[I missed the first talk due to a slightly longer lunch than had been planned.]
Better Linking by Our Bootstraps
Speaker: Aron Wolf, ProQuest
He is a librarian trained as a cataloger.
Error reports are important, because for each one, there were probably ten instances not reported. Report early and report often.
Include the original query for the OpenURL in order to reproduce it. If you have the time, play around with the string data and see if you can “fix” it yourself and report that.
There are a lot of factors into how long it will take to fix whatever is causing the OpenURL error. They don’t want to raise false expectations by giving a date and time.
Once an error has been reported, it enters a triage system. If it has a broader impact, it will be prioritized higher. Then it’s assigned to someone to fix.
Trouble Ticket Systems: Help or Hindrance?
Speaker: Margaret Hogarth, The Claremont Colleges Library
We should be polite and helpful. Human.
Detail the issue as specifically as possible, with steps, equipment, screen shots, etc. Include account number or other identifier.
Vendors need to identify themselves in responses. They also need to include the issue in responses, particularly when the message trail gets long. Customers need to keep track of the trouble tickets they have submitted.
Respond promptly, even if it will take longer to resolve. Mine the trouble ticket data to create FAQ, known issues, etc. and add meaningful metadata.
Email is good for tracking the history. Online forms should have an email sent with the ticket detail and number. Some vendors hide their support email address, which is annoying.
If vendors require authentication to submit a ticket, provide examples of what information they are looking for.
Vendors should ask their most frequent support users for feedback on what would make their sites more useful.
Multiple tech supports make it challenging for reporting issues to large companies.
Jing screen casting is helpful for showing how to reproduce the problem, particularly when you can’t attach a screenshot or cast, since it provides a URL.
All of this is useful for your internal support ticketing systems, too.
Used TERMS as a framework for developing an eresources team and a course at University of Wisconsin.
How are we going to systematically ensure that our eresources knowledge evolves and continues?
75% of UConn’s budget is for e-content. The human resources was 3.25 FTE when she arrived, but now they are at 5.65 FTE. The only other unit smaller is the digital scholarship and data curation team created a year ago.
Why does collection development for non-ERM staff exist as a term for non-electronic monograph acquisitions? In 2014? How do we establish eresources teams and teach this to staff?
TERMS helps build a framework for discussion among her students and her work team. The Core Competencies was used for class reading and discussions with her team, and became a framework for submitting training requests. TERMS has been a lighthouse for them, and they’ve continued to go back to them and review the cyclical process to identify successes and areas for improvements.
Only 19% of the ALA accredited LIS programs cover ERM topics, yet 73% of recent job ads require ERM competencies.
The financial resources are be allocated, what about the human resources to do our work. Eresources positions are not entry-level, and yet the spend in that content is increases. How can we expand/grow the ERM skill-set to more of our staff positions? This is not a new problem. We’ve been talking about this as a profession since 2000 or earlier.
The Core Competencies should be for the entire library, not just the ERM staff.
We need to eliminate the delineation between print and electronic management/acquisitions.
Establish partnerships with LIS programs. Establish paid fellowships that are at least two fiscal years in length. Get support from library administrators for adequate staffing and the time to teach courses, etc.
Good strategies for training staff: Listening to them and knowing what they already know how to do. Making analogies from what you know to what they know. Small chunks at a time.
Are the NASIG Core Competencies a laundry list of the ideal rather than true core competencies that can be expected at the beginning of an ERM career? No. The point is that no one person can do everything ERM. But, these are the things that are needed to manage eresources, regardless of how many people it takes to do it.
Audience member says she had to fail badly with only two staff in order to get the change needed to have a sufficient number of people on her team.
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.
Speakers: Roën Janyk (Okanagan College) & Emma Lawson (Langara College)
Two new-ish librarians talk about applying their LIS training to the real world, and using the Core Competencies as a framework for identifying the gaps they encountered. They wanted to determine if the problem is training or if eresources/serials management is just really complicated.
Collection development, cataloging (both MARC and Dublin Core), records management, and digital management were covered in their classes. Needed more on institutional repository management.
They did not cover licensing at all, so all they learned was on the job, comparing different documents. They also learned that the things librarians look for in contracts is not what the college administrators are concerned about. In addition, the details of information about budgeting and where that information should be stored was fuzzy, and it took some time to gather that in their jobs. And, as with many positions, if institutional memory (and logins) is not passed on, a lot of time will be spent on recreating it. For LIS programs, they wish they had more information about the details of use statistics and their application, as well as resource format types and the quirks that come with them.
