I spoke at the VIVA User Group meeting on some of the workflow and tools I use to gather information about our faculty’s scholarly output for an annual reception co-hosted by the Libraries and the Provost’s office. If you were there and want the slides/details of what I said, they’re now up on Slideshare with speaker’s notes. If you weren’t there and are curious, I hope you find it interesting/useful.
‘Tis the season when I spend a lot of time gathering and consolidating usage reports for the previous calendar year (though next year not as many if my SUSHI experiment goes well). Today, as I was checking and organizing some of the reports I had retrieved last week, I noticed a journal that had very little use in the 2017 YOP (or 2016, for that matter), so I decided to look into it a bit more.
The title has a one year embargo and then the articles are open access. Our usage is very low (average 3.6 downloads per year) and most of it, according to the JR5 and JR1 GOA for confirmation, is coming from the open access portion, not the closed access we pay for.
The values conundrum I have is multifaceted. This is a small society publisher, and we have only the one title from them. They are making the content open access after one year, and I don’t think they are making authors pay for this, though I could be wrong. These are market choices I want to support. And yet….
How do I demonstrate fiscal responsibility when we are paying ~$300/download? Has the research and teaching shifted such that this title is no longer needed and that’s why usage is so low? Is this such a seminal title we would keep it regardless of whether it’s being used?
Collection development decisions are not easy when there are conflicting values.
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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: 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.
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.
Make perpetual access to knowledge the top priority on our agenda.
Get perpetual access to knowledge on the agenda of relevant stakeholders as quickly as possible. Collectively.
Find partners to develop longer term preservation infrastructure.
We can leave the rest to Google.
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.
Speakers: Katherine Leach and Matthew Connor Sullivan, Harvard
eBooks have not supplanted pBooks. Providing access to both formats is not possible…even for Harvard.
Users really do want and use both. There is a need for a better understanding of user behavior for both formats.
In 2014, they purchased the complete Project Muse collection, which included a significant and intentional overlap with their print collection. This allowed for a deep comparison and analysis.
You cannot compare them directly in a meaningful way. There are many ways of counting eBooks and pBooks are notoriously undercounted in their use. They looked at whether or not a book was used, and if it was used in only one format or multiple, and then how that compared to the average use across the collection.
26% of titles were used in both formats over the time period, only .5% on a monthly basis. It’s sometimes suggested that eBooks are used for discovery, but even at the monthly level this is not reflected in the data. The pattern of use of each format is generally about the same over the semester, but eBook use tends to be a little behind the pBook use. But, again, it’s difficult to get precise patterns of eBook use with monthly reports. There was no significant differences in format use by subject classification or imprint year or publisher, particularly when factoring the number of titles in each category.
They looked at the average decrease of a pBook over a four year period. They found a 35% decrease in circulation for each imprint year over that time, and this is without any impact of eBook. This is not always factored into these kinds of studies. They found that the decrease increases to 54% when eBooks are added to the mix. There’s also the issue of print use decreasing generally, with monographs losing out to eresources in student and faculty citation studies.
HSS at Harvard has been very clear that they want to continue the print collection at the level it has been, but they also want electronic access. How do we work with publishers to advocate for electronic access without having to purchase the book twice?
What about providing short term loan access for the first 3-4 years? Harvard doesn’t like to purchase eBooks they don’t have perpetual access to.
P&E has been available for journals, why not books? Some publishers have worked with them to give deep discounts on print with an eBook package.
What has been the impact of electronic reserves on use? Haven’t looked at it.
How do you know if someone looked at the eBook and determined they didn’t want/need and that is why the pBook wasn’t used? Hard to determine. They don’t use eBook usage to drive the print acquisition — usually they already have the pBook.
Considering the lifecycle and the decrease in use over a short period of time from imprint year, does that cause you to question the purchase of eBook backfiles? eBook use over that time didn’t seem to decrease as significantly as the pBook.