Professional Development

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 3

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:42 pm

Due to the departure time of my flight back to North Carolina, I was unable to attend the final vision session. However, I did get to one last tactics session before it was time to leave.

Tactics- One Identifier: Find Your Oasis with NISO’s I2 (Institutional Identifier) Standard

For years, libraries vendors, publishers, and other agencies have had a series of numbers to identify a single institution in their records. However, these numbers do not transfer from one agency to another, nor do they have similar value from an international standpoint. A NISO working group has been developing a strategy of creating an institutional identifier, or I2 (for I-squared) since early 2008 to fulfill this goal based on existing standards as well as one metadata structure. By partnering with libraries, publishers and vendors from around the world, NISO has slowly developed a schema and an implementation process.

The results of the study and subsequent reports have been posted to the website for the working group, with institutional feedback requested by August 2, 2010. Presentations about the I2 standard have begun at national conferences and will continue through the end of the year.

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The last photo was taken on the way back to the airport. If you would like to see the rest of my pictures, please visit the set on Flickr!

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 2

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:41 pm

These are observations from the second day of the conference.

Vision Session #2: Kent Anderson of JBJS, Inc. on Publishing 2.0: How the Internet Changes Publications in Society

Mr. Anderson is the CEO/Publisher of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery who also maintains “The Scholarly Kitchen” blog. His talk centered on the concept of users increasingly seeking knowledge by using non-linear methods. As the Web shifts to 2.0 and beyond, the culture surrounding it has also shifted towards a platform to bring together in a single medium. This has led to a heterarchy, rather than a hierarchy, that is only made possible by the ever-increasing bandwidth that makes the transfer of knowledge faster over time.

The role of librarians returns to the discussion, and Mr. Anderson suggested the term apomediation. This is another way of saying librarians serve as guides to the abundant economy; in this case the exchange of information and ideas. As the real-time aspects of the Web continue to increase, notably through sites such as Facebook and Twitter, librarians can help users separate the useful from the useless in order to get the results they were seeking. Serialists, like other members of the library field, attempt to solve puzzles in their work; this is nothing new, but these should be continuous reminders for those who would attempt to put libraries in a framework of growing irrelevance.

Strategy Session- When Jobs Disappear: The Staffing Implications of the Elimination of Print Serials Management Tasks

The title of this presentation touches on another real concern for serials personnel as the number of print serials continues to dwindle in many libraries. The presenter, Sarah Glasser of Hofstra University, was inspired by an informal program at the 2009 NASIG conference and developed a survey to determine how other libraries were attempting to address this situation. What she discovered was that although the number of tasks such as check-in and claiming have decreased, most of the responses indicated that libraries have not eliminated staff positions altogether. Rather, those existing positions were reclassified and rewritten to include additional duties, whether shifted into the maintenance of electronic subscriptions or to address gaps that had resulted in other areas of workflow.

One of the most interesting portions of the session occurred during the discussion. One attendee asked whether the skills needed for paraprofessional positions could be adequately rewritten as the needs of positions in libraries continue to change. There was no definite answer to the question, but several members of the group proposed that libraries had to keep their position descriptions as current and flexible as possible to adjust for the changes. As the technologies change, the positions of those who manage them, librarians and support staff alike, must also remain current.

Strategy Session- What to Withdraw? Grappling with Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization

ITHAKA, responsible for services such as JSTOR and Portico, has a third branch of service known as ITHAKA S+R that focuses on strategies and research initiatives that, according to their website, serves to report on the influence of digital media on academic libraries. “What to Withdraw” is one of its latest projects to assist libraries in reducing the size of their print collections as digital counterparts replace them. By analyzing a set of criteria based on preservation factors and a scientific framework, ITHAKA S+R has developed a tool that can be used to aid libraries based on their individual withdrawal needs. The Center of Research Libraries (CRL) was a collaborator on many aspects of this project.

Although the tool has been available for download at the ITHAKA S+R website since late 2009, it was not widely publicized until ALA’s 2010 Midwinter Meeting. Promotion has continued at other conferences and through a series of webinars since that time. Details of the report, along with the tool itself, can be found here.

