This is going to be long and not my usual style of conference notetaking. Because this was an unconference, there really wasn’t much in the way of prepared presentations, except for the lightening talks in the morning. What follows below the jump is what I captured from the conversations, often simply questions posed that were left open for anyone to answer, or at least consider.
Some of the good aspects of the unconference style was the free-form nature of the discussions. We generally stayed on topic, but even when we didn’t, it was about a relevant or important thing that lead to the tangents, so there were still plenty of things to take away. However, this format also requires someone present who is prepared to seed the conversation if it lulls or dies and no one steps in to start a new topic.
Also, if a session is designed to be a conversation around a topic, it will fall flat if it becomes all about one person or the quirks of their own institution. I had to work pretty hard on that one during the session I led, particularly when it seemed that the problem I was hoping to discuss wasn’t an issue for several of the folks present because of how they handle the workflow.
Some of the best conversations I had were during the gathering/breakfast time as well as lunch, lending even more to the unconference ethos of learning from each other as peers.
Updates from Serials Solutions – mostly Resource Manager (Ashley Bass):
Keep up to date with ongoing enhancements for management tools (quarterly releases) by following answer #422 in the Support Center, and via training/overview webinars.
Populating and maintaining the ERM can be challenging, so they focused a lot of work this year on that process: license template library, license upload tool, data population service, SUSHI, offline date and status editor enhancements (new data elements for sort & filter, new logic, new selection elements, notes), and expanded and additional fields.
Workflow, communication, and decision support enhancements: in context help linking, contact tool filters, navigation, new Counter reports, more information about vendors, Counter summary page, etc. Her most favorite new feature is “deep linking” functionality (aka persistent links to records in SerSol). [I didn’t realize that wasn’t there before — been doing this for my own purposes for a while.]
Next up (in two weeks, 4th quarter release): new alerts, resource renewals feature (reports! and checklist!, will inherit from Admin data), Client Center navigation improvements (i.e. keyword searching for databases, system performance optimization), new license fields (images, public performance rights, training materials rights) & a few more, Counter updates, SUSHI updates (making customizations to deal with vendors who aren’t strictly following the standard), gathering stats for Springer (YTD won’t be available after Nov 30 — up to Sept avail now), and online DRS form enhancements.
In the future: license API (could allow libraries to create a different user interface), contact tools improvements, interoperability documentation, new BI tools and reporting functionality, and improving the Client Center.
Also, building a new KB (2014 release) and a web-scale management solution (Intota, also coming 2014). They are looking to have more internal efficiencies by rebuilding the KB, and it will include information from Ulrich’s, new content types metadata (e.g. A/V), metadata standardization, industry data, etc.
Summon Updates (Andrew Nagy):
I know very little about Summon functionality, so just listened to this one and didn’t take notes. Take-away: if you haven’t looked at Summon in a while, it would be worth giving it another go.
Goal #1: Allow users to easily link to full-text resources. Solution: Go beyond the out-of-the box 360 Link display.
Goal #2: Allow users to report problems or contact library staff at the point of failure. Solution: eresources problem report form
They created the eresources problem report form using Drupal. The fields include contact information, description of the resource, description of the problem, and the ability to attach a screenshot.
Some enhancements included: making the links for full-text (article & journal) butttons, hiding additional help information and giving some hover-over information, parsing the citation into the problem report page, and moving the citation below the links to full-text. For journal citations with no full-text, they made the links to the catalog search large buttons with more text detail in them.
Some of the challenges of implementing these changes is the lack of a test environment because of the limited preview capablities in 360 Link. Any changes actually made required an overnight refresh and they would be live, opening the risk of 24 hour windows of broken resource links. So, they created their own test environment by modifying test scenarios into static HTML files and wrapping them in their own custom PHP to mimic the live pages without having to work with the live pages.
[At this point, it got really techy and lost me. Contact the presenters for details if you’re interested. They’re looking to go live with this as soon as they figure out a low-use time that will have minimal impact on their users.]
Customizing 360 Link menu with jQuery (Laura Wrubel, George Washington University)
They wanted to give better visual clues for users, emphasize the full-text, have more local control over linkns, and visual integration with other library tools so it’s more seamless for users.
They started with Reidsma’s code, then then forked off from it. They added a problem link to a Google form, fixed ebook chapter links and citation formatting, created conditional links to the catalog, and linked to their other library’s link resolver.
They hope to continue to tweak the language on the page, particularly for ILL suggestion. The coverage date is currently hidden behind the details link, which is fine most of the time, but sometimes that needs to be displayed. They also plan to load the print holdings coverage dates to eliminate confusion about what the library actually has.
In the future, they would rather use the API and blend the link resolver functionality with catalog tools.
Custom document delivery services using 360 Link API (Kathy Kilduff, WRLC)
License information for course reserves for faculty (Shanyun Zhang, Catholic University)
Included course reserve in the license information, but then it became an issue to convey that information to the faculty who were used to negotiating it with publishers directly. Most faculty prefer to use Blackboard for course readings, and handle it themselves. But, they need to figure out how to incorporate the library in the workflow. Looking for suggestions from the group.
Advanced Usage Tracking in Summon with Google Anaytics (Kun Lin, Catholic University)
Use of ERM/KB for collection analysis (Mitzi Cole, NASA Goddard Library)
Used the overlap analysis to compare print holdings with electronic and downloaded the report. The partial overlap can actually be a full overlap if the coverage dates aren’t formatted the same, but otherwise it’s a decent report. She incorporated license data from Resource Manager and print collection usage pulled from her ILS. This allowed her to create a decision tool (spreadsheet), and denoted the print usage in 5 year increments, eliminating previous 5 years use with each increment (this showed a drop in use over time for titles of concern).
