NASIG 2010: Serials Management in the Next-Generation Library Environment

Panelists: Jonathan Blackburn, OCLC; Bob Bloom (?), Innovative Interfaces, Inc.; Robert McDonald, Kuali OLE Project/Indiana University

Moderator: Clint Chamberlain, University of Texas, Arlington

What do we really mean when we are talking about a “next-generation ILS”?

It is a system that will need to be flexible enough to accommodate increasingly changing and complex workflows. Things are changing so fast that systems can’t wait several years to release updates.

It also means different things to different stakeholders. The underlying thing is being flexible enough to manage both print and electronic, as well as better reporting tools.

How are “next-generation ILS” interrelated to cloud computing?

Most of them have components in the cloud, and traditional ILS systems are partially there, too. Networking brings benefits (shared workloads).

What challenges are facing libraries today that could be helped by the emerging products you are working on?

Serials is one of the more mature items in the ILS. Automation as a result of standardization of data from all information sources is going to keep improving.

One of the key challenges is to deal with things holistically. We get bogged down in the details sometimes. We need to be looking at things on the collection/consortia level.

We are all trying to do more with less funding. Improving flexibility and automation will offer better services for the users and allow libraries to shift their staff assets to more important (less repetitive) work.

We need better tools to demonstrate the value of the library to our stakeholders. We need ways of assessing resource beyond comparing costs.

Any examples of how next-gen ILS will improve workflow?

Libraries are increasing spending on electronic resources, and many are nearly eliminating their print serials spending. Next gen systems need reporting tools that not only provide data about electronic use/cost, but also print formats, all in one place.

A lot of workflow comes from a print-centric perspective. Many libraries still haven’t figured out how to adjust that to include electronic without saddling all of that on one person (or a handful). [One of the issues is that the staff may not be ready/willing/able to handle the complexities of electronic.]

Every purchase should be looked at independently of format and more on the cost/process for acquiring and making it available to the stakeholders.

[Not taking as many notes from this point on. Listening for something that isn’t fluffy pie in the sky. Want some sold direction that isn’t pretty words to make librarians happy.]

we have a life

Last night, I saw New York Times writer William Grimes’ essay in the Critic’s Notebook column on the phenomenon of the memoir pop up in my NYT feed. He writes, “The memoir has been on the march for more than a decade now. … But the genre has become so inclusive that it’s almost impossible to imagine which life experiences do not qualify as memoir material.”

As a blogger, I understand the attraction to writing memoirs. If given the chance, I could wax on about myself, my memories, and my revelations for quite some time. The nice thing about memoirs is that they don’t require much research or imagination. You were there – you know what happened. Of course, this means that it would be very easy to assume that anyone could write a memoir. While this is true, it does not also equate that anyone can write a good memoir, which goes for bloggers, as well. Grimes does not come out and explicitly state this in his essay, but the tone could imply it.

Grimes concludes with the thought that this propensity for penning memoirs might be a part of our humanity. He writes,

“John Eakin, an emeritus professor of English at Indiana University, has argued that human beings continuously engage in a process of self-creation and self-discovery by constructing autobiographical narratives. In a sense, we are the stories – multiple, shifting and constantly evolving – that we weave about ourselves, and this storytelling urge may even be hard-wired.”

Perhaps it is our super-ego and id fighting to dominate that causes us to want to share our life stories in a public setting? Ah, I never cared much for Freud, anyway.