I’m not afraid of change (except when I am)

As a serials librarian, change is in the nature of my work. Titles change, publishers change, URLs change — change is the norm. I stay flexible and try to move light on my metaphorical feet. Some days I float like a butterfly. Some days I fall flat on my face.

I’ve been thinking about — and simultaneously feeling excited and dreading — the big change that is coming to my work in the next year. We’re on the path to migrate from Voyager/Summon to Alma/Primo. It’s going to mean a huge shift in how I do my work, though what I do, essentially, will remain the same.

I’m looking forward to the new (and sometimes improved) tools I’ll be using to do my work, but I’m not looking forward to the process of learning how to use them. And that’s just one of the unknowns that is making me afraid of this change, even as I’m ready to run towards it.

I don’t know what I don’t know. And it’s such a huge undertaking that I’m feeling overwhelmed by that unknown. What I really want right now is for someone to hand me a list of every thing I need to do to prepare Acquisitions and Electronic Resources data for the migration, but no one can do that for me. I have to take the resources the vendor has provided, as well as any information I can gather from other libraries who have migrated from similar products, and make that list for myself.

It’s daunting. It’s scary. What if I mess up?

photo by Mike McKay

ER&L 2016: Agents of Change: The Ongoing Challenges of Managing E-books and Streaming Media

change
“change” by samantha celera

Presenters: Steven R. Harris and Molly Beisler, University of Nevada, Reno

Evolution doesn’t happen in slow increments. Moments of punctuations happen quite suddenly. Ebooks are kind of like that in the evolution of the book.

In 2005, they were putting all formats on one record, manually updating the electronic content. As the quantity of ebooks increased, and the various licensing terms expanded, they were struggling to maintain this. In 2008, they began batch loading large numbers of eresources materials, with one person maintaining QA and merging records.

Then discovery services came in like an asteroid during the dinosaur age. They finally shifted from single record to separate records. They began tracking/coding ebooks to distinguish DDA from purchased, and expanded the ERM to track SU and other terms. This also prompted another staff reorganization.

They developed workflows via Sharepoint for new eresources depending on what the thing was: subscriptions/standing orders, one-time purchases with annual fees, and one-time purchases without annual fees. The streaming video packages fit okay in this workflow.

Streaming media has more complex access and troubleshooting issues. Platform as are variable, plugins may not be compatible. There are also many different access models (DDA, EBA) and many come with short-term licenses. Feel like the organization structure can support them as they figure out how to manage these.

They use a LibAnswers queue to track the various eresources problems come up.

Reiteration of the current library technology climate for eresources, with various challenges. No solutions.

The future comes with new problems due to next-gen ILS and their workflow quirks. With the industry consolidation, will everybody’s products work well with each other or will it become like the Amazon device ecosystem? Changing acquisitions models are challenges for collection development.

Be flexible. Do change. Agents.

recommended reading: The Loris in the Library

No, it’s not a new children’s book. Rather, it’s a wonderful essay by Sarah Glassmeyer that was recently published in VoxPopuLII. Here are a few tasty quotes that I quite enjoyed:

…if an overly cautious, slow moving, non-evolving primate that responds to threats by a poison tongue or hiding and pretending the threat isn’t there didn’t remind you of anything, well then I guess you haven’t spent much time around librarians.

and

…librarians don’t cling to print materials out of some romantic notion of the superiority of books, nor do they make repeated demands for stable, authenticated archives of electronic materials just to make you crazy. When one is tasked with the preservation of information – on behalf not just of those looking for it ten years from now, but also of those looking hundreds if not thousands of years from now – and no one else is really in the information distribution or storage business, it pays to take one’s time and be cautious when determining what container to put that information in, especially when what you’ve been doing for the past 1,000 or so years has been working for you.

and

…with librarians this risk aversion has grown like a cancer and now manifests itself as a fear of failure. This fear has become so ingrained in the culture that innovation and progress are inhibited.

and

As it stands now, librarian participation in a multidisciplinary project is often regarded as more of a hindrance than a help. If librarians don’t change, they will eventually stop being invited to the conversation.