Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Notes from Cowtown: NASIG 2014, Friday

In exchange for providing money & time to attend professional conferences, we librarians at my place of work are expected to share what we learned.  Well, these conference notes are usually posted to a network drive, locked behind a firewall, away from prying eyes of “others”.  As I was thinking how I needed to prepare another post to this blog, it occurred to me that sharing my notes with the world (or at least those few who do read this [thank you]).

As with most libraries, funding for travel has shrunk, so I try to take advantage of opportunities that minimize costs (travel is not something I can squeeze into my own personal budget).  When I saw the CFP for the annual conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) in Fort Worth, I jumped in with both feet.  Now, while serials are a major part of the budget, I had not participated in NASIG before, so I wasn’t sure how much I could contribute.  But then I thought of what we were already doing regarding the budget.  While this was only a “how-we-did-it” kind of presentation, I thought that how we did it was modestly innovative.  So I participated in two proposals (to increase my chances of acceptance) with my colleagues, Todd Enoch and Priya Kizhakkethil.  To my surprise, both were accepted (hence, the “both feet”).  Because we will be writing our own papers for the proceedings, I will simply leave you with the links to the presentations at NASIG’s SlideShare:

Now that I have dispensed with my own contributions, here is what I learned from the NASIG 2014 conference.

Friday’s Vision Speaker: Kathrine Skinner, Educopia Institute

<<missing notes>>

Katherine mentioned the digital publishing and preservation efforts of the University of North Texas, naming the deans (Martin Halbert & Cathy Hartman) specifically.

  1. <missing>
  2. <missing>
  3. Cultural process & production distributions that depend on a network of people…”chains of interdependence”

System-level change requires system-wide involvement.

All players need to be involved in change of scholarly communication.

As libraries, to sustain & preserve cultural knowledge.

Interdependence of systems: Alignment of innovations towards adoption.

Chance, Choice & Change to transform society

  • Chance can be rigged
  • Choice – why are we choosing to do our business (e.g. signing non-disclosure agreements)
  • Change – in the study of evolution, it is not strength but flexibility that is most important to survival.

Where to go from here?  Trends:

  • Library Publishing Coalition (LPC)
    • Involved Martin & Spencer Keralis
    • 60 institutions became members, giving funding, indicating the importance of this effort
    • They will be collaborating with university presses to developing sustainable publishing
    • Three key deliverables:
      • Web site for the LPC
      • Library Publishing Directory – a census of efforts
      • Conference – Library Publishing Forum with SPARC and other publishers
      • But missing collection development librarians
    • NOTE: I asked Katherine a question…essentially, why would libraries succeed in developing a sustainable model of scholarly publishing where university presses failed?
      • Her answer was that UP’s are more fractured, based on a cost-recovery model, uses an expensive computer infrastructure for managing the publication and distribution process.
  • Web archiving
    • mentioned UNT as a “usual suspect”
    • Is especially necessary for the born-digital news, which are inherently ephemeral
  • Preservation
    • Most of the content that are not being preserved are the content that is most at risk
  • Open Access Finding Models
    • “Freemium content” – essentially paying for enhanced content
    • Latch – the model where a certain number of libraries pay to have content made OA for all.

Friday, Concurrent Session 1: Rounding Up Those Prices: Do You Know What You Are Paying For?, Tina Feik & Anne McKee

This session presented two perspectives on how journal prices were set – from the agent’s and from the consortium’s.  This was enlightening in that I had not been exposed to these sort of details since library school.  First, Tina Feik (Harrassowitz) provided the ordering “calendar”, noting how the time frames overlap between when the agents ask publishers for the prices and the renewal lists are sent to libraries.  This results in the renewal lists including estimates of the next year’s prices.  Anne McKee, from Greater Western Library Association (GWLA), talked about the complexities of consortial pricing.  There are many, many factors involved in the pricing, including:

  • Format preference
  • Subscriber-type
  • For online pricing…
    • FTE?  Discounted?
    • Tier – it is preferable that the publisher base their pricing on the new Carnegie Classifications
    • Inclusion of backfiles – full? partial? none?
    • Previous years’ usage – this is a relatively new approach
  • Consortia
    • type of consortium: shared focus, institutional, tiers, buying clubs, geographic, etc.
    • List price varies by institutional member
    • price cap – overall or at the title level
    • For GWLA:
      • Content is king – they look at impact factor, accreditation bodies, etc.
      • they have multiple modes of discounts
      • there are financial issues to consider
      • library-friendly licensing (e.g. fair-use vs. CONTU), allows ILL, alumni access, etc.
        • NOTE: GWLA is working with Springer to enable ILL of ebooks

Tina returns wrapping of with the agent’s perspective again.  The service charges are based on:

  • average cost of subscriptions
  • publishers’ discount to the agent – NOTE: this has been declining to nill.
  • ease of obtaining
  • length of contract with the library
  • % of the value of the title list

GWLA uses BaseCamp to manage the renewal process.  She wasn’t too enthusiastic about BaseCamp, but thought it was better than most systems.