They had classes about information technology design and broader picture things, but not enough about relationships between the library and IT or the kinds of information technology in libraries now. There were some courses that focused on less relevant technology and history of technology, and the higher level courses required too high of a learning curve to attract LIS students.
For the core competency on research analysis and application, we need to be able to gather appropriate data and present the analysis to colleagues and superiors in a way that they can understand it. In applying this, they ran into questions about comparing eresources to print, deciding when to keep a low-use resource, and other common criteria for comparing collections besides cost/use. In addition, there needs to be more taught about managing a budget, determining when to make cancelation or format change decisions, alternatives to subscriptions, and communicating all of this outside of the library.
Effective communication touches on everything that we do. It requires that you frame situations from someone else’s viewpoint. You need to document everything and be able to clearly describe the situation in order to trouble-shoot with vendors. Be sympathetic to the frustrations of users encountering the problems.
Staff supervision may range from teams with no managerial authority to staff who report to you. ER librarians have to be flexible and work within a variety of deparmental/project frameworks, and even if they do have management authority, they will likely have to manage projects that involve staff from other departments/divisions/teams. They did not find that the library management course was very applicable. Project management class was much more useful. One main challenge is staff who have worked in the library for a long time, and change management or leadership training would be very valuable, as well as conversations about working with unionized staff.
In the real world being aware of trends in the profession involves attending conferences, participating in webinars/online training, and keeping up with the literature. They didn’t actually see an ERMS while in school, nor did they work with any proprietary ILS. Most of us learn new things by talking to our colleagues at other institutions. MLS faculty need to keep up with the trends as well, and incorporate that into classes — this stuff changes rapidly.
They recommend that ILS and ERMS vendors collaborate with MLS programs so that students have some real-world applications they can take with them to their jobs. Keep courses current (what is actually being used in libraries) and constantly be evaluating the curriculum, which is beyond what ALA requires for accreditation. More case studies and real-world experiences in applied courses. Collection development course was too focused on print collection analysis and did not cover electronic resources.
As a profession, we need more sessions at larger, general conferences that focus on electronic resources so that we’re not just in our bubble. More cross-training in the workplaces. MLS programs need to promote eresources as a career path, instead of just the traditional reference/cataloger/YA divides.
If we are learning it all on the job, then why are we required to get the degrees?
Speakers: Ladd Brown, Andi Ogier, and Annette Bailey, Virginia Tech
Libraries are not about the collections anymore, they’re about space. The library is a place to connect to the university community. We are aggressively de-selecting, buying digital backfiles in the humanities to clear out the print collections.
Guess what? We still have our legacy workflows. They were built for processing physical items. Then eresources came along, and there were two parallel processes. Ebooks have the potential of becoming a third process.
Along with the legacy workflows, they have a new Dean, who is forward thinking. The Dean says it’s time to rip off the bandaid. (Titanic = old workflow; iceberg = eresources; people in life boats = technical resources team) Strategic plans are living documents kept on top of the desk and not in the drawer.
With all of this in mind, acquisitions leaders began meeting daily in a group called Eresources Workflow Weekly Work, planning the changes they needed to make. They did process mapping with sharpies, post-its, and incorporated everyone in the library that had anything to do with eresources. After lots of meetings, position descriptions began to emerge.
Electronic Resource Supervisor is the title of the former book and serials acquisitions heads. The rest — wasn’t clear from the description.
They had a MARC record service for ejournals, but after this reorganization process, they realized they needed the same for ebooks, and could be handled by the same folks.
Two person teams were formed based on who did what in the former parallel processes, and they reconfigured their workspace to make this more functional. The team cubes are together, and they have open collaboration spaces for other groupings.
They shifted focus from maintaining MARC records in their ILS to maintaining accurate title lists and data in their ERMS. They’re letting the data from the ERMS populate the ILS with appropriate MARC records.
They use some Python scripts to help move data from system to system, and more staff are being trained to support it. They’re also using the Google Apps portal for collaborative projects.
They wanted to take risks, make mistakes, fail quickly, but also see successes come quickly. They needed someplace to start, and to avoid reinventing the wheel, so they borrowed heavily from the work done by colleagues at James Madison University. They also hired Carl Grant as a consultant to ask questions and facilitate cross-departmental work.