Discussion of KnowledgeWorks Management/Metadata (Ben Johnson, Lead Metadata Librarian, SerialsSolutions)
After they get the data from the provider or it is made available to them, they have a system to automatically process the data so it fits their specifications, and then it is integrated into the KB.
They deal with a lot of bad data. 90% of databases change every month. Publishers have their own editorial policies that display the data in certain ways (e.g., title lists) and deliver inconsistent, and often erroneous, metadata. The KB team tries to catch everything, but some things still slip through. Throught the data ingestion process, they apply rules based on past experience with the data source. After that, the data is normalized so that various title/ISSN/ISBN combinations can be associated with the authority record. Finally, the data is incorporated into the KB.
Authority rules are used to correct errors and inconsistencies. Rule automatically and consistently correct holdings, and they are often used to correct vendor reporting problems. Rules are condified for provider and database, with 76,000+ applied to thousands of databases, and 200+ new rules are added each month.
Why does it take two months for KB data to be corrected when I report it? Usually it’s because they are working with the data providers, and some respond more quickly than others. They are hoping that being involved with various initiatives like KBART will help fix data from the provider so they don’t have to worry about correcting it for us, but also making it easier to make those corrections by using standards.
Client Center ISSN/ISBN doesn’t always work in 360 Links, which may have something to do with the authority record, but it’s unclear. It’s possible that there are some data in the Client Center that haven’t been normalized, and could cause this disconnect. And sometimes the provider doesn’t send both print and electronic ISSN/ISBN.
What is the source for authority records for ISSN/ISBN? LC, Bowker, ISSN.org, but he’s not clear. Clarification: Which field in the MARC record is the source for the ISBN? It could be the source of the normalization problem, according to the questioner. Johnson isn’t clear on where it comes from.
[I took notes on paper because my netbook power cord was in my checked bag that SFO briefly lost on the way here. This is an edited transfer to electronic.]
presenter: Joseph Baisano
Dashboards pull information together and make it visible in one place. They need to be simple, built on existing data, but expandable.
Baisano is at SUNY Stonybrook, and they opted to go with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to create their dashboards. The content can be made visible and editable through user permissions. Right now, their data connections include their catalog, proxy server, JCR, ERMS, and web statistics, and they are looking into using the API to pull license information from their ERMS.
In the future, they hope to use APIs from sources that provide them (Google Analytics, their ERMS, etc.) to create mashups and more on-the-fly graphs. They’re also looking at an open source alternative to SharePoint called Pentaho, which already has many of the plugins they want and comes in free and paid support flavors.
presenter: Cindi Trainor
[Trainor had significant technical difficulties with her Mac and the projector, which resulted in only 10 minutes of a slightly muddled presentation, but she had some great ideas for visualizations to share, so here’s as much as I captured of them.]
Graphs often tell us what we already know, so look at it from a different angle to learn something new. Gapminder plots data in three dimensions – comparing two components of each set over time using bubble graphs. Excel can do bubble graphs as well, but with some limitations.
In her example, Trainor showed reference transactions along the x-axis, the gate count along the y-axis, and the size of the circle represented the number of circulation transactions. Each bubble represented a campus library and each graph was for the year’s totals. By doing this, she was able to suss out some interesting trends and quirks to investigate that were hidden in the traditional line graphs.
Presenters: Jason Price, Claremont Colleges Library and SCELC Consortium
KBART stands for Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (a NISO group). Standards and best practices are challenging to move forward, so why should we “back this horse” versus something else?
This group is a collection of publishers, aggregators, knowledge base vendors, and librarians who want to create a universally acceptable holdings data format. Phase one of the report came out in January of this year, and the endorsement phase begins this month.
KBART expresses title level coverage by date and volume/issue. It’s a single solution for sharing holdings data across the scholarly communications supply chain. Essentially, it’s a simple metadata exchange format.
It wasn’t a simple process to get to this schema. They thought about all of the data in knowledge bases, how data is transferred to and from other sources, and the role of licensing in this process. When a publisher produces content, it flows to hosts/databases then gateways then knowledge bases and then catalogs/lists/guides.
When a user has a citation, they initiate a process that queries the knowledge base, which returns a list of access points. However, this breaks down when the holdings information is incorrect or even worse, when it’s missing. We get stuck with a lot of inaccuracies and manual work. At some point, it gets to be too much to keep up with.
Everyone is working with the same kind of data, albeit slightly customized at a local level. If we can begin to move toward a standard way of distributing the data, we can then look at automating this process.
KBART is the end to our role as translators – no more badgering publishers for complete lists, no more teasing out title changes (including former titles and ISSNs), no more waiting for the knowledge base data team to translate the data, and no more out of date access lists.
What can librarians do? Learn more about KBART. Insist on “knowing” what you’re buying (require annual delivery of a useable holdings list before you pay). Enable publisher sales staff to make the case to their companies – show them that use goes up when it’s accurately represented in link resolvers. Follow up with continued requests as necessary.
The American Institute of Physics implemented the KBART standard on their own, and they’ve now officially joined the group. On the other hand “A Big Publisher” recognizes the problem, but they need to establish the priority of the change, which includes getting their hosting service to make appropriate changes. So, they need to hear from all of us about this.
Publishers who are interested should review the requirements and format the content availability data to meet those requirements. Check your work and make it available to customers. And, of course, register as a KBART member.
Vision for KBART: Currently in phase one of standardizing. Phase two is more content type coverage. Phase three is a dream of incorporating metadata distribution for consortia and institutional level holdings based on what is accessible from a particular IP.