Professional Development

Roz at ALA

Saturday, June 29, 2013 10:22 pm

My ALA started on Friday with an all-day ProQuest User Group meeting. This was the first time ProQuest had done one of these and it was really, really useful. Their goal was to hear from librarians about a variety of issues and to update us on what is coming with ProQuest products. I spent the first breakout period in a session about eBooks. Leslie Lee, the new product developer (among many other things) for the Ebrary/EBL product led the session. He asked really good questions of the group about the level of comfort with ebooks from our various constituencies, how we budget for ebooks, what our thoughts were about different pricing models (like platform fees vs. higher per-title prices), and what the one thing we would want from a new platform. The discussion was wide ranging and covered things like how we need to rethink departmental-specific budgets, the need for better ways to get books on mobile devices, and the rich data ebooks can give us about our users and their habits. The second and third sessions I went to were both about Summon. The first one was about the new features upcoming in the next big iteration of Summon. These features are really exciting and include bringing background/reference content to the user in a separate panel on the results page, morecustomizability, spotlighting content by format (think Google Images, News, etc), automated query expansion (if you search ‘heart attack’ it will also search ‘myocardial infarction’ as well) and some others. I can’t wait to see the new features in action. We will get access to a test site in mid July and then will go live at some point before January 31st 2014. Then we broke out into discussion tables. I joined a table that looked at the way libraries are managing Summon after the implementation is over. It was clear that we had more questions than answers. Who is ultimately responsible for keeping up with changes/features in Summon? A single person – a team – an advisory group?? how are decisions made about how to configure new features, etc. Vote? Benign dictatorship? It dawned on me that we probably need to give more deliberate attention to Summon to be sure it is as good as we can make it for our users. I’ll get a group together later in the summer to discuss all these new features and how we want to handle them.

All in all it was a very useful meeting. ProQuest very intentionally did a lot of listening and not any selling of their products. They really wanted to hear what we like, don’t like and what we feel is missing the landscapes of products they provide.

My Saturday was filled mostly with committee meetings for the Law and Political Science Section. I am the outgoing chair of the Marta Lange awards committee (our luncheon is tomorrow) and a member of the 2014 Program Planning Committee for the Las Vegas conference. We decided that our program in Las Vegas will be about water issues in the Southwest. Should be really good. I hit the exhibits – found out that the NY Times now has site licenses for libraries and got a good look at the new Statistical Datasets product. Will go back tomorrow for more vendor floor schmoozing.

North Carolina Summon User Group Meeting

Thursday, May 24, 2012 12:18 pm

On Friday, May 18, Lauren Pressley and I went to Perkins Library at Duke University to attend the inaugural meeting of the North Carolina Summon User Group. My last visit to Perkins Library was 20 years ago, so just getting to visit their beautiful facility and amazing coffee shop was a treat in itself! I was surprised to discover the intentional dearth of signage on their campus and was very thankful that Lauren knew where we were going.

Upon registration, we were greeted by two very friendly Duke librarians and given very nice Serials Solutions portfolios as well as name tags and name table tents. The meeting began with a lunch hosted by Serials Solution. There were about 50 in attendance with several schools represented including NC State, ECU, UNC-CH, Campbell, Duke, and others.

Eddie Neuwirth, Senior Product Manager for Summon, began the program by introducing himself (he lives in Cary!) and his colleague, Vince Pella who is a Customer Service Representative and flew in from Seattle for the meeting. Eddie began by giving an overview about what is new and what’s coming with Summon. He said that Summon is currently being used by 450 libraries in 40 countries and that 38% of the largest Research Libraries in North America are using it. They are currently approaching one billion records with more than 90 content types. They push out new releases every three weeks that can be added by local Summon administrators. We were pleased to note the newest release gave the option for the Widget and Search Box Builder to “Keep Search Refinements.” This was one of our concerns that we noted in our own recent usability study and we were pleased to see that they had addressed this problem! Also, the save and preview items icons are now visible (another concern we noted in our usability study).

He then introduced a new widget that will be rolled out this summer called the “Discipline” widget that uses Ulrich’s categories to group journal titles and it uses call numbers to group books. He noted that not everything is mapped to the Discipline widget and then he gave an example of how to use it by limiting the Discipline widget to Biology and searching for “Blood Cells” (which yielded 600,000+ hits).

