[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.