Big thing to keep in mind: Administration needs to be prepared to allow staff to spend time learning new processes and not keeping up with everything they used to do at the same time. And, as they let go of the work they used to do, please tell them it was important or they won’t adopt the new work.
Presenter: Sarah Sutton, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Began the model with the trigger event — a resource comes up for renewal. Then she began looking at what information is needed to make the decision.
For A&I databases, the primary data pieces are the searches and sessions from the COUNTER release 3 reports. For full-text resources, the primary data pieces are the full-text downloads also from the COUNTER reports. In addition to COUNTER and other publisher supplied usage data, she looks at local data points. Link-outs from the a-to-z list of databases tells her what resources her users are consciously choosing to use, and not necessarily something they arrive at via a discovery service or Google. She’s able to pull this from the content management system they use.
Once the data has been collected, it can be compared to the baseline. She created a spreadsheet listing all of the resources, with a column each for searches, sessions, downloads, and link-outs. The baseline set of core resources was based on a combination of high link-outs and high usage. These were grouped by similar numbers/type of resource. Next, she calculated the cost/use for each of the four use types, as well as the percentage of change in use over time.
After the baseline is established, she compares the renewing resource to that baseline. This isn’t always a yes or no answer, but more of a yes or maybe answer. Often more analysis is needed if it is tending towards no. More data may include overlap analysis (unique to your library collection), citation lists (unique titles — compare them with a list of highly-cited journals at your institution or faculty requests or appear on a core title list), journal-level usage of the unique titles, and impact factors of the unique titles.
Audience question: What about qualitative data? Talk to your users. Does not have a suggestion for how to incorporate that into the model without increasing the length of time in the review process.
Audience question: How much staff time does this take? Most of the work is in setting up the baseline. The rest depends on how much additional investigation is needed.
[I had several conversations with folks after this session who expressed concern with the method used for determining the baseline. Namely, that it excludes A&I resources and assumes that usage data is accurate. I would caution anyone from wholesale adopting this as the only method of determining renewals. Without conversation and relationships with faculty/departments, we may not truly understand what the numbers are telling us.]
His position is new for his library (July 2011), and when Barbara Fister saw the job posting, she lamented that user-centered collection development would relegate librarians to signing licenses and paying invoices, but Sowell doesn’t agree.
Values and assumptions: As an academic library, we derive our reason for existing from our students and faculty. Our collections are a means to an end, rather than an end to themselves. They can do this in part because they don’t have ARL-like expectations of themselves. A number of studies has shown that users do a better job of selecting materials than we do, and they’ve been moving to more of a just in time model than a just in case.
They have had to deal with less money and many needs, so they’ve gotten creative. The university recently realigned departments and positions, and part of that included the creation of the Collections & Resource Sharing Department (CRSD). It’s nicknamed the “get it” department. Their mission is to connect the community to the content.
PDA, POV, PPV, approval plans, shelf-ready, and shared preservation are just a few of the things that have changed how we collect and do budget planning.
CRSD includes collection development, electronic resources, collections management, resource sharing & delivery, and circulation (refocusing on customer service and self-servicing, as well as some IT services). However, this is a new department, and Sowell speaks more about what these things will be doing than about what they are doing or how the change has been effective or not.
One of the things they’ve done is to rewrite position descriptions to refocus on the department goals. They’ve also been focusing on group facilitation and change management through brainstorming, parking lot, and multi-voting systems. Staff have a lot of anxiety over feeling like an expert in something and moving to where they are a novice and having to learn something new. They had to say goodbye to the old routines, mix them with new, and then eventually make the full shift.
They are using process mapping to keep up with the workflow changes. They’re also using service design tools like journey mapping (visualization of the user’s experience with a service), five whys, personas, experience analogy, and storyboards (visualization of how you would like things to occur).
For the reference staff, they are working on strategic planning about the roles and relationships of the librarians with faculty and collections.
Change takes time. When he proposed this topic, he expected to be further along than he is. Good communication, system thinking, and staff involvement are very important. There is a delicate balance between uncertainty/abstract with a desire for concrete.