He then proceeded to talk about other enhancements such as spotlighting images (digital repositories) and a recommender feature that will suggest LibGuides, databases, etc. The biggest announcement was that they are working on a product targeted for 2013 that will replace the need for OPACs. He gave a sneak preview of what the records will look like and they appear much like our current catalog records. They are also working on A&I citation displays so there will be sneak previews to the abstracts and database records. Eddie also mentioned a product they are developing called Intota that is a web-scale development product that will eventually eliminate the need for integrated library systems as we know them.

After Eddie’s talk, there was an hour of lightning rounds which were five fascinating 10-minute presentations where people from different universities presented research related to their use of Summon. The first up was Patrick Carr from ECU who presented his findings on the impact Summon has had on E-Journal use. He reported that the cost per session came to $.39 and the cost per search came to $.08. They found that the use of Sage and Springer journals increased four times. The use of Elsevier increased 10-15%, but the use of JSTOR was down 10% and the use of EBSCO journals was down significantly. In a later part of the meeting, Eddie explained that the numbers being down in JSTOR had to do with the fact that JSTOR provides limited access to the bulk of their metadata (JSTOR gives Google Scholar full access to all of their metadata). In the end, the download of full-text downloads stayed flat for pre-Summon and post-Summon at 1.4 million.

The next presenter was from Duke and he demonstrated their use of Summon to include their visual collections (scanned items from special collections). They were still working on Summon’s ability to include thumbnails which they anticipated to be working by this week.

For me, the highlight of the lightning rounds was hearing Karen Cicconne from NC State. They were a beta site for Summon and thus have three years of experience under their belts. Karen presented her findings from comparing the results of an EBSCO group cluster search to the same search in Summon. She used the exact wording and punctuation used by students in the EBSCO searches to see the result in Summon. NC State offers a group of course tools for every course taught at NC State, and each course offers an EBSCO cluster at the top of the page. She found that the EBSCO searches had consistently better returns but there were a couple of searches that did better in Summon. (Side note: one of the consistent themes throughout the day was bemoaning Summon’s inability to sort by relevance.) Her next study will be comparing the results from Google Scholar searches with Summon searches. Her initial reaction is that both are good (as a reminder, they are only searching journal articles in their Summon searches).

Next up was Ginny Boyer from ECU’s Joyner Library. She did a survey with ECU’s Health Science librarians to gauge their perception of Summon and its usefulness for the medical field. They found that while most did not use it, they did not feel strongly about it either way. They did a study to find out their proficiency with the tool and found mixed results. There seemed to be little or no success with winning over the Health Science librarians to Summon. The kicker to this presentation came with Karen Cicconne from NC State spoke up and said that research shows that people in the health sciences do not need Summon, they can find everything they need in ChemAbstracts and Medline. The key to success in medical searches is MESH headings.

The last group were Anita Crescenzi and Kim Vassiliadis from UNC’s Health Science library. They did a Summon usability studies that was very elaborate in its execution with 170 applicants vying for the $20 gift card offered in appreciation for 60-90 minutes of their time. Their results were identical to ours (which we did with student assistants in no more than an hour for each session). A couple of their observations: Summon searches titles very well, but loses relevance searching after that. Their students also mentioned the desire to limit results from the beginning and the desire to have the results grouped by format such as journal article or book.

We ended the day with discussions around tables based on common interests. Lauren and I gravitated to the instruction table where we talked with Karen Cicconne (NCSU), Emily Daly (Duke), and Sarah Steele (Campbell). We found that most of us do not teach Summon, but sometimes it is used as an example of a broad search versus a targeted search in a specialized database. Karen gave a very interesting statistic that said that they found that 74% of their students began their searches on their website using the “All” option, with 40% of second clicks going to the Summon articles, 30% going to their catalog, and 30% going somewhere else on the page. If you have time, I suggest that you take a look at NC State’s Library homepage to see how they are implementing Summon:

I apologize for this very long reflection, but as you can see, it was a day packed with fascinating information. They are hoping to make this an annual event and I highly encourage others from ZSR to attend next year!

A Few Last Notes (and a bit of a theme): Roz at ALA MW

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:51 am

So as I was pondering a theme for my ALA Midwinter, the best I could come up with was ‘skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.’ Many of my sessions, from Info Commons, to supporting distance learners, to planning building space to the vendor floor had me thinking about looking for what we want our students to be doing in our libraries and with our materials in five years and planning for that. The problem is that there is a good deal of uncertainty about what exactly we will be in five years. A new provost, capital campaign success, changing student demographics (and locations) all play into the calculations. So perhaps the best we can do is keep thinking about things and be vigilant in hearing our students out about what they want.

