NASIG 2012: Managing E-Publishing — Perfect Harmony for Serialists

Presenters: Char Simser (Kansas State University) & Wendy Robertson (University of Iowa)

Iowa looks at e-publishing as an extension of the central mission of the library. This covers not only text, but also multimedia content. After many years of ad-hoc work, they formed a department to be more comprehensive and intentional.

Kansas really didn’t do much with this until they had a strategic plan that included establishing an open access press (New Prairie). This also involved reorganizing personnel to create a new department to manage the process, which includes the institutional depository. The press includes not only their own publications, but also hosts publications from a few other sources.

Iowa went with BEPress’ Digital Commons to provide both the repository and the journal hosting. Part of why they went this route for their journals was because they already had it for their repository, and they approach it more as being a hosting platform than as being a press/publisher. This means they did not need to add staff to support it, although they did add responsibilities to exiting staff in addition to their other work.

Kansas is using Open Journal Systems hosted on a commercial server due to internal politics that prevented it from being hosted on the university server. All of their publications are Gold OA, and the university/library is paying all of the costs (~$1700/year, not including the .6 FTE staff hours).

Day in the life of New Prairie Press — most of the routine stuff at Kansas involves processing DOI information for articles and works-cited, and working with DOAJ for article metadata. The rest is less routine, usually involving journal setups, training, consultation, meetings, documentation, troubleshooting, etc.

The admin back-end of OJS allows Char to view it as if she is different types of users (editor, author, etc.) to be able to trouble-shoot issues for users. Rather than maintaining a test site, they have a “hidden” journal on the live site that they use to test functions.

A big part of her daily work is submitting DOIs to CrossRef and going through the backfile of previously published content to identify and add DOIs to the works-cited. The process is very manual, and the error rate is high enough that automation would be challenging.

Iowa does have some subscription-based titles, so part of the management involves keeping up with a subscriber list and IP addresses. All of the titles eventually fall into open access.

Most of the work at Iowa has been with retrospective content — taking past print publications and digitizing them. They are also concerned with making sure the content follows current standards that are used by both library systems and Google Scholar.

There is more. I couldn’t take notes and keep time towards the end.

#libday8 day 1

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman inspires me when I'm feeling less than wonderful.

Yesterday, I accomplished something I didn’t think I could do — I hiked 8.2 miles, with a 1000 ft elevation change throughout. Despite sleeping for about 9.5 hrs, I ended up crashing for a few more hours after I attempted to get up and go to work. Thus, my first “day in the life of” will be a bit shorter than normal.

I arrived shortly before noon. While waiting for my computer to boot up and load all the starting programs, I cracked open a can of Coke Zero and the most recent issue of the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

Once the computer was up and running, I started sorting through the inbox of new messages. I added a few messages to my to-do list, and a few links from colleagues to my to-read list.

We’re having some vendors come in and demonstrate comparable products this week, and one needs to reschedule to next week. This means spending some time coordinating with the person who books the room we planned to use and the person who arranges for catering to bring coffee and tea service.

Once the inbox was properly sorted into tasks, archives, and deletes, I started in on the to-do list. First up is a collection of journals that are changing publishers. I’ve been checking on them in our ERMS for the past three months — ever since the change was announced. None have reflected the change yet, so I’ve bumped the due dates on the tasks for another two weeks.

One of our online resource subscriptions expired today and has not been renewed, so I removed it from LibGuides, suppressed the entry in our website’s A-Z list, and updated the status in our ERMS.

Tomorrow is the last day to download stats from the old WilsonWeb platform. The first thing I did was to check and see what links haven’t already been converted over to the EBSCOhost versions. Frankly, I was kind of surprised to discover how many were left. A few were my errors (forgot to publish the change made on the back-end), but the others I suspect may have gotten lost in the notification shuffle. It took some time to update the remaining ones, and make notes about the changes in our ERMS. I also had to re-order the databases in EBSCOhost, as new ones get added at the end, and this messes up the alphabetical order.

Finally, I went and downloaded last year’s reports as well as January this year from the WilsonWeb platform. Worked on normalizing them for import into our ERMS (I have to do this so the ERMS knows which resources the stats apply to, both for databases and for journals), but didn’t finish before I needed to break for a late lunch.

After a satisfying roasted pork bahn mi and caramel gelato from the campus international cafe, it was back to work. While I was out, more email arrived, requiring replies and such. Then it was back to cleaning up the use reports. This took longer than expected because the database titles were all abbreviated, and the journals had commas and dashes removed.

On Friday, I was asked if I would be interested in contributing a chapter to an eresources toolkit book. I spent some time thinking about it over the weekend, and after reviewing the proposed chapters and consulting with a colleague today, I sent a message to the editor indicating my interest.

After doing that, the only thing remaining on my task list for the day was to review the top candidates for an open position in our customer service department (I’m on the search committee). I decided that my fatigue required some assistance before tackling that, so I took a break to get some coffee and chat with a colleague.

Wrapped things up and prepped this for posting. Thanks for reading, and tune in tomorrow for day two.


It has been nearly a month since I last finished a book for pleasure, although I am slowly reading my way through a couple others, and I read and reviewed a book for The Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship (which may or may not be published — I won’t know until the issue is printed ’cause that’s how my editor rolls). Last night, I was feeling bored of my usual procrastination tools, so I decided to do a bit of fluff reading. It had to be short, though, because it was already past midnight, and I needed to get a little sleep eventually.

My selection came from among the stack of old Star Trek books on my to-be-read shelves. These are always good for a light read and stories that (usually) wrap up on the last page. This one was nearly what I wanted. The Starship Trap by Mel Gilden was your typical Trek story, but his characterizations weren’t particularly compelling. Mainly told from Kirk’s perspective, there were several rabbit holes that seemed to go nowhere, in addition to some of Kirk’s behavior being slightly out of character.

The hard science fiction aspect of the Aleph plot device was, at least, interesting. Much more so than the villain’s fixation on 19th and 20th century European and American classic literature or one of the minor character’s obsession with the American Old West. C’mon, Gilden — your ethno-centric roots are showing! For all the aliens and cultures on Star Trek, there is a disproportionate number of stories with references to American or European modern (to the reader) history.

beer & food

My review of Bob Skilnik’s book was published yesterday, and the first comment that I received was a snarky commentary on a misspelled word. Sheesh. I have written many reviews over the past year, and most of them have at most received a comment from the editor that published them. Not the most pleasant way to wake up in the morning, let me tell you.

Anyway, the book was interesting, albeit not exactly an exciting read. I’d recommend it if you are interested in beer, food, and history, as well as old recipes.

I’m about half-way through a book on the history of Guinness, and I hope to write the review of that this week.

Oh, and for those who are keeping score, this is #25, which means I’ve read half of my annual goal.