Friday, Concurrent Session 2, Are we there yet? Moving to an e-only collection development policy for books.  Kate Moore.

<NOTE: I was late to this session…service at Razzoo’s was rather slow>

User preferences by type, subject, age, and purpose.  They have documented that ebooks are used more than print (I must have missed the evidence for this).  Ebook sales are still growing but the growth rate is flat.  Acceptance of ebooks may be based on multiple factors, including:

  • Platform functionality
  • Accessibility – content, disability, usability
  • Business models
    • content – collection, subscription, DDA, title-by-title
    • licensing – SERU can now be used
    • preservation – more ebooks in CLOCKSS
    • ILL – Occam’s Reader with Springer & GWLA

Kate mentioned the importance of guidelines for weeding e-resources, which requires continual assessment.  There are often earlier editions in DDA discovery collections that may not be desired or necessary.

Regarding acceptance of ebooks, Kate mentioned the study from Wellesly college that surveyed users.  They indicated that the best platforms were those that had easy ways of searching, could be downloaded to a device and read offline.

Friday, Vendor Lightning Round

Six vendors had about 6 minutes to hawk their wares.

  • ACS Symposium Series
    • Interface was developed to integrate with the needs of the user.
    • Content was developed to be accessible with any Discovery service.
    • Collection provides 1400 ebooks dating back to 1950.
    • Series is organized into discipline-specific collections.
    • May be purchased as a one-time archive with perpetual access by multiple users.
  • DeGruyter
    • Catalog is about half social sciences/humanities and half STEM.
    • Catalog contains about 18 print books, 1,300 ebooks, 700 journals, and 50 databases.
    • They have a DDA/PDA program.
    • They also have partnerships with other publishers.
    • But they are not a “Big Deal” publisher
  • Plum Analytics
    • This service was recently purchased by EBSCO and is being pushed to academic institutions.
    • Plumx pulls together altmetric data on people, academic outputs, and institutions into a set of “dashboards”.
    • Refers to DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment) – “Ditch the JIF”
    • Essentially, Plumx can track anything that has a unique identifier:
      • DOI
      • ID from an institutional repository
      • URL/URI
      • ORCID
      • etc.
  • JoVE
    • This is a collection of peer-reviewed videos that document lab experiments.
    • It is subscription based
    • They are developing a series that is focused on the lab fundamentals.  This could be quite useful for our biology programs.
  • eMicrofilm
    • Yes, that’s right – e-microfilm.  Huh?
    • For a 10% premium on top of microfilm subscription, libraries can provide online access to these titles.
    • The value-added features of this include:
      • full-color images of the actual publication (versus PDFs)
      • Complete publication, including ads
      • searchable
    • Could be useful for newspapers
    • Purchasing agent
    • Integrated with ILS
    • Highlighted the EDI/APIs to work with the ILS

Friday, Concurrent session 3, The power of sharing linked data: Giving the Web what it wants, Richard Wallis (OCLC) (SlideShare Presentation)

Richard Wallis described the problem that OCLC addressed with their research and development of linked data.  The basic problem is that libraries are not visible to potential users. He stressed that librarians need accept the fact that users don’t start their research in the catalog; that we need to expose our resources.

Now, in order to make this happen, we need to learn to work with the search engines (notably Google) and “give the Web what it wants”:

  • size – addressed with OCLC WorldCat Aggregation
  • familiar structures – as in,
  • network of links – addressed with referrals in WorldCat records to standards
  • entity identifies – as in, VIAF

Richard noted that MARC data is locked in “records”, full of repeated data that could be separated out as entities.  These could be used to generate “library knowledge-graphs” – akin to Google’s & Amazon’s.  He noted that “Amazon didn’t think about this (referring to FRBR)…they just did it because it makes sense.”  (My comment: isn’t that what library & information science does – think about these things?)

The enables works and the holdings of participating libraries to be exposed to the “general” Web – the Google-web.  The National Library of France (BNF) recently implemented this and found that 80% of views of the “details” pages of their catalog were referred there from search engines, not the catalog interface.

In order to make this happen, librarians need to fit our data into their infrastructure.  This means we have to use their language (data, not strings of text).  The OCLC Linked Data initiative gives the Web what it wants:

  • 311+ million resources
  • structured using
  • utilizing RDF formatting
  • with links to standard identifiers

OCLC just released Works data – this coalesces the 311 million manifestations into 197 works.

Note: I did not attend the final session on Friday – I was pooped.


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