A couple of notes from the vendor floor. By far the sexiest thing I saw was a new (like not even available until April) machine for checking out iPads. Called MediaSurfer, it not only charges iPads between use, but it reloads them, too. Connects with your ILS for check-outs, too. Wickedly cool and sexy, also wickedly expensive ($25,000 for a 16-unit station AND you provide the iPads yourself). But still, something to keep an eye on as it does take a time-consuming task (charging and reloading iPads) and remove staff time. I worry that it is so very tied to a particular product, but I suspect the company will figure out how to do ereaders eventually.

I also stopped by the ProQuest booth twice. Once for an update on a really cool new feature of Summon that is coming – the ability to create (using a simple web form) custom searches based on discipline. These can then be embedded in LibGuides, web sites, etc. A really nice new feature that should be emerging in the next month. Come see me if you want more details. Then I stopped back by to play around with ProQuest’s new Vogue Digital Archive. A digital version of Vogue that indexes down to the image contents – so if you want to see a picture of all dresses in Vogue in 1945 you can regardless of where they appeared in the magazine – cover, ad or story. It too, is wickedly cool and wickedly expensive (maybe that should have been my theme) but there is a lower subscription fee that might be worth looking into.

Finally I had a long conversation and demo of LibAnswers and LibAnalytics from our friends at Springshare, who bring us LibGuides. I am beginning to think we need this kind of robust repository for Reference transactions as we begin to plan for online students and expanded online support we will need to provide for them. Just like LibGuides, it is an easy to use interface (provides TXT and soon Chat reference features, too) and exceptionally reasonably priced (see – that would blow the wickedly expensive theme). I will be talking to the RIS team about its potential in the coming months, but it would also be useful for Circulation and Special Collections for tracking patron interactions, etc.

All in all it was a good conference, but Dallas has a LONG way to go before people begin to look forward to going back there for a conference. The best that can be said is that January weather in Dallas does not stink. Oh, and if you want to hear about the coolest museum exhibition ever, come talk to Giz, Mary S. or I about the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. Beyond spectacular!!

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.

SerialsSolutions Summon and HathiTrust full-text indexing

Monday, April 25, 2011 1:08 pm

“Just as GoogleBook search brought book search to the open web, this advancement brings full text book search and integrated content discovery to serious researchers. . .”

Today Mary Beth, Susan, Derrik, Lauren C, Tim, Audra, Craig, Cristina, Steve, Leslie, Lynn, Kaeley, Erik, Barry and Giz attended a webinar about the recent launch of the full text indexing of HathiTrust records in the SerialsSolutions Sumon service. David Lankes started the session with his view of how services like the HathiTrust compare with other cooperative projects and what motivates information seekers when they approach systems with an information need. David focused on a few themes, notably the concept that collaborative collections create opportunities for new communities to form around.

John wilkin gave an overview of the state of the hathitrust. Some interesting numbers included a current ~31% overlap with ARL libraries and near 50% overlap with Oberlin group libraries. The HathiTrust currenlty has around 8.2 Million titles with approximately 26% of them (2.1M) in the public domain. Wilkin indicated that with current contribution levels they are seeing about a 1% growth in overlap for every 200K submitted titles.

John Law finished up the webinar indicating that the Summon service would offer the full text index of HathiTrust records as an include-able option with other resources. The key idea appeared to be that full text indexing would be included in Summon with various options for content delivery (e.g. direct link for public domain resources, catalog link for owned resources, ILLfulfillmentlink for others). Interstingly, John Law indicated that these links will not always be based on OpenURL but will be ‘pre-calculated.’ SerialsSolutions is planning on offering some advanced content inclusion options (e.g. public domain only or fully indexed collection) using specific fulfillment options for each type of resource/licensing restriction.

As expected the questions from the audience focused on timeline (mid year), technical details (to be determined in the client center), and requests for a demo (forthcoming). A few questions centered around matching and merging of titles/records to provide a streamlined record discovery and presentation service for patrons. In response John Law said that SerialsSolutions is planning on finding ways to merge catalog records from the subscribing library with full text indexing from HathiTrust to provide both single-point access and enhanced bibliographic/full text access. There was a question about what the user experience would look like for items not in the public domain. It appears that Summon will attempt to make a ‘best-guess’ about resources but will provide multiple links (ILL, content link when possible). There was some interest about how resrouces outside of the puGiven the attendance from ZSR this is clearly an interesting area and I expect there will be more questions in the months to come!

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