I spoke at the VIVA User Group meeting on some of the workflow and tools I use to gather information about our faculty’s scholarly output for an annual reception co-hosted by the Libraries and the Provost’s office. If you were there and want the slides/details of what I said, they’re now up on Slideshare with speaker’s notes. If you weren’t there and are curious, I hope you find it interesting/useful.
Despite how popular Apple products are today, they almost went bankrupt in the 90s. Experts believe that despite their innovation, their lack of collaboration led to this near-downfall. iTunes, iPod, iPad — these all require working with many developers, and is a big part of why they came back.
Microsoft started off as very open to collaboration and innovation from outside of the company, but that is not the case now. In order to get back into the groove, they have partnered with Nokia to enter the mobile phone market.
Collaboration can create commercial success, innovation, synergies, and efficiencies.
The amount of information generated now is vastly more than has ever been collected in the past. It is beyond our imagination.
How has library work changed? We still manage collections and access to information, but the way we do so has evolved with the ways information is delivered. We have had to increase our negotiation skills as every transaction is uniquely based on our customer profile. We have also needed to reorganize our structures and workflows to meet changing needs of our institutions and the information environment.
Deloitte identified ten key challenges faced by higher education: funding (public, endowment, and tuition), rivalry (competing globally for the best students), setting priorities (appropriate use of resources), technology (infrastructure & training), infrastructure (classroom design, offices), links to outcomes (graduation to employment), attracting talent (and retaining them), sustainability (practicing what we preach), widening access (MOOC, open access), and regulation (under increasing pressure to show how public funding is being used, but also maintaining student data privacy).
Libraries say they have too much stuff on shelves, more of it is available electronically, and it keeps coming. Do we really need to keep both print and digital when there is a growing pressure on space for users?
The British Library Document Supply Centre plays an essential role in delivering physical content on demand, but the demand is falling as more information is available online. And, their IT infrastructure needs modernization.
These concerns sparked conversations that created UK Research Reserve, and the evaluation of print journal usage. Users prefer print for in-depth reading, and HSS still have a high usage of print materials compared to the sciences. At least, that was the case 5-6 years ago when UKRR was created.
Ithaka S+R, JISC, and RLUK sent out a survey to faculty about print journal use, and they found that this is still fairly true. They also discovered that even those who are comfortable with electronic journal collections, they would not be happy to see print collections discarded. There was clearly a demand that some library, if not their own, maintain a collection of hard copies of journals. Libraries don’t have to keep them, but SOMEONE has to.
It is hard to predict research needs in the future, so it is important to preserve content for that future demand, and make sure that you still own it.
UKRR’s initial objectives were to de-duplicate low-use journals and allow their members to release space and realize savings/efficiency, and to preserve research material and provide access for researchers. They also want to achieve cultural change — librarians/academics don’t like to throw away things.
So far, they have examined 60,700 holdings, and of that, only 16% has been retained. They intend to keep at least 3 copies among the membership, so there was a significant amount of overlap in holdings across all of the schools.
This session covers the types of needs users have, how discovery tools can help or hinder, and some discovery beyond the basic catalog.
Discovery in a library context happens in the discovery tools (catalog, next-gen layers, web-scale tools, external collections, etc.). A discovery tool that works for music will work well for (almost) anything. Just because a service works well for simple things or known items doesn’t mean it will work well for more complex resources.
Music searches may be a cluster of queries that can but not necessarily overlap. They could be known contributors/creators, but could also be forms and genres not necessarily covered by basic search facets.
MLA has created a document for music discovery requirements in 2012. The primary audience is not music catalogers, and it describes the characteristics of materials and their importance in discovery. It focuses on bibliographic records, but they recognize that the future of discovery will need to include authority data. There is also an appendix with a spreadsheet with some suggested MARC mappings.
Uniform titles are the way music cataloging has identified works for collocation. There is a long list of fields that contain this information, and often the differentiation is buried deep in subfields.
Compilations need to have their content notes displayed and indexed.
They use WorldCat Local for local/global holdings, their classic catalog (Voyager) for local holdings (what they usually push to users for music discovery), and Summon (articles, ebooks, streaming, A/V), as well as their music databases web page of links.
They are implementing Blacklight for a bento box approach (beta interface). They have the single search implemented, but won’t have the bento aspect until next year.
She is serving as the music library representative on the implementation team, and has been able to contribute feedback about the kinds of searching and facets that they need. One that they are most excited about is being able to search by the publisher number or record label catalog number.
[There were lots more examples of how Blacklight is working with music catalog records. Check the slides (when they are posted) and read the proceedings for more information. I kind of zoned out because it wasn’t the information I needed.]
She had written a report for ACRL on the value of academic libraries, so this will be a take off on that as it relates to serials in libraries.
There has been a shift in the literature from talking about the stuff/products/collection to the service we provide to help our users do things with the stuff.
What is value in the context of serials? Some people equate the value of the serials collection to the level of satisfaction of the users. This is not a compelling metric in times of economic uncertainty. Another measure of value might be service quality, but the data from LibQual doesn’t get at it very well. What about input/output? We’re pretty good at counting volumes/titles, but this also not compelling.
Usage just tells us that a lot of people downloaded a lot of things, and not much more than that — certainly not what they did with it, if anything. Information as a commodity (i.e. users would have to spend $$ to get the content we provide) or ROI still doesn’t get at the real value of the information to the users, and getting to that number doesn’t really tell you how much users would spend if they had to.
Right now, impact is the trendy measure of value. It’s about how much good the users do with the serials collection that your institution values, rather than how good of a collection you have.
The context for value matters. It might be the institutional or organizational mission, goals, strategic priorities, or focus areas.
Higher education values student recruitment/enrollment, student learning outcomes, retention/completion, and career success. Where do serials contribute? Academic success, yes, but the volume count given by tour guides doesn’t impress. Journal articles in required reading and papers, and one way to measure the value would be the dollar amount of the reading/reserve lists. Alumni access is becoming more popular as graduates recognize the value of library resources after they complete their degree.
Higher education is also concerned with faculty recruitment, tenure, promotion, teaching, and grants/patents. ILL and delivery service is important — Oakleaf says she won’t go anywhere else without finding out about that first. Make sure the faculty hiring process includes some time at the library. With tenure and promotion, serials librarians can play a role in helping junior faculty determine where to submit articles and how to find citations. We need to articulate the connection between faculty output and library resources.
Higher education is concerned with institutional prestige and local & global workforce development. Libraries are the main draw for local economic forces, and providing access to walk-in users can show value.
Serials collections can save time and have an impact on the bottom line. In the medical environment, serials collections can save lives and provide patients with valuable information to help them maintain and improve their own health.
What are the focus areas of your institution? Where do serials intersect? How do you communicate that value to the people for whom it matters?
We need better data about use. We need to know more than what we have now. We need to correlate usage to GPA, but we can’t do that until we know more about who is using the content. And, no, we can’t prove causation.
We need use data that doesn’t exist. We need to know at what use should be there based on needs/requirements, but isn’t.
What does your communication about the value of serials look like? What concept of value is it based on? Even better, can you show that this will increase the things that your institution values?
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?