I ended up having only one more chance to get online while at the conference, and that was during the closing session at Centennial Hall. It didn’t seem to be appropriate to blog while listening to the final vision session, so I decided to wait until I returned home.
By day three of a conference, I switch over to caffeine, sugar, and adrenaline as my sources of energy. Between the lack of sleep and the non-stop conference schedule, my brain begins to turn to mush in the afternoons. This is usually intensified at a NASIG conference due to the tradition of the late night social events. It only happens once a year, so I figure I have the rest of the year to catch up on sleep.
Saturday morning began with the second vision session featuring two guest speakers presenting on the Big Deal. For those unaware of trends in serials pricing, the Big Deal usually refers to library subscriptions to large packages of journals from single publishers, ranging from the entire title list to subgroup packages of titles. At first the Big Deal seemed to be a good deal, but like all things commercial, it has been exploited and now libraries are faced with tough choices and tiny budgets. I enjoyed Kenneth Frazier’s analysis of the Big Deal, but when Loretta Ebert’s half of the presentation shifted into “what we did and how we did it,” I decided to start my long break early and head out to the Milwaukee Public Library to check email and post the previous entry.
When I returned, I stopped by the poster sessions to take a look at what Anna Hood had to say about adding marc records to her local catalog for all of the Directory of Open Access Journals titles. My dean is interested in finding ways to promote open access journals to our faculty, and having them in the catalog would certainly help. It took Hood six months with the help of a part-time student worker to locate good records for importing and to create new records as needed. I would like to have those records in our catalog, but the time required is a bit more than I can devote. For now, I guess that having those titles as targets in our link resolver will have to do.
One of the new features of the conference program this year is lunch connection discussion groups. I met with 10 folks for lunch to facilitate a discussion of Matthew Battles’ book Library: an Unquiet History, as well as points of interest he raised in the previous day’s interview. Due to fatigue, I can’t remember any details of our discussion, but it was enjoyable.
After lunch, I intended to attend a tactics session on the nuts and bolts of linking and using a link resolver, but I had chatted with the presenters (one a former colleague) previously and determined that I wouldn’t learn much that I didn’t already know from my own experience. I couldn’t decide on any of the other sessions for that time slot, so I took the opportunity to retreat to my room and rest a little before the next session.
One hour later I found myself yet again in a windowless conference room. Alfred B. Kraemer and Abigail Bordeaux presented a tactics session on how they are gathering and analyzing publisher-supplied use statistics. Currently I’m pulling together what I can and putting the data onto spreadsheets, so I was very interested to see how others are processing use statistics. Kraemer uses a combination of scripting and Access databases to collate and analyze the use statistics he gathers. Bordeaux uses spreadsheets and is considering putting together an access database. However, she wasn’t sure whether or not it was worth the time and effort to do so if the ERM tools expected to be released by ILS vendors in the next year will handle use statistics and provide analysis tools. Bordeaux will have information related to the session available in the next week or so.
It was my pleasure to introduce Ted Fons of III and Regina Romano Reynolds of the National Serials Data Program for their tactics session on ISSN-related standard developments. Fons gave background and current status information on the NISO/EDItEUR Joint Working Party to develop a better standard for serials subscription data exchange. Reynolds gave a brief history of efforts to revise the ISSN standard and some of the issues surrounding that. The NISO website provides the four scenarios that were considered and recently rejected. It’s back to the drawing board for ISSN revision.
By the time the tactics sessions were finished, I was ready for the low-key fun the evening promised. Saturday night was the only unstructured evening in the conference schedule, so some friends, colleagues, and I decided to explore Milwaukee a bit. We headed off to the Safe House for dinner. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the cuisine, but the ambiance is worth checking out. The evening was capped off by a group of us visiting a local bar with a more comfortable atmosphere and less expensive drinks than the hotel bar.
On Sunday morning, I arrived at the tail end of the recognition breakfast and caught the entire Town Hall Meeting. This is one of the informal aspects of NASIG that I enjoy