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Today’s picture is from the terrace of the Rancho Las Palmas Resort, the site of conference. As Steve indicated in his report, there are no pics from the dancing that took place that evening!

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 1

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:41 pm

This year, NASIG celebrated its 25th anniversary at its conference in Palm Springs, California. Since I was not part of the conference planning committee, I was able to be an “attendee” once again and learn more about the latest challenges for serials and other continuing resources. These are the highlights for the sessions I attended on the first day.

Vision Session #1: Eric Miller of Zepheira, LLC on Linked Data and Librarians

With linked data becoming the latest trend in computing, I was glad that I attended Erik‘s session before going to the conference! Linked data allows users to pull information that had been previously inaccessible on the “front end” of websites and makes it available for users to connect it to other data points across the Internet. Miller went further to explain that this does not involve bringing this data together into one database: rather, applications and similar programs would manipulate the data without harvesting it locally.

Where does this leave libraries? Miller suggested that libraries can participate by contributing their expertise in specific areas such as controlled vocabulary and data portability. Sites such as the BBC and The New York Times have made their information available to users on the back end, but creating standards for that data would be the next possible step. As with so many other emerging technologies, libraries may have an advantage in bringing eventual order to the initial chaos.

Strategy Session- Not for the Faint of Heart! A New Approach to “Serials” Management

This session was presented by two members of OCLC about developing new approaches to managing the workflows required to serials in electronic format. Working as a partner with several libraries, OCLC has begun to develop a user-driven product that can respond to the specific needs of a particular institution. Core portions of the electronic management workflow have been outlined already: selecting and ordering, negotiation and licensing, receiving and maintenance, and payment and invoicing. Combining these with several “pain points” that can create potential bottlenecks in the workflow, OCLC hopes to aid libraries by making this process as routine and painless as possible.

The results for this study by OCLC are expected to be released later this year, and the presenters sought feedback from the audience as to any information that they may have missed. Although the title and description of this presentation did not correspond with what was presented, it was interesting nonetheless. It demonstrated that others are attempting the grapple with the issues associated with the concerns of electronic serials management.

Tactics Session- Don’t Pay Twice! Leveraging Licenses to Lower Student Costs

UCLA relies heavily on printed course readers that supplement the textbooks that students are required to purchase for their classes. In 2008, several student organizations approached the library about how to reduce the costs for these readers, which were usually assembled using articles and other materials that had been licensed by the library. Two librarians approached this dilemma by examining every aspect of a course pack, from the license negotiations for journals all the way to the costs of with the campus copy center. As a result, the library was able to reduce the costs for the readers by as much as $42,000 over three quarters (depending on the discipline, emphasis on journals over monographs, and so forth) as well as hundreds of dollars in copying fees. In the end, the library was not only able to gain more from its license negotiations, but it was able to leverage its campus connections to create successful partnerships with student organizations.

Moving forward, the librarians considered other possibilities: developing potential partnerships with the bookstore, analyzing the pros and cons of an annual license with the Copyright Clearance Center, assessing whether the potential risk of fair use would be viable and sustainable, examining other options such as the public domain and Creative Commons, and support for license portals. The question of developing electronic course readers that could be placed behind course management software has also emerged, and that may reduce costs further. By successfully marketing this program through student organizations, its continued growth and success seems assured. This library service can be progressive as the licensing process will evolve in the coming years.

Tactics Session- Licensing Electronic Journals through Non-Subscription-Agent “Go Betweens”

Subscription agents have long served an essential function in serials management, serving as intermediaries between libraries and publishers. However, there are areas around the world where subscription agents neither have a significant presence nor a relationship with the local publishers. This is where non-agents can play a role. Non-agents function as either for-profit or non-profit entities that work between libraries and publishing agencies- particularly society presses and small agencies- in foreign countries. The cost of their business is not passed to libraries, and the invoices for purchased items come directly from those publishers.

This is a business model of which I was unaware before the conference. As the curriculum of the university continues to build an international focus, the usefulness of these non-agents becomes clear. I believe that it could have possibilities for subscriptions that cannot be secured by any other method, and it could have a similar benefit for monographs. Two organizations that serve in this capacity are Accucoms and FASEB.

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Here is a photo taken from the flight on the way to Palm Springs. More to come in Day 2!


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