Some unresolved issues include ereaders, purchasing rather than borrowing via ILL and the impact on their partner libraries, role of the catalog as an inventory in the world of PDA/PPV. The re-envisioning of the collection budget as a just in time resource. Stakeholder involvement and assessment wrap up the next steps portion of his talk.
In moving print to the collection maintenance area, how are you handling bundled purchases (print + online)? How are you handling the impression of importance or lack thereof for staff who still work with traditional print collection management? Delicately.
Question about budgeting. Not planning to tie PDA/PPV to specific subjects. They plan to do an annual review of what was purchased and what might have been had they followed their old model.
How are they doing assessment criteria? Not yet, but will take suggestions. Need to tie activities to student academic success and teaching/researching on campus. Planning for a budget cut if they don’t get an increase to cover inflation. Planning to do some assessment of resource use.
What will you do if people can’t do their new jobs? Hopefully they will after the retraining. Will find a seat for them if they can’t do what we hope they can do.
What are you doing to organize the training so they don’t get mired in the transitional period? Met with staff to reassure them that the details will be worked out in the process. They prepared the ground a bit, and the staff are ready for change.
Question about the digital divide and how that will be addressed. Content is available on university equipment, so not really an issue/barrier.
What outreach/training to academic departments? Not much yet. Will honor print requests. Subject librarians will still have a consultative role, but not necessarily item by item selection.
Arrived and was greeted with paper renewal notifications covering my keyboard. Set those aside, logged in, and began sorting through the new email that arrived overnight and earlier this morning. Updated my calendar with new meetings/events, as well as the time I’ve blocked out for various tasks for the day.
First thing I tackled was notifications to the subject liasions about upcoming eresource renewals. I’m using the modified annual review checklist and data thinger that I shared about last month, and I’ve received positive responses from the subject liaisons.
At 10, I started my on-call shift for the Main Service Desk. I don’t normally do this, but I’m covering for a reference librarian who has to teach a class this morning. Basically, it means I monitor the IM reference and email, and am available to help at the desk if they need me. It also means I can keep working on whatever I’m working on, unless I get interrupted.
One of the things I’ve been working on lately is retrieving use statistics for calendar year 2011. But, it has been slow going, as I’ve been distracted with other pressing projects that normally would not interrupt this annual Jan/Feb activity. Part of what is taking me longer to prepare the annual review checklist & data for the upcoming renewal is that I have to retrieve the 2011 stats and clean them up, rather than just pulling from the files I have already.
I would like to take a moment here to say that I would almost prefer no use statistics to the ones where they only provide them for a month at a time. This requires running 12 different reports for a year, and 24 if searches and sessions are not in the same report. I say almost, because at least I get something, even if it is a royal pain in the ass to retrieve and exemplifies the short-sightedness of the publisher. I’m looking at trends, not miniscule pieces of data.
My on-call-ness and/or electronic resources librarian-ness kicked in midway through the shift when I was called out to help a student download a book in EBSCOhost. We figured out that he needed an account in EBSCOhost, and also to install Adobe Digital Editions on the lab PC. This worked for now, but I have put in a request that ADE be added to the image for all student lab computers.
Finally wrapped up the renewal stuff plus the associated use statistics stuff in time for my on-call shift to end and my lunch hour to begin. I took the opportunity to enjoy the spring weather by heading off-campus to run some errands. As it happened, I finished listening to an audiobook just as I returned, so I left a short review on GoodReads. The book is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and it’s the One Book, One Campus selection at my university this year.
The next 20 min or so consisted of responding to email that had come in over lunch and checking Twitter. I didn’t want to get into much, since I was about to start my one hour shift at the Main Service Desk (actually staffing it this time around).
Desk was pretty slow. I had one question about where to find a book, and a few people looking for specific librarians. My co-consipirator at the desk and I spent some time kvetching about why it is that one of the highest ILL net lenders in the state (us) is still using clunky, out-dated software when even the most podunk libraries have ILLiad now. I looked at the stats from 2011, and ILLiad would have cost us less than a penny per transaction, and saved the user and the ILL staff so much time and lost productivity. My coworker thinks we’ll probably get it in the next year, but still… I can’t believe it’s taking so long!
Now back at my desk, I took a moment to follow up with EBSCOhost tech support regarding a problem we’ve encountered with the “Linked Full Text” in Academic Search Complete. I’d called it in last week and was waiting for a response. They still don’t know what’s broken, and it is still broken. Anyone else having problems with this?
