way that e-journals on different platforms “just work.”

Chris posted earlier in his NASIG report about a trend towards meeting user needs now, which matched things I heard in a session called “Transforming Collections.” Public library, small college library, and large ARL library perspectives were each represented. The overall message was to make decisions based on what is closest to home.

Here are other detailed snippets from that session that I found interesting:

Jamie Larue, Director, Douglas County Libraries in speaking about e-books:

  • The user experience is getting sacrificed to platform proliferation.
  • His library is not buying anymore e-books if their terms are not met. (LEC local note : One-user-at-a-time was disastrous last semester here with an assigned reading when many students were trying to do it simultaneously! At the June Admin Council we agreed to suppress NetLibrary e-books from the catalog.)
  • Need the EPUB standard to be used (LEC comment: a standard that Kindle doesn’t handle, but there are workarounds)

Bob Kieft, College Librarian at Occidental College:

  • He gave a shoutout to Emily Stambaugh amongst others as influencing his views on collection development.
  • Differences between small colleges and big universities but institutions are similar within their category.
  • No core curriculum anymore really and thus no core collection.
  • Colleges are slower to change (than universities).
  • Students clinging to print first. Librarians at colleges will store all they can as long as they can while awaiting culture change. Harder to remove old books than to fail to buy new ones. Users see the library as an archive/research collection.
  • Won’t mass digitize. Will sign onto Google Books when legal questions resolved. Also Hathi Trust.
  • Resource sharing is high. Purchasing decisions are based on the holdings of other libraries, without formal arrangements.
  • For students, collections is just _part_ of the purpose of the library — the library is there to help them succeed.

Bob Wolven, AUL, Columbia University:

  • Format obsolescence (VHS, LP, etc.) Replace some, forget some. Is PDF next? Science community uses hyperlinked text.
  • E -archives (e -versions of personal papers).
  • If everything were available on the web for free, then what would we collect? Who is responsible for open access collecting? Scale of collecting is immense. Right now only
    15-20% of e-journal titles are being preserved. How we collect commercially published electronic content is different because we’re not in control when we don’t own it. Archiving the web? If it is free people do not want to support it (like classic game theory).
  • Ultimately have to base actions on academic mission.

Here are just a few of the tips on writing offered by Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and OSU Press Director, Oregon State University) and by Lisa German, Dean for Collections, Information and Access Services, The Pennsylvania State University Libraries:

  • Remember to check author guidelines
  • Lit review is important to set context
  • Push back on copyright contract (easier if not on promotion/tenure track)
  • Must carve out weekly couple of hours for writing. Has to be sacred. (LEC: I think this has to be the hardest of these!)

I have more detailed notes on e-books, and I can elaborate more (over coffee?) if your interest is piqued!

 


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