Usus is an independent community website developed to help librarians, library consortium administrators, publishers, aggregators, etc. communicate around topics related to usage statistics. From problem-solving to workflow tips to calling out bad actors, this site hopes to be the hub of all things usage.
Ten years later, I’m glad I made the decision not long after posting this to move that library’s subscriptions to EBSCO. I’m concerned that the serials subscription agent industry continues to shrink, but then again, so much of what they used to do is going away and customers are having to handle subscription problems on their own in the age of licensed online content. Maybe this is the beginning of a shift in the industry?
My library director has us reading an article each month, all geared towards helping us think about better ways to do our things, with a look towards the future of libraries. This month is the Brian Mathews article “Librarian as Futurist: Changing the Way Libraries Think About the Future” from the July 2014 issue of portal.
I suppressed my gag reflex at the sight of the word “futurist,” forever associated in my mind with Joe Murphy (the “librarian”, not the amazing and hilarious podcaster tragically lost to cancer some years ago), and made it through the article. Lots of pie in the sky, but it got me thinking.
I had a call a few weeks ago from Informa Healthcare about adding some subscriptions. We have one title from them (for psychology), and since we have no pre-med or nursing programs, we’re not likely to subscribe to anything else. The sales rep sent me a turn-away report from our IP range for the past year, and talked about a pay-per-view plan (with a deposit account) that would give us perpetual access campus-wide for any articles purchased.
The Matthews article had me wondering about the future of my aspect of librarianship, since the author is mostly coming at it from a public services perspective, and the first thing that came to mind was the big hairy mess that is article purchases. At least with this model, we would have perpetual access. In the past, it was more like document delivery, with one person getting access one time, and paying again if someone else wanted it.
How do you account for the expenditure? Which fund do you use? Do we catalog each article we “own”? When will our OpenURL systems become so refined as to indicate when we have campus-wide access to a single article in a single issue of a journal and accurately link to it?
Big. Hairy. Mess.
But, I can see it on the horizon. Someone(s) will have to figure it out. I’ll be taking notes.
If you don’t already read (or browse the table of contents) The Code4Lib Journal, I suggest you start now. Occasionally, there is content that is very relevant to eresources/serials/acquisitions.
The most recent issue contains an article written by Kristina M. Spurgin, the E-Resources Cataloger at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She created a Ruby script to check all the links and look for key words in the HTML or text that indicated if there was a problem with access. Of course, each platform has different ways of indicating whether or not a user from a particular IP range has access to an article/chapter, so each one has it’s own configuration, built into the script. She plans to eventually move them into their own files that can be selectively used by others as appropriate to their collections.
This is still a work in progress, and she notes that it’s not a perfect solution for several reasons, including random errors caused by one of the scripting libraries. That being said, I’m excited to see a potential open source solution to a problem we all have. Automated access checking requires the program to be a smart as an experienced eresource librarian, so it makes sense that a smart, experienced eresource librarian would be writing it.
As some of you may know, I’ve been on the steering committee for the Parsec Awards for several years now. The awards seeks to celebrate the best in speculative fiction podcasting. If you have an interest in audio fiction of the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and steampunk flavors (just to name a few), then I can recommend nothing better than the current and past lists of finalists and winners.
It took a bit longer than usual for us to listen through and evaluate this year’s round of nominee samples, so I’m happy to announce the finalists for 2014! Check out these podcasts for stories, audio dramas, science behind the stories, and geeking out about favorite speculative fiction content.