Charleston 2017: COUNTER Release 5 — Consistency, Clarity, Simplification and Continuous Maintenance

Speakers: Lorraine Estelle (Project COUNTER), Anne Osterman (VIVA – The Virtual Library of Virginia), Oliver Pesch (EBSCO Information Services)

COUNTER has had very minimal updates over the years, and it wasn’t until release 4 that things really exploded with report types and additional useful data. Release 5 attempts to reduce complexity so that all publishers and content providers are able to achieve compliance.

They are seeking consistency in the report layout, between formats, and in vocabulary. Clarity in metric types and qualifying action, processing rules, and formatting expectations.

The standard reports will be fewer, but more flexible. The expanded reports will introduce more data, but with flexibility.

A transaction will have different attributes recorded depending on the item type. They are also trying to get at intent — items investigated (abstract) vs. items requested (full-text). Searches will now distinguish between whether it was on a selected platform, a federated search, a discovery service search, or a search across a single vendor platform. Unfortunately, the latter data point will only be reported on the platform report, and still does not address teasing that out at the database level.

The access type attribute will indicate when the usage is on various Open Access or free content as well as licensed content. There will be a year of publication (YOP) attribution, which was not in any of the book reports and only included in Journal Report 5.

Consistent, standard header for each report, with additional details about the data. Consistent columns for each report. There will be multiple rows per title to cover all the combinations, making it more machine-friendly, but you can create filters in Excel to make it more human-friendly.

They expect to have release 5 published by July 2017 with compliance required by January 2019.

Q&A
Q: Will there eventually be a way to account for anomalies in data (abuse of access, etc.)?
A: They are looking at how to address use triggered by robot activity. Need to also be sensitive of privacy issues.

Q: Current book reports do not include zero use entitlements. Will that change?
A: Encouraged to provide KBART reports to get around that. The challenge is that DDA/PDA collections are huge and cumbersome to deliver reports. Will also be dropping the zero use reporting on journals, too.

Q: Using DOI as a unique identifier, but not consistently provided in reports. Any advocacy to include unique identifiers?
A: There is an initiative associated with KBART to make sure that data is shared so that knowledgbases are updated so that users find the content so that there are fewer zero use titles. Publisher have motivation to do this.

Q: How do you distinguish between unique uses?
A: Session based data. Assign a session ID to activity. If no session tracking, a combination of IP address and user agent. The user agent is helpful when multiple users are coming through one IP via the proxy server.

Slides

Charleston 2016: Rolling with the Punches… and Punching Back: The Millennial Librarian’s Approach to Library Budgets and Acquisitions

Are you one of the Millennials who are ruining everything?Speakers: Ashley Krenelka Chase (Stetson University College of Law), Lindsay Cronk (University of Houston), Ellen Frentzen (Boston University School of Law), and Christine Weaver-Pieh (Medina County District Library)

If pesky whipper-snapper seem to be moving up the ranks really fast, it’s probably because they don’t have any damn money.

Pesky Whipper-Snapper are team-oriented, which drives GenXers crazy. They are the most well educated generation so far. [Many other characteristics are described, but these two stand out to me.]

Vendor relations
Sending questions/requirements in writing to vendors has helped them take it more seriously that this person knows what they are doing. There’s a desire to develop a relationship with the individuals working for a vendor in order to have a better conduit for feedback. The communication needs to happen both ways to be productive.

Coworker relations
Take responsibility for your own actions and present how you might do something better if it fails. Know where your weaknesses are. Need to get beyond “we’ve always done it this way” — spend time regularly assessing workflows and processes to make sure it’s still necessary and appropriately distributed. Kindness and a willingness to approach the work as a team goes a long way.

Collection development
Collections is going to need to be fundamentally re-imagined, but we’re going to have to continue with the models we have as well. Don’t need to buy everything we’ve ever bought — hold off until it’s requested (i.e. standing orders). Decisions based on hard data about usage. Working with estates for endowed funds to shift the gift requirements from monographs only. Cutting the stuff nobody looks at may drive usage up for the things they do. Shifting from journal subscriptions to article purchases.

Collections budget
Previous managers held back money to make sure that all assumed needs were covered in a fiscal period – shifted to focus on the kinds of things people are asking for, and providing it when they do. Less books is not a problem if the people are finding what they need. Shifting from buying everything of a particular type to buying in targeted areas that are relevant to most of the programs supported by the library.

Missing in skill set?
Need to know more about Banner. Need to know more about faculty politics, but can’t do that until allowed in the room.

Budget priorities
Getting everything to zero by the end of the year. Don’t waste money — tracking usage — but making sure it’s spent. Staff professional development, public facing services, and the tools to do their work (i.e. Office supplies).

Identifying audiences
Stakeholders are not the same as the users (i.e. Provost/Dean, alumni, accrediting bodies). Creating personas. Identifying the shift in majors by population.

Compensating for shortfalls
Reduced sharing of materials outside the institution to keep materials there for the users. Strategic planning to identify potential cuts if they become necessary. Play it close to the vest until what is happening is actually happening, because things can change on a dime as leadership looks at big picture and shifts. Communicate budget information in a clear visual to the decision-makers, particularly to make a point of what funds are available versus what has either been spent or encumbered.