Next I spent some time trying to sort out why in one month we received two invoices followed by two credit memos from the same publisher for the same resources. Turns out the invoices had errors and the credit memos were their way of zeroing out our balance. A simple explanation or note would have saved me a phone call. Ah, the joys of automated billing systems! While I was at it, I sent them a note with updated contact info, as one invoice/credit was addressed to a predecessor of more than six or seven years, and the other addressed to the collection development librarian who will be retiring this summer. Figured I’d get it taken care of now so we don’t miss something in the future.
To wrap up the day, I reviewed the responses to an RFI for discovery services that we sent out last month. We’ll be having demos of three different systems tomorrow, and I wanted to prep some follow-up questions in advance. So. Many. Words. I know I’m going to need a drink or two by the end of the day.
Officially, my title is Electronic Resources Librarian, but lately I’ve been spending more of my time and energy on gathering and crunching data about our eresources than on anything else. It’s starting to bleed over into the print world, as well. Since we don’t have someone dedicated to managing our print journals, I’ve taken on the responsibility of directing discussions about their future, as well as gathering and providing e-only options to the selectors.
I like this work, but I’ve also been feeling a bit like my role is evolving and changing in ways I’m not entirely cognizant of, and that worries me. I came into this job without clear direction and made it my own, and even though I have a department head now, I still often feel like I’m the driver. This has both positives and negatives, and lately I’ve been wishing I could have more outside direction, in part so I don’t feel so much like I’m doing things that may not have much value to the people for whom I am doing them.
However, on Monday, something clicked. A simple comment about using SAS to analyze the print book collection use over time set all sorts of things firing away in my head. About all I know with SAS is that it’s some sort of data analysis tool, but I realized that I had come up with several of my professional goals for the next year in that moment.
For one, I want to explore whether or not I can learn and use SAS (or SPSS) effectively to analyze our collections (not just print books, as in the example above). For another, I want to explore whether or not I can learn R to more effectively visualize the data I gather.
Maybe some day down the road my title won’t be Electronic Resources Librarian anymore. Maybe some day it will be Data-Crunching Librarian.
Arrived, turned on my computer, and while it booted up, I went and got an iced tea from the café.
Processed new email and scanned a document that I don’t need to retain in paper.
Attended weekly department meeting. We were extra chatty today and went 15-20 min longer than normal.
Worked my way through the action item email messages due today, including updating a resource description on the website and responding to a few inquiries.
Discussed with a co-worker ways we could use GoodReads for the library staff book discussion.
Discussed QR codes and their usefulness/popularity with a co-worker. Used the opportunity to yet again show off how my Android phone is as spiffy (if not spiffier) than his iPhone. I reserve this for Apple fanboys only.
Remembered again that this is DILO librarian day and began this entry.
Caught up on journaling accomplishments from the past three weeks. I’ll thank myself next year when I have to write my annual review. I normally try to do this at the end of each day (I use Memiary), but I’ve been lazy about it, and then overwhelmed by the backlog.
Continued working through today’s action items while chatting with a colleague via IM about the online resource renewal decision workflow/tool that I stole from her. Well, stole the concept, anyway. Learned about something else I can steal, too.
Planned out my project schedule for the week. Then left for lunch with a friend in the dining hall..
Back from lunch and on the Main Service Desk for two hours. Tried to track down a phone number of someone in rural Virginia. Answered an IM question from a law student about borrowing a netbook. Notified building manager that a copier is out of paper. Directed a software question to the Help Desk. Directed a product trainer to the conference room. Directed users to the bound journals. Referred a business student to the business librarian. Checked out a netbook to a user. Looked up a book for an IM user. Read some RSS feeds. Smiled at people passing by the desk.
Back to my cube and sorting through the email that has come in since before lunch. Only one new action item out of the pile. Whee!
Played around with some wiki software options for a departmental intranet. Still haven’t found the right combination of features and function.
Was about to start in on a project when I noticed that there wasn’t a Technorati tag description for librarydayinthelife, so I pulled something together and submitted it. Rewarded myself with peanut butter crackers and a Coke Zero.
Finally got into my current project, which involves pulling together information about our database subscriptions so that we can easily review upcoming renewals well in advance of the deadlines. Tweaked the Access tables, queries, and reports, and then set to adding more data. Worked on this until it was time to go home.