Professional Development

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.

 

 

Lauren C. at ALA Midwinter San Diego 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 2:44 pm

Hot topics: demand-driven acquisitions -is selection dead?; deselection tool being developed; future of Midwinter conference; “reshaping” ALCTS. The last two topics occupied the majority of my time since this is my year as Chair of ALCTS Acquisitions Section, which makes me a member of the ALCTS Board and requires participation in several long, but interesting, meetings.

Excitement about demand-driven acquisitions (DDA) of e-books is prompting the question of whether or not librarians are needed to make selections. See the Library Journal write up for more details, but briefly, Rick Anderson expressed again that he’s spending his library’s dollars on meeting the needs of the students and faculty according to their choices rather than spending money on librarians’ best guesses when funds are limited. Big budget news broke before I left — California is facing a cut of one billion dollars in higher education spending. In one presentation I saw statistics that showed more dollars are spent on prisons than education in California already.

Regarding deselection, a pre-conference by R2 at Charleston in 2008, (see my post) was the genesis of their idea to develop a tool to streamline a deselection process. At Midwinter I attended a focus group to give R2 feedback on this tool as it is being developed. The idea is to create a record set (viewable as a list) of print copies of books that are low-use within the local library, and then confirm that those items are available in another trusted repository (HathiTrust, for example), thereby giving the library the info to decide about weeding or storage. R2 is ready to sign up a few customers to do some projects and refine their tool, so I will be talking with Lynn about whether this is something that could be useful to us or if it is something that could be done in-house when the need arises.

I heard many expressions of disappointment in the white paper on the future of Midwinter particularly since there was no financial data in it. When Camila Alire, Past President of ALA, visited with the ALCTS Board and asked for feedback, I asked Ms. Alire for a white paper on Annual, since perhaps all the “vibrancy” of Midwinter is indicative of a lack thereof at Annual. The ALA white paper does indicate that there is no requirement by ALA to attend Midwinter (p.7), and the ALCTS bylaws do not require it, although the expectation is there at the Chair/Board level in ALCTS. At the committee level within sections, several groups throughout the ALCTS Division have made the shift to conduct all work without any face-to-face meetings, so the ALCTS Board brainstormed some ways for leaders to only need to attend Annual. The topic will be explored more. The ALCTS Board also discussed whether or not to restructure (or reshape) the organization based on the report of the task force that analyzed results of an earlier survey to the membership, but no conclusion has been reached yet. The continuation of strategic planning, which the Board and relative committees will engage in via email in the next month, may better inform a decision.

I did manage to squeeze in two chats with vendors: I talked with representative Linda Russo at Latin American Book Store about reviewing our firm ordering history for both Spanish Peninsula titles and Latin American Literature for the past year to see if she can identify a pattern for creating a small auto-shipment plan. Our Spanish faculty and I keep hoping to do this, if we can define narrow enough parameters to stay in budget and still have money for some one-by-one selection. I also talked with EBL about our interest in print-on-demand (POD) and how I’d like to be able to do POD with with our EBL purchases if we should get the equipment at WFU. (Keep your fingers crossed for funding!) David Swords of EBL explained that EBL is interested, but cautioned me that it will take time (more than I’d like) because it requires agreements with publishers.

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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