Q&A
Q: What do you do with people who don’t take responsibility?
A: Pesky Whipper-Snappers might be gun-shy about taking responsibility for things they don’t feel confident about. Use this as a teachable moment.

Charleston 2016: You Can’t Preserve What You Don’t Have – Or Can You? Libraries as Infrastructure for Perpetual Access to Intellectual Output

Plenary Sessions of the Charleston Conference at the Gaillard Center (Charleston, South Carolina) - November 3, 2016
Anja Smit at Charleston Conference

Speaker: Anja Smit, Utrecht University

Ancient scholars would not recognize our modern libraries. There are new services (via the internet) that replace some of the services of library, and we need to continual re-evaluate what value we are adding.

For example, we are putting a lot of effort into locally managed discovery services, and yet a majority of sources referring users to content are Google and Google Scholar. For some disciplines, the library plays a very small role in discovery of content, so the Dutch have focused on providing access to content over discovery.

But, what if OA becomes the publication model of the future? What if Google does digitize all the books? What if users organize access themselves?

The Dutch consortia is flipping some pricing models. In two of the licenses they currently hold, they are paying for the cost of publication rather than the rights for access, and they are making the Dutch scholarly work OA globally. However, they have found perpetual access, or preservation, has not been an easy thing to negotiate or prioritize.

Librarians have been trying to find a solution for long-term preservation since the dawn of digital publication. There are some promising initiatives.

France has built a repository that includes access (not just a dark archive). How do we scale this kind of thing globally? Funding is local. We will never have a global system, so we need local systems based on a standard that will connect them.

Libraries do not own the digital content. We can collect it, but we tend to collect what our community needs rather than the output of our researchers.

Libraries can put things on the agenda of other stakeholders. OA and Open Science is on the agenda of politicians and governments because of libraries.

To-do:

  1. Make perpetual access to knowledge the top priority on our agenda.
  2. Get perpetual access to knowledge on the agenda of relevant stakeholders as quickly as possible. Collectively.
  3. Find partners to develop longer term preservation infrastructure.

We can leave the rest to Google.

Q&A

Q: Dutch presidency of EU and Dutch proposals for OA – what do you think of the Dutch policies in this area?
A: We are all trying to find solutions to further and advance access to knowledge. That is our common goal. This is such a complicated issue — all the stakeholders have to work together to do this.

Q: Libraries have not done as well a job of preserving media. Not as concerned about the availability of scholarly journals and books in the future — what happens to the emails and other media forms that are getting lost?
A: Documented knowledge is at the core of libraries. The other areas have much bigger problems. That is such a huge area that she would not presume to have ideas or suggestions for solutions.

Q: Libraries are being pressured to collect and manage raw faculty research, without additional support, so it’s taking away from collecting in traditional areas.
A: Some say that this will become the new knowledge — data will trump publication. Libraries are best positioned to help researchers manage their data in a consultancy role, and let IT handle the storage of the data. We could spend a little less on collection development to do this.

Q: What will happen when Google is no longer freely accessible and there’s a cost?
A: It doesn’t help if we keep pointing people to local collections. Our users use Google, so we need to help them find what they are not able to find there themselves.


social justice librarianship

Barbara Fister’s latest Library Babel Fish essay is on point for me in so many ways.

It’s not easy to write this well, to combine edge-of-your-seat narrative momentum with scholarly rigor. Not only is it not easy, but we’re schooled to write in an inaccessible style, as if our ideas are somehow better if written in a hard-to-decipher script that only the elite can decode because if people who haven’t been schooled that way can understand it, it’s somehow base and common, not valuable enough.

Yes. So much this. I think it’s possibly one of the reasons why librar* blogs burned so brightly and fiercely before other social media sites took on that space. It gave us a platform to share our thoughts and work in ways that were not stifling like the journals that normally published librar* scholarship. Bloggers who could write eloquently and pointedly about the issues of the day and what they thought of them gained quite a bit of attention (and still do, for those that have continued to write in this type of forum). I certainly read them more consistently and thoroughly than any professional publication filled with strict form and complex sentence structures.

…it’s immoral to study poor people and publish the results of that study in journal run by a for-profit company that charges more for your article than what the household you studied has to buy food this week. I cannot think of any valid excuse for publishing social research this way.

Many of the economic arguments for open access have grown stale, but this one is fresh and new to me, and it hits hard. Much like when those of us in library acquisitions roles submit articles to closed publications, we are choosing the expectations of our peers for tenure requirements over our professional ethics. If we want the contents of scholarly journals to be accessible to all who need them, then we need to make sure our own house is in order before we go out and ask faculty to do the same.

You can reserve the right to share your work, and we’re finding sustainable ways to fund public knowledge. Will it take a little more of your time? Yeah, it’s a cultural shift, which is obviously complex, and you’re so busy.

But if you actually think your research matters, if you think research could make people’s lives better, if you use the phrase “social justice” when you describe your work, you should take that time. It’s unethical not to.

new platforms! eek!

snapchatWhat does it say about library systems and tools that the initial response to trying a new thing is a general groan about having to teach a new platform? Our students are used to hopping on a new social media platform with minimal to no “instruction” every 6-8 months. Our systems and tools should be that intuitive. We shouldn’t need to “teach” them. They should be discovered and used without our active intervention.